Photo: Motorbase

Motorbase confirm switch to fourth-generation Focus

Motorbase has confirmed that it will switch to the fourth-generation of the Ford Focus for the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season.

The team is currently building up three new cars ahead of the opening rounds of the season at Donington Park next month, with the first car set to hit the track in the coming weeks for pre-season testing.

Ollie Jackson and Rory Butcher will both be at the wheel of the new cars alongside a third driver who has yet to be announced.

“Making a move to a new car for the BTCC is not a decision you can take lightly,” team boss David Bartum said. “It’s an expensive exercise and one which you need to get right from the off. This is a more difficult challenge as an independent team.

“Motorbase is one of very few teams who have taken on this task in NGTC-spec and built our own cars without an affiliation with a manufacturer. We made our debut with our in-house built Focus ST back in 2012 at Snetterton. Now we’re taking on the daunting task of designing and building our own new cars, once again without the support of the manufacturer. For 2020, we’ve chosen to continue with the Ford Focus but in the style of the all-new fourth generation Focus ST.

“We had great seasons in 2016 and 2018 with our Ford Focus so we were confident in the car in 2019, but it just wasn’t to be. One thing Motorbase has never done, and will never do, is be content with not winning, so something had to change. The chassis design of the 2019 car was fundamentally in its eighth year – although the chassis themselves were much newer.

“There has been constant evolution of the cars in that time, but you couldn’t get away from the fact it was getting old and our competition were mostly new cars. With Honda, BMW and Toyota bringing new cars to the grid in recent years, we had fallen behind. So, we started looking at a replacement for 2020 quite early last year.”

As has been the case since Motorbase switched to running the Focus back in 2011 after acquiring a pair of S2000-spec cars from Arena Motorsport, the team will continue to run without any backing from Ford; something which didn’t impact on the choice of car.

“Despite our ten years running the Fords we don’t have an official relationship with the manufacturer itself so, from the outside, there is no real reason why we would go with Ford again,” Bartrum added. “Ford has, however, had the new car out for over a year now so we started to evaluate the chassis. The new Focus is far from just a minor upgrade. Underneath the skin, it seems to be an ideal fit for the BTCC. It has an extremely different chassis with some very advanced approaches to the design.

“The new car has obviously got a few years on its predecessor and benefits from a few more years of development and understanding. The base car is a decent step on and hopefully, this will show in the new car.”