Student Motorsport has announced that it will be contesting the 2020 Clio Cup UK championship with a pair of the latest generation Renault Clio Cup cars.
Founded by JP Latham in 2011, Student Motorsport is a network, website, resource and organiser of collaborative projects designed to help young people take the right path to success and help them stay focused on their motorsport aims and future careers. Membership of the on-line community opens up opportunities such as industry and peer networking, experiences and opportunities.
The race team will comprise of experienced motor sport paddock figures and will be managed by JP Latham, himself a professional racecar technician and formerly Team Manager of The College of West Anglia Motorsport.
The aim of the team is to support the next generation of motorsport professionals by offering opportunities to gain experience in positions such as team operations, mechanics, data engineers, tyre technicians, sponsorship, marketing and hospitality.
An order has been placed for two of the latest fifth generation Clio Cup cars. The 2020-spec Clio Cup car sports a 1.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 180bhp joined to a 5-speed sequential gearbox. Cars should be arriving in the UK by the end of March 2020.
The championship will be run across a seven-event calendar with five of the rounds taking place alongside the British GT Championship. The 2020 Clio Cup UK championship will also enjoy two overseas rounds, the first being at Magny-Cours in September with a season finale at Barcelona.
Team Manager JP Latham is excited at the opportunities that running a two-car Clio Cup UK team will offer young motorsport professionals looking to gain experience in their chosen career.
“I wasn’t thinking of going into racing yet as my first aim was to develop a network but when an opportunity comes along such as this, and you think you can pull it off and do it well, you say yes. It keeps us really close to the industry.
“The reason why we chose Clio Cup was because it’s not a complicated racing car but there are a lot of fundamentals that are transferable. I think what I can do, rather like the Mini Challenge teams that I used to run, is that, once the team is established with the right people, I can almost take a step back and give students and young graduates the opportunity to be the team.
“Obviously we want to develop young drivers but my main interest is to develop, and give opportunities to, young people that need experience. I want to widen peoples gaze on the types of opportunities that there are out there in motorsport. It’s not just about being a mechanic or a driver. There’s a bigger picture and I want to give young people opportunities in areas such as team operations, sponsorship, hospitality, logistics, driving coaching and health and well-being.
“I believe (Clio Cup UK) is a good racing series and a good starting point for us.”
The key to the success of the venture will be the blending of professional expertise with students and graduates looking to gain experience.
“Blending it well is about starting off correctly, having the right mind-set and allowing people to learn by giving them opportunities,” said JP Latham. “You’ve got to give young people some responsibility. The way you blend it is that everyone gets a position on the team, they’re prepped properly, they stick to their job and you make sure that the mind-set is that they’re there to enjoy themselves and not to worry about potentially making mistakes.
“It’s almost like being a teacher – you’ve got to have empathy. You’ve still got to be professional but you need to be prepared to take a step back and let people develop into their roles.”
Student Motorsport anticipates making some significant announcements about drivers and team personnel in the weeks ahead. The 2020 Clio Cup UK gets underway at Snetterton on May 16 – 17.