A former race winner and Independents’ champion in the British Touring Car Championship, the 28-year old Briton faces his third season in WTCC.
After a maiden year in the Arena Motorsport’s Ford Focus, in 2013 Chilton established himself as one of the series’ top drivers, winning his first races and fighting for second in the Drivers’ Championship.
“I'm really happy with my second year in the WTCC. I was with a great team and team-mate. For sure I wish I had finished second overall, not fifth, as I wanted it to give RML a 1-2 finish, but I couldn’t foresee being hit off in both of the last races at Macau…”Last year you teamed up with Yvan Muller at RML. How much being with an experienced team and together with an experienced team-mate helped you to improve? “I have been racing in touring cars for twelve years and I’ve never worked with a team or driver as good as RML and Yvan. I didn’t think there was a lot more I could learn, but I did! The experience I gained from being in that environment is invaluable and it will definitely help me to one day be World Champion!”
Also last year you became father. Enzo Ferrari had once said that becoming father was the beginning of a racing driver’s downward phase. What’s your feeling? “I would completely disagree with that! Only three days after my son Freddie was born I flew off to Portugal for the street race at Porto and had one of the hardest races of my life and finished second. It was the first race of the year that I came close to out-qualifying Yvan and was some of the best driving I've ever done.”
In 2014 WTCC adopts new and faster cars. Are you excited because of this technical change? “Yes I'm really excited. I think the faster the cars get the better I get. In 2005 I won two out of five LMP races, those are very fast aero-based race cars. That experience should put me in good standing for the 2014 season under the new regulations.”
After one year of work at RML, you should be the reference driver for them in building and developing the TC1 Cruze. Are you involved in this process? “Out of all the guys driving the new TC1 Cruze I have the most experience. Therefore I should know what the car should feel like. I’m not helping back at the factory but will be helping on the circuit.”
You joined ROAL Motorsport, the team led by former ETCC and WTCC champion Roberto Ravaglia. How was your first impression of the team? “I get on well with Roberto – he’s a legend in touring cars. I am really looking forward to working with the team as they have proved to be an extremely professional outfit.”
You will have another experienced team-mate in Tom Coronel. How are your relationships with him? “Tom and I get on really well, it should be a lot of fun. For sure when we are both racing we may have our scraps but that is part of motorsport!”
What do you expect for yourself from the new season? “At this stage as a driver all you can do is think positive. I'm aiming for a top place finish. Nobody has been on the circuit yet and with the new rule changes it could be anyone's season.”
You keep an eye on F1 because of your younger brother. How do you think the new season will go for Max? “I'm very optimistic about the new season for Max. I think Marussia have done a great job so far and their link up with Ferrari looks very promising. Max has learnt a lot and is going into the new season as focused as ever.”