CLUBMANS STAR DOUBLES SEASON
Teenager James Clarke will do double duty this year with campaigns in the Clubmans Cup and Historic Touring Cars, in what is just his second season of racing.
Clarke, 16, has already established himself as a frontrunner in the Clubmans Cup with five wins in the Sports 1600 class from his first eight races. The Junior Saloon Car graduate was made to wait until he turned 16 to make his debut at the third round of the season at Rockingham, and while he was denied a victory there by a brake failure, he has since claimed five class victories in a row, including a double at Donington Park earlier this month.
Run by Orex Competition, Clarke has been driving a rebuilt Mallock MK18BF 1600, which was modified and raced by the late Autosport cartoonist Barry Foley and his son Justin.
“We aimed to do two seasons in Juniors and spend the first learning,” he said. “But halfway through the season I led the championship and nearly won it overall, so we thought it wouldn’t be worthwhile to continue for a second year.
“We wanted to do something with slicks, that was rear-wheel drive and ideally had some aerodynamics to replicate a sportscar.
“The team already ran in Clubmans and it ticked the boxes. As soon as I saw one I’d pretty much made my mind up.”
Clarke has also raced in the HSCC’S Historic Touring Car Challenge in a Lotus Cortina this year at the Brands Hatch Superprix event, and will contest further races at Croft from August 6/7 and the Gold Cup meeting at Oulton Park at the end of next month before the final round of the Clubmans season.
“I’m really into historic cars and I’ve found it easy to jump between the two because I love driving them,” he said.
“They’re both great fun but for very different reasons: The Mallock is great because it does exactly what you want – you can carry so much speed through the corners without feeling uncomfortable – while the Cortina is the opposite and not great through the fast stuff, especially compared to the Mallock. You have to really fight it.”
Clarke has extended his deal in Lotus Cortina (67)