The C1 Trophy has evolved and become more international. In the fifth year of the competition, one of the events in the Motor Sponsor portfolio will be held in France and Belgium, in addition to Portugal, of course.

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The C1 Trophy has evolved and become more international. In the fifth year of the competition, one of the events in the Motor Sponsor portfolio will be held in France and Belgium, in addition to Portugal, of course.

The Citroën C1 competition is now international and passes through Portugal, France and Belgium.

The C1 Trophy has evolved and become international. In the fifth year of the competition, one of the events of Motor Sponsor’s portfolio will race in France and Belgium, besides Portugal, of course.

André Marques and Ricardo Leitão, two of the organizers, spoke exclusively with Auto ao Minuto, explaining the different course and the “maturing” phase that the “cheapest car competition in Portugal” is in.

There was also room to talk about the growth of the Cars & Vibes Cup (formerly the Civic Atomic Cup) and the lack of adhesion with Formula Futuro.

“Racing on two of the most iconic stages in the world did not make us hesitate for a second”.

Six years after the creation of Motor Sponsor, here comes the internationalization of a competition you created. How does it feel?

The C1 Trophy has evolved and become more international. In the fifth year of the competition, one of the events in the Motor Sponsor portfolio will be held in France and Belgium, in addition to Portugal, of course.

André Marques: It is a feeling of materialization of everything that has been done so far with what is now the C1 Eurocup. We reach the 5th season with numbers that make us proud: 597 riders, 114 teams, 14 races, 42 hours of racing and more than 13.000€ distributed in prizes. With this internationalization, we want to offer our drivers and teams the best season ever. Not only with this new feature in the calendar, but also with a technical upgrade, the creation of a hospitality area, new classes and we now have an element in our structure, Ricardo Leitão, dedicated exclusively to operational management and relations with drivers and teams.

How was it possible to race in Belgium?

Ricardo Leitão: Racing in Belgium was made possible by the partnership between Motor Sponsor and the Belgian organization. We worked together on the integration from one side to the other, which made everything possible and allowed us to offer a bigger and more competitive grid. In addition, Zolder and Spa-Francorchamps are tracks that hold a very special place in the hearts of racing fans of all ages, and the opportunity to race on two of the most iconic stages in the world made us not hesitate for a second to add them to our calendar.

“The races are run as a team, in the case of 3 to 8 drivers, which makes the entry fees affordable, plus the low cost of running the cars.”

In 2022, in an interview with Notícias ao Minuto, you mentioned the C1 trophy as the cheapest competition in Portugal. Is that still the case?

The C1 Trophy has evolved and become more international. In the fifth year of the competition, one of the events in the Motor Sponsor portfolio will be held in France and Belgium, in addition to Portugal, of course.

Ricardo Leitão: Yes, and this is something that we have always taken into account when designing the whole project for 2023. We have managed to keep the C1 Eurocup as the cheapest competition in Portugal, and this is due to the fact that the track time, which is increasing even more this year, is low in relation to the pure financial cost. The concept is simple: the races are endurance races, so they are held in teams, in this case from 3 to 8 drivers, which makes the participation values affordable, to which is added the low cost of operating the cars (consumables, maintenance, etc.).

In addition to this innovation in the calendar, which is now international, there are also technical innovations for this year. Tell us a little about these changes for 2023.

Ricardo Leitão: At the technical level, as well as at the sporting level, we are proud to be a reference, from technical control to the creation of solutions, always with the aim of bringing more equality to the trophy. For 2023, we have also decided to raise the bar in terms of performance. We have developed a specific suspension for the C1 that has allowed us to make the car faster, while at the technical level we have created a technical data sheet for the engine, something unprecedented and another important step to ensure that the rigor of equality and merit continue to be a reference in the C1 Eurocup.

What happened with Formula Futuro?

The C1 Trophy has evolved and become more international. In the fifth year of the competition, one of the events in the Motor Sponsor portfolio will be held in France and Belgium, in addition to Portugal, of course.

Ricardo Leitão: Despite the fact that it created quite an impact after it was announced, Formula Futuro was not adopted. This is something we obviously did not expect. However, we feel that we have fulfilled our mission by creating a stepping stone to single-seaters at very affordable prices. The Formula Futuro was part of one of our plans to revive the single seater series in Portugal, and despite the lack of adhesion, the series itself has been reborn, with the number of formulas growing from race to race, from the most classic to the most recent.

“The Cars & Vibes Cup has already grown to 11 cars. This is a year of confirmation”.

The C1 Eurocup is perhaps the largest competition organized by Motor Sponsor, but there is also the Cars & Vibes Cup (formerly the Civic Atomic Cup) and the Single Seater Series. What will be the future of these competitions and what ideas do you have for them in the coming years?

Ricardo Leitão: The C1 Eurocup is in its 5th year of existence and has always had a full field, which is remarkable for a mono-brand trophy. The competition was created to fill a gap that existed in Portugal in terms of speed, which was the lack of endurance racing. This year we decided to create a unique experience with internationalization, and from the feedback we have received, everything indicates that the bet was won, which generally leads us to believe that the C1 Eurocup is in a phase of maturation, continuing to receive new faces year after year and captivating the teams that already compete to continue.

As for the Cars & Vibes Cup, although it had a “softer” start with 8 cars, this year the grid has already grown to 11 cars. It is important to keep in mind that we will never have the numbers of a C1 Eurocup (40 cars on track), but the fact that the Portuguese Speed Legends Championship, in which the Cars & Vibes Cup is included, has been separated this year, will allow us to further consolidate the position of the trophy, which has a cost vs. speed ratio in sprint races that is very hard to beat, i.e. we believe that this year is a year of affirmation and growth for the Cars & Vibes Cup.

Finally, the Single Seater Series will debut this year with a completely different format, with ‘conventional’ races and time attack sessions. This option is part of a plan worked out between us, the organization and all the drivers of the series, which will more than double the track time for all the drivers, making this a season in which we will continue to grow the Single Seater Series grid and get many cars back on track that are currently sitting idle. We are therefore very confident about the challenging 2023 season ahead.

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