Rory Butcher has re-signed for team Speedworks/Toyota Gazoo Racing UK ahead of this weekend’s inaugural round of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park. Driving a Motul-lubricated Toyota Corolla, Rory has high hopes for this year after an incredible season with the team in 2021. Here are his thoughts ahead of lining up on the grid this weekend.
How does it feel to be returning to the team for your second year, Rory?
I’m absolutely delighted to be returning to the BTCC for my fifth full season in the championship. To be coming back with the same team and car is a ‘first’ for me, and that continuity can only be positive – especially as we head into the new hybrid era, with all the changes that will entail. Not needing to gel with different people or a different car will be one less thing to have to worry about, and it means we can put everything we’ve learned together so far to good use.
How will this year’s BTCC be different for you?
I made no secret of the fact that it took me a little while to completely get to grips with the Corolla last year; there was a lot to adapt to, but once we ‘clicked’, we were quick pretty much everywhere, which fills me with a lot of confidence going forward. We know we still have a few areas that need ironing out to fully maximise the car’s potential, but we have so much data to draw upon and with the pre-season development we have planned, there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t be pushing for wins at every circuit.
Your first race is this weekend. What’s your strategy for 2022?
Considering what we achieved over the second half of 2021 in particular and the experience and knowledge we have gained, the target has to be to hit the ground running at Donington Park in April and then go into the final event at Brands Hatch in October with a fighting chance of taking the title. That will obviously be no easy task in a series as ultra-competitive as the BTCC, but Speedworks is a fantastic team and when we get the Toyota really in the window, it feels like nobody can touch us.
How does the Corolla feel now that it carries a hybrid system?
Due to its extra weight, the hybrid system will inevitably make the car handle slightly differently and will add another element to the competition in giving us all a bit more to think about strategically and racecraft-wise, but ultimately, I think the best teams and drivers will rise to the top. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
Motul is once again a technical partner of the team. What benefits do you see using Motul lubricants?
Motul is such a well-known brand in our industry and is held in such high regard. We're just super proud to have them on side of the car and excited to see what else can come from it. The British Touring Car Championship is the perfect place to be and we're so glad to have Motul backing us. I want to push myself to be the best I can be, and I think having the Motul products inside our engine and gearbox gives me the confidence to push them to their limit and know that they’re going to last the race and the season.