All teams and drivers entered today appeared at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham circuit for the championship’s annual pre-season launch event which includes a mixture of media activity and officially timed test sessions.
Notably 2016 will mark 25 years since the UK Clio Cup’s first race season was held in 1991. Furthermore the UK Clio Cup enters its 2016 season having also confirmed it will remain a permanent part of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship’s high-profile events through to the end of 2019 at least – meaning huge trackside crowds and live coverage on ITV4 for its teams, drivers and sponsors.
The 2016 entry list is fitting of such an anniversary with plenty of top names – among them former champions Paul Rivett and Mike Bushell, plus fellow proven race-winners Ant Whorton-Eales and Lee Pattison. Eleven more drivers return following full or part-campaigns in 2015 with the remaining eight all new to the championship. Some of those are already being tipped for future stardom…
Of ten different teams represented, four have strong links with the BTCC: reigning title-holder Pyro continues its partnership with leading BTCC squad BMR via its young protégé Senna Proctor; Bushell, also part of the Pyro line-up, returns to the grid after a season in the BTCC; another of the BTCC’s top outfits, Ciceley, is entering the UK Clio Cup for the first time with a three-car line-up; Cooksport is run by emerging BTCC star Josh Cook; JamSport has entered into a partnership with BTCC entrant Team HARD.
The UK Clio Cup enters 2016 hot off the heels of an enthralling 2015 season which resulted in a four-way fight for the title – eventually won at the final round by Ashley Sutton who now finds himself on the BTCC grid.
Jeremy Townsend, Renault UK’s Communications Director, commented: “We are absolutely delighted with the direction the UK Clio Cup is going in – we cannot think of another time when the levels of competition and professionalism in the championship have risen quite so dramatically. With such a high calibre of teams and drivers on the grid, the championship is on the cusp of a real purple patch in its history. Renault UK is looking forward very much to what promises to be another highly exciting season of action.”
Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship manager Will Fewkes said: “What an absolutely fantastic line-up of teams and drivers we have so far on the UK Clio Cup grid and there could yet be several more very interesting announcements to come between now and Brands Hatch.
“Last year was hailed by some as the best UK Clio Cup season ever thanks to the drama at the front but already people are saying this year could surpass that – certainly a rise in numbers which we have is always great to see, but Renault Sport’s championships in the UK have also always been very much about the quality and it is hugely important we maintain that for the spectacle we want to put on for the trackside fans and ITV viewers.
“Likewise in continuing our reputation for producing the best young names for the future and we again have some truly excellent prospects on the entry list as we enter the final countdown to the new season. I for one cannot wait to see how things unfold at Brands Hatch in just over a week’s time.”
ENTRY LIST: 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup
No. Driver (NAT), Hometown, Team
1. Mike Bushell (GBR), Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Team Pyro
3. Ollie Pidgley (GBR), Salisbury, Wilts, Ciceley Motorsport
7. Sam Watkins (GBR), Swansea, Glamorgan, 20Ten Racing
8. Luke Kidsley (GBR), Duston, Northants, JamSport Racing
10. Ant Whorton-Eales (GBR), Lichfield, Staffs, JamSport with AWE Motorsport
11. Anton Spires (GBR), Buckingham, PP Motorsport
13. Rory Collingbourne (GBR), Newport, Gwent, Team Cooksport
20. Paul Plant (GBR), Copthorne, West Sussex, Vanquish Motorsport with WDE
22. Paul Rivett (GBR), Epsom Downs, Surrey, WDE Motorsport
23. Charles Ladell (GBR), Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, WDE Motorsport
24. George Jackson (GBR), Bedford, Team Cooksport
26. Paul Streather (GBR), Hinckley, Leics, Finesse Motorsport/Paul Streather
28. Josh Price (GBR), Redbourn, Herts, Team Pyro
32. Daniel Rowbottom (GBR), Kidderminster, Worcs, Team EcoMotive with DRM
44. David Dickenson (IRL), Wicklow, Co Wicklow, Team Pyro
45. Dan Zelos (GBR), Dereham, Norfolk, Ciceley Motorsport
46. Lee Pattison (GBR), Scholes, West Yorkshire, Team Cooksport
50. Graham Field (GBR), Southwell, Notts, JamSport Racing
55. Tom Butler (GBR), Derby, 20Ten Racing
63. Rory Green (GBR), Hildenborough, Kent, WDE Motorsport
66. Senna Proctor (GBR), Driffield, East Riding of Yorks, Team BMR with Pyro
71. Max Coates (GBR), Scorton, North Yorkshire, Ciceley Motorsport
99. Darren Johnson (GBR), Kidderminster, Worcs, Team Pyro