Edenbridge Racing seals BMW deal

Former British F3 champions Edenbridge Racing will enter the Production Class of next year's British Touring Car Championship with a pair of BMWs

Edenbridge Racing seals BMW deal

The Kent-based outfit, which has contested the FIA F3000 Championship in the past as well as one-make saloon championships, will field a paid of BMW 320i E36s which are currently being prepared by Italian 'Beamer' experts Team Rafanelli. The engines for the cars will be built by Carly Motorsport, the Dutch team which took Patrick Huisman to success at the Macau Guia event a fortnight ago. Backing will come from longtime sponsors Mezzanine.

"It's a very sensibly priced package to contest," said team boss Peter Briggs. "The class has an international flavour - you can go and race in Europe or Macau - and I think it's just a fantastic formula."

Edenbridge had previously been linked to running Vauxhalls in the new-look Touring class, but Briggs believes the BTCC's smaller category will provide just as much fireworks next year.

"I think it's going to be very good, much bigger than last year," added Briggs. "It includes a 40-minute Feature Race, where the Production class cars don't have to make a pit stop and the Touring cars do, so it's going to make it a lot closer. I've got dealerships and I know how hard it is in the motor trade for manufacturers at the moment. Any way they can save money, then they will look at it. I think the production class is a very sensible option."

Briggs was present to see Huisman win for BMW in Macau, and was impressed by the level of support for the class.

"In Macau, there was people from Ford, BMW and Renault, which goes to show the class is very strong. We'd already sussed out before Macau that the BMW would be the car to have. Going out there, it was good to see them in operation against a good cross-section of its rivals."

A driver line-up has yet to be decided upon, but Briggs doesn't think he will have any problems in filling the two seats available.

"A lot of drivers are interested in pedaling a BMW," he added. "We haven't approached BMW for any support, we're doing this off our own back. It's going to be a learning year. We're in discussions with drivers already, but we're not going to have [Edenbridge old boys] Tom Kristensen and Olly Gavin out there. We would like some young drivers if possible, because they should be looking at touring cars as a career, rather than this single-seater mindset which, most of the time, leads nowhere."

The first car will arrive at Edenbridge in a week's time, with the other following soon after. This is the first time that rear-wheel drive machinery has been entered in the BTCC's secondary division.

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