Smiley’s Season Underway in Germany.
May 17, 2014 by Tony Gregory
This month Carrickfergus racing driver Chris Smiley kicked off his 2014 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup campaign with two solid top ten finishes at the Hockenheim Ring in Germany.
The 22 year old piloted his 285 bhp one-make Scirocco R to a respectable 10th in race one and an improved 8th place in race two. The two results were even more remarkable as Smiley had never driven on the 4.5km grand prix circuit before or a car with such technology as ‘push to pass.’
As practice got underway early on Saturday morning the 20 male and four female drivers were faced with difficult track conditions with the asphalt only drying out towards the middle of their only 45-minute practice. Smiley’s fastest lap time was used to determine his grid position for the opening race with his grid position for the second race of the weekend based on the second-fastest lap in practice.
When racing got underway Smiley consistently improved his lap times over his two 25 minute races and gained valuable experience with ‘push to pass’ and a better understand of how to manage his tyres over a race distance. Overall Smiley came away with 24pts and 10th place in the Cup standings.
Smiley commented, “I cannot be more pleased with my debut given my lack of circuit knowledge and having to master the new technologies at the same time. This series is just on another level to anything I have been involved with before. Supporting the DTM provides us with capacity crowds and an unbelievable atmosphere. This season will be very difficult with all the travelling across to Europe and so many experienced drivers in the cup, but with my first weekend under my belt I can honestly say I have no regrets.”
Smiley’s next race weekend in the world’s only one-make cup featuring natural gas-powered cars takes place in two week’s time, 16th to 18th May, in Oschersleben Germany. Smiley is anticipating a stronger performance having completed in a 2 day, pre-season test at circuit.