2019 will be the Renault UK Clio Cup’s last season with the series coming to an end at the end of the year and yet it could be one of its most competitive years to date.
The championship first started in 1991 and became part of the British Touring Car package in 1999.
Over this time the category has produced 21 different champions and many of its seasons have gone down to the wire.
This season is unlikely to be any different.
Going into 2019 there are a number drivers on the grid with a point to prove and who will all be hoping to take the final UK Clio Cup title.
Three time UK Clio Cup champion, Mike Bushell has announced that he will be returning to race in the series after funding issues meant he missed out on a second consecutive season in the BTCC.
Whilst disappointed that he won’t be in the Team HARD Volkswagen in 2019, he returns to the Clio Cup with the Kent based team and with a four car squad it is clear Team HARD has its sights firmly on the title.
Bushell knows what it takes to win, especially in the Clio Cup and he will expect to be competitive from the off.
Max Coates, who narrowly missed out on the title last season will be hoping to set the record straight and win the championship at his fourth attempt.
Coates led most of the season last year, missing out in the final round. Having finished third both last year and in 2016 he will be looking to make sure he comes out on top in 2019.
Coates will also be racing for Team HARD alongside Bushell meaning this could be one of the rivalries of the season.
Jack Young, who won the Junior UK Clio Cup championship last year as well as the World Final at Paul Ricard will also be looking to steal the title away from his more experienced rivals.
He had a great scrap with Coates at the World Final, pipping him to the win and in his first test in the 2019 car Young set an unoffical lap record on the Silverstone National circuit, lapping 0.116s faster than Coates.
Young only finished 15th in last year’s season but with his win at Paul Ricard he will have more confidence that he can regularly challenge with the likes of Bushell and Coates in his MRM Clio.
Jade Edwards will also hope she has an outside chance of fighting for the title. The fan favourite was a regularly top ten finisher last year but she also had some big accidents.
With her move to Team Hard she will be in a team that can fight for the title and she will be hoping she can bring home consistent points and podiums to remain in the hunt.
This might be the last season of the UK Clio Cup but the series still has so much to offer and with drivers of top quality making the decision to compete in the category for 2019, it will surely be a season that goes down to the wire once again.
Feature Image credit: P1 Photography