Expres Auto Racing is gearing up for its second season with new expectations

Expres Auto Racing is gearing up for its second season with new expectations

The Czech racing team with Cupra TCR cars, Expres Auto Racing, is preparing for its second season in TCR Eastern Europe. Last year, the driver-manager duo of Vít Smejkal and Petr Čížek gained valuable experience both on the track and in team organization. “It definitely wasn’t easy, but we’re on the right way, which is very pleasing,” says Vít Smejkal in the interview.

With the new season approaching and considering last year’s experiences, what are your expectations and main goals?
Our main goals are to move up the starting grid and start scoring points. Of course, we’re still waiting to see what the competition will be like and whether the starting grid will be as packed as last year. It will be tough, but I’ll do my utmost, and we want to dedicate more time to testing. Hopefully, I’ll be in good health this year, and we’ll be successful.

How has your partnership with Petr Čížek, as a team mate and co-manager, developed over the past year, and what experiences has it brought you for the new season?
Everything in the team had to click into place, and it was necessary to set everything up and learn. It certainly wasn’t easy, but we’re on the right way, which is very pleasing. I learned how to handle the car and understand its driving characteristics. I saw a difference in my driving compared to Petr’s, which is important for me to work on myself and get the most out of myself and the car. Petr and I have everything divided up, and everything is working well both from a sporting perspective and a human one, which is very important for the overall atmosphere in the team. We have insights and data from the debut season that we want to apply in the upcoming season. We can focus more on our driving and compare data with last season.

Will you change your approach in any area, or will you choose the same approach?
We’re very pleased that the entire team will continue in the same composition as last season. There will be one more team member so that the work can be better distributed. A big thank you to all team members for the work they did throughout last season. Now we’re discussing various options and also the possibility of deploying additional drivers, but everything is still under negotiation. We definitely want to work on all the details and have a professional approach. Last season showed us that we’re competing in a very prestigious championship where details matter. A big thank you to everyone working on and caring for TCR EASTERN EUROPE and ensuring a perfect championship.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for the upcoming season from both the team’s and your perspective as a driver?
Our main focus is on the team’s operation and achieving the best results possible. We want to feel good about what we’re doing and enjoy our time on the race track. We aim to create a pleasant and supportive environment within the team. We’re always coming up with new ideas and striving to improve and advance.

What area do you think you need to focus on to make another step forward as a racing driver?
Primarily, I need to spend more time in the Cupra and give my all in pre-season testing, where I’d like to get up to speed and prepare for the season. Last season, I wanted to avoid unnecessary incidents and instead focused on learning and understanding the car. This year, I don’t want to make the same mistakes and shy away from confrontations.

Last year, you had health issues with your back. How has that changed your physical preparation for racing? How are you preparing for the new season now?
I constantly have problems with my back. I need to take care of it, do special exercises, and visit a physiotherapist. Last year, I had to skip pre-season testing and the first race; I was on drips for a week, and it was hard to come back and physically prepare for the next race. At Hungaroring, I was already racing, but I was in pain, and it wasn’t pleasant. Now, I start with simulator driving, and besides that, I play hockey and badminton, but I have to be careful and do it recreationally.”

This year’s calendar includes two new tracks, Balaton Park and Salzburgring. You already raced at Balaton last October. How do you like the track, and do you think the extra mileage will give you an advantage?
The track is fast, and I quite like it. I hope that the mileage will show and it will be an advantage for us.

Do you have a long-term vision for the direction Expres Auto Racing should take?
The vision is to race as long as possible. Of course, motorsport is a matter of finance. We’re always trying to improve the team and have some possibilities to expand the team. This season, we mainly want to focus on our results and do our best to improve.