Gornall to make BTCC debut with TPC Racing
Former British GT Champion James Gornall is to make his British Touring Car Championship debut this season, joining Bobby Thompson at TPC Racing.
The 35-year-old from Bedford is a former British kart champion, who won the BARC Formula Renault title in his first season racing cars in 2003. Taking a break from full time racing, he studied at Oxford Brookes University where he won the British University karting title two years in a row.
On his return to professional racing he joined the British GT Championship, winning the title in his first full season, 2008.
Racing alongside Jon Barnes in a Brookspeed-run Dodge Viper, James secured the championship title thanks to an unrivalled tally of four wins - wrapping up the crown with two races of the season still to run.
The same season also saw James take a class win in the Silverstone 24 Hours with the Beechdean Motorsport team before a hiatus from racing that would run through to 2014 when he elected to return to competition in the BMW Compact Cup.
Racing against Trade Price Cars Racing team owner Dan Kirby, James secured second in the standings in 2015 and then went one better twelve months later to lift the championship title.
After a strong guest appearance in the MINI Challenge in 2018, James then worked to put together a full-season programme in the series in 2019, with five wins - and an impressive 13 podiums - allowing the BRDC member to secure another championship title.
That championship success resulted in James securing the chance to sample a BTCC machine for the first time, with an outing in a Ford Focus RS at Snetterton only strengthening his desire to make the step up to the BTCC for the 2020 campaign.
"When I decided to enter the MINI Challenge last season, it was with the aim of learning the skills required to move into British Touring Cars in the future," said Gornall.
"I’d never raced in front wheel drive before. The test I did in the Focus as a reward for winning the title only increased my desire to join the grid, as I felt comfortable straightaway and knew that I would be able to do myself justice.
"I’ve known Dan for a few years from our time racing against each other in the Compact Cup, and we had a chat about his plans for the touring cars with the Audis twelve months ago at the Autosport Show. I’ve kept a keen interest in how things have been going since then, and it’s great that I’m now going to be part of the team for my debut season in the BTCC.
"As a driver you always want to win races and if you don’t go into a new season feeling you can win, then you won’t do. The team has shown that it can fight for victories and that has to be my target in 2020; to fight for silverware and to challenge for both the Independents’ title and the Jack Sears Trophy.
"I’m looking forward to working alongside Bobby and think we can have a lot of fun during the season ahead. A huge thanks to Dan and the team for making this deal happen, and I can’t wait to get started."
"On the back of our 2019 season, there was a lot of interest in the Audis and a lot of speculation about who would be at the wheel," added Kirby.
"I’m really pleased to now welcome James into the team. I’ve raced against him in the past, and you only have to look at the success he has enjoyed in his career to date to see what a talented driver he is.
"As a newcomer to the series, James is a driver who fans might not be too familiar with. However, I’m confident that they will soon see what James can do when the season gets underway as you don’t become a six-time British champion in a range of disciplines without being a quick driver. James has a winning mentality, and I’m looking forward to seeing him make his mark on the BTCC during his maiden season.
"With James alongside Bobby, I think we’ve put together an exciting driver pairing that will allow us to build on the success we enjoyed in our first year, and I’m confident that we’ll make a real impression again in 2020."