Twenty two Renault UK Clio Cup cars for season opener

Renault UK Clio Cup organisers are delighted to confirm 22 registered cars for the championship opener at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit next weekend, 30th/31st March, with the strong likelihood of more to follow as the 2013 season gets into full swing.

In addition to the already announced line-ups from reigning champions Team Pyro, Scuderia Vittoria, Westbourne Motorsport, Total Control Racing and JHR Developments, four other squads have now officially named their entries for rounds one and two of the 16-race season at the Kent venue.

Lithuanian team Juta Racing returns with cars for Ignas Gelzinis and Tautvydas Barstys Jnr, category front-runner Aaron Williamson (Spalding) will compete with his family-run Team AWR operation and Jake Giddings (Wisbech) will race for his family’s Finesse Motorsport squad.

Multiple Renault UK Clio Cup podium finisher Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), who will be part of the KX Akademy driver programme this year, will run under the KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria banner and 20Ten Racing makes a welcome return with a car for Graham Field (Southwell, Nottinghamshire) who debuted in the series during the final two events of the 2012 season.

Exceeding 20 cars for the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser, championship manager of the Renault UK Clio Cup, Simon North, has praised the teams for their hard work and is looking forward to a thoroughly action-packed season of vintage Clio Cup racing.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have 22 confirmed drivers for the start of the season”, he said, “It’s a great testament to the tireless efforts of all of our teams we’re able to begin the 2013 campaign with such a healthy grid, one featuring both quality and quantity.

“There’s a fantastic mix of experienced racers and talented young rookies and, as always, we’re set for a terrific season of the best in one-make saloon car action. We’re also very much looking forward to the first year working with our new official tyre supplier, Dunlop, and we’re hopeful of even more additions to the grid as the championship progresses."

Williamson fastest in Silverstone official test
As a pre-cursor to the championship opener next week, the bulk of the Renault UK Clio Cup teams gathered at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire yesterday, Thursday, 21st March, for the official pre-season test session and Media Day.

Category returnee Aaron Williamson, the 2011 Renault UK Clio Cup Winter Series Champion, made the perfect start to his season by posting the fastest time of the day overall with a best of 1m05.847 seconds (89.68mph) during the third of four sessions.

Little more than 0.1 seconds covered the top six drivers on combined times with Westbourne’s James Colburn (Worthing) second fastest, thanks to a lap of 1m05.866 seconds (89.65mph), and Jake Giddings only a fraction further adrift in third – less than 0.04 seconds shy of the top spot.

Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) ended the day fourth quickest for Westbourne, 1m05.956 seconds (89.53mph), JHR Developments’ Josh Cook (Bath) was fifth with a session four best of 1m05.969 seconds (89.51mph) and Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford) rounded out the top six with a time of 1m05.981 seconds (89.50mph).

Next up for the Renault UK Clio Cup contingent will be officially timed pre-event practice at Brands Hatch on Good Friday, 29th March, for the opening race weekend of 2013. Qualifying for rounds one and two is scheduled to take place at 12.00 on Saturday, 30th March, with both encounters following on Easter Sunday, 31st March, at 10.20 and 15.35 respectively.

Live coverage of the second of the Brands Hatch races will be screened on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channels ITV4 and ITV4 HD. Live streaming will also be carried at www.itv.com/btcc