Aspiring professional racing driver Josh Files (Norwich) thoroughly enjoyed his maiden test in an NGTC-specification car from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton in Norfolk on Tuesday, 29th October – part of his prize for scooping the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup title.
Made possible by Dunlop, official tyre partner of the Clio Cup and BTCC, in conjunction with top touring car team Motorbase Performance, the 22-year-old said his first experience of a top-line NGTC car was “awesome” even though his outing was limited by changeable weather.
Although he only ended up with five laps of dry running in total, Files made a big impression in a car which had been set-up by Motorbase BTCC racer Tom Onslow-Cole, the 2006 Renault UK Clio Cup Champion.
“It was different to what I expected”, said Files, “The touring car was awesome, very powerful, big and heavy and the brakes are amazing – you get so much feel from them. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, it was a great experience.
“On my first run, I only had two laps and then it started raining. For my final run, I went out and warmed up the front tyres to ‘front-to-back’ them but before we had chance to switch them around it rained again! It wasn’t too bad but it was enough to make it very slippery, although for the final five laps I did have a chance to lean on the car and push more.”
Having secured the Renault UK Clio Cup title for Team Pyro just over a fortnight ago, Files is now on the cusp of a history-making championship double through his dovetailed season in the Eurocup Clio series. Heading into the finale at Motorland Aragon in Spain this coming weekend, 2nd/3rd November, the British racer has an 11 point lead at the top of the standings.
Whatever happens at the Alcaniz track, 2013 has been a fantastically successful year for Files and his first experience behind the wheel of a BTCC car yesterday has certainly whetted his appetite for a potential graduation into the UK’s biggest championship.
“I would love to do a season in touring cars next year, 100%, but it all comes down to budget and my current sponsors are looking at some opportunities on the GT path”, he commented, “It’s just down to the money at the end of the day, it always is, but the test has been an amazing opportunity.
“Motorbase is a brilliant team, they’re a really good bunch of guys and there are lots of laughs, great banter, but when it’s time to get serious they’re so professional. Pyro have that too, which is why we’ve worked together so well in Clios – I always thrive in that kind of environment.”
Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.