Steven Lake will make his debut in the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE this season after signing up to join the JCW grid with EXCELR8.

The 42-year-old is the latest driver to sign up with the team for the 2023 campaign and will be competing in front-wheel drive for the first time in his racing career.

Eligible for the Rookie and Directors Cups, Lake previously focused on endurance racing with entries into a range of championships that included Lotus Cup Europe, the Radical Challenge and the FunCup Endurance Championship.

Lake’s JCW debut will come at Donington Park in April following a busy pre-season testing programme.

“I chose JCW as I was looking for a series where I could go out and get involved in some wheel-to-wheel battles and just have a bit of fun,” he said. “The MINI CHALLENGE is arguably the best one-make series where I can do that, and the JCW is a proper fun race car, which is exactly what I’m looking for.

“I’m under no illusions about how challenging the series is going to be with all the upcoming TOCA stars and I’m not going out there expecting to win, but at the same time, I will be trying to.

“My aim is to be competitive and get to the chequered flag having had fun, and if I was to come away from a race with some silverware then it would be brilliant.

“In EXCELR8, I know I’m going to be working with a highly professional outfit run by a very experienced team of people, and I’m pleased to be able to count on the support of Aim Shop, and Impact Detect for the season ahead. I can’t wait to now get down to action at Donington Park for round one!”

EXCELR8 boss Justina Williams welcomed news of Lake’s decision to join the multiple champions.

“We’re pleased to welcome Steven into the team for the new season and look forward to seeing what he can achieve on track,” she said.

“Although he is keeping his expectations in check, it will be interesting to see how he develops as a driver in his first year at this level and hopefully he can put on a good showing amongst the Directors Cup racers as the year goes on.”