Here we round them up to keep you up to date with where the championship stands for 2017.
The first was an announcement on someone not racing in the championship for 2017 as 2016 runner up Sam Tordoff confirmed he wouldn’t return in 2017, we’ll let Sam explain;
“Firstly I would like to put on record what a fabulous time I have had racing on the TOCA package for the last 8 years. I’ve won races in all the Championship’s I’ve raced in and have driven for some great teams such as Total Control Racing, Team Parker Racing and latterly with West Surrey Racing and BMW who are, without doubt, the best team in the BTCC Paddock and I leave with great memories and a heavy heart.”
“However, my success on the track this year has presented me with new opportunities that are too good to miss. I am now really looking forward to the new challenges that lie ahead with some exciting plans in place and I should be able to reveal the first of these in the coming weeks.”
“In the meantime, I will continue to love and watch the BTCC and let me be the first to say, I will always leave the door ajar for a return in the future.”
Next up was the announcement that Matt Simpson’s Honda Civic would transfer from being run by Speedworks Motorsport to the outfit that runs the works Civics, Team Dynamics. (He will continue to enter under the Simpson Motorsport name)
“I’m over the moon to be working with Team Dynamics for next year,” Simpson said. “Their track record and pedigree speaks for itself, and we know we have a great package in the Honda Civic Type R they have developed. I can’t wait to go testing with them in the New Year.”
Team Dynamics Team manager James Rogers is just as happy to see Simpson join them;
“We’re really pleased to have Matt on-board for next season, he was fast and reliable all year, and I now hope with our input we can help him move up the grid to the next level.”
Then came perhaps the biggest announcement we’ve had so far this off season as Power Maxed Racing announced that Vauxhall are returning to the BTCC to give them manufacturer backing to run two Astra NGTC cars. Boss Adam Weaver spoke about the deal
“We are incredibly pleased and proud to be working with Vauxhall and to be the team that brings this iconic and highly successful brand back to the BTCC. The all new Astra is a fantastic car and it is no surprise that it was voted 2016 European Car of the Year – it will make a show-stopping BTCC challenger.”
The deal, which also involves the team’s parent company Automotive brands running a fleet of Vauxhall vans, sees Vauxhall supplying Shells to the team to convert into racing cars. Vauxhall will also enter the Manufacturer/Constructor championship. Drivers for the cars are yet to be announced but should be revealed in the next few weeks.
Alan Gow was pleased to hear about the new deal;
“It is fantastic to be welcoming Vauxhall back to the BTCC as a manufacturer entry. Its history and pedigree is there for all to see and I have no doubt that the highly professional and experienced team at Power Maxed Racing will be great partners.”
The final announcement in the recent run was from AMD tuning.com who will again run the Audi S3 NGTC car with Ollie Jackson once again behind the wheel.
Jackson is very positive about the deal;
“I really enjoyed this season with the team so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get the deal done to early to allow us to start working on 2017,” Jackson said. “I’m really excited about what next year could hold for us, and I have no doubt that this deal gives me the best chance I’ve ever had in the BTCC.
“This year we showed that we had a competitive package with the Audi, even though the fact we didn’t have the upgraded suspension worked against us at some circuits. With the upgrades that will now be carried out, and the knowledge and experience we have, I’m hopeful that we can be in a strong position when the season starts and be able to challenge for points from round one, with the ultimate goal being to push for the top ten. That won’t be easy as everyone is working on developments and improvements, but there is a huge amount of potential in the Audi that we were unlocking throughout 2016.
“The fact we’ll be able to do some proper pre-season testing is going to be key, and is something I haven’t been able to do before as my deals have always been quite last minute. Now the deal is done, I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel and get started.”
Team boss Shaun Hollamby is equally positive and reveals that they still hope to expand the BTCC team in 2017;
“The continuity of sticking with Ollie is something we felt was key after a strong second half of the year, and it’s great to have the deal done,” he said. “Given the way this season ended, we are keen to make sure we hit the ground running when the 2017 campaign comes around and try to build on what we achieved together this year.”
“Making the move to the RML kit is something we knew we had to do for next season and those upgrades will soon be carried out before we start testing and the real work begins. Of course it wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors, and we’re thankful that that ongoing support has allowed us to commit the resources required to upgrade the Audi and give us the best chance of success on track.”
“There is still the possibility that we may be able to run a second car alongside Ollie if certain things fall into place but it is out of our hands at the moment and very much a case of wait and see.”
With more news to come from Team Hard and other announcements from teams also due soon, the off season continues to be one of the busiest in recent years.By Marc Waller