One of the new full-time debutants on the 2019 BTCC grid is Carl Boardley. The incoming Team HARD driver will drive a Volkswagen CC in 2019 as he aims to add to build on his success in Hot Rods, Pick Up racing and the Ginetta Supercup. No stranger to Team HARD, but well aware of the challenges and step up the BTCC will offer, thehairpincorner posed some questions to Carl to find out about his background, motives for joining the BTCC and hopes for his debut season.
How did you first become involved in motorsport?
My father used to take me along to Foxhall Stadium near Ipswich occasionally to watch oval racing which I had an interest in. A few years later I was racing on the other side of the fence!
What’s your first BTCC memory?
Myself & my wife (girlfriend at that point) attending Snetterton around 97 & watching Jason Plato and the others do battle.
You were on the BTCC support bill in the Ginetta Supercup in 2018 finishing runner-up, how does a Ginetta GT car differ from the Volkswagen CC?
They are miles apart! The two couldn’t be further away from each other. The Ginetta GT car has a big aero package and is rear wheel drive, the BTCC Volkswagen is far less refined, front wheel drive and driving styles have to differ greatly between the two.
What’s your favourite UK race track, and which one do you find the toughest?
My favourite circuit is Thruxton closely followed by Brands Hatch GP, some awesome corners and serious commitment needed. Toughest would probably be Rockingham. Although we had a win there this year with the Ginetta I never really got it all hooked up.
What other motorsport championships do you follow?
I’m closely involved with National Hot Rods still with car construction, engine development & preparation all in-house. Other than that I enjoy following NASCAR.
How did you first become involved with Team HARD?
I’d made some tentative enquiries to Tony in the past regarding racing in the BTCC. Around November 2017 we put a deal together for him to rent a Ginetta from me. We’ve been involved together since.
I’ve heard that you almost became a full-time BTCC driver with Team HARD at the start of 2018 but instead chose to focus on Ginettas, why?
That’s a difficult one. We got to a point whereas we were ready to go and had agreed on a deal, but I’d never been with a full-time team before and with all the changes the team were making to the car, I just felt it best to get involved with the team to a lesser extent for 2018. We decided to work together for a year first in the Ginetta Supercup.
How did you find your debut race weekend at Knockhill? Was there anything that surprised you or was different from when you had tested the car?
I enjoyed everything about it with the exception of the weather! It was certainly not an ideal scenario to be sat on the grid making your debut in conditions I’d never driven the car in before, but that’s when you have to man up and get on with it! I wouldn’t say anything really surprised me and the car was still being developed at that stage too. Knockhill was always going to be a track the car wasn’t best suited to but it was a great experience and one which we all wanted more of.
Who’s the toughest competitor you’ve raced against?
I couldn’t single out one individual, I’ve raced against lots of tough people over the years in several different series.
What are your hopes for 2019?
I plan to get some good test miles under my belt before media day, then I want to hit the ground running in round one at Brands Hatch.
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