BKR, Welch Motorsport leave BTCC as TOCA reveals 2017 entrants

Both Team BKR and Welch Motorsport will be missing from the 2017 BTCC grid after TOCA revealed the allocation of TOCA BTCC Licences for next season.

BKR had fielded two cars last season for Aron Smith and Mark Howard but will depart after a single campaign, with Welch Motorsport electing not to continue with its Proton for what would have been a seventh season.

Dan Welch's team has at least retained its TBL, which will be loaned to Motorbase Performance for 2017 as the Ford team expands to run a three-car BTCC programme.

With BKR's licence's going back to TOCA, there are changes elsewhere on the grid with AmDTuning.com securing a second licence to allow it to expand to a two-car team, and BTC Racing making a return with two licences - now running under the BTC Norlin Racing banner.

Power Maxed Racing will make use of the two TBLs that are available on loan from TOCA for its new programme with the Vauxhall Astra.

The remaining allocation of licences is unchanged from last season, with Matt Simpson using his own licence as part of his deal to join Team Dynamics.

TOCA BTCC Licences 2017:

AmD Tuning - 2
BMR Racing - 4
BTC Norlin Racing - 2
Ciceley Motorsport - 1
Eurotech Racing - 2
Handy Motorsport - 1
Laser Tools Racing - 1
Maximum Motorsport - 1
Motorbase Performance - 3
Power Maxed Racing - 2
Simpson Racing - 1
Speedworks Motorsport - 1
Team Dynamics Motorsport - 2
Team Hard Racing - 3
Team Parker Racing - 1
Triple Eight Race Engineering - 2
WSR - 3

Motorbase focus on expanded programme

The team, which is due to reveal a new title sponsor in the near future, will run a third Ford Focus ST alongside the two raced in 2016 having agreed a deal to loan the licence that was previously campaigned by Welch Motorsport.

No drivers for the programme have been announced thus far, although Andrew Jordan has already departed to join West Surrey Racing.

“The 2016 season was a great year for Motorbase Performance taking both the Independent Teams and Drivers trophies, but we’re ready to step it up a gear in 2017,” team boss David Bartrum said.

“These are really exciting times for Motorbase. We have a fantastic new title sponsor behind us as well as the backing of some of our long-standing partners and this has enabled us to push forward our plans to bring the third Focus out on track for our 2017 campaign.

“We’ve shown that we have one of the best packages on the grid this year and with some tweaks over the Winter, we expect the Focus to be back up there competing at the front again in 2017.

"We’re talking to some great drivers at the moment and we’re working hard on putting together a title-winning squad for the new season.”

With the addition of a third car to the BTCC programme, Motorbase will call time on what has been a successful spell in GT competition, which included winning the British GT title back in 2012.

“We’ve enjoyed five fantastic years racing in the GT world – taking both the overall Driver and Team Championship crowns in the British GT Championship and podiums in the Blancpain Endurance Cup and Gulf 12 Hours,” Bartrum added.

“We’ve raced with and against some great people in that time and it’s by no means the end of sports car racing for Motorbase, but I feel that it’s the right time for us to regroup and to put all of our efforts into building on last season’s BTCC success.

“We have a new look for the whole squad and a very exciting programme in place for the season ahead. I look forward to introducing our new title sponsor to the BTCC fans in the coming weeks.”

Matt Salisbury / TouringCarTimes

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