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Butcher stays to lead Toyota BTCC line-up

British Touring Car Championship leading light Rory Butcher will remain at official Toyota squad Speedworks Motorsport for 2022 and believes he can challenge for the title.

Rory Butcher, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The 34-year-old Scot moved to Speedworks last year, and claimed three of his nine BTCC wins to date on his way to seventh in the championship.

Once he was up to speed with the Corolla, Butcher was one of the form men of the late-season rounds, and for the first time in his BTCC career he remains on board the same car as he campaigned the year before.

“With the pre-season development we have planned, there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t be pushing for wins at every circuit,” said Butcher.

“Considering what we achieved over the second half of 2021 in particular and the experience and knowledge we have gained, the target has to be to hit the ground running at Donington Park in April and then go into the final event at Brands Hatch in October with a fighting chance of taking the title.

“That will obviously be no easy task, but Speedworks is a fantastic team and when we get the Toyota really in the window, it feels like nobody can touch us.

“Due to its extra weight, the hybrid system will inevitably make the car handle slightly differently and will add another element to the competition in giving us all a bit more to think about strategically and racecraft-wise, but ultimately I think the best teams and drivers will rise to the top.”

Speedworks boss Christian Dick said Butcher has settled in well with the team, which was spearheaded by Tom Ingram for seven seasons before his departure for Excelr8 Motorsport.

“Rory is the first to admit to taking a little time to get his head around things, and it was the first time we’d worked with a new BTCC driver for a long time,” Dick told Autosport.

“Once we’d worked that out and understood each other better, the results started to come.

“There’s still work to come, but that’s exciting because we believe we’re in a good place as a baseline, and that reinforces our positivity. We can’t wait to get out into testing and the season started.”

Rory Butcher, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla

Rory Butcher, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Speedworks, which hopes to begin its testing programme in the middle of March, operated the Toyota in which new-for-2022 hybrid supplier Cosworth and new TOCA engine provider M-Sport carried out their testing and debut race weekend.

When asked if this could give his team an advantage, Dick responded: “You’ve got to say a small amount, but probably not as much as people think.

“TOCA and Cosworth were very fair with the way the programme was run, and we had no access to data, but you do start to understand the system and what’s required, and get a feeling for it.”

The team has retained veteran engineer Paul Ridgway, who looked after Butcher last year but has additional commitments with the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co squad in the World Touring Car Cup, and has also recruited Rich Benton, who worked with Butcher at the Motorbase Ford squad in 2020 – it has not yet been decided who will be on laptop duties for which car.

Speedworks is understood to be close to revealing a driver for its second seat, and is in discussions with Nicolas Hamilton for the additional entry that would be afforded by its acquisition of a third TBL entrants’ licence for 2022.

“The third car is a possibility – we’ve been speaking to Nic a lot and I would love to put something together for him,” said Dick.

BTCC driver line-up so far

Laser Tools Racing Infiniti - Aiden Moffat, Dexter Patterson, TBA

West Surrey Racing BMW - Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Stephen Jelley

BTC Racing Honda - TBA, TBA, TBA, TBA

Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai - Tom Ingram, Dan Lloyd, Tom Chilton, TBA

Motorbase Performance Ford - Ash Sutton, Dan Cammish, Ollie Jackson, Sam Osborne

Team Dynamics Honda - Gordon Shedden, Dan Rowbottom, TBA

Speedworks Motorsport Toyota - Rory Butcher, TBA, TBA

Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall TBA, TBA

Ciceley Motorsport BMW Adam Morgan, TBA

Team Hard Cupra Jack Goff, Aron Taylor-Smith, TBA, TBA

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