Tom Chilton: “I’m officially the third best in the world!”

Motorbase Performance’s Tom Chilton followed up his third place in the final World Touring Car Championship season by netting third in the standings in the 2018 British Touring Car Championship, a result he said was down to both speed and experience.

Chilton was one of three drivers who went into the Brands Hatch meeting with a mathematical chance of securing the title in his Ford Focus RS and held on to third after three strong races.

Like eventual champion Colin Turkington, Chilton only won one race in 2018 but racked up consistent points-scoring finishes at nearly every opportunity.

He also narrowly missed out on the Independents crown, which was retained by Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram, the eventual runner-up in the overall standings.

Speaking to TouringCarTimes, Chilton said: “This championship is arguably one of the most competitive in the world. There are so many variables with the success ballast, the reverse grid, the points going down to 15th and 32 cars being within one second.

“Everyone when they’re on the right tyre and the right weight thinks they’re better than the other person but to get everything right is very, very hard and takes a lot of experience. It’s not just something you can come in and get- it takes a long time.

“I’m very happy we got third overall, especially after finishing third in the World Touring Car Championship last year – so I’m officially the third best in the world!

“I’m a little bit gutted I didn’t win the Independents, but we need to work a bit harder to try and get that next year. I’m happy for Tom, he’s a nice guy and has worked hard – I gave it absolutely everything this year.”

Chilton said both he and the Motorbase team had performed strongly in 2018, pointing to the second round of the season at Donington Park as one which dented his title hopes very early on.

“The first two rounds I was very unlucky – Brett Smith was unbelievably harsh with me at the bottom of Craner Curves so I lost 40 points that weekend. On that round alone I would have been second. I only made one mistake this year, in the last race at Rockingham,” he said.

“But it’s positive all round – Sam [Tordoff] has figured out a good qualifying setup, I’ve found a good race car setup and the team has done a great job. The car has been reliable all year.”

Looking ahead, Chilton said he would like to return to the grid with Motorbase Performance in 2019.

“It’s my local team and everyone who works here is very professional – I would love to be back here. I think next year we can build on this,” he said.