CORONAVIRUS may have delayed the start of the British Touring Car Championship at the very least, but Mat Jackson remains determined to settle ‘unfinished business’ when he finally gets back on the racetrack.
The Henley ace has had a two-year break from the championship but is due to team up with Bidford-based Power Maxed Racing (PMR) for the 2020 season, racing alongside Jason Plato in the series.
Jackson, who has won more races than any other driver not to win the championship, tested the Vauxhall Astra car last week at Donington Park and then was part of the official pre-season launch at Silverstone on Tuesday.
“It’s been two years since I last drove an NGTC-spec car in anger and it was great to get back behind the wheel,” said the 38-year-old.
“It was only my first test in the car, so it was mostly used for me to become accustomed with the car and the team. With rain in the morning, which dried up around lunch, it gave me the perfect opportunity to put the car through its paces and I’ve got to say it felt great.
“I have unfinished business in the championship and wanted to come back with the right team and, after driving the Astra, I’m completely convinced I’ve made the right choice in joining PMR.
“Martin (Broadhurst) and his team have put together a cracking machine and I’m champing at the bit to get back out!”
PMR team manager Broadhurst was equally positive.
“Mat’s a highly experienced driver and has proved multiple times he has the ability to win races and very nearly the championship itself,” he said.
“Despite having not been in an NGTC-spec car for two years, he was able to demonstrate his professionalism straight from the off.”
Due to the worldwide crisis, the eve-of-season spectacular at Silverstone was held without spectators and the first three rounds of the championship were postponed on Tuesday.
Donington Park (March 28/29), Brands Hatch (April 11/12) and Silverstone (April 25/26) have all been delayed and a TOCA spokesman said: “TOCA of course completely respects the government’s directives.
“The health of our entire nation – not just our competitors, fans, marshals, officials and personnel – is of absolute importance. Accordingly, the start of the 2020 BTCC must now be delayed and we therefore advise the postponement of our first three events.
“Clearly the COVID-19 situation is ever-changing and incredibly challenging for everyone. Our firm intention is to run the full season of ten events and we will work closely with the circuits and our stakeholders in order to reschedule new dates for all postponed events.
“These will be confirmed and announced when there is further clarity regarding the eventual resumption of major sporting events.”