Canada’s Nissan Micra Cup is the racing series that should be in the States

Nissan Micra Cup

Up in the Great White North, there is an affordable spec racing series that is just crazy enough to make it something that should hop the border to the United States, along with the featured car.

The Nissan Micra Cup series started in Quebec in 2015, where they are equally mad about motorsports and small, cheap hatchbacks. For the 2016 season, the series has expanded to a few races in Ontario.

The drivers range from amateurs to veterans, from young to old, from those trying to make their names in motor racing to those trying to fulfill a lifelong dream. The spec format keeps the competition close – everyone has the same car built by the same company, so only the skill and guts of the drivers separate the leaders from the also-rans.

But just what is a Nissan Micra? Well, it’s Nissan’s smallest car available for sale in Canada. It’s based off of the same platform as the Versa Note hatchback but is noticeably smaller. Dimensionally, it’s about the same size as the Mitsubishi Mirage. Under the hood, however, is the same 109-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine as the Note, which makes it much more entertaining to drive than the 70-plus horsepower three-cylinder Mirage.

2016 Nissan Micra

The Micra is also the cheapest car in Canada, coming in at under $10,000CDN. As stated earlier, Canadians, especially Quebeckers, are nuts for small, simple, uncomplicated cars, and the Micra doesn’t disappoint. The base model Micra has roll-up windows, no air conditioning and manual locks. It’s the type of simple, honest transportation that companies like Nissan built their reputations on back in the 70s and 80s.

For the Micra Cup, the cars are prepared for racing by the Motorsports in Action (MIA) team in St-Eustache, Quebec. The interiors are ripped out to make room for the racing seat, five-point harness and roll cage. The brakes are updated, and a NISMO S suspension installed. Add on a racing exhaust and Fastwheels wheels shod with Pirelli rubber et voila, the little Micra is now a race car.

The Micra Cup will run for eight weekends throughout the summer for a total of 16 races. A typical race day includes a 30 minute trial, a 30 minute qualifying session and two 30-minute races. The series will visit some historic race tracks, including Circuit Trois-Rivières and Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

This Memorial Day weekend, while all eyes are on the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, about 30 drivers and their little Micras will be dueling at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, living the dream instead of just watching it.

Nissan Micra Cup

With all due respect to amateur racing series like the 24 Hours of LeMons, those tend to be more spectacle than racing, as evidenced by the extreme designs that people bring to those events. Having an inexpensive spec series like the Micra Cup would give amateur racers and those looking to start a racing career a proper introduction to the world of racing, with modern, reliable cars backed by a proven manufacturer.