BTCC Crazy

Thorney Motorsport Deal Falls Through/

After exiting the championship at the end of last season, Thorney Motorsport have been quietly going about trying to put a deal together for a return this year or next – however it has been confirmed this will now not happen.

John Thorne, owner and driver of the team, made his first foray into the series in 2012 with the NGTC Vauxhall Insignia. But when a lack of funds started to become a problem, Thorne sold the car to Team HARD. where it now runs competitively to this day.

The battle for sponsorship was one of the downfalls according to Thorne who claims empty promises played a significant part. With existing sponsors KARCHER and Still Materials Handling keen, they could not cover the whole budget in these tough economic times.

One idea that was put forward by Thorne was to run a Range Rover Evoque, with a monocoque chassis, composite boot and bonnet, common roofline for 2 door and 4 door as it was the perfect donor car for the NGTC rules due the suspension mounting points are all located on the common subframes. As by the picture it would have looked stunning however no deal has been put together for that to be built with JLR stating it would not work for them.

Thorne now is concentrating his and the teams efforts in the Astra GTC series with their BTCC aspirations on the back-burner for the moment.

Press Release: BTCC – end of the line

Well, we did our best but time has come to accept defeat and move on. In the last few months we’ve been trying to gain some sponsors for the BTCC project but its proved a fruitless exercise and we’ve decided that empty promises just lead to raised and then dashed hopes so we’ve decided to pull the plug on any future plans to come back into the BTCC.

NGTC Vauxhall Insignia

From a personal perspective it is heart wrenching, we all worked so hard to achieve what we did but ultimately we failed, we failed to achieve what we really wanted and that was a full team entry into the best touring car championship in the World.

How did we fail? Well, from a driving perspective I never drove a single fast lap in racing, all my driving was in testing getting the car to a point that it could be sold which we eventually did. From a business perspective the costs of the program were way in excess that what were reasonably expecting and the whole program got very close to bankrupting us as a business. The bottom line is that we didn’t have the funds to execute the program as required so we had to bail on the first two cars and now are having to bail on the idea of carrying on at all.

At the same time though we were the first independent team to build an NGTC car from scratch, we developed it to a point that it could run in the top ten and we when funds ran out we sold it and they are they continue to run in the championship, all in house, no manufacturer support whatsoever so we did a pretty good job with the resources that we had.

We do have some supportive partners though, notably Karcher and Still Materials Handling, both have continued to support our offroad racing program where we can achieve a lot for a lot less money and we were supportive by a great group of parts sponsors from HEL brake lines to Eibach springs.

I thought it would be nice to share a few ideas we had in the process, some hair brained some less so. One idea we had was to run a Range Rover Evoque, with a monocoque chassis, composite boot and bonnet, common roofline for 2 door and 4 door it was the perfect donor car for the NGTC rules (remember the suspension mounting points are all located on the common subframes) and we thought it looked stunning but sadly was not to be.

Range Rover Evoque

Sponsors were keen and had the budget but JLR said no – it would interfere with their feminine lead marketing strategy so the idea is destined to stay a mock up. They couldn’t stop us as such but made it very clear that we shouldn’t pursue the idea and I’m not about to pick a fight with JLR!

We also approached so many potential sponsors that the number of liveries we mocked up became a bit of a blur, here are some of our favourites.

NGTC Vauxhall Insignia with Red Bull sponsorship

NGTC Vauxhall Insignia with Monster Energy sponsorship

NGTC Vauxhall Insignia with Call of Duty MW3 sponsorship

NGTC Vauxhall Insignia with 32 Red sponsorship

As well as the general disappointment at being unable to continue I have to say what I will miss the most are the fans, a more committed friendly bunch of spectators you will not find in any sport and even when we were down the number of supportive messages kept us going, thank you to you all.

We will be back on track in 2014, we are launching a new Astra GTC race series and will continue to race our Arctic Cat Wildcat and Polaris RZR900 in various off road racing championships here and abroad but for the moment the BTCC dream is gone. Now, anyone want to buy a load of Insignia spares and TOCA parts?


Article originally written on Thursday, 29 August 2013. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.