Skoda name to join BTCC with Matt Hamilton and TH Motorsport in 2012
|By Jamie O'Leary||Wednesday, July 27th 2011, 12:20 GMT|
The Skoda name is set to appear in the British Touring Car Championship next year thanks to an ambitious programme by independent squad TH Motorsport.
TH is building an Octavia to the championship's NGTC technical regulations and hopes to have the car testing on-track by the end of the year.
Matt Hamilton, who raced a BTC-spec Honda Civic-R for the team during the 2009 and 2010 BTCC seasons, will conduct the testing programme and is set to race the car next year.
"It's something we've been working towards for a while now," Hamilton told AUTOSPORT. "The car is at the build stage at the moment, and if the plan goes to schedule, then we'll be out testing before the end of the year. We certainly don't want to be going to the first race of 2012 with no preparation.
"We had quite a long process of evaluation in terms of what car to choose, but time and time again we kept coming back to the Skoda and we're excited about the platform this gives us."
TH team boss Trevor Humphrey said that the building of a second car would be considered if the right driver came along.
"We were very disappointed to have to leave the BTCC in 2010, and it was always my intention to return as soon as possible," he said.
"I considered purchasing an S2000 car to run this year, but for a smaller team like us, it was a no-brainer to be patient, and go the NGTC route. In the long run, the NGTC car will be much more cost-effective to run, and with a structured development programme, I know that we can be competitive."
"I am looking forward to working with Matt again. I was very impressed with the way that he adapted to touring cars, and I know that he has huge potential. Our participation in the BTCC with an NGTC car is a long-term commitment. We are also considering the option of building a second car if a driver with competitive credentials was to show an interest."
TH has yet to decide on an engine supplier for the car, although Hamilton said that the Swindon-built TOCA powerplant and other NGTC-spec units were under consideration.