Excelr8 Motorsport has signed an agreement with Nick Halstead for the 50-year-old to contest the full 2023 British Touring Car Championship season in one of its Hyundai i30 N Fastback cars.
Halstead made his BTCC début in 2021 when he stood in for Rick Parfitt Jr at the Croft round, claiming a best finish of 21st.
His only touring car experience prior to that came in 2019 when he took part in six races of the Touring Car Trophy.
Halstead’s other racing experience has focussed on GT racing, since he made his racing début in 2017.
He won the Amateur class of the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in his second season of racing, and then went on to become a regular competitor in the BTCC-supporting Ginetta GT4 Supercup, in which he claimed 16 podium results and five wins.
In 2020 he entered the British GT Championship in the GT4 Pro-Am category, finishing as the runner-up in the class.
This year he moved up to the GT3 class and secured overall victory in the round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
“Like the millions of fans who love the racing in BTCC, I have dreamed of one day being on the grid myself,” said Halstead, who will be eligible for the Jack Sears Trophy for drivers yet to secure a BTCC podium.
“After two successful seasons in British GT where I have shown I can challenge at the front and win races, I felt the time was right to take on the next challenge.
“The opportunity to join forces with the defending champions and to get behind the wheel of the best car on the grid is one that is too good to miss, and it gives me the chance to now prove myself on the biggest stage in the UK.
“When I raced with the team at Croft last year, I had the chance to see first-hand how good EXCELR8 is, and it has only got stronger since then.
“I believe it is the best team to help me get to where I want to be, and in Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton, I have two of the most experienced drivers on the grid to learn from.
“I know it will be a big change from where I have been and that the level of competition is going to be very high, but that is what appeals to me as a driver as I want to measure myself against the very best.
“Like every other driver on the grid, my goal is to achieve the best results possible every time I go out on track. I’d love to be in a position where I can fight for wins in the Jack Sears Trophy and ultimately try to fight for the title as the year goes on.”
Team Owner Justina Williams, Team Owner believes that Halstead will be a good fit for the team, which will continue to run four cars next season and will soon embark on a pre-season testing programme in the coming months.
“It’s great to be able to confirm Nick as part of our line-up for 2023 and I’m looking forward to seeing him show what he can do on track during the new season,” added Williams.
“When he raced with us last year at Croft, his performance was very impressive when you consider he’d never driven the car before, and he was coming in mid-season against a strong field of drivers.
“Nick fits in really well with the team and having impressed with his performances since that weekend – most notably the win at Spa earlier this year – we’re delighted that he has decided to return for his first full BTCC season.
“Although the BTCC is going to be a different challenge, Nick is someone who has shown he has the drive and desire to achieve his goals, and when you also add in his business acumen, I’m confident that this can be the start of a successful partnership both on and off track during the year ahead.”