Round one takes place on Saturday afternoon (16:25), while Sunday’s second round (13:20) will be broadcast live on free-to-air television (ITV4 & ITV4HD) and also streamed live to mobile devices by ITV.
Furthermore a huge trackside crowd of over 38,000 people is expected as the Clio Cup once more plays a supporting role to the high-profile British Touring Car Championship in 2019. Indeed, all 18 Clio Cup rounds will be played out at BTCC events. These include a return to the spectacular Knockhill circuit in Fife in August before the season finale back at Brands Hatch in October.
The season can also be followed via the Clio Cup’s popular Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social media channels starting tomorrow (Friday) with two officially timed free practice sessions at Brands Hatch. Combined, those channels are followed by over 30,000 fans...
Notably, drivers have one last chance to drive into the Clio Cup history books in 2019 as this will mark the championship’s final year and, before the season has even begun, many are already anticipating a fierce rivalry to emerge between MRM’s Jack Young and Team HARD’s Max Coates.
Coates came agonisingly close to last year’s UK Clio Cup title; then narrowly missed out in the Clio Cup ‘world final’ to Young at Paul Ricard, France.
Five months on, it really is a case of ‘battle re-joined’ between this pair and it is impossible to say who might come out on top: 17-year-old sensation (and Colin Turkington protégé) Young or the more experienced Coates? Significantly, should Young go on to claim the title he will become the youngest Champion in Clio Cup history…
While results from 2018 indicate it may be one of these two for the title, do not discount the opposition.
Certainly Coates has been full of praise for his young team-mate Ethan Hammerton who not only impressed for Team HARD in last year’s BTCC but also ran Young very close for the Clio Cup Junior title in 2017. Hammerton's car will carry ITV4's on-board camera during this Sunday's race...
Jade Edwards, daughter of former Clio Cup Champion Jim Edwards Jnr, joins them in the HARD line-up and is hugely determined to turn some front-running pace in 2018 into podium results.
Young is partnered at MRM by Brett Lidsey and Ben Davis. A Brands local, Lidsey was also towards the sharp end in 2018 and featured strongly in the world cup final. He can only build on that form in 2019… For former karting ace Davis, a first full season in the Clio Cup is reward for plenty of hard work behind the scenes.
Westbourne Motorsport was often the benchmark team in 2018 with its star driver James Dorlin; for 2019 its driver line-up is very different. Founder Richard Colburn’s rapid son Ben (who takes over the seat vacated by older brother James) is joined by Westbourne’s young BARC Clio Series protégé Finlay Robinson, Aaron Thompson – due some strong results in his third season in the category – and, thanks to a late deal, past front-runner Anton Spires.
Back, too, is the jovial Luke Warr. If 2018’s upwards form continues, top six finishes will be within reach for him and the Specialized Motorsport team.
Meanwhile, for proof of the Clio Cup’s ability to produce star quality, look no further than this weekend’s BTCC grid: Ashley Sutton, Josh Cook, Jack Goff, Senna Proctor, Colin Turkington, Chris Smiley, Sam Tordoff and Andrew Jordan – winners all! Good luck to them in 2019 and to Daniel Rowbottom, Nicolas Hamilton and Sam Osborne – also moving up to the BTCC straight from the Clio Cup.