SpeedEquipe has confirmed that Clio Cup racer Richie Williams will join the team in making the step up to the BTCC in 2005.

In only his second season of car racing last year, Williams won at Snetterton on his way to fourth in the Clio standings - a performance good enough to persuade team bosses Dave Older and Jason Porter to promote him into the Lexus IS200 the team will enter in the BTCC this season.

"It is great for us to be able to take Richard with us into the BTCC," team manager Older said. "Working with Richard during 2004 proved to us what a real talent he is. Also we have always hoped to be able to create a career ladder for drivers within the team, so signing Richard gives us the best of both worlds."

Williams is understandably delighted at being given the chance to make the step up to the BTCC in the new Super 2000 specification Lexus - the first car built under new regulations brought in for this season to allow teams to locally homologate cars complying with the FIA's Super 2000 regulation for use in the BTCC.

"I'm really looking forward to the prospect of racing in the BTCC with SpeedEquipe and the Lexus," he said. "Both the team and car have a lot of potential and I'm hoping to benefit from the working relationship I already have with the team. They are the best team in the Clio Cup and it won't be long before they are amongst the best in the BTCC."

Work is ongoing on the first Lexus, which should be out testing by the end of February, while SpeedEquipe aims to put a second car on the track during the season, to enable them to have a fully developed two car attack in 2006.