Streather flies in pre-season test
Rapid saloon car racer Paul Streather confirmed his credentials as a major contender for honours in the 2017 Renault UK Clio Cup after producing a very strong top three performance in officially timed pre-season testing at Rockingham on Friday, 17th March – and he says there is much more to come.
For his sophomore season in the British Touring Car Championship feeder category, the 27-year-old from Hinckley has joined leading team WDE Motorsport and the early signs for the partnership are very good indeed with Streather reeling off some impressive times during Friday’s ‘Media Day’.
Notably, he remained on old Michelin rubber for most of the test at Rockingham’s International Super Sportscar Circuit – venue for the ante-penultimate race meeting of the campaign in August – and only used two new front tyres for his top three lap.
Circulating with a best time of 1m29.772 seconds (77.79mph) in session two, ending that run second quickest, the lap was ultimately good enough to place him third fastest overall for the day and within just 0.2 seconds of the top of the timesheets.
“Rockingham was very productive”, said the delighted Leicestershire racer, “In the first session we ran really old rubber and only put two new tyres on the front in session two, so I was more than happy with the time we did there. To be honest everything on the car was old, the tyres, the brakes, and we know others ran four new tyres so our pace was really good. Even with the old tyres the car felt fantastic, and one of the most important things is we have consistent race pace. So, when we get to Brands for the first round in a couple of weeks I think we should be absolutely flying.”
Last year, of course, Streather achieved his maiden Renault UK Clio Cup race victory during the opening weekend of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit – the venue for rounds one and two once again this year on 1st/2nd April.
Clearly, a repeat of that performance would be the dream start for Streather and he’s determined to hit the ground running. With that in mind, one of the biggest pluses for 2017 for the WDE driver is the return to Michelin tyres which, he says, make the Clio more the kind of race car he likes to pilot.
“The car is so much more enjoyable to drive on the Michelin tyres, you can make the car do what you want which wasn’t the case last year – they’ve turned the Clio into a proper race car”, he added, “I’m really looking forward to the start of the season and working with WDE, it’s a really professional team and I’m very happy with how everything is run. Hopefully it’s going to be a strong year.”
Once again this year, Streather has key support in his bid for race wins and a title challenge from long-term sponsors Michael Smith Switchgear and AVW Fabrications – without whom he wouldn’t be lining up on the Clio Cup grid.
Notably, Whetstone-based Michael Smith Switchgear is one of three finalists in two categories for the annual Leicester Mercury Business Awards, namely Small Business of the Year and Excellence in Manufacturing. The winners will be announced at a special Awards Evening in late April.
“Michael Smith Switchgear and AVW Fabrications are the reason I’m racing in Clios, I wouldn’t be on the grid without them so I have to say a massive thank you for their amazing support”, commented Streather, “It’s fantastic news MSS has been nominated for the Leicester Mercury Business Awards, hopefully we’ll both be taking home some accolades this year!”