Maximum Motorsport bows out with TCR programme possible

Maximum Motorsport is to bow out of the BTCC after two seasons having elected to sell its Ford Focus and TOCA BTCC Licence.

The team joined the grid at the start of the 2016 season after owner Stewart Lines elected to run his own car in the series, having made his debut twelve months earlier in a Toyota Avensis run by the Houseman Racing squad.

After bringing in Josh Cook at the start of 2017, hopes were high of making moves up the grid – with a best result of fourth overall at Donington Park and an Independents’ class win at Oulton Park leaving the team well placed after four rounds of the year.

However, when Cook then left the Ford squad after Oulton Park to return to Triple Eight, Swede Dennis Strandberg came in to drive the Focus at Croft before Lines himself returned to action for the second half of the year.

Having evaluated the options available for 2018 when the season drew to a close, and with commitments in place elsewhere, Lines then took the decision to move away from the series, with his TBL moving to Ciceley Motorport as it expands to run two cars this season.

“Going into last season with Josh, I genuinely felt we could pick up some good results and fight for a race win,” he told TouringCarTimes. “After the performance at Oulton Park, I really felt that that win could be close, but obviously that ended when I got the call from Josh to say he was going back to MG.

“When I got back in the car, having been injured at the start of the year, it was a case of just making sure that we got through to the end of the season in one piece and then we sat down to think about what to do next.

“When I came into the BTCC, I said I’d give it three years which is what I’ve done, and we decided it was time to call it a day. It’s a fantastic series to be involved in and there is nothing else like it, but it is difficult for a smaller team like ours on a limited budget.

“While we’ve enjoyed every minute and have always given 100 per cent, particularly with the effort that went into getting everything in place at the start of last season, we decided that the time was right for us to move on.

“We knew there was interest in the TBL from a few people, and Ciceley are a team that we knew was serious about what they wanted to, so we struck a deal and that was that.”

Maximum will now focus on its role running the Volkswagen Racing Cup as well as a new project in karting that is set to get underway in the coming weeks, with plans also afoot for the team to run a car in the opening rounds of the new TCR UK Series when it gets underway next month at Silverstone.

“A lot of our focus now will go on running the VW Cup, and the grid is looking good there for 2018,” Lines added. “We’re also going to be launching a kart team in the next week or so and have the SEAT TCR car that we ran successfully in a few Britcar rounds last year so it will still be busy.

“As well as doing some more Britcar, the plan is to enter the car in the opening rounds of the TCR UK Series at Silverstone, and we’re currently looking for a driver who is interested in that; otherwise I will go out and race it myself.

“We obviously have some good experience from running the car last year and know what it can do, so I’m confident we could pick up some strong results.”