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Mat Jackson – Season a complete mix

Mat Jackson experienced one of the most up and down seasons in the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as he experienced the feeling of leading the Championship for the first time as well as suffering some terrible luck during the second part of the season.

Speaking exclusively to Touring-Cars.Net, Jackson reviews his campaign and the season as a whole before heading into creative mode.

Jackson, in his second season with the Motorbase run Airwaves Racing campaigned one of their Ford Focus ST’s with the new NGTC turbocharged engine. The cars were the cars which Team Aon ran in 2010.

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Looking back at his campaign overall, Jackson’s personal highlights in the season were after Snetterton and as the campaign progressed as a whole.

He took four victories throughout the season – and it was after his fourth victory at Snetterton where one of his season highlights came: “The highlight of the season was leading the Championship outright after Snetterton.

“Another highlight is the way we managed to turn the car around – there were a lot of changes made to how we got it.”

For the 2008 season runner up, there wasn’t a particular driver who stood out as the surprise of the season but he did mention one team which stood out: “I’m not sure really, nobody stood out,” said Jackson before saying which team he thought was the surprise of the season. “RML were the surprise team of the season, I expected more from them,” Jackson summed up.

The Henley-in-Arden based driver also had two clear drivers for who he thought was his toughest on track rivals in 2011: “The two Honda drivers, Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. They were both equally tough.”

How would Jackson sum up his season as a whole?

“The season was a good mix of good highlights and bad disappointments.”

2011 saw Jackson making the move back into Front Wheel Drive having raced a Rear Wheel Drive BMW 320si in 2010.

How easy was it for him to adapt back to Front Wheel Drive from Rear Wheel Drive and with the turbocharged engine, how much of a different driving style was required?

“I like all of them,” said Jackson. “It doesn’t take much adapting after so much time spent in both. The turbocharged car does require a different driving style with the lower end torque; it requires a smoother style of driving.”

One of the biggest talking points throughout the 2011 campaign was the issue of parity between the best turbocharged engine and the best of the normally aspirated engines.

It was an issue that ran for the entire season and as Jackson said, it was never going to be possible: “You’ll never achieve parity between a turbocharged engine and a normally aspired engine, it isn’t possible.”

The 2011 season also saw the introduction of the full Next Generation Touring Car into the BTCC and as the season progressed, the cars started to get more and more competitive.

Having competed against them, how does Jackson see the future of the BTCC?

“The future of the BTCC is NGTC,” says Jackson. “This has been proved during the 2011 campaign and now, it has been accepted that it is the way to go.”

On a lighter note, Jackson describes where he would construct his ideal circuit to: “Somewhere nice and hot, with a beach and plenty of grid girls, which is far away!”

If Jackson had the chance to take the BTCC anywhere in the world for a one off race, what circuit would he like to take the Championship to?

“Bathurst would be good,” explains Jackson. “It is a mega part of the world.”

Out of all the circuits which the BTCC races at, which one would Jackson say is his favourite?

“Oulton Park is one favourite, with all of the undulations and it was the scene of my first career win. Croft is another favourite of mine.”

Who would Jackson choose as a one off team-mate for a race weekend, and where would he want his selected driver to be his team-mate?

“Yvan Muller in the Chevrolet Cruze if it was for full S2000 spec cars, as for NGTC I don’t know. Circuit would have to be Brands Hatch GP.”

Finally, what does Jackson have lined up for 2012?

“I’m currently working on a couple of options; everything should become clear in a few weeks time. Watch this space!”

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