DONINGTON PARK MAY 8/9 PREVIEW: NANKANG TYRE CITYCAR CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
It’s incredible to think that at this point in the calendar year 12 months ago, the Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup hadn’t even been unveiled to the public, as that would come just over a month later. But fast forward to May 2021 and not only does it exist, but it’s also a championship for its first full season this year for this weekend’s opening rounds at Donington Park there’s an incredible entry list which is near capacity at almost 40 cars – not bad for a new series!
For those new to the concept of the CityCar Cup, here’s the lowdown – the championship features 2005-2013 models of the Citroen C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo city cars, all three originally built in the same factory and featuring the same underpinning and mechanicals across the board. The only differences are the manufacturer badges and body panels and all cars competing are modified to identical specifications with a championship parts kit to ensure parity and equality. This puts the focus on driver skill to get the most out of the car and the aim of the CityCar Cup is provide a cost-effective entry point into motorsport for rookie and novice drivers, while also giving any experienced racers competing a fun new challenge. All in all, cars can be bought or constructed for approx. £7,000, making it incredibly well priced and easy to get involved without breaking the bank.
Amazingly for our opening races, there are 38 cars on the entry list at the time of writing with approximately 21 of them to be piloted by rookie racers. All those who obtained their racing licence specifically to contest the CityCar Cup either last year in 2020 or this year in 2021 automatically qualify for the Novice Racer Award, with the top finishing novice in each race receiving a trophy as well as the highest placed novice driver in the final championship standings at season’s end. So to run down who qualifies for this award at this first weekend, here are the Novice racers on the entry list:
Elliot Lettis, Doug Harvey, Adam Reeves, Dylan Brooks, Andrew Dyer, Richard Bliss, Martin Piccolo, Paul Savage, Gareth Frederickson, Adam Reynolds, Alex Carter, Ben Walkingshaw, Brandon Savage, Craig Flynn, Daniel Sellick, Paul Toolan, Craig Carter, Liam Browning, Benjamin Bastow, Samuel Laidlaw and John Nicholson
We know that every single one of them will be excited and raring to go, so we wish them a safe and competitive weekend’s racing, as we know they’ll be a mix of anticipation and nerves! They will at least be sharing the circuit with a handful of drivers who have already had a taste of CityCar Cup racing thanks to their initial participation last year.
Former Pickup Racing star Nic Grindrod is sure to be as quick as ever as he was mostly the man everyone had to follow as the benchmark throughout our first races in 2020. He won our very first race with the Clubsport Trophy at Cadwell Park, was in contention for victory at Silverstone and would have certainly won both races at Croft had engine issues not forced him to call his day early after winning the first encounter. Former Honda Civic racers Steve Laidlaw and Tim Evans are also back for more too after they enjoyed their first few races with us so much, and they’re not the only ones on the grid with prior racing experience elsewhere.
Tony Trotter has previously competed in what’s now known as F1000, so a Citroen C1 is going to feel rather different to a slicks-and-wings, bike-engined single-seater! 4G Racing will be using all of their front-wheel-drive knowledge running MG ZRs in the MG Cup as both Patrick Booth and Ross Makar bid to make an impact from the word go, while Richard Snuggs is another that brings single-seater history and Duncan Stone has already raced a Citroen C1 elsewhere in endurance circles. Stuart Bliss is another driver that has competed previously, albeit on the rally stages at the wheel of an EK Honda Civic, which certainly means he’ll be able to handle his Toyota Aygo with finesse!
Also on the grid is a car that many will recognise from racing last year, but is now in very different hands. Nik and Richard from the popular YouTube channel Bad Obsession Motorsport documented the build and racing of their very own Citroen C1 which even took a win at Silverstone, and at the end of the year they donated the car to Mission Motorsport. Now for 2021, the charity is going to be competing in the CityCar Cup using that very Citroen with William Burgess at the wheel and a team of mechanics comprised of ex-servicemen supported by the charity which use motorsport as a way to help them recover and retrain. We’re thrilled to have them in the paddock and we wish them all the very best of luck!
We also need to give a shout out to Student Motorsport, who are assisting in fielding two cars as part of the new Student Motorsport Challenge incorporated within the championship this year. They’ll be helping the Toolan siblings Paul and Simon as they look to score strong results in their Citroen and Toyota respectively. Any and all colleges and universities around the UK are welcome to take part, either as their own team or providing help to an existing competitor. This ensures that the next generation of mechanics and engineers from the UK have the chance to work on a race car in a race weekend environment to gain valuable experience for the future.
There’s a lot of reasons to be upbeat ahead of our season opener and we’re incredibly grateful to all of our sponsors, suppliers, drivers, teams, friends and of course the BRSCC for all their support and efforts in getting us to this point. A shout out goes to Nankang Tyres UK, SW Motorsports, Essential Racing, GAZ Shocks, Motorpoint Seats, Hybrid Tune, Runyourfleet, Powerflex and Mission Motorsport – you’ve all played your parts in making 2021 a success already.
Enough talk, there’s only one thing left to do – LET’S RACE!