Clarke Looks to Become Part of BTCC 'Furniture'
The 2014 BTCC season won’t be a flash in the pan for Jack Clarke, who says he wants to become “part of the furniture” of the series.
Joining the series under the Crabbie’s Racing banner and running a Motorbase Performance-built Ford Focus, Clarke is however under no illusions that it will be a tough baptism of fire in the BTCC.
Speaking to BTCC Crazy, Clarke said: “It is tough because to get into the top 10 for someone like myself would be a huge achievement. This series is hugely competitive and some of the younger guys are going to be right up there.
“There will be good pressure but pressure nonetheless. It is hard to say where about’s I am going to be until the season begins because it will be a matter of taking it round by round. I just want a good foundation that I can work onwards from and we will find that at the next few tests.”
The Crabbie’s brand features a portfolio of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, most famous for its ginger beer, with Clarke putting together a deal with the firm last year.
“They were really excited to get on board with touring cars,” Clarke explained. “For me Motorbase was the team to go with because of their experience and past success – it is great to be with a top team and to bring the two together is brilliant and I am very lucky.”
Clarke had previously competed with endurance series however the BTCC had always been on his radar: “It has always been something I wanted to get involved in on a long term basis and I have previously cut my teeth in a lot of different disciplines.
“This isn’t a stop gap, I am looking towards becoming a long standing part of the furniture in British Touring Cars and carve a career out of it. My stepfather is Julian Bailey so the series has been part of my upbringing – he is famed for putting Will Hoy on his roof and his advice to me is don’t make contact with your team mate which doesn’t need to be echoed.”
Airwaves Racing, the affiliating team under the Motorbase Performance banner, will run two Ford Focus machines in 2014 with former double champion Fabrizio Giovanardi leading the line.
With the Italian being one of the most experience touring car drivers in the world, Clarke believes his knowledge will accelerate his progress in the car.
The 26-year-old said: “I will hopefully have as much help as possible from Fabrizio and it is all about absorbing for me. To have a team mate like him is somewhat of a double-edged sword because I will have the same opportunity as him however it puts a little bit of pressure on me.
Having formerly raced in machinery such as single seaters, GT cars and even NASCAR stock-cars, the NGTC Ford Focus presents a different challenge for Clarke – but one he is working on conquering.
“I have been getting my head round it and it has been baby steps at the moment,” Clarke admitted. “It is taking time but by Media Day I am confident that it will be about polishing things off.
“Everything is going well though and I am confident in the car, the cockpit is a place where you can be aggressive and that suits my style – I’m looking forward to benchmarking myself against the other rookies and seasoned professionals.”
Article originally written on Thursday, 13 March 2014. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.