With an exhilarating 2011 under its belt that saw five drivers vying for the title in the final race, the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK is bursting at the blocks as the series looks forward to yet another exciting season.
With many new teams and drivers confirmed already, the current crop of Renault Clio racers are lining up in the wings. Last year’s Teams Champion, Team Pyro, are set to run a full six car team, whilst 2011 newcomers in Scuderia Vittoria also return with an expanded operation of up to six cars afterfilling four seats already. Team head Danny Buxton announced that Luke Wright will return to the series and will be accompanied by Mini Challenge convert Finlay Crocker, Scottish Mini Cooper Cup champion Vic Covey Junior and former Scottish Legends racer Ronnie Clos.
Westbourne Motorsport, headed by paddock favourite James Colburn adds a full season teammate in Ant Whorton-Eales. Ant is no stranger to the grid, having competed in the final few races of last years’ season and the taste of Clio has brought him back hungry for more. Another returnee from 2011 is Simon Belcher, who’s new fabulously liveried Karcher car, running under the name of Handy Motorsport, was unveiled during the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. Lithuanian powerhouse Juta Racing brings in a European flavoured assault to the Clio paddock. Expanding their Porsche operation to include three brand new Clios, two seats are already filled by Tautvydas Barstys Junior and Ignis Gelzinis.
Using racecars based on the road-going Clio Renaultsport 200 Cup, the Championship continues to be a breeding ground for future Touring Car drivers. You will be hard pressed to find a driver who’s come through Clio that describes the car as nothing but a fun, exciting speed rocket around Britain’s best race circuits.
As a prominent support race on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) platform and benefiting from live, comprehensive TV coverage including HD on the ITV sport network, it remains the most direct link to the nation’s saloon car top step, the BTCC. Almost one third of the current BTCC grid graduated from the ranks of Renault Clio Cup UK.
For 2012, the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup will be continuing its thrilling format with one 30-minute qualifying session and two 30-minute races at each round and a plethora of prizes. Exciting rewards await the winners at each event. Outright pole position collects a £100 award and Driver of the Weekend receives a bonus of £200.
For the overall winners, the Champion will be awarded £1000 prize money and a fantastic Renault Mégane test at Motorland in Spain. The Qualifier of the Year doesn’t miss out either, receiving a CERTINA watch.
Championship Promoter, SRO Motorsport Group, is hoping to announce more fun filled partners as the pre-season develops.
There is only one key technical change in 2012. After feedback was collated from teams, the minimum weight of the car and driver increases by 15kg to 1,165kg (up from 1,150kg), allowing for slightly more balance of performance for drivers in the field.
The 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup will be yet another sensational, action-a-plenty season that kicks off on the 31st of March at Brands Hatch Indy.