Interview With Matt And Frank

1/8th Circuit

With the first 8th Circuit national of the season over, and Matthieu Dambrine making a surprise A final appearance, BRCA 1/8th Circuit PRO James Healey took some time to ask Matthieu and his pitman Franck a few questions about how, they’re made such great progress over the winter.

 

 

Matt

James:

Firstly Franck, what have you been feeding Matthieu over the winter break? His progress over the winter has been astounding; he's leap frogged drivers like myself and others in GP2 to finishing 6th in front of legends such as David Spashett and x2 BRCA vice champion Andy Hastings at the first national? 


Frank:

Strict diet of carpet and my wife Sylvie’s cooking: works miracles. Santa also brought him a 4wd buggy and thanks to xfactory-uk we could use high-end Corally electronics, and practising pushing it on the Colchester indoor track for the winter series made a massive difference. For some meetings Matthieu was racing up to 3 categories to learn to be flexible and this worked well. He also realised that listening to advice could be useful. I wouldn’t say he can beat legends, but David certainly is the driver he is looking up to.

 
James:

Question to Matthieu, how is your package to drive this year? Have you found a better car balance? or do you feel you're driving better this year?


Matthew:

The car is brilliant. The rear end upgrade gives it more stability and made it even easier to drive. We saved some weight thanks to titanium screws. The engine has also been very good for the first weekend so the whole package worked really well. I believe I made good progress this winter thanks to buggy racing on carpet in the Colchester indoor series. Having a powerful car on a tight track forced me to be careful about my lines and made me improve the way I was reading the race. I think I also grew more confident. I also have to contribute to replace parts I break now so I am careful.


James:

What is your race package this year? Have you secured any sponsors?


Matthew:

My main sponsor is my parents. Mum fully supports racing and dad is my chauffeur, mechanic, pitman, assistant and bank (but less now because I have to do jobs to pay for what I break). With the support of Zen Racing I am running the ARC R8, Blitz bodyshells and HotRace tyres. 

I also have the support of xfactory-uk for Corally electronics and fuel, Hiro Seiko and Avid. 

We will soon be looking at upgrading the engine and we are currently considering the options. Please pm suggestions ☺


James:

What are your goals for the season? Who do you feel are your main competitors this year?

 

Matthew:
My objectives are to win GP2 and get the junior title once more. Also, if I’m lucky enough, I’d like to get another top ten position. I think that my main competitors are anyone racing in GP2. I would also like not to finish last at the Worlds warm up in May in France. Soon I would also like to go for European Junior champion but I can’t really get time off school and it is difficult for dad to get time off work.


James:

Question to Franck, since you're now pitting for one of the quickest drivers on the grid, are you putting in the time to improve those pit stop times?


Frank:

We practised pit stops and I think we are getting there. We developed some sort of sign language as I can’t hear Matthieu even when he shouts. For each track we agree on where the car should be on the track when I call him and where I should be in the pitlane. I found a way of holding the car that suits me, and he is now able to come into the pitlane at a reasonable speed without hitting the walls, and to wait as I am refueling without revving it to death. In exchange I try to be as fast as possible without spilling fuel everywhere ☺.  It’s a team effort.

 

James:

Franck you must be very proud of Matthieu, not only is he driving extremely well but he's conducting himself on track with a level of maturity that drivers in their 50s are not achieving, do you have an influence on how Matthieu approaches his racing? or is this something he's developed of his own accord?


Frank:

Very proud indeed. He had to learn early to get out of the way as he was slower than most when he started nitro. I keep telling him that you get what you give and if you want people to respect you, you need to show respect and do things properly. He’s been in the hobby for 9 years now and he can decide what to do on the track, but he now can also understand and follow advice from more experienced racers.  

 

James:

Matthieu where do you see yourself in 5 years?


Matthew:

Hopefully I will be a regular A finalist and make top 3. European Junior champion is also on the agenda. I would like to still be representing manufacturers and distributors. Hopefully I would have been by then a good role model like my parents to show young people that you can do well if you try.

James:
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions guys, have a good meeting at Halifax and I look forward to being runner up in GP2 again!