Thursday, January 31 2013
Porsche Carerra Cup front runner Sam Tordoff has been confirmed as double champion Jason Plato's new team mate at MG in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this season. The opening race at Brands Hatch this Easter (30/31 March) will mark the Yorkshireman's return to the category and Triple 8 racing after a one-off appearance in 2010.
The Triple 8-run MG team is widely considered as a favourite for the championship in 2013. From barely turning a wheel before last season's opening round, Plato recorded the MG6's first win in its third race, and narrowly missed out in the title race. With a year's worth of development on the NGTC car, the outfit is now aiming for both driver and manufacturer crowns.
Tordoff, who replaces Andy Neate, entered the Renault Clio Cup in 2009 after a junior career in karting. He won his first car race at Snetterton that year, before repeating the achievement on his way to third place in the 2010 championship, before scoring a point on his Touring Car debut. Two years in the Porsche Carrera Cup have yielded further wins and another third place last season. The 23-year-old was then selected for Plato's KX Akademy bursary scheme and has achieved his primary ambition by entering his first full season in the BTCC.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic," said Tordoff. "It has taken a lot of hard work to get here but the timing is right and everything is in place for me to show what I can do. I've been racing on the TOCA package for four years now and reaching the BTCC was always the sole intention. But to sign for the best team, with the best car and to have the best team-mate is just unbelievable. I'm just thankful to MG and KX for the opportunity."
"I haven't set any targets as such, but then I won't be making any excuses just because it's my first season," he said. "The team proved this car could win races in its first year, so I expect to hugely competitive."
The strengthened MG team will face tough competition this season, with champions Gordon Shedden, Matt Neal and Colin Turkington also in the field. Meanwhile Mat Jackson is expected to mount a serious assault on the title with the new NGTC Focus.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship opening round is at Brands Hatch on 30/31 March, and also visits Oulton Park on 8/9 June and Snetterton on 3/4 August before the finale on the Brands Hatch GP circuit on 12/13 October. Tickets are available from £26, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click on the links.