2018 Formula Ford Festival winner Josh Smith has confirmed that he will return to the Brands Hatch showpiece event next month to defend his crown.
Smith will be reunited with Oldfield Motorsport, who he won last year’s Festival with after a dramatic last-lap battle with Niall Murray and Ollie White.
Also a race winner in the BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship last year, Smith hasn’t raced in Formula Ford since making it to the final of the 2018 Walter Hayes Trophy.
After being awarded a place on the McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme, Smith has spent 2019 racing a McLaren 570S GT4 car in the British GT Championship for Tolman Motorsport. Paired with James Dorlin, he finished sixth in the GT4 drivers’ standings this year.
Smith, who was testing with Oldfield at Brands Hatch today in preparation for the Festival, is aiming to triumph again in the famous Brands end-of-season event this year.
“Hopefully we’ll try and win it again but we will not underestimate my opponents by any means, or think it’s going to be an easy ride,” Smith told FF1600website.
“I’ve come here [to Brands Hatch] today to do a bit of testing to make sure I’m bedded in.”
Smith added that he and Oldfield Motorsport had always remained open to a Festival return together.
“James [Oldfield], my team boss, was always wanting me to come back and do it, and I wanted to do it anyway just because I love Formula Ford racing, it’s always close.”
Despite going into this year’s Festival with a slightly different mentality, Smith still has high expectations.
“I’m approaching it with more of a light-hearted attitude this time. But it doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to come here and do my best to win it.”
When asked where he expects to be competitiveness-wise, Smith said: “Still at the front. I don’t expect anything less, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m either at the front or not at all.”
Smith also said that he is also considering entering the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in November.
“We might potentially do the Walter Hayes. We’ll see how the Festival goes first.”
Additional reporting by Graham Keilloh