The one-make series is pitched as everything from an alternative tin-top series for amateur racers to a first step for youngsters with dreams of a professional motorsport career. As such, the racing Musso is quite different to its road-going counterpart, which has a one-tonne payload and a 3.5-tonne towing capacity. The track version has bespoke racing suspension and has been on a strict diet, losing practically all interior trim from the dashboard back to shave close to 400kg from the kerb weight. A Safety Devices rollcage has been fitted, and the racing Musso still tips the scales at a stout 1700kg.
Under the Musso’s snout is a 2.2-litre diesel engine, remapped to produce 205bhp and 375lb ft, gains of 29bhp and 80lb ft respectively over the road car. While the numbers aren’t exactly outstanding by racing car standards, the extra power makes the engine feel like a bung’s been extracted from its exhaust pipe and ensures punchy performance at Cadwell Park, the challenging venue for Autocar’s debut in the series.
We’re driving Musso number 02 which, regulations dictate, is technically identical to its rivals, so it is fitted with the same Avon semi- slick tyres and Proflex dampers, uses the same brew of racing diesel and also has an ECU that’s sealed by race officials to prevent tampering.
Glynn Geddie, British GT title winner in 2011, played a key role in developing the Musso’s standard set-up, so as the 12-truck field rolls towards the start line for the first of two races at the Lincolnshire circuit, the results that follow are down to the driver and nobody else.
When the lights on the starting gantry go green, the gruff note of a dozen heavily loaded oilburners fills the air. Don’t be fooled by the ‘novice’ stickers adorning the back of about a third of the Mussos, because this bunch are as racey as any. In the middle of the pack, I have to adopt an elbows-out driving style to make it through lap one. Bumpers are banged, wheel arches are scuffed and expletives are shouted. The opening few laps of the race are among the closest-fought I’ve experienced yet.