Westbourne Motorsport will begin preparations for their 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup title assault at Brands Hatch on Thursday [8th March].
James Dorlin is set to take on driving duties after announcing his return to the Worthing-based squad in January.
The 1.198 mile Indy configuration of the legendary Kent circuit is also set to host the opening two rounds of the new Clio Cup season, providing Dorlin and Westbourne with the perfect opportunity to gather data and increase the likelihood of making a strong start in the UK’s most competitive single-make category.
Dorlin’s rookie season defied all expectations after graduating into the championship off the back of his 2016 Michelin Clio Cup Series title success.
The 18-year old took his maiden victory against now two-time champion Mike Bushell at only his third event at Thruxton in May, adding another visit to the top step of the podium to his CV in difficult conditions at Silverstone in September.
Factor in a further podium, nine top-ten finishes and the runner-up spot in the championship’s Graduates Cup and Dorlin’s potential to be crowned the overall champion this season becomes clear.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out on circuit for the first time in 2018,” said Dorlin “This time last year I’d only just had my first taste of the fourth generation Clio Cup car and had absolutely no idea of what to expect.
“Now I’m coming back with only one thing on my mind – winning the championship. Winter testing plays a huge part in that objective; it’s the first outing in the car ahead of the new campaign and it’s where we can gauge exactly what our strategy will be when we come back to Brands Hatch in April for the season opener.”
The Barnsley-based racer also emphasized the importance of setting ambitious targets for both himself and experienced race-winners Westbourne at each of the championship’s nine events.
“Even though winning the championship is the focus, that won’t happen unless we also set personal and team goals throughout the course of the year,” added Dorlin.
“I’ve been training hard over the winter and the team has put a lot of work into building me a fresh car in terms of components so that everything is in perfect condition.
“I’ll maintain the same approach that has served me well so far in my career – taking each race as it comes with the best possible preparation and concentrate solely on doing the best job possible every time I get in the car.”
He also underlined the importance of using circuit time wisely to put himself and the team in the best possible shape ahead of the season opener.
“The target during testing isn’t simply to rack up the mileage for the sake of it, instead we’re looking at strategic data capture and planning so that we’ll be ready for anything at the opening two rounds.
“I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into the car and dusting off the cobwebs, but I’m even more excited about getting the new season back underway next month – I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a good one!”