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Ricky Collard joins Speedworks Toyota BTCC team

Ricky Collard will contest his first full British Touring Car Championship campaign this season after signing for the Speedworks-run Toyota team.

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Collard, son of 15-time BTCC race winner Rob, drove a West Surrey Racing BMW in four BTCC rounds in 2018 while competing in various GT series.

The 25-year-old will now join BTCC frontrunner Rory Butcher in the Speedworks squad, driving a Toyota Corolla GR Sport.

2016 BRDC Formula 3 runner-up Collard had considered retiring in favour of a move to Australia but, following a trio of promising test days in the Toyota at Donington Park, Knockhill and Croft, has now committed to the BTCC.

“I’ve been knocking around the BTCC paddock since I was just three years old, standing at the side of the track watching my dad compete against the likes of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Gordon Shedden – so as a series, it has huge personal appeal to me and I’ve made no secret recently of my desire to return,” said Collard.

“It definitely feels like I have some unfinished business after dipping my toe into the water at the end of 2018, and with my dad no longer racing, it’s almost like I’m now picking up the reins and carrying on the family legacy.

“Following a comparatively quiet past couple of years, I was actually planning to stop racing at the end of 2022 to move to Australia – I had my visa organised and everything! While I still had some good options in GTs, my interest was waning – but this opportunity has really reignited the spark and I intend to grab it with both hands, fully embrace it and enjoy it.”

Collard has not raced a front-wheel-drive machine before but is confident he can get on the pace and challenge for race wins.

Collard will race Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Collard will race Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Photo by: Iain Struthers Photography

“Last week’s test at Donington was the first time I’d ever driven a front wheel-drive race car and, while we’re clearly not yet where we want to be, my lap times showed that I already feel pretty comfortable in the Toyota,” added Collard, who qualified second at Silverstone in 2018 in the RWD BMW and took a best finish of third.

“The Corolla is a proven race-winning package, and everybody in the team is doing all they can to help me to get quickly up to speed. I’m getting faster with every lap, and that progression is only going to continue.”

Team principal Christian Dick said: “It was evident watching Ricky as he rose through the ranks that he is a driver of considerable talent and potential, and his performances during his short previous stint in the BTCC in 2018 really turned some heads.

“His pace in the Corolla these past few days has also been extremely encouraging, and we’re confident that the combination of Ricky’s raw speed and Rory’s well-honed racecraft and experience will stand us in very good stead over the coming season.”

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