Belfast Telegraph

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Smylie's revved up for season after keeping place on Norlin team

By Sammy Hamill

Chris Smylie has retained his place in the BTC Norlin Racing team for the 2018 British Touring Car Championship season.

Hard on the heels of the announcement that Norlin will switch from Chevrolet to Honda cars this year, the Northern Ireland-owned team revealed that Carrickfergus driver Smylie is staying for a second season, although his Welsh team-mate Dave Newsham is to retire.

"I'm over the moon to be back with Norlin Racing - even more so now that we will have Honda Civic Type R machinery," said Smylie.

"With the Civic Type R being a double BTCC Championship-winning car, this is a hugely exciting time for me, the Norlin team and sponsors.

"My expectations are high for the upcoming season after having achieved consistent top 10 places in the second half of the 2017 race season.

"I can't thank Norlin and [team boss] Bert Taylor enough for everything they have done for me, ensuring I've the best package possible for this season."

Newsham announced he was standing down after seven consecutive seasons in the BTCC to concentrate on his son Callum's racing career. "I was almost ready to retire at the end of 2016, when - out of the blue - I was handed a lifeline from Norlin Racing," explained Newsham.

"We achieved some great results last year and I hope I played my part in helping to make this team one of the best in the paddock."

Richard Irwin, co-owner of the team, said: "We are delighted that Chris has agreed to race again for us in 2018.

"With the character and commitment to grow year-on-year, I have no doubt Chris will be challenging for podiums at each round in the Hondas."

He has targeted the Independents' championship after Norlin finished fourth last year in their debut season.

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