Stewart Lines will bid for title success in next year’s APR Volkswagen Racing Cup with his own team Maximum Motorsport, joined by one-make specialist Chris Panayiotou.
Lines was a serious contender during the 2013 season with KPM Racing, finishing third in the championship and picking up a win at the venomous Spa-Francorchamps circuit along the way.
With his then KPM team-mate Martin Depper now moving on the BTCC with Eurotech Racing for 2014, Lines will run his own squad in the VW Cup for next season, running a pair of Volkswagen Sciroccos which proved the car to beat over the year.
Lines believes that he can be a serious contender next year with his own squad, saying: “This season was a great one for me but at the back of my mind is the thought that I could have won the championship but for some bad luck.
“Chris is also well capable of winning it. A lot of people wouldn’t want a strong team-mate but the bottom line is that while I know they might beat me, I need a decent guy to share data with and we can help each other out on the track.”
New team-mate Panayiotou made an impressive VW Cup debut at Brands Hatch in August, claiming a pair of fourth place finishes for KPM driving a Golf GTI. The 34-year-old Hertfordshire-based driver has experience in Clio Cup, as well as Britcar and the Mini Challenge.
Former motocrosser and one-make saloon racer Lines will enter his third full season in the VW Cup since his debut at the end of the 2011 campaign, and is already preparing hard for the task ahead as he bids for a maiden title.
Lines added: “We’ve invested a lot of time and money in it, have set up new workshops in Sutton Coldfield, have bought and equipped a new race truck and we are just about ready to hit the ground running. There is going to be a lot of pressure on me – I know that I will have to go better now. With that in mind, we have been testing already, and will be out on track regularly starting January.
“I put a time in at Donington recently which would have been good enough for pole; I know my Scirocco is OK, but we are trying to find more time from it. There are no great chunks of time in those cars any more, it’s that close in the championship that you are looking for tenths here and there.”