Alain Menu Q&A

Alain Menu clinched his second British Touring Car Championship title by a scant two points on Saturday night. The Swiss has this year moved up to number two in the all-time BTCC win chart, and is the only driver to have won two drivers' titles in the ultra-competitive Super Touring era. He told Nick Phillips how his latest success feels, and why he's no idea where he'll race next season.

Alain Menu Q&A



"Yeah, much more. I mean the first one in a way is the best, because it is the first, but my first was much easier to get than this one. I won this in the last race of the season, at a night race, and after not finishing the first race of the evening. Yeah, I was much more emotional at the end than I was in '97, so I guess it means more. And I had the two strongest team mates I've ever had, so obviously I had to beat them before beating anybody else and that was very hard. So yes, it means quite a bit more I think. It's been a good year and we've had a very good relationship Rickard [Rydell], Anthony [Reid] and myself. Even to the end we are still talking to each other, still cracking jokes and still sharing our set-ups. Really it's amazing how good the relationship has been. It's been a pleasure working with them and with Prodrive and Ford. I'm very happy to win the championship with Ford, because when I joined from Renault at the end of '98 that was the goal - to win the championship and this year we've done it."



"I knew after the first the first race I had to finish a minimum of third to be in contention for the championship, and that Anthony had to be two places behind. I knew how much he wanted the championship, so I knew he was going to try his hardest, and so third might not be enough. I thought: 'I've got to get Thompson,' so on lap two I just went for it at Priory. Exiting Bridge, I'd decided I was going to do it whatever. He tried to close the door, but it was too late. We touched, but I went through, and it's just as well I did. Anthony got taken off, but if he had not, then I would have needed the second place. I'm very happy."



"Not really to be honest. A little bit in qualifying because that's quite important, but after that first race I was very chilled out. I just thought, OK if it's going to be then I will win the championship, if not then I won't. Before that feature race I was as relaxed as I've ever been and it probably helped, that's why I think I drove pretty well."



"I think that means a lot. It was never a goal to be like the most successful Super Touring driver in the BTCC, but it's nice that I am and it's nice to be the only one to have won two Super Touring BTCC titles. The BTCC has been really good to me. It may be the end of an era, but something else will start. I'm too young to retire. So I'll get a job somewhere."



"I think probably Rickard, because really we have been fighting since '95 for the championship. Rickard and John Cleland. John is one of the best racers there have ever been, I think. He beat me once and I beat him once."



"No, not really. I suppose if you push me I'd say tonight. I think it's probably been the best day, but I don't know, there have been loads of good memories, so it's hard to pick one."



"Mark's already gone really. He just came back to fill a gap because Gerry [Hughes, Menu's race engineer for much of the year, now in F1 with Jaguar] went first. So Mark was already in F1 [with BAR], but he was coming back for the race meetings and one day a week. It wasn't ideal to be honest, but he knew what I wanted and I knew how he works, so we made it work. We've had six very good years, Mark and I and I think we've made our mark on the BTCC together. But he's going to F1 and I'm sure he'll do a great job there. And in a few years he will be richer than me I guess - when they realise how good he is."



"I don't know. I wish I could tell you what I am doing next year, but I don't know. I'd like to stay, because I love it here and, as people have said, I'm part of the furniture. I live here, so why not, but I don't know. I'm not happy that it's like that. I'd like the BTCC to carry on as it was, but obviously it was getting too expensive, so they had to do something. I'm sure it will be a great series, but it needs more manufacturers in it, and really today I don't know what I will be doing."



"I tend not to call people. I think if they think they need my services they would call me, but it doesn't always work like that. No, I just thought I would wait a bit. I'm keen to stay with Prodrive, so I will see what they can get. They have been very good to me, so I would like to carry on with them. It's like with Renault and Williams - I stayed there for six years, so I would like to stay with Prodrive whatever they do, but we'll see. We'll have to wait for a few more weeks. I'm sure they would like to have a deal signed by now, but I don't think they have. I'm sure they will get something fairly soon. But if anyone wants to call me, I'm by the phone!"








shares
comments
Kristensen wins crash-fest
Previous article

Kristensen wins crash-fest

Next article

Menu grabs BTCC title in thriller finale

Menu grabs BTCC title in thriller finale
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021