Photo: PSP Images

Chris Smiley re-signs with BTC Racing

Chris Smiley will return to BTC Racing for a third year after agreeing a deal to remain with the team for the 2019 BTCC season.

Smiley finished 13th in the standings last year in what was his strongest campaign in the series to date, securing his maiden podium finish at Donington Park and then taking a breakthrough victory at Rockingham.

The 26-year-old is the first driver to be confirmed with the team for the year ahead, with the Northern Irishman keen to try and build on the results he secured in 2018.

“I am over the moon to be back with BTC Racing,” he said. “I was there from the start, and I look forward to continuing my BTCC campaign with them.

“I made great strides in 2018 and am focusing on the Independents’ Championship this year and 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 cannot wait to get started and have been working hard over the winter to support these targets.”

News of Smiley re-signing for another season comes after a busy winter behind the scenes for the team, which has now relocated to a new base in Brackley and welcomed fresh investment from businessman Steve Dudman – who took co-ownership in October – in a bid to push further up the grid.

“Bert Taylor [team principal] and I have been friends since 1996 and we have shared the same passion to race cars at the highest level,” he said. “The opportunity to purchase a 50% stake in the team was unexpected, but I had 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 identity of the team’s second driver will be revealed in the near future.