How to build the UK’s unlikeliest race car

How to build the UK’s unlikeliest race car

The Citroen 2CV is in all probability not the first motor vehicle that springs to intellect when it comes to club motorsport devices. And yet the 2CV has fashioned the basis of a prosperous 1-make series that is now heading into its 33rd time. The 602cc motor could only just creep up to speeds of 80mph, but the 2CV has proved to be a strike on observe.

One driver who took aspect in the quite very first British isles race again in 1989 was Pete Sparrow. He has raced 2CVs at any time considering the fact that, winning previous year’s title, and his adore of the vehicles remains undimmed. He grew up around 2CVs because his father labored for Citroen and would consistently pick out 2CVs – together with Amis and Dyanes – to bring residence and use for following to almost nothing.

“I was always carted around in them as a kid – I obtained utilised to it!” recalls Sparrow. “When I realized to generate, my father got me a knackered previous 2CV that was my initially vehicle. They’re just exciting – every little thing about them is exciting.”

When Sparrow subsequently figured out of a heavily modified 2CV being the focus of a Belgian championship, he had to see it. And, two yrs later, he was element of the team that established up the United kingdom 2CV class, for more typical devices.

Sparrow claims the closeness of the racing usually means the slower speeds never issue. “One-make things generally appealed to me and the speed does not hassle me – it’s about the competitiveness of it,” he claims. “The speed is just about irrelevant mainly because we’re all executing the very same pace. I nonetheless love it and it has not misplaced any of its appeal. The jewel in the crown is the 24-hour race. It’s an awesome function for the persons concerned, not just the motorists – that is the awesome issue about it.

“Anyone can go and get a load of bits for a BMW M3 or a Renault Clio but 2CVs are wonderful enjoyment. It is a pretty unlikely race car or truck but there is a purpose why we’re now likely into our 33rd calendar year of racing.”

Old race cars or MoT failures can be used as donor vehicles

Previous race cars or MoT failures can be used as donor vehicles

Photo by: 2CV Racing Club

In which to start out when building a 2CV

The 2CV championship is a excellent class for mechanics/motorists. It is extremely nicely-suited to those people who are useful in a workshop and like fiddling. The Haynes handbook for the Citroen 2CV is necessary looking through.

To commence with, get familiar with the club web site, isles, and download the Championship rules. Read through them and examine them all over again. The club can place you in touch with 2CV racers neighborhood to you and assistance come across you a buddy – you’ll be able to commit time analyzing their car and speaking about the tech details.

Then it is time to make a strategy. Listing what ought to be accomplished and around in what buy. Approach for the construct to choose from six to 12 months of continuous work for a few of folks with occasional additional assistance. With treatment, a car or truck can be built for all-around £5000-£6000 as well as any paid out-for labour.

Subsequent, resource the critical elements, beginning with a donor 2CV. Seem out for an MoT failure or perhaps an aged race car or truck that desires function. It have to have all the pieces including the motor and a gearbox, together with disc brakes. It is also helpful to come across a second motor as it’s reassuring to have a spare.

Bodyshell can be primed but best to save painting to the end

Bodyshell can be primed but finest to help save portray to the finish

Image by: 2CV Racing Club

The first phases: Bodyshell and chassis

To start out, dismantle the motor vehicle, preserving all screws and bolts – getting tons of shots along the way – and having containers for the a variety of bits. Raise the bodyshell off the chassis – you are going to need a little bit of room – and set it on stands.
The shell will pretty much absolutely want some welding to fix rusted locations, ahead of installing the roll cage and the seat mount. The roll cage ought to be to Motorsport Uk rules for saloon automobiles and can be dwelling-created or more normally provided and fitted by a professional.

An aluminium sheet outer roof should be fitted to exchange the fabric, and a steel interior roof must also be welded to the best of the roll cage. The windscreen can stay as typical, while a heated display can be useful when racing in the rain.

It is important not to hurry into portray the renovated shell, but do prime it. It’s superior to develop the vehicle to close to completion, then dismantle and end portray prior to re-assembly.

Strip the steering rack, suspension arms, petrol tank, brake pipes and all the things else off the donor chassis. Check it for rust and cracks they often require some repairs.

If badly rusted, take into account a new chassis – they are not way too expensive. There is a preference of two chassis and there is not considerably variance concerning them in effectiveness. The conventional Citroen chassis is the lightest, whilst the SLC is a little stiffer.

The 2CV chassis is a simple one

The 2CV chassis is a simple one

Picture by: 2CV Racing Club

Steering and managing gear

The steering rack will have to be conventional and in very good affliction. Trackrods are normal, although the trackrod adjusters can be strengthened or replaced. The steering column must have a common joint additional to the base conclude, allowing the steering wheel placement to be decreased to suit your driving placement.

Standard wheelbearings and kingpins are even now applied, but it’s most effective to examine them each calendar year. If the automobile is doing the 24-hour race, it’s sensible to look at them incredibly carefully – ahead of the function!


Wise and careful constructing and tuning usually means engines typically previous a couple of seasons, and it can value amongst £600 and £1200 to develop one or, alternatively, they can be bought from a established builder.

They are easy and attention-grabbing to work on, and efficiency is better than most persons consider. With 35-45bhp and a vehicle weighing only 655kg with driver, they can even now do 75-80mph with a following wind!

Motor modifications are limited to compression pistons, gas-flowed cylinder heads and lightened flywheel. The club-accepted Lumenition electronic ignition method offered from ECAS can be set up.

An first camshaft reground to the club profile is obligatory and this perform can be done by Kent Cams or Newman Cams. The initial Solex carburettor can be employed, and a well-known approved alternative is the Weber DMTL carb. With both, the air-cleaner is free and must be paper, not foam.

Engine may only produce 35-45bhp, but the lightweight cars can be nimble through the corners

Motor could only make 35-45bhp, but the light-weight vehicles can be nimble as a result of the corners

Image by: 2CV Racing Club

Exhaust and gasoline system

There are two key sorts of exhaust process: a modified highway method or a two-into-a person technique. A essential rule of thumb is that the normal program offers improved torque and is easy to match on to present mountings, though the two-into-a person gives better prime-close electrical power.

Most race cars and trucks use a non-regular exhaust – something goes, and several suppliers can make just one to buy. Typically they exit in front of the nearside rear wheel.

The gasoline procedure is really a great deal common. The tank have to have a roll-above a single-way breather fitted. Check out the gas pipe and up grade it with ethanol-resistant tubing.


A regular 2CV6 602cc gearbox must be used. The only modifications permitted are extending the gear adhere and putting a blanking plug in the speedo cable hole if no speedometer is fitted. Gearboxes, even in race trim, are typically reasonably dependable as typical, though it can be great to have them checked by a expert.

'Belgian' modified front suspension arm is used

‘Belgian’ modified front suspension arm is applied

Photograph by: 2CV Racing Club


The springs in the two-spring cans can be uprated to as sturdy a spring as will fit: 3000lb is the max. The entrance arms ought to be modified to Belgian spec for safety and trustworthiness, ordinarily finest completed by a specialist, although the rear arms really should be strengthened. Castor and camber are free. Take treatment when fitting new wheelbearings – the race cornering masses are much better than the structure masses.

Shock absorbers can be replaced and bump stops can be taken off. Shocks to 2CV spec are obtainable from AVO, GAZ and Protech. Get common with their readjustment.

The just one region in which racing 2CVs are noticeably different from road 2CVs is that their suspension has been lowered and stiffened. Spring prices are commonly improved substantially coupled to mild body weight, this can make the cars incredibly agile. Corner pace is the holy grail.


The regular 2CV braking system is made use of and is additional than capable of lasting even the 24-hour race. 2CVs from the mid-1970s onwards experienced discs on the entrance and drums on the rear and, if nearly anything, a conventional 2CV is about-braked.

Most importantly, the front brake calipers ought to be serviced with new seals and switch the LHM fluid to stop overheating. Discs can be machined to the regulation bare minimum thickness. Brake pads are free, and numerous racers use Mintex Traditional M44-grade pads.

Reliable electrics are essential for endurance success

Dependable electrics are important for stamina achievement

Photo by: 2CV Racing Club


Reliable electrics are important and, if attainable, get qualified help with the wiring. You can decide on the shape and format of the swap panel and dashboard. Enable for rev counter, temperature gauges, AFR sensor meter, lights switches and a lot more.

Superior wiring is vital for reliability, specifically in the 24 hrs and, for the more time race, two excess headlights, fastened to the existing brackets, are authorized. Verify the alternator is in great buy and a new yellow coil can help motor dependability. Smaller sized light-weight batteries, generally of the type fitted in golf carts, are made use of by a lot of.

Final stages and tyres

Then it’s just a circumstance of assembly. Fall the renovated bodyshell on to the rolling chassis and repair with the bolts, fresh if attainable. Then all the other bits! A protective undertray beneath the fuel tank is essential. Fix this tremendous-securely with countersunk bolts into intently spaced captive nuts in the chassis.

Race cars must have club-spec Toyo 135/80, 15in highway tyres. A set of four can last a full sprint time or a lot more. The 24-hour race ideally wants a established of dry tyres and a established of wets (buffed significantly less). At the time assembled, you’re then ready to hit the track.

The Snetterton 24-hour race is the highlight of the 2CV calendar

The Snetterton 24-hour race is the highlight of the 2CV calendar

Photo by: Richard Types