Inaugural Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series champions Mike Robinson (Surbiton) and Anton Spires (Milton Keynes) got to experience the latest fourth generation racing Renault Clio at Brands Hatch on Friday, 10th October, as part of a prize test for winning their respective titles.
Earning the opportunity to pilot a Team Pyro-run turbo-powered Clio Cup car, as raced in the blue riband Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup, at the Kent venue’s full length Grand Prix Circuit, Robinson and Spires made the most of their time in the Renault and thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Running as part of the pre-event test for this past weekend’s Renault UK Clio Cup finale, Robinson got behind the wheel during the morning session, which started on a damp but drying track, while Spires took over the car in the afternoon.
Despite the dampness during the early part of the morning outing, Robinson – who is graduating into the prestigious British GT Championship next year – managed to complete the entire session on slick Dunlop tyres.
“I thoroughly enjoyed testing the latest Clio”, reflected Robinson, “I loved the feel of the car, the handling is great and the power delivery from the engine is very good too. I’m really impressed with the car actually, I had a great time and I’m very grateful to the organisers of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Renault UK for the experience.
“It’s been a great year in the championship, it wasn’t on my radar initially but then the chance to race in the Clio Series with TCR [Total Control Racing] came out of the blue and we had a fantastic season – winning the championship was the icing on the cake.”
Spires, who claimed the ‘Road Series’ title for Westbourne Motorsport with an event to spare at the wheel of his race-converted Clio Renaultsport 197 roadcar, was prevented from getting into a proper rhythm during his run due to the session having three red flag stoppages. The experience, though, in slippery conditions still proved invaluable for the former single-seater driver.
“Friday was really, really good”, said Spires, “I met Phil Glew [2009 Renault UK Clio Cup Champion] in the morning for a track walk, as he was coaching us, and so I got an idea of the circuit as I’d not been there for three years. The conditions were quite tricky and the biggest thing to get used to was the brakes. With three red flags, I couldn’t get into a proper rhythm but the car felt good.
“The gears and engine worked well and I have used paddle shift before in single-seaters so that was no problem. We’re working hard to try and do the Race Series next year and then hopefully move into the Clio Cup after that – it’d be great for Renault’s ladder for the Road Series champion to do that. Big thanks to Renault UK and everyone involved in the Clio Cup Series for the opportunity.”
As well as their prize test outing at Brands Hatch GP Circuit, Robinson and Spires were also presented with their respective championship trophies by Renault UK Communications Director Jeremy Townsend.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices.