Matt Prior

The fu­ture of ama­teur cir­cuit rac­ing

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

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

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