One of the many new faces set to grace the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship grid in 2011 is Chris James in a Super 2000 spec Chevrolet Lacetti. Running under the Team ES Racing banner, James is getting ready for his first season the UK's premier tin top series and took time out from his busy preparations to talk to TCF.
James admits that entering the BTCC has always been an ambition of his and now the time was right so make the step up: “We have been looking for a couple of years now to get in to the BTCC. To me it is THE premier racing series, for me even ahead of WTCC. It is the Formula One of saloon car racing. This year a deal came along for a car that was too good to turn down, so we have gone for it.”
James moves into the series from the Mini Challenge, just like Forster Motorsport pairing Martin Depper and Arthur Forster did last season. They found it hard to adjust to the series at first and James understands that it won't be an easy transition: “I am under no illusions how big the step up is. But with that said we are all humans. It frustrates me in life when people say “you can't do that”, my argument is 'why not?' Anyone can do anything they like, you just have to put your mind to it and get on with it.”
Some of the new drivers entering the series, including Frank Wrathall and Tony Hughes, have opted for cars fitting the new NGTC regulations. After acquiring the Lacetti from Sweden, James considered converting it to NGTC specification, but decided to stick with its S2000 set up.
He explained: “We did look in to the NGTC option, though the main reason for sticking with the S2000 was the costs involved in changing the Lacetti from S2000 to NGTC. Also when we weighed this up, we strongly believed that the RML package on S2000 was much stronger than the current NGTC.”
With the car recently returning from a service at Ray Mallock Limited, James and the team are able to begin their preparations for the season and he confirmed two dates of testing are planned so far: “We'll be out on Tuesday 15th March at Donington Park and Tuesday 29th March at Brands Hatch.”
With it being his first season in the season, James is quick to not aim too high with his hopes for the year: “We just hope to complete the season and are aiming to score at least some points. Our main goal though, as a huge underdog, is to interact with the public and the media, making ourselves accessible and winning some support.”