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Episode 41

You Can Drive In F1’s Newest Support Series!

Portimao sees a new series support Formula One for the first time, and what’s more, you could race in it!

The Portuguese Grand Prix in a couple of weeks will throw up a couple of new scenarios for Formula One. Obviously, the first to come to mind is the whole new circuit, but there will also be an all-new support race on the calendar. For the first time ever, the Sports Prototype Cup will feature on the undercard of the world’s biggest motor-racing stage.

The Sports Prototype Cup is predominantly a multi-class championship for lightweight, sports prototype cars. Not specific enough? Think Radical. Literally Radical. SR3, to be precise, as one of the two featured classes is for that specific model. The other featured machine – and the class running at Portimao – is called the Revolution A-One. Ever heard of it? Nor have I.

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Taking a deeper dive, when the Sports Prototype Cup (I’m just going to call it SPC from here on in) was conceived Revolution signed a five-year deal to become a ‘promoted category.’ As such, if the championship was able to secure a race spot at a significant meeting (think undercard of, I don’t know…F1?), then the Revolution class would take precedence over everyone else. That’s why you won’t be seeing Radicals in Portugal, as it’s a Revolution-only event.

The A-One itself is a two-seater LMP-esque vehicle, designed by Phil Abbott – co-founder of Radical, ironically. The car features a full carbon-fibre tub, covered in bodywork that reportedly can ‘produce more downforce than anything else in its price bracket.’ Overall, weight is at 795kg, and the power-to-weight ratio? 440 brake horsepower per tonne. This is achieved through the classic 3.7-litre Ford V6, which seems to be the DFV of the 21st century considering how often it’s commandeered. After all, it was only last week I was talking about the Ginetta GT-A’s 3.7L Ford V6! Before I digress any further, in this iteration the Ford motor is pumping out a healthy 380bhp, which is sent to the rears through a transaxle pneumatic gearbox. Pretty potent, if you ask me.

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Unfortunately, in my rather limited research time, I’ve been unable to discover any sort of pricing structure for either outright purchase nor arrive-and-drive hire of the Revolution A-One. It seems that Revolution aren’t particularly willing to reveal the price of their Radical-rival, other than ‘sub-£100k.’ Cheap then, it’s not.

In the grand scheme of things, no, but in terms of F1-undercard? Definitely. And as I said, arrive-and-drive packages are available for those yearning for a one-off experience. But what do the competition entry fees look like? All in all, I’d say… reasonable. The entry cost for the Formula One weekend (assuming you’d already got the car sorted) was £5,000 + VAT, and when you take a look at the race slots they’ve been given, that’s a pretty good deal. The SPC have been handed the Formula 2 slot, meaning their 30-minute Free Practice session is immediately before F1’s FP1, qualifying is directly after FP2, and the two 35-minute races occur just after Saturday’s F1 Qualifying and immediately preceding Sunday’s F1 race. You couldn’t ask for better coverage from your £6,000.

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Some of the competitors are pretty high-profile, too. Well, at least one is. You might know of that Olympic cyclist with thighs the size of my waist? Some bloke that’s since driven Le Mans, World Rallycross and Porsche Supercup, just to name a few. Chris, I think his name is… Regardless, his entry is one of a ‘record-breaking’ field, with it being the largest number of entries since the inception of the series at the start of 2019.

Unfortunately, if this article has persuaded you to jump onto a Formula 1 undercard, I’m afraid it’s a bit too late. You see, entries for the Portimao round closed on the 2nd October. You could of course add your name to the late entry reserve list, but I wouldn’t expect to be able to race. After all, who would turn down an opportunity to support Formula One?

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