BLANCKLEY LOOKING TO SCORE MORE POINTS AT HOME
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship driver and independent team owner Simon Blanckley is busy preparing for his home event on June 3rd at Croft, North Yorkshire, for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the season - and is confident he can score more outright championship points.
Blanckley, born in Durham and currently living just south of the city in Tudhoe, is about an hour's drive away from Croft. He has raced at the circuit many times since he took up racing in 2001, mainly in the popular Northern Saloons Championship. Now, having satisfied his dream of racing in the BTCC, Blanckley is relishing his return in front of his home crowd.
"I know the track really well; I've been there countless times. This should give me an advantage so you never know what we could achieve. I'm really looking forward to it and I'll be putting my all into getting the best result we can in all three races on Sunday. Croft is a great track as it's so technical and every corner is a different challenge. The esses out at the back of the circuit are fantastic for getting your adrenaline pumping, but I also like the final series of slower turns at the complex, which I know aren't universally popular amongst other drivers," the 39-year old explains. "It's going to be an interesting weekend because the first few corners are quite tight and twisty so I wouldn't be surprised if there are fewer cars on track by the end of the first lap than started it."
Speaking about his baptism into the ultra-competitive series that is the BTCC, Blanckley speaks rationally. "It's been tough, sure, especially being on a much lower budget than most teams, but I am competing in the same races as some of the best racing drivers in the world, so its not meant to be easy!"
Blanckley will have many of his sponsors present - many of whom are based in the North East such as AWD Chase De Vere, Pyeroy, Robson Brown, Panis Cafe and Stone Soup - together with friends and family members, so it's a big weekend for the Durham driver off-track, too.
Sibsport, Blanckley's team, have now attended all rounds of the championship so far and as the season races towards its mid-point, they want to start moving up the grid. "We've performed in the first few races and personally I'm getting used to the atmosphere and the demands of being in a championship as big as the BTCC," says Blanckley. Coming into the Croft weekend, the team has achieved its initial aim of scoring an overall championship point, much sought after by the lower-budget independent entries such as sibsport. Blanckley lies 13th in the Independents' Championship but is just three points away from 10th. In the Independent Teams' Championship, sibsport are currently in 10th. At Croft, the team's aim is to consolidate and improve on its position in the Independents' Championship, whilst Blanckley hopes to better his position in the Independent Drivers' Championship. But as an outright result, Blanckley has a clear target: "In terms of race aims, another point like the one we scored in round 6 at Rockingham, or more, would be good. I know the car a lot better now; it's very reliable and simple compared to most cars to set up. We've also got strong wet weather data so should the heavens open, we'll be ready."