Smiley returns to the BTCC with Norlin

Chris Smiley will make his return to the British Touring Car Championship next season with BTC Norlin Racing. 2017 also sees Norlin’s return, the team running two Chevrolet Cruze cars.

Smiley debuted in the BTCC last season, racing with Team HARD for a number of rounds, before financial problems forced him to drop out of the championship. That wasn’t before he’d impressed in the paddock.

“I worked with Chris at Team HARD this season and saw first-hand what a talent he is,” BTC Norlin Racing boss Bert Taylor said. “He is utterly focused on his career and is dedicated to winning, which is the same passion that we have as a team.”

After dropping out of the BTCC, Smiley competed in the Clio Cup championship. Now, he sees 2017 as a fresh start.

“For me, this is the start of my BTCC career,” he said. “I didn’t really get enough running this year to learn anything, so I am beginning afresh. I will be able to properly attack the championship in 2017.

“I am grateful for the people who have stood by me – and the guys at Norlin have been so enthusiastic. They are family friends and we have been able to put together a team of highly talented people. I really can’t wait to get started.”

Smiley has already begun testing the Chevrolet Cruze at Donington Park.

The aim is to finish consistently in the top ten, but Smiley believes it will be possible to take podiums and strong results in reverse grid races.

Beyond 2017, Norlin plans to become a constructor, but will this year run the Chevrolet as the team has run them before.

The team’s second driver is expected to be announced soon.

Image credit: Caroline Rhea

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