It was apparent after practice that Chris was suffering with a performance deficit, chasing a handling problem with his Civic FL5, and also struggling with the difference in straight-line speed compared to the rest of the field.
Scott on the other hand was more comfortable in his older FK7, and his optimism proved not to be unfounded after a startling performance in qualifying on Saturday afternoon, when he put the #27 car third on the grid, only 57-thousandths of a second from pole position.
In the first race on Sunday, Scott jumped up to second at the start, before he was shuffled back by the championship leader to fourth at the end of the opening lap.
Scott maintained his composure and set some blistering times, including the fastest race lap of the weekend, and was back up to third place by lap eight.
A battle group caught him up a lap later, and after getting stuck in to an exciting few scrapes, Scott was eventually forced wide after contact at Copse, and would eventually cross the line fifth. In all the carnage, Scott had run wide and picked up an automatic five-second penalty which then dropped him to ninth in the final classification.
Chris wrestled with his Civic FL5 and managed to keep back a chasing rabble to hold on to sixth place, and get himself fifth on the grid for the final race to give him a chance to finish the weekend with a good result.
If the first race was wild, the second was even crazier.
Scott started from second on the grid and launched straight into the lead. Chris also had an amazing start, and was making his way down the inside of Callum Newsham’s Hyundai at Beckett’s, before Newsham and the Audi of Bradley Hutchison to his left both came together. Hutchison’s Audi T-boned Chris’ Civic, sending it off into the barriers at high speed, with the car suffering significant rear-end damage and the race red-flagged as the circuit needed repairs.
When the race resumed, Scott started from pole, but was pushed wide at the end of the first lap at Brooklands and dropped down the order. He was able to persevere and rescue another ninth-place finish, rounding off a brilliant weekend for Scott, and a somewhat mixed weekend at best for Chris.
Buoyed by the improvement seen throughout the year from Scott, the team’s focus is on ending the year on a high, and working through the issues with the Civic FL5 to make the car capable of fighting for victories.
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend, but it’s been great that as a team we were able to score some positives particularly with Scott and with the FK7 Civic, which is a car which we have a good understanding and has a well established BoP (Balance of Performance).
“Unfortunately I was chasing a handling issue all weekend, which while it only costs a couple of tenths that’s enough to completely ruin your weekend around Silverstone National. We also don’t have the straight-line speed compared to a number of the other cars which was fairly clear to see at this track.
“I did my best to pick up a good result in Race 1 considering, with the focus on the Race 2, and while I was making a move to get up to second place at the start I was caught up in someone else’s accident, and unfortunately that was it.
“We just have to put this one behind us and look ahead to Donington Park and Brands Hatch.”
“It’s been an incredible weekend. It’s almost strange feeling a slight low thinking maybe I lost out on a win, but this weekend qualifying third, leading a race, setting the fastest lap and to have taken a pair of P9s, it’s still my best weekend ever in TCR.
“So we can’t be too disappointed. We’ve been making massive steps forward in pace all throughout the weekend, and also just to look back on where I was at the start of the year until now, the progress we’ve been able to make has been incredible.
“My objective still is to get on that podium, and now I can’t wait until Donington Park to get another chance to achieve that.”
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.