Interview with Andy Priaulx (main Honda driver in BTCC)
Date: June 04, 2002 17:10
As you'll see, this interview took place in between qualifying and the race at Silverstone.
Andy Priaulx Q&A
"In the second half of the season I'd like some wins"
Priaulx hoping for a long career in touring cars
Andy Priaulx has made the switch from single-seaters to the BTCC this season with the new Honda works squad. A relatively late start with the project means the Arena-run team has had some catching up to do, but all the signs are that the Civic Type R and Priaulx will soon be challenging for podium positions. The Guernseyman shared his thoughts with Nick Phillips.
Q: How are you enjoying the BTCC as a series?
"Obviously it's nice to be part of the championship now that it's growing. I can hopefully say that I'm in at the right time. I won't really start enjoying it until we're winning though. As far as we're concerned, until we reach that point, we're under-performing, but I do enjoy the championship. I love the racing ? because of the way the cars are, you don't lose any grip when you're following someone closely ? you don't get affected too much on the aero side and you can have a good old chase. It's good. The car's getting stronger and stronger all the time and the grids are getting closer ? as you can see from today's grids and it's highly competitive, which is a great challenge for a driver."
How high would you rate the level in the championship, in comparison to British F3?
"It doesn't seem much different really. There are some really good pedallers in here ? the likes of Reid, Muller and that lot have all had F3 experience. It's very competitive. Comparable to F3 last year ? you still need to dig deep all the time to get the result. As far as the competition is concerned at the moment I'm finding it very good ? don't know how much of that is the difference between the cars. Obviously we're at an early stage with our car and the Vauxhall's very quick, but we seem to be up with the best of the rest."
And how far up the development scale do you think you are now with the Civic?
"I would say we're a five ? out of 10. There's still a lot to come. We're still doing big fundamental things to the car. The other thing is that we've come here without any testing, because the car wasn't ready pre-season. We're playing catch-up and everybody else keeps moving as well. We're taking bigger steps, but everyone else is nudging it along as well. We're getting closer though ? it was two seconds at Brands and here it's four tenths. Weight does make a big difference here too, because there are slow places where you're braking and accelerating the car."
It looked promising in free practice here, but a 13th and a 14th place on the grid for tomorrow isn't so good.
"No. Today was diabolical. Basically I've got too much understeer in the car. Alan [team-mate Morrison] tried a mod and he went quicker [sixth on the grid for both races] but we have to play a percentage game, so we can't make the big changes on both cars. He's found a gain, which is good, but it's not looking too promising for me in the races from there. Still I'll fight like hell and try to come away with some points."
You've always said that wins are the goal, when do you think you can realistically expect them?
"In the second half of the season I'd like some wins. I don't know when they are going to come, but we're getting closer all the time and I would say it's getting more and more realistic all the time. Mondello is the halfway point. If we can come away from this weekend with a really good, really strong result, then there's no reason why we shouldn't carry that momentum on to Mondello. As far as wins go, I can only say that I will drive the car as fast as it will go and Alan will drive it as fast as it will go and hopefully that will be enough to win races soon. But it's a job to know what the potential of the Vauxhall is, because they always seem to be able to just take it up a level."
How long would you like to think your BTCC career will last?
"I know it's purely results-related, but I want to be around for a long time. I'm one of the youngest drivers on the BTCC grid and I absolutely want a long career in touring cars. I'm not interested in GTs and so on. I would like to do Le Mans, but I'm really enjoying touring cars and it's where I want to be. It's a professional formula and you can work with a manufacturer and that's what I'm interested in."
Last edited by JeffX on
June 05, 2002 12:08