For a large number of British racing fans, the name James Dorlin won’t mean much yet, but it could well be a household name in a few years’ time as over the last three seasons the Yorkshireman has been firmly establishing himself as one of the brightest young talents in the country.
At just seventeen years of age, Dorlin remarkably already has two tin-top championship titles to his name, following up success in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2014 by adding the Michelin Clio Cup Series crown to his burgeoning résumé this season.
Dorlin adapted well to the third-generation Clio Cup machinery during his maiden campaign in 2015, with four podium finishes in a ten race spell giving him the perfect foundation for what would be a sensational title season with the Westbourne Motorsport squad.
After kicking off the year in style with a perfect double victory in season opener, Dorlin would go on to secure a series-record nine victories in a season and finish off the podium just three times all year on his way to the title – a success that caps off a remarkable rise through the sport so far.
“The biggest influence I’ve had in motorsport has been my family, as my dad and my brother have always been involved, mainly in historics. I started karting when I was nine and went on to win the title at my local circuit, so we decided a move into cars would be the next step,” Dorlin reflected.
“I loved my time in the Junior Saloon Cars, finishing second overall in my first year and then winning the title in my second season. The natural progression then was into the Clio Cup Series, as that’s the next step on the ladder to touring cars that the BARC put on.
“I had to miss the first meeting in the Clios as I wasn’t quite old enough, but to still end the year with some podium finishes was great, and then to go and win the title this season is just fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for anymore from this year.
“I have to say a massive thank you everyone at Westbourne Motorsport. The car has been absolutely spot on all season and to give them another title this year is the least I could do, they’re a fantastic team and it’s been a pleasure racing with them.”
Dorlin’s success so far has highlighted the tin-top ladder provided by the British Automobile Racing Club, with the Wild Coq Energy-backed racer feeling the JSCC and Clio Cup Series provides the perfect route into the sport for young drivers.
Now Dorlin’s focus is naturally turning to 2017, with his ambition being to progress onto the next step of the BARC ladder in the Renault UK Clio Cup, which would see him racing on the British Touring Car Championship package for the first time.
Dorlin enthused: “I’ve found so far that this is the best and most cost effective route for a driver to take on the way to touring cars. Cost is the biggest factor for a lot of people starting out, and BARC have made both the JSCC and Clio Series affordable and competitive championships.
“These third-generation Clios on the slick tyres with a sequential gearbox, they are a mini touring car really and everyone in the touring cars now that has driven them have always said that they are a real handful to drive, so I’m pleased with how well I took to them.
“To win in these cars is brilliant, and hopefully I can transfer over everything I’ve learnt into the fourth-generation cars. We’re hoping the Renault UK Clio Cup will be next for us. It will be another big step, but I’m looking forward to try to make it happen.”
While his immediate future may well lie in the Renault UK Clio Cup, if he can continue his current rate of success and progression in his career, the sky is the limit for Dorlin.