Kieran Gallagher says he is relishing his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season with Tony Gilham Racing, the Scot targeting Jack Sears Trophy wins against former racing rivals in 2015.
The 25-year-old previously made a one-off appearance for Gilham’s Team HARD outfit in 2013 at his home event at Knockhill, collecting a 13th place finish in the third race of the day during that induction.
Gallagher now makes the step up to BTCC as a full-time campaigner in 2015, racing a Toyota Avensis for Gilham’s revitalised squad after spending the previous three years racing in Scottish Legends and subsequently the Volkswagen Racing Cup.
“I’m looking obviously at first just to get some points finishes”, Gallagher told The Checkered Flag ahead of his maiden season.
“We need to get ourselves a good base set-up for car. We practically have already got one, but it will be good to see what works with me rather than what is there to play with.
“Hopefully from then we’ll really start progressing and we can get those points finishes.”
Targeting points finishes initially with 29 cars set to take part in the opening round of the season at Brands Hatch, Gallagher says that the fight for top rookie honours in the Jack Sears Trophy will provide the biggest distraction of his debut season.
The Toyota man is one of eight rookie drivers eligible for the Trophy, joined by former VW Cup rivals including Stewart Lines [Houseman Racing] and Andy Wilmot [Welch Motorsport].
“Of course the Jack Sears Trophy is there for grabs as well this year, so that will be a lot of fun having a right old battle with people like Josh Cook and Andy Wilmot as well.
“There’s a few old rivals in there. Obviously Stewart Lines as well from VW Cup – these are guys that I’ve already raced against so hopefully we’ll have a couple of good battles. That’s what we want to do, we want to battle it out and not be floating around in the middle or at the back somewhere.”
The BTCC’s official season launch took place at Donington Park on Tuesday 24 March, during which Gallagher made his debut outing in the Avensis during the day’s four-hour test.
Gallagher’s run was cut short early however, failing to register a lap after a suspected fuel pump problem. Despite the frustration of the early setback, preparation made in the build-up to the opening round of the season on Easter weekend (4/5 April) has been highly positive.
“This has been the first time out in the car. It was either build the car half-arsed, or do it right, so that’s why this is our first test”, added Gallagher, who was initially set to race in the supporting Renault UK Clio Cup before his BTCC deal was completed.
“It’s been a second job for me trying to find sponsors which all came through. We couldn’t be without them. This is my third year racing so we’ve done very well to get here and hopefully we’ll be staying here.”