Michelin Clio Cup Race Series podium finishers Brett Lidsey (Dartford) and Pete Bennett (Lowestoft) will each make a welcome return to the flourishing category for its second season it can be officially confirmed today, Thursday, 30th January.
Entering as a privateer runner once again, 22-year-old Lidsey will be aiming to build on the two podiums he achieved in 2013 at the wheel of his 2.0-litre third generation Clio as the series becomes a fully-fledged, 12 race championship for the first time.
After originally competing in schoolboy motocross, where injury curtailed his two-wheeled career, Lidsey made his car racing debut in the 2011 Canons Motor Spares Tin Top Saloon series and became the T3 Class Champion in 2012.
Graduating to Renault Clio racing in readiness for the start of the inaugural Michelin Clio Cup Race Series last year, the Kent driver improved throughout the campaign and claimed his maiden podium finish during the final race of the main season with a strong second place. Also choosing to contest the end-of-year ‘Autumn Cup’, Lidsey secured his second podium in Clios with third in round two.
Bennett, a complete motorsport novice prior to his Michelin Clio Cup Race Series debut at Brands Hatch last September with Finesse Motorsport, was an absolute revelation on his competitive bow and starred in his first ever race with a tremendous – and unexpected – second place. He also posted the fastest lap of the race to cap a remarkable weekend.
Returning with the aforementioned Finesse squad, 47-year-old Bennett will clearly begin the 2014 season with genuine prospects of more podium success – even though he only has the experience of just two car races under his belt!
“Seeing Brett and Pete return to the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series really is fantastic news, they both played a big part in the success of our first season last year”, commented championship promoter Simon North, “Brett improved well throughout the year and thoroughly deserved his first podium at Brands Hatch, especially being his home track. He should have a great season in 2014.
“I don’t think any of us expected Pete to make such an incredible impact on his debut with us last year, it really was an outstanding weekend for him and he’s clearly a naturally talented driver. He’ll obviously have much less experience than many of his rivals, but we’re sure he’ll be a front-runner.”
Randon planning to carry Road Series success into the Race Series
Joining Lidsey and Bennett in the headline Michelin Clio Cup Race Series will be Road Series race winner Sam Randon (Ashbourne), the 18-year-old having recently confirmed he is making the switch to a thoroughbred racing Clio with SV Racing after an excellent learning year in 2013.
Winning his class on seven out of eight occasions last season in an SWB Motorsport race-converted Clio Renaultsport 197 roadcar, Randon also secured a brace of outright Road Series victories on the final weekend of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
As well as graduating into a Race Series car for 2014, the Derbyshire teenager’s step-up into the headline championship will mark his first season on slick Michelin tyres. Having impressed in testing, however, Randon should be another battling at the sharp-end for regular podium finishes.
“We were delighted Sam chose the Road Series for his car racing debut last year and he really did make big strides during the season”, said North, “Now moving into the Race Series for his second year is precisely what this championship is all about. The Road Series is perfect for young drivers fresh out of karting to learn about the transition to cars, before then stepping into the Race Series.”
Rounds one and two of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series will take place at Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit in Northamptonshire on 5th/6th April.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices.