Arena suspends Ford World Touring Car programme

Work on Arena Motorsport's World Touring Car programme has been suspended, as the team seeks to secure major backing for the year

Arena suspends Ford World Touring Car programme

Ford recently withdrew its technical support for the team, which fielded Tom Chilton and James Nash last year.

This is understood to have had a major impact on Arena, despite the manufacturer not providing any direct financial backing.

The team's 14 full-time staff have been suspended from duty for the time being.

Arena founder Mike Earle sold the team to Chilton's father Grahame's Capsicum Motorsport Group two years ago.

"The reason behind the difficulties for Capsicum Racing Ltd stem from the fact Ford has pulled all financial and economic support, which has left the team struggling," a Capsicum spokesperson told AUTOSPORT.

"This season it was always going to be hard to secure a paying driver of a top standard, so it was very important either to get the support of Ford or a big sponsor to continue at a top level.

"With Ford pulling that technical backing it has made things extremely difficult.

"The team is still looking and searching for a sponsor or alternative funding, but at the moment things have stopped a little bit as the directors have to act in the best interest of the creditors.

"Different options are being investigated, and with the right financing the team will be able to move forward fairly easily, but it is all reliant on quickly finding potential backers or sponsors to go forward."

Arena's debut WTCC season in 2012 was blighted by a disagreement with the FIA over its interpretation of the technical rules, and by the number of long-haul races hindering development opportunities for the Focus WTCC during the Autumn.

The all-new Fords did produce flashes of promise, notably in Marrakech in April when British Touring Car graduate Nash briefly led and Chilton raced in the top six.

A planned contribution to Arena's 2013 racing budget was understood to come from the sale of its limited edition Ford Focus WTCC road cars, the proceeds of which were unlikely to be available until the middle of the year.

In what Earle told AUTOSPORT was an unrelated matter, which was close to being resolved, Companies House has issued an intention to strike off Arena International Motorsport over a late filing of accounts.

Arena International Motorsport stopped trading last year, and was taken over by Capsicum Racing Ltd, trading as Arena.

AUTOSPORT understands that the restructuring at Arena will not have a bearing on single-seater team Carlin, which is also part of Capsicum.

shares
comments
WTCC considering 'push-to-pass' system for 2014

Previous article

WTCC considering 'push-to-pass' system for 2014

Next article

Team Engstler to run Franz Engstler and Charles Ng in WTCC

Team Engstler to run Franz Engstler and Charles Ng in WTCC
Load comments

About this article

Series WTCC
Teams Ford Racing
Author Peter Mills
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014