Photo: EXCELR8

Ronan Pearson makes surprise BTCC switch with EXCELR8

Ronan Pearson will make his BTCC debut in 2023 after being named as the final member of the four-strong EXCELR8 Motorsport line-up.

The 21-year-old Scot had been set to return to EXCELR8’s MINI CHALLENGE JCW line-up for a second season after finishing fourth in the standings last year, whilst also continuing to work alongside the touring car team as part of the EXCELR8 Young Driver Development Programme.

However, Pearson will now bring forward his plans to graduate into the BTCC, with Scottish motor retailer Macklin Motors onboard as primary sponsor of his car.

“Ever since I started racing, my goal has been to make it onto the BTCC grid and it’s hard to find the words to express how excited I am to know it’s going to happen this year,” he said.

“The original plan had been to return to the MINI CHALLENGE before moving up into touring cars in 2024, but then we started to look at whether it might be feasible to bring the plans forward. Having approached the team to say I wanted to be in the fourth Hyundai seat, we’ve been able to make it happen, and I couldn’t be happier.

“I’m hugely proud to be the first member of EXCELR8’s Young Driver Development Programme to make this move, and the fact that I’ll be joining the BTCC grid with support from a major Scottish brand in Macklin Motors is fantastic – and I’ll be doing my all to repay the faith they have shown in me.”

Pearson added that he felt his work alongside EXCELR8’s title-winning team last season would help him as he prepares to move into a race seat, as would the chance to work alongside two of the most experienced drivers on the grid.

“Spending time working alongside the BTCC team last season is going to be hugely beneficial to me as I know a lot of the people who will be working on my car already,” he said, “and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside two of the top drivers on the grid during my rookie year.

“Tom and Tom have a huge amount of experience and I don’t think I could have a better pair of drivers to learn from when you consider that Tom Ingram is the defending BTCC champion, and Tom Chilton has won a title in the World Touring Car Championship and tasted victory at the highest level. I’ll be looking to learn as much as I possibly can from them both to help me progress and get to where I want to be.

“I’m well aware that moving up to the BTCC is a huge step to take, and it’s important for me to be realistic in my goals. The first aim has to be to challenge for wins in the Jack Sears Trophy, then take it from there and see how things go.”