Luke Reade will return to the MINI CHALLENGE JCW Championship this season, as he hunts for his breakthrough podium finish in the series.

Reade, 24, only began racing tin-tops in 2015, and last contested the JCW category in 2016 before taking a season out to compete in the Renault Clio Cup.

However, due to circumstances, Reade will now make the switch back to MINI machinery for this season. He joins Excelr8’s growing driver line-up.

I feel I learned a lot from last year. I only began racing a few years ago so I take a lot away from even the bad weekends, whether it’s tyre management, car control or just race craft. There’s always something to learn.

“Also having the experience of racing a different kind of car makes a difference. The JCWs are great fun and I used to love racing them, so hopefully I can have a lot of fun this year.

“I know Excelr8 will give me a car that’s theoretically ready to win the championship. But realistically I need to be aiming for progression and to be finishing closer to the front, then fighting for podiums and hopefully my first win.

I’m really looking forward to being back in the CHALLENGE JCWs this year,” said Reade, from Dartford. “It’s a great championship, and shaping up to be one of the strongest out there, so when I got the chance to join Excelr8 I jumped at it.

“Joining Clios was a good adventure, but wasn’t my best year of racing in truth. It was a big financial commitment and we lacked a bit of support and that affected our race results. When we were in the mix it was great, it just wasn’t consistent enough.