Chris Smiley will remain with BTC Racing for a third successive season in the British Touring Car Championship in 2019, with the Northern Irishman seeking to build on a strong performance last year.
Smiley claimed his maiden BTCC podium at Donington Park early in the year, before taking his first BTCC win in August, tasting victory at Rockingham on his way to finishing 13th overall in the drivers’ championship standings.
Having also ended 2018 sixth overall in the Independent drivers’ standings, Smiley is hoping to go even better in the coming season and is targeting championship trophies.
“I am over the moon to be back with BTC Racing,” said Smiley. “I was there from the start, and I look forward to continuing my BTCC campaign with BTC Racing.
“I made great strides in 2018 and am focusing on the Independent Drivers’ Championship this year as well as supporting all the team at BTC Racing.
“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.”
Team Manager Zoe Timbrell is looking forward to working with the 26-year-old once again in 2019.
“We are so pleased that we have been able to keep Chris with us for a third year,” she added. “We have all got to know him well, and his ambitions match those of BTC Racing perfectly.
“We are a close-knit team of people and he is part of the family now!”
After BTC Racing, which ran under the banner ‘BTC Norlin Racing’ in 2018, was purchased by businessman Steve Dudman in October 2018, the outfit has been flat-out preparing for the new season.
The team has moved into brand new facilities in the heart of ‘Motorsport Valley’ with a new race shop, which is undergoing ‘significant investment’ in Brackley.
“Bert and I have been friends since 1996 and we have shared the same passion to race cars at the highest level to the best of our ability (and pockets), all of our careers,” explained Dudman.
“The opportunity to purchase the team was unexpected but when it came to save it at the end of last season, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and so in support of Bert and the rest of the team who are all great people and professionals, I took up my place alongside them to work hard for success in the 2019 BTCC Championship.”
The second BTC Racing driver for the 2019 BTCC will be announced shortly.