Photo: Restart Racing

Restart Racing to debut new FL5 Honda in 2023

Restart Racing has confirmed that it will switch to the new FL5 version of the Honda Civic Type R for Chris Smiley’s defence of the TCR UK championship title.

Smiley secured the crown last year in the older FK7 machine having made a late move over to TCR from the BTCC, beating VW driver Isaac Smith to the title on the final weekend of the year at Snetterton.

The Northern Irishman had made no secret of his desire to switch into the new car that has been developed by JAS Motorsport in recent months, with the team confirming it will take delivery of the FL5 shortly ahead of the season opener at Snetterton on Easter weekend – becoming the first to race the car.

The team will continue to run an FK7 for Scott Sumpton.

“I’m really excited for the start of the season, more so than any other I think,” Smiley said. “Last year was a step into the unknown, while this year it’s a very different feeling going in as the champion, and knowing there will be a target on your back, but it’s an exciting feeling.

“I’m also very happy that we’ll be racing the brand-new Honda Civic Type R this year. We developed a great relationship with the Honda car builders JAS in Italy last year, and now we’ve been entrusted with the racing debut of this stunning new car – I can’t wait to hit the track at Snetterton and seeing what it can do.”

Team boss Bert Taylor said he was pleased to become the first squad to race the new car.

“We had a fantastic season last year, and we’re aiming to show that we’re taking things really seriously with this project, expanding to two cars with Scott Sumpton joining Chris, but also working with JAS Motorsport as we become the first team to run the Civic Type R FL5,” he said.

“We’re also very excited to getting our hands on the new car very soon, and making it ready for the season’s start next week. Chris is heading straight off to Spa-Francorchamps after the media activities today to do a shakedown and bring the car back to the UK.”