Fast Car

JAMIE TONKS

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How did you get into motorsport?

For the last 15 years I had been a regular track day enthusiast doing as many as 25 a year all over the UK and Europe through the main British organisers. But after a chance meeting with a driver coach and BTCC race engineer in 2019, a conversati­on of doing something more competitiv­e was discussed. Following this a pre-arranged test with a Civic Cup race team was organised, where I was instantly on what was considered front running pace, so we went about planning to compete in 2020 for the first time.

Have you raced in any other series?

So far only the Civic Cup, which is organised by Maximum Motorsport.

What has been your racing career highlight so far?

During my first event in July 2020, in incredibly wet conditions, I qualified third. It might not sound much, but we were so happy that in the worst possible conditions with severe rain, in a car with semi-slick tyres, we were instantly able to run towards the front. We finished the race fourth, however I showed that even in your mid 30s you can give something a go and make a good effort of it.

Which is your favourite circuit to race on and why?

Thruxton. There is only one way to drive Thruxton – flat out! The whole lap is just amazing. Church Corner flat out is something that takes commitment, bravery and amazing skill. 20 Civics bunched up two and three wide through the fast corners at 125mph is why I made the step up to go racing.

You currently race an EP3 in the Civic Cup series, what’s that like?

230bhp, 1200kg. Doesn’t sound amazing, however, engineered by some super talented people with some seriously fast drivers and sticky tyres, they are an absolute riot to drive. They reward commitment and are actually quite intimidati­ng the first time you drive one, but once you get comfortabl­e with how direct the front is and how loose the rear is, they can deliver super close racing and great lap times.

What is the best thing about racing in Civic Cup?

The standard is super high with a large proportion of the grid capable of winning. The Championsh­ip organisers have a great pyramid system with the Civic Cup, VW Cup, and the TCR TCT trophy all providing natural progressio­n. Due to how competitiv­e the series is, I honestly think if you can win

in Civic Cup you can win in lots of other championsh­ips, as previous winners have shown over recent times.

How does your race car compare to a standard road version?

All the control parts are available for people to put on their road car. However, with no compromise to setup and the cars always in top condition, they are quite a bit faster than a road-going version.

If you could race in any car or series, what would it be?

I’d really like to race in the TCR championsh­ip. As we share the race meeting with them I can’t believe how fast they are and the standard of the front running drivers is impressive. Also, one day I have a huge desire to race at the Nürburgrin­g 24 hour race.

How do prepare yourself for race day?

Luckily for me I have a great support group around me of my wife Rachel, friends Carl and Rachel and tuners Area Motorsport who look after me and the car, so all I have to do is worry about driving. I tend to take the day easy. Drink lots of water and keep myself focused on starting the race well.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into racing?

Just go and do it! I spent about 15 years thinking about doing it and should of given it a go sooner. There are so many series in the UK run by great organisers designed to reflect different situations, budgets and levels of commitment, all of which give that thrill and sense of competitio­n from racing a Citroen C1 to a British touring car.

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