Tommy Smith has confirmed that he will contest the opening three rounds of the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship with Team BRM.
The 18-year-old will drive for the South Australian team at Sydney Motorsport Park (August), Sandown (September) and Phillip Island (October).
Smith could take in more S5000 rounds too, pending international racing plans and his final year of high school studies.
The new deal will be a reunion for Smith and Team BRM, as they contested the 2018 and 2019 Australian Formula 4 seasons together.
Smith has also competed in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series and the Asian Formula 3 series in the past two years, and clearly has an eye firmly on an open wheel future.
In March, Smith was part of the pre-season Formula Renault test at Valencia, Spain, until the COVID-19 pandemic ground the world to a halt.
He recently tested an S5000 car at Winton and, with an eye to keeping his single seater experience high, is using the category to keep race sharp ahead of an anticipated return overseas.
The first of five VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship rounds will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park on August 14-16.
Driver, Team BRM S5000
“I had a drive of an S5000 not long ago at Winton, and it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it would be. The cars are really quite calm and I enjoyed it,” said Smith.
“From what I’m told, you drive these a little bit more like a Supercar. For a open wheel racer, that was quite a surprise to me.
“The braking is similar to any other single seater that I’ve driven, and the overall package is very good. I can’t wait to get back in the seat again.
“We’ve locked in the first three rounds because we want to see what’s happening in the world with all that’s going on, and I still have my Year 12 exams to complete. Those exams are meant to be around the Bathurst race, which would be awesome to do, but we’ll just wait and see.
“I know Team BRM really well already from when I did F4 with them. At that time, I was still learning, but now I’ve raced overseas, I have more experience and I’m looking forward to working with them again.
“At this stage of my career, we’re going to stick with open wheelers and see how far we can get. I really want to go back overseas, but while that is not an option, S5000 is the best for me locally.”
Category Manager, S5000
“It’s great that Tommy will be lining up when the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship kicks off in just over six weeks,” said Lambden.
“For me, the biggest upside is that it confirms that S5000 provides a challenging and viable option for one our young racers who would otherwise likely have been racing in Europe this year.
“Like the other young drivers who tested recently, Tommy represents the future of open-wheeler racing in Australia, and joins a growing grid contesting Australia’s longest-standing and prestigious motorsport championship. The fact that every race in the series will be live on the free-to-air Seven Network will help in building their individual profiles nationally.”
2020 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship calendar
Round 1: Sydney Motorsport Park, 15-16 March
Round 2: Sandown, 12-13 March
Round 3: Phillip Island, TBC October
Round 4: Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 12-15 November
Round 5: Symmons Plains, 24-26 January, 2021