Experienced GT racer Andrew Watson will join the British Touring Car Championship in 2023, competing in Power Maxed Racing’s Vauxhall Astra.
Watson, 27, has effectively spent his entire career in GT racing, having made his début in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2011.
He will join Ash Hand at the team, who had been previously announced on a multi-year deal at the start of 2022.
After finishing fifth overall in 2012, he graduated to the Ginetta GT Supercup in 2013, finishing seventh overall. In 2014, arguably his best season, he ended the year fourth overall in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup, having claimed five race victories.
The Northern Irishman went international in 2015, also taking part in a full season of British GT Racing.
After four years in the Blancpain GT Series from 2016 to 2019, he moved to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2020 in the GTE Am class.
He was ninth in the class in the same series in 2021, having by now scored class podiums in the series, before last year taking part in both Middle Eastern races of the Asian Le Mans Series in February. He has also raced in the 2020 and 2021 Le Mans 24 Hour race in the GTE Am class.
“Getting the opportunity to compete in the BTCC is really exciting,” said Belfast-born Watson. “The championship itself is highly competitive and offers a challenge which I am eager to tackle.
“From 2012 to 2014 I raced as part of the support package through the Ginetta ladder and I’ve always loved following the championship.
“It’s a big change for me in a lot of aspects but the team’s knowledge and professionalism will help me on that journey.
“They have a background in forging the achievements of some of the current grid’s top drivers and that gave me every indication that this was the right match for myself and I can’t wait to get out on track!
“I’d really like to thank everyone at Power Maxed Racing for this opportunity, which I’m very grateful for and I am looking forward to representing them out on track.
“It is going to be a completely different challenge and skillset for me but I’m going into it with my eyes wide open and fully committed to the task ahead.
“The challenge of front wheel drive will be an interesting one, but I’m looking forward to tackling it and I have no doubt that with an experienced team around me, we will be able to surprise a few people this year.”
Power Maxed Racing Team Principal Adam Weaver is looking forward to working with an experienced racer like Watson in 2023.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Andrew into the team for our 2023 BTCC campaign,” added Weaver. “He brings with him plenty of knowledge and racing ability and this will be crucial in our push for more success this upcoming season.”
Watson will be represented by Mark Blundell’s MB Partners organisation in 2023, with Blundell adding: “This is a great opportunity for Andrew to immerse himself in one of the most competitive and intense Championships in racing.
“He has great experience in a range of machinery at the highest level and he’s typically always been fast no matter what he has jumped in over the years – he is aware of the challenges he will be facing in his debut season but we have no doubt he will do a fantastic job.”