Nathan on the bigger stage
Pluckley’s Nathan Heathcote will compete on the international rallycross scene this season after graduating to the RX2 championship.
The 20-year-old, who won the British title at his first attempt last year, has signed to race for the Team Faren squad.
He will compete in all seven rounds of the one-make series, which supports the world championship and includes trips to France and South Africa.
Heathcote said: “The only step forward for me was to go into international rallycross.
“I have done the British championship and won it in my first year and to make a career out of rallycross, I need to move up.
“I need to get my feet under the table first but I have got to be at the front and getting podiums.”
Heathcote experience has of previous one-make competition, having won the Swift Sport championship in 2016 before stepping up to Supercar last year.
He will test his new car – which is four-wheel drive and produces 310bhp – for the first time today (Thursday).
Heathcote will also compete in three rounds of the RallyX on Ice over the next few weeks, which starts at Höljes Sweden on Saturday.
He added: “RallyX on Ice will be a good experience and it will allow me to get to know the car.
“I know you need to be smooth in an RX2 and it will be like going back to my karting days.
“Eric (Faren, team owner) has big expectations of his team and they are all experienced in as most have worked for Peugeot-Hansen in the world championship.”
Heathcote’s RX2 graduation means his follows the same path as Devon’s Dan Rooke, who also won the British Supercar championship at his first attempt in an LD Motorsportsrun Citroen DS3 before stepping up to the series.
Rooke – who also competed for Team Faren – finished second in last year’s championship behind Frenchman Cyril Raymond.
Heathcote says he may compete in one-off British championship rounds in a Supercar if budget allows but RX2 is his main focus for the year.
He added: “My name will be out there on the bigger stage and hopefully I will be competing at the front.
“The Cape Town round looked awesome last year so I am looking forward to that and Höljes as well. It is not going to be easy but I will be pushing from the start.”
The 2018 RX2 season begins at Mettet in Belgium on May 12-13.
Nathan Heathcote, inset, will compete in RX2 this season