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WTCC Driver Alex MacDowall reveals he 'can challenge for the independent title and outright podiums'

Ref:A00097
Published: 2 April 2013
Alex_MacDowall22-year-old World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) driver Alex MacDowall, from Carlisle, finished an impressive 11th in his debut season last year in the leading international touring car series.

With Cambridge's Robert Huff winning in 2012, Alex has set his sights high and has far greater ambitions for 2013, hoping to win podiums and shock the world by becoming the highest placed independent driver.

Last season, the highest placed independent (non-manufacturer) driver was 50-year-old Italian Gabriele Tarquini, who finished fourth despite winning the title with Seat in 2009.

Danny Hewitt speaks to the Bamboo Engineering driver.

What got you into motorsport? Why touring cars?

From a very early age, I used to go to circuits with my dad who competed in various national saloon car championships, including BTCC.

What makes you so fast?

That's a difficult question. I guess it's a mixture of natural ability, self-belief, a clear focus on achieving results and a determination to succeed.

Yvan Muller tapped the rear of Alex's car in Macau - the final race of 2012 - where Alex was in contention for a win:
Can you tell us about the diet of a touring car driver?

My trainer dictates my weekly diet plan which is aligned to my training programme for each week, it can be quite limiting at times.

A day in the life of Alex MacDowall...

My day varies depending where I am. In between events, when I'm at home, I mix my time between researching and meeting with sponsors, helping out at a local logistics firm, ECM, who are also one of my sponsors and training.
WTCC involves a lot of travel, if I'm travelling or away from home, I have to adjust my training programme to suit..

What are the most challenging aspects of being a WTCC driver?

Jet lag was a new challenge for me in WTCC last year. It can really affect your physical and mental performance. I'll be much better prepared this year. But the real challenge is the level of competition, in WTCC you're up against the current best touring car drivers and teams in the world.

Tell me about your ambitions and plans for the coming year.

We're very close to sealing a deal which will enable me to be very competitive in WTCC.

How do you see 2013 panning out for you?

I feel it could be a very good year for me. I believe that with the circuit and set-up knowledge we gained from last year, I can challenge for the independents title and for outright podiums.

What would you like to change or improve in the sport?

Touring car racing is relatively safe but accidents still occur which result in loss of life. I'd like to see further improvements in safety. I also think that the proposed changes to the cars for the 2014 WTCC will add to the excitement and spectacle of the championship.

What are the biggest changes in the sport that will impact you this season?

More competition from factory teams including Honda and Lada.

You were very successful in the Renault Clio Cup, but Renault has suffered from a 40 per cent drop in sale sin the last year. Are people simply bored of Renault?

The Clio Championship is really tough and a natural stepping stone towards touring cars. I think it will always be popular. I think support for it in 2013 will increase.

How do Yokohama tyres compare to Dunlop and Goodyear tyres in your experience? And where could there be improvements?

They both have their strengths and weaknesses, I can't draw a true comparison between the two makes of tyre because the nature of the circuits that we raced on in the UK with the Dunlops is different to those on the WTCC tour.

Was it a little intimidating racing alongside Jason Plato in his Championship-winning year in 2010?

No! I admire Jason very much, he is undoubtedly one of the best touring car drivers in the world and I learned a lot from him during my two seasons with RML.

A step back to BTCC when Alex interviews teammate and 2010 World Champion Jason Plato:

Secret obsession...

Can't say - it wouldn't be a secret!

Favourite pastime...

Clubbing with friends.

Pet hate...

Queuing.

The person you most treasure...

I'd be in trouble if I didn't say my Mum!

Best road car under £15,000...

A used M3.

If you were not a touring car driver, what would you be doing?

I don't like to think about it - racing is the only thing I want to do.

Are winter tyres for ordinary road users necessary?

In a typical UK winter, I don't think so but they do significantly improve grip.

Alex_MacDowall

Debut season: 2012
Current team: bamboo-engineering
Starts: 24
Wins: 0
Poles: 0
Fastest laps: 0
Best finish: 11th in 2012
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