Preview of the 2018 Canadian Nissan Micra Cup

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The petite and buzzing Micra Cup automobiles will quickly be again in motion on the Canadian highway circuits. Who will win this 12 months’s title?

The Micra Cup is a showroom inventory, spec collection that options identically ready 1.6-litre Nissan Micras which are raced on Japanese Canada’s highway programs.

Every Micra competing within the Cup has been ready by the MIA (Motorsports in Motion) crew in St-Eustache. Every little thing contained in the Nissan has been eliminated: seats, flooring, door panels, steering wheel, and so on., to put in the racing options and rework it into the race-ready competitors car.

As a part of a three-year settlement, Mobil 1 Racing and Pirelli are joint collection title sponsors, because the official oil distributer and tire provider, respectively.

The Cup was launched in 2015 with Olivier Bédard, a former karting champion, taking the primary title. Xavier Coupal, who contested just a few races within the NASCAR Pinty’s Sequence, gained the 2016 Cup whereas Bédard retook the crown final 12 months after a tough fought battle towards the identical Coupal.

For this fourth season, a number of opponents have switched groups, and automobiles, and so they all loved a (windy) day of testing on the ICAR Circuit in Mirabel, Québec to get used to their new mounts.

“I’m relishing the actual fact of battling for a 3rd title within the Cup,” Olivier Bédard informed Motorsport.com. “I’m a part of a brand new crew with Stable Xperts, and we’ve a model new automotive which runs very nicely.

“Our new automotive is an enormous enchancment from the one in every of final 12 months. It will likely be an excellent season. I feel. My teammates are Alex and Michael Habrich. I labored with them final 12 months, teaching Michael who was new within the Cup. A number of drivers have modified groups and automobiles, so we’ll see who might be within the main pack on the first race. We may even see just a few surprises, perhaps not, we’ll see.”

Bédard, who additionally raced System 1600 single seaters for just a few years, is aware of that consistency pays off.

“In 2016, we had 16 rounds and every competitor needed to discard his two worst outcomes,” stated Bédard. “This went towards me, as I’m a really constant driver. When the collection returned to counting each level, I discovered it higher. This 12 months, there’s solely six conferences and 12 rounds, so consistency might be essential.”

Kevin King completed third within the Cup final 12 months with two wins and returns to the spec collection this season, however with a special automotive.

“Sadly, I’ve a decrease finances this 12 months. I might say there’s a 75% probability that I run your complete season,” King informed Motorsport.com. “I’m nonetheless seeking to discover extra sponsors. Nissan Sorel-Tracy has determined to go away the collection, so I misplaced their help and sponsorship. Tires are very costly, and that’s why I would like some extra sponsors. I’m renting Marc-Antoine Cardin’s automotive from final 12 months, which is ready by Velocity & Sport.”

Valérie Limoges, who ranked fourth final 12 months with 5 podiums might be seeking to win her first Micra race.

“I feel I’ve all the time had possibilities of successful races, and we’ll see what occurs this 12 months with drivers switching groups,” stated Limoges, a former shifter kart champion. “I’ve an excellent automotive and I’m rather well ready. Final 12 months, I completely ruined one weekend – that was two races out of the window – so I misplaced all possibilities on the title. The Cup is extraordinarily aggressive, and you can not afford to have one dangerous weekend. My new teammate is Kevin King [at Speed & Sport]. We already labored collectively final 12 months, and we’ll proceed to take action.”

Different drivers to look at for this season embody Jake Exton (final 12 months’s Rookie of the Yr), Austin Riley, Frédéric Bernier, Nicolas Touchette, Vincent Doyle, Fadi Mourad, Pierre Clavet and Perry Wener.

Jacques Deshaies, the Promoter of the Cup, informed Motorsport.com that the opening race of the 12 months, to be held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, ought to see a full grid of Micras.

“We must always begin the season with 20 one thing automobiles,” he added. “If my expectations are right, we must always have 28 or 29 automobiles on the grid on the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières in August. That’s a serious assembly with a number of 1000’s of spectators, loads of medias and TV, and with Nissan Canada organizing massive PR and advertising actions throughout that weekend.

“We’ll start the season with a serious occasion in Ontario [the Victoria Day Speedfest]. The racers from this province who compete within the Cup are very loyal and really supportive of the collection. Additionally returning is 2017 Senior Class champion, Normand Boyer and two newcomers in Marc Héroux – two-time Quebec Tremendous Manufacturing Problem champion – and American Mike Ogren, a Design Engineer and Mission Supervisor at Nissan Motor Company who obtained very within the Cup final 12 months. He bought Methodology Topolnik’s automotive and he intends to run your complete season. That might be his first expertise behind the wheel of a race automotive.”

A spec collection just like the Micra Cup must be featured on the Toronto Indy or on the F1 Canadian Grand Prix. Would it not be the case within the close to future?

“We’re nonetheless in discussions with the Toronto Indy. They’re open to see us race there subsequent 12 months,” Deshaies stated. “The Canadian F1 Grand Prix lately got here again to us with regard to that includes the Micra Cup on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit subsequent 12 months.

“Let’s face it, the nation (Canada) is step by step is dropping it’s highway programs. What’s left? Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario and Mont-Tremblant in Québec, principally. I’m devoting power in attempting to stage an occasion within the area of Québec Metropolis. Within the ‘70s, there was once the Grand Prix of Québec for System Atlantic automobiles. Having a race there for the Canadian highway racing collection would please the followers and would get us in contact with new potential opponents.”

2018 Nissan Micra Cup schedule

Date Location Occasion
Might 28-20 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario Victoria Day SpeedFest
June 2-Three Calabogie Motorsport Park, Calabogie, Ontario Kyle Nash Race
July 27-29 Mont-Tremblant circuit, Mont-Tremblant, Québec Summer time Basic
August 10-12 Circuit de Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Québec Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières
August 24-26 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario NASCAR Truck occasion
September 21-23 Mont-Tremblant circuit, Mont-Tremblant, Québec Fall Basic