Photo: Laser Tools Racing

Infiniti returns to the BTCC grid with Laser Tools Racing

The Infiniti Q50 will return to the BTCC grid for the remainder of the 2019 season after Laser Tools Racing announced a switch from the Mercedes A-Class it has campaigned for the last four seasons.

The Q50 appeared on the grid for a single season back in 2015 under the Supports Our Paras Racing banner, with the cars being run by Derek Palmer’s Pro Motorsport outfit.

Originally running with manufacturer support, the team lost backing from Infiniti after the third round of the year at Thruxton and would drop to a single-car entry in the second half of the season – with a 15th place finish at Snetterton for Derek Palmer Jr being the best result.

Having been unable to secure the funding to return in 2016, the team withdrew from the series with the two cars not seen in competition since.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Moffat had acquired the two cars with an eye towards a potential switch of models for the 2020 season.

However, having carried out extensive work on the work to upgrade it to current specification – including a switch to RML control parts and the latest Swindon engine – Moffat and the Laser Tools Racing team will now swap to the Infiniti from Snetterton onwards.

Ahead of next month’s race meeting, the car will appear on track at the Norfolk circuit next week during the two-day Dunlop tyre test.

“When we first purchased the two Infiniti cars we called in our race engineers,” Moffat said. “In particular, my race engineer Federico Turrata, measured, weighed, checked, photographed and took all this data back to Italy to run simulations on how viable an improved chassis would be. The result was incredibly positive, and Federico was convinced that this was the way forward.

“Our 2020-spec Infiniti is a far cry from the 2015 version, incorporating all the latest NGTC specifications. The car has been completely re-engineered. And, of course, the benefits of a fantastically aerodynamic design, plus rear-wheel-drive!”

Team principal Bob Moffat said he was sure that the decision to switch from the Ciceley-developed Mercedes to the Infiniti would prove to be the correct one.

“We purchased the two cars last year with a view to refining and improving the cars as well as bringing then up to the current NGTC specifications, which have changed substantially over the past four years,” he said. “Our plan was to introduce the Infiniti again for the 2020 season.

“In the BTCC 2019, things have changed; newly developed cars are clearly demonstrating their superiority, and we really feel that the Mercedes has reached the pinnacle of its development. It’s been a great car, indeed a multi-race winner for Aiden, but to go forward we need change.

“Therefore at Oulton Park we made the decision to accelerate our Infiniti programme and debut the car at Snetterton. It is a big ask I admit, but the experienced Laser Tools Racing team have pulled out all the stops and Aiden’s new car is ready to race.

“Make no mistake, there’s still some way to go, but I’m so proud of what we have achieved so far. We will be on a steep learning curve for the remaining races on the 2019 BTCC calendar, but we genuinely feel that we are onto a winner with this new car, and it will only improve with further development over the remaining 2019 season.”