My car and me: BTCC star reveals he was ‘driving round hay barrels at eight years old’
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“My mum was like ‘I’m not going to race’ and so dad says ‘Tom do you want to do it’. I said ‘yeah’, I was changing gear and drifting in a figure-of-eight around hay barrels. That’s where it all started for me.”
Just a year later, Tom and future F1 and IndyCar brother Max were driving grass track Mini’’s around a local field.
“No windscreens, mud coming through, going backwards”. It was this where a love of drifting and a loss of downforce was born that Chilton carries through to his road car passions today.
In 2002, aged just 17, Chilton received a free 2.2-litre, 144 horsepower Vauxhall as a reward for competing in an Astra Coupe in the BTCC.
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However, he explains he finally purchased his first car when he was 20 years old when he grabbed a BMW M3 CSL.
“They only made 540ish right-hand models. I think they only made 106 in balun which was a rare car to buy at 20 years old.
“It sounded amazing, oh my god it was an epic car but it gave you huge backache but you didn’t care when you were 20 years old.
The problem is now they’re worth a lot of money. When I bought that back in the day secondhand it had dropped down to £40,000.
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“Then it dropped to around £25,000 and now they’re £125,000 as they’re a collector’s piece.”
After driving in over 60 cars, Chilton admits it was hard to pick a favourite, identifying the classic AC Cobra and GTR35 as potential suitors.
However, as far as dream cars are concerned, Chilton could identify his selection in a heartbeat as he settled for a Ferrari classic.
He said: “The word dream in my mind is something that’s basically untouchable.
“So I’m looking at something which is very rare and something which has a really good history, being a racing driver I want it to have been raced before, not just built for the road.
“My dream car would be a 1957 Ferrari 335S Spyder, the designer was Scaglietti and there were only four ever made.”
Capable of up to 190mph the 335S Spyder competed at some of the international sportscar’s greatest events, taking the win and second place at the 1957 Mille Miglia rally.
Having broken the lap record at the Le Mans 24 Hours race it finally won a Grand Prix at the hands of motoring legend Sir Stirling Moss.
He continued: “I think that is the best Ferrari ever made of all time. It’s 190mph.
“If you go and sit in a modern GT3Rs or something and do 190mph its quick m that’s the worlds most set up car with downforce and everything.
“If you can go and sit in an old car from 1957 with tyres as wide as your fist it’s a little bit scarier.”
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