Lower, wider, faster: The all-new Nissan Sentra Cup racing series to launch with an action-packed debut season in 2021

Lower, wider, faster: The all-new Nissan Sentra Cup racing series to launch with an action-packed debut season in 2021

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December 16, 2020

The Nissan Micra Cup will pass the torch to the Sentra Cup as Canada’s newest affordable motorsport series.

Nissan Canada and JD Promotion & Competition announced today, the launch of the Nissan Sentra Cup, building on the Nissan Micra Cup’s six years of success in Canada. The Nissan Sentra Cup will be a one-make racing series exclusive to Canada, and like the Micra Cup, it offers drivers with one of the most affordable ways to participate in motorsport. The Sentra Cup will launch in May of 2021. Nissan will once again partner with J.D. Promotion and Competition, having signed a three-year contract, marking an extension of the collaboration which began with the Nissan Micra Cup’s inception.

Created in 2015, the Nissan Micra Cup quickly emerged as the new benchmark for accessible motorsport in Canada, as well as a proving ground for burgeoning racing talent, with many drivers coming from karting, and advancing to other areas of racing after establishing themselves on the Micra Cup grid. The opportunities for passionate drivers continue to abound with the Nissan Sentra Cup, which can foster driving talent of all ages, including the ever-popular seniors’ category, for which the number of participants steadily increased from 2015-2020.

Product evolution in the showrooms, product evolution on the racetrack

In line with usual product lifecycles, Nissan Canada and JD Promotion and Competition are keeping the momentum of its popular one-make series modern by updating the vehicle to a current model in the Nissan portfolio. The Sentra compact sedan, which was introduced as an all-new model for model year 2020, is the sleekest and most aerodynamic Sentra to-date, making it a vehicle well suited to advance the series.

“Nissan has a rich pedigree in small, fun-to-drive cars dating back to the 1930s. What better way to demonstrate a vehicle’s capability than to push these cars – in stock form – to their limits on the race track?,” says Steve Milette, president of Nissan Canada Inc. “The Nissan Micra reminded Canada and the world about Nissan’s commitment to durability. As our product portfolio evolves, so too should our motorsport series. The new Nissan Sentra is wider and lower than the previous generation and has the athletic stance to devour the most difficult race tracks in Canada – it was the natural next step to evolve one of Canada’s most exciting grassroots racing series.”

The Nissan Sentra Cup racecar

All Nissan Sentra Cup vehicles are built from the Nissan Sentra “S” base model with the 6-speed manual transmission. The team at Motorsports In Action based in St. Eustache – which handled the development and modification of all Micra Cup vehicles – embraced the challenge to transform the tech-laden Sentra into a racing machine. However, the Sentra Cup racecar’s engine and transmission remain stock.

Modifications to the Sentra to render it race-ready include: bespoke adjustable coil over racing suspension; Nissan performance 4 pot front calipers with 355mm x 32mm rotors; stainless steel braided brake lines; MoTeC M1 Series ECM; an adjustable front anti-roll bar and racing steering wheel with quick-release steering hub.

When it comes to safety, the Sentra Cup race car has: an FIA Spec 6 point Roll Cage; FIA- Homologated Racing Seat; FIA- homologated 6 point restraint harness; FIA- homologated window net; FIA- approved Electric 4L Fire Suppression System AFFF; solid state electronic battery isolator and front and rear tow hooks.

On the exterior, Sentra’s existing strong stance has been enhanced with a rear spoiler from the sporty Sentra SR model, as well as rear calipers and rotors from the Sentra SV and SR. The Sentra Cup racecar has a bespoke stainless steel exhaust system; and lightweight, black 18″ x 9″ alloy racing wheels with 265/645/18 tires.

Sentra Cup drivers will even have an extra pair of eyes through Sentra’s rear view camera, and the driver actuated pit speed limiter will allow drivers to respect pit lane speed limits.

A racing machine in the guise of a sedan – stock Sentra components

Sentra’s top-level driving dynamics start with its independent rear suspension, which is matched to a MacPherson strut front suspension.

The Sentra Cup race car will have the stock 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, which replaces the previous generation’s 1.8-litre design. Horsepower is rated at 149, an increase of 20 per cent over the previous generation. The powerplant’s 146 lb.-ft of torque represents a 17 per cent increase.

In addition, the center of gravity has been lowered for the current Sentra versus the previous generation, in part, through use of the 2.0-inch wider track and 2.2-inch lower overall height. The Sentra’s coefficient of drag is 0.29, which is the same as the 370Z Sport Coupe.

Sentra in the red line – initial driving impressions

Professional NASCAR driver, Jean-François Dumoulin from Quebec, was instrumental in the development and testing of the Micra Cup racecars in 2015, and got behind the wheel of the Sentra Cup racecar to perfect its track performance.

After driving the Sentra Cup racecar prototype extensively, Dumoulin attested to the performance of the Sentra compact sedan, saying, “The new Sentra with its longer wheelbase, wider track and lower center of gravity looks and feels amazing. The handling characteristics are excellent due to all the work that went into designing the suspension package. Sentra is very agile, very stable, and the turn-in is crisp and precise. The braking capability is truly awesome – this will really help drivers develop their braking technique. We’ll be able to enjoy hard fought battles on track with this added performance, and we are really excited about all the work that has been done, it’s definitely a leap forward for one-make racing.”

For those interested in racing in the all-new racing series, the Sentra Cup racecar will be available in early 2021 at the price of: $39, 990CAD.

Launch details

The Nissan Sentra Cup’s will see the gradual phase-out of Micra race cars. As the Sentra Cup ramps up, both Sentra Cup and Micra vehicles will share the grid, separated in two classes.

Sentra Cup drivers will be at the front of the pack, with the Class Micra drivers positioned behind them. For each race, there will be the usual top three podium finishes, but separated between Class Micra and Sentra Cup drivers. The Class Micra category will also include podium wins for rookies, while the Sentra Cup category will include the same for seniors. At the end of the season, there will be one champion for the Sentra Cup, and one for the Class Micra.

The 2021 schedule will be announced early next year, while technical and sport regulations will be disclosed soon.

“At Nissan Canada, one-make series racing has become part of brand identity. We seize the invaluable opportunity it provides us to connect in a deeper way with our dealers and our customers, while attracting some new members to the Nissan fan base along the way, says Adam Paterson, Director of Marketing. “There’s a certain thrill in watching motorsport. The great thing about watching one-make racing in particular is, the gratification of seeing your everyday vehicle driving full tilt in a crowded pack on the track. The Sentra being one of our most historic nameplates, was redefined with its eighth generation launch, and we’re set to redefine it again through the Nissan Sentra Cup. Let the races begin!”

For more information about the Nissan Sentra Cup, please visit the official web site of the series at www.sentracup.com.

To follow the Nissan Sentra Cup on social media:

Facebook: Coupe Nissan Sentra Cup
Instagram: @nissansentracup
Twitter: @SentraCup
YouTube: SentraCupTV