Árón's driving ambition gets him degree - and more
My Story: When I started in DIT motorsport was a hobby of mine, now that I'm leaving DIT, it is a career path
A need for speed and analytics put Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in the driving seat on Árón Smith's CAO application.
And although it has taken him six years to cross the academic finishing line, for Árón, (24), from Rathfarnham, Dublin it was worth every minute.
Drawn to DIT for its motorsports club and society, the Dubliner was thrilled when he secured a Level 7 spot on the structural engineering course at Bolton Street.
"Motorsport has always been my first passion but I also wanted to be a qualified engineer," said Árón, a top racer with British Touring Car Championships (BTCC) - the pinnacle of saloon car racing in Europe.
"I wanted to understand the computer software within cars, have knowledge of the mechanical dynamics and learn to communicate in an engineering type language," said Árón, who is also a motorsport scholar at the college.
After finishing Level 7 with top class grades, Árón progressed to the Level 8 degree. And his timetable was tailored to suit both professions.
"DIT was very accommodating, they allowed me to split my modules and complete my degree over three years instead of two," said Árón, who will graduate in November.
"There's no way I would be where I am today without the support of the college," said Árón, who drives a sleekly designed Volkswagen Passat CC at speeds of 145mph and 350 break horse power - "an exhilarating machine worth €400,000."
"When I started in DIT motorsport was a hobby of mine, now that I'm leaving DIT it is a career path," he said, adding "the analytical thinking I've developed through my course gives me an edge as a driver."
Last year, in front of 22m ITV television viewers, Árón became the first Irish man to win the British Touring Championships in three decades.
"DIT nurtured my talents, if it wasn't for their support it I wouldn't be where I am," said Árón who describes himself as a "sensible" and "mundane" driver off the circuit.
"I would advise first years to join as many clubs as possible, they allow you find yourself so you can grow and mature into a young adult," said Árón, who has no penalty points.
Árón,whose next race is two weeks time, in Scotlandm said: "I still get a little nervous, whether it's a race or exams, but being able to control your anxiety is what separates a competitor from a champion".