Australian teenager Tommy Smith will look to advance his motorsport career overseas this year after securing a seat in the 2021 FIA Formula Regional European Championship.
Confirmed to run with Italian based JD Motorsport in the 10-round championship, which was created in 2019 and later merged with the Formula Renault Eurocup, the same series Oscar Piastri won in 2019, the 18-year-old will be up against some highly touted youngsters from around the world.
Smith will enter the championship with quite a bit of experience already, having raced in the Australian Formula 4 Championship, Asian Formula 3 Championship and in the Middle East in previous years.
Not being able to do much racing last year after focusing on school, Smith has hit the ground running in 2021 with the Victorian to compete in a selection of rounds of the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship with Team BRM before heading to Europe for testing.
“I’m really excited to see our plans come together for Europe,” Smith said.
“I tested really well in the Formula Renault prior to COVID derailing my racing plans in 2020, but I was able to channel a lot of energy into my year 12 while also maintaining my training programme.
“As for the Championship, there is no doubt It’ll be interesting. The European championships all ran full seasons last year so I’ve effectively missed a season. My results and performances in F3 Asia last year were really improving.
“I don’t underestimate the competitiveness of this championship and I’ll be at a disadvantage having not raced the track, but In saying that, I feel good about myself and the progress I had been making prior to COVID.
“Now that I’ve completed school and have a seat secured, I’m excited to be able to put 100 per cent into my motor racing in 2021.”
When it has come down to his future, the young talent has been remarkably mature with his schooling, keeping it as a priority as he pursues a career behind the wheel.
While he could have just jumped on a plane to chase his dreams in Europe straight after graduating high school, Smith chose to confirm his educational plans first before making any other decision and has since been accepted into RMIT’s prestigious Elite Athletes Programme.
The programme means he can focus on getting the best results both in the car and in the classroom – something he was thrilled to be able to lock in.
“One of the key aspects of the Elite Athletes Programmes is the flexibility provided in working with both my schedule and international living arrangements and time zones,” Smith explained.
“I basically sat down with the school’s careers advisor who helped me with presenting my specific situation and ambitions to a number of universities offering the program and I eventually got accepted into RMIT, as well as Deakin and Swinburne.
“To get accepted Is exciting on a number of fronts. It allows me to chase my motor racing dream whilst keeping up my longer term academic objectives.
“It doesn’t specifically give me confidence, it rather helps me to keep progressing towards all my personal goals. I’m just so grateful to have this opportunity with the support of my family.”
Smith will travel to Europe in March to complete the eight days of testing in Spain, France, Italy and Belgium before the 2021 FIA Formula Regional European Championship begins at Spa on 25 April.
Before then though, Smith’s first outing will be in the S5000 during the Boost Mobile Race Tasmania at Symmons Plains on 24-26 January.