Former Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race winner Stephen Jelley will return to the TOCA package for 2015 in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, but says he would consider a return to the BTCC should the opportunity present itself.
The 32-year-old raced in BTCC competitively for two seasons with West Surrey Racing under the Team RAC banner in 2008/09, collecting two race victories in the latter year on his way to sixth place overall in the championship as team-mate to eventual and current champion, Colin Turkington.
Jelley admitted that he would consider a return to touring cars at some stage should an opportunity arise, previously having claimed five podium finishes in BTCC and one pole position.
“It’s possible”, Jelley told TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “If something becomes available then I might consider it.
“If a drive became available at Rockingham or Donington for example then those are my two local races, plus the Carrera Cup has taken them out of their calendar which is a shame.”
The former single seater racer said that he had staged two tests at Motorbase Performance during the winter period prior to 2014 and was reportedly close to a drive, however he did not land a seat with the Ford team who will also assist Alex Martin under the Team Parker Racing banner.
The latter was an outfit Jelley previously raced for in the 2010/11 Porsche Carrera Cup GB series, a partnership which will be rekindled in the one-make sportscar championship that will again support the BTCC in 2015.
Previous success with Stuart Parker’s organisation brought fond memories for Jelley in his sportscar career since deterring from a single seater path, Jelley saying that it was only right that Parker Racing made the step into BTCC which they will do so in 2015 with fellow former Porsche racer, Martin.
Jelley said: “I like driving for Stuart Parker and of course he is heavily involved now in running Alex Martin in the BTCC this year. I think it’s something that the team would like to step up to as it’s logical that they should be in the British Touring Car Championship, after being a main contender in the Porsche championship for so long.
“That’s really something to look forward to and assess now that they know a little bit more about it.”
Although not as big a fan of the current generation BTCC machines compared to the S2000 BMW 320si he previously drove, Jelley admitted that the close competition and attraction of the sport has grown for fans to enjoy.
“It’s good to get more teams in there but, from a driving point of view, I feel they aren’t the best cars to drive. I guess they are more of a specialist car; a bit like how everyone talks about Aussie V8 Supercars in years gone by and them being a little bit agricultural, but it’s still a really mega championship and people want to go and watch it.
“The next generation touring cars – they have their quirks, let’s say! But, you get a full grid and around 40,000 people rocking up to the race track to come and see it. We’ve got to hang onto the BTCC.”
*Jelley was speaking to The Checkered Flag’s Simon Paice during the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Media Day at Silverstone*