BTCC Round-up: Ambitious Team HARD. Newsham, Goff, Cole and more

800px-Gordon_Shedden_BTCC_Brands_Hatch_2011

Licensed under Wiki Commons

Since the thrilling 2012 season got to a closure there has been lot of happenings on and off the track including the changes in rules which I posted previously.  Things started getting really interesting as this weekend approached. As for the drivers on the grid, few questions have been answered. We focus on that in this part of round-up segment.

MG have launched a special edition MG6 hatchback to celebrate the successful 2012 campaign winning six race under Jason Plato in a three-way title hunt that went down to the wire. The MG6 GT BTCC is equipped with a 158bhp, 1.8-litre turbo petrol that can deal 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds with a top speed of 120mph and comes with a BTCC-badged front grille, costing 17 Grand. Want to win VIP hospitality tickets to a BTCC race next year? Hurry! go get the vehicle before the end of December.  Trust me, you wouldn’t.

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden and triple time champion Matt Neal have been confirmed to stay put with Honda Yuasa Racing and vowed to do it all over again come 2013 with a clean sweep just as they did to the championship this year. A seasonal greeting from Matt and Flash follows:

Instead of Silverstone, BTCC Media Day will be hosted at Donington park this time on March 21st. The revived circuit will establish an opportunity for fans and media to have a glimpse of what’s about to come with a media presentation and timed afternoon session test day before resuming to host the second race of 2013 on 21st of April.

Having planned to run four cars on the grid, Team HARD is working upon NGTC derived Volkswagen Passat CCs which they bought at the end of 2012 alongside the Insignias. The Passats are being redeveloped to comply with the regulations. Perhaps the team would enter in a different name and Gilham is said to be in talks with VW UK.

Meanwhile, WSR ditch 320si to opt for the new 1-series M sport as they believe the shorter wheelbase is more in-line with the existing rules. No livery has yet been announced but the eBay sponsorship will be continued.

At the NEC arena that hosts Autosport International show, all the top BTCC stars will be in attendance with the likes of Shedden, Neal, Plato, Jordan and others on the public days of 12-13 January. Andrew Jordan partakes in a support race to the upcoming Daytona 24 Hour race on the 26/27th of Jan. Plato’s  MG6 GT,  Rob Austin Racing Audi A4, eBay Motors BMW 320si, Welch Motorsport Proton, Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis and Team HARD Vauxhall Insignia will also be present there.

Dave Newsham moves to Speedworks:

After claiming wins at Snetterton and Knockhill  in this year’s championship the Carmarthen finished ninth overall driving an ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra. He along with Lea Wood took to the Donington park last month to test  the Speedworks run NGTC Toyota Avensis and one of them were expected to be taken into the squad. Switching to the NGTC-spec machine is an obvious move as he penned down a deal while thanking the departing driver Tony Hughes for making it possible. Multiple-time hot rod champion Carl Boardley eying for BTCC switch as he tested with Speedworks early this month as well.

Tony Gilham Racing signs a champion:

Another Clio cup champion making his way into the BTCC grid is Jack Goff who took five podiums and a couple of wins edging former champion Paul Rivett to clinch the crown and convince Tony Gilham for a drive. The 21-year-old tested with the team in November causing much speculation, and this week confirmed he has signed for the team and will be at the wheel of one of the redeveloped Next-gen Vauxhall Insignias chose to run for next year. It will be a toughest challenge for a rookie to cope with on a much experienced side like Team HARD.

Tom Onslow-Cole leaves WSR:

Though Onslow-cole didn’t win a race, his consistent finishes in points with seven podiums ended his season on a high with a sixth place finish. His year-long service with West Surrey Racing wouldn’t last long as he inked a three year deal for Team HARD to drive an NGTC Volkswagen Passat CC set to debut in 2013. The move came as a little surprise as WSR  have just announced their plans for 2013 to switch to NGTC spec cars. In his six years of racing in BTCC, Cole has often switched squads and never settled at one. He admitted that Gilham’s long term prospect has lured him to take his spot in the team.

It’s also been announced that top two finishers of support series Formula Ford EcoBoost 200 will get a BTCC test drive with Motorbase Performance team. More news to come in the following week. Watch this space for more action !!

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