Newly formed racing team SIBSPORT have announced they will enter the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) for a full season in 2007, running a 2006 ex-Team Dynamics Honda Integra-R, the championship winning car for the last two seasons.
The team has been formed by Durham-based Simon Blanckley, 39, who will also drive the car. Blanckley has experience in racing saloon cars in a variety of championships, including ex-BTCC machinery in the LMA Euro Saloons Championship. The whole project will be funded almost entirely by Blanckley who has even sold his house to realise his ambition of racing in top-level touring cars. Title sponsor will be AWD Chase de Vere, Europe's premier independent financial services group.
Team manager for SIBSPORT has been named as Graham Hathaway - a well known and respected figure in the motorsport industry - whose company Graham Hathaway Engineering (GHE), based in Essex, will be preparing the Integra throughout the season with technical support from Team Dynamics. GHE last entered the BTCC exactly a decade ago when he prepared a Honda Accord for Robb Gravett, who took the Total Independents' Cup title that year. Ironically, GHE ran exactly the same Honda Accord for Simon Blanckley last season in the Euro Saloons Championship.
Simon Blanckley explains why he has gone to such a personal effort to get on the grid. "To contest the BTCC has always been my dream and is the pinnacle of UK motorsport, so I decided to take the plunge and put everything I could into the project. Nigel Mansell (former Formula One World Champion) re-mortgaged his house to go racing, so I'm going even further!
"I met with Graham (Hathaway) again at the Autosport International show in January and since then we've been talking and planning out the season. I'm delighted GHE will be involved as they have so much motorsport experience and engineering knowledge."
Graham Hathaway is also delighted about the project. "It's fantastic to be back in the BTCC again and the timing couldn't be better, being ten years since we were last in the series. We have a competitive car, so we feel we can achieve some good results."
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season starts on April 1st at Brands Hatch in Kent, finishing at the high speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire on October 14th. Simon Blanckley will be racing at his local circuit of Croft when the BTCC visits on June 3rd.