The Micra Cup pits a field full of identical Micra hatchbacks prepared for the racetrack against each other. They still pack the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and all of its 109 horsepower, but feature upgraded brakes, suspension, exhaust, rolling stock, and a cockpit stripped out and fitted with racing buckets, five-point harnesses, and a full roll cage. We had a chance to drive one at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant last spring, and can tell you without a doubt that it's worth every penny.
Last year's inaugural season was confined exclusively to the province of Quebec. But this year it's expanding into neighboring Ontario as well, with two double-header race weekends planned for the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly known as Mosport) and another to kick it off at Calabogie. The rest will be taking place at Tremblant and Trois-Rivières, with one weekend in June still TBA.
Nissan is launching a special road-going Micra Cup Limited Edition in Canadian showrooms as well. It's not exactly what you'd call a "hot hatch," but it packs 8-spoke, 15-inch alloys, exterior graphics, and a numbered plaque signed by the reigning champion Olivier Bédard. Only 250 units will be made – not that it matters to Americans, as zero will be available to us.
2016 race calendar including Ontario races, and a new Micra Cup Limited Edition revealed in Montreal
Montreal, QC. , Canada – At the Montreal International Auto Show last week in Canada, Nissan announced the 2016 race calendar for the Nissan Micra Cup's second season. Launched exclusively in the province of Quebec last year, the Nissan Micra Cup will expand to Ontario in 2016 with one race weekend at Calabogie Motorsports Park in May, and two race weekends at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in July and September respectively.
The 2016 race calendar is as follows:
"During last year's inaugural season, popularity grew with each race as seen in the stands; through engagement levels online with the Nissan Micra Cup organization; and was heard on the showroom floor," said Joni Paiva, president of Nissan Canada Inc. "We are thrilled to keep that momentum going to get even more fans behind the series with the expansion of the Nissan Micra Cup to Ontario."
Building on a successful launch point for changes in the 2016 Nissan Micra Cup season
Canada's most affordable race series, featuring the most affordable new car, the Nissan Micra, will launch its second season with minor modifications to the rules based on a survey completed by the drivers and their teams. Out of 16 races, the best results will be taken from 12 to tabulate overall standings. The qualifying session for one weekend is now split into two halves, one for each race. The Nissan Micra Cup race cars will no longer require spec fuel, and wheel camber setting will now be free. The driver return rate for the 2016 season is over 90 per cent.
"One of the defining characteristics of the Nissan Micra Cup series is the diversity seen on the grid," said Jacques Deshaies, owner of JD Promotion & Compétition and the series promoter. "Karting champions, racing legends, and rookies – they're all out there in identical Micras. This is a truly unique motorsport series for the masses, and it calls for expansion outside of Quebec. Witnessing the camaraderie between the drivers and their teams in the paddocks was fantastic, but seeing the intensity of competition on the actual race track is exceptional. It gets very heated. This year, I am pleased to show Ontarians what high-intensity, spec series racing is all about, while also welcoming new drivers to the Nissan Micra Cup family."
During the press conference at the Montreal International Auto Show, it was also announced that Total Canada has signed on as an official partner of the series for two years. After a successful season for the Total team in the Nissan Micra Cup, Total Canada will increase their participation through the partnership as the official provider of lubricant for the Nissan Micra Cup series.
2016 Micra Cup Limited Edition
The 2016 Micra Cup Limited Edition is the perfect fusion between the Micra built for the street and the Nissan Micra Cup race car built for the track, and brings the dynamic look of an official spec series vehicle from the race track to public roads.
This Micra Cup Limited Edition is inspired by the official Nissan Micra Cup race car and sports a similar exterior appearance and 15'', 8 spoke, Nissan Micra Cup street edition wheels. Inside, this new model features a unique numbered plaque signed by Olivier Bédard, the first-ever Nissan Micra Cup champion.
Only 250 units of the Micra Cup Limited Edition will be produced – available through Nissan dealerships in early spring 2016.
"As the new president of Nissan Canada I am getting to know the country and specifically the people, so I appreciate the fact that our Micra-related news at the Montreal Auto Show this year revolves around one important group – the fans," said Paiva. "Canada's most affordable subcompact, the Nissan Micra, and Canada's most affordable race series, the Nissan Micra Cup, are developing a passionate following. I am delighted to offer enthusiasts of both the Nissan Micra and the Nissan Micra Cup a new model that brings a sense of spec series racing to public roads through the Micra Cup Limited Edition."
About the Nissan Micra Cup
Sanctioned by Auto Sport Québec (ASQ) and presented by JD Promotion & Compétition with the support of Nissan Canada, the 2015 Nissan Micra Cup exclusively featured the stock Micra 1.6 S M/T model with minor modifications, including NISMO suspension – to render it race-ready.
Unlike most motorsport events, each competing Nissan Micra race vehicle had the exact same specifications, resulting in a competition that truly revealed the most skilled drivers. The 2015 Nissan Micra Cup race vehicles were equipped with the Nissan Micra's stock 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Timing Control) and stock 5-speed manual transmission. In its inaugural season, more than 25 Nissan Micras competed on each race weekend which included two hours of track time consisting of: a 30-minute trial, a 30-minute qualifying session and two 30-minute races.
Young karting drivers, the average Canadian looking for an entry point into motorsport competition, or anyone who wants to experience the rush of adrenaline inherent with racing cars are all well-suited to this series. In summary, the Nissan Micra Cup is for people who are passionate about motorsports, want to experience all the fun and thrills of racing, but without spending staggering amounts of money.
For more information on the Nissan Micra Cup, please go to the website Nissan.ca/MicraCup.
About the Nissan Micra
In 2014, the Nissan Micra returned to Canada after 23 years as an all-new model, offering Canadians unbeatable value with the lowest starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in Canada at $9,998. One item that sets the 2015 Micra apart is its agility. Micra is easy to drive and park, thanks to excellent all-round visibility and turning radius, electric power steering and a power to weight ratio that surprises. Powering the front-wheel drive Micra is a DOHC 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine rated at 109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm.