03 August 2022

BTCC Sponsorship | Taylor-Smith battles into the points at Knockhill

BTCC Sponsorship | Taylor-Smith battles into the points at Knockhill

Knockhill is one of the most infamous circuits on the British Touring Car calendar due to its tight & twisty nature, plus the iconic chicane that regularly sees the cars being propelled onto two wheels. Taylor-Smith was in flying form throughout the weekend and pushed his Cupra to its absolute limit while topping the time sheets for the first time in the car’s history.

Top of the Timesheets

The weekend started off in superb fashion with Taylor-Smith proving that the hard work throughout the mid season break was worth it. He was one of the few drivers setting the pace throughout the session which eventually saw him top the time sheets by just under half a second. This was a huge milestone for both Taylor-Smith and the Cupra as it’s the first time that the Team Hard car has been quickest in any official timed BTCC session, proving to the entire paddock that both the driver & chassis are a force to be reckoned with.

Going into qualifying Taylor-Smith was tipped to be a contender based on his pace throughout the day. The anticipation began to grow as a turning point with the chassis had been reached. Unfortunately he didn’t get to show the true potential of the Cupra as an early puncture caused by a damaged damper hampered his aspirations of what looked to be a fantastic session. The team discovered this problem after the session and rebuilt the set ahead of race day.

Taylor-Smith commented: “This circuit really beats up the cars and unfortunately it caught us out. A damaged damper put our hopes of a top ten qualifying out of the window; it not only prevented us from setting a competitive time but also caused a puncture. That is life but to me, this day has been a turning point for us and we have finally seen the potential that this car has.”

Race One
Taylor-Smith is known as one to watch throughout the three races as he is always fighting his way through the pack and the three races around the Scottish circuit were no different. Immediately the Irish ace jumped through the pack in race one and was running comfortable inside the coveted top fifteen for another superb points finish. Unfortunately - Taylor-Smith reported engine over heating problems back to his team over the radio and instantly the performance of the engine was hit, particularly with the hybrid deployment system shutting down.

However, ATS continued to fight as hard as possible and still came home in a creditable 16th overall but more importantly, 6th in the independents. The independents championship is for teams that currently have no manufacture support and is arguably more competitive than the overall series.

Race Two

The team were faced with a very tough decision after race one, they either change the engine and potentially miss race two due to the condensed time schedule or manage the issue that they have for the remaining two races. The decision was made to continue with the engine and put further safety precautions in place to protect the engine, ultimately allowing Taylor-Smith to continue his strong performance in the independents championship and progress in the standings.

Once again Taylor-Smith put on a valiant display throughout race two, continuously on the cuff of a points finish and progressing to a solid 5th in the independents standings by the end of the race. At times during the race Taylor-Smith’s Cupra was at a disadvantage of 40 BHP, making his efforts even more impressive.

Race Three
Race three was the strongest performance of the day as the Irishman once again showed his true grit and determination to make the most of dwindling engine performance. He rocked off the line to a run in a very strong 13th for the opening laps before crossing the line in an eventual 14th but more importantly, 5th in the independents standings much to the teams delight.

7th Position in the Independents
Taylor-Smith currently sits in a brilliant 7th position in the independents championship, just one point shy of one of the most successful BTCC drivers, Jason Plato, after the half waypoint of the championship.

Taylor-Smith commented: “This is a long term project and we’re already seeing what the package is capable off. It’s no small feat to top any timed session in the BTCC and to have achieved that this weekend is something that I am immensely proud of. It’s a clear indicator of things to come, as I know this project has enormous potential. This is only the beginning and I’m genuinely excited to see what we can achieve.“