PROCTOR TO MAKE RACING RETURN IN RENAULT CLIOS WITH TCR
Former British Touring Car Championship racer Mark Proctor will make his return to competitive action this season, following a hiatus of almost two years, after signing with Total Control Racing to make his debut in the one-make ELF Renault Clio Cup.
Coming hot on the heels of the Wednesbury team's recent announcements regarding title contender James Dixon, newcomer Tom Grice and racing rookie Nicolas Hamilton, brother of 2008 FIA Formula One World Champion Lewis, the deal with 42-year-old Proctor means TCR has filled its Clio entry.
His last competitive outing in May 2009 ended with injury for the Bridlington father of two, a major collision during a Ginetta G50 Cup outing at Oulton Park -- an accident also ironically involving TCR's own Carl Breeze -- seeing the North Yorkshireman elect to call time on his motorsport career.
Unable to shake off the racing bug though and the urge for competition, Proctor is now relishing his fresh challenge in the Clio Cup and is absolutely delighted to drive for TCR -- a team he regards as the "best in the business".
"I've been racing all my life and it's been hard to stay away", said Proctor, "I needed to get back into the sport and the chance to race with TCR in Clios is the perfect opportunity for me. Unfortunately my run in Ginettas ended with the big accident, it was a freak accident, but I decided to walk away from racing. It's been impossible to shake the bug though and I'm really happy to be back.
"Obviously the team's reputation goes before it and I wanted to be with the very best. Clios will be a great new challenge for me and there's nothing like the BTCC package in the UK, I'm really looking forward to being back there.
"We haven't got any expectations I just want to be as competitive as I can. I'll be giving away quite a bit of weight to most of the other drivers so I'll be working hard to minimise that -- I definitely want to try and lose a couple of stone before the season!"
Following a stellar career in the British Rallycross Championship, Proctor entered the Eurocar V6 Championship in the mid-1990s, finishing second in the standings in 1998, and remained in the now defunct category through its rebranded era as the Days of Thunder/ASCAR series.
In 2005 he moved into the UK's biggest saloon car category, the British Touring Car Championship, and ran in the Independent class in a Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Driving a Honda Civic Type-R in 2006, Proctor switched to the BTCC supporting Ginetta G50 Cup in 2008 where he contested four races ahead of a planned full season in 2009 -- the latter curtailed due to the Oulton Park accident.
With the team's 2011 Clio Cup line-up now fully confirmed, TCR's Lee Brookes said: "We're really pleased to get Mark onboard with the team. It's great he's decided to come back to racing and we're looking forward to working with him. He's got a lot of experience and although he's not been on track for two years we're sure it won't take him long to get up to speed.
"Obviously, we're delighted to have filled all four cars and we're sure it'll be a strong season. James (Dixon) and Tom (Grice) should be right up there, Mark should get back into things quickly and we're sure Nicolas (Hamilton) is going to develop strongly through the year."
Rounds one and two of the ELF Renault Clio Cup will take place at Brands Hatch on 2nd/3rd April with the 16 race series set to conclude back at the world-famous Kent venue in October. Proctor's maiden season of Clio Cup action will be supported by Proctor Plant Sales.