One year after his BTCC debut, Daniel Welch talked to me about how his BTCC experience has been, as well as his hopes for the rest of the 2012 season and beyond:
- Q - Having raced Seats in Europe previously, what led you to chose to make your BTCC debut with a Proton?
A- Two things, The size of the car and the windscreen area to get a sensible reading in the wind tunnel. Secondly we needed two cars, one for the race shell and one to make the body on. There is a new model the Previ possibly in the future.
- Q - You've been racing in the BTCC for a year now, how do you think it has gone? Above expectations, below, or did you not know what to expect?
A - We knew it would be hard coming into a top line championship that teams had a lot of years building cars and updating each year. Through Formula Renault & Supercopa I learned the UK tracks well. Racing in the Spanish Supercopa events and the European championship teaches you to race tough but fair.
- Q - What are the advantages with running with a family team? Are there any disadvantages?
A - It is the only practical way for us to do it as we have to find outside support. Drivers paying huge budgets have to find it each year, whereas we build the team, equipment and experience. In the long run it is the best thing to do although you have to master all aspects. Hopefully this will bear well for the future.
- Q - What are your hopes for the rest of 2012?
A - We have ironed out a lot of niggly problems with the help of the NGTC working group. I think we will be much faster as we return to the tracks I drove last year.
- Q - Do you think a win could be on the cards at all?
A - Without that thought it would be pointless going racing, it is something you always strive for and the harder it is the more fulfilling.
- Q - There has been talk of your team running a second car, care to shed any light on this?
A - I think now the teething problems of NGTC are virtually sorted it is a serious thought. All other times I have raced we have run other cars and it keeps you on your toes.
- Q - Last year it was the Gen-2, this year the Persona. To the casual eye, these cars look the same. What are the differences?
A - Basically the same car but as we understood the regulations it became clearer that the areo was better using the Persona bumper. Pretty little thing isn’t it.
- Q - What has been your best moment of your career so far?
A - I think managing to actually be able to produce and race in the BTCC, we have to thank a lot of great supporters for that and we are having a great time.
- Q - Biggest motorsport hero?
A - Probably Senna or Schumacher but it is very nice to overtake a few of my favorites in the BTCC.
- Q - Biggest rival on track?
A - Serious racer and we have a great laugh, Rob Austin. I have not performed well enough yet to have rivals. Thinking about it there were a lot of the usual crowd in Cadet Racing.
- Q - Having been part of the BTCC paddock for a year now, how well have you been made welcome by the other drivers? What are drivers like away from the track and are you good friends with any?
A- Surprisingly Jason was the only driver that welcomed me into the championship which was a nice gesture, but I get on well with all the drivers.
- Q - Plans for 2013?
A - To have a serious crack at the BTCC with a Manufacturer and sufficient funding would be exiting. I do enjoy the occasional the 24 hr racing we do.