Former BTCC race winner Stephen Jelley is set to make a return to the British series after seven years away having sealed a deal with Team Parker Racing.
The Leicester-born driver enjoyed two years in BTCC in 2008 and 2009 with West Surrey Racing driving a BMW 320si with the highlight of two race wins which both came at Rockingham.
Since his BTCC exit Jelley has spent the majority of his racing career in GTs and the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and competed for Stuart Parker's team in the Porsche one-make series last year finishing fifth in the drivers' championship.
Jelley will drive a Ford Focus ST for Team Parker Racing previously used by Alex Martin.
The 34-year-old is thrilled to return to the BTCC but isn't setting any initial goals until he knows where he lands in the 2017 pecking order over the opening rounds.
“It was always my aim to come back to the BTCC – I didn't want to leave, but the finances weren't there,” Jelley said. “Team Parker Racing can have a long future in this category and I want a long future here too, so we are looking to build together.
“I haven't raced a front-wheel-drive car before so there will be a big test programme ahead of the season to get me up to speed. As for my aims, I will wait to see where we are after the opening sessions before we can make a realistic assessment. We are just going to focus on our own performance first and foremost.”
Team boss Parker is keen to help his driver become familiar with the front-wheel drive car and has full confidence in the Brit's abilities.
“We are thrilled to have Stephen with us – he has driven for the team for four seasons in the Porsche Carrera Cup in his career and he is part of the fixtures and fittings at the squad,” Parker said. “We have had two great years with Alex, who was learning all the time.
"Stephen is a proven race winner at this level and, although he will be getting to grips with front-wheel-drive for the first time, he can help us move forward.
“If we can be challenging inside the top ten, and then who knows what can happen with the reverse-grid draw. This will be an exciting year for us.”