Ex-F1 driver Martin Donnelly working to stay in the BTCC

Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Donnelly is working to stay in the British Touring Car Championship despite Infiniti withdrawing from the series

Ex-F1 driver Martin Donnelly working to stay in the BTCC

The Northern Irishman was drafted in by the Japanese marque to replace Richard Hawken in one of the Support our Paras Racing Q50s at Thruxton.

Infiniti revealed last week it had parted company with the rookie outfit, after a disappointing start to the season yielded a best finish of 17th.

The team confirmed Derek Palmer Jr was its only retained driver but he wants to continue to run two cars, and Donnelly told AUTOSPORT he is keen to be involved.

"Very much so," Donnelly said when asked if he wanted to remain in the series.

"It's a work in progress. I'm going to meet at Oulton Park with Derek Palmer [Sr, team principal] to try and get things resolved.

"Hopefully it will be in everybody's interest to listen to what we have to say and try and continue with two cars on the grid.

"We'll see how it goes and the following week things should be moving forward for the next race."

Palmer Sr confirmed Donnelly was a contender for the second seat, but he stressed he was "one of a number of drivers" the team is in conversation with.

"It's important we highlight that Martin was placed in the second seat for Thruxton by Infiniti as a development driver," Palmer said.

"While we remain open to continuing our relationship with Martin, he is also fully aware that he - like any driver - will be required to bring the necessary budget.

"The team has had a demanding start to the season, and what we would now like to concentrate on is establishing a settled period of consistency.

"That is why it is crucial we make the correct decision regarding the driver for the second seat, because it is important they are committed to the team not only for the remainder of this season, but also through the whole of 2016."

Donnelly's BTCC debut was hampered by power-steering problems with his Q50, a technical issue that has blighted the Paras team's maiden campaign.

His call-up for Thruxton technically activated the outfit's sole allowed driver change for the season, a rule implemented alongside the TOCA BTCC Licence in 2014.

That limits a team to one change per season, barring cases of force majeure - which the Paras squad's loss of a factory backer may well qualify as.

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