On the eve of his one-off return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Alain Menu says that he is grateful to be back behind the wheel of the Team BMR Volkswagen CC for the final meeting of 2015 at Brands Hatch GP.
The former double BTCC champion will replace BMR team boss Warren Scott for the trio of curtain-closing races in Kent, returning to the driving seat of the Volkswagen CC for the first time since the same meeting 12 months ago.
Menu has played a coaching role at the squad in 2015 for Scott, but will now aid the team’s bid to defend their Teams’ Championship lead at Brands Hatch, Scott forced to the sidelines by injuries sustained at Silverstone.
“It’s great to be back”, Menu told The Checkered Flag ahead of his return. “It’s unfortunate that it’s down to Warren having back problems, but at the same time I’m very grateful that I was the one that could replace him.”
Seemingly thrown in at the deep end on Saturday morning, Menu added that he feels no qualms ahead of his return, confident that the car’s updates in 2015 can make him competitive.
“It”s what everybody tells me! It’s not going to be a problem but, having said that, I haven’t been in a racing car for a year so it is a bit like being thrown into the deep end, but we’ll see.
“I’ll see in practice how much I feel I can push, then go from there. From what they say, the car is much better to drive compared to last year, so we’ll see, but it’s not something that I think about or worry about.”
The Swiss ace admits he has no personal target in mind when it comes to Saturday’s performance, aiming to gain experience in the updated BMR Volkswagen CC during the day’s two practice sessions.
He added: “I’ll be just feeding my way in and I’m not going to be thinking about that, I just want to be competitive. I may have a target but only after qualifying.
“On paper, the car with no weight should be capable of being in the top five or six.”
On his new role during 2015, the former 23-time World Touring Car Championship race winner also admits that it has felt “completely different” to usual driving duties.
“It’s night and day”, Menu commented on his different role at BMR in 2015.
“It’s completely different because I’m on the other side of the barrier; It’s a funny feeling because when you’re not in the car, you feel completely powerless.
“I’ve never experienced that before, so I’d rather be driving! You can’t compare it.”