Smith revelling in team leader status
New Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship outfit BKR did not exist in its current guise as a BTCC squad until less than a month ago, when it took two ex-Team BMR Volkswagen CCs out of storage with the aim of competing in 2016 – a campaign that was looming ominously in the near-distance.
With a little help from Warren Scott, three weeks later BKR was on the grid at Brands Hatch – notching up a stunning podium and two top eight finishes with Aron Smith in the process.
“I’m over the moon with the way the weekend went,” reflected Smith. “Three weeks ago, these cars were sat in a shed not going racing. The work that both BKR and Team BMR have put in to get us to this point has just been phenomenal.
“I really can’t thank everyone enough – particularly Warren. It’s no exaggeration to say that without him, we would not be here. He’s done an amazing job. Everybody at BKR is so enthusiastic, and that excitement is infectious.
“The Brands Hatch podium is for all the lads – I’m delighted for them. They’ve effectively had to perform a full winter rebuild in the space of just a couple of days, so it’s great to come straight out of the box and pick up a trophy to give something back.”
Despite the lack of preparation, the former Britcar and Renault UK Clio Cup team knew they had capable machinery in their hands – the car that took Jason Plato to the runner-up spoils in the Drivers’ standings last year.
After a rush to ready the cars for the Season Launch at Donington Park, both Smith and team-mate Mark Howard squeezed in some running during the afternoon test session – impressive running, in fact, totalling 26 and 41 laps respectively.
Smith feels with more miles on the clock and after an extremely positive opening weekend, the team can now push the car further – as he relishes the novel position of being lead driver.
“The Volkswagen CC is a known quantity for us,” he acknowledged. “I’m comfortable in the car, and I have quite a bit of experience with it now. This is also the first time I’ve ever led a team, and that’s a special feeling in itself.
“The Season Launch test was a baptism of fire for all of us to say the least, but now the guys have the opportunity to strip the car and put in the work we need to do on it – and that will hopefully allow us to come back even stronger.”