Rockingham is one of four new circuits that have been added for the category’s 14 to 17 year-old drivers to learn at the wheel of their junior-specification Clio Cup race cars.
It is also another circuit that is raced on by the senior UK Clio Cup and the British Touring Car Championship – thereby giving the youngsters plenty more valuable experience in cars similar to those they are aiming to race longer term in their careers.
Leading the standings after a dream debut in the category at Silverstone are Nic Reeve (Romford) and the Specialized Motorsport team.
The combination achieved a double victory at the Formula 1 venue having also qualified on pole position for both races there. But that will surely have only served as a wake-up call for their three main rivals arriving at Rockingham, namely JamSport Racing’s Louis Doyle (Mawdesley) and Team Pyro pair Lorcan Hanafin (Guiseley) and Gus Burton (Colchester) who all starred in 2017’s inaugural Clio Cup Junior championship.
Doyle goes into Rockingham’s two rounds closest of all to Reeve in the drivers’ standings. He took third and fourth place finishes at Silverstone and his score was boosted by bonus points for recording the fastest lap time in both races – an indicator of just how rapid he can be. He will be keen to achieve a first win in Clio Cup Junior at his team’s home circuit.
Reeve’s closest rivals on track at Silverstone however were Burton and then Hanafin – they took turns to harry him all the way in the two races before taking a second apiece.
Burton actually crossed the finish line ahead of Reeve in race one but officials deemed he had been a touch too robust in his move for the lead and demoted him to second. It meant a maiden win in the category for Burton had been taken away and, although the 15-year-old accepted the decision graciously, he will be eager to finally break his victory duck at Rockingham.
Certainly, the early season form suggests an intense fight between the above quartet when they take to the track at Rockingham with its NASCAR-style banked Turn 1 and which is also the only anti-clockwise circuit configuration on the calendar.
The Clio Cup Junior drivers will first take to the track at 13:45 on Saturday for their timed qualifying session. Race one on Sunday is at 10:30 and race two is at 14:35. Both races are 20 minutes in length.