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Nissan Micra Cup's Keishi Ayukai: the passionate pursuit of a dream


Trois-Rivieres, QC – The sights and sounds of the race track are filled with awe and smile, as 28 Nissan Micra Cup drivers lineup to compete for glory and bragging right.

It's a typical racing weekend at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (GP3R), an event that's been run since 1967. For the Micra Cup, it's the third time on that schedule, and with each year comes new faces on the grid. The Micra Cup series is known for its various competitors from all walks of life, but nothing quite like Keishi Ayukai, a Japanese-born 30-year old from Brisbane, Australia.

Ayukai comes from the 2016 Nissan GT Academy program, not uncommon from others in past years including Thanaroj Thanasitnitikate of Thailand, Abhinay Bikkani of India, and Wisconsin-native Nicolas Hammann. The GT Academy finals gave them all a chance to join Nissan's racing academy program, but as things went south in the final race, they all moved north to Canada to the Nissan Micra Cup series.

The Nissan Micra Cup is a spec-series featuring race-ready Micras – the least expensive vehicle in the Nissan lineup. It not only provides these drivers a chance to continue to their racing dreams, but an opportunity to receive vital racing experience in a highly-competitive field.

What separates Ayukai from the aforementioned rest, is that he's had to do it all on his own dime. Unlike the others, Nissan Canada hasn't been a part of his decision, nor has a major sponsor or team come to the plate with a pile of money. Ayukai came to Canada with $30,000 in savings, along with a wing and a prayer.

For four months, he has had to jump between hostels to most-recently a friend's floor. As for transportation to various racing stops, his chariot out of necessity has been the bus, all in order to pursue his racing dream.

Ayukai's story is one that shows a different side of racing – the constant pursuit of sponsorship that at times becomes more stressful than the race itself. Sports at the highest level is big business, but the same business motto applies even at the Nissan Micra Cup level.

We caught up with Ayukai at GP3R – the antepenultimate racing weekend of the season to learn more about how he ended up in Canada, as well as his experiences and challenges.

Cost-wise continuing to race in Australia wasn't going to work out, so Gareth Evans (Marketing Communications Manager – Nismo, Nissan Motor Corporation) told me to seriously look into the Micra Cup,” explains Ayukai.

After talking with Micra Cup promoter Jacques Deshaies and Sports Director Gilles Villeneuve, Ayukai took the plunge and hopped on a plane with his savings, knowing if he didn't, he would never know what might have been.

Deshaies and Villeneuve assisted on sourcing a second-hand car for Ayukai, and a few days after the purchase, the Australian was on track for the first test of the season. Adapting to a left-hand car didn't take long. “the challenge was learning the tracks and getting comfortable in a highly-competitive field.”

Throughout the year, Ayukai's confidence in his racing abilities hasn't wavered, “I know I have the abilities, I just haven't been able to do anything with it.” It's possible that a lot of this has to do with financial pressures, and Ayukai admits that has crept into on-track decisions.

It's not that I'm scared to drive the car, I'm scared to bend it. When I'm handed a 50/50 decision in a corner, I have to be fully committed. I'm not left with an option to take a peek, I have to think about each and every move.”

At GP3R's double header, Ayukai finished in 14th and 15th place, respectively, but was left with more damage after tapping the wall in Race 1, followed by an incident on Lap 1 of Race 2 with the No. 40 car of Kevin King.

With two weekends to go at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Clarington, Ontario and back to Circuit Mont-Tremblant in late-September, Ayukai sits in seventh spot in the overall driver's standings with 156 points, 8 points out of fifth. But his attention is focused less on a top-five finish, and more on how to raise money for entry fees and repairs. Not to mention, what will be next year?

This weekend, I'm not even paying the team to look after my car, and I'm running on the same tires since the spring,” adds Ayukai. “My mind is focused on sponsorship and networking at the moment. It's been a mentally-draining year, but you just have to work at it. Mid-day – I'm on the phone, and it's all about that chase to find bits and pieces and scrape it all together.”

That might have worked for him ahead of GP3R as he took a last-minute job as a Japanese interpreter for a rally cross weekend at the track, but Ayukai admits without those two weeks on his friend's floor, he wouldn't have made it.

And CTMP in early-September might need the same luck. Recently, Ayukai set-up a Go Fund Me page to at least cover his entry fee, two new tires and transportation to Ontario. In total, there are four different financial goals, one of them being $80,000 to fund the rest of his season.

Ayukai's story is like many hopeful race car drivers – it's just rare to travel over 15,000 km from Brisbane to Montreal to continue that dream in a small Canadian racing car series. But for Ayukai, racing is home, regardless if it's in Trois-Rivieres or Sydney, Australia. And the only place he wants to be is in that race car, no matter how many bus rides he has to take or sleeping bag sleepovers he has to endure.


Nissan SUVs showcase towing abilities

Muskoka, ON – Summer is in full swing – and for many that means cottage life. Canadians from all over the country allow themselves a little break from everyday life – for at least one weekend – and and find a way to hit their own or another's cottage.

Water activities are a key component in fully enjoying the cottage lifestyle. However, setting that up takes not only planning and the purchase of a boat or jet ski, but also the right vehicle for towing.

A pickup truck may be the the first thing that comes to mind due to its high payload and towing rating. It makes sense, but there are many SUVs out there from small to large that can perform these tasks, as well as fill three rows of seats. In addition, those SUVs produce an abundance of versatility while providing better fuel economy savings.

Nissan has a few of these SUV haulers in its Pathfinder and Armada, so the Japanese brand brought them to the cottage country hotbed of Muskoka, Ontario – along with a few Titan pickups – to showcase how practical and easy-to-use they are for regular towing tasks.

Hitching a boat to the SUV

There were a total of five vehicles and five boats on hand, and regardless if you were in the Pathfinder or Titan, all vehicles were capable of towing the biggest boat in the lot. Naturally, the Titan diesel topped all in towing capacity at 12,010 lbs., followed by the Titan half-ton at 9,770 lbs. The Armada and Pathfinder rounded out the roster, but are impressively both class-leading at 8,500 and 6,000 lbs., respectively.

The first task was to safely hitch the Mastercraft Prostar boat to the back of the Armada; the same thing would occur the following day with a smaller Rossiter powerboat to the Pathfinder. This involved ensuring the trailer was properly balanced and level, the hitch ball was positioned below the trailer's coupler and lower to fasten, pin was locked in for backup safety, tie down straps were used to fasten the boat to the trailer, winch cables were attached to the bow of the boat, and finally the trailer's lightning harness was fastened to the Armada.

A lot to remember, but luckily we had experts around to help out. I might need one more lesson, but will be good to go afterwards. The whole trailer setup is easier with two people, as one can be the directional aid especially when positioning the trailer hitch ball, allowing the driver to receive signals through the SUV's 360-degree monitor. Once everything was set, it was a matter of checking if the trailer lights worked, and that involved a simple process of cycling through all the lights through Nissan's key fob.

How's the drive while towing?

The Armada, now in its second-generation, is built-on the same platform as the Patrol, which is the global name for the full-size SUV. It used to be based on the same platform as the Pathfinder, but it still possesses a body-on-frame construction as all the other larger Nissan products.

Towing any vehicle can be a challenge in many respects: visibility, weight, braking and constant mirror checks, the list can go on. However, one key ingredient comes down to confidence. As long as the vehicle is able to tow that capacity, it's just a matter of getting used to that different type of drive.

The Mastercraft Prostar boat added an extra 3,300 lbs. (1,497 kg) to the Armada, which was definitely felt. The feeling is a bit sluggish on acceleration, but after some time you get used to it. The vehicle is aided by by its 5.6-litre V8 engine that produces 390 hp (up from 317) and 394 lb-ft of torque, so it's more than capable of handling the weight. It's more the driver that has to adjust his or her way of driving: accelerate more uphill, take sharp bends at a slower speed, and keep a fair distance from drivers ahead to allow more time to stop.

Once those adjustments are made, the Armada does the rest while achieving better fuel economy than its past iteration thanks to its direct injection engine, variable valve event and lift and seven-speed automatic transmission.

A similar experience was had in the Pathfinder, albeit with that smaller Rossiter powerboat. The Pathfinder utilizes a direct-injected 3.5-litre V6, good for 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, up from 260 and 240, respectively.

In the case of the Pathfinder, the smaller boat's weight became a non-factor, as it was hardly felt throughout the drive. Sweeping curves became simple to handle, as long as the SUV stayed between the lanes, proving that the Pathfinder could have easily towed more weight than the 2,500 lb. boat.

There were a few instances with both vehicles where reversing became a challenge. A spotter was used in both circumstances: one time to back out of a parking area; the other to launch the boat into the water. With any object being towed, steering wheel inputs are backwards. Therefore, if you need to turn the boat right, you would have to move the steering wheel to the left. Once I got through my 12-point backup turn out of the parking area, launching the boat into water only took a couple corrections. It all comes down to practice to get the hang of it, but a lot of the Armada and Pathfinder backup camera aids definitely helped out in the process.


If Nissan's point was to showcase that all of its larger vehicles are champions when it comes to towing – that point was definitely proven. It's easy to showcase any pickup when it comes to taking a boat to the cottage, so that's why my focus centred around the Armada and Pathfinder.

Both SUVs proved that one doesn't need to spend more on a pickup to casually go away for the weekend with your boat or jet ski. The Armada and Pathfinder, along with many other SUVs from other automakers, are all more than capable to haul and tow many objects. You don't have to sacrifice towing abilities in order to receive better handling, added comfort, money savings at the pump, as well as space on the driveway. In the end, picking an SUV might just be that versatile option families are looking for.


Nissan Qashqai to arrive in Canada in the spring

Windsor, ON – The Nissan Qashqai compact crossover was revealed as the latest addition to the Nissan roster in an exclusive unveiling at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor, Ontario. The reveal occurred a day before the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and Nissan Canada couldn't have been happier to finally let the cat out of the bag. 

“We're convinced it [The Qashqai] will be a game changer in the compact segment,” explains Christian Meunier, Senior Vice President, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America and Chairman of Nissan Canada. 

Meunier was on-hand with the current Nissan Canada president Joni Paiva to tell the journey of the Qashqai finally being approved for both the Canadian and American markets. In the United States, the Qashqai will be known as the Rogue Sport, but will essentially be the same vehicle slotting in-between the Juke and Rogue crossovers. 

The Qashqai may be new to North America, but it has been around since 2007 where it quickly has risen to be one of Europe's best-selling SUV/crossover vehicles. Now, with the compact crossover segment being the fastest growing in sales, it only makes sense for Nissan Canada to add another vehicle for consumers, and as its president Paiva explains, “fill the void in the market.”

Compared to the Rogue, the Qashqai sits 2.3-inches shorter in wheelbase and 12.1-inches shorter in overall length. It has similar stylings to the rest of the Nissan crossover/SUV lineup featuring the signature V-shaped grille, swept-back headlights and boomerang-shaped taillights. 

In the second row, versatility and functionality becomes apparent with a maximum cargo capacity of 1,730 litres when the second row is folded fully flat. Those seats can also be configured to hold one passenger in the back and drop only one side in a 60/40 split. Trunk cargo space sits at 648 litres, more than enough to fit luggage for a family vacation. 


Under the hood is only one offering: a 2.0-litre inline-four that produces 141 hp and 147 lb.-ft. of torque matched to either a six-speed manual transmission (only available in the base S trim) or the Xtronic continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive is available with front-wheel-drive being standard. 

For Canada, there are a couple of unique features that include the aforementioned manual tranny that won't be found south of the border. In addition, heated front seats are standard, while a heated steering wheel and remote control start functions are available.

The 2017 Nissan Qashqai is expected to be released in Spring 2017 and will immediately compete with the likes of the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax, Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Crosstrek.


A Nissan Titan rally to setup the Grey Cup

Toronto, ON – There's nothing more Canadian in sports than the Canadian Football League (CFL). You can talk about hockey or lacrosse, but everything about the CFL is Canadian. Compared to American football, CFL fields are larger and wider, while goalposts are stationed in the front of the end zone (ridiculous, if you ask me, but that's the way it's always been). There's even a term called a 'rouge' known as a single point in the CFL, and unheard of in any other league.

A cornerstone of Nissan's current sponsorship plan has to do with sports, and for the points above, that is exactly why Nissan Canada got involved with the CFL back in 2007. A 10-year relationship has grown beyond giveaways, posters, or simply being the 'official vehicle of the CFL,' and into one that is focused on creating a grassroots football movement throughout the nation.

For the past three years, Nissan Canada, the Nissan dealership network, and the CFL have worked together to form the Nissan Kickoff Project – a project that involves aiding football school programs in need across the country, whether than means jerseys, cleats, helmets, etc. Through the program, the Nissan Kickoff Project has been able to assist more than 75 schools to the tune of $435,000.

For 2016, Nissan Canada wanted to add to its CFL partnership and created an inaugural event called, 'the Rally of the Titans.' To understand more on this, they invited a select group of automotive journalists to not only learn about it, but be involved as well.

The Rally of the Titans kicked off on Nov 12 with 10 Nissan Titan half-ton trucks representing each CFL team (well really nine and one that represents the Grey Cup), and they would visit every mainland province in Canada, totaling more than 9,000 kms. The task was for the West and East regions to group off in teams of two (BC, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg versus Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal and Grey Cup), and compete in challenges daily in different cities for points. The winning team would be announced on Saturday, November 26 ahead of 104th Grey Cup in Toronto.

My challenge on the second last leg was simple: drive the Titan half-ton from Nissan Canada's head office in Mississauga to the University of Toronto's Varsity Stadium. I was provided the keys to the Edmonton Eskimos Titan truck and paired up with Kaitlyn, the Edmonton brand ambassador. We chatted about her rally thus far and certain challenges along the way. She took a liking to the camaraderie felt within the team and exceptional memories that involved food bank deliveries, meeting CFL alumni and one cold polar bear dip.

Upon arrival at Varsity Stadium. It was the journalists turn to compete over a number of skill competitions: 40-yard dash, side-shuffle sprints, kicking and catching. We were all paired up with a CFL coach, mine was Hamilton Ti-Cats receiver and all-around high energy guy Chad Owens.

Yours truly fared well in most of the activities save for a one-handed catch attempt from Owens. But somehow, this competition would come down to a CFL trivia contest, where I was no match for a CFL-guru in attendance.

Win-or-lose, it's all about the journey and the fun times along the way. Those stories derived from the brand ambassadors that piloted these Titans from the furthest west and east regions of Canada. The pride in the CFL and their respective cities/provinces were shown, and I was simply happy to be a part of that.

Nissan Canada will be continuing its efforts in promoting the CFL, the Grey Cup and its Titan pickup throughout the week with kickoff parties at BMO field, concerts at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and a Nissan Titan Tailgate from 12-5pm on Sunday before the game begins.

Nissan Micra Cup and Project E.R.A.S.E. come together to stop street racing


I first learned about Project E.R.A.S.E. (Eliminating Racing Activity On Streets Everywhere) on a chilly late April afternoon at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). There were many officers present this day – a collaboration of seven police services with the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of the Environment – to spread the word towards eradicating street racing everywhere.

The message from the large number of officers on hand was clear, “Take it to the track, and leave it at the track.”

It totally makes sense, but it's one thing to say, and another thing to do. We try our best to spread the word, yet the statistics tell the story of 107 charges and six arrests related to street racing thus far in 2016.

After my initial Project E.R.A.S.E. story was published, I received a call from Didier Marsaud, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at Nissan Canada. He had an idea in mind to showcase the project's message to keep racing on the track by inviting one of the officers as a special guest driver during the upcoming Nissan Micra Cup race weekend at CTMP.

In my mind, the plan was a good one, and one that continued a bigger, more visual push of that message with more marketing dollars behind it. I connected the two parties and voila, we have Staff Sergeant Chuck Kaizer of the Ontario Provincial Police, Highway Safety Division suiting up to compete in the No. 23 car at the upcoming Nissan Micra Cup races during Labour day weekend on September 3 and 4.

“By collaborating with the Micra Cup, we’re sending a clear message to Ontario drivers who feel dangerous driving on the public roadways is okay – racing does not belong on public roads - there’s a safe way to satisfy the ‘need for speed,’ and it’s more attainable than some might think,” said Staff Sergeant Kaizer.

Staff Sergeant Kaizer will be a part of a close to 30 car field that weekend, but regardless of his finish, he will be able to showcase the original message on that late April day at CTMP of how much fun it is to race on track without the potential of hurting any innocent bystanders. On top of that, he will be supplied an even playing field in the Micra Cup, as everyone races the same race-specced subcompact Nissan Micra priced at $22,900.

“We saw an incredible opportunity for the Nissan Micra Cup to collaborate with Project E.R.A.S.E., to help raise awareness of the dangers of street racing, while providing a safe, regulated alternative for those with a penchant for speed and competition,” said Joni Paiva, president of Nissan Canada Inc.

In that past article, I wrote about not having the answer to stop street racing and questioned whether the police services have the manpower to be fully effective. Well, all I know is that a collaboration between Nissan Canada, the Nissan Micra Cup and project E.R.A.S.E. is a great start towards making change, and if they can pool their marketing powers together, we can hope to start seeing some results.

Even if it's a small change, that could be someone's son, daughter, father, or mother who just had their lives saved. And that's a win for all in my book.

  • Published in News

2016 Nissan Micra - What We Like and Dislike

As an automotive enthusiast and marketing guy, it’s very easy for me to tell whether a car is going to be successful in the North American market. From my experiences of attending auto shows, I feel that I can walk by each booth and have a good idea on what will sell and what will falter. 

One booth has always left me puzzled – Nissan. Among its bread-and-butter vehicles – the Altima, Rogue and Sentra – would sit a funny-looking vehicle that always had me asking, “Who would ever buy that?” 

For this week, I decided to test out the all new Nissan Micra SR. My tester was equipped with an automatic transmission – a $1,000 option bringing the total price to $17,719.

The Micra is classified as a B-segment car, competing with the likes of the Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Chevrolet Spark. This category aims to woo entry-level buyers with cute bubbly vehicles featuring bare bone interiors and modest performance levels.

Like: Price tag

The Micra is most likely the cheapest new vehicle you can get in the North American market today, aside from the Chevrolet Spark which is a few dollars less. The Micra starts at just $9,998 and tops out at $15,988 for the five-speed manual transmission and any add-ons. Other competitors are priced right around that range or several thousand more, but offer a few more standard features. 

Like: Performance

When it comes to the road, the Micra gives you more than what you pay for in terms of performance. Its small dimensions give it an increased power-to-weight ratio and a fairly peppy performance – thanks to the 107 lb.-ft. of torque (at 4,400 rpm). The 109 horsepower four-banger is identical to the one found in the bigger Nissan Versa Note, which costs almost $5,000 more. The steering is slightly heavy but nimble above certain speeds. Its small size also provides a small turning radius, which was useful in tight parking lots.

Like: Fuel efficiency

Unlike other new Nissans, the automatic model doesn’t come with a CVT tranny but merely a four-speed. My tester averaged around 7.6 L/100 km – which is decent for the performance that it delivers. Keep in mind that most of my driving was by myself with the A/C off, so expect this number to increase between 1-2 litres depending on your driving requirements and conditions.

Like: Design

Comparing design elements among uber-small cars is a fairly easy part of writing this story– there’s not much to discuss. Most hatches in this segment have a small wheelbase, a tall roofline, and a bubbly shape. The headlights are fairly large and aggressive. The presence of a visible upper and lower grille give it an empowering stance. From the side, the vehicle looks tall and roomy while the curved roof line provide a sleek appearance. The tall dimensions however make the base 15-inch wheels look slightly out of place. The Micra is ultra-customizable allowing customers to modify their mirror covers, door handles, wheel caps, and hatch stripe for around $650.


Dislike: Automatic Upgrade

The automatic transmission is a basic four-speed – an anomaly considering most of Nissan’s line-up has shifted to fuel efficient CVTs. The transmission itself is just okay and delivers decent gear shift ratios at our tested city speeds. What bothers me about the Micra is the cost to upgrade to the basic five-speed manual. On the highest trim level, you pay $1,000 to get the automatic – which is a reasonable price. However, on the base model, be prepared to shell out an extra $3,500 to get the automatic option – which is more than one-third the price of the car itself!

Overall, the Micra is a city car that delivers better value than what you pay for. That being said, it’s not for everyone. People with families who are looking for space, but are cash strapped to a $10k budget are more likely to find better value in a used family sedan. Also, drivers who flock to the dealerships for that low cost may be turned off by the cost of the Micra with an automatic transmission. That being said, the Micra will find better appeal among single people and couples living in urban settings who just need basic transportation to get around the city.

It’s been two years since the Micra’s launch, and I have a feeling it’s going to be with us for a long time. With car prices constantly on the rise due to the weakening Canadian dollar, buyers who find themselves priced out of C-segment options might give this car the shot it deserves.

2016 Nissan Murano - Fuel Economy Review

In this episode, we test out the fuel economy in the all new 2016 Nissan Murano. Featuring one of the most dramatic redesigns we've seen in this segment, the Murano certainly stands out from the competition. Although only slightly larger than the cheaper Rogue, the Murano is a premium Nissan offering with more power output from a larger engine. Similar to other Nissans however, the Murano features a similar CVT transmission that yields decent fuel economy numbers.

Our tester was equipped with a 3.5-litre 6-cylinder engine. Our test yielded 671 km on a full tank of gas and gave a fuel economy rating of 10.4L/100km.

After using up a half tank of gas, we were able to fill it back up for $60 at a fuel cost of $0.99/liter.




Tested fuel range: 671km per full tank

Fuel economy: 10.4L/100km

Fuel economy (mpg): 22.4mpg



CAD $60 @ $0.99/liter



3.5-litre 6-cylinder (DOHC)

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

260hp @ 6,000rpm

240lb-ft @ 4,400rpm

All-wheel drive



The Nissan Micra Cup: fun things do come in small packages

Bowmanville, ON – The desire to be a race car driver resides in the heart of many driving enthusiasts. It's a dream that's played over in our heads from a very young age. We study the famous tracks like the Nürburgring, Silverstone, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, or my personal favourite Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

For the 99 percentile (and I can probably add a couple of decimals to get it closer to 100 per cent), this dream never gets a whiff of reality. And I'm not just talking about a Formula One ride, I'm talking most of the major racing series unless you have the rare combination of racing talent, lots of money, connections and a bit of luck.

It most likely is a pipe dream to be a race car driver at that level, but there's a new racing series from the people at Nissan Canada that can put your dreams back on the map, and for a relatively minimal cost of $22,900.

It's called the Nissan Micra Cup, a single car series that's billed as the most affordable racing series in Canada. Currently, it's in the middle of its second year and just went through their first race at the well-known Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) race track in Bowmanville. CTMP is part of its Ontario expansion plan for 2016 that sees the Micra Cup host 6 of its 16 races in the heartland province.

A buzz has surrounded this growing racing scene and I had to see what the fuss was all about with 26 drivers having a blast during CTMP's race weekend. Luckily, Nissan Canada made an exception a day after the weekend races for me (I was unable to attend the regular journalist event the week prior) to get some alone track time in the race-specced Nissan Micra.

It was a bright, sunny day; the track was free from all other cars; and there weren't any spectators in sight to watch my amateurish driving. That's what I would call ideal conditions for my first run in this car.

Waiting for me was a helmet and neck brace for safety. I put those on and awkwardly placed my legs inside of the Micra. Remember, this isn't your typical road Micra, as it's been stripped and transformed into a racing machine. The team at MIA (Motorsports in Action) out of St-Eustache fit each car with a roll cage, racing seat, new door panels and floors, racing steering wheel and Nismo suspension making it difficult to get in and out of, but as you will soon find out – so worth it!

I started up the Micra and headed out onto the track with the instruction to stay in third gear throughout. Unusual, but the 109-hp compact car could maintain high speeds without having to hesitate for gear shifts. As a good student does, I obliged and we were quickly into third and ready to test out its acceleration and handling abilities.

What surprised me the most was the sheer quickness of the Micra. You don't think fast thoughts when its 109-hp 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine comes to mind. But for this track, the Micra performed admirably and I could have gone even faster.

The whole experience was really smooth as I followed the layout of pylons and worked my angles and sight lines correctly. Perhaps, the instructor being in the car deterred me against pushing it harder, but I was in a relaxed zone piloting from side to side as the track got windy.

Braking was quick and harsh, exactly how it needs to be on track. This setup allowed me to quickly regain the balance of the car with added traction before making the turn after the braking zone. The overall weight transfer process appeared simple and seamless without any fierce jerking of the car, but a lot of that may have to do with me staying in third gear throughout.

In the end, it was a quick 10-15 minute session in the race-specced Nissan Micra car. Enough time to get me excited about the racing experience and bewildered about how the little Micra car can be so much fun to manoeuvre around. The most uncomfortable thing about it was getting in and out of the car; and trust me, if I didn't get out, I would have gone back for more laps. That's the addictive nature of the Nissan Micra Cup proving that you don't need a 500-hp sports car in order to have a good time on the track.

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