Ollie Jackson will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this season after inking a late deal to join Dave Newsham at Speedworks.
Jackson, who drove the AmDTuning.com VW Golf last year, had been keen to make a move into an NGTC-spec machine for his second full year in the series and agreed terms to drive the Speedworks Toyota Avensis just a day before the official series launch at Donington Park.
The 28-year-old then sampled his new car for the first time during four hours of official testing during the afternoon, although an off going down the Craner Curves saw him lose time on track while repairs were carried out.
“I had resigned myself to doing some club racing this season because we were struggling to raise the budget for the BTCC,” he said. “But then the Speedworks offer came along at the last minute and here we are. It's funny how things work out.
“I have never so much as sat in an NGTC car before today, so it's going to be a bit of a steep learning curve. I'm delighted to be in the Toyota with Speedworks - the guys have a great reputation - and it's great not only to be back in the BTCC and in a front-running NGTC car, but also to be with such a great team.
“It's going to be helpful to be racing alongside Dave Newsham. My experience of front-wheel drive is limited and it will be good to be able to compare myself with someone who knows what they are doing.”
Speedworks boss Christian Dick meanwhile said he was pleased to have Jackson onboard to fill the second seat.
“We have a great car in the Toyota and we are really excited that Ollie is coming on board,” he said. “He has been quick in everything he has raced in the past and I think that this year, with a quick team-mate like Dave, he will have a good benchmark and I think the results will flow. It's really exciting; having two experienced drivers working together from the start of the season will put us in a very good position.”