Michael Meadows is looking forward to the challenge of attempting to defend his Porsche Carrera Cup GB title with his new team Samsung Smart Motorsport.
The 26 year old from Oxfordshire has moved to the newly formed outfit from Redline Racing where he had spent the last three seasons, clinching the championship crown in his final year with the Stockton-On-Tees based squad.
Speaking exclusively to theCheckeredFlag.co.uk, he said: “It is a massive honour to be chosen to be an ambassador for Samsung. They are one of the biggest sponsors in British motorsport, hopefully this season I can repay the faith they’ve shown in me by delivering the title.
“It was a difficult decision to leave Redline, in many ways it’s like leaving the family. I’d like to thank them for the last three years as they’ve really helped me to progress as a driver and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I had an amazing time, the mechanics are mega, they work really hard but they also know how to have fun.”
The announcement last week that Meadows would be returning to the Carrera Cup GB was a huge surprise as it had been widely expected that he would move up to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup which regularly supports the Formula One World Championship and visits some of the most iconic circuits in Europe such as Monza and Spa.
However, with the budget requirements proving a stumbling block as well as a lack of competitive drives available, he quickly realised that a title defence was the best option open to him for 2013.
Despite the fact that this will be his fourth consecutive season in the championship, Meadows insists he is still motivated to achieve as much success in the series as possible. He said: “There is extra incentive for me this year with a new team backed by a massive company and the responsibility of helping build a legacy with them.”
As well as the fresh challenge that moving teams brings, Meadows is also attempting to make his mark on the Carrera Cup history books. If he wins the title this season he will become only the second man to win the championship in consecutive seasons, the first being Damien Faulkner who won it in 2005 and 2006.
Asked about whether these milestones matter to him, Meadows said: “Yeah they do matter, it’s good to have statistical goals. It’d also be nice to beat the record for pole positions.”
His interest in and knowledge of the championship are instantly recognisable when speaking with him and are both admirable and infectious qualities. The record to which he refers is held by 2009 champion Tim Bridgman who scored 23 poles during his brief two year stint in the series; Meadows is currently ten shy of that mark.
It is obvious that Meadows is more relaxed than he was ahead of last season now that he has one title to his name: “I think there’s less pressure on me this year, now I’ve proved I’ve got what it takes to win it. Also a lot of the other drivers were relatively inexperienced then, they now have another year’s racing under their belt so there are less excuses for them.”
He delivers the last statement with a measure of confidence but not arrogance. After all it is a fair point; many of his rivals are back on the grid this year keen to wrestle the crown from his grasp, in far better shape than this time last season now that they have one more year of Carrera Cup experience.
Meadows struck the first psychological blow of the season, topping the times at the championship’s media day at Silverstone last week. The tables have turned, it is now up to the chasing pack to try and prove they have what it takes to beat the man who currently is the very best in the series and clearly at the top of his game.
It will be fascinating to see if they can do this. One thing is clear, they may be a new combination but Meadows and the Samsung Smart Motorsport team are very much the package to beat.
The season gets under way at Brands Hatch on the weekend of the 30th/31st of March.