British Touring Car star Mike Bushell makes shock return Renault UK Clio Cup

Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells), the Renault UK Clio Cup Champion from 2014, is to make a shock return to the championship in 2016 for the same squad he won the title with two years ago, Team Pyro.
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Bushell spent 2015 competing in Britain’s premier motor racing category, the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship.

But with the chances of a top-line drive limited this year, he has made the decision to contest the UK Clio Cup again. He will of course continue to be racing in front of the touring car crowds – all 18 races on the UK Clio Cup calendar take place at the BTCC’s events with the action shown live on ITV4.

The 26-year-old commented: “We put a lot into our BTCC effort in 2015 but a bad crash really set us back and actually had a knock-on effect for this year. Coming back to the UK Clio Cup gives me the ideal opportunity to regroup before looking again at touring cars. I’m sure some people will be a bit shocked but sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.

“There are other things out there but, for a driver wanting to make a career out of racing, the UK Clio Cup is I’ve decided the best place for me to keep my name on people’s radars. Everything about it is right – the organisation, the promotion, the profile, the action on the track, the fact you know as a driver it’s a level playing field… Plus the cars are just so much fun to drive – I tested one at Donington Park just before Christmas and immediately fell in love again.

“I also feel I have unfinished business in the UK Clio Cup. Sure I won it in 2014 but my results in the first half of that season were inconsistent – I want to put that right. I see Ant Whorton-Eales is hanging around as well – he’s a tough cookie and we had a few ding-dongs before, although are good pals now. I’m really looking forward to coming up against him on track again and a few others. It’s a great looking grid for 2016.”

Leicester-based Team Pyro has won seven of the last eight UK Clio Cup drivers’ titles. Team Principal Mark Hunt said: “Clearly we are delighted to have Mike back in one of our cars – he obviously knows how to wring the most from these cars! But the competition since then has intensified a lot and he and our team know even being on the first three rows of the grid in qualifying this year is going to be an achievement. We now look forward to announcing the remainder of our driver line-up in the near future.”

Renaultsport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes added: “This is a brave move by Mike for a number of reasons – not least because of the expectation that will be on his shoulders – but one that should also be applauded. After a season competing in the dizzying heights of British Touring Cars, listening to what he has to say about the UK Clio Cup has huge credibility and is also why after our overhaul of the championship in 2015 we are now attracting such a high level of both driver and team to the grid.”