Top British Touring Car team Triple Eight Race Engineering will join forces with Optimum Motorsport to form 888Optimum to run a two car team in next season’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship.

Run from Triple Eight’s Northamptonshire base the team will run a pair of BMW Z4 GT3 cars in the championship, with plans to race in Europe in future seasons already given voice.

Optimum Motorsport team owner Lee Mowle will form half of the driving line-up in the #8 car alongside former European GT4 champion Joe Osborne. Osborne was also twice a winner in British GT last season with the Trackspeed team and co-driver Steve Tandy.

Though their partnership as drivers will end after the 2012 season they will continue as teammates with Tandy and Daniel Brown driving the #88 car for the team, Brown making his British GT return after racing – and winning – for Chad Racing in 2010.

“Teaming up with Triple Eight will give me the opportunity to focus on racing in the British GT Championship – a huge passion of mine,” said Mowle whose team ran a Ginetta G55 in selected events during the 2012 season. “I’m looking forward to working with Ian Harrison and Matt Kelly and the 888Optimum team will be a great addition to the British GT Championship. Having tested the BMW Z4 GT3 in Germany, it was clearly the car for me.”

Optimum’s GT4 program, and the team’s involvement in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge will remain, despite the new partnership.

“This is the kind of project that we have been trying to get started for a few years now, and its satisfying to be finally going into it at this high level,” admitted Triple Eight boss Ian Harrison. “Obviously Triple Eight is new to GT racing and we do not underestimate the steep learning curve that stands in front of us. But with Optimum motorsports’ experience as part of our GT partnership, we have an opportunity to develop the team quickly from the start.”

The 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship begins on the Easter weekend at Oulton Park.