Pat Cranham, BTCC corespondent
As widely expected, it has at last been officially confirmed that Michael Caine will drive for Airwaves Racing at Rockingham in rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Motorbase purchased all three of Team Aon’s Ford Focus’ including one of which had never been raced at the end of last season. So far however, Airwaves Racing have run just two Focus’, that of Mat Jackson and Liam Griffin, although Tom Onslow-Cole had been tipped at the beginning of the year to drive the third which didn’t materialize, mainly due to budget whilst former Motorbase drive Johnny Adam also tested the car during the summer break.
However its Motorbase’s long-term Porsche cup driver Caine who will get to step up to the big-time with number 6 on his door, the position Steven Kane finished for the team last season before going off to race in the American ALMES for this season.
Caine has been one of the most popular members in the BTCC support paddock for many years as well as a leading runner in the Porsche Cup series and said, “It’s an opportunity that I thought would never ever arise and I’m delighted. I just hope that I can wear the Airwaves brand with pride and represent Motorbase and the sponsors in the correct manner to deliver the results that the team deserves. And of course support Mat and Liam with their challenge for the championship and, in my little way, hopefully enjoy it!”
Team boss Dave Bartrum is also delighted to reward his long-term driver and said, “Michael Caine is the longest-serving Motorbase Performance driver so we know him as well as we’ll ever know any other driver. Michael does everything he can for the team; he’s a Motorbase team player through and through and is the perfect team-mate to drive alongside Mat and Liam. The team and Michael are under no illusions that he’s taking on a particularly tough task at the hardest point of the season but, with his personality, he will be a great addition to the BTCC. I know a lot of people want to see him have this chance so I hope that all the fans will give him the support he rightly deserves.”
It’s an opportunity that I thought would never ever arise and I’m delighted.
Caine has recently tested the car at Brands Hatch and the hopes for driver and team most surely are to break clear in the Independent team’s trophy which they lead by just one point going to Rockingham from Triple 8, although they will be at a huge disadvantage running just the one car this weekend to Airwaves 3. Motorbase will also hope this can benefit lead driver Jackson to get back into the championship hunt after his nightmare weekend two weeks ago at Knockhill.
So it’s three Airwaves Racing Fords heading to Rockingham for this weekend’s event in just 3 days time. Motorsport.com of course will be there all weekend however before the event please check back for a full preview of the event for all BTCC news heading into this crucial weekend.