Reigning champion Xavier Coupal returns to Nissan Micra Cup

Xavier Coupal will again compete in the Canadian Nissan Micra Cup in 2017 but he insists he keeps his options open.

Reigning champion Xavier Coupal returns to Nissan Micra Cup
Race and championship winner Xavier Coupal
Xavier Coupal, Olivier Bédard, Valérie Limoges, Stefan Rzadzinski
Olivier Bédard, Xavier Coupal
Race and championship winner Xavier Coupal
Richard Spénard, Xavier Coupal/Bertrand Godin
Xavier Coupal, Olivier Bédard
Xavier Coupal

Last year, Xavier Coupal clinched the title of the Nissan Micra Cup at the conclusion of the ultimate round of the season at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, beating by just a few car lengths his rival and teammate, Olivier Bédard, the 2015 series’ champion.

The Nissan Micra Cup is a spec series exclusive to Canada. It features identically prepared, showroom stock Nissan Micras on Pirelli slick tires.

Coupal started his racing career in karting, then moved on to Formula Ford 1600s. He also contested four races in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the former appellation of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series before he made a full-time comeback in motorsport last year.

“I raced all sorts of different race cars during my career,” Coupal, 26, told Motorsport.com. “The Nissan Micra is a surprisingly good little car. It has a lot of grip, brakes very well but has little power. It’s a bit like racing a four-stroke kart. The Micra Cup races are extremely intense with very close competition. I think it is the most competitive single make series in Canada. It’s always a very good show to watch. To be competitive, you need to be as consistent as possible. You can’t afford to make a single mistake. You need to extract the full potential of the car and never lose momentum when going into the corners. It sure looks easy, but I can tell you, it’s a real challenge.”

Coupal confirmed he would be back in the series this season. “I really look forward to going back on track aboard the Micra,” he declared. “I’ll be back to defend my title. There will be new rivals, and that’s a nice challenge. I’ll be again part of the Albi Nissan team for the entire season, with some small changes. We’ll make an announcement a bit later about these changes.”

“I really look forward to going back on track aboard the Micra,” he declared. “I’ll be back to defend my title. There will be new rivals, and that’s a nice challenge. I’ll be again part of the Albi Nissan team for the entire season, with some small changes. We’ll make an announcement a bit later about these changes.”

A valuable learning experience in Europe

In 2011, Coupal contested the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, UK as the driver of Team Canada. Racing in the FF1600 category, Coupal won the semi-final, giving him the pole position for the big finale. He set the fastest time of the race but sadly was forced into a retirement on lap 7.

“I contested the World Karting Championship and then competed the Formula Ford Festival," Coupal added. Competition is extremely intense in Europe. Part of the explanation is because the weather is much more clement in Europe. They don’t stop racing for six months like here because of the winter. Anyway, it was a fantastic learning experience and that gave me some very good tools to fight here against the best.” 

The reigning champion admitted he plans to graduate to a faster machinery in the next future.

“I’d love to return in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series,” he said. “It’s just a matter of money. I'm working on some projects and I want to move forward. Nismo is a bit more involved in the Micra Cup this year. Nismo is heavily involved in endurance racing around the world, and I would like very much to be chosen as one of their drivers. I'm fully aware it’s a long shot, but I’ll give everything to make it work.”

 

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