Rory Butcher will make his BTCC debut on home soil at Knockhill this weekend after being named as Motorbase Performance’s third driver for the remainder of the season.
Filling in for the injured Luke Davenport as he continues his road to recovery, the former British GT and Porsche racer will pilot a newly built Ford Focus alongside Team Shredded Wheat Racing regulars Mat Jackson and Martin Depper.
Butcher, who’s brother-in-law is defending champion Gordon Shedden, got his first taste of BTCC machinery at Snetterton in early July during the two-day summer test and is now keen to see what he can achieve after fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“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;” said Butcher.
“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 sports car 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 [Shedden] 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.”
Allowed to field two cars at Snetterton, Motorbase were informed by series organisers TOCA that they would need to return to three cars for the annual trip north of the border, prompting a monumental team effort – one that has been praised by Team Principal David Bartrum.
“As soon as we knew that we had to get the third car back out for Knockhill onwards, Rory became our natural choice for the seat.” said Bartrum. “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.
“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. However, it was made very clear that 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 Moss 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. 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.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography