Racing rookie Gary Jenner (Hartley, Kent) and relatively inexperienced competitor Paul Donkin (Bishop Auckland) will each debut in the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup next weekend, 11th/12th October, during the 2014 season finale at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Brands Hatch local Jenner, who only completed his ARDS test to gain his competition licence at the beginning of this week, replaces Devon Modell (Maidstone) at Westbourne Motorsport and will run in the same car taken to a best finish of fifth place at Snetterton in round 11.
The 51-year-old has close ties with Modell, as a chief sponsor to the series front-runner through his businesses Gallery Nightclub and Strood Motor Centre, and when the opportunity to compete at Brands Hatch presented itself Jenner didn’t think twice about grasping the chance with both hands.
Well aware of the huge leap he is making into the ultra-competitive Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder series, the motorsport enthusiast is aiming to stay out of trouble and simply use the event to learn as much as he can.
“The opportunity has all come about through Devon [Modell] as we’ve supported his racing with sponsorship”, explained the series newcomer, “I only took my ARDS on Monday of this week, so it’s definitely going to be a baptism of fire for me next weekend. Obviously, I’m not allowed to test the new car at Brands until next Friday but I have had a run in one of last year’s cars which went well.”
Jenner, who is a qualified helicopter pilot, will also use next weekend’s event as a vehicle to help promote and raise money for Urban Blue Bus of Maidstone which is a charity venture ensuring the safety and well-being of young people in the Kent town.
“I’m no slouch but I’m not setting my sights too high – just because someone might play golf doesn’t mean they can go and play in the Ryder Cup!”, he added, “I’m very excited to be racing on the Grand Prix Circuit for the first time and hopefully we can raise some good money for the charity too.”
North East racing driver Donkin, meanwhile, will compete with the newly crowned Team Trophy winners SV Racing for his Renault UK Clio Cup debut and is relishing the prospect of competing in a front-wheel drive car for the first time.
The 29-year-old, who will run at Brands Hatch with support from Donkin Group and Slough-based Motion Simulation, started out racing for the first time in 2013 at the wheel of his own Ariel Atom and then had a one-off outing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Croft in June.
Running in the Pro-Am 2 division, the Bishop Auckland driver starred with the class victory in his maiden race – sixth overall – before doubling up in the second Croft encounter with precisely the same result. Now, he switches to the entirely different challenge of a turbo-powered Renault Clio.
“I had an approach from Danny [Buxton – SV Racing team principal], I know him through a good friend, and there was a seat available for Brands so I thought why not?”, explained Donkin, “I raced at Croft in the Porsche Carrera Cup and it went well, before that I’ve raced an Ariel Atom in the Atom Cup – I’ve never driven front-wheel drive on track so it’ll be a new experience.
“My dad and I got an Atom that we used for trackdays and then I started to race it, racing is something I’ve always wanted to do. Next weekend will be something completely different but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Jenner and Donkin will make their first official appearance in the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup next Friday, 10th October, during testing at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit ahead of the final event of the 2014 season over the weekend, 11th/12th October.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.