Maltese motor racing novice Mark Vella (Manchester) will make his competition debut at Snetterton in Norfolk this coming weekend, 30th/31st August, with the Westbourne Motorsport team during the penultimate two rounds of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series.
In addition to Vella’s maiden race appearance, the grid will be boosted further by the addition of category newcomer Alex Reed (Horsham) who will make his maiden outing in the championship with SV Racing after starring in club-level Ford Fiestas.
Vella, who only gained his racing licence four weeks ago, has no prior experience whatsoever at any level and goes into rounds nine and 10 intent on using the event as a learning experience with a view to competing full-time next year.
After moving to the UK in 2010 in order to pursue a career in the motor racing industry, Vella subsequently began studying for a degree in Motorsport Management and Logistics at the University of Central Lancashire and also works as a mechanic for Westbourne’s Renault UK Clio Cup team.
His initial test outing at the wheel of the third generation Renault Clio he will pilot at Snetterton this weekend came at Donington Park back in May and the 27-year-old cannot wait to now line-up on a racing grid for the first time. Vella will join Race Series front-runner Luke Herbert (Chichester) and Road Series championship leader Anton Spires (Milton Keynes) as part of the Westbourne entry.
“Coming from a business background in Malta, I have no racing experience”, explained Vella, “After a successful test day at Donington in the Westbourne Clio, though, I decided to chase after my hobby and I got my racing licence four weeks ago.
“Westbourne has given me the opportunity to race at Snetterton alongside Luke Herbert and Anton Spires and I will be looking to use this weekend as a learning curve, possibly committing to a full season in the same championship with Westbourne Motorsport next year.”
Over at SV Racing, 16-year-old Alex Reed steps up into the world of Renault Clio racing after an impressive run in the Ford Fiesta Junior Championship where he was fourth overall last year, having previously contested a couple of rounds in 2012.
After a formative career in karting, Reed passed his ARDS shortly after his 14th birthday and tested a car for the first time in June 2012 at Snetterton. His race debut in Fiestas came in September of that year, where he climbed the podium, before embarking on his first full season in 2013.
Taking several podiums, the youngster claimed his maiden victory at Snetterton and at the end of the year participated in the Ginetta Junior Winter Series – again bagging a podium finish on his category debut. With such a successful record in each category he has contested, the A-level student has high aspirations of mounting a podium challenge on his Renault Clio bow.
“I’m aiming to get a podium, I’d love to get that”, said a confident Reed, “I’ve been on the podium on my debut in every championship I’ve raced in so far, it’d be fantastic to do that in Clios. The car is very fast, a clear race car – compared to the Fiesta you can tell it’s far more sophisticated.
“So far, Danny [Buxton – SV Racing team principal] has done a great job with the car, it was set up perfectly when I tested, and he’s supplied all of the right people. I’m sure the team will do a great job at the weekend.”
Qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series will begin at 11.10 on Saturday, 30th August, with the first race of the weekend – which will be screened live on Motors TV – following at 15.25. On Sunday, 31st August, round 10 will take place at 11.45.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices.