Smiley returns to Norlin, but Newsham retires
After the news that the outfit would switch to Honda for the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, BTC Norlin Racing has today announced that Chris Smiley will once again race for the team throughout the coming campaign.
The Northern Irishman returns for a third consecutive campaign in Britain’s premier motor sport championship and he is keen to jump into proven title-winning machinery in the Civic Type R come Season Launch in March.
“I’m over the moon to be back with BTC Norlin Racing – even more so with the Honda Civic Type R for 2018,” said Smiley. “This is a hugely exciting time for me, the team and our sponsors, with the Honda being a double championship-winning car.
“My expectations for the coming season are high after producing top tens consistently in the second half of the 2017 season.
“I can’t thank Norlin and Bert Taylor enough for everything they have done for me and ensuring I have the best package possible this coming year.
Meanwhile Smiley’s 2017 team-mate Dave Newsham has announced his retirement from the BTCC as he switches focus on to his son Callum’s racing career.
Newsham, who competed in seven consecutive BTCC seasons with three independent outfits, said: “I was almost ready to retire from BTCC at the end of 2016 when out of the blue I was handed a lifeline from BTC Norlin.
“We achieved some great results together last year and I have to say it was my most enjoyable season in the championship.
“I hope I played my part in establishing the team and helping to make it one of the best in the paddock. I wish everyone involved success in the future.
“Thank you BTC Norlin Racing!”
Bert Taylor, BTC Norlin Racing Team Director, praised the fan-favourite: “I’d personally like to thank Dave for joining the team. From the start, he brought a wealth of experience to us in our first season, scored our first points, grabbed our first independence win and got our first podium. For that, we’ll be forever grateful.
“I’d like to wish him all the very best for the future.“
“We are delighted that Chris has agreed to race again for us in 2018,” added Richard Irwin, owner of BTC Norlin Racing. “He has the character and commitment to grow year on year and I have no doubt he will be challenging for podiums at each round in the Hondas.
“I also want to personally add my thanks to Dave Newsham for last season, seeing us through a very competitive maiden campaign in the BTCC. His race results consistently lifted the garage, team and all our guests and he will be sorely missed by us all.”