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News 2008: Steven Kane: From Single-Seaters to the BTCC

For an ambitious young racing driver, calling time on the single-seater dream is a pivotal career point. Some quit the sport completely once the F1 hope is gone, but others go on to carve professional careers in touring cars and sports/GT racing. That's just what Steve Kane is doing with Motorbase Performance.

Damon Hill, Steven KaneSteven burst into British racing in spectacular style as a young lion and won the British Formula Ford Championship and the McLaren/Autosport/BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award in his first years in cars.

That quickly led to a drive in the F3 Scholarship class with T Sport in 2003 and he finished second in the championship, after leading the points for much of the season. But even at this stage, lack of funds was a massive problem for the young Irishman.

Steven Kane, Rob Collard, David Bartrum"Budget has always been a problem of mine. Damon Hill helped me get the F3 budget together and then we tried to do a deal with Carlin Motorsport for the championship class F3 in 2004, but the budget all fall apart at the last minute," said Steven.

Racing Engineering offered a lifeline with a season in the Spanish F3 Championship in 2004 and he finished second in the championship. "That was a little bit different. It was all good experience, learning new tracks and a different way of racing. Over that winter I worked hard to put a deal together to race with Lola in British F3 in 2005. We ran a very low budget car with Promatecme and help from Lola and Neil Brown.

"I had two wins and three poles and went to the Marlboro Masters event at Zandvoort and qualified second in my group behind Lewis Hamilton. I'd never been there before and did that in eight laps. But there was a problem with the brakes and I ended up having a massive accident and broke my neck. It wasn't a great finish to the season.

"We worked hard to put together a deal to go to World Series Renault for 2006, but it didn't go that well and there were a lot of technical changes to the cars and we struggled with set-up on the car."

Steven KaneBut by now, Steven was also looking at options outside single-seater racing and in 2005 he did the Silverstone 24 Hours with Iain Dockerill and Chad Racing. Motorbase was involved with the car for Dockerill and that was Steven's first contact with Motorbase boss David Bartrum. "Then I did the GT250 race at Brands with Motorbase later in 2005. David and I had a good relationship from those two races.

"At the end of 2006 I really wanted to do GP2, but you have to make a decision at some point. I've always struggled for funding and it was my decision to say enough single-seaters and look at GT or touring cars to try and make a career. My time in single-seaters gave me a lot of experience racing at a very high level.

"For 2007 I had a few deals on the table and because of my relationship with David I decided to go with him in the Porsche Carrera Cup. He took a chance on me too, and we work very well together. I've been successful with Motorbase right from the first race in 2005.

Motor racing can go very badly if you haven't got a good relationship with the team around you," said Steven. "It's all about both wanting the same thing and we both want to win," he says of his debut season with Bartrum and the team in the BTCC. "I can see the potential of the team and that's why it was a good choice to come here. David is building a team and he's doing a very good job of it. Hopefully we can go on beyond 2008 together."