A new era begins in the Clio Cup at Balaton Park

A new era begins in the Clio Cup at Balaton Park

The new season of the Clio Cup is upon us, and the starting lineup is significantly bolstered by the latest fifth-generation Renault race cars. More than twenty registered Clio V cars are complemented by vehicles from the fourth model series.

This week marks the beginning of another Clio Cup season, which will kick off with the inaugural event at the new Balaton Park circuit. It’s fair to say that the generational transition is complete. Unlike previous years, where the Clio Cup featured a balanced mix of Clio V and Clio IV models, this year the newer version will dominate. This is one of the reasons why there will be a split in the starting grid, with older models having a separate grid regardless of their qualifying positions. Faster Clio IV cars will also carry weights to avoid dangerous situations that occurred in previous years, mostly in first turn after the start.

As for the entry list, it is indeed impressive this year. The field will include the reigning champion, Tomáš Pekař, and his army of Clios from Carpek Racing. Pekař himself won the overall championship in 2020, 2022, and 2023. His drivers also dominated the Clio Cup Trophy categories. This year, Carpek Racing will field a duo of young racers: David Dziwok from Poland and Filip Bartoš from the Czech Republic.

„I will try to pass on as much experience and knowledge as possible. I’ll coach them to achieve the best results. On the track, we won’t be rivals, but partners instead. We work as a team, share data, and help each other with slipstreaming during qualifying,“ revealed Pekař, whose team will also include Richard Meixner at selected events.

The starting grid will also feature a female competitor. Katarzyna Terlikowska, who has primarily competed in Polish circuit championships, now faces the challenge of competing in the highly contested Clio Cup. „Racing in a European series has been a long-held dream of mine. I’m a systematic and ambitious person, so I’m preparing very intensely for my debut,“ said Terlikowska, who will race for KTT Infotec Racing.

Another new face and team will be Janík Motorsport. They will compete under the name Junior Orlen Team with Julian Śmiechowski at the wheel. „I am incredibly happy to be part of a professional team and enter the world of major racing. We’ll see how we do,“ stated Śmiechowski.

The Clio Cup has also attracted the Montenegrin hill-climb champion. Filip Kunčer has decided to dedicate his career to circuit racing, and the Clio Cup will be his gateway, which he will officially enter at with his Podgorica Racing Team.

Predicting who will fight for the title, victories, and podium places is challenging at this moment. The competition is very strong. Among others, the starting line-up will include experienced formula driver Bartolomiej Mirecki, who definitely knows how to race a Clio, though he hasn’t completed a full season with it yet. „The field has many strong competitors, so it will be necessary to identify their strengths and weaknesses,“ Mirecki evaluated from the family team, BM Racing.

The starting list also includes Nik Štefančič, Jakub Chmiel, Ivan Gustin, Tom Gruenfeld, Petar Milodarović, Miha Primožič, Peter Palotas, Ivan Pulić, Ivan Sentić, Martin Fischer, Dejan Robida, Nikodem Sobczyk, Marko Blaževski, and Slovak Ondrej Fekete. Many of them have extensive experience in the Clio Cup. This list is further augmented by Clio IV drivers such as Valter Nežić and the duo Marko and Tomáš Kazarkovi. So, there’s plenty to look forward to.

Collective Test Day-Time Schedule
Time Schedule V5
Entry List