Aspiring touring car racer Rory Collingbourne is set to take the next step on his saloon car career path in 2015 with graduation into the all-action Renault UK Clio Cup, having purchased one of the latest fourth generation cars from Masters Cup competitor Paul Knapp.
Welsh 17-year-old Collingbourne, who at this stage is set to be the youngest driver on next year’s Clio Cup grid, recently completed a deal to purchase Knapp’s turbo-powered Renault Clio and is now working double-hard to secure the additional budget he needs for a full season of action in the BTCC support series.
Moving into the Clio Cup from the Fiesta Junior Championship, Newport-based Collingbourne only started competitive motorsport at any level on his 15th birthday back in 2012 and during his first full season of action the following year he placed third in the standings.
This year he raced in the senior Fiesta series and also embarked on a couple of outings in the P1 AquaX Championship, the UK’s premier offshore jet-ski racing series. Collingbourne isn’t the first Renault UK Clio Cup driver to have competed in P1 AquaX, reigning Masters Cup Champion Paul Rivett (Banstead) won the category’s ‘Sea Doo Challenge’ title in 2012.
“I’ve been looking at Clios all year”, said Collingbourne, “I’ve raced with JamSport in the Fiestas and so I know Paul [Knapp JamSport competitor in Clios], he gave me a good price on the car, a great deal, so we took the opportunity and now we’re working hard to get the extra sponsorship we need.
“I’m looking at the Renault UK Clio Cup as a two year plan, I want to be competitive in the Graduate Cup in my first season and then try and push for the main championship in 2016. Touring cars is the dream for the long term, this is the next step to achieving that.”
Away from the track, Collingbourne is studying for the MSA [Motor Sports Association] Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) in Loughborough and when back home in South Wales he works at the family business, Newport Auctions one of his existing sponsors along with Add Energy and UHY Hacker Young Accountants.
Determined to make the biggest impact possible in the Renault UK Clio Cup next year, the newcomer will experience his newly acquired 1.6-litre Renault Clio Cup car for the first time at Donington Park later this month.
Welcoming the arrival of Collingbourne into the Renault UK Clio Cup paddock ahead of next season, championship manager Will Fewkes said: “We’re delighted Rory has purchased a Clio Cup car and very much looking forward to seeing him on the grid next season. The sort of career progression he is trying to make is exactly what the Clio Cup is all about, preparing drivers for touring cars.
“There is a lot of positivity surrounding the championship ahead of 2015, we had a fantastic first season with the latest fourth generation car this year, some outstanding racing, and the focus now is to build on that with a bigger grid for next year. Exciting young drivers like Rory are key to that.”