Maiden Saloon Title for Young Smiley
October 7, 2013 by Tony Gregory
Carrickfergus racing driver Chris Smiley has ended his 2013 season in winning ways after securing his maiden saloon car title. The 21 year old drove his 240bhp front wheel drive mini to the 2013 JCW Cup title at Donington Park Race Circuit in only his second season of competing in the JCW Cup (John Cooper Works) Class which is run within the Mini Challenge UK.
This season’s JCW Cup was made up of 7 rounds, totalling 20 races over the season with some rounds holding a reverse grid race for good measure. The cup visited all of the UK’s major circuits and well as holding a European round at the Zandvoort race circuit in Holland, which turned out to be Smiley’s most successful round of the season by winning all 3 races.
Highlights of Smiley’s season were the 9 victories he scored, gaining 6 lap records and the weekends were he dominated by winning 2 out of 3 races. The final JCW Championship table saw Smiley (299) topping it by 23 points from Chris Smith 276 and third placed Jake Packun 275. When combined overall with the Mini Cooper class Smiley still managed a credible third place overall.
As well as gaining the title Smiley’s name will be entered in to a draw for a touring car test with the leading Triple Eight Touring car Team, who currently run MG’s works effort in the BTCC.
Speaking at Donington Park Smiley said “ Winning this title has totally vindicated my decision to stay within the Mini family for another season and has allowed me to repaid the faith of my sponsors. Its been great as this title carries on the momentum, adding to my long history of winning titles. Thanks must go to Team IN-MINI for running a faultless car all season JKC MINI Coleraine, Pic-Up Spares Swansea and J&W Body Repairs, Belfast.”
Smiley’s switch to tin-tops came after a highly successful career in Karts were he achieved multiple Irish, Scottish and British Championships. In more recent times Smiley was named Scotland’s Young Driver of the year in 2011 by the Scottish Motor Racing Club after his second season of competing in the Scottish Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup. In 2014 Smiley aims to progress his career by securing a drive in the Renault Clio Cup which is part of the British Touring Car Championship support package.