It is not normally advisable to take dogs in to motor racing circuits but don’t tell that to Motorbase Performance.

Each of David Bartrum’s race machines and his fleet of road cars and trucks are emblazoned with a cartoon legend to his Great Dane ‘Sampson’, who also sits proudly outside the main entrance to team headquarters and workshop in Wrotham, Kent.

Bartrum explains: “My first business, Dane Motor Company, was named after him. We had it as a character on all my Sierras in the Group N days and he was part of the company logo. When I stopped using it in the 1990s, everyone said ‘where’s the dog?’ So we brought him back even though Sampson died in 1992.

“Motorsport is taken far too seriously in some quarters. We are a proper team but when you put this much into it, then you need to enjoy it too. It takes your life over.”