AmD confirms Sam Tordoff, Rory Butcher for 2019 BTCC assault

Team boss Shaun Hollamby says he is confident that the AmD Tuning team has secured the “ideal driver pairing” for the 2019 BTCC season after confirming that Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher will share its new Honda Civic Type Rs.

Former series runner-up Tordoff makes the move from Motorbase Performance for the second season of his return to the series, with Butcher re-signing for a second year after impressing at the wheel of one of AmD’s MG6 GTs this year.

Having invested in the ex-Eurotech Hondas alongside long-time supporters Cobra Sport since the conclusion of the 2018 campaign in an effort to make moves up the pecking order, Hollamby admitted he was delighted to have agreed terms with a strong driver pairing who would show that the team wasn’t there to just “make up the numbers” and could challenge for silverware.

“From the moment we agreed a deal to purchase the two Hondas, our focus has been on making sure we signed the right drivers who would give us the best chance of success on track in 2019,” he said. “In Rory and Sam, I’m confident we have found the ideal pairing and we are massively excited about what we can achieve together next season.

“We knew when we brought Rory onboard this year that he was a top quality driver and his performances in the MG were outstanding. He fitted in with the team immediately and keeping him for a second season was a priority. Given the fact he now has a year of experience under his belt, I have no doubt at all that Rory will be a real contender for podium finishes and race wins.

“To bring in a driver of the calibre of Sam is fantastic for us as a team and we are expecting big things from him at the wheel of the Honda. He brings experience from running with three of BTCC’s top teams and is a proven race winner who has consistently shown himself to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid. He is also well aware of what needs to be done to build a championship challenge, and that has to be his target in 2019.

“Alongside the cars and the drivers, we have been working behind the scenes to strengthen our engineering team and made investments in the facilities back at base, which are an indication of how seriously we are taking this programme. Whilst the BTCC remains as competitive as ever, we aren’t here to make up the numbers and are fully focused on fighting at the sharp end of the grid and battling for silverware.”

Butcher remains for a second season after a solid campaign at the wheel of an MG6 this year, which saw him secure a best finish of sixth amongst a number of top ten finishes.

The Scot will now seek to push forwards towards the sharp end of the grid and insisted that it would be “silly” not to target race wins with the Civic.

“You only have to look at the stats for the Honda in recent years to see how well it has performed and on paper, there is huge potential for us to do some big things on track in 2019,” he said. “It’s a big step up for both the team and I, and I’m confident that this package will give us a great chance of success. Certainly, I think it would be silly of me to not aim for podiums and race wins and I’ll also be looking at the bigger picture of getting as many points on the board as we can to see where it leaves us come the end of the season.

“It’s also great to have Sam coming onboard and I don’t think I could wish for a better team-mate. We enjoyed some good races together when I was with Celtic Speed in the Carrera Cup, and since he moved into the BTCC he has shown himself to be one of the top drivers with his results on track.

“I’m sure he’ll be a great reference point for me and I think we’ll work together well as a pairing to push the team forwards.”

Tordoff meanwhile says he feels he can “raise a few eyebrows” and challenge for the championship title at the wheel of the Honda as he seeks to bounce back from a challenging 2018 campaign that saw him finish eleventh in the standings.

Despite the fact that his new team has secured just two podium finishes since joining the grid, Tordoff insisted that he was aiming high for the 2019 campaign and that he was aiming to fight for honours at the sharp end of the grid.

“The Honda is a car that I’ve wanted to race for some time and when Gordon Shedden beat me to the title in one, it only increased my desire to see what it was like,” he said. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to happen and it wasn’t something that was on my radar, but then this deal with AmD came along and I couldn’t be more excited.

“I’m sure there will be some people who are surprised by this move and whilst there is some appeal in going into 2019 as an underdog, the reality is that I have one aim and that is to fight for the championship title. I showed strong pace on track in 2018 but things just didn’t go my way and eleventh in the standings wasn’t what I was looking for – and it isn’t what I’m chasing next year.

“Cobra Sport AmD have put a lot of investment into not only getting the cars, but in strengthening the team behind the scenes in order to move to the next level and there can be no excuses. The Honda was on pole for the final round of 2018 and won races, so we have to be aiming to do the same from the outset and I’m confident we can raise a few eyebrows when the season gets underway – and will only get stronger as the year goes on.

“It was also important for me to know that I’d have a strong team-mate alongside me and that is exactly what I have in Rory. Some of his performances in the MG this year were above where the car should have been and I think we’ll form a strong partnership. In my eyes, with everything that Shaun and AmD have pulled together for this programme, there is no weak link.”