Josh Cook heads into the 2020 British Touring Car Championship in a bullish mood after securing his seat in a BTC Racing prepared Honda Civic for a second consecutive year.
Cook enjoyed his best-ever season in the BTCC in 2019, recording three victories on his way to fourth in the championship standings.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag he said: “This is going to be my first ever opportunity to have two consecutive seasons in the same car. That’s obviously a huge bonus. I think continuity will really help us. It’s something that we’ve tried to achieve but it’s never been an option for us commercially before.
“Every single season that I’ve been in touring cars we’ve arrived at the race weekend not necessarily knowing what the car’s going to do on that particular circuit. So the fact that I’ve driven the car on almost all of the circuits we’re going to be going around, it gives us a lot of relevant data to head to each weekend with, rather than working out on the weekend which we did have to do in 2019. Every single weekend last year we finished the weekend like we really wish now was the start of the race weekend because we know where we’re starting from.”
Cook was relieved to secure his sixth straight season in the BTCC relatively quickly during the offseason and had no hesitation in re-signing with BTC Racing.
“Obviously really pleased to get something done with BTC, it was done quite early. We always when I joined at the start of last year we had aspirations for a multi-season partnership so it’s amazing we’ve managed to get the deal done and obviously with my new team-mates as well that’s going to make things pretty interesting.”
“The environment within the team’s a great place to be. It’s really fun; it’s really enjoyable, the guys are really professional. I’d say it’s one of the best cars on the grid. We actually come away from every weekend having had fun; everybody’s there for the right reasons. In touring cars, it’s very easy to get caught up in the seriousness of a race weekend but with those guys, you always seem to enjoy it as well as getting results, so it’s a double win.”
Cook will be joined in the team by two new recruits. The experienced Tom Chilton joins from Motorbase Performance and Michael Crees make the switch from Team HARD. The 28-year-old is pleased with the team’s new lineup but won’t spend time worrying about the competition within the team but instead focusing on his own performances.
“Everybody fits in really well. Creesy and Chilton fit in really well with the whole team dynamic so it’s going to be great already but everybody wants to win so everybody’s going to have to up their game this year you know me, Tom and Creesy we need to make sure that we do push on. Like I say I’m going to be fully focused on what I’m doing. I’ve got an extensive mechanical background so I understand how the cars work I understand the engineering side of it as well as the driving side so I feel like I’m in a good position to keep developing our car.”
Despite narrowly missing out on the independents’ title last year, it’s not something that he is particularly concerned about. For 2020, it is clear Cook has just one aim: challenging for the title.
“For me, we’re just focused on the overall championship. I think it’s realistic, we had more wins than the factory team last year in our debut season, me with the team, and the team with the car. Yeah, I’m confident we’ll be able to put something together but as always in British Touring Cars, it’s never easy.
“Hands down I’ve never been as prepared as I am in terms of preparation for a season, as well as the continuity, should hopefully give us a really strong footing.”
Cook and the team have a thorough winter testing programme in place which they will undertake before the whole field descends on Silverstone on Tuesday 17 March for the official pre-season launch and test day. The first round of the championship will then take place at Donington Park on the 28/29 March.