Nick Halstead will deputise for Rick Parfitt Jr in the next British Touring Car Championship round at Croft, due to an ongoing back problem for the Excelr8 Motorsport regular.
49-year-old Halstead will stand in for Parfitt Jr for one meeting, as the latter has been advised to rest due to an ongoing back problem.
Halstead only made his track racing début in 2017, and has competed in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Ginetta GT4 Supercup and the British GT Championship.
He finished in the top three of the Am class of the 2017 Ginetta GT5 Challenge, at his first attempt, before going on to win the class title in 2018.
In recent years, Halstead has also developed touring car racing experience, having competed in TCR UK in 2019, where he was sixth overall in the Touring Car Trophy championship, fourth in TCR UK, and even claimed a pole position at Brands Hatch.
“Since I started racing in 2017, competing in the British Touring Car Championship has been an ambition,” said Halstead.
“That only grew once I was on the TOCA package in the Ginetta Supercup and I could really get a sense of the scale of the series and the passion of the fans.
“I’m thrilled to be able to tick that box at Croft thanks to EXCELR8 Motorsport, Rick and Ascential. Although most of my racing has been in rear-wheel-drive GT cars, I’ve been competitive in front-wheel-drive racing before and I’m excited to experience the UK’s top touring car series in the Hyundai.”
Parfitt explained that his back issues had been getting worse in recent rounds.
“Since Knockhill, my back has been getting worse,” added Parfitt. “And although I was able to compete at Thruxton, I’ve been advised by my doctor that the best course of action is to rest it.
“I’m gutted to miss Croft as it’s a circuit I have never competed at before, but I’m excited that Nick – who is a good friend – is able to come in and take my place.
“Although it is hugely disappointing for me on a personal level, at the same time it’s fantastic that Nick can now fulfil a dream he has to compete in the BTCC. I’ll be rocking on all cylinders when we go to Silverstone.”
Excelr8 Motorsport Team Principal Justina Williams admits that Halstead will face a big challenge when he joins the series in one of the outfit’s Hyundai i30 N Fastback cars.
“It’s a real shame that Rick has been advised to sit out the weekend at Croft given the strong performance he put in at Thruxton, particularly when you consider the discomfort he was feeling with his back,” said Williams.
“At the same time, it’s great to welcome Nick into the fold for his BTCC debut and we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on.
“We know it will be a big challenge for him to step into the car for his debut mid-season, and will provide him with all the support he needs to get the best results possible from the weekend.