Strong pace shown at challenging weekend at Croft

May 9, 2023Race Reports

Restart Racing had a difficult second race meeting at Croft for the second round of the 2023 TCR UK championship, with both drivers Chris Smiley and Scott Sumpton failing to finish Race 1, but had a strong recovery in Race 2, driving through into the points in an action-packed finale.
Chris Smiley Croft 2023 TCR UK
The weekend started positively with Smiley qualifying his Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR in fifth place, just two-tenths of a second off the pace in a close session, while Scott Sumpton put his Civic FK7 in 13th, just 1.3 down on the pole-sitter.

In the race, Smiley had a fantastic start and was straight up to third, and was in touch with the leaders who were battling throughout, with Smiley waiting for an opportunity to capitalise.

Sumpton lost ground at the start and was stuck in slower traffic, but was starting to fight his way up the order in the mid part of the race.

Trouble hit Smiley on lap 11, as he slowed with a technical issue, while Sumpton crawled to a halt at Tower bend two laps later with a similar problem, putting an early end to a race which showed much promise.

The cars were fixed for Race 2, now with Sumpton and Smiley starting all the way down in 18th and 19th in a 20-car field.

Smiley again had a fantastic start, and was up to 11th by the end of the first lap, while Sumpton made up two spots and was then steadily picking his way up the order.

By lap six, Smiley was up to ninth place, which was where he’d go on to finish the race, ten places up from where he started, while Sumpton would go on to finish an excellent 12th.

While the team showed great pace throughout the weekend, the double DNF was no doubt a set back, but the team has time to regroup before the one-day round of the championship at Oulton Park on June 10th.

Chris Smiley Restart Racing 2023
Chris Smiley, #1 Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR

“Unfortunately we had an electronic problem in Race 1 while were on target for a pretty safe third place, so that made the weekend a lot more difficult.

“It meant we were able to have a great recovery drive in Race 2, coming through from 19th to finish ninth.

“I made quite a few spaces in the first few laps, and then I just got my head down to the finish, but ultimately we shouldn’t have been there.

“It’s a weekend about what could have been, as we could have left here with a third and maybe a top five finish, which would have been a good weekend.

“However, this is sort of what we expected at the start of this season. The car’s still very new, and we’re racing against cars here that have been developed over quite a few years, so we didn’t expect to blow everyone away with a brand new car.”

Scott Sumpton Restart Racing 2023
Scott Sumpton, #27 Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR

“It’s a shame about the issues we had in the first race, but I really enjoyed the second race, coming through from the back like i did in Snetterton to finish in 12th, so I’m really happy.

“There was a lot going on in that last race. I made up a good few positions at the start, and while in the middle it calmed down a little, after the safety car everyone was brought back to me and I was able to pick up a few more places. I was able to really get some experience and do some overtaking, so that was really fun, and so now I’m really looking forward to Oulton Park.”

Bert Taylor, Restart Racing Team Principal

“It’s been a tricky weekend, but we’ve shown that we’ve got great pace and that the potential is absolutely there. We were on target for another podium with Chris before the technical issue in Race 1, while Scott was also set to score some good points before his issue as well.

“That meant it was all about Race 2, and the boys did an amazing job to drive through and score good points and stay out of trouble in what was quite a incident-heavy race.

“We’re still learning along with JAS Motorsport how to get the best out of the new Civic FL5, but we’re making great strides forward every time, and we can’t wait to get back out at Oulton Park next month and see where we are.”


Scott Sumpton TCR UK 2023
Chris Smiley 2023
Chris Smiley TCR UK 2023 Croft
Scott Sumpton TCR UK 2023

Photo credit Phil Laughton Photography.


Restart Racing

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.


First Response Finance

Founded in 1998, First Response Finance is a leading UK vehicle finance company, with offices in Nottingham, Leigh, and Glasgow. Offering Hire Purchase for cars, vans and motorbikes.

The company philosophy is ‘People, Service, Profit’, which is at the core of everything they do. The company is a people centric business with a team of over 300 highly skilled employees, sharing the same values, so they can deliver the best possible service to their customers.

First Response Finance provide credit solutions for its customers, while creating an extremely positive and trust-based working environment for its employees.

Their unique way of thinking and customer service has seen First Response Finance rated (4.9/5) as the UK’s number one motor finance lender on the Review Centre website.

First Response Finance are also highly rated (4.9/5) by its clients for “Customer Experience” on the feefo reviews website.


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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