Renault UK and BARC have announced plans for a brand new race category for 2013, the Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre.
The entry-level series, aimed at providing a cost-effective first step into tin-top racing, will use the same third generation Clio Cup cars as the BTCC-supporting Renault UK Clio Cup.
The championship is expected to run across four events next year before becoming a fully-fledged championship in 2014, when it will become the new home for the 2.0-litre cars when the main Clio Cup replaces them.
It’s hoped the series will attract complete circuit novices, seasoned track day participants and experienced race competitors.
“Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre perfectly fills the gap in the market for those who enjoy track days, such as our own very successful Renaultsport Trackdays, but who want to make the step into actual competition without moving straight into the Renault UK Clio Cup”, said Jeremy Townsend, Renault UK Communications Director.
The series will run with two classes, a main headline class for the thoroughbred racing Clios and a ‘Road’ class for converted road cars. All cars will run on Michelin’s Pilot Sport 3 road tyres.
A conversion kit will be introduced, that will turn road-going Clio Renaultsport 197 and Clio Renaultsport 200 cars into track specification for just £3,000. It will include a roll cage, seat belts, fire system with extinguisher and suspension from the Clio rally car.
There are also plans for two driver categories, ‘Expert’ for those with previous racing experience and ‘Sport’ for competition novices.
Mark Hunt and Danny Buxton, team bosses of existing Clio Cup outfits Team Pyro and Scuderia Vittoria respectively, were lead pioneers behind the idea of the new series and are confident there will be strong interest in it.
“There’s a massive market for it and in the current climate it’s exactly the sort of thing that’s needed,” said Hunt. “It’ll be a great stepping stone and, more importantly, it means we’re not throwing away 25 very good Clio Cup cars – for me it’s brilliant. I see it as being like the BARC Formula Renault, we’ve all seen how successful that’s been for people who can’t afford the bigger budgets, it’s a mega idea.”
“I think there will be a very strong market for this series,” added Buxton. “Gentleman drivers, for example, who are busy with other commitments on a Saturday can still race on Sunday and that’s a market we need to aim for. The conversion kit then really opens it up to people who always thought racing was out of their price bracket, people will be able to get out on circuit in a proper car for sensible money.”