Behind the Scenes with Aron Smith
August 15th 2012
In a new series of behind the scene Motorbase team profiles; our first edition focuses on Aron Smith - Redstone Racing's New Kid on the Block!
New to the Redstone Racing squad for the 2012 season, The Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year has made a great impression over the first half of the season, both in and out of the car.
For the 22 year-old Dubliner, a structural engineer by day, reaching the BTCC has been the target since he started karting at the age of 14. "Since I started karting, this is where I've wanted to be and to get to the BTCC was always my long term goal," he says. "I watched all these people racing for years on TV before I even started racing and now it's game on!"
Aron followed his elder brother Gavin into the sport and made the leap into the BTCC after a strong season in 2011. "I did a couple of years in the Clio Cup between England and Italy. Last year we had a really good season and just missed out on the championship by a handful of points. Through that we got support from Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sports Council and that helped get us to where we are at today."
Smith says that getting onto the BTCC grid is a dream come true, but he doesn't underestimate the scale of the challenge. "Looking in from the outside, you just don't realise how much the teams puts into everything. It's not just the driver that does this: it's a full team effort," he says. "The effort that the team puts in is mind-blowing."
The first half of the season has presented him with a very steep learning curve, but this personable Irish racer is entirely realistic about his situation. "It has been tough," he admits. "We have good pace in the car but we've just been unfortunate with a few incidents of being helped off the track. But that's part of it and this year is very much a learning year for me and it is next year when I'm hoping to do really well. I'm cutting my teeth this year."
That level-headed approach is paying dividends as he copes with the inevitable ups and downs of being a newcomer to the BTCC. "I treat each weekend as if it is the first weekend of the year, rather than thinking of championship points and just try to do the best I can. For the rest of the year I want to keep progressing and hopefully get quicker and quicker."
Within the Redstone Racing team, Aron has the perfect performance benchmark in Mat Jackson. "Mat was in touring cars before I started racing! To be close to Mat is all that I'm aiming for at the moment," he says. "I'm learning big time from Mat and the team. It's great to have Mat as a benchmark and when you are close to him it is very rewarding."