The Elf Renault Clio Cup with Michelin is set to undergo various changes for the 2011 season in a bid to reduce costs and increase grid size.
The biggest change of the 2011 season will see the series contested over eight rounds rather than the current ten. With this in mind the Clio Cup will not travel to Knockhill or Silverstone, but will be present on the TOCA package at all other rounds supporting the British Touring Car Championship, as it has done since 1993.
Entrants to the series will be able to take part in the inaugural Clio Eurocup following it’s successful pilot event at Hockenheim earlier this year. The event will open up new opportunities for drivers to take part in races against some of the best Clio driving talent in Europe without modifying their race car in anyway. No details have been finalised as to the Europcup rounds but it is expected that they will join the Renault World Series for two races at four different events.
With a budget cap of £60,000 the aim tyre allocation for a weekend will be reduced from 60 to 48 with series sponsors Michelin supporting the drivers by continuing its current lottery system that sees a driver get a free full set of slick tyres for the weekend.
Another change will see official pre-season testing cut back, however teams will be able to test at circuits as much as they like after the series has visited that track. With no Silverstone round on the calendar now the circuit will be available for testing throughout the season.
The Graduate Cup for drivers aged 23 and under and the NGK Spark Plugs Masters Cup for those aged 35 and over will remain in place along with the current grid penalties and allowance of both old and new engines to be run simultaneously without restrictions.
Renault Sport’s link with the Renault F1 Team Driver Training Programme will continue allowing drivers the option to prepare before and during the season using state-of-the-art facilities and coaching methods.
Championship Promoter Simon North commented:“Following extensive talks with all the teams and drivers we believe these are the first of many positive changes we can make to the series to help it become more affordable to prospective drivers whilst still making it a very rewarding championship. With our renewed TOCA contract in place for the next three years, everyone at Renault Sport still very much believes in the series and the car and is working extremely hard to ensure the championship progresses.”
He added: “Over the coming months we will be finalising the current proposed changes outlined so far as well as announcing many other exciting new changes such as the scheme we're currently working on to offer a five-figure prize fund to the 2011 overall champion.”
Team Pyro Manager Mark Hunt added: “I'm delighted with the new changes and the decision to contest the championship over eight BTCC meetings. This will help reduce the overall budgets to what they were five years ago but also, thanks to the lift in testing restrictions, allow teams to trial drivers at top circuits throughout the year.”
Renault Sport's other BTCC support series the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship will not be affected by these changes.
2011 Provisional Clio Cup Calendar (all with BTCC):
Rds 1 & 2 – April 2nd/3rd – Brands Hatch
Rds 3 & 4 – April 16th/17th – Donington Park
Rds 5 & 6 – April 30th/May 1st – Thruxton
Rds 7 & 8 – June 4th/5th – Oulton Park
Rds 9 & 10 – June 18th/19th – Croft
Rds 11 & 12 – August 6th/7th – Snetterton
Rds 13 & 14 – September 17th/18th – Rockingham
Rds 15 & 16 – October 1st/2nd – Brands Hatch