James Colburn (Worthing) will replace Freddie Hunt in the Team BKR squad for a high-profile one-off return to the Renault UK Clio Cup this weekend at Thruxton – a circuit where he has won three times before. The event will also mark the Clio Cup debut for Jon Maybin (Chinnor) who will stand in for the absent Paul Knapp in British Touring Car star Josh Cook’s Team Cooksport outfit.
Colburn, one of the Clio Cup’s top names in recent seasons, did the double at Thruxton in 2012 with wins in both races at the Hampshire circuit that year and (pictured) he won there again last year. The 22-year-old also narrowly missed out on the outright Clio Cup drivers’ title in 2011…
With BKR’s regular driver Hunt away on Formula E ambassadorial duties in Monte Carlo, an opportunity arose for Colburn to join the team for Thruxton.
Colburn enthused: “I’ve not driven in anger since 2014’s final rounds (last October) but hopefully the same set-up that I used at Thruxton last year will work this time as well.
“Of course it’s never that simple! There is a new Dunlop tyre compound for this year but from what I can make out it should suit my driving style as it provides greater front-end grip on the car. I’ll also be going into Saturday’s qualifying session cold having missed the official test a few weeks ago.”
He added: “I’m going into this looking to win. I’m there to represent myself and BKR as best as I can so won’t be making it easy for people.”
BKR principal Nico Ferrari said: “Naturally we are delighted to have James in our car – we are all learning as a team new to the championship and I am sure he will help us come on in terms of performance this weekend.”
Meanwhile this weekend will mark something of a baptism of fire for 25-year-old Maybin as it will be his first-ever outing both in the Clio Cup and around Thruxton – the most daunting track on the calendar due to its high speeds.
Ex-gearbox karter Maybin has raced with Cooksport before – winning the 750MC’s Hot Hatch ‘rookie’ crown in one of its cars in 2010. This year he has worked in a driver management role for Cooksport’s Clio Cup drivers Rory Collingbourne and Charles Ladell who of course he now finds himself up against at Thruxton!
He said: “I’m under no illusions – it’ll be my first proper go in one of these cars and I’ve never raced around Thruxton which probably more than anywhere puts an emphasis on track knowledge due to the high speeds. I’m therefore keeping my expectations low but hopefully I can work towards us having all three cars up there fighting as the weekend progresses…”
Cook commented: “Firstly, Jon is a very talented driver. I grew up racing against him in karts so should know and he has been an important part in the development of my career. Of course we don’t expect him to be up the front with the experienced guys and because it’s Thruxton it’s that bit more difficult again. But he’s very good at analysing data and this outing will certainly help from his perspective with data analyst and driver manager roles within our team. It will be interesting to see how he progresses during the weekend."