The reigning Jack Sears Trophy champion has relinquished his seat on the Crew Exhausting Cupra squad to Michael Crees, who returns to the squad with which he contested his rookie BTCC season in 2019 on the wheel of a Volkswagen CC.
Thompson has often blended it with the massive weapons this season with the minnow Exhausting operation, scoring a second place at Manufacturers Hatch in Might and qualifying fourth at Oulton Park final month, earlier than a collision in race two of that occasion ruined his weekend.
“It’s the ever-growing prices in touring vehicles up and down the grid – what we’re going via in the actual world within the second, it’s exhausting to carry that cash in,” Thompson informed Autosport.
“I knew midway via this summer time break that one thing was happening – I knew it was going to be an costly summer time break, and the cash doesn’t magically come out of anyplace.
“Being the weakest money-wise, I knew I’d be the primary to go.”
Thompson was at pains to emphasize that he was fulfilling his monetary obligations set out, however that the growing prices had pressured Exhausting to discover a driver with extra finances for the rest of the marketing campaign.
“It’s not that we ran out of cash,” he added. “I used to be paying for a subsidised drive, which I actually recognize from Crew Exhausting.
“I fought tooth and nail to search out extra money, to go above and past, however the workforce couldn’t afford for the automobile to do the second half of the 12 months until they discovered a big sum.”
Thompson had been having fun with his best season to this point, below the watch of engineer Barry Plowman, the famed former Crew Dynamics Honda technical chief.
Thompson has been pressured to step down
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images
“I really feel that touring vehicles is unfinished enterprise – it was David and Goliath, however I lastly obtained a automobile and a workforce round me the place I may assault for wins, and now it’s gone,” he mentioned.
“The difficulty is I’m a poor man doing a wealthy man’s sport, however we see how rapidly issues can flip round and the way choices can come up.
“Perhaps I may do a distinct collection, however touring vehicles is the place my coronary heart is.”
After his rookie season with Exhausting, Crees went on to win the Jack Sears Trophy in 2020 with the BTC Racing Honda squad, then returned to the BTCC in 2022 in a Energy Maxed Racing Vauxhall.
“I’m so excited to be returning to Crew Exhausting,” mentioned Crees, who has been racing within the GT4 class of the British GT Championship this season.
“I’ve missed the household really feel and despite the fact that I’ve been at different groups, they’ve all the time made me and my household really feel welcome.
“The workforce has come on leaps and bounds over the previous few years. I’m super-excited to leap within the Cupra, mud off some cobwebs and provides it my greatest shot!”
Crew boss Tony Gilham added: “We’re delighted to have Michael again on board. He’s a proficient driver with a confirmed monitor report and shares our ardour for the BTCC.”
Thompson’s departure and Crees’s arrival in time for subsequent week’s spherical at Croft is the second switcharound within the six-car Crew Exhausting line-up throughout this summer time break.
Crees returns to the BTCC to take over from Thompson
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images
With Jade Edwards returning to the One Motorsport (formerly BTC) Honda squad, she has been changed by 17-year-old British-Filipino Daryl DeLeon following his spectacular outing within the Goodyear Tyre Take a look at at Donington Park this month.
DeLeon has gained races this season in Radical sports-prototypes, together with on the BTCC assist package deal.
He has additionally been profitable this season within the British Endurance Championship with Crew Exhausting – he drove an ex-BTCC Audi S3 within the opening spherical, earlier than taking three consecutive class wins in a Porsche.