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Did the brand new nationwide collection of 2023 fly or flop?

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The tough financial situations of 2023 meant it was not essentially the perfect time to launch a brand new membership racing collection within the UK. Nonetheless, a raft of various organisers launched contemporary classes final season – a few of which have been extra acquainted than others.

Ranking how every of these new collection carried out is much from easy as there are such a lot of elements to think about. Pure entry numbers are one metric to evaluate them by however issues are way more nuanced than that – as a brand new contest for Ferraris naturally has a much smaller pool of rivals to attract upon than one for Mazda MX-5s.

However right here Autosport has tried to fee every of 2023’s 10 new divisions out of 5, taking into consideration these elements and in addition the pre-season expectations of how every was prone to carry out, in addition to any adjustments organisers are making for his or her sophomore campaigns. 

Legends Elite Cup – 4 stars

Photograph by: JEP/Motorsport Images

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Mini-series at BTCC supporting occasions for Legends have been effectively obtained

The Legends proved a preferred addition to the British Touring Automobile invoice at three occasions final yr with packed grids and loads of dramatic racing. And the concept of working a mini-championship throughout the trio of appearances labored effectively.

Tweaks are being made for this yr, when the Legends are again thrice extra, because the factors from these occasions will now rely for the general championship. That is supposed to make sure drivers contest the total season and never simply the headline-grabbing BTCC outings.

Ginetta GT Championship – 2.5 stars

Just 16 cars were averaged across the season in the new Ginetta series

Photograph by: JEP/Motorsport Images

Simply 16 automobiles have been averaged throughout the season within the new Ginetta collection

Ginetta has a reasonably good observe report in the case of introducing new championships, however the Ginetta GT class was not precisely an enormous hit. That includes courses for a middle-of-the-range spec G56 and the {old} GT5 G40s, simply 16 automobiles have been averaged throughout the season and, at instances, it barely mustered double figures.

Boosting its fortunes is unlikely to be the work of a second and it could take a number of years of improvement for the numbers to choose up. Ginetta has put loads of potential drivers behind the wheel of the GT Professional G56, however what number of really signal as much as the collection stays to be seen.

Audi TT Cup Racing – 3 stars

Grids for newly-launched Auti TT Cup were very respectable for a newly launched class, but not as stunning as anticipated

Photograph by: Richard Types

Grids for newly-launched Auti TT Cup have been very respectable for a newly launched class, however not as beautiful as anticipated

There was a time, previous to the beginning of final season, the place the potential grids for the British Racing & Sports activities Automobile Membership’s new Audi TT Cup Racing class seemed like they may very well be large. Elements kits to construct automobiles for the collection have been bought at a fast fee and scores of machines have been being ready.

It was subsequently considerably disappointing that ‘simply’ 16 made it onto the grid for the opening spherical and it peaked at 22 later within the yr. Now, let’s be clear, these are very respectable numbers for a newly launched class, simply not fairly as beautiful as anticipated.

However there are many encouraging indicators for this season, particularly with over 40 drivers registering and 34 signing up for the primary spherical inside a number of days of entries opening. Established squads like Rob Boston Racing are set to affix the fray, whereas its place as a everlasting help class to TCR UK will assist enhance its profile because it additionally achieves championship standing.

The affordability and tempo of those sportscars are key promoting factors and the BRSCC believes the Audis might at some point develop into as standard because the Mazda MX-5s for which it presently runs three separate championships. Based mostly on the early 2024 curiosity, that purpose is probably not as bold because it first sounds.

Bell Sport Problem Sequence – 2.5 stars

MSVR believes it was a very solid start to the new series for modern Ferrari machines

Photograph by: Gary Hawkins

MSVR believes it was a really stable begin to the brand new collection for contemporary Ferrari machines

Any collection that’s devoted to trendy Ferraris is all the time going to have a really restricted pool of rivals to attract upon. And it was maybe subsequently no shock that MotorSport Imaginative and prescient Racing’s new class attracted a mean grid that solely simply crept into double figures.

However Bell Sport & Basic is a Ferrari specialist and, if anybody can tempt homeowners of the machines from Maranello onto the observe, it could be its consultants. New to the realm of collection promotion, undoubtedly expertise gathered from 2023’s inaugural season will assist refine the providing transferring ahead. MSVR believes it was a really stable begin and has been working to make sure the numbers will probably be stronger this time round.

Evolution Trophy – 2.5 stars

Despite a decent average of 19 cars overall, none of the Evolution Trophy's individual categories looked close to going solo

Photograph by: Richard Types

Regardless of a good common of 19 automobiles general, not one of the Evolution Trophy’s particular person classes seemed near going solo

The British Racing & Sports activities Automobile Membership’s choice to launch a collection to accommodate a set of latest ideas that aren’t but prepared to face on their very own two ft with bespoke races made quite a lot of sense. As might be seen throughout this characteristic, having fun with on the spot success with a contemporary providing is uncommon and subsequently having someplace the place they’ll race, show their value and construct curiosity with out the expense of working standalone grids is logical.

In 2023, the Evolution Trophy was presupposed to characteristic equipment from the Basic VW Cup, Mazda MX-5 Mk4 Trophy, BMW 1 Sequence Supercup and Cooksport Renault Cup, nonetheless just one BMW appeared at one occasion all yr. Whereas the collection averaged a good 19 automobiles general, none of those particular person classes actually seemed near breaking out and going solo.

That’s now the important thing difficulty transferring ahead. If, by the tip of this yr, there’s nonetheless no standout constantly attracting low-to-mid-teens, then the aim of the collection is considerably diminished. To show its value, there have to be development for no less than among the courses, in any other case the Evolution Trophy might effectively have to evolve itself.

Miata Trophy – 3.5 stars

A total of 57 different racers competed in the Miata Trophy's inaugural season

Photograph by: Gary Hawkins

A complete of 57 completely different racers competed within the Miata Trophy’s inaugural season

On the floor, MotorSport Imaginative and prescient Trackdays’ choice to launch a brand new Mazda MX-5 class appeared like a crafty ploy to steal rivals from rival golf equipment. However MSVT insists the collection originated from its Trackday Championship and Trackday Trophy collection, which have been usually oversubscribed and contained 22 MX-5s among the many registered drivers. It subsequently determined to create its personal collection for the sportscars to liberate house on its different grids.

Though the general common was an encouraging 22 – one of many highest amongst this characteristic – the actual fact 57 completely different racers competed throughout the course of the season demonstrates that loads needed to offer it a go. Now the important thing query is what number of of those who sampled the Miata Trophy in 2023 will probably be again this yr – and, extra importantly, will they decide to coming into extra rounds?

116 Dash Trophy & 120 Coupe Cup – 3 stars

750MC's combined 116 Sprint Trophy & 120 Coupe Cup grid achieved the highest average grids of the new series with 31 cars

Photograph by: Steve Jones

750MC’s mixed 116 Dash Trophy & 120 Coupe Cup grid achieved the very best common grids of the brand new collection with 31 automobiles

Out of the entire additions to the membership racing market in 2023, it was the 750 Motor Membership’s mixed 116 Dash Trophy & 120 Coupe Cup grid that achieved the very best common with 31 automobiles. And that was attainable to foretell beforehand, given the rising recognition of the BMW 116s. The sister enduro collection topped the 750MC’s common grids tables and lots needed to race the machines over shorter dash contests, too. Unsurprisingly, this has been granted championship standing for 2024.

However issues weren’t fairly such plain crusing for the opposite BMWs among the many 120 Coupe Cup ranks. Not more than 5 appeared at anybody occasion as plenty of teething troubles made for a tough inaugural marketing campaign, and that reduces the star score. In the meantime, a rising variety of the brand new MK Cup 200 automobiles featured as a part of the Sports activities 1000 area, serving to to bolster grid sizes.

Mini Problem Clubsport – 3.5 stars

Mini Challenge Clubsport was a popular reintroduction in 2023

Photograph by: Steve Jones

Mini Problem Clubsport was a preferred reintroduction in 2023

Whereas Mini Problem Clubsport is a brand new championship, there’s a very acquainted really feel to it as a result of a class alongside comparable traces used to exist a number of years again. And it was definitely among the many hottest (re)introductions of 2023.

The mixture of extra club-level Cooper drivers – now the Cooper-based Mini Problem Trophy options three British Touring Automobile occasions and has stepped up a notch – together with Cooper S automobiles and pilots of Minis that don’t slot in different classes, proved successful, averaging 22 automobiles. And there’s no cause why that ought to not proceed to be the case, particularly with minor tweaks to enhance intercoolers and a bespoke new rear wing for the Cooper Ss.

Britcar Prototype Cup – 0.5 stars

Slim entry at Silverstone precluded the Prototype Cup's subsequent cancellation

Photograph by: Steve Jones

Slim entry at Silverstone precluded the Prototype Cup’s subsequent cancellation

Britcar had tried – unsuccessfully – to function a prototype collection practically a decade in the past and determined to have one other crack for 2023. It was aimed on the Pragas that had beforehand raced on their very own grid, alongside different invited prototypes similar to LMP3s. However, sadly, the brand new collection lasted a good shorter time than the earlier try.

Six automobiles turned up for the Silverstone opener (5 Pragas and a Radical), with former Marussia Method 1 tester Rodolfo Gonzalez among the many slim entry. But that proved to be so far as the collection bought. The next Manufacturers Hatch occasion was referred to as off with the intention to construct curiosity later within the yr, however this by no means materialised and left a sizeable gap within the British Vehicle Racing Membership’s schedules.

Prototype racing has been a tough type of motorsport to crack within the UK – the LMP3 Cup didn’t final lengthy, whereas the Open Sportscar Sequence is among the many different classes to vanish in latest instances. And this Britcar providing is additional proof of how Europe seemingly stays king for these machines.

Racing Hondas – 2 stars

Massive sponsorship injection from Tegiwa Imports is set to provide a boost this year

Huge sponsorship injection from Tegiwa Imports is ready to supply a lift this yr

Membership Time Assault’s new initiative, partly filling a void left by TCR UK and Civic Cup returning to the British Racing & Sports activities Automobile Membership, allowed any Honda to compete by means of a category construction primarily based on power-to-weight ratios. In apply, that meant Civics, principally EP3 fashions, with a few FN2s and EKs additionally in motion. Starting with fields of a dozen automobiles was an affordable if underwhelming begin, whereas the races tended to be dominated by one or two automobiles.

Nevertheless, attracting former British Touring Automobile racers James Kaye and Mark Lemmer to a few rounds was a fillip, and an enormous sponsorship injection from Tegiwa Imports is ready to supply a serious enhance for 2024.

A sold-out 34-car area, tempted by totally funded entry charges, has been introduced, whereas a tweak to the category construction will permit much more highly effective automobiles – as much as 240bhp/tonne – into Class A. Public grid walks, autograph classes and the introduction of a Paddock Membership this yr are additional improvements set to reinforce this season’s calendar of eight double-headers primarily at Tunerfest and Modified Reside occasions.

What’s new for 2024?

After final yr’s inflow of latest classes, only a small variety of further collection are because of be launched this season. And of the tiny variety of utterly new classes being launched in 2024, probably the most intriguing must be Clio Cup GB.

Clio Cup GB

It has been 5 years now since a championship for the present model of the favored hatchback has been a part of the UK’s racing scene and, in that point, there have been a few unsuccessful makes an attempt to create a Clio Cup for the fifth-generation machines. This newest one comes from MotorSport Imaginative and prescient Trackdays, which intend to make use of it as a class its entry-level racers can aspire to. Curiosity has been modest thus far, however the status of the Clio for producing high quality racing and being a well-regarded proving floor might assist to attract extra drivers in.

Clio's reputation for producing quality racing and being a well-regarded proving ground could prove attractive

Photograph by: DPPI/Alpine

Clio’s status for producing high quality racing and being a well-regarded proving floor might show enticing

Touring Automobile Legends

There’s not precisely a scarcity of locations the place homeowners of historic touring automobiles can go to race. However the Historic Sports activities Automobile Membership does really feel there’s nonetheless house for a brand new class devoted to machines of the Nineteen Seventies-Nineties. This covers the favored Group A period, alongside older Group 2 automobiles – and attracting BMW CSLs, Nissan Skylines and Ford Sierra Cosworths is what the organisers take note of.

This collection was created off the again of curiosity from rivals and is ready to characteristic a mixture of race codecs. Throughout every double-header weekend, there is because of be a 20-minute dash and an extended 40-minute mini-enduro. Extra particulars concerning the new class are anticipated to be revealed imminently.

Mix of formats will be offered to drivers of tin-tops from the 1970s-1990s

Photograph by: JEP

Mixture of codecs will probably be supplied to drivers of tin-tops from the Nineteen Seventies-Nineties

Equipe F2 Atlantic

Equipe Basic Racing has grown into a serious race collection promoter in its personal proper in recent times and is now increasing in a brand new course with its first foray into historic single-seaters. It believes there’s a hole available in the market for a class devoted to Nineteen Seventies Method 2 and Method Atlantic equipment with extra of a UK-focused calendar and has already attracted an encouraging variety of registrations.

Having somebody of the expertise of Martin Stretton on board together with his March is a superb vote of confidence within the new collection, and Equipe might doubtlessly be onto a winner right here, whereas it is usually diversifying in different methods by welcoming the extra trendy MGs of the MG Cup to its ranks.

Experience of Stretton is a great vote of confidence in the new Equipe F2 series

Photograph by: JEP

Expertise of Stretton is a superb vote of confidence within the new Equipe F2 collection

Heroes of FF1600 Dash Cup

Whereas one Method Ford 1600 collection was culled with the British Racing & Sports activities Automobile Membership deciding to axe its Nationwide contest, one other is born within the type of the Heroes of FF1600 Dash Cup. The three-round collection is aimed toward pre-1993 equipment, however pre-1999 unique Kent engined-cars will even be allowed on an invitational foundation.

Administered by the British Vehicle Racing Membership, the collection kicks off on the Thruxton Historic in June – a possible conflict with the BRSCC Tremendous Basic spherical at Donington Park, which attracts on a lot the identical pool of automobiles. Additional rounds happen at Oulton Park and Croft, with all occasions that includes two 15-minute races on a single day. Organisers consider a package deal of sponsorship, prizes and different initiatives will serve the brand new collection effectively.

As National FF1600 exits the scene, three-round Heroes of FF1600 Sprint Cup fills the void

Photograph by: JEP

As Nationwide FF1600 exits the scene, three-round Heroes of FF1600 Dash Cup fills the void

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