SPFL title sponsor Ladbrokes have today announced they are backing Scotland's British Touring Car Championship Driver Rory Butcher.
Butcher believes he has the car, the backing and the insight to be a lightning fast force to be reckoned with when the British Touring Car Championship roars into action at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Butcher, whose family run the Knockhill racing circuit in Fife, is heading into his second full season in the UK’s flagship motorsport series, racing for the Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance team.
He was fifth fastest in the test day at the legendary Kent track last week in his Honda Civic.
And Butcher, with Ladbrokes as one of his main sponsors, is getting the perfect advice from brother-in-law Gordon Shedden, who won three titles in 12 years racing in BTCC, having now moved up to the World Touring Car Cup series.
32-year-old Butcher said: “I’m still learning the craft of BTCC but I feel my prospects are good.
“It’s about piecing together a full season where you are really building towards a championship.
“A lot of things have to fall into place – you need good engineers, a good car, my driving has to be on-point and you need to stay out of trouble.
“There is a real career to be in BTCC because so many big brands are involved – like Ladbrokes – and the series is free to watch and also live on ITV4.
“I’m really looking forward to the start of the season. We’ve got a really competitive package with the people I’ve got around me in the team and the car I have beneath me.
“I feel very fit – I’ve been training hard over the winter – and all the hard work has been done in testing so we now have to do the business on the track.
“I came into the Championship halfway through the 2017 season. I was thrown into the deep end as it’s a completely different style of racing.
“It’s really cut and thrust and really difficult to score points in all 30 races – but if you can do that you have a real shot t fighting for the Championship.
“Unfortunately, we had a few reliability issues last year and we got caught up in some trouble at times so there was damage too.
“However, we scored points in all of the races we finished so it was consistent from that point of view.
“This year we’re looking for more. We want to be battling for silverware.”
The series features 30 drivers in 15 teams taking part in 30 rounds at eight venues – Brands Hatch and Thruxton are used twice – with three races on each race day.
Butcher is generously priced at 40/1 with www.ladbrokes.com to win overall with defending champion Colin Turkington joint favourite with Ashley Sutton at 4/1.
It’s a massive help that Shedden – married to Rory’s sister Jillian – also raced a Honda in BTCC.
Butcher added: “It’s great to have his experience and I’m driving a Honda, the same car that he did.
“There has been so much advice and guidance he has passed on and I have to use that to my advantage.
“I have set my sights on doing well at UK level and you never know – World Touring Cars could be in the future.
“I want to get that first race win and that will come if we do the right job.
“But my main focus is to keep racking up the points in each race.”
David Macdonald of Ladbrokes said: “Backing Rory was a no-brainer for us. He was voted top 10 in the UK last season and with his continued dedication and enthusiasm for the sport there is every chance he can become champion on the BTCC circuit.”