top of page

Racing At Spa In 2024 Guide

Updated: Mar 28

Updated 28/03/24

After a year away, the CSCC is thrilled to return to Spa in April. In 2022 we produced a similar racing overseas guide that was widely used by many clubs and individuals. Now, two years on we have learnt more and so have updated it for 2024.


We shall be taking all our series to the Summer Classic from April 25th to 27th/28th 2024, with the exception of the Mintex Classic K and Adams & Page Swinging 60s, who will have CSCC races at the Spa 6 hours meeting later in September instead.


CSCC Disclaimer: We hope you find this updated guide useful, but each driver should decide for themselves what is required for travelling overseas, based on their individual situation. The CSCC cannot be held liable for the information and interpretation it has published within this guide. As has always been the case, much depends on regional customs and law-enforcement officials.



A look back over the last two seasons of competing in the EU and what has changed.

In 2022, following our guidance, more than 150 CSCC drivers, many towing their own race car, travelled to and from our Spa races without being turned back or fined. The vast majority of these did so without a Carnet. We also know that other clubs and individuals used our guidance and successfully crossed the channel for races and track days.

However, later in 2022 we heard first hand, from two trusted CSCC drivers who had difficulties with French customs. One was significantly delayed, the other was fined and turned back.

In 2023 we understand that many hundreds of competition car towing Brits crossed the channel with no issue. That is, until the October 'Super Spa' event. Here, at least 6 UK drivers were stopped at Calais on the way out, just after exiting the Eurotunnel, were detained and each fined 300 Euros. They were fortunately able to proceed, race and got back without further issue. French customs officials appeared to have no interest in any paperwork or reasoning, other than asking for (and not receiving) a Carnet. It should be noted that whilst an unpleasant shock, this was still cheaper and quicker than if those drivers had applied for a Carnet!

Thank you to all our drivers who have been in touch and given their first hand accounts of what they have experienced.


Although this was not a CSCC event, it concerned us for the future, so we wrote directly to the EU. The latest reply (18/01/24) we received from the European Commission Secretariat- General included this quote:

"In a nutshell, the provisions invoked by your members regarding customs treatment of means of transport are applied based on the use that is intended for the goods, not their nature. A racing car, if qualified for the use on normal roads, can indeed be a means of transport but can also be brought in the EU customs territory for the sole purpose of racing.

While means of transport can be declared by the sole act of the good crossing the border, other procedures apply to other goods, including, for instance, oral declaration for cars brought in for race purposes.

It is for the national customs authority to assess the circumstances of a case and apply on this basis the procedure required. The Commission does not question such assessment a posteriori."


Two key points from this reply.

The first being that the classification of 'goods' can change depending on their intended use. So, whilst a road legal car used as transport doesn't require a carnet, a race car only being used for racing may do.


The second is the final sentence, demonstrating that the various European customs can do what they want with regards to customs and interpretation. It is the French customs that appear to be the ones that are being the most difficult for UK race cars crossing their borders. This is perhaps inevitable, as France is the country that sees the highest volume of racers travelling through their territory.

It 'might' be worth you considering crossing the channel to Holland as an alternative.


There is a relatively untried method that has been discussed since 2023 you could use. It is free of charge and doesn't require a Carnet, read here for more details. If anyone does use this please let us know after the event how you got on:

If you use this, you must follow to the letter, the instructions as to what to say exactly, if you are stopped.



What hasn't changed?

Firstly, it's important to know that everything that always made this event such a special occasion in club motorsport still remains. history, speed and a more relaxed, holiday atmosphere in the spacious paddock won't change. Frites and Mayo, podiums, perhaps a side trip to the 'Ring, are all phrases we hear from you.


What has changed?

This year whilst there will again be a test day on the Thursday, for those entering our CSCC Interseries races there will now be both a qualifying session and a race on the Friday, with the final race on the Saturday. This means you will have time to enjoy an evening out on Saturday, followed by a leisurely drive home on the Sunday. The 3 hour race will now take place on the Sunday morning, finishing shortly after 1pm.

No CSCC BBQ this time, sorry, partly due to the time of year, the BBQ's themselves had come to the end of their life, plus our volunteer chef has returned to racing, rather than cooking!

Previously we issued a letter in dual language from our Belgian friends, stating we were to compete in an amateur, non-profit race event. Based on the above wording, we now believe this could actually make the situation worse, by confirming that the primary reason a road legal car is on the back of a trailer heading into the EU is to race, not to be used on the roads. Therefore, we won't issue a letter this year.


What equipment do I need to race with you at Spa?

Not many changes from previous years, it's as per 2024 MSUK racing regulations, except:

- New for 2024, your race suit must have an FIA hologram.

- New for 2024, your helmet must be an in-date FIA standard (not 'just' Snell).

- A Motorsport UK 'Race National' licence, as a minimum (six 'signatures'/race results and the extra fee paid to MSUK).

- An in-date FIA seat, for all cars, except if using the original seats in period-defined FIA Appendix K cars.

- FIA homologated padding on the roll cage around the drivers head. - Full FIA underwear and socks.

- If you have an FIA bag/fuel tank, it must be in date. If your car has a custom made fuel tank it must be foam-filled. A standard, production fuel tank is ok and does not require foam filling.

Any MSUK Post-Brexit extensions DO NOT Apply at Spa, such as seatbelt expiry dates.

-The 2024 RACB safety regulations for the event are available now on the Spa Summer Classic page of the CSCC website.


Carnet

We believe that some CSCC members will need a Carnet, whilst others may not, but we can make no cast iron guarantees. We are at the mercy of officials on both sides of the channel, as has always been the case. If you choose to travel without a Carnet, then provided the fine does not exceed 300 Euros and you are not turned back, then this is still quicker and cheaper than dealing with a Carnet!

A Chambers of Commerce may well 'sell' you a Carnet, but just because they will, doesn't mean you should. A Carnet is not a guarantee of trouble free border crossing, although it could well help based on last years experience, but is an expense and takes extra time to apply and visit a centre on each side of the channel.

A definition of what a Carnet is, can be found further down this page.

We believe:

1. You may not need a Carnet if:

- You are non-professional (not making money from these races)

- Your race car is road legal and you have paperwork to prove it - You are towing your race car yourself, with a private car/motorhome (with paperwork) - You are not carrying wheels, tools and spares (consumables like grease, fuel, oil are fine and do not require a carnet).

- Crossing to Holland, evidence suggest a Dutch crossing may be less likely to incur an issue with customs.

- Trying the relatively new Temporary Importation Relief method. - Paperwork showing your return crossing. You are a tourist, on holiday, during which you will also be driving your car an amateur sporting event, with no prize money or reward.

2. You will probably need a Carnet, if all the above apply, with these differences:

- Your race car is not road legal. Produce a bill of sale, showing you are the owner. Any other useful documentation for the race car may help, such as FIA papers and/or Motorsport UK vehicle passport. - Your tow vehicle is a van or truck. If it is unmarked (not plastered with race team stickers), you are the registered owner (with paperwork) and you are not carrying 'goods for hire or reward' you 'may' be fine. It becomes more challenging as the size of the vehicle increases (giving an impression of a commercial enterprise), or if it appears this could be a motorsport business vehicle, e.g VW T5 with four mechanics on board, in team regalia.

- You have used the Eurotunnel or a French port.

- You are carrying spares and tools beyond what could be argued as beyond essentials to run the permitted vehicle. If it is an option, you may want to consider transporting these items in a different vehicle.

3. You will almost certainly need a Carnet if: - Your race car is being transported by a team. - You are racing for financial or business gain. - You are carrying a quantity of spares and tools for the race car considered by an official to require a Carnet. It has been impossible to establish what quantity or type the threshold may be and what the UK officials are briefed. Most drivers have got through with no issues, with spares, tools and wheels provided they fall into category 1 or 2 above. However, a few have been stopped, including a recent example crossing from Hull for a trackday, where customs insisted the wheels and spares required a carnet.

Whilst the two are not strictly linked, if you require a Carnet for business or commercial purposes you will probably also need a standard international goods vehicle operator licence, if you are transporting goods for hire or reward, this can even include cars towing trailers. If you have applied for a Carnet you must bring everything back with you (excludes consumables). For example, if you took out a spare engine to Spa and fitted it to replace the one that went pop into many pieces, you must bring back the broken one, else it could be assumed you'd sold an engine and be liable to taxes.


CSCC van waiting with the trucks, to have the Carnet stamped.

What actually is a Carnet?

To quote the .gov website 'ATA Carnets are international customs documents used for the suspension of duties where goods will be re-exported within a year.' Also described as a passport for goods. They are designed for commercial operations (goods), not private individuals with their own possessions. You don't need a Carnet if you are driving your own car to Belgium and back, nor if you are towing your own caravan to the EU and back. Where this changes is when you are dealing with 'goods', commercial activities etc. The majority of members are attending an amateur sporting event, with no financial reward, then bringing your possessions back into the UK within a week. As we've already stated, a Carnet may not be needed by most members, with the sticking point how spares and tools are viewed and how even a road legal car's customs status changes depending on how it is intended to be used within the EU.


Ok, I'm going to take a chance and cross without a Carnet, or try the Temporary Importation Relief method. What would you suggest I bring?

We believe a neat folder, containing all paperwork is useful were you to be stopped (in preference to emails and pdfs on your phone), containing the following to help prove that your visit to the EU is not professional, commercial or for business: 1. Tow vehicle: V5, insurance certificate (from 2nd August 2021 this should include EU 3rd party cover by default), MOT. If the car is exempt from an MOT, it is nevertheless advisable to get one done to avoid problems.

2a. Private trailer gross weight under 3500kg = No trailer registration necessary, although you may choose to register your trailer, to add to your paperwork folder. Proof of trailer insurance (Green Card) 'may' be necessary, contact your tow car insurance company at least 6 weeks in advance of travelling to check. 2b. Private trailer gross weight over 3500kg = £26 registration + Green Card

2c. Commercial trailer gross weight over 750kg = £26 registration +Green Card

3a. Race car (road legal): all documents as per no.1, plus a receipt of sale that shows when you bought the car, for how much and that it was sold to you. Optional: Motorsport UK vehicle passport and (where applicable) FIA papers, are recommended. 3b. Race car (not road legal): as many documents as you can muster of the above. 4. Where you are going/what you are doing: A print out of where you are staying, what you are doing (you are a tourist, on holiday) and your ferry/tunnel return crossing.

Supplementary: Don't forget your UK driving licence, optional personal accident insurance, GHIC (apply now, as this can take a month or two) and all your race kit and race licence!

5. UK (not GB) sticker on both tow vehicle and trailer


6. A polite and friendly attitude towards any official that may stop you, it goes a long way.

An international driving permit is not required (although optional) for any of the countries you are likely to drive through to get to Spa.

7. Travel light, if at all possible bring only the essentials when it comes to spares and tools for the race car. If it is an option, take these in a friends/family members car, leaving the tow vehicle, race car and trailer 'bare'.

We hope this guide helps you. It is written with the best knowledge and interpretation available at the time of writing, but could be subject to change of course.



Additional sources:

Point 20 (2.) Cars, boats, yachts, aeroplanes and motorbikes for the following uses: Professional equipment - vehicles for racing, test driving or race support

The key word here is 'Professional', what most CSCC members are doing when racing their own car at Spa is 'amateur', therefore a Carnet does not cover this and is not needed.


This is a useful article to quote if challenged.

If you’re taking goods to another country temporarily for business reasons and you think you’ll be over the duty free limit, you can usually get an ATA Carnet to avoid paying duty. This includes things like:

  • personal effects and sports goods

As most of our members are not taking goods to the EU for business reasons it implies you should not require a carnet. We can find no reference on the government website that deals with taking personal possessions overseas for personal/leisure reasons.


For those members with road legal race cars only: You must take your vehicle log book (V5C) with you if you’re taking your vehicle abroad for less than 12 months. You may have to show it if you’re stopped at a port or while driving abroad. UK law still applies to a UK-registered vehicle if you take it abroad for less than 12 months. That means you need to make sure:

  • your vehicle is taxed in the UK while it’s abroad

  • you have a current MOT

  • you have insurance

and

Clarification from the EU that road legal/road registered vehicles are granted temporary admission to/from the UK to EU, without customs formalities.



https://www.motorsportuk.org/movement-of-motorsport-vehicles-post-brexit/ Motorsport UK produced this web page in January 2020. A lot has changed since then, with actual racers putting the system to the test. Whilst we believe this MSUK page is broadly correct for professional/commercial teams/drivers, it may not applicable for amateurs (most CSCC members).

A discounted MSUK Carnet deal was arranged at the time with the Greater Birmingham Chambers Of Commerce. Only if you require a Carnet, this is worth considering. https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/international/documentation/ata-carnets/#4 From their FAQs: When and why do I need it?

If your goods are going outside of the UK and into one of the 40+ countries that accepts ATA Carnets and you are going for one of the following reasons:

  • You are exhibiting at an International Trade Fair/Exhibition

  • You are taking Commercial Samples with you to business meetings to try and generate business

  • Your goods are going out for Professional Equipment purposes to perform their function or to undergo testing

The words 'goods' and 'professional equipment' are key here and we believe don't apply to most amateur members, personally owned vehicles.



 


796 views

댓글


bottom of page