The first driver to have ballast applied to his car is a driver who in his 3 seasons has taken 11 wins, stolen second in the Championship in the 2008 finale and wasn't even on the grid for the season opener in 2009, before making history with an unbroken 8 race podium streak. With 28 votes, it's the 2008 BTCC.net Fans trophy winner, Mat Jackson.
Jackson, who graduated to the BTCC in 2007, after winning the Seat Cupra Championship in 2006 and the cheque for £100k, made an instant impact on his debut in the 2006 Andy Priaulx BMW. After taking third on his debut, Mat was disqualified after failing to adhere to a Black Flag. Mat then fought back and took third in the final race of the day, one of 6 podium finishes which included 2 wins, his first in the final race at Oulton Park, holding off Jason Plato, then in the season finale at Thruxton. Mat ended 2007 in 7th place overall, and 2nd in the independents.
2007 also saw Mat start a major talking point at Brands Hatch. Race 1, Mat went wide at Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap, spun across the track and caused a 13 car accident, with an estimated repair bill of £268,000. Team principles weren't happy with him for that, but he bounced down to take third in the final race of the day.
2008 saw Mat take 5 wins and 5 second places en route to second overall and second in the independents Championship.
2008 also saw Mat show his wet weather abilities with 3 drives to bring him up from lowly grid positions to podium finishes, Croft Race 2, where he started 18th and crossed the line in second, only a tenth of a second behind Colin Turkington, and twice at Silverstone, 14th to second in Race 1 and 13th to 1st in the third race. Mat then took his first double win at Brands to nab second at the death.
2009 – Opening round, Mat was on the sidelines after Accident Exchange withdrew their sponsorship due to the economic climate. Mat returned to the series at Thruxton, in an RML Prepared Chevrolet Lacetti, and went on to take a win in the final race of the day. He took another 3 solid finishes at Donington before a run of bad luck which saw him outside the top 10 of the points.
Snetterton saw a return to the podium but then had a retirement in race 2 and didn't make the start in race 3. Knockhill saw a change of luck as for the first time in his short BTCC career; Mat had 3 podium finishes, third in race 1, second in race 2 and a win in race 3. Mat backed this up with a win in race one, from pole position, third in race 2 and his second of the day win at Silverstone, and with it made history by being the first driver to have 6 consecutive podium finishes. Rockingham saw a third and a second in the first two races, before the run ended with a fifth in race 3. With this run, Mat had jumped from 11th to 4th, but ended the season fifth overall, and third in the Independents. Mat is a future Champion.