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Category: Renault Clio Cup Great Britain

Sam RandonSam Randon has joined the leading SV Racing team as he prepares to step up to the ‘Racecar’ division of the Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre in 2014.
The 18-year old from the Derbyshire Dales market town of Ashbourne was highly impressive during his maiden season of car racing in the burgeoning Michelin-backed Clio Cup Series.

A leading light in the series’ ‘Roadcar’ division for road-going Clio Renaultsport 197s throughout last year, he achieved numerous class podiums before capping off a sensational season with a race win at Brands Hatch in September.

Randon went on to show a great turn of speed during his maiden test in a race-spec Clio Cup car with SVR in October, completing approximately 120 laps of the 2.99mile Snetterton ‘300’ circuit near Thetford, Norfolk with guidance from SVR Director, Danny Buxton, and Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) podium finisher, Jack Goff.

The young charger far exceeded all expectations on his first outing in Clio Cup machinery and this raw speed, consistency and maturity proved to be a catalyst for a full 2014 Michelin Clio Cup Series campaign in SVR colours, during which he hopes to mount a consistent challenge for victory.

“To be entering the ‘Racecar’ class of the Michelin Clio Cup is exciting and another step up the ladder,” said Randon. “We wouldn’t be making the move without my sponsors, Airglide International Ltd and Twincentric Integration, but I feel I extracted the most from my maiden season in the ‘Roadcar’ division last year and graduating to a race-spec Clio is naturally the next step.

“I think my performance during the Snetterton test in October backed that up, as it not only demonstrated my potential to Danny (Buxton), but also boosted my own confidence and indicated that I could really challenge for some good results in 2014. Without being over confident, I think I have the ability to mix it up at the sharp end and threaten for race wins on a consistent basis. There’s still some work to do, as I need to get to grips with the amount of speed you can carry through corners on the slick tyres.”

Randon – a Maintenance Apprentice for JCB – brings with him lucrative backing from Twincentric Integration and Airglide International Ltd.

Twincentric Integration – a long-established IT software and services company – sponsored Randon’s early Karting career and, having found the lure of the Michelin Clio Cup Series too much to resist, will rekindle its partnership with the young Ashbourne-based hotshot in 2014.

Airglide International’s drag reduction surface protectant system, Airglide Ultimate, had a profound effect when it was applied to Sam’s car for last year’s season finale, producing a measureable difference through the speedtraps and lifting the 18-year old to the top step of the podium for the first time.

Robert Sandham, Director of Airglide International, said: “Airglide has been proud of the progress made as Sam’s sponsor and is delighted to confirm its increased support for the 2014 season. Recent discussions and the confirmation of Sam as one of SVR’s drivers made Airglide’s commitment easy and I’m looking forward to developing our relationship with the team, to not only secure the partnership for the immediate future, but for the long-term too. Here’s to a successful year for Sam and Airglide International!”

SV Racing Director, Danny Buxton, added: “It’s tremendously exciting to have somebody with Sam’s potential on-board for the 2014 Michelin Clio Cup Series. He adapted remarkably well to the demands of a Clio Cup racer during his test with us in October and left us a bit stunned, in all honesty. He’s a talent for the future and SVR will give him all the tools he needs to flourish in the Clio Cup Series and to provide his sponsors, Twincentric Integration and Airglide, a return on their investments in the form of strong results.”

For more information on SV Racing, please ‘like the team’s Facebook page or follow @SV_Racing on Twitter.

SV RacingScuderia Vittoria is entering an exciting chapter under the guise of SV Racing (SVR), with Danny Buxton holding the reins in a brand new solo venture.

Since its inception in 2010, the Scuderia Vittoria team has become synonymous with quality, expertise and victory, while providing a vibrant atmosphere where talent can be nurtured and race-winning cars developed.

Both Tom Ferrier and Piers Masarati, who stood at Scuderia Vittoria’s helm alongside Buxton, are moving on to other projects within the motorsport industry.

However, the team continues to strive for perfection in the preparation of its cars and this fine attention to detail will surely be evident in the results it achieves on track when it embarks on a more streamlined programme of racing in the Renault UK Clio Cup – which runs as part of the illustrious support bill for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) – and the burgeoning Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre in 2014.

SV Racing’s (SVR) motorsport activities will be conducted solely by former UK Clio Cup Champion and BTCC driver Danny Buxton from the team’s new base in Wettenhall, Cheshire, just three miles from the picturesque Oulton Park circuit.

Buxton intends to build on the team’s enviable reputation as a fresh, dynamic and professional outfit under the new SV Racing name and is brimming with excitement and enthusiasm about the challenge that awaits him.

“It’s the perfect time to launch a new brand and I’m thrilled to stand alone at the helm of SV Racing at the beginning of a fantastic and exciting new chapter,” said SVR Director, Buxton. “This is a completely fresh start and I want to create a more streamlined and focused operation, as well as a recognisable name that both fans and drivers can relate to with SVR.

“I hope to achieve this with a strong presence on both the Renault UK Clio Cup and the Michelin Clio Cup Series grids in 2014 and, having added a few quality engineers and mechanics to the already talented technical team, I have every confidence moving forwards. I’m also delighted to maintain a strong relationship with the KX Akademy, KX Energy Drink and Tesco and I’m genuinely excited about building upon that over the course of the year while vying for championship glory. It’s an incredibly exciting time and there will potentially be one or two more surprises before the start of the season!”

For more information on SV Racing, please ‘like the team’s Facebook page or follow @SV_Racing on Twitter.

James Weston (GBR) Scuderia Vittoria Renault Clio CupScuderia Vittoria’s James Weston had a positive initiation in the brand new Michelin Renault Clio Cup Series with Protyre on the Snetterton 200 circuit (11-12 May), claiming a brace of Class 4 victories.

The Tunbridge Wells-based racer, in his maiden season of car racing, used the entire weekend in Norfolk as a test session, to bed in to his Clio Cup contender and learn the circuit.

A tentative start during Friday’s two 30-minute free practice sessions was followed by vast improvements in pace as the 25-year old gained more confidence behind the wheel.

In Saturday’s first encounter, Weston made a sluggish start and was swallowed up by the chasing pack. However, he soon gathered momentum and began an admirable fight-back to finish eighth and take victory in Class 4, for newcomers in the Racecar division.

Weston got a perfect launch from ninth on the grid in Sunday’s final Clio race, before spinning his Scuderia Vittoria-prepared machine at the Bombhole.

From the tail of the field, the Kent driver knuckled down and narrowed the gap to those ahead of him, taking advantage of other drivers’ misfortune before locking horns with Ian Jordan.

A fraught door handle-to door-handle battle, encompassing numerous clean overtaking manoeuvres, ensued and demonstrated Weston’s natural ability.

The 25-year old stayed focused and saw off Jordan’s challenge to cross the finish line in a highly respectable seventh place and claim another Class 4 win.

Looking back on an encouraging debut in the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) and Renault UK-led Clio Cup series, an enthusiastic Weston, said: “I’d say this has been the best weekend of my life. This is an absolutely massive learning curve, but with the help of the Scuderia Vittoria team I think I rose to the challenge well.

“My target was to get somewhere close to the front-running pace and we achieved that, so the weekend was a huge success as far as I’m concerned. I can’t wait to get back in the car at Croft, although I hope to test before then.”

Scuderia Vittoria Director Danny Buxton, added: “Considering this was James’s first ever car race meeting, he did really well. He showed a lot of maturity throughout and took everything we told him on-board to achieve two top-ten finishes.

“A lot of his competitors have raced in the Renault UK Clio Cup and his lap times weren’t far off the frontrunners’ best times. He’s treating this as a learning year, but we’re hugely encouraged by what we’ve already seen.”

The Michelin Renault Clio Cup Series resumes in eight weeks’ time at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit on 6-7 July.

For more information on Scuderia Vittoria’s racing activities, please like the team’s Facebook page or follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Finlay CrockerLeading team Scuderia Vittoria suffered a mixed weekend of emotion in the Renault UK Clio Cup season opener at Brands Hatch (30/31 March), with Finlay Crocker proving to be the cream of the crop, whilst the team’s championship challengers struggled to get off the mark in Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship.

A difficult qualifying session saw KX Akademy backed Stefan Hodgetts and Ant Whorton-Eales line up in 12th and 13th position respectively for Round 1 of the competitive championship.

Both drivers soon redeemed themselves on the start however. Stefan Hodgetts, a Vice Champion in the series back in 2007, drove impeccably, to storm through the field to fourth position before receiving a drive-through for exceeding the track limits, dashing his hopes of a strong points finish.

Whorton-Eales, who remained in close pursuit of Hodgetts for the duration of the race, took the chequered flag in sixth position behind Paul Rivett.

Finlay Crocker opened his 2013 account with a Masters Cup victory after completing the race in 17th position. The One Call Insurance backed driver was able to finish the race three places higher than his nearest challenger, Graham Field.

Round 2 of the championship saw Hodgetts line up on the grid in ninth position, whilst Whorton-Eales followed in 13th. Both drivers gained a textbook start, with Whorton-Eales surging through the field to briefly sit in second position, before slipping back into the clutches of Files, who made contact with Whorton-Eales, damaging his steering in the process.

With nothing between the first eight cars out at the front, Whorton-Eales and Hodgetts sat in fifth and seventh position respectively, unable to progress despite making tireless attempts.

An impressive start from Scuderia Vittoria newcomer Josh Wakefield saw him gain no less than ten places on his first lap encounter.

The former British GT4 contender continued to fight for a debut top ten finish but slipped back to 13th position as the race progressed, whilst karting ace Devon Modell drove a superb second race to work his way from 18th to 11th over 21 laps.

The conclusion of Round 2 would see Crocker do the double after fending off reigning class champion Simon Belcher, the pairing were locked in a tight battle for position during the closing stages.

Ronnie Klos suffered a weekend of bad luck on his return to the one-make series. After making possibly two of the best starts on the grid in both races, the Scotsman failed to finish both races, but will be sure to get his campaign back on track next time out.

Speaking of an eventful first weekend in the Renault UK Clio Cup, Scuderia Vittoria Director Danny Buxton is sure that the team can get back on track at Donington Park in 3 weeks time.

“We’ve had a weekend full of ups and downs,” said Buxton. “It wasn’t the best qualifying session for us, but the guys got stuck in and did whatever they could to recover in both races.”

“I’m convinced that we have a championship winning package, so we’ll continue to work hard with the drivers to ensure that we are on top at Donington Park.”

“I couldn’t have asked anymore of Finlay Crocker this weekend, I’m delighted that he has come away from Brands Hatch with two Masters Cup victories. I’m sure that he’ll be right on it again at Donington Park with Ronnie Klos in close pursuit.”

The Renault UK Clio Cup will burst back into action in three weeks time at Leicestershire’s Donington Park on 20/21 April.

For more updates on Scuderia Vittoria please like their Facebook page, or alternatively you can follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Photo by Matt Hill Photography.

Rob SmithRob Smith produced, by far, the most competitive and highest scoring weekend of his saloon car career during the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup season-opener at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit with two fantastic race performances on Sunday, 31st March – the highlight being a best ever top six finish.

Having made huge strides in terms of performance from his maiden season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category last year, the 20-year-old from Telford proved his excellent pre-season form was no flash in the pan by ending the event equal seventh in the points.

“Last year, in total, we scored 98 points and from this weekend alone we’ve already taken 30 so we have a third of the points we had last year in one event – it’s not a bad start”, said Rob, “We were quick in pre-season testing but we needed to show it in the races, and we’ve done that.”

Steering his Goodride Performance Tyres and Grouptyre-backed Clio to an outstanding sixth fastest time overall in pre-event practice, a mere 0.1 seconds shy of the outright pace, he maintained the same level of competitiveness in qualifying to secure eighth on the grid for both races.

In the televised second race, beamed live across the UK on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, Rob made a great start to climb into the top six before being edged back to seventh part-way through the opening lap by the vastly experienced Stefan Hodgetts.

Following an early Safety Car period, the Loughborough University student set about re-challenging for sixth and an error from Hodgetts meant Rob moved through shortly after racing resumed. From that point on he was under immense pressure, but didn’t make any mistakes and took the flag on lap 21 just 0.6 seconds shy of fifth place. His best lap was only 0.2 seconds outside the fastest of all.

“Having Stef [Hodgetts] right behind me, and knowing the reputation he has and how he races, it was quite stressful and I had to concentrate pretty hard to keep him behind”, commented Rob”, “I was still comfortable though and I knew if I didn’t make a mistake I could stay ahead. It was a really enjoyable race, great to be fighting at the sharp end.”

In round one on Sunday morning, Rob unfortunately lost some ground initially and slipped to 11th place on the opening lap. After a brief Safety Car period, the Total Control Racing driver pressed on and moved back into the top 10 at mid-distance before claiming ninth in the end when Hodgetts was served with a penalty for transgressing the track limits once too often.

“The first race was a little bit disappointing”, said Rob, “I got mugged at the start and then hung out to dry at Druids and then Graham Hill Bend. If the start had been better, we could have had another top six for sure. If we continue to qualify well like we have here, and get good starts as well, then we can definitely race near the front and, hopefully, begin fighting for podiums.”

As well as being tied on points with Jake Giddings for seventh in the overall Renault UK Clio Cup driver standings, Rob is fifth in the Graduate Cup class ahead of the next two rounds of the season which will take place at Donington Park National Circuit on 20th/21st April.

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings:
1st James Colburn, 57pts; =7th Rob Smith & Jake Giddings, 30pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings:
1st James Colburn, 64pts; 5th Rob Smith, 40pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Simon BelcherRounds one and two of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch this weekend, 30th/31st March, proved a great deal more challenging than expected for reigning ‘Masters’ class Champion Simon Belcher as contact in both races spoiled his hopes of beginning the campaign in winning ways.

Qualifying on the Masters pole for both races, 15th on the overall grid for round one and 14th for race two, Belcher was within just 0.6 seconds of the outright pace and confident of battling up towards the coveted top 10 in each encounter.

Bitterly disappointed to be forced out of the season-opener on Sunday morning mere yards from the start, after being pitched into the barrier following a tangle with Masters Cup rival Ronnie Klos, the Swindon driver did manage to bounce back in race two to open his account with second in class.

Putting the aforementioned retirement firmly behind him, the KÄRCHER and No Fear Energy-supported driver was determined for a better run in the afternoon’s race – broadcast live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD – and despite picking up some damage he was in the fight for the class win.

Scorching away from the line, Belcher threaded his way through to the cusp of the top 10 but a slight knock to the rear of his Handy Motorsport-run Clio soon after led to understeer problems from that point forward. Even so, Belcher drove around the issue as best he could and during the final few laps he managed to latch on to the tail of Masters class leader Finlay Crocker.

Sizing up a potential pass during the last couple of laps, the Wiltshire driver made his move on the final tour at Druids Hairpin but as he went to the outside, the pursuing James Nutbrown – not a threat in the Masters Cup – dived inside and manage to edge ahead. Belcher, therefore, had to settle for second in class but was pleased to get some points in the bag.

“The first race was a massive disappointment – Ronnie [Klos] hit me before the first corner and that was it”, said the 39-year-old, “It was partly my fault in as much as I got an atrocious start, I don’t know what I did wrong but whatever it was I didn’t do it in the second race as I got an absolute flyer.

“I made up about five places off the line, things were going well and then I got clipped by somebody on the first lap. I think it bent the rear beam a little bit as I had massive understeer then for the rest of the race, which made it really hard to try and capitalise on any opportunities that came up.”

He added: “Finlay [Crocker] was four or five cars ahead of me in the Masters so I thought that was it, he’d gone, but in the second half of the race he started to come back towards me. Two laps from the end I was right on his bumper, I tried to make a move on the outside at Druids but then [James] Nutbrown got down the inside of me and that was it – I had to settle for second in class then.”

The 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup will resume three weeks from now, over the weekend 20th/21st April, at Donington Park in the East Midlands where Belcher is determined to fight for a Masters Cup double and battle for overall top 10 results.

“We need to forget about this weekend, go to Donington afresh and concentrate on our target of qualifying and finishing in the overall top 10 and taking some Masters wins”, he said, “Maybe this weekend I’ve got all my bad luck out of the way for the season and, hopefully, we’ll be back where we should be at Donington.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Leading team Scuderia Vittoria roll into the Brands Hatch this weekend (30/31 March), in search of the perfect start to their 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup campaign.

The series front-runners, renowned for leading KX Akademy and One Call Insurance backed Stefan Hodgetts to four victories in 2012, head to the Kent circuit meaning business after expanding their operation to no less than six cars during the winter break.

Whilst Hodgetts remains with the team for another title shot in 2013, fellow KX Akademy member, Ant Whorton-Eales, will also join him to bolster Scuderia Vittoria’s efforts from the off.

Ronnie Klos and Finlay Crocker return to the frame for a second season in 2013 with support from One Call insurance, having both proved to be serious Masters Cup contenders in 2012.

The pairing return to Brands Hatch this weekend not only aiming to make the Masters Cup their own, but to also challenge for regular top-ten finishes in Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship.

Devon Modell and Josh Wakefield both make debuts in the series this weekend. Modell, a former karting ace, and Wakefield, a former British GT4 contender, will be aiming to be right on the pace after a successful winter testing programme.

“I’m feeling very confident ahead of Brands Hatch this weekend,” said Scuderia Vittoria Director Danny Buxton. “The quality of the team that we possess this year is something quite special.”

“Winter testing has gone very well and I’m sure that the guys will show well this weekend.”

“I would like to thank One Call Insurance and KX Akademy for their continued support in 2013, it would be great to repay them with two wins to start the season!”

For more updates on Scuderia Vittoria please like their Facebook page, or alternatively you can follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Simon BelcherSimon Belcher has set his sights on a consistently strong start to the new Renault UK Clio Cup season when it gets underway at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this coming weekend, 30th/31st March – and the Handy Motorsport driver says he won’t be satisfied with anything less than a pair of top 10 finishes.

Returning to the prestigious Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support class to defend the Masters Cup title he won comfortably during his maiden campaign in 2012, the 39-year-old from Swindon is ideally targeting the overall top six as he aims to build on the experience gained last year.

Having largely dominated the ‘Masters’ division in his debut season, Belcher will undoubtedly be a marked man for many during the 2013 season and he is determined to retain that crown. Having said that, his greater aspiration is to become a regular fixture among the overall front-runners and, off the back of some impressive times in winter testing, he’s confident of achieving that goal.

Acknowledging the impact the arctic weather and freezing temperatures have had on the pre-season testing schedules during recent months, Belcher says a continuation of the current cold spell into the coming weekend could ensure a few surprises during the opening two rounds.

“We had a good schedule in place for pre-season testing but the weather has been totally against us, out of the 10 tests we’ve done we only had two dry days”, explained the KÄRCHER and No Fear Energy-backed racer, “Even when it was dry it was only a few degrees, so it limits what you’re able to do as it’s so hard getting heat into the tyres.

“If the cold weather stays as it has been for the weekend, I think it’s going to be a tough first round and I think there could be some shocks. The conditions could have a big outcome on qualifying but I’m targeting the top six, top eight, something like that. Last year we aimed for the top 10 and the best we qualified was 11th, we need to be moving forward from that this year and I’m sure we can.”

Using the likes of Team Pyro’s title contender Josh Files as a benchmark, Belcher has been highly encouraged by the times he has delivered during the pre-season and reports he is “considerably closer” to the outright pace than during his first year in Clios.

“Testing has been pretty good in the main”, he added, “Unfortunately we did have some big damage at Thruxton, when I ended up in the wall, and at Croft last week something failed on the front-left of the car when I was approaching Tower – as soon as I hit the brakes I got fired into the barrier.

“None of that has been too helpful to our preparations but the rest of testing has been good and we’re a lot closer to the likes of Josh [Files], in fact I’d say considerably closer than we were last year. At Brands Hatch for the first round in 2012 we qualified 15th so I’m certainly looking for much more than that this year. If we can get close to the top eight and be consistent, I’ll be happy with that.”

Pre-event practice for the season-opening Renault UK Clio Cup race meeting, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, will take place on Good Friday, 29th March, with qualifying following on Saturday, 30th March. Round one is scheduled for 10.20 on Easter Sunday, 31st March, while round two – which will be broadcast live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD – will take place at 15.35.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Ant Whorton EalesRenault UK Clio Cup front-runner Ant Whorton-Eales will return to Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship in 2013 for a title challenge with leading team Scuderia Vittoria.

18 year-old Whorton-Eales, a recognised BRDC Rising Star and 2011 Mini Challenge Club Class Champion, will join the highly competitive championship for a second full season after a successful debut campaign saw the Staffordshire based driver complete 2012 in seventh position.

Backed by KX Akademy for 2013, Whorton-Eales will return to the team for whom he made his debut at Rockingham Motor Speedway in 2011.

Scuderia Vittoria Director Danny Buxton added, “To have Ant on board with Scuderia Vittoria in 2013 is brilliant news. He made his debut in the championship with the team at Rockingham back in 2011, showing true potential straight out of the box.”

“He had a strong full season with Westbourne Motorsport in 2012, and I’m sure that he will be fighting for race wins from the off after a successful winter testing programme with Scuderia Vittoria. “

The Renault UK Clio Cup will get underway in front of bumper-crowds at Brands Hatch on 30/31 March.

For more updates on Scuderia Vittoria please like their Facebook page, or alternatively you can follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

CrockerFormer Renault UK Clio Cup Vice Champion and multiple race-winner, Stefan Hodgetts, will return to the renowned series in 2013 with Scuderia Vittoria alongside his One Call Insurance counterparts Finlay Crocker and Ronnie Klos.

Hodgetts, a runner-up in Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship in 2007, returned midway through the 2012 season to snatch four dominant victories on his way to seventh position in the championship standings with One Call Insurance and KX Akademy backing.

Scottish racers Crocker and Klos will return for a second campaign in the championship that is set to entertain capacity crowds in 2013, whilst also boasting live ITV4 coverage over eight weekends of racing.

Crocker and Klos impressed in their debut season, both challenging for Masters Cup honours throughout, and for 2013 the pairing will be aiming to continue their surge through the pack to challenge some of the country’s most promising racing talent.

“I’m delighted to be able to confirm Stefan for a full campaign with Scuderia Vittoria in 2013,” said Scuderia Vittoria Director, Danny Buxton. “To have continued support from One Call Insurance and the KX Akademy is brilliant.”

“Ronnie had a very strong second half of the season after spending eight years away from racing, I really expect him to be fighting for top ten positions now that he has gained knowledge of the circuits, he will really be gunning for the Masters Cup title this year.”

“Finlay was very impressive in 2012, he has been training very hard over the off-season and mixed with the speed that he possesses, I think that he can be right up there in contention, especially at his best circuits such as Thruxton, Brands Hatch GP and Donington.”

“The Scot’s mean business this year, and after a few days testing, acclimatising to the new Dunlop tyres, they will be right on it!”

The Renault UK Clio Cup will get underway at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 30th/31st March 2013.

For more updates on Scuderia Vittoria please like their Facebook page, or alternatively you can follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Photo by Jakon Ebrey Photography.