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Nic Hamilton raring to go as Croft BTCC debut draws near

Nicolas Hamilton admits he “can’t wait to go racing” as he prepares to make his British Touring Car Championship debut this weekend at Croft.

Hamilton, brother of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis, will pilot an ex-Robb Holland Audi S3 as a guest driver for AmD Tuning for the remaining six rounds of the season.

The 23 year-old, who has cerebral palsy, will also make history as the first disabled driver to compete in the championship.

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And looking ahead to his debut, Hamilton said he was eager to get his first competitive run in the car after months of preparation, and hoped to use his exposure as a platform to inspire others.

“I’m excited about starting my BTCC career at Croft,” he said. “The unique mix of fast, flowing corners and tight, twisty sections means close wheel-to-wheel racing, especially in the BTCC.

“I’ve had to work and train hard to get to the stage where I can race in the BTCC and I know it will be tough, but it’s all about learning. I want to develop and push myself, and we’ll see what happens.

“Regardless of their condition, it’s also important for me to show people how they can exceed expectations and push themselves to their limit. I can’t wait to go racing.”

Hamilton’s debut means that Shaun Hollamby’s AmD Tuning outfit expand to a two-car entry for the first time in the championship, with regular driver Mike Bushell hoping for a trouble-free weekend in his Ford Focus.

The 25 year-old has been short on luck during the opening four rounds of the season, and admitted he wanted to end the first half of the campaign on a strong note to prove his worth.

“It’s been a tough season so far, but hopefully Croft will be the weekend where our luck finally turns,” said Bushell. “The pace we showed in race three at Oulton Park last time out has given us a good foundation to build on this weekend and I’m desperate to pick up some more points before the summer break.

“The results have been below what I was expecting so far and it’s important for me to show everyone, and show myself, what I’m capable of. Croft is a circuit where I think the Focus will be a good package and it’s one that I enjoy, so hopefully we’ll have a bit more luck than we’ve had so far this year.

“Trying to score points in the BTCC is far from easy but I’m keen to get the monkey off my back, bring home some top 15 finishes and then we can go into the summer on a positive note.”

Team Principal Hollamby, meanwhile, was proud to have Hamilton on board in a second entry for the team, but set his pair of drivers realistic goals ahead of the summer break.

“It’s a big step for us this weekend as we expand to run a second car and it’s a progression of the motorsport side of the business after our expansion into GT racing earlier in the year,” he said. “There is no doubt that these are exciting times for and we are looking forward to Nicolas making his long awaited debut when we get to Croft.

“Testing with the Audi has gone well and Nicolas has been able to get himself comfortable behind the wheel. There are two targets for him this weekend; to qualify in the field on Saturday and then take three finishes on Sunday. If he can do that, then we’ll be pleased.

“With Mike, there is no doubt that he has the pace, as he’s shown all year, but the only luck he’s had has been bad. It’s important for him to try and get the results that his pace deserves, and the target is to replicate the kind of performance he showed at Brands Hatch during the opening rounds when he took rookie honours in race three.

“If Nicolas can get three finishes and Mike can make a return to the points, it will be a good way to head into the summer break.”

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