Organisers of the MINI CHALLENGE can today announce a new title sponsorship agreement with Vertu Motors – part of the Vertu Motors Group – ahead of the 2023 season.

The new partnership will see the series rebranded as ‘The Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE‘, and will cover both the headline JCW class for bespoke race cars designed around the F56 MINI, and the entry-level Cooper category for the older R50-based model.

Vertu Motors branding will appear on the windscreen of all competing cars across both classes, as well as on support vehicles and around racing venues up and down the country.

Drivers will take part in a number of initiatives and customer engagement activities as the series tours the UK – with a total of 14 race dates scheduled to take place in 2023.

Ten of those meetings will take place on the high-profile support package for the British Touring Car Championship, ensuring that The Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE will benefit from extensive, live, free-to-air TV coverage on ITV and will also compete in front of bumper trackside audiences – with more than 380,000 people attending race weekends in 2022.

The Vertu Motors Group is no stranger to the BTCC paddock, with retail brand Bristol Street Motors supporting the title-winning EXCELR8 Motorsport team as part of its own motorsport programme that has also included backing Alice Powell and Jessica Hawkins in the 2022 W Series season, and sponsoring Channel 4’s coverage of Formula 1.

All seven JCW meetings will run alongside the BTCC, with the Cooper grid also holding events alongside the British Truck Racing Championship during 2023.

The Vertu Motors Group is the fourth largest motor retailer group in the UK, with more than 190 dealerships representing a total of 32 different manufacturers.

Amongst that list of dealerships is an extensive list of MINI retail sites across the country, including Sunderland, Durham, Teesside, Malton and York dealerships, in addition to the recently acquired Exeter, Barnstaple, Bridgwater, Dorchester and Yeovil dealerships formally part of Helston Garages Group, all of which this new partnership will represent.

The first meeting for The Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE will take place on the weekend of 8/9 April when the Cooper field heads for Brands Hatch, with the JCW campaign kicking off a fortnight later at Donington Park.

Robert Forrester, Chief Executive of Vertu Motors plc, said:
“I am delighted that Vertu Motors is now an Official Partner with MINI CHALLENGE for this coming season. We have worked with the organisers for several years now and have admired their commitment, passion and enthusiasm for this series.

“Our Group’s brands already have strong roots in motorsport and a history of support across a multitude of disciplines, from the Birmingham Superprix in the 1980s, to sponsorship of Channel 4’s coverage of the Formula 1 in recent years, and of course, our Bristol Street Motors British Touring Car Championship team with EXCELR8 Motorsport.

“We strongly believe that this new partnership with MINI CHALLENGE, a very exciting, ‘Best of British’ motorsport series, epitomises many of the characteristics the Vertu Motors brand embodies including precision, innovation, technical advancement, commitment, determination and teamwork. We look forward to supporting each race weekend and connecting fans and communities with our ever-growing brand.

“I am very excited to see the MINIs out there on the track this season!”

Antony Williams, Championship Director for The Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE, said:
“We’re incredibly excited and grateful to have the Vertu Motors brand on board with us for this coming season. Their enthusiasm and support have been brilliant already.

“The MINI CHALLENGE is the UK’s premier single-make race series and offers a great opportunity for drivers to put their skills to the test at some of the best tracks this country has to offer.

“The Vertu Motors group already holds brands that are well-known for championing motorsport at all levels, and we’re excited to see the Vertu Motors retail brand, which includes a multitude of MINI dealerships nationwide, fly the ‘chequered’ flag too.

“We’re all looking forward to the season ahead!”