The Clio Cup has been a hotbed of news recently with several drivers both testing and pledging their 2012 plans to the series. News released today though further emphasizes that 2012 is set to be a strong year in the Clio Cup.
Team Pyro look set to run a full six car team once again, with already confirmed Jack Goff and Josh Files among their lineup. Pyro will also be running the car for the Handy Motorsport entry of Simon Belcher, recently unveiled at the Autosport Internation show. Scuderia Vittoria are also back for 2012, and they too could be running a six car lineup.
Danny Buxton has confirmed that Luke Wright will return for 2012, along with ex Mini Challenge driver Finlay Crocker. Also taking drives with Scuderia are Scottish Mini Cooper Cup Champion Vic Covey Jr, and former Scottish Legends star Ronnie Clos.
Westbourne Motorsport too will return for the new season, and they have retained Championship contender from 2011 James Colburn. The popular Colburn is also set to run the full season with a team-mate this year, as 2011 debutant Ant Whorton-Eales has decided to tackle a full season. Whorton-Eales was impressive in his debut races towards the latter end of the 2011 season. With an experienced team and team-mate alongside him he is definitely one to watch this season.
A new name to the Clio grid this season is Lithuanian team, Juta Racing. Better known for their efforts in the Porsche Carrera Cup, Juta have decided to expand into the Clio Cup for 2012. Their aim is to run three cars for the full season, two of which are already taken. Tautvydas Barstys Jr and Ignis Gelzinis have both confirmed their drives with Juta.
The 2012 Clio Cup will also continue with one 30-minute qualifying session, followed by two 30-minute races. Cash prizes for pole position and for driver of the weekend also return, as does the promise of a Megane Eurocup test for the overall Champion at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
There is also set to be one key technical change to the 2012 cars. The minimum weight of the driver and car combined has been increased by 15kg, so as to try and allow slightly more balance of performance across the field.
The official launch of the 2012 AirAsia Clio Cup will be at Brands Hatch on Tuesday 20th March, followed by the opening round also at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 31st March – 1st April. The series will not be visiting the Croft and Knockhill rounds of the British Touring Car Championship, and takes place over 16 rounds as in 2011. For many drivers the re-introduction of Silverstone to the calendar is a welcome one.
Photo Credit: Richard Devine