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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

Goff will drive the Ihg-backed car

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