Bradley made the trip over to Austin, Texas to race the 2017 Radical Sr8 in final the round of the Radical North American Masters.
“The circuit is fantastic with a mixture of fast sweeping corners and tight complex sections. The Radical Sr8 was great to drive around COTA and nice to hear the engine screaming down the long back straight.”
The weekend started as it continued with Smith at the top of the times sheets in qualifying. Bradley posted some quick times early in the session some 8 tenths clear of the next Sr8 competitor around the 3.4 mile long track in blistering hot conditions
“The temperature was a new challenge for me, I had to adapt my driving to keep the tyres and brakes in the right temperature range and not overheat them. Normally in the UK we spend a couple laps warming up, but you could get on it from the start because of the heat”
The races were equally as successful with a trio of dominant performances, winning both the two sprint races and the longer endurance race which included a mandatory pit stop.
“The races all went really well, I pushed hard at the start to try and build up a gap then really had to work hard keeping the brakes and tyres cool as they were fading away towards the end of the races. It was a great to race out in America again and a big thanks to Radical UK, Radical Texas and the championship organizers for a brilliant weekend”
I made it to the final 10 out of over 100 applicants of United Autosports young driver initiative which the winner get a race in an LMP3 car.
I have been trying to compete in LMP3 since the class launched after winning the European Radical sportscars title in 2014.
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Bradley Smith and the Mectech Motorsport team headed to Donington Park for the first round of the Radical UK Challenge, which saw a grid of 32 cars take to the east midlands circuit.
A busy qualifying session saw Smith waiting for the right time to find clear space to set a time and that came on lap 15. Bradley set a time of 1.05.393 setting a new Radical lap record for the national circuit.
"It was really busy out there with it being a 65 second lap and 32 cars, finding clear space to nail a lap was difficult but I had a good run towards the end and managed to sneak a good time in. It was great to show our pace and reward the team with all the hard work on the car over winter."
The first of the two 20 minute races saw Bradley on the front row, but a poor getaway provided Steve Burgees with an ideal chance to take the lead going into Redgate. Smith was pressing hard to regain the lead for the first 5 laps and a small mistake by Burgees allowed Bradley a chance to run side by side heading down the Craner curves and completed the move up the inside at the old hairpin. Bradley then starting solid run of laps to eventually take the win by 5.84 seconds.
"Steve made a small mistake coming out of the final chicane which helped me get along side him and it was pretty close all the way down to the old hairpin! After I made the move I focused on trying to put strong consistent laps in towards the finish."
The second race was much simpler for Bradley, a better start kept him in the lead and was not challenged throughout the race to take a second win of the day by 3.18 seconds.
Race 3 was the 40 minute endurance with a mandatory pit stop. Starting from pole, Smith again made a good getaway into the lead and managed to pull a 2 second gap until the safety car was deployed to recover cars stranded from the opening laps. Whilst under safety car the rear left hub failed causing Bradley to retire from the race.
"It was a shame as the car felt really good up to that point and the team has worked so hard over the weekend. I feel like we had strong race pace to take another win but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be and things like this are out of our control. I am looking forward to my next outing and getting back in the car again!"
Bradley Smith made his LMP3 debut last weekend at Snetterton with the launch of the UK Prototype Cup. Smith was given the opportunity to race on the Thursday whilst setting up the awning with his Mectech Motorsport team.
“The drive was a very last minute offer, but as I have been working since the launch of the LMP3 class to get the chance to race, I was going to do absolutely anything within my power to get behind the wheel!”
The LMP3 Ligier was being run by Team West Tec, a team very well known for success within single seater racing. Smith was drafted in to fill the Silver graded driver position, however with no testing before the race and a last minute change of team mates, Smith knew it was going to be a difficult race.
“I was partnered with Christian England on Sunday morning so we had to make a seat 1 hour before the race started! I knew it was going to be hard, but I just wanted to make the most of it and do the best I could”
Christian started the race from P6 and after a good few opening laps bought the car up to P2 before the pit stops. After a smooth driver change Bradley was out in the car in what were his first laps in an LMP3 in the dry and on the Pirelli tyres. Bradley’s times improved throughout the stint and the team ended up bringing the car home in P2 for a podium finish.
“I had a lot to adapt to and found it difficult in the first few opening laps to push hard as I was still getting settled into the car. But once I had a few laps I felt like I could get into a nice rhythm. The guys at West Tec told me I had a big gap to P3 so I didn’t want to risk the car too much and it’s nice to reward the guys with a good result after what was a long weekend for the team”
Photo Credit Simon Ryder
The team took the short trip to Brands Hatch for the 5th Round of the Radical UK Challenge championship with Bradley Smith at the wheel of the SR3.
Qualifying started well on Saturday in dry and warm conditions, seeing Smith take pole by almost 1 second to the next nearest competitor on the full Grand Prix circuit.
In Race 1 Smith made a good get away at the front and led the race from lights to flag to pull out a margin of 9.48 seconds to Steve Burgess in Second.
"Starting from Pole at Brands is not easy because of the way the track slopes, so I was happy to make a good get away and then just focused on putting in fast, consistent laps throughout the race"
For Race 2 Bradley was again on pole and after another good launch off the grid took the lead where he remained all race despite a safety car on lap 7 which regrouped the pack for a 3 lap sprint to the finish.
"The safety car made things tricky, I made sure I kept heat in the tyres and brakes as I knew it would be a short dash to the flag, but the car was great and came on really quickly"
The Longer 50 minute endurance race took place on Sunday and Smith was on Pole once more for the rolling start. An extra 20 second Pit stop success penalty awaited Bradley in the mandatory pit stops which forced Smith to push hard in the first opening laps. After a solid few opening laps the 5 second gap Bradley pulled out was wiped out due to a safety car on lap 6 which bunched the pack back up. The safety car pulled in one lap later and Smith managed to pull a 7 second gap before he made his pit stop. Smith re-joined in 3rd and after a couple of good overtakes regained the lead where he stayed to the end of the race to win by 5 seconds
"The car has been brilliant all weekend thanks to the Mectech Motorsport team. Very fast and consisted even with the hot weather, I was able to push hard all race long without any drop in performance to big thanks to them"
The day was ran by current ELMS championship leaders United Autosports and Smith drove the Number 2 car that took victory at Red Bull ring a few days before. Smith was impressed by the car and hope it can lead to more outings in the catagory.
“The car was brilliant to drive, very well balanced and great to get in the seat of an LMP3 after working so hard the last couple of seasons to sort a race drive. I was pleased with my times and it was great to get a feel for the car in both wet and dry conditions. It is 100% where I want to be racing in 2017”
Bradley now has dates available throughout summer for tuition and instructing. 3 x Radical Champion, Bradley is a qualified ARDS “A” Grade instructor experience coaching in a wide range of cars from Junior Ginetta, Radicals to UK F3.
“Tuition can be one of the easiest ways to make the most of your car, by using data and GoPro analysis we aim to get the most performance from driver by looking at all elements involved. If you’re a seasoned pro or a novice starting out on trackdays there is always room to improve”
Various Car and private circuit hire can also be arranged at cost and custom packages created to suit your needs. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
With the 2015 season now over, Bradley Smith is looking forward to getting the 2016 season underway. After a frustrating debut year in the Ginetta Supercup where Smith only claimed one victory at Croft, Smith is keen to bounce back next season.
“It was a very hard year for the team; technical issues with the car prevented the team and myself from showing our true potential. I know what we are capable of because of the three titles we claimed in Radicals, so there should be no reason why we can’t have the same level of success in Ginetta.”
With next season’s plans well underway, but the choice of championship still to be decided, Smith feels he and the Mectech team will be fully prepared for the 2016 season in whatever they will be competing in.
“It’s nice to get planning for 2016 much earlier than we had the chance to this year. Everything was very last minute but thanks to all the help from Mectech and Ginetta we managed to make it onto a grid, something I thought I wasn't going to get to do this year.”
“I want to bounce back in 2016 and return stronger than ever. I want to get the results that we are capable of. Its not going to be easy in whatever I will be racing as competition is always tough, but I have a great team behind me.”
Bradley smith was left feeling frustrated after his first weekend at Rockingham in the Ginetta Supercup. Having never previously visited the circuit and with newly fitted upgrades to the cars electronics, Smith and the Mectech Motorsport team were left with a big task on closing in on the front runners. with having to do a shakedown and qualifying at the same time, Smith managed to qualify 5th just 0.5 seconds off pole in his first visit to the Corby track.
"It's tough coming to a circuit that we have never raced or tested at, but to be within half a second after the 20 laps practice on old tyres and untested upgrades, I'm fairly happy with that. Unfortunately we now need to rethink our setup as the upgrades have had a huge impact on the cars balance, but there is now a lot more to be gained from the car."
After a few setup changes to the suspension before Race 1, Smith lost a position in the opening laps to drop to 6th but steadily held position to the end of the race.
"We needed to try a few things and they didn't work, we had quite a lot of understeer in the high speed corners and I didn't want to hurt the tyres too much as the degradation is very high at Rockingham with the banking and long lefts in the infield."
More tweeks were made by Mectech Motorsport before Race 2 and an instant improvement was there. A lightning start saw Smith gain one place back before turn one and pressured for 4th position all race long but couldn't get close enough to launch an attack.
"It was pretty tough with the tyre wear, I was trying to balance getting the most speed from the car whilst looking after the tyres so that they could last the full 18 laps. Maybe I could have pushed a little harder in the first few laps, but it has essentially been a shakedown & test weekend for us with the new upgrades, we have learnt a lot from it and hopefully we can use this information for a positive last couple of rounds at Silverstone and Brands Hatch."
"Silverstone is a circuit I know well and have done a few laps in a Ginetta there already, also being a BRDC Rising Star its like a home race for me, so I will be giving it 110% for a great result for Mectech and the BRDC"
The next round is at Silverstone on the 26/27th of September.
Bradley is looking for mutually beneficial sponsorship partners for 2016 where he plans to compete in the European Le Mans Series in the LMP3 category. For more information contact email@example.com or call 01277 372848
Bradley Smith recently completed over 870 Miles in a successful endurance test program in the new-for-2016 BRDC Formula 4 car at Bedford Autodrome.
The car is built with a Tatuus chassis, featuring improved aerodynamics via adjustable front and rear wings, and F1-style front splitter and rear diffuser. The car is powered by a two-litre Cosworth engine producing 230bhp, an increase from the current 185bhp Ralph Firman-designed BRDC F4 car. The test program saw Bradley drive a succession of 45 minute sessions back-to-back to test the durability of the car over long runs.
Speaking after finishing the test, Bradley said: “The car was great to drive, very comfortable and I was impressed with the consistency of the car over a long run. The Pirelli tyres are very durable which is great for testing, the Tatuus chassis has a great feel to it and it gives you good feedback. In addition,the Cosworth engine has plenty of power and is extremely reliable, which combined makes it a fantastic car to drive”
The new Tatuus-Cosworth BRDC Formula 4 car will make its race debut at Snetterton in the opening round of the eight-race Autumn Trophy on November 7/8.
Bradley Smith and Essex based team Mectech Motorsport will be heading to Rockingham for the next round of the Ginetta Supercup. With A podium in the last outing at Snetterton and improved pace, Smith feels confident going into Rockingham
“At Snetterton we showed more of our constant improvement in form, and to take away another podium is great. We still have a lot more hard work to do but the team is giving me the best car we can achieve with the lack of testing we have available.”
This will be Bradley's first time at Rockingham in the Ginetta G55 but he feels he still has a good chance collecting some good results after the recent run of podiums and successful results.
“I've only been to Rockingham a couple of times but I like the circuit very much. It will be the first time we have ran the Ginetta at Rockingham but as long as we can get a good Friday test in with plenty of laps, I think we can develop the car very fast like Mectech have done all season”
“Its been a tough season with a lot to get used to, Shorter races, less aerodynamics, new circuits, but I feel like we are starting to get a much better understanding of the car”
The BTCC Series visits Rockingham is on the 5/6th of September.
Photo Credit: Simon Ryder
Bradley Smith is looking forward to getting back in the seat of his Ginetta G55, ran by Mectech Motorsport, after the mid season break. The next round is at Snetterton, a circuit with Smith is familiar with and had plenty of success in the past at the Norfolk circuit.
Snetterton is a great circuit and I am looking forward to it. It has a lot of overtaking opportunities and a nice mixture of corners. I’ve done a lot of laps there in the Radical endurance races, hopefully that will help us get some good results.
The 5 week break marks the half way point in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup season and Smith has used it to good effect to help start the second half of the season on a high.
It’s been a long break but I have been working harder than ever off the track, wherever I can to find improvements in myself. We are at a disadvantage in the amount of time we can spend on track, so when we are, we need to make the most of every lap.
Smith won the race 3 of the weekend at Croft after a difficult first couple of races. Starting from down in P8 Smith made his way through the field to take his first win of the season.
The win in Race 3 at croft gave the team a massive boost and was reward for the hard work throughout the first half of the season. But we need to keep up the momentum as we won’t get a chance to run the car until the Friday of the race weekend. We need a much better 2nd half of the season.”
The actions starts again this weekend at Snetterton on the 8/9th of August
Last week the Essex based Mectech team and Bradley headed to Snetterton for a Ginetta test day in which the team completed over 5 hours of solid running though a set testing program in order to understand the Ginetta G55 more. Clear weather and an open pit lane format meant plenty of time for trying new ideas and collecting up data.
“We learnt a lot throughout the day and it was great to sweep through the whole spectrum of adjustments to find out what is possible with the car. That type of testing you never get a chance to do at a race weekend as you don’t want to risk making the car worse. We are on the back foot behind the front teams as we don’t have the time to get on track as much as them or have the database from past seasons that those guys have, but we are catching up fast.”
“After every day we have with the car on track, we know so much more about the car and I am improving my driving style to suit the car, the car feels so much more competitive after the test at Snetterton.”
BRDC Rising Star, Smith still feels like he is in a stronger position than before and is looking forward to the next outing which will be the championship round which is at Oulton Park on the 6th and 7th of June
“I have raced quite a bit at Oulton, so at least I have experience of the circuit unlike last time out at Thruxton, which was all new to me. I think we can challenge for a podium and that has to be the aim for Oulton. The front is so tight it will be hard, but we have, and still are making huge progress”
Photo by Simon Ryder
Bradley and the Mectech team felt positive for a strong result at the undulating Oulton Park after improvements were found at the teams’ only test day of the year so far. “I felt confident that we could challenge for the podium. The hard work and effort to make the most of our test day really paid off in the Friday sessions and qualifying” said Smith.
Smith Qualified 5th only 4 tenths of pole position, but Bradley felt like there was more to come. “We didn’t have the luxury in the Friday test of doing lots of practice qualifying laps on new tyre like some of the other teams, it was my first flying laps so I don’t think I made the most out of the tyre”
A Broken CV joint on the green flag lap meant that Smith couldn’t make the start of Race one meaning a back row start in Race 2. With the problem rectified by Mectech and some other adjustments made to the car made, Smith started in P18 and managed a charge through the field to finish P8, Setting one of the races fastest laps in the process.
“It was great fun coming through the field. The GT Supercup is a close field and the racing is hard, so with only 15 laps I knew I had to push hard from the start. Mectech gave me a great car and was good to overtake on a circuit which isn’t the easiest to get by people”
The Ginetta GT4 Supercup now moves on to Croft on the 27-28th of June. This will be Bradley and Mectech Motorsports first visit to the circuit.
“Croft is going to be very hard weekend. We have never visited the track and time restrictions means we won’t get a chance to. We have to make the most of our Friday practice and hopefully we can go into the races with a competitive package. It is frustrating catching up to the other teams but we have a steep development curve and hopefully it will pay off soon”
Bradley Smith and the Mectech Motorsport overcome early weekend problems to take their maiden win in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup at Croft.
“I knew it was going to be a tough weekend as we had never been to the track before, but Friday started very positive and I loved the track. I felt quite comfortable in the high speed corners but we was missing something under braking which we found was due to an issue with the Diff”
After a disappointing qualifying, the Mectech team were challenged with a change of Differential with only an hour to go until the start of race 1 where the team managed to make it in time but was forced to start from the pit lane, 2 laps down.
“It was disappointing to not make the start of race 1 but the team worked flat out to get me back on track, the car felt great after the change, so I was looking forward to race 2 and 3” Said Smith.
Race 2 saw Smith progressing through the field until he was caught in a battle with Michael Caine. The pair spent the rest of the race trading places and Smith ended P8.
“Race 2 was a bit frustrating, I think I was a bit too polite at times, the Ginetta races are short and hard so I new I had to get my elbows out in the last race”
Smith started race 3 in P8 and after a great couple of opening laps had moved up to P5. Smith then picked off Jackson and Wrigley in the hairpin to move up to P3 by the half way point and after a move around the outside of Caine in the Complex, Smith was left to chase down race leader Reece Somerfeild who had broken away a 5 second lead from the battling pack.
“I could see Reece out in front and didn’t think I could close the gap, but the car felt great and it held in really well in the hot conditions and hardly dropped off, which allowed me to keep pushing to close the gap.”
Smith took the lead from Somerfeild on Lap 10 and continued to pull a 6 Second lead and took his first race win of the season
“Its been such a tough start to the year for us, so to get a win going into the half way break is a big boost for me and the team. We have all been working non stop to find improvements in me and the car and I think it is all starting to come together now. The more time we have on track the stronger we become, hopefully we can challenge for more race wins in the second half of the season.”
The next round of the Ginetta GT4 Supercup is at Snetterton on the 8/9th of August.
Increased speed and tyre management on one of the toughest circuits in the UK produced a trio of P5 results, despite it being the teams first weekend at the circuit without any testing due to limited resources.
The fast and flowing Thruxton circuit suited Bradleys driving with his previous experience driving the Radical SR8 at high speed circuits. “ I was comfortable with the car moving around in the high speed corners which was an advantage, I think if we had a test day there before we could have tweaked the car a bit more and found a better balance from the car in the slower corners. But a great result for the team and hopefully we can continue to build momentum and get on the podium very soon.”
The next round is at the undulating Oulton Park with the team aiming to get a test at Snetterton before to run though a testing plan to understand the G55 more and Bradley hopes this will mean a challenge for the podium,
“Just one or two test days are very valuable for us, we learn very fast and know how to gather and make the most of the data. This is something we had to do for the Radical on our way to the European title, so there is no reason we cannot do this for the Ginetta. If you compare us to the other drivers new to the series we have increased a bit of a gap to them, but we want to be challenging for the win and I see no reason why we can’t soon, this is a long championship.”
Consistency meant Bradley came away with the 4th highest points tally after the 3 races at Thruxton, A big improvement from the previous two rounds. The next round at Oulton Park is on the 7th of June.
Reigning Radical European Masters Champion Bradley Smith is joining the Ginetta Supercup for this season, having secured a late deal after plans to graduate into LMP3 Sports Prototypes fell through.
The Billericay ace who has won title in the Radical Clubmans Cup, Radical SR3 Challenge and Radical European Masters over the last three seasons was due to race one of the brand new Ginetta LMP3 cars for Greaves Motorsport. “I was looking forward to my first full step on the international scene, learning new tracks and sticking to a defined career path. But we found out last month that their project had been put on hold for a year,” Bradley explained.
A last minute deal with Ginetta will now see Bradley on the Supercup grid for the opening rounds at Brands Hatch in two weeks with a G55 run by father Mike’s Mectech Motorsport.
Bradley had his first run in a G55 at the Ginetta media day at Silverstone. “I did a few laps on my own and then did passenger rides,” he said.
“The publicity on the Touring Car package will give me and the team a higher profile and hopefully attract some sponsors. Plus I will be racing at Rockingham, Thruxton, Croft and Knockhill for the first time too.,” he added.
Bradley is unlikely to have any time to test his new mount before the opening races but is impressed with the experience so far. “Making my debut at Brands isn’t so daunting as I have had a lot of success there. I just need to concentrate on myself and getting familiar with the car. A win at Brands would be great but I would be happy with top six in the first two and a podium in the third race. So long as we progress during the weekend,” he said.
“The car is nice to drive, responsive, but having less aero and an enclosed in a car of course is new for me. There is a lot to learn but I am looking forward to the challenge and have confidence that we will succeed,” he concluded.
Greaves Motorsport is pleased to announce that it has signed Bradley Smith, the 2014 Radical European Masters Champion. He will drive for the team in the 2015 European Le Mans Series racing in the new LM P3 class.
Smith is a multiple champion and race winner in various Radical series over the past three seasons. He is a BRDC Rising Star, an honour bestowed by the British Racing Drivers Club to those drivers under 24 who show exceptional promise, former recipients of this award include the current Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Smith had this to say about his 2015 season. “It is a real privilege to be racing with Greaves Motorsport, their reputation in prototypes is second to none and LM P3 is a perfect step up from Radicals. Last year was a great year for me winning the Radical European Championship at my first attempt and hopefully we can carry over that momentum with Greaves Motorsport and be just as successful in the European Le Mans Series."
The team have purchased a new Ginetta-Juno LMP3, which will be powered by a V8 Nissan engine with an Xtrac transmission and Magnetti Marelli electronics.
Lawrence Tomlinson, Chairman of Ginetta commented on the announcement.
“Greaves Motorsport is a very high profile LMP team who I know personally, so to be working with them alongside the Ginetta LMP3 team is a real privilege. The excitement from successful LM P2 teams in the LM P3 category adds real credibility. This deal clearly demonstrates what we believe the LM P3 class stands for, which is genuine progression and an accessible way to race LMP sports cars – and brilliant fun.”
The 2015 European Le Mans Series will be run over five rounds, each race being four hours duration.
The provisional schedule is as follows:
23/24 March Official Test – Circuit Paul Ricard
10/11 April - 4 Hours of Silverstone
16/17 May - 4 Hours of Imola
11/12 July - 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring
5/6 September - 4 Hours of Paul Ricard
17/18 October - 4 Hours of Estoril
Greaves Motorsport is currently in negotiations with a number of interested parties to join Bradley for the season and anyone who would like to consider this further should contact Jacob Greaves (+44 (0)7817 645408 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bradley Smith arrived at Monza with a 13 point deficit in the Radical European Masters, but returned home as the new Championship leader, after two victories, having taken two pole positions and two fastest laps.
Qualifying for the first race was a straight fight between Bradley and title rival Viidas for the vital point awarded for pole. Viidas could only make fifth best while Bradley took pole by 0.654secs over Cencetti. Although more pro drivers were out in the second session it made no difference, as Bradley just went quicker and secured his second pole by 0.941 secs over Littlejohn, with Viidas in third. “Overall it went well in both sessions, just a bit of traffic occasionally,” said the Billericay driver.
It was close at the start of the first race as Cencetti provided a stern initial challenge until he was forced to go over the kerbs at the Retifilio and surrender the lead to Bradley. The lead began to grow quite rapidly, aided by a growing duel behind for second palace. By the end of lap six he was over five seconds clear and as is now his custom, he was one of the first to make his stop when the pitstop window opened.
Kapadia led until his stop which then left Bradley back in control. But with Jordan crashing out of second on lap 18, the safety car was called out and Bradley’s lead eroded, bringing Viidas onto his tail for the restart.
But Bradley read the restart with perfection and strode away to a four second victory. “The safety car wasn’t too bad really as it was after the stops and I had control of what I had to do. I just had to get that early lead and get my head down and we did it, “he said.
Although Bradley was pole again for race two, his race one win would mean an extra 30 seconds in the pits when he made his stop. He had the lead again from the start but didn’t escape as quickly as in race one until the fight for second intensified. “I had good pace and made sure I made the most of it,” he said
By lap seven the lead grown from just over a second early on to 4.6 secs, which continued to grow until the pitstop window opened. He emerged in third place but soon picked off an ailing Wells for second.
The gap to leader Jordan was gradually coming down but so was time left on the clock. By the end of the 21st lap the gap was down to 6.3 secs, but with only five minutes left on the clock it was still 3.2 secs.
“Tom was doing well and I could see him but we only had two laps left. I tried to put some pressure on him and then on the last lap he dropped a wheel off the edge out of Lesmo 2 and I was through onto the straight,” he added.
Win number two proved all the more important as Viidas was only fourth and Bradley now heads for the seasons finale in November as the new championship leader. “The car really went well all weekend, apart from a cracked brake disc in the first race and no clutch in the second it was brilliant,” he concluded.
Bradley Smith made it three championship titles in three years when he clinched the 2014 Radical European Masters Championship at the Catalunya Circuit last weekend.
It was a straight fight for the crown between Billericay’s Bradley and Estonian Tristan Viidas, but Smith gained the upperhand from the word go, securing pole position for all four races at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit. “I had sat back in the first session and waited too long, but it was still enough for pole,” he said. “Then we made a slight set up change for the second session, it was more stable and could have gone even quicker maybe,” he added.
Although Bradley made the best start in race one, he came under attack at Turn One. “I anticipated something at the start and didn’t see Calko coming at me, until he came off the grass and hit me in the side. There was cosmetic damage and it also affected the tracking and damaged the exhaust,” he said.
The lead stayed intact for the whole of the first stint but Bradley’s hopes of building a large cushion to compensate for his success ballasted pitstop were severely impaired. “The exhaust damage lost me some power and I couldn’t push as hard,” he explained.
After the stops he was soon back into second place, but Viidas was out of reach and he was still 12 seconds down in the closing minutes. A final push reduced the gap to just over five seconds secure in a solid second.
In the second race Bradley gave best to James Littlejohn into Turn One and shadowed him in second place until a broken gearbox put him out after nine laps. “I had a reasonable start but let James go as he was on new tyres and focussed in keeping Viidas behind me, so Alex Kapadia got by too.
Once again the lengthier stop proved decisive as he came in from third place. “I had a slight handling issue and chased hard, but it was frustrating when I had to sit in the pits and watch Viidas leave. All I could do was chase him and that became harder when my clutch began to slip,” Bradley explained.
Viidas again took the win by just over four seconds, but with Bradley second again the stage was set for Sunday’s final double header and it didn’t disappoint, as the tables were turned and Viidas had the longer stops too.
As the soon as the lights went out to start race three Bradley was in the clear and his lead was still growing when the pitstop window opened. Tom Jordan rejoined straight in front of him but soon surrendered the lead to into Turn 10 on the same lap. “I just went for it at the start, pulled a gap and concentrated on being smooth and conserving the tyres after the team had spent half of the night changing the clutch,” he explained.
His reward was an 11 seconds plus victory and with Viidas failing to make the podium in fourth place, all that was needed to secure the title was fourth in the final race.
Once again Bradley made the best start and was able to build a lead as Viidas headed a three car battle for second. They all held station for the first stint but Bradley’s lead had begun to reduce prior to the pitstops and he emerged in third behind Wells and Viidas.
“I had to defend from Littlejohn at the start, managed to pull an early gap but pushed too hard early on and my rear tyres suffered later on. I was catching Viidas and was hoping to race with him at the end,” he said. But before the duo could get together his rival had front upright break and left Bradley take the win by 15 secs over Wells and with it the 2014 title.
“It’s been a fantastic year but I couldn’t have done it without the rest of the Mectech Team, family, friends, sponsors and everyone else that had helped me throughout this year.
Bradley Smith was heading for the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium last weekend, hoping to continue to close the gap on Radical European Masters Championship leader Tristan Viidas.
Although tyre concerns had been raised prior to the race weekend and more problems followed during testing and free practice, the race programme continued without change with qualifying on Friday. Bradley was second quickest in both sessions, “I had loads of traffic in the first session and with tyre issues I didn’t get the best lap I could. I tried to go again but second was the best I could do,” said the Billericay driver.
His time in the second session was quicker but still second, “it was a similar session though for me. I lost a massive amount of time behind others warming their tyres,” he added.
Saturdays race was just after midday and Bradley still felt confident about the outcome. As the lights went out it was close into the La Source Hairpin, but Bradley’s initial challenge left him emerging in fourth for the plunge down the hill into Eau Rouge. “I got left behind a bit at the start behind Wells in the pole position car. I had exited really wide after trying the inside and Allos got me too, but I got him straight back at Eau Rouge,” he explained.
With his title rival Viidas leading, it was crucial for Bradley to close on him. “I got Wells into Les Combes on the second lap and was starting to close on Viidas too, when the race was red flagged,” he added.
Swiss racer Marateotto had a huge accident at Eau Rouge when he suffered another suspected rear tyre failure, he walked away with broken ribs and bruising. But with the cars briefly held on the grid it was decided to show the chequered and a result was declared after six laps and no championship points awarded, with Bradley confirmed in second.
With the ongoing tyre safety issues not satisfied, a meeting was held for team managers, drivers, Dunlop and Radical, from where it was decided that the SR8 class would not take part in the second race on Sunday morning. “We can’t say anything yet, as it’s still under discussion,” said a Dunlop spokesman.
The championship now moves onto the Classic Italian Grand Prix circuit at Monza in only three weeks.
BRADLEY CONTINUES TO STAKE HIS CLAIM FOR THE CROWN
A dominant win in the second race of the weekend followed a strong third place at Silverstone, as Billericay’s Bradley Smith continues to stake his claim for the Radical European Masters crown.
Saturday’s qualifying had gone well and left Bradley in prime position for the following days races. “I was struggling a bit bedding in brakes in the first session but still second best, then got the time I wanted in the second on a clear track for pole, despite the clutch release bearing going,” he explained.
There was chaos at the first corner in the opening race bringing out the safety car with contact from behind damaging the rear diffuser of Bradley’s car.
Having dropped to fifth he quickly regained fourth from Kronegard after the safety car laps and was one of the first to make his compulsory pit stop. His post stop progress was fairly rapid and was into second by the end of lap 15. “The diffuser continued to break up though and the car was becoming unstable, so when Mortimer caught me he went by under braking into Farm,” he added. Bradley still retained a solid third and more importantly finished ahead of title rival Viidas.
With the Mectech team having restored his SR8 to peak condition, Bradley made a sensational start to the second race and by the end of the opening lap and was 1.8 seconds clear. “It was a good start and the key thing was to defend from Robbie Kerr at the first corner. I expected him to challenge more, but I had already done enough to break the tow by Hanger Straight,” he explained.
The lead continued to grow rapidly and once again he was first to stop, which briefly handed the lead to Alex Kapadia. On rejoining his lead remained just as impressive and continued to grow. “I had focused on getting the gap at the start but was surprised just how quickly it happened. We had a good stop too and overall it was a good weekend for me and the team,” he said after taking the flag over 18 seconds clear of Viidas.
The next rounds of the Championship are on the Belgian Grand Prix circuit at Spa Francorchamps at the beginning of September, before taking in Monza before the season’s finale in Catalunya on the first weekend of November and with the gap between Bradley and Viidas narrowing to only 13 points, there’s all to play for.
Two more podium finishers at the Hungaroring consolidated Bradley Smith’s second place in the Radical European Masters Championship.
Qualifying couldn’t have been much better as the Billericay driver was quickest in both sessions. But for race one he was forced to start from fifth place, after being given a belated penalty for an alleged infringement at Brands Hatch in the previous rounds. “It was hard to find clear track though and the tyres only seemed to work for one lap, plus I was bedding in new brakes in the first session,” he explained.
“I tried hanging back in the second session though, got a quick one and was going to improve on it at the end but got baulked,” he added.
As the lights went out to start race one Bradley was initially fourth, but squeezed out Kapadia into Turn 3, to end the opening lap in a challenging third. For the first nine laps he shadowed Viidas and Cencetti, until Cencetti crashed out and Bradley moved up to second, where he remained until the pitstops.
With championship leader able to take a much shorter stop, he was soon restored to the lead, with Bradley initially rejoining 11th, before climbing to fifth in one lap! “It would have been pointless chasing Viidas and my brake pedal had gone long, so I didn’t want to risk too much that early,” he explained.
Once the stops had been completed he was up to fourth and rapidly gaining on third placed Jordan. “I outbraked Tom at the chicane and then tried to close on Kronegard. We knew to be aware of Christian after the stop and I nearly got him into Turn 3. But the rear end stepped out and he got away again. Third was probably the best we could expect anyway,” he concluded.
Starting from pole in race two, hopes were a lot higher and with a lightning start to lead into Turn 1, there was no cause to change the opinion.
For a few laps Viidas and Littlejohn remained close, but before long it was down to two for the lead. “Yes it was a good start, but Viidas did his best to put me off. I stayed consistent and kept him behind me, but the brakes started to go as early as lap three, so I had to pump them and couldn’t build a gap,” he explained.
Once again the stops proved decisive and once Littlejohn had made his stop, Viidas was in the clear with Bradley chasing Calko for third. “I was struggling for race pace and just thought about getting points. I knew it was going to messy in front, it did and I gained by it,” he said after Calko received a drive through penalty, moving Bradley into third again.
“I am happy to get two podiums and with a reduced stop penalty for the next rounds at Silverstone, we are looking forward to it,” he concluded.
Having made such a good impression on the Whelen Motorsports Empire during his prize drive at the Daytona 24hrs race, Billericay’s Bradley Smith was invited to join the Euro NASCAR Series at Brands Hatch, which is sponsored by the US Company.
“I was placed with a new team called VGJL Motorsports, run jointly by Victor Gonzalez Jnr, who races it too, and Joe Lax the engineer,” he explained.
Despite not having even sat in the car until the afternoon before the races, Bradley soon became acclimatised to his new mount and continued to improve through the test sessions.
“Obviously it was lot different to the Radical sports cars I have been used to and there’s a lot to learn to be competitive, like the gearshift and clutch,” he added.
Gonzalez had already raced the car on the Saturday before Bradley took his place on the grid for the Elite 2 race. The start went well and Bradley was quickly into a challenging third place, which became second when the leader locked up and went off.
Into Druids Hairpin for the second time the new leader left a yawning gap on the inside. “I was Ok following the leader, not pushing too hard, but could see the others beginning to close behind. There was almost a two car gap down the inside at the hairpin. So I went for it and then he closed it on the exit,” Bradley explained.
Both cars were briefly locked together but re-joined, only for Bradley to be rammed from behind by another car through Clearways. “I really didn’t expect what followed though. I was spun out again at Druids, left facing oncoming traffic and the safety car was out, so I was just about to undo my belts and get out,” he added.
His previous assailants, then cliped his stationery car as they went by under the safety car. “I was lucky as they both hit my driver’s door, but I felt sorry for my team really, as Joe and Victor had made so much effort to get the car sorted,” he said.
The second race didn’t start well when there was contact on the grid, but Bradley survived and came through from 17th on the first lap to take eighth at the chequered flag , after a couple of stunning moves around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend and Druids.
“We showed some pace and got a result in the end, but the driving standards were totally different to what we are used to in the UK.“
“It was a valuable experience and I am grateful to Whelen, Woodway Engineering, Joe and Victor for giving me the chance,”
Only three weeks after taking his maiden Radical European Masters victory at Brands Hatch, Billericay’s Bradley Smith will be returning to the Kent circuit on June 7/8 for his NASCAR Whelen Euroseries debut, the only official NASCAR sanctioned championship outside the United States.
“We raced with Whelen as part of my prize drive at Daytona in January and they sponsor the NASCAR Euroseries so it is great to be working with them again and their European partner Woodway Engineering,” he explained.
Paul Garner of Woodway Engineering commented on the coming race, “Whelen are proud to offer continued support to Bradley Smith after his great drive earlier this year in the NASCAR Tudor race at Daytona in the Whelen Corvette. Bradley will be the only UK driver racing this weekend with the backing of the sole European Manufacturing agent for Whelen, Woodway Engineering Ltd. We wish Bradley the best of luck and truly believe we will be seeing a lot more of this young man in NASCAR in Europe and the US.”
The Championship is visiting Brands Hatch as part of MSVR’s American Speedfest and is its only visit to the UK. “My name was put forward to work with Whelen again and I was really pleased to be then told I had got it. I will race in the Elite 2 class, which will give me two races, but I don’t know who will drive the car in the Elite 1 class,” he added.
Among the other drivers taking part will be 1993 Le Mans 24hr winner Christophe Bouchut and Eddie Cheever III, Mathias Lauda and Gian Maria Gabbiani, all sons of ex Grand Prix drivers.
“It’s a great opportunity to try something completely different to the type of car we normally race, I am hoping for good results but we will just see what happens on the day,” he concluded.
In only his second outing in a Radical SR8 Billericay’s Bradley Smith took his maiden Radical European Masters victory, after leading the second race of the Brands Hatch from start to finish.
Qualifying for both races had gone fairly well despite the limited amount of time the team and Bradley has had with the car, securing fifth for race one and pole for race two. “It was very busy in the first session and I didn’t know whether to back off for space as everyone seemed to have the same idea and I did make a mistake at Westfield on my fastest lap,” he said.
“It was better in the second session as I managed to find clear track and had one good lap, so it felt good to get pole,” he added.
Having settled in fifth place on the opening lap of race one, he was under tremendous pressure from Estonian teenager Viidas for the whole of the first stint. He successfully held the place and was one of the first to make his compulsory pit stop.
He was quickly back up to fifth place again after the stops had been completed, but the pressure was soon on again. “I had tried to stay with the pack, we had a decent stop but I had oversteer in the high speed corners and had to defend hard,” he explained.
Kaiser had been challenging and fell back during lappery, but snatched fifth from Bradley with four laps to go. His first half nemesis Viidas had also closed and grabbed a late sixth, leaving Bradley to retain a secure seventh.
After the team made significant changes to the car set up Bradley started from pole for the second race, hopes were high and Bradley didn’t disappoint. Despite some early pressure he held a tight line through Paddock Hill Bend to head the charge up to Druids Hairpin.
As the top four paired off Bradley had former race winner Calko shadowing him. He had a couple exploratory forays into Paddock but Bradley had them all covered.
On the 12th lap however as two cars had collided heavily at Dingle Dell and the safety car was deployed. Bradley had been waived by and the safety car picked up second placed Calko.
A number of laps of confusion followed during which Bradley made his stop and due to the safety car intervention went a lap up on the rest of the field. Despite the confusion Bradley pressed on regardless. The lap he had gained was taken off him which left him still a clear leader, but unable to ease up as Cencetti remained close enough in second place to be a threat.
Taking his lights to flag victory, his first European win, Bradley had measured his race to perfection. “We got a good start and the changes we made to the car worked. Yes it was confusing waving me by and then taking a lap off, but as a team we are still learning the car, it is like doing our testing in public,” he concluded.
The next round of the Championship is at the Hungaroring on July 5th/6th.
With two titles under his belt in the last two years, Billericay’s Bradley Smith is moving into Europe in his quest for a third successive crown.
Having won the Radical Clubmans Cup in 2012 and won all but one race in the Radical SR3 Challenge last season, Bradley is to contest the Radical European Masters Championship, which is contested on a number of current Grand Prix circuits around Europe, starting with the infamous Nurburgring in Germany’s Eiffel mountains this weekend.
Bradley has already had a taste of international arcing having contested a past European round at Donington Park with a works car and raced at the legendary Daytona 24hrs in February.
“We have got a Radical SR8 now, but only got it last week so we have done no testing and it’s all bit last minute. But we are doing it all properly and obviously it’s going to be a lot harder on the international scene, doing it solo and on circuits I have never seen before,” he explained.
“The first practice at the Nurburgring will be our shakedown, but Dad and the team are preparing as best we can. My aim is podiums of course, but that would be fantastic. The weather won’t bother me so long as we have the right tyres and I have tried to learn the circuit on a simulator, but it’s really down to learning the car in a short time and doing the best we can,” he concluded.
Having not even driven his brand new Radical SR8 before the pre race test, Billericay’s Bradley Smith was straight into race winning pace for his Radical European Masters debut at the Nurburgring, taking second place after leading for part of the race.
The test day had been misty and damp and so little progress had been made, but fortunately the weather had improved greatly for Saturday mornings qualifying sessions.
Astonishingly Bradley was second quickest in the first session and only 0.109 secs off pole. “There’s still a lot to learn and it was more like a first test, just trying to make things work. In the first session though I didn’t push too hard, just gained experience and some clear laps for second place,” he said.
The second proved to be more difficult though. “I didn’t back off enough to get clear space like some of the others, so only fifth,” he added.
As well as it being Bradley’s first SR8 race, it was also his first trip to the Nurburgring. It started well however, when despite being headed for the first few yards he led in the Castrol S.
Ellis and Cencetti made it an early three car break. But on the ninth lap Bradley made a rare slip. “I had been jumped at the lights but soon got ahead, built a gap but pushed too hard and had a big moment at the Ford Kurve.
“Ellis got by and Cencetti soon followed, then I stayed out too late and had clutch problems at the stop,” he explained after pitting in third place. “The clutch wouldn’t disengage to rejoin either and I came out fourth,” he added.
But fourth was soon third and with laps more than four seconds quicker than second placed Hyman, he was into second place as they arrived at Turn One with six laps to go.
“Then Mosley started to threaten and was doing his best to put me off and it nearly worked,” Bradley admitted. But at the flag he had earned his well deserved second, a reward for Bradley and the whole Mectech team.
The second race proved to be tougher still, when after completing the first lap in fourth, he began to struggle for pace and within a couple of laps was down to seventh place. “I couldn’t change gear properly from the start, but I had got away OK, made some places and then got stuck in fourth. I had to manage with fourth, fifth and sixth which wasn’t very good at a Hairpin,” he explained.
He made his pitstop early but the problems continued. “I tried to force it into gear and changed the rear brake bias to try and help, but then that destroyed the tyres,” he said.
For a while he was down to 19th but after the stops were completed held a steady ninth. A couple of last incidents went in Bradley’s favour however and he finally took the flag in a hard fought eighth.
The next round of the Championship is at Brands Hatch on May 17/18.
At the end of January Billericay based Bradley Smith will be taking one of those once in lifetime opportunities, when he takes part in the Daytona 24 hours race, one of the biggest motorsport events in the world.
The opportunity was given to him after his domination of the Radical SR3 Challenge Championship in 2013 saw him beaten only twice in the whole season. By doing so he accrued enough points in the Sunoco Challenge to claim the prize on offer at the legendary Daytona race.
"I went to the track for the first time in November and tested a Corvette for the Action Express team, alongside former Grand Prix drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Christian Bourdais. It was my first experience of both the track and the car, but learning the car was the biggest thing, it had so much more power and higher speed than I was used to and it was 194mph in the banked corners but it felt less physical than my Radical, which surprised me. It’s a very mental situation trying to take everything in to prepare, but I was third quickest and fastest of the 2013 spec cars. I had built up slowly and felt comfortable even though the second day was cancelled,” he said. “But when I put my helmet down between Fittipaldi’s and Bourdais’ I felt I had arrived,” he added.
The technical feedback from the drivers to the team was different to the UK, but Bradley was made to feel very welcome and part of the team before he returned to the UK.
A couple of weeks later he was asked to go back to test with Marsh Racing in another Corvette, but this time it was his placement for the race itself. “It was a 2014 spec car this time but I only did two laps in a week, as the car had problems and the team were learning too. But Action Express let me test the number five car again, a great gesture from them,” he explained.
Although he was back in the UK for Christmas it was back to Daytona on New Year’s Day.”It was the same car but the team had made a lot of improvements. I was sharing with the experienced Italian Max Papis and American Boris Said and Eric Curren, but we had to stop testing due to a few technical issues. “I did my best to gel with the team though and Max was great,” he said.
Having flown back to UK on January 7th it was off the Autosport International Show at the NEC for more publicity and interviews, before he goes to Daytona for the race on the weekend of January 24th-26th.
But what is Bradley hoping for from this wonderful opportunity? “I am staying open minded, but most of all I need to finish the race, that would be fantastic. I know it could open new opportunities, but I am staying grounded as I still have lots to learn. We have our own Mectech Radical team at home and the kart team too, but this is such a great opportunity and I will enjoy it for what it is” he said. But most of all I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed at the moment,” he concluded.
Smith now looks forward to his next visit Daytona when he will take part in the ‘Roar’ test, driving a 2014-specification DP car with the team that will run him in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Held between 3rd and 5th January, ‘Roar’ provides a final opportunity for teams to practice before the big day, which takes place later in the month on 25th & 26th. The team selected to run Smith will be announced in December.
This weekend’s 52nd running of the USA’s most famous sportscar race, the annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, saw Sunoco Challenge Champion Bradley Smith deliver a perfect performance on his debut at the famous banked circuit in Florida.
Bradley and his three team-mates: Boris Said from Escondido California, Eric Curran from Holyoke Massachusetts and former Le Mans and F1 driver Max Papis from Como in Italy, overcame the dramas that unfolded during the race together with a number of technical issues, to bring the #31 Whelen Motorsport sponsored Daytona Prototype run by Marsh Racing across the line 10th in the Prototype class.
Having had limited time to test the car during the ‘Roar before Daytona’ test at the beginning of January, Bradley was eager to get behind the wheel again during pre-race practice on Wednesday. As it transpired, he was only to have three good laps in the car, which meant his focus turned to the race and the opportunity to make the most of the unique and prestigious prize that had been presented to him.
On Thursday, Eric Curran qualified the car in 12th place and, as thousands of spectators descended on the circuit for one of the biggest events in the USA motorsport calendar, the build up to the start underlined to Bradley – as if he needed reminding - the enormity of the occasion.
The team split the driving into 45-minute stints. Eric Curran was first in the car and, following the start at 2.10pm (EST), he completed three stints before making his scheduled pit stop for fuel, tyres and a driver change, when he handed over to Bradley who was also allocated a 135-minute shift.
Even with a differential issue to contend with and his limited pre-race testing, Bradley quickly settled into a rhythm and was matching the pace of many of the more experienced endurance racers around him.
After driving for about an hour, the race was stopped for 50-minutes following a high-speed incident involving Daytona Prototype #99 and Ferrari #62. Whilst the drivers concerned were removed from their cars and the debris was cleared from the track, Bradley found himself parked on the circuit’s banking until racing resumed. Following a further 45-minutes, he returned to the pits having impressed the team on his Daytona racing debut.
Unfortunately, during the following stints with the other drivers, time was lost with a visit to the pits to repair the car’s front splitter. But, when it came to Bradley’s second outing in the car he was raring to go and, with his stint commencing at 2.00am, it was the first time the 2013 Radical SR3 Challenge Champion had competed in the dark.
Once again, it didn’t take him long to become acclimatised to yet another new sensation, reporting afterwards that he enjoyed the steep learning curve that racing at night had presented him. Bradley finished his stint at 4.00am and then took the opportunity of grabbing some rest before his next session.
Once again, the team’s pit crew were put to the test during Sunday morning when first a throttle cable issue had to be resolved and then a broken exhaust manifold bolt was replaced. Nonetheless, the car was still in the race and a finish was now well and truly on the cards.
Bradley was told he would be given the honour of bringing the car home and climbed back in to drive the final stint an hour before the finish. Another copybook performance by the 22-year old from Bllaricay was exactly what was needed and, having gained a place in the final two laps, he took the chequered flag at 2.10 on Sunday afternoon to record a final position of 10th in the Prototype class and 41st overall.
Although it had been a tough event for everyone involved, there was a huge sense of achievement amongst the team, as this was their first ever finish with a Prototype car at Daytona. Consequently, they were delighted that Bradley had been part of this success.
“This has been an incredible few days,” said Bradley at the finish. “The build up, the atmosphere, the huge number of spectators and the competition on the track was amazing. I’ve enjoyed the whole Daytona experience. It was also great to be part of the first race to be run under the new IMSA rules.
“Although the racing was quite different than I’m used to, because of the sheer number of cars and the various levels of performance between them, I am very pleased with the way things went and with the pace I was able maintain. However, it is a team event, so it was important to drive with that in mind. I therefore have to thank all the guys at Whelen Motorsports and Marsh Racing, IMSA and, of course, Sunoco for providing me with this fantastic opportunity.”
Anders Hildebrand, Managing Director of Anglo American Oil Company and the instigator of the Sunoco Challenge driver-development programme was watching Bradley’s progress from the pits. Following the race he said:
“I’m extremely pleased with what has been achieved this weekend. Bradley showed pace, professionalism and maturity, both on and off the track and I was delighted to see him setting lap times that were in contention with drivers who have far more experience and raced at Daytona many times before. What Bradley has done over this past few days has proved that our method of finding a Sunoco Challenge Champion, by the way the points are allocated during the season, means that the right driver always wins the prize”.
This year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona hosted the first round of the newly formed TUDOR United SportCar Championship, which saw Daytona and Le Mans Prototypes officially competing together for the first time. It also witnessed one of the closest ever finishes in the event’s 52-year history, with the #5 Action Express car of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais – the team Bradley tested with in November – winning by a margin of just 1.461-seconds.
A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY NEARS
10.01.14 DAYTONA PRESS RELEASE
This week’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship test at the Daytona International Speedway saw Sunoco Rolex At Daytona 24 Challenge winner Bradley Smith deliver an outstanding performance on his first ever outing in a Daytona Prototype sportscar.
After completing 100 laps of the 3.56-mile road course configuration of the legendary circuit, he impressed the Action Express team by going under the reference time set bY Christian Fittipaldi, ending the session third overall and posting the fastest lap of any other driver in a 2013-specification DP car.
After arriving at track on Monday, Smith was introduced to the Action Express team, who provided the car for the planned two-days of the test. The 22-year old Radical SR3 Challenge Champion from Essex was then given an insight into the intricacies of the track and the Chevrolet Corvette-based Daytona Prototype he would be driving, by 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Joao Barbosa.
Tuesday saw cars take to the circuit, with Fittipaldi – a winner of the 24-hour race in 2004 – shaking-down the #9 Action Express DP car and setting a reference time for the Sunoco Challenge winner, who then took the wheel for the first time and, after dialling himself in, began to increase his pace. Taking onboard the advice and words of wisdom extended to him by Barbosa, Fittipaldi and Sebastian Bourdais - another of the team’s highly experienced drivers - Smith was given the opportunity to stay in the car for as long as possible.
After completing 100 laps, a very satisfied Smith said: “I’ve had a fantastic day. There was a lot to learn with the DP car and the Daytona circuit with its banking, as both are very different to anything we have in Europe. The Action Express team made me feel very welcome and did a fantastic job of helping me understand the car and how to drive it. Together with Sunoco, IMSA and the Daytona organisers, everyone is making sure I have as much time as possible to prepare for the race, so I was able to get a lot of laps in, which was great.
“To be working in the same team as Christian (Fittipaldi), Joao (Barbosa) and Sebastian (Bourdais) - to have really experienced guys like that offering advice is amazing. You don’t get much better in DPs than those guys, so to learn and compare myself to them has been a great help. I was extremely happy to set the fastest lap times of the 2013 cars and to end the test third overall was just fantastic.”
During the first day of the test, two cars - one of them the 2014-specification Action Express DP car #5 driven by Barbosa - experienced tyre failiures that resulted in both cars sustaining extensive damage. Consequently, IMSA (the governing body of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship) suspended the second day’s testing for all Daytona Prototypes.
Elton Sawyer, Action Express director of team operations, was very happy with the progress Smith had made after just one day:
“Bradley did an outstanding job driving our 2013-specification cars and impressed us all. It’s a shame that, due to the situation with the tyres, the second day of testing was cancelled, although we believe this was the right call made by IMSA. We also believe that Bradley would have been even faster on day two. Everyone at Action Express Racing wishes him great success for the Rolex 24.”
Anders Hildebrand of Anglo American Oils, the driving force behind the Sunoco Daytona Challenge, was also impressed with the outcome:
“Bradley is the 5th winner we've introduced to Daytona Prototypes. It is great to see how well all of them have taken to this type of car and to witness a driver’s reaction when they arrive the Daytona International Speedway for the first time. Bradley did amazingly well and simulated Felipe Nasr's – one of our previous winners - success on his first day of testing. Bradley proved that he has speed in abundance and the skill to work with a new team in an alien environment. I think we have a star in the making!"
Smith now looks forward to his next visit Daytona when he will take part in the ‘Roar’ test, driving a 2014-specification DP car with the team that will run him in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Held between 3rd and 5th January, ‘Roar’ provides a final opportunity for teams to practice before the big day, which takes place later in the month on 25th & 26th. The team selected to run Smith will be announced in December.
With the championship already secured, there was no pressure on Bradley as the Radical SR3 Challenge came to its seasonal conclusion at Snetterton.
But having only suffered one defeat all season the Billericay driver was in no mood to aim for anything but victory. Qualifying brought another double pole. “I got clear track early on and had a nice run. Plus we tried something a bit different and it went to plan. In the second session I was getting quicker and the temperature began to drop, but pitted early anyway after some backmarker problems,” he said.
Nearly everyone started race one on wets after heavy early morning rain. As the lights went out Bradley had the lead into Riches, but as he rounded the Agostini Hairpin he received a tap from McClughan. “Paddy knocked my rear tracking out a bit, so handling wasn’t right,” he said. But the early lead was wiped out by another safety car intervention. From the green flag he retained a reasonable advantage which increased before he was one of the first to make his pitstop. But as in his one defeat of the year, the safety car once again proved decisive. After rejoining he was seventh and rapidly closing on the cars ahead.
Once he was past Ashton for fourth on lap 14, Abbott was his next target, the former leader having rejoined after a penalty. It was close for a couple of laps but Bradley finally secured third as they started the last lap. “It was the safety car again, so I couldn’t build a lead before the stops. But nothing I could do about it and left me with too much at the end,” he said.
From the start of the second race the lead grew steadily, after he avoided the carnage behind which delayed race one winner Keen, but had both Ellis and Kapadia waiting in the wings. The longer stops once again left Bradley with work to do after the stops, rejoining in fourth. Jordan was his first target, “Tom went wide and I was able to get him, but Andy Cummings was still well ahead and being consistent. He was harder to catch but I went through Hamilton side by side until I got ahead,” he said after making the decisive move three laps from home.
He took the win by well over six seconds, “that went more to plan and the car still wasn’t 100% still after the race one damage. It was good racing with Brad and Alex at the start and a nice way to end the season. It’s been such a great year, with a great team behind us and our efforts rewarded,” he concluded.
09.10.13 SNETTERTON GT3 MCLAREN TEST
GT3 SPEC MCLAREN
TEST AT SNETTERTON
With the Radical SR3 Challenge title already secured, to add to his Radical Clubmans Cup 2012 crown, Billericay’s Bradley Smith is already looking to his future, which may include the British GT Championship.
Bradley and team mate Lewis Plato both had the opportunity to test a works GT3 spec McLaren at Snetterton recently and proved to be straight on the pace. Team development driver Rob Bell bedded in the tyres and brakes before handing the car to Bradley for his experience of the current GT3 spec car.
“I did five laps familiarisation laps, checked the car over and then 10 laps where I could go for it,” he explained. “There were so many electronics on the car, but you forget how heavy it is, compared to my Radical. If you get oversteer or a slide the electronics kept it stable, a fantastic experience,” he added.
Bradley is hopeful that his performance impressed the team and he felt the benefit of a test to give some insight into his personal racing target. “It’s where we would like to be next year, or even if we had to wait a year to do it right,” he concluded.
09.10.13 SUNOCO DAYTONA CHALLENGE
BRADLEY WINS 2014
SUNOCO DAYTONA CHALLENGE
Bradley Smith wins the 2014 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge prize valued at $250,000!
Bradley Smith in the Radical SR3 Challenge has won the 2014 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge after a hotly contested battle with fellow Radical racer James Abbott racing in the Radical EuroSeries S3R class. Bradley is now set to race with one of the top teams at the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona round the clock endurance 25-26th January 2014.
After a cracking year in the Radical SR3 Challenge Bradley Smith, with one race weekend at Snetterton on the 26-27th of October still to go, was nervously watching fellow Radical SR3 racer James Abbott, in the Radical EuroSeries qualifying sessions on Saturday morning. In very tricky conditions, James just missed out on the ever so important pole position points towards the Challenge meaning Bradley could draw a breath of relief.
Bradley Smith, aged 22, is now following in the steps of previous Sunoco Daytona Challenge winners: Radical EuroSeries SR8 Champion - Derek Johnston; Radical EuroSeries Champion - Ross Kaiser; British F3 Champion - Felipe Nasr and SPEED Euroseries Champion Ivan Bellarosa.
Bradley Smith can now look forward to an intensive testing programme at Daytona leading up to the race. Bradley will be given an experienced driver coach who will get him up to speed quickly to ensure that he can confidently handle a Daytona Prototype around the challenging Daytona Speedway.
It is not decided which team Bradley will race with but we can be assured that it will be a race winning GRAND-AM team so not only will Bradley's dream of racing at Daytona be fulfilled but he will also have a serious change of winning that spectacular and sought after Rolex watch at the end of the 24 hr endurance. Previous teams that have hosted the Sunoco Daytona Challenge winners include Doran Racing, Michael Shank Racing and Starworx Motorsport.
An over-the-moon Bradley Smith responded: "I am blown away to have won such a fantastic prize, my long term goal is to race Prototype and LMP cars but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would happen quite so soon and to race at such an Iconic track and meeting as Daytona is incredible. The American fan base is a huge and knowledgeable one and I hope I can provide them with something exciting to watch.
This year has been a fantastic year for me , becoming a BRDC Rising Star, winning the Radical SR3 Challenge and now winning the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge prize is a superb way to end the year.
It's not all down to me though as my family team have worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to get me to this point. My Dad prepares my car and is fanatic about details. It's this attention to details that gives me the reliability as well as a fast car to enable me to do my job to the best of my ability. I have had some incredible support to get to this point and would like to thank them all, friends, family and my sponsors Eneos, Momo, Corbeau, Brown & Geeson and Hood Jeans for their belief and help given to me, in what has proved to be such an amazing year"
Anders Hildebrand, MD of Anglo American Oil Company commented: "Bradley Smith is a young, very fast and able racer. From the first race weekend at Snetterton in early April this year, when he stunned the whole Radical paddock with his amazing speed, he has never looked other than a champion and indeed the guy to look out for as the potential winner of the Sunoco Daytona Challenge. Being the 5th winner of the Challenge Bradley will be provided with a well proven package from GRAND-AM from the first introduction to the awesome Daytona Speedway to taking the chequered flag at the first ever Tudor USCR (United SportsCar Racing) race - the epic Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Seeing Bradley battling it out with the very best sports- and prototype car racers in the world at the very first race with the merged ALMS and GRAND-AM series is just going to be fantastic. This is destined to be the fastest Rolex 24 race after the introduction of the bus stop at the back straight as the Daytona Prototypes are said to be getting more power and better aero - and Bradley will be there as a worthy winner of the Sunoco Daytona Challenge at this historic event".
The prize consists of return flights and hotel for all tests leading up to the Roar before the Rolex 24 (3-5th of January), dedicated driver coaching and of course a race seat in a front running team's Daytona Prototype at the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona January 25-26th of January 2014.
The Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona will continue for 2014 - release to be made shortly - giving more European racers the chance to race at one of the most famous circuits and to showcase their talent in front of US race team managers and supporting crowds.
30.09.13 DONINGTON PARK RADICAL SR3 CHALLENGE
2013 RADICAL SR3
A seasons hard work for both Billericay based Bradley and his family run Mectech team came to fruition at Donington Park. Two more wins saw him crowned as the 2013 Radical SR3 Challenge Champion, following on from his title last season in the Radical Clubmans Cup
After qualifying for race one he had pole by just under a second. “I managed to find a good clear track but struggled for some rhythm and had a problem with lateral grip,” he explained “In the second session I caught people slowing down near the end, but had to push hard for the whole session. I was quickest on the last lap but braked too hard at the final hairpin and lost pole by 100th,” he added.
At the start of race one he was straight into the lead and it soon began to build to dominant proportions. He was first to make his stop too and as a pro driver the stop was longer than a number of rivals. Once the stops had been completed he found himself in second, chasing down Irish teenager McClughan. “Everything had gone pretty much to plan, but didn’t expect Paddy to be that far in front,” he said.
With six laps left the gap had been closed and he was poised to challenge to retake the lead. Into Goddards Hairpin they were side by side and again on the exit. But McClughan defended well and Bradley had to wait until the climb to McLeans Corner to make his decisive move. “I was playing it safe and then just paced myself over the remaining laps, “he said after pulling out final winning margin of 2.577secs.
At the start of the second race he was forced to give best to poleman Phil Keen into Redgate, before slotting back into second. The gap held steady for most of the first half after the initial spread had settled. Once again Bradley was first to pit from second place, but unlike in race one, he rejoined within striking distance of Peter Belshaw, who had taken over the Keen car and the lead. It only took three laps and Bradley was back in front. “The start had been really tight with Phil and I could see Stuart Moseley and Bradley Ellis queuing up too. So I decided to stay where I was and came out of Redgate second. Phil’s car seemed to come on quicker and then I closed towards the pit stop window,” he said.
Over the remaining eight laps the gap increased to a huge 17 secs, with win number two for the weekend and the Championship title under his belt.
“It’s good to get the title, but have to thank the team for all the hard work and the all nighters throughout the year. Plus my Dad in the workshop and Eneos and Momo for backing me. I am not sure what I will be doing next year yet, but I will be happy as long as I am racing,” he concluded.
19.08.13 SILVERSTONE CIRCUIT RADICAL SR3 CHALLENGE
BRADLEY SMITH DOUBLES AT SILVERSTONE
The more obstacles thrown in the way of Bradley Smith’s dominance, the stronger he seems to get. The Billericay driver had a poor qualifying session at Silverstone by his own high standards, but still managed to secure yet another double win, as his march to the Radical SR3 Challenge continues.
Despite only completing three laps in the first session he was still second on the grid, only 0.966s off pole. “I went for wet tyres in both sessions, they were new wets and we took too long in the pits changing them, so I only did one flying lap,” he explained.
It got worse in the second session however, “we tried some changes for the newer tyres but they felt like balloons, so it’s going to be hard,” he said after qualifying down in tenth place. It was slicks all round though for the start of race one and as they approached the line for the rolling start, Bradley had the edge over Broad as they turned through Copse Corner.
The lead grew fairly rapidly but as the pitstop window opened on lap eight, Bradley was first in. Having to take a longer stop now since being upgraded, he rejoined in second place behind Allison, but only 0.827secs adrift. It only took another lap for lead to be restored and then it was fairly plain sailing. “I had a really good start as Philip Broad was ahead a little as we came to the line. I held the lead at Copse and needed to make a break in the first half and then stop early due to our longer stop, to save time in the second stint,” he said.
“Matt Allison was ahead but I got him early into the second half and just managed the car and looked after my tyres,” he confirmed after taking victory by over 12 seconds. But race two was going to be a tall order as all the pro drivers were starting and Bradley was only tenth on the starting grid. It was important to make a good start but not at all cost. He was 7th at the end of the first lap, sixth after two and fifth after five and then he started to catch fourth placed Matt Bell, his 2012 rival. “The start had been difficult but good and I didn’t want to get involved in any first corner stuff. I was getting through quite well and then I caught Matt. He defended well so I backed off to be safe and decided I would just have to work harder in the second half,” he said.
Pitting from fifth for his compulsory stop, the race was on. Taking Kruger for fifth within a lap, it was three laps later before the scalps of Broad into Club and Cummings on the exit fell too. As Belshaw had car problems he vacated second in Bradley’s favour at Stowe, but the gap to Jordan and the lead was sizeable still and time was running out.
Jordan made one mistake and ran wide at Club Corner, but it was enough for Bradley to shoot by and take yet another win as the championship title edges ever closer. I knew it was going to be close but we got there. The team worked so hard to get me to this and even coped with my tantrum after qualifying, to make it a really good weekend,” he concluded.
19.08.13 SILVERSTONE CIRCUIT RADICAL SR3 CHALLENGE
BRITISH RACING DRIVERS CLUB FOR BRADLEY
As well as celebrating yet another double victory in the Radical SR3 Challenge on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, Bradley Smith had a double reason to celebrate. Having only started car racing in 2011 after distinguished karting career, the Billericay driver won the Radical Clubmans Cup in 2012.
Having graduated to the SR3 Challenge for 2013 he has so far only suffered one defeat and currently heads the SR3 Challenge points table with four rounds remaining. It was this success that brought Bradley to the attention of the Silverstone based British Racing Drivers Club, which have now included him in their Rising Star Scheme for young drivers under the age of 24.
09.07.13 OUTLON PARK RADICAL SR3 CHALLENGE
TO END DOMINACE
It had to come to an end sometime, but it almost seemed like circumstances conspired to end the seasons dominance for Billericay’s Bradley Smith. Having won every race in the Radical SR3 Challenge so far this season, he once again set the pace in qualifying, securing pole position in both sessions. “I went out late for a clear track which worked in the first session, but not so much in the second. We made a small tweak, but it made little difference,” he said.
But before the race one grid assembled Bradley found himself excluded from qualifying due to his car being underweight. He had already had his pitstop time extended after being regraded from a B to an A, but this became a double blow.
A quick appeal managed to gain back the race one pole, but for the second it meant starting at the very back. A storming start in race one gave an enormous 2.261secs lead over second placed Dan Cammish on the opening lap. By the end of lap 10 the lead had grown over 16 secs and Bradley decided to be one of the first to stop as the pit stop window opened.
Rejoining with his lead intact, there was one brief hiccup. “I had to get a bigger gap due to the longer stop, so pushed hard at the start and then saved my tyres. But when I rejoined the brake bias had wound back and I locked up at Knickerbrook and had to keep readjusting it,” he explained.
Calm was so restored and the unbeaten run continued with victory secured by just over 18 seconds. There were still hopes of a podium finish in race two, despite starting dead last. He was already into ninth place after one lap, but up against the other pro drivers it was a tall order.
But progress was made and eighth on lap four, then seventh on lap six and sixth on lap nine as the pitstop window approached. “The plan was pick off a few at the start and work through to hold the gap to the leaders and then go for it in the second half,” he explained.
But after only one lap Swedish teen Jesper Westerholm crashed heavily and the race resorted to farce. The safety car failed to pick up the leader, then backed everyone else up until the leader was at the rear, then the rest were waved through by which time the race time had elapsed. Bradley was left in eighth place ruing the days proceedings and the end of his unbeaten run.
04.06.13 BRANDS HATCH INDY RADICAL SR3 CHALLENGE
DOMINANCE CONTINUES FOR
The dominance continues for Billericay racer Bradley Smith, with another double victory at Brands Hatch last weekend in the Radical SR3 Challenge, make it six out of six wins and pole positions.
In both qualifying session he out gunned James Abbott, son of Radical boss Phil. “It was OK but the track felt very tricky with the increased temperature and was maybe chasing something that wasn’t there. It wasn’t 100 per cent, so I was just looking for a clean run and sort out a few niggles before the race,” he explained.
The start of race one was faultless as both Bradley and Abbott immediately started to escape. For a while the pace was fairly evenly matched between the duo after Bradley’s initial gap, but after Abbott spun at McLaren Curve, Bradley’s lead was a massive 21 seconds when he made his compulsory stop.
As he rejoined it was soon made known that his stop had been made too early. “We thought we could pit first and although the board was out we hadn’t passed it and that was an infringement,” Bradley explained.
The stop go penalty dropped him to third place, but after quickly catching and demoting Robinson for second, into Paddock Hill Bend, the hunt was on for Ferguson and the lead with 3.35 secs gap. It took another six laps before his target was reached, darting through o the inside of Paddock before hitting the front for the plunge down the hill. By the flag he was four seconds clear, but to work for it. “I had to work for the start to shake off Abbott, he was pressing me and I was trying to save my tyres too. After the stop go I needed to get back quickly and got both places at Paddock. I am happy with the win again obviously and we are still going in the right direction with the car,” he concluded.
The start of race two was equally impressive, but although Abbott was a close second once more, he had his mirrors full of Padmore too.
After five laps Bradley was 3.5secs ahead, but his charge was aided by the battles behind. The stop was perfect and when Ellis made his stop the lead was restored with 15 secs in hand over Abbott.
But two safety car interventions interrupted the flow, but failed to put Bradley out of his stride. He kept his nose ahead and took win number six for the season by 3.79 secs over Abbott. “The safety car again after I had a nice gap. I could see them battling behind in the first half, so I just measured the gap and made sure the tyre temperatures were Ok. The restarts were quite difficult though, as I knew everyone would be on it. But so far so good and bring on Oulton Park,” he concluded.
04.06.13 BRANDS HATCH GP RADICAL SR3 CHALLENGE
TWO MORE WINS AND TWO
MORE POLE POSITIONS
Two more wins and two more pole positions kept Billericay’s Bradley Smith’s 100 per cent record intact in the latest rounds of the Radical SR3 Challenge on Brands Hatch’s Grand Prix circuit. Qualifying didn’t go quite according to plan however. “I messed up the second session after being steady in the first, but kept it all in one piece. I didn’t back off though to get a clear track and almost lost it twice on my best laps. So I could have been quicker, but must keep my head,” he explained.
He had pole for race one by 1.055 secs from Paddy McClughan and in the second by only 0.003 secs from Bradley Ellis, after both Ellis and last years main rival Matt Bell had briefly held pole. The start of race one was fairly straightforward, with Bradley taking the lead into Paddock before heading an early three car break. By lap six the lead had grown and looked fairly comfortable, but with the pit stop window approaching the safety car was called into action and the hard earned lead was all but gone.
Bradley decided to make his stop first but somehow lost out to James Abbott on rejoining. It became a frustrating second half of the race for Bradley as he sat patiently in Abbott’s shadow, waiting for a mistake or an opportunity to challenge and regain his lost lead. “The safety car messed it all up for me, until then I thought the gap was OK. I got held up a little rejoining after my stop but sat behind James. I got a nose alongside a couple of times, but had to back off again. He made a couple of small mistakes but then another one at Stirlings and I was through,” he explained after taking victory with only a lap to spare.
With the fast starting Ellis alongside for race two, the start was critical and Bradley didn’t disappoint. “I made sure I didn’t get mugged at the start as I knew they would be pushing hard,” he said. Ellis kept the pressure on however, so Bradley was unable to ease up. He pitted early once more and only lost his lead for a couple of laps during the stops. “The safety car wasn’t my friend again, I just had to keep going though but could have done without it,” he said.
At the flag the lead had been restored to over five seconds and so win number four and the championship lead were secured once more. The next round of the championship is at Brands Hatch on June 1st/2nd.