Three-time, and current, Kwik Fit British Touring Car Champion Ash Sutton will defend his crown in 2022 in NAPA Racing colours after today being confirmed at the mountune-powered Motorbase Performance-run team for the eagerly awaited new season.
In headline-grabbing news of gigantic proportions, the 27-year-old driver from Bishops Stortford will team-up with multiple race-winning touring car returnee Dan Cammish at NAPA Racing UK in, what will arguably be, the most exciting driver pairing on next year’s capacity BTCC grid.
Sutton, of course, needs no introduction to fans of the UK’s premier motor racing category – not simply due to his three sensational title triumphs, in 2017, 2020 and 2021, but also thanks to his incredible, all-attack driving style which has made him one of the most popular drivers in the UK.
Next season will certainly bring new challenges for Sutton with a switch to front-wheel drive in the NAPA Racing liveried Ford Focus ST. Having won all three of his titles in the BTCC in rear-wheel drive, he is hungry to show he can achieve similar success in FWD.
Aiming to make it four championship victories and three back-to-back, if he can achieve the latter Sutton will become the first BTCC driver since Andy Rouse in the mid-1980s to do so. Intriguingly, Rouse’s last BTCC crown in 1985 came at the wheel of a Ford…
Sutton debuted in the BTCC in 2016, as the reigning Renault UK Clio Cup Champion, and quickly proved he was a star in the making with a maiden race win. In his sophomore season, he claimed a famous championship victory and in doing so became the youngest BTCC title winner since 1966.
Winning races and claiming numerous podiums over the next two seasons, in 2020 he won his second championship crown – as well as the Independents Trophy Championship – and sealed his third outright BTCC title in style just a couple of months ago with victory in the final race of the 2021 season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.
NAPA Racing has certainly set its stall out impressively ahead of its maiden year as an entrant in the BTCC, and with Sutton and Cammish set to push each other on throughout the 2022 season there is immense potential for the Motorbase-run squad. The Wrotham-based team’s four car line-up for next season is now complete, with Ollie Jackson and Sam Osborne piloting the other two Fords.
Founded almost 100 years ago, NAPA is one of the most prominent and successful automotive parts brands in North America and was introduced in the UK in 2019 by Alliance Automotive Group. NAPA arrives in the BTCC with a rich and glowing history as a sponsor within motorsport in the USA at the highest level, in categories such as NASCAR and Indycar.
Pete Osborne – Motorbase Performance Team Owner and Team Principal:
“Wow…isn’t this just the icing on the cake! Ash is the kind of driver who is on everyone’s radar. This will be a different challenge for him compared with recent years, swapping from RWD to FWD, it was quite a decision for him to make but I’m really glad he did! So, to have secured his signature to Motorbase alongside Dan, Ollie and Sam is a really big deal. Joining NAPA Racing at such an exciting time probably helped clinch the deal.
“I really couldn’t ask for a better driver line-up. I think we’ve got a few people’s attention, this is an indication of our intent to challenge for the BTCC title in 2022 and beyond. Let’s face it, we’re not aiming for anything but success with these guys in the driving seat. The team is as strong behind the scenes as it is at the forefront and it’s simply buzzing in the workshop. There’s a lot of hard work still to do, and we’re not underestimating that, but I’m pretty sure the right ingredients are in the pot!”
Ash Sutton – NAPA Racing Driver:
“I’m buzzing to have signed a multi-year deal with NAPA Racing and Motorbase Performance! This feels like the start of something very exciting and I am ready for the challenge that lies ahead, they are all a great group of people and just pure racers at heart. Having got to know Pete Osborne more over the last year, I saw the hunger he has to win and his ambition to drive Motorbase in that direction. This is something I love, a new challenge set out with the same goals I personally have.
“The deal was made a little sweeter by securing NAPA Racing as a sponsor, for such an iconic brand in motorsport to be hitting the BTCC grid in 2022 and becoming a part of that was a big draw to me. Motorbase haven’t just made me feel welcome they have also welcomed onboard the car crew I have worked with over the past three years. They are all now part of the Motorbase family which means we have all the key elements to go out and retain that title together.
“Jumping back into front-wheel drive is going to be interesting, but something I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to get stuck into the Ford Focus package with my engineer Antonio Carrozza. With a solid pre-season testing plan, and a team mate like Dan Cammish, allows us to fast track a lot of development required to hit the ground running in the new hybrid era. Lining up with someone who has a pedigree like Dan really is an exciting prospect. I am sure we will be pushing each other’s limits and unlocking more potential within ourselves.
“I’m incredibly proud to be representing NAPA Racing, to go out and secure not just my fourth title but also the Teams and Constructors Championship with this newly formed partnership would be fantastic. This brings me one step closer to my goal of becoming the most successful driver ever in the BTCC.”