Harry Vaulkhard is on the verge of securing his return to the British Touring Car Championship with the bamboo engineering squad after a year of travelling the world and competing in the WTCC, TCF took the time to catch up with him.
“My season in WTCC was invaluable,” admits Vaulkhard, “It was a real shame I had to pull out at the halfway stage as I was on very similar points to my Team mate Darryl O’Young, who went into the final round of the series 2nd and was very unlucky not to become independent world champion.”
In a world where racing is dictated by money and the lack of sponsors willing to commit to drivers meant he had to cut short his season, but despite having to sit out the latter part of the season the Northerner believes it was an invaluable experience. “Having a team mate was critical and the first time I have ever had one and I also had a new engineer which worked out wonders for my development and allowed me to take Bamboo’s first win at Monza.”
Asked what he missed about the BTCC he replied “The fans, the British fans are fantastic, they’re so knowledgeable about their sport and it's great to talk to them.” This isn’t to say WTCC fans know nothing but the language barrier brings difficulties; that coupled with fans out to support their local driver.
As for what he would miss from the WTCC: “The circuits in WTCC are fantastic, places such as Monza are oozing history and you can feel the excitement of a bygone era just being there. Then to stand on the podium in a world championship at such a circuit was for me, the highlight of my career to date. Not to say that isn’t the case with BTCC circuits also. I have similar feelings for Donington Park.”
With bamboo engineering set to run a double campaign of BTCC and WTCC we asked Vaulkhard if we would see him at the UK round of the World Touring cars, “I would love nothing more than to race in the WTCC at Donington, however I doubt the S2000 Lacetti will be comparable with the 1.6 Turbo cars, and I don’t want to run round at the back. But depending on what happens. Never say never.”
With a whole host of changes in BTCC for 2011 we asked for Vaulkhards thoughts on the season ahead. “I’m sure the 2011 series will work out great, Alan Gow has done a great job and there seems to be a huge array of different vehicles and teams with various engines. So as long as all of the cars have an equal chance at winning races I’m sure the series will be awesome.”
As for his own expectations? He has a clear goal: “If the deal happens, I want podiums. I know the car so much better than in 2009, I have come on leaps and bounds as a driver too, and bamboo fully understand what's required to unlock all of the Lacettis potential now.
“As long as the cars are all equal within the rules then I see no reason why we can't be up there. The Lacetti is a potent force when you get the best out of it as we found in 2010.”