The 2020 Stevenage Sheet Metal 2CV 24 Hours took place in torrential conditions but this didn’t stop the teams and drivers from giving their 110%. Wingrove Racing took the victory finishing 4 laps ahead of their nearest rivals.
What is the 2CV 24 Hours?
Run by the Classic 2CV Racing Club, the first 24-hour race was held at Mondello Park in Ireland in 1990 after the club’s members got inspired by a trip to Spa-Francorchamps where the European 2CV 24 Hours took place back in 1988.
With the race moving to Snetterton circuit in 2003, it has been a staple for the Norfolk circuits calendar. Drivers are attracted from all over the world with cars coming from the USA, New Zealand and everywhere in between.
The cars are standard Citroen 2CV’s so that means pitstops require old fashioned wheel changes, intense communication from the drivers due to no in-car radios and standard everyday refuelling (no high flow fuel rigs here!).
Original Minis and Euro 2CV prototypes also compete in this event but are ineligible to score any points as their engine size does not conform to the UK regulations and therefore are much faster than the standard 2CV’s.
The race started in absolutely torrential rain. It could easily have been mistaken for being started at night due to the sheer darkness.
Despite the weather, there was no holding back between the Wingrove Racing Euro 2CV and the 129 APO Sport Mini. Exchanging positions multiple times per lap, there was no clear race favourite at this early stage. The Mini’s were clearly quicker through the corners but were left standing by the prototype on the straights.
Meanwhile, in the 2CV class, it was 2CV Team Lion who held a 12 second lead over Tete Rouge at the 1-hour mark. They had been the strongest 2CV all weekend and were the pre-race favourites once the 24 Hours had begun.
After 6 hours darkness had officially fallen and there was still no sign of the heavy rain easing off. Despite the treacherous conditions though, all 21 cars which started the race were still all circulating albeit with a few issues along the way.
Wingrove Racing had now stormed to a commanding 7 lap advantage over the Slarky Malarky Mini who themselves had powered to a 50 second lead over the APO Sport Mini. It was between these two in the Mini class with 4th (3rd in class) placed Team Mini-Ups now 3 laps down on their nearest rival.
Following only a lap behind was consistent 2CV pace setter Team Lion. Now 3 laps ahead of their nearest rivals it would take a serious reliability issue or a mishap in the rain for their lead to be overhauled. Also helped by the fact they were able to lap 3 seconds faster than Tete Rouge, the situation looked bleak for the Lion’s fellow competitors.
A technical error saw the Wingrove racing domination temporarily halted as Slarky Malarky now took a 2 lap lead over the APO Sport Mini who had now taken over in the second position. Wingrove racing had now dropped to 8 laps behind the leading Mini as a result but was now on the charge lapping 7 seconds per lap faster than the duo in front.
There was no change in the 2CV proceedings with Team Lion now storming to a 7 lap advantage over Tete Rouge. An impressive feat not just down to the identical cars but the rain still hammering down combined with the cooler temperatures of the early morning leaving the track like an ice rink.
Amazingly, all 21 cars were still running at the halfway stage despite some mechanical issues along the way for Team Toyshed who were now 110 laps behind the leader on the 2-mile circuit.
At the three-quarter mark, Slarky Malarky had maintained the lead position but was being rapidly chased down by the Euro 2CV of Wingrove Racing.
Further dramas had hit the prototype causing it to fall 14 laps behind the leader at the 14-hour point in the enduro. This clearly fired up the drivers as this deficit had been absolutely shattered at the 18-hour mark to just 3 laps behind the leading Mini.
With the track now drying, the conditions were finally playing to the strengths of the Le Mans inspired prototype which struggled during the early laps.
Meanwhile, the 2CV battle was hotting up. Tete Rouge had snatched the lead away from Team Lion after a mechanical issue during the 17th hour. It wasn’t all rosy for Tete Rouge as the Lions were hungry for their lead back. Claiming a lap back during the 18th hour, providing the car held up, it looked ominous for Tete Rouge as they had no response to this attack.
Even more astonishing than the Lions pace was the sheer fact that all 21 cars were still running. Absolutely unheard of in modern endurance racing with modern machinery let alone the little old Citroens first introduced in 1948. The now opposite conditions would help to ensure that any off-track excursions would only be minor.
At the chequered flag, it was Wingrove Racing who fought tooth and nail to claim their early lead back and power on to take a well-earned victory. Finishing only 4 laps ahead of Mini class dominators, Slarky Malarky, it just goes to prove that anything can happen in motorsport.
Slarky Malarky took an easy win in the Mini class finishing 8 laps clear of Team Mini-Uns who had unexpectedly stolen 3rd place from APO Sport who looked set to round out the overall podium. APO ultimately finished in 4th 1 lap down from Team Mini-Uns.
The 2CV class went down to the 23rd hour when the Lions pounced. Making the most of their opportunity they easily passed Tete Rouge and set about going even faster eventually winding up 3 laps ahead of their closest rivals.
As mentioned earlier, the Euro 2CV and the Minis are invitationals to the event so the winner’s points go to Team Lion with Tete Rouge and Twin Snails rounding out the podium for the 2CV’s.
With one of the wettest 24-hour races on record, the most amazing feat of the race is that out of 21 starters, all 21 cars took the chequered flag proving the fighting spirit and comradery in the paddock for this hugely competitive yet friendly series.
The final classification can be found here, thanks to TSL Timing.
The 2CV’s round out their season with a duo of 20-minute sprint races at Mallory Park in mid-October, another fearsome flat-out speed drome for these cars.