Andrew Thompson: The end of a horror year
Andrew Thompson has confirmed that he will be watching the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship Series from the sidelines next year. The Walkinshaw Racing team will downscale from two cars to one, selling its #10 Racing Entitlements Contract to Charlie Schwerkolt.
This deal leaves Thompson on the outer, and after a shocking year, Thompson is looking forward to putting the 2010 season behind him.
The Bundaberg Red Racing Commodore VE driver spoke to Speedcafe.com.au’s Grant Rowley about his horror year, what he plans to do in 2011 and his ugly divorce with his flat mate!
SPEEDCAFE: Steven Richards and Greg Murphy have both announced that they won’t be driving for the team they were with this year, and it looks like you’re joining that list too …
ANDREW THOMPSON: Yes. Obviously I won’t be there next year. I’m moving on.
At this stage, a full-time drive is not really an option. There’s nothing that is really what I’m looking for or what I need to get myself re-established. I need to get into the right situation, so I’m not going to rush into it. It may be another year or two of sitting on the sidelines before I can get the right opportunity. I need to rebuild myself, because I feel I’m a driver with a lot of potential, but I need to get myself in the right environment.
SPEEDCAFE: You’ve had a horror run this year. A couple of crashes at the start of the year, then a number of mechanical issues. What have you been feeling through the year?
AT: It’s been disappointing. I made a couple of mistakes at the start of the year, and unfortunately, we didn’t have the reliability that we wanted. It just hasn’t gone how everyone wanted it to.
That’s been frustrating for me and the guys at Walkinshaws. They’ve worked extremely hard on the car all year, but I haven’t been able to reward them with any real solid results.
Now, I want to look at getting some sort of result in the last four races and salvage something. It has been hard. It hasn’t been good for me as a driver. It hasn’t done me any favours, but it hasn’t done the team any favour either. For whatever reason, it hasn’t gone to plan.
SPEEDCAFE: Next year, you say that there’s no real chance of getting a full-time drive. Do you now start to hunt for the best possible endurance seat?
AT: Yes, for sure. I’ve spoken to a couple of people about endurance drives next year. I’d like to get a good seat for next year, and I think I’d be a good fit for most teams and do the job that I’d be required to do.
If I can get some good results in the two races, it would be a good stepping stone to get back into the series – whenever that might be.
SPEEDCAFE: You must feel like this has been a wasted year?
AT: Well, I’ve learnt a lot this year, but I haven’t learnt in the areas that I thought I’d learn in. It hasn’t been a wasted year, but it has been in terms of achieving results. If you base it on results, it has been a waste, but everyone has worked hard to get some results, but it hasn’t happened. It’s been a tough year all round.
This is motor sport, and sometimes it is like this.
SPEEDCAFE: Will you move back to the Gold Coast?
AT: Yes, I’m moving back there soon. I leave my beloved flatmate (Aaron) Noonan. We’ll have our little divorce. I’ll take my 50 percent, he’ll take his and we’ll go our separate ways!
SPEEDCAFE: Sandown this weekend. Now that you’ve realised that this is the end, it would be nice to go out with a top result …
AT: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got four more races to salvage a result. We had a reasonable weekend in Tassie. We found some gains in the car. In Race 2 in the wet, we were quite quick and we were moving forward and inside the top 15 before we were turned around at great speed by (Karl) Reindler. We had good speed, but that didn’t eventuate.
Hopefully, Sandown should maybe be good for us. If we can get the car tuned in the direction that we were going in the last round, there’ll be an opportunity to get some sort of result and finish the year off on a bit of a high.