British Touring Car Championship team Ciceley Motorsport has announced emerging star Dan Zelos as part of its driver line-up for its first season in the Renault UK Clio Cup.
Zelos, aged just 17, and from Dereham in Norfolk, graduates to the UK Clio Cup after challenging for the Ginetta Junior title these past two seasons. His team-mate will be another exciting young charger, 18-year-old Ollie Pidgley. Both are expected to be in action in their Ciceley-prepared UK Clio Cup race cars today (Thursday) along with a number of their rivals during a testing session at Hampshire’s high-speed Thruxton track.
Having tested Ciceley’s UK Clio Cup car for the first time last year, Zelos admitted: “I fell in love with it straightaway! It’s like a mini touring car and it was really smooth and easy to drive – I felt like I ‘clicked’ with it pretty quickly. It has more power than I’ve been accustomed to before and I’ve got to get used to front wheel-drive and slick tyres for the first time so there’s definitely a learning curve ahead of me, but it feels like a very natural progression and I can’t wait to get going.”
He added: “Ciceley are ultra-professional and committed and they clearly want to win. But they’ve made it clear that they’re not going to put me under any pressure during my rookie year, which is just what I need as I settle into the championship and get to grips with the car.
“I owe a massive ‘thank you’ to my loyal partner Evergreen Tyres, who will remain with me on this exciting new journey. I’ve aspired to race in the BTCC ever since I was little and, with Ciceley’s calibre and expertise in the championship, this takes me one step nearer towards that goal.”
Ciceley’s BTCC star is Adam Morgan who will help to oversee Zelos’s and Pidgley’s development in the UK Clio Cup which is renowned for producing many of touring car racing’s top names.
Morgan commented: “It’s very rewarding for me to be taking on a mentoring role with Ciceley’s new UK Clio Cup team and to be able to impart my knowledge and advice to the next generation.
“We recognised Dan’s potential in Ginettas, and that potential was confirmed when he drove our car in December. He has fought at the front in every championship he has entered, and he will undoubtedly be one to watch over the coming seasons.”
All 18 races on the 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup calendar will take place at the BTCC’s high-profile events – meaning huge trackside crowds plus live television coverage on the ITV4 channel.