Ashley Sutton, the reigning British Touring Car Champion, has announced that he’ll be making his first appearance in the TCR UK Series this weekend at Oulton Park.
With Finlay Crocker unable to compete due to business commitments, the opportunity arose for a guest driver to pilot his Honda Civic Type R TCR at the Cheshire-based circuit, and so the call was made to ask Ash to get behind the wheel.
The deal will reunite Sutton with Team Pyro, his former team in the Renault Clio Cup, who run Crocker’s Civic under the Verizon Connect Racing banner.
Although the deal with Team Pyro is a one-off, Sutton has openly revealed that both he and title-winning BTCC squad, Team BMR, have an interest in the TCR format.
Speaking ahead of the event at Oulton Park, Sutton said: “This weekend will be my first real experience of a TCR car, but I may not be able to attend the test on Friday and so I’ll only have a single half-hour session in the car before qualifying. As a result, I have no expectations or targets and so I can just enjoy the experience.
“From my point of view, both myself and BMR are looking at TCR as something we’d very much like to do in the future and so when Finlay contacted me to offer me the chance to drive his car, I saw it as a prime opportunity to find out what it’s all about.”
Crocker himself was also upbeat about Sutton’s chances of success this weekend behind the wheel of his Verizon Connect-sponsored Honda, saying: “I’m sorry that I won’t be competing at Oulton Park this weekend, but there’s a lot going on in my business just now and that simply has to come first.”
“I know that Ash will do a good job for the team and for my sponsors Verizon Connect and I firmly believe that he can show what the car is capable of despite it being his first taste of TCR UK. I wouldn’t have asked him to step into the seat if I’d had any doubts.”