Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson have outlined each other as a strong pairing as the Motorbase Performance duo ready themselves for Brands Hatch’s opening British Touring Car Championship round this weekend.
The Indy circuit is a place that returning double champion Giovanardi has won at five times during his previous trail in the BTCC, although the Italian says the 1.2-mile Kent venue is not his favourite on the calendar.
Giovanardi however admitted that he now feels ready for the opening round of the season having worked hard preparing his driving style and set-up to adapt to the Airwaves Racing Ford Focus, and feels the partnership with former rival Jackson will be a neat match.
The 2007-08 champion said: “At the start I was finding it difficult as it’s a complete different set of rules compared to Super 2000 when I left in 2009, then to be honest I have to learn how to understand the car and work out how does it meet my needs to the team so we just start off with difficulty, but I believe we’re ready for Brands Hatch now.
“Brands Hatch is a circuit where I have made some wins, it’s not my favourite circuit but it’s quite interesting because it’s very short so the lap time is close and I believe that there will be a lot of fighting for the first fifteen positions. It’s really unpredictable to guess on who will be the fastest car on there, but to me it’s just a surprise.
“Motorbase is a good team; I know them from 2009 when I was fighting for the championship with Mat Jackson in the BMW. I believe that the team in the last three years have made some good results and they need to make the last jump you know, the last step to be in the fight for the championship so it’s why we’ve joined together to try and make the best to achieve the target.”
Former sparring partner Jackson was the last entry to this year’s grid, announced as continuing with Motorbase for a fifth campaign with the team during the official BTCC Media Day.
The 2008 runner-up said: “I’m really looking forward to getting back into the car at Brands Hatch this weekend. We’ve had a little bit of time running in the new car but we’ve really got to see how we pan out on qualifying and race day. We finished on a high here last year on the podium and it was a good weekend for us so hopefully we can pick up from where we left off.
“I’ve got a new team-mate this year with Fabrizio joining Airwaves – he comes with massive experience and a great pedigree, he’s the won the championships, he’s won it all, so it’s brilliant to have him in the team as an additional pair of eyes on the car and I think it can only help us move forward.”
The pair will be joined by BTCC rookie Jack Clarke, who moves from a single-seater background in his career into touring cars with a third Focus run under the Crabbie’s Racing banner for the former Formula Two race winner – that win coming at Brands Hatch.
Awaiting his debut, Clarke said: “I am delighted to be introducing the Crabbie’s brand to motor sport; the car looks fantastic and has already attracted a great deal of attention.
“I am really looking forward to the start of the season. I know it will be a big challenge for me as I adapt to touring cars having spent my previous few years in Formula 2 and sports cars. I will also be one of 31 cars on the grid at Brands Hatch – which will be an incredible spectacle and a real test for all the drivers. It is very exciting and I can’t wait for the weekend.”