BTC Norlin Racing have confirmed that Dave Newsham will pilot the squad’s second Chevrolet Cruze in the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The Scottish-based ace will line up alongside Chris Smiley in the team’s two cars, and both will begin a 2017 test programme with the operation shortly after Christmas.
Newsham raced the same Chevrolet when it was run by the Power Maxed Racing team at two meetings last season and scored points in five out of the six races he contested.
Newsham, who has been in the BTCC since 2011, said he was thrilled to have been given the chance to race with the Bert Taylor-run BTC Norlin Racing squad.
“To have been selected for this drive is unreal for me,” said the 49-year-old. “The team has some very solid foundations and there is a real desire to win from all parties. This will be the first time I will go into a season with a car that I know so I am full of optimism.”
“There are some great people assembled at the team, including my engineer Steve Brady. The elements are there for us to take some real steps forward in terms of performance.”
Newsham is looking forwards to further developing the car in the run up to the new season, using his experience from this year.
“We will get some preseason testing done and there are areas of the car that we can develop from my time driving it in 2016,” said the two-time BTCC race winner. “I know I have got to go out there and perform – the pressure is on, but I am ready for the challenge.”
The Scotsman competed in a troubled part season of the MSA British Rallycross Championship this year as he drove for PMR in the Supercar class before looking to return to the BTCC Grid.
“I am very grateful to Bert Taylor and the guys at Norlin for the chance to get back on the grid. I am going to try my very best to justify their faith in me.”
The former BTCC race winner competed at both Knockhill and Rockingham as he stood in for regular driver Kelvin Fletcher at PMR.
BTC Norlin Racing Team Principal Bert Taylor said he was thrilled that Newsham had agreed to drive with the team, and that his input into the initiative could help push the entire programme towards the front of the grid.
“It was important for us to get a drive with race-winning experience, and Dave was at the very top of the list of drivers we wanted. When we started putting this deal together we knew that he was the driver that would be the perfect fit.”
Taylor was impressed with the points haul that Newsham took in the six races he drove the Chevrolet Cruze, where he scored points in five of them as well as his experience during the 2015 season.
“Dave has shown how good he is when he stepped into the car for a couple of rounds last season and he was challenging for the top six straight away. That is the class that he has. We have a testing programme mapped out and we can’t wait to get to work.”
The final livery of the two Chevrolet’s will be revealed at the BTCC Media Day in 16th March at the Donington Park circuit.