BTCC: Team B&Q Brands Hatch test update 2002-03-19

Team B&Q Jet York City Racing are delighted to announce that they made two signings during the course of yesterday's test day at Brands Hatch. In a major new sponsorship deal, John Batchelor announced that York-based Permisson Homes had signed...

Team B&Q Jet York City Racing are delighted to announce that they made two signings during the course of yesterday's test day at Brands Hatch.

In a major new sponsorship deal, John Batchelor announced that York-based Permisson Homes had signed up for a major three-year partnership. Although the exact figure involved has not been disclosed it is known that it is a seven-figure number and can therefore be looked upon as a major sponsorship coup. The deal will see their name emblazoned on the two Honda Accords that will be campaigned by Batchelor and his new teammate, Jim Edwards Jnr, in this season's British Touring Car Championship.

Although the deal involves both race team and football club, the majority of the cash is expected to go to York City. John Batchelor explains, "In the past I have used my association with football as a means of attracting backers for the race team. It excited sponsors a lot more than 'old man goes racing and needs money'. Football brands attract backers. This time around we can use the fact we are now competing in the UK's highest profile motor racing series to attract money the other way, back into the football club, because in the BTCC we can get a level of exposure that a third division football club can't get."

Also joining the team as official Test & Development Driver will be the talented Peter Cate. Having failed to complete last season's championship due to sponsorship troubles, Cate explains his role in the team. "My role will be a multi-faceted one this year. I will be responsible for developing the team's 2003 cars from a driver perspective, but at the same time, I will be lending my experience to the team's Honda Accord entry this year. This is a great way to define a long-term aspect to my career, instead of hopping from one under-funded season to the next."

"Although I want to be out on track, challenging for the championship, that will come in time. I believe in the package John is pulling together and the approach he takes, and he believes in me. I see this as a great investment for my future, not unlike Alan McNish's involvement with Toyota last year."

Peter will attend every BTCC race this season to lend his assistance to the team and, if the test session that followed yesterday's announcements is anything to go by, his knowledge of the Honda Accord that he drove so successfully in last year's championship will be very welcome. Gear selection gremlins were overcome reasonably quickly, but an engine misfire hampered and finally curtailed the team's first test with the new car. The fault was traced to the car's ECU and the team were forced to return to base in order to fix the problem.

John describes his thoughts on the day, "although the fact we were restricted to a handful of laps was frustrating, we are happy that the problems we encountered were all pretty straightforward. The first time a new car is run always presents a few problems that need to be addressed, and that was the case today. However the problems that occurred were nothing major and were most likely down to the fact the car has been stood since the end of last season without having being run at speed."

"We look forward with great excitement now to the opening rounds of the championship back here at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend. I am very short on track time in the new car and it is the first time I have driven a left hand driver race car, so don't expect miracles, but we are quietly confident!"

The team's other driver, Jim Edwards Jnr, was also upbeat despite the problems. "I am here for one reason and one reason only -- I intend to win this year's championship. Although the team is seen by some as a little laid back I am confident that they can deliver the goods. There are some really talented people in this team and I cannot wait to start working with them in earnest and to start repaying the faith that they have shown in me with results."

-tb&q-

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Series BTCC
Drivers Jim Edwards , Peter Cate