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DONINGTON PARK RACE REPORT – 29TH APRIL 2018

Chris Smiley Donington Podium

Following BTC Norlin Racing’s best qualifying performance on Saturday at Donington Park, the pressure was on to secure more great results for the team, with Chris Smiley starting P2  on the fourth row on the grid. With car running the hard tyre option for race one, and Smiley the first on the grid running the option compound.

Race One: It was always going to be a tough race, with the #22 BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civics working to minimise the damage that running the hard compound tyres would have. Chris Smiley fought hard to hold onto his P2 start, leading around the first corner, before losing out on the entrance to Craner Curves. As the impact of the hard tyre option developed, it became tough for Smiley to hold off the charging field. Chris brought home the Honda Civic Type Rs in P7  whilst disappointing, attention turned immediately to race two. Race Two: Starting P7, Chris, was back on the standard compound tyres. Chris got the second race off to a flying start, getting himself into P2 by the second lap and took the lead of the race in lap 9. However, a charging Tom Ingram resulted in some exciting racing, before Smiley set about keeping ahead of Dan Cammish and Jack Goff. Smiley secured his first podium finish in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, finishing round five in P2. Chris Smiley Donington

“I knew we would be strong here and I was the most confident I’d ever felt coming into the weekend, but I honestly never expected to finish as high as second,” said Smiley. “I am focusing on the next race now, and hope that I can achieve a top five finish to round off the weekend.”

The team at BTC Norlin Racing managed to get Nash’s engine replaced as a precaution which was a sterling effort by all involved. Race Three: With Chris starting P8 as a result of Rory Butcher being drawn for pole for the reverse grid race, the final race of the day was always going to be a busy one! The hard tyre option had played a critical part of everyone’s races at Donington, and race three was no different. Smiley had his sights on those ahead of him on the hard tyre, and worked his way up the grid. Chris progressed to P6 in the first lap, and buoyed from his first podium in the series in race two, soon manoeuvred himself into 4th. Unfortunately, a racing incident with Dan Cammish ended Smiley’s race with damage to the car. James Nash Donington BTC Norlin Racing’s weekend was the perfect example of the highs and lows that the world of motorsport can throw at you. However, the team had their best qualifying and race results since founded in 2017 and showed clearly that their intentions are at the sharp end of the grid. Chris Smiley had a real rollercoaster of a day, achieving his best BTCC finish following his best qualifying performance on Saturday. He was left a little disappointed after retiring from race three, but will bounce back and be ready for Thruxton in just under three weeks. “…It’s been a good day at Donington Park!” said Smiley. “I got my first podium in race two by finishing second. Running the hard tyre in race one was survival but I had a respectable finish in P7. In race three, I had a little bit of contact at Craner Curve which cost me what was potentially another podium on the cards. But all in all it was a very positive weekend and there’s no other feeling in the world like standing on that podium. A big thanks to the team at BTC Norlin Racing and all our fantastic sponsors who without them this could not be possible.”

For sure the biggest smile in the paddock when Smiley took the chequered flag in race two in second position, belonged to Team Boss, Bert Taylor. Taylor and Smiley have worked together for a number of years, and the results meant a lot to them both.

“The whole weekend was meteoric” said Taylor. “It has been tough at times, with the oil situation in race two for James and Chris’ incident in race three, but overall, we have shown that we can do this. “Qualifying on Saturday really set out our stall in the BTCC. It showed that despite being a small team, that we have huge ambitions and potential. The results mean a lot to the team, and I am proud of everyone who has helped get us to this point. We have a great team of people around us, and are supported by a great selection of sponsors, to whom we are infinitely grateful for their support. Bring on Thruxton in a few weeks!” The track action wasn’t all the team focused on this weekend. The team was also busy fundraising for Amy Johnson, family to Bert Taylor, who ran the London Marathon last weekend. An amazing achievement, but even more wonderful is that she is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, charity that is close to everyone’s heart. If you wish to support her efforts, please visit Amy’s Fundraising Page. Photography: Phil Laughton

BRANDS HATCH INDY RACE REPORT – 8TH APRIL 2018

BTC Norlin Racing at Brands Hatch Indy

The first race weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship certainly provided the level of excitement that was anticipated, with three action packed races at the Kent based Brands Hatch Indy.

Saturday’s qualifying proved slightly frustrating for the team, but confidence that progress could be made during Sunday’s three races was high. Chris Smiley and James Nash started race one 16th respectively, but had their sights firmly on getting through pack and into the points. Chris and made great starts, completing the first lap in 9th, putting the car into the points battle. Shortly after, the safety car was out, and the race was temporarily neutralised with Chris 8th. Chris enjoyed some close racing with Adam Morgan, which eventually resulted in him losing the place. He defended his 9th position for 14 laps, until the 2017 BTCC Champion passed him on lap 24, leaving Chris to take the chequered flag in 9th, having regained a position from James Cole. Unfortunately, it was felt that Chris gained an unfair advantage in the tussle and was awarded 0.6 seconds to be added to his race time, leaving him classified in 10th position. With Chris delivering some inspired driving during race one, race two was surely going to deliver more of the same. As the start of the race approached, it became clear that the time on the grid would be spent debating tyre selections. Chris’s BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civic would be starting the race on wets, whilst a brave few took the brave option to run the slick tyres. Also picking his way through the grid, Chris made his way up to 6th place by lap 19 and was enjoying his battle. However, he was not able to maintain this position on the drying track and was overtaken by those who had started the race on slicks, crossing the line in 17th. Despite the disappointing results from race two, the excitement of such great racing, meant that race three was the final chance of the day to make a mark on the start of the championship. Starting race three in chris was focused on scoring more points and charging towards the podium. He was 14th by the end of the first lap, before the safety car was dispatched. Once the safety car had pulled in, Chris got back to the business of moving forward, getting his Honda Civic Type R into 9th by lap 10, but lost the place to Ash Sutton. Chris stayed 10th for much of the rest of the race, although a tussle with Josh Cook moved him back to 11th for a lap, before taking the place back on the following lap. Unfortunately losing a couple places at the end of the race, as Chris was forced to take avoiding action, he took the chequered flag in 16th place. Whilst it felt as though the results didn’t reflect the achievements on the day, Chris felt there were more positives than negatives to be taken from the action.

“It’s unbelievable to finish in the top ten at the opening race of the season. This was my aim for the day and I’m delighted to have made up 6 positions.”

“The rest of the day was frustrating, running 6th for much of race two, until the track dried and we were caught on the wrong tyre. Race three looked as though P9 was possible, until I was caught up in someone else’s incident at Druids on the last lap, but that is touring car racing. I can’t wait to get to Donington Park in two and a half weeks, with the awesome guys and girls from BTC Norlin Racing.”

“As a minimum this weekend, we wanted to have both cars within the top 15 during the three races” said Team Manager Bert Taylor. “Whilst we didn’t really get the results that we wanted, we have seen that we are comfortable racing towards the front and have shown that we have the tools to get the job done this season.”

“We wanted to be leaving the circuit with a better haul of points, but are happy that we have understood the cars better and moved closer during each race to where we know we should be. We are now focusing on Donington Park, so expect more passion and determination than ever before from BTC Norlin Racing, we want more!” Photography: Steve Hindle
 2017
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our sponsors and supporters see you at a track in 2018. Chris Smiley
Chris has been busy at Official Donington Park Racing today in the #22 Chevrolet Cruze. The weather hasn’t been the best, but I’ve completed lots of laps and it’s been a very successful day!

We have been busy at Official Donington Park Racing today, with Chris Smiley and the #22 Chevrolet Cruze. The weather hasn't been the best, but we've completed lots of laps and it's been a successful day!

Posted by BTC Racing on Wednesday, 18 October 2017
 

BRANDS HATCH GP RACE REPORT – 1ST OCT 2017

Brands Hatch GP

Less than a year before Brands Hatch GP, the team was only in the planning stage with regards to their entry into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Since purchasing the cars in November so much has been achieved, both on and off the track. The team’s first top five finish at Donington Park in April, two Independent Driver wins, scored points at every round and the first podium at Silverstone last month. Conditions at the Kent circuit on Sunday morning were very damp and the looming threat of more rain was on everyone’s mind up and down the paddock. Lining up on the grid with Chris Smiley starting P19 , decisions regarding tyre selection continued until the last minute. Chris  opting to run their slicks, and with Chris running the option soft tyre, it was going to be a tricky few laps while they sussed out the track and the conditions. Chris was focused on adding to his collection of recent top ten finishes. “The day started well coming from P19 to P11 with some good passing manoeuvres. The conditions were tough as the track was half wet and half dry, and I was running the soft slick tyre option.”   P11 finishes in race one, put  Chris in a great place to race towards the front during race two. It was also a disappointing race for Chris, who was unable to capitalise on his P11 starting place and race into the top ten. “Unfortunately, I got a puncture on lap 11, and had to pit for a change and finished P28 leaving me with quite a challenge for the last race!” After race two, the team set about getting both cars ready for the final race. It was ‘all hands to the pump’ to get the work completed, so that both cars could take their places in the 28th and 29th slots of the grid. Following an excellent display of team work by all at BTC Norlin Racing, which included changing Dave’s engine in 80 minutes, both cars joined the back of the grid, focused on getting into the points for the final race of the season.

With the Championship Titles still to be decided in the final race of the season, Chris and Dave lined up 28th and 29th on the grid respectively. The weather forecast promised more rain, and again the grid was split on which tyres would be ideal for the conditions.

Absolutely wanting to complete the season on the high, Chris was on great form cutting his way through the pack of cars. “Race three was one of my best drives of the season, coming from almost last on the grid (28th) to finish P11 on what was yet again another challenging race in difficult conditions for my wet tyres. It was just the finish that I needed to keep the team and I in high spirits for next year. “Thanks to every one of you that has supported me this year, it has been overwhelming. I would like to make a special mention to Bert Taylor, Richard Irwin and Stephen Symington for giving me a chance to compete at this level. I cannot thank them enough, and if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have achieved any of these results this year.” Brands Hatch GP The chequered flag of race three, brought the 2017 season to a close, and opportunity to reflect on what BTC Norlin Racing have achieved this year. When Team Boss Bert Taylor started work putting the team together less than a year ago, it would have been hard to imagine a better first year for the new team. Brands Hatch GP “Ending the season as regular top ten finishers is a great achievement, as well as the two Independent wins and podium finish at Silverstone. It has been an amazing six months with the team, everything was put together from scratch and I am so proud of everything we have all achieved.

“Chris has also done himself proud this year, showing that he has what it takes to race with the best of BTCC drivers and it is clear he has a great future ahead of him. Dave joining us this year has worked perfectly, he brings so much to the team and to top it off, he is a great guy!

“I would like to thank all of our sponsors, without whom we would not have been able to mount such a successful first year in BTCC. We have also received amazing support from the fans, and as a new team this has meant so much. Our attention is now firmly focused on our 2018 campaign, so watch this space!” Photography: Jay Adair  

BRANDS HATCH GP QUALIFYING REPORT 

Brands Hatch Qualifying

BTC Norlin Racing have returned to Brands Hatch for the second time this season to compete on the GP circuit.

A wet circuit and red flags had impacted the running times in the Brands Hatch GP qualifying session. Eurotech’s Brett Smith and Triple Eight’s Josh Cook both had spun off the track as the result of a greasy circuit. We wish both drivers well! “Two red flags at the beginning of the session meant that much time was spent in the pits waiting to go back out and set times” said Chris. “It was a very strange afternoon. The track started wet but a dry line began forming, hence the change onto slicks. This made conditions very difficult, as was displayed with shunts. Chris Smiley finished in P19 which was 0.834s off pole setters Jack Goff’s 1m30.802s. A confident Smiley added “I am determined to make my way up through the grid tomorrow. I am aiming for 3 strong finishes on Sunday”. Racing on Sunday begins at 11:37am where both Chris and Dave will be doing their best to advance their positions in the independent standings. Photography: Jay Adair

Chris picks a winner in the draw for 4 nights in Prague from our sponsors Norlin Hotels with the Hilton Group and Chris Carter is the winner.

Posted by BTC Racing on Thursday, 14 September 2017
   

 

This weekend will see Chris return to Silverstone National Circuit for only is second time the first time was under the supervision of 888 Engineering for winning the Mini challenge. This time round Chris will drive the BTC Norlin Racing Chevy Cruze with the ITV Camera on board.

 

 

Rockingham

BTC Norlin Racing have now returned from Rockingham which has been their most successful weekend to date of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

 

Rockingham  Qualifying

Qualifying 25th,Chris were prepared for a busy race day at Rockingham Said Chris after a very hard Qualifying session Rockingham Starting P25 for Race One, Chris Smiley had a lot of work to do, also whilst running the Option tyre.

“Race one saw me starting from P25 on the hard tyre. Progress was always going to be hard but I made the most of the race and battled cleanly up to 20th. The car felt great and I knew that race two would be better with the preferred medium compound tyre.”

  Rockingham Chris started race two in P20, and was eager to get the car into the points as soon as possible, which he managed to do in the first lap. “Starting P20 I passed five cars on the opening lap finding myself in a points position with only one lap completed. The race turned out to be one of the most thrilling of the year, battling myself up to 8th position and at one point I passed the BMW of Rob Collard, and had a very clean dice with Tom Ingram until the final laps which saw me cross the line with my best BTCC finish in P10.”   Rockingham

“Once again, the Chevy was flying, the team is in great shape right now and we can only get better. The final two rounds of the BTCC calendar are two of my favourites, so Silverstone in a fortnight can’t come soon enough.”

Still buzzing from his first top ten finish, Chris was focused on remaining within the top ten whilst also carrying 9kg of success ballast from race two. “After getting a good start, I maintained 10th position for the majority of the race running with the lead group throughout. After an incident in front of me between Jack Goff and Rob Collard that removed Rob from the race, I was promoted to P9. I crossed the line to my new best finishing position of 9th and my team mate Dave Newsham finishing behind me was the result of a fantastic team effort from all the guys and girls at BTC Norlin Racing!” Rockingham Team Boss, Bert Taylor was delighted with the results, even though our qualifying performance meant that we had more progress to make on the Sunday. “The Saturday started off how we were hoping on the #22 car. We were right up there again and Dave was also looking quick, which put both cars in the top 15.

“We were disappointed with qualifying, as so much promise had been shown in the morning, but we hadn’t managed to translate this to qualifying. However, our disappointment was short-lived, as Sunday saw our hard work pay off, and the team was rewarded with more great results.

“Chris achieved his first top ten finish in BTCC in the second race, and the third race of the day, saw both cars finish within the top ten, with Dave having a great drive from 23rd to 10th.”  

Knockhill  Race report.

Race 3 The day concluded with Race 3, Chris starting P14. Unfortunately, a puncture on the first lap, saw Chris pit for a replacement, which ultimately left him chasing down the pack for the remainder of the race. An upbeat Chris said “This was another weekend where I’ve learnt more and we’ve now got a clearer direction on where we are going with the setup of the car. The next three races suit the Chevrolet a lot better than Snetterton and Knockhill so we are very optimistic about Rockingham.” Knockhill

“We’ve have had the best weekend so far of the 2017 season” said Bert Taylor. “I am so proud of what the team have achieved. We set out on this journey less than a year ago, and to be where we are now is amazing. A lot of credit must go to Chris, he is doing a great job in his first full season, he’s working very hard and is showing great pace each weekend.”

Race 2 Chris Started in P19, Dave was running the soft tyre option and was keen to optimise the opportunity that it presented. After a first lap incident causing a red flag, the cars took to the grid once again. Knockhill Following a 20 minute delay, the second race of the day got underway Chris made great progress in the race, getting his Chevy into 14th place at two points in the race before settling in 15th and getting another points finish under his belt. Race 1

Chris’s first race was focused on making places up the grid, an objective he got straight onto in the first lap, gaining two places. The Carrickfergus driver set his sights on those ahead, Rob Austin, Mike Simpson and Stephen Jelley.

His patience and determination paid off, and he finished the race in P19. A great result considered that he too was not running the soft tyre, which had performed so well in the conditions on the track.

KNOCKHILL QUALIFYING REPORT – 12TH AUGUST 2017

The trend of setting fastest laps on the final completed continued across the grid of 32 cars, with two thirds of the drivers doing the same. Also changing to the slick tyre after the red flag period, the ever-drying track also meant that Chris Smiley completed his fastest lap time during his final lap. Qualifying in 24th with a time of 54.284, having struggled to find space on the 1.3 mile track, Chris was disappointed with the result, but was keen to get focused on the job for tomorrow. “I am really annoyed that I didn’t get to hook together the qualifying lap that I know the car and I can do around this circuit. It is a real pain, but tomorrow is another day and I am already focused on the races ahead.” Chris Smiley Knockhill 2017.

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