Brad Jones Racing Dunlop Super2 Series driver Jack Smith will kick-off his second New Zealand V8 Touring Car season this weekend at Pukekohe.
Currently in his second Super2 campaign with BJR, the 19-year-old is again using the NZ category to fast-track his Supercars learning curve.
Although less sophisticated than a Supercar, the NZ Holden Smith will drive has similar characteristics, including a Pace Innovations-designed chassis and 575bhp V8 engine.
A field of 20 is expected for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint support races, with another Super2 driver, Brenton Grove, making his debut in the class.
The 2017/18 championship was won by Andre Heimgartner, who subsequently returned to Supercars full-time this season with Nissan Motorsport.
Smith contested five of the six rounds last year, finishing fifth in the championship after winning the final race of the campaign.
He returns with the same two-car Hamilton Motorsport operation with which he competed last year.
Supercheap joins Smith’s family business, SCT Logistics, as a backer of the car; the two companies already co-sponsors on Chaz Mostert Tickford’s Supercars entry.
“I’m really excited for the first round of the championship at Pukekohe,” Smith said.
“I feel myself and the team have come a long way since that round 12 months ago and that the car is faster and more reliable.
“We had a test day a couple of weeks ago and everything felt great.
“It’s really cool to have Supercheap Auto on-board, Supercheap is a well-recognised brand and one that SCT Motor Racing has had a long association with.
“The track is one of my favourites, it’s super-fast and a lot of fun to drive, of course, I think winning the championship is achievable.
“This year however, I’m under no misconceptions on the task at hand.”
Smith sits 12th in the Super2 Series, nine places ahead of where he finished last year, with one round remaining in Newcastle in November.
His career has also included running in Australia’s V8 Touring Car Series for older-generation Supercars, winning the title in 2017, before making occasional appearances this season.