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News 2012: Oly Collins Interview January 2012

January 18th

Motorbase Performance

The 2011 British Touring Car Championship season was a mix of highs and lows for the Motorbase Performance team which saw the Kent based squad achieve their most successful finish to date.

In the second of a short series of interviews, we catch up with Team Manager Oly Collins as he takes a look back at his 2011 season and discusses the team's plans and hopes for 2012.

MP: On reflection, how do you feel about the team's performance during the 2011 BTCC season?

OC: "The Team's performance was fantastic. We had a great mechanical reliability record as far as the cars were concerned and we had fastest laps with Mat than any other driver, so as far as the team are concerned as a whole I really couldn't have asked for more.

"We have a great crew here who work so well together. I've never worked in such a happy team and it shows throughout. Everyone enjoys their job but equally know when it's time to get serious. It's all down to the guys who work here."

MP: It was Motorbase's best finish to date in the BTCC, but the feeling from the team seems to be one of disappointment...would that be a fair description?

Oly and Mat celebrate the Championship lead at Snetterton

OC: "I think that's fair. It was a tale of two halves for us. To be leading outright after Snetterton was a fantastic testament to all the hard work put in by everyone and Mat's driving. Unfortunately Knockhill was really gutting because we were so fast all weekend, but you have weekends like that. To have even worse luck at Rockingham was just unbelievable. And Silverstone, well, that was the final nail in the coffin.

"We're all well aware that the 1st race finish is so important and through no fault of the team or driver at Knockhill and Rockingham we lost out on a race one finish which killed the whole weekend. We all deserved much more than that but hey, that just makes us even more determined for 2012!"

MP: There was an awful lot of noise coming from other teams and drivers in pit lane regarding the NGTC and normally aspirated cars this season, what are your thoughts on the subject and how TOCA managed the situation?

OC: "TOCA had a tough job with NGTC, S2000 Turbo & S2000 N/A and in the end it kind of all equalled its self out but there were weekends when some cars were 'too competitive'.  But they ended up with 5 drivers in 4 teams and 4 different cars and 2 different specs of car all competing for the title at the end of the season so  you would have to suggest that it worked out in the end wouldn't you? 

"TOCA have recognised the issues that arose last year and I feel confident the regulation changes for 2012 should make it a little less frustrating for teams, sponsors & fans. It's quite difficult to explain to those people who aren't quite aware of the whole situation with different cars each weekend, where boost has been taken away or weight has been put on when it isn't done by a formula but by opinion; so I do feel 2012 will be much clearer and hopefully fairer."

MP: What would you say were the stand out moments of the season for you....both good and bad?

British Touring Car ChampionshipOC: "Good - Each win, we like winning! But especially Donington when Mat came all the way through the field from 10th on the grid, and the second place at Croft which must go down as one of the best races in recent years in the damp.

"Bad - Knockhill, Rockingham and Silverstone!"

MP: In hindsight do you still think you made the right decision switching over to the Ford Focus ST's? What impact did that have on the team behind the scenes and in the form of results?

OC: "Most definitely. We loved the BMW's and they served Motorbase well but they were never going to be competitive with the current regulations. Instead of covering them up for the winter and moaning about the regulation changes all year we decided to do something about it and fortunately for us it was the right decision. Mountune have also been a great help throughout the year and were also key in our decision to move over to the Fords."

MP: You had a couple of changes of driver line ups in the 3rd car this year and many would argue that bringing in the additional car didn't really deliver the results you would have expected from the drivers in particular....what would you say to this and is this something you would consider again?

OC: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? It didn't deliver what we wanted on track in terms of results, but we are a competent 3 car team and if that car is filled with a talented driver for a complete season there is no reason why it won't be competitive.

"Both Michael [Caine] & James [Thompson] are more than competent enough and they both showed that but with a lack of testing and only 1 or 2 race meetings they didn't get the chance to prove it.  Maybe we approached it a little incorrectly in that respect but we learn from this and move on; which is what we plan to do this year. Plenty of other teams have done it in the past like 888, Team Dynamics & RML and if it's viable, then we will do it as well."

MP: You significantly outperformed the newer generation Ford Focus run by Team Aon this season and many would say got a lot more out of the cars than they ever managed...why do this was?

OC: "We performed well against the whole grid, especially considering we only had the cars a couple of months prior to the first race and we were learning all year.

"We have a great group of mechanics and engineers who got to grips with the car early, Mat is a very good driver and we were well organised, the cars were fast and reliable. It was the whole package."

MP: Can you confirm any of your plans for 2012 as yet, in regards to the cars and drivers?

OC: "We plan to be on the grid with three Focuses, that's about all I can say at this time. All will come out soon this space!"