Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 drafts in Gornall for Croft weekend

22nd June 2022

Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 has today (22 June) announced that James Gornall will step in for the team this weekend at Croft (25/26 June) for the fifth meeting of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season.

The 37-year-old will race one of the Suffolk-based team’s Hyundai i30 Fastback Ns in North Yorkshire in place of regular driver Jack Butel, who is unable to take part in the meeting as a result of personal circumstances that mean he needs to remain at home in Jersey.

Butel will return to action in the #96 entry when racing resumes at Knockhill in late July following the upcoming summer break.

Substitute racer Gornall brings plenty of experience into the line-up this weekend, having secured multiple titles during a varied career to date.

Initially competing in single-seaters, Gornall secured the British GT Championship title back in 2008 and took a class win in the Silverstone 24 Hours before taking a hiatus from racing, returning to action in the BMW Compact Cup in 2014 and winning the championship a year later.

From there, he would enjoy a successful guest outing in the MINI CHALLENGE before a full season entry in 2019 saw him secure another championship title with an impressive five wins and 13 podium finishes from 17 starts.

Gornall brings prior experience in the BTCC from a part campaign in a Trade Price Cars Racing-run Audi S3, where he secured a best result of seventh and scored a top 20 championship finish despite missing the final three rounds of the campaign.

He will carry the same hybrid allocation into the weekend that Butel would have run, meaning a full 15 seconds per lap in qualifying and a full allocation of laps in the opening race of the weekend.

"I’m ecstatic to be back in the BTCC this weekend,” said Gornall, “even if it is just for a one-off outing, and I’d like to thank Dreelside Engineering for supporting me and helping me to get back on the grid. I was really trying to return to the series for 2022 only for things to conspire against me, so to now have the chance to get out on track is something I’m really looking forward to.

"I know the team at EXCELR8 really well having competed against them in the MINI CHALLENGE and also working with them providing driver coaching to various drivers, so it’s good to now have the chance to race alongside my former foes in what is clearly a strong package with the Hyundai.

"I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of it to see what I can do, although this weekend will be a bit of a voyage of discovery as Croft is a circuit that I didn’t get chance to race at back in 2020 when COVID messed up my programme. I think the last time I raced there would have been back in 2015 in the Compact Cup, and before then, all the way back in 2004 in my single-seater days - so it’s been a while!

"Coming in for a weekend like this, I know I’ll have to work hard but that is the job I’m there to do. Hopefully I can get up to speed in the car quickly, and we’ll be able to push for some solid results across the three races."

"It’s a shame that Jack isn’t able to join us this weekend and we look forward to welcoming him back at Knockhill after the summer break, but at the same time, we’re pleased to welcome James on board for Croft,” added Team Owner Justina Williams.

"We have seen first-hand in the MINI CHALLENGE how quick he is and we’re confident that he is a driver who can come in and do a solid job for us this weekend and hopefully, push to bring home some points across the three races." © 2024
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