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Airwaves Racing all set for BTCC season opener

March 25th 2014

Giovanardi and Jackson will spearhead Airwaves Racing BTCC title challenge

Airwaves Racing is gearing up for the return of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) as the 2014 season gets underway on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit this coming weekend March 29/30.

With the Kent track less than a mile from the team's workshop, the Motorbase-run outfit is going all out for podiums with returning two-time BTCC champion Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson spearheading the Airwaves Racing squad's assault on the 2014 championship title.

Jack Clarke makes his BTCC debut with Crabbie's Racing at Brands Hatch this weekend

Last week's official championship media day at Donington Park saw the Airwaves Racing and Crabbie's Racing line up and liveries unveiled for the first time in front of a bumper crowd of media and eager BTCC fans. With the highly anticipated return of touring car legend Fabrizio Giovanardi in the upgraded 2014 spec #7 Mountune powered Ford Focus ST after a four year absence from the championship; Team Principal David Bartrum confirmed a formidable Airwaves Racing driver line up for 2014 with the last minute return of fan's favourite Mat Jackson to the Motorbase-run squad for a fifth season.

This weekend also sees former F2 and sportscar racer Jack Clarke make his BTCC debut in the vibrant #44 Focus ST following the recent launch of the new Crabbie's Racing squad. Although new to the championship and 'tin-top' racing; Jack joins the Motorbase-run outfit from a successful single-seater career where he previously took a win on the Indy circuit.

In addition to the driver line-up changes; the Airwaves Racing squad has been hard at work at its Wrotham workshops over the close season rebuilding and developing the new 2014 spec Focus ST; which this year boasts a completely new aero package and significant improvements in all areas that should see the Focus ST challenging at the front of the pack.

The opening three rounds of the 2014 season take place on the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch on March 29/30. Live coverage of Sunday's events will be shown on ITV4, and also in HD from 10.30am – 6pm, with featuring live streaming online of Saturday's qualifying session between 3.40 and 4.10pm.

Team Manager Oly Collins said:
"We've enjoyed a positive pre-season test programme with both the Airwaves Racing & Crabbie's Racing teams and we go into the first round at our local circuit in a buoyant mood. That said, it's looking like a very competitive grid this season and it's not going to be easy. I'm sure our competitors are all confident too. It will be a very interesting first weekend discovering who has the edge.

"We've got a fantastic driver line up in our three cars this season. Fabrizio's previous results speak for themselves and he's clearly a fantastic addition to the team this year, he's shown that already. Mat has been with us a long time and we know what each other is capable of and Jack has been really impressive in testing so we're looking forward to a great start to the season.

"Everyone at Motorbase has worked incredibly hard over the winter to get to this point and I hope they can all be repaid with some great results at Brands Hatch."

Jackson's last minute signing sees him back with the Airwaves Racing squadAirwaves Racing driver Fabrizio Giovanardi said:
"At the start I was finding it difficult as it's a complete different set of rules compared to Super 2000 when I left in 2009, then to be honest I have to learn how to understand the car and work out how does it meet my needs to the team so we just start off with difficulty, but I believe we're ready for Brands Hatch now.

"Brands Hatch is a circuit where I have made some wins, it's not my favourite circuit but it's quite interesting because it's very short so the lap time is close and I believe that there will be a lot of fighting for the first fifteen positions. It's really unpredictable to guess on who will be the fastest car on there, but to me it's just a surprise. I will be waiting for the weekend and see what's going on because for me I have to learn, I have to see the true level of the other cars.

"Motorbase is a good team; I know them from 2009 when I was fighting for the championship with Mat Jackson in the BMW. I believe that the team in the last three years have made some good results and they need to make the last jump you know, the last step to be in the fight for the championship so it's why we've joined together to try and make the best to achieve the target."

Jack Clarke's #44 Focus ST will run under the new Crabbie's Racing bannerAirwaves Racing driver Mat Jackson said:
"I'm really looking forward to getting back into the car at Brands Hatch this weekend. We've had a little bit of time running in the new car but we've really got to see how we pan out on qualifying and race day. We finished on a high here last year on the podium and it was a good weekend for us so hopefully we can pick up from where we left off.

"I've  got a new team-mate this year with Fabrizio joining Airwaves - he comes with massive experience and a great pedigree, he's the won the championships, he's won it all, so it's brilliant to have him in the team as an additional pair of eyes on the car and I think it can only help us move forward."
Crabbie's Racing driver Jack Clarke said:
"I'm getting nervous now, there was a great energy at media day so I can't wait; I'm buzzing! With the car all ready to go and all of the gear in place it's starting to feel real now and I'm really looking forward the season getting underway. I'm normally very quick at Brands so it'll be interesting going there with thirty one cars going round the little Indy track, it will be hectic I'd imagine but I'm really, really excited for the first race.

"Testing has gone pretty well, I'm just taking it all in the moment, absorbing it and loving it in the process. They're a really great bunch of guys at Motorbase and Crabbies Racing, and they've been really supportive of my learning process coming into touring cars and it's fantastic - I'm loving the environment."

Event Information:
Brands Hatch circuit length: 1.22 miles
Laps: 24
Race distance: 29.28 miles
Address: Brands Hatch Circuit, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent, DA3 8NG