Aron Taylor-Smith continued his silverware-laden run of form with another podium and Independents win in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone this weekend [23-24 September].
The Irishman arrived at the 1.6-mile Northamptonshire venue, famous worldwide as the venue for the British Grand Prix, riding the crest of a wave after making his first visit to the outright BTCC podium in seven years last time out at Donington Park.
The 33-year-old was immediately on the pace once more, piloting his CarStore Power Maxed Racing-run Vauxhall Astra to the second-fastest time across Saturday’s practice sessions.
The Dubliner then fought his way through an ultra-competitive Q1 to make it into the coveted Top 10 Shootout, before securing a credible eighth on the grid for Sunday’s action, live on ITV4.
Buoyed by the fervent support of a record number of partners and guests at the ‘Home of British Motorsport, Taylor-Smith was again among the front-runners in a chaotic wet-dry opening contest on Sunday morning.
Opting for slick Goodyear tyres amidst the light drizzle, Taylor-Smith initially had to take some pain when the lights went out, slipping back into the midfield behind the wet-shod runners. However, the race came back to ATS late on, and he charged up the order to seventh, a net gain of one position.
With the circuit dry for race two, Taylor-Smith was then able to unleash the potential in the Astra, working his way up to second in the opening exchanges. A mechanical failure for the car ahead then left Aron at the front of the field with a 1.5-second buffer, before it was wiped out by a late-race safety car.
That left Taylor-Smith vulnerable at the restart, with a number of the championship contenders on a charge from the bac, having been displaced by the earlier tyre gamble.
Aron defended valiantly to the last but was pipped to the post by points leader Ash Sutton on the final lap and had to settle for second spot. Nevertheless, it marked a second podium in as many rounds for Taylor-Smith, and a third Independents victory of the 2023 campaign.
He then concluded a strong day’s work with a commendable ninth in the reverse-grid finale, again gaining three spots.
As a result, Taylor-Smith now sits 11th in the Drivers standings, on the cusp of breaking into the top ten with only 13 points separating him from Rory Butcher.
Brands Hatch’s iconic Grand Prix circuit hosts the final three rounds of the 2023 BTCC season on 7-8 October.
Aron Taylor-Smith (#40) said:
“I’m beyond proud of what CarStore Power Maxed Racing and myself have achieved this weekend at Silverstone.
“Podiums are a bit like buses, it seems – you wait for one, and then two come along in quick succession! This has always historically been a strong circuit for the Vauxhall Astra, and the team did a fantastic job to put it in a good window for me to be competitive this weekend.
“I think that second race might put me on the cover of ‘Almost Magazine’! It was a great fight with Ash, and although there’s always a little tinge of disappointment in finishing second, for me it’s another great signal that we’re heading in the right direction with this car and the package.
“It was also great to welcome so many of my wonderful partners and their guests to Silverstone this weekend. Their support is always felt so strongly by myself and the whole team, but it was great to have them all here in person and to celebrate the podium finish together.
“Overall, I’m feeling very satisfied with the weekend, and looking forward to Brands Hatch to finish the season on a high note.”