March 2018

Points on the board at season-opener for Albatec NCME and Mark Higgins

Silverstone, Northamptonshire (UK) — 17 March 2018:  Albatec Racing NCME and Mark Higgins opened their Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship account with an impressive performance and a points-scoring finish in the season-opener at Silverstone today. Making his Supercar debut at a bitterly cold and slippery Northamptonshire track, Mark powered his Eddie Stobart supported Peugeot 208 RX Supercar to the fifth fastest overall time to easily qualify for the Final and was heading for a top four finish until a broken driveshaft ended his charge. He managed to limp to the finish, albeit a lap behind, and was classified seventh.

There was disappointment for Andy Scott even before the event started; the double British Vice-Champion forced to withdraw with technical issues on the second Motis, Rock Oil and Teng Tools-supported 208. His development engine suffered a problem during the shakedown test, and the team was unable to get the spare parts in time to fix it, leaving the Team Principal to resume his role overseeing the sole #34 entry.

Eleven students from NCME at the University of Bolton joined the team today for their first on-event experience working alongside the seasoned Albatec engineers on Mark’s car, gaining crucial hands-on understanding of being part of a fully-fledged race team.

The Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship resumes at the spiritual home of rallycross, Lydden Hill in Kent on Easter Monday (2 April).

Mark Higgins, Albatec Racing driver #34:

“It’s been a positive weekend despite the result. The car was working well, we qualified well and had good starts all day. In the Final I knew what we had to do and was keeping it nice and neat behind [Julian] Godfrey, waiting for the joker, but unfortunately just landing off the jump it looks like a driveshaft broke and that was the end of it.

“The weather and conditions were horrendous, that was a challenge in itself for learning about the car and what these slick tyres are like on the gravel. The first time I experienced that was going into the first corner for the first time. Overall though, it’s been a good weekend and we’ll take a lot of positives from it and carry that forward to Lydden. At the end of the day we’ve grabbed some points, so we’ve not ended up with nothing, but there could have been a lot more.”

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing:

“It’s been a good weekend, although naturally a disappointing final result. Mark obviously had the speed to pull of his first race win. We need to take a good look at the car, we believe it was a driveshaft failure in the Final, but British rallycross had better watch out, Mark Higgins is coming!

“The NCME students I think got a lot out of the weekend too, they certainly immersed themselves in all the tasks they were given, and I hope it’s been a good experience for them. For myself it was very disappointing not to be racing due to the technical issues we suffered at the shakedown, but we’ll back to two cars for Lydden and will be looking for an Albatec 1-2!”

Dr. Mark Busfield, Director, National Centre for Motorsport Engineering:

“This has been a great experience for the students and I’ve been very impressed with how they’ve have integrated themselves into the team. They worked hard in the build-up to the event through into the test, culminating in their participation as part of the event team this weekend.

“They will have learnt a lot from the experience I’m sure, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress as they get more knowledge and experience before the next race at Lydden Hill.”

Albatec NCME partner with Eddie Stobart for British RX campaign

  • Mark Higgins set for Supercar debut at Silverstone this weekend
  • Partnership with Eddie Stobart confirms Higgins’ participation in full BRX season
  • Andy Scott returns to British RX after a two-year absence

Warrington, Cheshire (UK) — 14 March 2018: Albatec Racing and the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME) have today announced a partnership with one of the UK’s leading logistics and supply chain organisations, Eddie Stobart for their 2018 rallycross campaign. The Albatec NCME partnered by Eddie Stobart Peugeot 208 RX Supercar will be driven by triple British Rally Champion Mark Higgins in the 2018 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship which roars into life at Silverstone, Northamptonshire this weekend (17 March).

The second Motis, Rock Oil and Teng Tools-supported Albatec entry will be driven by multiple race winner, and double British RX vice-champion Andy Scott after a two-year absence from the domestic series. The event marks a first appearance for Mark in Supercars, following his debut rallycross outing in RX150 in 2009, and for Andy heralds a return to the series he so narrowly missed out on winning in 2015.

Andy has conducted a significant test and development programme over the winter months in preparation for the season ahead. Today (Wednesday) both Mark and Andy had their first combined test in the striking newly-liveried cars ahead of the season-opening event on Saturday.

Although the pair of Peugeot 208s may look virtually identical from the outside, there are some differences between them. As part of the Albatec NCME collaborative partnership, Mark’s #34 2017-specification 208 has been prepared at NCME’s University of Bolton workshops by the students studying Automotive Performance Engineering, while Andy’s #126 car is to 2018 specification.

This weekend the partnership between Albatec and NCME will see eleven students attend the event as part of the team, where they will join the Albatec Racing engineers working on Mark’s car, providing the students with an unrivalled hands-on experience.

The British Rallycross Championship has gained in momentum over the past few years, thanks in no small part to the increasing popularity of rallycross worldwide. With a bumper grid of near-on 600bhp Supercars this weekend, Mark and Andy join the other drivers competing for the first time on the brand new, purpose-built rallycross track, which then hosts the UK round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, SpeedMachine, in late May.

Joining Mark and Andy in the Supercar entry this weekend are four drivers from World RX; Sebastien Loeb, Timmy Hansen, Guerlain Chicherit and Andreas Bakkerud, adding depth to the already strong field. Series regulars also gunning for glory include Kevin Procter, Julian Godfrey and Ollie O’Donovan.

Track action at Silverstone begins with free practice from 09.30 on Saturday morning, followed by the qualifying races, semi-finals and all-important final later that day.

Andy Scott, Team Principal and driver Albatec Racing #126:

“I’m very pleased to be competing back in the UK and supporting the British Rallycross Championship, which has improved significantly in the two years I’ve been absent. I’m also excited to be partnering with Mark Higgins and all our partners, and especially pleased to welcome on board Eddie Stobart Logistics. It looks like being a fantastic year for British RX which has grown on the back of increased rallycross globally.

“From a team perspective, our partnership with the NCME is also something I’m very excited about. The students at the University of Bolton have been engineering Mark’s car since January, and this weekend will learn how to deal with the challenges of events as a team member.”

Dr. Mark Busfield, Director, National Centre for Motorsport Engineering:

“Today is a very exciting opportunity to launch the project properly, with a sponsor and a brand association with Eddie Stobart. This is a new chapter for us in a championship that is fast emerging. Having a brand association with someone like Eddie Stobart the logistics chain worldwide and what they’re doing, is a fantastic opportunity which is really exciting, and technically ground-breaking stuff.

“We’re very excited to be embarking on our first weekend of the year on Saturday. The big difference with rallycross is that the homologation of the car, that’s to say the technical regulations, while they are strict and must be adhered to, gives our young engineers here with us today the opportunity to have an involvement, to try and improve the performance of the car, understand its problems, and obviously rectify them. We are growing the engineers today, for tomorrow.”

Mark Higgins, Albatec Racing driver #34:

“It’s fantastic to be back in Eddie Stobart colours after such a successful relationship, winning two British championships together 12 years ago. This weekend will be the first time that I get to drive the car on gravel surface, and indeed a rallycross track, but the shakedown test this afternoon went very well on tarmac.

“I’m very excited about our first event together, and the opportunity to race on a rallycross circuit with other cars, and no co-driver this time!! There is naturally a lot to learn at the weekend, but I have the support of a great team and their years of experience. The entry is amazing, hopefully we can grab some good points to start the season.”

Angelina Miley, HR Director, Eddie Stobart Logistics:

“We’re really pleased to be partnering with Albatec and the National Centre for Motorsport, part of the University of Bolton, which aims to provide career development opportunities for the next generation of motorsport engineers, and we look forward to supporting the team in this year’s rallycross campaign.”