You don't have to be a millionaire to go motor racing. In 2020 the British Racing & Sports Car Club introduced the CityCar Cup, which features close racing at the country's top circuits, including the likes of Silverstone and Donington Park, using nothing more expensive than three-door Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo cars.
"I knew any kind of racing wasn't cheap, but that's not what we do it for," says competitor Liam Browning. "CityCar Cup is an absolutely perfect way to start out racing. The cars have no power, but a real race-car feel in terms of handling characteristics and feel - you have to give it 110% everywhere, which really adds to the fun."
If a gentleman driver wanted to race in a GT3 series, they would likely spend over £600,000 on buying the car alone - before the £50,000 upgrade to full endurance specifications, and another £200,000 on spare parts. A race-ready CityCup car can be had for under £8000.
Browning says BRSCC membership, championship registration, and entry fees for all seven rounds, amounted to £3200 and the running costs for his Citroën C1 were only £820 – less than a single set of Formula 1 tyres.
The maintenance costs mainly consist of fuel (£210), four regulation-spec Nankang tyres (£240), brake pads (£100), and servicing every other round (£120).
"On weekends we have a crew of four," Browning says. "Some teams turn up with five to ten people, but I don't have the spendable cash to pay overheads like that. All my guys help me out as they love motorsport."
Browning says finding speed in the C1s, 107s and Aygos comes down to finding the right alignment, suspension damping and tyre pressures.
"The racing is super close and so competitive. The paddock has a real family feel, and we're all friends away from the circuit. It makes a big difference on track when you're knocking mirrors with someone, but you can get out after the race and laugh it off as friends - and everyone jumps in if someone has problems pre- or post-race."
"I would recommend the CityCar Cup championship to anyone," Browning says. "You won't have more fun for the money."