France may be home to Le Mans, but England can lay claim to the most entertaining endurance race in the world, the Gate-A-Mation Citroen 2CV 24 Hours.
Held one week after the historic spectacle across the Channel on June 19-20, the equally infamous 2CV contest brings together over thirty-five specially prepared racers for over 1,000 miles worth of wheel-to-wheel, humour filled action around Snetterton in Norfolk.
Thanks to its fast straights and sweeping corners, the host circuit is a regular testing haunt for the big budget Le Mans teams.
Bentley, Audi and Colin McRae’s Ferrari have all been regular visitors, but will now make way for the 2CV boys and girls.
"Snetterton has been home to the 2CV 24 Hours for the last two years now," says event organiser Martin Harrold. "We know how easy it is for people to raise a wry smile when you mention taking a 2CV on a race track but we’re all very serious, and the racing shows it."
Harrold and his fellow racers prove that the 2CV has come along way from the car designed to help farmers to safely transport a tray of eggs across a freshly ploughed field to market.
"We may only have 41bhp under our right foot, but we can certainly make that tiny 602cc engine go some," adds Harrold.
Reaching top speeds of 90mph, compared to the 240mph recorded at Le Mans, the 2CVs more restrained performance actually adds to the spectacle.
"Where else in the world of motorsport do you see three cars racing into, going through, and coming out of a corner together?" quips Harrold. "People may scoff at the power, laugh at the most aerodynamically handicapped car on the planet, but you’ll never find racing as close and fun as this."
Last season’s winner, BAPS Racing took the chequered flag from the Shark Attack Team by just eight seconds – testimony to how close the action really is.
The race starts at 4pm on June 19. Gates open at 7-30am on Saturday, with access to the public throughout the night. Tickets cost £10 per adult, children get in for free.Published 11 June 2004