A CENTRAL FIFE motorsport star is targeting title glory next year whilst moving a step closer to a dream touring car berth.

Ronan Pearson, who is from Kelty, will aim to challenge for the 2023 Quaife Mini Challenge title after agreeing a deal to continue racing for the EXCELR8 Motorsport team.

The 21-year-old will continue to compete in the JCW category of the series, in which he finished in an impressive fourth position this year, which he described as an "incredible platform".

Pearson went into the final race weekend still in with a mathematical chance of winning the title, having snared a pair of podium finishes in the penultimate event at Silverstone, but another top three finish at Brands Hatch wasn't enough to secure top spot overall.

In total, he ended the campaign with eight podium finishes – helping EXCELR8 win the teams' championship title – and three race wins, which came in the opening meeting at Donnington Park, which was his maiden success in the series, and two at Knockhill, his home track.

As well as seeking to improve on his Quaife Mini Challenge finish, Pearson will also continue in his role as official development driver for EXCELR8's title-winning Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) team.

He joined EXCELR8's young driver programme in late 2021, when he signed up with the Suffolk-based squad for his third season in the highly competitive Quaife Mini Challenge, and, as part of that, he was able to benefit from spending time with the team's BTCC outfit over the course of the year.

In his role as development driver, Pearson will have the opportunity to sample the Hyundai i30 Fastback N that carried Tom Ingram to the 2022 BTCC title in an official test during the new season, moving him a step closer to following in the footsteps of Scots stars such as three-time champion, Gordon Shedden; Fifer Rory Butcher; and two-time winner John Cleland.

"I'm delighted to have signed this new deal with EXCELR8 as I really wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Pearson said.

"The guys and girls in the team are absolutely incredible and, over the past 12 months, they have allowed me to make constant progress to take my career to new heights.

"This season I've showed that I am capable of winning races and putting together a championship challenge, and there is no doubt that the title has to be the goal for 2023. I just need to get my head down and keep working hard and, hopefully, we will be able to build on the platform I've put in place this year.

"The opportunity to not only return to the JCWs to chase the title in 2023, but to also strengthen my ties with the BTCC team, is really pivotal for me as a driver, as my goal is to try and make it onto the touring car grid for 2024.

"The chance to test the Hyundai, and to work even more closely with the BTCC team, will hopefully be a bit easier given I know a lot of them from the junior role I held last year, and it'll be good to see how I shape up against the rest."

EXCELR8 team owner, Justina Williams, added: "Ronan was a fantastic addition to our JCW line-up this season and we’re delighted to confirm that he will be with us again for 2023. Having seen the way in which he developed into a consistent front-runner in what was a very strong field, I have absolutely no doubt that he will be one of the drivers to beat as we look to challenge for the championship title.

"Alongside that, we’re also pleased to announce that he will strengthen his ties with our championship winning touring car team, which will include getting behind the wheel of a BTCC car for the first time.

"As someone who clearly has the talent and the desire to compete in touring cars in the future, it will be interesting to see how he compares to the established order when his test takes place."