Josh Files has admitted defeat in his defence of the Renault Eurocup Clio Championship this season, and admits that it’s looking unlikely that he’ll return to the grid this season as he targets a move to Australia in the near future.
The 23 year old won both the Eurocup and UK Clio Cup titles last season with Team Pyro, with just a defence of the Eurocup crown on his agenda this year.
While his campaign started well with a podium finish in the opening race at Motorland Aragon, he’s been left frustrated with just sixth and ninth place finishes, plus a retirement, to show for his efforts since.
“Up and down would be an understatement to describe the season, it’s been mainly down,” Files told TCF. “Motorland started well, but we got taken out in the second race which was a bit of a nightmare and put us on the backfoot for the championship challenge from the word go.
“Nurburgring was always going to be a challenge. On a drying track in race one, we opted to go wets even though I wanted slicks and while I took the lead in the first three laps, the slick tyred runners took over and we ended sixth.
“That was not the resulted we wanted, we needed the win, and I then put myself under pressure for the second race, I got pole by eight tenths, but the clutch failed off the line and then I hit the back of Alex [Morgan] at turn three and sent myself off the circuit. I fought back to sixth, but on the last lap I attempted a move that didn’t quite come off …..”
That move saw Files challenging Salvatore Arcarese around the outside heading into the final chicane, and while the Pyro race got alongside heading into the second part of the corner, a big hit on the kerbs helped him on his way to a dramatic roll.
“I went around the outside into the final chicane and had got the move done to be fair, but I just clipped the sausage kerb which sent the car up a little bit,” he recalled. “[Salvatore] Arcarese gave me no room, which I suppose he wouldn’t on the exit, and I clipped his car and that sent me over.”
That first retirement of the season has left him out of touch in the championship picture, with the Norwich resident currently lying fifth in the standings. With a 51 point gap to leader Oscar Nogues and only four races left, Files admits it’s possible he won’t compete at the remaining meetings.
“There are 100 points available so it’s mathematically possible, but it’s really not realistic for me to win from here, unless Oscar [Nogues] has some dramatic weekend. As it stands now we’re assessing whether we even go back for the next round or not,”
With the 23 year old considering his Eurocup future, attentions are turning to what the next step will be in his career – and while a return to UK soil is possible, a long-held ambition to race in Australia in the V8 Supercars is the primary focus.
“We might try something in the UK for the end of this year, but we’re focusing our attention on going to Australia. We know that Australia is the route to take, all the money is in the V8 Supercars at the moment, it is huge in Australia, massively televised there and even in the UK. Why wouldn’t you try to get into the V8 Supercars? It’s now about choosing the best route to get there.”