WHEN it comes to the MSA British Touring Car Championship, tyre manufacturer Dunlop is part of the furniture.
Dunlop has been actively involved in all eras of the championship since it began in 1958 and at the beginning of the 2014 season it announced a new multi-year contract to continue as the official tyre supplier and championship title sponsor.
The deal means Dunlop’s partnership with BTCC now spans over a decade and brand manager Andy Marfleet hopes their association can continue for many years.
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“It’s like a big family at the Touring Cars,” Marfleet said.
“It’s a real family community in UK motorsport on a whole.
“The recession did affect the sport overall, but we’ve seen now that Touring Cars is growing and it’s important we continue our long association with the championship.
“Partnering with the BTCC provides a great platform for Dunlop from both a product and brand perspective. Not only do we put our motorsport products to the test in every race, but we also leverage our brand in close association with this important motorsport championship.
“The BTCC is one of the most prestigious championships in Europe and our investment and partnership with this organisation enables us to prove our position as a leader in motorsport.”
The sponsorship deal also includes television broadcast of the championship on ITV4 and clear branding across all assets including cars, trackside and online collateral including the popular BTCC website and social feeds, as well as a number of hospitality and ticket allocations.
Dunlop give away 30 pairs of tickets to every round of the championship and Marfleet believes they now offer fans the best opportunity to get up close and personal with their racing idols.
“By adding extra value to a race day, in terms of family tickets and VIP areas, we have noticed an upturn in numbers. Touring Car fans are hardcore. Our coverage on ITV4 has been very successful and so has the online coverage of qualifying.”
The BTCC arrives at Croft this weekend for Round Five and Marfleet admits the North Yorkshire circuit presents a great challenge for their products.
“Croft is such an important round of the Championship,” Marfleet added. “It offers some interesting dynamics to the racing.
“I think it was last year we had some really intense rain and it made everyone, and all our products, have to work a bit harder.
“I remember people saying it was more of a boat race than a car race (last year), but it’s a great challenge for everyone involved and it’s always a really exciting round on the schedule.”