Matt Hamilton and the TH Motorsport team are set to return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for the 2012 season with a Skoda Octavia VRS built to the series' Next Generation Touring Car rules.
The news, which has been rumoured behind the scenes for a number of months, will see Hamilton and the team return to the series for the first time since June 2010, when their programme with a BTC-spec Honda Civic came to an end.
Work on the car is ongoing with plans in place to start a test and development programme before the end of the year in preparation for a race debut next season.
“This is incredibly exciting,” Hamilton said. “Being part of such a project is going to be very challenging, but I have great confidence in Trevor Humphrey and all the guys at TH Motorsport to build a very competitive car. We want to have the Skoda running on track before the end of the year, so that when we start the 2012 season, we can really hit the ground running and show the true potential of the NGTC regulations. After driving my seven year old Honda Civic last time out, I cannot wait to get in the brand new machine, and put it through it's paces.
“Despite not being on track for over a year, the support of my fans has not waned. I intend to make sure that the fans are totally involved in the building and testing of the car. I shall be using my Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep everyone updated with how the build progresses.”
TH Motorsport boss Trevor Humphrey said he was delighted to be able to confirm a return and was confident that the NGTC Skoda would be a competitive package.
“We were very disappointed to have to leave the BTCC in 2010, and it was always my intention to return as soon as possible,” he said. “I considered purchasing an S2000 car to run this year, but for a smaller team like us, it was a “no brainer” to be patient, and go the NGTC route. In the long run, the NGTC car will be much more cost effective to run, and with a structured development programme, I know that we can be competitive.
“I am looking forward to working with Matt again. I was very impressed with the way that Matt adapted to Touring Cars, and I know that he has huge potential. Our participation in the BTCC with a Next Generation Touring Car is a long-term commitment. We are also considering the option of building a second car if a driver with competitive credentials was to show an interest.
“The whole team are thrilled at the prospect of being back in the BTCC, it's where we want to be.”
The Skoda will be the fifth different car built to the new NGTC regulations, with the Toyota Avensis and Audi A4 seen on track already this season set to be joined at Snetterton next weekend by the first appearance of the Welch Motorsport Proton Gen-2. A Vauxhall Insignia currently in build with Thorney Motorsport is also set to appear on track before the end of the year.