Promising BTCC debut for Restart Racing

2nd May 2024

Restart Racing – one of two new outfits in this year’s Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – made its series debut last weekend at Donington Park, battling through challenging conditions to secure points in a solid start to the campaign.

With a race day delay due to intense rainfall, Chris Smiley and rookie Scott Sumpton had to wait to make use of their promising 12th and 15th starting grid positions for the opening bout of the season.

Smiley, returning to the BTCC for the first time since 2021, fought valiantly in the midfield and faced challenges with understeer, but finished 15th to bring home the team’s first point in its maiden race. Sumpton ended his debut race in 17th place.

As conditions improved, Smiley showcased his fantastic wheel-to-wheel skills by engaging in several intense battles during race two, moving up to 14th by the finish. Sumpton was forced into a precautionary retirement due to overheating issues with hs car.

Smiley was making good progress in the final contest until he retired with radiator damage, after picking up debris from another car. Sumpton, overcoming earlier setbacks, demonstrated his growing confidence by finishing in 16th place, narrowly missing out on his first points of the season.

Chris Smiley said: “So guys, first day back and it started off quite well in the rain as we made a bit of progress. Race two we made another bit of progress and was our first proper race in the dry – in the last five or six laps we were as fast as any car on the track really, which is positive.

“Unfortunately race three we were making more progress, but bits were falling off one of the Fords and the parts that fell off went right through my radiator and unfortunately we had to retire the car.

“A bit of a frustrating end to the day but it’s great to be back. We’ve got some things to work on but that’s expected. We’re looking forward to Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks’ time and we’ll see you all there!”

Scott Sumpton said: “So, my first British Touring Car Championship weekend here at Donington Park and what a whirlwind it’s been, there have been a lot of emotions.

“It was really difficult today with the first race being delayed and it was extremely wet in race one. But we learnt a lot which was great. It was a shame in race two, we had a problem with the hybrid coolant so the motor started getting too hot, which was disappointing, but I kept my head held high going into race three.

“We had a really good race three and got to P16. I had some great battles, learnt lots and I’m ready to go into Brands Hatch fighting.”

Ben Taylor, Team Principal said: “A really productive weekend at Donington Park. It’s been a steep learning curve for all of us at the team over the winter and during pre-season, but I’m delighted with how everyone has handled the challenge.

“The weekend itself threw as many scenarios at us as it could and whilst it was a challenge it’s the perfect way to learn in this championship.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the whole team, we’ve come here, been competitive, scored some points and learned so much more about the Cupra Leon, which we will take into Brands Hatch in a couple of weekends time.” © 2024
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