__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

THIS MONTH… • FAREWELL TO THE HONDA FK2 • DAVID BARTRUM BOWS OUT • JADE EDWARDS JOINS THE GRID • SPEEDWORKS EXPANDS • THE LATEST BTCC NEWS

JANUARY 2021 EDITION


WELCOME TO INSIDE BTCC relaunched Inside H aving BTCC with our 2020

season review prior to Christmas, it’s now time to move into the new year with the first edition of 2021.

The aim is that Inside BTCC will now become a regular, monthly publication with a range of feature material that you won’t find on the various websites providing news coverage of the series.

In this issue of Inside BTCC, we’ll be re-capping what has happened since the 2020 season drew to a close at Brands Hatch in November. with our news in brief covering all the headlines.

From there, we head into our big features for the month, which includes a chat with outgoing Motorbase boss David Bartrum after he took

the decision to sell his team to Shaun Hollamby and Pete Osborne.

The chat with Bartrum covers the Motorbase BTCC story to this point as he reflects on years of success in the series.

Another team undergoing change this year is Speedworks as the Toyota team finally expands to run two cars after years of rumours.

We caught up with team boss Christian Dick to explain why now is the right time, and to learn more about the driver line-up he has put together for 2021.

Jade Edwards took time from her schedule to reflect on her switch to BTC Racing for a full season in the series and chats about that deal, and what she

is hoping to achieve from 2021.

And then finally, we look back at the record-breaking car that is the Honda Civic FK2 as it bows out of the series for the final time.

The likes of Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan, Jack Goff and Rory Butcher share their memories of a car that has won more BTCC races than any other, and we look back at the different chassis that did battle on track.

Should there be anything you want to see in future editions, please drop us a line through our social channels or you can send us an email on contact@insidebtcc.com and let us know.

Until then, enjoy!


NEWS IN BRIEF THE GRID IS TAKING SHAPE FOR 2021 AS TEAMS AND DRIVERS ANNOUNCE THEIR PLANS FOR THE SEASON

I

t’s been a busy offseason to date for both teams and drivers as the grid starts to take shape for the 2021 BTCC season.

Adam Morgan will once again lead the driver line-up for the family run team, as he seeks to launch a title challenge for the first time.

Despite issues caused by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that Britain has now officially left the European Union, there has been no shortage of news over the winter…

“Although our philosophy as a team is to enjoy our racing, we definitely enjoy it more when we’re winning!" he said. "Next season will be yet another massive learning curve for us all, but we are still hungry for success."

CICELEY SWITCH TO BMW Ciceley Motorsport will swap from Mercedes to BMW for 2021 after agreeing a deal to buy two cars from West Surrey Racing.

Morgan will be joined by Tom Chilton as he switches over from BTC Racing after a single season.

“I am really looking forward to joining Ciceley Motorsport in

their new era," Chilton admitted.

"They are a great team, and the BMW will be ultracompetitive.

"I make no secret of my desire to change my lucky racing number three into the coveted number one and truly believe that the team and will provide me with the platform required to achieve my aim."

The two Mercedes have been sold on to Team HARD.

NEW RULES COME IN FOR 2021 A number of minor rule tweaks have been introduced for 2021 after discussions between


TOCA and the competing teams.

The 'Top Ten Showdown' qualifying format seen at Snetterton last year will also be used at Donington Park and Silverstone, whilst the option tyre will return after being canned for 2020.

Oulton Park, Croft Snetterton and Knockhill will all see two different compound of tyre being used by teams, with the remaining events using a single tyre.

First place will now result in an additional 75kg being added up from 60kg in 2020.

"I’ve no doubt James will bring great equanimity to the role.”

JAMES COLE NAMED DRIVING STANDARDS ADVISOR Former race winner James Cole will return to the paddock in 2021 as TOCA’s new Driving Standards Advisor.

TEAM HARD REVEALS FIRST THREE DRIVERS Team HARD has announced the first three drivers it will run for 2021 when it introduces the new Cupra Leon into the series.

Cole replaces Jeff Allam after he took the decision to stand down from the position at the end of the 2020 season.

Drivers will only have to nominate which tyre they will use in which race as they prepare to leave the pits to take up their place on the grid.

“James has the ideal background for this important role," series boss Alan Gow said.

Success ballast also changes after it became clear that the latest generation of NGTC cars appear to be more comfortable carrying extra weight.

"He has raced in our championship over the course of six years in both front and rear wheel-drive current generation BTCC cars, is a race-winner and has been in the thick of the modern BTCC environment.

Jack Goff returns for a third season having inked a new two-year deal with Tony Gilham’s outfit, with the goal of adding to the win he took in the VW CC back in 2019.

"I can’t thank Tony, the team and of course my sponsors enough for this opportunity to finalise a two-year deal as we race into the hybrid era," he said.

"Securing a drive always takes a lot of time and planning, so to have this sorted means I can focus on getting myself and the team back to winning


ways over the next two seasons.”

Having raced for the team in the final rounds of 2020, Glynn Geddie has signed up for a full season, whilst former race winner Aron Taylor-Smith returns to the series after a couple of years away in sportscars.

“Watching from the sidelines this year made me realise how much I miss the BTCC," he said. "It’s a championship like no other and I was determined to get back on the grid for 2021.

"It’s a big deal to return to the BTCC and I am really looking forward to getting stuck in at Brands.”

LASER TOOLS EXPANDS, PARTNERS WITH TEAM HARD Ash Sutton will defend his title in an expanded Laser Tools Racing line-up after it announced plans to run a third car.

Now working alongside Team HARD, Laser Tools will bring in Carl Boardley to partner Sutton and Aiden Moffat during the season ahead as it looks to build on the title success it enjoyed in 2020.

“It’s great to have the addition of Carl and Team HARD for the up-and-coming season," Sutton said.

"To have a third Infiniti on the grid will benefit in many ways, speeding up the development with the car, conditions and direction of setup changes throughout a weekend.

“My personal goal for next year is no different to the goal me and the crew set out for last season and that was to win.

"But this time we have the added bonus of already having raced at each track, which means we will be more prepared coming into each weekend and able to attack

with a clearer direction of what we want.”

Boardley himself will hope to move up the pecking order having spent 2020 in an exWSR BMW 125i M Sport.

“For me, to continue in the championship required a clear vision and a path in which to enable me to challenge with the front runners," he said.

"Getting my hands on an Infiniti Q50 at this early stage provides us with a solid platform to prepare everything off track so we can hit the ground running when it all kicks off.”

INGRAM SWAPS SPEEDWORKS FOR EXCELR8 Tom Ingram will move from Speedworks to EXCELR8 for 2021 to lead the Hyundai programme.

Ingram's departure from Speedworks after seven seasons came as a result of


'conflicting commercial considerations' between team and driver.

saying that there’s a lot more potential – and pace – still to be extracted.

Instead, the former series runner-up will lead EXCELR8’s expanded four-car line-up having signed a multi-year deal.

"I will be very surprised if we’re not a genuine contender for the championship this season – both the Independents’ title and the main one.”

"When it became clear that commercially, we would not be able to continue with Speedworks, I spoke to a number of BTCC teams and to be honest, this was probably one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever had to make,' he said. "We immediately ‘clicked’, right from the very first conversation.

“This feels like the start of something really, really exciting – I don’t regard it as a step backwards in any way. From a performance perspective, I actually see it as a step forwards.

"The Hyundai has developed significantly over the past year, and it goes without

"I’m hopeful that we can push for more silverware and fight for race wins during 2021, which has to be the ultimate goal."

The fourth driver is still to be confirmed.

Ingram will be partnered at EXCELR8 by Chris Smiley as he returns for a second season, and by Jack Butel as he switches over from Ciceley Motorsport.

BTC RACING REVEALS 2021 TRIO BTC Racing has confirmed a new-look three car line-up for 2021, when the team will operate under a revised ownership structure.

"Last year was a real challenge for us with a new car because the pandemic meant we couldn’t go out and do as much testing as we wanted to do," Smiley said.

Steve Dudman has taken full control of the Honda team, which has retained the services of both Josh Cook and Jack Sears Trophy winner Michael Crees.

"Despite that, we showed the potential of the Hyundai, secured a podium finish and were regularly fighting in the points, and I’m feeling positive about what we can achieve this season with everything we were able to learn in 2020.

“We had a difficult start to 2020 but we hit the second half of the year with three wins, multiple fastest laps and a pole position – we were back where we should have been," Cook admits.


TOCA BTCC LICENCE LIST TEAM

TBLS

TEAM

TBL S

AIDEN MOFFAT RACING

1

POWER MAXED RACING

2

BMR RACING

1

SPEEDWORKS MOTORSPORT

2

BOARDLEY MOTORSPORT

2

TEAM DYNAMICS

2

BTC RACING

3

TEAM HARD

3

CICELEY MOTORSPORT

2

TRADE PRICE CARS RACING

2

EXCELR8 MOTORSPORT

2

WEST SURREY RACING

3

MOTORBASE PERFORMANCE

4

RETAINED BY TOCA

3

"With the new management structure recently announced at BTC Racing, we are all even more determined to keep pushing forwards."

"I’m super excited to be staying with BTC Racing and competing in the BTCC again next season,” Crees added.

“I have learnt so much from Josh, which massively developed me as a driver. I am buzzing and really looking forward to racing the same car for a second season, for the first time in my career."

With Tom Chilton moving over to Ciceley, his place in the line-up will be taken by Jade Edwards as she makes the step up to the BTCC on a fulltime basis after her one-off outing with Power Maxed Racing last year.

As well as a revised driver line-up, BTC will also switch engine supplier for 2021 as it reverts to the Swindondeveloped TOCA unit.

Since switching to the FK8 Honda, the team has run the same Neil Brown-developed unit as Team Dynamics.

It will mark the first time that the FK8 has run on something other than the Neil Brown engine.

MOTORBASE TAKEN OVER Motorbase Performance will have new owners in 2021 after being taken over by Shaun Hollamby and Pete Osborne.

Effectively a merger of AmD Tuning and Motorbase, the team will run four Ford Focus STs.

“For me personally, this is closing one chapter in my involvement with the BTCC as well as starting a new one,” Hollamby said.

“We had some great times as AmD Tuning in this amazing championship and I want to thank everybody involved through all those years. Every season, we have grown in stature and that has led us to what we are able to do today."

Jake Hill will lead the driver line-up in one of two cars being entered under the MB Motorsport.

That is result of an extension of the deal agreed between Hollamby and Mark Blundell last year.

“I was delighted when I heard everything had been brought together and I’d be behind the wheel of a Ford Focus this coming season," Hill said.

"The Honda Civic was a big step forward for me and I loved every race in it, but this announcement sees us as a team go to another level again, and takes my ambitions for the season ahead to a new level as well."

A full feature with David Bartrum can be found later in this edition.

TOCA UNVEIL 2021 TBL LIST A 29 car grid is set to do battle on track in 2021 after the list of TOCA BTCC Licences was officially released.

Usually announced prior to Christmas, the full list was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and features a full grid.

TOCA has once again retained the two TBLs that it controls and which have previously been used 'on loan', whilst the licence returned by Simpson


Racing last season has not been reallocated.

we have a full entry," Alan Gow said.

programmes in the Porsche Carrera Cup and sportscars

The changes compared to 2020 see the departure of Team Parker Racing after its TBL was sold to Carl Boardley, who will use the licence to run his Infiniti Q50 with Laser Tools Racing.

"Even more remarkable is the fact that a third of the grid will be new-build cars that have been constructed in the offseason. All of which means that we have yet another fabulous, and even more unpredictable, season in store.”

SEASON START DELAYED WITH REVISED CALENDAR The new season will kick off five weeks later than planned after TOCA issued a revised schedule for 2021.

His second TBL will still be used by HARD to run its fourcar Cupra programme this season.

TEAM PARKER BOWS OUT Team Parker Racing’s time in the BTCC is at an end after six seasons after it failed to appear on the entry list for 2021.

The two Trade Price Cars TBLs will now move over to EXCELR8 for 2021 having been part of the AmD Tuning line-up for the past two seasons.

The two TBLs that were under the control of AmD are now split after the purchase of Motorbase Performance, with one being used to run a fourth Ford Focus and the other being sold to Speedworks.

“Although we are all going through this most incredibly gruelling period, it’s enormous testament to the strength and popularity of the BTCC that

The team joined the grid in 2015 running a Ford Focus for Alex Martin and has fielded Stephen Jelley’s BMW for the last three years.

Jelley took the team’s sole win at Oulton Park in 2019 in the race where Jake Hill and Matt Neal suffered their controversial clash whilst dicing for the lead.

The sale of the team's TBL and BMW to Carl Boardley will see it now focus on on its

The decision to delay the campaign has been taken in order to maximise the opportunity for fans to attend races, after the full 2020 season was run behind closed doors.

Putting the opening rounds of the season back will hopefully also allow teams to welcome sponsors back to events something which had a major impact on programmes last year across the TOCA paddock.

Thruxton now hosts the season opener in early May with Snetterton moving up to become round two of the year and Brands Indy becoming round three.

REVISED 2021 BTCC CALENDAR ROUNDS

DATE

CIRCUIT

1-2-3

8/9 MAY

THRUXTON

4-5-6

15/16 MAY

SNETTERTON 300

7-8-9

12/13 JUNE

BRANDS HATCH INDY

10-11-12

31 JULY / 1 AUGUST

OULTON PARK ISLAND

13-14-15

14/15 AUGUST

KNOCKHILL

16-17-18

28/29 AUGUST

THRUXTON

19-20-21

18/19 SEPTEMBER

CROFT

22-23-24

25/26 SEPTEMBER

SILVERSTONE NATIONAL

25-26-27

9/10 OCTOBER

DONINGTON PARK NATIONAL

28-29-30

23/24 OCTOBER

BRANDS HATCH GP


After the summer break, the action will resume at Oulton Park before heading for Knockhill and back to Thruxton.

Croft becomes round seven before the trip to Silverstone, with Donington Park moving to the tail end of the year to become the penultimate round.

Brands GP retains the finale and has moved to a date in late October.

GOODYEAR DEAL EXTENDED TO 2026 Goodyear’s long-time partnership with the BTCC will continue until at least the end of the 2026 season after a new, extended deal was confirmed with TOCA.

The new agreement will come into force for the 2022 season, when the existing deal comes to an end, and will see Goodyear continue to act as sole tyre supplier - a role it

took over from sister brand Dunlop last year.

our partnership with Goodyear through to the end of 2026.

Goodyear will also retain title sponsorship rights, although it has handed those rights to Kwik Fit for the last two years as part of a partnership to boost awareness of the series to a wider market.

"Goodyear has been an incredibly proactive and engaged partner of the BTCC for so many years and their ongoing commitment will help the championship continue to thrive into the future.”

When the extended agreement comes to an end, the partnership between the series and Goodyear will have been in place for nearly a quarter of a century.

POWER MAXED RACING RE-AFFIRMS 2021 PLANS Power Maxed Racing has reaffirmed its plans for the 2021 season after the coronavirus pandemic saw it revise its 2020 programme.

“The BTCC having a strong technical tyre partner is a key component of our success," series boss Alan Gow said.

"As well, being the first major touring car championship to confirm its pathway for introducing hybrid technology, Goodyear is a hugely significant part of it.

“This is a very exciting period for the championship, and I’m pleased that we will continue

The team decided to pause its two-car programme last season as a result of COVID-19, with the Vauxhall squad instead running a single car for guest drivers - which included Jade Edwards, Jessica Hawkins and Rob Austin.

At the point at which the programme was paused last year, PMR insisted that Jason Plato would remain part of the


driver line-up, and the team has confirmed that that remains the case, with his team-mate still to be confirmed.

Mat Jackson had been due to race the second Astra last year but isn’t expected to be part of the programme this time around.

“Obviously 2020 was less than ideal for many of us, but, for me at least, it gave me time to put a lot of things into perspective," Plato said.

"I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot more time than I normally would at home with the family, but I’m itching to get back in a race car now.

three wins to become the first driver in series history to reach 100 victories.

colours and will give it my absolute all both on and offtrack."

RORY BUTCHER TO SPEARHEAD SPEEDWORKS PROGRAMME Rory Butcher will lead the Speedworks challenge in 2021 after being signed as lead driver for the team’s two-car programme.

Butcher will be partnered by Sam Smelt, who returns to the series for the first time since 2018 when he spent a season in an AmD Tuning-run Audi.

The Scot makes the move to the Toyota team after winning three times last season with Motorbase, and will take the place of Tom Ingram.

“I’m super excited about this new challenge,” he said.

"It’s the longest I’ve been without racing, and it’s made me appreciate just how much I love it, and I have really missed my team."

“Moving to a Manufacturerbacked team has been a goal of mine ever since I joined the BTCC, and I have no doubt that this will give me my best chance yet of truly fighting for the championship.

Plato, who will take part in his 600th race in the opening race of the season, needs to take

"I feel hugely proud to be wearing and defending the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK

Smelt drove a Speedworks Toyota Supra in the British GT Championship last season, finishing eighth in the GT4 Class with a best finish of third at Donington Park.

"It was always my objective to get back into touring car racing, because I certainly have unfinished business in this championship," he said.

"It was a tough baptism in 2018, and I’m determined to show I’m capable of an awful lot more than I achieved that year."


DAVID BARTRUM: "THE TIME WAS RIGHT TO WALK AWAY…" IT’S ALL CHANGE FOR MOTORBASE PERFORMANCE FOR 2020 AFTER A CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP, WITH INSIDE BTCC CATCHING UP WITH FOUNDER DAVID BARTUM TO LOOK BACK OVER HIS TIME AT THE HELM IN THE SERIES…. a challenging 2019 A fter campaign, the 2020

season provided Motorbase Performance with a chance to return to form as it introduced the latest incarnation of the Ford Focus.

Even when the COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, it proved to be a successful year on track for the Wrotham-based squad.

Returnee Rory Butcher secured victory three times and Ollie Jackson enjoyed a breakthrough campaign that

saw him visit the top step of the podium for the first - and second - time in his career.

What wasn’t widely known as the curtain came down on 2020 however was that a major change was coming, with founder David Bartrum in talks to sell the team to AmD boss Shaun Hollamby and former Porsche Carrera Cup racer Pete Osborne; the father of BTCC racer Sam.

As teams and drivers elsewhere started to announce their plans, so the

deal for Motorbase to change hands was concluded before being officially completed earlier this month, with Hollamby and Osborne taking control on 7 January.

The deal - which effectively merges the two teams together - will see the Motorbase name live on in an expanded four-car programme, with work already underway on the build of an additional Focus ahead of the start of the new season in April.


On one hand, Bartrum’s decision to sell the team he founded back in 2004 should come as little surprise, with the 59-year-old having stated in the past that the time would come when he would look to stand down and let someone else take the reins.

The timing however will be something of a shock to many given how the team performed over the course of 2020, with the fourth-generation of the Focus having shown itself to be a car that is more than capable of fighting for the title.

So why now?

"There are times in the past when I’ve been approached about selling the team, but the deal has never been the right one," Bartrum told Inside BTCC in an in-depth, exclusive interview.

"Now however, the time is right and in Shaun and Pete, I know that Motorbase will be in good hands going forwards.

"It was important for me that the right people took control as I wanted to know that the team and workforce were secure, and I feel a huge sense of pride that they want to keep the Motorbase name and continue the story that we started back in 2004.

"I turn 60 this year so I’m not getting any younger, but I’m still young enough - and stupid enough - to be able to go out and live my life away from the pressures of running a race team.

"In recent years, I’ve seen too many friends who haven't been able to live their lives as they should have done for various reasons, so the time is right to step away."

Like many owners, Bartrum started out as a racer himself before taking the decision to create his own team in 2004, initially running cars for brothers Andy and Gary

Britnell in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.

A British GT programme followed in year two as the team quickly found itself fighting for silverware, whilst there alongside a first foray into tin-tops as Motorbase ran David Pinkney in selected rounds of the SEAT Cupra Championship.

And it was thanks to Pinkney that Motorbase then took the first step into the BTCC in 2006….

"To be honest, touring cars wasn’t something we were planning when the 2005 season came to a close," Bartrum recalls.

"I was away on holiday and David rang me up to tell me that he’d done a deal with Dynamics to buy the Honda that Dan Eaves had raced that season. I asked him who was going to run it for him, and he replied that it was already sat in my workshop waiting!


"Everyone who knows David knows that he is a bit of a character, so we did the deal to run the Honda and it was a solid enough season with a podium finish at Knockhill, even though our main focus at the time was very much still on the Carrera Cup, where we had three new cars.

"Towards the end of the year, David was looking to do the deal to acquire the Alfa Romeos but I wasn’t keen on the cars.

"Alan Gow said that we really needed to get S2000 machines to continue in the series as BTC-spec cars were on the way out, and we ended up doing a deal to get hold of a pair of SEAT Toledos for 2007.

"If I’d known then how much life there still was in the BTCspec cars, then I’d have gone and bought another Integra from Dynamics and run two of

those for a few years, as the SEAT was the worst deal I ever did!

"We had some half-decent results, but I was glad to see the back of them…"

Even taking into account the many challenges that 2007 provided, it was clear that the touring car bug had bitten and for the second year in a row, Bartrum found himself looking around to see what his options were.

Rivals West Surrey Racing had switched that year from the venerable MG ZS to a pair of BMW 320si machines that it had acquired from Germany, with both Colin Turkington and Tom Onslow-Cole taking race wins.

It was clear than the BMW was a strong package on the British circuits and it was during a visit to the WTCC event at Brands Hatch in late September that the wheels

were set in motion on the deal that would see Motorbase join Dick Bennetts’ team in switching to the Bavarian brand.

"I went along to the Brands Hatch meeting and both [Schnitzer boss] Charly Lamm and [RBM chief] Bart Mampaey were there," Bartrum continued.

"I’d briefly met Charly in the past but didn’t expect him to remember me, so it was a nice surprise when he did, and I told him that I wanted to buy his cars.

"At the time he said he couldn’t sell me the cars because they were BMW cars and there was a waiting list, but I was insistent that they were the ones I wanted, and that I would do what I needed to do to get them.

"They went off to Macau and luckily came back in one piece, and we were able to get


the deal done. The first one was collected on 17 December and the second one on 17 January, and it was the start of a great relationship with Charly and with Schnitzer.

"People always say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but I’m so glad that I had the chance to meet and work with Charly, who was always a big hero of mine.

"He was such a major part of the success we enjoyed with the BMW, particularly in the early stages when we were trying to come to grips with the car.

"We were struggling a bit at the start of 2008, and he called me up to ask what was wrong. I explained that it was to do with the dampers and he told me to pack them up, to head to his workshop in Germany and they would be sorted out.

"Whilst we were there, one of his engineers told me how he had asked Charly what he was supposed to do for us, and he had replied that we were to get whatever help we needed - that was how good to us he was.

"WSR might have had their links to BMW, but our relationship with Schnitzer allowed us to really take the fight to them in 2009 and 2010. That was down to Charly, and his whole passion for the sport was so infectious.

"Those were fantastic times for us as a team, and I still remember being out at Daytona in 2019 when the news broke that he had passed away. He was a huge loss to the motorsport world."

After three successful seasons with the BMW - that included wins for Rob Collard, Steven Kane and Mat Jackson - there was a need for change as the series looked to introduce its

NGTC regulations in a bid to reduce costs.

A call went in to engine specialists Mountune to explore the possibility of turbo-charging the BMW engine, but when it became apparent that that wouldn’t be possible, an alternative suggestion was made.

Arena Motorsport had run its LPG-powered Ford Focus to much success in 2010, but was switching to an upgraded model for 2011.

As a result, the MkII cars were available for sale, fitted with an NGTC-spec version of the Ford engine.

A deal was duly agreed with team boss Mike Earle to purchase the cars in a deal that kick-started Motorbase’s relationship with the Blue Oval - a relationship that continues to this day.

Armed with the new car, Jackson would be a title


contender for the opening half of the season - taking the points lead at Snetterton on a race weekend that marked the initial launch of Inside BTCC.

A wretched run of form over the final four rounds saw him slip down the order to finish fourth in the standings, but the Focus was soon winning races again in the early part of 2012 as Jackson looked to launch a title challenge.

It was clear however that the newer NGTC cars had the advantage, with Bartrum admitting during the Croft meeting prior to the summer break that Motorbase had a big decision to make about whether it could take up the challenge of developing a new car for 2013.

That conversation was something of a smokescreen given that work on an NGTC Focus had already kicked off, with the initial work on a shell having been carried out back

at base in preparation for the switch.

as usual and were all set up ready to go at the circuit.

When Liam Griffin’s car was then heavily damaged in an incident on race day at Croft, it led to Motorbase bringing forward its NGTC plans.

It was only at 6am on the Saturday morning that the new car arrived at the track and was quickly hidden in the garage before being rolled out for first practice.

The support of the team's existing sponsors was key, as was the decision by Griffin to stand down from the Snetterton meeting after he told the team not to rush to repair his fire-damaged car and to instead put all the effort into building up the new machine.

Using NGTC kit that had been purchased from RML when its own plans to build a car had fallen through, Motorbase worked in double quick time to build up the car ahead of Snetterton.

Such was the late nature of the call to actually race the NGTC machine, the two S2000 cars were shaken down

Three top eight finishes followed, including a best of fourth in race three, before Jackson took the NGTC-spec car to a maiden victory at Silverstone later in the season.

"The introduction of the NGTC car was a big step for us," Bartrum said.

"Prior to that, we were what I would call a £300,000 touring car team, so I would go to Charly Lamm or Mike Earle, slap down £300,000 for some cars and go off and race them.

"When we then became a car builder in our own right, we became a £1,000,000 touring car team because that is when you take on all of the


additional costs that come from designing the cars, getting all of the parts to build them, and then going off to race them.

"Unveiling the first car in the way that we did was great because we managed to keep it quiet - it wasn’t like today when everyone in the paddock knows what the other teams are doing.

"On the Friday evening when the other teams saw us closing the garage up, the two S2000 cars were there being covered up for the night ahead of the race weekend.

"Once we knew that the NGTC car would be ready to go, and it was a very late decision, we basically had to get the car into Snetterton undercover and it arrived in the back of a trailer at 6am and went into the garage.

"When the other teams arrived and we then rolled it out of the garage, you could see there

was genuine surprise from people wondering where the hell it had come from!"

The Focus would be a winner over the following two seasons as the team worked to develop the package, and heading into the winter there was plenty of optimism within the team about 2015.

That was down in no small part to work that had been put in by Mountune to develop a new engine based on Ford’s EcoBoost unit, rather than the older Duratec unit that had been used up to that point.

A new title sponsor had also been lined been up to replace the departing Airwaves, and everything was pointing towards Motorbase going into the new year as serious title contenders.

Suddenly however on the eve of the season, that sponsor - a worldwide telecommunications business

- elected to pull the plug on the deal.

That left Bartrum with a difficult decision to make as the team found itself without the budget to compete for a full season.

"From the very start, we always operated the team as a business, which is a different approach to some others," Bartrum reflects.

"We were never in a position where there was someone who would come in and bankroll things, we had to go out and work hard to find the sponsors to go racing.

"We had Nicki Hickman involved for a number of years who worked really hard at that, and people like Leyland Paints, Airwaves and Redstone were all involved without them, we wouldn't have gone racing.

"When our deal for 2015 fell through, it put us in a really


difficult position. We knew that we had a good car and we knew that the new engine was going to be strong, but we also knew that we didn’t have the money to do the season.

"With that in mind, I just couldn’t risk the team and we had to take the decision to sit out the first half of the year which was really difficult, particularly when that was the first season of the TOCA Licences and I had to make sure that we didn’t lose them.

"We had to give over to Stuart Parker so he could run Alex Martin, and there seems to be this misconception that that was because we were going to run him before our plans changed, which was never the case.

"Alex would have been run by Team Parker alongside us using one of our licences, but when our plans changed, I had to give them the licence

so that they could run Alex and do what they planned.

"We were able to run in the second half of the season to keep the TBLs and we showed what we could do when we then won four times in the second half of the season."

Jackson would finish third in the standings the following season and Tom Chilton repeated the feat in 2018, with the car now running as an RS after undergoing further upgrades.

"We were rewarded with the results on track, and it certainly made the team a more attractive option for Shaun and Pete than it would have been had we continued to run the old car.

"I remember then first test when Rory got behind the wheel and when he came in, I was desperate to see how he felt it compared to the FK2 Honda, which is one of the best NGTC cars that has been built.

A tough 2019 however led to the decision to build up new cars based on the fourth generation Focus; a move that would ultimately prove to be key in Motorbase being sold on as a going concern.

"When I asked him to mark it out of ten compared to the Honda and he replied with eleven, I knew we were on to a good thing and from there on, it was a case of preparing as best we could for the season.

"We put a huge amount of investment into the new cars for 2020 but it was something we had to do if we wanted to be at the front," Bartrum said.

"With the limited testing we could do because of COVID and the fact that we also lost the title sponsor that we had because of the pandemic, we


did a good job in 2020 in what were very difficult circumstances.

"I don’t think anyone on the outside appreciates just how difficult it was for all of the teams and drivers to race last year as the pandemic threw up so many challenges, particularly when we had to race behind closed doors and you weren't able to have sponsors and guests at the circuit.

"However, we came through it and ended on a high at Brands Hatch with Rory’s win in the final round.

"It’s quite appropriate really because our first win in the BTCC was on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, and our final win with me in charge was at the same circuit.

"It was an emotional moment in the garage when Rory crossed the line because I knew that was the final win, although it wasn’t a fact I

could share with anyone at the time."

That win, Motorbase’s 34th in the series, is one of the highlights of Bartrum’s time at the helm - in touring car terms at least - going right back to win number one in 2009.

"The first win with Rob Collard will always be hugely special," he said.

"We had given everything to get into a position to win races in the BTCC so to actually go out there and do it was a big thing. There was an awful lot of celebrating that went on afterwards!

"The first win for the NGTC car with Mat was also important because it was the first win for a car that we had built ourselves, and was the reward for all of the hard work that had gone in to get out on track.

"It’s a similar thing with the new car last year and for both

Rory and Ollie to win races was a great feeling because of the relationship we have with both drivers.

"Ollie in particular was a different driver last year, and my emotions were all over the place when he won at Silverstone given what had happened to Rory with his accident.

"To be honest, I think that was shown by the fact that I grabbed Paul Jackson for a big hug - it wasn’t something I expected to be caught on camera for everyone to see!"

That’s not to say however that things have always been rosy - far from it - with the main regret being that Bartrum’s time at the helm draws to a close without the team having been able to secure the championship title.

"We’ve been championship winners elsewhere and won the Independents title with Andrew Jordan back in 2016,


but I do think it’s a shame that the overall crown eluded us," he continued.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing and everyone can say what could or should have happened, but I feel there are opportunities where we could have won the title but didn’t for whatever reason.

"Back in 2011 with the old car, we were in a really strong position with Mat after Snetterton but from that point on, it all just went wrong.

"Then 2015 was tough for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. We had such a good car but we just didn’t have the budget to race it, and I’m sure that Mat would have been right in the mix for the title had we done the full season.

"I also look at 2018 and wonder what might have been had the situation not developed with Mat as it did,

as he would have been a contender.

"Tom Chilton took third that season despite a slow start to the year as he got used to the car, and he could have been champion himself without some tough results late on.

"Then last year, without the punctures at Brands Hatch and the crash at Silverstone, we could have won with Rory."

Although Bartrum will remain involved in the short term to aid with the transition to the new owners, his own plans for the future are still to be confirmed.

However, it’s likely he’ll still be found in the BTCC paddock on a regular basis, supporting the team and making the most of a new motorhome currently being built up in the USA that has been purchased as part of his own leaving present.

"Mike Jordan warned me that it’ll be hard to let go and see someone else running 'my' team, and I suspect there are times that he’ll be right," Bartrum concluded.

"However, I have no doubt that Shaun and Pete will make a success of it, and that they are right people to continue the Motorbase story.

"They have a car that is a real weapon, they have a good team of people in place to run it and in Jake Hill, have a driver who can win races and fight for that elusive title.

"I can look back across the last 15 years in the BTCC as being a success story for Motorbase, and am excited to see what the future holds for the team in this new era."


OUT WITH THE OLD‌ WITH A RAFT OF NEW CARS JOINING THE GRID FOR THE 2021 SEASON, THE POWER MAXED RACING ASTRA SUDDENLY BECOMES THE OLD GUARD‌ t might only have been introduced into the series in 2017, but the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra will become the 'old guard' in 2021 when a raft of new cars join the BTCC grid.

I

In what is one of the biggest shake-ups for a number of seasons, a total of eleven new cars are set to debut this year - nearly 38% of the grid - as a number of teams upgrade to new models.

Team HARD introduces the Cupra Leon into the series for the first time with four new cars in build, whilst EXCELR8 Motorsport is working on two

new Hyundais after the tie-up with Trade Price Cars that will see it expand to a four-car team.

Two new BMW 330i M Sports are being put together by West Surrey Racing after Ciceley Motorsport did a deal for a pair of cars, whilst there will be one extra Ford Focus ST, Toyota Corolla and Infiniti Q50 added to the line-up.

The fact that such change is occurring is down in no small part to the fact that the new hybrid regulations are drawing ever closer, with teams investing in new machinery with one eye on the future.

There is also the fact that the cars that a number of the cars disappearing from the grid such as the Audi S3, Honda FK2 and Volkswagen CC - are 'older generation' machines that were originally built to run on GPRM control parts.

Those cars were then upgraded to RML-spec parts when it took over the contract in 2016.

The eleven cars that are departing go back as far as 2012 in the case of the two MB Motorsport-run Honda Civics - although only one


RETIRED NGTC CHASSIS FROM 2020 CAR

CHASSIS

LED

PTS

HONDA CIVIC

NGTC-12-006

205

4

23

8

3

114

1066

BMW 125i M SPORT

F21-2013-01

199

6

20

1

10

78

1153

VOLKSWAGEN CC

RML 131 001/13

199

0

9

1

1

0

452

HONDA CIVIC

NGTC-12-004

185

3

8

2

4

35

610

VOLKSWAGEN CC

RML 131 002/13

183

1

2

0

1

13

243

AUDI S3

WPMS NGTC 011

180

0

1

0

0

2

141

MERC A CLASS

GPRM NGTC 017

177

4

13

0

7

88

763

BMW 125i M SPORT

F21-2013-03

176

5

18

0

1

68

824

VOLKSWAGEN CC

RML 131 003/14

152

6

12

1

6

104

514

MERC A CLASS

GPRM NGTC 019

116

4

17

1

3

56

780

AUDI S3

WPMS NGTC 025

115

1

2

0

1

43

209

1887

34

125

14

37

601

6755

TOTAL should have actually raced that season.

NGTC-12-004, driven by Sam Osborne last year, started its first season in the hands of Jeff Smith but when he then had a major off at Rockingham and clattered into the wall at turn one, it was replaced by NGTC-12-006.

That Honda is the one that was driven by Jake Hill last year, with the chassis one of only three to pass 200 races in the NGTC era.

Four of the cars date back to 2013, including the BMW 125i M Sports that would go on to be driven by Carl Boardley and Stephen Jelley last season.

They were introduced by WSR at the same time as the first of the Volkswagen CCs that were built up by Tony Gilham and Team HARD.

RACE WIN POD POLE F/LAPS

Chassis RML 131 001/13 would debut with Tom Onslow-Cole at the start of the season and a second car RML 131 002/13 - was then built for Warren Scott to use as a replacement in the second half of the year.

The third of those cars (the second being the ex-Aiden Moffat car that is already retired) then debuted in 2017 alongside the second Audi S3, meaning those two cars bow out after four seasons of racing.

Those two VWs are the cars that would race in 2020 in the hands of Nicolas Hamilton and Jack Goff.

It means they are the only two cars of the eleven that competed solely on RML parts, having been built after the end of the GPRM deal.

The following year it was the turn of the first of the Audi S3s to appear on the grid.

The car that would be driven last year by Bobby Thompson was originally raced by Robb Holland, and appeared at the same time as the Volkswagen that would go on to be raced by Ollie Brown.

The first of the three Mercedes A Class that were built by Ciceley - raced by Jack Butel last year - also made its debut in 2014.

Only one car due to compete in 2021- the second Vauxhall Astra, PMR 17-02 - has now started more than 100 races, having debuted in 2017 alongside the sister car.

The two Dynamics Hondas debuted in 2018, with every other car appearing for the first time in either 2019 or 2020.


ALL CHANGE AT SPEEDWORKS AS SECOND CAR ARRIVES THE DEPARTURE OF LONG-TIME DRIVER TOM INGRAM ISN’T THE ONLY BIG CHANGE FOR THE TOYOTA TEAM AS IT FINALLY EXPANDS TO A TWO-CAR PROGRAMME

I

t’s a question that Speedworks boss Christian Dick has been asked on a regular basis in recent years as the BTCC heads into the winter break.

"Do you think next you’ll have a second car out next season?"

Each season, the answer had remained the same; that the Toyota team would consider such a move if the time was right, but that it probably wouldn’t be the following year.

Now however, Speedworks will add a second Corolla for

2021 as it embarks on its first multi-car programme since becoming a manufacturerbacked outfit.

Of course, Speedworks has fielded two cars in the BTCC before, having expanded to a second car on the back of its debut season in 2011.

Having originally run Tony Hughes in an Avensis as one of the first NGTC entrants in the series, the team added a second car for 2012 when Adam Morgan stepped up into the series in his prize drive for winning the Ginetta GT Supercup the previous year.

Even when Morgan then elected to go it alone with the family-run Ciceley team the following season - and Hughes stood down from racing - Speedworks continued to run the two Toyotas, with Dave Newsham and Ollie Jackson coming in in their place.

In 2014, the team reverted to a single car outfit as it kicked off its relationship with Tom Ingram, although it was also involved with the operation of the Handy Motorsport car for a number of years.


Speedworks would also run the Honda Civic of Matt Simpson when he first joined the grid in 2016.

For the last four years however, just a single car has been operated from the Speedworks awning, even when increased backing was secured from Toyota for the introduction of the Corolla.

So after years of speculation and rumours, why is now the right time for the team to expand to run a second car?

"As I've said before, there are a number of different factors that had to come together before we could look to add a second car," team boss Christian Dick revealed.

"For a start, we had to ensure that we had the right resources in place to do it properly, both in financial terms, but also when it comes to personnel in the team.

"We also want to be in a position where we have two cars that are uniform in their appearance, and have the right drivers in place who we know will do the job on-track, and will also work in a commercial sense off-track as well.

having now officially left the European Union.

"Getting all of those things together at the right time isn’t as easy as some people might think, and there have been times in the past where we would have liked to run a second car, but the timing wasn’t quite right.

"There are some opportunities that have slipped away as a result of COVID and Brexit, as I’m sure they have for other teams," Dick continued.

"Now however, the pieces have fallen into place and it allows us to push ahead with our plans."

The 'pieces falling into place' comes despite Speedworks and Toyota for that matter having to deal with the many different challenges that have arisen as a result of both the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and of Brexit, with the UK

The team has however been able to benefit from the strength of existing relationships to ensure that it can push ahead with the expansion plans.

"The current situation has left us to consider whether or not this is the right time to make the investment and to grow the team, but we are lucky to have the support of a number of loyal and sponsors and backers.

"It is thanks to that ongoing support that we have been able to make this happen and can now expand to run two cars."


One hurdle that did have to be overcome was the fact that in order to run a second car, Speedworks would need to source a second TOCA BTCC Licence.

"When it became apparent that Shaun was doing the deal with David Bartrum to buy Motorbase and there was the chance to do a deal to acquire a TBL, it made perfect sense.

proved to be a strong force on track in recent years - taking 16 wins, more than 40 podiums and back-to-back Independent titles in 2017 and 2018.

The move by AmD boss Shaun Hollamby to acquire Motorbase would open the door to a deal that resulted in Speedworks securing the prized TBL as well as the Honda Civic that was used by Sam Osborne last season.

"For us, the value is in the licence and not in the car that came as part of the deal.

Ingram also finished as runner-up to Colin Turkington in 2018 having been third the previous season, and was a contender for the title through to Finals Day again last year.

Some of the money invested in that deal has already been recovered, with the Honda shell having already been sold on to Andrew Jordan to help with the rebuild of his 2013 title-winning car.

"Getting hold of a TBL in order to run the second car was vital, so we had to keep a finger on the pulse with what was happening elsewhere to see if one became available," Dick continued.

"However, the fact that we got the Honda proved to be beneficial in a way because we were able to sell the shell and all of the Honda parts that we don’t need to Andrew.

"That meant we could recoup some of the costs."

The addition of a second Corolla - again running under the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK banner - comes despite the surprise split with long-time driver Ingram over the oseason, ending a relationship that started back in 2014.

The partnership of Speedworks and Ingram had

However, dierent commercial requirements for team and driver would ultimately prevent the relationship from continuing into 2021.

That left Speedworks needing to move quickly to source a front-line replacement and resulted in a deal being struck to bring in multiple race winner Rory Butcher to lead the expanded programme as he switches over from Motorbase - where he secured three victories last year.


The Scot will be seeking to try and add an overall title to the Independents and Jack Sears titles he won whilst at AmD back in 2019, with Dick confident that he can make an impression during the year ahead.

"Once it became clear Tom would be moving on, we needed to have someone in the car who could fight at the sharp end of the grid" Dick continued, "and we know that Rory can do just that.

"His signing is hugely important for us because it gives us the confidence to know we go into 2021 with a driver who can deliver the kind of results we are aiming for.

"There will be a bit of a 'settling in period' because of the fact we have worked with Tom for so long, and we need to learn how Rory works - and vice versa.

"However, I’m confident that we’ll be able to get that out of the way before the season starts so that we can hit the ground running when the opening rounds come around and the serious work begins.

"It’ll be interesting to see what feedback Rory provides when he gets behind the wheel, and it can only be beneficial to us to have another set of eyes looking at the car."

Butcher will be joined in the line-up by Sam Smelt, as he returns to the season for the first time since 2018.

In what was only his second season of car racing, after brief forays into the VW Racing Cup and British F4, Smelt took three top 20 finishes in an AmD-run Audi before switching to British GT.

Having teamed up with former BTCC racer Aron Taylor-Smith in a Ford Mustang in 2019, Smelt switched to Speedworks last year as the team introduced the all-new Toyota Supra into the series.

Alongside James Kell, he would secure a best finish of third in the GT4 class, and ended the year in eighth in the standings.

Having been unable to trouble the scorers during his debut season in touring cars, Smelt will hope to be a regular contender for top 15 finishes this time around, and that is a target that Dick feels can certainly be achieved during the year ahead.

"Sam is a driver who had a bit of a tough time when he made his BTCC debut, but it was only his second season of racing," he said.

"To come into the BTCC with that level of experience is a big step up. He faced a steep learning curve back in 2018, and probably feels he has a point to prove now as he returns to the grid.

"He still has a lot to learn as a driver as he is still young, but having had the opportunity to

work alongside Sam last year on the GT programme, I feel he is someone who could spring a surprise or two during the year ahead.

"He certainly has the raw talent but more importantly at this stage in his career, he has the will and desire to learn and improve.

"What we saw last season is that his one lap pace in particular was improving all the time, and whilst he needs to get used to being back in front-wheel drive, I’m sure he’ll soon be up to speed in the Corolla.

"The fact Sam already knows the team will be another important factor as he is aware of how we work, and I think that the ability to work alongside a driver like Rory will also help to drive him forwards.

"I think the line-up gives us a good blend of experience and youth, and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the year ahead."


THE BTCC BIDS FAREWELL TO AN NGTC ICON THE MERGER OF AMD AND MOTORBASE MEANS THE END OF THE ROAD IN THE BTCC FOR ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CARS THE SERIES HAS EVER SEEN…


T

here’s no shortage of changes when it comes to the grid for the 2021 BTCC season, with a number of teams having announced changes in machinery for the season ahead.

With the advent of hybrid technology drawing ever closer, the new campaign will see the grid made up solely of the latest generation of NGTCspec machinery, with no fewer than five different machines having raced in the series for the final time.

Before Christmas it was already known that the Volkswagen CC, Audi S3, Mercedes A Class and BMW 125i M Sport wouldn’t be returning for another season as teams looked to upgrade into newer cars.

Whilst all four cars had proven to be race winners during their time in the series, the BMW had been the most successful by far, having taken Colin

Turkington to two of his four championship titles.

NGTC machinery for the first time.

However, even the BMW has some way to go to match up with the most successful car of the NGTC era which also bows out of active competition - in the BTCC at least - following the merger of AmD and Motorbase for 2021.

"We’d had a lot of success with the S2000 car, and building the FK2 for the NGTC rules was a new challenge," Neal admitted.

First introduced back in 2012, the ninth generation Honda Civic - known as the FK2 was built by Team Dynamics as the replacement for the S2000 version of the outgoing eighth generation FN, which had just carried Matt Neal to his third title.

Dynamics would run two cars in what was the first season featuring manufacturerbacked NGTC programmes, whilst a further two cars were built up for Mike Jordan’s Eurotech team to run on an Independent basis as it took the decision to switch to

"The car was a lot heavier than the S2000 one, but was also more powerful and thanks to the bigger tyre, had more grip.

"Whereas you sometimes felt you were on a knife-edge with the FN2, the FK2 had more grip and was more about brute force - it was a different animal.

"One of the big things with the car early on was the suspension as the rocker system that was in place was very different to what had gone before, and it took time for us to get our head round that.


"I think we were one of the first people to really come to terms with that, and it took a while for others to catch up."

From the outset, the FK2 showed strong potential and at Brands Hatch for the season opener, Neal secured the first race win.

That maintained an impressive run of wins for new cars built by Dynamics, and was also the first victory in the series for an NGTC car.

A further 13 wins would be shared between Neal, Gordon Shedden and Eurotech’s Andrew Jordan as the season went on, with Shedden heading Neal in a 1-2 for Dynamics in the championship standings.

"There was no stone left unturned when it came to developing the FK2," Neal continued.

"We worked on the aero package to make sure it would

work well at high-speed circuits, spent a lot of time on the chassis to get the handling spot on and there was a lot of work that went into the engine.

"It was a car that had no real bad points, and that was really nice to drive. It didn’t bite in the way some other cars did.

"Whilst you still had to hang it out and needed to have the balls to push it hard, you could do that and know it wasn’t going to throw you off!

"If anything, it rewarded you more for pushing it to the limit, and we had a huge amount of success on track.

"It was great to win first time out with the car - which was something we’d done with the Integra and with the FN2 - and to then go on and win the title with Flash.

"Three titles with the car was a real highlight for us, and we

could have won with the Tourer as well had things gone a little bit differently. It really was the Astra Coupe of its day."

When Dynamics then introduced the FK8 Civic in 2018, the 'old' car would continue to be a regular frontrunner and race winner something that showed how strong the package was.

Even now, when its time in the BTCC has drawn to a close, the FK2 is set to race on in Stewart Lines’ Touring Car Trophy, where Neal’s son Henry won the title last season in one of his dad’s old cars.

"All the development that went in to the FK2 got passed on to the teams that went on to run it," Neal said.

"Those customers really felt the benefit of that work, and the nature of the NGTC rules means that a well developed car will remain competitive.


"That’s why the FK2 was still in a position to win races when it went to AmD in 2019, and was one of the oldest cars on the grid.

"Although the FK2 won’t be on the grid this season, we’re still looking to run a car in the Touring Car Trophy and could also run a second, so there is still life in the old dog yet…"

Whilst it was Dynamics that understandably enjoyed the greatest level of success with the FK2, with Neal and Shedden sharing 45 wins and nearly 130 podiums between 2012 and 2017, it would also be the car with which Eurotech enjoyed its finest hour in the series.

The 2012 season had seen Jordan finish fourth in the standings in what had been strongest campaign to date, and he headed into 2013 looking to try and take the fight to the factory pair.

Pole at Brands Hatch for the season opener laid down an early marker and throughout the season, Jordan’s Pirtek Racing-backed Civic was right at the sharp end of the field and mixing it with the 'factory' cars.

As the season moved towards the final stages, a double win at Rockingham saw him hit the front in the title race, and after a solid haul of points at Silverstone, Jordan headed into the Brands Hatch finale as the man to beat in the standings.

On a dramatic weekend of racing, he overcame a DNF in race two to wrap up the championship title.

"When we had been looking at going down the NGTC route, we saw what Dynamics were doing with the FK2 and could see it was a car that would give us a good chance to be a contender," he recalls.

"Even though there were some early niggles with the steering that we had to run in the early stages of NGTC, which were nothing to do with Dynamics or the Honda, we had a car that rolled out of the truck and that was quick from the start.

"It was in the second year that we started to go our own way with the set-up of the car, and my engineer Adam was ahead of the game a bit in the way he moved things forwards.

"I felt so comfortable in the car throughout the year and it was really in the sweet spot. I think it’s fair to say we outperformed Dynamics that season, and for us to beat them to the title was a fantastic achievement."

Jordan's title defence started with a double win at Brands Hatch, but he would slip out of title contention as the 2014 season wore on and his time with the FK2 would draw to an


end with fifth place in the standings.

"I won races again in 2014, but I didn’t get the same feeling with the car as I did in 2013," he admitted.

"It’s a feeling that I’ve missed, and it part of the reason why we bought the car back from Jeff Smith after his accident at Croft with the aim of rebuilding it.

"I think the only thing that came close was the BMW 3 Series and even then, the BMW was a car that could be very good on its day but could also be average, whereas the Honda was a car that was very good all the time.

"My view is that the FK2 was a better car than the FK8 is now, and if Dynamics went out and built a new one today, then I think it would win the title."

Jordan’s move to Triple Eight and MG for 2015 saw Smith

take control and Eurotech continued to run the FK2 with limited success over the following two seasons - being joined on the grid by a single car for Matt Simpson from 2016.

For 2017 however, the addition of Jack Goff to the driver line-up saw Eurotech’s FK2 once again at the sharp end of the field as he made a return to front-wheel drive after a year in West Surrey Racing's BMW.

In his first season in the car, Goff put it on pole three times and took a win at Silverstone en-route to sixth in the championship standings; a result that remains the best of his BTCC career to date.

Goff secured two more wins in 2018 in what proved to be a strong campaign for the FK2 with Simpson and BTC Racing pair Dan Lloyd and Chris Smiley all taking a win apiece.

It meant the older car outscored the new FK8 by five wins to three.

Three more pole positions during the season for Goff also ensured that he would end the campaign having taken more poles in an FK2 than any other driver.

"The FK2 was one of those cars that felt right from the moment you first got behind the wheel," he said, "although we didn’t quite have the car in the sweet spot in the early part of 2017.

"The big change actually came after Jeff had his crash at Croft and his engineer moved over to work on my car.

"We went to Snetterton for the mid-season test, and whilst we were there, we found something that really transformed it.

"From that point on, we had a fantastic qualifying car, which


was hugely important given how tight the grid was at that time.

leave the series, his time at the wheel of the FK2 would come to a premature end.

"We came out at Snetterton for the race weekend and stuck it on a pole, and to then take another five poles in a season and a half was a fantastic record, and it set us up for some really good results.

Although he had since gone on to add to his win record with Team HARD’s VW CC, Goff admits that not being able to continue with the Civic is one regret in his career.

"Brands Hatch and Snetterton in 2018 were prime examples where we qualified on pole and then converted it into wins - and both times it was after waking up to wet conditions on the Sunday morning!

"At Brands, I managed to hold off Colin Turkington, and then Snetterton there was the race to the line with Ash, which was fantastic."

Dramas in the 2018 season finale would restrict Goff to eighth spot in his second year with the car, and when Eurotech then decided to

"It’s a shame that I couldn’t do another season in the FK2, as I do feel there was some unfinished business there," he continues.

"Going into the 2018 finale, we were in the mix for a top three finish in the standings, but in race two, a stone got thrown up in front of me whilst I was following Dan Cammish. The stone went through the radiator, and we lost the engine.

"It meant we ended up down in eighth spot instead and who knows, if we’d managed to bring home third in the standings, then Jeff might have decided to carry on.

"I look back at the Honda with fond memories as I feel it was a car that suited me quite well - certainly more so than the MG or the BMW before.

"For me personally going forwards, I look at the new Cupra that Team HARD are building for me for 2021 and I’m excited because there are a lot of similarities with the Honda - and the records show how good that was."

The departure of Eurotech from the series - alongside BTC Racing’s move to the newer FK8 - could have all but signalled the end of the FK2, with the possibility that only the Simpson Racing car would race on into 2019.

However, AmD Tuning stepped in to purchase the two Eurotech cars and it meant the two cars would race on into 2019.

With former series runner-up Sam Tordoff coming in to


partner Rory Butcher in the driver line-up, the team had high hopes that the FK2 would allow it to take strides up the pecking order - and so it proved.

Three pole positions, four wins and a total of ten podiums was the best campaign by far for Shaun Hollamby’s team as it ended the year with no fewer than three pieces of championship silverware.

Even with that level of success for a team that had only taken two podium finishes prior to the season starting, there was a feeling that the campaign could have delivered more.

"Doing the deal for the Honda was a key one for us as we looked to grow as a team," Hollamby said.

""We wanted to move forwards up the grid, but in order to attract the kind of drivers who would help us to

do that, we needed to have the right car.

"When we spoke internally with the engineering team about what the best car to work with would be, they all came back with the FK2 Honda so when the chance came up to get hold of the Eurotech cars, it was a nobrainer.

"Just because we had the cars didn’t mean we were going to be successful as we still had to prepare and run them, but we were able to put two good drivers in them in Rory and Sam, and ended the year with some strong results.

"To finish third in the teams’ standings behind WSR and Team Dynamics, and to win the Indy titles and Jack Sears Trophy, was great but I still feel we could have got more from that season had it not been for a few little errors across the year.

"Even last season we were able to challenge for podiums, but the engine issues early on prevented us from launching a title challenge.

"I think it was starting to become clear that the newer cars have also taken a bit of a step forwards, but the FK2 really served us well despite being one of the older cars on the grid."

Butcher in particular would impress in the car during its time under AmD’s stewardship, finishing fifth overall and winning both the Independents and Jack Sears titles in only his second full season in the series.

The Scot had raced the MG6 a car introduced at the same time as the FK2 - during the previous season, but knew there was little by way of comparison from the moment he first got behind the wheel in testing.


He would go on to be the final driver to take a BTCC win in the FK2.

"The Honda was far from new when we got hold of it, but it was still a mega package," Butcher insisted.

"I remember the first test we did was at Knockhill and I went out on knackered old tyres and went faster than I had done in the MG in qualifying the previous season.

"Straightaway it was clear how good the car was, and that it was a step forwards over what we had before.

"It’s funny because I wouldn’t say there was anything that stood out with the car, it was just that little bit better in a lot of different areas.

"When you add all that together, you end up with a car that is easier to drive and that you can push harder with.

"Compared to the MG, it was certainly easier to push the FK2 to the limit without feeling like it was going to kill you!

"It was so good on the kerbs and the chassis was fantastic, which made up for the fact that it didn’t have the best aero at circuits like Thruxton and Silverstone compared to the newer cars.

"For me as a driver, it provided a springboard to show what I could do, and gave me the confidence to know that I could go out there and fight for wins, and for the title.

"I think the same is true for the team, and it was certainly a car that worked well for all sides."

The end of the Simpson Racing programme at the end of 2019 meant the two AmD cars were left to fly the flag for the FK2 in 2020 - now running under the MB Motorsport banner and with Jake Hill and

Sam Osborne sharing driving duties behind the wheel.

Although Hill in particular showed that the car was quick with a series of star performances on Saturday, engine issues in the early part of the campaign - which were nothing to do with team or car - saw him struggle to get points on the board.

Six podium finishes however allowed Hill to bounce back for a top ten championship finish and took the FK2 to an impressive 193 top three finishes, with personal best scores for both drivers taking the car past 7,000 points scored.

The FK2 bows out of the series having surpassed the Vauxhall Astra Coupe for most wins in series history, and it remains to be seen when, if ever, that record will be beaten.


ROLL OF HONOUR • Drivers’ Championship (4) Gordon Shedden

2012, 2015, 2016

• Teams’ Championship (2) Team Dynamics

2012, 2013

Andrew Jordan

2013

• Independent Teams’ Championship (3) Eurotech Racing

2012, 2013

• Independents’ Championship (3) Andrew Jordan

2012, 2013

AmD Tuning

2019

Rory Butcher

2019

• Jack Sears Trophy (1) Rory Butcher

2019

• Manufacturers’ Championship (3) Team Dynamics

2012, 2013, 2015

DRIVER RECORDS RACES WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

POINTS

GORDON SHEDDEN

180

27

74

3

28

341

2112

MATT NEAL

177

18

55

3

11

206

1785

ANDREW JORDAN

89

11

28

5

14

208

1053

JACK GOFF

60

3

12

6

0

74

473

JEFF SMITH

123

0

2

1

1

9

400

RORY BUTCHER

30

3

6

1

3

35

266

JAKE HILL

27

0

6

0

0

0

212

MATT SIMPSON

118

1

2

1

1

15

185

CHRIS SMILEY

30

1

2

0

1

16

152

SAM TORDOFF

21

1

4

2

1

31

147

DAN LLOYD

30

1

1

0

1

15

123

MARTIN DEPPER

90

0

0

0

0

0

95

BRETT SMITH

45

0

1

1

1

0

83

SAM OSBORNE

27

0

0

0

0

0

29

MIKE BUSHELL

9

0

0

0

1

0

27

JAMES NASH

9

0

0

0

0

0

6

ANDY NEATE

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

1068

66

193

23

63

950

7148


HONDA CIVIC FK2 - THE FULL HISTORY

CHASSIS NGTC-12-001 Active: 2012-2019 Teams: Team Dynamics, Eurotech Racing, Simpson Racing YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

2012

MATT NEAL

30

5

15

1

2015

MATT NEAL

30

3

7

2016

ANDY NEATE

3

0

2017

MATT SIMPSON

30

2018

MATT SIMPSON

2019

MATT SIMPSON TOTAL

NGTC-12-001 C hassis was the original Honda

Civic FK2 that built up by Team Dynamics when it elected to switch to the NGTC regulations.

Used for the initial testing programme by the team, it would then become the race car for Matt Neal in 2012 as he looked to defend the title.

PODIUM POLE F/LAP

LED

PTS

1

73

387

0

2

20

317

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

31

28

1

2

1

1

15

120

30

0

0

0

0

0

33

151

9

24

2

4

108

888

His victory in race two at Brands Hatch was the first win for an NGTC car in the series.

After two seasons as a spare, Neal returned to the wheel of NGTC-12-001 in 2015 and the car was due to be raced by Andy Neate in 2016 before his departure from the team.

After Matt Simpson crashed NGTC-12-002 in testing, it

was quickly clear he would need a new car and NGTC-12-001 returned to action in 2017 when he was run by Eurotech.

It would continue to be active until the end of 2019, by why point Simpson has taken his programme in house and had his own team running the car.


CHASSIS NGTC-12-002 Active: 2012-2016 Teams: Team Dynamics, Speedworks Motorsport YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2012

GORDON SHEDDEN

30

8

16

0

8

86

408

2013

GORDON SHEDDEN

30

5

18

1

5

58

390

2014

GORDON SHEDDEN

30

3

11

0

3

16

349

2015

GORDON SHEDDEN

30

4

11

0

6

68

348

2016

MATT SIMPSON

30

0

0

0

0

0

1

TOTAL

150

20

56

1

22

228

1496

NGTC-12-002 C hassis was the second car that

was built to be entered by Team Dynamics for the 2012 season and is the most successful FK2 chassis.

Driven by Gordon Shedden for four seasons, the car was the first NGTC machine to secure the overall title when he took top honours in 2012 -

with the 408 points scored that season being the most an FK2 would manage in a single year.

NGTC-12-002 competed as a Tourer in 2014 and became the first estate car to win in the series before being converted into a Type R for 2015 as Shedden secured the title for a second time.

After Shedden’s time at the wheel came to an end, the car was sold to Matt Simpson and run by Speedworks in 2016.

A high-speed incident in Spain ahead of 2017 saw the car sidelined and instead replaced by NGTC-12-001.

CHASSIS NGTC-12-003 Active: 2012-2017 Teams: Eurotech Racing YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2012

ANDREW JORDAN

30

1

9

1

2

13

346

2013

ANDREW JORDAN

30

6

12

2

8

100

397

2014

ANDREW JORDAN

29

4

7

2

4

95

310

2015

JEFF SMITH

30

0

0

0

0

0

31

2016

DAN LLOYD

9

0

0

0

0

0

36

2017

JEFF SMITH

12

0

0

1

0

0

25

140

11

28

6

14

208

1145

TOTAL NGTC-12-003 was C hassis one of the two cars that

were build by Dynamics for use by Eurotech Racing in 2012.

Originally driven by Andrew Jordan, this was the car that went on to secure the 2013 championship title and was then taken over by Jeff Smith

when Jordan departed to join Triple Eight.

Originally planned to be a spare in 2016, the car would be used in a three round programme by Dan Lloyd and was then brought back into action for 2017 with Smith again behind the wheel.

However, his huge accident at Croft caused extensive damage and the car would never race again.

The damaged shell has since gone back to Jordan, with plans in place to rebuild it into the spec it ran in during 2013.


CHASSIS NGTC-12-004 Active: 2012-2020 Teams: Eurotech Racing, AmD Tuning, MB Motorsport YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2012

JEFF SMITH

23

0

1

0

0

0

124

2015

MARTIN DEPPER

30

0

0

0

0

0

53

2016

JEFF SMITH

30

0

0

0

0

0

55

2017

BRETT SMITH

15

0

0

0

0

0

13

2018

BRETT SMITH

30

0

1

1

1

0

70

2019

RORY BUTCHER

30

3

6

1

3

35

266

2020

SAM OSBORNE

30

0

0

0

0

0

29

TOTAL

188

3

8

2

4

35

610

NGTC-12-004 C hassis was the second of the

was replaced for the final rounds by NGTC-12-006.

However, an accident at Rockingham - where the car went backwards into the wall at turn one - saw the chassis suffer heavy damage and it

The car was un-raced until 2015 when Eurotech brought it back out and it was due to be a spare again in 2017 before being pressed into use by Brett Smith when he replaced his father following the Croft accident.

cars that were built for Eurotech for the 2012 season and was driven by Jeff Smith.

Despite being in its sixth season of racing, NGTC-12-004 enjoyed its best season in 2019 having been acquired by AmD Tuning as it took Rory Butcher to the Independent title.

The car will now be used by Andrew Jordan to help with the rebuild of NGTC-12-003.

CHASSIS NGTC-12-005 Active: 2013-2017 (2019-20 in Touring Car Trophy) Teams: Team Dynamics YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2013

MATT NEAL

30

4

12

0

1

54

356

2014

MATT NEAL

28

1

6

0

3

12

207

2016

MATT NEAL

29

3

7

0

1

25

275

2017

MATT NEAL

30

2

8

2

3

22

243

117

10

33

2

8

113

1081

TOTAL NGTC-12-005 C hassis was introduced for the

2013 season, when it became the race car of Matt Neal and would be later be raced as a Tourer in 2014.

The switch to the Type R in 2015 saw the car become a spare chassis before it was

re-introduced into active competition the following year - going on to be raced by Neal for the following two seasons before Dynamics switched to the FK8 for the 2018 season.

Whereas the other FK2 chassis have remained un-

raced after the end of their time in the BTCC, NGTC-12-005 has raced on in the Touring Car Trophy with Neal’s son Henry.

A race winner in 2019, he would secure the title in 2020 with the car.


CHASSIS NGTC-12-006 Active: 2012-2020 Teams: Eurotech Racing, AmD Tuning, MB Motorsport YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2012

JEFF SMITH

6

0

0

0

0

0

33

2013

JEFF SMITH

22

0

1

0

1

9

132

2014

MARTIN DEPPER

30

0

0

0

0

0

14

2016

MARTIN DEPPER

30

0

0

0

0

0

28

2017

JACK GOFF

30

1

7

3

0

26

245

2018

JACK GOFF

30

2

5

3

0

48

228

2019

SAM TORDOFF

21

1

4

2

1

31

147

2019

MIKE BUSHELL

9

0

0

0

1

0

27

2020

JAKE HILL

27

0

6

0

0

0

212

205

4

23

8

3

114

1066

TOTAL NGTC-12-006 is C hassis one of only three NTGC

cars to compete in more than 200 races having raced in eight different seasons.

The car debuted in the final rounds of the 2012 season after replacing NGTC-12-004 following Jeff Smith’s accident at Rockingham, and

then became his race car for a part campaign in 2013.

Only in 2014 did the car complete a full season for the first time and having been the spare for a season in 2015, has been active ever since.

Largely thanks to the efforts of Jack Goff across 2017 and

2018, NGTC-12-006 scored more poles than any other FK2 during its time in the series.

It was the final FK2 chassis to score a podium finish thanks to Jake Hill in 2020.


CHASSIS NGTC-12-007 Active: 2016-2018 Teams: Team Dynamics, BTC Norlin Racing YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2016

GORDON SHEDDEN

30

4

10

2

3

73

308

2017

GORDON SHEDDEN

30

3

8

0

3

40

309

2018

JAMES NASH

9

0

0

0

0

0

6

2018

DAN LLOYD

21

1

1

0

1

15

87

90

8

19

2

7

128

710

TOTAL earlier versions of U nlike the FK2, NGTC-12-007

only competed as a Type R having been introduced by Dynamics for the 2016 season.

This was the car that carried Gordon Shedden to his third championship title that same

season and he would finish fourth the following year even though he scored a point more.

After Shedden’s move to WTCR and Dynamics’ switch to the FK8, the car was acquired by BTC Norlin for use by James Nash in 2018

before he split with the team after three rounds.

Dan Lloyd would then come in to replace him and took the team’s maiden win at Croft.

That was was also his only win in the series.

CHASSIS NGTC-12-008 Active: 2016-2018 Teams: BTC Norlin Racing YEAR

DRIVER

RACES

WINS

PODIUM

POLE

F/LAP

LED

PTS

2018

CHRIS SMILEY

30

1

2

0

1

16

152

30

1

2

0

1

16

152

TOTAL NGTC-12-008 C hassis was originally a spare

chassis built by Team Dynamics but was then purchased by BTC Norlin for the 2018 season.

Driven by Chris Smiley, the car was able to take a race win at Rockingham - which marked the first time that the Northern Irish driver had won a BTCC race.

With the team switching to the FK8 version of the Civic for 2019, NGTC-12-008 only spent a single season in competition, making it one of the least raced chassis of the NGTC era.

In fact, only the two original Infiniti Q50 models and the Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback have made fewer than the 30

starts logged by NGTC-12-008 in its single season of competition.

Alongside the sister car that was entered under the BTC Norlin banner, NGTC-12-008 has been un-raced since appearing in the BTCC for the final time.

THE TOURING CAR REGISTER

T

he Touring Car Register was created to record all genuine touring cars that have been built to the 2-litre Touring Car formula since 2001.

The site includes cars built to BTC-T, S2000 and NGTC regulations, with Inside BTCC having worked alongside the register to document the history of the various models that have

been built to the NGTC rules since they were introduced. For more information, visit www.touringcarregister.com


JADE GETS HER BIG BREAK AFTER A ONE-OFF OUTING 2020 WITH POWER MAXED RACING, JADE EDWARDS GETS A FULL TIME CHANCE IN THE BTCC FOR 2021 - AND THE PRESSURE IS ON…

T

welve months ago, Jade Edwards was facing up to the prospect of a season on the sidelines as she struggled to try and put together a deal to join the Ginetta GT Supercup.

Fast forward a year however, and she’s now preparing for the biggest season of her career to date after securing a deal with BTC Racing for the upcoming BTCC campaign.

It’s a move that has been a long time coming for the 29year-old, who makes the switch into touring cars on the back of a successful one-off outing with Power Maxed Racing at Silverstone last year.

At the time, Edwards was clear that she hoped to use that outing in the Vauxhall Astra as a springboard towards a full-season assault on the series in 2021.

However, there remained plenty of work to do to try and secure her place on the grid particularly against the backdrop of a global pandemic that made the hunt for sponsorship more difficult than ever.

For a while, it appeared that a deal would be a step too far and that 2021 would be largely spent helping to run the family team Assetto Motorsport alongside father

Jim Edwards Jr and brotherin-law Simon Traves.

Then however, in the run up to Christmas, things suddenly started to get interesting when the phone rang…

"The deal with Power Maxed Racing last year was always a one-off, but I knew there was the option there to try and put something in place for 2021 off the back of it," Edwards reflects.

"I spoke to them about what could be possible, and also spoke to other teams, but it was starting to look like it wouldn't happen.


"It’s no secret that I have a relationship with BTC Racing already, and also with Josh Cook - who coached me earlier in my career and has become a really good friend.

"It was just before Christmas that Steve Dudman got in touch with me to say that we might be able to do something, but I’ve heard things like that before, and had to take it with a pinch of salt.

"However, he was true to his word and all of a sudden we were talking about signing contracts and everything fell into place quite quickly from that point on.

regular runner in the Renault Clio Cup from 2017 through to 2019.

Prior to that, she’s raced in a wide range of different machinery from Mazda MX-5s to Aston Martin Vantages, and from Ginetta Junior to the MARC Cars Focus V8 seen in endurance events across the globe - most notably the Bathurst 12 Hours.

There’s also been coaching work with various drivers, as well as role with McLaren Automotive alongside a number of other well-known names from the racing world.

"It went from something that could happen, to something that was happening and I’m absolutely over the moon at the prospect of racing for the team this year."

Throughout her career, race deals have usually come at the last minute, with initiatives like her much-publicised '9for-9' sponsorship offering during the Clio Cup years enabling Edwards to make it onto the grid.

Edwards is no stranger to the BTCC paddock having been a

It means that sitting in midJanuary knowing her place on

the grid is already secured is a somewhat unusual feeling.

"I don’t think there has ever been a time in my career that I’ve had a deal in place this early," she admits.

"Even when I was racing in MX-5s, things were always a bit last minute because it is no secret that we aren’t a family who has loads of money to go out and fund racing.

"Back in those days, I had to go and work as a waitress and put my tips towards things like tyres for the car, so there has been plenty of hard graft to get to this point.

"People underestimate how much work goes into trying to put a deal together, and there is a massive sense of relief now everything has been announced, as we have put so much into it as a family through the years.


"When the press release went out, and my picture and name was there confirming the drive, it was a really emotional moment.

"Dad certainly shed a few tears!"

There’s little doubt that the appearance at Silverstone last season has been an important factor in Edwards now being able to strike a deal with BTC for the season ahead.

Not only did she produce a solid performance behind the wheel on what was her first race meeting of the season, Edwards also managed extensive media interest in what was the first outing for a female driver in the series for more than a decade.

Combine it all together, and it would prove to be key in pulling together the different elements required to strike a full-time deal.

"Silverstone was a pretty pivotal weekend in it all," she reflects, "but not because it showed I can drive a BTCC car. On that score, Steve was pretty aware of what I had been doing and of what I could do behind the wheel.

"However, the way it all blew up with the levels of interest was hugely important because it showed what I can bring to the table.

"I’m lucky that I have a core group of sponsors who have supported me in recent seasons, but what Silverstone gave me was the facts and figures that I could take to potential new sponsors to show them the value of a partnership.

"Hopefully all of those sponsors will be able to join me trackside - along with the fans - this season, as that was the only downside to making my debut in the way I did.

"I’ve always been a driver who is very open in giving access to my sponsors and fans, so it would be good if we are able to get back towards something like normal as the season goes on."

One thing that will certainly be different going into 2021 compared to that one-off Silverstone weekend is the level of expectation that Edwards now faces.

As with the other drivers who joined PMR last season, there was little in the way of pressure going into a race weekend.

For debutants like Edwards, Jessica Hawkins, Jac Constable and Brad Philpot, there was an element of going out to enjoy the experience, given that it could potentially be the one chance to compete in the series.

Now however, with a full season ahead of her - and with a package that is very


much capable of fighting at the front of the grid - there is a need to deliver results on track.

"I’m certainly not making it easy for myself, because I’m joining the grid with a team that I feel is one of the best, and in a car that is one of the best," Edwards admits.

"In that respect, there is nowhere for me to hide and there is going to be pressure on me to perform. However, I view it as a positive kind of pressure, and it’s something I’m relishing.

"Working with Josh and Michael is certainly going to be a huge help, and I’m excited about being able to race alongside two drivers who I already count as friends. We all have the same desire to be successful for the team, and I think we’ll work well together as a line-up.

"Josh is someone who will be a championship contender without any doubt, and there is an awful lot that I will be able to learn from working with him.

"But there is also a lot that I can learn from Creesy, because I’m in the same kind of position now that he was in twelve months ago when he got given his big chance."

As expected from a driver who has always benefitted from a large following, confirmation of Edwards’ deal to race the Honda was generally well received.

As other drivers have found however, there were some who questioned if she was the right person for the seat; a fact Edwards admits is something that drivers have to get used to in the digital age.

"I do get frustrated by it sometimes because one of the best things about the BTCC is how accessible it is," she said.

"The drivers are very open and are happy to interact with the fans, which is fantastic, and something that the vast majority of fans enjoy.

"There are always some people out there however who are happy to have a go, or to criticise, and they think we don’t see it - but we do.

"You have to learn to not let it get you down, and to take any negative comments with a pinch of salt.

"The way I approach it is that as long as the team are happy with the job I’m doing, and my sponsors are happy, then that is the most important thing.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The important thing is

to listen to the opinions that matter."

When Edwards gets the chance to sample the Civic for the first time is yet to be decided as a result of the current restrictions in place, but once racing begins in May, her targets for the year are clear.

"The natural aim for me is to try and target the Jack Sears Trophy," she ends.

"Creesy managed to win it last year in his second season so it would be nice to keep it in the team, although it won’t be easy.

"People like Carl Boardley in the Infiniti will be strong and the competition overall is going to be tough, but it’s a good target to set myself."


GET IN TOUCH: CONTACT@INSIDEBTCC.COM

Profile for Inside BTCC

Inside BTCC - January 2021  

The January edition of Inside BTCC recaps all of the latest news from the British Touring Car Championship and includes a range of features...

Inside BTCC - January 2021  

The January edition of Inside BTCC recaps all of the latest news from the British Touring Car Championship and includes a range of features...