Aron Smith “Excited” To Team Up With Champions At BMR


Aron Smith rates his new team-mates Colin Turkington and Jason Plato and tells The Checkered Flag that BMR Racing will be one of the teams to beat in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

Three-time BTCC race winner Smith enters his second season with Warren Scott‘s squad in 2015, BMR having recently sent fans into overdrive earlier in the week by signing last year’s top two finishers in the championship, Turkington and Plato.

The four-car team appeared at Thruxton for official pre-season testing on Thursday afternoon, Turkington and Plato gaining their first miles in the car while Smith – who finished ninth in last year’s championship – praised the work of BMR over the winter period after a solid day behind the wheel while also welcoming his new stablemates.

Speaking to TCF at the Hampshire circuit, Irishman Smith said ahead of his fourth full BTCC season: “I think it’s great. It just shows the intentions of BMR, getting the number one and two drivers in the championship, the one and two engineers in the championship and a few other key personnel behind the scenes.

“This is our first test day of 2015, so it’s really more of a shakedown, to make sure everything’s bedded in with the car, get our brakes sorted and run through all the systems in the car, as they’ve been stripped back to a bare shell and rebuilt over the winter. Nothing’s gone wrong though, so it’s a good day so far.

The team has taken another big step forward from last year.”

With two wins last year to his name in the improving CC at Oulton Park and Snetterton during a hugely competitive BTCC season, Smith is looking forward to racing alongside the top two competitors from last year in the same squad, confidently stating his intentions to better the pair in 2015.

Smith twice for BMR last year (Photo: Network Images/Jonathan Hobley)
Smith twice for BMR last year (Photo: Network Images/Jonathan Hobley)

“The thing is, [Colin and Jason] literally have everything to lose coming up against someone like me”, he said, adding that there will be pressure on the two championship winners to be instantly strong in new machinery that Smith is already well familiar with.

“All I can do is go out and do the best I can, we did that last year and I think we did very well, out-performing Alain [Menu], so that’s my goal again this year.

“These guys are expected to come in and beat me, like last year, and I’ll just give it my all, everything I can. I think the combination of the whole team will work, so I’m really excited.”

BMR Racing finished a competitive fifth in the Teams’ Championship under the CHROME Edition Restart Racing banner last season, collecting five visits to the podium including Smith’s two wins along the way.

The team’s first day of testing at Thruxton with all four Volkswagens was hampered somewhat by a downpour in the afternoon, Turkington and Plato given their first runs in their new environment while Smith and Scott continued to unearth improvements in the CC.

So much improvement in fact, Smith now says the car is almost perfect with the start of the new season just over a month away, adding that front-wheel drive machines may now be the cars to beat once again after the rear-wheel drive West Surrey Racing BMW triumphed in 2014.

“I always said last year that I thought the car was at about 70% of where it needed to be, now I think it’s pretty close to 100%” he concluded. “This is, in my opinion, the car that will be one of the ones to beat this season.

“Last year it was a pretty decent package, now it’s the package you want to be in. There’s a few other big names out there – we’ll have to see how the RWD’s fare – but I think as a FWD package goes this is the one to be in.”

Aron Smith’s 2014 in Numbers:

Wins

 2

Podiums

 3

Top 10s

 16

Championship position

 9th

DNFs

 3

Aron was talking to TCF’s Simon Paice at Thruxton