Jason Hughes says he is confident that 2009 will be a strong season for his Team KWR outfit as preparations continue for the new HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign.

The team is currently putting the finishing touches to its MG ZS, which has undergone a number of changes during the winter, while it also continues to search for second driver to come in alongside team owner Hughes.

Amongst key changes to the car for the new season will be completely new suspension and an improved engine from Judd which should see an increase of 15bhp over the powerplant used last year.

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With the car also running a lot lighter when compared to the more modern S2000 machinery, Hughes said he was hopeful that a strong season lies ahead despite the age of the ZS, which will be the oldest car on the grid.

"Last year we started the season 60kgs heavier than the S2000 cars, and this year we start the season only 5kgs heavier," he said. "Added to that an extra 15bhp from the engine and a host of new parts on the car and I think we may surprise a few people in the paddock and grandstands alike.

"The MG is one of the oldest cars on the grid, but because of that, it gives us the opportunity to develop the car that much more, compared to a car that is fresh out the box. We have worked with the same car for five years - and we showed last year that it is still capable of reaching the top 5 in the speed traps.

"We've got some great competition in 2009 in BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Vauxhall and now the new Ford Focus, but I still think that we can give them all a good fight. It's all about consistency. We had a fantastic finishing record last year which we aim to better this year."

While he admitted that the current economic downturn wasn't helping in the quest to find a second driver, Hughes added that there was still a number of interested parties in filling the second bio-fuelled car.

"We have also had continued interest in the second seat from a number of drivers," he said, "some new to the championship, some returning and some with previous MG experience.

"Unfortunately the current financial market is proving impossible for a lot of drivers to find backing, which is a shame as there is some great talent out there."

The team will hit the track for the first time this season during the annual BTCC Media Day at Rockingham later this month.