The new national racing championships to watch out for in 2023
Despite the current financial climate, there’s a multitude of new categories being launched in national racing this year. Here's what to expect from the newcomers onto the scene.
A lack of success enjoyed by most of the new series launched in the UK last year certainly does not seem to have put off organisers from developing fresh ideas for 2023, as a plethora of creations are set to grace the circuits this season.
INSIGHT: Did the new national series of 2022 fly or flop?
Some of the new offerings seem distinctly familiar, while others are radically different - including a club racing first.
But the signs are already very positive, for some at least, meaning there could well be some high ratings when Autosport reviews their performance in 12 months' time.
Britcar Prototype Cup
LMP3 machines will race alongside Pragas in the Britcar Prototype Cup
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey Photography
If you’re getting a sense of deja vu here, there’s good reason. After all, this is not the first time Britcar has launched a series for prototypes. But organisers are confident that this one will prove better than the shortlived initiative of 2016.
And there are several reasons why this Prototype Cup stands a better chance. First, it has the Praga R1s at its core following the Czech company’s decision to step back from running a standalone series. Many of last year’s teams have committed to continuing, and therefore up to a dozen cars could already be accounted for.
Alongside the Pragas, there will be a class for LMP3 machines and two divisions for prototypes that fall within specific bands of the Britcar Endurance Performance Indicator (that considers various factors of a car’s performance, not just engine size). With lessons learned from the previous incarnation, it seems that this series has more of the ingredients needed to succeed.
Mini Challenge Clubsport
This is another series that might seem familiar. Prior to shaking up its offering when it joined the British Touring Car support bill, the Mini Challenge had a third dedicated series for Cooper S machinery and ‘Am’ drivers in the standard Cooper cars. But, amid declining numbers, this was dropped.
Now, former racers Tom Halliwell and Robin Austin felt it was time for a revival and a new Clubsport series has been created. As well as catering for the Cooper Ss, it’s designed to be a lower-cost alternative for Cooper drivers.
Ahead of its official launch, 40 competitors had already expressed interest, suggesting there is a gap in the market for more modern Minis to be raced at a truly club level.
Audi TT Cup Racing
Affordability of new TT Cup series is set to make it a popular addition to the national racing landscape
Photo by: James Roberts
This could well be the highlight of all the new categories launched for 2023. The British Racing & Sports Car Club and series creator SW Motorsports seem to have struck a chord with the Audi TT Cup Racing concept.
Using 2.0 TFSI Audi TT models, complete race cars could be built for less than £12,000. That price point is proving popular, with over 40 in varying stages of build. Even if only half of those are able to commit to a full season, it would still be an incredible start for this series – and it could be far better than that.
Despite several series already in existence for Mazda MX-5 machinery, MotorSport Vision Trackdays will launch the Miata Trophy this season for Mk1 and Mk3 models.
One class for NA Mk1 chassis and another for the NC Mk3 and 3.5 machines will form the basis of the championship, with a prize drive in the 2024 EnduroKa series going to each champion. The ‘Super Pole’ qualifying format will be used, and two sprint races will be held at six rounds.
Electric single-seaters will enter club racing this year courtesy of the ambitious Formula Foundation-E series from the BRSCC
Photo by: Gary Hawkins
Perhaps the most ambitious new series of 2023, Formula Foundation-E is an all-electric category that organiser the British Racing & Sports Car Club intends to launch this year. The concept is billed as the world’s first club-level single-seater EV racing opportunity, open to teams and privateers.
The FF-E1 machine features a steel chassis created by RSR Technology, also includes a halo, and is built to the latest FIA safety regulations. It weighs just 550kg and, with a power output of around 160bhp from a 120kW power unit, a time of 0-60mph in under three seconds is expected.
The car made its first public appearance at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch last October, with the BRSCC intending to run demonstration races this year ahead of a full season in 2024. The current battery allows for a minimum of 20-minute sessions on a single charge.
Ginetta GT Championship
Ginetta Junior’s move from the British Touring Car package to the British GT bill and the GT4 Supercup’s axing were the main headlines from the Yorkshire manufacturer’s complete overhaul of its motorsport offering for 2023, but there was also news of an additional contest.
The new Ginetta GT Championship has not been given much promotion but is set to feature two classes: GT Pro will be for a G56 with a specification that will sit between the entry-level GT Academy car and the full-blown GT4; while the series will also be the new home of the older GT5 G40s.
A new Cooksport Renault Cup will form part of the Evolution Trophy
Photo by: Jakob Ebrey Photography/Motorsport Images
The Evolution Trophy is an intriguing concept from the British Racing & Sports Car Club. All too often, new series are launched and given a standalone grid in their first year when there is not the interest to justify it. And that’s where the Evolution Trophy fits in.
Instead of the club’s newest offerings being forced to take that leap of faith, they can spend a year or two as part of the Evolution Trophy to prove the concept works before committing to more track time (the incredible Audi TT Cup Racing popularity means it has skipped this stage).
For its inaugural season, the Evolution Trophy is set to be headed by the previously nomadic Classic VW Cup and a new Cooksport Renault Cup, both of which have had encouraging early signs. They will be combined with the BMW 1 Series Supercup, which never got off the ground last year, and the Mazda MX-5 Mk4 Trophy. The indications are that this is going to be one packed grid and it may not be long before some divisions are able to evolve and go solo.
Racing Hondas Championship
Honda is another Japanese marque that will have a greater representation in national motorsport this season, with the Racing Hondas Championship created by Club Time Attack.
Open to all cars manufactured by Honda and powered by a Honda VTEC engine, vehicles will be split into four classes depending on power output. Six rounds are due to take place, all in support of Time Attack.
Legends Elite Cup
Legends Cars will hold a separate championship for its outings on the BTCC support bill this year
Photo by: Gary Hawkins
With Ginetta taking the decision not to renew its partnership with the British Touring Car Championship, the door has opened for new series to join the TOCA support package. One of those is Legends Cars, which will hold an entirely separate championship solely for its three outings alongside the BTCC – at Brands Hatch, Croft and Knockhill.
Unsurprisingly, demand from competitors is already high, with several drivers expected to return for the TOCA outings. A non-BTCC championship will also be held this year consisting of five events for Legends competitors.
Bell Sport Challenge
The latest addition to the cluster of UK Ferrari contests is the Bell Sport Challenge, the creation of Ferrari restoration and servicing specialist Bell Sport & Classic. It will be administered by MotorSport Vision Racing and open to a variety of paddleshift Ferrari Challenge cars, stretching from the 360 Challenge up to the current 488.
Good customer service is set to be at the heart of this series with a hospitality centre due to feature at each event, while qualifying and two races will all take place in a single day. Getting the chance to race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in July is set to be a highlight.
116 Sprint and 120 Coupe Cup
120 BMWs will be a step up in power from the existing 116 models that compete in the popular Trophy series, with both used in the new Sprint division
Photo by: Richard Styles
The 116 Trophy has enjoyed strong entries since it moved to standalone grids ahead of 2020, the 90-minute endurance races and BMW 1 Series model proving popular.
INSIGHT: Club racing with an ex-Formula 1 driver
The same technical team is now behind the 120 Coupe Cup, which will use the first-generation 120i Coupe model from the German manufacturer. With an output of 190bhp, it’s a step up from the 116, but both will be used in the new sprint series from the 750 Motor Club.
Four rounds will be held in 2023 with two sprint races at each. The races will be run at the same events as the existing 116 Trophy, allowing competitors with that model to take part in both series if they wish.
MK Cup 200
A performance step above the Locost and Ma7da championships that are already a mainstay of the 750 Motor Club, the MK Cup 200 is the newest series for kit car models.
The Seven-esque chassis from MK Sports Cars features a Hayabusa bike engine from specialist RLM Racing, and already took to the track last season. There were three experimental outings in the Sports 1000 Championship at Pembrey, Donington Park and Brands Hatch to test the concept. A fully formed series will now continue alongside Sports 1000 in 2023, with 10 cars already built ahead of the opening round at Croft and more expected throughout the season.
Kit cars that are a performance step above the Locost and Ma7da championships are targeted for the new MK Cup 200
Photo by: Steve Jones
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