Although the British Touring Car Championship is looking healthier by the week as new teams and drivers confirm their entries, there are still a handful of racers without a seat going into the 2006 season, one of the most high profile being Luke Hines.

Having established himself as hot property when he dominated the Production Cup in 2003, Hines was snapped up for VX Racing in 2004, only to move to SEAT Sport UK last year to race alongside Jason Plato and James Pickford. However, while Plato has been announced as leading the team for a third year, both Hines and Pickford have been ousted by the decision to sign James Thompson and Darren Turner for the second car.

Indeed, Hines admits that he struggled in his single year at the wheel of the Toledo Cupra R, taking just one win at Silverstone and finishing ninth in the standings behind both of his team mates.

"It was a struggling year for me," Hines told Crash.Net Radio . "I feel it was a bad year and for a driver it is hard to pick yourself up after a bad year. I had one win, which is something I can cheer about, which means I have had three wins in two years, which isn't bad. I am still young and I need to pick myself up, get into a good team and show what I can do."

While he did not fulfil his objectives for the year, Hines is nevertheless disappointed that SEAT's youthful approach has not been extended in 2006, instead favouring experience in a bid to bring home the manufacturers' title for the first time.

"SEAT is a very good manufacturer and a very young brand. I felt they wanted to bring on young drivers and bring them into the main drives at SEAT, so it is a bit disappointing they have brought in a couple of older generation drivers. They are very good drivers, but it is a shame that the younger drivers like me and James got pushed out on one side. Now I am on the market trying to sort out a drive."

Hines does state though that he has had offers for the coming season, one of which coming from Barwell Motorsports, the team who ran him in the Production Cup in 2003, who will be debuting the Aston Martin DBRS9 in the British GT Champinship.

"It is a mega team when I raced for them," he continued. "We are very close and they have said that there is a drive there for me. It is team I raced with in British GT, but there are very few open spaces and I don't want to mess them around. I want to be in touring cars but I cannot have a year off so if it isn't touring cars then I will start talking to them."

Indeed, Hines insists that his future lies in the BTCC and claims that his reputation as a top flight driver are at serious risk should he not find a seat this year.

"Touring cars is where I want to be. We have a couple offers there, even from GT and FIA GT but touring cars is my heart, but I cannot have a year off motor racing. It is very hard to have a year off motor racing and keep your name alive - unless I go page three or something and grow tits. At the end of the day, touring cars is where I want to be."

"Hopefully I will know in the next few weeks if I am in a car or not. If not, I will have to do something else. Within the next week I will know, but I don't know yet and I don't know where."