Andy Wilmot says that he is prepared for what he intends will be a “good and productive year” with Welch Motorsport having made the step up to a full-time Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship seat with the Proton squad for 2015.
The 33-year-old announced on Wednesday that he will drive for the Welch Motorsport team for next year’s BTCC campaign, Wilmot having previously raced as a front-runner in the Volkswagen Racing Cup for Tony Gilham‘s Team HARD and enjoyed a one-off BTCC outing for Gilham in a Volkswagen CC at Rockingham in 2013.
Wilmot spoke to TCF about his new BTCC path for 2015, saying that an initial deal with a rival squad had not come together prior to securing the drive with the family-run Independent Welch squad, of which he feels he has instantly fit into.
“I have like many others aspired to be here and the hard work has paid off and the fun begins.”
“I originally was in talks with another team about BTCC 2015, but the deal was not done in time and it was snapped up from under me”, Wilmot told TCF on how the deal came about.
“I went in search of a close friendly, family-run team and I found Welch Motorsport that I know had a tough year in 2014, but they had a huge following and crowd support.
“We had a discussion regarding how the team was moving forward into 2015 and I felt happy with our discussion and that I would fit in well with the team.”
The team struggled throughout 2014 with Dan Welch and Ollie Jackson often fighting at the rear end of the field, not aided by engine troubles as their attempt to run their own power unit in the pair of Proton Gen-2 machines gave them plenty of reliability headaches.
With the series seemingly going from strength to strength, particularly if grid sizes are concerned, Wilmot says that the BTCC is at a personal peak both in terms of fan base, entertainment and attractiveness for sponsors.
Wilmot remained realistic on his goals for the coming season, the enthusiastic BTCC newcomer hoping that points finishes will come the way of himself and the team, Welch jnr himself having narrowly missed out on doing so with 16th at Rockingham being his best result of 2014.
“I’m going into the early part of the 2015 season with realistic goals. I would be aiming to score points and learn the car so in the second half of the season I can push more with confidence”, Wilmot continued.
“It is great being a part of the BTCC as it’s the pinnacle of British motorsport. I have, like many others, aspired to be here and the hard work has paid off and the fun begins.
“Now the series is at full capacity and has more viewers than ever it’s a great time to be involved and it makes it that much easier to attract new sponsors.”
Wilmot confirmed that the Welch squad will continue to be a two-car outfit for the new season, although quite what power unit will be used for the Proton Gen-2 machines remains unconfirmed after their torrid 2014 season, which ended with the team considering a return to the standard BTCC engine.
“The team will run two cars in the 2015 BTCC but at the moment, it is unconfirmed what engines we will be using”, Wilmot added, stating that a full testing programme is already in place for the squad after the festive December period.
“The team is pretty much ready to go out testing but we will get Christmas out the way first, then we can give 100% commitment with no distractions as 2015 for us is important that it’s a good and productive year.”