JAMES “Everyone stops to watch the Clios”
It doesn’t seem like 25 years. We celebrate the Renault UK Clio Cup’s anniversary this week with a special feature ( see pages 22-23) and it is a category that keeps going from strength to strength.
Since the demise of the Ford Credit Fiesta Championship, it has been the stepping off point for so many British Touring Car Championship stars. And it has proved to be the perfect training ground – just look at the job Ash Sutton has managed in the 2016 BTCC.
The reigning Renault Clio Cup champion has stepped up to the factory Triple Eight Racing MG6, is well inside the top 10 of the points and has already taken his maiden pole position at Donington Park in April.
He is only the latest success story – there are dozens of others.
The Renault UK Clio Cup has become essential viewing for anyone in the British Touring Car Championship paddock and that is not just because they are looking at the talents of the future: it is because the racing has been, and continues to be, superb.
The latest generation of cup racer, the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo, introduced in 2014, brings it much closer to the performance of a BTCC car and gives drivers the chance to get used to driving a proper racing car. It has brake upgrades that are much more in line with those that the younger racers will experience further up the motorsporting ladder.
The battle for the 2015 honours between Sutton, Ant Whorton-eales and Ash Hand will go down as one of the best fights in the British Touring Car Championship support category’s history.
This year it is just as open, with four different winners across the six races that have taken place so far, and old master, three-time champion Paul Rivett is leading the way.
Renault’s commitment to the sport in the United Kindgom has been unwavering over four decades and it really does deserve huge credit for that. It has probably put more into its efforts in the UK than any other mainstream road car manufacturer.
Through the various versions of the Renault 5, including the ridiculously entertaining turbo machines, Spiders, Formula Renault and Clios, the French firm has delivered one-make series that fill a specific gap.
So here’s to the success that Renault Clios has already had, and those that lay in its future. And here is to the next 25 years.
The French hatchbacks are a huge success