Reigning Junior Saloon Car Champion James Dorlin will make the step-up into the popular Michelin Clio Cup Race Series this year after confirming a deal with leading squad Westbourne Motorsport – boosting the team’s entry in the headline class to three cars.
Barnsley-based Dorlin, who enjoyed a prize test last November in one of Westbourne’s Race Series Clios as a reward for winning the JSCC title, has committed to the full 2015 campaign with the West Sussex outfit. With his 16th birthday falling a week after the season opening event at Rockingham, though, he will have to forego the first three races of the 13-round championship due to the minimum age limit.
Dorlin will, therefore, make his competitive Michelin Clio Cup Race Series debut at the demanding Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on 13th/14th June, where he tested a normally aspirated 2.0-litre third generation Clio Cup racecar last week alongside respected driver coach Ed Pead.
“I am really pleased to be part of the Westbourne team for my move into the Race Series, it’s a big step up from the JSCC but one I am committed to and greatly looking forward to”, said Dorlin, “I am sure with the help of Richard [Colburn – Westbourne team principal] and all the guys in the team we can do well this season.
“It is disappointing that I can’t race until the second meeting at Thruxton in mid-June, but we intend to test during the interim period and then aim to hit the ground running when my season gets properly underway.”
Joining experienced front-running Race Series drivers Luke Herbert (Chichester) and Sam Randon (Ashbourne) at Westbourne, Dorlin will also have the benefit of being part of one of the strongest line-ups on the 2015 grid when he makes his debut.
“James is great to work with”, commented Westbourne’s Richard Colburn, “He is very focused, listens well and is certainly a natural talent. He really impressed both Ed [Pead] and I with his ability to be on the pace so quickly – he is certainly one to watch this year. Although James will be a spectator at Rockingham, I am confident he will be a contender when his season starts at Thruxton.”
Becoming a race winner in the JSCC, then known as SaxMax, during his maiden season in 2013, Dorlin went on to end the campaign as Vice-Champion before going on to win eight of the 14 races last year en-route to an impressive championship victory.
Alongside its multi-car assault on the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series this year, Westbourne also intends to defend its title in the sister Road Series – for converted road-going Clio Renaultsport 197 roadcars – which the outfit dominated last year with eventual champion Anton Spires.
Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the opening three rounds of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series on 11th/12th April.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices with further support for the Road Series from Monster Sport Europe.