Established circuit racers and complete motorsport novices comprise the rich mix of competitors who have so far registered for the brand new 2013 Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre, which will burst into life at Snetterton 200 Circuit early next month.
As of today, Monday, 29th April, series organisers can confirm a minimum of 14 drivers for the opening two races of the exciting new category on the weekend of 11th/12th May which will see thoroughbred racing Clios competing alongside converted Clio Renaultsport 197 and 200 roadcars.
Heading the list of entries for the ‘Racecar’ class, in which all Clios will run on slick Michelin tyres, is reigning Ma5da MX5 Cup Champion Luke Herbert (Chichester). The 23-year-old, who enjoyed a highly successful 2012, will undoubtedly be one of the front-runners from the outset.
“The Clio Cup race car is mega to drive and I absolutely love the sequential gear change”, said the West Sussex racer, “We were really attracted to Clio Cup Series by the low running costs, it’s created a great new opportunity for me to race a Clio Cup car this year.”
Former Renault UK Clio Cup competitor Peter Felix (Derby) will form part of a three-car entry from established Renault Clio outfit 20Ten Racing, joining team principal Darren Wilson (Newark) and Graham Mulholland (Duffield) – both former participants in the full national championship.
Felix, who in recent years has been a force in the Volkswagen Racing Cup, says the cost-effective Clio Cup Series has come at precisely the right time in such a tough economic climate and is certain the category will only gain popularity as the year progresses.
“I’m quite busy, I’m self-employed so I can’t afford a lot of time away from work so something like the Clio Cup Series is perfect”, said Felix, “It’s a much reduced rate than Clio Cup UK, I’d love to do that again but just can’t afford it so this series really fits the bill – I think it’ll be really good.
“It’s aimed at the more privateer market, Clio Cup UK is obviously very prestigious, it’s mega, but with that comes much bigger budgets. Here you can race one of these great cars at a much reduced cost, OK you haven’t got the hype surrounding a championship the level of the UK one but you’re still out there and you’ve got good support with the parts supply and with the organisation.”
David Pierce (Larkfield, Kent), who will run under the Procom Team Racing banner, raced in Clio Cup UK in 2000 and in recent years has campaigned Renault Clios in Euro Saloons. With assistance from the redoubtable Colin Stancombe, Pierce will contest the Clio Cup Series in the car current British Touring Car Championship driver Sam Tordoff piloted in the national category in 2010.
Father and son privateers Ian and Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth) who, like Pierce, have been competing in the Euro Saloons, both make the move into the Clio Cup Series. Jordan Jnr has previously dabbled in the Renault UK Clio Cup, at the end of the 2010 season with Total Control Racing.
Jason Tarling (Wickham Bishops, Essex), another regular from Euro Saloons, also joins the series as a privateer entrant and Brett Lidsey (Dartford) will achieve a long held dream of piloting a racing Clio having purchased the car utilised in 2012 in the full national series by Josh Files.
Former trackday participant James Weston (Tonbridge) will make his motor racing debut in the Clio Cup Series with race-winning Renault UK Clio Cup squad Scuderia Vittoria. Driving a fully-fledged third generation race car, Weston perfectly embodies the spirit behind the series – to provide cost-effective racing for those who have never previously competed but who enjoy driving on track.
In the ‘Roadcar’ class, which will feature cars using Michelin Pilot Sport 3 road tyres, organisers have so far received four registrations – three officially named – with respected single-seater team SWB Motorsport set to field at least two converted Clio Renaultsport 197 cars with plans to run more.
The Simon Baldry-led outfit, which was the first professional squad to officially commit to the new category back in early February, will run Norwegian single-seater convert Tommy Ostgaard and karting graduate Sam Randon (Ashbourne, Derbyshire). Complete motorsport novice Jake Honour (Melksham), meanwhile, will field his own self-converted Clio Renaultsport 197.
Several of the ‘Racecar’ class runners actually took the opportunity to join competitors from the sister Renault UK Clio Cup at Snetterton’s 300 Circuit last week for a full afternoon of running at the Norfolk track’s longest configuration.
Of the seven taking part, Herbert led the way with a best time of 2m10.600 seconds (81.83mph) with Andy Jordan just 0.2 seconds adrift. Wilson was third ahead of Mulholland, Ian Jordan, Pierce and Tarling.
Snetterton 200 Circuit will host the first two races of the inaugural Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre on 11th/12th May.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Safety Devices, Mark Fish Motorsport, The Lubricant Consultancy and NGK Spark Plugs.