The Renault UK Clio Cup has received a total of 24 entries for its forthcoming 2017 race season – the biggest number of cars for an opening round of the championship in five years and, say championship bosses, there is the likelihood of more registrations in the coming days…

The 24 were announced earlier today at the UK Clio Cup’s annual pre-season Media Day launch at the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire.

Its 2017 race season gets under way at Brands Hatch, Kent on Sat 1/Sun 2 April. In total its calendar comprises 18 races – two each at nine of the British Touring Car Championship’s high profile events, meaning huge trackside crowds (avg.38,000-plus in 2016) as well as live free-to-air television coverage on ITV4.

Of the entries received six drivers have previously won races in the UK Clio Cup – Paul Rivett, Mike Bushell, Lee Pattison, Max Coates, Paul Streather and James Colburn. Bushell (2014) and Rivett (2002, 2004 and 2011) are also past champions…

Furthermore 12 drivers are brand new to the championship. And out of the full list of 24 at least 15 have either won titles or races in highly competitive forms of motorsport.

“The Renault UK Clio Cup is, by far, head and shoulders above any other single-make saloon car championship in Great Britain,” commented Renault Sport’s UK Motorsport Championship Manager Will Fewkes.

“This has to stand out as arguably the most competitive entry list the championship has seen since it started in its current guise in 2000 and whoever comes out on top in 2017 will have richly deserved their title.

“The grid is oozing with talent with the established racers coming up against more and more exciting new names – all drawn to the UK Clio Cup’s prestige and unrivalled reputation as the place to get noticed by the BTCC teams.

“This was again borne out yesterday when Josh Price became the fourth driver from 2016’s UK Clio Cup to be confirmed as a BTCC driver in 2017 – that now makes it 15 ex-UK Clio Cup drivers on this year’s touring car grid, as well as two more with Renault Sport histories.

“Furthermore we know of at least five more drivers who are close to signing with teams to either join 2017’s UK Clio Cup grid at or soon after our opening rounds at Brands Hatch.

“Certainly what we see today is testament to the very hard work done behind the scenes by the restructured Renault Sport UK team we put in place towards the end of 2014.”

Jeremy Townsend, Communications Director for Renault UK, said: “Renault UK is immensely proud with the way the UK Clio Cup – its premier motor sport activity in Great Britain – has evolved in the past two and a half years. The energy and commitment that has gone in from the organising team is outstanding.

“The championship does wonders for both the Renault and Renault Sport brands in the UK and it’s easy to list why – the increasingly competitive nature of the teams and drivers involved, the grid continually growing in size, the action on track which we know the BTCC crowds and viewers love and of course the huge levels of exposure, particularly on ITV4.