Just under two months ago, the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship came to a dramatic conclusion at Brands Hatch. Colin Turkington secured a record-equalling fourth BTCC title, but already, the pieces are falling into place for the 2020 campaign.
After securing Team HARD’s first ever win in the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone, Jack Goff will return with the Kent-based squad next season and will also take a number of experienced personnel with him to further improve the team’s chances next season.
Goff told the BTCC website: “It’s a pleasure to re-sign for Team HARD, we made some good progress across the year with limited testing opportunities and with the testing plan we have in place, I am confident of making big strides with the car and the team for the 2020 season.
“Tony showed faith in me by putting me in the car at the last moment for the 2019 season, however we knew we would be up against it with no pre-season testing. I was delighted to be able to repay the team with their first BTCC victory at Silverstone which was the biggest highlight of the year.
“I’m now looking forward to getting started again with the lads at HQ and my engineer Adam to make sure we hit the ground running at the start of the season.
“Lastly, I want to thank all of my sponsors and the supporters of the BTCC for making it possible in the first place.”
The team will also be boosted by the return of Mike Bushell for the 2020 BTCC season as well, having last raced for the team in 2018 where he was the team’s top points-scorer.
The 30-year old was out of the driving seat for the majority of last year’s campaign but replaced Sam Tordoff for the final three events of the year scoring a trio of top-10 finishes helping secure Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance the Independent Teams Championship.
Mike Bushell said: “I’m looking forward to returning to Team HARD for the 2020 BTCC season so I can carry on with the progress that I made during 2018.
“Unfortunate circumstances meant I was unable to take part in the 2019 season and instead I spent my time helping to engineer Rory Butcher to the Independents’ Drivers title. A short spell as a substitute for Sam Tordoff for the last three events in the Honda Civic re-kindled my desire to race.
“With help from Fox Transport, I am able to return to the grid full-time for 2020 and Team HARD. Racing can offer me a chance to be involved in the engineering side as well as driving. A year on the sidelines has helped with my technical understanding and I look forward to extracting the most out of the VW CC once again.”
Team HARD Managing Director Tony Gilham expressed his delight at securing the services of Goff and Bushell for 2020.
“First and foremost, I am delighted to bring Mike back into the team after a year away. We are good friends away from the track and it was a very difficult decision that we collectively had to make back in March.
“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and to have Jack and Mike as a two-car pairing in 2020 is just fantastic. I’m sure many will join me in thinking that this is one of the strongest pairings that will grace the BTCC grid next season.
“Mike has already been using his engineering prowess and experience from 2019 to push the VW CCs on to the next level. They may have been around since 2013 but there is plenty of speed still to be unlocked and 2020 will see a vastly improved car!”
Goff is looking forward to working alongside Bushell next year, commenting: “I’m really looking forward to working alongside Mike next season. He is a fast driver and has proven his speed over the years and we had many on-track battles in 2018.
“This motorsport business is a funny one. I replaced Mike in his car at the start of 2019 on the eve of Season Launch which was tricky for everyone concerned for varying reasons. Mike then replaced Sam (Tordoff) at the end of 2019 which was actually my car from 2018 and now we are racing alongside each other. A small and crazy world indeed!
“I believe 2020 is going to be another very competitive year, and I can’t wait to get started with Mike on our winter testing programme and to come out fighting.”
Meanwhile, Shaun Hollamby has confirmed it will be all change at AmD Tuning next season with neither Independent Drivers’ Champion Rory Butcher nor Sam Tordoff returning to the Essex-based team. Their driver’s line-up will be announced in due course.
Laser Tools Racing have put together what some are calling a ‘dream-team’ for 2020 with Aiden Moffat and Ashley Sutton lining up for the team in two Infiniti Q50 NGTC cars.
Moffat stated: “I can’t wait to get going! I think it will be a very exciting year for myself and the team. We’re really looking forward to expanding to two cars and I can’t wait to start working with Ash. (Ashley Sutton)
“For me, he is one of the best drivers on the grid and I’ll have my work cut out trying to keep up! He’s also a friend of mine, and someone I can work with to bring the best out of each other.”
The 2017 BTCC Champion is looking forward to battling at the sharp end of the grid and chasing even more glory in the series.
“It’s a great pleasure to be involved with 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 grow.
“I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Infiniti. Rear-wheel drive is my comfort zone and having run a rear-wheel drive car for the past three years, I feel that we can roll over of our learnings onto the Infiniti.
“What we’ve actually got going on here is very exciting. I haven’t had this excitement since 2017 — it’s giving me butterflies! We’ve got a lot to look forward, too. The car has a lot of potential and I think between 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. On-track we’ve had our elbows out a few times, but now it’s time to knuckle-down as team-mates and progress. The Infiniti is a great package and to be able to develop, this is an exciting opportunity.”
Team Principal Bob Moffat added: “We have been speaking to Ashley for a number of months now. We are delighted to welcome him into the Laser Tools Racing squad. He is going to bring a wealth of skill and experience, 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 to race 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 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.”
More exciting driver line-ups are set to be confirmed in due course before the 2020 BTCC season starts to build-up in the new year.
By Jordan Hollands.