WACKY touring car driver John Batchelor secured a £100,000 sponsorship deal - by changing his name to Mr B&Q!

John told the DIY giant that he would swap his own name in exchange for the major sponsorship deal. And when the company agreed he promptly became John B&Q.

The former toilet-roll salesman is flush after the company gave £100,000 to his Honda Integra team.

When John, 42 from Revidge Road, Blackburn, applied to change his name by deed poll, his solicitor felt so sorry for him he did the job free of charge.

But it has enabled him to take team B&Q to Brands Hatch on Easter Monday for the first race of the British Touring Car Championship.

"My wife Gillian and four kids think I'm mad and that I keep getting more and more eccentric," said Mr B&Q. "The reasoning behind it was that television companies will have to keep saying B&Q."

Mr B&Q has been getting sniggers when he told his bank and credit card company of his name change. But he reckons it was worth it.

John added: "I got into a mid-life crisis three years ago, I packed in my job and set up a team. I used to sell toilet roll on an international scale. I spent many years on the road as a sales rep speeding along in my car and just found I could do it.

"I had to get a competition licence first, then in my first year I won the Super Road Saloon Championship, in my second I was in the Fiesta Zetec Challenge without too much success.

"This competition is a big step-up. It will be a learning curve, so it will be satisfactory to see an improvement ready for a second year."

Gwyn Dolphin, a spokesman for B&Q, said: "John came up with the idea. B&Q thought it was different and individual. We do a lot of sponsorship for sports and we see many proposals, it is difficult to pick one from another. His idea helped him clinch the sponsorship."

John will drive the Team B&Q red Honda Integra for 13 races. Mechanics at Columbia Motors, Rishton, will provide maintenance after each race.

Mr B&Q said: "I will be trying very hard to win but remember you can do it when you B and Q it!"

Ten famous people who changed their name:

Cliff Richard - Harry Webb

Michael Caine - Maurice Mickelwhite

Sting - Gordon Sumner

Elton John - Reginald Dwight

Screaming Lord Sutch - David Sutch

David Bowie - David Jones

Noddy Holder - Neville John Holder

John Wayne - Marion Michael Morrison

Bono - Paul Hewson

Vic Reeves - Jim Moir