Aiden Moffat has set a maiden top-five finish as his target for the 2015 British Touring Car Championship season as he looks to build on a positive first full campaign in the series, after unveiling the Mercedes A-Class that he will pilot at the Autosport Show.
Moffat secured the best result of his BTCC career to date at the 2014 season-ending meeting at Brands Hatch in October, having been classified in 12th (after Jason Plato’s demotion) in the second race of the day in his Chevrolet Cruze.
But despite that finish, he and his Laser Tools Racing team confirmed that they would switch to the A-Class for 2015, with Ciceley Motorsport having prepared a car for the 18-year-old.
Moffat revealed his racer and its livery for the first time yesterday [Thursday 8 January], and speaking shortly afterwards to TouringCars.Net, was both impressed with the look of his machine and optimistic that the car would provide him with a step forward for 2015.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually seen the car in the flesh and I’m surprised with how nice it looks, it’s stunning,” said Moffat. “Obviously we’ll have a few more stickers to go on before media day but I think it looks fantastic.”
“I’ve not had the chance to drive this one – today’s the first time I’ve even sat in it – but I had a chance to drive Adam’s [Morgan] Mercedes at Donington Park at the end of the year and I got a feel for how the car handles and it’s a great car, it feels a lot more suited.
“It’s a massive difference from the Cruze last year – in the right way – so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
The Dalkeith-based racer, who became the youngest driver to compete in the series’ at Knockhill in 2013, was a little-known figure to the BTCC just two years ago, and explained that his passage into the sport was something that he himself had not predicted.
“Three or four years ago if you’d spoken to me about touring cars I would have said ‘oh yeah…what’s a touring car?’ I’d genuinely never seen one, I just loved driving cars.
“My dad owns a transport company so as you can imagine there’s a lot of ground for storage. There was an old scrap car that I got from a mate for £60 or something and that was when I was nine – I’ve just loved driving cars ever since then so that’s what really fuelled the passion for racing.
“Doing fiesta juniors I had Tom Onslow-Cole as a driving coach. Everyone was a bit hyped up about it but I didn’t know who he was so I thought I’d give it a watch and see what it was about and ever since then I’ve just fallen in love with it.
“When I made my debut at Knockhill I flew to my friend’s house to go to Snetterton and watch it [the series], so I started the year as a fan and finished it as a driver.”
Ahead of the new campaign, Moffat said that the six points he achieved at Brands Hatch had given him a boost and hoped that they had gone some way to answering those who had questioned his place on the grid.
“It was a massive confidence boost,” said Moffat. “Not just for me but for the team as well to see all of our hard work paying off, so hopefully we’ll just continue on that path and keep climbing up the order.
“You’re obviously going to get a lot of people out there who think I’m too young which is understandable but I think we proved that we’re a good enough team and [I’m] a good enough driver, especially at that last meeting, and I think if you’re good enough to drive then your age shouldn’t really matter.
“If you really want to be picky about that then you might say some of them are too old but if you’ve got the ability then you deserve that chance.
“It is an understandable thing but I think we’ve proved ourselves now, there’s a reason we’re here and I think that we’re going to continue to prove that this year.”
And with the belief that he will race with a more competitive machine in 2015, Moffat was optimistic of being able to continue climbing the BTCC’s pecking order.
“I’ve always said that I would love to try and get one top five finish by the end of the year which is a very tall order,” he said. “It might not even happen but I like to push myself and I don’t see the point in having an aim that’s comfortably going to be achieved.
“We obviously first have to finish on a top ten finish, which ideally we’d like to get in the first half of the year and then we’ll have another half of a year and I couldn’t just stop there, I’ll keep pushing so I think that’s a good aim for us to try and achieve.”