Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit in Northamptonshire hosts the Michelin Clio Cup Series Autumn Cup this Saturday, 16th November, where a total of 13 cars are expected to line-up on the grid – nine in the Race Series class and four in the Road Series.
With a revised schedule meaning all of the action will take place on just one day, including the accompanying Protyre Formula Renault Autumn Cup races, the Michelin Clio Cup Series contenders will still contest two encounters, one 20-minute ‘sprint’ race and a longer 45-minute ‘enduro’.
An exciting eleventh hour development ahead of the weekend’s action is the confirmation today, Thursday, 14th November, of a late deal for 18-year-old karting starlet Jessica Hawkins (Farnham) to make her car racing debut in the Road Series.
Having impressed on her maiden test run behind the wheel of a race converted Clio Renaultsport 197 at Silverstone Stowe Circuit last month, Jessica has since managed to secure the budget to make her competitive saloon car bow under the Chevron Racing with SWB Motorsport banner.
Fellow car racing newcomer Jacob Stilp (Northampton) also makes the step-up from karting after winning a fully-funded Michelin Clio Cup Series prize drive during the recent Henry Surtees Challenge at Buckmore Park. The 17-year-old, son of former Renault UK Clio Cup racer Daniel Stilp, will race a Monster Sport Europe prepared car entered as ‘Buckmore Park Surtees’.
Milton Keynes-based MSE will also field another of its race converted Clio Renaultsport 197 cars for Lee Linford (Brackley) while privateer Road Series runner Jake Honour (Melksham), who made significant progress during his first season of car racing this year, completes the class line-up.
In the Race Series, leading Renault UK Clio Cup squad Westbourne Motorsport will debut in the club-level category with exciting saloon car prospect Charles Ladell (Beyton), the 2012 Vortex Motorsport News Fiesta Junior Champion. For the 17-year-old’s move into Clios, he reunites with the Worthing team which steered him to the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title in the 2011 SaxMax Championship.
Michelin Clio Cup Series regular Brett Lidsey (Dartford), who runs as a privateer entry, remains in the category for the Autumn Cup and will be bidding to add to the maiden podium he achieved during the final race of the inaugural main season campaign in September at Brands Hatch.
Graham Field (Southwell), who finished third in the Masters Cup class of the blue riband Renault UK Clio Cup this year, remains with Little Eaton’s 20Ten Racing for a crack at the Michelin Clio Cup Series Autumn Cup and the 54-year-old will be aiming for a strong run with the Clio Series race winners.
Crack squad Scuderia Vittoria has an impressive six-car entry, headed by Renault UK Clio Cup racer Devon Modell (Maidstone) and former single-seater talent Alex Walker (Oldham) who is making his racing return with a debut in front-wheel drive Clios, after a two year lay-off due to budget issues.
Successful Legends Cars Championship competitor Jamie Clarke (Liverpool) will also make his first appearance behind the wheel of a 2.0-litre third generation Clio in the Autumn Cup and he is set to be joined by fellow category debutants Andrew Wright (London) and Michele Faissola (London), the latter a total racing rookie.
Last, but by no means least, in the headline Race Series line-up is rapid Norwegian youngster Tommy Ostgaard who makes the graduation into a thoroughbred racing Clio having been the dominant force in the Road Series during the main season with six wins from eight races for SWB Motorsport. Likely to be a genuine podium challenger, the 20-year-old will most certainly be one to watch.
“We’re very pleased indeed with the entry list we have for the Autumn Cup this weekend”, said Michelin Clio Cup Series promoter Simon North, “We’ve got a fantastic mix of familiar faces and category newcomers so we’re looking forward to seeing how everyone gets on.
“Opening up opportunities for exciting karting talents like Jacob Stilp and Jessica Hawkins is part of what the Michelin Clio Cup Series is all about and the Autumn Cup is the perfect way to prepare for next year. We’re sure there will be some excellent racing in the Race Series and the Road Series.”
Autumn Cup qualifying will begin at 10.40 on Saturday, 16th November, with race one scheduled to start at 12.20 and the 45-minute enduro scheduled to follow at 14.40. Live timing will be available at www.tsl-timing.com
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Safety Devices, Mark Fish Motorsport and The Lubricant Consultancy.