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Michael Clemente switches to new CUPRA for Phillip Island

Michael Clemente has announced a switch to a new CUPRA Leon Competición for this weekend’s TCR Australia races at Phillip Island, marking the third different car he has raced in the series.

Clemente, who races with the backing of Carl Cox Motorsport, started the season in a first-generation Audi RS3 LMS TCR, where he scored a best result of fifth at Symmons Plains.

The 22-year-old had previously raced a Honda Civic Type-R for much of his TCR career since joining the series in 2021, but for last year’s season finale at Mount Panorama he switched to an Audi, which he carried into the start of the 2023 season.

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Clemente will be the only CUPRA racer in the field, which now has seven different manufacturers represented, despite there being only 13 entries.

“During 2022, the team and I had numerous conversations about where we go from here and how do we get there,” explained Clemente.

“We know that as a privateer team, we have to be very careful about how and where we spend our funds, but at the same time, set out a plan to challenge, regularly, for podium places.

“Once we all agreed on the plan, which was the easy part, we then had to work out how to make it happen.

“Without the amazing support of Carl, none of this would be possible. Back in November, given my experience of the Audi, and the MPC [Melbourne Performance Centre] team, we decided on CUPRA.

“They had just started selling cars in Australia, but we would also be the only ones running a CUPRA in the series.

“We ordered the car from CUPRA, and knowing it would not make Round 1, set our sights on Round 2 – and it just made it!

“The new car really lightens up the entire picture. It truly is like a fresh start, and to be able to fight with this new and proven equipment is unreal. I’ve never been so hungry in my life before.”

Renowned international DJ Cox believes that moving to CUPRA machinery will help Clemente to move forward in the field, as he seeks to secure a first podium finish in the championship.

“We’re very pleased within the Carl Cox Motorsport team to be able to support Michael in his quest for podium spots in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia series and with the investment in a brand new CUPRA Gen2 TCR car, we feel we can help him on this journey,” added Cox.

“We looked at a number of options, but felt with the emergence of CUPRA in the Australia retail market, and the success this car has seen in other markets, it would allow us to continue to standout and move up the grid.

“This will be the only Gen2 CUPRA racing in the series and I’m so excited to see how the season pans out as Mike gets to grip with the car.”

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