Bushell sets sensational pace to head Thruxton's Renault UK Clio Cup test

The fastest laps ever seen by cars from the Renault UK Clio Cup around Thruxton were set during official testing today at the high-speed Hampshire circuit in which Mike Bushell emerged quickest of all.
  • Bushell-01.jpg (5)

Team Pyro’s Bushell set a best lap time of one minute, 22.090 seconds – a staggering average speed of 103.32mph for the 1.6 turbocharged cars. Unofficially that is the fastest average lap speed in history by a UK Clio Cup race car...

Bushell's time is, in effect, also a full second faster than the existing lap record held by Lee Pattison from 2014 (1m23.060s) which will surely be under threat when the UK Clio Cup returns in early May for the fifth and sixth rounds of its 2017 season. Likewise the race lap record of 1m23.443s which dates back to 2004…

In fact the next eight drivers also went faster than the qualifying benchmark – continuing a pattern already seen in the season’s opening two events at Brands Hatch and Donington Park where the qualifying and race lap records all tumbled.

Much of that is down to a faster, more durable Michelin tyre the UK Clio Cup has switched to for 2017.

Pyro’s Jack McCarthy was second fastest, the 16-year-old just 0.061s than his 2014 Champion team-mate Bushell. Then came WDE Motorsport trio Dan Zelos, Lee Pattison and Paul Rivett. Another Pyro driver, Nathan Harrison, rounded out the top six.

All briefly enjoyed a spell at the top of the timesheets during the afternoon session when the track was at its fastest…

Bushell reflected: “The data shows a theoretical best time of 1m21.8s was on the cards – I predict in qualifying in a few weeks’ time it’ll be a 21.5s.

“Undoubtedly getting in the slipstream of a car in front and picking up the ‘tow’ helps. We’ll need to do that in qualifying to be anywhere decent on the grid.

“On saying that I was able to do a time with no tow that was good enough for fourth fastest and, during a race run, I did six laps in a row all inside the 22s. The Michelin tyre hangs on really well even around here which is notoriously abrasive.”

Just behind the top six DRM’s Daniel Rowbottom, Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates, Pyro's Ollide Pidgley and PP Motorsport/Westbourne’s James Colburn completed the top ten. Meanwhile in his first official UK Clio Cup session, Brett Lidsey acquitted himself well with the 15th fastest time in his MRM team car.

After his sizeable roll at Donington last Sunday, Lucas Orrock was also able to participate in a spare car prepared by his JamSport Racing team.

Leading times, official Renault UK Clio Cup test, Thruxton (Thurs 20 April):
1 Mike Bushell (Team Pyro) 1m22.090s
2 Jack McCarthy (Team Pyro) +0.061s
3 Dan Zelos (WDE Motorsport) +0.213s
4 Lee Pattison (WDE Motorsport) +0.326s
5 Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport) +0.380s
6 Nathan Harrison (Team Pyro) +0.812s
7 Daniel Rowbottom (DRM) +0.821s
8 Max Coates (Ciceley Motorsport) +0.848s
9 Ollie Pidgley (Team Pyro) +0.929s
10 James Colburn (PP Motorsport/Westbourne) +1.002s
CLICK HERE for full times.