NEW DIRECTION ANNOUNCED FOR 2011 CLIO CUP Organisers of the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin today unveiled the first of a series of sweeping changes for the 2011 season designed to make the championship more appealing and cost-effective to...
NEW DIRECTION ANNOUNCED FOR 2011 CLIO CUP
Organisers of the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin today unveiled the first of a series of sweeping changes for the 2011 season designed to make the championship more appealing and cost-effective to teams and drivers.
By far the most significant change is to the number of rounds the series will be contested over from the current 20 to 16. Eight race meetings, each a double-header, will still run as part of the TOCA package supporting the British Touring Car Championship, as the series has done since 1993. Of the 10 available TOCA events, the Clio Cup calendar (see below) will omit the meetings at Knockhill and Silverstone with organisers confident the move will cap budgets to approximately £60,000 -- a decision which has already received the backing of current teams. Championship rounds for Renault Sport's other BTCC support series the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship will not be affected.
To balance this, from 2011 a selection of UK Clio Cup drivers will be able to take part in the inaugural Clio Eurocup following its successful pilot in Hockenheim earlier this year. The new Clio Eurocup will allow British drivers the opportunity to race at the highest level and at some of Europe's most prestigious tracks without modifying their race car in anyway. Calendar details are still to be confirmed for this but it is expected that two races will be held at four different World Series by Renault events.
Significant reductions to the slick tyre allocation from 60 to 48, along with the continuation of 'tyre turning' to prolong life, are also measures that will be introduced to help restrict costs next season. Clio Cup partner Michelin continues its support of the series by also giving one driver at each meeting a free full set of slick tyres with winners chosen via a lottery system.
In a further bid to ease budgets there will also be less official test days held prior to the season launch as well as the opening up of circuits for testing during the season after they have featured on the calendar. Silverstone National circuit will now be available for Clio Cup testing throughout the season.
Steps introduced for the 2010 season will also remain such as the Graduate Cup for drivers aged 23 and under and the NGK Spark Plugs Masters Cup for those aged 35 and over, together with current grid penalties and the allowance of both the old and new engine to be run simultaneously without restrictions.
Following its successful first year, Renault Sport's link with the Renault F1 Team Driver Training Programme will continue allowing drivers the option to prepare before and during the season using state-of-the-art facilities and coaching methods.
Championship Promoter Simon North commented: "Following extensive talks with all the teams and drivers we believe these are the first of many positive changes we can make to the series to help it become more affordable to prospective drivers whilst still making it a very rewarding championship. With our renewed TOCA contract in place for the next three years, everyone at Renault Sport still very much believes in the series and the car and is working extremely hard to ensure the championship progresses."
He added: "Over the coming months we will be finalising the current proposed changes outlined so far as well as announcing many other exciting new changes such as the scheme we're currently working on to offer a five-figure prize fund to the 2011 overall champion."
Mark Hunt, Team Manager at Team Pyro who led Dave Newsham to victory this season, added: "I'm delighted with the new changes and the decision to contest the championship over eight BTCC meetings. This will help reduce the overall budgets to what they were five years ago but also, thanks to the lift in testing restrictions, allow teams to trial drivers at top circuits throughout the year."
2011 Provisional Clio Cup Calendar (all with BTCC):
Rds 1 & 2 April 2nd/3rd Brands Hatch
Rds 3 & 4 April 16th/17th Donington Park
Rds 5 & 6 April 30th/May 1st Thruxton
Rds 7 & 8 June 4th/5th Oulton Park
Rds 9 & 10 June 18th/19th Croft
Rds 11 & 12 August 6th/7th Snetterton
Rds 13 & 14 September 17th/18th Rockingham
Rds 15 & 16 October 1st/2nd Brands Hatch
-source: renault sport uk