Aron Smith was left brimming with confidence following a competitive showing in his first weekend with new squad BMR Racing at the opening British Touring Car Championship round at Brands Hatch, despite the Kent circuit not expected to be the car’s strongest on the calendar.
The Irishman, having moved in the winter across to Warren Scott‘s BMR outfit for 2014 from Motorbase Performance, was consistently on the front-running pace all weekend at Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit, collecting a seventh place finish along the way.
Although a race one incident with Mat Jackson‘s Airwaves Ford resulted in the stewards taking action, Smith was left full of positives to take away from his first weekend in a new environment and said there is much more to come from them this season.
“We’ve been putting on a show!” Smith told The Checkered Flag afterwards. “It’s the first day back at school and everyone is a bit wild.”
“I think it’s been a great move for me, everyone’s excited. Chrome Edition Restart has done a fantastic job and the car is so bloody quick. I think we also had a fastest lap in race two.
“I think it’s great. I honestly think that this was going to be our worst track. We thought we could qualify at the front, but we didn’t know how our race pace would be, and I think that the race pace has in fact been very good. We have a really good chance.”
Smith’s weekend was ultimately interrupted by his involvement in an incident with former team-mate Jackson in race one, the pair tangling at Clearways in the early stages that sent the Ford driver wide, Smith later receiving a grid penalty applied to race three.
A great result of seventh place was still the final outcome, a result he matched in the second encounter after recovering from being a victim of a first lap scramble triggered by a tangle at the front of the field – only to be bumped by the stewards to 13th following several drivers passing under yellows.
Smith bemoaned the misfortunes, commenting: “We just need to catch a break at the moment. At the start of [race two], somebody tagged me into Paddock, somebody tagged me into Druids and that was it then – it’s very difficult to pass here.
“We got back by a couple of cars but by then it was it and we couldn’t get back to them. The elbows are out, but that’s touring cars; there’s going to be contact and there’s going to be rubbing.
“I was involved in something earlier [with Jackson] where there was a 50/50 chance. From the footage it looks a bit robust, but on the onboard there is a gap. Mat moves to the left and I see the light of day; I go down that gap and the gap just closes and it’s too late. Sometimes it’s a case of conceding the place when it is the right move.”
The overall picture however was very rosy for the Irishman and his BMR Racing squad after team-mate Alain Menu backed up the team’s performance with a charge through from 16th to fifth in race three, Smith feeling that their best circuits are yet to come.
“Like I said, I didn’t expect that Brands Hatch would suit our car as well, so to be as quick as we were was great. The car is really quick, and it has been getting better ever since we started testing it.
“I think when we get to Donington the car will be even quicker, and then when we head to Thruxton, I think there we will show what we can really do.”