James Thompson will return to his usual method of racing on four wheels this weekend, after achieving considerable success in the London Marathon. VX Racing heads to Brands Hatch for rounds four, five and six of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, after establishing an early lead in all three championships – team, manufacturers’ and drivers’.
VX Racing driver James Thompson completed the London Marathon yesterday in the very respectable time of three hours and nineteen minutes. Competing in the 26-mile race for the second time, Thompson raised over £3,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care. “I’m fairly pleased with my time,” Thompson commented, “I was expecting to be a bit quicker, but the conditions were terrible – the wind was swirling around and it was like running in Wellingtons full of water. I paused for a drink at around the 21-mile mark and was feeling really drained, I looked up to see Johnny Wilkinson handing me the cup - it was just the inspiration I needed and I managed to put a bit of a spurt on. I just hope I can repeat the success at Brands when I get back to the sort of racing I’m used to!”
With a win each for Thompson and defending champion Yvan Muller from the first three BTCC races, it’s a positive start to the 2004 season. VX Racing young gun, Luke Hines, is currently lying eighth in the drivers’ championship in the third Vauxhall Astra Coupé, and is intent on closing the gap this weekend.
Brands Hatch is renowned as a challenging circuit, which offers plenty of overtaking action and on track excitement, and is well supported by an enthusiastic crowd. Local boy, Hines, is looking forward to his first trip to the circuit as a VX Racing driver, saying, “It’s back to my roots this weekend. I love going to Brands and racing in front of the home crowd, I always get great support. I managed to better my result each race at Thruxton, and I’m aiming to do the same at Brands. All in all, it should be a challenging weekend.”
With the new regulations, including a reverse grid for the second race, and a strong challenge from the other teams, the VX Racing drivers will have to battle hard for success at Brands Hatch. Yvan Muller is expecting to have to fight to retain his and VX Racing’s titles, “There are still 27 races left and we will have to do well in every one if we are to win the championship again. I like racing at Brands though - I think Paddock Hill is probably the most exciting corner of the entire championship, and as always, I’m hoping for a good result.”
VX Racing is aiming to build on the early success it achieved at Thruxton, and maintain its lead in the team, manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships.
Last year at Brands Hatch… VX Racing secured the first all-VX podium of the year, with Yvan Muller taking the top spot.
Taurean, James Thompson will celebrate his 30th birthday the day after the Brands Hatch races, but is Thommo a typical ‘bull’ – practical, steadfast, productive, methodical and constructive?
So far, Luke Hines has completed approximately 2,716 miles in his Vauxhall Astra Coupé – 2,400 miles in winter testing, 219 miles in testing, practice and qualifying at Thruxton and 97 miles racing.
James Thompson last week helped to launch a new initiative - VX Collective. The first ever venture of its kind, will feature the best young players from a host of areas, brought together by Vauxhall to work together and individually, on a series of initiatives over the next 12 months.
The VX Racing Guide to Brands Hatch
“Paddock Hill is the best corner at Brands Hatch, you can get fantastic speed and thrill through the corner. It is certainly the best place for spectators to watch the action, and is the place you are most likely to see an off. Brands is one of the best circuits in the UK, it has got every type of corner – fast, technical – everything. It’s only 45 minutes from my house, and I’ve done a lot of testing there.”
The best place to hang out when you’re not at the track is definitely the Bluewater shopping centre, it’s fairly close to the circuit and there are loads of great shops.”
Luke Hines, VX Racing, No.57 Vauxhall Astra Coupé