James Gornall stands in for Jack Butel at Croft

James Gornall will stand in for Jack Butel at Excelr8 Motorsport in this weekend’s British Touring Car Championship races at Croft, with Butel needing to stay at home in Jersey due to personal circumstances.

Gornall, 37, last raced in the BTCC during the 2020 season when he took part in the first 18 races of the year with Trade Price Cars Racing, before he elected to step back from racing in touring cars prior to the Croft meeting.

His previous best result was seventh around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, although the 2008 British GT Champion only claimed two top ten finishes when he raced in an Audi S3.

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Gornall, who also has experience of racing in the MINI Challenge in 2019, will now get behind the wheel of a Hyundai i30 Fastback N for this weekend’s races.

“I’m ecstatic to be back in the BTCC this weekend, even if it is just for a one-off outing, and I’d like to thank Dreelside Engineering for supporting me and helping me to get back on the grid,” said Gornall.

“I was really trying to return to the series for 2022 only for things to conspire against me, so to now have the chance to get out on track is something I’m really looking forward to.

“I know the team at EXCELR8 really well having competed against them in the MINI Challenge and also working with them providing driver coaching to various drivers, so it’s good to now have the chance to race alongside my former foes in what is clearly a strong package with the Hyundai.

“I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of it to see what I can do, although this weekend will be a bit of a voyage of discovery as Croft is a circuit that I didn’t get chance to race at back in 2020 when COVID messed up my programme.

“I think the last time I raced there would have been back in 2015 in the Compact Cup, and before then, all the way back in 2004 in my single-seater days – so it’s been a while!

“Coming in for a weekend like this, I know I’ll have to work hard but that is the job I’m there to do. Hopefully I can get up to speed in the car quickly, and we’ll be able to push for some solid results across the three races.”

Excelr8 Team Owner Justina Williams added that Gornall would only be standing in for one event before Butel rejoins the team in Scotland after the summer break.

“It’s a shame that Jack isn’t able to join us this weekend and we look forward to welcoming him back at Knockhill after the summer break, but at the same time, we’re pleased to welcome James onboard for Croft,” said Williams.

“We have seen first-hand in the MINI Challenge how quick he is and we’re confident that he is a driver who can come in and do a solid job for us this weekend and hopefully, push to bring home some points across the three races.”

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