Renault Sport Racing won't revive Clio Cup UK in 2021

Renault Sport Racing has decided there will be no Clio Cup in the UK next year - the latest development in a two-year on/off saga for the category

Renault Sport Racing won't revive Clio Cup UK in 2021

The popular championship established itself as the unofficial feeder series to the British Touring Car Championship and launched the tin-top careers of many BTCC frontrunners, including double series champion Ash Sutton.

But, back in December 2018, Renault UK announced it would withdraw its support from the Clio Cup after the 2019 season, which appeared to be the end of the road for the series.

However, Renault Sport Racing then revealed that it would step in and back a UK championship for 2020, which would feature the new, fifth-generation Clio and would race on the British GT support bill rather than alongside the BTCC.

The coronavirus pandemic scuppered those plans, leading to the start of the season being delayed and then being cancelled altogether.

RSR has now decided not to relaunch a series in the UK next year, its sporting manager Tarik Ait Said telling Autosport that COVID-19 "makes things difficult".

"The UK is not part of our 2021 plan," he explained, adding RSR is "always reviewing" its strategy.

"It's very frustrating - we've been doing Clio Cup in the UK for so many years so it's very frustrating we couldn't launch it this year.

"There were too many uncertainties with all the clients and customers, we decided it was better for them not to invest in new cars at the start of a season that would be very problematic."

Despite not running a UK series, RSR is continuing to operate championships in France, Spain, Italy and Central Europe as well as a new European contest, where drivers' scores from any 10 of the national series weekends count to the title.

"We thought about putting one race meeting in the UK, but it wouldn't have been good," Ait Said continued.

"People in the UK wouldn't buy a car to do one race meeting [and the rest in Europe]."

Ait Said refused to rule out a future series in the UK, particularly as Renault has altered its strategy to give the Alpine brand prominence in its racing activities - including the rebranding of its Formula 1 team for 2021.

"I believe we're going to return to the UK in the future," he said. "It's not a market that can be ignored."

Richard Colburn, boss of long-time Clio Cup squad Westbourne Motorsport, says the decision was to be expected as the pandemic continues to have a major impact on manufacturers.

"It's a great shame," he said. "With the uncertainty, trying to start something new would be a difficult thing to do.

"It's difficult for teams to invest in the cars, and for organisers to invest in the events.

"We've got to wait for a period of normality and see [if it can return]."

shares
comments
The UK series where F1's pioneers made their mark

Previous article

The UK series where F1's pioneers made their mark

Next article

Memories from the unusual 2020 national racing season

Memories from the unusual 2020 national racing season
Load comments

About this article

Series National
Author Stephen Lickorish
How the GT Cup is thriving despite the pandemic Plus

How the GT Cup is thriving despite the pandemic

The GT Cup has attracted a stunning array of drivers and machinery for its opening event at Donington Park this weekend. The fact we're in the middle of a pandemic makes that entry all the more remarkable, but there's plenty of reasons why the series is proving popular

National
Apr 9, 2021
What Autosport’s looking forward to in national motorsport this year Plus

What Autosport’s looking forward to in national motorsport this year

With COVID-19 restrictions gradually being lifted and national motorsport finally returning this weekend, focus and anticipation has switched to the year ahead. Here are Autosport's picks for what should be some of the best events and rivalries of 2021

National
Apr 3, 2021
How 2020's newest national series and championships fared Plus

How 2020's newest national series and championships fared

To the credit of organisers, some new national UK series and championships were still able to successfully launch last year, even with the world in the grip of a pandemic. Here's how Autosport has ranked them

National
Feb 14, 2021
The new national series and championships in 2021 Plus

The new national series and championships in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic may still mean there is uncertainty across the globe, but that hasn't stopped new series and championships from being introduced into UK motorsport this season. Autosport takes a look at the newest additions

National
Feb 10, 2021
The verdict on how COVID impacted club racing in 2020 Plus

The verdict on how COVID impacted club racing in 2020

It was a season like no other but, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some positives on the club motorsport scene last year as entry numbers largely remained stable, while some series boasted impressive growth

National
Feb 7, 2021
How a Porsche King became 2020's breakout star Plus

How a Porsche King became 2020's breakout star

Few drivers in 2020 could lay claim to a season as exceptional as Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Harry King. Beating the British Touring Car Championship's best to win Autosport's National Driver of the Year was the ideal recognition of his feat

National
Feb 1, 2021
The Formula Vee maverick who has reached the top Plus

The Formula Vee maverick who has reached the top

For a second consecutive year, a self-built machine has won the Formula Vee championship. But James Harridge's 'Maverick' comes from the very humblest of origins - with some parts even salvaged from a skip

National
Jan 24, 2021
The greatest club racing characters Plus

The greatest club racing characters

From legendary drinking habits to dramatic driving styles, there has been no shortage of cult-hero figures over the past 70 years in national motorsport. Here's an extended version of the original list that appeared in Autosport's 70th anniversary bookazine

National
Jan 5, 2021