Current Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship leader Josh Webster has confirmed he is feeling confident of taking the 2011 title, as the Fortec Motorsport star gets ready for the second half of the season. TCF caught up with Josh during the series' eight week summer break to reflect on the season so far and see how he's feeling ahead of the remaining six races.
Webster started his season with a strong victory in the opening round at Donington Park, however there was disappointment later in the day when he retired from Round Two with mechanical woes. Next up the series headed to Brands Hatch, with Webster taking second and fifth in the two races to move up the championship standings. He took the championship lead after a superb weekend at Oulton Park last time out, where he took a superb win and a second place.
Suffolk based Webster is delighted with his performances this year, commenting: “I'm really happy. Last year was a learning year and I got a couple of podiums which was good, but my main aim this year was to go out there and use my experience and knowledge to get some more wins and podiums.
“I've been the first person to win two races so far and leading the championship by over twenty points including drops, so I'm really happy about it and hopefully I'll keep this form, win this championship and move onto something further next year.”
Webster headed into the season off the back of a fourth place finish in the 2010 championship and victory in the BARC Winter Cup. Despite his success, Webster wasn't expecting all the success he has had so far this season, commenting: “I was expecting to be strong at the tracks we've been to before, but I wasn't expecting to be strong at Oulton, because we hadn't raced there before, so to have a win and second there was really good.”
The 17 year old chose his first win of the year as his highlight of the season so far, reflecting:“Probably winning the first race at Donington, because it was the start of a new year and the qualifying wasn't too good the day before. I went into the championship thinking we would be top three in qualifying, but it didn't go that way, so I was on a bit of a downer. I just got my mind focused and went out there with a fresh head, we sorted the car and to win it comfortably was my main highlight, with it being the first race.”
Webster has been enjoying a hugely successful partnership with Fortec Motorsport this season. The Daventry based outfit have been dominating the 2011 Formula Renault BARC Championship so far, with its drivers currently holding the top three places in the championship standings.
Webster praised the efforts of his team, saying: “They're doing an absolutely amazing job. We've got four cars running in the championship, in normal teams like that its quite tough to get attention individually to set up the car, but Fortec do a fantastic job of it.
“I've got really good team-mates to learn from, Kieran Vernon and Archie Hamilton are doing a really good job in championship. It's really good, we all work together and Steve Lynch, Shaun and my mechanic Chris all work so hard. That's why its so rewarding to get good results and hopefully win the championship as it's for them, not just myself.”
The next two meetings take place at Croft and Thruxton, before the final rounds of the season see the BARC championship join the British Touring Car Championship package for its finale at Silverstone. This will see Webster and co race in front of bumper crowds, as well as to a huge TV audience live on ITV4, something the Stowmarket racer is looking forward to.
The MSA Academy driver said: “I can't wait. I think it's a really good opportunity for BARC to get on there and get the championship slightly more recognised, as I don't think it really gets the support it deserves. I'm looking forward to being on TV and hopefully get a good result so I maybe get noticed on there.”
Webster will be hoping to leave Silverstone with the 2011 Formula Renault BARC Championship trophy and the Nine Telecom Group, Admiral Group, Integra ICT and Flying Saucer backed driver is adamant he will take home the crown, concluding: “I will win the championship! I know I can and the way it's looking with the amount of points I've got over everyone, as long as I get half decent finishes I'll hopefully win the championship. I don't want to start counting points just yet though and I'm still focusing on going out there and trying to win every race.
“I've just got to keep my head focused and stay strong, as it's quite easy to get caught up in counting points this early on. If you do, something could go wrong and if I have another DNF, I've got to count that, so just to keep my mind open and go for it.”