Motorbase Performance’s Tom Chilton claimed TCR cars are “too slow” for him and that the new WTCR series won’t have the same buzz as the World Touring Car Championship.
Chilton, who ran a duel BTCC/WTCC campaign last season, has opted to focus solely on the British championship this season, with the aim being to add British champion to his CV.
The 2010 British Touring Car Independents Champion said there were a number of factors in opting against a WTC campaign this season.
“At the end of last year, when I finished third in the main championship, I got to go to the FIA Gala, which was in the Chateau Versaille, marvellous building,” he told The Checkered Flag. “I went there to go and pick up my award with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel – both amazing drivers – and I was up on stage. It was amazing.
“If you win the World Touring Car Cup this year, you don’t get to go there, so for me it kind of lost its buzz.
“Also, I struggled to get sponsorship in it, and the championship all happened too late. It was too risky hanging on for a drive in it. So, for me, the safe option and commercially it was best to come back with Motorbase Performance and the British Touring Cars.”
He added that he wouldn’t rule out a TCR championship in the future, even if it might not be as exciting as the faster touring cars.
“TCR to me is a slower car, than the World Touring Car and the British Touring Car,” he said. “I don’t like going in something slow, but I fully respect that the manufacturers are starting to invest more money in it and there could be a future in it for me, as a professional racing driver.
“I like the idea of being in the fastest rouging car possible because it’s more exciting for me.
“At the moment, no, I will try and stay in the BTCC for as long as possible but, obviously, if I got offered a better deal commercially in the TCR championship, I would go there.”
With his 12th season in the BTCC starting this weekend, Chilton is confident he can continue the success he saw on the world stage.
“My aims for the season is to be British Champion, I don’t want to hang around. I feel that, following on from the World Championship last year and winning the World Championship in my class, and finishing 3rd overall, it’s a good place to start trying to be British Champion following on.
“I’ve not been British Independent Champion since 2010 so I’d quite like to try and claim that trophy back, and then try and also go for the outright trophy.
“I’m very confident after testing. I think the chassis has improved quite a lot, and I think we have a great time and great team-mates.”
The 2018 BTCC season starts this weekend at Brands Hatch. Chilton will line up at Motorbase with race winner James Cole and 2016 runner-up Sam Tordoff.