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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Alliance additional develops Focus for Sutton record-breaking BTCC bid

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4-time title winner Ash Sutton will as soon as extra be joined on the Ford Focus ST-equipped squad, which has moved into new premises in Northampton, by race winners Dan Cammish and Dan Rowbottom, plus Sam Osborne.

The announcement comes days after Excelr8 Motorsport revealed that it has retained 2022 title winner Tom Ingram and veteran Tom Chilton alongside spectacular 2023 rookie Ronan Pearson and one yet-to-be-confirmed driver for its four-car squad of Hyundai i30 Ns.

Sutton scored a season-record-equalling 12 victories as he stormed to the 2023 crown, with Cammish claiming three wins and Rowbottom one to present the crew 16 triumphs out of 30 races; between them, these three drivers additionally claimed all however one of many 10 pole positions.

Key to this type was the event work finished on the Focus over the 2022-23 winter led by Sutton’s long-time engineer Antonio Carrozza.

“The strategy this winter is just like the final,” Alliance crew supervisor Oly Collins instructed Autosport. “We did a whole lot of work final 12 months to the Focus.

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“That’s much less of a worry this 12 months, however we haven’t eased up and we’ve nonetheless acquired some weaknesses we’ve recognized from final 12 months, and everybody’s working exhausting behind the scenes to make it even sooner.

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We all know that Excelr8, West Surrey and Speedworks will likely be working exhausting on the Hyundai, BMW and Toyota, and the goal is on our backs, that’s for certain.

“We’ve finished work on aero, engine set up, weight distribution. Tony [Carrozza]’s led that once more, and the main points have been improved one other few per cent – we haven’t backed off.”

Collins added that Sutton, who final 12 months accomplished his mission to change into the primary driver to win the BTCC title in entrance and rear-wheel-drive equipment, is simply as motivated as he seeks a record-breaking fifth crown.

“Completely, and we’ve acquired the fantastic thing about some continuity,” confirmed Collins.

“We’re coming off the again of a particularly robust 2023 marketing campaign, and to additional give us hope for 2024 we’ve acquired the identical 4 drivers, the identical automobile, the identical engineers, primarily the identical crew, and we’ve moved into some improbable new premises.

“All the drivers are as hungry as ever – we’ve acquired three drivers who need to get near Ash, and we’ve acquired Ash who desires to proceed breaking information.”

Sutton, who joined the crew then often known as Motorbase Efficiency for the 2022 season, stated: “After an unbelievable two years with the crew already and the latter being a record-breaking 12 months claiming my fourth title, this now means I’m totally centered to go after extra.

Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“Let’s get 2024 underneath method, the automobile completed in an excellent place, however that doesn’t imply it’s been left there. Extra growth has been happening again at HQ and I can’t wait to get again within the sizzling seat.”

A rule tweak that arose out of a BTCC groups’ assembly implies that Osborne stays eligible for the Jack Sears Trophy sub-division, open to those that have by no means claimed an total BTCC podium.

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Osborne was labeled third in a single race on the rain-affected Donington Park opener final 12 months, however that was solely after Pearson, who had initially acquired to face on the rostrum on his debut BTCC weekend, was excluded from third place because of a ride-height infringement.

Paradoxically, Pearson additionally stays eligible for the JST, so of these drivers confirmed to this point for the 2024 grid it seems to be set to be a struggle between him, Osborne and Mikey Doble, who stays with the Energy Maxed Racing Vauxhall squad with which, at Silverstone, he turned the one driver to forestall an Alliance clear sweep of pole positions.

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