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Clio Cup grid taking shape for 2019 season opener

Ben Colburn and newcomer Finlay Robinson were among the latest drivers to confirm their places on the 2019 Renault UK Clio Cup grid as we went to press.
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Both will race for Westbourne Motorsport which last year, particularly with driver James Dorlin, often became the team to beat – together they achieved an unrivalled six race wins and very nearly claimed the title, too.

Colburn, aged 19 from Worthing, is the younger brother of long-time Clio Cup front-runner and now Westbourne Team Principal James Colburn.

Meanwhile 18-year-old Harrogate racer Robinson’s graduation to the Clio Cup is a natural step up after previously competing in the club-level Michelin Clio Cup Series with Westbourne.

Both have already begun their pre-season testing programmes with an outing at Brands Hatch which will host the season’s opening two rounds on the weekend of Sat 6/Sun 7 April.

They were joined on track at Brands by MRM’s Jack Young who then went on to test further at Thruxton, Snetterton and Donington Park.

Young, just 17 from Belfast, is among many people’s tip for the title in 2019 but among those he must beat will be his great rival from last November’s Clio Cup ‘world final’ at Paul Ricard, France – Max Coates.

North Yorkshireman Coates has moved to the Team HARD outfit for 2019 and, having been beaten in the world final at Paul Ricard by Young will be eager to exact his revenge when they meet again at Brands Hatch in April.

Although others are still to confirm their Clio Cup plans, the Young-Coates rivalry alone is expected to be one of British motor sport’s most exciting duals of 2019…

Meanwhile the Clio Cup’s reputation for producing future stars has been further highlighted in January and February. 

Its 2015 Champion Ashley Sutton and 2014 runner-up Josh Cook have announced they will again be in front-running teams in this year’s British Touring Car Championship – music to the ears of many a fan after the pair’s thrilling final round showdown last year on the Brands Hatch GP circuit. Sutton will stick with the BMR outfit with which he won 2017’s BTCC crown; Cook will move to the BTC team which proved a revelation in 2018’s BTCC.

Cook’s 2018 team-mate Senna Proctor, another past Clio Cup racer, will join Sutton at BMR it has also been announced.

Two drivers from 2018’s Clio Cup will also be in the BTCC this year: three-time race winner and title contender Daniel Rowbottom graduates with Ciceley Motorsport and Nicolas Hamilton is with Motorbase. In fact, ten former Clio Cup racers have now been confirmed for this year’s BTCC grid…

In addition, Renault racing ‘legend’ Jason Plato has switched to the Power Maxed concern in an effort to win a third BTCC title – Plato’s past career is filled with success with Renault Sport: he won 1991’s Formula Renault Eurocup single-seater title, then the 1996 Renault UK Spider sportscar crown before going on to race the manufacturer’s Laguna BTCC model from 1997-99.

Elsewhere, James Dorlin (mentioned above) has confirmed he will race McLaren’s latest 570S GT4 machine in selected rounds of this year’s British GT Championship.