They don’t race these, do they? *updated
My only surprise at this news is that it’s taken so long for this series to happen.
Of course, it’s those wacky Brits, who will give pretty much anything a go, presenting a Piaggio Ape race series beginning in April 2013.
It turns out the Ape is only now being officially imported to the U.K., and the British are mad for motorsports, so a single-make racing series seemed a perfectly natural promotional opportunity.
Single-make racing series are quite popular in the U.K. and on the Continent, providing supporting events for Le Mans Series, World Touring Car Championship and even Formula 1® race weekends. Racing legends like Jackie Stewart, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher got their start racing in such series, in cars with little horsepower and even less braking and grip.
The lads at Top Gear UK took an Ape racer for a few laps around the Rye House kart track, and while they found the controls to be somewhat akin to an alien spacecraft’s they are totally familiar to any rider of an old-skool Vespa or Stella.
As with other single-make race series, the race Apes will have identical specifications, looking quite stock except for the exterior roll bar and front-mounted cow catcher. The cost to participate should be quite low, and the inherent instability of 3-wheeled vehicles traveling at (relatively) high speeds should make for some spectacular racing. And crashing.
UPDATE, October 1, 2012: Series organizer Steven Dennis calls attention to this vid of an Ape racer doing a few hot laps. Hot being a relative term, of course.
Mr Dennis says he’d love to have a U.K.-based American in the series.