Tony Gilham will make his return to the British Touring Car Championship at the next round at Rockingham after signing to race a BMW with Geoff Steel Racing until the end of the season.
Gilham had taken part in the first six rounds of the season in a 888-run Vauxhall Vectra but left the team ahead of the previous round at Knockhill. Joining GSR not only sees his return to the series but also that of the team, who have been absent from the grid since driver Dave Newsham left for Special Tuning Racing after three rounds.
“I'm delighted I'm coming back,” said Gilham. “Once you've done the BTCC you don't want to do anything else really. I'm just opening my own garage under the Tony Gilham brand in Kent and that has led to some great new sponsors who want to build their image as well – the BTCC is the right place to do that.”
Gilham will continue to be supported by Collins Contractors, with new sponsors Garage Equipment Group, Da Vinci Alloy Wheels and Right Choice Insurance Brokers also appearing on his car, which will again stand out in his usual green and pink livery. He is looking forward to racing a rear-wheel drive BMW after his previous experience in the Porsche Carrera Cup.
“I'm comfortable with rear-wheel-drive and the timing is right with my business plans away from the track. Sure, I'm going from one of the big teams to one of the smaller teams and we know it will be hard work but we're not in it just to make up the numbers.
“I must also say if it wasn't for the fans' support I wouldn't be here so we really want to make ourselves one of the most approachable teams in the pit lane for the public.”
GSR team manager Martyn Bell said that the team was pleased to be back in action. He also said that Gilham's car will switch to NGTC engine for the final two rounds, where Bell hopes he will be joined by another driver in the team's second car.
“The BTCC is very addictive and Geoff and I feel there is some unfinished business,” said Bell. “It's very important for us to be out there having invested in Motorbase's 2010 BMWs for this season.
“Tony's car at Rockingham will remain normally-aspirated but will then switch to the Next Generation Touring Car turbo engine for Brands Hatch and Silverstone – turbo-charging is the way forward and we'd actually very much like to run both cars with turbo engines at the last two rounds to showcase them for 2012.”