PLAN TO RULE TIN-TOPS
THE BTCC’S RISING STAR
Tis is undoubtedly a big year for Jack Goff. Although he might have stepped aside from the factory-backed MG squad that took him to his maiden win in the British Touring Car Championship in 2015, he has arguably taken a stride forward on the grid.
For 2016, he will line up at WSR, driving the BMW 125i M Sport used by Andy Priaulx last season.
While the rear-wheel-drive car doesn’t carry full works support, it was a highly competitive proposition in 2015. Between Priaulx, Rob Collard and Sam Tordoff, they won seven of the 30 races in the well-engineered cars.
The deal for Goff to switch teams wasn’t one that was on his radar – and it came out of the blue, when backers the Intercontinental Hotel Group decided that it wanted to remain in the BTCC despite Priaulx’s defection to sportscars.
“It was a bit of a shock,” he says. “In the back of my mind we were staying with Triple Eight and MG. We were still some way off raising the budget that was needed, but this was the direction we had been aiming for as, in my mind, WSR had their line up.
“I spoke to [team principal] Dick Bennetts and the guys at WSR at the end of 2014 and agreed we would like to work together in the future, however this wasn’t achievable in 2015,” explains Goff. “Then the phone call came when I was actually at work, I got in a bit of trouble for answering it in fact, but it was well worth the punishment of tea boy for a few hours. The deal itself didn’t take that long to put together, I met with everyone at IHG, BMW and WSR and we all quickly decided this is what we wanted to do.”
It will be another stepping stone for Goff. After the first win at Snetterton, he took three other podiums to finish ninth in the points. He knows that it is time to prove he deserves his place among the front rank of driver.
“I need to thank [Triple Eight Racing principal] Ian Harrison and everyone at MG for giving me my best year to date in the BTCC, I gained so much knowledge from these people plus having Andy Jordan as my team-mate was a huge bonus, as I had a previous champion to compare myself to.
“The first win was very special, and to get a podium at the first weekend of the year was great. To round the year off on the podium, too, was good as it showed we had some pretty good consistency throughout the year. We want to build on that.”
Goff, now 24, is in the best place to learn. With WSR boss Dick Bennetts’ legendary attention to detail and the expert crew he has established around him, Goff will have a lot of brainpower to tap in to. The work has already begun.
“WSR has a huge heritage the same as Triple Eight Racing do, but the thing I have noticed with Dick so far is that he has a huge passion to succeed in motorsport and he will do anything within the rules to win and be constantly at the sharp end,” says Goff, who has signed a one-year deal. “The lads back in the workshop are doing a lot behind the scenes to make sure me and the team will be fighting at the sharp end from the word go.”
There are a couple of factors that are going to take some achieving for Goff. Although he has raced a rearwheel-drive Lotus, the configuration is new to him in BTCC terms. Also, he will have to tame two other racers in the team who have experience with the BMW: colleagues Rob Collard and Sam Tordoff.
Of the switch to rear-wheel drive, Goff is confident that he will be able to overcome this before the start of the season: “I honestly think it won’t be an issue. I have a good amount of testing planned which will help – it’s the most I have ever had, which is a big luxury.
“I understand what makes rear-wheel drive work and not work. I think that will help and I also have my same engineer from last year [Simon Cumberpatch] who has rear-wheel-drive experience, plus Dick is going to sit down with us both to talk us through the engineering side.”
In terms of the intra-team battle, Tordoff has been a thorn in Goff ’s side before. “I have raced against Sam, we have grown up racing against each other, from karts all the way to the BTCC. There will be lots of competition in the team which will be great for us all.
“I am used to that though. I had Alain Menu as my team-mate in 2014, then Andy Jordan last year and I feel I held my own against them both. The disadvantage for me is obviously Rob Collard has had lots of rear-wheel-drive experience in the BMW and Sam has a year under his belt with the car and his experience from racing the Porsches in the past.”
Whatever the competition, Goff is adamant that he will be in the British Touring Car Championship for several seasons to come.
“[Series director] Alan Gow has done a fantastic job with the BTCC. It’s by far the best championship to be in – the TV and press coverage is unquestionably the best, for me and my sponsors it’s the only place to be. The crowd figures continue to grow year on year and the spectators are the best in the world I would say.
“People say the British Touring Car Championship is the best in the UK, I would argue the fact that the BTCC is the best saloon car championship in the world along with DTM, although I see that more as an F1 with a roof.
“I don’t see this changing any time soon as the championship continues to grow year on year and I’m so glad that I am a part of it.” ■
Garry Jennings/rory Kennedy Keith Cronin/ Mikey Galvin Alastair Fisher/gordon Noble Sam Moffett/karl Atkinson Roy White/james O’brien Josh Moffett/jason Mckenna Joseph Mcgonigle/ciaran Geaney Jonny Greer/ Kirsty Riddick Stephen Wright/james Fulton David Guest/paddy Robinson