Motorbase Performance joins TCR ranks with Volkswagen

Motorbase Performance has become arguably the biggest BTCC team yet to invest in TCR-specification machinery, after taking delivery of a brace of Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs.

Having been one of a number of BTCC teams to have expressed an interest in the new TCR UK series, Motorbase has now firmed up its plans to enter the TCR arena after agreeing terms on a deal to purchase three new Golfs, with the first cars due to complete a shakedown test at Brands Hatch today [Wednesday].

The team is looking into running a TCR programme alongside a continued presence in the BTCC, with plans afoot to create a ladder programme for drivers looking to make the step into touring cars.

“Motorbase is known as a BTCC team, but by adding TCR to replace the GT programme we previously had, we become a touring car team,” team boss David Bartrum said to TouringCarTimes. “It means that we have a feeder series for the BTCC and also means that we can establish a ladder programme that could work well in the future.”

Despite the previous expression of interest, Motorbase has not yet formally committed to the new-for-2018 TCR UK championship, with the series being seen as one possible option alongside the various TCR series currently run across Western Europe.

The team could also elect to use the cars for longer endurance events, with Bartrum adding that the decision to invest in TCR machinery had been made easier by the fact that the cars can be run elsewhere and aren’t simply limited to a single series.

“We’ve already seen the calendar for TCR UK which I think is quite good in terms of the circuits, and it will be interesting to see what work they do on the infrastructure of the championship to make sure it is put together in the correct way,” he said. “I expect year one to be tough with a few teething problems, but if they get it right, then it could become a real force in years to come.

“From a business perspective, this decision makes sense for us as a team because even if we decided that the UK series wasn’t for us, we would be able to get the cars loaded onto the truck and head off and race elsewhere – as we could with our GT cars. We are limited with the BTCC cars as they do their ten rounds and then get parked up, whereas the VW is a car that we can use all year round in different series.

“Having visited Volkswagen before we committed to the Golf, it was clear to see that they are being very thorough with the car and aren’t going to let us down – they want to see the cars racing and will do what they can to help.”