By on April 20, 2016

Mario tips his Nissan Micra during a testing day at Mt-Tremblant

Mario Berthiaume will never forget May 21, 2015.

The rookie racer from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada is laying down pre-season testing laps in a brand-new racecar prior to the first race of the Nissan Micra Cup. The car feels good. Mario’s lap times are falling, albeit gradually, thanks in part to a new set of tires. His approach is methodical. He’s taking on one corner at a time; after perfecting one turn as much as he can, he moves on to the next. After all, mastering braking points, lines, and apexes at Mont-Tremblant is key to getting the most out of the low power, pint-size racer.

Everything is going as planned.

That is, until seven laps into the fourth shakedown session of the day. Mario makes a rookie mistake and it happens. The rear of the #7 Micra swings right-then-left like a pendulum. The fresh rubber digs into the warming tarmac on the inside of Circuit Mont-Tremblant’s turn 10, causing the Micra to tip and roll. In under 10 seconds, Mario’s racing dream has turned into a $30,000 nightmare — and the twisted aftermath is resting on its side on the outside of turn 10.

His season is over before it even begins.

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2015

Nissan Micra Cup Race Car at MIA

When the Nissan Micra Cup series was announced in late 2014, there was one main goal: be the most affordable, semi-professional racing series in Canada.

In order to achieve that goal, everything about the series needed to be cost-effective. All races were scheduled in Quebec, where the majority of competitors reside, and tires and brakes had to wear in a predictable manner so as not to “fall off” during race weekends. However, the difficult part was building a racing car to a price — $20,000 CAD, or $15,225 USD at today’s exchange rates, to be exact — so that racers could either pony up the personal funds to buy it themselves or more easily woo sponsors to make their racing dreams come true.

During the planning phase of the series, Nissan Canada and series promoter JD Motorsport tapped racing car builder Motorsports In Action of St-Eustache, Quebec to build the pint-sized racers. MIA, which is located in an indescript row of commercial units racing at Autodrome St-Eustache about 40 minutes northwest of Montreal, fabricates and preps vehicles for varying types of racing series and prides itself on build quality. However, as they say, “Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick Two,” it’s much easier to build a racing car with a high-dollar budget than it is to put together an economical package like the one requested for Micra Cup.

Thankfully, due to MIA’s combined knowledge and ingenuity, racers get a decent chunk of all three. And MIA’s Carl Hermez gave us a tour to show us exactly how they do it.

(Read More…)

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