TEEN racer Ben Creanor has said his “childhood dream has come true” after he was offered a place in a prestigious motorsport series.

Last week, Press Sport reported that the 15-year-old Dunfermline High School pupil had been invited to travel to France and test for a place in the 2019 driver recruitment programme for Euro NASCAR.

Ben, who is in S4, applied for the initiative, which aims to find the best drivers representing different backgrounds and develop them into successful drivers, as well as offering the chance to receive a scholarship to enter the stock car racing series next year.

After showcasing his talent on the track in go-karting and ‘ministox’ events at Lochgelly Raceway since he was nine, Ben also took up online simulator racing to develop his skills further and his achievements impressed those behind the programme to invite him for testing.

That took place in Fontenay-le-Comte, around 450 kilometres south-west of Paris, last Thursday and Friday, and he raced to a place on the starting grid for next year’s programme.

“I’ve dreamed of this my whole life and it’s a childhood dream come true, even at 15,” Ben told Press Sport.

“It’s a pure sense of achievement; with the number of years I’ve been in a race car, and been doing it virtually, I didn’t expect it so soon.

“When I got the invite, there was that initial buzz that it could happen and be selected. There were around 80 last year, and I think there will be around that this year, but there were seven of us there on the day I was there, and five on the other.

“I’ve been ready for a long time. I’ve been part of E-Sports sessions and there was a competition where I was eligible to go through to the next round, where success could’ve resulted in me going to Mexico. But, before it started, I checked the rules and you have to be 16 to enter.

“It’s an unconventional route (into motorsport) but it is more viable now. It is so realistic – developers are so advanced it is like driving a real car – and it is a lot cheaper. Lewis Hamilton said himself that E-Sports played a big part for him.

“I’ve always liked NASCAR; it’s my favourite series and it was a shot in the dark, but I thought, what’s the worst they can say?”

Ben continued: “It properly sank in when I sat in the car, started the engine and hit a long straight at the back of the circuit. I put my foot right down and the car just went – it was so surreal.

“The track was very wet and, on the first corner on the first lap, I hit a puddle and ended up doing a pirouette. There was no damage, I carried on and adjusted my line into that corner.

“If you have nerves then I think you lose focus. It’s always at the back of your mind that something could go wrong but there’s no time to focus on that.

“I had two sessions and then, after that, the president of Euro NASCAR came over for a chat. He pulled us in and said they’d seen enough, and that they’d love to help, so the negotiations started there and then.

“I always believed in myself that I could get behind the wheel and do it. My lap times tumbled, which was a good thing, and my confidence and understanding of the car kept growing. Everything started to polish itself.”

The first race of the series, which attracts tens of thousands of spectators, is set to take place in Valencia on April 13, and he added: “To think I’ll be racing in the series is quite exciting.

“There’s not many who get the chance to say they have raced in NASCAR, especially at my age, but you’ve got to keep a cool head otherwise you lose focus.”

Proud dad Paul, who travelled to France with Ben, added: “He was so calm getting into the car for the first time and, when I saw him drive, it looked like the most natural thing in the world.

“The engineers were impressed with how measured and controlled he was, and it was nice to see him interact with the other drivers and engineers. On average, there are 25,000 people watching and the grid is open so they can meet the drivers, so that is something they look for.

“He has worked incredibly hard for this. He found a video on Youtube of the inside of a car going round the circuit, and he watched it about 60 times so he understood the track before taking the car out.

“We’ve supported him as much as we could but he’s done this off his own back; he submitted the application himself, trained and prepared for it himself, and the test came down to him. I’m hugely proud.”

Ben is looking for sponsorship to help meet the costs of his racing, and anyone interested can contact Press Sport by emailing sport@dunfermlinepress.co.uk, and we’ll put you in contact with him.