Audi name returns
Rob Austin Racing has announced it will enter the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a pair of Audi A4s built to the BTCC’s new Next Generation Touring Car technical regulations.
RAR’s entry will mark the first time the famed Audi name has been represented on the BTCC grid since 1998. In the Nineties, the German manufacturer entered an official factory team, winning the title outright in its first season of 1996 with the A4 and driver Frank Biela.
Austin, a successful racer himself, hopes to reveal his driver line-up in January. Deposits on two NGTC kits have already been placed and his Pershore-based team has enlisted GPR Motorsport to build up the cars in time, it is anticipated, for initial testing in early March.
Pictured is a ‘dummy’ impression of RAR’s Audi although it must be stressed that this is not necessarily representative of how the car will appear under NGTC regulations.
Meanwhile, GPR is also busy building Toyota Avensises at its workshops in Buckingham for other newcomers Speedworks and Dynojet which, like RAR, are taking full advantage of the BTCC’s new cost-cutting NGTC formula to enter the UK’s premier motor racing championship. It is estimated a full-spec NGTC machine (chassis and engine) will be able to complete a season’s racing for half the cost of cars based on the FIA’s Super 2000 regulations that have populated the grid in recent years.
These, though, will be permitted to continue for several further seasons at least with the option of running them with the NGTC formula’s turbocharged-spec engines. The Honda Racing Team (Honda Civic), Team Aon and Airwaves Racing (Ford Focus), Eurotech (Vauxhall Vectra), Special Tuning UK (SEAT Leon) and AmD Milltek Racing.com (VW Golf) have already confirmed such moves for the 2011 season again thanks to the financial benefits of running NGTC-spec engines.
Austin commented: “This is a great step for us and a fantastic challenge. We are convinced that the NGTC concept is going to make the BTCC even more competitive and exciting and that the Audi will be a race winner.”
BTCC Series Director Alan Gow commented: “Our NGTC regulations are clearly proving highly popular, with three new teams having now announced plans to come into the BTCC because of them. It is also understandable why existing teams are continuing, for now, with their S2000 chassis but, of course, it is very significant that they have chosen to go the NGTC engine route.
“Rob Austin’s team, meanwhile, will increase the number of manufacturers represented on our grid to nine. And, of course, the Audi name is synonymous with touring car racing so, while an independent entry, it will be terrific to see its badge return to our paddock.”