Former double British Touring Car Championship title winner Fabrizio Giovanardi has completed a dramatic deal to return to the series in 2014, driving an Airwaves Racing Ford Focus.
The news of the Italian’s return is a mouth-watering prospect, coming off the back of the news that fellow double BTCC champion Alain Menu will also return to the championship to make it six former champions on the grid for the new season, although that could rise to seven should Colin Turkington be confirmed at West Surrey Racing.
Between 2006-10, Giovanardi was a spectacular addition to the British series having claimed 24 victories behind the wheel of Vauxhall Astra and Vectra machinery, notching up two titles in both 2007 and 2008 with the works VX Racing squad under Triple Eight.
The news was announced live on the championship’s Toyota Tin-Top Tuesday radio show on 4 February, with Motorbase boss David Bartrum delighted to be bringing back the Italian to the championship.
The returning Giovanardi expressed his excitement of coming back to BTCC, saying: “I am really looking forward to coming back to this special championship. For the last four years I have done long distance racing and for me, it’s quite boring! I need to be fighting for championships and this is the best place to find that, so I’m really happy to be back.
“I want to come here and try to win another championship; Obviously, I have to respect the other guys out there but I want to come here and try to win another championship; I need to win the third one!”
“When I stopped racing with Triple Eight I had a chat with David Bartrum and we tried to find a deal but there wasn’t the condition to do that, so now after three years, David has given me the technical effort to win the championship. In 2008 and 2009 I had a big battle with this team and they were one of the teams to beat then. After four years I believe they’ve got good experience and they’ve grown up and they are right at this time to give me the winning chance.
“These are passionate guys, it’s a small team but with people that work well together. Good people and the right people make the right target and I believe straight away that we can be one of the teams fighting for the championship.”
Giovanardi’s team-mates have not yet been announced, Bartrum expecting the Italian’s arrival to be a big boost to his Airwaves squad this season, saying: “This is a very important year for Airwaves Racing”, said Bartrum. “This is going to be the one when we really do underline the product we’ve built here at Motorbase Performance and Fabrizio is the man to show you how it should go.
“I tried to get Fabrizio on board a couple of years ago, we’ve talked a lot about touring cars and this year I decided just before Christmas that was the right way to try and go. It was something that Airwaves wanted; they wanted us to up our game, that was one of the things that set their criteria and I was very happy to meet it.
“The intentions are the same as last year, the team wants to win. We want to win races and we want to go after the championship and if you’re going to go after the championship this is the year to do it. There are thirty cars on the grid and possibly seven guys that have won it before; so I think it’s a fantastic year for Giovanardi to come back and join us.”
“We’ve always been proud of our driver line up and no more this year than last year, but this year it’s got a little Italian spice to it that might take the team forward that little bit more.”