Carrick's Smylie aiming high as Nash joins the Norlin line-up
The Northern Ireland-owned Norlin BTC team have recruited former Independents' Cup champion James Nash to partner Chris Smylie in this year's British Touring Car Championship.
Carrickfergus driver Smylie stays with the team for a second season and Nash has been signed to replace Dave Newsham, who quit to concentrate on the racing career of his young son.
Norlin recently announced they will field a pair of Type R Honda Civics to replace the Chevrolet Cruzes they used in their debut season in 2017.
Nash made his BTCC debut in 2009 for RML Chevrolet before moving to Triple Eight Racing, winning the Independents' title in 2011 in their Vauxhall Vectra. He joined the World Touring Car series, winning the Independents' Championship there too.
Most recently Nash has been a front-runner in TCR International races but expressed a desire to return to British touring cars after a seven-year absence.
"Norlin made an offer I couldn't refuse," he said. "The Type R Honda has proven to be one of the cars to beat so I'm confident of being competitive."
Team principal Bert Taylor added: "We now have two young drivers and cars capable of challenging for podium places."
Smylie said: "With the Civic Type R being a double BTCC Championship-winning car, this is a hugely exciting time for us. My expectations are high."
The team, owned by Ulstermen Richard Irwin and Stephen Symington, also confirmed The Range, one of the UK's fastest growing retailers, as the first of its new sponsors for 2018.