At today’s Renault Media Day at Brands Hatch a bumper grid of 23 drivers has already been unveiled for the coming season. There is still the possibility of more to follow, as the reigning Champion Paul Rivett is present at the track without being listed as a driver.
This follows the Scuderia Vittoria team this morning stating that despite only running four cars today, they will be running five come the return to Brands Hatch for the opening rounds.
Some familiar faces return for 2012, with three of last seasons five title challengers returning for another year. James Colburn remains with the Westbourne Motorsport team, and Jack Goff returns for his third season with Team Pyro. Both drivers enjoyed their first Clio Cup wins in 2011 and will come into 2012 brimming with confidence.
Brands Hatch local man James Dixon also returns, but driving with a new team. Dixon has made the switch from the TCR team, to drive at the Scuderia Vittoria team led by Danny Buxton and Tom Ferrier.
Other returnees with their 2011 teams are Team Pyro’s Josh Files and Adam Bonham, 20Ten Racing’s Darren Wilson and TCR’s Nicolas Hamilton.
2012 does see an influx of new faces to the series. Westbourne Motorsport are running three cars, with Ant Whorton-Eales and William Davison partnering Colburn. Whorton-Eales made a decent showing on his series debut in 2011 and could be one to watch out for.
Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher will also begin his first full season in the series. Having debuted in the World Series by Renault event at Silverstone in 2011, Belcher will be piloting the stunning black Karcher backed car this season. Pyro will be also be running Swedish driver Kim Andersson who we first saw in the Finals Series as Rockingham during the winter.
Scuderia Vittoria have three new faces in their garage. Vic Covey, Finlay Crocker and Ronnie Klos will all be driving for the team in their second season in the Clio Cup.
Wilson will also be running with a team mate at 20Ten Racing, with Josh Cook running for the team alongside the experienced Wilson.
Stancombe Vehicle Engineering, last years Championship winning team, have Adam Gould driving for them this season. Despite no word on the return of triple-champion Paul Rivett as yet, it is good to see the popular team back in the paddock for the new season.
Aside from new faces, 2012 also brings a number of new teams into the Clio Cup paddock. Juta Racing, a name more familiar to the Porsche Carrera Cup have brought a two car team in for this season with a pairing of Lithuanian drivers. Tautvydas Barstys and Ignas Gelzinis will be joining them.
Another new team, but with two familiar names behind the wheel, are Finesse Motorsport. Jake Giddings and Aaron Williamson, both familiar to the Ginetta series, have made the move into the Clio Cup for 2012. Williamson in particular impressed in his outing at the Finals Series at Rockingham, so will have every reason to feel good coming into his first full season.
Rounding out the grid are self-titled team entry Mike Bushell, Silver Fox Racing with driver Mark Tilbury and team-mate to Hamilton at TCR, Rob Smith.
2 – James Colburn (Westbourne Motorsport)
3 – James Dixon (Scuderia Vittoria)
4 – Adam Bonham (Team Pyro)
7 – Vic Covey (Scuderia Vittoria)
8 – Finlay Crocker (Scuderia Vittoria)
9 – Ronnie Klos (Scuderia Vittoria)
10 – Ant Whorton-Eales (Westbourne Motorsport)
11 – Simon Belcher (Handy Motorsport With Pyro)
13 – Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing)
17 – William Davison (Westbourne Motorsport)
20 – Darren Wilson (20Ten Racing)
21 – Mike Bushell (Mike Bushell)
26 – Adam Gould (Stancombe Vehicle Engineering)
27 – Mark Tilbury (Silver Fox Racing)
28 – Nicolas Hamilton (Total Control Racing)
31 – Aaron Williamson (Finesse Motorsport)
33 – Jack Goff (Team Pyro)
37 – Rob Smith (Total Control Racing)
55 – Ignas Gelzinis (Juta Racing)
66 – Josh Cook (20Ten Racing)
77 – Jake Giddings (Finesse Motorsport)
88 – Kim Andersson (Team Pyro)
99 – Josh Files (Team Pyro)
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey