On the 22nd of March, we participated in a questions and answers session that was set up on the British Touring Car Talk facebook page. Stewart seemed to enjoy his time answering questions fans threw at him. The session lasted for just over an hour. It gave fans the opportunity to question Stewart and get to know him at the same time because of him being a new driver to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. For 2015 Stewart Lines will be competing in the BTCC with Houseman Racing after Lea Wood has decided to take a managerial role for a while. During the questions and answers Stewart revealed he has signed a 3 year contract which will see him hopefully compete in the championship for 3 years
Stewart out in free practices at Brands Hatch (Picture Credit: http://www.facebook.com/tilley.photos )
When asked about his expectations for this season Stewart answered with the funny comment saying “to beat Martin Depper, because we used to be team mates in the Volkswagen Cup”. Stewart added “I’m looking forward to the atmosphere and to having some good racing” when he was asked what he is most looking forward to. As a surprise to everyone when a fan asked the question ‘have you been out testing the toyota yet?’ Stewart replied with “No testing yet, it all starts Tuesday”. Stewart was very open about his deal with Houseman, when asked ‘how long do you plan to be in the BTCC?’ and ‘How did you and Houseman Racing start talking’ he replied with “Houseman Racing contacted me a couple of weeks ago, believe it or not, so very last minute.” He added “I have a 3 year contract with Houseman”.
When a fan asked him if he was nervous about stepping into the car without any testing, he was honest and told fans “Yes, I’m a bit nervous but I think every driver gets nervous or butterflies before any race”. Stewart spoke of his career within racing when he told fans “I’ve been racing for a long time but my motocross career ended and 4 wheels looked like a good option for me”. When asked about any merchandise the team will have during the season Stewart told people “Yes there will be, we will have plenty of green aliens to give away” Someone asked “Who do you think you will be rubbing doors with the most this season?” Stewart replied ” I will be as competitive as I can be and it will be nice to get some points”.
An inquisitive fan asked “What is your background in racing and do you think it has prepared you for the rough and rumble of BTCC?”, Stewart quickly responded with “I have only ever raced in one make front wheel drive stuff with 30 cars on the grid so I’ve paid my dues”. Another fan asked “Have you had any advice/tips from Lea or anyone else?”, his reply was “No advice as of yet but I’m sure I have plenty to come from Lea”. Stewart’s reply was pretty much expected because when we took part in the questions and answers session, Stewart had never been out in the car before. One fan seemed pretty interested in Lea’s life aside from his racing career, they asked “What do you do on a day to day basis away from a race track?” Stewart answered and told fans “I run a telecoms company plus Maximum Motorsport, we currently have 5 sciroccos in the Volkswagen cup and VAG Trophy”.
Stewart taking a lunge down the inside of Derek Palmer (Picture Credit: http://www.facebook.com/tilley.photos )
One fan wanted to get Stewarts opinion on who has the best fans, they asked “Who has the best fans, BTCC or F1?” Stewart quickly aired his opinion by responding with “BTCC of course”. Another fan asked “What’s your favourite track?” in which Stewart replied “my favourite track is Spa but in the UK it is Donington”. Someone asked the interesting question of “who was your hero when you was growing up?” Stewart responded with “My hero when I was growing up was Georges Jobe, but you probably don’t know him”. For all you people who don’t know who Georges Jobe is, he was a five time FIM Motocross World Champion. Someone else asked “Is there any tracks on the calendar this year that you have not driven yet? and do you have access to simulators to get used to a track you’ve not driven? or is it just a case of turn up and see?” Stewart replied informing them “I’ll do some laps before I race and some on iZone simulators”. One interested fan asked “which championship do you make an effort to watch?” He replied with “I like all motorsport”.
When asked if he could reveal or give hints about the livery for the toyota avensis he would drive for Houseman Racing, Stewart apologized and said he unfortunately can’t. One fan asked a hypothetical question to see how Stewart would react in a racing situation, the question was “Let’s say you had Plato behind you, your both on the same lap, he’s pushing as he needs to make up lost ground, the conditions are sunny, you are at oulton park,….what do you do?? Let him pass, or put up a fight?”. Stewart replied with “to be fair I would let him by and get a tow off him and then try and get him back towards the end”. Another fan asked “Do you like the sound of all the rules this year and how the grid will be decided for race two?” Stewart cleverly responded with “The rules look fair, I’ll run with them”. One question that was asked was quite interesting, the question was “Do you think BTCC will be better than the VW Cup?”, Stewart replied with “BTCC is the pinnacle of tin top racing but the VW Cup is the best place to learn”.
A fan asked him “Do you have anything to bring you luck in a race i.e. lucky socks/pants?”, he replied “Green socks, its all about the green”. Another question was “Which is your favourite corner or sequence of corners of the BTCC tracks?” Stewart replied with “the craner curves”. Another inquisitive fan asked “Do you have any other sporting interests?,Do you play other sports?” He replied telling them “I’m a poor golfer and an Aston Villa fan” Another fan asked “Do you prefer two or four wheels racing?Was it hard to make the switch?” Stewart replied with “I love both to be fair but a lot of success came for me in 3 wheels in sidecar motocross”. A fan asked him “when your driving do you have a song that runs through your head as your attacking to overtake?”, Stewart replied “I’m not one for songs, I prefer to listen to the engine”. Another thing Stewart confessed was that his favourite food and drink “was wine and curry” but he added “I don’t think I can have it anymore”. When asked if there was any sport he would have liked to try he replied “yes, road racing”. The way Stewart prepares for a race is by being alone and drinking a can of red bull.
Another thing Stewart admitted was that his dream job would be an under cover police officer. Stewart told us his greatest achievement so far have been; “on two wheels I was a decent AMCA Championship racer, on 3 wheels I won a lot of races at home and abroad, but winning the Weston Beach race and the Welsh 2 day enduro where nice. On 4 wheels winning at Spa 4 times was nice”. When asked if he would ever get back into bike racing or sidecar racing if he had the chance Stewart told us ” no, I’ve signed a contract so can’t afford to get hurt on a motorcycle”.
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© Fay Tilley 13th April 2015.