Gold Coast teenager Jack Smith has been confirmed as the first newcomer to join the 2016 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship grid.
The 16-year-old has signed with AGI Sport, with support from transportation company SCT Logistics, after sampling Formula 4 machinery during test sessions in 2015.
“We got in contact with AGI Sport … there was an opportunity to go down and test with them, we took it and it all sort of went from there,” Smith said.
“We chose to go with them after we found out that there was an opportunity [to race].”
Having spent the last few seasons in karts where he most recently competed in a DD2 kart as part of the Australian Rotax Pro Tour, Smith is looking forward to mastering an open-wheel race car.
“There was a big difference compared to karts because the brakes, the speed and especially the gears – it was all a pretty big change,” Smith explained.
“I’d never driven cars before, it was a huge difference with the speed as well.”
Smith kept a close eye on the championship’s inaugural season, and is excited to take his place on the grid in year two.
“I was always watching it and I enjoyed it a lot. It was pretty good racing at most of the rounds. I think it all ran really well and it was definitely good to watch,” Smith continued.
“Definitely looking forward to the first race, I can’t wait! There’s a lot of preparation going on – physically and mentally. Just getting prepared and everything sorted so when the first round comes around, I’m completely organised and completely ready.”
With the Formula 4 grid experiencing a mix of fresh karters and relatively seasoned open-wheel racers, Smith is optimistic of keeping close to the front of the field.
“Of course you want to win, you want to go as well as you can. I’m looking at it as a learning year. I’d be really happy with a top five at the end of the year.”
As for his ultimate goal, it’s a common theme across most aspiring Australia drivers.
“The ultimate goal is definitely Formula 1.”
More driver and team announcements are expected in the coming weeks.
The first round of the 2016 CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship gets underway at the V8 Supercars Tasmania SuperSprint, Symmons Plains, on April 1–3.