Westbourne first team to offer complete Clio ladder of progression

Westbourne Motorsport has become the first squad from Renault UK’s saloon car racing ladder to offer drivers a complete path from grass roots ‘tin top’ action all the way to the flagship Renault UK Clio Cup, having added a Michelin Clio Cup Road Series programme to its existing 2014 schedule.

As the latest professional team to sign-up for the category, which features race-converted Clio Renaultsport 197 roadcars, the West Sussex outfit aims to establish a clear ladder of progression designed to carry rookie racers from entry level motorsport to the cusp of touring car racing.

Equally, the category is the perfect starting point for drivers fresh to saloon car competition who may have already gained some experience in single-seaters or elsewhere. One such racer, Anton Spires (Buckingham), has become the first driver to sign-up to Westbourne’s Michelin Clio Cup Road Series squad and the 21-year-old is certain to be competitive.

Having previously raced with Westbourne in the SaxMax Championship in 2008 and 2009, Spires switched to single-seaters in 2010 in Autosport Young Guns, where he was a race winner, and then graduated to Protyre Formula Renault in 2011 during the season finale. Limited to just a handful of races in Formula Renault in 2012, Spires was on the sidelines last year due to budgetary issues.

“We’re delighted to be working with Anton again, we know him from SaxMax – where he won races with us – and we know he’ll be a true front-runner in the Clio Cup Road Series”, said Westbourne’s Richard Colburn, “It’s great to have our first driver signed for the Road Series, as well as being the perfect place for rookies to start out it’s ideal for guys like Anton who have limited budgets.”

Already a race winning and championship challenging force in the Renault UK Clio Cup, as well as a podium finishing entrant in the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series, Westbourne’s expansion into the entry level Michelin Clio Cup Road Series puts the squad in a unique position.

“Adding the Clio Cup Road Series to what we do in the Race Series and Renault UK Clio Cup means we’ve got a natural progression in place, the Road Series is the ideal first step”, said Colburn, “It provides access to racing for people who don’t have the budget to do the full Race Series and it’s also the perfect place to learn.

“We’re going to be running cars in the Junior Touring Car Championship [formerly SaxMax], that’s stage one of what we’re doing, then we’re aiming for a couple of cars in the Clio Cup Road Series, cars in the Race Series and we’re also looking to try and run three in the Renault UK Clio Cup. We’re talking to several drivers at each level, everything looks positive.”

Inaugurated last year, initially as a series of standalone races, the Michelin Clio Cup Road Series becomes a fully-fledged championship this year and has already attracted backing from specialist brake pad company Ferodo Racing.

Additionally, the Road Series and sister Michelin Clio Cup Race Series will benefit from live television coverage midway through the season when Motors TV broadcasts one of its ‘Live Raceday’ events from the Snetterton race meeting on Saturday, 30th August.

Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices.