26th Jun 2024

Resilience rewards Taylor-Smith with Independents hat-trick at Thruxton


Podium delight and double Indy win for Árón Taylor-Smith at Resilience rewards Taylor-Smith with Independents hat-trick at Thruxton


calendar_today   APR 29, 2024

Árón Taylor-Smith’s trademark resilience paid dividends in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton last weekend [8-9 June], helping him to recover from a high-speed crash in qualifying to score a hat-trick of Independent race wins.

The 2.4-mile Hampshire circuit – often billed as the fastest in the UK – has been a happy hunting ground for the Dubliner in previous years, and Taylor-Smith touched down keen to extend his lead in the Independent standings, and to once again showcase the race-winning potential of his Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing-run Vauxhall Astra.

Promise in practice – two top-four appearances – should have translated to performance in the all-important qualifying shootout on Saturday afternoon but, having easily cleared Q1, a high-speed crash at Goodwood whilst pushing in Q2 caused extensive left-rear damage to the car.

Having limped the car back to the pits, a stellar turnaround from the team enabled Taylor-Smith to re-join the session in the dying minutes.

With no time to perform the usual tyre warm-up procedure or apply a setup to the car, Taylor-Smith’s work was always cut out, but nevertheless, he was able to secure P12 on the grid, with a time just a tenth of a second adrift of team-mate Mikey Doble ahead.

Surviving a first-corner scare!

In race trim, however, Taylor-Smith was able to recover the weekend, using the nous, racecraft and ‘forward-facing’ attitude that has netted the 34-year-old four BTCC victories and over 20 podium finishes outright across his career.

Thruxton always produces action-packed racing, and Taylor-Smith was able to capitalise on the chaos to make progress in the first of three ITV4-televised contests, rising two places to round out the top-ten, and secure a sixth Independent win of the campaign.

He repeated the feat again in race two, passing Chilton’s Hyundai before taking the chequered flag a commendable ninth, plus another Independent triumph. The result also earnt Aron a spot in the coveted reverse-grid draw for race three.

Unfortunately, luck went against the Irishman on this occasion, but from ninth on the grid, Taylor-Smith mucked in with a host of the championship’s leading lights to emerge eighth, underlining once again the car’s potential in race trim, and another ‘Indy’ win to boot.

The net result of all three races means Taylor-Smith extends his lead over Doble in the Independent standings to 10 points, with Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing similarly bridging the gap to their nearest rivals among the Independent Teams.

Oulton Park’s Island circuit hosts the next three rounds of the 2024 season on 22-23 June.

Árón Taylor-Smith (#40) said:

“My overriding feeling leaving Thruxton is immense pride, both in the team and myself, for showing resilience and bouncing back from a huge crash in qualifying to achieve three top-ten finishes, and Independent wins, on Sunday.

“It’s always been a good circuit for the Vauxhall Astra, and I’ve enjoyed some great results here in the past, so the potential to do well was always there, and it’s nice to execute it, even with such a big setback, so full credit to everyone for their incredible work.

“I feel as though we’re really starting to establish ourselves now as a credible force up at the front, and race three was very encouraging in that regard, mixing it with the likes of Tom Ingram, Jake Hill, and keeping a whole host of fantastic drivers behind despite pressure.

“We’ve got a couple of weeks to reset and keep learning ahead of Oulton. It’s a track I love, and where I’ve won in the past, so on paper all the ingredients are there for another positive weekend, and for us to make another step forward.”


 “It’s always been a good circuit for the Vauxhall Astra, and I’ve enjoyed some great results here in the past, so the potential to do well was always there, and it’s nice to execute it, even with such a big setback, so full credit to everyone for their incredible work.

“The work that this team puts in to provide me with such a competitive car, as we’ve had at each of the five events so far, is staggering. I’m just the final part in a proper team effort, so it’s great to bring home some silverware for them – and Mikey was so close to the win! He drove brilliantly.

“Overall, I’m feeling really positive heading into the break. We’re an established force back at the front of the championship now, which was always the goal heading into this year. Every time we’re in and around the front runners now, we’re able to take the fight to them on merit, which is a great step forward, building on the foundations of last year.

“To be comfortably out front in the Independents Trophy as well is a great effort. Nothing comes easy in this championship – over a decade in it have taught me that – so it’s another really good sign that we’re moving in the right direction.

“I’m looking forward to a few weeks off to reset, re-focus and then come back for the second half of the season aiming for even greater heights.”