Tom Chilton has joined Sebastien Loeb Racing for the new World Touring Car Championship season as the independent team bolsters its ranks to three Citroen C-Elysee machines.
The WTCC regular leaves ROAL Motorsport after a two-year spell and is also set to debut in a Citroen having been powered by Chevrolet for the past three seasons. The 30-year-old ended last year a disappointing 11th in the drivers' standing with just one podium appearance all season coming in race two at the Hungaroring.
Chilton says he is thrilled to secure a place with Sebastien Loeb Racing, with the car which has dominated the series over the past two years, and is already aiming for a top three finish in the title race as well as taking the privateer honours.
“It's a very exciting year ahead, I think it will be one of the best race seats to be racing in this year.” Chilton said. “The team has only been in the championship for a short period of time but has achieved great results so far and many more to come. The Citroen C-Elysée has proved to be a championship winning car these past two years. With the combination of a professionally run team, it can only be a positive step forward for me. To finish top 3 is my aim for the main WTCC Championship with a goal to also secure the Drivers WTCC Trophy, with the Teams WTCC Trophy too.”
Chilton burst on to the touring car scene back in 2002 by taking a podium on his debut in BTCC and after a decade in the national series he stepped up to WTCC in 2012 with his British squad Team Aon Ford.
After struggling in his rookie WTCC season Chilton switched to RML Chevrolet and claimed a maiden win in the US on his way to fifth in the drivers' championship.
“Racing in the BTCC for 10 years followed by 4 years in the WTCC, I've built up a lot of knowledge which can only be a positive thing to add to the team and my team-mates,” he added. “I have huge respect for Sébastien Loeb and it's an exciting feeling to be racing in his team.”
Sebastien Loeb says hiring Chilton is part of a methodical plan to build up his team which only entered WTCC in 2014 and is excited to extend both its rally and touring car programmes this year. Chilton becomes the third driver in the Sebastien Loeb Racing WTCC set-up alongside Mehdi Bennani and Gregoire Demoustier.
“The aim is to see the team take one step forward each year. It was the case last year when getting involved in the World Championship, it will be the case this season with our new rally programme and three cars entered in the WTCC” Loeb said. “With Tom Chilton alongside Mehdi and Grégoire, we've got experience, efficiency and youth, We're putting a solid lineup together including a British, a Moroccan and a French driver.
“He's an ambitious driver, we do appreciate his approach and he will be bringing great experience with him. We want to enable him to meet his objectives and I'm convinced we have the potential to clinch good results. We're glad to welcome Tom, he's definitely an additional asset.”