WTCC Ford Focuses to return with Rotek Racing
|By Kevin Turner||Wednesday, April 24th 2013, 09:00 GMT|
Arena Motorsport's World Touring Car Ford Focuses have been bought by VLN squad Rotek Racing and will appear in the championship later this season.
Arena ran Tom Chilton and James Nash in the WTCC last year, but was forced to pull out ahead of this season.
The team had become part of the Capsicum Motorsport Group, but has now been sold to Rotek.
American tin-top racer Robb Holland, who appeared in the WTCC and British Touring Car Championship last season, will drive one of the cars. The second driver has yet to be confirmed.
Holland could appear in the WTCC as early as the Portuguese round at the end of June, but AUTOSPORT understands the American races a month later are the main target.
Although the cars, which are being updated to 2013 specification, will initially be run out of Rotek's European base at the Nurburgring, the intention is to move the operation to Sonoma Raceway in America.
Holland, who tested the Focus for the first time at Brands Hatch on Monday (April 22), said: "Last season I became the first and to date the only American to race in the WTCC and so to be moving full-time into the series with an American team and an American manufacturer is very exciting.
"The guys at Rotek Racing have acquired two well-built cars from Arena and I can't wait to get started on the extensive test programme they have planned between now and our WTCC race debut.
"The WTCC is packed with highlights but for me as an American, racing later this season at home at Sonoma with an American team and manufacturer will be extra special."
Capsicum's Rupert Swallow thanked the efforts of Arena boss Mike Earle.
"I would like to record Capsicum's gratitude to Mike Earle and his team at Arena who have continued to work on the Focuses in difficult circumstances and have delivered two well-engineered and updated cars for Rotek Racing to develop further.
"I'm delighted that we've been able to pass the WTCC baton to Rotek. On behalf of Capsicum I would like to wish them and driver Robb Holland every success."
AUTOSPORT understands some former members of the Arena squad could be brought in to assist the programme.