Close to 30 young drivers from other junior car racing categories and karting got a first taste of the UK Clio Cup Junior car at a special sampler day session in October. This was courtesy of a number of teams from the senior UK Clio Cup which were also running cars in Junior specification for the first time.
The cars are identical to those in the senior UK Clio Cup which features at the British Touring Car Championship’s high-profile events except for a minor modification to the ECU – limiting it to five gears and a top speed of 100mph – and a switch to high-performance road tyres, Michelin’s Pilot Sport 3. This ensures it meets strict junior racing regulations.
There was unanimous praise for the Junior with Sutton, UK Clio Cup Champion in 2015 and BTCC sensation this year, commenting: “It’s just brilliant. It is so much fun to drive and the championship is going to teach young drivers an awful lot about race craft too.
“On the technical side I found the car to be very consistent and it really inspires confidence in the driver – you can push it to the limit and a bit more but never feel totally out of your comfort zone or scared and that’s so important for a junior driver.”
Of the ‘juniors’ to try the car, 14-year-old Harry Gooding, the new Ford Fiesta Junior Champion, said: “It does everything you want it to do – it is a proper race car and you cannot fault anything. The Michelin tyres are really good, too, considering they are road-spec – they give a lot of grip and don’t drop off in performance.”
Fifteen-year-old Zak Fulk from European karting added: “There’s a different technique required, of course, but any competent karter could adapt to this car very quickly. I think the UK Clio Cup Junior concept is brilliant – it gives people the best start to their car racing careers and a real advantage over those not doing it, particularly when they go into the senior classes.”
And continued 14-year-old Luke Browning, a race winner in Junior Saloon Cars: “I had a fantastic day testing the UK Clio Cup Junior car and see this as a great opportunity for any young driver wanting to take their racing to the next level.”
Meanwhile six teams have now announced they will run cars in UK Clio Cup Junior in 2017:
Finsport: successful title-winning club-level squad from Lincoln
JamSport: 2016 UK Clio Cup Champion with Ant Whorton-Eales
Westbourne Motorsport: race-winner/title challenger in UK Clio Cup
WDE Motorsport: race-winner/title challenger in UK Clio Cup
Ciceley Motorsport: front-running UK Clio Cup squad; also has a BTCC team
Team Pyro with 20Ten: amalgamation of multiple title-winner and race-winner in UK Clio Cup
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