June 14, 2021

Vansdirect and ExcelR8 Motorsport Round Up – British Touring Car Championship 2021


Welcome to our race by race round up of the British Touring Car Championship, following our partners ExcelR8 Motorsport and their team drivers, Tom Ingram and Chris Smiley. Here we’ll share commentary and official race images including lots of podium celebrations! Good luck Tom and Chris!

Rounds 6, 7 & 8 – Brands Hatch | 26th & 27th June 2021

Ingram and Smiley BTCC

Off the back of a first race win for Tom Ingram and a much more competitive weekend for Chris Smiley, the team faced a different test at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent. The free practice sessions went without a hitch, Tom fourth fastest and Chris 12th but just two tenths of a second behind Tom, so it was very close.

Moving in to qualifying with weather improving, Tom and Chris both hit the grid in the top 10, P6 and P8 respectively. The start went well for Tom, moving up to P3 but a tap from Gordon Sheddon saw him fall back to sixth. Switching between sixth and seventh, Tom eventually crossed the line P6 which, given the extra weight, was a good result. Chris had a fairly clear race throughout and secured a great P7 and solid points for him and the team.

Smiley BTCC

Where race one passed with relative calm, race two was far from uneventful for Tom. Again, Tom was fast off the start and hit P3 where he hunted Dan Rowbottom for half of the race. Unfortunately, an opportune move from Jake Hill saw him slip a place before Hill suffered a puncture. From that point Tom chased down the top two and on the final lap was able to take the lead from Oliphant and he held on for his second win of the season.

Chris again had a solid race in the top ten and was able to come home again in P7, adding more points to his weekend haul.

Ingram BTCC podium

The final race of the weekend would see Tom with full ballast and this meant he spent the race in a midfield battle starting from P12. This is where he ended the race, two places behind Chris who completed the weekend with a third top 1o spot.

Undoubtedly this was a great weekend for the two ExcelR8 drivers. It’s Oulton Park next but not until the end of July. So plenty of time to prepare and build on a great start to the season!

Race Tom Ingram Chris Smiley
1 P6 P7
2 P1 P7
3 P12 P10

Rounds 3, 4 & 5 – Snetterton | 12th & 13th June 2021

Tom Ingram Finish Line

The fans are back!

What a great sight for the team to see fans back around the race circuit and it must have given the team a great lift becuase we got our first win of the season in round six.

The weekend started well with Tom and Chris qualifying P3 and P2 respectively. In the first race the signs were good as both drivers finished ahead of their start position with Tom finishing on the podium in P2 and Chris making it to P10.

Chris Smiley Racing

The second race saw the top ten line up with extra weight added and this thwarted Tom to some degree as he fell from P2 to P4. It was tough battle all race with the Ford Focus of Ollie Jackson and eventually Tom crossed the line holding on to P4.

Chris battled well through the race and was unfortunate to drop a place by the finish line. Unfortunately a one second time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage meant he was dropped down to P13 post-race. Nevertheless, confidence was high going in to the final round.

Tom Ingram Podium

This was when it all came together for Tom. Starting P4 for the final race he quickly launch in to third and on lap two he had taken second spot from Tom Oliphant. A great battle then saw him take the front from Stephen Jelley and from here on in he could sense the first win of th season for him and the ExcelR8 team.

Chris was able to hold on to a third points finish of the weekend with another performance to be really happy with. it certainly will have put the memories of a tough opening weekend to bed.

Snetterton Results

Race Tom Ingram Chris Smiley
1 P2 P11
2 P4 P13
3 P1 P10

 

Rounds 1, 2 & 3 – Thruxton | 8th & 9th May 2021

Tom Ingram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thruxton is the fastest track on the BTCC calendar so was a great opportunity for the team to test out their new Hyundai i30N race cars.

Qualifying on Saturday, despite the wet conditions, proved really successful with Tom Ingram qualifying P4 and Chris Smiley coming in to race one in P10. Everyone felt positive for the Sunday.

Sunday started well for Tom after reigning champion Ash Sutton span off on the first lap. Tom climbed to P2, overtaking Colin Turkington, and never looked like losing that spot for the whole race, chasing eventual winner Josh Cook in the Honda Civic. Sadly, Chris was forced into retirement when he was hit by the out-of-control Honda of Gordon Shedden, ending up in the tyres at Goodwood.

The second race saw a very early stoppage for a multi-car crash and soon after the restart Tom found himself down in fifth after losing momentum in a corner. He then succumbed to a lighter Honda but was able to hold on to sixth until the end. Again, for Chris is was bad luck as a mechanical fault forced him to retire.

The drama continued in to race three with Tom landing a thirty second stop go penalty after an issue on the grid. He was unable to recover and finished a disappointing 22nd. Chris began the final race in P23 with the rain starting to fall. Despite making it in to the top 10 and unfortunate loss of traction meant he finished P15.

Plenty of positives to take in to Snetterton. We can’t wait!

Chris Smiley

Thruxton Results

Race Tom Ingram Chris Smiley
1 P2 DNF
2 P6 DNF
3 P22 P15