Renault UK has confirmed the current Clio Renaultsport 172 Cup model will continue to run in the championship for the next two seasons before being replaced by a brand new Clio Cup car in 2006.
The official announcement means teams will be able to budget for the next two seasons in the firm knowledge they will not need to invest in new cars giving the series good stability. It also means each equipe can prepare well in advance for the arrival of the new car in 2006.
Renault UK’s Director of Press & PR Tim Jackson commented: "It’s very good news for all involved with the ELF Clio Renaultsport UK Cup confirming our continued support of British Motorsport. Over the past four seasons we’ve established the Clio Cup as the very best one-make saloon car championship with professional technical support and management. We intend the series to stay that way and this announcement will enable us to build for the future."
ELF Clio Renaultsport UK Cup Championship Manager Simon North said: "This announcement means that our teams will be able to concentrate on their current cars for another two years without any uncertainty and will then be able to prepare in plenty of time for the new model when it arrives for the beginning of the 2006 season."
Paul Hetherington, team owner of leading Clio Cup outfit Mardi Gras Motorsport, commented: "To know we have the current car for two more years is good news for us as it keeps things stable and means we have a good investment. We’re delighted to hear there will definitely be a brand new Clio Cup in 2006 and it’s good having a firm date to work towards for the arrival of the new car."
The ELF Clio Renaultsport UK Cup offers racing at almost equal speed to that of the Production Class in the British Touring Car Championship and is therefore the ideal proving ground for drivers aiming to forge a career in saloon cars and progress to the BTCC. The 2001 ELF Clio Renaultsport UK Cup Champion Danny Buxton (Hartford), who is now a fully-fledged BTCC driver after signing a deal with Vic Lee’s Team Halfords outfit, is keen to point out that the Clio Cup is the number one place to be for aspiring touring car drivers.
"The Clio Cup championship has quite literally been instrumental in getting me my drive in the British Touring Car Championship", said Danny, "Any budding touring car drivers out there that have aspirations to one day be a part of the BTCC should look no further than the Clio Cup.
"It’s the best one-make championship in the country and while other manufacturers may come and go from UK motorsport Renault is fully committed to being there for the long haul which is fantastic for the continuity and development of the Clio Cup series. This championship has made my career and if anyone else has aspirations that match my own then the Clio Cup is unquestionably the place for them."Published 23 August 2003