British Touring Car Championship rookie Brett Smith says that it was ‘the right time’ to step up to touring cars, as the Eurotech Racing driver stands in for his father Jeff for the rest of the season.
Smith is standing in for his injured father Jeff, who suffered multiple injuries in the multi-car accident in qualifying at Croft.
Snetterton marked the 25-year-old’s début in the BTCC, where he showed potential by claiming 14th in the final race of the day, having earlier been set back by accident damage in race one and mechanical gremlins in race two.
“It [wasn’t] the circumstances I’d like to be making my début in, as ideally it would be me, Jack and my Dad, but it is the way it is,” said Smith to TouringCars.Net. “I think it was the right time to be moving up to touring cars – if it wasn’t going to be this year it was going to be next year.
“Obviously there’s less pressure on me now, because I can spend the next four months of the season learning. I’m under no pressure and, points-wise, I’m not going into it level with everyone who has been racing since the start of the season.
“I’m under no illusion about how difficult it’s going to be, but it means I’m also not concentrating too much on trying to get somewhere in the championship, because that’s done for, so there’s less pressure in that sense. It’s going good.”
Smith believes that unlike his campaign in the Mini Challenge, where he is currently leading the standings, he can focus on each event race-by-race as he doesn’t have to worry about losing any ground in the championship standings.
“I don’t have to think about the bigger picture, I’m already doing that with the Minis, so I don’t have to think about it. I’m just in the moment thinking about the best job I can do here.
“If someone’s driving a bit erratic around me I don’t go, ‘right think about the championship and let them by’; there’s none of that – it will be elbows out and I’ll going for every position I can.
“Equally I won’t be tarnishing anyone else’s championship, because that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to learn and get points on the table.”
Despite Smith’s lack of touring car experience, he remains bullish about being able to challenge the more established names around him.
“The tyre test was really strong to be honest,” added Smith. “On day one, I think I was around three quarters of a second off Jack, and I think for a nearly two-minute lap that’s pretty good going.
“In the wet I was even closer again, and I think that come the end of that session I was actually a little bit faster. It’s going well, to be honest.”