Nicolas HamiltonTotal Control Racing is delighted to officially confirm its first two driver signings for the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK season – the inspirational Nicolas Hamilton returns for only his second year of motor racing action and will be partnered by promising saloon car newcomer Rob Smith.

Hertfordshire 19-year-old Hamilton, brother of 2008 FIA Formula One World Champion Lewis, made a huge impact on Clio Cup racing and British motorsport as a whole last year when debuting with TCR and concluded the 16-race campaign an impressive 14th overall in the championship.

Hamilton, who has cerebral palsy and therefore requires the use of a specially adapted Renault Clio, enjoyed a best race result of ninth place during the penultimate round at Brands Hatch last season and also achieved two other top 10 finishes.

“I’m really happy to be racing with TCR in Air Asia Renault Clio Cup UK this year”, said Hamilton, “I’m with a great team in a hugely competitive series and the main aim for me this year is to continue to develop my race craft, using the knowledge and understanding I gained last year as a strong base.”

Telford 19-year-old Smith, who currently studies Automotive Materials Engineering at Loughborough University, moves into saloon car action this year from the ranks of club-level Formula Ford where he has only been competing for around 18 months.

Even so, Smith – son of former British Touring Car Championship racer Paul – has shown a high level of natural ability. Finishing fourth overall in North West Formula Ford 1600 in 2011, he also raced to an 11th place result in the Kent-engined class of last year’s prestigious Formula Ford Festival.

Following his maiden Clio Cup test outing with TCR at Cheshire’s Oulton Park in mid-February, Smith has since sampled the car again and is now delighted to have agreed a deal to race in the popular and ultra-competitive championship with the multiple title winning team.

“I’m thrilled, it’s great that all the hard work we put into securing the budget over the winter has paid off and we can now commit to the Clio Cup for 2012”, said the teenager, “It’s also a real boost to be working with a team of TCR’s calibre who have had so much success in the championship, which I hope we can add to this year. We’ve had some very positive progress in testing already, so by the time the season kicks off we should be raring to go!”

Total Control Racing team principal Lee Brookes added: “We’re delighted to be able to confirm Rob alongside Nic for the new season, it’s going to be a very interesting year for both of them and we’re confident they’re each going to do a great job.

“Nic’s progress last year was fantastic and with all of the experience he gained, added to his amazing determination, we’re sure he can spring a few surprises – it’s a pleasure to be working with him. Rob has shown some really encouraging pace in the few tests he’s done with us and we’ve got very high hopes for what he can achieve as the championship moves forward, he’s definitely one to watch.”

Rounds one and two of the 2012 Air Asia Renault Clio Cup UK will take place over the weekend 31st March/1st April at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.