Two exciting new one-make circuit racing championships that look set to revolutionise regional motor sport –– the Suzuki Challenge Series –– were introduced to the media at Bushy Park, St Philip yesterday, ahead of this weekend’s Valvoline Glassesco John “Tiny” Harrison Memorial Race Meet.
The Swift Cup, for identical Suzuki Swift Sports, promises affordable and competitive racing for drivers, close and exciting action for the fans and unrivalled exposure for corporate sponsors. The SR3 Cup, for Suzuki-powered Radical SR3 RS open-topped sports racers, offers the fastest racing in the region.
Circuit racing and stage rally champions from Barbados, Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago are in the first group of confirmed competitors for the Swift Cup, with discussions continuing across the region. All nine of the first batch of race-prepared cars have been taken up, with a further six cars now on order.
Suzuki Caribbean’s Brent Murphy said: “We are all hugely excited about what we’re launching today [yesterday], as it will help change the face of motor sport in the island and the wider Caribbean by creating a more affordable platform for participation. While we have been planning this for some time, you are never quite sure how an idea will take off, so we are delighted by the enthusiastic way in which corporate Barbados has embraced the concept.
“What has also been proven very clearly is the depth of technical and design expertise in Barbados, to have been able to build these race cars to such a high standard, and in such an incredibly short time frame. All of those who have been working with us deserve high praise for the quality of their work and their commitment to the project.”
There will be six rounds each season at the St Philip facility at race meetings organised by Bushy Park Motor Sports Inc (BPMSI), including the Digicel Williams International Race Meet in September, alongside the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship. A three-round Winter Cup will allow prospective future competitors a chance to taste the action.
Based on a standard production Suzuki Swift Sport, each car has been race-prepared over the past few weeks, with all necessary work done in Barbados, where engineers, mechanics and technicians in workshops and body-shops across the island have been working around the clock. With all extraneous interior trim removed, the mandatory safety requirements, such as roll-cages, racing seats and engine cut-off switches have been installed, while some minor cosmetic changes have been made to the exterior, such as replacing light clusters front and back with purpose-moulded glass-fibre blanks.
The cars retain the standard 150bhp 1.6-litre engine and six-speed gearbox, but a limited slip differential is added, along with adjustable suspension and dual brake cylinders to further enhance the already impressive handling and stopping power of the production Swift Sport. All cars will run on control all-weather tyres, the whole package promoting close racing and focus on individual driver skill.
A central technical support team will run the cars on race day, creating trouble-free ‘arrive and drive’ motor sport for the competitor, with all maintenance and mechanical repairs dealt with, also access to necessary consumables and spares.
The Suzuki Challenge Series, which is sponsored by Sol, will be extensively promoted across the region through a range of media channels and innovative initiatives, including a mobile-optimised web site, radio, print and social media. Race coverage of each round will be available through the Suzuki Challenge Series Video Viewer, with Go-Pro cameras mounted in every car guaranteeing all-action footage.
The action starts at 10 a.m.
Suzuki Challenge Series – Swift Cup
No – Entrant:Driver (NAT)
3 – Team Massy United Insurance: Josh Read (BAR)
7 – Team Williams Industries: Kenrick Husbands (BAR)
27 – Team Gale’s Agro Products: Barry Gale (BAR)
81 – Team Rock Hard Cement: Mark Thompson (BAR)
90 – Team Glassesco: Kurt Thompson (BAR)
106 – Team Digicel: Daryl Clarke (BAR)
333 – Team Digicel: Ryan Wood (BAR)
596 – Team Suzuki Genuine Parts: Jean-Philippe Mongaillard (FRA)
868 – Team Suzuki 5-Year Warranty: Ryan Peyrau (T&T)