Excitement Building As New 2016 UK Clio Cup Season Nears.Brands Hatch's short Indy circuit will host the opening two races of the championship which features identical race-spec versions of the Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy.
Key differences, however, include a lighter car, outwardly visible modifications such as a read spoiler, front splitter and a roof-mounted cooling system (for the cockpit) plus race-spec paddleshift gearbox, suspension and brakes with slick Dunlop racing tyres.
There are nine events in total with two races at each making for an 18-round calendar. And with the UK Clio Cup only ever racing at the British Touring Car Championship's high-profile events, the biggest crowds are guaranteed as is plenty of live coverage on ITV4. Click here for the full list of race dates, circuit profiles and easy links to book tickets for events.
Notably, 2016 marks the 25th anniversary since the first-ever UK Clio Cup race - at Leicestershire's Donnington Park in April 1991.
Teams and drivers have certainly been busy with their pre-season testing programmes in recent weeks. Notably returning 2014 Champion Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) is tipping his newcomer Pyro team-mate Senna Proctor (Bridlington) for great things, while top BTCC team Ciceley Motorsport has now dramatically announced it will run three cars in the UK Clio Cup grid after the additional signing of Max Coates (Darlington).
Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), a title contender right up to last year's final rounds, has also been getting back into the groove with his JamSport team as have Paul Streather (Hinckley) and Finesse Motorsport who made such an impact on their debut together at Brands Hatch's season finale last October. According to our spies, new teams PP Motorsport and Team Eco-Motive have also looked rapid with drivers Anton Spires and Daniel Rowbottom...
Meanwhile, three-time Champion Paul Rivett has yet to officially reveal his plans - an announcement is expected this week on the UK Clio Cup's official website which has all the latest team and river news in the run-up to the new season.
Before Brands Hatch comes the UK Clio Cup's annual pre-season launch at the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire next Wednesday 23rd March. This will mark the first time this year that the new-for-2016 grid lineup will have come together in the same place. While teams and drivers will need to get through a busy media schedule on the day, so they will also be concentrating on using a number of officially-timed test sessions to compare their performance against that of their rivals.