Andrew Watson in good shape ahead of British Touring Car Championship

Donaghmore man (29) exciting by weekend’s action at Donington

Andrew signed a deal to move from Power Maxed Racing to the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK team for the British Touring Car Championship season which gets underway at Donington Park National this weekend (EAI/DomGibbons)

NEW Toyota Gazoo Racing UK signing Andrew Watson says that he is good shape – and in the best possible place – on the eve of his second season in the KwikFit British Touring Car Championship.

The 29-year-old signed a deal to move from Power Maxed Racing to the Speedworks Motorsport-run squad for the 2024 campaign, which gets underway at Donington Park National with qualifying on Saturday and three races on Sunday.

Having impressed at the Leicestershire venue on his tin top debut twelve months ago by qualifying inside the top 10, former endurance competitor Watson is eager to go even better this time.

Confidence has been fuelled by a productive pre-season testing programme involving his Toyota Corolla GR Sport hatch, and his new team-mate – former World Touring Car champion, Rob Huff.

Aside from a different team, the key note changes Watson has had to get on top of is moving from being seated on the left-hand-side of the car which he did last year, to now tackling circuits on the right-hand-side.

And although front-wheel-drive is now second nature to him, fine-tuning the UK-made Corolla has taken some time with Jack Cocker – his race engineer for the thirty-round programme.

“I am feeling really excited for Donington Park – it is such a great circuit, especially in a touring car – and the perfect place to start the season. It tends to generate really good racing and obviously has very positive memories for me from last year,” said Watson, whose impressive points tally and trophy haul throughout 2023 brought him to the attention of his latest boss, Christian Dick.

“There has been a lot to get on top of during the off-season, but I think we have used our test days wisely to build a very solid foundation for the campaign ahead. Switching to right-hand drive has been a little bit different, but I got a good feeling from the Toyota straightaway which has helped.

“The Corolla’s base set-up seems to be really strong, so now it is about extracting the most from it.

Donaghmore man Andrew Watson (right) is excited for this weekend's start to the British Touring Car Championship in Donington (EAI/DomGibbons)

“It is great having Rob alongside me. He is a super-nice guy: he has been really open, and he has so much experience and I am already learning from him.

“He brings a lot of value to the team and will be a tough competitor for sure this season. We have been saying very similar things about the Corolla, too, which is reassuring. Everybody in the team is pulling in the same direction,” he added.

“I am also really beginning to gel with my race engineer, Jack, so overall, I am feeling good and my confidence is high. I am in a top team and a great car, so there is no point in denying it – the goal is to challenge for podium finishes and wins.”