Giovanardi returning to a ‘special championship’
Two-time champion Fabrizio Giovanardi is delighted about his return to the BTCC and is equally humbled by the outpouring of support and excitement generated by the announcement earlier this week.
The Italian’s 2014 campaign with Airwaves Racing was confirmed on Tuesday evening, sending the media and fans into a social media frenzy for the next 48 hours. ‘Fabrizio fever’ has since spread far and wide with the BTCC featuring heavily in the national and motorsport press as the week has progressed.
With the news finally settling in we caught up with Fabrizio as he now prepares for his maiden run in the Ford Focus at Brands Hatch next Thursday (13 February).
“I am really looking forward to coming back to a special championship,” he said. “All the winter you wish for a good call because I’ve been a professional driver for 20 years, and you don’t want to stop! I need to be fighting for championships and this is the best way to find something like that. I want to come here and try to win another championship – I was close to winning another one before I left in 2009 and I need to have the third one.
“Obviously I have to respect the other guys that are looking for the same but we’ll see – I am still tough so I’ll be putting in a big effort. I know most of the guys driving here but I have to respect even the drivers that I don’t. All the people are concentrating on the names but maybe in the end it could be one of the lesser names…”
Signing for the Motorbase-run outfit caught many by surprise, but Fabrizio has been speaking to team boss David Bartrum about a possible return since 2010 and the tin top legend has complete belief in the squad’s performance.
“In 2008 and 2009 I had a big fight with this team and they were one of the teams to beat,” beamed Giovanardi. “After four years they have good experience, they’re growing up, and they’re at the right time to give me the winning car.”
While at ease talking about his comeback it’s clear Giovanardi is eager to get down to business and get his first taste of NGTC machinery, which he’ll do at the legendary Kent circuit next week.
“I want to start as soon as possible because the rules have changed completely from 2009 until now, and the car is completely new – everything is new,” he concluded. “Obviously it’s a car and I have 30 years experience of driving so I’m not scared about a new challenge, but it makes me more concentrated on what I have to do. When you use the car for three or four years you know where you have to improve it during the winter but now I have no idea! I am just starting to think about we can do but of course first I need to drive it.”
Giovanardi’s confirmed participation continued an incredible run of positive news for the BTCC ahead of the new season. A huge entry list for the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will boast at least six champions with Fabrizio joining Andrew Jordan, Gordon Shedden, Matt Neal, Jason Plato and Alain Menu on the grid.