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BTCC's Mat Jackson sets sights on wins at Brands Hatch

Thursday, March 23 2017

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title challenger Mat Jackson has one target in mind for the new season which gets underway at Brands Hatch next weekend (1/2 April): winning the title.

The 35-year-old enters his eighth consecutive season with the Motorbase team, which will be racing under the Team Shredded Wheat with Duo banner in 2017, and expanding to three Ford Focuses. Mat will be joined by Martin Depper and newcomer Luke Davenport, who moves to the BTCC from the British GT Championship.

Mat's confident that a third car won't detract from his ambitions. "It obviously adds a bit more colour to the grid," he said. "Internally it's always good to get more cars, so we can get more changes and feedback and data. I think it's looking to be a good year.

"I think it's a big step [for Luke]; Touring Cars is huge for everybody and I think it's one of the most competitive championships for saloon cars in the world and it's not an easy step up for anybody, but I'm sure he will get to grips with it and be shown a few lessons throughout the season."

Mat chalked up his 30th BTCC race win at Brands Hatch in October, which secured him third place in the title standings, his best championship finish since 2008. Nevertheless it was a title that the team had hoped to win after a storming end to the 2015 season.

Holding the record of most BTCC wins without a title is something that Mat wishes to put behind him this time: "We hoped to last year! It shows that we can win races but a championship is made up of so many things and consistency is what a championship's won on. It's not always the guy who wins the most races that wins the championship," he said, referring to his 2016 tally of five wins to eventual champion Gordon Shedden's four.

"We came close last year and we know we've got the pace, so we just need that final piece of the jigsaw to lift the championship. I think this year is going to be extremely tough; 16 winners on a 32-car grid is pretty strong and Brands is very close; we usually see the top 20 within a second, so I bet that will be the top 30, it could be entertaining."

The opening rounds of the season take place barely five miles from the Motorbase factory, and Mat is hoping for a home advantage next weekend. "We've had some good results there," he said. "It's a very small circuit and there can be quite a bit of pushing and shoving to get past and I think many times we've been on the wrong side of that. It's all borne out of qualifying and if we qualify at the front then it puts us in the best position to be able to take the wins. Obviously with the championship in mind we need to start on the front foot, so we've been doing some testing down there and the signs are good."

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 1/2 April are available from £27, with free entry for under-13s. For more information or to book, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.