Steve Rider and Louise Goodman have been added to ITV's presenting team for the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, as the series confirms its television coverage will exceed 100 hours this year.
Rider and Goodman have become recognisable faces for motorsport over the years, most recently through their involvement in ITV's Formula 1 coverage, the former taking on presenter duties and the latter acting as a roving pit lane reporter.
It is a return to a role Rider made his own more than a decade ago, having co-presented coverage with legendary commentator Murray Walker when the series was on the ascendancy during the nineties.
"It's particularly satisfying to be involved in a sport which is always strong on storylines, personalities, humour and controversy,” he said. “The chemistry the BTCC delivers is unsophisticated, so makes it easily accessible for a casual motor sport audience which is of great importance. Indeed, the BTCC is perhaps the one series that has brought the general public flooding back into race circuits across the UK and very probably also breathed new life into some of those circuits.
"The racing is fierce and non-stop, there is overtaking race after race and the personalities are as strong as ever. You stick on the BTCC and are instantly entertained. It is also a great environment in which to work - the drivers and teams are very approachable and really value the importance of the TV viewers as well as the trackside audience.
"With that in mind, it is worth re-emphasising ITV's continuing and comprehensive commitment to the championship - if you add up the hours of motor sport coverage on mainstream television in the UK then the BTCC will receive more air time than any other form of motor sport. I think it's fantastic that ITV, as a major terrestrial television network, is staying loyal to the UK's top motor racing championship."
Goodman, meanwhile, is also delighted to be back presenting the BTCC having been a pivotal member of the team in 2007.
"The BTCC never fails to deliver. I'm not just a TV presenter, I'm also a motor sport fan and this series consistently produces the kind of top class entertainment and high standards of competition that all motor sport fans love. As a TV reporter, it's a very accessible series to work in. The teams are open and friendly; I can take the viewers right to the heart of the action so they can hear the news first-hand... and it can get a little controversial, too, so there's always plenty to talk about!"
In addition, popular pair Ben Edwards and Tim Harvey will provide insight and enthusiasm during the races from the commentary booth.
"Our roles, as ever, will be to bring the viewers into what is going on and get them wrapped up in it - and with the BTCC our jobs are made a lot easier as there's always action, excitement and unpredictability,” said Edwards. “It is pure entertainment. You're calling it one moment only for something else to be happening on another screen. And Tim of course is always worth listening to - he's a past BTCC Champion so is never short of an opinion!"