|Thomas Smith is a competitor in every sense of the word. Not content to only attack records in time attack events, he is also a veteran racer of BMX, go-karts, and autocross. The highlight of 2012 would be winning the inaugural season of Octane Academy on Vaughn Gittin, Jr.’s team.
In addition to ever-growing skills behind the steering wheel, Smith is very poised and possesses more humility than one would expect from someone with his accomplishments. Quite often, Smith’s friends will joke that he is “kind of a big deal” – to which his response is an embarrassed smile and a shift in his stance, reinforcing just how down to earth he is. Smith remains grounded until he captures a podium spot, in which case he launches into his signature victory backflip.
Zenkai Motorsports will now compete with Limited Class competitors, leading Thomas Smith to voice his anticipation regarding a number of teams. “Since stepping up to Limited Class, I would say J.C. Meynet in his OMG Motorsports STI, Adam & Noah’s LIC Motorsports STI, 034 Motorsports Audi, Ryan Gates’ AMS Evo 10 are some of the class’ proven and most recognizable competitors.”
Looking at all of the changes and improvements made to the Zenkai Motorsports Subaru WRX STI, it is easy to see why the team is as excited as they are to get back on the track. This new iteration – Zenkai 2.0 – comes with another jump in class.
To go along with the new paint scheme, Zenkai Motorsports supplied a number of design concepts to one of our new sponsors, BCE Designs, asking them to come up with a cleaner, yet memorable livery scheme. A halftone-inspired orange emblazoned on the rear half of the STI definitely accomplished this goal. Included in the new design, of course, were the growing number of sponsor logos. Upon seeing the car, Thomas Smith quipped, “I think the redesigned Zenkai Motorsports STI looks awesome,” which seems to be a consistent sentiment among those who’ve checked out the car.
By August 2012, Zenkai Motorsports’ STI was nearly ready to hit the track! Following the first track test sessions, the team will determine what aerodynamic bits need to be fabricated and fitted to the finished car.
“As you walk around the car you’ll see that we’re running the same C-West aero kit we incorporated last year. This year, though, we will be adding on a bit more aero aids to the kit so we can maximize the performance of our car,” Thomas notes. Quality downforce is a vital component for keeping the tires planted firmly on the tarmac.
Life off the track is lived out in a service bay at Subaru of Las Vegas where the Zenkai Motorsports STI sits surrounded by remnants of times past. The original doors, carbon-fiber hood, and fiberglass side skirts damaged during their Pikes Peak attempt all hang from beams on the wall – a constant reminder of how dangerous racing can be and how quickly a good day can take a turn for the worse in a moment’s notice.
While their 2012 race season will not include a full run for series points, the team is hopeful for a solid run in 2013. Expectations continue to be high for the Zenkai Motorsports Race Team, as they reminisce about their first event, which ended with a track record and 1st-place finish.
What is Zenkai Motorsports’ Driver, Thomas Smith, looking forward to the most? “Driving it of course! I’m pretty excited to shake down the car. The car was at a pretty high level of performance for street class Time Attack in 2010-2011, and now we’re taking that to a higher level. I think the car’s response and power from our new Turbo by Garrett will be something to look forward to for sure.”
To continue strong showings on the track, driver Thomas Smith and the rest of the crew will further their quest to explore and push the limits of their Subaru ... with new goals and objectives always before them.