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BTCC grid boosted by big announcements

Wednesday, February 07 2018

Anticipation for the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season has stepped up several gears with a raft of exciting announcements ahead of the opening rounds at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April.

The BMR team, which won last year's drivers' title with Ashley Sutton, has confirmed that double champion Jason Plato will once again join Sutton in the Subaru squad. Having taken his 50th pole position at Knockhill last season, Plato will be chasing a landmark 100th BTCC win in the Levorg.

"I'm really looking forward to 2018," Plato said. "We have some exciting new developments in progress which should see the Adrian Flux BMR Subaru Levorgs fighting at the sharp end of the grid yet again. April can't come soon enough."

Meanwhile 2013 champion Andrew Jordan has agreed terms with long-term sponsor Pirtek on a new deal that will take their partnership through until at least the end of the 2021 season.

Andrew will once again compete with the championship winning West Surrey Racing team this season in a works BMW 125i M Sport, and having acclimatised to the rear-wheel-drive car, is now fully focused on a title challenge.

"I'm absolutely delighted to be able to extend my deal with Pirtek for another three years - particularly when we still have a year to run on our current deal," Jordan said. "Back when our deal with Pirtek first started, we couldn't have imagined it would have become the long-term partnership it is now, and one of the most long-standing relationships in British motorsport.

"For me personally, it is huge to have the security of a new multi-year deal as it allows me to focus on the job I have to do on track, and I feel we are in a fantastic position to challenge for top honours together for another four years."

Finally, Blackburn-based Ciceley Motorsport has expanded to a two-car line-up for 2018, with race-winner Adam Morgan joined by BTCC rookie Tom Oliphant. The outfit will continue with the Mercedes A-Class.

Leamington Spa-based Oliphant has been racing on the BTCC support package for the last four seasons. The 27-year-old won the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup in a record-breaking 2015 season before moving to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, in which he scored six podium results and finished in the top four in the title race in both 2016 and 2017. He has also raced in selected rounds of the Formula 1-supporting Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and the British GT Championship.

"I'm delighted to announce that I will be stepping up to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this season with Ciceley Motorsport," said Oliphant. The BTCC is the biggest championship in the UK and it's a fantastic opportunity for me and my partners."

"I'm under no illusions as to the challenge facing me this season. It's my first season in touring cars and I'll be coming up against a hugely competitive grid filled with talented drivers, but we're up for the challenge and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in."

"I need to get right up the championship points table this year," said Morgan. "Last year we were third in the standings heading to Oulton but then had six races without a point, and that really did for us. The competiveness to me is the addiction as a driver and the BTCC is the best championship out there for both drivers and their teams."

Tickets for all MSV BTCC rounds in 2018 are on sale now, with free admission for under-13s. For a list of all events, click here.