Experienced saloon car racer Tom Barley will make his Michelin Clio Cup Race Series debut on home ground at Brands Hatch this weekend, 26th/27th July, after officially confirming an eleventh hour deal with top team 20Ten Racing – boosting the squad’s entry to three cars.
The 27-year-old, who resides in Crayford little more than 10 miles from the Kent venue, is absolutely relishing the prospect of racing a 2.0-litre normally aspirated third generation Clio and will join fellow Brands Hatch local Brett Lidsey (Dartford) and Tom Butler (Allestree, Derby) in 20Ten’s ranks.
Originally starting out his racing career in historic competition in 2010, Barley was taken under the wing of British Touring Car Championship team principal Tony Gilham a couple of years ago which led to a place on the Team HARD scholarship.
Finishing runner-up, Barley’s performances earned him a spot in the Volkswagen Racing Cup and during his debut season in 2013 he finished an impressive 11th overall at the wheel of a Mk5 Golf GTi with a best finish of fourth place during the overseas visit to Spa-Francorchamps. So far in 2014, he has a best result of second position and is currently 13th in the driver standings.
The career highlight for Barley to date came last October at Brands Hatch, on the full length Grand Prix Circuit, when he debuted in the British Touring Car Championship during the 2013 season finale at the wheel of an RCIB Insurance Racing Vauxhall Insignia.
“Clios have always been of interest to me, they’re exciting cars and this new Clio Cup Series has made racing them more affordable which is great”, said the championship newcomer, “Before I had the chance to race a touring car it was always my dream to be in the BTCC, but now I’ve done that you realise how tough it is financially and also how tough it is on the competition side too.
“My main aim is to have fun racing and be in the best championship I can to achieve that, and with the Clios being equal if I don’t win or get on the podium I know it’s because the drivers ahead of me have done a better job. I’m really looking forward to working with the guys at 20Ten, we’ll see how the weekend goes and that will help towards decisions over where I’m racing next year.”
For Simon Hunt’s Little Eaton-based squad, the deal with Barley brings yet another promising young talent into the outfit’s line-up and the team principal is thrilled to be fielding an expanded entry for the start of the second half of the season.
“We’re looking forward to getting Tom in the car, we haven’t met yet actually but he got in touch two or three weeks ago and the deal developed from there really”, said Hunt, “He wants to see how he gets on in equal machinery like the Clios and he’s obviously very capable in the VWs. It’s great to have another driver in the team, we’re really pleased.”
Qualifying for rounds seven and eight of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series is scheduled to begin at 10.35 on Saturday, 26th July, with the first race of the weekend following at 15.45. Round eight is set to take place at 15.00 on Sunday, 27th July.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices.