Reigning MINI Challenge champion James Gornall will drive a Trade Price Cars Racing Audi S3 in the 2020 BTCC, as the team announced the second half of its two-car lineup.
Gornell, who hails from Bedford will be making his BTCC series debut and will partner Bobby Thompson at the team, meaning Trade Price Cars will field a completely new lineup for their second year of BTCC competition.
Gornell has won multiple times in karts, before winning a championship in Formula Renault (2004) and securing the British GT Championship title in 2008 alongside Jon Barnes.
After a class win in the Silverstone 24 Hours that same year, Gornell took a break from motorsport until he returned in 2014, racing against Trade Price Cars Racing owner Dan Kirby in the BMW Compact Cup. He eventually won the title in 2016, before an impressive full season in the 2019 MINI Challenge heralded five wins, 13 podiums and a championship title.
Gornell has tested BTCC machinery at Snetterton since winning the MINI Challenge title, a test which only strengthened his wish to join the BTCC full time in 2020.
Gornall was delighted to have signed for the outfit which took it’s maiden race victory last year.
“When I decided to enter the MINI Challenge last season, it was to learn the skills required to move into British Touring Cars in the future,” Gornall said “as I’d never raced in front-wheel-drive before. The test I did in the Focus as a reward for winning the title only increased my desire to join the grid, as I felt comfortable straight away and knew that I would be able to do myself justice.”
“I’ve known Dan for a few years from our time racing against each other in the Compact Cup, and we had a chat about his plans for the touring cars with the Audis twelve months ago at the Autosport Show. I’ve kept a keen interest in how things have been going since then, and it’s great that I’m now going to be part of the team for my debut season in the BTCC.”
With plenty of racing experience under his belt, Gornell is already targeting more silverware in 2020, as well as a push for the Jack Sears Trophy.
“As a driver, you always want to win races and if you don’t go into a new season feeling you can win, then you won’t do. The team has shown that it can fight for victories and that has to be my target in 2020; to fight for silverware and to challenge for both the Independents’ title and the Jack Sears Trophy.
I’m looking forward to working alongside Bobby and think we can have a lot of fun during the season ahead. A huge thanks to Dan and the team for making this deal happen, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Trade Price Cars Racing team owner Dan Kirby was pleased to welcome Gornell to the team, a driver he had raced against in the past.
“On the back of our 2019 season, there was a lot of interest in the Audis and a lot of speculation about who would be at the wheel, and I’m really pleased to now welcome James into the team. I’ve raced against him in the past, and you only have to look at the success he has enjoyed in his career to date to see what a talented driver he is.
As a newcomer to the series, James is a driver who fans might not be too familiar with. However, I’m confident that they will soon see what James can do when the season gets underway as you don’t become a six-time British champion in a range of disciplines without being a quick driver. James has a winning mentality, and I’m looking forward to seeing him make his mark on the BTCC during his maiden season.”
Kirby was also confident that in Gornell and Bobby Thompson, he had secured a driver lineup capable of pushing the team and the Audi S3s further up the BTCC grid in 2020.
“With James alongside Bobby, I think we’ve put together an exciting driver pairing that will allow us to build on the success we enjoyed in our first year, and I’m confident that we’ll make a real impression again in 2020.”
James Gornell will make his full BTCC debut on the opening weekend of the 2020 season at Donington Park on the 28th/29th March.