Neate to skip Oulton Park, but ready for Croft
7 June 2013
Andy Neate has confirmed that his new IP Tech Race Engineering team will sit out the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event at Oulton Park this weekend, blaming a late technical problem for the decision.
Although the squad's NGTC-spec Chevrolet Cruze is now complete, and will be on display at Oulton, Neate explained that with no time to test beforehand, he didn't think it was advisable to race.
The team, which was originally due to debut at Donington, will now make its first appearance later this month at Croft.
In a statement to the media, Neate also added that he has been deeply affected by the tragic accident that recently claimed avid long-term BTCC fan Les Hayes.
“Oulton Park was always going to be a mixed bag of emotions for me, with the realisation of a life long dream to become the owner of a racing team in the number one and most famous touring car championship in the world. At the same time, there will inevitably be sadness with the devastating news that my close friend Les Hayes, an avid long-term BTCC fan known by so many supporters, had passed away and would miss the race debut she was most excited about,” Neate said in a statement to the media.
“This race weekend was always going to be dedicated to Les, no matter what the outcome on track. However, whilst it saddens me to announce the following, Les's passing puts everything into perspective.
“The guys back at the IP Tech base have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to prepare for Oulton Park, with many shifts going through dusk to sunrise.
“The hold ups until now have mainly been financial ones, those associated with setting up an entirely new team from scratch. However, we have thankfully weathered that storm and we are coming out the other side with the help of our sponsors and supporters.
“However with all the immense effort that has gone in over the past couple of weeks in particular, a final technical problem was thrown onto the mix to try us at the eleventh hour.
“With the assistance of some fantastic people, we managed to fix the issue. However, it has all happened a bit too late to allow us to partake in the bare minimum amount of testing we had scheduled. Effectively we would have had to shakedown and test on the day preceding free practice on Saturday at Oulton Park.
“The car is now finished and is ready to receive the modified components. However I have always maintained I will not test at a race weekend. I am sticking to my guns and this will not change.
“With this said, and the false dawns to date, we are keen for all our followers and fans to see one of the most anticipated new NGTC race cars of the year. As a result, the finished IP Tech Race Engineering Cruze will be on display for all to see this weekend at Oulton Park with the kind blessing of TOCA.
“We are keen for our sponsors - Marshall Amplification, One LUX, CNF Precision Engineering and Ceravision to name a few - to start to enjoy the coverage they desire. I am pleased that their liveried race car will be on display for the first time this weekend ahead of its competitive debut at Croft.
“Although I am disappointed that I will not line up on my favourite circuit on the calendar, the weekend will still be dedicated to my friend Les Hayes. The passing of Les brings perspective to my disappointment and if Les was here, she would still be cheering me on while we're sat in the paddock as much as if I'd been out on track.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone back at IP Tech for their effort so far, everyone really has put the hours in. Suffice to say when the car hits the track at Croft, we will be prepared and I'm convinced the best looking car on the grid will go as we'll as it looks,” he concluded.