Wigan racer Tony Lynch and his Team Geriatric outfit will embark on a new challenge for the 2019 season after today confirming plans to enter the Retro Rallycross Championship.
The team will campaign a MK1Toyota MR2 in the series, which is open to classic cars from prior to 1991.
The decision to make the move to Retro Rallycross comes after the conclusion of a long and successful title sponsorship agreement between Team Geriatric and Lucas Oil UK.
Whilst running as Lucas Oil Team Geriatric, Tony enjoyed years of success on track, winning the BMW Mini Championship in 2013, the British Super National title in 2016 and the BTRDA Super Modified crown last season.
Although the relationship between Team Geriatric and Lucas Oil will continue in 2019 in an official supplier role, the reduced levels of sponsorship available to the team resulted in a change of approach for the year ahead.
Having evaluated a number of options, which included taking a step away from competition, Tony and the team have now taken the decision to instead switch to the Retro series after acquiring the Toyota over the winter.
“The support we have enjoyed from Lucas Oil in recent years has been fantastic but we always knew that there would be a time when their title sponsorship would draw to a close,” Tony said.
“It’s great that we ended our time running under the Lucas Oil Team Geriatric banner on a high last year but the reality is that we couldn’t continue to run the Ford KA we have run in recent years with a reduced level of sponsorship.
“Taking a step away from rallycross was a serious option and something that I considered more than once, but I don’t feel ready to hang up my helmet just yet and the team still has a desire to compete at a high level.
“Retro Rallycross provides us with the opportunity to return to the British Rallycross paddock and try something completely new at an affordable level – and it’s something we are very excited about.”
The new Team Geriatric Toyota MR2, which dates back to 1985, has been used in stage rallying in Scotland in recent years and hit the track in Team Geriatric colours during a recent test at Blyton.
Tony and the team will now use the season ahead to work on developing the Toyota into a front-runner in the highly-competitive Retro Rallycross scene, with a target of challenging for championship honours in 2020.
“The first test in the car was a chance for us to make sure everything worked and to put together a ‘to do’ list that we can focus on during the year ahead,” Tony continued. “It also gave me the chance to get used to rear-wheel drive again as it’s been a long time since I competed in a rear-wheel drive car – so to not have any spins was a good start!
“It’s clear to see that there is some work we can do on the engine and on the handling but we know we have a good base to start with. The opening rounds of the season at Silverstone and Lydden Hill will be something of a test for us to learn more about the car and then we have a decent break before the meeting at Pembrey where we can start work on the changes we want to make.
“For us, this season isn’t about results but is all about building the foundations for 2020 when we want to be fighting for silverware.”
As part of that ongoing work towards 2020, the team has also agreed a deal to work alongside MRF Tyres during the 2019 campaign to help with the development of a tyre for rallycross competition.
The Indian company already produces tyres that are successfully used on track and on rally stages across the globe, most notably in the Australian Rally Championship where MRF has held the role of control tyre supplier for three years.
“The new partnership with MRF is something else we are looking forward to developing during the year ahead,” Tony continued. “The test at Blyton was the first time we were able to try out their tyres and to be honest, they outperformed the car. That is a good place to start considering that the tyre hasn’t been designed with rallycross in mind, and something we are looking forward to developing with them across the season ahead.
“As ever, our loyal supporters and sponsors have been key to putting this new programme together and we’re now looking forward to the new season getting underway.”