Motorbase Performance will celebrate a landmark moment at Croft when the team – now running under the Airwaves BMW banner – celebrates 100 starts in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The team debuted in the series in 2006 running a Honda Integra for Dave Pinkney and expanded to a two-car team the following year with a brace of SEAT Toledos.
The switch to the BMW 320si last year saw the team firmly established itself as a front-runner, with the event at Croft proving to be a turning point as David Bartrum's outfit went on to be one of the team's to beat through the second half of the year.
Already this season, Rob Collard has secured two victories while rookie team-mate Jonathan Adam has also taken to the podium, with Bartrum hopeful of more success in the North East this weekend prior to the summer break.
“Croft was the point last year when we turned a corner and discovered our form,” he said. “Rob Collard just missed out on a podium and Steven Kane wasn't far off either. We'd had a pretty tough time of it in the rounds prior to that, but after Croft we knew we had moved forward. Hopefully we can go there this year and perform well again, gauge how we are performing relative to our rivals, then be able to come out firing on all cylinders in the second half of the season.
“This is our fourth season in the BTCC and 100 races is a big landmark for the team. We've come a long way, progressed every season, and always tried to stay positive no matter how tough it's been, so I'm proud of that. We're now in the position where we have got the best machinery on the grid in the shape of the BMW 320si, we have wins under our belt already this season, and we can go and keep pushing for trophies for the rest of the year.”
A fine run through to fourth from the back of the grid in the final race at Oulton Park last time means Collard heads to Croft firmly in contention for the title, and the former Independent champion said it was vital for him to bring home three solid points finishes to add his championship challenge.
“Croft is very good circuit and I enjoy the challenge of going there,” he said. “We had an eventful run at Croft last season, we showed we could be very quick and challenged for the podium, but didn't come away with the points we deserved. I want to show how much we've progressed since then and better that this year.
“I'm really going to focus on finishing all three races at Croft in strong positions. What we can't afford at Croft is not to score points, as the competition we are up against just now is so good they can punish you if you have a bad weekend. I lost a little bit of ground with a no-score in race two at Oulton, so I have to make it up at Croft so that I can continue to challenge for honours in the second half of the season.”