In an interview before this weekend's British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) finale Triple Eight boss Ian Harrison has said he “hopes” the outfit will return to running a manufacturer team next year.
“I hope so and hope that we can announce something before the end of the year though I'm not going to tell you now what car I think it'll be,” said Harrison. “Let's just say that we've received a number of approaches over the year and that one or two of them would surprise you as they did me!”
Following the withdrawal of Vauxhall from the series at the end of last year Harrison's squad have endured a “challenging” year running privateer Vectras for a succession of drivers.
“We started the season very well with two straight wins at Thruxton with Fabrizio [Giovanardi], but unfortunately due to budget constraints we couldn't continue the relationship,” Harrison relates. “Since then we've had a number of young drivers in the car all of whom have impressed me with their professionalism.”
“Of course it would have been great to have had the benefit of a full budget and been able to run two cars at each round, but then would we have had the opportunity to try promising youngsters like James Nash, Phil Glew, Daniel Lloyd, Dean Smith and James Walker in the car?”
Nash has become the team's regular driver – missing only the Thruxton opener – and he will be joined in the team at Brands Hatch this weekend by Clio Cup racer Sam Tordoff.
“Brand's Indy circuit always produces close, exciting racing and James showed good speed there in May until he got pushed off track,” Harrison says looking ahead to Sunday's three races. “I know also that after a rather frustrating meeting results-wise last time out at Donington he's eager to show what he can do and end the season on a high.”
However, the performances of both Nash and Tordoff will be overshadowed by a four-way battle for the title, promising another thrilling climax to a BTCC season. As for who he expects to emerge victorious Harrison is decided.
“That's a difficult one to answer particularly so given that 3 of the 4 have driven for Triple Eight in the past. Indeed Jason Plato won his driver's title with us in 2001. I will say that I think Jason will do just enough to win it as I can't see him getting caught out at Brands as he did at Donington. I do though have a feeling that the battle will go all the way to the final race which should guarantee some fireworks!”