Author: Russ Hogg

RCIB Insurance, AutoAid Breakdown extend Cobra Sport AmD Racing BTCC title sponsorship deal

RCIB 2019 BTCC

RCIB Insurance, AutoAid Breakdown extend Cobra Sport AmD Racing BTCC title sponsorship deal

The Cobra Sport AmD Racing team can today confirm that it has agreed a deal with RCIB Insurance and AutoAid Breakdown to take on the role of title sponsor for its 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship programme.

West Thurrock-based AmD Tuning and long-time backers Cobra Sport Exhausts will campaign a pair of Honda Civic Type Rs in the series next year as part of a new and exciting partnership, replacing the two MG6 GTs that were run by AmD in 2018.

Those MGs were run with support from sister companies RCIB Insurance and AutoAid, which are headed by successful Essex-based businessman Mike Joseph.

Founded more than 10 years ago, RCIB Insurance has become one of the fastest growing insurance companies in Europe whilst AutoAid Breakdown – part of the RCIB group since 2016 – has won numerous awards for providing all-inclusive breakdown cover at value for money prices not seen anywhere else.

With the relationship between Cobra Sport AmD Racing and RCIB Insurance/AutoAid having proven to be a success both on and off track this year, talks have now been concluded on a deal to extend the agreement into a second season.

Discussions with potential drivers for the two RCIB Insurance/AutoAid-backed Hondas have also now drawn to a close, with a further announcement in due course about who will be at the wheel of the two cars when the new season kicks off at Brands Hatch in April 2019.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD Racing joint team principal said:
“Over the past twelve months we have developed a strong working relationship with Mike and his team, so we are delighted to have concluded an agreement to extend our deal with RCIB Insurance and AutoAid into a second season.

“On track this year, we enjoyed some strong results with the MGs and the things we were able to do together off-track also worked extremely well for both parties; such as the competition to win a road-going replica of the car.

“As a team, we are excited about taking our BTCC programme to the next level with the Hondas, and are thrilled to have RCIB and AutoAid along for the ride as we look to build on the success we have already enjoyed together.

“We didn’t quite manage to get onto the overall podium this year, but with the drivers we have now signed to drive the two Hondas, I have no doubt that we will regularly be pushing for the top step in 2019.”

Mike Joseph, RCIB Insurance Managing Director said:
“We are delighted to be working with Shaun and the team at AmD again this year and with the new cars – and our chosen drivers – I’m sure that the 2019 season will be a great success.

“With this extension of our relationship, we can not only look forward to another strong year on track, but can further promote the RCIB Insurance brand – and our sister company AutoAid and its award-winning breakdown cover – to a huge audience both trackside and on TV.

“We’re really looking forward to 2019.”

 

Photograph by Marc Waller.

A Day in the Life of an AmDTuning.com/RCIB Insurance Racing Grid Girl

RCIB Grid Girl

Now BTCC has once again entered the closed season, we thought we’d write an article from a slightly different angle, and with a different ‘voice’. A lot of attention is (rightly) lavished on the drivers who compete on track for RCIB Insurance Racing, but there is a whole mini-industry supporting those drivers and ensuring the cars they perform in are tip top, safe, and competitive. Today, we report a day in the life of a AmdTuning.com with RCIB Insurance Racing/Autoaid ‘grid girl’. All season, ‘Michelle’ has loyally and ably represented our brand, and as a petrolhead herself, we think you’ll enjoy her report:

On a raceday Saturday afternoon, after I have done all my mummy duties of standing on a cold and wet football pitch with my 7yr old, I make my way to my hotel whilst listening to the qualifying on the radio to make sure we have good pace and a good grid position for Sunday’s race. After checking in, I then head to dinner and settle down for an early night (well sometimes, depends if other team members are at my hotel…)

Sunday (Raceday):

I have a 6am wake up call and then set to work on my hair, make up etc before making my way to the circuit in order to arrive for 8am. I then get into my outfit ready for the autograph session which usually starts at 9am. For this, we need to stand with drivers and their name boards and to promote our sponsors, have pictures with fans, hand out sponsors merchandise, interact with fans and smile. A lot.

We normally finish the autograph session around 9:20 which then makes a little time for my well earned breakfast (3hrs after waking up). After that it’s back to pits, ready to make our way to the pit lane for the first race of the day around 11 o clock (ish). We have to be ready and stood with marshals approximately 30 minutes before the start of the race. We spend quite bit of time on our feet, as you’d expect.

On the Marshal’s say so we collect our drivers ”poles which have been laid out in grid order, and we then get in line and make our way onto the grid. When arriving at our position (which is instructed by marshal) you stand facing the oncoming cars with your board in full view for the driver. The feeling of walking out onto the grid in your team colours is amazing, you look up at the stands to see all the fans and different team colours which is great, and of course, it’s nice to acknowledge the fans with a little wave too. When you are in place you then hear the roar of the engines heading towards you and passing you by as they make their way to their grid position. Anyone who loves the sound of a track prepped engine will understand just now that feels.

When the cars have stopped and in place you must turn around with your back to the car to become the face of the team, to promote the team and the sponsors. It’s then that the VIP’s, teams guests, sponsors and commentators and camera crew make their way onto the grid. After more photos, interaction and tv interviews, the track siren goes off and all of the track visitors have to leave the track leaving just the grid girls, and their driver, along with 1 mechanic on the grid. We then leave after a few tense minutes and the race is ready to start. I then make my way (very quickly) to the garage to watch the race and cheer on the team.

Some race weekends can be hot, and some extremely cold and wet to the point where you are actually shaking and your feet are soaking wet, not to mention the windy days that are challenging trying to hold your pole and your umbrella…so it’s not as glamorous as people think.

When race 1 has finished we then need to make ourselves available in the pits to again promote the team, be available for photos with fans, answers questions from passing fans, interact with fans and if they wish to have a look around we take them for a brief tour (usually the smaller fans like to see the cars). We’re always willing to help ensure the fans have a great day.

Races 2 and 3 are relatively the same, making sure we meet with the marshals 30 minutes before, collect boards etc. and do it all again. In between race two and three we have to ensure we grab some lunch…it’s hungry work!

I do this job because of my absolute love of cars, there once was a time when I was a spectator myself and attended as many race meets as I could, and then I had the opportunity to join AmD.

When I’m in the garage I ask lots of questions, I love to get involved and always willing to help where I can. When I’m not working at BTCC I attend the GT Cup, work on, and love to show my Escort RS Cosworth’s and usually found at a racetrack attending a race event of some sort. I’m a real petrolhead though, and as well as often being enthusiasts ourselves, many of the girls who work on grid, also hold down highly professional roles in the workplace during the week too.

RCIB Insurance Racing are incredibly grateful for Michelle, and her colleagues for all the hard work, early mornings, and brand representation that they do!

Thanks also to Marc Waller for the picture!

Tough end to fine season for AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing at Brands Hatch

BTCC Finale Brands Hatch 2018
3 October 2018 – The AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team endured a tough end to what has been an impressive season on track as the curtain came down on the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign at Brands Hatch.

The West Thurrock-based team headed for the famous Grand Prix circuit looking for points with the MG6 GT, with both Rory Butcher and Josh Caygill hoping to impress on track.

Rory qualified in 25th place for the opening race and made his way up to 23rd in the first 15 lap encounter of the weekend – with the Fife racer hopeful of pushing towards the points in race two.

Unfortunately for Rory, early contact in race two resulted in him being forced into the pits to retire, and left him near the back of the field for the season finale.

A great start to the final race saw Rory move up eight places into the top 20 but he would struggle for pace as the race wore on and eventually crossed the line at the end in 24th spot.

Team-mate Josh qualified 31st on the grid for race one having been faced with power steering issues during Saturday that led to the team replacing the steering rack on his car, and then battled his way to a 26th place finish in the opening race of the weekend.

After fighting hard to finish 21st in race two as he once again found himself battling against steering complaints, Josh was unfortunately forced to retire from the final round as a result of the problem after three laps.

Rory Butcher, #6 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“We came to Brands Hatch feeling confident but sadly, the weekend turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. We just didn’t have the pace in the car for some reason and couldn’t get in the groove, which means we have ended up coming from the final round without any points.

“However, the season as a whole has been really good and I think have done a good job with a car that a lot of people were writing off at the start of the year. The guys at AmD, with the support of AutoAid and RCIB, have done a fantastic job to turn out a car that has been really competitive and I think that has been shown in the results we have been able to achieve.

“This season was a real learning curve for me as my first full season in the BTCC, and I feel we have given ourselves a good platform to now try and build on.”

Josh Caygill, #54 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“I’m pleased in terms of what I’m doing behind the wheel, but it’s been a tough weekend with power steering problems on my car.

“In the races I was within around a second of Rory and considering we lost a lot of running time in free practice, and also factoring in his experience and quality, I was happy with that to be honest.

“It’s been a good taster of touring cars and I’ve enjoyed working with Shaun and the boys at AmD. Obviously, we’d love to be back in the BTCC for a full season next year and if we can put a package together it’ll definitely be a strong option as it’d be great to give it a proper go now we know what it’s all about.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“We have had a great year with the MG and it is just unfortunate that it didn’t end in the manner we hoped for.

“It was a shame for Josh that he had a power steering issue across the weekend that we weren’t able to get to the bottom of despite changing the steering rack, and I don’t feel he was able to show what he can do. He has been a real professional across the two meetings he has done with us and has shown he could do a good job in the BTCC, even if that hasn’t been reflected in the results on paper.

“Rory for me has been one of the finds of the season and we’re delighted with the performances he has put in across the year. He has consistently challenged for points and we’re already working hard to put together a package for 2019 that will allow us to build on what we have achieved this year.”

Thanks again to Marc Waller for his pictures supplied to us all season!

AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing out to impress in BTCC finale

BTCC Brands Hatch Finale 2018

The AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will seek to end a solid season on a high this weekend when the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign draws to a close.

The West Thurrock-based outfit makes the short trip to Brands Hatch hoping to maintain the kind of form that has seen its MG6 GT regularly in contention for points scoring finishes.

Fife racer Rory Butcher has proven to be one of the stars of the season in his first full year in the series, and heads to Brands Hatch keen to add to the 17 points scoring finishes he has enjoyed thus far.

The 31-year-old picked up three top 15 finishes on the shorter Indy layout at Brands Hatch at the start of the year and has continually punched above his weight throughout the campaign with a series of impressive performances on track.

Rory goes into the weekend needing to score a single point to become the first AmD driver to score a century in a season, whilst he will also seek to wrap up a top ten finish in the Independents’ Trophy standings.

A second place finish in the Jack Sears Trophy, for drivers who have yet to finish on the overall podium, is also still possible, with Rory adopting the same race-by-race approach he has taken all season with his focus on trying to make it 20 points finishes for the campaign.

Yorkshire team-mate Josh Caygill will be making his second appearance in the sister MG having made his debut with the team at Silverstone two weeks ago.

Although overheating issues prevented him from picking up three finishes on his first weekend in the car, Josh made solid progress on track as he returned to front-wheel drive competition and will aim to maintain that progress to push forwards towards the top 20.

Unlike at Silverstone, Josh will go into the weekend without any additional success ballast onboard his car; something that will boost his chances of some strong results on a circuit where he has already won this season in the Blancpain Sprint Cup.

Off track, this weekend will see the conclusion of the special competition that has run throughout the season giving one lucky person the chance to win a road-going replica of the MG6 GT that has raced on track throughout the year.

Eight competition winners have already earned their place in the grand final this weekend at Brands Hatch, with two more people having the chance to join them in the battle to secure the car.

Those two will be selected from all those who purchase AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing merchandise at the circuit, and which is available for sale across the weekend in the trade area.

A head-to-head Scalextric battle will then determine which of the ten comes away with the top prize.

Rory Butcher, #6 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“The Brands Hatch GP circuit is a great place to end the season. It’s a circuit I really enjoy and one where I feel the MG should go well as we have performed strongly at venues featuring quick corners – which is what we’ll face this weekend. We also made a lot of progress with the set-up of the car at Silverstone last time out and I feel that will put us in a good position going into the season finale.

“I have a number of aims for this weekend. I want to break the 100 point mark for the season, try to secure a place in the top 15 in the overall championship and cement a top three finish in the Jack Sears Trophy.

“I’ll be pushing to the maximum for some strong results and it would be great to end the year with at least one more top ten finish to my name to go into the winter on a high.”

Josh Caygill, #54 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“I can’t wait to get back in the car this weekend. Silverstone was a learning weekend for me and a very public test, and I was happy with the improvement I made even if we had a few issues that affected the results. I’m eager to try and kick on now at Brands Hatch and try to push for some solid results.

“With the knowledge and experience I have from some time in the car, I’m hoping that I can be on the pace from the start of the weekend and will be able to hit the ground running, whilst it will also benefit me to not be carrying additional weight this weekend. To be honest, I was shocked by the impact the weight had at Silverstone and the car was transformed when we took it out, so I know I’ll be starting in a better place.

“All being well, we can qualify a bit better this weekend and then get involved in the pack from the start of race one and try to work our way forwards. I’m planning to get stuck in and it would be great if we could get into the points. Anything can happen in the BTCC, so we’ll have to see how things pan out.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“I think we’ve done a good job with the MGs this season and go into the finale at Brands Hatch feeling optimistic about ending the year on a high.

“Rory has done a fantastic job in his first full season in the series and has done everything we hoped he would do, and more besides. Given the pace he has shown in recent events, we’re confident that he can bring home a top ten finish to end the year strongly and cement his position in the standings.

“Josh was impressive at Silverstone in the way he approached his first weekend, and the improvements he made weren’t reflected in the results on paper due to issues outside his control. I have no doubt he’ll take steps forward this weekend and think a points finish is certainly an achievable target.”

Photo Credit: Marc Waller!

AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing go close to top ten at Silverstone

Silverstone BTCC 2018

18 September 2018 – The AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing put more points on the board as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed for Silverstone for the penultimate meeting of the year.

The West Thurrock-based outfit headed into the weekend keen to build on three top ten finishes at Knockhill in the previous round, with regular driver Rory Butcher joined by series debutant Josh Caygill.

Fife racer Rory qualified 24th on the grid for race one despite his best lap being less than half a second away from pole, showing the ultra-competitive nature of the grid around the short National layout.

A stunning performance in the opening race saw Rory charge through the field at the wheel of his MG6 GT, with a number of impressive moves for position seeing him climb up to twelfth spot by the finish.

Running the less favourable hard tyre in race two affected his chances of more forward progress as he slipped back to 16th spot by the finish, although the Scot went into race three optimistic about repeating the performance he had shown in race one earlier in the day.

Despite early race contact that damaged the side of his car, Rory battled up to 13th place before being forced to pit having picked up a puncture. Rejoining a lap down, he was then the quickest car on track to show the pace of the MG before he brought the car into the pits to retire.

Team-mate Josh, from Holmfirth in Yorkshire, was forced to contend with carrying additional ballast into the weekend as a new entry to the series, which played a part in him qualifying in 30th place for his debut race.

Race one was a case of mission accomplished as he brought the car to the finish in 23rd place on the hard compound tyre, but the rookie was then forced to retire from race two when his car started to lose power.

The team fitted a new radiator ahead of race three but a misfire developed in the early stages as a legacy of ECU damage from the earlier overheating and he was again forced to bring his car in to retire.

Rory Butcher, #6 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“Qualifying was a bit frustrating because I know there was more time in the car. However, I kept encountering people in the final sector which meant I couldn’t get the ideal lap, and the extra tenth of a second would have moved us right up the grid with the times being so close.

“Race one really made up for it though and we showed strong pace to come through towards the top ten, although we knew race two would be tough on the hard tyre. I think we did well to minimise the places we lost in that one and there is no doubt in my mind that a top ten was possible without the puncture in race three.

“Clearly we had a really quick car at Silverstone so it’s a shame we couldn’t come away with more points, but we’ll hope to get some more strong results to end the year at Brands Hatch in a few weeks.”

Josh Caygill, #54 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“The end results have been tough but I’ve had a lot of fun on track this weekend on my debut. The first day was all about getting experience in the car and carrying the weight in qualifying and the opening race was always going to make it tough. I just made sure I stayed out of trouble and made up some places, which is the most I could have done.

“The car felt good in the early stages of race two before we lost power and it started to overheat and I was forced to retire. The team did a great job ahead of race three but sadly we had nothing to show for it because there was a misfire that prevented me from continuing.

“There is plenty I can take away from the weekend though and I’m already looking forward to Brands Hatch to see what we can do there.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing, said:
“It’s another weekend where we have shown good pace with the MGs, and it’s a shame we didn’t pick up a few more points from it. We spent a lot of time looking at how to improve the performance of the car in qualifying but sadly couldn’t show it due to traffic, but the race pace was as good as it has been all season.

“Rory was particularly impressive in race one to come through the field in the manner that he did and had he not had the puncture in race three, there is no reason why he couldn’t have done it again when you look at the times he was setting.

“For Josh, he did everything that was asked of him and made good progress and it was just unfortunate that there were a few gremlins on race day that prevented him from picking up three finishes. However, I think that when we go to Brands Hatch without the extra weight in his car, he can hope to push further up the field.”

Thanks again to Marc Waller for the photography!

Josh Caygill joins AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing

Josh Caygill

The AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team can today confirm the signing of Josh Caygill for the final two rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

Josh will compete for the West Thurrock-based team in the meetings at Silverstone and Brands Hatch at the wheel of the #54 MG6 GT as team-mate to Rory Butcher in what will be his first foray into the BTCC.

The 29-year-old, from Holmfirth in Yorkshire, makes the move into the BTCC having enjoyed a varied career to date having initially competed on two wheels – including two years racing in the highly-competitive British Supersport Championship.

Switching to four wheels in 2013, Josh went on to compete in the Volkswagen Racing Cup and the DTM-supporting Audi Sport TT Cup before moving into sportscars in 2017 with Team WRT in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup.

This season, Josh has been competing in the Blancpain Sprint Series in a Team Parker-run Bentley Continental GT alongside former BTCC racer Aron Taylor-Smith, with the pair taking victory in the Silver Cup during the British round at Brands Hatch back in May.

Josh has had the opportunity to sample the MG – ironically the same car that Taylor-Smith raced in the series last year – during a day of testing at Snetterton and will now hope for a solid race debut when he hits the track at Silverstone this weekend.

Team-mate Rory heads for Silverstone hoping to maintain an impressive run of form that has seen him finish in the top ten in the last six races.

The Fife racer showed strong pace at both Rockingham and Knockhill and heads into the penultimate meeting of the campaign seeking to cement his position in the top of the eight of the Independents’ Trophy standings.

The main focus for Rory going into the weekend will be to try and improve his qualifying performance, which in turn will give the 31-year-old the opportunity to maximise his results on race day.

Having finished on the podium numerous time at Silverstone in the past, and with confidence on a high, Rory will seek to try and push well inside the top ten to at least match his previous best result of sixth place.

Josh Caygill, #54 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“I’m over the moon to have agreed a deal to join the team for the final two rounds of the season. The BTCC is a series that I have wanted to compete in for a long time but the right opportunity has never come along before. When this chance arrived, I grabbed it with both hands.

“Having had chance to sample the MG last week, the car felt really nice, even though the rear end was a bit lively, and it was good to be back in front-wheel drive having spent the last few years in GT machinery.

“I’m open minded about the weekend ahead and my only aim is to go out there and do my best. I want to enjoy myself and if we come away from Silverstone with a good result on the board, then I’ll view it as a bonus at this stage

“For me, these two rounds are an opportunity to see what the BTCC is all about and if it works for both me and my sponsors, then it is certainly something I’d look at for 2019.”

Rory Butcher, #6 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“We head to Silverstone on a high after our results in the last two rounds and I’m looking forward to the weekend as Silverstone is a circuit I really enjoy. It’s also one that I think should suit the MG, which leaves me feeling confident about picking up more strong results.

“We know we still need to try and extract more from the car in qualifying but whatever happens on Saturday, we have shown we have a strong race car that we can use to push forwards on a Sunday.

“We are scoring good points at the moment and are approaching 100 in the overall standings, which will be a great achievement for us. We have to keep being consistent and see where we can end up after these final two rounds.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Josh into the team for the final two rounds of the year. He has shown himself to be a very capable driver in everything he has done in his career so far, and brings a wealth of experience having competed at a high level in Blancpain GT and also on the DTM support bill.

“He drove very well in the test last week given that he was running on old tyres and it was his first time in the MG, and we certainly feel he is a driver who is capable of bringing home some solid results. The additional weight as a new driver will be a challenge this weekend, but all we are looking for from him is to stay out of trouble and learn as much as he can.

“Rory heads to Silverstone in a rich vein of form after his strong results at Rockingham and Knockhill and we are hopeful he can maintain that kind of form this weekend. It’s clear to see that we have a strong race car, so we need to focus on trying to get more from it in qualifying to give him the best possible opportunity to pick up a big haul of points this weekend.”