No.4 Mat Jackson – No.5 Aron Smith – No.6 Liam Griffin
Ford Focus ST
Now with three cars on a permanent basis with the addition of Clio Cup racer Aron Smith the Motorbase Performance team have undergone a rebranding over the winter with a new title sponsor, though the 'Red Devil' Focuses remain.
Mat Jackson was a contender for the 2011, picking up four wins. He was leading the overall points after Snetterton as the second half of the season began, but a pair of horror meetings at Knockhill and Rockingham unseated his title tilt and a final day of bad luck at Silverstone allowed the Independents' title to slip away as Jackson fell short of racing Chevrolets and Hondas for the overall win.
The only top team carrying over a largely unchanged package from 2011 the continuity is likely to play into Motorbase's hands as rivals find and cure problems their new machines and any advantage can only boost Jackson's title credentials.
Liam Griffin continues with the team for a second season, hoping to continue the improvement in results he began at the tail end of last season. Smith complete the team after arriving in the BTCC through Triple Eight's door for a one-off appearance at Knockhill.
With the Motorbase team behind him he has the potential to dominate the 2012 class of series rookies.
Mat Jackson onâ€¦â€¦any early advantage
“We honestly don't know, it's a question that's getting asked a lot but we don't know until we get to the first race. We don't know what they're doing in testing. We know what we've got, they know what they've got but nobody's going to show their full potential until the first race. Doing a lap time is one thing, but they're new cars, they've not raced wheel to wheel with the other guys last season so I think it will be interesting when there's going to be contact and the car is unknown for them in how it's going to stand up to that.”
Aron Smith onâ€¦..learning gradually
“I'm never one to say exactly where, I'd hate to jinx it but realistically if I could start off in the top ten I'd be happy with that and work from there. It's important I pace myself and learn at the right rate. I think a lot of people jump in and try and go too fast too quick and you teach yourself bad habits, so it's been pacing myself through the test days and now I'm starting to get stronger.”
Liam Griffin onâ€¦..driving for more improvement
“We haven't done much to the car at all, we've got less boost so we're down on power but at Silverstone testing I went three tenths quicker than I qualified last year, albeit we had the same boost, so I've found three tenths on old tyres so something's happened. I'm more confident in the car. James Thompson came and drove it last year and we had rear wheel steer dialled into the cars which I couldn't get the hand of. He took it all completely out and went the other way and you could feel the car, so I've followed what he had and it's suited me more.”