Anton Spires has expressed his desire to mount a full attack on the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship after the single-seater racer made his series debut during the finals rounds of the 2011 season. The Checkered Flag caught up with Anton halfway through the Silverstone weekend to discuss his career to date and see how his first weekend in BARC Renault was going.
Spires' motorsport career started in the Saxmax Championship, where he took the Rookie of the Year title in 2008, before challenging for the overall title in 2009, ending up third in the standings. In 2010, Anton moved into single seaters with the Autosport Young Guns championship, finishing fourth in the championship, with one win to his name. This season, Spires started the year in the InterSteps series, taking sixth place in the first two rounds, before he decided to pull out the championship and focus on raising the budget for an assault on Formula Renault.
Spires commented: “Young Guns was good, my first single seater series. I won the last round at Thruxton, which was really good and gave me a good boost for this year. Intersteps was a bit of a fail in more ways than one. We felt that our car was beyond its time, it had done two years in Asia and we couldn't afford to rebuild it, so that's why we left and saved up over the summer to do this round here.”
The switch from Saxmax to Young Guns saw a switch in disciplines for Buckingham-based Spires, moving from saloons to single seaters. After looking into entering the Clio Cup UK, the decision was made to switch and Spires hope's to continue climbing up the single-seater ladder in the future, but with budget tight, he will not be against a switch back to saloons in the future.
Spires said: “We were in contention to win the Saxmax championship and were looking to join the Clios. However we got an offer from the Young Guns series last year and that sort of lured us into single seater racing, then this year we knew BARC was such a strong championship and that's where we wanted to be.”
“In the situation we're in now, it's down to budget, finance and what the sponsors want me to do. As long as I'm racing, I'm happy. I'd like to stay in single seaters, as that's where my heart is, but I'm more than happy to go into GT or Saloons.”
Spires has been desperate to move into the Formula Renault BARC Championship this season after the series really attracted him when he visited some meetings earlier in the year, as he explains: “The number of entries, the cost of the championship and the racing attracted me. We went to Thruxton and Oulton Park, saw the racing and it was really close, plus the coverage from ITV4 this weekend is really good is great for sponsors.”
We caught up with Anton after his first Formula Renault BARC race, which he competed in with KG Motorsport. A positive opening encounter saw him overcome a tricky qualifying session to put in a strong race performance, the 19 year old showing flashes of real potential, which he hopes to build on in the series in 2012.
Spires concluded: “It's tough. Qualifying wasn't so good, as I'd only tested the car on fresh tyres once, so I wasn't quite used to it in qualifying, which was why I set my best time on the oldest set of tyres we have. So I need to improve that over the winter, which is why we're here this weekend, to attract sponsors and get time in the car.
“The race was good, it was a hectic start, defending and attacking. I gained a couple of places at the start and towards the end just tried to maintain the gap to those behind. I made a mistake at Luffield when trying to catch those in front, but it's hard in these cars, when qualifying's split by tenths, to close down a three second gap to someone.”