The news that you’ve all been waiting for is at last here.  Well mostly.  The calendar remains provisional for now, but this is next year as we know it today.  We don’t have prices yet and these are still a couple of weeks away, but at least this will allow you to put some dates in your diary.

As soon as we have firm prices agreed with BARC, we will start to open the entries to the races using our time-honoured system on the website.  We will email you a week before entries open and the forms become available, so you’ll have some notice.  As per Silverstone 24hr, you will need to enter the drivers for your race entry to be valid; and those drivers will have to be members of the club.

Date Circuit Format
27th/28th April Silverstone 24 hour
8th/9th June Pembrey Double-six hour
28th July Mallory Sprints
10th/11th August Snetterton 300 3 hour
6th/7th/8th Sept Anglesey 24 hour
26th/27th Oct Spa 24 hour
16th/17th Nov Brands Hatch 2 hour

As you may know, we have now launched in Portugal, as well has having a sister series in Belgium; and the Citybug series in Holland, so in total we are invited to the following races:

Date Circuit Format
30th/31st March Zolder, Holland 8 hour
7th April Braga, Portugal 6 hour
20th/21st April Magny Cours, France 6 hour
22nd/23rd June Anneau du Rhin 6 hour
23rd June Portimao, Portugal 6 hour
1st Sept Estoril, Portugal 6 hour
14th/15th Sept Zandvoort, Holland 5 hour
8th/9th/10th Nov Anglesey, RoR 12 hour
9th/10th Nov Mettet, France 6 hour

We’ll be distinctly impressed by anyone that manages to do all the races, especially as some of the international ones clash; but there’s enough to keep us all busy in 2019.  We look forward to seeing you there.

The C1 Racing Team

Why Even American Drivers Are Showing Up To Race A 67 HP Citroën In Belgium

Spa-Francorchamps has many well-known corners. Eau Rouge you likely know. But the one that prompts a reflexive wriggle against the harness straps on approach is Pouhon, a downhill, fourth-gear left-hander round the back of the circuit. It’s probably just a lift but I’ll confess to a confidence dab before committing. Both actions have the same, butt-clenching effect of making the back end go light at around 90 mph, just as the full corner reveals itself

Only this time it’s not just the corner. I’m three-abreast in the dark, the lightning illuminating the Ardennes forest has turned to rain, and the guy in front has just discovered the grip levels have totally changed since the last lap. I’m fixated on his elegant pirouette before sense kicks in and I’m looking for an escape route over the curbs.

I juke right. This is fine. We’ll be okay. Oh shit, he’s now coasting backwards into my path. Cars scatter across the run-off area, weaving wildly in all directions. A good 20 yards past him and we’re all back on track, scraping doorhandles as battle resumes for the next corner.

It’s 1 a.m. on a Saturday night in Belgium and I want a beer. God, I want a beer. Instead I’m on shot tires, the rain is so intense I can’t see where the track ends and the grass starts and I can only hope the taillights ahead are going the right way. Meanwhile the car behind is so close he’s pretty much parked in my trunk, his lights dazzling me in the mirrors as I try to find a line through the dark and the spray. Pretty standard for Belgian freeway driving as it goes. But even that, and Spa’s reputation for dramatic weather, hasn’t quite prepared me for the intensity of this fight.

Welcome to Citroen C1 racing, upstart addition to a 24-hour 2CV eventthat’s been a fixture at Spa for over 30 years. They’re still here, their slammed Deux-Chevauxs and Dyanes corrupted by air-cooled, flat-twin BMW bike engines with over 100 horsepower and crazy homebrew bodywork, faired-in wheels and all.

And they are fast, carving through the traffic like weird, scuttling bugs. These are now $100,000 machines though, a series that started as affordable fun in cheap old cars now a budgetary arms race


Which is where the C1 picks up.

C-what, you ask? Picture your stereotypical, front-drive Euro hatchback with a gutless, 1.0-liter, 67 HP three-cylinder engine and you’re there. Also sold as the Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo, first-gen donor cars can now be bought for a $1,000 and converted into a racing car for less than $5,000. This explains why there are nearly 70 in this 121-car grid, 40-plus of them from the UK-based C1 Racing Club

It doesn’t, however, explain why so many drivers from supposedly more prestigious and (let’s face it) faster race series seem so eager to compete in a stripped and caged shopping car. One of my teammates is fresh from driving a million-dollar historic in the most blue chip of blue chip races at Goodwood Revival. Others are salty VLN and Nürburgring 24-hour veterans or have experience in GT3 and GTE, including here at Spa. There’s one guy from Idaho more accustomed to racing Porsches and guys and girls from fiercely competitive one-make Caterham, Ginetta and Radical series back in the UK. A team of American drivers led by New Jersey-based Jon Meyer have, with help from the C1 Racing Club, had a car built in Germany and are ready to race on SCCA national licenses. Why are they all here?

Because it’s competitive as hell, not 24 Hours of LeMons-style wacky racing. It’s basically everything we love about circuit racing. Minus the bullshit or million-dollar budgets.

“First it’s Spa. This is hallowed ground,” says Meyer. “Second, night racing. We just don’t get the chance to do that back home so much. And the third is we’ve all watched British and German touring cars and the level of racing here makes this really attractive.”

The C1 Racing Club succeeds where others have failed by maintaining strict control on car specs. You can only build one with the parts and packages supplied by the club, the idea being it’s the fast drivers who get to the front of the grid, not just the rich ones. Writing the rulebook from scratch gives them authority to enforce component changes on anyone they suspect of buying extra speed, up to and including swapping out their engine for a spare stored in the pit garage.

“Trust me, between us we know all the tricks,” says series co-founder Meyrick Cox, “basically because we’ve thought through all the ways we’d cheat if we were doing it.”

Bottom line, if the next guy is faster than you, it’s not because of the car.

So it’s as much about brainpower as it is horsepower. You may nail that guy into La Source hairpin with a fist pump for the GoPro and social media glory. But he’s now got your tow all the way into Eau Rouge and along the straight that follows, ducking out of your draft with the extra five miles per hour you gifted him. Six-car battles for position can last—literally—hours, the lead changing constantly as every corner becomes a who-blinks-first battle of bravery and wits, inevitably spiced up by one of those ridiculous 2CV prototypes carving between you at a critical moment, or a standard one blocking your path and costing you five seconds in one lap.

For much of the race 70-car C1 field are circulating the 4.3-mile circuit to within two or three seconds of each other, it’s that tight.

At night I find myself drafting so close I’m watching the track unfold through the windscreen of the car in front, using his lights to pick my braking point and opportunity to duck out the slipstream. It’s the kind of racing where you’ll be locked in a fight to the death one moment and exchanging thumbs-up the next, my battle with one car lasting half an hour and having us swap position but not paint once or twice a lap.

The driving standards are ruthless enough to make you wince but respectful with it. Rubbin’ is definitely racin’ but anyone taking it too far won’t be invited back, simple as that.

There’s nowhere to hide in these cars and the fact you have to earn every mph and fight to maintain it is the essence of pure racing. The modifications mean the C1s slide and move around according to how you drive them. A fractionally greedy corner approach results in ugly understeer while artistic trail- or left-foot braking can be exploited to rotate the car into the corner and gain whole seconds.

I manage this once through La Source and the satisfaction is still making me fizz a week later, likewise the sideways at 90mph approach to Pouhon when I came in a little too hot one lap.

It’s at this point most successful championships lose the plot and money starts talking. Not in the C1s. If anything the organizers are doubling down on regulations, a recent deal with Nankang meaning the control tire will be manufactured to spec, sparing the faff and expense of shaving down road rubber. A new direct-sale brake pad meanwhile lasts a season rather than a race and saves more money for teams.

And as demand for grid space increases so are the races getting bigger, the Club confirming a new 24-hour round on Silverstone’s full Grand Prix circuit next April. It’s a sign this little series is now outgrowing its club circuit roots and able to fill internationally renowned, F1-grade venues. Meyer is already having a second car built with the aim of selling seats to American drivers, joking he could fill 20 cars if he could field them.

Want in? Get yourself on the C1 Racing Club’s match-making forum with a fistful of dollars and you’re good to go for less than a transatlantic air fare. See you there.

Dan Trent has been working as a car writer for 15 years, several of which were spent editing Chris Harris while he was at Pistonheads, from which he has several stories not for repeating here.

Why racing a Citroën C1 at Spa is the real holy grail of motorsport

Why on earth would anyone want to race at Spa-Francorchamps in a Citroën C1? With just 68hp you might think it would struggle to drag itself up from Eau Rouge. And whether it’s Häkkinen on Schumacher back in 2000, Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell and their ilk monstering the track in Porsche 956s in the 80s or Jim Clark and others conquering the infamously fast, road circuit layout in the 60s, Spa has a deservedly fearsome reputation.

2018 Season – still a few more races if you want to exercise your C1

Well that’s our official 2018 season over, although there are still a couple of chances to get your C1 out, most notably the simply wonderful Race of Remembrance run by Mission Motorsport at Anglesey on Remembrance Sunday, at which we will be running our somewhat battle-scarred car No 303 (reshell coming over the winter…).  If you think you will be able to pass the breathalyser test, you may also want to consider Ben Atkinson’s “Plum Pudding” event on Boxing Day.

 If you think you may build a car – Let us know now!!!

It is already clear from the various chat forums that a number of people are considering building a car.  If you are planning to do so, you should order the club kit and cage no later than the end of November.  The main issue is the cage, the lead time for which is already 12 weeks.  So if you were to order a cage today, you wouldn’t get it until mid-January.  This is Safety Devices’ busiest time of year, we have no influence over their lead times and we do not carry spare stock.  If you are building, or thinking of building a car, especially for Silverstone, we would encourage you to get an order to us as soon as possible.

 2019 season opener will be Silverstone!

We’re going to start with the fabulous Silverstone GP 24-hour.  We’ve tested at Silverstone, in the damp, and it was utterly fabulous.  And, well, its Silverstone.  Its what you asked for in the survey, so we took a brave pill or two and signed a big contract.  We’re just working out the support races at the moment.

 The rest of the calendar is currently being nailed down.  We will announce it as soon as we can.  Entries will follow the same procedure as last year, with the race entries opening on the website with plenty of notice.  Again, reflecting what you asked for in the survey, there are going to be a couple of sprint days and four or so enduros, hopefully with the season being rounded off with Spa again.

 Spa 24 hour – well done to MacAttack for a fast and clean race

Spa was fabulous, wasn’t it?  Many congratulations to MacAttack who have had quite a season and rounded it up with a class win at Spa.  It was a very well measured and confident drive after a spectacular qualifying lap from Simon Walker-Hansell, who managed to get a tow both up the Kemmel straight; and from Stavelot to Blanchimont.  The MacAttack car also still sports the same bodywork that it started the season with; so it is possible!

 We all arrived at Spa in blazing sunshine, well except for Nick, who didn’t get in until nearly midnight. Having come from a decidedly chilly UK, it was lovely to feel the heat of the sun again.  They have a slightly different approach at Spa, so its always a bit of a voyage of discovery as to what’s going to happen; and sure enough, the welcome packages weren’t as expected, but they were in a very large orange bag.  We could learn things from them, we thought.

 Scrutineering proved to be a whole lot easier than last year, mostly because we had organized for an MSA scrutineer to be over in Spa with us, who was marvellous.  Keith, thank you.  So we all got stuck into practice.  Well, two sessions of practice, unless you wanted to go and play with some very quick and awesome-sounding DGMC (a German category) series cars.  That Mustang must rate as one of the angriest-sounding race cars in history.  It went pretty well and looked stunning as well.  Somehow, over the day, we managed to get all the cars weighed and scrutineered (or thereabouts).

 You really should attend the Spa driver’s briefing.  It could only happen at Spa.  Of course it started late; and of course it was in French.  But we had Steve Sykes translating, which was just brilliant.  The Clerk would speak loudly and enthusiastically for some time.  Steve would then translate briefly and drily something like: “Respect the marshals, they’re there to keep you alive”.  It was also the shortest drivers’ briefing in history; and failed to cover any of the material things that it would have been nice to know about, like full-course yellows or two safety cars.   Not that any of us asked any questions of course.

 It is an FIA requirement for every driver to complete three laps of night qualifying in order to be able to drive in a 24-hour race.   Not in Belgium, its not.  Quali was one and a half hours, which is mighty tight when you have 6 drivers, and daylight only.  Its even tighter if you forget (despite half a dozen text reminders) to have your car weighed.  And its underweight.  And the seat is out of date.  You had to admire our American friends style of walking over to the reassuringly expensive shop and just buying another seat, though.  We managed to get them out in quali.  Just, with their car sporting some lead that was somehow (and somewhat worryingly) procured from a nuclear power station. Most of the rest of Saturday passed in a cacophony of noise from the BGDC, the standouts being that Mustang, a Mondeo which sounded like it had much the same engine and, of course, a brace of 911s.  It would best be described as an eclectic bunch.

 The race proper started at 4.30pm…  well, it should have done.  More like 4.45pm and it took a while for the timing system to catch up.  Obviously, the drivers’ briefing hadn’t covered the start procedure, so we had no idea what was going on, but it all worked in the end and off we all went!  Atomic Racing turned a mistake into misfortune, somehow getting caught up in the wrong group and starting from the pitlane.  They enjoyed leading the class for the first 5 laps until a safety car bunched things up again.  There’s nothing like rain to shake things up at Spa; and boy did we get rain.  Those lucky enough to be in the cars at the time could watch the thunderstorm coming up the valley towards the circuit until the deluge hit.  At times, visibility was down to 25m or so.  The rain stayed with us until the closing stages of the race, but dried out eventually.

Stand out heroes?  There’s a deep bench to chose from here, but mentions have to go to Hurricane, for giving their car to another team after an accident concussed one of their drivers – that is proper sporting behaviour and we love you for it chaps.  To 416, our American friends who had never seen a C1 before; arriving at the circuit with six drivers and mostly-finished car.  It even had a stick shift, but at least it was left hand drive.  They beat all odds and finished the race.  Gents, and lady, well done, and we look forward to having you back over here again soon. To Mission Motorsport, who brought two cars and fifteen injured veterans over, one of which finished, the other of which had an accident; and to all the team crews who repaired broken drive shafts (we ran out), body work, suspension arms and kept everyone on the road.

 Wheelgate… Citroen are investigating

We had some more wheels fail at Spa.  All bar one of the failed wheels have now been given to Citroen to analyse, so we will come back with their report as and when we have it.  The only additional news we have is that each wheel that failed appeared to have come from a different batch; and that most had clear kerb or accident damage to them.  Safety comes first of course, so although we do have some options for different wheels that we could use, at this stage we don’t know whether they would be stronger, and they are a multiple of the cost of the current steel wheels.  Our advice remains that if a rim is damaged – dispose of it.

 2019 regulations

We are meeting shortly to agree what changes there will be, but we hope that you will be reassured to know that they are likely to be minimal and aimed at safety and keeping costs down.  One will be the requirements will be to have an operating forward-facing video camera. This is a low-cost way of ensuring that the Clerk of the Course will have the evidence to investigate any contact; and support a continued improvement in driving standards.

 Autosport 2019

We’re going to be there again on the BARC stand for all four days.  Come and see us for a catch up, to ask questions and look at cars.  We will have a car on the stand for the children (young and old) to play with.  Look forward to seeing you there.

 Charity Day on behalf of the Stroke Association at Castle Combe

On Saturday 27th October, the Stroke Association is running its long-standing day at Castle Combe to raise money for itself.  This dates back over 25 years and has a simple formula:  owners of interesting and exotic cars bring them along and provide 5-lap passenger rides to the public in exchange for a solid donation.  There is no cost to the owners; and every penny goes direct to the charity.  We’ve been invited along, so if you would like to take your C1 along (you’ll have to have a passenger seat, obviously), please get in touch with Richard Jones, who is the volunteer organiser on  07961 565970 or by email at

 Thank you

This has been an amazing first full season for us; so we would like to thank each and every one of you for making this possible.  We hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, we feel somewhat humbled by what we’ve created, and of course if you’re receiving this newsletter you are part of that success, whether you are a driver, mechanic, car builder or interested reader!  As always if you have any ideas on how we can improve things, drop us a mail at  We’re already excited about next year and look forward to racing with you all next season.


The C1 Racing Team

So that’s our first UK season done and dusted.  We’ll do a proper review of the season after Spa, but it’s been quite an experience for us at least.  Please let us know your views:  what was good; what wasn’t; what we can improve and anything else you’d like to see.  Please email us at 


The A1M turned out to be as awful as anyone could possibly have feared, although closing one of the UK’s main north south arterial routes on a Friday and a Sunday was an interesting approach to road management.  But wasn’t Croft wonderful when we got there?  Cold too – maybe there is something in the phrase “the Frozen North”?  We haven’t been up there for a couple of years, and Tracey (the new circuit manager) has really sorted the place out since then.  Smart, nice new lavatory & shower block (better than at home, one person quipped) with lashings of hot water.  Talking to Tracey, there’s a lot planned at Croft over the next year or two, with a new building, improvements to the entrances:  we look forward to seeing it all.


One of the key topics for the weekend turned out to be wheels.  Or rather Wheel Failures.  We had been planning a piece for this newsletter about lifing wheels; and how it is not a good idea to use the older wheels for racing.  Typically, small nicks in the holes turn into stress fractures, which result in wholesale failure.  You also find, if you turn a GoPro on the wheels, that the older wheels flex a lot more than new wheels, the welds and steel both fatigue over time, so the handling on older wheels isn’t as good, as well as the risk of failure going up dramatically.

 What was new at Croft was the failure of some new wheels, and failing through the body of the metal, not at the holes.  All wheels that failed need to be sent back to Citroen for investigation; please can the owners of those wheels get them back to us and we can forward them on to Citroen; we will report back when Citroen do.  A common feature to all three wheels was significant dents to the rims, suggesting heavy kerb usage.  We can’t emphasize enough that using kerbs in endurance racing is a pretty sure-fire way to end your race early.  Not just from a wheel damage perspective, but the shock loads that it also imposes on the suspension, drive shafts etc can all lead to premature failure.  It may feel racey; and it may even be faster for a few laps, but its not good practice in longer enduros.


What did you think?  We were really pleased with the way that the four heats and final went.  Driving standards were high overall, although track limit breaches were reported eighteen times by the marshals.  The racing seemed to be good as well right up and down the field.

 We will be running a couple of sprint events next year:  probably one on the same weekend as an enduro (as per Croft); and one on a separate weekend, so that we can all see how it works and how popular it is.


You may not have noticed it, but for the first time this season, BARC supplied four track-based observers to report on track limits and driving standards.  This will be standard practice next season, so that there is 100% consistency on reporting throughout the season and throughout each meeting.  However hard we, as directors, try, we can’t be everywhere all the time, but we are determined to ensure that we maintain the highest level of driving standards possible in the series.

 Rockingham Appeals

We are delighted to announce that the decision to disqualify Car 414, Team Green Racing and Car 384, Area Motorsport has been overturned on appeal; and replaced with a fine.  This is consistent with the penalty applied at the touring cars meeting at Knockhill the previous weekend and, in the Club’s view, the correct penalty under MSA regulations for a safety infringement.

 The final results are to be restated and published shortly.


Our season finale is in less than a week now.  It is, we realise, too close to Croft, and we will ensure next year that we don’t have races in such close proximity.  It only came about this year because we had a date at Donington that was cancelled shortly before we announced the calendar for the season; and that was all we could get at that point.  We will endeavour not to do that again.

 The final instructions and supplementary regulations for the wonderful season-closing race at Spa have been published and you can find them here; and we are hugely excited about it.  For those of you who haven’t been before, wrap up warm, its always very cold at night there – we’ve had one year where it was minus ten degrees and we all carried on racing.  It is a brilliant weekend and one we look forward to all year.

 It’s going to be one of the biggest grids ever at Spa, so we should see some pretty exciting racing.  Look forward to seeing you out there.


The C1 Racing Team

Snetterton Update

After an eight-week break, it was good to be back out on track again, wasn’t it? Snetterton 300 is a brilliant circuit, and it was quite amazing to see 53 cars starting the four-hour race: the largest grid ever seen at Snetterton. It turned out to be quite a race, as well: Old Hat did a terrific job in qualifying, going nearly a second quicker than everyone else; and watching Dan in the early stages of the race, you could see why: consistent, smooth and accurate, which is exactly what’s needed to make a C1 fly.

It didn’t stay that way: McAttack and Absolute Alignment played the safety cars to perfection and managed to get in front of Old Hat. We were all treated to a brilliant battle for the next few hours, which got more and more tense as the race progressed. It was always going to be really marginal on fuel with one stop, but both of the front-runners took the gamble. It paid off for both of them, but there was an extraordinary twist at the end. Declan McDonnell had been asking if it was legal to finish the race in the pit lane, but decided not to take the gamble in case his driver missed the pit board on the last lap. With only a 50-second lead from the hard-charging and in-the-zone Chris Dear, McAttack came into the pits with just six minutes of the race left.

In the pits, you could cut the air with a knife. They made it out in front of Absolute Alignment. Just. But that didn’t last long, and Dear made it past at the Wilson Hairpin. In the pits McAttack faces fell; but then a red flag came out. A car had rolled at Agostini and the Clerk decided that it would be safer to red flag the race. The directors gathered with Dorothy, our wonderful Clerk of the Course, to discuss the outcome. If you’re familiar with the regulations, it did not turn out to be particularly controversial. In a race that is red flagged, the result is taken from the end of the lap before the red flag. McAttack had pitted, and had completed their mandatory pit stops. Declan had what must be one the shortest stints in race history, completing maybe 50 yards to the finish line in the pits – which, as we all know, is part of the race track. So McAttack won the race in the pit lane at approximately 40 kph (we had the Club’s speed gun on him). Extraordinary.

We also saw the world’s longest stop / go penalty. One unfortunate driver was penalized for speeding in the pit lane and leaving the pits under a red light; compounding his error with missing the black flag for a total of six laps. A four minute and fifty second stop / go was a long, long time, but then the miscreant had to get out of the car for a leisurely chat with Gary, the Deputy Clerk of the Course, before strapping in and continuing his race. Its well worth having a quick look at the fixed penalties in the Club Regulations; mostly to know what not to do. Its going to be really tough trying to win a race if you are parked in the pit lane for 5 minutes

Lastly on Snetterton, thank you to the volunteers who helped us: to Adriana, Christine, and Jill, to the marshals, the scrutineers, the Clerks and course staff. We think that they did a great job and in baking hot weather. Thank you to each and every one of you.


Spa News

We look forward, later in the year, to seeing rather more teams at Spa on 5th-7th October. After extensive negotiations with our Belgian friends, they have been kind enough to let us have some more spaces, so all the reserves have now been promoted to full entries and we will see 55 UK C1s starting the race. We may even be able to squeeze a few more in, so if you don’t already have an entry, and want one, it’s probably worth getting a deposit in and joining the reserve list. It really is an epic circuit and great weekend. Our policy is that deposits are refundable if you are on the reserve list, so there is little or no downside. For those who have confirmed entries, the deposits are no longer refundable, though.


Race of Remembrance

Further out, C1s are also eligible for the fantastic Race of Remembrance, held at Anglesey on the weekend of Remembrance Sunday, 10th / 11th November. If you haven’t done this race, you really should. It’s a brilliant end of term party for one; it’s another rare chance to race at night; and it’s held in order to raise money for our supported charity, Mission Motorsport.  Some of you will have seen Mission Motorsport at some of our events:  it exists to help servicemen and women that have been injured in the course of their duty, whether physically or mentally, back into the workplace, using motorsport as a beacon, training medium and therapy. Take a look on: where you will find some of the most moving video footage ever recorded. You’ll also spot a few C1s; and there will be a class again in 2018. We’ll be out there racing, with a serviceman or woman in the car. If you want to come and, particularly if you would like to have a beneficiary in your car, contact our chairman, Meyrick, on ; and no, we aren’t usually the slowest cars there, especially in the wet, which it usually is at Anglesey.

The C1 Racing Team

On the weekend of the 24 Hours of Rockingham, we look back at the time our man competed in another day-long C1 race

This weekend, a field of Citroën C1 racers will take to Rockingham for a 24-hour race. To mark the occasion, we look back at the time our man Matt Prior competed in the same series for a day-long race at Spa. Over to you Prior…

Have you ever heard a small-capacity two-stroke motorcycle haring along the road at top speed, gone to a window to look at it and realised that it’s not going very quickly at all?

It’s all ‘niiinnnnng’, and no go.

Welcome to the Citroën C1 Racing Club. Only without most of the ‘ning’.The C1 Racing Club was born because people used to race Citroën 2CVs in large numbers, but don’t quite so much any more. It used to be one of the cheapest forms of motorsport out there but these days even the newest 2CV is decades old and running and maintaining those cars is, by pastime standards, starting to become rather expensive.

So some of the people behind it thought they would put a C1 racing car together and see how that went. Sedately, is the answer. But also cheaply, so here we are.

The first-generation C1 is, as you’ll probably know, mechanically identical to the Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo, though only C1s make it into the club for now. There were 3dr or 5dr versions but the racers are 3drs and alterations between road car and race car are pretty limited to keep cost down and the playing field level.

In the technical regulations, the phrase ‘no modifications’ appears no less than 15 times. Every car has its interior stripped and safety equipment added. The dashboard has to remain in place, with a working radio, to prove the wiring loom is standard, and the handbrake is still there, because every car must have an MOT. The engine, gearbox, exhaust, glass and even the window winders (manual or electric) have to stay as was. The minimum weight limit, including driver, is 910kg. Most cars carry ballast to bring them up to the limit.

Power is – drum roll – a heady 68bhp, delivered to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox whose fifth gear I suspect you’d never see on a race track.

You can’t change a thing on the transmission, either.

There are, though, a couple of changes to the suspension. You can shim the rear to adjust the toe angle (dead straight is best, clubbers find), fit strut braces if you like, and mount club-supplied lower front suspension arms, to adjust camber and keep more rubber on the road.

That rubber, mind, is the Nankang AS1, because the club tried a few different tyres and decided that these ones delivered the best balance. And, crucially, not very much grip. They’re also quite cheap.

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.

The suspension changes make the C1 really adjustable too. It’s not exactly sharp on turn in, but it hangs on gamely and the rear is only a lift of throttle from becoming quite active. The steering is light and uncommunicative, but the brakes – light pedal aside – are phenomenal, the gearshift easy and the engine revvy. It’s amazing fun.

There are places, even at Spa, even in the dry, where you have to take a small breath before turning in flat. And there are places – quite a few of them – where your right foot feels like you’re trying to trap a lost expenses receipt to the floor in a high wind.

Anyway, I shan’t bore you with full details of how my teammates and I fared, except to say that I didn’t break the car and we finished mid-order, it was the friendliest racing grid I have ever been a part of, and we all had an absolute ball. How much of a ball? Put it this way: I don’t always enjoy racing, but should you happen upon a Citroën C1 race, my intention is that you’ll find me in it.

How to make a race-ready C1 

On top of a donor car, there are 12 things you need to fit to a C1 to send it racing, mostly to meet MSA regulations. They range from £7 bonnet straps and a £5 foglight bulb, to £650 for a rollcage. The club- supplied suspension and guard kit costs £620 and new springs, which lower the car by 35mm, are £110.

When it comes to the donor car, the club recommends you buy the lowest-mileage car available. Although you can pick them up as cheaply as £1200, and engines are generally robust, they recommend you walk away from any car with more than 100,000 miles. Consumables are resilient. We only used two sets of tyres in a 24-hour race and even that wasn’t essential. Uprated brake pads will last a twice-round-the-clock race and then a few other sprint races before a change becomes necessary.

Racing a Citroën C1 at Spa? Yes, really!

Night racing in the most unlikely car on the market Back in the day, Citroën 2CV racing series was tremendously popular, providing cheap, fun motorsport for the masses. Now we have its successor – the Citroën C1 Racing Club, which caters for the French brand’s three-door city car. It doesn’t sound especially exciting, but here’s the thing; we sent a colleague to take part in a race at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, and he reported that it was one of the very best drives he’d had in 20 years of writing about cars. So, what does Citroën C1 racing entail? Well for a start, modifications are restricted. Most interior components still have to be present and correct, such as the dash, stereo and even the window winders. You can remove carpets and the like, however. Mechanically, the engine exhaust and intake must be factory spec, while the suspension set-up can be only moderately tuned. Essentially, you have 68bhp to play with, fed to the front wheels via the five-speed transmission. Wheelspin is unlikely to be an issue.

The lure of the Citroën C1 series has already attracted more than 80 teams – which just goes to show that motorsport is the affordable preserve of everyman, not merely for the well heeled. Next year’s big event will be a 24-hour race at the UK’s Rockingham speedway, which will see 70 C1s on the grid. To find out just how it will feel, our man Matt Prior flew to Spa to take part in a 24-hour race in which C1s made up about half of the 108-car grid. He discovered that racing the tiny French city car is anything but dull – even if it does a lap in twice the time it takes in a Formula One car. He reported: “It doesn’t matter how thrilling a road car is, racing at Spa in the dark, even with 68bhp, is absolutely brilliant. It may not be very quick, but turning into Eau Rouge at 90mph in the dark and the rain, with wipers smearing water relatively ineffectively across oil and filth, only a few inches from another car, it all felt real enough to me.”

He continued: “Besides, the suspension changes mean that there’s some chassis adjustability, too. The steering remains pretty uncommunicative, the brakes are superb, the gearshift light and the engine revvy. And even on a big, senior circuit, it’s great fun. In places at Spa you have to take a deep breath before turning in flat, places where you have to brake heavily, and places where your foot is pressed so hard to the floor that you emerge from a stint with an aching right calf.” The diminutive C1 racer clearly punches well above its weight on a huge circuit such as Spa – just imagine what fun it will be on smaller tracks. Roll on Rockingham 2018.


Matt Prior reports on his time in car 322 at Spa on PistonHeads website here.

Driving coach Rob Wilson talks about racing “becoming a craft” when you get good at it. Once you understand the physics of driving, what will make a car fast and what won’t, you can work on this craft, patiently, to go quicker.Which is fine if, like Wilson, you’re a driver who’s competed in Nascar, at Le Mans or around Daytona, or you’re one of the drivers – up to and including those in F1 – who have called on his training. What happens in microseconds can become a craft if you’re equipped to deal with it.

And if you’re not quite up to speed? Welcome to the Citroen C1 Racing Club.

The C1 Racing Club was born, if not out of frustration with, then as a result of, the modern limitations of Citroen 2CV racing. It used to be one of the cheapest forms of motorsport around but even the newest 2CV is decades old these days, and running and maintaining a race example is getting – by hobby standards, if not by those of motor racing – expensive. So a few devotees decided they’d put a C1 together instead and see how it went as a racing car. Slowly, was the answer. But cheaply. So here we are.

You’ll know the C1. Or you’ll have seen it. Mechanically identical to the Peugoet 107 and Toyota Aygo (though the club only allows Citroens in for now), it’s a city car, built from 2005 onwards, which could be had with three or five doors. The Club uses the 3dr version and alterations to turn it into a bona fide race car are limited. The phrase “no modifications” features in the standard regulations no less than 15 times.

Sure, every car can be stripped of its interior trim and carpets, but mostly only so that safety equipment can be fitted. The dashboard, including a working radio and handbrake, must be retained. The wiring loom, engine, exhaust, gearbox, glass and even window winders have to be as standard, and each car must be MOT’d. There’s a minimum driver-aboard weight limit of 910kg, which most drivers will add ballast to get up to. Power, wait for it – and you’ll have to – is 68hp, delivered to the front wheels via a five-speed gearbox, the fifth gear of which you’ll probably never need on a race track. No, you can’t modify the engine. No, you can’t mod the intake. No, you can’t remove the catalyst.

What you can – and will – do, is make a few changes to the suspension, shimming the rear to adjust toe angle, fitting strut braces if you like, and adding a club-supplied lower front wishbone, which puts more rubber to the road; although again, the terms are relative.

Does it all sound suitably daft? It might, but the idea has struck an uncanny chord. The Club had its first races this year, and already there are more than 80 cars completed or in-build. Because, all-in, you could be looking at having a fully-prepped racing car for under £3,000. The Club recently announced a 24-hour race at Rockingham next May. A week later, the grid was full, after 70 cars had signed up.

Sounds like a lot, does it not, 70 cars around Rockingham? It probably is, but then, it is manageable. And I know this because last week I climbed into a racing C1 at Spa Francorchamps, alongside 107 other cars – around half of them 2CVs or curious derivatives thereof, another half or so C1s, and a couple of old Minis – and we all fitted. For 24 hours.

This remarkable feat is, I suspect, because the speed differentials are not that huge. Unlike classic endurance racing, where an LMP1 car may well be on circuit with GTE cars, or Britcar where a Ferrari F430 might be on track with a Volkswagen Beetle, the C1 and its ilk are all similarly, well, how to put it … slow.  An F1 car will lap Spa in around 1m 46s, at an average speed of 147mph. A C1 can only dream of 147mph, and wants almost two minutes more to complete a lap. An average of 75mph, then, would have a C1 writing postcards home. 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.

And, now I read it again, an average of 75mph over a lap doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It sounds, dare I say it, exciting. Dear reader, it is.

It doesn’t matter how thrilling a road car is, racing at Spa in the dark, even with 68hp, is absolutely brilliant. At one point I was talking to two blokes, who between them have three Porsche Carrera GTs, and they thought it was pretty exciting too. I drove for two hours from dusk and it was – and I kid you not, here – one of the very best drives I’ve ever had in 20 years of writing about cars.  What is the car like? It may not be very quick, but turning in to Eau Rouge at 90mph in the dark and the rain, with wipers smearing water relatively ineffectively across windscreen oil and filth, only a few inches from another car, it all felt real enough to me. Besides, the suspension changes mean that there’s some chassis adjustability to the C1, too. The steering remains pretty uncommunicative, the brakes are superb, the gearshift light and the engine revvy. And even on a big, senior circuit, it’s great fun. There are places at Spa where you have to take a deep breath before turning in flat, places where you have to brake heavily, and places where – obviously – your foot is pressed so hard to the floor that you emerge from a stint with an aching right calf.

I shan’t bore you with how I got on, suffice it to say we finished mid-class and I didn’t put a dent on it, which I always count as a decent day’s work.  But two things stand out for me: one, is that Rob Wilson was right, and that driving is a craft – you have a lot of time to consider how right or otherwise you’re getting it behind the wheel of a C1. The other is just how much fun this unlikely racing car is, to the extent that my old VW Baja Beetle will shortly be for sale, and that I intend to find myself part of a very large C1 racing grid next year.



…and it was AWESOME.

So what do you want to know first? Let’s divide it up for ease of reading:

  1. Why C1 racing?
  2. How do you build your car?
  3. Is it fun?
  4. How did your first race go?
  5. The numbers
2CV racing may have started as a ‘budget’ series, but it’s not any more…

How, what and why Citroën C1 racing?

Many years ago, when the earth was still cooling, and dinosaurs didn’t even need an FIA-approved suit to get in a racing car, somebody started a budget racing series for the Citroën 2CV.

It was the automotive equivalent of Honda C90 scooter racing. All the fun of real racing, but with a budget of pennies on the pound.

Nowadays a clean 2CV, good enough to turn into a racing car, doesn’t sell for hundreds, it sells for thousands. Then comes the knowledge, the “black art” of making one go fast. And the modifications aren’t cheap either…


Enter the C1. It’s a super-light, 1-litre econobox built as a 3-way project by Toyota, Citroën and Peugeot. Crucially, it appears that Toyota did most of the real engineering, and the other guys just made some lights and bumpers. It’s cheap, cheerful and fun. All the reliability of the Toyota Aygo, but the C1 has a badge more suitable for joining a 2CV race full of French-car-fanciers. The “movement” started this summer when the British 2CV club allowed Meyrick Cox (a prolific 2CV racer, who owns some of the fastest 2CVs ever built) to bring two C1s to the 24-hour of Anglesey.

One month later, last weekend at Spa Francorchamps, there were SIX on the grid…

How do you build a 24-hour C1 endurance racer?

The concept is simple, some of the draft BARC Citroën C1 regs are here if you want to read them in full. Everything is standard, except:

  • Normal racecar safety equipment (cage, seat, harnesses, cut-offs, extinguisher, etc…)
  • Club-supplied front control arms and longer driveshafts for -3º camber and some more caster on the front axle.
  • Club-approved GAZ suspension kit
  • Control tyres (Nankang AS-1 in 155-55-14 or 155-65-14)
  • Brake pads are free (but OEM really work fine)
  • Strut braces are also free (we ran without)
  • Two 40w LED lamps from Masai Omega.
  • Spacing of the rear axle to get more negative camber
  • A very noisy and rattly fuel-tank guard that protects the stock plastic tank.

You can buy all the parts easily enough, although followers of the BTG Facebook page will notice there was a shortage of those Nankangs in the weeks approaching Spa!

Total cost for all the club and safety parts is a little more than €3000. Yes, that’s more than the cost of a good C1, but it’s worth it.

Just remember, if your car is faster, if the club suspects foul play, you’ll be given a stock motor from the van and asked to change it. #TrueStory #NoCheating!

This was a team effort. We bought the car four-ways, and we built it at Racers-Retreat Nürburg and it took about a week of hard graft, and 12-to-18 hour days from 2-4 people. Ali from RR took the lead. Kjetil helped, but his role was now more of a driver…!


Black Fish did the sticker work, resurrecting memories of the C2 R2 factory rally car, but with more RR and BTG branding. They even got the car sprayed in Nanolex ceramic coating. Finally, Inne and Michael even volunteered to join us at Spa and offer their tents and gas-ring cooking skills!


The plates that mount the bolt-in rollcage were welded in by SME. We bought over €2000 of regular OEM/Pattern spare parts from ProfiParts too. Because we’re paranoid, and our donor car had 130,000kms on the clock! Our friends and family helped us pick up parts from all over Europe so that we could hit the deadline of Thursday night.

That’s because practice at for the big race started at 0900 on Friday…


(answering the question, “is it fun?”)

Spa 24hr 2cv
Photo by Dennis Noten & Ellen Janssens

Citroën’s quirky little 2CV is an ‘anti-establishment’ classic car. It’s so laughably terrible, it’s actually awesome. And the Spa 24-hour isn’t just a chance for 60-plus 2CVs from all over Europe to race, it’s a chance for all the deux-chevaux fans to converge, drive a lap themselves, and sell 3-bolt wheels to each other…

Into this mix, we arrived with our little three cylinder, 4-bolt-wheel, interloper…


Because we arrived a little bit late (something to do with finishing the car at 1am on Friday morning) we only had 3 testing sessions available to us. Though truthfully, we hadn’t actually finished yet…


Yes, that’s us aligning the car one more time after speaking to the other teams. All SIX other C1s were sharing one garage, and the sense of teamwork was amazing. Although we all wanted to win our class, we also wanted to get our C1s as far up the 73 car grid as possible.


Match Racing from Holland were obviously going to be the guys to beat. Fielding two of their own cars, plus Meyrick’s own personal beast (pictured on the right above) they had experience of testing and racing the C1 already. Decent guys, they always helped the rest of us. At times it felt like I was getting in the way, I had so many questions, but they always smiled and helped.


Our first laps of practice were simply incredible. For the first minute I wondered if the car was actually broken. The steering was so loose, the back just utterly lethal. The rear steps out of line constantly unless you’re full gas and steering nicely. The Gaz suspension didn’t work any miracles, but that’s not surprising. And it wasn’t too bad, because all had a handle on it within a couple of laps.


The car was slow, but not boring. Not at all. We’d opted for the ‘safe’ standard rear axle alignment, with a little bit of toe-in. Up front we had a little toe-out to promote quicker turn in. Meyrick’s car was running with toe-out both front and back. The biggest surprise was the tyres…


We’d noticed with apprehension that most teams had ‘shaved’ their Nankang AS1s. The reduced height of the tread blocks was going to give more grip and better feel, and halfway down the blocks a lot of the ‘cosmetic’ cuts disappear, meaning you’ve got more rubber on the ground.


You can see below, the 2nd tread bar from the top is solid when they’re shaved.


But as the day wore on, it got wetter and wetter. Until the evening qualifying session was full wet. All thoughts of ‘shaved rubber’ faded away…


Like most teams our ABS refused to work, which made braking interesting. And braking in the wet very interesting indeed.


The night before the race, we all double-checked our lights, and made sure the cars were in tip-top condition.We were lucky, we didn’t have that much to do. Thanks to the RR prep work, and SME’s welding, our car had totally aced the Belgian scrutineering.


Match racing found themselves doing an engine swap after their drivers didn’t understand that a battery light = no charging = no auxiliary belt = no water pump. Ouch.

But that’s NOTHING compared to the living nightmare that enveloped the stripy Mission Motorsport machine….


Mission Motorsport’s self-built car had failed scrutineering. The cage wasn’t up to standard, and had to be stripped out and re-welded because the sandwich plates for the rear of cage had been fitted the same side as the cage. As if that wasn’t bad enough, their fire extinguisher then went off, which left the guys looking for a new bottle at 1am…. we couldn’t really help, so we went to bed at La Source (and I don’t mean the hotel),


We didn’t employ any great strategy in picking our starting driver, just random chance.

So it was Kai who was to make the start, and with the weather still crappy, we gave him and Kjetil (stint 2) the lion’s share of the wet qualifying. I was gutted to be missing the experience of driving our 3-cylinder go-kart in the wet, but the boys needed it more than me.

Ali was VERY happy to send the C1 out into the qualifying session

Qualification ended without incident (for us) and we were thrilled to finally line-up on the start line. Only 10 days earlier this little Citroën had been a single-owner-from-new commuter box. Now it was about to become a racing car, at one of the world’s greatest F1 tracks.

After the world’s most confusing driver’s briefing the night before (held in Dutch, French and something that might have been English) we felt like we knew what was happening. First the 2CV owners were having their demo laps…

And then we were going to be making a formation lap, followed by a standing start. This seemed a very odd idea to us: the cars at the front would be launching at the heights of Kemel from a standing start. The cars at the back would be hitting it at full speed.

Photo by Dennis Noten & Ellen Janssens

Obviously somebody else thought about this too. Because the race started from a rolling start. So much for briefings!

Photo by Dennis Noten & Ellen Janssens

Kai only had one mission; no laptimes, no heroics, just get us through the first couple of hours in one piece. That’s just what he did, starting lap 1 on P44 of 73 and bringing us to pit lane in P31!


Amazingly, Kai had managed a staggering 38 laps of the Spa circuit before our nerve broke and we pitted him anyway. At which point our little car swallowed exactly 34.5 litres of fuel.

Michael at the front, and two drivers at the back. Drivers were pitcrew in our team!

What was interesting was that our C1 has a 35-litre tank as standard. And after nearly 2.5 hours of running, we still had two bars on the fuel indicator! Every stop we were checking oil levels too, our 135,000km engine was drinking a little bit everytime. But as Kjetil remarked, our expensive 300V Motul 15/50w oil was so unworried by the temperatures of the little Toyota motor that it was like clear honey on the dip stick. Impossible to see. This would come back to haunt us later…


Next in the car was Kjetil, finally the other side of the pitwall, though rules prevented us from using radios. We wished him luck and sent him out for 2.5 hours behind the wheel.


I took the twilight shift, well into the dark. Despite Kjetil’s handy laptimes, we’d slipped down a little to P36. And don’t forget, we’re on the same 4 tyres that we started Friday’s practice session on. As we drove them more and more, they only got faster! I was happy to play with gear choices and find the smoothest way to to the fastest lap and picking our way down to P32 at the same time. Then Johan jumped in after me, driving deep into the evening…

…and deep into the side of an errant classic 2CV that closed the door over Eau Rouge!

OOPS! Both cars escaped with only light damage, but we got docked a lap automatically. 2CV club rules are that if a faster car hits a slower car, it’s the faster car’s fault. That’s a rule I like. So fair enough.

After Johan was out, it was Ali into the seat and he’d be upset if I didn’t mention that he broke us into the 3m43s bracket.

Though to be honest, his stint wasn’t entirely without incident either… when a red ‘oil pressure light’ illuminated! At first he thought it might be the red brake fluid light (which had been flickering for a few hours despite the resevoir being 75% full).

When he realised it was the oil pressure light, he brought the car gently home and we put 2.5 litres of our precious 300V in the motor.

We looked at each other, we accepted that the motor was probably dead. But we didn’t have a spare. Oh well…

After that, it was the dead of the night, and somehow we were 12 hours through the race. How much longer could we last?

We swapped the tyres from back to front, and then put 2 new tyres on the back. Kai jumped in next, then Kjetil.

We went from P32 to P23 at best. Back in the pits, we helped the other Mission Motorsport car after it crashed the second time. We finally got to use our big red roll of Gaffa tape!


Before long, I was in the car again. The boys did a very quick pad change, with no special asbestos gloves. And it was still dark…

I was tired, I hadn’t slept. I kept my self awake by filming a little explanation of what we were doing. The hardest hours were just before dawn though. My concentration was lacking, when all of a sudden, I saw the P3 car ahead. Yes, a chance to unlap us and a target to chase… 45 minutes later (!) I was close enough to turn on the camera again!

But I couldn’t stay ahead at first, which gave me the chance to really try and better my performance…

This three-way C1-class Battle Royale was the result! As you can see, the car isn’t easy to corner fast. There’s fast, and there’s fast. Sending it to the apex with the minimum of fuss and squeal was hard.

At the next pitstop we were out of 300V, and we managed to scrounge some supermarket-grade 10-40w oil instead, happy and amazed. that the little 3-pot was still buzzing away. Johan then got in, went fast, and didn’t hit a single 2CV. And it seemed odd, but somehow it was nearly lunchtime and we were stuffing Ali into the car for the final stint!


We were biting our nails, and poor Alister had the weight of 22.5 hours of racing on his shoulders as he went out into the pack. We were way too far behind to scoop 3rd place in class, five laps ahead of us.


But we needn’t have worried. While at the front Meyrick’s “Team Rent Boys” car held off a last minute surge from the first Match Racing car, our P4 was in the bag. And we finally moved into p23 overall.

The numbers

  • P33 out of 73 total
  • P4 out of 6 in class
  • 333 laps completed
  • 3m39.6 best lap (class best was 3m37.1!)
  • 6 tyres driven all race.
  • 2 tyres worn out ‘dead’
  • 2 lightly conditioned tyres, ready for another start and 6-8 hours.
  • One pad change (using OEM €26 Textar brand pads) and actually, we could have got away with no pad change in hindsight!
  • Approximately 320 litres of fuel burnt
  • 10 litres of oil burnt


This was, without a doubt, some of the best and most fun grassroots racing we’ve ever done. We’ve already been invited to a 1000km race in Anglesey, and we’re planning the next season. If you want to build your own C1 racer and join us, start looking for your donor car now!

The club, which we’re still forming right now, is ordering more cages and more suspension kits, so we’ll be ready to help convert your car. Get your race license ordered and prepare for some epic events in 2017!


Markus and Ali at Racers Retreat for finding time and space to build our car and build our pits • Inne and Michael at StickerDump/Black Fish Graphics for designing and applying our vinyls AND THEN cancelling a show attendance instead to cook us bacon and egg sandwiches and become our pitcrew! • Nanolex for their amazing ceramic coating, which was like putting a Tiffany’s necklace on a pig • Tom Westendorp for delivering our second batch of tyres • My friends who helped us with this bad idea • Meyrick for sorting our paperwork and ‘enabling’ our bad behaviour