2012 saw youngsters Aron Smith, Adam Morgan, Howard Fuller and Aaron Williamson make their BTCC debuts, each impressing in their own way. Much is made of money in motorsport but talent talks too, and here, theCheckeredFlag.co.uk reporters Scott Mitchell and Simon Paice have spoken to five drivers we believe could cut the mustard in Britain’s premier motor racing championship. The latest driver under the spotlight is KX Akademy member Ant Whorton-Eales …
Whorton-Eales has stood out as a potential BTCC star of the future during a successful spell in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK. After an impressive debut in the series in the final two weekends of the 2011 season, the 18 year old stepped it up a level in 2012 with Westbourne Motorsport.
A consistent top six finisher throughout the season, Whorton-Eales regularly challenged for podium finishes and proved unlucky not to take a deserved maiden win during the campaign. After collecting two rostrum finishes, the Lichfield-based racer is returning this season to try and win the coveted title with Scuderia Vittoria.
“It was always our intention to race the Clios as a two year programme. I want to capitalise on my learning year in my second season and 2013 will be the year I aim to take the championship title.”
Whorton-Eales’ career to date has been geared towards an eventual progression in the BTCC, the 18 year old having competed in SAXMAX and the Mini Challenge before moving into the Clios, winning the 2010 SAXMAX Championship and the 2011 MINI Challenge ‘Club Class’ honours.
“I have always wanted to race in the BTCC as tin tops is the route I would like to go down, BTCC offers some of the best racing in the UK as well as great exposure through live TV broadcasting and high spectator numbers.”
While Whorton-Eales admits he isn’t ready to graduate into the BTCC just yet, he still feels that if the opportunity were to arise for him to jump straight into the series next year, that he’d be able to be competitive by the end of the season.
“If I was to jump straight into BTCC next year it would be an incredible learning curve, the cars have a lot more adjustable features and technology I am not familiar with. It’s hard to say where about I would be running but I would hope I could learn about the car quick enough to be running mid/front pack in the later parts of the season.
“I still think 2013 would be too soon for me to make my BTCC debut though, having only done one year racing on slicks and a powerful car, BTCC would be a step I am not ready for yet. If my 2013 Clio campaign goes as well as I expect moving up to BTCC would be my next target.”
All photos: Jakob Ebrey Photography