The 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship comes to an end this weekend at Silverstone, with Scott Malvern and Josh Webster set to fight it out for the title over the final two races. The Checkered Flag caught up with championship leader Malvern to gauge his feelings ahead of the season finale.
Malvern heads into the final meeting of the year with a fourteen point advantage on dropped scores over category veteran Webster. This is despite it being only Malvern’s first season in slicks and wings racing after his graduation from Formula Ford, a remarkable achievement considering his lack of experience with the car, some of the tracks and a mid-season change of teams.
“We’ve been on the back-foot all year really, I’ve not done a lot of testing, nowhere near the level of testing I did last year in Formula Ford for example,” said the London-based racer. “A new car, new teams, both teams I’ve been with this year have been teams with no real modern experience of the car. It’s been a big learning curve all year, every circuit we turn up is another place we’ve never run the car, so it’s probably been my toughest season to date, purely for the mount I’ve had to learn.”
Despite he lack of pre-season preparation, Malvern was able to be competitive from the off, securing a maiden win on the opening weekend at Snetterton, fighting back from mechanical problems that left him thirteenth in the opening race, his lowest finish of the season to date.
Since then, the two-time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist has picked up podium finishes at each meeting, two seconds at Rockingham, a win at Thruxton and a second at Croft. Last time out at Donington Park, Malvern took a win and two seconds to make it four podiums in a row, consistent form that Malvern knew would be the key to success in the BARC series.
“When I came into the championship, I looked back and researched how it had gone in previous years and it seemed a little bit like a war of attrition. My aim then was to keep scoring big points and if the wins were there, to take them, but to not take silly risks to win if it’s better to take points that are there.”
Malvern’s previous success in Formula Ford means that the experience of the pressures involved in closing out a championship, meaning the Jamun Racing driver has a clear mind-set as to how to approach the weekend.
“I think you certainly have to go in hoping to win races, it’s the same procedure as it’s been for every weekend. I’ll go in, try and be as quick as I can, do the best possible job in qualifying and then work out what I’m going to do from there. Once race one is out the way, maybe I can then calculate what I’m going to do for the final race, or maybe not, maybe I’m going to have to just go all out and claw it back, you just don’t know. It can go either way very quickly.”
The final rounds will see the championship join the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship package for the first time this season, bringing the series some much needed exposure through the live TV coverage on ITV4 and large trackside crowds. It won’t be Malvern’s first experience competing on the package, having taken a second place when Formula Ford made a guest appearance at Donington Park in 2010.
“I’ve been on the touring car package before with Fords at Donington and it’s a great event with big crowds and it’s a brilliant place to have the finale to the championship. It’s a superb event for the sponsors and it’s just what this championship needs, as it’s now the premier junior category in the UK.”
You’ll be able to find out if Malvern is successful in his bid to take the Formula Renault BARC title by following The Checkered Flag for reports across the weekend, and by watching the final race live on ITV4 on Sunday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography