CHRIS Stockton is preparing to launch a new assault on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), starting this Sunday at Brands Hatch.
Stockton, a beef farmer from Shocklach, near Malpas, has driven for the BTC Racing team since 2006 when he retired as a National Hunt jockey.
And the 38-year-old has a new team-mate in current British Truck Racing champion Stuart Oliver.
Stockton is hoping this season will be the team’s most exciting yet.
He said: “The development we have done to the cars over the winter season means that 2008 is going to be a big year for us.
“We have tested at Oulton Park and Rockingham and although the times are not quite what we would want yet, the engine has shown great reliability and is improving every time we run it.”
The team have already competed in a full season of the BTCC, a national championship for saloon cars which has been running since 1957. While sticking with the same Lexus IS200 machine that carried Stockton to two championship points last year, BTC Racing have invested in improving the cars for this season.
“Both my engine and Stuart’s have run faultlessly, something that was our Achilles heel last year,” said Stockton, who is married to three-day eventer Polly Stockton. “The engines on both cars have now done in excess of the laps last year without issue. This is a massive step forward for us.
“I am hoping that this improved engine reliability will mean some strong finishes for the team. We are certainly hoping to get on the podium this year.”