One-make series are now a major contingent among the entry-level options for national and club racing, and a new kid on the block, the City Car Cup, is set to really take off in 2021.
The premise is pretty simple and pays homage to the very successful Citroën C1 Cup. But the City Car Cup takes the idea a stage further: rather than just adding a roll cage to the 1.0-litre box and getting on track, it makes them look, sound and handle more like proper racing saloons.
The idea is the latest from the fertile mind of Greg Graham, who holds a category development role with the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC).
“We wanted it to be a proper little race car,” he said.
The original iterations (2005-2014) of the Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo share their underpinnings and use a three-pot Toyota engine that produces around 70bhp. Structurally sound donor cars can be picked up for £300 as MOT failures, and the bits that failed the test are probably binned anyway as the car is converted in to a racer.
A kit of parts is available for those who have some mechanical experience, including a roll cage, a sporty exhaust, a remapped ECU (to ensure equality), Powerflex suspension, Gaz shocks and semi-slick road-legal tyres from series sponsor Nankang mounted on 15in ATS alloys.
While providing a decent amount of grip, the front tyres will happily run for several meetings and the rears will go on and on.
Turn-key cars can be bought from SW Motorsport for £6995 and seasonal running costs will be among the lowest possible within UK motorsport.
Graham explained: “We’ve kept the standard engine, gearbox and drivetrain but made it quicker through the corners. It does everything right. It’s a bit like driving a kart. The engines are pretty bombproof, and one of the quickest cars we had running in the pilot races last season had 127,000 miles on the clock!”
By the end of the truncated 2020 season, enough cars were up and running for two standalone races at Croft.
Championship co-ordinator Lyndsay Close says demand has exploded for this year: “There’s so much interest that we’re expecting full grids this season, and it’s not just from novices. Drivers with experience from other classes are looking to join us.”
Current estimates are that with the cars already built and those known to be currently in progress, around 50 will be ready for the new season.
The City Car Cup isn’t going down the endurance race route, because that’s something that the C1 Cup already does well. Instead, there will be two sprint races held at each meeting.
This is clearly a well thought-out concept that’s bringing new people to the grid at a level within reach of ordinary working folk. For that alone, Graham and the BRSCC should be applauded.