03/03/2011 - One of the most original ideas in recent years in
British Motorsport has been the creation of the Club MSV Trackday
Trophy series, which encourages trackday drivers and racing novices
to take their first steps in motorsport. Club MSV Manager Alex
Baker joined Jonathan Palmer at the MSVR Media Day to explain more
about the series, and to announce the creation of a new graduate
style series for 2011.
JP: Now for the Trackday Trophy. Alex Baker, as you can tell
from his shirt, does actually work for us and his primary role is
running Club MSV - the in-house trackday division of MSV and one of
the biggest trackday operators in the country. A year and a half a
go Alex had an idea - tell everybody what is was.
AB: To start a race series that was basically for novice racers
and therefore for people that have not been racing before or had
very basic racing experience. We called it the Trackday Trophy and
every car racing in the series has an MSA novice racing sticker in
order to take part.
JP: And this came about because you had seen people enjoying
thrashing around on trackdays but not really knowing what could
AB: Yes, from talking to people that were attending our events
they didn't really know how to take that next step on or where to
go or what series they should be competing in. We're taking
that MSVR customer service you've already mentioned to the next
level by holding drivers hands through the "going racing" process -
from doing their first trackday experience, taking their race
licence test and now going racing as well.
JP: And what broadly are the rules for Trackday Trophy? What
cars can run and how many races, and how long are the races?
AB: It's open to almost any car up to a maximum of 200bhp per
tonne is eligible. There are four classes which are broken down in
to 25bhp per tonne increments so up to 125, 125 to 150, and 175 up
to 200 bhp per ton
JP: What sort of cars typically are in it?
AB: We expect anything from 205 GTIs, Porsche 944s, front and
rear wheel drive and this year there are also some Imprezas so
turbo and four wheel drive cars as well - there's a broad range of
JP: What sort of value are these cars, what are people paying
AB: The cheapest car on the grid last year was £2,500 and this
went up to about £15,000 with a couple of Clio Cup cars that
decided to join the grid. They were novice racers so we allowed
them into the series but this year we have to be careful that it
doesn't become a winning-at-all-cost series as it's really just
about having fun.
JP: So essentially what we've done is show people who didn't not
know how to go racing but have been on trackdays that they can go
on to motor racing. It's inexpensive and we help them get their
licence, holding their hands all the way and feed more people in to
going motor racing?
AB: Absolutely. The races are 45 minutes long so the series is
actually aimed at two driver teams so last year although we were
averaging grids of around 25 cars per round, we introduced 50 new
drivers into going racing for the first time in the series which I
think is a pretty good achievement.
JP: Indeed and how's it looking this year?
AB: Very good, we've had more people register for the series
this year than we had in the entirety of last year and the first
round at Snetterton in March is nearly full, we only have two or
three spaces left on the first grid!
JP: Are there any other clubs running this kind of series or is
AB: I think if you want to go and compete in serious, out and
out competitive motorsport whether then there are plenty of one
make series at an entry level. However, somewhere where people can
just dip their toe in the water and see what it's all about for the
first time - I don't think that's been done anywhere else.
JP: Well this is Alex's idea and I give him huge credit for this
and it's very exciting for me as the Chief Executive of MotorSport
Vision to see people in my business have an idea come to me and say
'what do you think?' and I say 'yeah fine go and do it' and then
they do it and it works well and Alex deserves a huge amount of
credit for it. But, you've got a new idea now haven't you Alex?
AB: Yes. We needed something for our drivers to move on to as a
next step which will be the Team Trophy. Announced today, the Team
Trophy will become the graduate series to the Trackday Trophy and
is designed for anyone that has competed before whether in the
Trackday Trophy or other series. It will run to very similar
regulations to the Trackday Trophy expect for the fact there won't
be novice stipulation on drivers. Therefore, again, pretty much any
cars up to 200bhp per tonne will be eligible to enter but for non-
Trackday Trophy competitors cars must be post 1994 production
sports and saloon cars.