27/09/2017

Edwards aiming even higher at “ballsy” Brands Hatch ahead of 2018 return

After her best result of the season to date, Jade Edwards is clearly fired up for the Renault UK Clio Cup’s final rounds of 2017 around Brands Hatch’s Grand Prix circuit which she believes will suit her “ballsy” driving style…
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Eighth place at Silverstone followed a tenth in the previous event at Rockingham to make it three top ten results to date (there was also a ninth at Croft in June).

Rockingham and Silverstone though have marked something of a turning of a corner for the 27-year-old Ciceley Motorsport driver with former championship runner-up and current British Touring Car ace Josh Cook having offered some valuable tips.

“We brought in Josh at Snetterton and obviously he has a lot of experience of the Clio Cup race car,” commented Edwards. “He’s watching the on-board footage and telling me to do X, Y and Z.

“After a career in rear-wheel-drive cars, it’s enabling me to iron out any bad habits which is good for my single lap pace and overall race pace as well.

“At Rockingham, Paul Rivett came up and complimented me after our race – to get that sort of respect from one of the best there’s ever been was a big deal for me.

“Then a P8 at Silverstone – my best result to date but the biggest positive of the weekend was being on the front-running pace from start to finish. To be consistently inside the top ten on a circuit where the times are so close and to match (new Champion) Mike Bushell’s best lap in race two was a massive deal.”

Edwards, like team-mate Max Coates, is surely one of the most astute drivers on the grid when it comes to marketing and she has a successful ‘9for9’ sponsorship campaign (nine sponsors in essence putting in equal amounts) to thank for her contesting the UK Clio Cup in 2017.

“When I had a DNF at Snetterton things were getting a bit tight but one of my sponsors, Spectra, really stepped up and helped and since then we’ve improved and got some good results,” she added.

“I want to be knocking on the door of a top five this weekend at Brands Hatch. A fifth and I would be over the moon! I’ve driven the GP track a lot but never in a race – on paper it should suit my driving style which I’d describe as ballsy!”

Edwards of course comes from something of a Renault racing dynasty – grandfather Jim Edwards Senior won the French manufacturer’s 5 TS title in the late Seventies before dad, Jim Junior, went on to take both 5 GT Turbo and UK Clio Cup crowns in 1991 and 2000 respectively.

She has therefore “grown up around Renault racing” but admitted: “This has been one of the trickiest seasons I’ve had in my career but I’d put that down to how competitive the championship is.

“But I’ve really enjoyed it. You’re part of something the public really enjoys – not many people leave their spot when the Clio Cup is about to come on track.

“Certainly I have every intention of being back in 2018 – the plan was always a minimum of two years. Believe it or not I’ve never had data analysis or driver coaching or working with team-mates until Clio Cup and it definitely makes you a better driver.

“In this championship you cannot afford to give away tenths of a second so you do learn to become the best driver possible which is only going to help when you move on to something else…”