Jack Clarke will contest the 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup with front-running outfit SV Racing – and the Surrey-based star is eager to ‘make a big impact’ in the leading Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) support series.
Clarke competed in the ITV4 live-televised BTCC in 2014, and as a tin-top rookie – following a career spent predominantly in single-seaters – he underlined his impressive progress with a run of eight straight points-scoring finishes at the end of the season in his strikingly-liveried Crabbie’s Racing Ford Focus.
Those results included a top ten breakthrough at Silverstone and a magnificent podium charge amidst a torrential downpour in the Brands Hatch finale, in what is arguably the most fiercely-disputed touring car championship anywhere in the world. The Effingham ace learned a lot about tin-top ‘etiquette’ and doorhandle-to-doorhandle racing along the way – and now he is keen to put those newfound skills to good use in his John Crabbie & Co. soft drinks-backed Ginetta G55 in the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup.
“I’m really excited to be working with SV Racing this year in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup,” enthused Clarke, a former Formula Two Championship race-winner. “It’s been a long winter trying to put a deal together, and we made a massive effort to get back onto the grid this year. I’m hugely thankful to my loyal sponsors for the significant part they have played in that.
“Racing in the BTCC last year was obviously a big learning curve, having spent the majority of my career up to that point in single-seaters, but I feel it helped me to improve as a driver. We did have discussions with a number of teams about returning to the series this season, but the right package wasn’t quite there.
“When I spoke to Danny Buxton at SV Racing, I immediately felt confident that this was somebody I could work with and who would provide me with the ideal environment to maintain my career momentum – I want to be clear that even though I am stepping away from the championship for a year, my BTCC dream is certainly not over.
“You can’t question SV Racing’s knowledge and expertise, and the TOCA (BTCC) package is undoubtedly the place to be in terms of exposure and showcasing your ability in front of the right people. The calibre of drivers signed up to the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup is tremendously high, and there will be no shortage of quick pedallers I can reference myself against. This championship always produces a strong field, and it will inevitably be very tough at the top.
“That means there’s absolutely no room for complacency, and I’m aware that having enjoyed a positive conclusion to my BTCC season last year, expectations will be fairly high and the pressure will be on to produce results. I’ll obviously need to get to grips with the car and the championship too, but I have a great team behind me, some fantastic partners on-board and we all share a common objective – to go out there and win races.
“We might be on the back foot initially due to the 11th-hour nature of the deal, but I’m sure we will catch up quickly and I can’t wait to get started! We want to make a big impact with our John Crabbie & Co. soft drinks-backed car in 2015 – both on and off the track.”
Indeed, SV Racing’s credentials speak for themselves, and the Cheshire squad helped to propel David Pittard to the runner-up laurels in the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup standings in 2014, tallying five victories along the way. Team principal Danny Buxton is confident that Clarke will soon be right up-to-speed and a regular threat at the sharp end in the fast-and-furious sportscar series.
“Getting Jack on-board is a major coup for us – a real headline-grabbing signing in view of what he brings to the team,” he acknowledged. “That was evident particularly towards the end of last season, as he increasingly got his head around the BTCC car and tin-top racing. Brands Hatch demonstrated exactly what he is capable of.
“This year is shaping up to be extremely competitive, but Jack’s experience across the different disciplines – especially aerodynamically from his single-seater days – will really pay dividends. In one way, this is a side-step for him, but it means he will now be a very big fish in a smaller pond and as the year progresses, I’m confident he will develop into a real title contender.”
The 2015 Michelin Ginetta GT4 SuperCup will rev into life at Clarke’s home circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent over Easter weekend, 4/5 April.