Honda Yuasa Racing have signed Jack Clarke as the first member of its new Driver Development Programme, the former podium finisher working as a test driver and brand ambassador for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship squad.
Former FIA Formula 2 race winner Clarke ended a maiden BTCC season with Motorbase Performance in 2014 with a hard-fought visit to the podium at a sodden finale at Brands Hatch last October, but was unable to secure his seat for the current campaign.
The Surrey-based racer returned to the TOCA package earlier this year in the BTCC-supporting Ginetta GT4 Supercup, but saw budget issues cut short his programme.
Honda have now recruited Clarke as a test driver and brand ambassador for its maiden Driver Development Programme, beginning at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (25-28 June) where Clarke will drive media up the famous hill in the team’s new Civic Type-R.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be joining the Honda Yuasa Racing Driver Development Programme,” said Clarke. “I hugely enjoyed my maiden season in the BTCC, and although we were sadly unable to return to the grid this year, I always made it clear that my touring car ambitions were far from over.
“I’m really looking forward to working alongside Matt and ‘Flash’, two of the best and most successful drivers in BTCC history, and I’m sure I can learn a great deal from their experience and expertise.
“I’m also excited about the chance to represent Honda at events like Goodwood and CarFest – not to mention climbing into the driver’s seat of the awesome Civic Type R. I can’t wait!”
Honda currently head the BTCC Manufacturers’ Championship thanks to four wins between current drivers Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, the marque having previously clinched five Drivers’ Championships, four Constructors’ crowns and six Teams’ titles over the past decade.
“We are delighted to be unveiling the Honda Yuasa Racing Driver Development Programme,” said Philip Crossman, Managing Director of Honda UK, “and in Jack Clarke, we are confident we have a real touring car star of the future on our hands.
“We have never been the kind of company to rest on our laurels, and as we build for the future, we are keen to invest in young talent to ensure that we continue to be a leading contender in the world’s toughest tin-top series for many years to come.”