Michelin Clio champions Dorlin & Westbourne announce 2017 Renault UK Clio Cup bid

Exciting young racing talent James Dorlin (Barnsley) has become the second driver in just a few days to announce he will contest the Renault UK Clio Cup in 2017 with the returning Westbourne Motorsport team.
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Dorlin, aged 17, won the club-level Michelin Clio Series title (for older generation Clio Cup machinery) with Westbourne in 2016.

Now though comes the challenge of the UK Clio Cup – recognised as the ultimate proving ground for young drivers looking to a career in the British Touring Car Championship.

It is at the BTCC’s high-profile events that the UK Clio Cup races. Each event attracts huge trackside crowds (average 38,000+ in 2016) as well as vast levels of live free-to-air TV coverage on the ITV4 channel.

“It’s quite a step up – the grid is for the very latest specification Clio Cup race car produced by Renault Sport and the events are on a totally different scale to what I’m used to,” commented Dorlin.

“However I’m not daunted by it. I’ve tested the car a few times and seem to have been setting some good times and Westbourne have won in the UK Clio Cup in the past so I know, having already formed a very good relationship with them, that I’ve got the right team behind me.

“I’ve also seen how quickly Paul Streather got on with the UK Clio Cup when he progressed to it – I had some good races with him in the Michelin Clios in the past and I’m looking to achieve similar things. In theory 2017 will be a learning year ahead of a much bigger push in 2018. I want to finish the season inside the top ten at least.”

Dorlin’s announcement comes after fellow Yorkshireman Myles Collins (Harrogate) confirmed on Friday he had also signed to race for Westbourne in 2017.

Richard Colburn, Team Principal of the West Sussex-based squad, said: “We’re delighted to be working with James again in 2017 – he proved to us what a very exciting young talent he is in 2016 and I have no doubt he will quickly be towards the sharp end of the grid. We have some decent pre-season testing planned so we can hit the ground running at the first two races at Brands Hatch in early April – these can always prove very important to how the rest of your season unfolds.”

Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes added: “We very much welcome James to the UK Clio Cup. Indeed a Dorlin-Westbourne combination has the potential to be one of the revelations of 2017… It’s also really nice to see Westbourne’s plans falling into shape as they prepare for a return to the championship.”