Photo: WTCC Media

Tom Chilton signs with Sébastien Loeb Racing for 2016 WTCC

British driver Tom Chilton has been confirmed as the third signing for Sébastien Loeb Racing, as the French privateer team expands to three cars for the 2016 season.

Chilton joins Mehdi Bennani, who will be in his second season with the team owned by the nine-time World Rally champion Sébastien Loeb and run by Dominique Heintz, with Frenchman Grégoire Demoustier, like Chilton, switching from a Chevrolet to a Citroën for 2016.

Chilton’s move to Sébastien Loeb Racing has been hotly tipped since late last year, but has only just been confirmed. The 30-year-old’s announcement follows soon after his younger brother Max’s programme was also finalised, with the former Formula 1 driver moving to America’s top single-seater tier in 2016, driving for Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series.

“It’s a very exciting year ahead, I think it will be one of the best race seats to be racing in this year,” said Chilton.

“The team has only been in the championship for a short period but has achieved great results so far and many more to come. The Citroën 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.”

Chilton’s target will be the independents’ trophy, but with the best car in the championship, he’s aiming high in the overall standings as well.

“To finish top three is my aim for the main WTCC with a goal to also secure the WTCC Trophy, with the Teams’ Trophy too,” added Chilton.

“Racing in the BTCC for 10 years followed by four 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. I have huge respect for Sébastien Loeb and it’s an exciting feeling to be racing in his team.”

Chilton’s move ensures five Citroën C-Elysées remain on the grid, but as yet no independent programmes with the Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 car have been confirmed.

Chilton’s former team ROAL Motorsport are expected to stay, fielding a pair of Cruzes with Tom Coronel still working on remaining in the championship with them, whilst Münnich Motorsport and Campos Racing are yet to finalise their programmes as well, with Campos also suffering a blow, having just lost lead driver Hugo Valente to Lada.