SMITH TO BRING UP SUPERCARS CENTURY

Jack Smith. Picture: Nathan Wong

JACK Smith needs to loosen up to get his season back on track, says his father Pete.

The #4 SCT Logistics driver started the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship in solid fashion, recording top 20 finishes in each of the first seven races – headlined by 12th in the Albert Park opener – to just about be on level pegging with his Brad Jones Racing stablemates in the standings.

It’s been tougher going since that point, with just another seven top 20s to show from the 19 races that have followed, although he did record a last-start 15th at Sandown.

The 23-year-old, who is due to chalk up his 100th main game race next weekend at Pukekohe, has subsequently dropped to 24th in the championship.

Smith moved into the Supercars Championship full-time in 2020 under a Teams Racing Charter purchased by his family following three Super2 seasons.

Pete Smith believes improved results are a matter of his son relaxing a tad and trusting the last chunk of performance will come.

“Jack is very hard on himself and that’s one of his biggest problems, is that he just gets so tough on himself,” Smith Sr told V8 Sleuth.

“He has just got to loosen up a little bit.

“You can’t keep blaming cars and engineers – which he doesn’t – he’s just got to grab that extra half a second from somewhere. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to do but it is.”

Smith is yet to have a co-driver announced for the Repco Bathurst 1000. Pic: Nathan Wong

Smith and his crew got the rare chance to have seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes offer his feedback on its car after making a cameo appearance in an additional driver practice session last month at Sandown.

“I spoke to Brad (Jones), Phil Keed and their engineers just briefly on my perspective of where the car is at and sort of the difference in the feel between a Red Bull car and their car,” Lowndes told V8 Sleuth.

“Once I got my head around (the ergonomics) side of it, the car itself was nice to drive.

“It did everything you wanted it to but it just wasn’t edgy enough.

“I actually chased Jamie (Whincup) about halfway through that session.

“Braking and turning into Turn 1 was pretty even but the mid part of Turn 1 he could rotate the car quicker than I could, which then means he can get on the throttle earlier and drive it off.

“So I’m not surprised that the Brad Jones cars are a good race car because they look after their tyre but they’re just a bit lazy, they need to be sharpened up a bit to generate tyre temp earlier and utilise the goodness of the tyre.”

Smith’s milestone start will come in the third and final leg of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.

Connor O’Brien joined V8 Sleuth in 2022 as website Editor. He won the Supercars Media Award in 2017 while working as a sports reporter at the Gold Coast Bulletin, before stints at Supercars and Speedcafe. During his time at V8 Sleuth he's twice (2022, 2023) been named Journalist of the Year at the Supercars Media Awards.