Tyre manufacturer Dunlop will return as title sponsor of the MSA British Touring Car Championship from 2010, it has been confirmed, while sister company, HiQ - title sponsor for the past two seasons - will put its name to the BTCC's coveted Teams' Championship.
This latest arrangement, which will run until the end of 2013, will extend the BTCC's relationship with the Goodyear-Dunlop group to eleven successive years. Dunlop has been the BTCC's exclusive tyre supplier since 2003 and became title sponsor in 2005, with the nationwide chain of HiQ fast-fit centres taking over for 2008 and 2009.
Dunlop's return as the BTCC's title sponsor is actually a year ahead of schedule after HiQ's association with the championship proved even more effective than anticipated in helping it re-profile its network across the UK. Its four-year commitment to sponsoring the Teams' Championship will now enable it to continue to build on those results.
“We re-launched the HiQ network in 2008 with the signing of new franchise stores, a new impactful visual identity and a plan to set new standards of service in the fast-fit market. Our BTCC sponsorship has helped achieve these goals and the extension of our investment to include the HiQ Teams' Championship for four years will help drive our ambitions for the network in the tyre fitting and servicing market,” explained Group managing director, Mark Brickhill.
BTCC Series Director Alan Gow said he was delighted that HiQ's use of the championship had reaped such tremendous rewards and also welcomed back on board Dunlop's famous black and yellow colours – for more than a hundred years associated with automotive and motor sporting success all over the world.
“I'm absolutely delighted that we are able to continue our extremely close relationship with both Dunlop and HiQ for another four years – making it one of the most successful and enduring major sponsorships in the BTCC and, indeed, British motor sport,” Gow continued.
“But it is more than just sponsorship; it's a close partnership between two very committed and enthusiastic organisations and one that I'm incredibly proud of. With its huge public following, both trackside and on ITV, the BTCC is the 'jewel in the crown' of British motor sport and Dunlop is a very important part of our success."
As part of this long-term partnership, Dunlop will continue to provide the BTCC's teams with tyres manufactured at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, UK – home to the company's European Motorsport Operations. This plant produces over 200,000 high technology racing tyres each year for the World Moto2 Motorcycle Championships, International GT and Endurance racing in addition to the BTCC.
The first round of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will take place at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire on Sunday 4 April.