Martin Byford has been confirmed as AmD Milltek Racing.com's new driver for the remainder of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
Byford, who has won no fewer than six championship titles during his career including the 2007 Renault Clio Cup, will make his BTCC debut in the AmD Milltek Racing.com Volkswagen Golf on home soil at Snetterton next month having agreed terms on a deal with the West Thurrock based team.
As well as securing the Clio Cup crown, the 39-year-old from Colchester was also a front-runner in the SEAT Cupra Championship in 2008, winning on three occasions en-route
to third in the championship standings.
Byford will take over from team principal Shaun Hollamby at the wheel of the Golf after his one-off outing at Croft last month.
“I was in the right place at the right time when AmD Milltek Racing.com were looking for a new driver and having spoken to Shaun, I'm thrilled we've been able to do a deal,” he said. “This is a golden opportunity for me and hopefully I will be able to surprise a few people and remind them who Martin Byford is!
“I can't wait to get in the car and I accept that there is a lot to learn, but my aim is to be a regular contender for top ten finishes. The Volkswagen is a car that is more than capable of finishing inside the points so I want to set my stall out and be a consistent top ten finisher by the end of the year.”
Byford's arrival at AmD Milltek Racing.com ends a month long search for a new driver after the departure of Tom Onslow-Cole at Oulton Park.
With a range of drivers having approached the team regarding the vacant seat, discussions were held with a shortlist of interested parties before a deal was agreed to give Byford his debut in the series.
“When I spoke to Martin I could see how keen he was to make this happen as he saw it as possibly his last chance to make it into the BTCC,” Hollamby said. “He has all the enthusiasm we were looking for and has grabbed the chance with both hands. He's won in everything he has done in the past and I'm sure he will do a good job for us when the season resumes at Snetterton.
“Martin is someone who should have been in the BTCC before now and I think he will surprise a few people on track. I'm pleased that we have been able to give him his chance and it's down to the support of AmD, Milltek Sport, Tesco Momentum 99 and Martin's own backer Eurocell that we've been able to agree this deal.”
Ahead of his maiden race outing in the turbo-powered Volkswagen, Byford will get his first chance to sample the car in a test at AmD Milltek Racing.com's home circuit of Brands Hatch next week.