The future of amateur circuit racing
hy would you want to stop racing?” a motor racing team manager asked me once. I’m not that good at it, might be one answer, but he wasn’t talking about me: his was a more emblematic question.
His point was that people do stop. They come into amateur circuit motor racing with high hopes, and a certain amount of money, but after a few years drift away again, which frustrated him.
He said he’d seen it too often: people came, spent a lot of money, became frustrated about the amount they’ve handed over and what they’d received for it, so went and played golf or bought a boat, a supercar or something instead.
This frustration, I think, is behind the success of the Citroën C1 Club series, which Autocar competed in last year and whose myriad endurance races this year, including three 24-hour contests, one of which at Spa-francorchamps, were all massively oversubscribed. It’s cheap to enter, by motorsport standards, and it’s fair, because all the cars are,
They come into amateur racing with high hopes, become frustrated and go buy a boat
from a performance perspective, the same. They’re all old Citroën C1s with barely any mechanical changes. The cars even need to have passed an MOT.
And that, in turn, seems to be something that hasn’t escaped the notice of Motorsport Vision, operator of several UK race circuits and already organiser of the low-budget Track Day Trophy. Now it is launching the Enduroka series. You can tell where this is going, can’t you?
MSV’S new series will be based around the Ford Ka, from 20022008, so the cute original Ka shape but with an SOHC motor rather than the earlier pushrod engine. Purchase costs are not dissimilar to a C1’s: upwards of a few hundred quid, to a grand or more.
Unlike the C1 race club, Enduroka cars don’t have to be put through an MOT, but there’s a similarly strict line on modifications: for the most part, you’re not allowed to make them.
You should take out the interior and have to fit relevant safety kit, obviously, but the engine has to remain standard. There are control tyres, roll cage, springs, shocks and brake pads, all supplied by one company.
Five events are planned for 2019: two five-hour races, a six-hour race, the 12 Heures du Norfolk at Snetterton and a 500-minute race on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit – an Indy 500, if you will. Those little doses of humour extend to an expectation that you’ll deck your Ka out in some kind of race livery, serious or otherwise.
Entries are anything between £850 and £1400, with teams of between two and six drivers, depending on race length. So you can club together with your mates.
All of which sounds like quite good fun. And I suspect there are easily enough people out there to keep both the C1 and Enduroka and other series going.
My experience of C1 racing is that, although there are people doing it because other circuit racing is too expensive for them, there are those in it who can afford to race all kinds of things, but think this is fairer, and a whole load of fun.
And as that old team manager reckoned: if you can find that balance, why would you want anything else?
Citroën C1 Club is showing other race series how to do it
Mk1 Kas will go amateur racing in 2019