JUST days after cash-strapped York City was saved from extinction, former chairman John Batchelor has announced his motor-racing team is to be boosted by a £1million sponsorship deal.

Batchelor has changed his team's name from York City Racing to Team Varta Racing but will still be competing in the production class of the British Touring Car Championship this season.

The £1million deal announced with battery makers Varta will see Batchelor's team receive £500,000 in sponsorship monies with a similar amount awarded to the team's drivers in the form of a scholarship.

The news of the mega-bucks sponsorship deal could leave a sour taste for many City fans.

When Batchelor was still in charge at City, hundreds of fans were persuaded to buy season tickets for the 2003/04 campaign at half-price.

Batchelor claimed at the time he was able to offer the cut-price tickets because he would soon be announcing a major sponsorship deal.

A deal never materialised and although the new York City Football Club has promised to honour Batchelor's season ticket offer, supporters who bought the half-price tickets have been asked to make a donation to the club.

Earlier this month, Batchelor agreed to pay £85,000 to the old York City company now in administration for the benefit of creditors.

While City chairman, Batchelor arranged a £400,000 sponsorship deal with Persimmon which he indicated would be split between the football club and his racing team.

He later confirmed City received only £100,000 from the deal and that was in the form of a loan. At least £70,000 was subsequently withdrawn from the club.

Varta Racing has announced it will be entering two Peugeot 307s in the BTCC with the possibility of an expansion to four cars during the season.

York's James Thompson will be defending his BTCC title when the season starts in Modello Park, Dublin, on Easter Monday.

Updated: 11:32 Tuesday, April 15, 2003