The AmDTuning.com team will hope to send its Volkswagen Golf into retirement in style this weekend when the car returns to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for the 2013 season finale at Brands Hatch.
The West Thurrock-based team has elected to bring the Golf back out for one final appearance on a weekend that looks set to mark the swansong for Super 2000-spec machinery in the series, with the field set to be made up solely of cars built to the series' Next Generation Touring Car regulations for the 2014 season.
Team boss Shaun Hollamby will be given the honour of driving the Golf on its final BTCC outing, having also been at the wheel for its first outing in the championship back in April 2010.
Since then, the Golf has started no fewer than 92 races in the championship in the hands of Hollamby, Tom Onslow-Cole, Martin Byford, Ollie Jackson, James Kaye and Aaron Mason, with a pair of seventh place finishes being the best results to date.
Although a repeat is unlikely this weekend given the relative performance of the Super 2000-spec cars in relation to those built to the NGTC regulations, Shaun’s target will be to end the team’s spell with the Golf with a third victory in the Jack Sears Trophy to go with the two secured by Kaye earlier in the year.
“I’ve had the chance to do a shakedown in the car ahead of the weekend, and it’s great to be able to get back behind the wheel one last time,” Shaun said. “It’s had a full rebuild since it last raced at Croft before the summer break and has been fitted with new suspension, and we want to try and send it out on a high.
“This is the end of a four year journey with the Golf and it’s kind of appropriate that we go full circle with me back behind the wheel on its final weekend. I’ve not been racing this season so will be a little rusty when practice gets underway, but I don’t think it will take me long to get back up to speed and I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s a mark of how popular the Golf has been in the series that we’ve been able to gain support from Scorpion Exhausts for its final appearance in the series, and we’ll have a lot of people coming along to cheer us on at our home circuit.
“On track Lea Wood has been a deserving winner of the Jack Sears Trophy this year as he’s been the most consistent driver and he won’t be easy to beat, but I’m confident that we can challenge him for class honours.”
While the Brands Hatch weekend will mark the final appearance for the Golf, work continues behind the scenes as the AmDTuning.com team looks to the future, with an NGTC programme for 2014 one of the options being considered for next year.
“This year has been a rollercoaster one for us and hasn’t really gone as we planned, but there is no doubt that the BTCC remains the place to be – and we want to be part of going forwards,” Shaun added. “From the moment we joined the grid back in 2010, the support we have had from [series organisers] TOCA as well as from the fans has been absolutely fantastic. In my eyes, this is the best touring car championship there is, and we’re keen to stay involved in the series in 2014.”