GA Motorsports will field both their Vauxhall Astra Coupes for the remainder of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship season when their Production class driver Paul Wallace moves up a step to partner Gavin Pyper at the next round at Croft on 12th/13th July.
GA's Pyper leads the BTCC's Hilton Independents Trophy for privateer teams and boss Gary Ayles says that Wallace can provide him with valuable back-up in pursuit of the crown.
Ayles said: "Paul has had a strong run in Production, with three finishes on the podium. He has also been in the hunt for wins on several occasions, but sometimes, nothing to do with commitment or ability, things just don't work out. Winning the Production title now looks difficult so why waste time?
"Moving him into a Touring car now is ideal as it gives him the rest of the season to familiarise himself with the car and pit stops ahead of a full season in 2004. Paul will find it tough at Croft as he will go into the meeting with no testing at all. It is, in effect, going to be a test session for him rather than a race weekend. However, as the season progresses I am confident he will emerge as a very strong force."
Wallace, 38, moved into Touring Cars following several seasons racing Rover Tomcats and in the BTCC's Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup support series. Now under the tutelage of former BTCC racer Eugene O'Brien, he believes he can make an impact among the Touring runners.
"My driving has come on leaps and bounds under Eugene and I feel I have the speed and confidence to do well," said Wallace, who is sponsored by independent IT professional services company Total Amber.
"Croft will be a whole new world for me: not just the extra power and speed of a Touring Car but the pit stops, racing in new company, everything. This, though, will help the team take another step forward. These are clearly very exciting times for GA Motorsports."
Wallace's move to GA's Touring Car squad has left Ayles to weigh up two possibilities with his Production class Alfa Romeo 156s.
Ayles added: "I have two drivers with whom I'm in very serious talks about driving the Alfas. I am also toying with the idea of changing them to European Touring Car specification and beginning a test programme to prepare them for 2004 when cars running to European regulations will be allowed into the BTCC."