IP Tech taking shape
IP Tech Race Engineering is preparing for its debut BTCC season in 2013, and the team is well on schedule, despite the huge undertaking of building a new workshop and car.
Team boss and driver Andy Neate left the MG squad at the end of the 2012 campaign and immediately set about creating his own outfit. Based close to the motor sport valley that is Silverstone, IP Tech’s new HQ has been designed from the ground up. “It was a blank canvass in terms of design, which was great, so we have everything exactly where we want it,” said Neate. “It was a fantastic feeling when the sign went up, but of course we’re under no illusions that we have a lot of work still to do.”
Neate has amassed a strong and experienced workforce that will be bringing the Chevrolet Cruze back to the BTCC, but this time in the shape of a brand new NGTC machine. “It’s all a little surreal to be honest, but seeing the shell of the car and what is to come is hugely exciting,” Neate told btcc.net. “Development is going really well and the bodywork of the car looks fantastic. I feel really privileged to be on the BTCC grid as a driver any way, but to do so with my own team will be a huge achievement.”
The Buckinghamshire racer was talking to btcc.net after securing a deal with a new sponsor, One-LUX; one of several-backers for the season ahead. “To have One-LUX lighting on board is great. We both focus on engineering perfection in our respective fields, so the high tech ethos of the two brands fits well.”
Despite being a new team on the grid, Neate believes his experience driving an NGTC car will stand IP Tech in good stead when preparing their own machine. “The NGTC car is completely different to the S2000 machines,” commented Andy. “The operating window is a lot smaller so any changes that you make have to be spot on. I have the experience from last year and I believe that will give us a good base with the Chevrolet Cruze. Teams that are about to race an NGTC car for the first time are certainly going to face a learning curve initially, so we hope to benefit from that a little.”
Whilst initially focussing on the build of a single car, Neate plans to develop IP Tech into a team to be reckoned with, and one that will run a number of drivers in the future. “We have to thank RML for the build of the Cruze shell and ultimately they’re a team we look up to and aspire to emulate further down the road,” he said. “We’ll also have a second car ready at some point during the 2013 season, so we hope to have another driver contesting selected rounds. The plan for 2014 is to launch a three car attack in the BTCC and we’re looking to be here for many years to come.”
Neate and his team have big plans for the future, but he was keen to keep any immediate performance targets in check. “The championship is just so competitive,” Neate concluded. “Trying to keep pace with Honda, MG, Pirtek, Motorbase and WSR is a big enough challenge as it is, and that’s without mentioning some of our other competition. We don’t want to make any bold statements about performance at this stage but to race regularly in the top eight would be a fantastic return. I may be a little biased but I genuinely believe BTCC is the best touring car championship in the world!”