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Baz Ward has confirmed that he will return to the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE in 2023 after announcing plans to join forces with EXCELR8 Motorsport.

The 38-year-old joins the multiple title winners for what will be the first full season of competition in his racing career, having previously contested races in a variety of different championships.

Outings in the EnduroKA series included being part of the winning team in the 2020 IndyKa 500 race at Brands Hatch, whilst Baz also picked up a brace of podium finishes when called up to take part in a one-off drive in the Ginetta G40 Cup during the same season.

Having also gained extensive experience on track thanks to a successful career as a driver coach and instructor – as well as through precision driver work with a range of major manufacturers – Baz made his debut in the MINI CHALLENGE last year in a part programme with a rival team, appearing at four of the seven JCW race meetings.

Although unfortunate circumstances outside his control prevented him from securing the desired results on-track, Baz showed his pace on a number of occasions, with strong drives at both Oulton Park and Snetterton, in particular, showing his potential.

As part of EXCELR8’s multi-car programme, Baz will now hope to convert his speed into results, with his focus firmly on fighting towards the sharp end of the grid from the opening meeting of the campaign at Donington Park.

Baz Ward, EXCELR8 Motorsport Driver, said:

“After getting a taste of the BTCC paddock last year and competing in a part season in the MINI CHALLENGE, I’m really excited to be returning for a full season. Joining EXCELR8 Motorsport was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up as the team has enjoyed a huge amount of success in the series, and is the perfect fit for me and my sponsors.

“As well as chasing success on track, the team puts a lot of focus onto the business side of our sport, and that is something that is super important when it comes to looking after the best interests of my sponsors – such as Spicymango Technology who stay onboard this season as a title sponsor.

“The JCW is quite literally a ‘MINI’ touring car and the racing is fast and fun, so I’m really looking forward to a full season as part of the EXCELR8 line-up. I showed at times last season that I’m capable of running with the fast guys, so I hope I can take the experience I’ve gained so far and combine it with the knowledge of the team to consistently fight near the front.”

Justina Williams, EXCELR8 Motorsport Team Owner, said:

“Baz is a quick driver who suffered more than his fair share of bad luck last season. Despite that, he was able to show glimpses of his pace and we’re now looking forward to working with him to really realise his potential in the JCWs.

“There is no reason why Baz can’t challenge towards the front of what looks set to be a highly competitive field, and I’m sure he will prove to be an important member of the team as we look to reclaim the title.”

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