Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Michael Crees excited ahead of “learning year”

Michael Crees says he is “still pinching himself” as he prepares to embark on his debut season in the British Touring Car Championship.

The 35-year-old joins the grid in what will be just his third year of competition, after a successful season in the Ginetta GRDC+ series was followed by a move into the BTCC-supporting Ginetta GT4 Supercup in 2018.

Wrapping up the Am Class title at the first attempt, Crees elected to make the move into the BTCC with Tony Gilham’s Team HARD outfit, and sampled the Volkswagen CC that he will race in a number of tests late last year.

Speaking at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, Crees admitted he felt lucky to have the opportunity to make the step into touring cars and was going into 2019 with his focus firmly on learning the ropes to establish himself on the grid.

“Every day I wake up in the morning and have to pinch myself!” he said. “This is an absolutely massive step for me, and I feel so, so lucky to be where I am. Having won the GRDC+ title and then the Am Class in the GT4 Supercup, I looked into the possibility of going into Carrera Cup for 2019 but I’m not getting any younger and thought I’d try and go straight to the top instead.

“From the moment I started racing, the BTCC is where I wanted to be and having tested the VW last year, it felt comfortable straight away. My aim going into 2019 is to be not be last and to get some top 20 finishes, which I think would be mega in a championship as competitive as this one.

“I’m 35-years-old now, and I’m not getting any younger as I said, but I want to try and make a career for myself in the BTCC. This for me is a learning year, and I have to see how I get on and then try to build on it.”