Spectacular Le Mans-style racing will return to the UK for the first time in nearly a decade when the Snetterton track hosts the annual 24-hour race for competition prepared racing Citroen 2CVs in June, 2003.
Since its inception, the twice-around-the-clock 2CV marathon has been staged at the Mondello Park circuit near Dublin in Ireland; however for its 12 th running the hugely popular and charismatic endurance classic moves to Norfolk for the very first time next summer. Snetterton, of course, is no stranger to nocturnal racing having hosted the famous Willhire 24 Hour Race between 1980 and 1994 and thereafter witnessed the BTCC's spectacular after-dark 'night fever' showdowns.
"We are delighted and thrilled that the BARC is bringing this massively entertaining event to mainland Britain in 2003," said Martin Harrold of the 2CV Racing Club. "The race has a proven track record and 2CV racing is firmly established as one of the best forms of low cost motor sports. The establishment of this 'quirky' yet high profile 24-hour race at Snetterton is sure to catch the imagination of participants, fans and the media."
The UK's inaugural 24 Hour 2CV Race has been confirmed for the weekend of 13/14/15 June - intriguingly the same weekend as Le Mans - and will be just one of five 24-hour motor races staged in Europe during 2003. A full grid of 39 cars is expected with each 2CV being shared by three or four drivers. The entry fee is £950 per team.
"We have devised a timetable that is specifically aimed at providing competitors with excellent value for money," continues Harrold. "Although racing in Ireland was always terrific fun, inevitably it required teams to take a considerable amount of time off work. The schedule at Snetterton will include lots of day and night-time testing late on Friday plus, of course, the race itself which as tradition dictates, will start at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Although doubtless a little jaded by their endeavours, most people should be back at work on Monday morning!"
AUTO TRADER & THE CITROEN 2CV 24-HOUR RACE - PERFECT PARTNERS
Auto Trader, Britain's biggest selling motoring magazine, announcd on Friday 16 May2003, that it was to sponsor the 2003 Citroen 2CV 24-Hour Race, the only 24 hour motor race in the UK. The eccentric twice-around-the-clock marathon - to be known as the Auto Trader 2CV 24-Hour Race - brings Le Mans-style 'through-the-night' racing back to the UK for the first time in nearly a decade and has attracted a full grid of more than 40 race-prepared Citroen 2CVs.
Matt Thompson, marketing director of the Trader Group says: "The Auto Trader 2CV 24-Hour Race promises to be a hugely popular and entertaining event which is sure to catch the imagination of competitors, public and media alike. That's what attracted Auto Trader. As the market leader in such an important automotive sector and with a strong motor sponsorship heritage, Auto Trader is an obvious target for sponsorship proposals. Our marketing focus, however, is currently concentrated on our high-profile 'Perfect Partner' TV and radio campaigns and motor sport is not an integral part of this strategy. That said the potential of this 'quirky' yet high-profile 24-Hour race was an opportunity we just couldn't ignore. The Perfect Partner advertisements are aimed at highlighting the relationship between owners and their cars and few cars are more lovable than Citroen's iconic 2CV. The thought of 40 of these Gallic snails racing bumper-to-bumper through the night will need to be seen to be believed!"
In the past the evocative 2CV enduro has been staged at the Mondello Park circuit near Dublin in Ireland. However, for its 12th running, the hugely popular and charismatic endurance classic moved to mainland Britain for the very first time. The 2003 Auto Trader 2CV 24-Hour Race was staged at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk over the weekend of 14/15 June - intriguingly that's exactly the same weekend as the Le Mans 24hr race.
"We are thrilled that a company of Auto Trader's stature and motor sport pedigree will be helping us to promote what's already well on the way to becoming one of this country's most intriguing sporting events," enthused Martin Harrold of the 2CV Racing Club. "The race has a proven track record and the level of professionalism among the event organisers and race teams is sure to provide a safe and exciting weekend for all involved. 2CV racing is firmly established as one of this country's best forms of low-cost motor sport and it's always been our objective to make the 24-hour race very easy to enter yet very hard to win. Now, with Auto Trader's enthusiastic support, we aim to build on our current success and ensure the event becomes a major attraction on the UK motor sport calendar."
The 2003 Auto Trader 2CV 24-Hour Race was run by the British Automobile Racing Club who were assisted at Snetterton by more than 100 volunteer marshals working around-the-clock in shifts. To ensure close competition, all the racing 2CVs were prepared to meet tight technical regulations that permited only minor modifications to the standard car's specification, mainly on grounds of safety. The rules permited teams to run either three or four drivers per car.