Dan Zelos admitted that success in the 2021 Quaife MINI CHALLENGE was the realisation of a dream after the EXCELR8 Motorsport driver wrapped up the title at Brands Hatch.

Zelos had taken a slender lead into the season finale ahead of team-mate Max Bird, with the fight for the crown coming down to a straight fight between the pair in the final race of the year.

By that stage, Bird had managed to edge ahead in the standings, but a dramatic final race saw Zelos finish second on the road behind Max Coates to wrap up the championship crown as he overhauled Bird in the points race.

It meant a third title in as many seasons for Zelos, who had previously secured both the Rookie and Graduate cup crowns.

“As a little boy, I looked at touring cars and the support package with the dream of one day being there, and for the last three years with EXCELR8 in the MINI CHALLENGE, we have worked towards this moment.

“I saw Nathan [Harrison] win the title last year which was a massive team effort and it’s been the same again this year. Max has been a huge competitor and for it to come down to the final race shows how close it was between us.

“I’m pleased for the team, for all my family and for my sponsors as I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. I’m just a small piece of a big jigsaw that makes this possible, and the title is for all those who have supported me.”

What happens next for Zelos remains to be seen, with his ultimate goal being to try and follow former champions Chris Smiley, Brett Smith, Ant Whorton-Eales and James Gornall into the British Touring Car Championship.

“My goal has always been to get to the BTCC but the closer you get, the harder it is as you need the money to make the step up,” he said. “Getting that money is difficult so we’ll have to see what happens but if I was to return to the MINI CHALLENGE next year to defend the title, I know I’d need to be right on top of my game.

“I’ll take some time to enjoy this championship, and then start work on what happens next.”