Close Brothers Asset Finance returns to BTCC grid with Speedworks


Tom Ingram’s Speedworks Motorsport-run Team Toyota GB Corolla will fly the flag for Close Brothers Asset Finance in this year’s British Touring Car Championship after Rob Austin brokered a deal to keep the leading UK merchant banking group on the grid.
Close Brothers Asset Finance, founded in 1987, offers a range of flexible funding solutions to UK SMEs and has sponsored Austin in the immensely popular, all-action BTCC since 2015. With the team for which he competes – HMS Racing – having to sit out the 2019 season, however, and Close Brothers Asset Finance keen to remain involved in the country’s premier motor racing series, the company needed a new home.
Austin and Speedworks Team Principal, Christian Dick, have always enjoyed a positive relationship, and when looking for a team that would do the best job possible representing Close Brothers Asset Finance, the reigning two-time BTCC Independent Champions – based out of Northwich, Cheshire – were a logical choice and a solution was swiftly and easily reached.
Close Brothers Asset Finance will benefit from the same level of branding on 25-year-old Bucks racer Ingram’s #80 Toyota Corolla as they had on Austin’s car last year, and the three-time BTCC race-winner will remain an ambassador for the company, working with them on social media as well as hosting their guests in the Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport hospitality unit at all race weekends.
The 2019 BTCC season will begin at Brands Hatch’s Indy Circuit in Kent on 6/7 April, with all the high-speed, high-octane, wheel-to-wheel action broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4.
Christian Dick, Team Principal, Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport, said:
“When Rob [Austin] approached us about putting together a deal with Close Brothers Asset Finance, we were obviously very keen to listen. They have been a loyal sponsor of his for several seasons now, and they clearly derive a great deal of benefit and satisfaction from their involvement in the BTCC.
“That in-depth knowledge and understanding of the championship means they know exactly how to best leverage their participation, and we are all immensely looking forward to working closely with them over the forthcoming campaign to ensure they achieve maximum return on their investment.
“Rob will of course remain a major player in the relationship, and having known and got on well with him for many years, we are very excited to be joining forces this season and keeping the Close Brothers name firmly at the forefront of the field.”
Rob Austin, Brand Ambassador, Close Brothers Asset Finance, said:
“I have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Close Brothers Asset Finance for a number of years – they are a brilliant company to work with and love being a part of the BTCC, and this relationship enables us to continue working together while guaranteeing the brand a great return on their marketing budget.
“When the decision was made for HMS to take a sabbatical from the 2019 season, I didn’t feel it was fair that Close Brothers Asset Finance should miss out as well. They saw fantastic value from what they did with us and wanted to remain in the championship, so I focussed on helping to find them an outlet.
“Speedworks are a great team who are clearly at the top of their game right now, and with the exciting support from Toyota GB and a stunning new car, I have no doubt they will do a fine job representing the Close Brothers Asset Finance brand this year.
“I will continue to be an ambassador for Close Brothers Asset Finance, and I will be working hard with both them and Speedworks throughout the campaign. Clearly, I would rather be in a car but I am excited by my new role and looking forward to a great season’s racing.”
John Fawcett, CEO Transport Division, Close Brothers Asset Finance, said:
“When we were told Rob wouldn’t be racing this year, we were disappointed to think we would not be part of the BTCC in 2019; however, we needn’t have worried because he not only facilitated the opportunity to sponsor Tom Ingram of the Speedworks Motorsport team, but also agreed to support and promote our brand throughout the campaign.
“We were naturally delighted and agreed without hesitation because Speedworks Motorsport has been a customer of ours for over seven years, and during that time we’ve enjoyed a great relationship. We are very proud to be in a position to support them through sponsorship and wish them the best of luck for the forthcoming season.”