The first entry of a Mercedes in the British Touring Car Championship has been announced.
Despite there being two meetings of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship still to run, Ciceley Racing have become the first team to come out and announce their full plans for 2014 after confirming they will enter a Mercedes A-class for current driver Adam Morgan.
Incredibly this will be the first time in the history of the series that we will see the German marquee represented on the grid and comes following the new that Renault will be once again feature on the grid for the first time in the main category since 1999, after Welsh chartered engineer Philip Morgan, has commissioned the build of two Renault Megane 3 NGTC cars to race in next year's BTCC. Work as already started on the car as he builds them through his MDA Wheels business and intends to lease the cars to teams on a customer basis.
One of the biggest factors in Ciceley Racing’s decision to switch to the Mercedes from their current Toyota Avensis is to co-inside their on track racing with their off track-activities as a Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van dealership.
Speaking about the announcement Ciceley Racing Team Principal Russell Morgan (father to Adam) said, ‘It’s great to finally announce our plans for 2014, the switch made sense for us in many different ways. With Paul Ridgway at the helm of the project holding high aspirations and Adam continuing to mature as a driver, we think that the A-Class can be a competitive package in the series next year.”
Series director Alan Gow is also delighted to welcome another manufacturer to the grid and pays tribute to the new Next Generation Touring Car regulations by saying, “This programme by Ciceley Racing is a perfect demonstration of the strength and adaptability of our 'NGTC' technical regulations - the team are able to change from racing a Toyota and onto developing and racing a Mercedes-Benz, whilst utilising the vast majority of the NGTC components they already possess. It will be great to see a Mercedes-Benz on the grid, to add to the already huge roll-call of other great brands competing in the BTCC."
2013 is Ciceley Racing’s debut year in the BTCC and they currently sit as leading Toyota team in the championship with Adam Morgan currently sitting 7th in the drivers’ championship and Ciceley 6th in the teams championship.
Previous to racing in the BTCC, the team won the 2011 Ginetta Supercup championship with Adam Morgan and as a prize, Adam received a fully paid drive in the BTCC where he competed for Speedworks, again at the wheel of an Avensis.
Unfortunately for the previous year’s Ginetta champion, 2012 wasn’t a happy year with Adam showing plenty of speed but also suffering plenty of bad luck much of which was sadly self inflicted.
However the change back to his family run team has resulted in his speed turning into decent race results and there is no doubt that Adam Morgan has become the most improved driver on the grid with him currently the only Toyota driver to make the podium in 2013, and such was his improvement he had already beat his points tally for the entire 2012 season after race 6.
During 2013 Adam Morgan has certainly proved his worth on the BTCC grid as have Ciceley Racing and the continued combination will be definitely something to look out for next season. The switch to the Mercedes unquestionably provides a difficult task for the Lancashire-based outfit nonetheless, as this will be the first BTCC car that they have designed and built a BTCC machine.
It remains impossible to predict how the switch to the Mercedes A-class will work out for the team in 2014, nevertheless without hesitation we can say that this certainly is good news for the championship as we will see a Mercedes on the grid for the first time in its 55 year history.