Just before the British Touring Car Championship season launch we got the opportunity to ask the talented, world class driver Tom Chilton some questions about himself, his career, his future, involvement within the sport we all love as well as some fun questions fans will like to know. This year Tom Chilton will be racing for Power Maxed Racing in the BTCC and Sebastien Loeb Racing in the World Touring Car Championshipp (WTCC).

About you:
– How old are you?
31

– How long have you been involved in motorsport?
18 years

– Who is your idol?
Senna & Schumacher in motorsport for different reasons. One was the fastest and one worked the hardest; You can guess which one’s which from the order.  

– Who inspired you to become a racing driver? How? When? Where?
 My Dad. He got me drifting in a Ford Escort Mark2 in a muddy field at 8yrs old.

– If you weren’t racing what would you be doing?
 In a band playing the saxophone.  

– What motivates you?
 To be World and / or British Champion. 

– Favourite circuit? Why?
The Nordschleife. It’s the only circuit where I have to hang on for dear life not knowing if I will make the next lap. I’m very proud to be the lap record holder in the 2016 WTCC race. Niki Lauda came away as a lucky survivor from there.

– Do you undergo any preparation prior to the race weekend?
Focus on being happy. A happy racing driver is a fast one. 

About your career:
– In the past what championships have you competed in?
First, I competed in T Cars and finished 3rd in the Championship. Then I raced in the BRSCC Winter Saloon Car Championship and became Champion at age 16. After that I moved to BTCC for 10 years, winning various achievements like the Independent Championship, Manufacturers Championships, ELMS LMP1 Winner in the Nurburgring 1000km, ALMS Winner at Laguna Seca LMP1 and the VLN 24hr qualy race winner in class. Now I am racing in WTCC where I have come away with multiple race wins. 

– Which championship has been your favourite so far in your career and why?
The BTCC because of the British fans. I get great support from them at each round of the Championship. 

– What championship did you compete in last year? What was your favourite part?
WTCC. Winning Argentina Race 1, especially after being on Fox News TV for the whole of South America the night before in front of 68 million viewers.

– Why did you choose the championship in 2016?
It was commercially the best option.

– What championship did you begin your career in?
T-Cars, which don’t exist anymore sadly. It has been taken over by Ginetta Juniors.

Your future:
– What are your future ambitions?
To be World and British Champion. Full stop. 

– Where do you see yourself in five years’ time – which championship and why?
I have no idea. Whichever one is commercially best for me as I have two kids to support. 

– What made you choose the championship you’re competing in during this year?
To be the FIA World Champion and British Champion are life goals of mine. Also, it is commercially viable due to the huge media exposure in both championships for sponsorship activation opportunities. 

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Photo Credit: Tilley Photography.

Your involvement in motorsport:
– Have you been involved in anybody else’s motorsport career?
Just supporting my brother Max from karting to F1 and IndyCar. 

– Have you ever done anything apart from being a driver? E.g – engineer? Working behind the scenes in any way?
I’m a racing driver instructor. I also studied Motorsport Engineering at Brooklands College so I have a greater understanding about race cars and what I’m driving. 

Some fun questions:
– Do you have a road car? If so what is it? What made you choose it?
I drive an Audi Q7 bus for the kids and a double buggy. I also drive a Ford focus to run around in and a Nissan GTR35 with Litchfield stage 4.5 kit on it for track days and doing Hot Laps.

– What is your driving style?
Smooth and sideways…. then I’m happy and smiling under my helmet. 

– Any teammate past or present’s worst habit?
Alan Morrison in 2003 with Honda racing. He always tied mine and Matt Neal’s shoe laces together as tightly as he could so we were late in the car. 

– Headlights or bumpers?
Both and a great chassis!

– Favourite past times?
Everything. Always happy when I’m on a race track going sideways and learning. Regardless of it being a race or testing. But my proudest moment is still the Nordschliefring fastest lap and a double podium in the WTCC race and collecting a Tag Heuer watch for it. 

– Favourite car of all times?
The Williams F1 car with active suspension and ground effects, abs, traction control and massive slicks, especially when Nigel Mansell drove it flat out. Now I hate any cars with any driver aids what so ever.

– What do your fans mean to you?
Lots, I’m very grateful for all the messages I get on a daily basis, especially on Twitter and the support on race weekends, I love seeing the new flags made each yer from certain fans waving in the grandstand.

– Old and new?
Bugatti Chiron is a jet fighter plane on the ground with four wheels not three. But built with class and comfort to go with the speed. Not just a carbon tub. 

– Front, rear or four wheel drive?
4WD and active diffs are amazing and a pleasure to drive- But too easy. Rear wheel drive makes me tense my stomach when on the limit. But when you can set up a front wheel drive car (which should have less traction to beat a rear wheel drive car) it is the best feeling in the world. So I’m going to say front. 

– Dream race car?
I’m living the dream with Sébastien Loeb Racing in a Citroen WTCC car. It  has been developed by one of the best teams in the World with the greatest rally and touring car driver to date.

– Dream road car?
For speed and class, Bugatti Chiron but would settle for a Veyron Super Sport

 

© Fay Tilley 23rd March 2017.

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