CHAMPIONSHIP PIONEER MARK SMITH TO REJOIN VW CUP


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Mark Smith and his Bora, pictured in VW Cup '05. Photo: Image Vaults

Former BTCC racer Mark Smith is to return to the track after a 10-year break to contest the championship he most enjoyed – the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup.

Midlander Mark gave up racing after his foray into touring cars with an Alfa Romeo in 2006 and is coming back with the chief aim of enjoying himself. “It’s all a bit less serious this time,” he says. “I just want to enjoy it and get back into it. I have done nothing at all since touring cars, which I didn’t really enjoy, and I have come to the position now where I’m ready to have another go. I always enjoyed the VW Cup – it is still one of the best series out there – and I am pleased to be returning.”

Smith, 49 and from Henley in Arden, has bought a barely raced ex-Scirocco R Cup car from Germany and his InFront Motorsport team is hard at work converting it to petrol power from the natural gas configuration in which it ran in Europe.

“I am not expecting to be at the front – if I can get half way up the grid I’ll be happy. It will take a season for the car and for me to get close to competitive, but eventually I hope we will get there.”

Smith started racing in 1992 in Porsche 924s before buying a Vento VR6. He won the 2000 Tomcat Vento Challenge series and was in at the start of the Volkswagen Racing Cup in 2001. In ’03 he swapped his Vento for a Bora and in 2005 claimed second place in the championship with three podium finishes. Mark is the second ‘old original’ VW Cup driver to sign up for the 2015 season, joining his namesake Andrew Smith on the grid.

The Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup is the chief supporting series to the British GT Championship, featuring alongside the UK’s leading sports car championship at all of its events, most of them televised live on Motors TV. This season will see 16 races decide the championship outcome, with longer races planned for the Spa, Snetterton and Donington Park events.