Mick Fitzgerald will make his return to the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE this weekend at Thruxton after agreeing a deal to join PerformanceTek Racing for four of the remaining five events.

Fitzgerald – who will replace Paul Manning as the oldest driver on the grid – first raced in the series in 2021 and has spent the past three seasons with LDR Performance Tuning, with his best results to date being 14th place finishes at Thruxton in both 2021 and 2022.

The 67-year-old will line up alongside Jamie Keates and Callum Eason in an expanded three-car PerformanceTek entry and will be eligible to fight for race-by-race honours in the Directors Cup.

He will not however be eligible to score championship points as a late entrant.

“At the start of the year, I decided I wasn’t going to race in the MINI CHALLENGE this season as I needed to have treatment on a knee injury, and my old car needed a lot of work doing to it,” he said.

“My knee recovered quicker than I expected and over a few beers with [brother] Brendan, he offered to lend me the newly rebuilt car that was fixed after his shunt at Donington last year on the condition that if I bin it, I own it.

“I managed to get an entry for four rounds and then had a call with Gerry from PerformanceTek and all of a sudden, I’ve gone from not competing this season to preparing to hit the track at Thruxton! I know it won’t be easy against some very talented competitors but I will give it the best I have.”