Embassy Racing has confirmed that it is to return for a second crack at the British GT Championship, but will do so with a different car run completely from within its new Yorkshire base.

As has been suggested for some time, Jonathan France's ambitious has officially ended its relationship with the Corvette it ran in 2004, and will run a new machine this season. Typically, the team is choosing to keep its cards close to its chest with regard to the identity of its latest challenger, but France has confirmed that the car has already undergone an extensive shakedown and test laps.

The team operation will also be different this year, as France has decided to go it alone. Having decided to set up the Embassy team just a few months ahead of the 2004 campaign, he had little time to put everything he wanted in place for his assault on the British GT series and, as a result, contracted experienced racecar builder Xero Racing to provide a turnkey solution that would enable the team to start the season on time.

However, although this arrangement meant that the team was ready to compete 2004, it was less than ideal for France, who was, in effect, running his race team from a distance. Decision-making issues, misunderstandings, and the usual problems of personal politics and the occasional conflict of interest all reared their head during the season and, as a result, France took the decision to organise things differently for 2005.

Over the past few months, he has been discussing different options, looking at different manufacturers and speaking to racing people from all backgrounds in a bid to create the best possible foundations from which to run a successful motor racing team. The result is that Embassy will enter 2005 as a wholly in-house operation. With new workshop premises established just minutes away from his business HQ, France is now at the centre of his racing operation, and has employed a full team of mechanics and support staff, including a senior race engineer, manger and technical director.

"I have changed my approach for 2005 because I have had a year to think about the best way to win a championship," he said of the decision to ditch the Corvette, "Given the benefit of time, budget, resources and insight, this is clearly the way to go. The people are the best, the drivers are the best and the car is the best. With everything under my control, there is nowhere to hide and I will do my damnedest to give Embassy Racing the best possible chance to win."

At present, only veteran campaigner Neil Cunningham has been confirmed as part of the Embassy driver line-up, but the team has confirmed that the Aussie will be joined by a highly-regarded champion to give the team what France considers to be the best UK-based line-up. Former Days of Thunder champion Ben Collins joined the team at Thruxton last season, and France has made no secret of his admiration for the former single-seater driver, but refuses to confirm whether he will return to partner Cunningham.

The team is hoping to officially unveil its 2005 bid as part of the British GT Championship launch at Silverstone on 16 March.



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