Leading British Touring Car Championship outfit Motorbase Performance have announced that they will miss the first half of the 2015 season.
The team, who finished fourth in the teams’ championship last season, have been searching for a title sponsor since Airwaves withdrew their backing at the end of the 2014 campaign.
Team Principal David Bartrum announced that the decision had been taken in the best interest of the 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;” he said. “I and the rest of the team are obviously very disappointed.”
With more than 250 races under their belt since first joining the championship in 2006, the team had retained the services of Stalwart Mat Jackson for a sixth BTCC campaign together, with James Cole signed to their second Ford Focus – which is set to run pioneering EcoBoost engines.
But after a “change in circumstance” with parties interested in filling the void left by Airwaves, Bartrum was left with no alternative but to postpone his team’s involvement in the 2015 season.
“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,” he said. “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 an adamant 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.”
Motorbase’s sabatical does not affect the plans of Alex Martin, however, with his satellite Dextra Racing project to be overseen by Team Parker Racing, while the outfit will continue their close association with Shaun Hollamby’s AmD Tuning.com team.
“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,” said Bartrum. “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.”