Chris Smiley: BTC Racing driver ready for British Touring Car Championship return at Brands Hatch Indy

Chris Smiley.
Chris Smiley.

Carrickfergus’ Chris Smiley will return to the British Touring Car Championship circuit for a third full season this weekend as the 2019 campaign gets into gear around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

The curtain-raiser will include Smiley in the colours of BTC Racing aiming to build on his positive progress within the high-profile 30-strong field that included a first race win during August’s Rockingham meeting.

Smiley finished 13th overall in last years Drivers’ Championship standings as Colin Turkington, also from Northern Ireland, won the title. Smiley was also sixth in the Independent Drivers’ Championship and the Jack Sears Trophy runner-up.

In advance of the current season, Smiley previously confirmed his ambition to push on from an encouraging 2018.

“I made great strides in 2018 and am focusing on the Independents’ Championship this year, as well as supporting all the team at BTC Racing,” said Smiley on the official British Touring Car Championship website. “I look forward to continuing my BTCC career with BTC Racing.

“I have never been happy to make up numbers, so 2019 will only be a success for me if I have collected more wins.

“I can’t wait to get started.”

Team manager Zoe Timbrell described Smiley as “part of the family now” and highlighted how “his goals match those of BTC Racing perfectly...we are a close-knit team of people”.

Drivers will take part in free practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday before Sunday’s three-race schedule. The 2019 British Touring Car Championship programme will run across 10 weekends at eight venues for a 30-round total.

Full live race coverage will be broadcast over ITV4 on Sunday from 10.15am.