Former Renault UK Clio Cup runner-up James Colburn (Worthing) will return to the championship for its final two events of 2016 with Lincolnshire team PP Motorsport.

Colburn will stand in for regular driver Anton Spires (Buckingham), who he has been mentoring this season, at Silverstone this coming weekend (Sat 17/Sun 18 Sept) and again in the Brands Hatch finale (Sat 1/Sun 2 Oct).

PP Team Principal John Creasey explained: “This is part of our longer-term plan to enter three cars in 2017’s UK Clio Cup with Anton and James as two of our drivers – we’ve just brought that plan forward a bit.

“This will get James working with the team and our partners from behind the wheel and Anton will also continue to learn more from him, only this time from the outside looking in.

“James is synonymous with Westbourne Motorsport and we’ve enjoyed a very healthy technical partnership with them in our first season in the UK Clio Cup. It has been a big learning curve but we are very pleased with the results we’ve had so far with Anton.

“I believe he and James are going to work really well together next year as team-mates and it will also be very exciting to bring another new young name onto the grid with a third entry as well.”

Colburn is a proven race-winner and title challenger in the UK Clio Cup – in 2011 he finished joint runner-up in the standings with current British Touring Car star Aron Smith. He had a competitive one-off outing in 2015 with a fifth place at Thruxton and has since shown strongly in historic racing and the club-level BARC Clio Series.

The 23-year-old, who tested with PP yesterday at Snetterton, said: “Silverstone could be tricky – you need a team-mate to play ball with as the slipstream there is crucial. But I expect to be right towards the front at Brands Hatch, one of my favourite circuits.

“If that means I’m running in company with the main players in the title race then so be it but they will be getting a race – PP have brought me in to a job, not to roll over for people. I’m out to get the best results I can for them.

“I’m really excited about being a team-mate to Anton in 2017 – we’ve been very good friends since racing each other in Sax Max and he has come on really well in his debut UK Clio Cup season.”

Spires added: “It’s a team decision that I fully accept and respect – everyone within PP is a team player and it will be interesting to see how James goes about things and to hear his feedback.

“I feel I’ve had a very positive first crack at the UK Clio Cup with obvious highlights being our pace in qualifying for our debut at Brands Hatch (seventh and sixth on the two grids), the sixth and fifth place finishes in the two Thruxton races and also the pace we showed the first time we’d run the car in the wet in race one at Rockingham.

“Now I’m looking forward to the final two events at Silverstone and Brands Hatch again and continuing to learn for a return with PP alongside James in 2017.”

Sat 2/Sun 3 April
Rounds 1 & 2
Brands Hatch Indy, Kent
Sat 16/Sun 17 April
Rounds 3 & 4
Donington Park, Leics
Sat 7/Sun 8 May
Rounds 5 & 6
Thruxton, Hants
Sat 4/Sun 5 June
Rounds 7 & 8
Oulton Park Island, Cheshire
Sat 18/Sun 19 June
Rounds 9 & 10
Croft, North Yorkshire
Sat 30/Sun 31 July
Rounds 11 & 12
Snetterton, Norfolk
Sat 27/Sun 28 August
Rounds 13 & 14
Rockingham, Northants
Sat 17/Sun 18 September
Rounds 15 & 16
Silverstone National, Northants
Sat 1/Sun 2 October
Rounds 17 & 18
Brands Hatch Grand Prix, Kent