Four years ago Michael Crees was an amateur karter who paid to attend British Touring Car Championship rounds as a fan, now he is set to embark on his second season as a competitor after an excellent debut year in 2019.
The 36 year old claimed a best finish of ninth position on his way to being classified as the leading rookie in the final championship standings. He is now setting his sights a bit higher after securing a move to BTC racing for the forthcoming season, where he will join established stars Tom Chilton and Josh Cook.
“The Jack Sears trophy is the one I want. I think I’ve got the tools to do that. I’m against some tough competition. There’s Bobby Thompson in the Audi and also Mike Bushell (once he returns from illness) in the Passat. So they’re good drivers but I feel with the setup I’ve got at BTC Racing, Jack Sears and possibly the Independents is definitely what we’re setting our sights on.
“It was amazing to sign the deal. The amount of attention that the team put into the cars is phenomenal. I think the FK8 is going to be the car to beat this season. I couldn’t believe I’d managed to get that drive when it was looking like I didn’t have a drive at all. Going into the team with two massive players it’s going to be a massive benefit to be like a sponge and learn from them.”
Crees’ introduction into motorsport began as a hobby but has soon transformed into a major part of his career in an extremely short space of time.
“I’ve always followed motorsport. Once I’d opened up a business I had a few quid spare so I went up to my local go kart track at Buckmore Park and I had a go there and I was lucky enough to get spotted by John Surtees who ran the Henry Surtees Foundation and I ended up winning that (charity race). He encouraged me to get into Ginettas. Ben Highland from want2race then took me on and took a punt on me and we ended up winning the championship in the G40 in our first ever year which was incredible.”
“I only know one way, that’s just to take anything as it comes. No matter how big the jump was, I still had no expectation, no one had even heard of me before the British Touring Cars. I’d gone from hire karts to winning the championship in G40 club racing, to winning the championship on the Touring Car package (Am class of the Ginetta Supercup) and then this year beating all the rookies that had turned up in Touring Cars including Blundell, Hamilton, Rowbottom and Boardley. I became the fastest ever driver (in terms of years) to reach Touring Cars in the history of the sport, with my lack of experience, and beat some of these guys so it’s good.”
Crees hopes to be around the Touring Car paddock for years to come and wants to emulate a legend of the sport.
“My heart’s set in Touring Cars. I want to be here for the next 10-15 years and become the next Jason Plato.”