Nissan Canada Turns Sentra Into $31,000 Race Car for One-Make Series

The Sentra Cup replaces the Micra Cup; will run for at least three years.

The 2020 Nissan Sentra is a pretty solid compact sedan. We thought so when we reviewed it last month. Nissan Canada must think so too, because today it announced it will use a lightly-modified version of the Sentra in a one-make racing series, set to kick off in May 2021.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Nissan Sentra Review: Big Car Feel, Small Car Price

For the last six years, the Nissan Micra Cup has run north of the border, an affordable motorsport series starring the brand’s smallest offering. With the Micra moribund, however, the torch is passing on to the larger, lower, and longer Sentra. It uses the lower S trim as a base—complete with a six-speed manual, which isn’t available on US-spec cars, and with all the necessary safety mods, will ring in at $39,990 CAD. That’s a little over $31,000 USD at current exchange rates, for a genuine turn-key race car.

“This was an easy decision for us, when the question came up about how to refresh our one-make series, Sentra was the first vehicle that came to mind for everyone,” says Steve Milette, Nissan Canada president. “Let’s go big, let’s take it to the next level with something that is faster, sleeker, and with a different vehicle body to really differentiate the experience for our drivers and our fans.”

What turns the Sentra into the Sentra Cup? The better question is who: the skilled team at Motorsports In Action, in St. Eustache, Quebec. There’s no added power here, for starters: it uses the same 2.0-liter engine as its road-going siblings, producing 149 hp and 146 lb-ft. Still, that’s a 40-percent increase over the Micra. Instead, the Cup transformation focuses on safety and durability. An adjustable coil-over racing suspension, adjustable front anti-roll bar, and 4-pot, 14-inch (355-mm) high-performance front brake discs give the Sentra Cup more track cred. It also adopts the rear calipers and rotors from the higher-spec SV and SR trims. Lightweight, 18-inch alloys just fit over those big front brakes, and come wrapped in 265/645/18 slicks.

Inside, the Sentra Cup features the requisite six-point roll cage, six-point racing harness, window nets, and a fire-suppression system. No fancy, quilted, Zero Gravity seats in this one, just an FIA-homologated racing seat. Drivers will get a pit speed limiter, and the standard rearview camera remains.

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A spoiler from the Sentra SR and a unique stainless steel exhaust round out the upgrades.

The Sentra will debut in May 2021. The Micras will live on for now, with a two-class system during the season. In previous years, the Micra Cup has visited some of the best tracks in North America, including Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

We always like seeing affordable auto racing here at AutoGuide. Perhaps this is a sign of a potential, hotter Nismo Sentra in the near future? We can only hope.

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