KELTY race ace Ronan Pearson says following a triple champion into one of motorsport's most high-profile competitions is a childhood ambition realised.

The 21-year-old will sit behind the wheel in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) for 2023.

It is set to be the biggest season of the youngster's flourishing racing career so far, which will see him pit himself against the cream of the crop in Britain's premier racing series 12 months ahead of schedule.

Ronan had planned to race in the Quaife Mini Challenge series again this year, in a bid to try and win the championship, having placed fourth in 2022, but a vacancy within his EXCELR8 Motorsport team saw him put together a deal to make the move early.

Alongside EXCELR8, who were winners of the BTCC title last season with Tom Ingram, Macklin Motors, which operates their team partner, Bristol Street Motors, helped support the switch, alongside long-standing partners, including William Waugh, Betty’s Surf Shop, KeyProtect Pro and Beaver Broadband.

His BTCC debut will take place in late April, at Donnington Park, and he will enjoy the backing of a home crowd at Knockhill Racing Circuit over the weekend of August 12-13, joining three-time champion, Gordon Shedden, and fellow Fifer, Rory Butcher, on the grid.

"As a youngster growing up, I’ve watched people like Gordon Shedden on track and hoped to one day make it all the way to the BTCC myself," Ronan said.

"I’m hugely excited about getting the new season underway and can only imagine what the feeling will be like when we get to Knockhill later in the year and I head out on track in front of the Scottish fans for the first time.

"There is absolutely no doubting the fact that this is a big step up for me, but I know that I’m with the right team to really maximise the opportunity. My work on EXCELR8’s Young Driver Development Programme last season means I’m already familiar with the touring car side of the team and in, Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton, I have two hugely experienced team-mates to learn from.

"The ongoing backing from my existing partners – such as William Waugh, Beaver Broadband and KeyProtectPro – has been key to making this possible, as has the new support from Macklin Motors. I’m both excited and proud about the opportunity to represent such a major Scottish brand during the year ahead, and will be giving my all to do the best job possible for them and everyone else helped me to get to this stage.

"In particular, I have to thank my dad and my step-mum, as I wouldn't be in this position without them."

Talks with other potential new backers are ongoing, with deals having already been put in place with both LeeSan Ltd and Third Millennium, to join Ronan’s partner portfolio.

Justina Williams, EXCELR8 Motorsport team owner, said that Ronan's "drive and desire" off-track, which she said was "vital for any driver who wants to compete at the highest level", was "clear to see" when he decided he wished to bring forward his touring car plans.

She noted: "Although it is a big step up, we have no doubt that Ronan is ready, and are confident that, with the support of Macklin Motors, he will show his talent in the Hyundai during the year ahead."

Robert Forrester, chief executive of Macklin Motors, added: "Our partnership with EXCELR8 Motorsport is something that the Group is very proud of.

"It was an easy decision for our Scottish brand, Macklin Motors, to support Ronan, who is a proud Scot, and a fantastic driver."