Hyundai BTCC podium is "genuine pace" - Smiley

British Touring Car Championship race winner Chris Smiley says that his Hyundai's reversed-grid podium on its debut race weekend is a sign of genuine pace.

Hyundai BTCC podium is "genuine pace" - Smiley

The new Hyundai i30 N was developed over the winter by Excelr8 Motorsport, which replaced its ageing MG6 hardware, and snapped up established BTCC racers Smiley and Senna Proctor for the season.

Smiley was comfortably in the points in all three races at last weekend's Donington Park opening round, while team-mate Proctor was out of luck.

Proctor was the quicker of the two in qualifying, taking 11th on the grid, but 14th-placed Smiley felt that a red flag had denied him a fourth-row start.

"We had the pace to be seventh or eighth but the red flag robbed us," Smiley told Autosport.

"We put another set of tyres on but then it started to rain, but to be disappointed with 14th on the first day with a brand-new car, that's encouraging.

"We're happy enough that the pace is in the car - we just need to extract the fine details out of it."

Smiley raced up to eighth in the opening encounter, before losing out in the midfield war in the second race and dropping to 12th, which put him on pole position for the reversed-grid finale.

He lost a position to Ollie Jackson's Ford Focus at the start, but led for three laps before being passed by race winner Ash Sutton's Infiniti.

"I'm not just chuffed for me, I'm chuffed for everyone," said Smiley after finishing second, and taking an early seventh in the BTCC standings.

"That was genuine pace we had, and it's something we can build on.

"I made a little mistake at the start when I didn't catch the biting point of the clutch, but apart from that it was a textbook race.

"It's been a really good weekend, a solid weekend, and I've been able to use my head.

"Even from race one today we've taken the car forward, and my engineer Danny King and all the guys running my car have done an excellent job."

Proctor was running 11th in the opening race when a stone went through an oil cooler and he was forced to park his Hyundai.

After missing the second race, Proctor drove from the back of the grid into the points in the finale before an off at McLeans forced him into the pits.

shares
comments
Sutton hails "best race car I've driven" Infiniti after maiden BTCC win
Previous article

Sutton hails "best race car I've driven" Infiniti after maiden BTCC win

Next article

Blundell team confident BTCC engine dramas solved

Blundell team confident BTCC engine dramas solved
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021