BTCC mid-season catch-up with Mark Blundell

Ticker’s been sponsoring former-F1 driver Mark Blundell in the British Touring Car Championship 2019.

We’re now half-way through the season, so we thought it was time to catch up with Mark about how his BTCC experience has been.

 

What’s been the highlight of your race season so far?

“It’s been a massive challenge to get to grips with what is almost a completely different craft from everything I’ve done before. The BTCC has almost been like starting from scratch but it’s a challenge I’ve relished getting my teeth into.”

“There’ve been many highlights so far including working with a great deal of people who surround the programme and finishing in the points in my very first race which definitely surpassed where I thought I would be on day one!

“I think the highlight though would have to be having all my family trackside to watch and cheer on. The support from so many has been very humbling but having my granddaughters finally see me race out on track was a great touch. They’ve always known that Granddad was a racing driver but before this, they’ve only ever seen me doing so on TV or on the highlights on YouTube!”

“It’s almost been like starting from scratch but it’s a challenge I’ve relished getting my teeth into.”

How has it been adapting from F1 to the BTCC?

“Being brutally honest, all the experience I have collected over the past thirty years or so counts for very little. The technique and style in Touring Cars is entirely different. Not least is the fact that the front wheels are now powering the car.

“Everything I have ever done has been rear-wheel drive and this is a fundamental difference that changes everything the car does into the corner, mid-corner and out of the corner. This has been a real challenge to get used to but I am slowly getting there and making some progress.

“The guys who have been in Touring Cars for years have an incredibly high skill level in terms of what is required in this championship and I’ve a massive amount of respect for that. I know that I’m coming into their playground now so I can only expect that it was going to be a process that would take time.”

Mark Blundell sitting in his car at the BTCC

What tips can regular drivers take from racing?

“Well, I definitely wouldn’t suggest watching the amount of contact you see between the cars in a Touring Car race! I think the biggest crossover between what we do and what you do out on the road is a general point about awareness. The more aware you are of every factor that is around you, the more successful (or safe!) you are going to be both out on the track and on the road.

“With the speeds we’re reaching and with a grid of thirty cars, that awareness of everything around you as you race into the corner means absolutely everything. Without that, all you’re going to do is ruin your own race and somebody else’s.

“That’s no different on the road. It seems pretty difficult to predict some of the behaviour we see on the roads at times but being alert and aware can help you combat that. It’s about seeing any potential risks on the road and track as early as possible and responding in the right way to those risks.”

“The more aware you are of every factor that is around you, the more successful (or safe!) you are going to be both out on the track and on the road.”

How do you think you’d do with a Ticker box – on and off the track?

“I wouldn’t want to see my renewal cost with me on the track. The BTCC is a type of racing that gives you nothing back unless you give total commitment to everything you do on track. With everyone around you on the grid getting their elbows out, you’d find it very hard to keep pace with them if you didn’t do it yourself.

“On the road is a different scenario, though. I’m lucky, I suppose. As a racing driver, you can get that thrill and adrenaline from your time out on the track. When I’m in the road car it is an entirely different story, so I’d back my chances of being a Gold Driver a little more there!”

 

The Ticker box at Thruxton

We went along to race day at Thruxton for a couple of hours in the pit. As well as being right in the action, we had the chance to ask Mark if he’d stick a Ticker box to his windscreen.

Ticker is working on box insurance for everyone – except racing drivers.