Ashley Sutton has been confirmed at Team BMR for this year’s British Touring Car Championship and will pilot one of the team’s works-backed Subaru Levorg GT machines.
Sutton, who impressed widely in his maiden campaign with MG, scored pole positions at Donington Park and Silverstone, a victory in wet conditions and the Jack Sears Trophy title for best rookie driver at the end of the season.
Sutton, from Hertfordshire, will be partnered by double champion Jason Plato and the returning James Cole, whilst an announcement on the team’s fourth car is due in the coming weeks.
It follows the confirmation by MG on Monday evening [6th February] that former BMR driver Aron Taylor-Smith and Daniel Lloyd will drive it’s MG6 GT pairing.
The announcement sees the culmination of Sutton’s journey through the TOCA package with the backing of BMR Team Principal, Warren Scott, including the 2014 Renault Clio Cup UK title.
“I am over the moon to be offered such a great opportunity,” commented Sutton.
“I joined the Team BMR Academy at the end of the 2014, signing a two-year deal to race in the UK Clio Cup Championship, with a view to working our way up through the 2015/16 seasons.
“That two-year deal soon turned into one, and 2016 saw me sat in a BTCC Car. Not for one second did I think that two years down the line I would be a part of the BMR factory team; let alone with such a newly bred BTCC manufacture as Subaru. I thought I had hit the jackpot in my debut season in securing a manufacture drive; but now being a part of Subaru, and the package that comes with that, has certainly topped it for me.”
Having made the switch to arguably the strongest team in the paddock, Sutton admitted his goals now rest on qualifying his credentials to join the main championship battle in future seasons.
“Last year I accomplished all of the personal goals I had set for myself, I know that 2016 going to be hard, but I feel I have all the correct tools to move those goal posts and set myself some bigger challenges!
“Going into the final round in with a shot for the championship is the biggest aim – but this is the pinnacle of British motorsport, it’s the British Touring Car Championship, so I know it’s not going to come easy!”
The move sees Sutton, 23, switch from the front-wheel drive MG to the rear-wheel drive Levorg GT, a change he insists will play to his strengths, especially given the team’s comprehensive testing programme between now and the start of the season.
“I have been asked what my thoughts are on jumping into a rear wheel drive car and to be completely honest I am I’m going back to my roots.” explained Sutton.
“I have only had two years in front wheel drive throughout my whole racing career, so I can’t wait to be back where I belong. I’m looking forward to the intense testing program we have planned.”
The rising star will also partner a championship winner for the first time in his short career, after BMR also announced Jason Plato will continue with the marque for a third consecutive season.
“Working alongside Jason, someone I have always looked up to, is something of an added bonus for me.” Sutton admitted.
“There are three things that have made this academy journey come alive, those being; my family, all my loyal sponsors, and Warren Scott himself for giving me this opportunity. All I can say now is, roll on Brands!”
The team is set to confirm more details surrounding its 2017 programme in the weeks leading up to the Official Season Launch, scheduled for March 16th at Donington Park.