Excelr8 Motorsport has confirmed the signing of multiple British GT Champion Rick Parfitt Jr to race one of its Hyundai i30 Fastback N cars in the 2021 British Touring Car Championship, completing its driver line-up.
Parfitt Jr, 46, the son of Rick Parfitt of Status Quo fame, was a successful karter in his early years before forging a career in pop music with events group The RPJ Band.
Returing to the track in 2010 in the Silverstone Classic, Parfitt Jr then contested the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in 2011, which opened the door to a move into the British GT Championship.
He won the GT4 title in 2013, before then becoming the only driver to-date to also win the GT3 Championship in 2017, at the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT.
After sitting out the 2020 season in order to undergo surgery for Crohn’s disease, Parfitt Jr will return to racing in 2021 with a switch to touring cars.
Parfitt Jr, who will be eligible for the Jack Sears Trophy, will line-up alongside Tom Ingram, Chris Smiley and Jack Butel at the Suffolk-based team.
“I’m massively excited about the prospect of moving into the BTCC with EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars for 2021,” said Parfitt Jr.
“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.
“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.
“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!”
Justina Williams, EXCELR8 Trade Price Cars team owner, has been impressed by Parfitt Jr’s performances in GT racing in recent years, and admits that he was a top priority for the team as it heads into its third season in the BTCC.
“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,” said Williams.
“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.”