Excelr8 Motorsport enjoys ‘amazing’ début for new Hyundai

Excelr8 Motorsport enjoyed an ‘amazing’ start to its British Touring Car Championship season at Donington Park, where Chris Smiley gave the new Hyundai i30 Fastback N a maiden podium in its first event.

The Suffolk team went into its second season in the BTCC with a brand new self-developed car, and immediately impressed in the four-month late start to the season.

On Saturday, the team were within half a second of the pace in practice, before Senna Proctor qualified the best of the two South Korean cars in 11th, with Smiley in 14th.

- Advertisement -

Race one saw Smiley get off to a lightning start to make up two places at the start, moving ahead of team-mate Proctor in the process. Whilst Proctor would retire from 11th with a technical issue, Smiley was able to continue to make progress to end the race in eighth, giving the team its then best-ever finish in its first race with the new car.

Carrying success ballast for his top ten finish in race two, Smiley was unable to replicate his forward progress and finished 12th, picking up yet more points.

For race three, Smiley was drawn on to the reverse-grid pole position, and although he lost the lead to Ollie Jackson at the start, smiley ran in a tight pack at the front.

Ten laps from the finish Smiley re-took the lead, but late in the race he was unable to fend off the rapid Ash Sutton, who got by the Northern Irishman to take the lead and ultimately the win.

Smiley held on to take second and give the team an extremely impressive début weekend with its new cars. After retiring from race one, Proctor was unable to start race two, and retired in race three one lap from the finish after a mistake.

“Donington was an amazing start to our season,” said Team Manager Justina Williams. “I am really proud of the whole Excelr8 Motorsport team for the work they’ve done over the break to not only get the new Hyundai i30 N Performance prepared, but also step up our game out on the race circuit.

“The podium was a fantastic way to ignite our season and I hope we can only build upon the achievements we have recorded already.

“From already surpassing our 2019 points tally, the front row start in race three and the work done by Chris Smiley to bring home the silverware, I could not be more proud.

“It’s a quick turnaround now for Brands Hatch in under a week’s time, and I’m confident that the team can continue the momentum that our supporters have entrusted us with.”

Smiley secured just his sixth podium in the BTCC, admitting that his drive in race three with the likes of Sutton, Jackson and Josh Cook was a memorable one.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Smiley. “To turn up here with a brand new car, brand new team, brand new team of guys around me, to come away with a second place and really be on the money, it’s one of those drives that you’ll remember.

“I just let myself down at the start, as I have not figured out how to get the Hyundai off the line.

“Ash was on fire all day and I knew with the pace he was catching there was no point in getting involved in the battle with him, so I let him go so I could guarantee second place.

“We also had a great battle with Josh which I really enjoyed.

“It’s been a fantastic day for me, Excelr8 and the all-new Hyundai i30 N Performance car.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

7,321FansLike
6,602FollowersFollow

Must Read

Esteban Guerrieri takes emphatic victory in Nürburgring opener

Esteban Guerrieri took a comfortable victory in the opening World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race of the weekend, taking his first win at the Nürburgring since 2018.
- Advertisement -

Julien Briché tops dry second practice at Monza

Julien Briché put his Peugeot on top of the times in a dry second TCR Europe free practice session at Monza, over half a second clear of the Audi of first practice pace-setter Mehdi Bennani.

Reason for optimism as Zengő Motorsports make CUPRA progress

Zengő Motorsport have endured a tough start to their full-time return to the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) this year, however Mikel Azcona's sixth place in qualifying suggests that progress is being made.

Yann Ehrlacher and Cyan Racing pay the price for playing it safe

Yann Ehrlacher had been on course for his first pole position of the 2020 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season, but the decision not to go out for one final lap would eventually cost him the top spot.

Related News

Esteban Guerrieri takes emphatic victory in Nürburgring opener

Esteban Guerrieri took a comfortable victory in the opening World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race of the weekend, taking his first win at the Nürburgring since 2018.

Julien Briché tops dry second practice at Monza

Julien Briché put his Peugeot on top of the times in a dry second TCR Europe free practice session at Monza, over half a second clear of the Audi of first practice pace-setter Mehdi Bennani.

Reason for optimism as Zengő Motorsports make CUPRA progress

Zengő Motorsport have endured a tough start to their full-time return to the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) this year, however Mikel Azcona's sixth place in qualifying suggests that progress is being made.

Yann Ehrlacher and Cyan Racing pay the price for playing it safe

Yann Ehrlacher had been on course for his first pole position of the 2020 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season, but the decision not to go out for one final lap would eventually cost him the top spot.

How risk turned into reward for Néstor Girolami

After a stunning lap to claim pole position in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), Néstor Girolami has reaped the rewards of what he brands as a risky lap around the Nürburgring. 
- Advertisement -