The Speedworks Motorsport squad which fields Toyota’s British Touring Car Championship entry is to expand to two cars for the 2021 season.
Christian Dick’s outfit, which is entered under the banner of Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, is to run two versions of the Corolla, which has taken seven race wins during its two seasons of competition with Tom Ingram at the wheel.
The move represents what Toyota UK hopes will be a full-on attack for the BTCC manufacturers’ championship in TGR corporate livery this season – last year that was dominated by BMW and Honda, while as a one-car entrant Toyota trailed in a distant third place.
It has been facilitated by Speedworks’ acquisition of an additional TBL, the licence required for each BTCC entry. This has come from AmD, which has shed one of its existing TBLs following team boss Shaun Hollamby’s takeover of Motorbase Performance.
Neither Speedworks nor Toyota has confirmed either of its two drivers for 2021, with Ingram already confirmed to be on the move after seven years with the team.
Ex-Motorbase Ford ace Rory Butcher is the hot tip to lead the Toyota attack, but Speedworks would only promise an “‘exciting’ and ‘dynamic’ new driver pairing to be unveiled in the coming weeks”.
Speedworks supremo Dick said: “It’s a step we have been targeting for a while, and something we knew needed to happen if we were to have a real shot at winning the manufacturers’ and teams’ championships in a series as ultra-competitive as the BTCC.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a single-car entrant over the past seven years – outperforming and outscoring many teams running two or more cars, which is quite a feat – and I cannot wait to see what we can now accomplish with a second Corolla in the garage.
“We had arguably the fastest car in the field towards the end of last season, and we are confident of unlocking even more pace from it between now and Brands Hatch [the opening round].
“Whilst we’re under no illusions about the size of the challenge ahead, we’ve proved we are more than capable of running two cars before, the Speedworks guys and girls are the best in the pitlane and we have a dynamic new driver line-up that will be unveiled soon, representing an exciting blend of youth and experience.
Toyota UK spokesman Scott Brownlee added: “Speedworks has long proved to be amongst the best BTCC teams, but has been fighting with one hand tied behind its back. The step up to a full, two-car team will allow them to take the battle to the other manufacturer teams with both hands.
“Speedworks is a very good fit with Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, as evidenced by the team’s British GT programme with the GR Supra GT4.”
BTCC UNVEILS FULL 29-CAR ENTRY
Meanwhile, BTCC organiser TOCA has revealed what amounts to a full 29-car entry list of TBL holders for this year’s series.
Since last year, the series has lost Team Parker Racing, whose TBL has become the second to be acquired by Carl Boardley, while AmD’s remaining TBL has been absorbed by Motorbase.
The end of the Parker squad’s time in the series ties in with speculation that Stephen Jelley will rejoin West Surrey Racing for 2021.
WSR remains on three TBLs, while Honda squad Team Dynamics sticks at two, ending talk that it could expand to three Civics.
The full list of TBL holders, with confirmed drivers, is as follows:
BMR Racing 1 (Ash Sutton/Laser Tools Racing Infiniti)
Boardley Motorsport 2 (Carl Boardley/Laser Tools Racing Infiniti; TBA/Team Hard Cupra)
BTC Racing 3 (Josh Cook, Michael Crees, TBA/all BTC Honda)
Ciceley Motorsport 2 (Adam Morgan, TBA/both Ciceley BMW)
Excelr8 Motorsport 2 (Jack Butel, TBA/both Excelr8 Hyundai)
Aiden Moffat Racing 1 (Aiden Moffat/Laser Tools Racing Infiniti)
Motorbase Performance 4 (Jake Hill, TBA, TBA, TBA/all Motorbase or MB Ford)
Power Maxed Racing 2 (Jason Plato, TBA/both Power Maxed Vauxhall)
Speedworks Motorsport 2 (TBA, TBA/both Speedworks Toyota)
Team Dynamics 2 (Dan Cammish, TBA/both Dynamics Honda)
Team Hard 3 (Jack Goff, Aron Taylor-Smith, Glynn Geddie/all Hard Cupra)
Trade Price Cars Racing 2 (TBA, TBA/both Excelr8 Hyundai)
West Surrey Racing 3 (TBA, TBA, TBA/all WSR BMW)