It’s a sad fact of life but all good things must come to an end. Alas the 2019 running of the Renault UK Clio Cup will be its last. However, instead of being dour and downbeat about the conclusion of this fantastic one-make championship, we should celebrate the year of close racing that we have ahead of us.
Ten drivers will take to the track this year taking part in eighteen rounds over eight venues. The most exciting being the long awaited return to Knockhill in September. Be prepared to see all ten Clio’s attempt their best motorbike impression as they kerb hop at the Scottish venue.
Team HARD are a new squad to join the championship and they have set out their title aspirations front and centre with the signing of Max Coates to spearhead their campaign.
Max hasn’t finished lower than fourth in the final championship standings in each one of his full Clio Cup seasons, therefore 2019 will now be his final chance to finally get the coveted number one spot.
Alongside Max will be Ethan Hammerton who took part in the final two rounds of 2018 for Team HARD in the British Touring Car Championship. Still a young talent, the Clio Cup will be a great opportunity for Ethan to grow further with his tin top expertise.
The final Team HARD seat went to the ever popular fan favourite Jade Edwards. Following many years of steady progress up the grid, this will definitely be Jade’s best ever opportunity to stand on the Clio Cup podium. When she does it would probably be the most popular in Clio Cup history.
MRM Racing retain Brett Lidsey for their 2019 line-up and he hit the ground running at the Silverstone media day test by setting the third fastest time on the day. A title win is the goal for the twenty-seven year old.
Ben Davis has taken part in two Clio Cup races previously and he joins MRM for his first full season in the championship. Many miles of testing has been completed in order to get him well prepared for the season ahead.
Jack Young remains at MRM following his partial campaign last year where the Belfast driver was one of the revelations of the season. His incredible pace and youngest ever pole position at the Brands Hatch season finale was capped off by winning the International Clio Cup Final at Paul Ricard. Jack will certainly be one to watch this season.
Westbourne Motorsport now has James Colburn at the helm of the team and their first driver announcement was his younger brother Ben Colburn. Ben showed some point scoring consistency in his partial campaign last year so a continuation of this would be the main aim.
Finlay Robinson hopes to emulate James Colburn and James Dorlin at Westbourne but the eighteen year old knows it’ll be tough. However, he does come with some speed and it shouldn’t take Finlay too long before he starts getting the good results.
The third Westbourne seat is taken by Matrix Motorsport refugee Aaron Thompson who is heading into his third Clio Cup season. The move to Westbourne Motorsport is an exciting prospect because it could finally mean an opportunity for the twenty year old to possibly score some long overdue podium finishes. He knows that the squad have the ability to get him to the front.
BLG Racing and Luke Warr made steady progress throughout the 2018 Clio Cup season after only joining at Donington Park. Way off the pace in their initial rounds they begun to claw their way towards the main pack and start competing for points. With more development under their belts Luke has his sights set on podium finishes in 2019 and nobody can deny this great drive towards an attainable dream.
With all ten drivers having their sights set on the top step of the podium for each race and the honour of being the last ever Renault UK Clio Cup champion. 2019 is setting up to be an action packed swansong for the popular series. It will be missed.