Ash Sutton switches to Motorbase for BTCC title defence
Ash Sutton will switch teams as he bids to secure a third successive British Touring Car Championship title after being named as team-mate to Dan Cammish in the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing UK line-up.
Sutton moves to the Ford team following a hugely successful two-year spell with Laser Tools Racing, which saw him secure the championship title in each of the last two seasons at the wheel of an Infiniti Q50.
Rumours around the future plans for the 27-year-old have been ongoing for some time, with paddock speculation rife during the 2021 season finale at Brands Hatch about a potential change of car for the championship winner – one of which would have seen him back under the BMR banner in a model new to the series.
With Laser Tools Racing having announced the signing of Dexter Patterson already for 2022, Sutton’s own plans have now become clear with the signing of a ‘multi-year’ deal with NAPA Racing and Motorbase to pilot the Ford Focus ST.
It will see Sutton return to front-wheel drive for the first time since his debut BTCC season in the MG6 GT as he bids to become the first driver since Andy Rouse to win three titles in a row.
“I’m buzzing to have signed a multi-year deal with NAPA Racing and Motorbase Performance!” Sutton admitted. “This feels like the start of something very exciting and I am ready for the challenge that lies ahead, they are all a great group of people and just pure racers at heart.
“Having got to know Pete Osborne more over the last year, I saw the hunger he has to win and his ambition to drive Motorbase in that direction. This is something I love, a new challenge set out with the same goals I personally have.
“The deal was made a little sweeter by securing NAPA Racing as a sponsor, for such an iconic brand in motorsport to be hitting the BTCC grid in 2022 and becoming a part of that was a big draw to me.”
Sutton will be joined at Motorbase by the team that has run his title-winning car for the past two seasons, including ace engineer Antonio Carrozza.
“Motorbase haven’t just made me feel welcome they have also welcomed onboard the car crew I have worked with over the past three years,” he said. “They are all now part of the Motorbase family which means we have all the key elements to go out and retain that title together.
“Jumping back into front-wheel drive is going to be interesting, but something I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to get stuck into the Ford Focus package with my engineer Antonio.
“A solid pre-season testing plan, and a team mate like Dan Cammish, allows us to fast track a lot of development required to hit the ground running in the new hybrid era. Lining up with someone who has a pedigree like Dan really is an exciting prospect. I am sure we will be pushing each other’s limits and unlocking more potential within ourselves.
“I’m incredibly proud to be representing NAPA Racing, to go out and secure not just my fourth title but also the Teams and Constructors Championship with this newly formed partnership would be fantastic. This brings me one step closer to my goal of becoming the most successful driver ever in the BTCC.”
With Ollie Jackson and Sam Osborne confirmed in the final two cars on the non-NAPA Racing UK side of the garage, team boss Pete Osborne said he was delighted to finalise Motorbase’s strongest BTCC line-up to date.
“Isn’t this just the icing on the cake!” he said. “Ash is the kind of driver who is on everyone’s radar. This will be a different challenge for him compared with recent years, swapping from RWD to FWD, it was quite a decision for him to make but I’m really glad he did! So, to have secured his signature to Motorbase alongside Dan, Ollie and Sam is a really big deal. Joining NAPA Racing at such an exciting time probably helped clinch the deal.
“I really couldn’t ask for a better driver line-up. I think we’ve got a few people’s attention, this is an indication of our intent to challenge for the BTCC title in 2022 and beyond. Let’s face it, we’re not aiming for anything but success with these guys in the driving seat.
“The team is as strong behind the scenes as it is at the forefront and it’s simply buzzing in the workshop. There’s a lot of hard work still to do, and we’re not underestimating that, but I’m pretty sure the right ingredients are in the pot!”
News of Sutton’s switch to Motorbase confirms that – as expected – Jake Hill will not be part of the line-up for 2022, with his plans to be confirmed in due course.