Motorbase to debut third Focus ST in Donington Park test

Motorbase Performance has confirmed that its third Ford Focus ST will make its track debut this week when the team returns to testing action at Donington Park.

Motorbase was able to prepare two of the new cars in time for the BTCC season launch at Silverstone back in March, where Rory Butcher and Ollie Jackson were able to lap strongly in the car they will campaign this year.

New signing Andy Neate however continued at the wheel of an older spec Focus RS, with his own car still in build at Motorbase’s Wrotham base.

With the start of the season having been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Motorbase has been able to now complete the build of the third car before the racing action begins, with Neate sampling the car for the first time on Thursday prior.

The team will then head to Snetterton next month for the traditional two-day Goodyear tyre test before the planned season opener at Donington in early August.

“This has been a very challenging period for everyone involved in the British Touring Car Championship, but we have remained dedicated and focused on being fully ready when we are allowed to resume competition,” team boss David Bartrum said.

“Immediately after the media day the whole team got to work building the new car before lockdown started, and since the the restrictions have been eased a little, a small crew have been working hard to ready the final car for Andy Neate.

“Initially, because of the timescales involved, it looked like we would only have two new machines while Andy would have had to wait until later on in the season to finish the build of his car.”

As well as working on the build of the third car, Bartrum confirmed that Motorbase – as with a number of other teams – has been hard at work building up additional spares in order to deal with the compact nature of the nine-round calendar.

“Because the cars haven’t been in the throes of a season, we have also had a chance to build up our stock of spare parts, which would have been a push on the original schedule,” he said. “We have trebled the amount of spares we have, because we have to be a rolling workshop on some of the back-to-back weekends that the new calendar has presented. We have refined the cars we had already built and been through them with a fine-toothed comb, and we have applied all the lessons we have learned.

“This will put us on a very strong footing when the championship does kick off at Donington Park. We are chomping at the bit to get going.”