Tom Chilton is one of the best-known British touring cars racing drivers. His greatest success so far is the first place among independent drivers and third place overall in the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship, when he was driving a Citroen C-Elysee for Sebastien Loeb Racing.
Earlier in a career, he won Independents' Trophy in the 2010 British Touring Car Championship. He returned to BTCC in 2017, finishing third in the championship in 2018.
Chilton debuted in the BTCC as a teenager
Tom Chilton was born on March 15, 1985, in Reigate, Surrey. As a boy, Tom raced karting and T-Cars Championship handled by BRSCC and in 2001 he became the Saloon Car winter championship title winner.
In 2002, still a teenager, Chilton debuted at the British Touring Car Championship, driving a Barwell Motorsport’s Vauxhall Astra Coupe. The debut was excellent after he finished 3rd in the season-opening race at Brands Hatch, but later in the season he couldn’t repeat the same result. He scored points in a couple of races and finished 15th in the standings.
Three seasons with Arena Motorsport
He moved to Arena Motorsport in 2003 and spent three years with the team, driving a Honda Civic. His best result during the first campaign with a new team was 3rd place at Mondello Park. Over the season he scored points on a regular basis and moved up to the 9th place in the final standings. The same thing happened in 2004, but Chilton managed to win two races that year, at Silverstone and Donington Park.
Finally, in 2005, Chilton finished 5th in the BTCC, with four race wins, which was a very good achievement considering that he missed six races due to his duties in American Le Mans Series where he was driving for Zytek team, alongside his brother Max. However, racing in the BTCC remained his priority in the next couple of years, but the results were variable.
Moving to VX Racing in 2006
In 2006, Chilton moved to VX Racing to drive alongside Fabrizio Giovanardi. Driving a Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch he couldn’t score a win but had many podium finishes.
At the end of the year, he was 7th in the standings while during the next season Tom dropped to the 9th, driving a Vauxhall Vectra, and again failed to win the race so he left the team at the end of the year.
Racing in the BTCC until 2011
Tom Chilton spent the season of 2008 driving a Team Halford’s Honda Civic and finally broke the winless streak, in the last race of the season at Brand Hatch. Unfortunately, he had just three other podium finishes and Chilton found himself on the 10th place in the Drivers’ championship which was far from the expectations.
In 2009, Chilton returned to Arena Motorsport, but this time driving the Ford Focus. The first year was close to a disaster. In the first half of the season Tom could barely go into the top 10 but slightly improved in the second half. However, 13th place in the standings was his worst result since the rookie season.
Luckily, the following year was much better. Three wins and three podiums propelled Chilton to the 5th position in the BTCC but in 2011, Tom’s last season in the series, he dropped to 7th place after he has won two races, at Knockhill and Silverstone.
Starting an international career in 2012
The FIA World Touring Cars Championship was the next stop for the British racer. He stayed with Arena Motorsport, driving the Ford Focus S2000 TC in 2012 but the first season in the new competition was one to forget. Chilton collected points in only two out of 24 races and finished the season in the 22nd place.
Nevertheless, Tom’s enthusiasm has not waned. He moved to RML and driving a Chevrolet Cruze alongside champion Yvan Muller did much better. The start of the season was a bit clumsy, but from race to race Chilton’s performances became better. In the US, Chilton scored maiden WTCC victory and later in China scored another one. He was 5th at the Drivers’ championship what was one of the biggest surprises.
Two years in ROAL Motorsport
In 2014, Chilton moved to Italian team ROAL Motorsport that prepared a completely new Chevrolet under the TC1 regulations. He won the race in China and broke the domination of Citroens that year. Although he dropped to the 9th position overall, Chilton should be satisfied with his performances that year.
However, the following season wasn’t as good. Chevrolet wasn’t as fast as in 2014 and Chilton managed to clinch only one podium finish and finish in 3rd place at Hungaroring. As a consolation, Tom finished 3rd in the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy and before the start of the new campaign secured a deal with Sebastien Loeb Racing team.
Move to Sebastien Loeb Racing
Behind a wheel of Citroen-Elysee, that dominated the WTCC in the previous two years, Chilton results improved in 2016. He scored points in most of the races, won the feature race in Argentina and had a great chance of winning the WTCC Trophy that is awarded to the drivers of the independent teams.
However, at the end of the season he was 7th in the overall standings, while in the battle for the WTCC Trophy British driver finished as a runner-up, 35 points behind his teammate Mehdi Bennani.
The best independent driver in the 2017 WTCC season
In 2017, Chilton stayed with Sebastien Loeb Racing in the World Touring Car Championship. He scored three wins in the #3 Citroen C-Elysee, at Monza, Twin Ring Motegi and Qatar's Losail Circuit.
He won the WTCC Trophy for independent drivers, beating compatriot Rob Huff. Chilton also scored his career-best WTCC result in the overall standings, finishing in the third place.
Returning to the BTCC in 2017
In 2017, Chilton also returned full-time to British Touring Car Championship, driving the #2 Vauxhall Astra for Power Maxed Racing. He scored just one podium, finishing 15th in the points.
For the 2018 BTCC season, Chilton signed for Motorbase Performance to drive the #3 Ford Focus RS for Team Shredded Wheat Racing. He was a race winner once, at Knockhill, finishing third in the championship points. He was driving the #3 Ford Focus again in 2019, scoring one victory at Croft, but finished just tenth in the points at the end of the season.