Thorney Motorsport have announced their plan to enter a second Vauxhall Insignia for Rob Hedley later in the season in addition to Team Principal/Driver John Thorne, as the team enters their first season in the British Touring Car Championship.
The team made a brief appearance at the 2011 BTCC season finale at Silverstone with the Batman liveried Next Generation Touring Car-specification Vauxhall Insignia, running laps on race day morning and during the formation laps after missing qualifying.
The team, which has a successful history in the Dunlop Production Saloon Car championship as well as Britcar, plans to enter its two NGTC-spec cars, and are the first racing version of the Vauxhall (or Opel) Insignia in any major touring car series in the world.
“We are delighted to have Rob on board as not only has he shown considerable talent in a variety of championships but he’s also demonstrated sheer commitment to the drive and the team,” said Team Principal and team-mate John Thorne. “I’ve never known a driver work so hard to impress us both on and off track, it’s admirable.”
Hedley, who has previously raced in the Britcar endurance series as well in various US single seater championships including Formula Mazda, Star Mazda and Cooper Tires FF2000 said:
“I’m obviously delighted, it’s been a dream of mine as a schoolboy to race in the BTCC and to get a seat with such an established team as Thorney Motorsport running in a full NGTC car is way beyond my expectations. They may be new to the BTCC this season but take it from me if you can run a successful endurance race team the BTCC is not going to cause them any issues.”
Work on the team’s second car was suspended during the winter break as the team worked on its sponsorship package for 2012. As a result the team doesn’t expect the car to be ready until the fourth round of the season at Oulton Park at the earliest.
The team has also recruited two new technical staff members, with Ricky Howson joining the team from Welch Motorsport where he served as Chief Engineer, and Matt Upson, who was Alex MacDowall’s No.1 Technician last season at Chevrolet.
“Ricky is one of the few people in the BTCC who has extensive experience in the NGTC cars so we are delighted to have him on board,” said Thorne.
“It means we are not starting the season trying to find set ups that work but more fine tuning what we know can work on the Insignia chassis. Matt is also a crucial hire for us, he’s had some of the best training at one of the BTCC’s best teams so we are confident we can hit the ground running with his experience.”