Butcher to make BTCC debut at Knockhillposted in BTCC07 | 08 | 2017

    FIFER RORY BUTCHER will make his British Touring Car Championship debut at Knockhill this weekend. The 30-year-old from Kirkcaldy, and brother-in-law of current BTCC champion Gordon Shedden, will join the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with DUO line-up for the remainder of the Motorbase-run squad’s 2017 campaign. (Related: Gordon Shedden wins Snetterton finale)

    Immediately after Luke Davenport’s huge crash in qualifying at Croft, Motorbase were left without a third car or driver during the summer break and recent round at Snetterton.

    Now the Kent-based team has just completed the build of a replacement chassis and have entrusted the car to Butcher. The Scot recently tested for the team in the mid-summer tyre test, and now joins Mat Jackson and Martin Depper for the remainder of the season.

    Butcher previously raced with Motorbase in an Aston Martin (pictured below) during the 2014 and 2015 British GT Championship seasons, as well as previously racing in the TOCA package when he took five wins and 19 podiums on his way to third overall in the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup.


    The Scot will get his first feel of his new, bright yellow-and-red-liveried Focus when he completes the car’s shakedown at Ford’s test track in Dunton, Essex on Wednesday. It will be the first time the #6 machine will turn a wheel before the team makes its way North.

    “The car has only just been built, and it’s my first time in touring cars, so it’s a kind of shakedown for the car and me,” Butcher explained today. “I’m absolutely buzzing though! When I first started racing, I looked up to the touring cars and it was my ambition to reach the BTCC grid.

    “Although my racing career has ended up going across to sportscar racing and the GT world, switching over to the BTCC is a dream come-true. Obviously it’s got close relations to the family with Gordon being my brother-in-law and it’s exciting to have the chance to join him on the grid for the rest of this season.”

    The decision to put Butcher in the car was one which Motorbase team principal Dave Bertram admitted was an easy one, despite the Scot’s lack of BTCC experience.

    “As soon as we knew we had to get the third car back out for Knockhill onwards, Rory became our natural choice for the seat,” Bartrum stated. “He knows all manner of cars from his instructing work and there is no question of his ability behind the wheel.


    "Rory is a Motorbase driver through and through; he’s done a lot with us in GT racing, we know him very well and he knows Knockhill very well which was a huge plus as it’s the first test for the new car.

    Following Davenport’s catastrophic crash at Croft at the end of June, Motorbase was forced to complete the build of a replacement car in time for this weekend’s meeting at Knockhill in order to keep hold of all its TBLs (touring car licence).

    Incredibly, the sixth Ford Focus ST chassis has been completed from start to finish in just over four weeks.

    “Considering the size of the accident at Croft, we were hoping that TOCA would be a bit more respectful of Luke’s condition regarding the third car whilst he was still recovering in hospital and also of our position with the timescales involved,” Bartrum explained.

    “However, it was made very clear there was no leeway at all in regards to losing our third licence. so we had no choice. Ideally, we would have liked to have been given until Rockingham to ready the car, but luckily – thanks in no small part to Alex at DUO – we’ve managed to hit the deadline set by Alan Gow.


    “The boys in the workshop have done a monumental job to get the new car built and ready in time for this weekend. I owe a big thank you to Richard Townsend and Willie Poole for their efforts on this because without them pulling out all of the stops to get the metalwork ready for us we wouldn’t have had a chance of making Scotland.

    “Antony, Jason, Tim and Tom and a friend of mine, Mark Lawrenson, have turned that car around in an unbelievable amount of time” Bartrum continued. “They got the car off the truck at 8am on Wednesday morning as bare metalwork and it was fully painted and prepped by the following evening. They then took on the build of the car and at 9am on Monday morning she was running.

    “It is an amazing achievement when you see the amount of work that goes into the build of a completely new car from scratch.

    “Rory will be under the spotlight at Knockhill as a local lad, coupled with the fact that we’ve got a car that will race in anger for the first time on Scottish soil.

    He’s had very limited testing, so I hope people give him some space and don’t put him under too much pressure. Knockhill will be a glorified test for Rory and the new car, and I’d like us to get a weekend under our belt and then go well from Rockingham onwards.”

    Related: Paul di Resta impresses on F1 return

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    Jim McGill


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