Thorney Motorsport has confirmed that joining team principal John Thorne as their second driver for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be Rob Hedley. This will be Rob’s first foray into the BTCC but he is no stranger to saloon car racing having gained experience and titles in a Honda Civic Type R in Britcar as well as extensive experience in single seaters in the US including Formula Mazda, Star Mazda and Cooper Tyres FF2000. Thorne said “We are delighted to have Rob on board as not only has he shown considerable talent in a variety of championships but he’s also demonstrated sheer commitment to the drive and the team, I’ve never known a driver work so hard to impress us both on and off track, it’s admirable.”
Rob Hedley commented: “I’m obviously delighted, it’s been a dream of mine as a schoolboy to race in the BTCC and to get a seat with such an established team as Thorney Motorsport running in a full NGTC car is way beyond my expectations. They may be new to the BTCC this season but take it from me if you can run a successful endurance race team the BTCC is not going to cause them any issues!”
Whilst the first car will be ready for the season opener at Brands Hatch in April, the team now faces a very tight timeline to prepare the second car and expects to have it running from the 4th round at Oulton Park in June. John Thorne explained: “It’s tough really, this year we have the first three rounds in the first month so there’s no way we will be able to get the second car prepared for then, apart from anything there are parts we simply won’t be able to receive in time and we’ve no intention of rushing this but Oulton Park is an achievable target.”
In addition to the signing of Rob as the second driver, the team has also signed some key talent in the running of the car. Ricky Howson has joined as Chief Engineer from Welch Motorsport and Matt Upson as No1 Technician has joined from RML where he was formerly No1 Technician for Alex MacDowall. Thorne continues: “Ricky is one of the few people in the BTCC who has extensive experience in the NGTC cars so we are delighted to have him on board, it means we are not starting the season trying to find set ups that work but more fine tuning what we know can work on the Insignia chassis. Matt is also a crucial hire for us, he’s had some of the best training at one of the BTCC’s best teams so we are confident we can hit the ground running with his experience.”
The team has also announced an exciting partnership with the Daily Mirror as their official BTCC Race Team. The partnership involves Thorne writing regular weekly features about motorsport and their experiences in the BTCC including technical articles about race car building and an in-depth view of the details of running a race team as well as in-depth race reports from the driver’s seat. Thorne concludes: “It’s fantastic to have the Daily Mirror on board, they already have some excellent motorsport coverage but this partnership creates the chance to really let fans get an inside view of what really happens in racing, not just behind the wheel but the whole spread of work that goes into it and I promise it wont be a weekly moan about the regulationsŅwell, I hope not.”
Steve Anglesey of Trinity Mirror Digital said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for the Daily Mirror to be part of British Touring Cars. Having provided significant coverage of the BTCC for a while now, the chance to work with Thorney Motorsport was hard to resist. The team will be providing a personal insight into the workings of a developing team over the course of the year, in addition to our already extensive coverage of the championship as a whole at Mirror Online. In addition we get our brand out there on track on a Mirror sponsored car in front of massive crowds and the huge television audience. We are really looking forward to our BTCC coverage this year.”
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