Chris Smiley completes EXCELR8 line-up
Chris Smiley will remain on the BTCC grid for the 2020 season after securing the vacant second seat at EXCELR8 Motorsport.
The Northern Irish racer found himself facing the prospect of missing out on a slot on the grid this season after his departure from BTC Racing, but will now switch to the second-year EXCELR8 team as it prepares to debut the all-new Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance.
Smiley, a race winner during the 2018 season, will partner Senna Proctor in what is an all-new line-up for EXCELR8, and takes the seat that looked set to go to Rob Smith; who was part of the team’s line-up last year alongside new AmD signing Sam Osborne.
“I’m very excited to be joining EXCELR8 Motorsport for the new season,” Smiley said. “It is going to be a good challenge to work with the team and bring Hyundai into the BTCC as a new marque.
“I know the team at EXCELR8 have made an incredible effort with the new car over the winter months and have strengthened their engineering capabilities and brought in some very talented people to work on the project.
“Developing a new car is always a great challenge, and to do it with a brand that has a tremendous passion for motorsport like Hyundai means this is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved to create something really special.
“The BTCC is an ultra-competitive championship and being a race winner in the series I know that I can mix it at the sharp end of the series. I fully believe that this new project will allow me to do that, and I am more motivated than ever to make this new partnership a success – not just for one season but as a long-term plan for us both.”
Team principal Ollie Shepherd added his delight at securing a second race winner for the season ahead.
“Chris Smiley alongside Senna Proctor, what a driver line-up,” he said. “We now know that we have the drivers to win BTCC races, we have a superstar engineering team to be announced and we have new cars that are ticking all the right boxes during the development and build process.
“Chris and Senna are two of the best young drivers in the BTCC and this year we will do our very best to give them the tools to get the job done.”
Entry list – 10 February:
No – Driver – Nat – Team – Car
1 – Colin Turkington – GBR – West Surrey Racing – BMW 330i M Sport
3 – Tom Chilton – GBR – BTC Racing – Honda Civic Type R
4 – Sam Osborne – GBR – AmD Tuning – Honda Civic Type R
6 – Rory Butcher – GBR – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus RS
11 – Jason Plato – GBR – Power Maxed Racing – Vauxhall Astra
15 – Tom Oliphant – GBR – West Surrey Racing – BMW 330i M Sport
16 – Aiden Moffat – GBR – Laser Tools Racing – Infiniti Q50
18 – Senna Proctor – GBR – EXCELR8 Motorsport – Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance
19 – Bobby Thompson – GBR – Trade Price Cars Racing – Audi S3
21 – Mike Bushell – GBR – Team HARD – Volkswagen CC
22 – Chris Smiley – GBR – EXCELR8 Motorsport – Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance
24 – Jake Hill – GBR – AmD Tuning – Honda Civic Type R
25 – Matt Neal – GBR – Team Dynamics – Honda Civic Type R
27 – Dan Cammish – GBR – Team Dynamics – Honda Civic Type R
31 – Jack Goff – GBR – Team HARD – Volkswagen CC
32 – Daniel Rowbottom – GBR – Ciceley Motorsport – Mercedes A Class
33 – Adam Morgan – GBR – Ciceley Motorsport – Mercedes A Class
41 – Carl Boardley – GBR – Team HARD – BMW 125i M Sport
48 – Ollie Jackson – GBR – Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus RS
66 – Josh Cook – GBR – BTC Racing – Honda Civic Type R
77 – Andrew Jordan – GBR – West Surrey Racing – BMW 330i M Sport
80 – Tom Ingram – GBR – Speedworks Motorsport – Toyota Corolla
116 – Ashley Sutton – GBR – Laser Tools Racing – Infiniti Q50
777 – Michael Crees – GBR – BTC Racing – Honda Civic Type R
TBC – James Gornall – GBR – Trade Price Cars Racing – Audi S3
TBC – Mat Jackson – GBR – Power Maxed Racing – Vauxhall Astra
Race numbers subject to confirmation when official entry list is revealed