28/12/2018

“The grandstands are always packed when the Clio Cup comes out to play…” Media reflect on 2018 season

In no particular order, we asked various members of the media at the heart of every British Touring Car Championship event who and what stood out for them during the Renault UK Clio Cup’s season just gone.
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Each of course had differing thoughts but, above all, their views reflect just how good the Clio Cup remains for raw action and unpredictability. Here’s what they had to say…

Richard John Neil, ITV Sport Commentator
“2018 struck me as a year of contrast. The experienced Paul Rivett took the title but then there were so many quick youngsters. Six time race winner James Dorlin and newcomers Bradley Burns and Jack Young will surely be hard to beat next year.

“Spirit of the Championship? Jeff Alden and Luke Warr stood out for me, too, as shining examples of drivers who were there to learn and enjoy themselves. They seemed to do both in large quantities.”

Chris Hartley, Lead BTCC Circuit Commentator
“In a year that was so tight and so unpredictable, I was seriously impressed when James Dorlin managed to put that five-race winning streak together mid-season – the first time anyone's done that since Dave Newsham back in 2010.

“And after knocking at the door for three years, it was hugely satisfying to see Dan Rowbottom take his maiden win at Snetterton. Jade Edwards proved a real ‘fan favourite’ and showed terrific determination as she kept coming back from countless setbacks.

“But, above all, 2018 felt like a breakthrough season for emerging talent (though I can think of at least one old boy that can still teach them a trick or two)! Youngest driver records were broken and then broken again and it feels like fans are really invested in the Clio Cup: the grandstands are always packed when the Clios come out to play, as spectators try to catch an early glimpse of the next generation of BTCC stars.”

Chris Ashby, Motorsport Journalist & PR, BARC
“The Renault UK Clio Cup never fails to disappoint and the title battle in 2018 showcased just that! It went down to the wire as it always does and left all of us on the edge of our seats until the very last lap – and that’s how it should be.

“James Dorlin and Max Coates were sublime throughout the season and underlined their credentials as real stars of the future, whilst Paul Rivett showed his considerable class, too. When we look back on the 2018 season in future it will go down as a real vintage year for the championship.”

Jonny Palmer, ITV Sport & Circuit Commentator
"Another incredibly close season that came down to the wire (and a little bit beyond it)! Paul Rivett’s fourth title showed that he can more than match the category’s young guns. A run of five-straight wins for James Dorlin was mightily impressive. Bradley Burns looks a real talent; the 17-year-old’s double-victory at Silverstone displayed his raw pace but also consistency. And Max Coates deserves credit for giving everything he had, together with a striking ability to be gracious in defeat.”

Andy McEwan, Circuit Commentator
“Not content with the levels of drama and excitement produced in 2017, the Clio Cup’s teams and drivers out-did themselves in 2018, producing one of the most intriguing title battles and some of the closest racing to date.

“It’s been fascinating to see some of the young chargers starting to achieve their full potential, too, with special mentions in that regard going to the ultra-consistent James Dorlin and the spectacular Bradley Burns.

“Full credit to all involved, though, as the quality of the racing once more went down a treat with the fans, both at home and trackside. While the slip streamer thrillers from Silverstone have to be a particular highlight of mine, there really never was a dull moment all season long!”

Stephen Lickorish, Motorsport News & Autosport magazines
“It was another incredible Renault UK Clio Cup season that had bucket loads of drama – both on and off the track!

“There was a thrilling title battle between three evenly-matched drivers and plenty of new names established themselves as stars of the future, including Bradley Burns – who finally took his first victories that his performances had deserved.

“But for me the defining moment of the year came at Donington Park back in April when the WDE Motorsport team managed to get Paul Rivett back out for race two after a massive opening race smash. That was crucial to his title win and made the difference at the end of the year.”

Phil Glew, ITV Sport Commentator
“The youngest pole sitter and youngest winner record kept getting beaten throughout 2018 which really showed the young talent of today coming through. Jack McCarthy finally got a win, but Bradley Burns and Jack Young are the real stars of the future.

“However James Dorlin is the man who has a bright future and who will go on to become a professional driver. He stayed out of trouble when his title rivals didn’t, showing great talent on and off the track.”

Carl McKellar, Media Officer, Renault UK Clio Cup
“James Dorlin and Max Coates did most of the winning but it was Paul Rivett’s greater consistency (click here) as well a couple of wins of his own that ultimately earned him a remarkable fourth title.

“Daniel Rowbottom deservedly also won several times while the emergence of rising stars Bradley Burns, Jack Young, Nick Reeve and Ben Colburn in particular was a joy to watch (each is potentially a very special talent).

“Other highlights? Sam Osborne’s flashes of form, Matrix and Michael Epps turning into very real contenders for victory, Luke Warr/ BLG’s progress, Specialized hitting the ground running and Jade Edwards’s gritty attitude and lesson to many drivers in how to PR themselves.

“In short, six different winners – three of them new – and a four-way fight for the title in the deciding rounds at Brands Hatch meant 2018’s Clio Cup season will go down as a real classic.”