David Bartrum's Blog
BTCC 26th October 2012
Brands Hatch came round very quickly. It only seems like yesterday that we were at the start of the season wondering how it was going to go and what the expectations were for the year. Then, 10 weekends later, there we were at Brands Hatch again for the final weekend.
One of the highlights of the year for me has been young Aron Smith. In the first half of the season he was getting into all sorts of scrapes and other people's accidents, but that comes with being in British Touring Cars. He came out of Clios as a front runner and he knew he had to learn and it was quite tough learning. But in the second half of the season it all clicked and away he went. He finished the season with his first win and I'm over the moon for him.
Another highlight of the year was the fact that we produced our own car and at Brands Hatch it nearly got another win. Mat Jackson got a win at Silverstone and nearly had a second win at Silverstone. We've now got to the root of the throttle problem we had with the car, so that won't happen again.
Then Liam Griffin came back for his last touring car race at Brands and he had a very good, clean weekend and finished all three races with no damage and decent results. So Liam signed off with a good weekend and I was really pleased for him. I was disappointed for Mat and pleased for Aron: there was a real mix of emotions at Brands. At least the NGTC car broke down in the lead and not at the back, Aron won his first race and Liam retired from the BTCC on a good weekend.
I've never seen so many people at a BTCC weekend. It was very, very busy and great to have so much support, but it can almost get to the point of too many people trying to get into too small a space. There are guests you need to attend to, and that's where the priorities lie. We've had great sponsors this year: Redstone, Airwaves and Truphone have all been great and there have been loads of ancillary sponsors such as Addison Lee and all our suppliers. Everyone who is mentioned on the car chips in to make this happen and everyone in the team works hard, particularly the engineers and mechanics.
Behind the scenes, our PR lady Nicki is always working hard for the team and Tom, Zach and Sarah in hospitality have all been exceptional this year. It has been a very big year looking after people and showing that going racing with Motorbase can be fun. A lot of people put a lot of work in.
Where would we be without the caterers? Spires of Oxford, with Bill, Lloyd and Drew and Laurence the chef: they have served some wonderful food this year. I still don't know how they produce such good food from a field kitchen. And I am a man who knows about food! I'm a good food tester and Drew got a 9.5 for the banoffee pie at the last round. I think it really should have been a 10, but we like to keep that half back. Banoffee pie is an important part of our team.
It's been a great year for Motorbase. Over the first half of the year it was hard work with the Super 2000 and we had some bad luck at Croft and it almost felt like the S2000 car couldn't do any more. But I have to say that Geoff Kingston and Aron have done a stonking job of re-thinking that car and moving it forward. They came up with some stuff that we should have come up with last year and it has worked really well for Aron.
We switched Mat into the NGTC car and he's done a really good job with a car we built ourselves in-house. Mat's been developing the car with the team and it's obvious that we've got a lot to come from the car. There have been a couple of break downs while in the lead and that is the joy of developing the car in public view. We had to do it that way because that's all we had from a budget point of view.
We've had some results with it and I'm very proud of the achievement of designing and building the car in-house and I'm very proud of the fact that it is on the pace even though it is only at 70% of where it needs to go. There is a list of things to do over the winter and the car will be a genuine contender next year. I think it will be the car to be sat in next year.
I said earlier in the year that Mike Jordan was the wisest man in the paddock, because he went straight to Dynamics at the end of last season and did his deal for two Hondas. He quantified his expense: he knew exactly what the car was going to cost him and that gave him the chance to find the money to do what he wanted to do. He had his deal done long before we did. I think I should have spent my money as wisely as he did, but I'm glad to say that we went on and did the Ford and I think there is a lot more potential in this car. Over the winter we want to get all our deals done and come back with a very fast race car for 2013.