David Bartrum's Blog
2nd September 2011
We had a busy time in July. Everyone said it was the seven-week break, but it wasn't. Obviously we had a good finish to the first half of the season. In touring cars we managed to get ourselves up into P2 in the championship, which was fantastic and we'd won at the Nurburgring with the Porsche, so that was all good.
So we started the mystical seven-week break and it was mystical. The boys had some holiday here and there, but that just means the other ones worked even harder, because there was still a lot to do. We did some testing with the touring cars and the Carrera Cup cars and we had some particular parts we wanted to test on the touring cars. So we had a lot of work to get through in a day.
We had Jonny Adam re-join us for the touring car testing and he took to the spare car and he and Mat got through an awful lot of work. Liam was on holiday so he couldn't be there. It was really good to have Jonny back in one of our cars and his contribution was massive. He was only a tad off Mat, about two-tenths, and his feedback was very good.
When Jonny was with us he drove a fantastic year considering he's not a rear wheel drive guy. But he raced the BMW and did a really good job. Giving him a chance to get in a front wheel drive car was a reminder of how good Jonny Adam is. Mat was his usual self and we got through a lot of work. We went to Snetterton with the Carrera Cup cars and had a good day and generally did a lot of work.
But the biggest thing we did in July was during the third week when we went and were part of the Airwaves sales conference near Reading. The whole team went with two trucks, cars and drivers and we set up the awnings and met a lot of the Airwaves people. We did four identical seminars on working as a team. Team work is the same if it's a racing team or a business. The drivers got to speak and so did I and we had Alan Hyde there as our MC. Alan did a fantastic job as he understands the team very well and he understands the sport very well. I think Airwaves got a lot from it and they really enjoyed. It was a great thing to do. It took us two days to do it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know the team did.
The next thing we knew we were getting ready to go to Snetterton. We had a good weekend and, staring down the barrel of another so-called four-week break, Mat went one better and took the lead of the BTCC. That was the first time Motorbase had led the drivers' championship overall and so it was very special for me. Looking back to 2007 when we went to two cars with the SEATs and had a horrendous year, I always likened that season to the film 'Zulu'. The Motorbase team was at Rorke's Drift and the Zulus kept coming and there was only a few of us, but we held our own and in the end we survived and moved on to the BMWs. That's how I see the 2007 season. So, in this small space of time in touring car terms, to be leading the BTCC and have bragging rights for the whole of August was very special. And we used those bragging rights to good effect.
I had a little bit of time off and had to go and have a bit of work done, so that lost a little bit of momentum, but the boys carried on as usual and it all went well. It was a case of some essential maintenance and tuning, rather than cosmetic work.
We were busy on Carrera Cup, but we haven't had the best of seasons in Carrera Cup this year. It's been a bit below par for what we usually have but we're in there pitching and screaming. The middle part of the season with the Nurburgring race didn't really suit our drivers and we had a slow start with the new car and we lost some momentum mid-season. We went to Germany and got a result, but it wasn't a team result, it was a one-car result. I enjoyed the event immensely, but I think Motorbase lost out through it and it has made the season quite hard.
We've now got eight races in four weekends and we've got to do the best job we can in those races. I'm sure the Motorbase Carrera Cup team will do its utmost to do the best we can and end the season on a high.
In the BTCC, I've said all along that each weekend is a leg of a 10-event series. We've done six legs and we've gone very well and here we are at Knockhill sitting on the verge of the seventh leg. I think it's going to be extremely difficult this weekend to keep our lead. We've got 45kg and a circuit that doesn't suit a turbocharged car. It's a very short lap with lots of braking and we lose out on engine braking, because there isn't any on a turbo engine. Knockhill should play into the hands of the Chevrolets and even the Hondas, because although the Hondas are turbocharged, they have a very short wheelbase and they have very well sorted suspension, Then, driving one of them is the man that lives here' Gordon Shedden. But Mat Jackson will do his utmost, as he always does, and Liam will do his best to keep out of trouble.
It's been a real privilege for my team to be where they are with the touring cars. Where we will be at Silverstone on 16 October when the flag drops on the last race, I don't know. It is a testimony to the entire Motorbase team, including the drivers, that they are all pushing on and delivering a high standard of racing car in both the BTCC and the Carrera Cup. Long may it continue.
Looking ahead, 2012 could be exciting times on both sides of the team. The BTCC is going through a time of change with new rules and new cars, while the Carrera Cup is stable at the moment because we have the same car for two more years, which keeps some continuity. The future could hold a brand new car in the BTCC and I'm very much looking forward to progressing that. I've never been working on the coming year so far in advance for both teams, so we'll see.
I'm very optimistic and upbeat, but I can't say that I've got all the answers yet. At the moment not all the deals are done. It is going to be an extremely busy winter, probably the busiest one I've ever had. Yet again we'll kick up a gear in 2012 and move forward in all areas. I think this year has given us a big leg up and put us in the public eye. Interesting times ahead!