Race-winning touring car and single-seater team SWR has this morning, Wednesday, 25th September, confirmed the welcome news of a return to action for the 2020 season with a move into the ultra-competitive MINI Challenge with a planned two car entry.
Following a sabbatical from track action this year, the Chipping Norton-based team will join the impressive grid of the one-make MINI category next season as the series joins the high-profile support package of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship for the first time.
SWR, owned by Super GT Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw and headed day-to-day by team principal Ken Page, is set to field a pair of 265bhp JCW class cars next year and is currently in early talks with drivers for the outfit’s maiden season in MINI Challenge.
Of course, the Walkinshaw name was famed in the halcyon days of the Super Touring Car era in the BTCC through Sean’s father Tom and the renowned TWR brand, so Walkinshaw Jnr is looking forward to bringing SWR onto the UK’s biggest and best motor racing package.
“We’re delighted to be able to announce we’ll be back for 2020 and very excited to be making the move into the MINI Challenge, it’s a fantastic championship and has grown impressively over the past few seasons”, said Walkinshaw, “The standard of teams and preparation is very high and we’re looking forward to a fresh challenge, but we’re under no illusions as to the level of competition.
“Being part of the BTCC weekends will be fantastic, it’s great to be making this move into MINIs now at such an important time for the championship. It will obviously be a bit of a home coming for the Walkinshaw name too back onto the BTCC package and integral members of the team like Ken [Page] were obviously part of TWR in the Super Touring era, so it’s an exciting time for all of us.”
Commenting on SWR’s arrival in MINI Challenge, championship promoter Antony Williams said: “We've worked incredibly hard to raise the profile of the MINI Challenge, and with that comes an increase in the level of competition also.
“It's great to welcome new teams of all shapes and sizes, and the addition of a proven race-winning squad like SWR can only be a boost for the championship. The team has shown its strengths in single-seater and touring car racing in the past, so we're excited to see what it can achieve with the JCWs.”
SWR was first established as the re-launched British arm of Walkinshaw Racing in 2012 to compete in the, then new, BRDC Formula 4 Championship the following year. During the category’s inaugural race meeting at Silverstone GP Circuit in April 2013, the rebranded SWR became race winners and added further victories at Oulton Park, Brands Hatch GP Circuit, Silverstone again and Snetterton.
Remaining a front-running challenger over the next two seasons in BRDC Formula 4, SWR stayed in the category in 2016 – when it transformed into the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship – before then making the switch to endurance racing in 2017 in the GT4 European Series with a Nissan 370Z.
Last year, SWR joined the grid for the inaugural season of the TCR UK Championship and became a race winner with its Honda Civic Type-R touring car at Croft in North Yorkshire mid-season with Swedish driver Andreas Backman.
The team also achieved podium finishes in TCR UK with former BTCC racer Howard Fuller and with Sean Walkinshaw himself, the latter taking the squad’s maiden touring car rostrum earlier in the season on his front-wheel drive debut at Knockhill in Scotland.
Oxfordshire’s SWR is currently putting together a testing programme for the remainder of 2019 ahead of its MINI Challenge bow in 2020. Drivers interested in finding out more about the team’s plans and to discuss testing and race opportunities are invited to contact Sean Walkinshaw on 07974 365587 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, contact Ken Page on 0845 4020402 or email email@example.com.