RML has announced that James Nash will sit out the final round of the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season as the youngster seeks to put together a full-season programme for the 2010 season.
The former SEAT Eurocup racer joined the BTCC grid at Oulton Park, and went on to compete in the events at Croft, Snetterton, Silverstone and Rockingham at the wheel of his Chevrolet Lacetti.
Nash looked like he had secured a maiden win at Snetterton after taking the flag first in the final race of the weekend, only to lose the win for an incident that saw Rob Collard crash out of the lead. However, he then made amends at Silverstone, following Mat Jackson and Jason Plato home to give RML a 1-2-3 finish.
However, with only limited budget available, Nash has elected to miss the season finale on the Brands Hatch GP circuit to instead work on putting together the budget for a full year of BTCC racing in 2010 and he said he was hopeful that his performances to date had shown he can get the job done in the series.
“In just five events I am really pleased with my results and progress through the year and I really am proud to have been part of the team that gave RML their first 1-2-3 in the series and Chevrolet their first 1-2-3 since 1975,” he said. “That, together with my podium, fastest laps and for receiving the accolade for highest number of places gained at Silverstone are some of my proudest racing moments so far. Of course I wish things had gone a little differently at Snetterton, to take my first win then would have been just fantastic, but that's all behind me and drawing on the positives, I have learnt a huge amount since then and have progressed as a driver.
“I hope my results over the past few months have proved that I am a serious racing driver and a strong contender for race wins. As I mentioned before, I entered the championship this year with the hope of showcasing my skills and ability and to reach out and capture the imagination of potential investors and partners. I hope my recent performances, in particular at Snetterton and Silverstone have aided this.”
Team manager Paul Field was also full of praise for the 23-year-old and said he felt sure he could be a success in the BTCC in the coming season.
“I speak for everyone at RML when I say that James has had a very impressive first season in the BTCC,” he said. “Most of the drivers in this series, aside from having a wealth of racing experience over James, have either been racing at this level for years, or have perhaps raced elsewhere, such as the WTCC and so are at the top of their game. For a new, up and coming driver such as James, it would be easy to find the series quite intimidating, especially with so many big personalities, such as Jason Plato, Matt Neal and Fabrizio Giovanardi.
“I think what has impressed me most this year is how quickly he has adapted. It takes time to jump in a brand new car, with a new team and be competitive, but James kept working at it, and remained 100% focused and realistic. He's achieved a tremendous amount this year and certainly has a very bright future in touring cars.”