This weekend sees the Renault UK Clio Cup return to Brands Hatch on the Indy circuit. After a fantastic 2016 season the championship is going from strength to strength. For the opening round of the season there are twenty four entrants comprising of lots of talented drivers – with six of last seasons race winners included.
Reigning champion Ant Whorton-Eales has moved into the British Touring Car Championship racing for AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team.
Mike Bushell is the driver whose name is on most peoples lips as the season is scheduled to start. The talented racer will once again compete with Team Pyro – the partnership between the two has proved to be almost unbeatable throughout the years.
Max Coates is returning with Ciceley Motorsport for a second year after exceeding all expectations last year and firmly establishing himself as one of the young talents in the field. Last year he took a breakthrough podium at his home circuit Croft whilst on the way to taking the Graduates Cup.
Paul Rivett is hopeful that his experience within the championship will assist in helping him take the title this year as he looks to extend his record of titles. Rivett leads the impressive line up for WDE Motorsport with Paul Streather, Lee Pattison and Dan Zelos as his teammates.
JamSport Racing are fielding a strong trio of drivers headed by the experienced and talented racer Lucas Orrock. Joining Orrock at the team is reigning MINI Challenge vice-champion Nathan Harrison and the talented Aaron Thompson, who is a former Fiesta Junior champion. All three are more than capable of running at the front of the field. This year JamSport’s Graham Field will be running the number #1 on the side of his car as he fights for the Masters Cup.
The talented youngster that is James Dorlin is one of the most exciting prospects for this year, after winning both the Junior Saloon Car Championship and the Clio Cup Series titles in the past three seasons. He now graduates up into the UK Clio Cup with his regular team – Westbourne Motorsport, they will also be running Myles Collins. Both drivers will benefit from the support and experience of James Colburn – the 2011 vice champion is also making a return to the championship running from the same awning as Westbourne but under the PP Motorsport banner.
Dan Zelos and Ollie Pidgley are returning to the championship after making their debuts last year – albeit both have switched teams throughout the winter months.
Series debutants Sam Osborne and Luke Reade are making the move to the UK Clio Cup from the MINI Challenge. Jade Edwards is also joining the championship – becoming the first female driver in the championship since Mel Healey who raced in the series a decade ago.
Team Pyro will be fielding three newcomers to the championship – Jack McCarthy, Kyle Hornby and Cameron Roberts. Both Hornby and Roberts established their names within the Ginetta Junior championship before making the jump into clios.
Shayne Deegan is returning to the series but will run under a new team name after setting up his own team – SDR Motorsport. Deegan competed at selected rounds throughout last year with Cooksport and showed he has the pace to challenge. Another solo entry comes from DRM who will run Daniel Rowbottom.
Westbourne Motorsport will also be running two international racers in the shape of Italian racer Ambrogio Perfetti and Swiss driver Oscar Rovelli.
As usual the Renault UK Clio Cup will run alongside the British Touring Car Championship but will miss the Knockhill round.
The drivers competing for the Graduates Cup throughout 2017 are; Jack McCarthy, Shayne Deegan, James Dorlin, Myles Collins, Nathan Harrison, Aaron Thompson, Kyle Hornby, Luke Reade and Cameron Roberts.
The drivers competing for the Masters Cup are; Lee Pattison, Paul Rivett, Graham Field and Oscar Rovelli.
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography