Rookie Simpson on ‘dream’ BTCC entry
Matt Simpson is still pinching himself on securing a ‘dream’ spot on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship grid with Speedworks Motorsport, after taking the covers off his 2016 challenger at the pre-season Autosport International show.
The multiple European Hot Rod Champion is also a former leading light on the World Championship stage, and more recently the West Drayton man scored double title wins in the Quaife Intermarque Championship. While looking forward to fulfilling a childhood ambition by competing in the BTCC, Simpson is well aware that nothing will come quickly or easily with the step up and is very much thinking long-term.
“To be sat on that grid in April is just going to be a once in a lifetime moment,” said Simpson. “It’s always been a dream from being a little child. It didn’t seem real until we put all the stickers on the car with my name and number on it.
“It’s not going to be easy – there are top drivers right through the grid. I just want to improve as the season goes on; there aren’t going to be any miracles. We’ve got a five-year plan for the BTCC and we need to look at the next year and the year after that and improve by gaining that track and car knowledge.”
Preparations towards Simpson’s BTCC move were set in motion midway through the last campaign, and in Speedworks Motorsport, the 34-year-old is confident he has found the right team, team-mate and machinery.
“We’ve spent time in the paddock since probably July, when we made the decision that we’d try and get a drive in the BTCC,” Simpson said. “We attended the last five race meetings with Speedworks and they’ve been fantastic. We took the motorhome – we come as a unit and we all go racing as a family.
“Whatever team we decided to go with, my family would be coming with me and Speedworks are a really nice family team. Obviously Tom [Ingram], his girlfriend and parents are lovely people as well. I just think it was the place to be for us to come on-board, join them and try and move the Speedworks brand forward.
“Tom did fantastically last year and being in the garage for his two podiums was just great to be a part of. They made us welcome and looked after us so I’m really looking forward to working with him. I’m going to learn a lot from Tom.
“We spent weekends talking to all the other teams, just listening and learning and seeing how we go about getting into British Touring Cars. We decided to go with the Honda Civic Type R produced for us by Team Dynamics to the same specification as their title-winning car because we think it’s the best all-round package – it’s always there or thereabouts and that’s what you need.”