Great pace but no reward at Brands Hatch

Restart Racing had a bruising season finale of the 2023 TCR UK championship season at Brands Hatch, despite showing great pace on Saturday, followed by a race-leading performance by 2022 champion Chris Smiley.

Chris Smiley 2023 Brands Hatch Restart Racing

The weekend started well with Smiley topping the short free practice session on Saturday morning in the wet, with team-mate Scott Sumpton just a few places behind him in fourth position.
The qualifying session was ultra-tight, with Chris setting consistent laps and putting his Honda Civic FL5 just 61-thousandths of a second away from pole position, in fourth place on the grid.

The mixed weather conditions and the remnant of the UK storms gave way to clear skies on Saturday, and in the afternoon’s first race, things started perfectly, with Chris making a brilliant getaway around the outside into the world-famous Paddock Hill bend to take the lead.

A driver returned to the track from the pits coming out right in front of race-leading Chris, who was held up a result allowing the car behind to get ahead into Druids.

Chris now settled down and was set for a second-place finish until he began to experience a loss of power with five laps to go, and came into the pits to retire.

The cause was down to an electrical issue, which couldn’t be resolved ahead of Race 2, with Chris out of the final round.

The team ends a difficult season in the TCR UK championship, but one that also had some great positives, with a resilient performance from Chris despite a number of issues outside of the team and drivers’ control this year.

Chris Smiley Restart Racing 2023

Chris Smiley, #1 Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR

“It was a challenging weekend, and one that started so well. The car felt great on Saturday – we had great pace in qualifying, just missing out by less than a tenth of a second on pole.

“I had a great start to take the lead, and from there I was controlling the pace to the cars behind, and I was definitely on target for our first win of the year. Unfortunately I lost the lead when (Andy) Wilmot came out of the pit lane right in front of us and straight onto the racing line. While that cost me the lead, it wouldn’t have mattered as I lost power with just a few laps to go and had to retire in any case.

“We couldn’t get the car back out for the final race, so it was definitely a disappointing to end to what’s been a very difficult season – but I can’t fault my team – they’ve worked so hard this year and it was a shame we couldn’t turn it around and get a good result at the last opportunity.”

Photo Credit – Phil Laughton, Post Credit – Restart Racing

Great pace but no reward at Brands Hatch was first seen on Chris Smiley official website.