for home support
Local heroes Harry Vaulkhard and Alan Taylor are calling on motor sport fans from across the North-East to head for the Croft circuit near Darlington this Sunday (1 June) and cheer them on in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
This will be the first time that Vaulkhard, from Newcastle, and Taylor, from Whitley Bay, will have raced in front of their home crowd as drivers in Britain's biggest motor racing championship.
Both compete for the Boldon-based Robertshaw Racing team and are hoping for their best results to date in what is their first season of BTCC competition. Vaulkhard, aged 22, will arrive at Croft in high spirits - driving his Chevrolet Lacetti, he scored his first-ever BTCC point in the most recent round at Thruxton nine days ago.
"This will be the biggest day of both our racing careers," said Vaulkhard, winner of last year's one-make SEAT Cupra R series. "My first ever racing experience was at Croft when I was 17 and now here I am, about to race there in the BTCC. It is the pinnacle of British motor racing and one of the most-followed championships in the world. It is going to be an incredible buzz.
"But we want people from the region to come and be a part of it as well. The BTCC travels right around the UK and this is the North-East's opportunity to come and see just why it is so spectacular. The whole team is hoping for plenty of support from the spectator banks and really looking forward to meeting plenty of people in the paddock and the morning Pit Lane Walkabout."
Vaulkhard and Taylor will be sharing the same starting grid as big household names such as Jason Plato, Matt Neal and Fabrizio Giovanardi during the three BTCC races at Croft on Sunday. Action from other supporting categories means the crowds are in for ten races in total on the day.
Self-made businessman and proprietor of the award-winning Big Mussel seafood restaurants in Newcastle, Taylor said racing in the BTCC in front of his home crowd will be a dream come true.
Taylor, who races a Honda Integra, commented: "What I'm doing is living the dream. I've come into racing quite late on and have got myself into the fortunate position of being able to go and race in the BTCC against drivers who before I only ever used to watch race on TV.
"My lap times and results are improving all the time and I'm now mixing it with the midfield bunch which, out of 24 drivers, is quite a feat - nobody in the BTCC is a slouch and the drivers at the front are among the very best in the world. It would be doubly special if I could break into that hallowed top ten at Croft.
"Sunday is going to be something else. It's a big week for us with media events and public appearances, but Sunday is when it counts most. Everyone in the team is looking for local support - it's our home event and on our side will be what is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiasts crowds of the BTCC season. None of us can wait."