Team Pyro and SV Racing ‘officially’ broke cover with their new fourth generation Renault UK Clio Cup race cars at a cold Donington Park on Friday, 7th February, as part of an untimed general test session at the Leicestershire track.
Reigning driver and team champions Pyro were in action with new 2014 signing Rob Smith (Telford) and 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup and Eurocup Clio title winner Josh Files (Norwich), the latter assisting with set-up work on the Dunlop-shod, 1.6-litre turbo-charged Clio.
Reporting a positive start to his 2014 preparations, Pyro’s Smith – embarking on his third season in the popular Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder series – was thrilled with his first proper experience of the latest Renault UK Clio Cup challenger.
“Friday was a really positive start, we had the chance to run in both wet and dry conditions and racked up some decent mileage too which helped me get a feel for the car”, reflected the Evergreen Tyres-backed driver, “On first impressions, the new Clio feels much more advanced and up to date, a big step forward from the old car.
“For me, the biggest improvement is the unassisted brakes – but the gearbox, diff, new dash and the increased setup adjustability all make it feel like a much more serious race car. It's a really enjoyable car to drive as well, so I'm looking forward to getting back out in it already!”
Championship contenders SV Racing ran recently signed KX Akademy-backed racer Ash Hand (Nuneaton) and team principal Danny Buxton is delighted with the way the second-year driver has been getting to grips with the fourth generation Clio.
“It was a great day, really encouraging, and we managed to put plenty of miles on two chassis”, said Buxton, “With it being wet and dry, we managed to get a full programme of running done which was great and just what we wanted.
“Friday was our second day out and, to be fair, the car has run faultlessly with no mechanical problems at all, the crew has been really encouraged. Ash is getting a real feel for the car now, he had a great end to the season last year and I really do think he’s going to be very strong this year.”
As more teams and drivers test their new Renault UK Clio Cup cars over the coming weeks, all will be building up to the officially timed pre-season test and Media Day at Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit on Wednesday, 19th March. From there, the opening two rounds of the new season will take place at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent on 29th/30th March.
Renault UK Clio Cup is supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.