Does all this sound silly to you? Same here, but it has obviously struck a chord. The club’s first races were this year but already there are more than 80 cars complete or in-build. And I think that’s because, all in, you could be looking at having a car built, race ready, for around £3000. It’s so popular that the club recently announced it would hold a 24-hour race at Rockingham in May. Within a week, it was so oversubscribed that it had to announce it was holding another one in August.
There’s also another 24-hour race, at Spa-Francorchamps where no fewer than 108 cars raced – half of them 2CVs, or curious derivatives thereof, and the other half C1s. Remarkably, they all fitted on the same circuit.
This is, I suspect, because the speed differentials aren’t that big. In ‘proper’ GT racing, you might have LMP1 cars and GTE cars on the same track with massively different closing speeds. With C1s and 2CVs (and some weird developed 2CV racers with BMW bike engines and the odd classic Mini), everybody’s broadly… slow.
How slow? A Formula 1 car will lap Spa in 1min 46sec, at an average speed of 147mph. A C1 cannot even dream of 147mph, so wants almost two minutes extra to complete a lap. So there is time to think about what you’re catching, or what is catching you, and that makes 108 cars fit into 4.3 miles quite easily. Besides, an average of 75mph over a lap doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It sounds, dare I say it, exciting. It is.
It doesn’t matter if it’s quite sedate. Racing at Spa, in the dark, even with only 68bhp, is utterly, utterly brilliant. My first ‘stint’ was two hours from dusk and it was, I kid you not, one of the best drives I’ve ever had in my life.
How’s the car? Not fast, by proper racing car standards, but turning into Eau Rouge, in the dark, in the rain, at 4am, with wipers smearing 12 hours of grit and grime and oil and filth across the windscreen, at 90mph, only a few inches from another car, felt quite senior to me.