Following successful tests at both Brands Hatch and Snetterton, Tech-Speed Motorsport can today confirm that it will run a pair of Chevrolet Cruzes for the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
The team will field cars for Widnes-racer Paul O’Neill and Guernsey-based team-mate John George, with title sponsorship from mobile phone retailer Go Mobile seeing the team entered into the new season under the GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed banner.
Previous title sponsor Sunshine.co.uk remains onboard as a team sponsor for 2011.
Tech-Speed head into the new season on the back of a stunning 2010 campaign, where it continually punched above its weight running older BTC-spec Honda Integras.
However, it will now compete in 2011 with the cars that were raced by the works Chevrolet team last season, and which carried Jason Plato to his second BTCC title.
“It’s good to be working with Go Mobile for the year ahead and also to be continuing our relationship with Sunshine.co.uk after the success we have had in recent years,” Tech-Speed chief Marvin Humphries said. “It might take us a little while to get used to the new cars, but we are optimistic about our chances for the year ahead and are looking forward to working with RML, who have enjoyed huge success with the Cruze both in Britain and in the World Touring Car Championship.
“It’s too early to say how we will perform during the season until we see where everyone is, but with a proven race-winning car, we hope to be in contention near the front of the field.”
For former Vauxhall factory driver Paul, 2011 represents his best chance to return to the top of the podium for the first time since 2003 after securing a number of top three finishes in the past two seasons.
Paul’s deal to compete with GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed has been made possible thanks to the continued personal backing from Sunshine.co.uk, which has purchased the car that took Plato to the crown last year in order to allow him to launch his own championship challenge.
“I’m over the moon that the deal has finally been done,” he said. “In testing, the Chevrolet has been everything I expected from a title winning car and now I just need to make the most of the time available in the car before we get to Brands Hatch for the season opener.
“There is a lot of potential for us to explore in the Cruze, but this season we have to be targeting consistent top six finishes and race wins. We don’t have the big budgets of some of the top teams when it comes to the overall championship, but there is no doubt that my sights are firmly on fighting for the Independents’ title to reward Tech-Speed, Go Mobile and Sunshine.co.uk in putting the deal together.”
Team-mate John will go into the new season armed with the most competitive package he will have driven since making his BTCC debut back in 2004.
Having been one of the most improved drivers on the grid last year after a series of impressive performances, John’s target for the year ahead is to become a consistent points scorer and aid the team in its quest for both overall and Independents’ honours.
John will be at the wheel of the car driven by Alex MacDowall last season, which took pole position at Snetterton and a number of podium finishes during the year.
“Last season was my most competitive in the BTCC, and I’m hoping to go from strength to strength this year,” John said. “My initial laps in the Chevrolet have been good and it’s a well-sorted and precise machine, as you’d expect from a title winning car.
“It’s early days but we have a very good package for the year ahead and I’m hoping that I can be even more competitive this season and challenge for points at every round. Having a strong team-mate like Paul for another season is great and I’m really looking forward to racing with Tech-Speed and Go Mobile during the year ahead.”
New title sponsor Go Mobile will be embarking on its first full year of BTCC sponsorship, having joined the team in an associate capacity mid-way through 2010.
Go Mobile, with over 100 stores across the UK and an online presence through the GoMobileUK.com website, are trading brands of Shebang Consumer Solutions Limited, who have chosen the BTCC as their first high profile association in above the line advertising.
“GoMobileUK.com is delighted to be involved with the BTCC,” managing director Julian Barton said. “The passion and excitement of the events and the fans is second to none in domestic motor racing, and we will bring some of the championship buzz to life in our stores and online with a series of great offers and giveaways.”
The GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed cars will be seen in their new livery for the first time on the annual BTCC Media Day at Silverstone tomorrow, Thursday, 24 March.