DOYLE UNVEILS BRAND NEW BTCC TEAM FOR 2008 CAMPAIGN
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship debutant Michael Doyle has announced he will contest his maiden season in the UK's premier saloon car category with newly created family-run team In-Tune Racing.
Originally expected to graduate to the BTCC this year with Robertshaw Racing, the squad with which he achieved his first ELF Renault Clio Cup race win in 2007, Michael will now realise his boyhood dream of racing in touring cars with the brand new Glasgow team.
The 20-year-old, who resides in Gartocharn, West Dunbartonshire, on the banks of Loch Lomond, will contest the 2008 BTCC at the wheel of a BTC-specification Honda Civic Type R carrying title sponsorship from family business In-Tune Garage Services.
Spearheading the new team's race operations will be Andy Scott, an experienced BTCC engineer who has a wealth of knowledge of the Honda Civic Type R having previously led the Synchro Motorsport entry of former touring car regular James Kaye.
Michael's debut season comes during an important milestone in the history of the BTCC, the 2008 campaign marking the golden anniversary of the series which, since 1958, has cemented its status as the UK's most popular and prestigious motor racing championship.
Speaking on his revised plans for 2008, Michael said: "Obviously it's a huge step up from the Clio Cup but I feel, as a driver, the only way to get better is to race the best. We have assembled a superb group of engineers and technicians with a wealth of touring car experience between them and we're all looking forward to the challenge ahead of us.
"I have full confidence in my own ability and the team. There are no doubts in my mind we can perform consistently and learn from the big guns and I'm extremely fortunate to have the huge support of my family and friends to compete in, what is, my dream. Ever since I first sat in a kart when I was 12 years old I've held the dream of racing in touring cars and this season it all comes true! It's incredible and I can't wait for the season to start."
During the last three years Michael has become a force to be reckoned with in the one-make ELF Renault Clio Cup, the Scottish ace achieving his first ever category victory last July at Snetterton. In what proved to be the most memorable race weekend of his career so far, he also achieved a second place finish and claimed two pole positions.
Prior to the UK win, Michael's first ever saloon car victory actually came during a round of the Italian Clio Cup at the world-famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Between his karting debut in 2000 and his graduation to Clios in the 2004 Winter Championship, he also enjoyed a successful karting career in the ranks of Junior and Senior TKM.
Before he begins his pre-season testing programme ahead of his BTCC race debut at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 29th/30th March, Michael will return to competitive action next Friday, 11th January, for the annual BP Ultimate Celebrity Kart Challenge.
Running as part of the 2008 Autosport International Show at Birmingham's NEC, the event will see Michael's amusingly titled Calamity Clios team bidding to win a share of the prize fund for the British Heart Foundation.
Among the famous names he is set to battle wheel-to-wheel against are Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert, reigning American Le Mans Series Champion and former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish and double Indy Car Champion Gil de Ferran.
Driver Profile -- Michael Doyle
Date of Birth: 18th June 1987
Born: Glasgow, Scotland
Lives: Gartocharn, Scotland
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Parts & Requisition Manager
Sponsors: In-Tune Garage Services