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Mat Jackson hopeful of championship challenge with Motorbase

Mat Jackson admits he is hopeful that Motorbase Performance are in a position to mount a serious challenge for the title in this years British Touring Car Championship.

Jackson, who stole the show in the second half of last season with four race victories and eight podium finishes, was recently confirmed at Dave Bartrum’s outfit for a seventh consecutive season and will partner Andrew Jordan, who has made the switch after a challenging year with MG Triple Eight Racing.

In an exclusive interview with, Jackson admitted that the deal to race with the Kent-based outfit was agreed in principle at the end of last season, but had to be made commercially sustainable before an announcement could be made.

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“We agreed at the end of the season that we would return with Motorbase for 2016, the whole programme needs to make commercial sense and pulling this together takes time.” explained Jackson.

He also paid tribute to the talents of his new stablemate Jordan, but touched on the importance of keeping expectations in check as the start of one of the most competitive seasons on record in the UK’s premier motorsport series draws ever closer.

“Having Andrew in the team is great, he obviously brings with him knowledge of the BTCC cars and I’m sure this will help to speed up the development phase.” he said.

“We have had some big names join us in the past that have looked like incredibly strong on paper so we’ll have to wait and see how it develops on track.”

This season sees several changes up and down the grid, with Team BMR currently preparing a quartet of brand-new, manufacturer backed Subaru Levorg Sports Tourers. Elsewhere, defending drivers and manufacturers champions, Honda, have upgraded their Civic Type-R, whilst engine developments for WSR also make them likely contenders come the season finale in October.

Given this is now the fourth full season that Motorbase will run with the Ford Focus ST package, some have questioned whether the development curve left on the package is large enough to keep pace with those at the front, however Jackson remains optimistic that, with the new RML components and some engine upgrades, Motorbase are set to be on the money once again.

“The championship never stands still, we will all move to the new the new RML design and this is a new chapter in the book, we have been working hard to get more from the power unit over the winter break so let’s wait and see.”

A key factor in deciding this years championship will be whether Motorbase can retain their winning form from the back end of last season, something Jackson believes is possible, even with the team starting the season on the same success ballast regulations as everybody else.

“Last season was great we had a car that went into each qualifying session with 0KG of ballast which put us in a great position vs the championship challengers, having said that we were still able to win with maximum ballast on board which was fantastic. Let’s hope that we can hit the ground running with the new car and deliver from the off.” he said.

He also explained that he feels absolutely no pressure heading into this season, but believes it will begin to mount if the results come in and the title is up for grabs.

“I don’t have any pressure on me, I need to score as many points as we can from the off , the pressure will come at the mid way point where hopefully we will have a championship to play for – that’s when the game changes.” he conceded.

Motorbase have already completed extensive pre-season mileage on their car, both within the UK and abroad, with the team currently based in Portugal alongside Handy Motorsport and Cicely Racing for a handful of days testing. Jackson believes the push for more performance is crucial if you want to remain competitive in the BTCC.

“The Focus ST is a car that I know well we have a great chassis and engine but we need to keep improving and pushing for more performance you can never stand still in this game.”

Turning his focus towards the opening rounds of the new season, which take place at Brands Hatch over the opening weekend of April, Jackson believes a large points haul will be crucial for him and the team, but remains cautious and points to consistency as the deciding factor in the championship.

“Of course we are aiming for the championship and we need to score big in the early races but lots can happen and you can leave a big loser as well. In every race there is a balancing act and consistency will be the key to the championship. Wins are our aim.”

Jackson will be present with team-mate Andrew Jordan and his Ford Focus ST at the official Season Launch, which is due to take place at Donington Park on March 22nd.

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