Despite his relative youth, former British and current World Touring Car Championship front runner, Tom Chilton has been racing saloon cars since 1999, at a tender age of 14, and now, at 28, is in his second year in the FIA WTCC driving a Chevrolet Cruze for RML.
Chilton took time out from his busy schedule with his circuit experience company 'Hot Laps' to speak exclusively to Dexter Fielding about his career in motorsport...
If things hadn't worked out as a racing driver, what career path would you have taken instead?
Now there's the 'million dollar question.' Other things that I was good at include playing the Saxophone or maybe even training to be a carpenter – I was always very good with my hands!
So, probably one of those two things - quite diverse and very different. I might even have become a gardener, I've got it in my blood, but I don't know. I'd rather play the sax or be a carpenter over a gardener.
How did you become a racing driver? What was your first involvement in motorsport?
My Dad was a massive motorsport nut but, when I was about eight years old he and about three of his mates bought failed Ford Escort Mk2's for £75 each and they would race eachother every weekend.
It got to the point where at eight-and-a-half years old he said 'come on Tom, do you want a go?' So to make it a bit of a competition, I would race their wives and while doing that I was power-sliding and drifting from a young age, that is where it all kicked-off for me really.
Growing up, who were your racing heroes?
I was at the age when Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell where winning every weekend when I watched on the TV, so probably those guys, but when I started racing professionally, Michael Schumacher was the fastest, so I thought he was the best.
You have been able to race many different cars over the last 12-13 years. What has been your favourite or most satisfying car to drive?
The Chevrolet Cruze I currently race has to be the best touring car I've ever driven, just in terms of the development that it has had. Over a six year period it has had four very good drivers pass through it in the development stages. It is the most sophisticated car I've ever driven.