Andy Neate postpones IP Tech’s BTCC debut

A last-minute technical problem has forced Andy Neate and his new IP Tech Race Engineering team to postpone their debut in the British Touring Car Championship on the eve of the Oulton Park meeting.

Neate had planned to join the series at the fourth meeting of the season in his Chevrolet Cruze, built to the Next Generation Touring Car rules at the team’s new workshop in Northamptonshire.

But the car issues forced the team to cancel a last-minute test, and Neate will now make his season debut at Croft in a fortnight’s time.

The car will still be on display at Oulton Park this weekend.

Neate said: “The guys back at the IP Tech base have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to prepare for Oulton Park, with many shifts going through dusk to sunrise.

“The hold ups until now have mainly been financial ones, those associated with setting up an entirely new team from scratch. However, we have thankfully weathered that storm and we are coming out the other side with the help of our sponsors and supporters.

“However with all the immense effort that has gone in over the past couple of weeks in particular, a final technical problem was thrown onto the mix to try us at the eleventh hour.

“With the assistance of some fantastic people, we managed to fix the issue. However, it has all happened a bit too late to allow us to partake in the bare minimum amount of testing we had scheduled. Effectively we would have had to shakedown and test on the day preceding free practice on Saturday at Oulton Park.

“The car is now finished and is ready to receive the modified components. However I have always maintained I will not test at a race weekend. I am sticking to my guns and this will not change.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone back at IP Tech for their effort so far, everyone really has put the hours in. Suffice to say when the car hits the track at Croft, we will be prepared and I’m convinced the best looking car on the grid will go as we’ll as it looks.”

Neate said the recent death of his friend, avid BTCC fan Les Hayes, has put the situation into context.

He said: “Although I am disappointed that I will not line up on my favourite circuit on the calendar, the weekend will still be dedicated to my friend Les Hayes. The passing of Les brings perspective to my disappointment and if Les was here, she would still be cheering me on while we’re sat in the paddock as much as if I’d been out on track.”