BTC Norlin confirms Smiley as first driver
BTC Norlin Racing will join the British Touring Car Championship grid in 2017 with a brace of Chevrolet Cruze cars.
The team has a multi-year deal with a leading hotel development company, Norlin, and has recruited Chris Smiley as its first driver. A second driver is due to be announced shortly.
BTC Norlin Racing boss Bert Taylor said: “I worked with Chris at Team Hard this season and saw first-hand what a talent he is. He is utterly focused on his career and is dedicated to winning, which is the same passion that we have as a team.
“We have expanded the backroom staff and have brought in expertise. We have taken on staff that have worked with the likes of RML and Triple Eight, so we feel confident we can move forward next season.”
BTC Racing took a sabbatical in 2015, but has now purchased cars and two TOCA BTCC Licences from Power Maxed Racing to return to the top flight.
Carrickfergus racer Smiley, 24, stopped his maiden BTCC programme halfway through 2016 after a troubled start with a Team Hard Toyota Avensis.
The former Mini Challenge champion said: “For me, this is the start of my BTCC career. I didn’t get enough running this year to learn anything, so I am starting afresh. I will be able to properly attack. We want to be in the top 10 to start with and build from there. There is no reason we shouldn’t be expecting podiums and strong results from the start.”