Anton Spires says his 2014 season in the Michelin Clio Cup Series went better than expected after a dominant run to the Roadcar class title.
It was a big season in the career of Spires, who made the decision to move away from his single-seater roots to compete in tin-top racing again, having previously raced in Saxmax in 2008 and 2009.
After taking a year out of racing last year, having previously competed in the Young Guns and Formula Renault BARC single-seater series, Spires felt forging a career in tin-tops was the way forward.
“The whole year has gone really well, and so quickly too, as they say time flies when you’re having fun,” Spires told The Checkered Flag.
“In previous years we’ve done Formula Renault BARC and I loved every minute of that, but I thought that for my career it was better to step aside and work my way up in tin-tops.
“We didn’t have the budget for the Race Series initially, so we thought the Road Series would be a good initial step on the ladder.”
It certainly proved to be a good first step for Spires, who followed up a pair of second places on the opening weekend of the season at Rockingham with seven wins in the next eight races.
In the ten races he competed in, Spires also added six pole position and nine fastest laps to win the title by 74 points over nearest rival Nic Harrison, fully exceeding his expectations for the campaign.
“The goal was to win it, but we didn’t realise initially how good we’d be through the year,” Spires reflected. “You’ve got to beat who’s in front of you, whether that’s five cars, six cars or twenty cars.
“While we didn’t win at the first rounds, being tenths of a second off the quickest laps, we knew we could have a good year after that, but never expected to take so many wins on the bounce, that was brilliant.”
Spires’ title success was spearheaded by Westbourne Motorsport and after enjoying working with the team again this year, the 22 year old hopes to move up the ladder with them into the main Race class and then the BTCC-supporting Renault UK Clio Cup.
“Myself and Westbourne Motorsport worked really well together, that was the key to the success really. They’ve got a lot of experience in Clio racing, which helped with the data knowledge and set-up of the car,” Spires enthused.
“Our long-term ambition is to follow their Clio ladder in the next few years, to move up to the Race Series next year and then the Clio Cup a year or two down the line, but it obviously depends on our sponsors and what they want to do.”
For winning the Clio Road Series title, Spires was given a test drive in a fourth-generation Clio Cup racer. Read his thoughts on the test here.