Toyota Gazoo Racing UK have further completed the line-up for the 2022 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season with Ricky Collard set for his first full season partnering Rory Butcher in the Speedworks Motorsport ran team.
Collard’s father Rob was a hugely successful and popular driver racing between 2000 and 2019 winning 15 races and it is a championship where the highly-rated third generation racer has experience deputising to great effect in 2018 sealing six points finishes and a podium at Silverstone which caught the eye.
Since then, he has been involved in GT racing winning at the Nürburgring as part of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe which is part of an impressive CV of race wins and curtailing a move down under, he tested for Speedworks at Donington Park, Knockhill and Croft and has put those plans to bed with the BTCC now his next focus. His target is ‘podium finishes’ at least.
“I’ve been knocking around the BTCC paddock since I was just three years old,” said Collard, “Standing at the side of the track watching my dad compete against the likes of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Gordon Shedden – so as a series, it has huge personal appeal to me and I’ve made no secret recently of my desire to return. It definitely feels like I have some unfinished business after dipping my toe into the water at the end of 2018, and with my dad no longer racing, it’s almost like I’m now picking up the reins and carrying on the family legacy.
“Last week’s test at Donington was the first time I’d ever driven a front-wheel drive race car, and while we’re clearly not yet where we want to be, my lap times showed that I already feel pretty comfortable in the Toyota. The Corolla is a proven race-winning package, and everybody in the team is doing all they can to help me to get quickly up to speed. I’m getting faster with every lap, and that progression is only going to continue.
“As a former racing driver himself, Christian [Dick] can properly relate to the feedback I’m providing, and Rory [Butcher] has been really helpful too. We had a good relationship even beforehand, and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better team-mate. He has a lot of experience that I can draw upon and learn from, and by working closely together, the aim is to drive the whole team forward.
“There’s a lot of support and love for Toyota amongst BTCC fans, and I can’t wait to meet all the guys and girls at Toyota UK and hopefully do them proud. It’s funny – the only type of car I’ve raced that I haven’t won in is a touring car, so I’m pretty keen to put that statistic to bed and I’ll have 30 chances this year to do so. Despite effectively being a rookie, I’ll be disappointed if I don’t achieve that, and I’m targeting podiums at the very least. I’m certainly going to give this my absolute best shot!”