Driver Spotlight: Árón Taylor-Smith
The younger brother of former VX Racing BTCC driver Gavin Smith, Árón Taylor-Smith began his car racing career in the Renault UK Clio Cup in 2007, after winning the Irish Karting Championship.
Three seasons in the championship yielded a best finish of fourth place overall in 2009, taking victory at Donington Park and two further podiums in the process. A switch to the Clio Cup Italia in 2010 saw Smith snatch a brace of victories and fourth position in the title standings, before returning to the UK series the following year. Smith’s Clio experience would prove pivotal in the campaign, taking the championship but ultimately having to settle for second place.
The Irishman would also get his first experience in a BTCC race that same season, picking up a point during a one-off appearance for Triple Eight Race Engineering at Knockhill. This statement of intent would prove to be a precursor to joining the championship full-time in 2012 with Motorbase Performance. Smith would be on the pace straight away, clinching his maiden victory at the Brands Hatch finale and winding up inside the top ten in the drivers’ points both that year and the next.
More success followed for Smith in 2014 as he made the switch to Team BMR’s Volkswagen CC. Victories at Oulton Park and Snetterton would emphatically secure a top-ten overall finish in the championship. A further six podiums in 2015 acted as a springboard for Árón into a third season in the CC for 2016 with new entrant Team BKR.
Two early season podiums showed promise, then came a hard-earned win at Rockingham, much to the delight of both Aron and his fledgling team. For 2017, Taylor-Smith moved to MG RCIB Insurance Racing, partnering Daniel Lloyd, before taking a break from the series to compete in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, followed by the British GT Championship.
Taylor-Smith made his BTCC return in the all-new Team HARD-backed Cupra Leon for 2021, and stuck with the squad in 2022, where he collected a number of points across the exciting campaign.
For 2023, we see the Irishman switch to CarStore Power Maxed Racing, where he joined rookie team-mates Andrew Watson and Mikey Doble in the squad’s Vauxhall Astra. Smith would return to the podium for the first time since his BTCC return, this would be his 20th overall in the Championship and boosting his momentum going into 2024.
Speaking about the news of his contract extension with CarStore Power Maxed Racing, Árón Taylor-Smith said: “It sounds terribly cliché, but I really do feel like I’ve found a home within the team. I’ve been in the paddock for ten years now, and I’ve spent much of that feeling like I was looking for a long-term home. I’ve found that now.”