Gilham & Bushell prove you need to be HARD to succeed in motorsport

26th October 2015


BTCC racer, Tony Gilham and Mike Bushell, reflect on their motorsport careers to date, with a new Facebook open discussion on #Startattheback. MSD joined in the discussion with some great fan questions direct to the racers.

So what is #Startattheback? Most of us have been there or at least aim to be somewhere on the grid but this unique group is formed by Stuart Lancaster and Ian Mutch who both agree on getting what’s seen as the lower end of motorsport more coverage. Something we too at Motorsport Days have been keen to promote with our Clubman Annual.

On Sunday, the #Startattheback group managed to organise an open forum for members to ask questions to Tony Gilham (36) BTCC racer and team owner and Mike Bushell (26) BTCC racer. They both spent nearly 2 hours on Facebook responding to questions from running a successful race team to dealing with sponsorship.

Tony is known for his distinctive pink and green racing liveries. He runs his own Tony Gilham Racing team which runs cars in both the British Touring Car Championship and the VW Cup. Mike Bushell has been a rising star racing in clubman racing and he’s competed in the Ford Fiesta ST Championship and in the Clio Cup with impressive results. Both have a vast experience and we’ve created the best of the questions and outlined for you to enjoy.

Alan Gordon Will it be a new car for next season?

Tony Gilham Yes Alan we are looking at various options for next year and looking to introduce something new.

Tony Gilham I would love to be driving myself but that all comes down to the financials and sponsors. We have a fantastic following which we saw at the last 2 rounds of the season so there is always a chance

Tony Gilham BTCC Motorsport Days Interview

“HARD work, determination, ambition, drive, commitment, loyalty, desire – Just a few words to say what is needed to go anywhere in Motorsport… Unless you have a BIGGGGGG wallet” Tony Gilham


Martin Atkins Hi Tony, being the king of suspense, how far away from announcing your new car & driver line up for next year? Is it still all work in progress…?

Tony Gilham We are already talking to a few different drivers and really looking at all the options for next year. We will be looking to confirm out plans ASAP though so we can have a very productive winter so as to hit the ground running next year


Scott Waller Any regrets about how last season went and whether the Swindon engine should have been introduced earlier?

Tony Gilham We always look back and think what if? But the Toyota engine was very strong at the start of the season and we completed the first 9 races without any issues despite some incidents that should have seen the engine life up very early. But it carried on…


Martin Atkins Oh I’m just 30 years too late then with the Avensis is there any more to come or are you going to retire it?

Tony Gilham There was plenty more to come from it and we managed to unlock some pace at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. We were the quickest car on track at the end of race 3 at Silverstone and mixing it with Cook, Menu etc. at Brands which was great fun after so long out. Especially considering we were heavy, ran less tyres than anyone else and used old brakes to save some £ Hi Chaps, what’s your views on the Rossi incident this morning? Considering BTCC’s close racing

Tony Gilham I haven’t seen it yet

Martin Atkins Marquez is a tool. All opinions are my own…

Stuart Hubster Lancaster the doctor handed out some medicine!


Stuart Hubster Lancaster The scholarship your running in December is looking better than first advertised with the addition of media training too what are the qualities you’re looking for?

Tony Gilham It is an amazing opportunity and will hopefully be a great experience for everyone involved. We are looking for the most potential to be the complete package on and off track. Considering this group is #startattheback, what would you change or improve (if you could) about your junior racing days?

Tony Gilham I didn’t ever do any karting and only really started racing in 2005 when I was 25. I still have very limited experience and so would have loved to been able to experience more series and have more years of racing under my belt


Ian Mutch Your drivers in both the VAG trophy and VW cup have had an excellent season. Especially John Stevens in his first season. You’ve got a winning formula with has already been a proved previously. Was you ever tempted to enter another VW into the BTCC?

Tony Gilham We have had massive success this year and once again this weekend won both of the VAG Trophy races with Chris Smiley as part of the team. John Stevens had had an amazing debut season and much deserved.  We would always be tempted to run another VW especially after all the hard work that went in to create the VW Passat CC and achieve success with it very early on in its life.

Tony Gilham All I can say it is one of the hardest parts of a racing driver’s career finding sponsorship. It really doesn’t exist as basic as sponsorship nowadays and you really have to offer so much more to have any interest at all


Nick Hunt Evening Tony, Regardless of the model options you are looking at, how much work is involved in incorporating the new RML parts package engineering wise?

Tony Gilham To fit the parts will be quite a simple operation for the guys in the team as they have built many cars for the series previously. The hardest part will be getting up to speed and the best from the car. That will rely on team and driver which is why it would be good to have someone in the car that can really give us the feedback needed to fast track our development.


Tony Gilham HARD work, determination, ambition, drive, commitment, loyalty, desire etc. These are just a few words to say what is needed to go anywhere in Motorsport unless you have either existing sponsors or a BIGGGGGG wallet


Scott Waller As I learn more about the politics of BTCC do you agree that it’s sad that it just doesn’t come down to racing or talent but £££££

Tony Gilham There are politics in every single series or level of Motorsport unfortunately. It should be talent alone in an ideal world but again that never happens. There is still some amazing talent in the BTCC as well as some with plenty of £££££



Adam Mcnally Hope to see u bk in BTCC for 2016 Mike and in another focus as well.
Top 10 finishes for 2016

Mike Bushell Early days yet, however it already feels like a lifetime with no news of what’s happening for 2016!


Nick Holmes Hi Mike thanks for taking the time to chat. Can you offer any hints or tips on budget building for somebody looking to start their racing career next year?

Mike Bushell It’s a chicken and egg situation, you need to be able to have a little financial buffer personally when starting racing to get the results to then have something to offer?
It starts with a few little bits here and there, like a set of tyres, to fuel..

Nick Holmes You say a buffer, i was thinking of taking another year to raise enough to fund a while season the following year, would that be a smart choice? I am an impatient shit and want to go racing now tho!!

Stuart Hubster Lancaster was the crowd funding a huge help after your accident?

Mike Bushell The £14,385 that was raised certainly took a large chunk out of the £61,000 repair bill!!! Hope that gives an idea of how much damage there was
Stuart Hubster Lancaster Formula 1 has become boring I find more excitement with BTCC would you say f1 is too commercial now!

Ian Mutch An event took place earlier in the season.. Which personally didn’t surprise me as BTCC fans are one big family…but how surprised was you by the success of crowd funding after your tangle with Simon?

Mike Bushell Stunned to be honest, and I’ve come out of this year with a great bunch of friends, not just supporters

Stuart Hubster Lancaster What are your plans for next year will you be back stronger?

Mike Bushell At the moment, I don’t have anything planned. Last year I took a quick jump to get into the BTCC riding on the crest of the Clio Cup wave. It’s been tough financially this year and we need to really consider all options, to then know what we need to do to then make the beginning of the season

Stuart Hubster Lancaster With Rob Austin team RAR changing cars for next season would AMD be looking to get those Audis for the team?

Mike Bushell No, they are a rear wheel drive platform and the two Audi s3 shells AMD have are front

Mike Bushell BTCC Motorsport Days interview

“The cheapest you can race in the BTCC is £250-200,000 Honda are in the order of a million per car” Mike Bushell

Gemma Chapman Hi Mike Bushell would you consider WTCC or British Gt’s

Mike Bushell I spoke with my dad this morning actually about GTs smile emoticon

Stuart Hubster Lancaster What are your views on the last BTCC meeting ie; team orders?

Mike Bushell It’s hard to comment, but I think maybe past track encounters between Aron and Jason may have influenced

Stuart Hubster Lancaster Who from the list of former drivers would you like to see back in the BTCC!

Mike Bushell Nigel Mansell

Ian Mutch If you wasn’t a mot tester and race driver…what would your ideal job be?

Mike Bushell Video game designer

Scott Waller If you could put a value of each grid position in terms of sponsorship assuming all drivers are equal what would it be i.e. £500k gets you pole £75k gets you 15th etc.

Mike Bushell The cheapest you can race in the BTCC is ~£250-200,000 Honda are in the order of a million per car

Nick Holmes Favourite battle of the year?

Mike Bushell There were two, both with Josh Cook at knock hill and Snetterton

Scott Waller Motorbase unfair engine advantage to shake up championship and gain sponsorship or just a weight advantage?

Mike Bushell No comment


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