Smelt
Credit: BTCC

Sam Smelt of the Toyota GAZOO Racing UK team is ready for his anticipated return to the British Touring Car Championship.

The 24-year-old is returning to the BTCC after a difficult run during his debut season in 2018.

During that campaign, he did not score any championship points and retired six times out of 30 races.

Smelt reflected ahead of his return: “After testing the Corolla for the first time towards the end of last year on a wet and greasy day at Snetterton, I’m looking forward to hopefully benefitting from some proper running over the next few days and really familiarising myself with the car.

‘He will surprise people this year’ – Team Principal on BTCC returnee Smelt

“I’m excited about getting into the groove and back into ‘touring car mode’ following a couple of years away – it feels a bit more real with every passing day.”

The Northampton driver ran two years in the British GT Championship (in the GT4 class) with the latter, more successful season spent in Speedworks’ GAZOO Racing Supra GT4.

“The start of the (BTCC) campaign is now less than seven weeks off and it’s coming around fast.

“I’ve not been to Thruxton since 2018, but it’s a great place to begin the season and obviously the Corolla was super-strong there last year, so I think it’s fair to say the whole team will return with a great deal of optimism and ready to fight up at the sharp end.”

He looks to turn around his existing track record in the championship alongside teammate and 2019 Independent’s Champion Rory Butcher.

Smelt will be fighting for the Jack Sears Trophy title against nine other drivers but looks to score podiums in the Toyota Corolla package.

His team debut in Toyota GAZOO Racing colours will get underway at Thruxton on May 8.

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