Scotsman Rory Butcher will make his British Touring Car Championship début at Knockhill this weekend, after Motorbase Performance completed their build of a brand new replacement Ford Focus.
Following Luke Davenport’s huge crash in qualifying at Croft, Motorbase were left without a third car or driver during the summer break and recent round at Snetterton.
The Kent-based team have now completed the build of a replacement chassis and have entrusted the car to Butcher, who also tested for the team in the mid-summer tyre test.
Butcher previously raced with Motorbase during the 2014 and 2015 British GT Championship seasons, as well as previously racing in the TOCA package when he took five wins on his way to third overall in the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup.
“As soon as we knew that we had to get the third car back out for Knockhill onwards, Rory became our natural choice for the seat,” said Team Principal David Bartrum.
“Rory is a Motorbase driver through and through; he’s done a lot with us in GT racing, we know him very well and he knows Knockhill very well which was a huge plus as it’s the first test for the new car.”
Motorbase were forced to build up a third car or face losing one of their TOCA BTCC Licences [TBLs]. The issue is further compounded by the fact that the team already have one licence on loan from Welch Motorsport, which could have left them with only one of their own licences had they not completed the build in time.
“Considering the size of the accident at Croft, we were hoping that TOCA would be a bit more respectful of Luke’s condition regarding the third car whilst he was still recovering in hospital and also of our position with the timescales involved,” added Bartrum.
“However, it was made very clear that there was no leeway at all in regards to losing our third licence so we had no choice.
“Ideally, we would have liked to have been given until Rockingham to ready the car, but luckily – thanks in no small part to Alex Moss at DUO – we’ve managed to hit the deadline set by Alan Gow.
“The boys in the workshop have done a monumental job to get the new car built and ready in time for this weekend. I owe a big thank you to Richard Townsend and Willie Poole for their efforts on this because without them pulling out all of the stops to get the metalwork ready for us we wouldn’t have had a chance of making Scotland.
“Antony, Jason, Tim and Tom and a friend of mine Mark Lawrenson have turned that car around in an unbelievable amount of time.
“They got the car off the truck at 8am on Wednesday morning as bare metalwork and it was fully painted and prepped by the following evening, they then took on the build of the car and at 9am on Monday morning she was running.”
“It is an amazing achievement when you see the amount of work that goes into the build of a completely new car from scratch.”
Butcher himself is not setting any particularly high expectations for his first BTCC appearance, especially given that the car is so new.
“The car has only just been built and it’s my first time in touring cars so it’s a kind of shakedown for the car and me,” said Butcher. “I’m absolutely buzzing though!
“When I first started racing, I looked up to the touring cars and it was my ambition to reach the BTCC grid. Although my racing career has ended up going across to sports car racing and the GT world, switching over to the BTCC is a dream come-true.
“Obviously it’s got close relations to the family with Gordon [Shedden] being my brother-in-law and it’s exciting to have the chance to join him on the grid for the rest of this season.”