RORY BUTCHER has said he has "unfinished business" in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) after announcing he was taking a break from the series.

At the end of January, the 36-year-old revealed that he would be absent from the grid in 2024 after deciding to take a 'sabbatical' from the competition in order to focus on other projects and commitments.

Kirkcaldy native Butcher, whose father, Derek, has owned and been CEO of Knockhill Racing Circuit, believes that he currently doesn't feel like he's the "driver I want to be or know I can be" - but has left the door open for a return.

"I don’t feel right now like I’m the driver I want to be or know I can be, and the BTCC is so intensely competitive, with such fine margins, that you can’t afford to be at anything less than 100 per cent," he explained.

"The team always give it everything, as do my sponsors, who have played a vital role in my touring car journey. I am very thankful for their ongoing support, through good times and bad.

READ MORE: Butcher announces break from touring car racing

"Looking back, I think there’s a lot to be proud of and I have a lot of happy memories – it’s been a wonderful championship to be a part of for the past six-and-a-half years and a bit of a whirlwind, if I’m honest – and I’m definitely walking away with some unfinished business as I haven’t accomplished everything I want to in the BTCC."

Butcher, who has previously driven in other motorsport series' such as the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, the British Formula Ford Championship, the British GT Championship and the European Le Mans Series, began racing in the BTCC in 2017.

He linked up with Team Shredded Wheat Racing with DUO for the remainder of that season, from its race weekend at Knockhill, after replacing injured driver, Luke Davenport.

Butcher, who has driven for for AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing and Motorbase Performance as well as current team, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK, who he has been with for the last three seasons, has claimed 11 race wins in the championship.

Since 2019, he has claimed at least one in each season, and, additionally, has finished on the podium 31 times, secured five pole positions, and recorded eight fastest laps.

The Fifer, a former winner of both the Independent Drivers' title and Jack Sears Trophy, place inside the top five of the overall championship standings in 2019, 2020 and 2022, but endured a difficult season last year.

Although hopes were high that he could mount a title challenge, having been the top points scorer over the final three race weekends of 2022, he finished 10th in the standings.

"Last season was a really challenging one for me. We went into it with such high hopes after finishing 2022 so strongly, and having to come to terms with the fact that we were not going to be fighting at the front hit pretty hard," he continued.

"I believe I have the ability to fight for the title, but if I do at some stage come back, the timing needs to be right.

"Christian (Dick, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK team principal), Amy (Dick, team manager) and John (Gilbert, managing director) put a lot of faith in me, for which I am extremely grateful and we still have an excellent relationship, and while I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t feel like this is goodbye – it’s just goodbye for now."

Christian Dick, team principal with the Speedworks-run outfit, added: "He has been a lynchpin of our efforts over the past three seasons and has delivered the lion’s share of our success during that period.

"He has been a superb team leader; even when we were struggling at the start of last year, he was always the first to rally the troops, and his well-honed development skills played a major role in the way we managed to turn things around over the second half of the campaign.

"Speedworks is very much a family team, and Rory remains part of that family. He is one of the sport’s true ‘nice guys’ and has deservedly built up a very large fan base, all of whom, I have no doubt, will similarly be sad to see him go.

"That said, he is clear that this is not necessarily the end, and with the BTCC rewarding experience as much as raw pace and talent – all of which Rory has in abundance – I have no doubt that he will still be very much in demand if and when he decides he wants to come back."

The 2024 BTCC season begins at Donington Park over the weekend of April 27-28, and arrives at Knockhill on August 10-11.

Kelty's Ronan Pearson, who races for Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8, will be on the grid.