United Autosports have confirmed that they have been granted two TOCA BTCC licences and will run a pair of Toyota Avensis.
It has been a busy few days of announcements from within the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with the latest big news, and perhaps the most surprising, being the confirmation that Marc Hynes will race a third MG 6GT for Triple Eight Racing.
Hynes will compete in a stunning black liveried MG and will run with the number 888. Unlike his other two team mates; Hynes will not run under the MG KX Momentum Racing banner although no official announcement has yet to be made on what team name he will run under.
The news that a third MG for 2014 is of no surprise, however the news that Hynes will be on the grid is, as it had been expected that Sam Tordoff would be retained while fellow KX Academy driver and current Ginetta Supercup Champion, Tom Ingram, would graduate to the series to partner Jason Plato, who is in the third year of his 3 year contract while Hynes has not competed in a race car since 2008.
Nevertheless Hynes does have a fantastic CV that includes becoming the 1995 Formula Vauxhall Junior champion and 1997 British Formula Renault Championship, while he also beat future Formula 1 drivers Luciano Burti and Jenson Button on his way to the 1999 British Formula 3 Championship and also took the prestigious Marlboro Master of F3 at Zandvoort in the same year.
Hynes then went on to test for BAR in Formula 1 but, sadly for him, he never made it to F1 and instead went on to mentor the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta before becoming part of Marussia F1 Team’s management structure.
His last competitive drive ironically was for Triple 8 in the V8 Supercars series in Australia and he will combine his current role with Marussia along with the BTCC driving duties. Speaking about his decision to return to racing Hynes said, “I am hugely excited about racing in the BTCC. The series is looks better than ever; strong Teams and Drivers with big crowds and great TV coverage. The BTCC package presents a commercially viable formula, which is pretty rare these days. I always knew that I had unfinished business in a race suit and I feel very privileged to have been presented with the opportunity to go racing with Triple Eight. Their record in British Touring Cars is remarkable and they are a Team that I have long admired. Testing starts soon and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.”
MG’s second seat is yet to be confirmed however some reports suggest that despite his superb debut season, Tordoff, who took 1 win and many more podiums on his way to 6th in the standings, is set to lose his seat to the impressive youngster Ingram.
If this is the case where will this leave Tordoff? Honda/Dynamics boss Steve Neal commented last season that Tordoff had approached them over a third drive for 2014 but, a controversial clash with Matt Neal at Silverstone and the announcement that Honda will switch to the Civic Tourer, make this switch highly unlikely. Other big seats yet to be filled include the Airwaves Racing and eBay Motors drives and it remains to be seen if he can secure one of these drives or indeed keep hold of his current seat at MG KX Momentum Racing.
In other recent BTCC news United Autosports have confirmed that they have been granted two TOCA BTCC licences and will run a pair of Toyota Avensis’ for James Cole, who competed for Team Hard in a Vauxhall Insignia for the first half of last season, and for Glynn Geddie who won the European Supercar Challenge Championship with United Autosports.
Team boss Richard Dean is delighted to have been granted licences for 2014 and can’t wait to get going and said, “We are really excited to be entering the 2014 British Touring Car Championship. It’s a new direction for the team and the BTCC is known across the country as a highly competitive championship so we are looking forward to taking on the new challenge. We have a strong driver line up in James and Glynn; James’ BTCC experience and Glynn’s pure driving skill will be invaluable to the team in 2014.”
After testing at Donington, it has now been officially confirmed that Martin Depper will drive the second Pirtek Racing Honda Civic alongside BTCC champion Andrew Jordan. Depper drove in the series in 2010 during a difficult year behind the wheel of a Forster Motorsport BMW, however he is now thrilled to be back in the series driving an all-conquering Civic for the BTCC champions and said, “I wanted to put myself into a strong position so buying the Honda and getting Eurotech to run it takes away most variables and leaves it down to me. I look forward to learning from Andrew about how to get the most from an NGTC car. I know the team can give me a competitive and reliable car from the experience of running the Civic in 2012 and 2013.”
With all 32 entries for next season all ready snapped up there has been much recent speculation over the recipients of the TOCA BTCC Licences. AmD Tuning team boss Shaun Hollamby, who has run an S2000 VW Golf for the past 4 seasons, took to his personnel social media networks to say, “Quick update- been a bit quiet on here recently but just to confirm we have an entry, a car and a driver for 2014 BTCC! All will be revealed soon!”
Another man/team making a lot of noise about a 2014 entrant is Chris James and his ES Racing team. ES Racing ran in the BTCC for two seasons, most successfully in 2012 where they ran a pair of S2000 Vauxhall Vectras that saw Dave Newsham take two victories. After missing 2013 Team boss James said, again on his social media network, “Deal DONE!!!! Press release tomorrow. All parties very very excited! This will put the GLAMOUR in to Motor Sport & Team ES Racing.com!!!”
We wait to see if these deals materialise as we wait to hear official announcements from the rest of the field that have been able to obtain licences for the 2014 season.