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Mikey Doble sets sights on ‘contending for the Independents’ Championship’ in 2024

Mikey Doble, 25, ended 2023 as the only non-NAPA Racing UK driver to take pole position. To do so in his rookie season – along with fighting for the Jack Sears Trophy – was certainly no mean feat. The Power Maxed Racing driver reminisces on some highlights on what made 2023 a season that surpassed expectations.

“Coming into your rookie season, you never know quite what to expect.” Doble said. “But I came in with no specific goals other than to just try and hold my own. I didn’t want to go out and kind of be off the back or not be able to keep up and give it a proper fight. 

“Obviously the highlight being the pole position at Silverstone, only one of four drivers to do that and the only non-Napa driver in the whole field to score a pole position, that was by far the highlight. 

“We also had other strong runnings with top ten finishes and qualifying fourth at Thruxton. We were solidly in the top ten at Brands Hatch at the finale. There’s a lot of positives to take away and I think that we should only be stronger this year.”

The Jack Sears Trophy is a stalwart for drivers of the future with current and four-time champion Ash Sutton being one name to have previously taken the prize. Not only was Doble in contention but team-mate and eventual winner Andrew Watson was also in the fight.

“It was a very captivating battle because we’re both from very different racing backgrounds. We’re both very new to touring cars and we were sort of the new kids on the block. We had a lot of following from the crowd, which is always nice. 

“It’s nice to see PMR back towards the front end again after a couple of years off. It was an interesting battle. We both led the Jack Sears title standings at various points of the season, and it was nip and tuck all the way to the end and that’s what makes a good championship.”

In 2023, PMR scored over six times as many points as the team had accrued in 2022, as Doble and the rest of the squad proved they could the mix it at the sharp end of the grid.

“It’s a nice position to be in as a rookie because you come into the season perhaps with a car that people aren’t expecting any results from. So, you feel like you can only really do good because if you don’t do so well, people are like, ‘Well, it’s his first season, he’s in an older car’.” 

“We’ve proved that the car is still more than capable, particularly with Árón (Taylor-Smith) and some of the podium finishes he had. We were also outperforming other rookies and other experienced drivers in championship winning cars. There was a lot of good to come from it and I think PMR are firmly back on the map for 2024.”

Doble alone scored more points in 2023 than PMR as a team did in 2022. Along with finishing runner-up in the Jack Sears Trophy he has already been announced, alongside Taylor-Smith, to return to PMR in 2024.

“I’m arguably looking forward to this season more than I was last season. Now I’ve got a season under my belt, I know what to expect, I’ve gelled with the team, I know how to work in that sort of environment now whereas I had no experience of that before.

“There’s less nerves and more promise. For me, going into the season I want to start strong and pick up where we left off at the end of last year. It’s nice to get the announcement done early before Christmas, myself and Árón are both in that same boat. 

“We’re just focusing on getting our car developed and improving it going into this year. We’ve got a little bit of testing planned before the season starts.”

After that strong 2023 campaign, Doble is looking for trophies and championships in 2024.

“Last year I wanted to contend for the Jack Sears Trophy, but this year I definitely want to win it. I think that coming so close last year and arguably having it taken away from me by getting shunted off in one of the races was unfortunate, but it’s not all negatives.

“I think I can come into it this year with more confidence that I’ve got the pace and that I’m a true contender to win it. I’m also going to set my sights on contending for the Independents’ Championship.

“I think that the last couple of rounds we were probably overall the quickest independent runner on the grid. So, with some consistency thrown in throughout the season, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t challenge for that title as well.”

The 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship gets underway with a trip to Donington Park on the 27/28 April. 

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