Father and son duo Jeff and Brett Smith will line-up together on the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series grid at Donington Park this coming weekend, 31st May/1st June, as part of an expanded five car entry from Team Pyro.
Wellingborough 22-year-old Smith Jnr, who graduates into Renault Clio racing from the Mazda MX-5 Championship where he was runner-up in 2013, is set to make selected outings in the Race Series this year as he balances track action with his studies at Swansea University.
After a couple of seasons in Cadet Karting in the early noughties, the Northamptonshire driver returned to the racing sidelines until 2011 when he debuted in Mazdas. In his third season last year, Smith produced a tremendous campaign on his way to the Vice-Champion’s position.
“We’re really looking forward to running a father and son together for the first time”, said Team Pyro boss Mark Hunt, “Brett’s had some time off from racing to study and this will be a big step-up for him from the Mazdas.
“It’s going to be good for him racing with his dad, and he’ll be in there against Luke Herbert [Westbourne Motorsport] who he’s raced against before. Having five cars on the grid is great for the team and it shows how strong this championship is.”
Smith Snr, of course, made his Renault Clio return during the previous event at Oulton Park two weeks ago after three seasons in the British Touring Car Championship. The former Renault UK Clio Cup challenger posted a brace of fourth position finishes in rounds three and four of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series, as well as the fastest lap in the second encounter.
Alongside the Smiths at Barwell-based Pyro this weekend will be title challenger David Dickenson (Wicklow, Ireland), rapid 16-year-old Ollie Pidgley (Downton, Salisbury) and the returning Andy Wilkins (Harpenden), the latter having missed the previous event at Oulton.
Robinson and Dickenson ready to resume championship battle
At the top of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series standings, Total Control Racing’s Mike Robinson (Surbiton) leads the way after a highly successful weekend last time out – victory in round four following-up an excellent second place, coupled with the fastest lap, in the earlier encounter.
Chief rival Dickenson, who will arrive at Donington Park only three points shy of the top of the standings, produced a faultless drive in round three to just see off Robinson by a mere 0.3 seconds. Driveshaft problems in the second Oulton Park race, however, meant his first non-scoring finish of the season.
Impressive privateer racer Paul Streather (Hinckley) is a fantastic third in the championship, just 11 points behind Dickenson, after a terrific start to his maiden season in Renault Clios. Exceeding all expectation at Rockingham back in April, Streather finished second on his category debut and has since added two other top sixes and a seventh place.
The next four drivers in the championship, Westbourne Motorsport’s Luke Herbert (Chichester), TCR’s Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth), Norway’s Tommy Ostgaard and his SV Racing team-mate Sam Randon (Ashbourne), have each visited the podium so far this year – Herbert having climbed the rostrum at both Rockingham and Oulton Park.
Westbourne’s Anton Spires (Milton Keynes) leads the way in the Michelin Clio Cup Road Series category, which will run together with the Race Series again in the same contests at Donington after standalone races last time out. The 21-year-old leapfrogged erstwhile points leader Jake Honour (Devizes) at Oulton Park following a sensational, almost perfect, weekend.
Dominating qualifying to claim two pole positions, Spires chalked-up a superb double victory and also added the bonus points for fastest lap in each encounter. Honour, meanwhile, struggled with gearbox issues all weekend and had to settle for fourth in round three, third place in round four.
Privateer Nic Harrison (Stretton, Burton-on-Trent) enjoyed the best outing of his maiden season in the Road Series at Oulton Park, claiming his first podium in the opening race, and holds third in the standings ahead of Sarah Franklin (Kettering). Former rally driver Luke Pinder (Shipley) is tied on points for fourth place in the championship, thanks to a brace of second places in Cheshire.
Donington Park qualifying will take place at 10.40 on Saturday, 31st May, with round five of the 2014 season scheduled to commence at 15.10. On Sunday, 1st June, round six of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series will get underway at 13.40.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the championships are additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices. The Michelin Clio Cup Road Series is also backed by DNA Tuning.
Provisional 2014 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series Driver Standings (after Rd4):
1st Mike Robinson, 94pts; 2nd David Dickenson, 91pts; 3rd Paul Streather, 80pts
Provisional 2014 Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Driver Standings (after Rd4):
1st Anton Spires, 126pts; 2nd Jake Honour, 113pts; 3rd Nic Harrison, 91pts