Clio Cup Champion Bushell signs BTCC deal with AmD

Renault UK Clio Cup Champion Mike Bushell will graduate into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship next year with it has been officially confirmed today, Wednesday, 12th November.

Off the back of a sensational season in the BTCC feeder series, the 25-year-old from Tunbridge Wells will make the full-time move into the UK’s biggest and most popular most racing championship at the wheel of the West Thurrock squad’s Ford Focus.

Bushell does have prior experience of competing in the BTCC, having made a one-off appearance in a Chevrolet Cruze at Knockhill in Scotland in 2013. More recently, he tested an Airwaves Racing Focus last month – courtesy of Dunlop – as part of his prize package for winning the 2014 Clio Cup title.

“It’s quite hard to get my head around at the moment to be honest”, said Bushell, “It’s fantastic everything has fallen into place at the right time, going into the BTCC as the Renault UK Clio Cup Champion is the perfect way to do it. Shaun’s team is obviously local to me so that’s great, I really am delighted to have agreed and signed a deal with AmD.

“The test I did with Motorbase [Airwaves] went well and the car actually felt close to this year’s Clio, so hopefully I can take that experience forward into next year and make the most of it. The latest Clio obviously has a turbo engine and that’s what we have in touring cars now too.”

Bushell added: “Clios is unbelievably competitive but the BTCC is another step on from that. We’re setting our sights sensibly, finishing anything other than last will be a bonus! Seriously, the aim is to rack up some good finishes – that’s the first target – and then keep building from there.”

Shaun Hollamby’s squad is a proven entity in the BTCC and last season ran 2010 Renault UK Clio Cup Champion Dave Newsham. Piloting the Focus which Bushell will drive next year, Newsham won the Jack Sears Trophy, which was awarded to the driver who gained most positions over the course of the season, and also finished on the outright podium at Knockhill.

Commenting on Bushell’s arrival at the team, Hollamby said: “We’re delighted to be able to agree a deal with Mike for 2015 and it is ideal for both parties to have an agreement in place so soon. It’s given us time to work on finalising our sponsorship plans for next year and we are keen to speak to people who want to support a young British driver who we believe can do big things in the BTCC.

“Mike is someone we have been keeping an eye on for a while, and he impressed me with the way he performed in the Chevrolet back in 2013. He was the class of the field in the Clio Cup last year, which is no mean feat, and is more than deserving of the opportunity to make the step up.”

Bushell’s move into the BTCC for 2015 once again confirms the Renault UK Clio Cup’s key role as an ante-chamber to touring car racing and championship manager Will Fewkes is thrilled to see the reigning champion make an immediate graduation.

“On behalf of Renault UK Motorsport, I'd like to congratulate Mike on his exciting new venture into the BTCC with AmD”, he said, “It's great to see the Renault UK Clio Cup has propelled the career of another exciting young talent who is sure to impress when he goes up against some of the best touring car racers in the world next year.

“Over a third of this year’s BTCC grid consisted of Renault UK Clio Cup graduates and, with that in mind, we’re now preparing ourselves for yet another exciting and action-packed year for the Renault UK Clio Cup in 2015.”

The Renault UK Clio Cup is supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.