First announced in 2021, Rory has been making his mark both on and off-track after committing to offset his carbon footprint by planting trees at race circuits all around the country, as well as at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd in Burnaston.
Butcher has been a leading contender in the UK’s premier motor racing series since making his BTCC debut six years ago, with 10 race wins to his name as well as the 2019 Independents’ title and Jack Sears Trophy.
For the 2023 BTCC campaign, Rory Butcher will be joined by Ricky Collard and George Gamble at the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Gazoo Racing UK outfit, as he plots an assault on the overall Drivers’ crown.
In addition to targeting the biggest prize in British motorsport, Butcher is also eager to play his part in protecting the environment and has pledged to neutralise the carbon footprint generated by travelling to circuits and back from his home in Kirkcaldy.
Based upon his mileage and average fuel consumption, Butcher and Adam Brindle – CEO of commercial landscaping company, the Grounds Care Group calculated that 72 established trees* will need to be planted to instantly offset those annual emissions. Moreover, Rory has vowed to plant additional trees for every podium he achieves this season behind the wheel of his British-built Toyota Corolla – three for every victory, two per runner-up result and one for each third-place finish.
We caught up with both Rory and Adam as they planted the first tree of 2023 at Toyota’s Eco-HQ.
How did this partnership come about?
RB – “Adam approached me back in 2021 and was interested in sponsoring a BTCC driver because of his passion for biodiversity through his business and helping the environment also he is a keen motorsport fan so it seemed ideal to try and merge the two together. He came up with a really interesting and exciting idea to offset part of my carbon footprint and has been really supportive. We decided to call the project Racing Clean and we made a plan to try and get venues to try and plant these trees what better place than the venues we are actually racing at. We’ve planted at Silverstone, Knockhill, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd and now here at Toyota HQ just to name a few. The trees not only help to reduce my carbon footprint but also help increase the biodiversity within the area.”
How does it feel to have a big name like Rory supporting this cause?
AD – “It’s fantastic, I’ve been following the BTCC since I was a young boy and I am a keen motor racer myself. Rory has been great to partner with and sees the longevity of the project and the benefits of what it brings, especially since the BTCC switched to hybrid powertrains in 2022.”
Why did you want to partner with Rory specifically?
AD – “I wanted to partner with someone who would understand the project and be a long-term contender in the BTCC and with Rory’s pedigree and history it seemed like the most obvious choice to me.”
How many trees have you planted so far?
RB – “We aim to plant 80 trees per year so by the end of 2023 we will have planted in excess of over 200 trees. These trees are a couple of years old when we plant them and they are all native to the UK, which is important for the biodiversity as they are not competing with the trees already in the area.”
How does it feel to have the support of Toyota GB for this project?
RB – “It is pretty special and a great honour and just shows the support of the brand in doing this. They have the same beliefs as us and really see the value in the project and have gotten behind it 100%. We’ve got some more trees to plant up at the factory in Burnaston.”
AD – “A lot of companies talk about carbon offsetting, biodiversity, and sustainability but when you approach organisations they are not interested, so you can quickly see who is actually serious about the end goal and that’s why it is so amazing to have both TMUK and Toyota HQ showing their support for this project wholeheartedly.”
Agustín Martín, TGB President and CEO, added “We are delighted to be supporting Rory and Adam with the Racing Clean Project. It’s a fantastic initiative which is very close to us here at Toyota Eco-HQ and Toyota’s Global Environmental Challenge 2050, where one of our main aims is to establish a future society in harmony with nature. At Eco-HQ, we pride ourselves on encouraging and enhancing onsite biodiversity, whilst creating an engaging space for staff and visitors and providing a legacy through the education of staff and the local community. We all have a responsibility to the environment and the Racing Clean Project is a brilliant example of how this can be achieved.”
* Trees to be planted may include Acer campestre, Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula, Carpinus betulus, Castanea sativa, Fagus sylvatica, Quercus robur, Sorbus aucuparia, Tilia cordata and Tilia platyphyllus.