For 2018 CAMS Rising Star Josh Smith, his first season in circuit racing was a crucial step in his pathway into professional motor sport.
Though outright success did not come the young Victorian’s way in 2018, success for Smith was not solely all about poles, wins and podiums.
“Overall looking at the results from the outside, it looked pretty average but we never came into the year expecting to set the world on fire,” Smith said.
“Our goal was to get as much experience as we can, and we did achieve that. The year was basically flanked by bad luck and myself making mistakes, which you know the first year is the time to do it. I have learnt from it and hopefully next year we can contend for the title.”
Smith, who arrived to Australian Formula 4 with a strong background at state and national level karting, was under no illusions of the calibre and experience of some of his colleagues.
“I think seat time is key, Jayden [Ojeda] was talking about how all the stuff he does off the track and his driver training,” Smith said.
“I think just anything to do with motor sport will just come together. It certainly feels like a long time until we go around next year, but I also thought at the opening round [at Symmons Plains] that Round Seven was a long time away but now here we are.”
The Australian Formula 4 fraternity celebrated their season at the final round in New Zealand, where championship trophies and various prizes were awarded to drivers. With Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Year prize money, and Supercar, Toyota Racing Series and Porsche Carrera Cup test days on offer, Smith saw the ceremony as motivation to be in their shoes in 2019.
“It was a bit of a motivation to watch all of those guys grab the awards, the test drives and the big trophies,” Smith said.
“I will certainly be working my butt off in the off season looking for sponsors to try and come back and certainly give it my absolute all next year. I want to get up there and have a good night like these blokes have had with all of their awards.”
There were other successes for Smith in his first season of Australian Formula 4, which formed a part of his growth as a well-rounded driver on his way to a professional career.
“I remember my first interviews at the Winton test days and having a lot of stutters, and yeah I have improved on that – or at least I hope I have,” Smith said.
“I’ve just to get straight into the off-season training, the dieting and stuff you learn from being a CAMS Rising Star and all. I’ll just to put that into action and hopefully it works out for me.”