Of the five rookies on this year’s British Touring Car Championship grid, three of them were competing in the Clio Cup last season.
Ten of the current grid have raced in the junior series, and plenty have found success in the BTCC, but being competitive in a Renault Clio doesn’t always guarantee a strong BTCC campaign.
One driver not on the BTCC grid this season is Mike Bushell. The 27-year-old had competed in the championship in 2015, but took the step back down to the Clios last year. Competing with Team Pyro, he narrowly missed out on the title, losing out in the final round to Ant Whorton-Eales.
He spoke to Overtake Motorsport about his experience in making the step and how he thinks the Clio Cup graduates will do.
“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “It’s a massive jump to make.
“I didn’t have the right car when I did it, and I didn’t have the budget to do it with, so it was short lived for me. Sutton, on the other hand, moved up. He went to MG straight away. He had a great car and great results in his first year.
“[Josh] Price and [Senna] Proctor, they just need to learn. They’ve made a massive jump and even to be winning at the front of Clios and being Clio Cup champion is no guarantee of success in touring cars. But all the best to them. They’re going to have fun in the first round.”
Bushell will compete with Team Pyro again this season and is aiming for the title. This year, Whorton-Eales won’t be able to snatch the title from him in the last round, with the reigning champion one of the three drivers moving up to the BTCC, but Bushell still believes they’ll be plenty of competition.
“There’s 23 other drivers on the grid, so I have to say the lot of them at the minute,” Bushell said when asked who his main competition will be. “My teammate, Jack McCarthy, has been very strong in testing. Paul Rivett is always there. Max Coates is up and coming. It’s hard to day. There’s a lot of names in there. “
Image credit: Renault UK Clio Cup Press Office