Bumper crowd, live ITV4 coverage
The event is expected to be a near sell-out as tens of thousands of motor sport fans from London and also further afield travel in via the M25 and M20 motorways to see the UK Clio Cup and British Touring Car Championship in action one last time this year.
As ever the UK Clio Cup’s closing round of 2017 on Sunday will be shown live on ITV4 as part of the channel’s extensive BTCC coverage that runs from 10:30 to 18:45...
Bushell, Rivett lead charge in Pyro vs WDE teams’ title fight
Bushell put the matter beyond doubt last time out at Silverstone in a race made all the more memorable for Paul Rivett’s (Epsom Downs) victory in his 200th start in the championship.
The two may have embraced afterwards but be under no illusion – this weekend they are at war with their two teams, Pyro and WDE, going head to head for the Entrants Trophy title. Pyro currently leads but Brands Hatch is home territory for Ashford-based WDE.
Pyro comes armed with six drivers: Bushell, ‘local’ Jack McCarthy (Bromley), Nathan Harrison (Oxford), Lucas Orrock (the Cambridge driver buzzing after a maiden pole and podium at Silverstone) and 16-year-old sensations Zak Fulk (Guildford) and Bradley Burns (Farnham).
WDE is ‘five alive’ with a line-up of Rivett, Lee Pattison (Halifax), Dan Zelos (Dereham), Luke Reade (another local from nearby Dartford) and Sam Osborne (Worksop). Either Rivett or Pattison will win the Masters Cup title for older drivers.
Three-way showdown for Graduates Cup trophy
Meanwhile Harrison and McCarthy are two of three drivers embroiled in the fight to win the Graduates Trophy for young drivers in their maiden UK Clio Cup season. The other, Westbourne’s James Dorlin (Barnsley), splits them having slashed the gap to Harrison to just 14 points at Silverstone where he took two maximum scores in the class – one of them with a win outright.
Aiming to end on a high
Like Bushell, Rivett, Pattison and Dorlin, Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates (Scorton) and PP Motorsport/Westbourne’s James Colburn (Worthing) have also won already in 2017 and could do so again at Brands Hatch. Coates’s pace and attacking style of late in particular mark him out as a real threat. Ditto Daniel Rowbottom (Kidderminster) who, after five strong third place results, hopes to end 2017 on a high for his small DRM squad.
Ciceley’s Jade Edwards (Aylesbury) and MRM Racing’s Brett Lidsey (yet another local from Northfleet) will both be feeling confident following top-ten, career-best results at Silverstone and expect new Ciceley signing Aaron Thompson (Romford) and STR’s Shawn Taylor (Norwich) to also be in the mix. Westbourne meanwhile will field a third car for Ben Palmer (Maidenhead) – his prize for securing the club-level Michelin Clio Series title at Brands Hatch last weekend.
Whorton-Eales, Sutton records could go
Finally the UK Clio Cup’s switch to Michelin tyres this year has resulted in new qualifying and race lap records galore so Brands GP’s – both set in 2015 by none other than current BTCC aces Ant Whorton-Eales and Ashley Sutton respectively – could also be at risk. Notably just two years after winning the UK Clio Cup crown Sutton goes to Brands Hatch this weekend with a chance of becoming the new BTCC Champion…
When/where to watch
The Renault UK Clio Cup’s drivers will first be on track at Silverstone on the Friday (29 Sept) for two timed test sessions, allowing them to fine-tune their cars to the circuit’s characteristics. At 10:55 on Saturday comes the crucial half-hour timed qualifying session which will determine their starting grid positions for the two races (rounds 17 and 18 of the championship). Round 17 is also on the Saturday, at 15:50, and round 18 on Sunday, at 12:55. Both races are 12 laps in distance.