British GT champion Gornall takes Audi seat after Blundell's BTCC exit

Matt James
GT champion takes Audi seat after Blundell's exit
GT champion takes Audi seat after Blundell's exit

Trade Price Cars Racing has signed 2009 British GT champion James Gornall to contest the '20 British Touring Car Championship season at the wheel of an Audi S3.

The 35-year-old, who won British GT in a Brookspeed-run Dodge Viper alongside John Barnes, will line up alongside Bobby Thompson in the AmDTuning-overseen TPCR team, following the exit of the now retired ex-F1 driver Mark Blundell from the team.

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Gornall was also a class winner in the 2009 Britcar 24 Hours before taking a sabbatical from motorsport, not returning until 2014 to race in the BMW Compact Cup, racing alongside TPCR team boss Dan Kirby.

Gornall then switched to the Mini Challenge last term, his first competition in a front-wheel-drive car, and he took five wins and 13 podiums on his way to the overall title.

As part of his prize for success in the Mini series, he won a test in a Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, which he undertook at Snetterton at the end of last season.

Gornall said: "When I decided to enter the Mini Challenge last season, it was with the aim of learning the skills required to move into British touring cars in the future.

GT champion takes Audi seat after Blundell's exit
GT champion takes Audi seat after Blundell's exit

"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.

"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 [fought out between drivers who have not had a BTCC podium at the start of the season]."

Kirby added: "As a newcomer to the series, James is a driver who fans might not be too familiar with," said Kirby.

"However, I'm confident that they will soon see what James can do when the season gets underway as you don't become a multiple British champion in a range of disciplines without being a quick driver."

GT champion takes Audi seat after Blundell's exit
GT champion takes Audi seat after Blundell's exit

AmD Tuning has also completed its BTCC line-up for 2020, with second-year driver Sam Osborne joining to race a Honda Civic Type R.

He will line up alongside Jake Hill in the Honda, which the West Thurrock operation took to third place in the teams' contest last season when Independents Trophy winner Rory Butcher, Sam Tordoff and Mike Bushell handled the cars.

Osborne graduated from the Mini Challenge and the Renault UK Clio Cup joined the BTCC with new team ExcelR8 Motorsport in 2019 in an ageing front-wheel-drive MG6. He scored a best finish of 14th place at Snetterton in the reversed-grid race.

Osborne said: "It hasn't really sunk in yet, but this is a fantastic opportunity for me

and one that I want to try and grab with both hands.

"From the moment I first spoke to [team principal] Shaun Hollamby, I knew that this was the right deal for me and I'm hoping that this can be the start of something long term with the team."

2020 BTCC grid so far

Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R FK8

Matt Neal, Dan Cammish

WSR BMW 330i M Sport

Colin Turkington, Andrew Jordan, Tom Oliphant

AmD Tuning Honda Civic Type R FK2

Jake Hill, Sam Osborne

BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R FK8

Josh Cook

Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50

Ash Sutton, Aiden Moffat

Trade Price Cars Racing

Bobby Thompson, James Gornall

Team Hard VW CC

Mike Bushell, Jack Goff

Team Hard BMW 125i M Sport

Carl Boardley

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