Sam Osborne will compete in his maiden British Touring Car campaign this season, completing EXCELR8 Motorsport’s two-car line-up.
The team will also embark on its first full BTCC campaign, having previously raced in the highly competitive MINI Challenge series for the last few years.
Osborne raced with EXCELR8 during 2012, finishing fourth in the JCW MINI Challenge Championship. The Rotherham-based racer is no stranger to the TOCA package having previously raced in the Renault UK Clio Cup with WDE Motorsport. He has also dabbled in Radical’s.
Osborne will join fellow MINI graduate Rob Smith at EXCELR8 for the forthcoming season. The former Clio Cup racer will once again be backed by Wera Tools, as well as backing from Tool Maniac and The Green Group logistics.
“This deal to join the BTCC with EXCELR8 is absolutely mega, and something that I’ve dreamt of for a few years now,” Osborne told the BTCC website. “During my racing career I’ve always looked for chances to move up the ladder, and the BTCC is the absolute pinnacle of saloon car racing in the UK. It will be a privilege to be a part of it.
“I feel my time in both the Clios and MINIs has prepared me well for the BTCC. My first test in the MG6 is coming up soon, and I’ve heard a lot of things about the way NGTC machinery drives compared to the feeder classes. I think my time racing the JCW MINI will be very relevant, as many say it’s close to a touring car experience. There’s obviously a lot more adjustability in the touring car, so we’ll be learning about setup a lot this year.
“I think it will be a learning year all round for us. I know EXCELR8 well from my time in the MINI CHALLENGE, and I’ve raced against Rob Smith for a few years, too. However, the MG6 GTs will be a new challenge to both the team and us drivers. We all work well together, so I expect us to be able to put together a solid debut season. Personally, I want to get myself into the thick of the grid as soon as I can, and then look to start fighting for places in the top 10 and see where we can go from there.”
EXCELR8 team manager Oliver Shepherd added: “We’re delighted to confirm that Sam will join us for our first season in the BTCC, and as a team we’re now raring to get going with both our drivers confirmed.
“Sam is a known quantity to us, and he showed great potential during his first spell with us in the MINI CHALLENGE. Between Sam and Rob we have two drivers we know well already, and we know they will gel with the team incredibly quickly, and I think that’s a vitally important aspect when starting up in the BTCC from scratch. With our pre-season testing programme due to get underway soon, we’re all very excited for the season ahead.”
This announcement completes the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship grid, with the first round of the season taking place a month from now at Brands Hatch.
Header image from BTCC.net
By Jordan Hollands.