British Touring Car race winner James Nash has joined Arena Motorsport's assault on the World Touring Car Championship for 2012
Nash took his first BTCC win at Rockingham last year, driving a Triple Eight Engineering Vauxhall Vectra, and went on to win the Independents drivers' title.
The 26-year-old has now joined team regular Tom Chilton at Arena for the squad's first season in the WTCC.
"There are other areas I'd like to get into, like prototypes, and the WTCC was always an ambition," said Nash. "Arena has support from Ford and I think it will get there - it was an opportunity we couldn't refuse."
Nash hopes it will help him move towards becoming a works driver in the future.
"Lots of manufacturers are talking about the WTCC so we need to be there," he added. "I can't wait - it's a good place to be. The ultimate goal is to get with a manufacturer and get paid."
Nash, who has tested Arena's new 1.6-litre Focus recently at Valencia and Gaudix, believes the team can be competitive.
"Race wins are always the main goal, but if we get in the top six at the start I'll be pleased," he said.
"Helping the team to develop the Focus is something I'm really looking forward to. Last year with Triple Eight the budget was tight and the cars were pretty much fully developed, but the Focus is new."
Team boss Mike Earle added: "It's great to know that we have the two most recent BTCC Independent champions in our team. James impressed me last year and had a pretty old car so he obviously has talent."
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