After a poor turnout last season, the organisers of the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship, SRO and Renault Sport, have come out saying they're expecting larger grids this campaign.
2011 saw the Renault UK championship suffer from low turnout throughout the year, with grid numbers ranging from just twelve to fourteen. The series organisers are confident of increased entries for this season, with them believing new teams are set to join some series regulars and returning old teams.
General Manager Lisa Crampton commented: “After discussions with several teams and drivers during the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, we can expect larger grids for the season ahead.
“With the inclusion of the Formula Renault Junior class we expect to see a strengthened field, especially with the likes of Fortec, MGR, RPD and Antel all looking to bring Junior cars to the BTCC package; our target of 5 cars in the class is looking very healthy. We've worked through a lot of feedback from the teams concerned to ensure that this class is successful and brings to the table what drivers want and need.
“The Formula Renault 2.0 class has a lot of buzz surrounding it. Mark Burdett Motorsport has numerous driver speaking with them, Scorpio are preparing their cars for a return, plus there's new team GP1 Engineering (ex P1 Motorsport) based out of Hethel looking to join for the season ahead. Series regulars Fortec Motorsport & Competition and Atech Reid GP will be running at least three cars each, and there will also be the regular additions of Eurocup cars throughout the season. The return of teams and the influx of new teams running in both classes will undoubtedly add to the grid, and we look set for an even better year of racing than 2011 provided, which in itself is a significant accomplishment.”
This optimism follows the announcement that Mark Burdett Motorsport have signed 16 year old Gabriel Casegrande for one of their seats, with the team holding high hopes for the Brazilian driver who has won multiple championships in recent years.
It's unclear as to whether all the entrants the organisers are hoping for will materialise though. In the Junior class, many young drivers are turning their attention towards the successful Formula Renault BARC Championship, a cheaper alternative for drivers making their first step into racing, which saw grids numbers over twenty last season. Antel Motorsport and RPD Motorsport have recently confirmed four and two car assaults on the club-level series respectively, while Fortec Motorsport are expected to continue their strong presence in the series.
In the main UK class, the loss of Manor Competition, who ran three cars throughout 2011 and have been stalwarts in the series for many years, will be a huge blow to the series. Few drivers have confirmed their entry to the championship so far and with many struggling to raise the large budget required for the series, entry numbers could be in the low teens once again in 2012.