Arena to bring Ford back into the BTCC fold

Ford’s famous Blue Oval badge will return to the British Touring Car Championship in 2009 after an absence of seven seasons.

Veteran entrant Mike Earle’s Arena Motorsport International team has said it will develop the Ford Focus to Super 2000 rules and field a pair of cars. Tom Chilton, who has raced BTCC Hondas and sports cars for Arena, will be one of the drivers.

Earle said: “We have researched many options of car and decided that the Ford Focus was dynamically the most suitable for our programme.”

Arena will race as an independent in the BTCC and will not receive any backing from Ford. Ford last entered a factory team in the BTCC in the 2000 season (left), winning the title with Alain Menu. The GR Motorsport team won the Production class with a Focus the following season.