Race winning MINI Challenge driver Rob Smith will mount a serious bid for the 2016 title in the blue riband F56 Class it is announced today, Monday, 11th April, after being confirmed as part of the exciting new MINI UK VIP Customer Support team.
Hot on the heels of last week’s announcement regarding 2015 MINI Challenge Champion Charlie Butler-Henderson signing for the high-profile MINI UK squad, 23-year-old Rob will partner with the reigning title holder as part of a real dream team.
Continuing his long association with key sponsors Evergreen Tyres, GroupTyre UK and BMTR, Rob has also revealed an eye-catching chrome livery for the new campaign which majors on a green, blue and silver colour scheme. Both Rob’s and Charlie’s liveries are based on the same official MINI UK VIP Customer Support Team look, only differing in colour to represent their individual sponsors.
“I am absolutely delighted to be part of the MINI UK team for the 2016 season and very happy to be back for another attempt at winning the championship”, said Rob, “The MINI Challenge is bigger and better than ever this year, we’ve got a huge grid of more than 30 cars confirmed and an incredible prize of a BTCC drive to the eventual champion.
“It’ll be great working with Charlie, he obviously had a great season last year to win the title and I’m sure we’re going to work very well together. My aim is to obviously try and win the championship, we had a strong first full season last year with a couple of wins but I’m aiming for the title this time. It’s a real privilege to be representing MINI UK as part of the VIP team.”
Telford-based Rob ended his first season in the MINI Challenge last year seventh overall in the driver standings, taking a brace of victories and six podiums. He also won in MINIs in 2014 when he made selected outings while evaluating a full-time switch to the series from the Renault UK Clio Cup.
For 2016, the MINI Challenge takes yet another huge leap forward in terms of its profile with terrestrial television coverage of some races set to feature on Channel 4. Additionally, there will be longer highlights broadcasts on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV.
“It looks like it’s going to be a fantastic season and I’m very grateful for the continued support of Evergreen Tyres, GroupTyre UK and BMTR – without them I wouldn’t be on the grid”, added Rob, “We’re all really looking forward to the first round in a couple of weeks.”
The opening event of the new MINI Challenge campaign will take place at Leicestershire’s Donington Park National Circuit over the weekend 23rd/24th April.