Smiley
Credit: BTCC

Chris Smiley has been the second confirmed out of four drivers expected to race with the team in the 2021 British Touring Car Championship.

The 28-year-old joined EXCELR8 ahead of the 2020 season just as they introduced the Hyundai i30 N Fastback into the championship with two cars.

Smiley debuted the car in a strong fashion after securing a podium finish at the COVID-delayed opening round at Donington Park.

The Northern Irishman said: “This is the first time that I will be going into a second year with an unchanged package since I joined the touring car grid, and that consistency can only be a good thing.”

Across last year’s nine event campaign, he consistently scored points at every weekend and completed all but three of the 489 total racing laps – a record in BTCC history.

He finished ninth in the Independents’ Trophy standings and 14th overall, assisting in the team’s breakthrough to the top-10 in the Independent Teams’ standings.

“Last year was a real challenge for us with a new car because the pandemic meant we couldn’t go out and do as much testing as we wanted to do.”

He reflected on the consistent performances and looks to make the most of the Hyundai amongst a competitive 29-car grid.

“With the winter development programme that the team has in place, and the fact that we will now have four cars to share data between, I’m hopeful that we can push for more silverware and fight for race wins during 2021, which has to be the ultimate goal.”

Team Owner Justina Williams added: “The fact that Chris has experience with the Hyundai already can only be a good thing as we look to take the next step forwards in 2021.

“I have no doubt at all that he is a driver who can go out there and fight for race wins, as he has done in the past.”

The season is now expected to begin at Thruxton, a delay of five weeks relative to the original date.

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