Former British Touring Car Championship racer Andy Neate will make a surprise return to the series after being announced as Motorbase Performance’s third and final signing for the 2020 season.

Neate last appeared in the BTCC during the 2016 campaign with Team Dynamics, but parted ways with the factory Honda squad shortly after the opening round at Brands Hatch.

The 45-year old has previously driven for multi-championship winning squads West Surrey Racing and Triple Eight where, in 2012, he partnered Jason Plato during MG’s debut season in the BTCC.

Having spent almost four years away from the series, Neate admits he has some ‘unfinished business’ in the BTCC.

Neate will line up alongside Ollie Jackson and fellow new Motorbase signing Rory Butcher in the new fourth generation Ford Focus ST.

“It has been a while, but I feel like I have some unfinished business in the BTCC,” said Neate.

“I have taken some time away and I have been overseeing my son Aiden’s burgeoning karting career, but there was always the itch to come back to the BTCC.

“I don’t think I have been in a place where I could really show what I can do, but Motorbase suits me perfectly.

“Within a few minutes of talking to the team bosses, I could tell there was a hunger to succeed here which matches my own ambitions and there is also a really nice and encouraging atmosphere. We will be a superb fit, I am sure.

“I have a lot of experience and I have always enjoyed developing new cars, so the challenge with Motorbase and its new Ford Focus is something I am keen to get started with.

“I need to dust off some cobwebs first and I want to be in a position to hit the ground running when we get to the opening rounds at Donington Park on March 28-29.”

Motorbase team boss David Bartrum says Neate will conduct his initial pre-season running behind the wheel of last year’s Ford challenger as the series returnee reacclimatises himself with BTCC machinery.

“We’re delighted to welcome Andy to Motorbase Performance in a very exciting year for us with the new car,” said Bartrum.

“Andy has a wealth of experience in the BTCC with some very good teams and from our early meetings he is very motivated and keen to get to work with our team.

“The BTCC has moved on since his absence from the series and Andy has no illusions of the task ahead and getting back up to speed.