Round 2 – Brands Hatch: Restart Racing Builds Momentum at BTCC Brands Hatch

Restart Racing’s second outing in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch demonstrated the team’s growth and resilience under challenging conditions. The weekend was marked by mixed results, but the team achieved their first double-point finish, which showed significant progress.

Racing at Brands Hatch, in Kent, the team faced hot conditions with track temperatures soaring to 37c, making tyre management a crucial aspect of the weekend’s strategy. This was also the first weekend featuring two different Goodyear dry tyre compounds, adding a strategic twist to the races.

After qualifying in 16th and 18th on Saturday, both drivers started the opening race of the day on the medium compound tyre. Chris Smiley and Scott Sumpton both got shuffled back and dropped to 18th and 19th respectively on the opening lap. Smiley’s early contact with Daryl DeLeon at Graham Hill Bend provided some early ‘spice’, but he managed to reclaim 17th at Druids just one lap later. The race saw multiple incidents which allowed both drivers to advance to 14th and 15th. However, Sumpton narrowly missed out on his first point, finishing 16th after being overtaken on the penultimate lap by the fast-charging Adam Morgan in the BMW.

Smiley had his elbows out all afternoon and was rewarded with two, point scoring finishes. Photograph: JEP

The second race was character-building for the team after both drivers started on the medium tyres again but ran into trouble early on. Smiley dropped to 17th after an early puncture from contact affected his car’s underbody forced him to pit and lose a lap to the leaders, whilst Sumpton retired due to fume inhalation caused by a cracked downpipe, marking a premature end to his race.

The final race of the day saw both drivers start on the faster soft compound. Smiley made immediate gains, briefly moving up before settling into 13th after a series of on-track battles, including a late pass that re-secured his position. Sumpton, starting from the back, showcased his overtaking skills, climbing to 15th, he crossed the line to earn his first-ever BTCC point. He was later promoted to 14th after a time penalty for the Ford Focus of Sam Osbourne pushed him down and out of the points. This result contributed to the team’s first double points finish in the British Touring Car Championship.

Sumpton raced well to claim his first-ever BTCC points finish. Photograph: JEP

Overall, it was another rewarding weekend for the team in the BTCC. Our best finish to date and our first double points finish is a great return for the team’s hard work and dedication. Next up is Snetterton on the weekend of 25/26th May where we will be looking to build again in search of our first silverware of the season.

Chris Smiley said: “So that’s Brands Hatch on the Indy circuit and because of that, the times were really really close all weekend. This also meant the cars were bunched together in all of the races today. From our point of view, I think it was another positive weekend with two-point scoring finishes in the opening and final races of the day. 

“Unfortunately, we had a puncture in race 2 after some contact which was a massive shame. We had saved the faster, soft tyre for race 3 and without contact, I think we could have finished in 13th or 14th in race 2 and that would have given us a real opportunity of finishing in the top 10 in the final race of the day. 

“The team has worked really hard again this weekend, it’s also been extremely hot so I’m glad my fitness levels were up to it as well!

“We are all looking forward to Snetterton in a few weeks time. We will be using all three Goodyear compounds which should really mix up the field. I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend and see you next time.”

Scott Sumpton said: All done here at Brands Hatch and overall a really productive day. I managed to get my first ever British touring car point so I’m chuffed with that. Race 1 went really well, we moved up 2 positions up to 16th. Race 2 was a little bit of a shame. We had a problem with the car which meant we had to retire as the downpipes cracked which massively hindered our power and eventually the cockpit started filling with smoke so the only option was to retire the car. 

“This meant we had to come from the back in race 3, P20 with the soft tyre on, we managed to carve our way through the pack, making a few good positions and it was good to make a few overtakes and get my first ever British Touring car points with P14. 

“I think as a team, we did really well and I think we scored highly in the Jack Sears as well, which is amazing. I’m looking forward to Snetterton in two weeks time already and hopefully, we can get more points on the table.

Ben Taylor (Team Principle) said: “Another BTCC race day complete and plenty of learnings to take away from the weekend. 

“We are making good steps with the car and I feel as though we are getting closer to the pack with every session, which is a testament to everyone in the team who is working so hard to ensure we remain competitive in our debut season. 

“The racing today was fantastic and credit to both Chris and Scott for securing the team’s first double points finish in the BTCC during the final race of the day. We will take this onto Snetterton where we hope to keep learning, keep improving and take another step up the grid.”

 

Round 2 – Brands Hatch: Restart Racing Builds Momentum at BTCC Brands Hatch was first seen on Restart Racing