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VX Racing's Tom Chilton meets the next racing generation

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  • VX Racing's Tom Chilton meets the next racing generation


    Vauxhall’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship driver, Tom Chilton, represented the sport at the first-ever British Schools Karting Championship final in London.

    Kids got to quiz the race-winner for tips on their driving careers at the Streatham Kart Raceway last night, and the top three teams had the money-can’t-buy prize of racing against the BTCC star.

    “I’m sure that was the worst Le Mans start ever,” said Chilton, who slipped off the line whilst sprinting to his kart. “My only excuse is that there’s no grip at all on these racing boots!”

    Chilton recovered to briefly hold the lead before his adversaries’ tyres gathered heat and his weight disadvantage took hold. The eventual winner, Aaron Adams of Bacon’s City Technical College, was modest about passing the record-breaking driver. “It was alright,” said the 16-year-old, whose Bacon’s City Technical College team were the overall winners and will receive paddock access to a BTCC round later this year courtesy of VX Racing. “I’ve not done many races, but I’ve practiced a lot at this track.”

    Chilton, who started racing at just 14-years-old, has an impressive CV for such a young driver with wins in the UK and abroad, including holding the record as the youngest-ever driver to win a BTCC race.

    Some of the kids took inspiration from his success. “I thought I had no chance as a driver because I’m quite big,” said Teddy O’Connor, 17, who hopes to study engineering after he finishes his A Levels. “But Tom’s as tall as I am so there’s still hope!

    “I’d love it to be my career but I really don’t have enough money. I love anything with an engine. I take them apart and make them go faster.”

    Teddy’s Latymer Upper School team-mate, David Heradi, 15, added: “I did a test in a T Car at Silverstone because my friend’s involved with them but my dad doesn’t want me to do it. He just wants me to have a good job.”

    Chilton, who started his racing career after winning sponsorship from Virgin Atlantic, had plenty of tips for the teenagers. “My advice would definitely be to become an instructor,” said the 21-year-old. “It’s how the likes of Andy Priaulx, Mark Webber and loads of others furthered their careers. You get to practice your driving every day and make some great business contacts at the same time as getting paid.

    “You have to have the whole package as a racing driver. You have to be fast, present yourself well and be good with sponsors. In this world you need good contacts so my best advice is to start making them as early as possible.”

    National Karting results:
    1st Bacon’s City Technical College
    2nd Bushy Mead’s A Team
    3rd Bushy Mead’s B Team
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