This morning, Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher has confirmed that Ollie Jackson will partner Tom Chilton in a two-car line up for the Kent-based Motorbase Performance squad.
Chilton returns after finishing last season third in the overall drivers’ championship and second in the Independents’ Drivers’ championship in what was a very good first season for the brand-new Ford Focus RS.
But now, Chilton hopes that after an initial season under his belt, he can extract more out of the car to help him move closer to that overall drivers’ championship.
“Looking back, when I started at Sebastian Loeb racing in the World Touring Cars in my first year I thought I’d done the best that I could possibly do,” Chilton told the BTCC website. “It was my first year in the team, first year in the car and we could only finish second in the Independent Drivers’ Championship. I needed to stay there for the second year to actually get the best out of the car and the team where I thrived and went on to win the title and class honours.’
“Comparing that to the BTCC, I’ve just ended my first season with Motorbase coming third overall and second in the Independents’ running, so I like the idea that we can develop and work even closer this year. I absolutely love the guys at Motorbase, they are such hard workers and I really genuinely believe that we can go on to take top spot.’
“I think that people forget what it’s like coming into a team for the first year. You have to learn not just every single thing about the car from scratch with all the little key changes but also everyone in the team, and it’s such a big learning curve. I’m excited to have some consistency going into 2019 and I believe that we can go in for the title fight, especially with the developments we’ve made to the RS.’
“It’s nice to have our next-door neighbour as a team-mate this season! Ollie [Jackson] is a great guy, we’ve had one test together already, which went really well and I’m looking forward to working with him. He’s been in the BTCC for a while now. He’s been clicking the gears and learning a lot, and now it’s time for him to have an upgrade and play with the big boys!”
Jackson is no stranger to Motorbase having previously raced with them in 2009 and 2010 in the Porsche Carrera Cup where he clinched the Pro-Am 1 title. In 2011, Jackson got his first shot at the BTCC taking part in the final two meetings. Last year, Jackson secured his first BTCC podium at the opening race weekend at Brands Hatch.
“I had a lot of success with David (Bartrum, Team Principal) and the team back in 2009 and 2010,” said Jackson. “I won the Carrera Cup Pro-Am Championship with them and have a lot of happy memories from my time with Motorbase, so I’m really excited about being back with them again this season.’
“Having had the relationship with David, I was lucky enough to test the Focus at the end of last season and being in a more competitive car proved that I was ready to make the step-up into a race winning team with a proven track record of success.’
“It was a little bit of good fortune that got me that first podium last year, but I think with the extra that everyone puts in at Motorbase, including myself, we should be pushing for more regular podiums this year and hopefully even chasing down that maiden race win.’
“I get on really well with Tom (Chilton) and I’m looking forward to working with him this year. He’s a bit of a legend in touring cars so I’m going to be looking to absorb as much as I can from him and making the most of what I’m sure is going to be a really good, constructive, environment this year.”
Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum added: “I’m delighted with our line-up this year. As a team, we made some good steps forward last year, and Tom showed us his character and work ethic which make him the racer he is. He’s very much a ‘Motorbase’ driver and I’m looking forward to seeing just how far we can go this year. We have high hopes.’
“I’m also really pleased to welcome back a Motorbase original in Ollie. We first ran him in the Porsche Carrera Cup and we’ve remained friends ever since. He won a Championship with us in Porsche and has shown in previous seasons that he is a very capable BTCC driver, and a chance test at the end of last season showed us just how good he is. He has the experience in the BTCC needed to get results, and I’m anticipating great things from both Tom and Ollie this season.”
It will be interesting to see how Motorbase gets on in 2019 after a strong 2018 season. Both drivers are very quick, and the Focus should be quicker after its debut last year.
By Jordan Hollands.