Scott Sumpton also showed great pace, putting the FK7 Civic tenth on the grid on his first appearance for the team.
A large crowd turned out for the opening round of the championship, with a packed grid walk preceding the early afternoon race. At the start of the race, Chris briefly was challenging guest driver Josh Files for third before falling behind one of the Cupras as he conserved his tyres for the mid portion of the race.
Smiley was able to retake the spot with two laps to go for what was now a podium spot following a retirement further up, achieving a fantastic result for the new Civic on its first appearance.
Scott meanwhile managed to stay out of trouble despite being caught in mid-field battles and was able to claim ninth on the road. Unfortunately he was excluded from the race due to an administrative error, which put him down to 24th and last for the final race.
Chris started eighth on the grid for Race 2, but his race lasted just one corner, as he lost the rear spinning on dirt kicked up by the car ahead of him and nudged the barriers, and was unable to continue with a broken undertray.
Sumpton’s race was fantastic, with the young driver charging through from the back of the pack to secure 13th at the finish, picking up key points following his earlier penalty.
The team now has a chance to regroup before the next round of the championship at Croft in the north of England in four weeks’ time.
Chris Smiley, #1 Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR
“It’s been a very good weekend. I don’t think we could have asked for much more, except for maybe a second race.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming here with a brand new car. We’re learning all the time, and we’re delighted with the car’s potential, and to come away with a podium in its first race is more than we expected.
“Unfortunately there was nothing I could do in the second race, as I just spun on the dirt that was thrown on track by the car in front of me and the rear just came around.
“The damage to the car was so light we could probably had continued if the undertray hadn’t come down.”
Scott Sumpton, #27 Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR
“I’m really happy with Race 1, as it showed I can fight competitively inside the top ten.
“There was a little bit of carnage in Race 2, with a lot of contact between the cars in front of me, so I was able to pick up the pieces. I was able to get my elbows out and make some moves, and it was by the far the best race I’ve ever had.
“It’s been an amazing weekend. I love this car, and I love this team. The support of JAS Motorsport has also been amazing, and I’m really looking forward to Croft next month.”
Photo credit Phil Laughton Photography.
Restart Racing has prepared, raced, and won at some of the most famous race circuits in the world. The team has built up a wealth of experience in the motorsport industry and made it its business to consistently build and run race-winning cars.
Over the years the team has run cars by manufacturers such as Honda, TVR, BMW, Chevrolet, Vauxhall, Porsche, Hyundai and Volkswagen in the BTCC, GT3 sports car series, and Hot Rods.
In 2022, our Essex-based professional team competed in the hard-fought TCR UK Touring Car Championship with Chris Smiley at the wheel, pitted against a total of 16 other teams. Having collected our race car from Honda’s specialist preparation company in Italy only days before the start of the season, Chris went on to secure pole position and win the first race at Oulton Park, and would go on to win the championship at Snetterton at the final round.
It turned out to be a great season of racing at some of the UK’s premier circuits, culminating in the team being chosen to represent the UK at the prestigious FIA Motorsport Games at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, where Chris Smiley finished in eighth position against competitors from around the world.
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Launched in 2018, the TCR UK championship is one of the UK’s most exciting new categories. Utilising the highly-successful TCR technical regulations, of which more than 1,000 cars have been built, the TCR UK championship is going from strength-to-strength, with free-to-air online broadcasting, manufacturer-supported customer racing programmes, and most of all, thrilling, door-to-door, classic touring car racing.
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Chris Smiley scores a podium for the new Honda Civic on its TCR debut at Snetterton was first seen on Restart Racing