Airwaves Racing has ignited its most ambitious Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship programme to date by revealing multiple touring car champion and BTCC legend Fabrizio Giovanardi as the Motorbase Performance-run squad’s new signing for the 2014 season.
Team Principal David Bartrum chose to officially unveil the news during a one-off special edition of the Tin-Top Tuesday radio show earlier this evening (4 February), and the news was simultaneously published on the official BTCC.net website.
“This is a very important year for Airwaves Racing. This is going to be the one when we really do underline the product we’ve built here at Motorbase Performance and Fabrizio is the man to show you how it should go,” said Bartrum. “I tried to get Fabrizio on board a couple of years ago, we’ve talked a lot about touring cars and this year I decided just before Christmas that was the right way to try and go. It was something that Airwaves set out in their criteria; they wanted us to up our game, and I was very happy to meet it.”
With former champion Giovanardi behind the wheel of the Mountune-powered Ford Focus ST NGTC, the Wrotham-based squad’s sights are set firmly on a return to winning ways after a challenging start to the 2013 season. “The intentions are the same as last year, the team wants to win” continued Bartrum. “We want to win races and we want to go after the championship and if you’re going to go after the championship this is the year to do it. There are thirty cars on the grid and possibly seven guys that have won it before; so I think it’s a fantastic year for Giovanardi to come back and join us.
“A lot of work has gone into the car over the winter. I’m really pleased with what the team has done, they’ve worked very hard. As I’ve said before, you need to take a step back and look sometimes, that’s what we’ve done and now we’re hoping to get the reward.
“We’ve always been proud of our driver line-up and no more this year than last year, but this year it’s got a little Italian spice to it that might take the team forward that bit more.”
With back to back 2007/2008 championship titles to his name; Giovanardi has an impressive BTCC pedigree. With 122 appearances, 41 podiums and 24 race wins already under his belt, the twice crowned BTCC champion was last seen in the championship in the 2010 season, where he celebrated two race wins and two podiums during the opening weekend at Thruxton.
Following his four year break from the championship Giovanardi is delighted to be joining the Airwaves Racing squad and relishing his highly-anticipated return to the illustrious BTCC grid. “I am really looking forward to coming back to this special championship. For the last four years I have done long distance racing and for me, it’s quite boring! I need to be fighting for championships and this is the best place to find that, so I’m really happy to be back. Obviously, I have to respect the other guys out there but I want to come here and try to win another championship; I need to win the third one!”
Giovanardi’s union with the Airwaves Racing team has been a long time in the making, with behind the scenes talks with the Motorbase Performance Team Boss going as far back as 2010. “When I stopped racing with Triple Eight I had a chat with David Bartrum and we tried to find a deal, but there wasn’t the condition to do that, so now after four years, David has given me the technical effort to win the championship.”
“In 2008 and 2009 I had a big battle with this team and they were one of the teams to beat then. After four years I believe they’ve got good experience, they’ve grown up and they are right at this time to give me the winning chance,” added Giovanardi. “These are passionate guys, it’s a small team but with people that work well together. Good people and the right people make the right target and I believe straight away that we can be one of the teams fighting for the championship.”
The Airwaves Racing squad will be embarking on its winter testing programme in the coming weeks ahead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s official Season Launch to be held at Donington Park on 18 March. The 2014 BTCC season opener takes place at Motorbase Performance’s local track, Brands Hatch on March 29/30.