The 2020 Autosport International Show in Birmingham has seen a trio of British Rally Championship announcements, with defending champion Matt Edwards, up-and-coming Irish driver Josh McErlean and youngster George Lepley all announcing plans for this season.
Edwards again continues in the championship with M-Sport Ford after taking the titles both in 2018 and 2019 but this season will drive a MK2 Fiesta R5 with support from Yuasa and Swift Group.
The double BRC champion said on his 2020 campaign: “It’s fantastic to be heading into 2020 with M-Sport again, and I’m also very pleased Yuasa have joined us for this year’s campaign. It’s exciting to be heading into the New Year with the Ford Fiesta R5 MkII – a car I already have some experience of on Tarmac – and I’m confident we can be competitive and fight for a third consecutive title.”
Hoping to take his crown away from him is McErlean who steps up to BRC1 in a Hyundai i20 R5 backed by Motorsport Ireland, Sport-Ireland and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.
Winner of the prestigious Billy Coleman award McErlean, who won the Junior BRC in 2019 after competing in it for the last three seasons, makes his full-R5 debut in 2020 after a pair of outings on both Wales Rally GB and at the Monza Rally Show at the end of last season once his junior title was secured.
The Irishman added on his deal to enter the top class of the BRC: “Competing at the forefront of the British Rally Championship has always been a dream of mine and to finally get the opportunity to do so is really something quite special.”
“After winning the Junior title, this really is the next step forward in my career and now that we have major support from Motorsport Ireland, I have opportunities available to me that I could only daydream of before. I must keep my career moving forward and the chance of doing the full BRC in a Hyundai is priceless.”
The third announcement made in Birmingham was that George Lepley will enter the 2020 Junior BRC in an EDSL Sport prepared Ford Fiesta R2-T with Tom Woodburn alongside him.
The pair make the move to the Junior BRC after competing in the BTRDA series in recent seasons and will have the backing of WD-40.
2020 sees the Junior BRC adjust its regulations to become like that of the FIA Junior WRC – with the class becoming exclusively for R2-T Fiestas and again will feature a €60,000 prize fund provided by M–Sport and Pirelli.