Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship racer Jeff Smith has set his sights on double pole in a packed day of motorsport action this weekend. The Brands Hatch pole-sitter for the BTCC will also be going for glory in the MINI Challenge, which races on the British GT package at Oulton Park on a day which will see top level four wheeled action at three of the UK’s major racing venues.
Smith, who races a Honda Civic Type-R in the BTCC, is looking to go for pole in a three hour blitz of racing on Saturday afternoon which will see him shooting for the top in his MINI R56 racer in a hotly contested single make championship at 14:40. The 20 minute session should see him out of the car and into the specially chartered helicopter for the 30 minute flight across the spine of England to Donington Park where the BTCC and it’s support packages are hosting a weekend of the usual thrills and spills.
Qualifying starts in Castle Donington at 15:40 which give Smith just 5 minutes to hop out of the helicopter and into the Civic before the green flag flies.
Smith told the MINI Challenge website, “It is tight, but providing everything runs to the timetable and the weather stays favourable it is completely viable.
“I have the alternative option, and back-up plan, of starting at the back for the first MINI CHALLENGE JCW race on Monday, but that doesn’t give me the best grid option for round one. I go into every race I compete in to win and I have qualified the JCW on the front row of the last two rounds I’ve done, so I wasn’t keen to miss out on qualifying.”
A strong qualifying in the MINI should give Smith the best possible chance of repeating his 2016 MINI Challenge race win at Oulton Park but the BTCC does come first and should a delay hit either venue, the Eurotech run driver will prioritise pole at Donington Park.
Jo Polley, Smith’s partner and MINI Challenge racer will also be making the mad airborne dash across five counties as she works for the Eurotech BTCC team as well.
Race day clashes are eliminated as the BTCC will compete on Easter Sunday while the British GT Championship along with MINI Challenge, the Volkswagen Racing Cup, Ginetta GT5 Challenge and BRDC British Formula 3 Championship hold off their big day until the Easter Monday bank holiday.
The BTCC and British GT are not the only championship running in the UK this weekend. With the two top levels of British four-wheel Motorsport at Oulton Park and Donington Park respectively, the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship is in action over all three days of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
Top continental and worldwide action meanwhile heads to Silverstone for the opening round of their season. The European Le Mans Series kicks off on Saturday on the Grand Prix circuit with a four-hour encounter while the FIA World Endurance Championship qualifies. The FIA WEC will then race for six hours on the Sunday with both Formula V8 3.5 and FIA Formula 3 European Championship providing support.