Source: Chequered Images

Silverstone played host to the season launch of both the Renault Clio Cup UK and the Renault Clio Juniors, where we had our first look at the seasons stars and machines.

So who is on the grid?
There are several drivers that could all be in contention for Championship honours at Brands Hatch in October but perhaps the strongest title favourite is Max Coates who moves from the departing Ciceley Motorsport to join Team Pyro who brought the title to Mike Bushell last season. Fighting him hard all the way will be Paul Rivett who will be challenging for his fourth Clio Cup title.

Max Coates. Source: Chequered Images

Pushing Paul and Max all the way will be James Dorlin and James Colburn of Westbourne Motorsport. Dorlin was one of very few drivers to snatch a win from Bushell last season and looking for many more this season.

New to the grid this year are Matrix Motorsport who have assembled a four car line-up, to take on the established teams in the series. Andy Wilmot and Mike Epps have both had years experience banging door handles in the BTCC while Aaron Thompson moves from Ciceley Motorsport and rounding up the Team Matrix squad is Team Principal Jeff Alden who has a background of club racing and success in the MSA Time Attack Championship.

Mike Epps. Source: Chequered Images

Making 2018 his first full season racing cars is Nicholas Hamilton after a few seasons only being able to compete in selected rounds of Clios and BTCC, before this season. If the car goes as well as it looks, Nic, will be at the pointy end of the results come Brands Hatch.

Entry List: 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup

No. Driver (NAT), Hometown, County, Team
2 Nathan Edwards (GBR)*, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, WDE Motorsport
4 Jack McCarthy (GBR), Bromley, Kent, Team Pyro
5 Lee Pattison (GBR), Halifax, West Yorkshire, WDE Motorsport
6 Bradley Burns* (GBR), Farnham, Surrey, Team Pyro
7 James Colburn (GBR), Worthing, West Sussex, Westbourne Motorsport
12 Brett Lidsey (GBR), Northfleet, Kent, MRM
16 Daniel Rowbottom (GBR), Kidderminster, Worcs, Team Pyro
19 Jeff Alden (GBR), Cheltenham, Glos, Matrix Motorsport
21 Andy Wilmot (GBR), Dartford, Kent, Matrix Motorsport
22 Paul Rivett (GBR), Epsom Downs, Surrey, WDE Motorsport
28 Nicolas Hamilton (GBR), Welwyn Garden City, Herts, WDE Motorsport
32 James Dorlin (GBR), Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Westbourne Motorsport
34 Zak Fulk (GBR)*, Guildford, Surrey, Team Pyro
37 Michael Epps (GBR), Hemel Hempstead, Herts, Matrix Motorsport
41 Aaron Thompson (GBR), Romford, Essex, Matrix Motorsport
45 Dan Zelos (GBR), Dereham, Norfolk, WDE Motorsport
46 Sam Osborne (GBR), Worksop, Nottinghamshire, WDE Motorsport
71 Max Coates (GBR), Scorton, North Yorkshire, Team Pyro

* Graduates Cup (for drivers aged 23 & under 1 April 2018 and in their first full UK Clio Cup season)

While in the Juniors category, reigning Champion Jack Young returns to MRM Racing for the 2018 season. Lorcan Hanafin continues with Pyro Motorsport and Louis Doyle maintains the status quo with Jamsport and has seeked invaluable tutoring and advice from BTCC racer, Tom Ingram.

New to the 2018 Junior season will be 15 year old Jamie-Lea Hawley, from Widnes who will be run by Finsport, who has great racing pedigree at all levels of the motorsport ladder.

Jamie-Lea Hawley. Source Chequered Images

Team Pyro will also run Gus Burton, who was forced out of contention for the inaugural Clio Junior title after suffering a broken hand while playing rugby. Nicholas Reeve will also be on the grid under the banner of Specialised Motorsport.