The 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup season will go down as one of the most exciting in the championship’s history. As the year draws to a close we’ve chosen eight images that stood out for us.
Bigger grids, bigger crowds, ever-more live coverage on ITV4, increased competition and a continuation of the drama and unpredictability on the track that the UK Clio Cup has become famous for…
More of the same is in store in 2017 when the championship again races at the British Touring Car Championship’s events, starting at Brands Hatch in early April.
CLICK HERE for 2017 race dates and all the latest news.
Ultimately it was Ant Whorton-Eales who was crowned the 2016 Champion after an intense final round battle with arch rival Mike Bushell but these weren’t the only drivers to star during the season. Cue our eight pic special…
No.1: Lap 1, Race 1
In fact it’s the very first corner of the season! Daniel Rowbottom and Dan Zelos had, remarkably, qualified on pole position and third fastest on their debuts only to go spinning out just 300 metres after the start as they rounded Brands Hatch’s Paddock Hill Bend. Paul Streather – pictured in front – took an immediate lead to win for the first time in his career. Charlie Ladell meanwhile can be seen hanging on to a monumental slide…
No.2: You’re goose is cooked
Senna Proctor was one of the young rookie stars of 2016 but this was the moment it all went wrong for him at Donington Park. He emerged unscathed as did this Canadian goose which remarkably didn’t really start to budge until young Senna had stopped rolling!
No.3: 25 years young
2016 marked 25 years since the Renault UK Clio Cup was born (1991). And what finer way to celebrate the occasion (at Donington Park) than with a photoshoot showing an early Nineties race car (the Clio 1.8 16v) an the modern-day racer based on the Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy along with the 2016 grid and many of the past names who now find themselves fighting for glory in the British Touring Car Championship?
No.4: The Champ
Ant Whorton-Eales was a thoroughly deserving Champion in 2016 as borne out by his nine wins from 18 races. Here he is in typical pose hopping over the kerbing at Thruxton’s famous Club chicane en route to one of his two victories at the high-speed Hants circuit in May. Until then he’d always considered it to be his bogey circuit… not any more.
No.5: Get the Max
Max Coates was the revelation of 2016, his first season in the UK Clio Cup. Third outright in the final championship standings, the Graduates Cup for young drivers in their first full season in the championship and this – a highly emotional first win at, of all places, his home circuit of Croft in North Yorkshire.
No.6: Bumper to bumper
Josh Price (in the pink one) was another of the young stars to emerge during the 2016 season which, for him, ended with a first win in the category, around the Brands Hatch’s legendary Grand Prix circuit. Here he is being pushed – quite literally – all the way by team-mate Senna Proctor at Rockingham.
No.7: The darkest hour
Never in 25 years of UK Clio Cup history could anyone remember conditions quite like those witnessed in the opening race (on the Saturday) at Rockingham when the venue was struck by a mini-typhoon and a downpour of biblical proportions. Ant Whorton-Eales won the race from tenth on the grid. The race ended with advertising hoardings being blown onto the track while some teams also lost part of their awnings in the paddock!
No.8: Over and out
Having taken the title fight with Ant Whorton-Eales, this was the cruellest of ways for it to end for Mike Bushell. In the very last race of the season at Brands Hatch he was side-swiped inadvertently by Whorton-Eales – himself sent into a wild slide after contact with Paul Rivett. Whorton-Eales survived to take the title while Bushell span into the barriers. Had he stayed on track there could have been a very different outcome…
I had no idea the new Renault Alpine was that fast. . .