UK: Series 2010 season news

EXCITING NEW CHANGES REVEALED FOR 2010 CLIO CUP SEASON Renault Sport UK today announced a host of changes to the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin designed to make the series both more rewarding and more cost-effective to teams and ...

EXCITING NEW CHANGES REVEALED FOR 2010 CLIO CUP SEASON

Renault Sport UK today announced a host of changes to the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin designed to make the series both more rewarding and more cost-effective to teams and drivers alike.

Most significant of the 10 changes (outlined below) is the move to extend the length of Saturday races to 40 minutes by reducing the qualifying time by 10 minutes.

Next season also sees two new championship prizes introduced with a 'Graduate Cup' for drivers aged 23 and under at the start of the season and a 'Masters Cup' for those aged 35 and over. The winner in each will be awarded a trophy after each round which will be presented on the podium at the same time as the top three drivers.

New for 2010 is the option for drivers to sign up to a fitness and nutrition programme. Participating drivers will have full access to state-of-the-art facilities for an entire year along with expert tuition, pre and post season fitness assessments and a tailored nutrition plan.

Meanwhile to help reduce costs, Renault Sport UK is to allow both the 2009 and new, more powerful (5hp increase) 2010 engine -- as used in the road-going Clio Renaultsport 200 -- to run simultaneously without restrictions. Clio Cup partner Michelin is making a big contribution to the changes with the introduction of a two-tyre bonus at each of the 10 race meetings. Continuing the cost saving measures, from next season competitors will only be permitted to change the front tyres during qualifying although they will be allowed to 'turn tyres' to prolong life.

The new season will also see a tougher stance on driving standards with any competitor handed penalty points also receiving an equivalent grid position penalty in the next race (i.e. a driver awarded two penalty points would be dropped two places on the grid in their next race). To balance this, a new ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting award is being introduced to promote clean driving and sportsmanlike ethics with the winning driver receiving GBP200.

Commenting on the changes for the new season, Championship Promoter Simon North said: "After listening to feedback from all our existing teams we felt the timing was right to make significant changes in some key areas to the championship which will not only make the series more attractive but also help reduce costs. We've focused a lot of our attention on improving driving standards next season but also on the drivers themselves.

Outlined changes to 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin:

* Increase in length to 40 minutes for Saturday races: This will be achieved by reducing the qualifying time to 20 minutes. Rounds held at Rockingham, Croft and Oulton Park however will be 35 minutes in length due to circuit restrictions. Sunday races will remain at 30 minutes (25 mins at Rockingham, Croft and Oulton Park).

* Introduction of a Graduate Cup: Drivers who are aged 23 and under before 1st March, 2010 will be eligible for the Graduate Cup with the overall winner receiving a voucher for 25% towards the cost of the 2011 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin registration fee. The winning driver in each round will also be invited onto the podium. Drivers who have competed in Clio Cup races previously will still be eligible to take part in the Graduate Cup.

* Introduction of Masters Cup: Drivers who are aged 35 and over before 1st March, 2010 will be eligible with the winning driver in each round receiving a trophy presented on the podium.

* Driver fitness programme: Drivers will be able to buy into a subsidised fitness and nutrition programme which will include access to state-of-the-art equipment as well as expert tuition.

* Focus on driving standards: A change to regulation 4.2.1.2 will see drivers who receive penalty points during judicial action also subjected to a grid penalty equivalent to the point allocation. This means if a driver is awarded two penalty points they will automatically be demoted two grid places at the next round they compete in. As with before, penalty points will be doubled/tripled etc for second/third offences although this will not apply to grid positions.

* Full access to overseas races: Drivers will have full access to compete in overseas Clio Cup competitions such as the 24-hours Nurburgring support race, Eurocup, and competing rounds in the Belgian Clio Cup Championship.

* Introduction of ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting award: The driver deemed to have shown the best sportsmanlike ethics at each race meeting (10 in total) will be awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting together with a cheque for GBP200.

* Flexibility on new engine: Both the 2009 and 2010 engines will be allowed to run side-by-side without restrictions to ease the transfer of the new engine.

* Introduction of Michelin tyre bonus scheme: All drivers will be eligible for a two-tyre bonus at each of the 10 race meetings. The draw will be held at the driver's briefing with a driver only allowed to win once.

* Allowance of tyre turning: New regulations will allow teams to 'turn' tyres to prolong life in addition to teams only being permitted to change the front tyres during qualifying.

-credit: rumcc uk

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