Guy Smith
Guy Smith

On the occasion of her Golden Jubilee tour of the UK, Queen Elizabeth spoke at the Harewood House in Yorkshire and summed up the character of the Yorkshireman as “decisive and determined.” Fellow competitors of Guy Smith would not dispute that assessment of the Yorkshire born and raised driver's skills on the race track.

The winner of the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans started his career young, beginning in go-karts when he was twelve. Like all notable drivers, he made his mark early. He won four championships in five years, earning the McLaren/Autsport young Kartist of the Year award. He graduated to Formula First in 1991, finishing second in the championship in his debut year.

In 1992, he drove a Vauxhall Junior – won five races and was second in the championship. He moved up to British Formula Ford the following year and won a nomination for the coveted McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award. More Formula Vauxhall wins in 1994 led to the 1995 Formula RenaultSport Championship, winning the title in his first year. He did two seasons of Formula Three, starting off by winning his first race from the pole.

Guy went to America in 1998 to race in the Indy Lights Championship, placing third in the championship his first year and winning the “Rookie of the Year” title. After another year in Indy Lights, Guy continued to demonstrate his ability to be quick in diverse categories, racing in the American Le Mans Series and driving at Le Mans for the first time, which added another “Rookie of the Year to his collection

Team Bentley recognized his talent and hired him as part of their three year plan to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He won Le Mans, arguably the world's most prestigious race, in 2003. When Bentley left sports car racing, Guy drove for Audi UK in 2004, placing third at the 12 Hours of Sebring and second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing forty-three seconds behind the winning Audi after a twenty-four hour battle. He also did seven Champ Car races with Rocketsports Racing, finishing in the top ten five times.

In addition to racing in the Grand-Am series in 2005, Guy drove for Dyson Racing in 2005 at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, where he finished second with Chris Dyson. Smith joined Dyson Racing full time in 2006, partnering Chris Dyson in the Thetford/Norcold entry, and claiming consecutive fastest race laps at Road America and Mosport. He co-drove the LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder in 2007 to fourth in the driver's championship, only four points behind fellow Dyson drivers Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. In 2008, he finished sixth in the LMP2 standings, garnering eight top-six finishes, including a class third in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Bentley's 2003 Le Mans win was their first in seventy-three years. When it came time to bring the car home the last two hours to victory, the team put Guy in the car. Votes of confidence do not come much stronger than that.