The 2013 campaign sees the Kent based team enter their first full campaign as a constructor, after their half season in 2012, when Jackson switched from the S2000 Focus to the brand new car.
Jackson heads into his fourth campaign with the Motorbase team and his seventh BTCC campaign overall and the popular racer sums up the 2012 campaign as a season of two halves, having taken two wins in the S2000 Focus and another win in the NGTC version of the car, despite reliability issues.
“2012 was a season of two halves for us, with the latter part focussed on developing and testing the new NGTC with the view that 2013 would be a key year for the team and myself,” explains the Henley-in-Arden racer.
“The NGTC programme has been an exciting project to be involved with and what we achieved in 2012 was epic; in the space of 80 days we took the car from the drawing board to race wins; and this has given us a great platform to start from.”
“We also knew how much more the NGTC could give and the Motorbase boys have worked incredibly hard over the winter to improve the car further. We will have to wait for the weather to improve so I can further my knowledge of the car, but I believe that together with the passion within the team, we have a car that can challenge for the main title in 2013,” added Jackson, who finished 7th in the overall standings in 2012.
For Smith, he returns to the team for his second full campaign in the BTCC and is looking to build upon a strong maiden campaign which resulted in his first BTCC victory at Brands Hatch in October.
“Your first season is always a tricky one because you’re very conscious that you need to prove yourself, so that was an added bit of pressure,” explains the former Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year winner.
“The best part about last season was being with Motorbase, everyone made me feel right at home and helped me to develop into a touring car driver. To return to for a second season with Motorbase is what I always wanted so fingers crossed I can give them the results that they deserve. I don’t think people realise how big a transition it is into the BTCC so it’s nice to know I don’t have as big a learning curve ahead of me this year and that everyone at Motorbase is behind me.”
The 23yr old experienced his first taste of the NGTC Ford Focus before Christmas and can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the car once again.
“I think this season will be a great one to be part of as all the major teams have converted to the NGTC regulations which can only mean one thing – some great racing! Before Christmas I got my first taster of the NGTC focus and was blown away by it. Since then the team have been flat out developing it even further so I can’t wait to start testing once again,” concluded Smith.
Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum is excited for the forthcoming campaign and he believes that having Jackson and Smith in the teams’ cars means that he has one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid.
“We’re incredibly excited about this season. It’s great to be starting the season with two drivers that know the team so well; consistency is key at such an important time with our own car, and it means we can get straight to work,” explains Bartrum.
“With Mat [Jackson] and Aron [Smith] both back on board, I believe we have one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid. Mat has shown his BTCC pedigree over past few years and with the new NGTC up to speed, I fully expect him to be right up there battling for the 2013 title. It’s also great to have Aron back in the Motorbase family; he had a great debut season last year, finishing on a high; and with a new NGTC under him I’m sure there’s much more to come from the young Irishman!
“The NGTC exceeded everyone’s expectations last year, and with the work and developments we’ve made over the winter I’m confident that we will be serious title contenders in 2013. Roll on Brands Hatch!” concluded Bartrum.