“I’m just the son of a lorry driver”

How one Bri­ton is gun­ning for DTM glory.

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Mar­cus Simmons Photos: LAT

Ask your­self what you know about Jamie Green, and chances are it’s not a great deal. He’s ar­guably Britain’s low­est-pro­file top in­ter­na­tional mo­tor­sport star. And that suits him ab­so­lutely fine.

Now the vet­eran of 11 sea­sons in the DTM, Green last sea­son came closer than he’s ever done to tak­ing a crown with Audi that would have been his first ti­tle since he dom­i­nated Lewis Hamil­ton, Nico Ros­berg and Robert Ku­bica, among oth­ers, to win the 2004 For­mula 3 Euro Se­ries. Is he frus­trated not to have won it? Pos­si­bly a lit­tle, but he knows the chance will come again, and he knows he’s do­ing a top job for his em­ployer. And any­way, at the age of 33, for Green there are far more im­por­tant things to life than be­ing feted as a hero.

“I’m just a lad from Le­ices­ter whose dad was a lorry driver and who’s got a tal­ent for driv­ing,” he says mat­ter-of­factly. “I don’t think I was nec­es­sar­ily born des­tined to be a For­mula 1 driver, but who is? I kind of value a bit of nor­mal­ity in my life. I’m well paid, I live in Monaco at the minute, I can pro­vide for my kids, but I’m not fa­mous.

“I’m very happy – I still think it’s mirac­u­lous that I came from stock car rac­ing at Long Ea­ton [Green and his brother Nigel, who these days races BRISCA F1, be­gan in Min­is­tox] to liv­ing in Monaco and rac­ing pro­fes­sion­ally. That jour­ney is amaz­ing in it­self.”

Part of the rea­son for Green’s be­low-the-radar sta­tus in the UK is that the DTM hasn’t raced in his home coun­try since 2013. To the Ger­man fans he’s pretty well known, as much part of the land­scape as your Turk­ing­tons and Shed­dens are in Britain. But ask your av­er­age BTCC punter to name an Audi tin-top driver, and they’ll prob­a­bly say ‘Ol­lie Jack­son’ be­fore they even think of Green.

He jests that the DTM’S low pro­file in the UK is “prob­a­bly a good thing for me! I can go and watch my brother race his stock car and no one gives a toss re­ally – I like that.”

But he does be­lieve that more ef­forts could be made to en­gage the Bri­tish pub­lic: “I just don’t think the pro­mot­ers in­vest in the UK mar­ket­ing very much – just the ba­sic things like TV cov­er­age. If it was on ter­res­trial TV then we would prob­a­bly build up more of a fan­base and then peo­ple like my­self and the other Bri­tish driv­ers [Mercedes’ Gary Paf­fett and Paul di Resta, plus BMW’S Tom Blomqvist] be­come more of a per­son­al­ity.

“As a driver there’s lit­tle I can do other than try and win races and pro­mote my­self and pro­mote DTM, but it’s like a chicken-and-egg sce­nario. The DTM peo­ple think, ‘Well, we don’t get much of a crowd in the UK so there’s no point go­ing’, but the other way round is if we don’t have it on TV then no one knows about it, so why are they go­ing to come and watch a race? I think you’ve got to spec­u­late to ac­cu­mu­late.”

Part of the prob­lem with the Bri­tish DTM round was that from 2006-13 it was held on the Brands Hatch Indy cir­cuit. With such a short lap­time and the noise of the cars drown­ing out the PA, once the pit­stop cy­cles started no one had a clue what was go­ing on. Green thinks that, in­stead, the se­ries would be bet­ter served at its for­mer UK home of Don­ing­ton, which is where Green first got signed up by Mercedes in 2003 – he would drive for the Stuttgart man­u­fac­turer un­til the end of 2012 – dur­ing his Bri­tish F3 days.

“We have this prob­lem – in or­der to make the place feel like there’s an at­mos­phere, feel like we’ve got a crowd, you don’t want to be at Nur­bur­gring GP track or Sil­ver­stone GP track,” says Green. “Brands was a good at­mos­phere but the track’s too small for the cars we’ve got, the down­force we’ve got. Don­ing­ton would fit the cars well – it’s a good cir­cuit, big enough for the cars.”

One as­pect of the DTM that prob­a­bly doesn’t help fire the en­thu­si­asm of the Brits is that it does seem very or­ches­trated. Green ac­knowl­edges this, but says it’s a nat­u­ral con­se­quence of hav­ing three eight-car man­u­fac­turer teams. “It’s a bit like play­ing foot­ball,” he ar­gues. “The whole dy­nam­ics are dif­fer­ent to, say BTCC, where ev­ery­one’s rac­ing against ev­ery­one. With eight guys you’re not all go­ing to win, so there’s a point where you’re just try­ing to help your em­ployer achieve its goal, which is to win the cham­pi­onship. That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean you’re the guy that’s go­ing to do it – it de­pends on the sit­u­a­tion af­ter the first few races of the year.

“So you kind of have to change your men­tal­ity a lit­tle bit and go, ‘Well, this is the job I’m here to do’. But yeah I can un­der­stand – it would be nice if it was a bit more racy, a bit more open.”

In the mean­time, Green goes into this week­end’s Hock­en­heim opener hop­ing he can be Audi’s ‘cho­sen man’ in 2016. And longer term, he has an eye on an­other prize: “For me my over­all ca­reer dream, when I re­tire, which I think is go­ing to be in about 10 years’ time, if I could say I was the For­mula 3 Euro­pean cham­pion, the DTM cham­pion and I won the Le Mans 24 Hours, that would be a pretty nice way to bow out. Whether I get the chance to do the Le Mans thing, I don’t know, but if I hadn’t signed for Audi I def­i­nitely wouldn’t have got that chance. But for now, next on the list is DTM.”

Green made the switch to Audi ahead of the 2013 cam­paign

Green leads Lewis Hamil­ton in For­mula 3 back dur­ing 2004

“I wasn’t born for F1” GREEN

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