More than 40,000 people from a surrounding catchment area that includes the cities of Chester, Manchester, Liverpool and Wrexham are expected to pour into the picturesque parkland venue’s event which is headlined by the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship’s latest rounds.
The Clio Cup’s two races – both 12 laps – take place at 4.00pm Saturday and 1.00pm Sunday. The half-hour qualifying session that will determine the starting grids for both races takes place at 10.55am on Saturday.
Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), driving for Cheshire team SV Racing, currently leads the Clio Cup standings but is under pressure from Team Pyro pair Ashley Sutton (Bishops Stortford) and Ash Hand (Nuneaton). Hand has won the last three races in a row while Sutton is backed by BMR that runs the race-winning cars of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Aron Smith in the BTCC.
Just 24 points cover Whorton-Eales back to Hand in third with 32 awarded per race win so there is everything to play for…
Team boss of Northwich-based SVR is former Clio Cup Champion Daniel Buxton who knows what it takes to win around Oulton’s swoops and swerves. “It is a place for the brave – it’s got an old school feel to it, narrow and very little run-off so there’s no room for error when you are at the limit, particularly on a banzai qualifying lap. The driver has to feel comfortable with that and not be fazed by it.
“I don’t want to give away too many secrets but being local and knowing the circuit as well as I do gives an advantage – more so on which bits of track not to use. But it’s certainly a circuit that sorts the men from the boys.”
Heading the chase of the top three are WDE Motorsport’s triple Champion Paul Rivett (Epsom) – the qualifying and race lap record holder at Oulton – 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Towcester) and SVR’s Jack Mitchell (West Kingsdown). After missing the most recent rounds at Thruxton, Pyro’s Brett Smith (Wellingborough), the son of BTCC racer Jeff Smith, returns and is another potential winner having challenged strongly for the victory at Donington Park…
BTCC racer Josh Cook’s squad Team Cooksport has expanded to four cars for Oulton Park with new signing George Jackson adding to its line-up alongside the rapid Charles Ladell (Ipswich) and Rory Collingbourne (Newport, South Wales) plus Jon Maybin (Chinnor) who gets a second outing after dazzling on his debut at Thruxton.
JamSport’s Dan Holland (Dagenham) is also potential podium material while his team-mate Thomas Grundy – at 17 commuting to each event from home in Dubai! – and WDE’s Rory Green (Hildenborough) continue to grow in confidence. Pyro’s Mark Howard (Oakham) leads the Masters Cup for older drivers with Graham Field (Nottingham), who has just become a grandfather, his main rival in the class at Oulton.