Q&A with Jay Shepherd

Q&A with Jay Shepherd

We’re all hyped to get back to the circuit and challenging ourselves and competitors across the country. We sat down with WASPP Co-Founder, Jay Shepherd, to chat about what lockdown has meant for his team - Team7Racing.

For those that don’t know Jay, he’s been involved in motorsport for over 30 years, both through racing and personal instruction, and started his motorsport career in Karting with the progression to sports cars at 19.

Racing in championships such as GT, Historic, Britcar, TVR Tuscan and Fun Cup to name but a few, Jay has 20 years of instruction experience at circuits all over the UK and Europe. From deciding which championship to compete in, which team to run with to what race clothing to purchase, Jay’s got a wealth of knowledge and experience and something of a go-to for open and honest advice.

Q: Hey Jay, it’s good to catch up. How’s things been going since lockdown for Team7?

To be honest, I think lockdown has been tough for everyone in Motorsport and the Leisure Industry as a whole. The race season was due to start only a couple weeks after the announcement was made, so it was quite deflating for all. However, on a personal note, it has given us time to re-group and to reflect, encouraging us to diversify into new projects and directions which is very exciting. As things have slowly relaxed, I still think a lot of people are a little nervous, due to the current financial situations for business and a level of uncertainty - therefore I feel this season will be very different. However on a positive note, as one door close, others open - so we all need to keep positive.

Q: What have you seen change across motorsport the last few months?

The e-racing has developed during lock down, creating a new audience and participants within the industry. This has helped to keep people interested and motivated. I have entered online races in FunCup and Caterham and they have been good fun. It’s been good to keep up the banter and morale with the other teams and drivers. It’s not the real thing! But it is pretty good, and a good workout!

Q: What effect do you think lockdown is going to have had on motorsport teams and drivers generally? Is there a general feeling across the community?

Honestly, I think things are going to be tough across the board now and for the months ahead. If it is affecting F1 already - of course this will filter down and have implications with the smaller teams that aren’t so affluent. Obviously the larger the organization the more infrastructure and revenue is required. It maybe that the smaller groups could benefit in the long run due to not having the larger outgoings required to operate, but who knows. I think that there will be a lot of drivers that will sit this season out for many reasons, eg, COVID-19 risk, reduced numbers on the grid, not being a full season, the restrictions that are in place at the circuits, and also financial… when times are tough leisure and hobbies are the first things to be reduced.

Q: Do you think the Coronavirus has had an impact on the future of motorsport?

Yes absolutely - and in many ways. But it has also had an impact on everything and everyone in one way or another. I still think it is very much a case of taking each day as it comes and expect the unexpected! None of us were ready for this and I think it will take a long time for things to get back to ‘normal’.

Q: It’s seems unlikely that spectators will be allowed at the circuits for some time yet to enjoy the races. What do you think teams and drivers should expect over the coming months?

I think everyone just needs to go with the flow. I think this is going to be tricky for a lot of drivers and teams. There will always be family and friends that come along to support, motorsport enthusiasts that come long for the fun and this is now restricted. For example, Team7 is a family run team. We have young children that come along to the race weekends. At the moment, the rules are that no children under the age of 16 are allowed at the circuit. I think this will complicate things for drivers that are normally accompanied by their families and if they cant bring their families, they may not attend. It is a little frustration from a personal point of view, as it just seems that the rules are slightly inconsistent - with the likes of going shopping in supermarkets, going out for a meal, to the pub, parks etc - yet Motorsport still seems to be hit hard.

Q: We’re asking everyone at the moment!, so what’s your go-to music track for getting you in the right headspace for a race?

I am always in the groove (haha), but I guess something like Fleetwood Mac Chains or something crazy like Keith Flint - The Fire Starter!

Q: Lastly, yourself and Ed Worthington have launched WASPP during lockdown, how’s that been? Tell us a bit about WASPP, what makes WASPP different to other suppliers, and your future plans…

Yes, exciting stuff. WASPP is a new online shop for Motorsport Performance Parts and accessories. We were due to launch on the first BRSCC race weekend, however, this was not possible due to COVID-19.

However, this has given us time over lock down to work on our marketing and advertising and get the brand circulating. We are supporting the BRSCC MX5 Championship for the 2020/21 Seasons, FunCup car 263 and 249, and also Ginetta G40 Driver Tom Golding.

Our aim is to supply an excellent customer service, quality parts and accessories and to also support the motorsport community as a whole both at the circuit and on line.