Dan Zelos has announced he will return for a second season in the Renault UK Clio Cup in 2017 but with a different team, WDE Motorsport.
The Norfolk youngster showed flashes of great speed during his debut campaign in the championship last year with the Ciceley Motorsport outfit. His best race result was a seventh place although he also qualified as high as third on the grid – notably at his debut event at Brands Hatch.
Zelos, aged 18, enthused: “The competition is shaping up to be extremely hot again, with a big grid and a lot of very quick drivers – and the elimination of dropped scores will prioritise consistency.
“I was really beginning to get to grips with the championship in the latter stages of 2016. Although we never seemed to have much luck on our side that toughened me up mentally and I feel much more positive going into my second season.”
Zelos is clearly looking forward to learning from WDE Team Manager and three-time UK Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett. He added: “At this stage in my career, being able to work alongside somebody of Paul’s calibre will be hugely important to my development as a driver… nobody knows or understands these cars and this championship better than he does.”
All 18 of the UK Clio Cup’s races in 2017 will take place at the British Touring Car Championship’s high profile events. These start at Brands Hatch, Kent (1-2 April) and include one at Zelos’s home track of Snetterton (29-30 July). The events draw huge trackside crowds (avg. 38,000+ in 2016) and are shown live on ITV4.
Wayne Eason, Principal of the Ashford-based WDE team, said: “I think Dan will really benefit from the wealth of experience and fantastic team spirit here at WDE and I genuinely believe he can win races this year – with podium finishes at the very least.”
And echoed Rivett: “I’m delighted to welcome Dan to WDE. He is a very exciting young prospect and I’m really looking forward to assisting him to work his way up the grid. There’s no question that he is more than capable of podium finishes and, as a team, there is plenty that we can offer him.”
Zelos becomes WDE’s second ‘new signing’ for the 2017 season after it already announced race-winner Paul Streather will be joining its line-up.
Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes commented: “The UK Clio Cup is massively competitive and almost without fail drivers see it as a two to three-year programme at least so as to really hone their race craft ahead of the big move up into the BTCC. I am certain Dan will thrive in his second season – particularly with the very rapid Paul Streather as a team-mate and also with guidance from WDE and Paul Rivett.”