BTCC news round up – The return of Chilton Newsham and Smiley

Tom Chilton seated in the centre in 2011 the last time he raced in the BTCC (Photo by Marc Waller)

Tom Chilton seated in the centre in 2011 the last time he raced in the BTCC (Photo by Marc Waller)Despite it being nearly Christmas, the BTCC announcements haven’t slowed down.

The newly manufacturer backed Power Maxed Racing have announced Tom Chilton will be returning to the BTCC to drive the second of the team’s Vauxhall Astra NGTC cars with Senna Proctor already announced to be in the first car.

Chilton is pleased.

“I am delighted to be back in the BTCC, I have continued to watch as a fan while racing in World Touring Cars and the itch to get back behind the wheel on British soil has never gone away. So you can imagine how excited I was when Adam got in touch, plus to get to return in a Vauxhall Astra, a car that I know and love is a dream. I am confident that Power Maxed Racing will be front runners and scoring podiums, the team are fantastic, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

Power Maxed boss Adam Weaver explained why they have signed Chilton

“I have known Tom for a while now and followed his career with interest, which has now paid off. His experience and work ethic is second to none, he knows what’s coming and will be a great role model for Senna as well as a proven race winner. We knew last year that we had the ingredients for success but like a cake you can’t rush it, but maybe, just maybe this year we can have our cake and eat it!”

BTC Norlin Racing have also now announced both of their drivers. First to be revealed was Chris Smiley. Bert Taylor, team boss explains why they chose Smiley and also why the Chevrolet Cruze;
“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 at BTC Norlin Racing 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.

“We have chosen to run with the Chevrolet initially because it is a car we know well, and we have run them before. In the longer term, our plan is to become a constructor in our own right, and that is the aim for 2018.”

Smiley is pleased after his 2016 season with Team Hard ended early leaving him in the Clio cup for the second half of the year;

“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.

“We want to be solidly in the top ten to start with and build from there. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be expecting podiums and strong results from reversed-grid races over the latter part of the year.”

Then around a week after, Dave Newsham was revealed as the team’s other driver;

Newsham will be reunited with the Chevrolet Cruze he raced in 2015 and in a couple of 2016 rounds (Photo by Marc Waller) Chris Smiley seated nearest the camera moves from Team Hard to BTC Norlin (Photo by Marc Waller) Dave Newsham (Photo by Marc Waller) Mat Jackson winning in 2016 (Photo by Marc Waller)




To have been selected for this drive is unreal for me,” said double race winner Newsham. “The team has some very solid foundations and there is a real desire to win from all parties. This will be the first time I will go into a season with a car that I know, so I am full of optimism.

“There are some great people assembled at the team, including my engineer Steve Brady. The elements are there for us to take some real steps forward in terms of performance.

“We will get some pre-season testing done too, and there are areas of the car that we can develop from my time driving it in 2016. I know I have got to go out there and perform – the pressure is on, but I am ready for the challenge. I am very grateful to Bert Taylor and the guys at Norlin for the chance to get back on the grid. I am going to do my very best to justify their faith in me.”

Bert Taylor explains that Newsham was their first choice;

“It was important for us to get a driver with race-winning experience, and Dave was at the very top of the list of drivers we wanted,” he revealed. “When we started putting this deal together, we knew he would be the perfect fit.

“Dave showed how good he is when he stepped into the car for a couple of rounds last season and was challenging for the top six straightaway. That is the class that he has. We have a testing programme mapped out and we can’t wait to get to work.”

Motorbase have also announced that Mat Jackson will return as one of their three drivers in 2017. Plus they have a major new title sponsor in the form of Shredded Wheat. Team Boss Dave Bartrum spoke about his signings;

“Motorbase Performance is extremely proud to be bringing such a well-known brand as Shredded Wheat to the British Touring Car Championship. Shredded Wheat is a household name and a healthy breakfast cereal that we’ve all grown up with and the BTCC package offers them a fantastic platform to reach their target audience.”

“Their faith in us and also the BTCC shows where the championship is in terms of stature and exposure and also how far we’ve come as a team; I’m very much looking forward to building a strong relationship with the Shredded Wheat brand. The standout on the car looks fantastic and it certainly won’t be missed on track.”

He continued to speak about Jackson continuing;

“As reigning Independent Champions we’re looking forward to the challenge of defending our crown. We’re also very happy to announce that Mat will continue to spearhead our 2017 campaign;” added the Team Boss. “After having come so close to the overall drivers’ title last season, we also have our eyes on the overall prize. Mat’s pace is unquestionable and he has shown great consistency in recent years. He is a real asset to the team and the perfect brand ambassador for Shredded Wheat.”

With the Autosport show coming in the second weekend of 2017, lots more news is expected in the coming weeks. By Marc Waller

Written by