Kent-based squad Motorbase Performance will miss the first half of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season, with Team Principal David Bartrum confirming his squad’s withdrawal from the grid in the best interest of his team and its partners.
“It is with regret that I have to announce that Motorbase will not be competing in the BTCC for the first half of this season;” said team boss Bartrum. “I and the rest of the team are obviously very disappointed.”
During the closed season, the team has worked alongside its technical partners in developing the new EcoBoost engine in preparation for its 2015 title assault.
“The EcoBoost engine has shown great promise during testing and we have a great driver line up in place with Mat Jackson back for his sixth season with us joined by James Cole, who is a really good addition to the team. We genuinely believe that we have a strong package that could challenge for the title this season; but this is not a championship that can be committed to half-hearted and unfortunately our hand has been forced. We have been in lengthy talks with two potential title sponsors since November and all seemed like it was going to plan, however things have conspired against us in recent weeks and due to a change in circumstance with those parties we find ourselves in the position we’re in.
“This does not mean the end for Motorbase in the BTCC;” continued Bartrum. “Both Mat and James are still on board and we remain committed to the BTCC. We will continue our search for new partners and our aim is to be back on the grid at Snetterton. We will of course work with Alan Gow and TOCA to find the best way forward to be back competing for the second half of the season with a two car team. Obviously that will include finding a way to address the TBL (BTCC licensing) issues that our short-term withdrawal raises. But hopefully we can find a way through this, with Alan.
“I’m pleased to announce that Team Parker racing will take over the operation of Alex Martin in the Dextra Racing effort, which will be supported by Motorbase Performance. Our decision to withdraw from the start of this season has had no bearing on this situation. Stuart [Parker] has been involved with the Alex Martin entry since Alex joined us last year. Team Parker Racing has had strong links with us for many years and we’re delighted to be working with Stuart and his team whilst continuing to support AMD in their efforts in the BTCC this year.
“At the end of the day we’re a business as well as a racing team and this is a purely commercial decision. In the meantime, we’ll press on and strive to be back on the grid for the second half of the season. I would like to thank all of those involved in our BTCC program over the last nine years, especially Dunlop and TOCA and those who are standing by us to help us come back stronger later in the year.”
Having recently announced a revised driver line-up for its 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship campaign, the Aston Martin Racing team is due to confirm its extended European line up in the next few days with a third Vantage GT3 already being prepared at the squad’s Wrotham workshop.
Bartrum concluded; “On the flipside, our GT operation is going from strength to strength and missing the first five touring car rounds this season allows us to expand our efforts in endurance racing and to take advantage of new opportunities both in Europe and further afield.”
“I’m very excited about our plans for the Aston Martin Racing team this season. As a team, we have to commit our resources and effort where the greatest opportunities lie for us a business, and at the moment this is with our GT programme. This is an exciting time for Motorbase and I look forward to seeing where that journey takes us next.”