The driver line-up for the Toyota GT86’s UK racing debut has been announced – and we can reveal that it marks an amazing comeback for Chris Hodgetts, the man who won back-to-back touring car championships in the Toyota Corolla GT in the 1980s.
What’s more, Chris will be joined in the four-man squad for the Britcar 24 Hours by his son, Stefan.
Between them, father and son have plenty of racing experience, and although he hasn’t competed in a while, 61-year-old Chris can be found at circuits every weekend, testing cars and coaching young drivers.
Stefan, 30, is one of those drivers he has guided, currently competing in the Clio Cup where has been a race winner this year.
Completing the Team Toyota GB quartet for the Britcar, Britain’s toughest race, are journalist and accomplished Aston Martin racer Richard Meaden, and Neil Primrose.
Neil is an experienced historic car racer, and campaigns a Lola 2-litre Lola T212 sportscar and has raced at the historic Le Mans Classic and at the Nurburgring.
Coincidentally, he is also the drummer in the band Travis, famed for the album “The Man Who”, released in 2000.
As well as being the most experienced member of the team – he’s a veteran of six round-the-clock races at Le Mans – Chris will provide a direct link between the new GT86 and the famous Corolla GT (also known as the AE86), one of the classic Toyota sports cars that inspired its development. He told us: “I think the last time I raced a Toyota was the 1988 Spa 24 Hours. We retired eight minutes from the end while leading our class.”
He recently dropped into the workshops of GPRM, where the Britcar GT86 is taking shape: “There was the new car and alongside it was a replica of my old AE86 Corolla, all in its old livery. I admit I shed a tear. It’s wonderful to be reunited.”
Stefan is equally excited at the prospect of racing the Toyota: “I was four or five when dad was wining the BTCC in his Toyota and I remember it vividly. It’s a great connection to the past for me and a fantastic opportunity. And I think my team-mate is a safe and sensible sort of guy who will have over the GT86 in one piece.”
The Britcar 24 Hours will take place at Silverstone over the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd. Here on the blog we will be bringing you more updates on the building of the race car and all the news surrounding Team Toyota GB, so check back here soon for the latest.