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Marcus Simmons

Toyota BTCC squad recruits former McLaren GT boss

Danny Buxton has left his most recent role as team principal of rival BTCC squad One Motorsport with immediate effect and has started work this week at Speedworks Motorsport, which competes under the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK banner, as the company’s new head of motorsport.

Former Clio Cup champion and 2000s BTCC up-and-comer Buxton joined One, then known as BTC Racing, prior to the 2022 season to oversee the Brackley squad’s team of Honda Civics and lead an expansion into GT racing.

This was accomplished partly via a takeover last winter of the Motus One operation of BTCC racer Will Powell, who then parted company with the team in June.

Buxton will have a similarly wide-ranging role at Speedworks, where he joins up with husband-and-wife founders Christian and Amy Dick plus investor John Gilbert, the former gentleman driver GT racer who became a director of the team last winter.

As well as the BTCC squad of Corolla GR Sports, Speedworks is openly eyeing an expansion into GT3 when Toyota’s new GR GT3 concept car comes on stream in 2025.

In the meantime, Speedworks has already acquired entries for the McLaren Trophy one-make series in which One Motorsport has competed this season, and will make its debut in the 2023 finale at Barcelona at the end of this month before undertaking a full programme in 2024.

“They want to expand their relationship with Toyota in GTs more,” Buxton told Autosport.

“The aim is to develop and grow that relationship, and expand a multi-brand customer racing division.

“Toyota are obviously extremely happy with what they’re doing in the BTCC, but we want to expand that to see how far we can take it in the GT world.

“I’ve got 10 years’ experience of developing relationships at McLaren, so hopefully I can help with that.”

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Buxton has known the Dicks since his and Christian’s early days as budding racers from Cheshire in the late 1990s.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the crew at One Motorsport,” he added, “but this is something that I couldn’t turn down.

“I’ve known Christian and Amy for over 25 years, and I also used to run John Gilbert’s corporate days at Donington – we’ve got history and we’re all local, which is nice.”

Christian Dick said: “I first worked with Danny in our instructing days at Oulton Park, and we’ve had a great relationship ever since.

“GT is a big area that we want to have a push on and he has a wealth of experience to help drive us there, but he will have an extremely positive impact on the BTCC team as well, and he will be able to put the systems in place to improve what we’re doing there too.

“We’ve got a lot of plans for the winter and are pushing forward on stuff, and it’s good to get a foothold [with McLaren Trophy] to show that we mean it.”

Buxton’s move to Speedworks cannot come without speculation that One Motorsport star Josh Cook, who has won 16 races with the team in the BTCC, could become a target for 2024.

Cook claimed the runner-up spot in the 2014 Clio Cup with Buxton’s SV Racing squad, and Buxton has mentored him ever since.

“We’ve got a great relationship with our existing drivers and that’s our focus at the moment,” said Dick.

“However, Josh is a talent that I’m sure anyone would welcome the chance to talk to.”

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