Andy Rouse Q&A

Andy Rouse is the creator of the new SCV8 Supercar Championship that is set to cause quite a stir on the racetracks of the UK in 2004. The four-time British Touring Car champion's vision took a step closer to reality recently, when Rouse himself tested one of the new V8-engined, 550bhp cars, cloaked in a Jaguar X-Type bodyshell. Although primarily a shakedown run, Rouse was thrilled with the car's performance. James Attwood spoke to him about the test.

Andy Rouse Q&A

"It went very well. We went to Silverstone, our local track, and drove the car on the national circuit, where we joined in with all the club racers for the day. The car ran very reliably. We did a solid hour's running, and the engine ran perfectly, and all the cooling systems worked and things like that. The car's got really good handling, although it wasn't a day for fast lap-times - there were too many Mini's on the circuit at the same time as us for one thing. That said, I reached 150mph at the end of the pit straight, and the whole package is really impressive."

"Absolutely. We're really pleased that Jaguar is with us. The X-Type makes a great racing car, and one that it looks really good as well. Most people that see the car are really impressed with it - it looks like a real racing Jaguar. In fact, the major disappointment of the test day was that because I was driving I never got to stand out at the side of the circuit and watch the car doing some laps!

"It's great to have Jaguar back on the national racing scene. I have a feeling that the Jaguar is going to be the most popular bodyshell in the series. We were going to have four of each type of car, but we might have to build a few extra Jaguars to cope with the demand!"

"That's the key to it. Car brands such as Jaguar appeal to people who want to watch racing. It's good publicity for Jaguar to be involved, and obviously it's great for the series to have such a prestigious brand on-board. We're hoping to attract more brands of a similar status, particularly some of the German marques. Probably not at the start, but it's something we're working towards for the future."

"Manufacturers are really keen on the series because they can see it's a really good cost-effective package. They know that they're all going to be running the same package and that they're all going to have a chance of winning, so they're not taking a risk in joining. There are no engineering costs involved, so it's a very budget-conscious way of going racing. Also, manufacturers can race cars that don't fit into the BTCC or the ETCC. For example, the X-Type and the Vectra, something like the Peugeot 407 as well, don't fit well in touring cars because of their size, but they'd make excellent SCV8 cars. It's a great opportunity for manufacturers to race mid-range cars that don't fit in the current BTCC/ETCC regulations."

"We've got four confirmed, and we're in advanced discussions with several others. We're hoping to have five, maybe more, manufacturers signed up within the next month."

"Oh, yes. It's going to be a really good racing series. The cars are quite difficult to drive, they're slippery and they have really long braking distances. They're going to prove a real challenge for drivers. It's a proper driver's car. And it's going to be really exciting for the fans to watch as well. These are proper racing cars that have more power than they do grip. They're going to be fantastic.

"I was at Snetterton recently, watching the Formula Ford race. As I watched 30 of those things piling through the chicane there, I tried to visualise what 30 SCV8s are going to look like going through there. It's just a fantastic thought, and I think it's going to be an incredible series to watch."

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