Mike Bushell will be the latest new face to make his BTCC debut this weekend at Knockhill, driving Andy Neate’s Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze following a successful test earlier in the week.
The KX-backed UK Renault Clio Cup racer drove the IP Tech Race team’s Cruze at Snetterton’s 300 circuit on Tuesday (August 20), and his performance proved eye-opening to regular driver Neate, who has decided to allow Bushell the honours of racing the car this weekend at the seventh round of the season at Knockhill.
Neate said: “Mike’s already proven he’s quick in the BTCC feeder Clio series and he impressed me during his time on track at Snetterton. Following his test and a number of conversations with him, I wanted to give him an opportunity at the right time in his career I would have cut my arm off for in years gone by. I saw Knockhill as that ideal opportunity as he’s not in his usual Clio ride at the weekend.
“I’m confident he’ll be holding his own out there. But primarily its a priceless chance for him to experience the other side of the event which is important. Working with a bigger team than he’s been used to and taking on board all the feedback he’ll be getting, and also the technical aspect of touring cars which is a number of levels above what he’s experienced to date.
“It’s going to test him but I’m sure he’ll step up to the plate. Competing in a touring car isn’t just about what you can do on the track, it’s how you also apply yourself off track to put yourself there in the first instance.”
Neate added that a note of caution to Bushell’s weekend will be critical to his and the team’s experience, confident himself that the Cruze’s development has been positive so far in its early life with the new squad.
“IP tech have spent a lot of time developing the Cruze off track and I believe the direction we are going with the chassis makes it a very competitive car indeed. However Mike will still be operating with base line boost due the regulations.
“My aim for him is to stay out of any trouble and continue the teams 100% finishing record and collect some valuable experience along the way.”