Eurotech Racing has today (29 June) confirmed that Brett Smith, son of regular driver and Team Principal Jeff, will take over driving duties in the team’s Honda Civic Type R for the remainder of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The severity of Jeff’s injuries sustained during the qualifying crash at Croft Circuit earlier this month have unfortunately ruled out the experienced racer for at least the rest of this campaign.
After careful assessment and consideration, the squad has decided to place Brett in the car, alongside team-mate Jack Goff.
Brett is currently leading the MINI Challenge Championship with Eurotech Racing in only his second season in the series, having racked up three pole positions, five wins, ten podiums and six fastest laps so far. The 25-year-old has also previously successfully competed in the UK Clio Cup, BARC Clios and Mazda MX5 Championship.
“I am naturally extremely disappointed for my season to be ended in this way,” said Team Principal Jeff Smith. “Having assessed a number of driver options the team are in agreement that Brett gives us the best opportunity to provide a strong second half to the season.”
Brett will get his first serious taste of BTCC machinery during next week’s (5/6 July) official group test at Snetterton. His race debut will then take place at the same venue with rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the championship scheduled over the weekend of the 29/30 July.
Eurotech took a clean sweep of wins in Round 3 of MINI Challenge at Snetterton. Jeff Smith took race 1 from P3 on the grid with son Brett making it up to the P3 step from a P12 start after a heavy downpour before qualifying made for a mixed up grid. In race 2 Brett took the lead from Jeff on lap 1 making it a spectacular father/son 1-2 finish and in race 3 Brett again stormed away to his second win of the day, giving him the lead of the Championship by some 54 points clear of second placed Max Bladon.
Eurotech Double Podium Success at Thruxton
Eurotech Racing headed to Thruxton in Hampshire, the fastest circuit in the UK over the weekend for Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. With the team confident following the test day at Thruxton where Jeff Smith topped the lap time sheets, the aim was converting their recent strong pace in to podiums.
Jack Goff laid down the gauntlet in Free Practice 1 setting the P1 lap time early on with Jeff Smith in P11, struggling to find the balance in the car that they had achieved on the test day. Goff cemented his intent in Free Practice 2 finishing P2.
The two Eurotech Type R’s were strong in Qualifying, with Jack finishing P3 and Jeff P6, making it a Honda 1,2,3 with the Factory Team Dynamics Hondas in P1 and P2.
Conditions were dry and sunny for race day. Race 1 saw Jack get a good start off the line from his inside row 2 starting position, keeping comfortably with the two works cars of Neal and Shedden, fending off Tom Ingram for much of the race who nearly made it past when Jack was held up by a back-marker in the closing laps. Jack successfully held on to bring the Type R home in a well-deserved P3, the first podium of the year for Jack and the Eurotech Team, also taking the Independent Teams win. Smith struggled to get his car cleanly off the start line, dropping some places which he spent the race trying to claw back, suffering with understeer he held off pressure from Andrew Jordan and Aiden Moffat with some great defensive driving, bringing the second Eurotech Type R home in a solid P11.
Race 2 was blighted by a huge crash on Lap 1 which brought out a red flag when the MG of Dan Lloyd hit the barrier hard at Church, causing a long delay. A cause for concern over the safety of this barrier had already been raised by a number of drivers, in the drivers briefing on Saturday morning. On the restart the rear wheel drive BMW of Rob Collard out dragged Jack off the line to take 3rd, on the approach to the chicane Jack spectacularly made it three wide with Collard and Shedden, with Jack gaining back P3 and with Shedden losing out, Shedden immediately fought back and recovered the position going in to the Complex. Jack regained P3 again when Matt Neal pulled in to the pitlane with a steering problem, it looked like Jack was going to be on for another podium but Ingram managed to pass him at the chicane and then another red flag ended the race early with Jack finishing in P4. Jeff had again been in the thick of the action eventually finishing in a hard fought P10.
The reverse grid for Race 3 had promoted Jack to a P3 start, with Jeff remaining in the P10 grid slot. Another good start from Jack meant he pulled away from the fighting Rob Austin and Shedden behind him settling in to a comfortable P2 behind Colin Turkington, staying clear of Tom Ingram who was chasing him down for second place until Jack picked up some debris on his tyres and ran wide enabling Ingram to pass, Jack bought it home to make it a second podium finish in P3. Jeff was going well holding P10 with a couple of laps to go, defending from Tom Chiltern when he had a huge moment, Chiltern got the run on him on the outside going into Noble which meant Jeff had to lift slightly more to avoid contact which caused the back end to step out sending the Type R spinning one way then the other across the front of the ensuing pack, thankfully Jeff managing to keep it out of the barrier, rescuing it to finish P27.
A successful points haul for Eurotech sees Jack retaining P6 overall in the Drivers Championship and the Team 3rd in the Independents and 4th overall in the Teams Championship.
Eurotech said ‘It has been a fantastic weekend for us, we knew we had the pace and we were confident the podium was well within reach. Jack and Jeff have been putting in such strong drives and all of our team put in so much effort we feel it is very well-deserved but we won’t stop there this is just the beginning, we will keep building on the momentum and will be pushing for wins now.’
Brett Smith stormed to a P2 finish in the opening round of MINI Challenge at Oulton Park on Easter Monday in changeable conditions, securing the first podium of the year for Eurotech. Followed up with a strong P4 in race 2.
Eurotech Promising Form Continues
The BTCC stormed in to Donington Park for the second event of the season under dramatic skies on Easter Weekend.
Eurotech immediately made an impression with Jack Goff placing P2 in Free Practice 1 and P1 in Free Practice 2 with teammate Jeff Smith finishing P13 in both sessions within the hugely competitive field. The bar set at keeping both cars up in the top ten was met with Jack qualifying an impressive P2 and Jeff in a strong P9.
Despite ominous skies the rain held off for race 1. With a Eurotech car qualifying on the front row of the grid for the second round in a row the whole team were feeling confident. Both cars made great starts off the grid but Jack on the outside of the front row was pushed off on to the grass by the barging front pack at turn 1 and then took a hit on the back corner from Gordon Shedden resulting in him tumbling down the field, he made a great recovery back up to a P12 finish. Jeff had a good race long battle with Adam Morgan and despite struggling with diminishing tyre grip in the latter stages of the race he managed to hang on to finish P9.
Jack fared better in race 2 progressing up through the field to a good finish in P9. Jeff was on the hard tyre option and was on track to finish behind his team-mate in P10 when some dubious overtaking under double waved yellows on the last corner which went unpunished meant he finished in a frustrating P13.
Immediately before race 3 the heavens opened and the rain came down, with the whole grid on wet tyres the extent of the surface water became apparent when cars were aqua-planing off the track on the green flag lap. Despite the monsoon the race was not delayed (much to the dismay of most competitors) and the grid lined up to take at start that was only ever going to end up in carnage! Jack starting from pit lane after a delay changing to wet set up meant he missed the allotted time to exit the garage ahead of the green flag lap – unbeknown at the time this then proved to be a god send.
The race started and the inevitable happened with cars going everywhere on the first lap resulted in a red flag and a complete restart which enabled Jack to retake his P9 grid position. Jeff suffered heavy front end and steering damage, which the team managed to repair as best they could on the grid to enable him to restart. In treacherous conditions the Type R of Smith was sent sliding across the grass at turn 1 putting him way down the field to try and battle his way back through but a coming together with Chris Smiley causing further damage ended his race with a DNF. Goff was relishing in the wet conditions and put in a commendable drive up to a P6 finish securing a good points haul for the day.
The Eurotech Team are riding high in a strong 5th place in the overall Teams Championship with Jack now 6th overall in the Drivers Championship. The team are looking ahead to Thruxton buoyed by their current form with the confidence that podiums are well within reach.
IMPRESSIVE START FOR EUROTECH RACING
Eurotech Racing made a big impact on the opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch Indy circuit with the first Pole Position of the year sensationally going to Jeff Smith.
Smith and new team mate Jack Goff running in the two TOCA Swindon powered Honda Civic Type R’s entered round one feeling confident following a successful pre-season testing programme. Goff topped the lap times for much of Free Practice 2, finishing 3rd fastest with Smith 7th fastest in a 32 car field separated by just over a second.
Qualifying was unpredictable and thwart with red flags and ominous looking grey clouds, but Smith managed to put in an incredible 48.36 sec lap despite the tricky conditions, before another red flag and then the rain came down sealing the pole position time to the delighted Smith and the Eurotech team. Goff also qualified well in P7 but frustratingly had his fastest lap blocked, leaving a taste of ‘what could have been’ for a potential Eurotech front row lock out.
Race day was dry and sunny in front of a near-capacity crowd around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Race 1 pole-sitter Smith got a good start and clean get away tucking in behind Tom Ingram, having to take it steady in the early laps to preserve the previously opted for soft tyres he was overtaken by Gordon Shedden and Adam Morgan leaving him comfortably in P4, despite pressure from Rob Austin behind Smith was holding his own and two thirds of the way through the race when the soft tyres had started to come in Smith had pulled a gap again when disaster struck with a mandatory TOCA issue wheel nut failing, forcing him to pit and retire. Goff who had worked his way up from his P7 start capitalised on Smith’s departure and eventually got the better of Rob Austin after a long battle finishing in P4 bringing home a good result and points haul for at least one side of the garage.
Early controversy and chaos on lap 1 brought about a complete restart for race 2. Goff had been spun from behind and lost places but was able to restart from his P4 position. Unfortunately damage sustained to the rear suspension caused Jack to drop back at the restart but with a valiant effort hung in there and finished 12th. Smith made good progress through the field having to start from the back following his DNF and made it up to a P16 finish just outside of the points.
Race 3 was a typically rough and tumble end to the day, Goff running the soft tyre and with the damage repaired was able to press forward and battled his way up to a great P8 finish. Smith was also pushing forwards but was turned sideways at Graham Hill bend by Ash Sutton causing him to drop 8 places and had to work his way back up again to finish in P17.
Eurotech Manager Marvin Humphries said ‘We have had to deal with some disappointing factors beyond our control this weekend but what a fantastic promising start to the season, to get the first pole was a massive boost to the team. We are happy that the pace is there, Jack and Jeff have shown they are confident and capable of putting the cars at the sharp end and looking like a formidable combination, this is the start of a great season’.
After round 1 Jack is 8th in the Driver’s Championship. Eurotech are 4th in the Independent Team’s Championship and 7th overall.
Eurotech Racing are pleased to announce Jack Goff as their new signing for the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Goff will partner Jeff Smith in the team’s second Honda Civic Type R.
Eurotech Team Principal Smith said ‘We are delighted to have been able to put together a deal with Jack, we have been in talks with many drivers over the winter which has been a long process but we wanted to get it right, our aim was always to put a talented young gun in to the second seat which we have undoubtedly managed to achieve with Jack. We have been impressed with the performance and professionalism he has shown over the past few seasons in BTCC and are confident that Jack’s race craft combined with our Type R will be a force to be reckoned with. We know our cars are capable of winning the Championship and with Jack’s proven ability we are confident this is an achievable goal. We have a comprehensive pre-season testing programme in place and will hit the ground running, from the first round at Brands Hatch we intend to be on the podium.’
Jack Goff; ‘This is a really exciting opportunity for both myself and all of my loyal sponsors. I have been fortunate to have raced with many successful teams during my short time in the BTCC and having met the Eurotech Racing team and visited it's very impressive facilities, it is already very clear they have all the personnel and resources to give me a great chance to be fighting for championship honours in 2017.
The car is a proven winner, with Gordon having won the past two championships and with the Swindon engine I think we have a very competitive package for the 2017 season.
I am under no illusions that the championship is going to be as competitive as ever this season and there is going to be a large number of drivers fighting for the trophy, come Brands Hatch in October, we just need to make sure we are mathematically in contention.
I must say a huge thank you to all of my loyal sponsors and Eurotech Racing for giving me this opportunity.’
We are very honoured that the Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R BTCC Car of Jeff Smith has been immortalised forever as a Scalextric car. Available in March and to pre-order now from the Scalextric website there is a whole new set of BTCC cars available from Scalextric.
Eurotech Racing have been busy preparing for their 2017 British Touring Car Championship programme.
The team remain hopeful of again running three cars next year and currently have opportunities available for drivers with realistic budget.
Two out of their three Honda Civic Type R’s have already been stripped back to bare shells ready for the latest 2017 updates. The third car is already complete and undertook an extensive days testing in October fitted with the latest 2017 specification TOCA engine. Further tests are planned before the end of this year to include comprehensive analysis of the new 2017 tyre compounds.
Team Principal Jeff Smith commented “We have had great race pace this year and the true qualifying pace of the car was clearly proven by Daniel Lloyd when he put it on the front row in two out of three rounds he competed in. You can’t stand still in this championship, back at base in our new 8,000 square foot state of the art workshop the team have been flat out since we finished the last round at Brands Hatch. We are already planning next year’s test programme which includes a week long test in Spain at the end of February, so I believe we will be in a strong position to move forwards in 2017.”
Frustrating Silverstone for Eurotech
Eurotech Racing took to their home circuit as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rolled in to Silverstone for the penultimate round of the 2016 season.
The two Honda Civic Type R’s driven by Jeff Smith and Martin Depper showed strong pace early in qualifying but were hampered by a red flag five minutes from the end just as they were about to go on their hot laps, having to pit and losing tyre temperature meant they didn’t fulfil the full potential they had shown in free practice. Despite this both cars qualified inside the top 20 on the incredibly close grid with just a second separating the top 25 cars, with Depper in P14 and Smith in P18.
Race 1 saw the whole grid stay within close proximity on the short circuit, both Eurotech cars showing good form, progressing nicely through the pack, four laps from the end both were sitting comfortably in strong positions Depper in 11th and Smith in 14th looking like a good finish was on the cards when the run of bad luck struck again with Depper being sandwiched between Rob Collard and Aiden Moffat resulting in an upright failure, the wheel and drive shaft breaking free and sending him sideways at speed on to the grass at Becketts. This was followed swiftly by Smith getting a puncture, trying to avoid pitting and losing a lap he nursed it home managing to salvage a 15th place finish and some valuable points.
For race 2 the track temperature was rising as the sun beat down, determined to make up for the race 1 disasters Depper having to start from 27th on the grid made impressive progress gaining nine places to finish 18th. Smith was also putting in impressive drive and was up in to 11th place when unbelievably he suffered another puncture which exploded taking with it most of the Type R’s front left quarter, resulting in a safety car being deployed to recover the tyre and bodywork debris from all over the track. This allowed Smith to re-join after a lightening quick tyre change from the Eurotech team eventually finishing in 25th.
Smith battled his way through in race 3 from 25th to finish in 15th just in to the points and this time Depper in 18th suffered a puncture, unbelievably making it three punctures in one day for Eurotech.
Team principal Jeff Smith said “to get a puncture is unlucky, to get three in one day is unbelievable. We’ve been on a real run of bad luck but we have a great team of guys and great cars under us, we keep showing that the pace is there, so we just have to keep our heads up and push on”
The BTCC heads to Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for the grand finale on October 1st and 2nd Eurotech are holding 5th place in the Independent Teams Championship and will head to Brands Hatch looking to end the season on a high.
Stormy times for Eurotech at Rockingham
Rockingham in Northamptonshire was the scene for Round 8 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with crazy weather cooking up an unpredictable storm.
Torrential rain, thunder and lightning saw qualifying red flagged for a period for safety reasons. The two Eurotech Honda Civic Type R’s performed well in the extreme wet conditions with Martin Depper and Jeff Smith putting in times that would see them both up in the top half of the grid, in P11 and P15 respectively. Confirming the team’s confidence going in to the weekend that the car and engine package would be strong here on the technical Rockingham circuit.
The sun shone down on race day however luck was still not to be on Eurotech’s side, in race one Martin Depper was a victim of contact on lap one resulting in damage to the front suspension that meant an early retirement and DNF, Smith was coming on strong and showing good pace battling the rear wheel drive BMW’s for 10th place and looking like he was on for a good finish when he suffered a tyre blow out to the front right, he limped the Honda back to the pit lane for a tyre change to finish the race two laps down in P25.
Race two unbelievably again saw Depper suffer more contact on lap one, more damage and another frustrating DNF. Smith made good progress from his P25 start and despite having to run on the un-preferred hard tyre for this race which put the car at a disadvantage he managed to finish in P17. However a subsequent clerk’s enquiry resulted in a third verbal warning of the season for Smith and a back of the grid start penalty for race three.
This meant both Eurotech Honda’s started from the back of the grid for race three, with Depper having to run on the hard tyres for this race. They both made progress through the field with Smith putting in an incredible drive from P30 to finish P13, 8th fastest on lap times and importantly securing some points from an otherwise non-scoring weekend. Depper put in a valiant drive up to P21 which was the best he could get from the difficult to manage hard tyre.
Eurotech are holding on to 5th place in the close Independent Teams Championship with Smith 9th and Depper 10th in the Independent Driver’s Championship. Despite the set-backs at Rockingham the team remain positive that they have good pace in the Type R’s and are looking forward to the penultimate round of 2016 at their home circuit of Silverstone.
Jeff Smith and Brett Smith made it a unique Father and Son double taking a race win each in the MINI Challenge JCW Class at the Mini Festival on 20th August. In ever changing circuit conditions from intermittent showers, Jeff took the win in race one from his P2 qualifying position. A DNF following a crash in race one meant Brett had to start race two from last on the grid, opting to come in and do a last minute tyre change and start from the pit lane he carved his way through the field from the back to the front, having an immense battle with Henry Neal, son of BTCC star Matt Neal to eventually take the win, his second of the season and sealing the Eurotech double. Jo Polley made good progress taking her best finish in the JCW of P11 in race two.
Eurotech taking the positives from a frustrating Knockhill
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed north to the picturesque Knockhill circuit in Scotland for a dramatic round seven of the 2016 season.
Jeff Smith showcased a strong turn of speed in Free Practice one and two that unfortunately didn’t translate in qualifying, sitting comfortably in P12 with four minutes to go an oversteer induced slide resulted in the no.55 car being stricken in the gravel trap for the remainder of the session where the team watched the timing screens in dismay as Smith slipped down ten places to end qualifying in P22. However it was much more positive for Martin Depper who had struggled in free practice but qualified in a strong P16 barely half a second off the pole time on the typically close grid.
Despite driving standards currently being a hot issue it was very much elbows-out in race 1, Smith had moved up to 21st and was showing good pace when he was pushed off at turn one resulting in damage that meant a disappointing DNF. Depper managed to cleanly pick off some places and avoid the midfield melee to move up to finish in P14 and secure some well needed points.
Race 2 saw Depper spat out of the frantic first corner skirmish ending his race early unfortunately in the barrier leaving Smith to carry the Eurotech torch, despite not being on the preferred soft tyre he managed to move up an impressive thirteen places from 28th on the grid to finish in 15th bagging some more points.
For race 3 Martin had to start last after his early exit and DNF and he replicated Smith’s heroics in race 2 by moving up an even more impressive fourteen places from 30th to finish in a respectable 16th place, frustratingly just outside of the points but showing again the Eurotech Honda’s pace. Jeff was hoping to get up in to the top ten from his P15 start but was again to be a victim of poor driving standards being pushed off in to the gravel, managing to get back in to the race and chase down the back of the pack he passed Mark Howard at the hairpin and was blatantly turned in to the barrier entering the straight ending his race.
Eurotech principal Jeff Smith said ‘it has been a very frustrating Knockhill for us, we are pleased with the pace we have in the Type R but it is a difficult circuit to overtake cleanly and we have again suffered much damage through no fault of our own. We will draw on the positives and look forward to Rockingham, a circuit that should hopefully negate some of the advantage that the rear wheel drive cars have been enjoying and give better opportunities to both of our drivers to achieve strong points finishes’. Eurotech are currently 5th in the Independent Teams Championship with just three rounds remaining.
Eurotech will bounce back from difficult Snetterton
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returned from the annual six week summer break to the longest circuit on the calendar, Snetterton in Norfolk.
Despite suffering the set-back of Daniel Lloyd having to pull out of the third car due to sponsor constraints the team were feeling confident going in to round six of the Championship, having completed a successful two day test earlier in the summer break with the Eurotech Honda Civic Type R’s being very close to the top of the lap times, so the team and drivers were left disappointed with qualifying positions of 22nd for Jeff Smith and 27th for Martin Depper after suffering a tyre blow out and hitting the tyre barrier forcing early retirement from the session.
Aiming to quickly move up the positions in race 1 didn’t go to plan despite both cars making a good start contact on the opening laps damaged the no.55 car causing an early retirement for Smith, with Depper being spun across the grass on turn one early in the race and then also receiving damage and being forced to retire. A first for this season with a DNF for both cars.
Race 2 saw a huge crash on the back straight on lap 1 which both Eurotech drivers managed to just avoid by split seconds driving through a huge cloud of dust with cars going in all directions causing a red flag and complete restart. Smith was making good progress hot on the tail of Andrew Jordan to finish in 15th but adding to his woes Depper suffered another tyre blow out which sent him in to the barrier at Coram and another DNF.
Depper’s car plagued with misery all weekend looked like it was having no better luck in race 3 having to be pushed back to the garage after overheating on the grid, although this was possibly good luck as he would have been amongst the horrific freak accident on the start /finish line where Hunter Abbot’s Chevrolet barrel rolled on to the Armco and knocked down a camera gantry, thankfully nobody was seriously injured. This brought out the second red flag of the day. Depper made it out in to the race from the pitlane on the restart with the problem resolved. Smith was having a good race despite handling issues managing to hold off the chasing Jack Goff and Ash Sutton until the last lap. Depper also made good progress from the back coming on strong at the end. The pair brought the battered Type R’s home with Smith in 15th and Depper in 16th.
On the positive the team remain 4th in the Independent Team Standings. Jeff Smith Team Principal said “We have had a very difficult weekend with a lot of damage which we will gladly put behind us and move on. We have a lot of work to do in the next week and a half in the workshop but we are looking forward to travelling up to Knockhill where we know the Type R is strong.”
Eurotech Racing are disappointed to announce that unfortunately despite a huge amount of effort from all sides Daniel Lloyd will not be driving the third Eurotech Honda Civic Type R at Snetterton this weekend. Due to financial constraints of a major sponsor Daniel has regrettably had to withdraw from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at this stage. The team are all gutted with everyone having put in so much work behind the scenes to make it happen, Daniel fitted in to the team seamlessly and we were really looking forward to building on the huge potential and capability he has shown in the car. Eurotech will continue to work with Daniel to try and secure a drive in the future. Photo credit: AM Soul Images