MINI Challenge champions test Focus at Snetterton

by Stuart Richards
Dunlop. Nathan Harrison, Ant Whorton-Eales and Motorbase

Tyre manufacturer Dunlop provided two drivers from the 2018 MINI Challenge an opportunity to test a race winning Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship car at Snetterton on Thursday.

Motorbase provided one of their Ford Focus RS’s along with driver Tom Chilton to coach MINI John Cooper Works (JCW) champion Ant Whorton-Eales and MINI JCW vice-champion Nathan Harrison as they took their prize for winning a Dunlop championship.

Whorton-Eales is no stranger to the BTCC having driven for AmD Tuning for a full season in 2017 and also making an appearance in the MG6 GT this year at Snetterton where he scored a superb tenth place in one of the races.

Ant also took part in a Dunlop prize test with Motorbase in 2016, noting the development of the car since then,

“It was great to test a proven winning car. Motorbase have come a long way in developing this car in the two years since my first test.”

Harrison meanwhile acknowledged the MINI Challenge and the tutoring of Tom Chilton as to why he got up to speed so quickly and he was pleased with the opportunity that he had gotten from Dunlop,

“This was an amazing day, thanks to Dunlop and Motorbase. It’s a great opportunity and I’m working hard on raising a budget to move up to BTCC. The grip and power of the car felt great and I feel that the MINI Challenge has been a step towards preparing me for this.”

Michael Butler of Dunlop Motorsport highlighted why this test took place,

“We are grateful to Motorbase Performance for giving our Dunlop Champions such a brilliant opportunity. Dunlop invest heavily in national level motorsport, and this year we showcased talent from the MINI Challenge, which has established itself as a genuine step on the ladder into BTCC.”

A third driver was to take part in the test. However, Kyle Reid was unable to make it to Snetterton. Thankfully for the MINI Cooper Pro category winner, he’ll have the opportunity to drive the Ford Focus RS in 2019.

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