Author: Russell Hogg

BTCC is getting close and Ash and Aiden and raring to go…

Laser Tools Racing 2020 BTCC Debut

Just three days before the 2020 BTCC season finally kicks off at Donington Park, we caught up with Aiden Moffat and Ashley Sutton as they prepare to start racing again. Both drivers shared their thoughts and aspirations for the forthcoming BTCC season:


I’ve just realised that on Sunday it will be 282 days since we last raced in BTCC! (Shakes head.) You miss the familiar faces; you miss driving a British touring car which is something very special. The most frustrating part was not knowing what was happening and when we were going to get going again.


BTCC is addictive — you’ve got that long build-up over winter and then starting from the Autosport show right up to media day, you’re just raring to go at that point. And then for it to come to a grinding halt is a kick in the teeth. But now we’ve reset — we’re going again.

BTCC for me has always been a dream — you can’t beat that elbows-out style of racing. From a very young age I’ve always loved BTCC — followed it, watched it, to be a part of it, to have won a championship, is a great achievement. BTCC is home for me, to replace it would be very, very hard.


As you can see, we’re out in the Infiniti again, but this is a brand new car, new shell, new chassis, and new cage. It’s a completely brand new car that’s been redesigned, a collaboration with the Laser Tools Racing team, BMR Engineering and input from our engineers at Hexathron Racing Systems also. Two cars, completely new, built for this season for myself and Ash. It will be very exciting to see what these new cars are capable of.

Got any messages for the fans?


BTCC is made by the fans, the fans are what makes it so special. I must say a massive thank-you for the enthusiasts that follow myself and Laser Tools Racing.


The fans are a huge part of the family, it’s the adrenalin buzz, the support from the fans at the circuit and at home — it’s that whole package, combined with the action-packed racing — you can’t beat it.

The rescheduled 27-race championship starts at Donington Park on the weekend of August 1-2 and continues over the next three and a half months across the UK’s best circuit layouts. The BTCC is the only major series to boast season-long free-to-air coverage on UK television, and around 20 million fans are expected to tune into ITV4’s live and exclusive coverage of every BTCC race during 2020.

Team HARD. take gamble with scholarship winner Brown for 2020 BTCC campaign

Team Hard Replace Mike Bushell...and Howard Fuller

Team HARD’s RCiB insurance racing scholarship winner Ollie Brown takes over the second RCiB Insurance with Fox Transport car to partner Jack Goff for the 2020 season.

Ollie Brown completes Team HARD. Racing’s 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) driver line up as he is confirmed to be replacing Mike Bushell in the second RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport VW CC.

Brown won the 2020 RCiB Insurance Racing scholarship run by Team HARD. Racing having never entered a competitive car race before. The last competitive race event Ollie participated in was some 20 years ago in karting. Since then however Ollie has been a driving instructor for the well known Palmersport organisation.

The team have been working hard to develop the Volkswagen CC which demonstrated an improvement in pace during the second half of the 2019 season, consistently challenging the front runners.  This improvement in performance was highlighted when the team took their first ever BTCC win at Silverstone.

Looking ahead to the biggest challenge of his life, Ollie Brown said, “To say I’m overwhelmed with joy to be in the BTCC is an understatement. I have been watching the BTCC as a fan for the last 20 years whilst working with some past and current drivers as a driver coach and I’m buzzing to join them on the track this year.
“This opportunity would never have been possible without my best friend of 25 years entering me into the RCiB Insurance Racing scholarship last year. A shot in the dark has become one of the best moments of my life!
“I cannot wait to get started at the weekend after experiencing my first BTCC action at Snetterton a few weeks ago when I tested the car.

“Naturally, I’m gutted for Mike and Howard and I’m sure that without COVID-19 they would have completed the season in the car, I wish them all the best.

“It has been a whirlwind already just to get to this point, I didn’t even have a licence 5 weeks ago!
“I would like to thank Tony and the team for having faith in me for this season and I will be going out there and giving as good as I get. Bring on Donington!”

Mike Bushell who recently recovered from Myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle was set to miss the opening three rounds of the season pre-lockdown due to the illness. The nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic had looked to buy Bushell some time but with the economic complications of COVID-19 he looks set to miss out again in 2020.

Bushell commented. “I’m gutted to have been dealt two blows this year, firstly ill health followed by the economic implications of COVID further delaying the start of my season. It really feels that with these two unforeseeable situations that it just wasn’t to be for 2020.

“I must say thanks to Tony and the team for getting me out in the car at the recent tyre test and also delaying this decision for as long as realistically possible to see how things unfolded on my side.

“I’d like to wish Ollie good luck for the season ahead, he seems a very talented and capable driver and I’m sure he will be right in the mix throughout the season. For me, it’s time to focus on my family and business as we start to recover from lockdown.”

Team HARD. Racing’s Managing Director, Tony Gilham commented. “This is a bittersweet announcement for me, I’m gutted for Mike and Howard who have been fantastic for the team for a number of years now. The world is in a funny place at the moment and this BTCC season is proving to be no different. As other teams and drivers have proved getting onto the grid for 2020 is very tricky and unfortunately Mike and Howard have had to miss out.

“On the other hand, Ollie is a fantastic replacement to drive the RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport car this season and I’m proud of my team that we are able to source a replacement and not just withdraw the car. Ollie was among a very competitive scholarship programme in January and he stood top of the pile and was magnificent throughout.

“In previous years we have experienced some negativity for driver changes, but I have full confidence that nobody will be doubting our faith in Ollie by the end of the season.

“People outside of the Motorsport circle may have never heard of Ollie but within the industry Ollie is well known and has the potential to mix it with the best in the business.

“To get to this point Ollie has taken multiple wins and podiums over the last month as he has raced to get the required license to race in the BTCC against some very respectable opposition. He is a real dark horse for this season and certainly one to watch”

Ollie has been racing in multiple events since racing resumed after the nationwide lockdown to acquire the required license to compete in the BTCC which includes multiple test days in the VW CC prepared by Team HARD. Racing.

Team HARD. Racing Launches ‘Your Name, Our Car’ Fundraising Campaign

RCIB Sponsored Team Hard BTCC Cars for NHS

Team HARD. Racing have set up a fundraising campaign in support of  Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS that allows race fans to have their name on the teams British Touring Car Championship VW CC.

Team HARD. Racing have today launched a fundraising campaign in support of the Maidstone And Tunbridge Wells NHS who are currently fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. Team HARD. Racing are located just outside of Maidstone in Detling and with many team members living in the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells area see this as a fitting way to support the workers who are battling to save thousands of lives in the Kent region.

To raise money for the Maidstone And Tunbridge Wells NHS, Team HARD. Racing and its partners are planning to run a special ‘Your Name, Our Car’ livery on the Howard Fuller/Mike Bushell RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport VW CC at the opening round of the 2020 Kwik-Fit British Touring Car Championship where special thank you messages will be accompanied by the names of donors.

Tony Gilham, Managing Director of Team HARD. Racing is thinking of everyone during this time. “This is not how we envisaged our 2020 going and I am shocked at the devastation COVID-19 is causing. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the technology or infrastructure that the Formula 1 teams have to manufacture devices to make a direct impact. However, we are desperate to use our resources where we can to help the effort to fight the Coronavirus.

I’d like to thank our partners Right Choice Insurance Brokers, Fox Transport, Hub Financial Solutions and Autobrite Direct for being so supportive in this movement to help make our mark on fighting the coronavirus. When we do eventually get racing back underway the Fuller/Bushell RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport car will be awash with support messages and names accompanying them from everyone who has joined us in helping raise money for this very worthy cause.

The hospitality team are also putting a number of VIP tables at selected rounds of the championship on reserve for NHS staff raffle prize winners, this is something we are currently putting together, after all, these heroes are the most important people around at the moment.

On behalf of the whole team I can’t thank the entire NHS enough for all their hard work. You have supported us from the stands, now it’s time for us to support you.”

You can get involved and have both your and your loved ones names on a BTCC car via the teams JustGiving page.

Stay home, stay safe.

Right Choice for Team HARD. Racing in 2020

TeamHard with RCIB 2020

Team HARD. Racing are thrilled to announce that Right Choice Insurance Brokers (RCIB) is returning to the team as a title partner in 2020 making this season the 10th consecutive year that the two have joined forces in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.

The Essex based Insurance Broker has been a sponsor of Tony Gilham’s Team HARD. Racing squad for a number of seasons with the firm first entering the series with Tony in 2011. The 2020 season sees RCIB return as title sponsor for the first time since 2017 as they continue to back BTCC race winner Jack Goff.

This year Goff was due to be partnered by Team HARD. Racing returnee Mike Bushell but due to Myicarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle, Bushell has been forced to miss the opening three rounds of the season. Howard Fuller has stepped into partner Goff in the second of the RCIB insurance Volkswagen CC’s.

CEO of RCIB Insurance Mike Joseph, glad to be back with Team HARD. In its 10th year of BTCC sponsorship. “RCIB have been proud sponsors in the BTCC since we first sponsored Tony in 2010. Throughout the years since we have worked closely with Tony & Team HARD. and it gives me great pleasure to be 2020 Title partners. Team HARD. have a great driver pairing and fully refreshed cars, we expect to see them challenging for podiums this year and gaining coverage for both our RCIB Insurance & AutoAid breakdown brands.”

Tony Gilham, Managing Director of Team HARD. Racing is delighted to continue the team’s relationship with RCIB CEO Mike Joseph. “Mike and I have a great working relationship and have been friends for 10 years now. Mike has supported the team and helped us grow to where we are today. It’s great to have his full backing for the 2020 season, it’s a great compliment to our team’s business hub and marketing capabilities.

It was important to retain Mike and RCIB as a partner to the team as we finally feel that we are ready to capitalise on our potential. I can’t thank Mike enough for his support over the last 10 years and I’m excited to repay his trust as we kick on from a positive end to the 2019 season!”

Goff who is a long term RCIB backed BTCC star is confident of a strong season. “It’s brilliant to have RCIB back onboard, they were with me in my first season with Team HARD. Racing in 2013 where I achieved my first podium in the BTCC. They were then with us again in 2019 when we had the first win for Team HARD. Racing so you could say the three of us have a very special relationship.

Their support means a huge amount to me and the team and I am incredibly proud to carry their logos on my car once again in the 2020 BTCC season. I am looking forward to a successful season on and off track together as we push harder then ever before to mix it at the sharp end!”

Team HARD. Racing are currently undergoing their first ever winter test in Spain as they prepare for what is set to be their most competitive season yet in the BTCC.

Triple title success for Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing at Brands Hatch

Independent Champions 2019

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team enjoyed a stunning end to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season as it successfully wrapped up no fewer than three titles during the final rounds of the year.

The West Thurrock-based team went into the weekend chasing both Independent class titles and also in the lead of the Jack Sears Trophy, with drivers Rory Butcher and Mike Bushell keen to make most of the pace of the FK2 Honda Civic Type R around the full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

Fife racer Rory qualified in a solid fifth place in tricky conditions in qualifying as the best placed front wheel drive car in the session, and a strong start to the opening race saw him move up into third spot by the end of lap two ahead of title hopeful Andrew Jordan.

After an early safety car period, and with rain starting to fall, Rory fought his way ahead of Ash Sutton and Colin Turkington to hit the front and would lead until the 16th lap when a charging Dan Cammish found a way through.

Running in a comfortable second, Rory only missed out on a podium on the final lap when Matt Neal and Tom Chilton managed to get ahead, having gambled on a switch to wet tyres behind the safety car.

With Josh Cook retiring from the race, second amongst the Independent class racers saw Rory close right in on his rival in the race for the title.

A tough opening lap in race two saw Rory forced to take avoiding action when two cars clashed ahead, which dropped him down the order to run outside the top ten. However, he fought back well to take the flag in ninth spot, bringing the gap to Cook down to a single point going into race three.

It was a result that also wrapped up the Jack Sears Trophy title after his only rival Tom Oliphant retired.

Aware that the final race of the weekend was a case of ‘winner takes all’ in terms of the Independent title, Rory found himself running in fourth at the end of the opening lap and then battled up into the podium places with Cook on his tail.

Knowing that he had to keep the newer FK8 Civic at bay, Rory produced one of his best drives of the season to secure the position and wrap up his second title of the weekend.

On his third outing in the car, Mike put the sister Honda ninth on the grid for the opening race with a solid performance in qualifying, although he would slip back to eleventh in the opening laps.

The former Clio Cup UK champion then started to make his way forwards however, and had climbed into the top ten before the safety car period to allow the similar Honda of Matt Simpson to be recovered from the gravel at Paddock Hill.

Continuing to make good progress, Mike climbed up to fourth going into the final lap although, like Rory, he would lose out to Neal and Chilton on the final lap to end up in P6.

A strong start to race two saw Mike jump up into fifth spot on the opening lap, but his hopes of trying to push towards the podium were ended by a drive through penalty for being slightly out of position at the start.

Dropping to the back of the field, he raced well to come through to 18th at the finish, and then came close to a points finish in race three with 16th in the season finale.

The combined efforts of the two drivers ensured that Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid RCIB Insurance Racing successfully wrapped up the Independent Teams’ Championship.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“We had three trophies we were aiming for at the start of the season and to have won them all is absolutely fantastic. I’m delighted for the whole team because we have worked so hard and it has a been a massive team effort.

“We made some big improvements over the winter and the support of Cobra, AutoAid, RCIB and GardX has been key as their investment in us allowed us to strengthen and move forwards. We were able to get the right calibre of driver in as success like this doesn’t happen if you don’t have the right drivers. Huge thanks have to go to Rory, Sam [Tordoff] and Mike for their efforts.

“Rory was fantastic all year and the final race was his best of the season to hold off Josh like he did. Mike also did well again stepping in for Sam, who played a massive part in what we have achieved this year and who I know is happy at our success.

“Now it’s time for a few beers!”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I think being the chaser for the Independent title was the best thing for me coming into the weekend, as every race I just pushed hard to get as much as I could from it. I knew in race three that Josh would drive his socks off in the early laps to get to me and I had to drive at 100 per cent from the start. That was the hardest I’ve driven the car all year – it was to the maximum.

“To come away from the weekend with the Independent title and the Jack Sears Trophy for me personally, and to finish in the top five overall, is absolutely fantastic and I think it will take some time to sink in. It’s hard to believe what we have achieved.

“For the team to also win the Independent Teams’ title and finish third overall is brilliant, and you can see in the eyes of the guys in the team just how much it means to them. I’m so pleased to be part of this team and to have had this opportunity, and I’m also happy for all of my sponsors and for the team sponsors who have made it possible.”

Mike Bushell, #21 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said
“I put in so much effort alongside Rory this season and I’m not ashamed to say I cried when he was getting his trophies. For us to have led the overall championship at one stage, and to win the Independent title has been a phenomenal effort.

“Personally, I’m a bit annoyed with myself for being an inch over the line ahead of race two as I was comfortable in fifth place before the drive through penalty, and that really ended the weekend for me as race three was a case of just bringing the car home in one piece.

“I’ve enjoyed doing these final three rounds and it was nice to hear David Addison comment on TV that it was a case of what might have been if I’d been in the car for a full season. It shows that people have taken notice of how I’ve performed, and it’s been nice to have a chance to get out on track in a top level car and race with the big names towards the front.”

Photo by LAP – Laborne Action Photography.

Two final chances to win a Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing replica on BTCC Finals Day

Fans attending the final rounds of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend will have the opportunity to walk away with a new car when Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing’s latest ‘money can’t buy’ competition draws to a close.

Launched back in August in conjunction with joint title sponsors AutoAid and RCIB Insurance, the competition will see one lucky winner secure a road-going replica of the Honda Civic that has been raced in the series this season by Rory Butcher, Sam Tordoff and Mike Bushell.

Ten competition winners will enter a special Scalextric shootout at the famous Kent circuit, with the person who wins that shootout securing the car.

It will be the second time that the team has given away a new car, with one lucky person having secured a replica of the MG6 GT that the team campaigned last year during the 2018 season finale.

Seven of those winners have already been chosen through a series of competitions run through AutoAid and RCIB Insurance’s social media channels in recent months – with a further one to be chosen prior to the race weekend.

Those eight will all enjoy a VIP trip to the circuit to cheer on the team as it goes for glory in the BTCC finale, with two more lucky people attending this weekend’s event set to join them in the shootout.

The first of those winners will be chosen at random from Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing fans at the circuit, with members of the RCIB Insurance team on the lookout for one lucky person showing their support for Rory and Mike in the team clothing trackside.

The final person will be drawn at random through a selfie competition, with people who want to enter able to do so by taking a selfie of themselves at the circuit before uploading it to either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – using the hashtag #RCIBHondaGiveaway and tagging in either AutoAid or RCIB Insurance.

The selfie competition will run until mid-day on Sunday, with the ten finalists then doing battle for the car at the circuit before the final race of the BTCC season.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Team Principal, said:
“The reaction to the competition since it launched in August has been fantastic and it’s great that AutoAid and RCIB Insurance are opening up the chance for two fans at Brands Hatch this weekend to get involved.

“On what promises to be a big weekend for us as a team as we chase championship silverware on track, we’re looking forward to rewarding a true BTCC fan for their support with the ultimate prize and good luck to all of those who find themselves doing battle for the Honda in the grand finale.”

A Rather Strange Weekend at Silverstone

Jack Goff wins at Silverstone

Wow. So, that was a very strange weekend’s racing. Those of you who watched the Silverstone BTCC on ITV4 will have heard the commentators reference race 3 in particular being one of the strangest they’d ever witnessed. Other comparisons were made to events on track during the 1992 season, a year which at least one of the RCIB sponsored drivers hadn’t even yet been born, with Aiden Moffat only celebrating his 23rd birthday on the eve of ‘race day’.

The weather forecast was always predicted to be a bit wet for Sunday and we’re not sure if it’s just us, but regardless of the time of year, any visit to Silverstone normally involves the need for waterproofs and an umbrella. This weekend was no exception. Race 1 wasn’t too bad weatherwise and Sam Tordoff ‘stand in’, Mike Bushell drove his heart out for a very respectable 7th place, whilst team mate Rory scraped into the points, not helped by the ballast he was forced to carry for this race. Jack Goff was showing promise too by biting at the heels of those in front.

Race 2 saw the weather close in, and a ‘prang’ between Rory and Ollie Jackson put Rory out with Mike again bringing in points with his 9th place finish.

But, race 3 is where it was at. This was a race that was almost comical in illustrating what a difference tyre choice makes in wet conditions. With the safety car out early on in the race, Aiden Moffat (who started at the near back of the grid in 29th) and Jack Goff, with one or two others, dived into the pits to swap tyres as the weather worsened. This was a decision that would have monumental effects on the overall result. With the safety car gone, and the track by now really quite wet, the cars of Aiden and Jack (Laser Tools Racing and Team Hard…both sponsored by RCIB) cut through the field like a knife through butter.

In fact, even when Aiden ran too wide on the run off towards the end of the race and did a rather spectacular ‘360’, he still climbed back up to 2nd with ease and confidence from position 4. Jack Goff by now, had opened up a spectaular lead having pulled away from Aiden who was his only real challenger until then, ending up with a significant lead. We can only but imagine what must have been going through Jack’s mind as the following pack became more and more distant in his rear view mirror.

The race finished with Jack Goff achieving his first ever win for Tony Gilham’s Team Hard, and it was a win based on determination and a great, and brave strategy. Aiden too deserved applause for his grit for climbing up from 29th to finish runner up and for listening to his tyre engineer’s suggestion of an early pit stop. Aiden also finished the Infiniti on the podium for the first time ever.

Unfortunately, the lack of points has formally meant Rory can’t now win the drivers championship, but Cobrasport AmD with Autoaid/RCIB can still win the Indy title, if points go their way at Brands. With Jack Goff now having a win behind him, and being on his team’s ‘home track’ for the final weekend, anything is possible for this remarkable conclusion to the 2019 season.

Cobra Sport AmD with Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing keen to maintain title challenge at Silverstone

Mike Bushell 1st Race replacing Sam Tordoff

The Cobra Sport AmD with Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will seek to maintain its bid for title honours when the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads for Silverstone next weekend for the penultimate meeting of the season.

The West Thurrock-based team enjoyed a fine weekend last time out at Knockhill, with Scottish star Rory Butcher securing his maiden pole position before storming to his third win of the season on home soil.

Team-mate Mike Bushell meanwhile broke the circuit lap record on his return to action, having never driven the team’s Honda Civic Type R prior to the weekend.

Fife racer Rory heads to Silverstone with confidence on a high on the back of his Knockhill weekend, where he also secured a podium finish alongside his race one win.

Those results mean Rory goes into the final six races of the season firmly in contention for the overall championship in just his second full season in the series, whilst he is also just a single point away from the lead of the Independents’ Trophy and heads the Jack Sears Trophy standings.

The 30-year-old showed strong pace at Silverstone twelve months ago with a fine drive through the field in the opening race of the weekend, and will hope to make the most of the pace of the Honda to fight towards the sharp end of the grid – with the FK2 Type R having taken three wins at the circuit in the past three years.

With Leeds-racer Sam Tordoff having taken the decision to withdraw from the remainder of the season following the recent loss of his newborn son, Kent-based Mike will continue at the wheel of the sister Honda and will also contest the season finale at Brands Hatch next month.

On his return to action at Knockhill, Mike was on the pace from the outset despite the fact that he hadn’t been at the wheel of a BTCC car since February, although an unfortunate set of circumstances on race day meant he wasn’t able to secure the results that his speed deserved.

Mike enjoyed one of his best weekends of the season at Silverstone twelve months ago with two points finishes and has multiple podium finishes at the circuit during his time in the Clio Cup UK; where he is a double championship winner.

With valuable experience of driving the Honda now under his belt – and running without the additional ballast he had to carry at Knockhill as a new entry – Mike will seek to try and push towards the top ten to aid the team in its championship challenge.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“All season we have tried to make sure that we didn’t get carried away about our results, and with two rounds to go, we now find ourselves right in the mix for each of the championships we are eligible for.

“To be able to say that against the competition we face in the BTCC is something I am hugely proud of, and we will be giving our all over the final two rounds to see what we can achieve in the final standings.

“On the back of his results at Knockhill, Rory can head for Silverstone with plenty of confidence behind him, and we are confident that he will once again be right at the sharp end of the grid and fighting for the podium places.

“Sam’s involvement with the programme and the experience he has been able to bring from racing with some of the top teams in the series has been invaluable this year. He has shown his undoubted speed and has been a key part of the success we have enjoyed, and certainly deserved more than the win he secured at Thruxton.

“Whilst it is unfortunate that his season has ended early, family must come first in these circumstances. His decision to sit out the final two rounds is one that is completely understandable, and he and Georgie remain firmly in our thoughts and have our ongoing support.

“After an unlucky weekend at Knockhill, I’m sure that Mike will do a good job on Sam’s behalf through the final two rounds and will be able to challenge for some strong points at both Silverstone and Brands Hatch.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s all to play for going into the final two rounds and it is nice that we have got to the business end of the season in contention for some silverware, both for myself and for the team.

“On paper, Silverstone is a circuit that should be a good one for us with the Honda, and it is a circuit that I also enjoy racing at. What we need to do is work hard on Saturday to get the most from practice and qualifying because that can then set us up for Sunday, as was the case at Knockhill.

“I have a strategy in my mind about how I want to approach this weekend, and the aim is to try and put that into practice to secure as many points as possible and keep my championship challenges on track.

“I can’t control what other people are doing and can only focus on doing the best job possible behind the wheel. That approach has served me well so far this season, and hopefully the same will apply when we get to Silverstone.”

Mike Bushell, #21 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Once I had shaken off the cobwebs and got rid of the ballast I had to carry into Knockhill, I showed what I could do with the new lap record in race two and although lady luck wasn’t on my side in terms of results, it has given me a lot of confidence ahead of Silverstone.

“Things are a bit more settled this time around as I have more time to prepare for fact that I’m going to be in the car again, and as a team, we have all had more time to come to terms with the circumstances that have led to me being back behind the wheel.

“Silverstone is a circuit where I’ve had some good results in the past, and I’d like to think we can go there and qualify out of the ‘danger zone’ where you can easily pick up some damage when racing in the pack – as was the case at Knockhill.

“We know that the Honda has been strong around Silverstone before and having been quite close to the pace in qualifying last time out with weight onboard, it would be great if I could push into the top ten next weekend.

“If I can then bring home at least one top ten from the three races then that would be great as this is a hard championship and I have to be realistic. I’ll be doing everything I can to help Rory with his title challenge, and trying to score as many points for the team as possible.”

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the pics!

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing storms to success at Knockhill

In memory of Arlo

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team secured a fourth win of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season on a stunning weekend of competition at Knockhill.

The West Thurrock-based team made the long trip to Scotland hoping to fight at the sharp end of the grid, with home hero Rory Butcher joined in the two-car line-up by the returning Mike Bushell.

At the circuit owned by his family, Rory was the man to beat throughout Saturday at the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R, topping both free practice sessions before romping to his maiden pole position in qualifying.

Maintaining his lead at the start, Rory found himself under pressure when he lost second gear during an early safety car period, which left him to try and complete the remainder of the race with nothing below third gear.

Keeping the BMW of Andrew Jordan at bay, Rory briefly slipped back to second at the start of the final lap but then reclaimed the place at McIntyres and went on to secure a popular home win.

With the gearbox replaced, a battling drive to third in race two despite carrying maximum ballast and being on the medium compound tyre saw Rory secure more silverware, although he also picked up a five place grid penalty for race three after contact with Colin Turkington.

That left him right in the middle of the pack for race three, where he secured more points with 14th to maintain his Jack Sears Trophy lead and remain right in the hunt for both the overall and Independents’ championship titles.

Having been asked to step in for the absent Sam Tordoff after the tragic death of his newborn son Arlo, Mike was quickly up to speed in free practice and then qualified 16th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.

Mike’s hopes of a points-scoring finish were ended on the opening lap of the race when contact at turn one damaged the rear suspension on his car and forced him to retire.

There was to be more misfortune in race two when he was forced to pit with a loss of power, which was traced to a loose connection under the bonnet.

Returning to the track a number of laps down to make sure that the issue was resolved ahead of race three, Mike was left to wonder what might have been as he posted a new lap record – making him the only driver to lap below the 51 second marker across race day.

Unfortunately, race three would end in disappointment when contact with Rob Collard’s Vauxhall Astra at Clark’s ripped the left rear wheel from the Honda and meant he failed to finish for a third time.

The team will now look to maintain its title challenge when the series heads to Silverstone on the weekend of 28/29 September.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a fantastic weekend for us as a team, and to come away from Knockhill with pole position, a race win, another podium and a new lap record is just brilliant. To be honest, it’s a bit of a surreal feeling when you consider where we have come from as a team and I’m proud of the whole team.

“Rory has done a stunning job this weekend and to win in the manner he did in race one was fantastic. Mike has also done a better job than the results will show in difficult circumstances as he was on the pace from the moment he got in the car and his speed was shown in the fact that he broke the lap record.

“This weekend we were racing with Sam, Georgina and Arlo in our thoughts, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring home some good results for them.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I think that has been our best weekend to date in terms of the results. We laid down a real marker on Saturday to top all three sessions with a good gap, although Sunday was a bit more difficult.

“Andrew kept me honest throughout race one and it was a real challenge after I lost second gear. I had to really drive to the maximum around the lap to build a gap because I knew that taking the hairpin in third gear would leave me open to attack.

“To bring the car home in front of the Scottish fans was an amazing feeling as there was a lot of expectation on me this weekend, and a lot of people here supporting me.

“A podium in race two was a good way to reward the guys for their hard work changing the gearbox, and race three was one of those where I had to get what I could whilst racing in the pack.

“Overall it’s been a fantastic weekend and I’d like to dedicate the win to the Tordoff family. They’ve all been in our thoughts, and that one is for them.”

Mike Bushell, #21 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s nice to come away from the weekend with a new lap record to my name as it shows that I’ve not lost any speed during my time away from the car, but I certainly haven’t had any luck on my side.

“There wasn’t a great deal that I could have done in any of the three races to change what happened as two bouts of contact and a mechanical issues that was simply down to circumstances have prevented me from picking up some results.

“It’s a case of what might have been.”

Photo credit: Dickon Siddall.

Determined Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing targets strong Knockhill weekend

Ready for Knockhill

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will hope to challenge towards the sharp end of the grid in difficult circumstances when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads to Knockhill this weekend.

The West Thurrock-based team secured victory for the third time last time out at Thruxton after Sam Tordoff converted his second pole position of the year into a race one win, adding to the two victories secured by team-mate Rory Butcher earlier in the year.

Those wins, and four further podium finishes, mean the team now makes the long trip to Scotland sitting third in the teams standings, and with confidence high about a strong weekend at a circuit that should favour the Honda Civic Type R.

For Fife racer Rory, the Knockhill weekend will be the biggest of the season by far as the 32-year-old prepares to make his third BTCC appearance at the circuit owned by his father Derek.

Rory secured a hat-trick of top ten finishes last year at the wheel of an MG6 GT and will hope to use his local knowledge to return to the kind of form that has seen him secure 14 top ten finishes already this season.

Despite a difficult weekend at Thruxton that saw him log his first DNF of the year, the Scottish star remains well placed in the overall and Independents’ standings going into his home round, and also continues to head the Jack Sears Trophy for those drivers who hadn’t taken an overall podium before the season started.

Leeds-based team-mate Sam will not make the trip to Scotland however, after his new-born son Arlo passed away last weekend at just five days old.

The news has devastated the entire Cobra Sport AmD team, who will be racing this weekend at Knockhill with Sam, Georgina and the whole Tordoff family at the forefront of their minds.

With the blessing of the Tordoff family, double Clio Cup UK champion Mike Bushell will return to action in the second Honda this weekend, having spent the 2019 season in the role of lead engineer on Rory’s car.

The 30-year-old made his debut in the series at Knockhill back in 2013 in a one-off drive in a Chevrolet Cruze, and has since gone on to start 59 BTCC races – with a best finish of fifth at Brands Hatch last season.

Mike – who will run his regular #21 – will look to support Rory in his championship challenge, and also hope to battle for points in his first outing in the series since the 2018 season finale.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It goes without saying that our thoughts going into this weekend are very much with Sam, his wife Georgina, and the whole Tordoff family following their tragic news. There is nothing that is more important than family, and we will be racing this weekend in Arlo’s memory. Our heads are focused on the job at hand, but our hearts will very much be with Sam and his family.

“As Rory’s home event, this is a big weekend for the team and we’re expecting to get a lot of support from the local fans. Hopefully that support can help Rory to secure some strong results, and we’re sure that Mike will also do a good job in what are difficult circumstances for him to make his return to the series.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“This will be the third time I’ve raced at home in the BTCC, but the first time where I have really had the package underneath me to fight towards the front of the grid.

“I know more than anyone that Knockhill is a very quirky circuit where you need a car that is working well underneath you. History says that we’ll have that with the Honda, but we can’t be complacent and know that we need to work hard on Saturday to qualify well and try to set ourselves up for a strong race day. Hopefully the support of the home fans will also help push me on to some good results.

“However, whilst there is the excitement that comes from my home event, I’ve been left deeply saddened by the news from Sam and Georgina in recent days. As a team, we are all very close and what has happened puts everything into perspective. This weekend, both Mike and I will be racing for them, and will be giving our all to do them proud.”

Mike Bushell, #21 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Whilst it is lovely that the Tordoff family are trusting me to step into the car this weekend, it is absolutely devastating that the opportunity to get back behind the wheel has come along in these circumstances. I will be going out on track to race for Sam and his family 100 per cent this weekend, and any results are for them and for Arlo.

“I’m not going to set any expectations because I haven’t been in a BTCC car since February and I’ll also have to carry extra weight into the weekend; I just want to go out on track and do the most professional job that I can do in the circumstances. My priority is on Rory and his championship challenge and I’ll do all I can to help him, and it would be good if I could score some points for the team at the same time.

“I need to see how the car feels when we hit the track in FP1, and then just take each lap as it comes from there.”

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the photo!