Former champion Dan Zelos says he is looking to go ‘back to basics’ in 2023 after confirming his return to the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE JCW class for a fifth season.

Zelos secured the overall title in 2021 having secured the Rookie Cup and Graduate Cup in the previous two seasons, but endured a challenging 2022 campaign that left him out of contention for the title.

The 24-year-old – who will break Jack Davidson’s record for most JCW starts later this year – was left evaluating his future plans on the back of the difficulties he faced last season, which saw him end the year back in eighth place in the standings with just three podium finishes to his name.

However, Zelos has now elected to extend his relationship with EXCELR8 into another season and will line up on the grid for the opening round at Donington Park later this month hoping to return to front-running form.

“Last year was tough, and mentally, that affected me quite a lot,” he said. “We had so many issues with the car and more than our fair share of bad luck, and on top of that, without necessarily realising it, I put a lot of pressure on myself with the goal of trying to impress people in the BTCC and raise the necessary budget to step up to the next level.
“The fun just got completely sucked out of it all, and towards the end of the season, that began to come between me and my dad as well, which I hated. We’ve always been close and racing weekends have been the quality time we spend together; I really want to get that ‘dad and lad’ feeling back.
“I need to get my mojo back, too, and for that I’ve decided to do a full reset and take everything right back to basics. I’m not putting myself under any pressure or setting any targets or expectations; I simply want to enjoy racing again, because that aspect has been missing for a while.
“There have been some technical changes over the winter that make me confident we’ll have a more competitive car this year, and I really want to give it another shot and see if we can get back to where we were in 2021.

“I just want to go out there, enjoy myself and then see what happens. And at the end of the day, if you enjoy what you’re doing, the results tend to come naturally…”