BTC Racing have announced their first driver for the forthcoming 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with Northern Irishman Chris Smiley returning for a third consecutive season.
Last season saw Smiley cement his place in the top 10 regularly showing great pace with his Honda Civic Type R FK2. Smiley got his maiden BTCC podium finish in the second race at Donington Park and also got his first race win after a terrific drive in the third and final race at Rockingham last August.
Smiley would eventually finish last season in 13th place in the Drivers’ Championship, sixth in the Independents Drivers’ Championship, and second place in the Jack Sears Trophy.
Smiley told the BTCC website: “I am over the moon to be back with BTC Racing. I was there from the start, and I look forward to continuing my BTCC career with BTC Racing.
“I made great strides in 2018 and am focussing on the Independents’ Championship this year, as well as supporting all the team at BTC Racing.
“I have never been happy to make up numbers, so 2019 will only be a success for me if I have collected more wins. I can’t wait to get started and have been working hard over the winter to support these targets.”
Team Manager Zoe Timbrell added: “We are so pleased that we have been able to keep Chris with us for a third year. We have all got to know him well, and his goals match those of BTC Racing perfectly. We are a close-knit team of people and he is part of the family now!”
BTC Racing also confirmed that Steve Dudman has become the teams’ joint owner alongside Bert Taylor after making significant investment last October.
Dudman told the BTCC website: “Bert and I have been friends since 1996 and we have shared the same passion for running race cars at the highest level throughout our respective careers.
“The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase a 50 percent stake in BTC Racing was unexpected when it came up at the end of last season and I duly made no hesitation. I look forward to working with Bert and the rest of the team, who are all great people and professionals, as we strive for success in the 2019 BTCC.”
The second driver announcement is due to be made soon with the opening round of the season now not too far away.
By Jordan Hollands.