The Audi S3 will no longer be on the British Touring Car Championship grid in 2021, with Trade Price Cars Racing forming a new partnership with Excelr8 Motorsport.
TPCR entered the BTCC in 2019 with a two-car team of Audis, a project that has been run by AmD Tuning since 2015, and retained AmD to operate the machinery alongside AmD’s brace of Honda Civic Type Rs.
That two-year deal concludes at this weekend’s Brands Hatch season finale, following which TPCR will join forces with Excelr8 which will run an expanded four-car line-up of the new-for-2020 Hyundai i30 N under the Excelr8 Trade Price Cars banner.
The Hyundai, built last winter as Excelr8’s first ground-up BTCC project, has shown flashes of promise this season with Chris Smiley and Senna Proctor each claiming a second-place finish in reversed-grid races.
But development of the car has been hampered by a lack of testing due to the UK lockdown, and the rapid sequence of races since the BTCC kicked off at the beginning of August.
Excelr8, which had a learning year in the BTCC in 2019 with the venerable MG 6, is hopeful that the Hyundai’s potential can be unlocked over the 2020-21 off-season.
“As we said when we first embarked on our BTCC programme, our aim is to fight for championship titles as we have done elsewhere, and we know that isn’t something that happens overnight,” said Excelr8 team principal Justina Williams.
“We are in it for the long term, and this partnership is the next step as we progress towards our ultimate goal.
“Based on what we have been able to learn about the Hyundai this season, we have a development programme in place for the winter to improve the package we have, and are looking to bring together a driver line-up that will allow us to regularly challenge for the podium places in 2021.”
TPC owner Dan Kirby (above) added: “The Audi has served us well so far, but we could see that the latest generation of NGTC cars are a step forwards in terms of performance, and we also needed to think about the new hybrid regulations that will be coming into play in the series from 2022.
“We looked at the options that were available for 2021 and beyond, and the Hyundai was a really appealing option.
“The team at Excelr8 has done a great job to build a car that is capable of running at the front in a highly-competitive field, and it is a car that has been designed with the new hybrid era in mind.”
Asked whether the Audis could race on in the Touring Car Trophy, where Kirby himself drives, he added: “There’s no plan yet – we’re just taking one step at a time.
“This is good for touring cars – more new cars are being built and hopefully we’ll get a few drivers coming to us.”
The AmD/TPCR collaboration netted one win, courtesy of Jake Hill at Knockhill in 2019.
AmD chief Shaun Hollamby told Autosport: “It was always a two-year deal – four cars is very hard work and the guys have done well.
“I said to Dan that I couldn’t have promised to win races in the Audi, but we did and we should have won two or three in our time together.
“Dan is passionate about his motorsport and making it work with his business – good for him.”
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