Section: BTCC

BTCC: Clio champ looking forward to BTCC graduation

Mike Bushell will follow a long line of Clio Cup graduates when he takes on BTCC in 2015 and the Kent racer is looking forward to every second of it.

Despite many team/driver announcements still to be made ahead of the new season there’s every chance that the number of former Clio Cup drivers on the grid will reach double figures.

Former BTCC champion Andrew Jordan is arguably the standout name but Sam Tordoff, Aron Smith, Dave Newsham and of course Mat Jackson have all gone on to win multiple races in Britain’s premier series having previously cut their teeth in the popular feeder series.

The most recent Clio Cup champion to have made a successful graduation to the BTCC is Jack Goff, who followed up his title-winning season with a podium grabbing campaign in the BTCC.

“Many drivers have come from Clios into the BTCC so it seems to be a very good route,” said Bushell. “It hasn’t actually sunk in yet if I’m honest and I think I’m quite modest about it all. It’s great to have won the championship but moving up to touring cars now – well I didn’t quite expect to be here. I’ve just sort of followed a path and it has taken me to some great places.

“Going into the BTCC as a Clio champion maybe shows that I’ve earned a place on the grid – it’s much better to have done it that way and to feel like a proven driver as such.”

Bushell has already contested a one-off weekend in the BTCC, driving the newly built Team Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze at Knockhill back in 2013. The young talent performed well, despite admitting he wasn’t entirely ready for the step-up, as he qualified the car in 17th before narrowly missing out on the points in the opening two races. He also had a run in a Motorbase Ford Focus back in October as part of his prize for winning the Clio Cup.

“When I did the BTCC event previously I think I was still a little naïve but I feel much better prepared this time around,” claims Bushell. “I like to be calm and follow a specific routine and thought process, which has stood me in good stead so far in my career. It helps having had a taste of the BTCC and if I can approach it in the same way as I have done with Clios then I should be okay. Touch wood I can have a good year.”

His rookie season will take place under the stewardship of AmDTuning boss Shaun Hollamby, whose invaluable experience both behind the wheel and on the pitwall is likely to be vital. The Essex-based team developed its Ford Focus throughout 2014 with Dave Newsham’s Knockhill podium being the highlight of the season.

25-year-old Bushell admits rostrums are a long way from his mind at this moment in time, with his main focus being to get some test mileage under his belt.

“It’s nice to see the car finished and it looks great,” he concluded. “I haven’t driven it yet but I’m looking forward to getting some testing done. Once I get the first run completed then I can progress. I haven’t set any targets and if I’m honest I have no idea how I’m going to do.

“I’m hoping to do three or four test days, including the BTCC Media Day, but it all depends on budget. I’m really looking forward to the year.”


BTCC: Andy Priaulx signs for WSR for 2015

Triple World Champion Andy Priaulx MBE will make a sensational return to the BTCC in 2015 after joining West Surrey Racing.

The long-time BMW driver has previously won the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) and World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) for the German giant and will now be looking to add a BTCC crown to his illustrious list of achievements.

Having last raced in Britain’s premier motorsport series during the 2002 season, taking one victory, Priaulx later joined BMW’s assault on the ETCC. The Guernseyman claimed the title the following year before going on to take a hat-trick of World Touring Car Championships between 2005-2007. His unparalleled triumphs were then officially recognised in 2008 when he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

A move to the DTM followed and in recent seasons the factory BMW driver has competed in top-level sportscar racing across the globe, winning legendary races at both the Nürburgring and Sebring.

Priaulx’s adaptability in driving many different machines throughout his career will stand him in good stead during the upcoming season where he will dovetail his BTCC campaign with his ongoing sportscar commitments.

In a return that the man himself has hailed ‘unfinished business’, the IHG-backed driver will race one of WSR’s all-conquering BMW 125i M Sports in 2015 – a car that claimed all four BTCC titles it was eligible for last season.

Following today’s (8 January) historical announcement at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, Priaulx will commence an intensive BTCC test programme before the opening round of the season at Brands Hatch on 5 April.

The BTCC is enjoying one of the most successful eras in its long history with capacity grids and record trackside attendances. TV viewing figures are also at an all-time high with every race being screened live and free-to-air across the UK. No fewer than seven former champions entered the bumper-to-bumper action last season, where WSR driver Colin Turkington eventually claimed overall honours.

With the level of competition being greater than ever Priaulx recognises the challenge that lies ahead in 2015, and it’s a challenge that the tin top legend is looking forward to immensely.


BTCC: Andrew Jordan joins works MG Triple Eight Squad

Andrew Jordan will mount a bold new bid for BTCC success in 2015 after securing a lead place in the works MG team with Triple Eight Racing.

Jordan, the 2013 BTCC champion, and his prime sponsor Pirtek will move to the car and team that took the 2014 manufacturers’ title in a major new phase of his British Touring Car Championship career and Jordan says he is excited about his prospects for the coming season.

“We looked at a lot of different options for 2015 and it came down to deciding on the package that gave us the best chance of winning the championship,” he said. “It is a complete change for all of us and I’m really positive about it. This is a fabulous opportunity for me and my loyal sponsors to race a manufacturer-backed car from an iconic brand.”

Triple Eight is the most successful team in the BTCC field and the MG6 GT is a proven race-winning package. The 2015 season will be the squad’s 19th year in the BTCC, while MG is the fastest-growing automotive brand in the UK.

Andrew raced for the Triple Eight team in his second season in the BTCC back in 2009. “Now I’m going back with a lot more experience to try and lead the team to the championship,” he added.

For the 25-year-old racer from Lichfield, who has already taken 14 BTCC wins and 41 podiums, the move away from a family-run team is a major step. “I want to be more prepared than I have been in the past and this package will allow me to focus 100% on the job of driving. From my pre-event planning to my mental approach and fitness, I need to make sure that I am more prepared than ever in every aspect.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of moving to a different team and am very open to take on board as much as possible from their NGTC knowledge. I believe, with what Triple Eight has learnt over the last three years of NGTC and what I have learnt myself, we will be able to make gains through our winter testing programme.”


BTCC: Tordoff signs for WSR

Race winner Sam Tordoff has joined West Surrey Racing for the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The 25-year-old joins the reigning and multiple championship winning team after two successful years with MG, where he scored two BTCC victories. Tordoff has also taken four pole positions in the series and a total of 12 podium finishes.

Prior to his involvement in the BTCC Tordoff experienced front-running campaigns in the Renault Clio Cup UK and Porsche Carrera Cup GB.

Now looking forward to his third season in Britain’s best and toughest championship, Tordoff will drive a WSR-built, developed and run BMW 125i M Sport in 2015.

The Yorkshire-based racer is the first of three pilots to be announced by the team as the squad will again run a trio of BMWs in the high level tin-top series.

“I am delighted to be joining WSR,” said Tordoff. “They’ve just won four different titles in 2014 – including Colin Turkington’s drivers’ championship – so I believe I am joining the best team on the grid.

“I’ve got to know some of the team already and the work ethic at WSR fits perfectly with mine. They’re an extremely professional outfit that plan meticulously to win, so I can’t wait to get started. I’ve had two good seasons in the BTCC but now is the time for me to mount a championship challenge and I feel I’m now at the best place to do exactly that.”

WSR Team Principal, Dick Bennetts, said: “We’ve watched Sam’s development closely over the last few years and he’s progressed extremely well in the BTCC.

“I have enjoyed working with emerging talents throughout my career and we believe Sam has the ability to become a champion in the future. Everyone in the team is delighted with his signing and we welcome him to West Surrey Racing, where we hope together we can enjoy great success.”


BTCC: MG to return 2015

MG confirmed that it will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2015 with the MG6 GT.

MG Head of Marketing, Matthew Cheyne, said “I am delighted to be able to confirm that MG will return to defend its title as BTCC manufacturer champions in 2015.  The three-year programme to race the MG6 GT with Triple Eight has proved so successful both on and off track that there was little doubt we would return in 2015.”

MG’s BTCC engineering partner, Triple Eight Race Engineering, is working on an exciting new-look driver line-up for 2015, which will see the MG6 GT’s re-branded and given a fresh look, courtesy of a host of new sponsors joining the team next year.

Cheyne, continued: “The MG brand is iconic and Triple Eight are the most successful team in the history of BTCC, as such together we are an attractive proposition and believe we will be in contention to defend our title next year. The BTCC has never been in such good shape and with a full grid containing a wide range of manufacturers and models, plus rising attendance and viewing figures, I am excited at the prospects for 2015 for MG, Triple Eight, our drivers, sponsors and of course our loyal and growing worldwide MG fan base.

“The BTCC programme has been a key part in re-establishing the MG brand in the UK and also globally. It has raised awareness of the brand with TV, online and press coverage that is not only followed in the UK but also across the world. The MG6 GT race car was designed to resemble the road car as closely as possible and in addition to the on-track programme,we have also operated a very successful mobile showroom next to the track, so BTCC fans can see and touch the latest MG6 and MG3 products.”

Triple Eight Race Engineering Managing Director and co-founder, Ian Harrison, commented: “We’re very much looking forward to next year, our fourth with MG and 19th in the BTCC. Over the past three years we’ve taken more race wins than any other constructor and manufacturer, and next year we are intent on extending that run of form. There’s little doubt that 2015 will be even more competitive than this year as teams get a handle on developing their cars, but we’re confident we’ve assembled the right elements to take it to the other teams and ensure we’re in the mix by the end of the year.”

MG is currently the fastest growing automotive brand in the UK with sales up 573 percent year to date (SMMT data). The MG6 is already a favourite with MG owners for its drivability, affordability and exceptionally high levels of standard equipment included and was also voted by owners to be the Best Handling and sixth overall Best Car to Own in the 2014 Auto Express Driver Power Awards.


BTCC: Champion Colin Turkington talking to other teams for 2015

British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington has admitted that he may need to switch teams to continue in the championship next season.

Turkington took the 2014 title with the West Surrey Racing BMW squad, which lost main sponsor eBay last week.

Although the team is looking for a replacement backer, and Turkington is keen to stay, he admitted that he is now looking at different options.

“With eBay not being involved it is making it difficult for me to be there,” said Turkington, who was forced out of the BTCC after taking his first crown – also with WSR – in 2009. “It came as a real surprise to all of us.

“My number one priority is to be on the BTCC grid. I see myself as a British Touring Car driver and I don’t want a repeat of 2009-10.

“I am talking to other teams. At the moment I am unattached.”

Turkington also said he was happy to race rear-wheel-drive machines, like WSR’s BMW 125i M Sport, or front-wheel-drive cars, which form the majority of the grid.

“You want to put yourself in the car that has the best chance to win, irrespective of whether it’s FWD or RWD,” he added.

“I’ve done both before and been successful.”

Read more at Autosport

BTCC: New team launches in support of Help for Heroes

Stirling Motorsport Management has today launched an exciting new initiative that will nurture upcoming British motorsport talent, racing to raise awareness and funds for Help for Heroes.

As an official Help for Heroes charity partner, the #RacingforHeroes team will participate in five championships across the 2015 TOCA package; its ultimate aim to run a motorsport team led and raced entirely by veterans in the pinnacle of British Motorsports – The British Touring Car Championship.

For 2015 the team will compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Renault Clio Cup UK and the newly formed MSA Formula Championship.

#RacingforHeroes has handpicked five young and talented British drivers, all of whom are taking a step forward in their careers and debuting in a new championship in 2015. All drivers are fully committed to competing next year to make a difference to the recovery of our wounded veterans. They are Josh Files, Josh Cook, Tom Butler, Zac Chapman and Jess Hawkins.

The team will be led by founder Peter Thorpe, who commented, “We as a group are so proud to launch such an exciting team into British Motorsports, in support of Help for Heroes. It’s a unique idea, forging relationships between drivers and sponsors, offering our partners what is the biggest PR and Marketing platform in British Motorsport.”

Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder Help for Heroes: “When Stirling Motorsport approached us with the exciting idea for #RacingforHeroes, we knew immediately they shared our passion and ‘can-do’ attitude. The team is committed to fundraising and providing opportunities for our wounded through motorsport. We wish them every success and hope British racing fans will get behind the team.”

The team of cars, drivers, engineers and support staff will all be identically branded, and proud to fly the flag for home grown talent and our wounded. From today, #RacingforHeroes will be looking for brand partners and sponsors to support the project when it starts racing in 2015.


BTCC: British Touring Car Championship 2014 Review

ITV4 Sunday 23 November 2014 @ 18:00

A look back at the 2014 season, which featured 10 meetings, starting and ending at Brands Hatch, with the likes of Colin Turkington and Jason Plato challenging for the title.

You will see all the best moments from the season, both on track and off track, right up until Colin claimed his second BTCC title at Brands Hatch in October. There will be some all new and exclusive content too, including ITV’s trip to West Surrey Racing’s HQ to speak with the newly crowned champ.

Presented by Louise Goodman.

Repeated ITV4 Saturday 29 November 2014 @ 10:40

BTCC: Clio Cup Champion Mike Bushell Joins can today confirm that it has agreed terms with newly-crowned Renault Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell to spearhead its challenge on the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The 25-year-old from Tunbridge Wells joins the team on the back of an impressive 2014 season, where he secured four wins and four further podiums en-route to the Clio Cup crown.

Having made clear his intentions to move into the BTCC as soon as the title was secured, moved quickly to agree a deal with Mike, who will be at the wheel of the team’s Ford Focus for his first full season in the series.

Although classed as a rookie, Mike has one previous outing in the BTCC to his name at Knockhill in 2013 where, in a one-off outing in a Chevrolet Cruze, he qualified within eight-tenths of a second of pole and only missed out on scoring debut points when he was taken out of race three.

He also recently tested with the Motorbase Performance team in its Ford Focus as part of his prize for winning the Clio Cup.

Mike’s debut for will come at Brands Hatch in early April 2015, with the team keen to try and put a full testing programme in place for the off-season.

“Winning the Clio Cup this year was a massive achievement for me, and I can’t believe that I’m now sat here knowing that I’ll be in the BTCC next season,” he said. “I’ve been speaking to Shaun for a while and it’s fantastic to have agreed a deal so early in the off-season.

“I actually feel quite humbled to be joining the BTCC as there is no other championship like it out there. You only have to look at the grid this year to see it is full of drivers who have won championships, and I’m under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead.

“Early on, my focus will simply be on finishing races and building on the experience I gained when I did my one event in 2013, but I’m confident of quickly getting up to speed. The Ford is a proven package and it felt quite suited to my driving style when I sampled the Motorbase car. The team has a skilled group of people working on it, so there is no reason why I can’t be competitive and push for some strong results as the season goes on.

“I’m hoping that Vital Software and, who were two of my main backers in Clios, will be involved again next year and I just want to thank Shaun and for giving me this chance.

“I’m very excited and can’t wait to get started!”

Team boss Shaun Hollamby said he was delighted to welcome Mike into the team having been impressed with his performances in one of the BTCC’s most competitive support series in recent seasons.

“We’re delighted to be able to agree a deal with Mike for 2015, and it is ideal for both parties to have an agreement in place so soon,” he said. “It’s given us time to work on finalising our sponsorship plans for next year, and we are keen to speak to people who want to support a young British driver who we believe can do big things in the BTCC next year.


BTCC: Infiniti and support our paras racing enter BTCC in 2015

Innovative new not-for-profit team will enter the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2015 with a pair of manufacturer-backed Infiniti Q50s.

Specific aim to help raise both awareness and funds for ‘Support Our Paras’ charity

Premium car manufacturer Infiniti, along with Support Our Paras Racing, today revealed the car and team — to be known as ‘Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing’ — that will be entered into next season’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The aim of the team is to specifically help raise awareness and funds for Support Our Paras, the official charity of The Parachute Regiment, one of the most iconic Regiments in the British Army.

The team, overseen by Team Principal Derek Palmer, will consist of a number of injured Paratroopers who will work on the cars to prepare them not only for race weekends, but also maintain their maximum efficiency throughout the hectic schedule of a BTCC season.

The team has also set itself the ultimate long-term goal of developing, training and ensuring an injured Paratrooper graduates through the racing ranks to pilot an Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing car in the future.

“We’ve set ourselves a number of significant, but achievable targets,” Team Principal Palmer stated. “Of course we are aware of the challenges ahead of us, but with the united forces of The Paras and Infiniti, we believe we have the power to deliver results in the BTCC.”

The introduction of the new team coincides with the amalgamation of the two main Parachute Regiment charities. At the beginning of next year, the former Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust will merge with the Parachute Regiment Charity, and operate under the new name ‘Support Our Paras’.

Colin Smith, CEO of Afghanistan Trust, and to be Director of Operations for Support Our Paras charity, said: “I know the overall impact will be tremendous now that the team has finally launched. This is something totally different. It’s employing injured Paratroopers and they can eventually make a career out of this; that has never happened before.”

Steve Oliver, Infiniti Regional Director for North Europe, commented: “To have an Infiniti on the starting grid in the BTCC next year will be an exciting event on its own, but to have the car represent the Parachute Regiment’s main charity makes it exceptionally worthwhile.  Infiniti is establishing itself as a main player in the premium sector in the UK, with sales on the increase, a new design Centre in Paddington London and from next year we will manufacture the first Infiniti for Europe outside of Japan from the plant based in Sunderland. These race cars reinforce our commitment to the UK and provide an ideal platform to link together two truly British establishments, The Parachute Regiment and the BTCC.”

The two NGTC Infiniti Q50 race cars will be driven by Richard Hawken (Walton-on-Thames) — who has won three championships at club level and tested for Speedworks in 2013 — and Derek Palmer Jnr (Lanark/Zurich). Both drivers have raced successfully in Super Touring Cars in recent years.

“I’m extremely proud to be associated with the Parachute Regiment, honoured to work with, and be associated with, the guys and to be part of the team entering the BTCC,” said Palmer, who has race experience in Dutch Touring Cars, Historic Touring Cars, as well as FIA GT, British GT and European GT Championships. “Infiniti’s aspirations perfectly align with those of the team.”

Hawken too is delighted to be making the step into Britain’s biggest and most high-profile motorsport championship, the BTCC — which consists of ten race meetings at the UK’s leading circuits, and 30 races — with Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing.

“To have Infiniti support us in the BTCC is a dream come true,” he admitted. “To know that I am doing something special, to raise the profile and awareness of the Support Our Paras Charity, is quite simply an honour and a privilege. These guys put their neck on the line for us every day in their normal duties. When they do get injured we should all collectively do what we can by way of a personal thank you and contribute to the charity, which helps to give them as normal-a-life as possible.”

The new team, which has the non-financial, full backing of The Parachute Regiment, will ensure that much-needed funds are raised for the welfare and benevolence of injured Paras and their families.

Fundraising for the Armed Forces in the United Kingdom has dropped down 30-40% in the last two years because of the drawdown in Afghanistan. But the problem doesn’t go away. The Parachute Regiment lost 26 soldiers during the campaign in Afghanistan, with more than 130 others wounded. The charity also looks after the families of the wounded and those who have lost their loved ones.

All profits generated by the Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing Team will be donated to the ‘Support Our Paras’ charity.

The team will be operating out of a newly-refurbished HQ at Mallory Park. The Leicestershire race circuit started life as Royal Air Force Station Kirkby Mallory, a standby landing ground during WWII before closing in 1947.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s, Series Director, Alan Gow, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome a new manufacturer to the BTCC and particularly a premium brand such as Infiniti. There’s a great initiative behind the team too, with the ‘Support Our Paras’ charity being such a worthwhile cause.  The record-breaking 2014 BTCC season concluded in fine style at Brands Hatch last weekend and the interest in the series continues to grow year-on-year.” He continued, “these entries from Infiniti are further testament to that and we look forward to welcoming the team to Britain’s best championship in 2015.”