BTCC announcements and unveils galore

There were certainly many at the Autosport International Show.

BTCC announcements and unveils galore
Mike Bushell and team boss Shaun Hollamby unveil their 2015 AmD Tuning.com Ford Focus
Aiden Moffat and his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A Class
Infinity Support Our Paras Racing, Infinity Q50
Aiden Moffat, Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A Class
Rob Austin, Exocet Racing Audi A4
Colin Turkington, 2014 eBay Motors BMW 125i
Adam Morgan, Wix Racing Mercedes A-Class
Rob Austin, Exocet Racing Audi A4
Tom Ingram, Speedworks Toyota Avensis
Toyota Touring Car
Andy Priaulx, WSR BTCC 2015 BMW 125i
Andrew Jordan, Pirtek MG 6GT
Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer
Honda Civic Type R
Listen to this article

The first public unveiling at the Autosport International Show was Aiden Moffat with his Laser Tools racing Mercedes A Class, built by Ciceley Racing with whom they linked up with at the mid-point of last season. Moffat became the youngest driver in history to enter the series when he made his debut in 2012 at his home track at Knockhill. Moffat will now enter for his second full season having made the switch from the Chevrolet Cruze he raced last year.

Next to unveil was Mike Bushell who will race with AmD Tuning.com. The reigning Clio Cup Champion, who has previously raced once in the series at Knockhill in 2013, was on hand with team boss Shaun Hollamby to take the sheets off their Ford Focus last year piloted by Dave Newsham.

Andy Priaulx returns

Next up was the major announcement and unveiling of the day when Triple World Touring Car Champion (WTCC) champion Andy Priaulx announced his return to the series with West Surry Racing. Priaulx made his debut in the series during a one off race in 2001 racing in the Satellite Works Vauxhall team where he took a double pole and 2nd at Oulton Park. The following year he made his sole full season to date in the Championship, racing for Honda, taking one victory along the way.

Since then the Guernsey man has solely raced BMW’s taking the European Touring Car Championship and three WTCC titles whilst he has also raced for BMW in the DTM and in various Le Mans Endurance series as well having done some F1 testing for Williams BMW and then Sauber BMW.

Priaulx will race with the number 111 in recognition of his three WTCC crowns and unveiled his new racer on the main Autosport stage alongside team boss Dick Bennetts. Speaking about his return to the series Priaulx said, “I am very excited about 2015. To have the opportunity to race again in the UK with my long-term partners IHG, alongside race and test programmes in America and Europe, is going to be a lot of fun. The BTCC is one of the strongest touring car championships in Europe and unfinished business for me. I am looking forward to joining West Surrey Racing in their Championship winning BMW 125i M Sport and working with Dick Bennetts, whose engineering success speaks for itself.”

A touring car icon

Bennetts is also delighted to have secured a man he has admired for a long time and said, “What can one say… to have Andy Priaulx and IHG join WSR for the BTCC in 2015 is a real privilege. I have known Andy for many years, so to have him – a three time World Touring Car Champion – in one of our BMW 125i’s is fantastic news, not only for WSR but the BTCC as well.”

That wasn’t the only WSR BMW on display at the show with Colin Turkington’s eBay Motors car on display with the number 1 on its window at the K and N stand. This however could be the only time we see Turkington and number 1 on the BMW this year or in fact in the BTCC in 2015. With eBay Motors departure Turkington’s future remains unclear although the team are trying to find the budget to run him in the third car alongside Priaulx and other confirmed driver Sam Tordoff.

The eBay trio and their uncertain futures

Should Turkington fail, Rob Collard who has driven for the team since 2010 has stated he has the budget in place but the deal all depends on the Turkington situation. One driver that we will definitely not see in the BTCC or WSR is Nick Foster who, after four years with the team, has announced his departure from the series.

Other cars featured on the BTCC stand included Rob Austin’s Audi A4 and the Infinity Support Our Paras Racing appearing for the first time in livery. Austin confirmed on the Autosport stage that he will once again race his fans favourite Audi A4 nicknamed Sherman alongside a second car appearing in a different livery. Infinity will be a full works team entered by Pro Motorsport driven by Derek Palmer and Richard Hawken raising money for injured paratroopers and incorporating them in the team.

Honda Civics on display

The final car on the Dunlop BTCC stand was the Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer. Both drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden were at the show and although no official announcement was made it was confirmed that Shedden has signed a deal to remain with the team until 2017 with both Honda and Neal also in place for 2015. What car they will drive this season has however yet to be confirmed although they did announce that it won’t be the Civic Tourer from last season and with the brand new Civic Type R set to hit the British roads in 2015 it remains the red hot favourite. Whatever they go with the team have stated that it probably won’t hit the track until late, with early March being a realistic target although they are set to test new engine developments before using the Civic Tourer.

Dotted around the show there were also a number of other BTCC cars. Adam Morgan’s Wix Racing, Ciceley built Mercedes was on show and will be returning following his maiden win during the final meeting of the year, while there was also both Speedworks stabled Toyota Avensis’ on show. The main Speedworks team have yet to confirm their driver for the season while the second Avensis belonging to Handy Motorsport who receive assistance from Speedworks have confirmed that Simon Belcher will be back out for his second season and he confirmed that he will get the latest spec Avensis following the first meeting of the year.

Jason Plato on the grid in 2015?

As well as the unveilings a number of drivers will take to the main stage to speak about their 2015 plans over the weekend. The biggest BTCC star to take to the stage during day one was Jason Plato. As yet the most successful driver in BTCC history for wins has yet to sign a deal for 2015 but says he is close and he will be back following his departure from MG. When asked the question Plato said, “Yes, I think I will be on the grid, I’m working on a couple of very interesting programmes at the moment and I would imagine in the next three weeks we’ll choose a direction to go in and announce something.”

Following the two trade/Media days the show will now open its doors to the public for two days over the weekend. During these days even more BTCC stars will take to the stage to answer questions about their 2015 plans as preparation for the 2015 is now in full swing.

shares
comments
Andrew Jordan joins MG with Pirtek
Previous article

Andrew Jordan joins MG with Pirtek

Next article

'From the moment I started, I wanted to be a factory driver' – Andrew Jordan

'From the moment I started, I wanted to be a factory driver' – Andrew Jordan
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Motorsport.com picks out the best performers.

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Prime

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Prime

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Prime

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Prime

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.

BTCC
May 7, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Prime

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.

BTCC
May 5, 2021
The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Prime

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020