Stephen Jelley says he’s ready to “put it all on the line in every race” and fight for race wins from the off on his return to the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain.
The former BTCC race-winner will compete with the team that guided him to seven race wins and a pair of top three championship finishes during his last run in the championship in 2010 and 2011, Team Parker Racing.
In the three seasons since then, Jelley has predominantly competed in the Blancpain Endurance Series alongside part-campaigns in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, but saw his only full season come in 2012 in a Von Ryan Racing McLaren.
After competing in multi-driver endurance racing for three years, Jelley admits that the draw of wheel-to-wheel sprint racing, as well as plenty of track time, has brought him back into the Porsche paddock.
“It’s nice to be back in a sprint-based championship and obviously the championship is doing really well, drivers wise and numbers wise, so it’s good to be in an environment that’s moving forwards. It’s going to be an exciting year,” Jelley told TCF at the Porsche Media Day at Silverstone.
“The Blancpain stuff has been all fine, but I just wasn’t doing a lot of racing. Last season I did just four races and was meant to do a fifth but I got a stomach bug, so it was a bit of a strange year. I got a bit disillusioned and wanted to come and do something where I got out in the car more.
“I’ve already done more testing this winter than I did in the last two years, and it’s a series I know I’ll enjoy. Plus I’ve got a daughter as well now, so I really like the idea of her being able to come to some of the races and be a part of it.”
Jelley’s previous Porsche Carrera Cup GB exploits came during a golden spell for the series, with the 32 year old pitting himself against the likes of Michael Meadows, James Sutton, Euan Hankey, Sam Tordoff and Ben Barker during his two seasons.
Jelley feels this year’s line-up could be just as competitive though and whilst he’s impressed by some of the new talent, including reigning champion Josh Webster, Dan Cammish and Dino Zamparelli, he’s confident he can give them a run for their money this year.
“The grid is looking pretty good, it’s a bit of a bugger really. I thought I was getting into an easy gig,” he joked.
“It’s good to have all the quick young guys pushing you, and I think a few of them are currently putting it all out on the line in testing, which is fine at this stage, but I might have something up my sleeve still …. Well I hope I have!”
While Jelley accepts that many will expect a title challenge from him after his previous success in the championship, the Leicestershire-based racer says his main drive comes from enjoying his racing and chasing individual race success.
“My targets for the year are kind of already set, as people will expect me to do a championship tilt, and I expect it myself really,” he concluded.
“What drives me really are the individual races though rather than championship as a whole. I like the idea of going out there, racing properly, racing hard, having a bit of champagne at the end of the day and going home happy, that’s what it’s kind of about.
“People might say ‘you have to look at the bigger picture to mount a serious challenge’ … bugger that. I want to go out there, put it all on the line in every race and fight tooth and nail. If it means sometimes I have a bit of a scrape then so be it. It’s what people want to see and where you get the enjoyment out of it.”
The 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain season kicks off at Brands Hatch on April 4/5, with Round One and Two taking place on the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.