The Support Our Paras Racing team will run a single car for the remainder of the 2015 British Touring Car Championship season, after series organisers TOCA cancelled one of its licences.
TOCA’s decision comes after Max Coates, who drove the team’s second car at the previous round at Croft, was unable to provide sufficient sponsorship money to retain his seat.
“It’s a major disappointment for the team that Max failed to deliver the sponsorship package he had pledged,” said Team Principal Derek Palmer Sr. “As a result we have had one of our TOCA BTCC licences cancelled for the remainder of 2015.”
Under TOCA’s TBL licence rules, each team is allowed to make one driver change in a season, except in cases of force majeure. The team’s decision to bring Coates in was their second driver change of the season, but Martin Donnelly’s replacement of Richard Hawken at Thruxton was earlier considered to be a case of force majeure. Financial limitations do not qualify as such a case.
Derek Palmer Jr will continue to drive what is now the team’s sole entry for the remainder of the season.
Despite the disappointment of TOCA’s decision, Palmer understood the ruling.
“We fully accept the decision made by TOCA,” he said. “For the remaining five rounds of this season’s BTCC, we will concentrate on ensuring we maximise the performance of the No. 22 Infiniti Q50, which will continue to be driven by Derek Palmer [Jr].”
This evening’s news means that 29 cars will participate during this weekend’s meeting at Snetterton, following Welch Motorsport’s announcement earlier this week that it would skip the event.
Support Our Paras Racing – BTCC timeline:
- October 16, 2014: Infiniti announces it will enter the BTCC, under the ‘Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing’ banner, to help raise funds for injured ex-servicemen
- April 3, 2015: Team makes its debut at Brands Hatch with one car after failing to complete second build
- May 8: Martin Donnelly is announced as a last minute replacement for Richard Hawken at Thruxton
- May 29: Infiniti withdraws its factory support of the team, which enters one car at Oulton Park
- June 24: Max Coates is named as the team’s second driver for the remainder of the campaign
- August 7: TOCA strips Support Our Paras of one of it’s two TBLs