James Thompson Q&A

Given that he spends his spare-time rallying, British Touring Car Champion James Thompson is used to driving off-road, but even he admitted that it was a somewhat strange experience to drive his Vauxhall Astra around Hyde Park. Thompson joined Champ Car star Darren Manning in the park for a pit-stop demonstration ahead of the Brands Hatch London Trophy this weekend, which will see both Champ Cars and the BTCC in action. James Attwood was there to speak to him

James Thompson Q&A



Yeah, you don't get the chance to come down to the centre of London with a racecar very often. It's a great chance to come down here and show that our guys are as good at pit-stops as anyone else in the world. It's going to be a very good weekend at Brands, with the combination of the Champ Cars and the British Touring Cars, which are looking so competitive at the moment.



It does, but the series stands on its own two feet by rights anyway. But if you can combine it with the likes of the Champ Cars, which is another series with a different group of people who enjoy watching it then I think you're onto a winner. It will mean more fans, and more fans means a better atmosphere, and that's got to be positive for motorsport.



No, they're too scary for me. I'll stick to my touring car and my rallying, thanks. My single-seater days are gone.



Well, I suppose rallying is probably more dangerous than any motorsport event in the world, to be honest, but the speeds that Champ Cars do make it particularly scary. I'd rather chance my hand at rallying any day.



There's no better way, and it's always good to get a couple of wins early in the year. It gets us off to a flying start. I think we're going to be competitive this year - if we don't win the championship we're going to go down fighting. The best way to win it is to win as many races as possible.



The level of competition this year is very strong. Anybody could win. Honda and MG are looking strong and obviously my team-mates Yvan [Muller] and Paul [O'Neill] are going to be strong as well. You can't rule the private cars out either. But competition is what motorsport is all about. People want to see racing, and they want to see a competitive show. I think we've got our work cutout. Obviously, the two wins at the beginning of the year give us a good foundation to build on. It was a big thing to win those two races at the weekend, because historically a good start to the year always stands you in good stead. Everyone throughout the year has bad luck at some stage or another, but it's better to have your bad luck when you've already got a healthy points score on the board.



Sometimes it works for you, other times it doesn't. Sometimes you have a weekend when you qualify on pole and it looks like you're going to cruise the races. That can be when you end up with your worst results. But sometimes you have a hard weekend in qualifying or testing, and then you walk both races. It's just the way it pans out. The motto really is to keep your chin up at all times.



By the very nature of the fact that it's the shortest circuit we race on, everybody's going to be within half a second of each other. We've running maximum ballast, which is really going to hinder us. All our main opposition is going to be running significantly lighter, so we'll just do the best we can. The main thing is to try to keep the points coming.

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Thompson wary after 'big fright'

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