NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Peugeot switches to MSD for 1997
The determined Peugeot team looks set for a revival in its fortunes for the 1997 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship with the announcement today (Monday) that its campaign next season will be run by the successful Motor Sport Developments (MSD) concern, the team behind Honda's recent BTCC successes.
Peugeot finished joint last with Ford in this year's Auto Trader Championship after a tough development year with the new 406 model, which was piloted by Patrick Watts and former champion Tim Harvey. Peugeot was the last of the manufacturers to run an 'in house' racing team, based at its Coventry factory.
MSD will work closely with Peugeot Sport in France, where the 406 racer was designed and is prepared for European touring car championships. Milton Keynes-based MSD is to start work immediately; its first race for Peugeot will be the RAC Tourist Trophy at Donington Park on November 3.
Announcing the move, Peugeot's Brian Llewelyn said: '1996 was an important development year for the 406 internationally. We are now poised to move ahead into a second phase and that must mean winning races. We have been looking for a new partner with the specialist skills to help us achieve our goals...'
The Peugeot announcement ends MSD's troubled association with Honda, for whom it developed the Accord model for racing, culminating in three BTCC race victories this season. Honda is expected to announce its switch to a new team in the near future.
Coming hot on the heels of Volvo's announcement that it is developing a new car for a fresh assault on the Auto Trader Championship in '97, Peugeot's move is seen as a further positive step for Britain's premier motor sport series. Alan Gow, Chief Executive of championship organiser TOCA Ltd, said: 'We are delighted that Peugeot and Volvo are renewing their commitment. With the BTCC becoming the centrepiece of BBC TV's motor sport coverage next year, live televised races and more manufacturer support than any other series in the world, the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship is revving up for a great future.'
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing