Highly successful Renault UK Clio Cup team JHR Developments has announced its welcome return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category after today, Friday, 18th January, officially confirming its first driver signing – reigning Rookie Cup Champion Josh Cook (Bath).
The Dronfield-based squad, headed by former Clio Cup front-runner and multiple race winner Steven Hunter, last competed in the championship with a part campaign in 2011. During the preceding years JHR twice won the Entrants’ Championship – in 2008 and 2009 – and also steered Lee Pattison to the Masters Cup title and the Vice-Champion’s position in the overall standings in 2010.
First appearing in Clio Cup racing in 2004 as ‘Team Gatecrasher’ in deference to title sponsorship from the world-famous nightclub brand, JHR has a long association with Renault championships having been formed in 1995 to compete in Formula Renault UK and Eurocup Formula Renault.
Since withdrawing from the Clio Cup a couple of years ago, JHR has remained a force in national motorsport with great success in other categories. Now, with the return of Simon North to the role of Championship Manager and the arrival of the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) as promoter, Hunter says the time is right for JHR to be back in the BTCC’s chief feeder category.
“We spoke to Josh [Cook] at the end of last year, we’d kept an eye on his performances all season, and we always said if we were going to look at coming back into Clios it had to be with a driver like him so we could be competitive from the off”, commented Hunter.
“With Simon [North] back at the helm managing the championship, along with the BARC, Clio Cup is back in the right hands and a place you want to go racing. We’re aiming to run two cars this year and our overall plan is to re-establish JHR in the Clios ready for the arrival of the new car in 2014.”
Cook was one of the star performers in Clio Cup last year, his first full season in the category, and achieved his maiden outright podium in round seven at Oulton Park. He went on to claim two overall victories during the penultimate event at Silverstone National Circuit. In addition to his domination of the Rookie Cup, he was an impressive fifth overall in the main championship.
The 21-year-old will certainly be a major challenger in the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup, the final season for the existing third generation car, and Hunter is confident the new partnership will be able to hit the ground running and be serious competition from the outset.
“Josh is a super quick driver, very committed and he’s already a proven race winner in one of the most competitive championships out there, we’ve got no doubts he’ll be a regular front-runner”, he added, “We’re looking forward to fighting at the front and being back as part of the Renault family.”
Rounds one and two of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup will take place across Easter weekend, 30th/31st March, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.
2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Calendar
Rds1&2 Brands Hatch Indy, Kent 30th/31st March
Rds3&4 Donington Park National, Leicestershire 20th/21st April
Rds5&6 Thruxton, Hampshire 4th/5th May
Rds7&8 Oulton Park Island, Cheshire 8th/9th June
Rds9&10 Croft, North Yorkshire 22nd/23rd June
Rds11&12 Snetterton 300 Circuit, Norfolk 3rd/4th August
Rds13&14 Rockingham ISSC, Northamptonshire 14th/15th September
Rds15&16 Brands Hatch Grand Prix, Kent 12th/13th October