We might still be 10 weeks away from the first race of the 2013 MSA BTCC season, but things are still fired up behind the scenes. ESM’s BTCC Correspondent brings more news, with the return of a former champion and ESM favourite. Read on:
The big news from the BTCC this week involves the announcement that Colin Turkington is returning to the grid for the forthcoming season. 2009 champion Turkington, has signed a deal with WSR/eBay Motors to drive their new BMW 125is, alongside Rob Collard and Nick Foster. I am absolutely delighted to see Turkington return for the 2013 season and I can’t wait to see him back out on track. He won a fantastic championship in 2009 despite facing some stiff competition. I doubt whether he’ll be able to go all the way in his first season back, but with the support of WSR/eBay Motors I’m sure we’ll be seeing him on the podium throughout the year. I think WSR/eBay Motors have a really strong driver line-up this year and I think their success will depend on how quickly they can get the new BMW 125is up to speed. Best of luck to them!
In my previous round-up I was quite excited by all the news coming out of Team HARD. Since then, the team have completed their driver line-up with Tony Gilham confirming himself, as predicted, and also signing up former British Formula Ford champion James Cole to drive their other Vauxhall Insignia. It remains to be seen how competitive their Insignias will be, as last season it looked a bit of a tortoise to be fair, albeit run by a different team.
I am delighted to report that Rob Austin Racing (RAR) will be entering two Audi A4s for all races this season thanks to a new sponsorship deal. I have been hugely impressed by RAR since their entry into the BTCC in 2011. I think they have improved greatly and now Rob has managed to secure a sponsorship deal with Wix Filters, I am sure the team will grow to be even stronger. In addition to this, RAR have also confirmed that Will Bratt will continue to race for the team in 2013. Bratt completed the second half of the season with RAR, showing good promise.
As previously announced, Adam Morgan will continue to race a Toyota Avensis this season but under his own team name of Ciceley Racing rather than for Speedworks. The team have recently released the following image of what the car is likely to look like:
Another image that has been recently released is from AmDTuning.com. The team have announced that they will start the season with their VW Golf in S2000 spec, but will also be entering a 5 door (rather than the 3 door shown below) NGTC Vauxhall Astra at the halfway point in the season.
I hope the team have more luck with the Astra as the Golf has, surprisingly, never really been able to get to grips with the trials and tribulations of the BTCC. Ollie Jackson certainly improved the results of the Golf compared to team principal Shaun Hollamby, but it remains to be seen if he will be signed for the new campaign.
And finally… Andy Neate has announced that he will be racing, or at least trying to, next season in a Chevrolet Cruze run by his own newly created team, IP Tech Race Engineering. The team will initially prepare one Cruze, with the hope of adding another later in the season. I sincerely mean this Andy- good luck, you’ll need it!
The return of Colin Turkington deserves to be celebrated, and ESM is extremely pleased to see him back in the BTCC. For such a talented driver to take the title, then find himself out of a seat for the next season, was a cruel situation. Hopefully he’ll be able to make up for lost time on 2013.