Matrix Motorsport shines at Thruxton
Press Information - 21st May 2018
Renault UK Clio Cup Rounds 5 & 6 - Team Race Report
In contrast with the previous two rounds of the Renault UK Clio Cup at Donington Park three weeks ago, the weather for rounds five and six at Thruxton this weekend could not have been more different, with unbroken sunshine throughout the two-day meeting. For Matrix Motorsport, Mike Epps’ fifth place in the second of Sunday’s two races also signified a shining example of the contrast between the events, with the team’s three other drivers, Aaron Thompson, Andy Wilmot and Jeff Alden all improving on their finishing positions from that of Donington.
Saturday’s qualifying session was to provide a challenge for all Clio Cup teams, due to the hot temperatures combined with the abrasiveness of the 3.793-miles of Thruxton asphalt and the high average speed of the circuit. Even so, the lap times were close, with just 0.6 seconds separating the top 10 drivers. All four Matrix Men reported they were unable to get a clear run under their belts and consequently, the starting positions for the two races were as good as they could have hoped for with Epps P9 for the first and P6 for the second, Thompson P15/P14, Wilmot P16/P15 and Alden P18/P19.
The glorious weather continued into Sunday and the morning witnessed crowds flock through the gates in their thousands, packing the track-side grandstands and spectator vantage points. The Renault Clios kicked off the day's action after championship organisers had reduced both races from 12 to nine laps in order to avoid any issues caused by the conditions, whicih meant the competition was destined to be even hotter than usual.
A solid performance from the Matrix Motorsport drivers saw all four battling to make up places at various points during the opening race and, following a strong showing, the finishing positions resulted in 9th for Epps, 13th for Thompson, 15th for Wilmot and 18th for Alden.
Epps started sixth on the grid for the second of the two Renault races and therefore, hopes were high in the Matrix camp for a top result. Having made up two places by the time the pack reached the second corner, it was clear the potential was there to do so. However, with drafting such an important part of race strategy on the circuit’s long straights, Epps was passed by a closely following rival. But, before he had the chance to overturn the situation, red flags were deployed due to a coming together of two other cars at the start of lap eight.
Consequently the race was brought to a premature end, resulting in Epps being classified fifth. The three remaining Matrix drivers were also pleased with the outcome: Thompson finished 11th and commented that his pace was returning to where it should be: Wilmot finished one position behind in 12th and was happy with his weekend’s performance, in particular with his battle with Nicolas Hamilton and Team Principal Alden was delighted to have claimed his personal best result so far this season with a 15th and without suffering any spins or excursions.
“After today’s performance it’s clear that we’re getting there. Fifth is good, but I know there’s more to come and it wouldn’t take much as I was able to stay in contention with the leading four cars and had started to reel them in during the latter stages of the race. Thruxton is a track that emphasizes differences in performance, so I think Oulton Park could be a very different matter for us.”
“This was a much better weekend for me and the races were a big improvement to those at Donington. I think we're in the ballpark with set up and pace, so I now feel I can push harder and therefore, I’m really looking forward to the next two rounds at Oulton Park.”
“Things went well this weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed both races. I’m especially pleased to have come away having scored championship points. Thruxton is an exciting circuit and I had some great battles, so confidence is improving race-by-race. I’m pleased to say that everything is moving in the right direction, which bodes well for the rest of the season.”
“It’s been another positive weekend for the team and I’m very happy with the progress that everyone has made. It was great to have scored a personal best in the second of the two rounds and to have kept the car pointing in the right direction for both races. Because of the character of the circuit, Thruxton poses a number of challenges and I would therefore like to thank the whole team for working so hard behind the scenes. We now look forward to the next two rounds at Oulton Park, where I think we can make even more headway.”
Rounds seven and eight of the 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup take place on June 9th & 10th at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
Matrix Motorsport’s 2018 campaign is supported by: Old Cottage Beer Company, HVAC FM, De DATA, Nexus Consultancy Services, Ortu Solutions, Inspired Business Media, First Plumbing and Heating, East Midlands Civil Engineering, ACCL. KD Group, Simply Race, Anytime Fitness, SDT Contracts, Boxo, East Midlands Forklifts, SAS Energy, Spearmint Rhino, This Week in FM, CVL Group, The Wheel Specialist, Alpine Works and Davidsons Homes.
Matrix Motorsport has an association with race-winning BTCC driver Senna Proctor and his team Power Maxed TAG Racing who enjoyed another highly successful weekend. Team mate Josh Cook scored his second victory of the season in round eight and Proctor claimed third place in round nine. The PMR team also won the award for scoring the most BTCC points and have extended their lead in the championship standings.