John Cleland Eyeing Return to Touring Cars in HSCC Series
1989 and 1995 BTCC champion John Cleland says the answer is ‘yes’ to anyone who asks him to get involved with the new HSCC Super Touring series, something that will surely excite BTCC fans of all ages.
Speaking to BTCC Crazy at the Autosport International show on Friday, the Scotsman revealed that he’s looking to buy one of his old BTCC Vauxhalls from a private owner, with ideals of racing in the new championship.
“I’d love to be involved in the championship”, the 32-time BTCC race winner said. “I’ve got someone coming here today to try and sell me some of my old cars. I’ve just seen someone else here who owns one of my old cars – I seem to have a lot of old cars here today!
“I’d love to drive a Vauxhall in the championship,” he continued. “I think it’d be great for the championship to have a number of ex-BTCC drivers in it and I think it would be a great opportunity to get my sleeves rolled and get right back in there again.”
On the subject of Super Touring cars, and standing next to his 1995 Cavalier, Cleland went into detail about what he thought of his mid 1990s cars:
“I was reunited with it a couple of years ago and I remember getting in it, and it was the first time I’d seen it since 1995. I had visions of it being a technical car in some respects and there being a lot more to it. When I sat in it, it reminded me of how basic they really were in that era of ’95 and ’96.
“It was only when we got through to ’98, ’99 and 2000, that Super Touring started to become really technological. The footwell, the dash, everything was full of electronic boxes. This one was pretty basic, and great for its day, but it wasn’t anything special.
“It was just well-driven.”
The 60 year-old also criticised the BTCC’s NGTC regulations: “I hate turbos because it gives you some opportunity to cheat – I think it’s the wrong set of regulations.”
“All I know is they’re [NGTC cars] significantly slower than the super touring cars. But that was why Super Touring kind of strangled itself because the cost of the cars and the budgets at the time – there was talk of the Ford budget in 2000 being 9-10 million pounds.
“Now I don’t know if that’s true, but when we were a two car Vauxhall team we weren’t spending anything like that! Today, fifteen years later, the budgets are less than half what we were spending back in 1995. There’s no real performance now, the new cars are not as fast as the cars were back then.”
The HSCC Super Touring series, which does not run along-side the BTCC calendar, begins at Thruxton on March 30th.
Article originally written on Sunday, 13 January 2013. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.