Successful club-level racer Paul Plant (Copthorne West Sussex) and his Vanquish Motorsport team are late entries for the 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup after agreeing a technical tie-up with established front-running squad WDE Motorsport.
Plant, aged 32, has been a prolific title, race and class winner on the UK and European Alfa Romeo scene for the last seven years but now fancies his chances in the high-profile environment of the UK Clio Cup which races in front of the British Touring Car Championship’s huge crowds and is also broadcast live on ITV4.
His debut season will be under the joint Vanquish-WDE banner – WDE last year challenged for the UK Clio Cup crown outright with lead driver Paul Rivett and is expected to do so again in 2016. It will provide Vanquish with significant engineering input and initial pre-season testing has already delivered some promising results.
Plant, a signalling engineer for the London Underground system, commented: “We’ve had a few brief runs together and seemed to have decent pace at Thruxton and Brands Hatch – everyone at WDE has been very accommodating and we seem to work well together on feedback and changes to the car’s set-up.
“The Alfa racing calls for a lot of discipline and is also quite physical so I feel I am well-prepared for this. I’m not setting my hopes too high initially – this is the next step and we’ve got lots to learn – but if I come away from the first two races at Brands Hatch knowing I’d fought competitively for a top-ten result then I’d be over the moon.”
Wayne Eason, Team Principal for Ashford-based WDE, said: “Paul has immediately impressed us in the testing he’s done so far – he is naturally quick and has a very good feel for what the car needs. Of course it’s the same for anyone – the more seat time the better – but already I can see him doing very well in the future.”
Will Fewkes, Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager, added: “It’s very nice to see a new team and driver, like Vanquish and Paul, joining the UK Clio Cup grid and, after proving their credentials in another competitive category, choosing this championship as the one to further their motor racing aspirations. They seem well-prepared and their link-up with WDE already looks to be gelling – it could be a combination really worth watching as the season progresses…”
All 18 races on the 2016 UK Clio Cup calendar will take place at the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship’s high-profile events. The first of those events is at the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent (WDE’s home track) on the weekend of Sat 2/Sun 3 April. CLICK HERE to book tickets.