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1993 BTCC Ford Mondeo

Photo: BRDC Archive

My early racing career started in single-seaters in New Zealand beginning first with Formula Atlantic, then Formula Three, and then to Indy Lights. I was just trying to establish myself as a racing driver—my chosen career path. Over the years I’ve obviously driven many types of car, some good, others not so good, and some just great; sitting and thinking about the greatest car is very difficult. The mind plays games and it’s not easy to come up readily with an answer. Cameos of races play in your mind and blur one with another. I’m thinking of a time when I felt truly at one with the car, and my time with the Ford Mondeo in the British Touring Car Championship stands above all others.

It was when we had a huge amount of testing time available to us. We embraced it, spending as much as we could at one track or another for what seemed every day of the week.  It comes as no surprise to say I became fully at one with this car—so much so, that the car felt more comfortable than the overalls did. It was a time, too, when I had an opportunity to drive the car outside the BTCC, and on one occasion found myself at Kyalami, South Africa. I was in a Mondeo, entered by a South African team. After a couple of laps I knew exactly what changes to make for an optimum setup to push hard in the race. All went to plan; within three laps I was already breaking the lap record. It was the first time I had raced at the circuit, but became a most memorable experience.

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