McCarthy’s sensational Clio Cup debut as he takes early Graduates Cup lead
Jack stars in qualifying and doubles up with impressive race finishes at Brands Hatch
Jack McCarthy announced his arrival into the Renault UK Clio Cup (1st/2nd April) in dramatic style with a sensational performance in timed qualifying before going on to establish himself as a genuine front-runner in the following two races – all in his first ever competitive outing in a car.
The Team Pyro driver set the third-fastest time around the Kent circuit with a lap of 51.779s and when it came to determining the grid positions for the second race – by virtue of the drivers’ second-best laps – Jack was second-fastest with a sensational 51.819s.
Speaking to the press afterwards, 16-year old McCarthy moved to play down the expectations newly heaped upon his young shoulders: “I was hoping I’d be [in the] top ten but perhaps didn’t expect to be quite so high up. I’m used to starting from near the front from my karting days and I feel comfortable being towards the front for my first weekend in cars but let’s see how the races work out.”
Later that same day, the opening round of the 2017 season, saw the Shandon Hotel and SAS International-backed 16-year old set out on a soaking track and carry the fight to his far more experienced rivals. As Lee Pattison and Mike Bushell vied for the lead, McCarthy was keeping former Clio Cup champion Paul Rivett, honest. Letting the car run wide on the exit through the long, looping Clearways and Clark Curve, Jack created a chance for the flying James Dorlin, who nipped through to nick fourth place, leaving Jack to cross the line fifth.
Sunday’s second race was contested in front of a huge crowd and broadcast live on ITV 4. The fans, whether on the edge of their seats at home or at the track, were treated to another promising show from McCarthy.
The Bromley teenager was running confidently in second place and as he attempted a pass on team-mate Bushell, the latter defended forcing Jack to take evasive action. This allowed the pursuing Pattison and Rivett through.
As the series moves to the historic Donington Park circuit in the East Midlands for the next two rounds (15th/16th April), McCarthy currently lies in fourth place overall in the championship and heads the Graduates Cup, for young, first year drivers.
Jack was upbeat as he reflected on his remarkable maiden weekend in the championship: “Fifth yesterday, fourth today… I can’t complain too much considering they are my first ever car races. I was going for the lead today but when Mike defended it cost me a bit of momentum and allowed the others to get alongside me. It won’t happen again.”
Supplied by Jack McCarthy.