Multiple Quaife Intermarque and European Hot Rod champion Matt Simpson is set to graduate into BTCC in 2016 after signing for Speedworks Motorsport.
Simpson will contest his rookie year in the newly-build Honda Civic Type R and has recently enjoyed his maiden outing at a test at Donington Park. Despite the 34-year-old's various amount of success in the World and European Hot Rod scene, Simpson is anticipating a tough challenge in 2016.
“BTCC cars are heavier and more powerful than what I've been accustomed to,” Simpson said. “I also have to get used to dealing with front-wheel-drive so I know it will be a steep learning curve in the first year, but the BTCC is the next step and the pinnacle of saloon car racing.
“Obviously my aim is to be BTCC Champion one day, although that won't happen overnight, and for the time being I'm just looking forward to settling into the series and getting to grips with the famously cut-and-thrust nature of touring car racing. If we can consistently improve and edge closer to the front of the grid as the season progresses, hopefully by the end of it we can be scoring some strong finishes.”
Simpson will run under the Simpson Race Exhausts banner and Speedworks second driver in its Toyota Avensis will be announced in the coming weeks.
2015 marked a breakthrough season for the team as it grabbed its maiden podium when Tom Ingram claimed the runner-up spot at Rockingham after fighting for victory with two-time champion Jason Plato.
Speedworks has picked up a second BTCC licence to run a Team Dynamics-supplied Honda Civic Type R – the same model Honda Yuasa Racing's Gordon Shedden claimed this year's BTCC title with.
“We are absolutely delighted to be expanding our presence on the BTCC grid, which will make Speedworks a more potent force than ever before,” team principal Christian Dick said. “I am extremely pleased that Matt and his family are coming on-board with us, as we have known them for a while now and have been watching Matt's progress with great interest. We're sure that we can get the best out of him and deliver a solid package.
“Due in no small part to Team Dynamics being the most successful BTCC team in the paddock, we have entered into an agreement with them to produce for us a new NGTC Honda Civic Type R, with components used in 2015 and to the same specification as their championship-winning car. This agreement also extends to downstream technical support, and we are looking forward to working with them over the coming years and forging a strong partnership.”