Trade Price Cars Racing has confirmed that reigning MINI Challenge champion James Gornall will graduate to the British Touring Car Championship at the wheel of one of its Audi S3 cars in 2020.
Gornall will step up to the BTCC as the team enters into its second season in the UK’s top series, with the outfit fielding an all-new line-up in Gornall and team-mate bobby Thompson.
The 35-year-old, like most drivers, began his career in karting, before graduating to single seaters in 2003 when he competed in the BARC Formula Renault series, taking the title in his first year.
After a year in Formula Renault in 2004, Gornall was then away from car racing until 2008 when he moved into the British GT Championship and won the GT3 category, but again he would have another hiatus from racing until 2014.
Competing in the BMW Compact Cup in 2014, against Trade Price Cars Racing Team Principal Dan Kirby, Gornall finished second overall before going one better in 2015.
The 35-year-old moved into the MINI Challenge in 2018, competing in three races, before a full campaign last year and his title success, with five wins to his name in the process.
The Bedford racer tested a Motorbase Performance Ford Focus last year as part of his reward for winning the MINI Challenge.
“When I decided to enter the MINI Challenge last season, it was with the aim of learning the skills required to move into British Touring Cars in the future, as I’d never raced in front wheel drive before,” said Gornall.
“The test I did in the Focus as a reward for winning the title only increased my desire to join the grid, as I felt comfortable straightaway and knew that I would be able to do myself justice.
“I’ve known Dan for a few years from our time racing against each other in the Compact Cup, and we had a chat about his plans for the touring cars with the Audis twelve months ago at the Autosport Show.
“I’ve kept a keen interest in how things have been going since then, and it’s great that I’m now going to be part of the team for my debut season in the BTCC.
“As a driver you always want to win races and if you don’t go into a new season feeling you can win, then you won’t do.
“The team has shown that it can fight for victories and that has to be my target in 2020; to fight for silverware and to challenge for both the Independents’ title and the Jack Sears Trophy.
“I’m looking forward to working alongside Bobby and think we can have a lot of fun during the season ahead.
“A huge thanks to Dan and the team for making this deal happen, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Kirby added that the team had received a lot of interest in drives for 2020, after former driver Jake Hill secured the outfit’s first win at Knockhill last year in its first season.
“On the back of our 2019 season, there was a lot of interest in the Audis and a lot of speculation about who would be at the wheel, and I’m really pleased to now welcome James into the team,” said Kirby. “I’ve raced against him in the past, and you only have to look at the success he has enjoyed in his career to date to see what a talented driver he is.
“As a newcomer to the series, James is a driver who fans might not be too familiar with. However, I’m confident that they will soon see what James can do when the season gets underway as you don’t become a six-time British champion in a range of disciplines without being a quick driver.
“James has a winning mentality, and I’m looking forward to seeing him make his mark on the BTCC during his maiden season.
“With James alongside Bobby, I think we’ve put together an exciting driver pairing that will allow us to build on the success we enjoyed in our first year, and I’m confident that we’ll make a real impression again in 2020.”