A new racing series entered the Canadian motorsport landscape last year: the Nissan Micra Cup.
The concept of a racing series featuring identical, showroom-stock cars is not new in and of itself. The famous Honda series was a fixture of the Canadian motorsport calendar from 1976 to 2006. Later, Quebec saw the emergence of the Echo Cup, which lasted a few years.
This time, Nissan Canada is directly involved in promoting the Micra Cup, which features identical Micra cars, all prepared in the same way to take on the race tracks. The idea is to give any amateur an opportunity to engage in car racing without having to shell out thousands of dollars.
“This is a spec series, so all the cars are identical,” explains Didier Marsaud, Director of Communications at Nissan Canada.
“We wanted to offer a series that would be accessible to small budgets. A Québec journalist, Jacques Deshaies, convinced us to make a racing car out of the cheapest automobile in Canada: the Micra, which costs less than $10,000. Once prepared for racing, it costs just $22,900, turn-key and ready to race.”
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Marsaud stresses that we are obviously not talking about performances in the same league as the Formula 1 or the IndyCar…
“The Micra Cup is based on a mass-produced stock vehicle, which is equipped for racing with the necessary safety equipment, a race exhaust system and a high-performance Nismo suspension. All of the vehicle’s mechanical components are strictly stock. If someone drives faster than you on the track, it is because he is a better driver and masters the car better than you do.”
Marsaud says that the little Micra’s engine and manual transmission are severely tested on the race tracks, but that this demonstrates their astonishing robustness and reliability.
“We did not have a single real mechanical failure last season. The only engine events that were noted were the result of cars being forced off the track, or if a driver missed gear changes. Not once did the Micra mechanics break down because they were pushed to the limit. This clearly demonstrates the Micra’s remarkable reliability”, he adds.
Let’s talk budget
“Apart from purchasing the race car, a pickup truck and a trailer, the budget for a full season, for someone who does just about everything himself with the help of a few fellow enthusiasts, amounts to around $25,000 to $30,000,” Marsaud continues.
“A hefty portion of the budget is devoted to race registration fees, tires and travel. For the rest, you have to allow for repairs to the bodywork and for normal car maintenance (brake pads, oil and lubricants, spark plugs, gasoline, etc.).”
For whom is the Micra Cup intended? “The goal of this series is to have fun without having to invest enormous amounts of money. There are no professional drivers in our series. We find young people from the karting world, gentleman drivers, forty-plus enthusiasts whose children have left the nest and who now want to live their dream, young women, and even former champions like Richard Spénard.”
The 2016 championship season consists of eight race weekends, but the ranking only includes the six best results, so it is not necessary to compete in every single race of the season. The tracks that will be used are those of Calabogie and the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport) in Ontario, and Mont-Tremblant, Trois-Rivières and the Autodrome St-Eustache in Québec.
“To participate, all you need is to hold a valid driver’s permit, take a course that qualifies you for a racing license, purchase the car from the Micra Cup, along with tires, a trailer and a pickup truck to pull it, and you’re off to the races!” Marsaud concludes.
For more information about the Nissan Micra Cup, visit the official site at www.micracup.com.
2016 major events at Circuit Mont-Tremblant
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What is Canada’s Nissan Micra Cup?
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