That’s the view of Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes while reflecting on the Clio Cup’s 2018 season.
Indeed the championship’s 18 rounds produced:
• 6 different winners – 3 of them new
• 9 different drivers achieved podium results
• 7 different drivers qualify on pole position
• 11 different drivers set fastest race lap
• Youngest front row of a grid in its history (combined age 35)
• Youngest ever driver on pole position (age 16)
“Renault Sport’s motor sport activity has always been about encouraging and supporting new talent but I can’t recall a season quite like 2018,” said Fewkes.
“First wins and that memorable front row for Jack McCarthy and Bradley Burns and then, in the second half of the season, the emergence of Jack Young and Nick Reeve and also, to some extent, Ben Colburn…
“All five drivers should hold their heads high. Adding real credibility to their achievements is the fact they’ve done it in the Clio Cup which, as a single model saloon car championship, again stood out as being unrivalled across Europe in terms of competition and parity of equipment. Not forgetting their achievements have been broadcast live on ITV4 and watched by many tens of thousands of spectators at the events.”
The 2018 stats also show that all 24 drivers who contested the season achieved a points-scoring (top 15) result along the way. A staggering 19 of them also ended the year with a top ten finish to their name.
“When you consider that there were at least 12 potential race winners every time we went out on track that speaks volumes for the quality of the grid from top to bottom,” added Fewkes.
“The title race, although decided later in a court of appeal, will still go down as a real classic and that’s saying something given how many great drivers the Clio Cup has produced since the early 1990s.
“James Dorlin and Max Coates did most of the winning and were excellent in their approach, but obviously it was Paul Rivett who used all his guile and experience to get their by stealth in the end.
“It was also great to see Daniel Rowbottom keep those three honest right up until the final rounds – it’s now led to him joining many ex-Clio Cup drivers in getting their big break in the BTCC and that’s a record of which we’re extremely proud. In fact there’s another ‘2018 Clio Cup driver to BTCC’ announcement coming soon which I know will be very popular…
“More than that his results, including three wins, showed yet again that the Clio Cup’s regulations enable a small, well prepared outfit can take it to the bigger teams fair and square.
“Proving this point further were the great results that MRM experienced in their first full season and, later, also Specialized Motorsport in just a handful of races.
“Hats off, too, to Matrix Motorsport who in their first season became increasingly competitive with a third, a second and almost a win with Michael Epps, and also showed how the Clio Cup is highly attractive to brands seeking B2B activity.”
Fewkes added: “It has been a phenomenal year and interest in 2019’s championship – which includes a much anticipated return to Knockhill and a Scottish motor sport fan base – is already very high.
“We look forward to seeing which new talents will emerge and to giving the championship’s many thousands of fans watching at home and trackside another season to remember.”