Jack Clarke admits that the opportunity to race in the British Touring Car Championship is a ‘dream come true’, with the 26-year-old rookie admitting he is not setting himself any specific targets yet.
Clarke joins the BTCC having previously raced in a variety of different series, starting with single seaters where he raced in Formula BMW in 2006, Formula Palmer Audi in 2007 and 2008 and Formula Two from 2009 through to 2011. During his time in single seaters Clarke enjoyed some success, including winning in F2 on his way to eighth in the championship in 2011.
The transition to a top team in a series such as the BTCC is something Clarke, whose step-father Julian Bailey used to race in the BTCC in the 1990s, is really looking forward to.
“It’s massive for me – it’s a dream come true,” Clarke told TouringCars.Net. “As a kid I went to touring car races and I was just fascinated by the characters, the cars and the racing. It’s such a high frequency – certainly today you can feel it – everyone’s starting to boil up and get excited so I’m really looking forward to that.
“My step-dad was a driver in the British Touring Car Championship for Toyota and I remember watching him. To be here now at the media day with my Crabbie’s Suit on and with my Crabbie’s car ready to go is an amazing feeling.”
Clarke admits that the transition to the front-wheel drive two-litre cars of the BTCC will take time to adjust to, but adds that despite the reduction in power from the GT and NASCAR machinery he drove in 2012 and 2013 he believes there is more skill in racing touring cars.
“The power being less and the power-to-weight ratio being less is something that actually takes potentially more skill,” added Clarke. “You can’t squander that momentum and you have to use the power as effectively as you possibly can, which is a real skill in itself. That’s actually something that I’m learning at the moment and working my way towards.
“It’s different but the basics are there – it’s a car and I can focus on driving as fast as I possibly can. I’ve got two arms, two legs and plenty of experience so I think I can do that. It’s just a case of getting my head around the racecraft and a few other bits and pieces. I’m feeling well prepared and ready.
“At Motorbase on the other side of the garage I’ve got a great team-mate in the form of Fabrizio Giovanardi with plenty of experience and it’s so far so far so good in the sense that he’s been willing to help.”
Clarke admits that he is not looking to set himself any specific targets and that his targets and goals are constantly evolving.
“Every time I get in the car I have a different goal,” admits Clarke. “I am a rookie, regardless of my previous experience. It’s my first time in the BTCC and my first time driving a front-wheel drive car so I have to take these development steps from a driver’s perspective and those require different goals every session out there.
“Right now I don’t have anyone that I can benchmark myself against.”