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Formula Renault 1.6 joins UK market for 2014

by Peter Allen

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

It has been confirmed that a Formula Renault 1.6 series will be introduced in the United Kingdom next year, introducing another option for budding single-seater drivers in the country.

Formula Renault UK 1.6 has been organised by Renault and the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC), and follows the collapse of Formula Renault 2.0 UK at the start of last year. In its absence, the BARC-run Protyre Formula Renault series for older FR2.0 chassis has thrived and currently runs up against Formula Ford and the new BRDC Formula 4 Championship in the British junior single-seater arena.

The series will use the Signatech chassis that features in the successful French F4 Championship as well as the new-for-2013 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC and Nordic competitions.

Aimed at drivers aged between 16 and 19, competitors will be signed-up to a special fitness programme monitored by MSA Academy coaches. Training will also be given on media, sponsorship procurement and presentation skills, while there will be a break in the season to coincide with school exams.

?We?re thrilled to announce the birth of the Formula Renault UK 1.6 Championship, it?s the perfect category to bridge the gap which currently exists in Britain between karting and the higher levels of junior single-seater racing, such as Formula Renault 2.0,” said championship organiser Simon North.

?Formula Renault 1.6 is an inexpensive first step for drivers coming out of karting to take and, most importantly, the car is a proven, incredibly safe, fully carbon chassis.”

North added that the training programmes, similar to those provided in France, will set his series out from the competition.

?We?re not just introducing another car and another championship, we?re bringing a different direction, with fully linked programmes, which enable drivers to have maximum focus on their education at the same time as setting off on the path towards a professional motor racing career. Our aim is for the Formula Renault UK 1.6 Championship to prepare drivers for Formula Renault 2.0, which is why we?ll be reviewing our existing 2.0-litre category to see what steps we can take to maintain a proper progression between the two.?

Rudy Thomann, International Co-ordination Manager at Renault Sport Technologies, has been partly responsible for bringing Formula Renault 1.6 to the UK as part of Renault Sport’s strategy.

?From day one, when I first met Lionel Chevalier [Signatech designer], I felt there was a gap in the Renault Sport ladder and this car fits perfectly.? In Europe, all of the guys who have been winning races in the 2.0-litre championships all came from the 1.6. The concept of it is clear, it?s perfect for young drivers and a great way to learn the skills they need ? it is the best apprenticeship you can do.?

Formula Renault UK 1.6 is expected to run alongside the Protyre series for most of the season, but it could also support high profile meetings. 18 to 20 races are planned, over a maximum of eight race weekends. An Autumn Trophy is planned for 2/3 November at Rockingham as a precursor to the 2014 championship.