Securing his third class victory in as many attempts during the prestigious Silverstone 24 Hour Race and making an impact on the one-make ELF Renault Clio Cup series during his first full season in the category, 2008 was a memorable year for ...
Securing his third class victory in as many attempts during the prestigious Silverstone 24 Hour Race and making an impact on the one-make ELF Renault Clio Cup series during his first full season in the category, 2008 was a memorable year for Jonathan Ridley-Holloway.
With no karting experience to call on prior to his car racing debut back in 2004, the North Devon driver has made excellent progress over the last few seasons and the past year's competition really saw him come of age.
Having cut his teeth in the world of endurance competition, Jonathan decided at the end of 2007 it was time to make the switch to sprint racing in the one-make Clio Cup. To that end, he chose to graduate to the category for last year's winter series prior to the major test of the main 2008 Clio Cup in support of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Maintaining his association with endurance racing though, the 24-year-old enjoyed his greatest success of the year during September's Silverstone 24 Hour Race; the UK's answer to the legendary classic which is staged at Le Mans, France, every year.
Driving with Barnstaple based TJH Motorsport for his third attempt at the 24 Hour event, Jonathan had huge success in his Honda Civic Type R along with team-mates Simon Mason and Paul Collis by taking Class victory, and also finishing a stunning sixth overall, against the might of GT3 cars like Moslers, Porsches and several Marcos Mantis entries.
Most impressively was the fact Jonathan combined two night stints at the wheel of the Honda Civic with a brace of outings in his Clio on the very same weekend! In a single 24 hour period, he achieved an outstanding result at Silverstone while also equalling his season's best effort in Clios with a seventh place finish at Brands Hatch in Kent during the category finale.
"The Silverstone 24 Hour result was fantastic but to do so well in the two Clio races on the same weekend was just incredible", reflected Jonathan, "It was a major ask to do all of the travelling between Silverstone and Brands Hatch and to stay sharp for the racing but it all worked out better than I could have wished, I absolutely loved it!"
Competing with the crack Total Control Racing squad in the ELF Renault Clio Cup, Jonathan didn't take long at all to become a top 10 finisher in the championship with a ninth place result at Rockingham during the third round of the season.
He equalled that finish at Thruxton during the first of two races at his most local venue, albeit still some 125 miles from his Barnstaple residence, and then at Croft he fought his way into a career best Clio Cup finish of seventh place during round 10, concluding the first half of the season in great form.
When the championship resumed after its summer break, Jonathan enjoyed a run of four straight points scores with his fourth top 10 of the campaign coming at Snetterton during the 14th round.
From the final six races, he scored in four with the last two at Brands Hatch marking his best weekend of the year -- ninth place in round 19 and seventh in round 20. Ending the season 15th overall in the standings, 2008 was most certainly good for the North Devon ace.
Ridley-Holloway aims for Clio return in 2009
Without doubt, the final weekend of the year was the true highlight of 2008 for Jonathan and having sorted out one or two season-long problems with his Clio as the year drew to a close, his debut full championship run culminated in fine style.
Backed by A4 Apparel, Bond Oxborough Phillips and PicoPC.co.uk for his 2008 Clio Cup campaign, the category rookie is now embarking on an attempt to attract additional financial support for 2009 to enable him to continue the great progress he made this year.
Racing on the BTCC package is undoubtedly part of the dream for any aspiring professional driver but the UK's most prestigious motor racing tour is also an ideal place for businesses and investors to become involved with sponsorship opportunities.
While supporting an up-and-coming young racing driver can have terrific long-term benefits, the exposure from first class television coverage, live and recorded, and the potential to enjoy corporate hospitality at the country's most famous motorsport venues are just a few of the reasons major brand names become involved with national racing.
"Clio Cup is where I want to be racing in 2009, we've had a good season this year and I know if I have the chance to put into practice all of the experience I gained during a second season in the championship I can take my first podium for sure", said Jonathan.
"It's all about sponsorship though and the amount of racing budget we can attract. The guys at TCR would like to run me again and I want to race with the team but we've got to work very hard over the next couple of months to see if we can raise the necessary backing.
"I'm very keen to fly the flag for North Devon so if any local businesses wish to get involved and make the most of the marketing opportunities available through supporting my racing programme, I'd love to hear from them."