The organisers of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship have confirmed eighteen entrants for the 2012 season, with it likely there will be a grid of over twenty cars at the season opener in just over four weeks time.
The first confirmed entry list underlines the strong position the club-level championship is holding in UK single-seater racing, with the cost-effective series attracting drivers from across the world, including Brazil, the USA and China.
Topping the entry list is the reigning champions Antel Motorsport, who are entering a bumper four car line up. Joining the team are two series returnees, Raoul Owens and Russian Ivan Taranov, who raced for SWB Motorsport and Daytona Motorsport respectively in 2011, and two series newcomers, Tom Oliphant and Henry Chart.
2011 title challenging team Fortec Motorsport have also announced a four car entry of series newcomers, headed by 2011 Ginetta Junior Champion Seb Morris. He's joined by Laura Tillett, Chinese teenager Martin Cao and Mexican Diego Menchaca, who is part of the same Escuderia Telmex driver programme that produced F1 star Sergio Perez.
2008 and 2009 title winning team Scorpio Motorsport are back, currently with just one car for Brazilian Henrique Baptista. Also returning are fellow 2011 race winners MGR Motorsport, who bring second year driver David Wagner, Finals Series star James Fletcher and karting graduate Jake Dalton to the grid.
Mtech Lite, who challenged for the 2011 title with James Thorp, return with second year driver Sean Walkinshaw, while re-branded team JWA-Avila, formerly JWA Motorsport, are back with two Formula Vee Championship graduates, Michael Epps and Matt Tiffin.
Making a return to Formula Renault competition after a few years away at Cliff Dempsey Racing, with the team putting out two cars for American Trent Hindman and 2011 Formula Ford 1600 National Champion Chris Middlehurst, who's car will be run with support from Middlehurst Motorsport GTR. Also joining the grid is reigning 750MC Formula 4 Champion Oliver Sirrell, who is running his own car as a privateer.
With entries still to be confirmed from series regulars SWB Motorsport and RPD Motorsport, it looks likely that when the 2012 season kicks off at Snetterton on April 7/8, there will be over 20 cars on the grid.
Series Promoter Simon North said: “We're absolutely delighted with the number of entries we've received so far, 18 cars is a fantastic achievement in the current economic climate and goes to show drivers believe in the strength, stability and cost-effectiveness of racing in Protyre Formula Renault BARC. We had a truly outstanding season last year and I'm confident 2012 will be just as competitive.
“Of course, we still have four weeks to go until the start of the season so there's scope for us to reach and even pass the 20 car barrier which would be incredible. I want to take this chance to thank all of our teams for making such a tremendous effort and for helping Protyre Formula Renault BARC to buck the current trend in national single-seater racing, we're looking forward to a great year.”
2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Entry List (As of 8th March 2012):
02 – Chris Middlehurst – Middlehurst Motorsport GTR
03 – Trent Hindman – Cliff Dempsey Racing
05 – Ivan Taranov – Antel Motorsport
06 – Raoul Owens – Antel Motorsport
07 – Tom Oliphant – Antel Motorsport
08 – Henry Chart – Antel Motorsport
13 – Oliver Sirrell – Privateer
16 – Henrique Baptista – Scorpio Motorsport
25 – Jake Dalton – MGR Motorsport
26 – Diego Menchaca – Fortec Motorsport
31 – Seb Morris – Fortec Motorsport
33 – Sean Walkinshaw – MTech Lite
43 – David Wagner – MGR Motorsport
66 – James Fletcher – MGR Motorsport
88 – Martin Cao – Fortec Motorsport
TBC – Laura Tillett – Fortec Motorsport
TBC – Michael Epps – JWA-Avila
TBC – Matt Tiffin – JWA-Avila