Tony Hughes steps aside after 2012 season
After two years in the British Touring Car Championship, Speedworks Motorsport driver Tony Hughes has decided to retire from racing after a consistent year in 2012.
Hughes entered the championship with Speedworks in the 2011 season at the age of 53, after previously racing in the Ginetta support series. The first year was challenging as Hughes had to adapt to front-wheel drive racing whilst the Speedworks team were getting to grips with the all-new NGTC specification Toyota Avensis.
This season has been a far more productive season for Hughes and the Speedworks team, with Hughes consistently scoring points in the #50 Toyota Avensis and with a new team-mate which has helped push the team forward in 23-year-old Adam Morgan.
“It’s been an interesting learning curve,” said Hughes to TouringCarTimes.
“I’ve done this to prove I can do it and I think I’ve done that. I started racing when I was older than the oldest driver already racing in British Touring Cars, and I can compete with them. Alright I’m not the fastest, and I never will be…I started racing just to know that I could drive a fast car sensibly and safely in single make championships, and how I ended up here seven years later I don’t know.”
Hughes’ finishing record has been one of the most impressive of the season, which Hughes is very aware of after a trying 2011 season.
“I’ve finished almost every race this year I’ve done,” said Hughes, who only recorded one DNF at Donington Park.
Hughes missed two rounds of this season at Croft and Knockhill due to business commitments, allowing BTCC stalwart Paul O’Neill to drive the car and pick up the team’s best result of fourth at Knockhill. A relationship which Speedworks and Hughes plan to take into next year.
“I’m retired now. Hopefully we’ll get Paul O’Neill in the car,” said Hughes, who also plans to support the team in 2013. “There’s no point me spending the money as a major sponsor if I don’t get involved, because I want to enjoy it in my way, and come down and enjoy the weekends. I can relax then and have a few beers.”