Want to have some fun on the weekends? Want to meet great people? Want to race? Well grassroots motorsport may be for you. Here in the UK amateur motorsport is thriving. In the United States it’s where motorsport careers begin for some of the biggest names in NASCAR, IndyCar and Motocross.
Grassroots motorsport is a great way for anyone with an interest in the industry to get started. Or it can simply be a way for motorsport enthusiasts to have some fun without breaking the bank. Over the coming weeks we’ll be looking at some of the best and cheapest grassroots motorsport clubs starting with the 2CV Racing Club.
The 2CV Racing Club
The 2CV Racing Club is one of the most popular grassroots racing series here in the UK. It’s been going for over 30 years with some of the participants having been involved from the very beginning. The club is well known for its family atmosphere, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to get started.
The team names alone give you an idea of the fun aspect of this grassroots motorsport series. Two Lions and a Cheater, Team Pork Pie, and Mental Muffins (among others) compete from April to August at some brilliant UK racetracks. This season kicked off at Cadwell followed by Pembrey, Silverstone and Croft and culminated in the legendary 24-hour endurance race at Snetterton. This is a truly international event with teams crossing the channel to compete.
One of the best things about the 2CV Racing Club is that it’s the car and the team who earn points so cars can be shared. So if you’ve got a friend or family member who fancies getting involved you can share the fun, and the work!
How to Get Started in Grassroots Motorsport: The ARDS Test
First of all, if you’re going to be driving, you’ll need your racing licence. The ARDS test is a two-part written assessment to check your understanding of the Motorsport UK Competitors’ and Officials’ Yearbook (Blue Book) on Car Racing. Then there’s the driving test where you’ll be assessed by an instructor on a 20 minute circuit test to prove that you can handle a car in a safe and controlled manner under race track conditions.
You’ll need to have completed your ARDS Test to race in any of the UK’s grassroots motorsport series and there are tons of training courses out there for novice drivers. You’ll find a list of all the ARDS Schools over on their website.
You’ll also need a medical check. These can be done by a private doctor or your local GP. They aren’t anything too in-depth and similar to what you would have carried out for life insurance.
Once you have passed your test with an accredited instructor and had your medical you can then apply to Motorsport UK for your Race Club licence.
To race with the 2CV Racing Club you’ll also need to take out a membership to the club. This goes towards the yearly running costs and is kept as low as possible to keep the sport inclusive. A full year’s membership was £70 for the 2022 season or £60 per event so if you wanted to just try out their 24 hour race you’d only save £15 so it pays to commit.
You’ll also need a BARC (British Automobile Racing Club) membership. BARC organise in excess of 35 race series each year including the BTCC, F4, the British Hillclimb Championship, Britcar Trophy and MINI Challenge. BARC membership is £145 a year. This allows you to enter any of the BARC organised race meetings and championships. Don’t get ahead of yourself though – you won’t be racing in the BTCC yet!
Personal Safety Equipment
At the very minimum you will need your own helmet and overalls. They must meet specifications but then you’ll already know this from reading ‘the Blue Book’ during your ARDS training.
It’s also highly recommended that you buy the following bits of personal safety equipment before you start racing:
- Gloves – make sure these are a close fit but not too tight. Nothing like your circulation cutting off during an endurance race!
- Boots – You’ll need to be able to feel the pedals and get some grip so it can be well worth spending the extra money on something the pros would use as you can be sure they will know their stuff.
- Fireproof pants – yes, we do mean fireproof underwear! Worn as a base layer, fire retardant underwear isn’t just there to protect you from fire. It also acts as insulation or as a cooling layer.
- Balaclava- you’ve just spent a lot of money on a new helmet, so you don’t want it getting all sweaty! A balaclava can also protect the vulnerable part of your next between your helmet and suit.
The Best Bit: The Car
This is obviously the best bit of grassroots motorsport – building your own race car. But for those who don’t have the skills or time, in the 2CV Racing Club you can built your own 2CV, borrow one or even hire one. If you’re just testing the water you might wat to approach the club about their rental options. These 2CVs are owned by other members who perhaps can’t take part that weekend or year. Sometimes you can share someone else’s car. There are two options:
The Dry Hire – this is when the car is your responsibility. You transport it, look after it and prep it for racing.
Arrive & Drive – just as it sounds. Someone will set the car up, get it to the track and run all checks, You just turn up and race.
The other option is to buy a car. This is where the costs involved vary massively. Depending on your degree of motorsport engineering experience you can pick up an old 2CV on eBay for as little as £1500. If you don’t want to spend that much time on a project race car and have a bit more money to throw at it, you can get a fully race-prepped 2Cv for around £7000 or spend anywhere in between with some work to be done.
You can find out more about renting or buying your 2CV race car here.
Building a Race Car: The 2CV
The idea of turning an old and probably knackered 2CV into a race car may be a little daunting if you’re just getting started in grassroots motorsport. But don’t panic. The 2CV Racing Club has lots of members who are on hand to help with advice, expertise and even parts. Apart from maybe welding the roll cage, you should be able to do most of the conversion yourself.
The 2CV Racing Club has a great section on their website with all the details of the modifications which can or have to be made, including which parts must remain standard on all cars entered.
Getting Started in Grassroots Motorsport
NMA Deputy Director Wayne is a big fan of the 2CV, so we sent him over to Croft to meet the organisers of the 2CV Racing Club. What Wayne found was a bunch of people who live and breathe the 2CV as well as others who just love tinkering or racing. The family atmosphere is evident and the friendliness and lack of ego amongst the members make it the ideal racing club to join if you’re a newbie to grassroots racing. Watch the full video of Wayne’s day with the 2CV Racing Club below.