Václav Janík acted as both team owner and driver in the 2022 season. What was supposed to be a part-time racing programme grew into a full-season commitment that was hugely successful. Janík Motorsport won the team standings and its driver Petr Semerád fought for the driver’s title.
Let’s summarize the results: the championship-winning team with a Hyundai i30 N and a few Elantras, four race wins, a fight in the driver’s championship, and you personally scored several podium finishes. If someone had told you this at the beginning of the season, how would you have reacted?
Well, first, if someone had told me that I would be racing in TCR, I wouldn’t have believed it. Everything came together just before the first race at Hungaroring. We had one free car, so I said let’s try it. And I enjoyed myself in Hungary – I wasn’t last and I had a lot of fun. Touring car racing is quite the contact sport; I wasn’t used to that in prototypes, so I received a few hits, but as I said, I enjoyed it and learned a couple of things from my younger, but more experienced teammates. So we continued on to Red Bull Ring, where I finished third in both races. Then we continued through the whole season and I scored some more Top 3s. Meanwhile, Petr Semerád fought for the title and, although it didn’t work out, we won team standings. This success is also due to the merits of Jáchym Galáš and Maťo Homola, as they won three races. But it’s been nice to race in TCR Eastern Europe for the first complete season and collect such success.
How difficult is it to combine the roles of team manager and driver?
It was quite demanding because we also had a racing programme in TCR Europe. However, I have a team full of great people who know what to do, so when I was behind the wheel during race weekends, they worked very well and I had less to be worried about. Of course I still had to deal with some things outside of my car and it would have been easier to have focused solely on driving, but it worked quite well.
Let’s move on to the final round of the season. The fight between Bartosz Groszek and your driver Petr Semerád really escalated…
It escalated after Slovakia Ring and continued to do so at Most. I watched their fight for some time because I was driving behind them. I think that if Petr hadn’t had the technical issue that had resulted from the qualifying crash, he would definitely have won the championship. But the season finale was great for the sport.
I think Most will be remembered often in your team. Was there any other special race from the 2022 season?
For sure Red Bull Ring because I finished in the Top 3 for the first time. It was great a weekend, we had a fast car, and everything worked. Even the top drivers weren’t too far away from me. For the first time, I felt that I was able to fight with them.
Your team competed in both TCR Eastern Europe and TCR Europe. Can you compare those two series?
I can compare them from two points of view – driving standards and organization. The organization of the TCR Eastern Europe series is great. I also think that the decisions made by the race stewards were fairer there because politics comes into play in TCR Europe. Overall, in TCR EE, there was nothing wrong. There aren’t many differences between TCR Europe and TCR Eastern Europe. Of course, we are under strict supervision in TCR Europe. For example, inspectors will disassemble doors or gearboxes just to be sure that everything is ok.
And what about driving standards in both series?
The racing is much tougher in TCR Europe, but it’s fair. Most of the drivers are real professionals and handle their cars extremely well, so they know what to expect from their cars. In TCR Eastern Europe, at times it seemed like some drivers didn’t have their cars under control. But that’s my subjective view and I can say so, as I also started at Monza in TCR Europe.
What are your plans for next year?
We are dealing with the next season right now. I can say that we are going to race in TCR; the issue is that there is a date collision with two race weekends between TCR Europe and TCR Eastern Europe. We have to decide in which championship we will race for the whole season and in which we will do a limited programme. We also have some new drivers and the 2023 season programme will be decided soon. Right now, I can say that we’ll enter the Hyundai Elantras and that the old Hyundai i30s will be sold.