Edwin Traynard is among the drivers who have made the biggest improvement over the past few years. Having patiently learned his race craft since 2016, the 21-year-old driver from Lyon fulfilled the hopes placed in him to take the closely-fought title in the Junior category this year!
Edwin Traynard started off as a duo with his father Franck, who is one of the pillars of the Gentlemen category, but he gradually took off by driving a Clio Cup on his own on a more regular basis. Still with the Autosport GP team with which he posted a fine double win in the Junior category at the end of 2018, he aimed for new heights... and soon reached them!
However, his 2019 season got off to a relatively slow start at Nogaro, which was according to him his weakest showing of the year, but it was immediately followed by a spectacular return to form at Imola.
"I had high expectations for the start of the season at Nogaro”, he recalls. “Unfortunately, I got hit after a lap and a half before I had a mechanical problem the following day... On the other hand, Imola was a highlight of the year. It was an incredible weekend at a legendary track. We made an interesting strategy call with the tyres and it was perfect for the conditions. The race pace was good, I liked the layout, I did a good job preparing for this round and I scored my first overall podium finish and my first Junior category victory of the season!”
After this first success, Edwin Traynard was a standout at the Clio Cup Open organized during the French Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend. Full of confidence, the Autosport GP driver continued his strong form with a double-victory at Lédenon and cut the gap to just six points to leader Luis Gonzalez, who made the most of the Frenchman’s absence in Barcelona to build his advantage to 22 points.
With his back up against the wall, Edwin Traynard had to run error-free in the final two rounds to keep his title hopes alive. And when the pressure was at its peak, he ran strong while also making the most of the slightest error from his rival, who was caught up in the frenzy of the battles at the sharp end of the order.
With four straight victories, he ran his total to seven wins in ten starts to edge out his Spanish rival in the final stretch of the season!
“This title means a lot”, he confides. “Everyone who won it before me had terrific careers, especially Jérémy Sarhy in the Porsche Carrera Cup. It is a plus, a little acknowledgement which can only help me move up the ladder.”
Although he was unbeatable in the final sprint, Edwin Traynard nevertheless says consistency was the key to his success.
“Despite skipping Barcelona and my two DNFs at Nogaro, I was always consistent”, he estimates. “I focused less on the general classification to guarantee Junior category points and that was an important factor when the points were added up. However, I was pleased with my overall progress even though I was a little disappointed because I would’ve liked to have been more often at the front of the order at the end of the season. I did, however, finish on the podium at Imola and took top sixes at Magny-Cours and Castellet. I did my best on the tracks that required a lot of power, as we had a few problems in this area, but I also know I could have driven better. I am still happy with how I did, because I always given the priority to the Junior category and I could’ve picked up some positions at some races, but I preferred to keep the car in one piece and bank the points in my category.”
After four seasons in the Clio Cup France, the order could be shaken up with the arrival of New Clio Cup next year. After finishing just outside the overall top ten, will Edwin Traynard return with more ambitions than ever?
“Everything is still open to be honest!”, he concludes. "I’m waiting to hear what the other drivers have to say about New Clio Cup, but I also want to move on to bigger disciplines. It all comes down to budget in the end, whether it is the Alpine Elf Europa Cup, TCR, GT4 and to a lesser degree for Endurance races in TTE with my father. The future is still to be written, so if some partners want to join us, they will be welcome!”