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Happy hunting ground awaits in-form TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK

In six of the past seven seasons, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK has come away from Silverstone with at least one winner’s trophy to show for its efforts in the British Touring Car Championship. As the team hits a purple patch in its 2023 campaign, sights are solidly set on yet more silverware this weekend (23/24 September).
 
Rory Butcher has claimed a trio of victories in recent years, taking pole position at the Northants venue in each of the last two years in the country’s premier motor racing series, as well as a podium hat-trick 12 months ago.

The 36-year-old Kirkcaldy native returns riding the crest of a wave after securing his first win of the season and the 11th of his career last time out at Donington Park (26/27 August).
 
Butcher will be back behind the wheel of his British-built Corolla this weekend, alongside team-mates Ricky Collard and George Gamble. Collard similarly is in fine form after registering a career-high points haul at Knockhill (12/13 August) and then matching that tally at Donington, helping him to climb to seventh in the standings.
 
Gamble has been a regular scorer in recent BTCC races as he increasingly gets to grips with front wheel-drive, and he tasted victory champagne at Silverstone in both the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup and Porsche Carrera Cup GB on his way up the support series ladder.
 
Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session will be streamed on ITV Sport’s YouTube channel from 1530, with every moment of Sunday’s doorhandle-to-doorhandle action to be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4 from 1100.
 
Rory Butcher said: “Silverstone has been good to me in recent years. I think I’ve only missed the podium once in the last six BTCC races there, and it’s a circuit that really seems to showcase the Toyota’s strengths. As a proud member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, it’s always enjoyable to compete at the ‘Home of British Motor Racing’ and to go there off the back of opening our victory account for 2023 fills us with confidence for another strong set of results.”
 
Ricky Collard said: “It’s hard to believe there are only two events left in the BTCC in 2023, but the second half of the season has definitely gone better than the first half did for us, which shows we are clearly moving in the right direction – and judging by past form, we should be capable of challenging for podiums if not more at Silverstone.
 
“I’ll never forget the feeling of climbing those podium steps for the first time in the championship five years ago. I was such a BTCC ‘new boy’ at the time, and I’d grown up watching my dad [Rob Collard] spray the champagne so many times, so it was an amazing feeling to be following in his footsteps and continuing the family’s success in the series. He won a lot of races in his career, but I don’t think he ever won at Silverstone in the BTCC, so let’s see if we can add that trophy to the Collard cabinet this weekend…”
 
George Gamble said: “Although the results didn’t necessarily reflect it, we had decent pace at Donington Park – in fact, the last couple of events, I feel like I’ve really closed the gap to Rory and Ricky and am properly getting the hang of front wheel-drive now. It’s been a tricky transition, as pretty much my whole career up until this year had been in rear wheel-drive machinery and it’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is to make that switch, especially in a championship as competitive as the BTCC.
 
“I’m feeling excited going to Silverstone. The team and car obviously have an excellent record there, and it really feels like a big result is just around the corner in my side of the garage – we’ve been knocking on the door for a while now. Qualifying will be particularly important, but if everything comes together and we have a trouble-free run, I think we could be on for a really good weekend…”

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