Canada’s best kept secret until very recently was the Micra Cup, which pitted lightly modified Micras with amateurs at the wheel against each other on some of the country’s biggest tracks. It was hilarious (hence the title, if you were wondering). With the departure of the Micra from the market, though, it was time to move up to the (relatively) massive, (relatively) powerful, and (relatively) racy-looking Sentra.
The new Nissan Sentra Cup is being pitched as an affordable way to get into some low-stakes racing. Launching in May 2021, the series will run for at least three years. Each car will cost 39,990 Canadian dollars ($31,350 USD).
The arrival of the Sentra Cup does not spell the immediate death of the Micra Cup, though. The two cars will race on the same grid, but in different classes. Which should give you a hint as to how powerful the Sentra race car will be.
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The Nissan Sentra’s muscular 2.0L engine has been pumped up to 149 mighty horsepower and a burly 146 lb-ft of torque thanks to new computer management software. That’s 20% more power than the Micra’s puny 1.8L engine could muster.
The car slows down with four-piston calipers, bigger brakes, stainless steel braided brake lines. Adjustable front anti-roll bars, a racing steering wheel with a quick release hub, and a 2-inch wider track all help drivers get around corners of Canada’s race tracks like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or Mont Tremblant Raceway.
To keep drivers safe during the inevitable incidents, there’s a 6-point roll cage, a racing seat, a six-point harness, a window net, and an electric fire suppression system, all of which is FIA-homologated.
The interior, meanwhile, has been stripped and it sits on lightweight 18”x9” racing wheels. That, along with the 265/645/18 tires and the stainless steel exhaust, should help keep the car light.
If this all sounds like what you’d get in a real race car, it’s because it is. The car itself was designed with the help of Jean-Francois Dumoulin, who raced in NASCAR.
“The new Sentra with its longer wheelbase, wider track and lower center of gravity looks and feels amazing,” said Dumoulin. “The braking capability is truly awesome – this will really help drivers develop their braking technique. We’ll be able to enjoy hard fought battles on track with this added performance, and we are really excited about all the work that has been done, it’s definitely a leap forward for one-make racing.”
Nissan says that the 2021 race schedule will be announced early next year.