Mike Bushell is aiming to go one better as he continues in the Renault UK Clio Cup with Team Pyro.
The 2014 champion came close to taking his second title last season, missing out to Ant Whorton-Eales by eight points after retiring from the final round at Brands Hatch.
“Certainly the plan is to go one better than last year – it was a dramatic, but also bitter way to end my season,” Bushell said. “Having won a championship, I’ve now also lost one. I’m starting 2017 physically fitter and also hungrier than ever for success.”
Of course, it won’t be easy. Bushell has been evaluating the competition as driver after driver has been confirmed this winter, and he believes everybody looks quick.
“I predict a vintage year for the championship,” he said. “I make no secret about how much I love driving these cars and the type of racing involved in the UK Clio Cup, and I’m just looking forward now to it all beginning again.”
Three drivers he won’t be competing against are 2016 teammates Josh Price and Sennan Fielding, and last season’s champion Whoroton-Eales. All three have been confirmed on the British Touring Car Championship grid. Bushell himself took the step down from BTCC last season after racing in the championship in 2015.
Bushell has already tested the new Michelin tyres that will be used this season.
“The Michelin tyre is very intriguing and caught me a bit by surprise when I first tested on it,” he said. “It is more durable, meaning drivers will get more flying laps in qualifying, and that is an area I excelled at last year.”
Pyro is happy to keep Bushell, especially after losing Price to the BTCC.
“With Mike, you just know you ahave a great chance of going for the championship, and it’s a title we very much want back after seeing it go elsewhere in 2016,” said team principal Mark Hunt. “He is a real benchmark for the rest of the grid and with exciting new signings Ollie Pidgley and Jack McCarthy also on board we have a great driver line-up.”
Feature image credit: Renault UK Clio Cup Press Office