Renaultsport UK’s Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes says that the new-for-2017 Renault UK Clio Cup Junior championship will act as the perfect stepping stone for young drivers to progress towards the British Touring Car Championship.
Beginning from next year, the manufacturer-backed Clio Cup Junior series will see drivers aged 14-17 compete in identical racing versions of the Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy currently used in the senior Renault UK Clio Cup.
Speaking with assembled media including The Checkered Flag at Rockingham, Motorsport Championship Manager Fewkes said that the Junior series will provide a sturdy development model for young drivers pursuing a path towards BTCC.
“I think that we have a very good setup”, enthused Fewkes on a new venture. “We’ve got great technical expertise and Renault Sport are renowned for producing massive amounts of talent in single seaters and tin-tops.
“For me, what gives me my buzz is developing talent, so if you can offer another step on the ladder that’s going to be a FWD option to the BTCC, we’ve then got a full channel to develop that further.
“That’s what makes it unique. In the current climate, it makes things a lot more appealing. It’s a good, safe car and is proven on track, so I think it’s great to put it into the junior arena and further enhance our activity in UK motorsport and re-energise it.”
A six-weekend calendar consisting of 12 races is intended for the Junior championship’s maiden season, one that will be separate from the senior series that remains a regular fixture on the TOCA support package alongside BTCC.
“The calendar will be confirmed shortly, so it’s all coming together very nicely”, confirmed Fewkes, who adds that television coverage will be implemented during its maiden season.
“It will be lower key, but they will still benefit from the same PR as it will be a manufacturer-backed championship. There will be TV next year, which is important.”
Fewkes adds that the series aims to provide additional support for youngsters to help with their initial progression, including tuition and a respectable testing regime for teams and drivers when possible.
“There are lots of angles to look at for this championship. I did want it to be very beneficial and to see kids getting the best out it”, he added.
“We are looking at the situation where, if juniors do buy a brand new car then there can be some tuition before they go off and operate on their own. I want it to be very responsible, which is highly important to us as well as to their testing and education.”