A dozen drivers aged between 14 and 17 sampled the car which is near identical to that used in the high-profile senior Renault UK Clio Cup which races alongside the British Touring Car Championship.
Three cars – provided by Renault Sport UK and the Finsport with WDE Motorsport and JamSport Racing teams – were at their disposal around the Blyton Park Driving Centre circuit in Lincolnshire.
Among those on track was Jordan Collard, 17-year-old son of BTCC star Rob Collard who currently races in the Ginetta Junior category. He commented: “It’s a seriously good car – dynamic and a lot more modern than anything else out there at junior level.
“It’s quite a bit quicker too – I was two seconds up on anything I’d done around Blyton before. It’s planted around the corners and got some serious grunt out of the corners. This would be a very good step, I feel…”
Abbi Pulling, aged 14 and current leader of karting’s British Super 1 Junior KTM category, enthused: “It is just mint to drive and it’s something I’d seriously consider when looking to make the move to cars – it looks like being a really competitive category and also the cars are even.
“It’s very different to what I’m used to in a kart but I found it easy to pick up and was able to learn with every lap – the speed you take through the corners is really impressive. It’s a very good formula for the future. The cars are more technical but that helps to improve the driver. An amazing car, I’d say, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Ethan Hammerton, aged 16 and who currently leads the Junior Saloon Car Championship, said: “The car gives you a lot of confidence – it’s really grippy and the brakes are very good. The lighting on the dashboard, the paddle shift gear changes – it’s a proper, well-built racing car and a really good step up. Getting involved can lead to the senior UK Clio Cup and whoever wins it will be looking good.”
Fellow 15-year-old JSCC racer Ronan Pearson added: “Suddenly I feel like I’ve driven a real, purpose built race car. The speed of the gear changes, the power of the brakes, the sensitivity of the steering – it’s got the lot.
“The paddle shift gear change also means you don’t need a clutch – a lot of young drivers have some sort of driving simulator at home and this is similar – you only need the brake and the accelerator so are able to settle in quickly. It is something I am looking at and to be on the Clio ladder would be a great step for your career.”