Ariel Motors has announced a one-make race series for its Atom track car: the Atom Cup. Starting in 2013, it offers drivers a potentially all-inclusive package to get involved in the racing scene.
What's the thinking behind the Atom Cup?
Although the Ariel Atom has never had its own racing series in the UK, its 'Spec Atom' championship in the USA has been remarkably successful, encouraging Ariel to bring the concept back over to home territory. The series will be structured over eight weekends, visiting some of the UK's best-loved circuits: Cadwell Park, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Donington Park, plus different configurations of Silverstone and Brands Hatch.
What's special about the Atom Cup car?
The Atom Cup car is closely linked with the skeletal Ariel Atom flyweight you all know, though it's been upgraded in crucial areas to suit its new track role. More enclosed bodywork and full rollover protection enhance driver safety, with the only other main changes being race-friendly instrumentation, track-spec Ohlins dampers and Yokohama tyres.
Those tyres and dampers will be controlled by the organisers and can't be altered, along with the sealed 2.0-litre 245bhp Honda i-Vtec four-cylinder engine and ECU. Even the race fuel will be provided as a control factor by the race series, allowing no car a serious advantage over the other, which should make for close, exciting racing and a real platform for the promising drivers to shine on.
Performance is of the ballistic standard we've come to expect from the Atom: 60mph is reached in 3.1sec, and the top speed is 145mph.
All-inclusive racing for the Atom Cup, is it?
That depends on which package you go for - Ariel is offering three different ways to get involved, depending on your technical experience and circumstances. The Bronze package gets you the Atom Cup car, entry fees for all the races and series membership, plus a pit space, hospitality tickets and meals on race day. That'll set you back £53,195 plus VAT. If you go for the Bronze package you order tour tyres and fuel on a race-by-race basis.
Upgrading to the Silver package also affords you one new set of tyres per weekend, fitted and balanced for you, and race fuel provided for all weekends, not forgetting a 'race assistant' to help with set-up. The cost for the Silver package is £59,955 plus VAT.
If, in this Olympic year, you fancy going for Gold, the flagship package gets you all of the above, plus secure car storage and maintenance between events, and transport to all the race weekends, for which you'll pay £69,652 plus VAT.
The Atom Cup series is currently being vetted by the MSA Approval process, and will run with a calendar provided by MotorSport Vision’s race organising division MSVR. Stay tuned in 2013 for the Atom Cup's inaugural series, when competitors will no doubt be hoping for more appropriate summer weather than that we've endured so far this year.