Motorbase Performance’s Mat Jackson narrowly leads the independent drivers’ championship with a one point margin over Andrew Jordan and sits fourth in the overall driver’s championship. He spoke to TouringCarTimes about his desire to take the title.
Jackson’s commitment to taking his first British Touring Car Championship is obvious: “At the moment I’m fully focused on the British Touring Car Championship, I want to land the title for myself. This is our sixth year I think and we’ve come so close, we’ve been runner up. We need to take that championship. Last year we led it. There’s a long way to go and that’s what I want and obviously the guys at Redstone Racing are fully focussed on the same goal. There’s a lot of respect within the team to achieve that and hopefully we can do it.”
When asked whether his season to date has been in line with his expectations Jackson’s feelings were mixed: “We came into the season with the rule change with the NGTCs and we knew that they were ultimately going to be very fast. They’ve got there a little bit quicker than what we thought. So it hasn’t left us on the back foot but it hasn’t given us the break that we felt that we could maybe stretch our legs to start with.”
“Obviously Brands [Hatch] didn’t go our way. A mistake at Paddock Hill Bend ended race three, which potentially lets say was a top three as we were running second. Then we move on to Donington Park where we had a cracking weekend. Race three was unfortunate again. It was nobody’s mistake, we had a part failure and obviously that caused the exclusion. After the ups and downs of Donington Park it was fantastic to win at Thruxton, especially as we didn’t think it was on the cards with the circuit being more likely to suit the NGTC cars. It’s a great way to go into the break before Oulton Park”
In the season’s opening rounds eyes have been on the battle between the NGTC and S2000 cars. Before the season began many were tipping that the S2000 cars would dominate the front of the grid as the NGTC cars overcame teething issues. However in reality the results have been mixed, with both showing strength. Jackson’s team Motorbase Performance, who run three S2000 Ford Focus STs, currently lead the independent teams’ championship and sit second behind the Honda Yuasa Racing Team’s NGTC Civics in the overall team’s championship.
When asked about the NGTC regulations, Jackson had the following to say to TouringCarTimes: “When the regulations are that you’ve got two different regulations in place i.e. S2000 and NGTC, it’s never going to be a fair playing field. We all knew that when we entered the Championship, it’s not a new thing for this season. We knew over the winter that it was going to take effect and we had the choice. They’ve got advantages in certain areas and we haven’t. We’ve got advantages in other areas. So it is a little bit of an endurance championship in the way we’ve got to look at every race. At Thruxton we may not ultimately be as quick as what they are, but maybe when we go to Knockhill they may struggle due to extra weight. It’s very early days and it is very difficult to say. I think there’s nothing wrong with NGTC for future. What’s on the table certainly looks good and I’m sure that Alan [Gow] will make it happen.”
Jackson was the fourth different race winner this season from as many rounds and relishes the current level of competition in the championship: “I think it’s probably one of the most competitive touring car championships in the world. The competition is good. I believe that there is a very level playing field. We don’t ever see a Honda one-two, MG three-four. Everything is very close, it’s so action packed and with the success ballast after the races it really does keep the grid and the championship mixing around.”