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Motorbase confirms 2013 BTCC line-up
13 February 2013
Mat Jackson and Aron Smith will rejoin Motorbase Performance for its 2013 British Touring Car Championship campaign, driving the team's NGTC Ford Focus STs.
The coming year will see David Bartrum's squad enter its first full season as a constructor following the debut of its race-winning NGTC Focus midway through the 2012 season. The team is poised for its most ambitious title bid to date with the addition of a second in-house built Mountune-powered Focus.
“We're incredibly excited about this season,” Bartrum insisted, “It's great to be starting the season with two drivers that know the team so well; consistency is key at such an important time with our own car, and it means we can get straight to work.
“With Mat and Aron both back on board, I believe we have one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid. Mat has shown his BTCC pedigree over past few years and with the new NGTC up to speed, I fully expect him to be right up there battling for the 2013 title.
“It's also great to have Aron back in the Motorbase family; he had a great debut season last year, finishing on a high. With a new NGTC under him, I'm sure there's much more to come!
“The NGTC exceeded everyone's expectations last year and, with the work and developments we've made over the winter, I'm confident that we will be serious title contenders in 2013. Roll on Brands Hatch!”
The 2013 campaign marks Jackson's fourth season with the Motorbase squad and his seventh competing in the BTCC, where he has become one of its most successful and popular drivers.
“2012 was a season of two halves for us, with the latter part focussed on developing and testing the new NGTC with the view that 2013 would be a key year for the team and myself,” he commented, “The NGTC programme has been an exciting project to be involved with and what we achieved in 2012 was epic. In the space of 80 days, we took the car from the drawing board to race wins; and this has given us a great platform to start from.
“We also knew how much more the NGTC could give and the Motorbase boys have worked incredibly hard over the winter to improve the car further. We will have to wait for the weather to improve so I can further my knowledge of the car, but I believe that together with the passion within the team, we have a car that can challenge for the main title in 2013.”
For 23-year old former Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year Smith, 2013 also makes a welcome return to the Motorbase squad for his second season. The Irishman impressed during the closing rounds the 2012 season in particular, picking up his maiden race win at the season finale at Brands Hatch.
“Your first season is always a tricky one because you're very conscious that you need to prove yourself, so that was an added bit of pressure,” Smith said, “The best part about last season was being with Motorbase, everyone made me feel right at home and helped me to develop into a touring car driver.
“To return to for a second season with Motorbase is what I always wanted, so fingers crossed I can give them the results that they deserve. I don't think people realise how big a transition it is into the BTCC, so it's nice to know I don't have as big a learning curve ahead of me this year and that everyone at Motorbase is behind me.
“I think this season will be a great one to be part of as all the major teams have converted to the NGTC regulations which can only mean one thing - some great racing! Before Christmas, I got my first taster of the NGTC focus and was blown away by it. Since then the team have been flat out developing it even further, so I can't wait to start testing once again.”
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