Scottish racer Rory Butcher will drive Motorbase Performance’s newly built Ford Focus for the remainder of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.
Both Butcher and the car will be making their BTCC debuts at Knockhill this weekend, with an entirely new machine having to be built after the qualifying crash at Croft that ruled Luke Davenport out of the rest of the season.
“The car has only just been built and it’s my first time in touring cars so it’s a kind of shakedown for the car and me,” he said.
“When I first started racing, I looked up to the touring cars and it was my ambition to reach the BTCC grid.
“Although my racing career has ended up going across to sports car racing and the GT world, switching over to the BTCC is a dream come-true.”
“Rory will be under the spotlight at Knockhill as a local lad, coupled with the fact that we’ve got a car that will race in anger for the first time on Scottish soil,” said team boss David Bartrum.
“He’s had very limited testing so I hope people give him some space and don’t put him under too much pressure. Knockhill will be a glorified test for Rory and the new car and I’d like us to get a weekend under our belt and then go well from Rockingham onwards.”
Motorbase decided to only run two cars at the last round, and hoped to do the same at Knockhill. But series organisers TOCA has made it clear all three cars must be fielded for the team to retain its third BTCC license.
“Considering the size of the accident at Croft, we were hoping that TOCA would be a bit more respectful of Luke’s condition regarding the third car whilst he was still recovering in hospital, and also of our position with the timescales involved,” said Bartrum.
“However, it was made very clear that there was no leeway at all in regards to losing our third licence so we had no choice.
“Ideally, we would have been given until Rockingam to ready the car but luckily – thanks in no small part to Alex at DUO – we’ve managed to hit the deadline set by Alan Gow.”
The team is still working on the car, but Butcher is expected to complete a shakedown this Wednesday before the trip to Scotland.
Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea