British GT Championship outfit Chad Racing has revealed a multi-year deal to a brace of factory-supported Kia Cee'ds in the Belgium Touring Car Championship.
The team finished third in the S1 class of the series last year running a silhouette Peugeot 407, but has now done a deal to run the Cee'd – which was unveiled at Kia Belgium last week.
The new car, developed in-house by Chad's team of engineers, is set to be amongst the front-runners in the series, with the Mountune-developed engine producing over 400bhp and the car itself weighing just 950kg. Testing of the new car is due to begin next month ahead of the opening round of the season coming at Spa in early April.
Ian Dockerill and Phillipe Steveny, both of whom drove for the team last season, are confirmed as the first partnership for the Kia programme, with the team actively seeking drivers for the second car.
“It is difficult under normal circumstances to raise budgets, so to get a factory-supported deal in the current economy is a big deal for us and will allow us to carry out a lot more development work on the car,” team manager Piers Masarati said. “Kia approached us to put this together after seeing us racing in the series last year and it's a bit of an unusual deal for a British team to be running in a Belgian series with a Korean car. But we started negotiating with Kia and the deal was done in September, and we've been building and designing the car since then.
“This is a big coup for us.”
Chad continues to evaluate its plans for the British GT Championship this season and could return with a Ferrari 430, although options are also available on the TOCA package for 2009.
“I'd love to do British GT again, but I also want to try and get onto the TOCA package,” Masarati continued. “Something like the Ginetta G50 Cup would be a nice, cost effective way to go racing, but trying to get sponsorship as a team or as a driver isn't easy at the moment . However, the Kia programme is our big thing this year and whatever we do beyond that will have to be something we can do right – otherwise there won't be any point doing it.”
The team will also take part in the Spa 24 Hours later in the year, entering a GT2-spec Porsche 997 RSR in the blue-riband event on the FIA GT Championship calendar.