Ash Sutton will join Aiden Moffat in a two-car team at Laser Tools Racing in the 2020 British Touring Car Championship, with the team building two new Infiniti Q50 cars for the expanded programme.
Sutton departs Team BMR, where he has raced for the past four years, including making his début with Triple Eight under BMR ownership in 2016.
The 2017 champion joins Bob Moffat’s Laser Tools Racing outfit at a time of expansion for the Scottish team, which has hitherto only ran one car in the series.
Laser Tools Racing switched to running Infiniti machinery at the mid-point of last season, electing to run the rear-wheel drive machinery instead of its front-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz A-Class due to the more favourable characteristics of the car.
The news means Sutton remains in rear-wheel drive machinery, after three years successfully racing the Subaru Levorg to 13 race wins and a championship title in 2017.
“We have been speaking to Ashley Sutton for a number of months now and we are delighted to welcome him into the Laser Tool Racing team,” said Bob Moffat.
“Ash is going to bring a wealth of skill and experience to the team and I know that Aiden is already looking forward to working with him.
“For the 2019 season we made the decision to bring all race preparation and design work in-house to Laser Tools Racing.
“This paid great dividends and gave us the confidence to change cars mid-season. We built Aiden’s Infiniti up from a bare shell in just ten days and had it ready for the Snetterton tyre tests in July, and then racing at the same venue just two weeks later.
“The new car proved very quick at Knockhill and then Aiden achieved a worthy second place at Silverstone.
“This accelerated development showed that the Infiniti has considerable potential, so with Ashley Sutton joining the team we decided to build two new cars which will be engineered with considerable improvements in weight distribution and stiffness.
“We will also be concentrating on the car’s aero package and indeed the car is booked into the wind tunnel at MIRA in early December for this development.
“The result should be two very competitive NGTC cars and with our ‘dream-team’ of young guns Moffat and Sutton we are all going into 2020 with a sense of great excitement and determination.”
Sutton is looking forward to the new challenge, saying that he hasn’t felt this positive since he claimed his title in 2017.
“It’s a great pleasure to be involved in Laser Tools Racing and to be working alongside Aiden and everyone else involved in the team,” said Sutton. “It’s great to see this combination between the two of us just grow.
“I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Infiniti — rear-wheel-drive is my comfort zone and with running a rear-wheel-drive car for the past three years I feel that we can roll over a lot that we’ve learned onto the Infiniti.
“And what we’ve actually got going on behind the scenes is very exciting — I haven’t had this excitement since 2017 — it’s giving me butterflies!
“We’ve got a lot to look forward to, the car has got a lot of potential and I think between the pair of us, we’re going to extract some good performance out of it.
“Aiden and I are going to be the team to be reckoned with. The advantage is that we are great friends away from the track, we have been on holiday together for example, and on track we’ve had our elbows out a few times.
“But now it’s time to knuckle-down as team mates and progress forward. The Infiniti is a great package and to be able to develop this is an exciting opportunity.”
Moffat secured a best result of second since switching to the Japanese machinery in the second half of last year, putting in an impressive showing in the rain at Silverstone to give the car its best-ever result.
Before that reverse-grid race, Moffat had begun to show the car’s potential, having also snuck into the top ten at Knockhill in an exploratory second half of the year as the team continued to evaluate its options for 2020.
“I can’t wait to get going,” said Moffat. “I think it will be a very exciting year for myself and the team. We are all really looking forward to expanding to a two-car team and I am particularly looking forward to working with my new teammate.
“For me, Ash is one of the best drivers on the grid and I’ll have my work cut out trying to keep up! But Ash is also a friend of mine and he’s someone I can work with. We can work together and bring the best out in each other.”