Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Rick Parfitt Jr to make BTCC debut with EXCELR8

Rick Parfitt Jr has become the first rookie driver confirmed on the 2021 BTCC grid after securing a deal to complete the EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars line-up.

Parfitt, the only driver to win both the GT3 and GT4 titles in the British GT Championship, will line up alongside Tom Ingram, Chris Smiley and Jack Butel at the wheel of a Hyundai i30 N Fastback for what will be his first taste of touring car racing.

The 46-year-old will be making his return to racing having missed the entire 2020 season in order to recover from major surgery for Crohn’s disease early last year.

“I’m massively excited about the prospect of moving into the BTCC with EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars for 2021,” he said. “When I was younger, I used to sell advertising in Motorsport News and Autosport and was a huge fan of the series, and it’s amazing to now have the opportunity be part of the grid myself. It’s a chance to live the dream.

“After undergoing major surgery for my Crohn’s disease in early 2020, the last twelve months have provided me with a chance to get myself in better physical shape than ever before, and I hope to use this season to show people in a similar position to me that Crohn’s shouldn’t be a barrier towards doing anything that they want to do in life.”

Parfitt – known, like his father, for his career in the music industry – added that he saw the move into the series as the first stage in what he hopes will be a longer-term switch into touring cars in the coming seasons.

“Throughout my career in the music industry, I have loved the opportunity to go out and entertain people, and entertainment is what British Touring Cars is all about,” he said. “There is so much energy and buzz around the series and even before doing this deal, the reaction from fans to the possibility of me racing has been fantastic. I can’t wait to be part of it all, and to help put on a show.

“I’m under no illusions about how tough the BTCC is going to be, but I’m more than ready for the challenge that lies ahead. In EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars, I have a good team around me and in Tom Ingram in particular, I have a team-mate who I can learn a massive amount from. There is no point entering a series like this thinking it will be for single year, so I want to learn as much as I can this season with an eye on then pushing for the Jack Sears Trophy in 2022.

“Having not raced a car since 2019, I want to go out there and have fun this year – and try to kick some ass along the way!”

Team owner Justina Williams said she was delighted to be able to sign her ‘number one target’ to complete the expanded four-car line-up.

“I’m thrilled that we have been able to conclude a deal with Rick for 2021 as he was the person who I really wanted in the car to complete our new-look driver line-up,” she said. “Alongside Tom Ingram, Chris Smiley and Jack Butel, we now have four drivers that I feel give us a fantastic chance to make the season ahead a success both on and off the track.

“Rick’s performances in the British GT Championship in recent years have been hugely impressive, particularly when you consider the competitive nature of the field. I’m looking forward to seeing him develop as a touring car driver this year, and am confident that he will be able to make his mark on the BTCC as the season goes on.

“As a born entertainer, I have no doubt in my mind that Rick is going to a hugely popular addition to the team, and to the series, and hopefully this will be the start of a long and successful partnership together.”