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Speedworks switches to Toyota engine as Gamble joins Butcher and Collard

Toyota’s British Touring Car Championship team has switched to a bespoke engine for its expanded three-car attack in 2023, which will be spearheaded by Rory Butcher for a third year.

Rory Butcher, George Gamble, Ricky Collard,  Speedworks Motorsport Toyota

Neil Brown Engineering is producing a new Toyota powerplant for Speedworks Motorsport’s trio of Corolla GR Sports, as the Cheshire team makes the switch from the TOCA customer engine.

Butcher will be joined in the line-up by George Gamble, who had a race-winning BTCC rookie season in 2022 with the Ciceley Motorsport BMW squad, while Ricky Collard remains on board.

Collard has gone back on his decision to hang up his helmet and instead plumped for a second full season in the series in which his father Rob was a leading contender for many seasons.

Top engine company NBE’s acquisition of the Toyota deal comes on top of its long-standing programme as tuner for the hugely successful West Surrey Racing-built BMWs. The Lincolnshire firm has also won multiple titles supplying the Team Dynamics Hondas.

Speedworks’ testing with the new Toyota unit began on Tuesday of this week at Anglesey, with Butcher, Gamble and Collard at the wheel of three separate cars.

“It’s going really well,” Butcher told Autosport after the first day of running. “Today’s the first day that we’ve run the engines and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and we’re just shaking them down.

“My first impressions are really good. Neil Brown have been in this championship for donkey’s years and that’s really shown.

“Between the three of us we’re just making sure there are no weak spots, and we plan to get some proper miles in tomorrow [Wednesday] and Thursday. Then our proper testing programme kicks in next week.”

Rory Butcher, George Gamble, Ricky Collard,  Speedworks Motorsport Toyota

Rory Butcher, George Gamble, Ricky Collard, Speedworks Motorsport Toyota

Photo by: Speedworks Motorsport

Speedworks has been a TOCA engine customer since it entered the BTCC in 2011. The TOCA powerplants were built by Swindon Powertrain until 2022, when M-Sport began to supply the units.

Speedworks’ decision to switch to its own powerplants comes one year after Excelr8 Motorsport went its own way with its Hyundai engines – these were produced by Swindon, and propelled Tom Ingram to the 2022 title.

Speedworks boss Christian Dick said: “The TOCA unit has played an important role in our success down the years in the BTCC, but to take the final step and really fight for the championship, we needed control over all elements of the package – and that is what we now have.

“On the driver front, Rory is a class act who is more than ready to mount a consistent title challenge, while Ricky can focus on turning the promise he displayed in 2022 into some really strong results.

“As to George, he caught our attention early on last year – it takes a pretty special talent to win a race as a rookie in the BTCC – and while his surname might be Gamble, we’re confident that his signing will prove to be no risk at all.”

Scotsman Butcher, who has claimed four race wins in his two seasons to date with Speedworks in 2021-22, said: “I feel like I’m going into 2023 in the best shape so far, not just in terms of the updates brought to the Corolla but also in terms of the people I have around me.

“It’s great to have that continuity of team and car for the third year in a row, and having ended last season so strongly, I really want to pick up from where we left off and be right in the mix and gunning for glory from the outset.

“Ricky and George are both top drivers and real assets to the team, and I’m looking forward to working closely with the pair of them to push this whole project forward.”

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

BTCC line-up so far

Motorbase Performance Ford Ash Sutton, Dan Cammish, Dan Rowbottom, Sam Osborne
West Surrey Racing BMW Jake Hill, Colin Turkington, Adam Morgan, Stephen Jelley
Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai Tom Ingram, Tom Chilton, Ronan Pearson, Nick Halstead
Team Dynamics Honda TBA, TBA
One Motorsport Honda Josh Cook, Aiden Moffat, TBA, TBA
Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Rory Butcher, George Gamble, Ricky Collard
Team Hard Cupra Dan Lloyd, Bobby Thompson, Dexter Patterson, Jack Butel
Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Aron Taylor-Smith, Andrew Watson, Mikey Doble

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