Rob Smith, MINI Challenge driver championship

Multiple MINI Challenge JCW race winner Rob Smith has confirmed his return to the championship for the 2018 season.

And Smith, from Nantwich, says he has just one goal in mind – winning the prestigious title.

The 25-year-old mounted a strong bid in the British GT Championship support category last season.

At the midway point of the campaign he was vying for the MINI Challenge points lead.

He secured two race victories, six other podiums and three pole positions in qualifying.

But Smith’s bid went awry during the second half of the season and he finished fifth in the championship standings.

Now, with the opening round of the 2018 championship this weekend at Smith’s ‘home’ track of Oulton Park International Circuit in Tarporley, he is delighted to confirm his return.

“We were the only driver and team combination to consistently take the fight to championship winner Brett Smith last year,” said Smith.

“But for some unfortunate non-finishes, not of our making, we would have taken the championship down to the last round.

“That’s the way motorsport works sometimes, but this season I have only one goal in mind – winning the title.

“My aim is still to enter the BTCC [British Touring Car Championship] in 2019 and winning races in such a strong, competitive and highly regarded championship as MINI Challenge will hopefully attract the sponsors I need to progress.”

Smith, who works as a body and trim engineer for Bentley Motors in Crewe, will be backed by long-term partners BMTR Tyre Specialists, CarTyreStore and Spark Motorsport Promotions.

Expecting a bumper grid of more than 30 cars, the MINI Challenge looks set for one of its most competitive seasons yet.

Many aspiring professional drivers have identified it as the best route into the upper echelons of touring car racing.

Rounds one and two of the 2018 MINI Challenge JCW season will be contested on Easter Monday April 2 at Oulton Park as support to British GT.

The championship then visits Rockingham, Snetterton and Silverstone GP Circuit before a return to Oulton in July for the annual ‘MINI Festival’.

It heads to Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in August, where it will support the UK round of the DTM German touring car series.

And it returns to Kent for its very next event – the second MINI Festival of the year – before the final race weekend at Donington Park on September 22-23.

To partner or support Smith’s MINI Challenge title bid, visit for more details.

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