Dubliner Aron Smith has signed a deal with British Touring Car Championship winning team 888, a team that has seen the crowning of such champions as Fabrizio Giovanardi and current WTCC champion Ivan Muller. Aron was presented with this opportunity when news broke that their current driver Tony Gilham was unable to compete in the final four rounds.
“Once a seat became available I was approached by Ian Harrison(888’s team manager) and was offered this great opportunity which I couldn’t refuse.”
This will be Aron’s debut BTCC race weekend, something of which he has always aspired to do since he started Karting in Ireland. In preparation for this Aron will be testing next week at Donnington Park to get a feel for the race winning Vauxhall Vectra that he will be racing. With the Clio Cup championship still on the line, just 9 points separate Aron from the championship lead, his plan is to give his full commitment to finishing the championship and complete all the remaining rounds.
“At the moment this is just a one off round with the view to build towards a full BTCC campaign in 2012. From being with Pyro Racing Team in the Clio Cup Championship for the last two seasons I believe that I have learnt the necessary skills to compete at this high level, don’t get me wrong though I know this will be a steep learning curve but something which I’m really looking forward to.”
The Knockhill circuit is one of the few tracks on the BTCC calendar which offers such close racing. Aron compared the track to Thruxton in way that it challenges every aspect of adrivers skill, from slow corners to brave corners.
“Knockhill is an amazing track and to get to go there with 888 makes it even better! I know that the car will be competitive and that the track will suite my driving style so hopefully we can be on for some good results. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all my sponsors for their support and of course Motorsport Ireland for their continued help and support. At this moment in time we’ve secured 50% of the budget for next season so hopefully this weekend will be able to persuade some more potential sponsors.”
Knockhill race weekend takes place over the 3rd and 4th of September with qualifying shown live on www.itv.com and the three races shown live on itv4.