All change for Árón Smith as BTCC 2014 kicks off at Brands Hatch this weekend.
March 26, 2014 by Leo Nulty
Well, we’ll all be stuck to ITV4 this weekend as the 2014 BTCC series kicks off at Brands Hatch. The big news, at least for Irish fans, is that Aron Smith has made some pretty comprehensive changes for this season. Having left Motorbase after two successful seasons, Aron has teamed up with Team BMR for 2014. Team Who? Exactly! Team BMR joined the BTCC for the first time in 2013, and over the winter period has expanded from a one-car operation to four cars, acquiring the remaining three Team Hard machines following the original purchase of the first Volkswagen Passat CC mid-way through last season. Initially it appeared a risky move for Aron, the fuzzy pictures in a workshop accompanying the team’s announcement adding to the element of incredulity.
When former double BTCC champion and WTCC star Alain Menu was announced as Aron’s teammate, it certainly lent an air of credibility to the concept. Let’s not forget that two years ago, the smart money was on the highly rated Mat Jackson, a proven BTCC winner, putting manners on the young Irish Clio driver. As we know, that didn’t happen, with Aron matching and often beating Jackson in identical cars. Similarly, early last year, when the chips were down and the car was borderline undriveable, Aron never gave up and again, there was never much between himself and his team mate. Aron is polite, well educated and extremely likeable but in 2014
there is a noticeable change in his character- a steely determination not previously apparent. Can he match Menu? The bookies would probably give you good odds against it, but I for one, would not be surprised if he can. Aron has been training extremely hard over the winter and confidently declares that he is the fittest driver on the 2014 BTCC grid. As for the car, well it had a podium finish last year and with the new personnel recruited by BMR to run the car, it may just improve even more. Menu has simply got to be a master at car setup at this stage of his career and testing is one part of the job that Aron has always loved so between them, they should drag the best from the car. Aron has also added two fadas to his name. As a gaelgoir, I am delighted to see this, however, I wonder how the BTCC commentators will manage with the “Aww-rown” pronunciation! Either way, he won’t be short of support this weekend- don’t miss it.