‘He will surprise people this year’ – Team Principal on BTCC returnee Smelt

Speedworks Motorsport Team Principal Christian Dick is confident with his latest signing, Sam Smelt, who returns to the BTCC for a second campaign.

“He has been a huge asset to our British GT programme, both in terms of his performance inside the cockpit and his developmental skills out of it,” says Dick on Smelt’s Supra GT4 efforts.

Smelt finished eighth out of 16 in the 2020 GT4-class drivers’ standings alongside James Kell, an improvement from his 2018 efforts in RACE Performance’s Ford Mustang GT4.

He debuted into the BTCC in 2017 with only one year of car racing under his belt, and secured no points finishes in his Audi S3 saloon.

Sam Smelt, AmD Tuning, 2017 – Credit: BTCC

“He is the first to admit that his rookie season in the championship was a tough one – it’s never easy for anybody to step into the BTCC…and he probably wasn’t as prepared for it as he would have liked to have been.”

Smelt’s absence from the championship has enabled him “to learn and improve away from the spotlight,” the team principal says.

“I honestly think he will surprise people this year.”

He joins Rory Butcher as the duo driver line-up for Toyota GAZOO Racing UK, a team-mate who has two titles and multiple victories since his BTCC debut in 2017.

Ex-Speedworks driver Tom Ingram illustrated the competitive package that the Corolla became in 2020.

He secured 11 podiums, three victories and fourth place in the overall drivers’ standings – one position ahead of Butcher.

The season will begin on April 4, at Thruxton Circuit to kick-off a 30-round, 10-event season for 2021.