Winston Smith is falling back on his previous experiences in the Australian Formula Ford Series to adapt to his big leap into the S5000 Australian Drivers Championship this year.
After spending multiple seasons in Formula Ford, Smith made his S5000 debut with Versa Motorsport at Phillip Island as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries last month.
The 20-year-old had only ever competed at the circuit in the past during his time in Formula Ford, meaning he was having to adjust to the changes in track and trye conditions against some of the best open-wheel drivers Australia has to offer.
While a couple of mistakes dampened his results on paper, the Victorian often found himself keeping pace with the top drivers ahead and took plenty of positives from his on-track performances across all three races.
“It was a really good experience,” Smith said.
“It was great to meet the new team and they were really helpful throughout the whole process.
“It was a big jump going into the category, I had never previously raced there in that car but I was happy with the pace overall.
“I’m a bit disappointed I made a couple of mistakes to miss out on a result, but that’s something I will learn from to avoid doing in the future.”
Smith believed his experiences in Formula Ford have helped prepare him for his step up into the S5000 category.
“The whole thing was a big learning moment – getting comfortable with the car was the big thing but also adjusting to track conditions and changes in the feeling of the car each race,” Smith explained.
“Formula Ford was pretty good in the sense of developing the same sort of techniques; it was just the need to adapt to a lot more horsepower in the car but everything else felt relative.
“It was a really good foundation.”
While Smith will join the paddock as part of the S5000 grid at Winton, he will be alongside familiar company as the Australian Formula Ford Series will also take the track for the first time as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries in June.
“I’ll be racing at Winton; I’m looking forward to getting a bit more of a result and building from everything I learnt at Phillip Island.
“I loved my time at Formula Ford, it will be good to see Sonic again and I’m sure all the memories will be rushing back.
“But my focus will be entirely on S5000 and achieving a good result.”
The series is one of seven categories in action at the Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton, with Saturday and Sunday’s action to be broadcast via StanSport.
Tickets to the event can be purchased via motorsporttickets.com.au
The S5000 Australian Drivers Championship will take the track at Winton Raceway as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries’ Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton on 9-11 June.