Motorbase retains Mat Jackson and Aron Smith for 2013 BTCC effort
|By Kevin Turner||Wednesday, February 13th 2013, 08:39 GMT|
British Touring Car squad Motorbase has confirmed it will run Mat Jackson and Aron Smith in its NGTC Ford Focuses this season.
Jackson switched from Motorbase's S2000 Focus to the new NGTC version during 2012 and finished seventh in the standings.
Irishman Smith stayed with the S2000 chassis and finished eighth in his first full BTCC season, winning at Brands Hatch in October.
As expected, both have now been confirmed in Motorbase-built NGTC Fords for 2013.
Team principal David Bartrum said: "It's great to be starting the season with two drivers that know the team so well; consistency is key at such an important time with our own car, and it means we can get straight to work."
Bartrum expects Jackson to fight for the title, adding: "I believe we have one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid.
"Mat has shown his BTCC pedigree over past few years and with the new NGTC up to speed, I fully expect him to be right up there battling for the 2013 title.
"It's also great to have Aron back in the Motorbase family; he had a great debut season last year, finishing on a high. With a new NGTC under him I'm sure there's much more to come."
Jackson, who has won 19 BTCC races, said: "The NGTC programme has been an exciting project to be involved with and what we achieved in 2012 was epic.
"We know how much more the NGTC could give and the Motorbase boys have worked incredibly hard over the winter to improve the car further.
"We will have to wait for the weather to improve so I can further my knowledge of the car, but I believe we have a car that can challenge for the main title in 2013."
Smith, 23, added: "To return to for a second season with Motorbase is what I always wanted.
"I don't think people realise how big a transition it is into the BTCC so it's nice to know I don't have as big a learning curve ahead of me this year and that everyone at Motorbase is behind me."
2013 British Touring Car line-up so far: Team Car Drivers Honda (Team Dynamics) Honda Civic Gordon Shedden/Matt Neal MG (Triple 8) MG6 Jason Plato/Sam Tordoff Motorbase Performance Ford Focus Mat Jackson/Aron Smith WSR BMW 125 M C Turkington/R Collard/N Foster Team HARD VW Passat Tom Onslow-Cole/Howard Fuller Vauxhall Insignia Jack Goff/James Cole Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis Dave Newsham/TBA Ciceley Racing Toyota Avensis Adam Morgan IP Tech Race Chevrolet Cruze Andy Neate AmD Tuning VW Golf/Vauxhall Astra TBA Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 Rob Austin/Will Bratt Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Andrew Jordan/TBA Dynojet Toyota Avensis Frank Wrathall