Sutton makes surprise switch to Motorbase Ford

Three-time British Touring Car champion Ash Sutton has made a shock switch to the Motorbase Performance-run NAPA Racing Ford Focus squad for the 2022 season. 

Sutton makes surprise switch to Motorbase Ford
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The 27-year-old will line up alongside Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion and 2019/20 BTCC title contender Dan Cammish in the two-car NAPA superteam in what Sutton describes as “a multi-year deal”.

Motorbase will also continue to run two-time BTCC race winner Ollie Jackson and Sam Osborne, son of team owner Pete Osborne, in its other two Focuses. 

Sutton won his 2020 and 2021 titles in an Infiniti Q50 entered by Laser Tools Racing, but which was effectively operated by members of BMR Racing, the team run by his manager Warren Scott and with which he claimed his first BTCC crown in 2017 with the Subaru Levorg. 

Rumours of a split between BMR and Laser Tools began circulating before the end of the 2021 season, and it is understood that BMR had a BTCC Jaguar XE project under way before the decision was taken to go to Motorbase. 

BMR’s sole TBL BTCC entrants’ licence was also absorbed for 2022 by Aiden Moffat Racing, the company of Laser Tools boss Bob Moffat’s BTCC race-winning son. 

“Pete [Osborne] only came to me a couple of months ago to see if I was interested, but I wasn’t sure what my commitments would be,” Sutton told Motorsport.com.

“I had a few deals on the table, and had to work out which one I wanted to go for. It became apparent that what Pete was offering with the NAPA partnership could secure me in the BTCC for a sensible amount of time.” 

Sutton is also taking the nucleus of his BMR crew with him to Motorbase. This includes Antonio Carrozza, who was part of BMR when Sutton won the 2017 crown, and then led the redesign on the Infiniti for 2020 and race-engineered him to the past two titles. 

“I’ve got Antonio Carrozza, my number-one mechanic, and we’ve also brought my data engineer from the past couple of seasons,” added Sutton. “They’re now a part of the Motorbase family and are working on the new project.” 

With Sutton renowned as a rear-wheel-drive specialist, the switch to the Focus ST represents a return to front-driven NGTC machinery for the first time since his rookie BTCC campaign in 2016. 

But he has had more recent FWD experience, with cameo outings in TCR Europe and TCR UK in 2018-19, as well as a development role on Volkswagen’s TCR project. 

“I remember jumping in a TCR car at Oulton, and in my first session we were quickest,” he said. “Then I did some TCR Europe and we were in the top three straight away.

“It’s about finding the limits – front-wheel drive moves around a lot differently to a rear-wheel-drive car, so it’s getting my head around that.

“But having Dan in the team means we will push each other on – I’m looking forward to exploring my own limits and us moving the team forward together. 

“My goal is to be going out for the championship – I’d like to think I’m a driver who comes into it every year with that goal.”

Sutton's place at Laser Tools alongside Moffat will be taken by Scottish teenager Dexter Patterson in 2022.

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