NICK HALSTEAD TO SUBSTITUTE FOR RICK PARFITT AT CROFT
EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com has today (9 September) announced that Nick Halstead will make his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship debut with the team when the series heads to Croft for Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the 2021 season on 18/19 September.
The 49-year-old will join the Suffolk-based team for a one-off appearance at the wheel of the Hyundai i30 Fastback N that has been driven so far by Rick Parfitt, who is unable to compete in North Yorkshire having been advised to rest an ongoing back problem.
Halstead joins the grid having enjoyed a varied career in racing since making his on-track debut back in 2017 in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, where he secured a top three championship finish in the Am category at the first time of asking.
He then went on to lift the class title the following season before going on to compete in a range of series in recent seasons and this year, has taken part in both the BTCC-supporting Ginetta GT4 Supercup, and the British GT Championship.
Whilst Croft will mark his debut in the BTCC, Halstead has touring car experience from a part campaign in the 2019 TCR UK, where he secured a pole position at Brands Hatch and ended the season with a top six championship finish.
Halstead will line up alongside team regulars Tom Ingram, Chris Smiley and Jack Butel at Croft, with his outing in the Hyundai being supported by Ascential.
“Since I started racing in 2017, competing in the British Touring Car Championship has been an ambition,” said Halstead. “That only grew once I was on the TOCA package in the Ginetta Supercup and I could really get a sense of the scale of the series and the passion of the fans.
“I’m thrilled to be able to tick that box at Croft thanks to EXCELR8 Motorsport, Rick and Ascential. Although most of my racing has been in rear-wheel-drive GT cars, I’ve been competitive in front-wheel-drive racing before and I’m excited to experience the UK’s top touring car series in the Hyundai.”
“Since Knockhill, my back has been getting worse,” admitted Parfitt. “And although I was able to compete at Thruxton, I’ve been advised by my doctor that the best course of action is to rest it. I’m gutted to miss Croft as it’s a circuit I have never competed at before, but I’m excited that Nick – who is a good friend – is able to come in and take my place.
“Although it is hugely disappointing for me on a personal level, at the same time it’s fantastic that Nick can now fulfil a dream he has to compete in the BTCC. I’ll be rocking on all cylinders when we go to Silverstone.”
“It’s a real shame that Rick has been advised to sit out the weekend at Croft given the strong performance he put in at Thruxton, particularly when you consider the discomfort he was feeling with his back,” said Team Owner Justina Williams. “At the same time, it’s great to welcome Nick into the fold for his BTCC debut and we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on. We know it will be a big challenge for him to step into the car for his debut mid-season, and will provide him with all the support he needs to get the best results possible from the weekend.”