The championship – Renault Sport’s premier motor sport activity in the UK – is entering its 19th consecutive year with all its races again taking place at the British Touring Car Championship’s high profile events.
This guarantees the action is not just played out in front of bumper trackside crowds (these averaged 38,500 people in 2017) but also live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and online via ITV.com.
Eighteen drivers have so far been confirmed ahead of the opening two rounds at Brands Hatch (Sat 7/Sun 8 April) with more entries anticipated in the run-up to the event.
All 18 have previously won titles, races or classes during their racing careers and, as expected, lap times proved incredibly close during testing at the annual pre-season Media Day launch, this year held at Silverstone (15 March).
Max Coates, a title challenger in 2016 and 2017, was fastest first time out for Team Pyro but new team Matrix Motorsport caused a surprise as three of its four drivers, Michael Epps, Aaron Thompson and Andy Wilmot, all ran him close.
So, too, did WDE Motorsport’s three-time Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett who is going for his fourth crown in 2018 and Westbourne Motorsport’s James Dorlin who was twice a winner in his debut season last year. Another to impress was 19-year-old newcomer Nathan Edwards (WDE)…
CLICK HERE to see the full list of runners and riders.
For Rivett, 2018 marks his 13th full season in the Clio Cup since he made a winning debut in 2001. He said: “The 2018 grid is looking as strong as ever and that has always been one of the Clio Cup’s great attributes – the quality of the grid and the level of competitiveness. You’d choose quality over quantity any time if you want credibility as a racing driver.
“Plus of course it’s part of the big show at the BTCC’s events – massive crowds, live coverage on ITV4, professional organisation, great cars and the support from Renault who really understand what this sport is all about.”
Among those Rivett has raced in his Clio Cup career are a dozen drivers on this year’s touring car grid – including 2015 winner Ashley Sutton who starts 2018 as the reigning BTCC Champion…
Meanwhile the Media Day event drew close to 40 media as the drivers were interviewed, filmed and photographed. Some lucky guests experienced passenger laps. Part of the day was earmarked for production of a season preview film which will be broadcast in the days before the opening rounds.
Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes commented: “The scene is set for a truly memorable season in 2018 – the entries we have received so far are absolutely top class, re-emphasising the UK Clio Cup’s position as Europe’s premier single make saloon car championship.
“We’ve got the cars, the professionalism, the organisation, the racing heritage and a level of technical support that most others can only dream of. And we are part of UK motor sport’s biggest show by far – the BTCC.”