Nash: Hopefully, we can make the top ten a few more times

Q & A with World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) racer James Nash

James Nash, Ford Focus S2000 TC, Team Aon
James Nash, Ford Focus S2000 TC, Team Aon

Photo by: xpb.cc

We thought that it would be a good idea to sit down with James and ask him for his thoughts and reflections on his first half season as a WTCC driver and to share his answers with you.

"We’ve just past the halfway point in this year’s World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). What has been your personal racing highlight of the season so far? “Definitely Marrakech race two back in April where I scored my first points, led the race and enjoyed the first pole position of my WTCC career. It was Ford’s first pole and best result in the modern era of the WTCC too which made it even better.”

“The meeting had started well. We qualified both of the new Ford Focuses in the top ten for the first time including pole for race two and everything was looking good. I then got punted off in race one which was a disaster. The team though only had the 15 minute window we get between races to repair the car. Thankfully, they finished it just before the pits closed for race two so I was able to take up the pole.”

“While the handling wasn’t quite right I led for a few laps until the all conquering Chevrolet’s came through and it was huge fun. So from despair at our opening race misfortune and the very tense battle against the clock to get the car repaired, I then had the elation at starting from the pole, leading the race and scoring points. It was a feeling of immense relief and excitement both at the same time!”

And the biggest disappointment…. "Slovakia. A new track for most and given that this season is both mine and Team Aon’s first in the WTCC we had high hopes of doing well. I managed to qualify fourth just 0.3s off pole but was then penalised ten places after the car on one corner failed a ride height check. The failure was due to a component breaking and it hadn’t offered any kind of performance advantage at all.”

“Then to cap it all on the opening lap of race one I got side-swiped into the gravel by another car which cut a brake line. Unfortunately, I didn’t know of the loss of brakes until I got to the next corner. The trip over the kitty litter was exciting but the impact with the barrier wasn’t quite as much fun. Game over though for the weekend.”

How would you judge your performance so far in the WTCC? "Fair I think. I’ve driven very well this season though unfortunately when you’re racing in midfield a lot of what you’re doing goes unnoticed. We’ve got the data though and when you look at my lap times both in qualifying and the race my performance compared to that of my teammate is and has been very favourable.”

“The best comparison a driver has is his teammate and Tom Chilton my teammate is an extremely quick driver. He’s won in touring cars and in prototype sportscars too. To favourably compare to him in the same car has been professionally very satisfying.”

James Nash, Ford Focus S2000 TC, Team Aon leads Tom Chilton, Ford Focus S2000 TC, Team Aon
James Nash, Ford Focus S2000 TC, Team Aon leads Tom Chilton, Ford Focus S2000 TC, Team Aon

Photo by: xpb.cc

“However, notwithstanding the fact that the ‘Global’ Focus, the team and me are all new to the WTCC I have scored the most points ever by a Ford driver in the modern era of the WTCC in my first half season so, that is good too I think.”

What can we expect from you for the rest of the season? "Hopefully, we can make the top ten a few more times. While all of us at Team Aon will be trying to develop and push forward the Ford Focus as fast as we can achieving more, a podium say, I think we’ll have to wait for that until next season.”

Overall, what has your impression been of the WTCC? “I’ve really enjoyed being part of the World Championship. I’ve raced on three different continents already this season and I’ll have raced on two more by the time we get to Macau for the final round in November.”

“The quality of the competition is fierce in any top line Championship but the depth of quality in the WTCC is something else. I’m racing against drivers who’ve won World and National titles before and in the mix we’ve got a couple of former F1 Grand Prix drivers too. Just to get into the top ten in the WTCC is a big achievement.

This time last year you were the rising star of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and of course, ultimately became the Independent Driver Champion. Do you regret not continuing in the BTCC, will you return and in the meantime have you been following the series this season? “I loved my time in the BTCC and being honest I have missed not being a part of it this season, especially the interaction with the fans which is a big part of the series. While I keep in touch with of many of them as I can through twitter I just wish that there was a British round of the WTCC so we could all have a proper catch up!”

"Unfortunately, after the success we enjoyed together last season, staying with Triple Eight this season wasn’t a realistic option. I did have an offer to go with another good team but the option of going to the WTCC and helping to develop an all-new car and working with Ford was just too good an opportunity to decline.”

“I am following the series but would I go back to the BTCC? Yes, why not? It is a great Championship, though I don’t see that happening for a little while yet. The Ford Focus is an on-going project very early into its development and I’m enjoying having engineering input. I’d also like to try sportscars. One of my ambitions for instance is to race a prototype at Le Mans. Nevertheless, the people around me are always on the look-out for new opportunities so you never know…”

Away from the racing circuits what have you been up to? “ Working hard! Between races there is testing and development work to do as well as the simulator stuff and physical training, which I love anyway. I also work at vGroup International, I’m their Purchasing Director, and so it really has been busy. I’ve also got some great sponsors, people like Laser who’ve come on board this season and between races I’ve enjoyed visiting them and finding out more about them.”

“I did a fans forum evening a few weeks ago and I’ve also recently been over to the US as part of an FIA promotion for the WTCC round there next month. Myself, Gabriele Tarqiuni and Tiago Montiero went over and we attended a NASCAR race meeting and we were even guests of honour at the Grand Marshall’s Banquet. The American people were great hosts and very welcoming. I’ve even swum with dolphins on a pre-race thing, an awesome experience.”

“Talking of awesome experiences, I’m very much looking forward to making my first skydive next month. It’s on September 16th and I’ll be jumping out of an aircraft over Peterborough. I got talked into it I guess in a moment of weakness but it is for a good cause namely the East Anglia Air Ambulance. If anyone would like to sponsor me they can by visiting www.justgiving.com/teams/eaaa or by mobile by texting NASH85 with the amount you want to donate to 70070.”

Source: James Nash Press

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Series WTCC
Article type Interviews
Tags btcc, ford, nash, team aon, wtcc

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