Blanchard to reassess driving future in 2017
Tim Blanchard says there’s no guarantee that he’ll continue to drive in Supercars beyond 2017, despite confirming the purchase of a Racing Entitlements Contract.
The deal for the Blanchard family to buy the formerly Super Black Racing license locks in the 29-year-old as Brad Jones Racing’s third driver for next season.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s previous story on the REC deal.
Blanchard, however, says the move has been made in order to cement the place in the sport of family business CoolDrive rather than his own driving career.
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A star in Formula Ford and a front-runner in the Dunlop Series, Blanchard has so far struggled to make his mark on the Supercars Championship.
He currently sits 23rd in this year’s championship with BJR following results of 26th (Dick Johnson Racing, 2013) and 21st (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, 2015) in his previous full-time seasons.
Alongside his driving career, Blanchard doubles as the head of marketing at CoolDrive, managing eight people in his department.
CoolDrive produces and distributes a range of automotive air conditioning, radiator and electrical products, employing a total of 250 staff nationwide.
“Supercars has become an integral part of CoolDrive’s marketing strategy going forward,” Blanchard told Speedcafe.com.
“We’ve had some strong growth with CoolDrive in the last few years based off the marketing we’ve done in Supercars and we wanted a long-term commitment to the sport that is more than just sponsorship.
“Realistically I’m not sure how much longer my driving career is going to go so we wanted to still have an involvement in it beyond that.
“My role at CoolDrive is increasing year by year and like PD (Paul Dumbrell), it’s going to get to the point where I can’t juggle both.
“I’ll drive the car next year and around enduro time I’ll reassess how I’m going, how I feel and if I continue in 2018.
“I’ve got some goals that I want to achieve next year and if I’m not achieving them I won’t be banging around for the sake of it.
“If I’m not performing then I’ll step down and put someone else in the car in 2018.
“I won’t go into the goals publicly but the results need to be better than they are this year.”
Blanchard says he’s looking forward to working with existing BJR team-mate Tim Slade and the squad’s new recruit Nick Percat, who he drove alongside at LDM last year.
“My pedigree coming into Supercars was obviously pretty good and I feel I haven’t yet lived up to my potential,” he continued.
“There’s a number of reasons for that and I probably haven’t adapted to the cars as well as I’d like, but I also haven’t had a stable environment around me or a quality car.
“Every team I’ve been with has been under a cloud until this year with BJR and that’s why I wanted to stay here for that continuity.
“That’s why I’m going to have another crack next year and see how we go.
“There’s really good potential here and get on very well with Tim and Nick, who I’m looking forward to working with again.”