Ant Whorton-Eales to debut with

Reigning Renault UK Clio Cup champion Ant Whorton-Eales will make the move into the BTCC for the 2017 season after agreeing a deal to join

The 22-year-old will join Ollie Jackson in an expanded two car team, and will be at the wheel of the team’s second Audi S3, which is currently in build ahead of the new campaign.

Whorton-Eales makes the move into the BTCC having beaten former driver Mike Bushell to the Clio Cup crown last year – securing the title on the final weekend of the campaign at Brands Hatch.

The BRDC Rising Star will become the fifth Clio champion to race for the team after Bushell, Dave Newsham, Martin Byford and Tom Onslow-Cole, and will hope to follow in the footsteps of 2015 Clio title winner Ash Sutton in challenging for the Jack Sears Trophy.

“It’s no secret that I wanted to move into the BTCC this season and we’ve spent a lot of time looking at the various options that were available,” he said. “Once we spoke to Shaun about his plans with the second Audi, the deal was a very easy one to do and it was all wrapped up within a day.

“I’m delighted to be able to confirm my place on the touring car grid, and I think that I’ve made a good choice in for my first season. The team has plenty of experience and there is a lot of potential in the Audi that I aim to benefit from.

“As a rookie driver, the main target has to be the Jack Sears Trophy and it would be nice if we could be pushing towards the top ten in the championship by the end of the year.

“Of course that won’t be easy and I’m aware that I have a lot to learn, but I also want to aim high and make the most of the opportunity I now have.” boss Shaun Hollamby said he was pleased to have agreed a deal to give Whorton-Eales his chance in the BTCC, and admitted he was confident of seeing both cars challenge for regular points during the season ahead.

“From the moment we confirmed that we would have a second car on the grid, we’ve spoken to a number of drivers who were keen to join us for 2017, and we’re delighted to have been able to a deal with Ant to fill the seat,” he said. “Even before winning the Clio title last year, he had shown his potential on track and we’re confident that he will be a strong addition to the grid this year.

“Having already won the Jack Sears Trophy once a few years ago, it would be great if we could secure it again this year and there is no doubt we have a fantastic chance with Ant.

“Alongside Ollie Jackson, he gives us a strong partnership for our first full season as a two-car BTCC team and we go into 2017 with our focus firmly on fighting for regular points and on pushing towards the top ten.”