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News 2008: Motorbase Performance Moves Up a Gear for BTCC 2008

Motorbase Performance is deep into its preparations for the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship. After an encouraging debut season last year, the Wrotham, Kent based team is turning up the heat in 2008 with new cars and a new driver line-up.

Since the end of the 2007 season, Motorbase Performance has taken delivery of a pair of ex-FIA World Touring Car Championship BMWs. The 320si E90 models have come direct from manufacturer-backed Schnitzer Motorsport in Germany and are the same as the cars that won races at the hands of West Surrey Racing in the 2007 BTCC.

"We have been lucky enough to secure a pair of very, very good cars for the 2008 season", said Motorbase Performance team principal David Bartrum. "It was a personal goal of mine to get these cars at the end of last season, and after some hard work during the winter, it has finally all come together. We obviously start off a year behind the teams that ran these cars in the UK last year, but we're not going to let that put us off!"

Driving Motorbase Performance's BMWs in the BTCC this year will be two drivers from different backgrounds: Steven Kane and Rob Collard. Kane, from Newtownards, Co. Down, is a former McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year, who raced in Formula 3 before turning his hand to the Porsche Carrera Cup with Motorbase in 2007.  Collard, from Hook in Hampshire, is a seasoned BTCC racer, with race wins and an independents' title under his belt.

"I think we've got an excellent driver line-up this year", added Bartrum. "I'm pleased that Steven has stepped up to the BTCC with us after showing everyone how quick he is in Porsches last year. In Rob we've got a proven BTCC race-winner and I really believe that they will compliment each other extremely well."

27 cars look set to take to the grid for the BTCC's season-opener at Brands Hatch at the end of March. Among them, there are works entries from Vauxhall and SEAT, as well as a total of five independently-run BMWs.

Bartrum continued, "There are probably 17 cars out there that could win races this year. It's going to be tough, but we are 100% committed to giving it our all. We're taking a sabbatical from the Porsche Carrera Cup this year to focus on the BTCC, and those that know me will know how much that means to me.

"2008 is going to be a major building year for us. I've had enough of getting to know a new car each year, so this is about the long term. We have an excellent setup in terms of engineering staff and I'm confident that we can give as good as we get. 2007 was tough, and I think 2008 is going to be very challenging given the other teams and drivers on the grid, but we intend to give it our best shot."

30 races over ten weekends at nine different circuits make up the BTCC in 2008. Some 76 hours of television coverage are scheduled for ITV1 and ITV4 for what is the BTCC's golden anniversary year. An exciting season of racing lies ahead and Bartrum is setting his sights high: "We didn't quite make it onto the podium last year, so that has to be a big target for this season. I'd like to think we'll rack up a few independent victories. It's going to be a big challenge and it won't be boring, that's for sure!"

The opening rounds of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship take place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 29/30 March.