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Martin Byford prepares for BTCC debut

Martin Byford prepares for his first weekend in the British Touring Car Championship this weekend at the helm of the AmD Milltek Volkswagen Golf.

Byford, a former champion and regular front-runner in the BTCC-supporting Renault Clio Cup in the past, will make his debut on the all-new Snetterton 300 circuit.

The Colchester racer tested the team’s Golf at Brands Hatch in July and feels that it helped him to get the car set-up to his driving style. “I got on well with both the car and the team during the test at Brands Hatch and having tried a few things, we know what we need to do to get the VW more suited to my driving style,” said Byford, 39. “Of course, I know I have a bit to learn, but I’m just excited about the prospect of racing in the BTCC having spent the best part of ten years thinking and dreaming about it.”

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Byford also feels that since all drivers and teams head to the new Snetterton circuit having not raced there before he is at less of a disadvantage than he could have been for his touring car debut.

“Snetterton is the perfect circuit on which to make my debut as it’s my home track and there will be a lot of family, friends, work colleagues and sponsors coming along to cheer me on. I knew the old layout like the back of my hand but with the revisions that have been made, it’s a clean sheet of paper for everyone this weekend, which will also help me. I can’t think of a better place to appear in the BTCC for the first time and I’m going out there to do the best job I can and hopefully challenge for points.”

Team Principal Shaun Hollamby, who stepped down from the driving duties for good after having driven at Croft, believes that Byford will be able to carry the team to some strong performances this weekend.

“We’ve not taken Martin on board thinking he is a driver who will need to time to get up to speed and I think he is capable of running with anyone on the BTCC grid,” said Hollamby. “He just hasn’t had the chance in the past and now, thanks to the support of Tesco Momentum 99 and Milltek Sport, we’ve been able to give him that chance.

“We’ve shown this season that the Golf is a package that can run in the top ten and Martin is a driver who is more than capable of coming away from the weekend having scored points on his debut.

“Over the summer we have made some modifications to the car and with Martin having had a good test at Brands Hatch last month, I’m confident we can hit the ground running when we get to Snetterton. I’m really looking forward to the weekend.

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