Leading British Touring Car Championship squad Motorbase Performance has been sold in what amounts to a merger with the rival AmD Tuning-run MB Motorsport team.
AmD boss Shaun Hollamby and businessman Pete Osborne, whose son Sam competed in the BTCC for MB last season, are the new owners, with Motorbase founder Dave Bartrum standing down after 15 seasons of almost uninterrupted participation in the series.
It means that four of the fourth-generation Ford Focuses, built and developed by Motorbase prior to the 2020 season, will compete in 2021 – two will run under the Motorbase banner, and two as MB Motorsport, named in recognition of AmD commercial partner Mark Blundell. They will all be fielded out of Motorbase’s premises in Wrotham, Kent.
Hollamby explained that the move represents a big step up for AmD, which first entered the BTCC in 2010 with a Volkswagen Golf driven by Hollamby himself.
“[The Motorbase facility] is a dedicated raceshop,” he told Motorsport.com. “AmD Tuning is all very well, but it’s a compromise as we’ve had a race team among the garage workshop. At Motorbase, there’s a dyno room, a gearbox room, a spray booth – they’ve got everything to do it.
“The key thing is that everybody from Motorbase can stay, and so far that’s 100 percent of them – full-time and part-time guys.”
The fourth-generation Ford proved one of the fastest cars in its debut BTCC season last year, and was carried to fifth in the championship by Rory Butcher.
Outgoing team boss Bartrum commented: “It’s a massive compliment to the entire team that AmD’s Shaun Hollamby and Pete Osborne wish to purchase the team and add to it, to push Motorbase to the next level.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed building this team from the ground up over the years that has seen Motorbase achieve tremendous success both on and off the track.
“I have a big birthday [his 60th] coming up next year and with that in mind, I think the time is right for Shaun and Pete to take over the reins and guide the team into a bright future.
“I wish the team all the best and good luck for the future. I won’t be too far away and will be watching Motorbase march on from the sidelines.”
Jake Hill, MB Motorsport Honda Civic Type R
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
The news also apparently represents the end of the road for the venerable FK2 version of the Honda Civic Type R – one of the most successful models in series history, it was carried to six podium finishes last season by lead MB driver Jake Hill.
Hill has already been confirmed by AmD/MB for 2021 and is set to lead the team as Butcher is tipped to replace Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota squad.
Osborne Jr would appear to be set for another seat, while Motorbase’s remaining 2020 drivers, two-time race winner Ollie Jackson and Andy Neate, are yet to reveal any plans for 2021.
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