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Motorbase focus on BTCC title with three car line-up

Wednesday, February 22 2012

British Touring Car Championship challengers Motorbase have announced their 2012 line-up ahead of the first round at Brands Hatch next month (31 March - 1 April). The Kent-based team will field three Ford Focuses for Mat Jackson, Liam Griffin and newcomer Aron Smith.

A strong 2011 campaign yielded several wins for Jackson, including a victory at Snetterton that left him temporarily leading the championship. In preparation for this season the team have spent the winter developing the car and its Mountune-built Next Generation specification turbocharged engine. With the outfit's efforts concentrated on the BTCC following the announcement of a sabbatical from the Porsche Carrera Cup, lead driver Jackson will start the season as one of the favourites for the title.

"2012 looks to be an exciting year in the BTCC," 30-year old Jackson said. "With the new NGTC regulations being adopted by many of the front running teams, the season could prove to be very interesting indeed.  We showed last year that we have the car and skills in place to compete against the big boys and hopefully the other teams will experience some teething problems that we can capitalise on! It's fantastic to be back driving with Motorbase for the third year in a row - it feels like home now!"

Griffin will also be adding continuity; this year will be his fourth in the team as two seasons in the Porsche Carrera Cup preceded his BTCC commitments. He feels he has overcome the steep learning curve that faces any driver stepping up to the series: "How can you be anything but excited about the start of the season," he quipped. "Having finished consistently at the end of last season I feel I have given myself something to build on."

Having added a third Focus at the tail end of 2011, the much-speculated third seat will be the property of promising newcomer Aron Smith. The current holder of the Motorsport Ireland Dunlop Young Racing Driver of the Year award, Smith graduated from the Renault Clio Cup last year with a one-off outing for Triple 8 in their Vauxhall Vectra at Knockhill last year, and finished in the top ten in the first race.

The young Irishman, brother of former BTCC driver Gavin, is expected to be one to watch in 2012: "I couldn't be more excited about this season," Smith confirmed. "The past two years have literally been building up to this moment. Motorbase Performance is the type of team I know I'll feel right at home in, this all feels like a dream come true and I can't wait for the racing to begin!"

Tickets for the opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch are on sale from £25, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here. You can also book tickets for the Oulton Park round on 9-10 June by clicking here, the Snetterton round on 11-12 June by clicking here and the final round on the Brands Hatch GP circuit on 20-21 October by clicking here.