Tordoff joins Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing for
2019 BTCC campaign
Sam Tordoff is set for a return to the Kwit Fit British Touring Car Championship grid next season, after penning a deal with the Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing squad to champion its 2019 title campaign.
Joining incumbent Fife-based racer Rory Butcher in the West Thurrock-based outfit’s stellar line-up, 29-year Tordoff will pilot one of the team’s newly acquired race-winning Honda Civic Type R machines under his well-known #600 driver number – a nod to his family car dealership business – JCT600.
The seven-time race winner, who finished as runner-up in 2016, made his BTCC comeback earlier this year. Quickly reaffirming his place as a championship challenger, the Leeds-based racer ended the season as the highest-placed qualifier and placed eleventh overall in the championship standings.
Tordoff initially tested with the AmD-run squad twelve months ago, and after taking his seventh BTCC career win and 28th podium in the Motorbase Ford Focus RS, the Yorkshireman is confident that a switch to the Japanese marque will assist him in his ultimate aim of clinching the coveted BTCC title.
Following an extensive winter testing programme, Tordoff will make his race debut in the RCIB Insurance and AutoAid Breakdown-backed Honda during the 2019 season opener on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit layout on April 6/7.
Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“The Honda is a car that I’ve wanted to race for some time and when Gordon Shedden beat me to the title in one, it only increased my desire to see what it was like. To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to happen and it wasn’t something that was on my radar, but then this deal with Cobra Sport AmD came along and I couldn’t be more excited.
“I’m sure there will be some people who are surprised by this move and whilst there is some appeal in going into 2019 as an underdog, the reality is that I have one aim and that is to fight for the championship title. I showed strong pace on track in 2018 but things just didn’t go my way and eleventh in the standings wasn’t what I was looking for – and it isn’t what I’m chasing next year.
“Cobra Sport AmD have put a lot of investment into not only getting the cars, but in strengthening the team behind the scenes in order to move to the next level and there can be no excuses. The Honda was on pole for the final round of 2018 and won races, so we have to be aiming to do the same from the outset and I’m confident we can raise a few eyebrows when the season gets underway – and will only get stronger as the year goes on.
“It was also important for me to know that I’d have a strong team-mate alongside me and that is exactly what I have in Rory. Some of his performances in the MG this year were above where the car should have been and I think we’ll form a strong partnership. In my eyes, with everything that Shaun and AmD have pulled together for this programme, there is no weak link.”
Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD Racing joint team principal, said:
“From the moment we agreed a deal to purchase the two Hondas, our focus has been on making sure we signed the right drivers who would give us the best chance of success on track in 2019. In Rory and Sam, I’m confident we have found the ideal pairing and we are massively excited about what we can achieve together next season.
“To bring in a driver of the calibre of Sam is fantastic for us as a team and we are expecting big things from him at the wheel of the Honda. He brings experience from running with three of BTCC’s top teams and is a proven race winner who has consistently shown himself to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid. He is also well aware of what needs to be done to build a championship challenge, and that has to be his target in 2019.
“Alongside the cars and the drivers, we have been working behind the scenes to strengthen our engineering team and made investments in the facilities back at base, which are an indication of how seriously we are taking this programme. Whilst the BTCC remains as competitive as ever, we aren’t here to make up the numbers and are fully focused on fighting at the sharp end of the grid and battling for silverware.”
Rachel Abbott, Cobra Sport AmD Racing joint team principal, said:
“I’m delighted that we have been able to have secured both Sam and Rory for the 2019 season as we embark on a new challenge with the Hondas.
“A driver of Sam’s calibre is a great addition to the team and he brings a wealth of BTCC experience as well as a history of excellent results in the series. It is exciting to see what Rory is capable of at the wheel of the Honda after a solid season in the MG this year and I’m sure that as a pair, they will produce some fantastic results next year.
“I’m really looking forward to working with them both.”