The national clubs taking an innovative approach amid uncertainty

OPINION: In these uncertain economic times, thinking outside the box can be a gamble. But several organising clubs are trying something different for next year and it could pay off

The national clubs taking an innovative approach amid uncertainty

At a moment of great economic uncertainty, it is very easy for organisers to keep things simple. Given the continual stream of depressing news about the state of the nation’s finances – right from an individual level up to the government – you would perhaps expect national motorsport clubs to release fairly standard 2023 calendars with no big surprises and maybe put plans to launch new series on hold.

Yet the tough times also present an opportunity and, by trying something different, the gamble could bring handsome rewards by standing out from the crowd. And it is therefore fascinating to assess some of the interesting developments for next year announced by organising clubs in recent weeks.

Some have chosen to stick to the well-trodden route and concentrate on the most popular venues – the likes of Donington Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch – while others have opted for something different. A great example of this is the Classic Sports Car Club. It always tries to keep its schedule fresh each year and, for 2023, is due to return to smaller venues Mallory Park (for the first time in three years) and Croft (its last visit was in 2017), alongside the traditional staples.

“There are a lot of championships that have dropped the smaller circuits – some just do MSV circuits, plus Silverstone,” says CSCC director David Smitheram. “As a club, we think it’s important to mix it up.”

Such an attitude is fantastic – not only does it give members something new to look forward to each year, it also ensures the smaller venues are supported, which is vitally important for their survival. It is an approach that does not always pay off – such as the club suffering some tiny grids when it visited Knockhill for the first time last year – but it is great to see it not just sticking to the norm.

One of the standout features of the CSCC calendar, aside from end-of-season trips to Sebring and Daytona to celebrate its 20th anniversary and interesting plans for its July Anglesey visit, is its February season-opener at Silverstone. Yes, you read that right, February.

As well as adding different venues to its 2023 calendar, the Classic Sports Car Club will kick off in February at Silverstone

As well as adding different venues to its 2023 calendar, the Classic Sports Car Club will kick off in February at Silverstone

Photo by: Mick Walker

For many years, the club racing season has been confined to a traditional mid-March until mid-November period, with virtually no events outside of this. There is no doubting the February date is a risk, given the chance of snow or other bad weather, but is another example of trying something different.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, one of the few positives was the way in which it challenged conventions and forced long-held practices into changing. It did indeed lead to a temporary shift in that traditional March-November calendar with the 750 Motor Club holding one event in mid-December in 2020, between lockdowns.

Despite the unusual time of year, it attracted a very impressive 28 cars on average across the eight grids. Yes, those numbers were slightly down on those achieved during the rest of the year and it was in a period when people were just desperate to race at any time and any place, but it proves that events outside the usual time window can work.

Alongside the calendar creativity, the financial volatility has not put off many organisers from launching new categories for next season. None more so than the British Racing & Sports Car Club that, as well as attracting a plethora of existing series to its portfolio, is also launching several new ones of its own

Another organiser with a revamped calendar is the Scottish Motor Racing Club. Rather than its usual focus on Knockhill, it is expanding upon its away-day events from recent years by offering each of its categories a visit to Anglesey along with either one or two trips to the likes of Kirkistown, Cadwell Park and Croft. Again, this has been done to “provide our drivers with more variety” and give them a mixture of dates at both Knockhill and other venues.

Alongside the calendar creativity, the financial volatility has not put off many organisers from launching new categories for next season. None more so than the British Racing & Sports Car Club that, as well as attracting a plethora of existing series to its portfolio, is also launching several new ones of its own.

The electric single-seater offered in Formula Foundation-E is something unique for the club racing world, although it remains to be seen whether circuit racers are quite ready to adopt the alternative power just yet. Its new Audi TT Cup Racing division has shown some promise, while its Evolution Trophy is an intriguing concept. This will be home to several new initiatives the club is aiming to get off the ground, but they will all share a grid during their initial development phase.

The BRSCC's Formula Foundation-E series will be a bold step into electric racing on a national budget

The BRSCC's Formula Foundation-E series will be a bold step into electric racing on a national budget

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

Given the tough times, that seems a very sensible approach and avoids the risk of the BRSCC overcommitting and buying more track time than it needs for classes not yet justifying a standalone grid. Equally, it could create a few headaches if one of the ideas suddenly really takes off!

But one new series that appears a little unnecessary is the Miata Trophy from MotorSport Vision Trackdays for Mk1 and Mk3 models of the Mazda MX-5. There are already plenty of places for these cars to race and launching another series for them risks diluting the pool and helping no one – exactly what needs to be avoided at a time like this.

We still do not know the true impact on club motorsport from the dark clouds gathering over the UK economy. But, given the uncertainty, it is encouraging to still see organisers thinking outside of the box and not just simply battening down the hatches. After all, evolution can be the greatest survival tactic.

With the BRSCC's MX-5 Supercup series thriving, MSVT's Miata Trophy may dilute the pool

With the BRSCC's MX-5 Supercup series thriving, MSVT's Miata Trophy may dilute the pool

Photo by: Richard Styles

shares
comments
Boston victorious again in Race of Remembrance
Previous article

Boston victorious again in Race of Remembrance

Next article

National novelties: US and Canadian teams head to Anglesey and British GT champion in Mini

National novelties: US and Canadian teams head to Anglesey and British GT champion in Mini
How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force Plus

How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force

Colin Chapman’s marque was the most successful across Goodwood’s 71 contemporary era Members’ Meetings, from 1949 to 1966. Many of the future Formula 1 pacesetter's finest creations will be in action during this weekend's 2022 event, attempting to re-live an era when period Lotus was gaining unstoppable momentum

Historics
Apr 8, 2022
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model Plus

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model

Just over a year ago, Autosport sampled Radical’s newest offering: the SR10. Now upgraded, it’s clear to see why it’s become the manufacturer’s fastest-selling model

Radical
Jan 16, 2022
The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm Plus

The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm

When Thundersports was introduced in 1983, few could have predicted that it would bring an army of heavy metal from the United States to British circuits. The awe-inspiring former Can-Am racers became a new domestic flagship category that captivated spectators and drivers alike

National
Jan 14, 2022
The father and son team taking GT racing by storm Plus

The father and son team taking GT racing by storm

GT Cup title winners Richard and Sam Neary emerged as a race-winning force in British GT in 2021. The father-and-son pairing have done it the hard way with their family team – and 19-year-old Sam is only just getting started on a career he hopes will lead to factory opportunities in the near future

National
Jan 9, 2022
Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport Plus

Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport

The current GB3 Championship car is due to be replaced next season. Autosport got behind the wheel to discover why it's been a popular machine for drivers making their way up the junior single-seater ladder

National
Dec 15, 2021
Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK Plus

Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK

Ahead of Praga running its own standalone series in partnership with Britcar, Autosport got behind the wheel of the Czech company’s R1 at Donington – and was left very impressed

National
Dec 5, 2021
How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory Plus

How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory

After missing out on the 2020 British F4 title in astonishing fashion, Zak O'Sullivan was determined to earn his first car racing title stepping up to the BRDC British F3 championship. While the series underwent a mid-year name change to GB3, the Carlin driver was imperious throughout and deservedly claimed the title in his rookie year

National
Dec 1, 2021