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Jack Clarke announced as Honda Development Driver

Jack Clarke has been announced as the first driver of Honda’s newly-launched Driver Development Programme in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

Clarke, who made his BTCC début in 2014, has been on the sidelines in 2015 after budgetary issues forced him to miss the current touring car season. The 27-year-old scored a best result of second in the season finale in 2014 after a string of points-scoring finishes towards the end of the season which culminated in a first-ever top ten finish in the penultimate race of the season.

Clarke will make his début in his new role at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed where he will drive a Civic Type R up the famous hillclimb section. Clarke will work with Honda at the CarFest North event at Oulton Park in aid of charity Children in Need, and his role will culminate with an end-of-season test in Honda’s BTCC car.

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“It’s a tremendous honour to be joining the Honda Yuasa Racing Driver Development Programme,” said Clarke. “I hugely enjoyed my maiden season in the BTCC, and although we were sadly unable to return to the grid this year, I always made it clear that my touring car ambitions were far from over.

“I’m really looking forward to working alongside Matt and ‘Flash’ [Gordon Shedden], two of the best and most successful drivers in BTCC history, and I’m sure I can learn a great deal from their experience and expertise. I’m also excited about the chance to represent Honda at events like Goodwood and CarFest – not to mention climbing into the driver’s seat of the awesome Civic Type R. I can’t wait!”

Honda UK Managing Director Philip Crossman was pleased to welcome Clarke into the role and believes it is important for the manufacturer to build for the future, having had a stable driver line-up of experienced racers Neal and Shedden for the past six seasons.

“We are delighted to be unveiling the Honda Yuasa Racing Driver Development Programme,” said Crossman. “In Jack Clarke, we are confident we have a real touring car star of the future on our hands.

“Honda has enjoyed a fantastic run of results in the BTCC over the last decade, and with Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal both absolutely on top of their game and extracting the very maximum out of the exciting new Civic Type R, we are firmly in the fight for more silverware in 2015.

“That said, we have never been the kind of company to rest on our laurels, and as we build for the future, we are keen to invest in young talent to ensure that we continue to be a leading contender in the world’s toughest tin-top series for many years to come.

“Jack proved last season that he has a lot of potential behind the wheel, and both inside and out of the car, he is the consummate professional and I’m sure will act as a perfect ambassador as Honda enters a new chapter in its rich sporting heritage.”

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