Renault UK Clio Cup, Britain’s favourite and most competitive one-make saloon car championship, will make a welcome return to Knockhill in Scotland next year, after series organisers ratified a nine-event calendar for 2014.
One week on from the announcement of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship schedule, after close consultation with the Clio Cup teams, the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) and Renault UK are delighted to confirm an expanded 18 race season for the debut campaign of the new 1.6-litre, fourth generation car.
Beginning its season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent on 29th/30th March, the Renault UK Clio Cup will then travel to Donington Park in Leicestershire on Easter Weekend, 19th/20th April, but will then skip the BTCC’s visit to Thruxton. Returning to action at Oulton Park in Cheshire on 7th/8th June, the championship will then venture to Croft in North Yorkshire on 28th/29th June.
After a five week summer sojourn, the Clio Cup season will resume at Snetterton in Norfolk on 2nd/3rd August before heading north of the border to Knockhill Circuit in Fife on 23rd/24th August for the first time since 2010. During the Renault UK Clio Cup’s last visit to Scotland three years ago, Dave Newsham who went on to graduate into the BTCC secured two wins on his way to the Clio title.
On 6th/7th September, the category will be in action at Rockingham in Northamptonshire and will remain in the county for a welcome return to Silverstone on 27th/28th September. The championship will then conclude with a second visit to Brands Hatch, albeit on the longer Grand Prix Circuit layout, on 11th/12th October. Looking ahead, the plan for 2015 is for Clio Cup to support all 10 BTCC events.
“Our teams wanted to expand the calendar next year, so we’ve worked closely with them to arrive at an 18-race schedule which we expect to be popular with existing competitors and new drivers alike”, said championship manager Simon North.
“On behalf of Renault UK and everyone involved behind the scenes of the Clio Cup, I’d like to say how delighted we all are to be returning to Knockhill next year and Silverstone as well. All in all we feel we have a very strong calendar for 2014, our first season with the fourth generation car.”
The format of the championship is set to remain the same by and large with one ‘drop score’ to be deducted from final end-of-season totals, meaning each competitor’s net score will be taken from 17 of the 18 races contested.
Series organisers are also working to introduce a ‘Trophy Challenge’ aimed at offering drivers who enter the championship later in the year an opportunity to battle for a title. Each competitor will be able to count their four best results from the season to determine their Trophy Challenge placing.
“Going to nine events next year is a good move”, said Team Pyro principal Mark Hunt, “It’s a shame we’re not going to Thruxton as it is a place drivers like to go, but it is a very difficult track and testing there is very limited so it makes it very hard for newcomers and new teams.
“If we can all work hard on getting a good championship, hopefully we can go to all 10 BTCC rounds the year after. I think this is a sensible calendar for the first season with the new car, I’m really pleased with the nine events and now we can start trying to build interest with the drivers.”
Scuderia Vittoria team principal Danny Buxton concurred with Hunt’s comments: “It’s great we have the calendar early so we can start to get budgets together and begin to try attracting drivers to the championship. Now we know where we’ll be racing next year, we can focus on the exact costings with the new car to ensure we’ve got a really great championship, which I’m sure it will be.”