Last Lap spoke to BTCC driver Dan Rowbottom of Team Dynamics about his motorsport journey and his thrilling return to the championship.
In the third and final part of this triple-parter interview with Dan Rowbottom, he recalls more recent circumstances since the beginning of the year with Team Dynamics, opening at Thruxton, and reflects on what he wants to achieve this season.
Read the first two parts below:
- Part 1 – Dan Rowbottom Interview: Being in-and-out of racing, partnering with Cataclean and the Clio Cup Trophy
- Part 2 – Dan Rowbottom Interview: Debuting into the BTCC, trying some NASCAR, and joining Team Dynamics
First of all, Dan talks more about being at Team Dynamics and partnering ‘Flash’, who succeeded Dan Cammish spot at the team.
“When I first signed the deal, it was going to be Dan Cam (Cammish), you know?
“And then obviously, you know, things changed, the commercials changed. And, and Gordon was brought back.
“Quite clearly, I think Gordon is back to win championships, which is, you know, which is what you’d expect from Gordon Shedden, isn’t it? Let’s be honest. I mean, anybody that thinks you’re back to just have fun is completely barking mad.”
Dan then talks about his relationship with the three-time champion as his new teammate and recalls the positive, professional team atmosphere.
“Gordon has been great. Gordon’s got a bit of a persona as being very, very aggressive but [from] my experience he’s not that really.
“Don’t get me wrong, he is aggressive. And he will put that car where he wants it, but from my side of it, he’s been nothing but helpful and quite keen in me getting up to speed.”
His debut season in 2019, and pre-season testing in 2020, featured him driving the now departed Mercedes-Benz A Class. For his BTCC return, Dan finds himself behind the wheel of a former race-winning package – the Honda Civic Type R.
“It’s unbelievable,” he describes the Honda.
“It’s such a well-developed car that it reacts to every input you give it – there’s a reaction for your action.
“It’s such a nice car to work with, and the boys are on top of it as well. So if you do have a problem in a particular corner, they’re pretty quick to find the problem or to dial the car in or not, as the case may be, so, yeah, the car’s great. It’s really good.”
After a series of private tests, which began at Snetterton for Dan, the official season launch took place at Silverstone.
The opening event of the calendar at Thruxton took place with intense battles, dramatic crashes, and even weather evolution during Race 3.
From Races 1 to 3, Dan finished in seventh, fourth and then 23rd. He now sits eighth in the overall standings, and second in the Jack Sears Trophy.
“I’m honest with you, just to get three top 10 finishes, if possible, qualify inside the top-15, which we didn’t do.
“Obviously, we only got the two top-10s. But the two-10s that we did, we had genuine pace, you know, we were – Race 1 we were quick.
He describes: “I think we started that gap out at like nine seconds. And by the time we got to the line, last lap, it was six seconds.”
Onto the second race of the weekend, a dramatic crash had caused a restart involving Andy Neate, Jade Edwards, and Glynn Geddie. One of the highlights included a fierce fight between two-time champion Jason Plato and Dan Rowbottom.
“Race 2 was just awesome. You know, it was my first chance to race against Jason [Plato], which again, he was awesome.
“People say Jason’s got a reputation, right, and people say he’s very aggressive. But, you know, I really enjoyed it.
“It was really, really old-school – we were close, but fair.
“And to finish P4 was, again, with pace, you can get lucky and finishing inside the top-six, right, because you could have the next five [drivers] crash in front of you, could be rolling around an eighth or whatever.
“But, you know, those first few races, we had genuine speed in the car, and we were closing that gap.”
After his near-podium pursuit, the third (reverse grid) race was a game of strategy as the weather conditions fluctuated as the field was mixed on the slick and wet compounds – hence why Dan ended up falling out of the points.
“I just made the wrong call on the tyre, so that was just down to me and the guys just not quite, maybe having the confidence [to] start on a slick tyre and just run with it.
“So I’m happy with that, you know, it was a good weekend, it was a good opener.
“And if you just said we’d have walked away with P8 in the championship, and I’d have just, I wouldn’t have believed it.
“But you know, we’ve set the bar now. So we need to continue to run at that sort of level.”
He adds about the pure, intense nature of touring car racing and the BTCC in particular.
“The way touring cars work, [and] I was talking to Dan Cammish about this not so long ago, it (the three-race format of the BTCC) gives you the opportunity throughout the race weekend to turn a bad one into a good one.
“Whereas a lot of sprint racing championships, once the lights go green, you’ve had your lot really.”
He reflects on the long-awaited return to the BTCC and a target he set over 10 years ago and after setting the bar at Thruxton and onto the second event of the calendar at Snetterton.
“It was a little bit like a bit of a weight lifted off your shoulders, because it’s so difficult to race at this level – from a financial aspect, to a driving aspect, to different types of things.
“In 2019, I spent most of time doubting whether I was able to do it, you know.
“Am I good enough? Can I do this? Are we quick enough? Can I compete at this level, etc.? And I always knew deep down that I could.
“It’s a bit like turning up to a gunfight with a knife isn’t it? Unless you’ve got the right equipment you’re not, you’re not going to win.
“Thruxton was allowing me to take a deep breath and go – ‘right, we know we can do that now’. We know we’ve got that pace to run there.
“So the touring car season’s a long one. The next job is to continue that pace.”
His rollercoaster ride over the past 10 years featured positives like getting onto the touring car ladder and partnering with Cataclean, but also negatives such as the prevalent issue of funding as even Dan admits motorsport has always been a rich person’s sport.
Dating back to the 1920s and 30s, the owners of Bentleys and Duesenbergs etc. were already in wealthy social backgrounds to pursue motor racing.
The opportunities have changed a century later and the driver market has become more diverse, but it still requires a great deal of money to compete in a professional racing seat.
Then there is the matter of proving one’s talent, as Dan did so with the Clio Cup UK Trophy.
“When I stopped racing properly in about 2013, if you just said in eight years time [that] you’d be driving a Team Dynamics’-built Honda Civic Type R, I would not have believed you.
“So just [to] have got to this level is an achievement in itself.
“So the next target is the target, you know, let’s get a podium, let’s win a race. Hopefully, one day, let’s try and win a championship,” he concludes.
So, what do you think of Dan Rowbottom? What are your expectations of him? Let us know in the comments!