Hamilton plots Skoda return
Matt Hamilton is plotting a return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2012 in an NGTC-spec Skoda Octavia run by his former team TH Motorsport.
The project (see artist's impression above) is already well under way and would mean the first appearance in the BTCC for a Skoda model in the 20 years the championship has run to an all 2-litre engine formula.
It will enable 21-year-old Hamilton to contest the BTCC in modern machinery – his previous foray into the series in 2009 and 2010 was at the wheel of an older BTC-spec Honda Civic, run by TH. For TH boss Trevor Humphrey, a return to the BTCC, the UK’s premier motor racing championship, is also clearly a matter of huge personal pride.
Hamilton, from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, said: ‘This is incredibly exciting. Being part of such a project is going to be very challenging, but I have great confidence in Trevor Humphrey and all the guys at TH Motorsport to build a very competitive car. We want to have the Skoda running on track before the end of the year so that when we start the 2012 season we can really hit the ground running and show the true potential of the NGTC regulations.”
Humphrey commented: “The whole team are thrilled at the prospect of being back in the BTCC; it’s where we want to be. We were very disappointed to have to leave the BTCC in 2010 and it was always my intention to return as soon as possible. For a smaller team like us, it was a ‘no brainer’ to be patient and go the NGTC route. In the long run the NGTC car will be much more cost-effective to run and, with a structured development programme, I know that we can be competitive.
“I am looking forward to working with Matt again. I was very impressed with the way that he adapted to touring cars and know that he has huge potential. Our participation in the BTCC with a ‘Next Gen’ car is a long-term commitment and we are also considering building a second car if a driver with competitive credentials was to show an interest.”
Meanwhile Hamilton plans to keep fans fully up-to-date with progress via reports and images online. He added: “Despite not being on track for over a year, the support of my fans has not waned. I intend to make sure that the fans are totally involved in the building and testing of the car. I shall be using my Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep everyone updated with how the build progresses.”