Tuesday, October 16 2012
For Redstone Racing's Mat Jackson, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Independents' title, to be settled at Brands Hatch this weekend (20/21 October), is a stepping stone to greater things.
Despite early season wins, the Wrotham-based team took a risk by introducing a brand new Ford Focus, built to Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) rules, halfway through the year. It was the first time that they had built a car from scratch, having previously run pre-built machinery and effectively sacrificed Jackson's overall championship hopes.
However, after the car's debut win at Silverstone, Jackson feels vindicated for himself and the team: "We knew it would be a steep learning curve but we also knew that the S2000 car couldn't develop any further. The move was justified and we managed to achieve what we wanted. It probably hasn't helped the Independents' championship for us, however we want to win the main championship, so it's not the main concern that it has affected this."
Clearly Jackson, like Redstone, are focussed on the bigger picture. "I've not looked at the Independents' standings," he confirmed. "We need to have as many wins as we can, but we can do it and a title will be a good result. The team have been working hard to continue development and hopefully we'll go to Brands Hatch and perform as well as we did at Silverstone."
So if the teams' thoughts are for 2013, has their graduation to the ranks of constructors alongside title contenders Honda and MG given them the final piece of the jigsaw to overall glory? "Yeah," Jackson opines. "It's something that keeps building all the time. The effort has been fantastic and we're where we need to be, everything's falling into place. I've been runner-up before and I want to go for it."
Meanwhile there's one final round of the current season to run. Unlike his eBay Motors title rivals, Jackson has his own thoughts on who will be the overall champion: "I think Plato - he's in a position to fight for it, he knows what to do and he has nothing to lose."
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on 20/21 October are available from £25, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.