Sam Tordoff will return to the British Touring Car Championship for the 2018 season with Motorbase Performance.

Tordoff, who finished as runner-up to Gordon Shedden in 2016, will pilot one of the team’s three new Ford Focus RS machines for the upcoming season, having sat out of last year’s BTCC campaign in favour of a switch to British GT.

The Yorkshireman will race under his long-term backers Team GardX Racing banner in car #600. The six-time race-winner helped MG to the constructors’ title in 2014, before securing manufacturers’ and teams’ titles at West Surrey Racing in 2016 - the year in which he got closest to winning the drivers’ crown, ultimately missing out to Shedden by just two points. 

“Sam is a great addition to the team,” Motorbase Performance team principal David Bartrum said. “He’s a quality driver, with a proven track record of winning races. He’s a multiple race-winner and did a great job in his four previous seasons racing in the BTCC, as well as in British GT last year.

“Sam stepped away from the BTCC at the peak of his career to go off and do something else, that’s out of his system now and he’s ready to come back and fight for the Drivers’ title. I’m very proud of the fact that he’s chosen Motorbase as the team to come back with and carry on where he left off in 2016.”

2018 will mark Tordoff’s fifth full season contesting the BTCC, as he rejoins the grid for the championship’s landmark 60th campaign. He joins Tom Chilton at the squad which finished third in the teams’ championship in 2016.

“I’m excited to be coming back to the BTCC this year,” Tordoff added. “It’s great to be representing the Ford brand, especially with it being 25 years since the RS was last on the grid. It’s also 60 years of BTCC this year, so there are some cool events coming up like the Diamond Double at Snetterton to mark the anniversary.

“When I left in 2016, I needed to clear my head and try something new: I wanted to drive a GT3 car and to race around Europe. Having done that for a year I’ve reset and I’m ready to do battle again. I definitely have unfinished business in the BTCC. There’s one thing I need to come back for and that’s the Drivers’ title. 

“Having missed out on it by such a close margin, I wanted to come back in a situation that was enjoyable for me and in an environment where I fit in with the team and I’ve found the perfect solution with Motorbase. I’m really confident with the package.

“Front-wheel drive is not new to me, but it’s been a few years so I’m going to have a bit of transitional phase to get back into the zone again. I wouldn’t be coming back or working with Motorbase if I didn’t think we could win the title, it’s as simple as that.”