Former Champion Mike Bushell has confirmed he will go for a second Renault UK Clio Cup drivers’ title with multiple title-winning squad Team Pyro in 2017.
Bushell, from Tunbridge Wells, won the UK Clio Cup with Pyro in 2014 and last year, again with the Leicester-based outfit, came close to winning it once more only to be denied by a high-profile clash with eventual Champion Ant Whorton-Eales in the season finale at his home circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent.
It will be at Brands Hatch that Bushell’s 2017 UK Clio Cup season gets under way when the championship’s opening two rounds of the new season take place there on the weekend of Sat 1/Sun 2 April. All 18 of the UK Clio Cup’s races this year will feature at the British Touring Car Championship’s high profile events meaning huge trackside crowds (38,000+ on average in 2016) and live free-to-air television coverage on ITV4 for its teams, drivers and sponsors.
Bushell, also a successful independent video game developer, has already tested extensively on the new Michelin tyre that the UK Clio Cup has switched to for 2017.
He commented: “Certainly the plan is to go one better than last year – it was a dramatic but also bitter way to end my season. Having won a championship I’ve now also lost one. I’m starting 2017 physically fitter and also hungrier than ever for success.
“The Michelin tyre is very intriguing and caught me a bit by surprise when I first tested on it. It is more durable meaning drivers will get more flying laps in qualifying and that is an area I excelled at last year.
“I’ve also been studying who’s confirmed so far they are doing the championship in 2017. Everyone on the list I’ve seen looks very quick and I predict a vintage year for the championship. I make no secret about how much I love driving these cars and the type of racing involved in the UK Clio Cup and I’m just looking forward now to it all beginning again.”
Pyro Team Principal Mark Hunt said: “With Mike you just know you have a great chance of going for the championship and it’s a title we very much want back after seeing it go elsewhere in 2016. He is a real benchmark for the rest of the grid and with exciting new signings Ollie Pidgley and Jack McCarthy also on board we have a great driver line-up.”
Will Fewkes, Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager, added: “Mike’s inclusion now makes it two former UK Clio Cup champions on the grid as well as six different drivers to have previously won races in the championship.
“His speed and race craft are exemplary – as borne out by his astonishing run of 12 pole positions in 14 races along with a very strong title campaign in 2016. He is one of the obvious favourites for the championship in 2017.”