Updated 05/04/22: Standard international goods vehicle operator licence mention. Updated 09/05/22: 'Green Card' insurance is not required by the tow car.
The CSCC is thrilled to return to Spa in June, with optimism that, for most members, crossing the channel will be as easy as it ever was. For a time, it was incorrectly believed that since leaving the EU, every CSCC member would require a carnet, insurance/bond and more for their race car. We now believe this is not the case, using evidence we have gathered first hand. We hope you find this guide useful.
All eleven CSCC series will feature at the Spa Summer Classic from 23rd to 26th June, yes, even the JMC Racing Special Saloons and Modsports will have the opportunity to race at this special event. We are once again the UK promoter for the headline Spa 3 Hours race for FIA cars, entries for this race and our own CSCC races are now open.
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. The weather (it is usually kind to us), history, speed and a more relaxed, holiday atmosphere in the spacious paddock won't change. Frites and Mayo, CSCC BBQ, podiums, perhaps a side trip to the 'Ring, are all phrases we hear from you. Entries are in most cases the same as in 2019, at £645 for those with 2 x 40 minute races, £665 for 3 x 30 minute races and £1695 per team entered in the 3 Hours.
What equipment do I need to race with you at Spa?
No change from previous years, it's as per 2022 MSUK racing regulations, except:
- A Motorsport UK 'Race National' licence, as a minimum (six 'signatures'/race results).
- An in-date FIA seat, for all cars, except if using the original seats in period-defined FIA Appendix K cars.
- FIA padding on the roll cage around the drivers head. - Full FIA underwear and socks too.
- 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 - You need to compete at two UK rounds with the CSCC, this is so we can check driving standards, but also because the club requires your financial support.
-The 2022 RACB safety regulations for the event will be available on the Spa Summer Classic website by spring time.
We believe that most CSCC members should not require a Carnet, but we can make no cast iron guarantees. As always, we are at the mercy of overseas officials and customs, as has always been the case. A definition of what a Carnet is, can be found further down this page.
1. You won't 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) - The boot is not full of equipment to sell (or gives that appearance)! - Paperwork showing your return crossing, race entry and a letter from us that explains you are invited by the Belgian RACB, to an amateur sporting event, with no prize money or reward.
2. You almost certainly won't 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 'should' be fine. It becomes a grey area 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!
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. - If the amount of spares and tools is excessively large in quantity and value, so it appears you could be trying to conduct business, or sell goods and avoid paying EU taxes.
An example of this may be that your car is looked after by a team, who might transport your car and spares in a team truck, together with paid mechanics, whilst you drive your own car separately. If you fall in to this category, please refer to government advice. Updated April 2022: Whilst the two are not strictly linked, the chances are that if you require a Carnet you will also need a standard international goods vehicle operator licence, from 21st May 2022, if you are transporting goods for hire or reward, this can even include cars towing trailers.
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 should not be needed by most members.
Are you sure I don't need a Carnet?
"My best mates cousin read on Facebook that last year a French customs man said 'Non', turning him back to Blighty, he confiscated his packet of Walkers ready-salted too!" Yes, there is some rumour, conflicting information and just a small chance of finding an officious Gendarme who wants to make things difficult, but, with the right preparation we think you'll be fine.
What hasn't helped it that when asking advice from UK Chambers Of Commerce, or government departments, you will receive different, conflicting advice, depending on who you speak to, in which department they're in and how you ask the question. Hugo, myself and others on the CSCC Committee have collectively wasted hours on phone calls and emails on this very subject! 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. See additional information at the end of this guide.
Ok, convince me....
In early October 2021, our Treasurer, Richard Wos attended the Spa Six Hours meeting, with the specific brief of talking to as many British drivers as possible, to find out how they got on crossing the channel, first hand. Richard spoke to a total of 16 drivers, all of whom towed their own race car themselves (Richard saw no need to talk to those that were part of a team, who would likely have required a Carnet). All 16 of these private drivers had no Carnet, correctly interpreting that one was not required. 15 of them passed through customs without query. 1 of them was stopped for a random check, producing paperwork for his tow vehicle, trailer and race car. In addition this individual had FIA papers and a dual language letter from the RACB (the Belgian equivalent of Motorsport UK), inviting them to the Spa Six Hours event, making it clear that it was an amateur sporting event with no reward. He was asked where he was headed, wished good luck for the race and sent on his way.
In addition, we have first hand, verifiable accounts of drivers in 2021 towing their own legal and non-road legal cars to overseas track days and events.
Ok, I believe I won't need a Carnet or Goods Vehicle Operators Licence, 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.
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, is highly recommended, see our recent article in Classic Lines. 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, CSCC entry list that shows your name(s) and car, your ferry/tunnel return crossing and a dual language letter that we will arrange through our Belgian friends, that invites you to the event. Remember that you are attending an event with no 'reward'.
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.
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.
London Chamber Of Commerce FAQ's (extract from 'What can an ATA Carnet be used for?') Carnets can only be issued for racing vehicles that are transported to the EU or any other Carnet country under transport contract (i.e. by freight forwarder / haulier)........If the vehicle is road worthy and is being driven to the country of destination by the owner– then the Carnet is not required (the same applies to personal vehicles being towed or transported by the owner )
Most CSCC members are not moving their car to Spa by transport contract (freight forwarder/haulier), therefore, this suggests an ATA Carnet cannot be issued.
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.
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
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 is 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.