Jordan Stilp is heading into a make or break year in the Renault UK Clio Cup this season, the 20Ten Racing ace saying “this has got to be the year” for him to pick up the championship title.
Stilp, who made his Clio Cup debut in 2013, finished third in the BTCC support series last year thanks to a superb second half of the season which included three race wins.
With that experience under his belt, Stilp is returning to the grid in 2015 with the sole target of succeeding Mike Bushell as the Clio Cup champion.
“Last year we went out and did a lot better than we thought we would. We went out there to do the best we could, but in Clio’s you never know if you’re going to be quick or not until you get to the race weekends,” Stilp told TCF.
“This year has got to be the year. We’ve got to move forward and we’ve got to win. We want to win the title and that’s the only way me and the team are looking at it, no less than that.”
With Bushell stepping up to the BTCC for the upcoming campaign and vice-champion Josh Cook joining him on the grid, Stilp is entering the new Clio season as the highest placed returning driver.
The 20 year old admits that brings some pressure and expectation, but knows it’s going to be far from easy with competition looking set to be fierce at the head of the pack once again.
“People are going to be looking at me thinking ‘we need to beat him’, ‘we need to see his times’ after our results last year, but at the same time it doesn’t matter, as there’s always going to be other quick, sharp drivers in the Clios,” Stilp reflected.
“It’s going to be a hard season, there’s never been an easy year of Clios, so we’re just going to have to go out there and do our best every race.”
Last year, Stilp only took two top five finishes in the first eight races, before he turned a corner with a dominant double win at Croft and went on to take four podium finishes in the final six encounters.
Stilp feels his slow start was partly attributed to a lack of pre-season testing and is fearful limited running this winter could put him on the backfoot again this time around.
“We want to get some testing under our belts and get our foot in the door for the start of the season. In our last couple of years in Clio’s we haven’t been as quick from the off as we’d have liked as we haven’t had enough testing, using our race weekends as test days to develop the car,” he concluded.
“Hopefully we can get a bit more sponsorship before the start of the season, get some more testing under our belts so we can head to Brands on the front foot and not have to wait until halfway through the year to be challenging at the front, as if that had happened last year the championship would have been mine.”