By Pat Cranham - BTCC reporter
With just one day to go before the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship officially gets unveiled at Silverstone, Tech-Speed have come out and confirmed their plans early for the 2011 season.
We hope to be in contention near the front of the field.
As expected the team have confirmed that they will be running last year’s Chevrolet Cruzes as run by RML and will be retaining current drivers John George and Paul O’Neill.
As Motorsport.com revealed it has also been announced that a telecomm company will become title sponsor of the team in the hands of Go Mobile, with whom driver George is involved with. Sunshine.co.uk will also continue to be heavily involved in sponsoring the team, as the owner of the company is believed to be the possessor of the second Cruze which O’Neil will drive. The very Cruze Jason Plato drove to last year’s BTCC Drivers Championship.
For the past two seasons the team have heavily over-achieved with O’Neill at the wheel of a Honda Integra. Now having secured proven winning cars, while retaining O’Neill, wins most surely be on the cards. The team will also benefit from being given access to the data from RML taken last year.
Team boss Marvin Humphries remains cautious but hugely optimistic about the season ahead and said, “It might take us a little while to get used to the new cars, but we are optimistic about our chances for the year ahead and are looking forward to working with RML, who have enjoyed huge success with the Cruze both in Britain and in the World Touring Car Championship. It’s too early to say how we will perform during the season until we see where everyone is but, with a proven race-winning car, we hope to be in contention near the front of the field.”
O’Neill, who has become a real fans’ favourite over the years, also has wins on his mind and hopes to add to his two victories, which he achieved in 2002/03 driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupe, first for Team Egg Sport and then for the full VXRacing team in 2003.
O’Neill has already tested well at both Brands Hatch and Snetterton and cant wait to get going by saying, “I’m over the moon that the deal has finally been done. In testing, the Chevrolet has been everything I expected from a title-winning car and now I just need to make the most of the time available in the car before we get to Brands Hatch for the season-opener. There is a lot of potential for us to explore in the Cruze, but this season we have to be targeting consistent top six finishes and race wins. We don’t have the big budgets of some of the top teams when it comes to the overall championship, but there is no doubt that my sights are firmly on fighting for the Independents’ title to reward tech-speed, Go Mobile and Sunshine.co.uk in putting the deal together.”
Like all the other teams Tech-speed will show off their new cars in full Go-Mobile livery tomorrow in front of the waiting media, including Motorsport.com. So be sure to return following tomorrow’s official unveiling at Silverstone where you will be able to view images of the new Tech-speed Cruze as well as the other teams and read our full report on the day and who will be on the grid for 2011.