Former world champion returns to BTCC with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK

28th March 2024

  • Rob Huff joins Andrew Watson on the driving strength at Speedworks-run outfit
  • Cambridgeshire ace entering second full season in series – 20 years after his first
  • 44-year-old setting his sights on another title to add to impressive career CV

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK has completed its driver line-up for the 2024 British Touring Car Championship campaign with the recruitment of former FIA World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff.

To motor racing fans, Huff needs little introduction. Crowned WTCC Champion in 2012 – beating no lesser rivals than Alain Menu, Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini – from 17 seasons in the fiercely-disputed series and its successor, the FIA World Touring Car Cup, he achieved a total of 34 race wins and four top three championship finishes against some of the finest tin-top talent around.

Over the course of his illustrious career, the 44-year-old has additionally worked alongside the likes of Jason Plato and Nicola Larini, and he added another title to his impressive résumé with the TCR Scandinavian Touring Car Championship laurels in 2020. Still very much at the top of his game, Huff placed third overall in the inaugural TCR World Tour last year.

The Cambridgeshire star is no stranger to the BTCC either, although his only previous full season came two decades ago, back in 2004. On the podium in just his fourth race in the UK’s premier motor racing series, he concluded his maiden campaign with two victories to his credit, and while he subsequently went on to successfully ply his trade on the international stage, he always kept a close eye on the championship where it had all begun.

When he returned for a one-off outing at Silverstone in 2017, it was like he had never been away as he reached the rostrum once again, and he then re-appeared for another single-shot weekend at Knockhill last summer – scoring points in both of the races that he finished – before speculatively testing TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK’s Corolla at Croft later in the year.

Having since agreed terms with the Speedworks Motorsport-run outfit, Huff – who is represented by Fewkes Sport Management, of which he is also a director – will now rejoin the BTCC grid for his second proper assault on the biggest prize in British motorsport, partnering reigning Jack Sears Trophy winner Andrew Watson on the driving strength for the 30-round campaign.

Racing will get underway at Donington Park on 27/28 April – home soil for the British-built Corolla, whose road-going cousins are produced at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) in nearby Burnaston. All of the action season-long will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV channels.

Christian Dick, Team Principal, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:

“It goes without saying that we are thrilled to bring a driver of Rob’s calibre and success on-board for the forthcoming campaign. His record in the sport speaks for itself – he has raced against, and regularly beaten, the very best in the world, and he is just as razor-sharp now as he was when he started out more than two decades ago.

“The BTCC is a unique beast that requires a very specific skillset, and we’ve obviously seen quick drivers return before after some time away and struggle to re-adapt, but when Rob rejoined the grid at Silverstone in 2017 and Knockhill last summer, he was immediately back in the groove – he gave us quite a run for our money at Silverstone, I seem to recall! I have no doubt at all that he will be firmly in the mix.

“When he tested the Corolla last year, he instantly felt at home and his wealth of experience of driving different cars will be hugely beneficial as we continue to strive to extract every last ounce of performance out of the Toyota – while offering an invaluable bank of knowledge for Andrew [Watson] to draw upon in his second season in the championship. We’re tremendously excited about the potential in the team this year and can’t wait to get going!”

Rob Huff, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:

“It feels like I’ve come full circle, 20 years on! I’ve always been a huge supporter of the BTCC – I began my racing career in Britain and I’ve been looking to come back for a little while. Last year, I really ramped up those efforts to return; I was given the opportunity to compete at Knockhill, which whetted my appetite for more while allowing me to get my name back in the frame and talk to people face-to-face. 

“The main priority for me was to ensure I ended up in a potential championship-winning car with people who share my passion and enthusiasm for the sport – and at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, that’s what I believe I’ve found. I spoke to pretty much every team in the championship, and I got the best feeling from Christian and Amy [Dick]. I like what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and when I tested the Corolla at Croft, everything felt very natural and aligned fairly seamlessly. 

“I’ve got to say, I’m probably more excited for this new challenge than I have been in a long time – it just feels perfectly right – and I’m delighted to be working with Andrew [Watson], too. He’s clearly a very quick guy who represents himself very well both on and off-track, and I think he did an absolutely amazing job as a BTCC rookie last year.

“We all share the same values, and we’re all pushing for the same goal, which is to drive the whole team forward and to arrive at Brands Hatch at the end of the season in with a shout of winning the title. The competition at the top in the BTCC is always fierce, which means consistency is key. Points win prizes – and ultimately, championships.” © 2024
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