The new entries just keep on lining up for the British Touring Car Championship, which is rapidly becoming the most varied racing series in the world. There are already 27 cars based on 13 different models from 10 different manufacturers, but now the touring car series is about to get a 28th, based on a 14th from an 11th, respectively.
The latest car set to join the BTCC grid this year is the Skoda Octavia vRS. The compact sedan from the Czech Volkswagen subsidiary is based on some very old technology, taking its underpinnings (and everything else) from the several-generatons-old VW Jetta. That doesn't seem to be deterring TH Motorsport from bringing it to the BTCC, though.
The independent team has been racing in the series since 2001, fielding everything from Mitsubishis and Hondas to Protons and Seats. It withdrew from the BTCC after last season and has been plotting its return ever since, finally settling on the Octavia which it will adapt to the new cost-effective NGTC regulations that have opened up the field to so many independents.
Matt Hamilton, who drove for the team the past two years running (and who, as far as we can tell, is of no relation to F1 champion Lewis Hamilton), will be taking the wheel of the Skoda when it's ready, but the team is considering the potential for a second car. Press release after the jump.
TH Motorsport are delighted to announce that they will be returning to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with a Skoda Octavia VRS built to the new Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) regulations.
Trevor Humphrey, Team Principal of Watford based TH Motorsport, who until recently were regulars in the BTCC, stated his intention to return to the Championship as soon as possible after the team's last race at Oulton Park in June 2010.
The intention is to complete the build of the Skoda Octavia VRS before the end of this year, ready to make a competitive entry in the 2012 Championship. TH Motorsport's driver from the 2009 and 2010 Championships, Matt Hamilton, will be entrusted with the development of the car, and will be the team's race driver in 2012.
Trevor Humphrey explains, 'we were very disappointed to have to leave the BTCC in 2010, and it was always my intention to return as soon as possible. I considered purchasing an S2000 car to run this year, but for a smaller team like us, it was a "no brainer" to be patient, and go the NGTC route. In the long run, the NGTC car will be much more cost effective to run, and with a structured development programme, I know that we can be competitive.'
'I am looking forward to working with Matt (Hamilton) again. I was very impressed with the way that Matt adapted to Touring Cars, and I know that he has huge potential. Our participation in the BTCC with a Next Generation Touring Car is a long term commitment. We are also considering the option of building a second car if a driver with competitive credentials was to show an interest'
'The whole team are thrilled at the prospect of being back in the BTCC, it's where we want to be'.