MOTORSPORT: There is a ‘real buzz’ after Silverstone success, says Smiley

Chris Smiley
Chris Smiley

Chris Smiley had another strong weekend in the British Touring Car Championship, where the Carrick driver collected a career best result in the series at Silverstone.

Smiley finished seventh in the third race around the Northamptonshire circuit as his BTC Norlin team mate Dave Newsham collected the Northern Irish-owned team’s first overall podium in the series.

“There is a real buzz around the team,” said Smiley, “We had a really good weekend and Dave’s podium gives the whole team a boost heading into the season finale.”

With the entire 32-car field covered by less than a second in qualifying, Smiley was left in 20th place and could only manage 18th in race one while running the slower, more durable hard tyre, but made good progress in race two to collect points for the fifth race weekend in succession with by crossing the line in 11th.

The team starred in race three, with Newsham being drawn on pole position for the reverse grid race and Smiley starting in 10th place.

Newsham lost the lead to Rob Huff and Matt Neal, but held on to secure a popular podium for the team, who have become a hit with the fans in their debut season while Smiley held off several leading drivers to take his best result with a strong performance as he continues to make progress as the season continues.

Chris Smiley in action at Silverstone

Chris Smiley in action at Silverstone

“The car felt great and we kept getting quicker and quicker as the weekend went on,” said Smiley, “We have made some really good progress as a team and we’re aiming to finish the season on a high at Brands Hatch.”

Smiley now sits just three points off Mike Epps in tenth place in the Independent driver standings, with BTC Norlin moving within 50 points of third place in the Independent team’s standings.

The final round of the BTCC season takes place at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time, with fellow Northern Irish driver Colin Turkington in contention for the title.