12 Nov 2013

We've Just Invented The Best Racing Series In The UK

The UK needs a new racing series, and we've created one.  The Speedmonkey Production Car Championship.

Most, if not all of us, love car racing.  BTCC, WEC, F1 are the top series for us UK motorsport fans.  Having lost interest in F1 recently BTCC is my current favourite series, for its panel bashing and wheel to wheel racing with interesting characters and decent tracks.

Running a team in any of the top level series costs millions of pounds.  BTCC is the cheapest of those listed as it's a national series based on road going machinery.

But BTCC cars are totally different from their road going counterparts.  The interiors are stripped, suspension rebuilt, roll cage installed, seat and controls repositioned, new fuel tank, new engine, new bodywork.  The list goes on.  A cheap but reasonably competitive BTCC car will set you back £250k - and then you've got to run it in the championship.

Look below BTCC and the most prestigious racing series outside of single seaters is the British GT Championship, then various single make championships with Porsches, Ginettas, Clios, Lotus' and Minis being the most prestigious, and the only ones getting any airtime on TV.

The trouble is BTCC and GT cost a fortune to enter and run, and single make championships are a bit, well, boring.

What we need is a cheap, new racing series with full, varied grids where the cars retain most of their production features and can be driven home afterwards (theoretically).

We want spectacular looking grids with great racing where talent rather than budget would shine through. Keep the cars as standard as possible.  Who cares if the engine has been blueprinted, ported, lowered and tilted back?  Who cares if the suspension has been replaced?  Who cares if the gearbox and brakes have been replaced with race units?  The spectators can't see or hear these components so why spend money on them?  You just need to free up the exhaust to improve the sound.

Our racing series would have these rules:
  • Class 1 - Any car up to £50,000 showroom price
  • Class 2 - Any car up to £30,000 showroom price
  • Class 3 - Any car up to £20,000 showroom price
  • No modifications aside from roll cage, race tyres, racing fuel tank, race seat, race brake pads
  • Factory options allowed but only up to and including the class budget price
  • Control race tyres
That's it.  The interior and everything else would remain as standard.  Anyone could buy a car and, as long as they have the required licence, go racing.

It could be super-cheap to enter.  Entry fees could be cheap, at around £1,000 per weekend, which could be subsidised by a sponsor.

The grid could comprise of such machinery as:
  • Class 1 - Audi TT RS, Lotus Elise S, Mercedes A 45 AMG, Porsche Cayman S
  • Class 2 - BMW M135i M Sport, Renault Megane RS, Ford Focus ST, Vauxhall Astra VXR, Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86
  • Class 3 - Ford Fiesta ST, Seat Ibiza Cupra, Mini Cooper S, Peugeot 208 GTI, Renault Clio 200 Turbo
Can you imagine a field composed of these kinds of cars.  How spectacular it would look with liveried Caymans alongside Astras and Clios.  Two half hour races on a Sunday and an hour practice and hour qualifying on the Saturday.

It would be the best looking grid in the UK, and the racing would be epic with front, four and rear wheel drive and front and mid engines.  If someone starts running away in a class then weight penalties can be imposed to even things out, just as in BTCC.

Realistically it'll still cost at least £60,000, on top of the purchase price, a year to run one of these cars with insurance, transport, tyres, brakes and fixing them up after crashes.  But that would still be cheaper than running a Renault Clio in the Clio Cup Championship.  And it would be a fraction of the cost of BTCC.

So, the SPCC (Speedmonkey Production Car Challenge), who's up for it?

Article by Matt Hubbard