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2013 Motorsport Calendars

They’re back! IWTMR’s Motorsport Calendars have returned for a 3rd season.

Compatible with Google Calendar, iOS (Apple devices), MS Outlook and many other applications, the IWTMR Motorsport Calendars are perfect if, like me, you watch too much racing!

Series include Formula 1, MotoGP, IndyCar, all three major NASCAR series, FIA World Endurance,  ALMS, ELMS, Asian LMS, FIA World Rally, DTM, V8 Supercar, World and British Touring Car, World and British Superbikes, and several more.

Each series has its own individual calendar so you can pick and choose the championship you want to follow.

For all the details head to the Calendar page in the navigation bar or just click here!

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2013 FIA WEC Schedule

I took a look at the F1 and IndyCar schedules the other week, I meant to follow them up straight away with this post but it slipped back.

On the same day the F1 calendar was announced the FIA World Motorsport Council also confirmed the schedule for the 2013 World Endurance Championship.

The 2012 season has proven to be a good start for the new series, taking the ILMC concept and expanding it with a proper identity and FIA backing. It is good to see the ACO and FIA working closely together and I hope it continues like this.

Good

- Stability. Any new championship with a successful start will find it very tempting to add races here, there and everywhere in the 2nd and 3rd years. The FIA and ACO have avoided this temptation in order to continue to build the existing races and keep costs reigned in during the current economic climate. Choosing not to add races helps the teams and hopefully attracts some new ones, both of which have to be priorities right now. Sensible choice.

- Rearranged race order. Silverstone becomes the opening round, Sao Paulo moves a month earlier to August, Bahrain becomes the final round. This is all part and parcel of a series finding a footing and trying events at different times. Some will work and some won’t. The race order has also been arranged such that the travel costs for the teams is a lot lower and sea freight can be utilised for some journeys, compared with using air freight all this year. The season is arranged into three blocks: Europe, the Americas, Asia.

- US round retained. Keeping the merged ALMS/GrandAm racing with the WEC at the 12 Hours of Sebring was never going to work, so WEC had to look elsewhere. The one new event on the 2013 calendar is the 6 Hours of Austin at the Circuit of the Americas. I do think it is a positive for the WEC to have its own branded event in the US. That brings us on to a related point.

- Double-headers. The WEC will tie-up with related series twice in the year. The opening round will see the ELMS race on Saturday at Silverstone with WEC on Sunday. Then in September, the ALMS will race on Saturday in Austin with the WEC following up the next day.
From a fan perspective this is a great idea to bring together the local flavours of LM racing with the world championship. While ELMS/ALMS race lengths aren’t confirmed, the WEC will race for 6 hours at each. Two days of racing for two sets of the most die-hard sportscar fans.

- Race dates are more spread out. This year saw a lot of gaps until September when a long run of events began. This works in other series but you just can’t run 6-hour races on a week on / week off format, which we’re pretty much in the middle of right now. Teams don’t have the budget of F1 teams who do it for shorter races (remember these are Asian flyaways and most WEC teams are still European for now). Next year we will see one race per month, skipping July to recover from the 24 Hour, and finishing with two in November which are 20 days apart. Good scheduling.

Bad

- Sebring. No getting around the loss of Sebring, even though it was for perfectly understandable reasons. Clearly combining the WEC and ALMS grids into one race was never going to be a long-term option, especially when the unified North American series begins in 2014 and their resulting changes to class structure. Even without that factor, the grid sizes and complexities of running two distinct races in one were too difficult to maintain. (Personally I’d have dropped the PC and GTC classes for that race.) But with the GrandAm/ALMS merger including ownership of Sebring it will clearly be a key race on their calendar from 2014 onwards.
There is an agreement between ALMS and WEC to allow a month before the first WEC round, to allow any WEC teams to compete at Sebring. Unsure how many will take up this offer as they won’t be scoring any points but some might like to go pot-hunting – I hope so.

- Double-headers. I don’t know how likely it would’ve been, but running ALMS and ELMS at the same events as the WEC prevents the teams from those series entering as ‘wildcards’ into the WEC race. As negatives go it isn’t a big one as it would only affect one or two cars, but it did occur to me.
Actually on a personal level the only downside is having to find a hotel near Silverstone or having to do the 3 hour each way journey twice in two days. I may end up skipping ELMS but we’ll see what the entry list is like.
Oh and I don’t like the name ‘Super Endurance Weekend’. Hm. But this is something in common with the WEC which needs to have Le Mans in the title so people realise it isn’t Ironman triathlon or something.

- Silverstone in April. As much as I love that the UK gets the first round, this is possibly the rainiest month in a country that gets a hell of a lot of rain. F1 raced at Silverstone in April one year and the place got waterlogged. Besides that I really enjoyed the warmth of a race into an August evening, can we do that every year instead?

Summary

A good solid progression from the first year of the WEC and the preliminary ILMC which preceded it. Spreading the series across a race per month is a great idea which walks the line between keeping it in the public eye against the needs of the teams to recover and repair after each round. I think it’ll work really well.

2013 World Endurance Championship Schedule

14 April – Silverstone, UK  [6 Hours] (with ELMS on Sat)
4 May – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium [6 Hours] (Saturday)
22-23 June – Le Mans, France [24 Hours]
24 August – Sao Paulo, Brazil [6 Hours] (Saturday)
22 September – Austin, USA [6 Hours] (with ALMS on Sat)
20 October – Mt.Fuji, Japan [6 Hours]
10 November – Shanghai, China [6 Hours]
30 November – Bahrain [6 Hours] (Saturday)

Le Mans will offer double-points.

Next year the drivers in each class will be awarded titles. This year only overall results counted for the Drivers Championship so it was effectively an LMP1-only title. GTE Pro drivers will get a World Cup, LMP2 and GTE Am drivers will get a FIA Endurance Trophy. Personally I feel each class should win a World Championship, to do otherwise is confusing.

I’ve added these dates to my TMR Google/iCal calendars which you can import for your own use. If you subscribed earlier in the year these should be visible to you already.

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Filed under 2013, FIA, Sportscars, WEC

2013 F1 Schedule Switches Valencia for New York

The 2013 F1 Series schedule was announced at the FIA World Motorsport Council last Friday. It features mostly minor tweaks to the pattern we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the last five years or so.

I’ll take the same format as yesterday’s IndyCar post, albeit it’ll be a little shorter as there are fewer changes.

Good

- 20 races. This is arguably too many and I’m sure the teams think it is. These days I’ve taken the view that if I miss some it isn’t the end of the world, and I can watch them later at at time of my choosing. When there were fewer races they were all unmissable. Now you have to pick and choose to protect some semblance of life. I do think 20 is the most any major series needs, anything from 17-20 is ideal for me.

- Valencia gone. I know Valencia is a fantastic place to visit, I’ve not been but I know people who have and the place even looks great on TV (away from the back half of the track). The problem is the races are horribly bad. This year was an exception. There are no guarantees they’d all be good from now. Add to that the cost of attending the GP there, you’re better off going a week earlier or later when it is much cheaper. Valencia is a place to go as a tourist and lounge on the beach, not to see a race. It’s possible Valencia may alternate seasons with Barcelona.

- New Jersey in. As expected. This may be marked a TBC and we may have seen reports of contract difficulties, but the latter came from Bernie’s pet leak so I don’t give it much creedence. I think he’s trying to test how serious they are. Ask yourself, after 25 years of trying to get a race opposite the New York skyline why would he jeapordise the best chance he’ll ever have? No this race will happen. Whether it’ll be a good race is an unknown. It’ll look fantastic. This is also good because it creates a fourth race in the Americas after Sao Paulo, Montreal and Austin. It’s about time F1 headed West again.

- The Cool Factor. Remove the track or place names and list the nearest cities instead. Suddenly, you have one of the coolest schedules in all of sport let alone all of racing:  Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Barcelona, Monaco, Montreal, New York, Budapest, Milan, Singapore, New Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Austin, Sao Paulo. Sprinkle in some classic racing names: Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Nurburgring. From a PR standpoint that’s unbeatable and F1 should be doing a LOT more than it is to promote the fact.

- Continuity. Multiple returning races in pretty much the same slots they’ve occupied for many years.

- Australia still first. Albert Park in Melbourne is the perfect season-opener.

- Brazil still last. What a great track to end the season with, such fun especially if the title fight makes it to the last round. Even if it doesn’t, great venue. Bit dangerous in terms of crime but they’ve put up with it for 20 years so another won’t hurt.

- Belgium is still there. Everyone loves the race at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s always in danger of being cancelled so it is good to see it still running on.

Bad

- Some poor race venues are still there. Whatever the positive commercial implications of racing in India, Korea, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, even Barcelona, the races there have been dire. I have nothing against visiting these countries I just wish they’d come up with better tracks! Some are also quite empty of fans. Not to mention the political dimension with Bahrain although that has been improving. Many dislike Singapore but I quite like it, it’s unique, and in any case they’re talking seriously about making upgrades to their track.

- Back-to-backs. There are a lot of back-to-back consecutive races just a week apart, just like this year. The killer for the teams and mechanics will be the run from September to November – just like this season there’s a stretch of races bunched close together. Great for momentum for fans not losing interest, not so great for the teams flying around the world. At least with European back-to-backs they don’t have jet-lag! I suppose this is all the price of having the long summer break which is essential.

- 2 weeks between Spa and Monza. Happy they are both on but I’ll be slightly hypocritcal and complain they aren’t on back-to-back weeks. Only because there was a chance of doing a road trip from one to the other and now it can’t happen! Plus I really liked these classics scheduled up next to each other.

- Slightly late end. Okay a crazy complaint from someone who loves racing, but March to late November is a pretty long season to follow especially including the ‘Winter Grand Prix’ of pre-season testing. An old off-season was too long though, so could we strike a balance and end in early November?

- New Jersey. Despite questionable sources we can usually ignore there are still those niggling doubts that it may get cancelled.

Summary

This calendar like most recent F1 seasons is a small evolutionary change. That’s a good thing, wholesale changes cause instability.

Other notable points include the moving of Silverstone from early July to the last weekend in June. I’m not sure why this was done, effectively it has meant the British GP and the Goodwood Festival of Speed have traded weekends. Perhaps that is a good thing, perhaps it isn’t relevant.

2013 Formula 1 World Championship Schedule

17 March – Melbourne, Australia
24 March – Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
14 April – Shanghai, China
21 April – Sakhir, Bahrain
12 May – Barcelona, Spain
26 May – Monaco
9 June – Montreal, Canada
16 June – West New York, New Jersey, USA
30 June – Silverstone, UK
14 July – Nurburgring, Germany
28 July – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary
25 August – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
8 September – Monza, Milan, Italy
22 September – Marina Bay, Singapore
6 October – Yeongam, South Korea
13 October – Suzuka, Japan
27 October – New Delhi, India
3 November – Abu Dhabi, UAE
17 November – Austin, Texas, USA
24 November – Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’ve added these dates to my TMR Google/iCal calendars which you can import for your own use. If you subscribed earlier in the year these should be visible to you already.

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2013 IndyCar Schedule Shows Progress

The 2013 IndyCar Series schedule was announced on Sunday night. The 2012 schedule took the 2011 list and revised the basic structure, the 2013 calendar shows definite progress in building a defined schedule for the medium-term.

As ever there are pros and cons to any race calendar, they are always a balancing act between what the fans want, what the teams and sponsors want, what the series itself wants, and what is actually available.

Most of the IndyCar bloggers have come out with a very similar format to analyse this and I’m not going to stray far from it. I’ve seen at least four splitting it down into ‘Good’, ‘Bad’ and ‘Ugly’. I find that unnecessarily pessimistic as you’ve got two negatives to one positive. I prefer to look at the Good and the Bad then have a little summary.

Good

- 16 solid venues in 2013. Compared with 2012′s 15 solid, 1 vapourware (China) and 1 cancellation (Las Vegas). Good to get firm confirmation rather than have question marks all year. That happened all the time at the end of the CART/ChampCar era and I hope Bernard has learned. And at these 16 venues we get 19 races.

- Doubleheaders. 19 races at 16 venues is achieved by having 3 doubleheaders. I’ll come back to this as there’s not a lot I like, except it is a new idea and that shows IndyCar leadership is willing to try new things. I can’t mark them down for trying even if I don’t like what they try. Shows initiative. I like using these races to trial standing starts. One race with standing starts, one race with rolling. Just like WTCC!

- Early announce. The schedule has been announced at the beginning of October. That’s a miracle by IndyCar standards! Teams can now plan ahead effectively and more easily pitch to sponsors.

- Continuity. Breeding familiarity in the race order is a sign of a maturing schedule, it is good to see after the gutting of 2012. There are big changes but the backbone is the same.

- Pocono! The return of the big triangle. Mixed feelings. I’ve not seen much racing there and I hear frequent complains about NASCAR’s 500-mile events being boring, however everybody who saw them absolutely raves about the old USAC and CART open wheel races there in the 1970s and 80s. We’ve got a 400-mile race there and calls for it to be extended to 500 so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. As a flat oval it is traditional IndyCar territory so I’m cautiously excited.

- Triple Crown! The Pocono races of old were a part of a Triple Crown: if a driver won all 3 races he’d win a million dollars! Okay so it is a little crass but that is American razzmatazz. The Triple Crown is back! It’ll be take in the Indy 500, Pocono 400 and Fontana 500. Win two to win $250k, win all three to get $1m. It adds an extra layer of storyline to the mix and keeps things interesting so I’m all for it. Okay if it were a top team in the running it won’t be as interesting but imagine a lesser-funded team or driver has won Indy – you can think somebody like Ed Carpenter has his eye on this prize.

- Houston! Another new race is always fun, or should I say a returning race (hey we’re unified, it counts). It’s a big city so should be quite popular. I don’t know what the racing was like in the Champ Car era as it fell into the gap of years I missed, so I’m being cautious on this one.

- Iowa isn’t a night race any more. I know it looked ultra-cool at night but night races in the US start at 2am here. I’m purely selfish in preferring a race starting at 6 or 7pm UK time on Sunday. Of course this happens to be Le Mans weekend so I might’ve been up after all, but at least it moves it until after the 24hrs.

- Fontana is a 500-miler again and is the season-closer again, despite being a month later. Great idea. This year’s race was utterly compelling and was a true championship decider. This series tends to decide champions at the last race. The alternative was to end at Houston, I’m okay with street races but I don’t like ending the season on them, too much of a lottery even against a superspeedway. This isn’t a street vs oval point, it is a point about a big notable race to sign off for winter. Make a statement.

- US TV coverage. The first ABC race is at Indy then they take 5 of the next 6 races. Excellent idea. Grab the audience with the big race then keep hold of them for a few weeks to bump up viewership. I really do like this idea. No offence to an NBCSN crew who do a brilliant job, but their ratings stink at the moment. Plus ABC have the Texas Saturday night race which is a Big Deal ratings-wise, if that doesn’t work little will. This is an incremental improvement rather than wholesale change and it seems the most sensible thing to do with the allocations available.

- Canadians get a better deal too, after years and years of complaining. They listened! Embrace it.
(We may have to wait a little while before finding out the UK deal.)

Bad

- No oval race before Indy. I know they have a ton of practice at Indy, it isn’t the same as racing. Teams, drivers and most importantly the fans need to see cars on an oval before the big one. I am torn though, a part of me thinks the unknowns created drama at Indy and no race does level the playing field for Indy-only teams.

- Deadwood. Some of the more tedious races are still there. I’m thinking specifically of Belle Isle and Sonoma. The DW12 transformed the racing at most tracks this year brilliantly, but not at these two.

- Belle Isle directly after Indy. Not only that, it has one of the double-headers. Buzzkiller. It only seems to be a favourite among attendees – more than one person told me it was great in person. Yet I haven’t seen a good IndyCar or CART race there in any iteration. Is there something wrong with the TV presentation? Maybe that can be looked at along with track layout.
Indy should always be followed directly by Milwaukee anyway, that’s the proper tradition.

- Double-headers. Okay here’s the thing. Double-headers work really well for touring cars, they work really well for ladder open wheel series, they work really well on short oval tracks. The reason they work is because the races are shorter. Two IndyCar-length races in two days is going to be tough on everyone involved in the series. It may be tough on the casual fans too who will probably just watch one of them, they may even think there is only one race that weekend. The hard-cores will probably lap it up, especially Toronto and Houston.

- Race split. One of the quirks of IndyCar not seen anywhere else is the split between ovals, road courses and street races. It’s a Big Deal among fans. This year including doubles we have 6 ovals, 3 roads (ouch) and 10 street races. I’m more okay with streets than most IndyCar commenters I see, but half the schedule is crazy! I’m a fan of natural road courses and ovals with the odd street race. More of the former two in 2014, please. We all know the ‘most wanted’ list so I won’t repeat it here.

- Edmonton. I’m not crying about this loss as I never liked it, even the new layout, but it is a town with a strong supportive fanbase so it gets a minus mark.

- Gaps. There are notable gaps in July, August and especially September. I can easily accept a summer break in August especially after that exceptionally punishing May-June-July stint, and that really is tough with two 500 mile races and two double-header street courses. Unlike most American bloggers I am not suggesting all gaps be filled – that would be crazy and you’d have a mutiny on your hands. The crew guys need a rest and they want to see their families in the school break. Give that to them. Not only that, nobody can watch IndyCar every single week for two or three months! I actually want to make use of summer to have a life if that’s okay with you!
September is less understandable, there’s only one race in the whole month. It is clear something was supposed to go there but fell through. There’s still scope for a little bit of shuffling about.

Summary

On the whole it is a good schedule balancing recent tracks with two returning venues. A lot of tracks which produced awful races with the previous IndyCar came alive with the DW12 chassis, so there’s less of a desire to strike off the Mid-Ohios and Barbers of the world.

Double-headers are an interesting experiment and despite Randy Bernard’s protestations I think they’ll remain an experiment – if we see them at all in 2014 I bet it’ll only be at one event.

Too many street races though. I know that’s where the money is and modern fans seem to prefer things to come to them, but if we’re having them I’d like a review of their designs and some proper resurfacing done.

2013 IndyCar Series Schedule

24 March  – St Petersburg (S)
7 April – Barber Motorsports Park (R)
21 April – Long Beach (S)
5 May – Sao Paulo (S)
26 May – Indianapolis Motor Speedway (O)
1 June – Belle Isle, Detroit (S)
2 June – Belle Isle, Detroit (S)
8 June – Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth (O) (night)
15 June – Milwaukee Mile (O)
23 June – Iowa Speedway (O)
7 July – Pocono Raceway (O)
13 July – Exhibition Place, Toronto (S)
14 July – Exhibition Place, Toronto (S)
4 August – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (R)
25 August – Sonoma (R)
1 September – Baltimore (S)
5 October – Reliant Park, Houston (S)
6 October – Reliant Park, Houston (S)
19 October – Auto Club Speedway, Fontana (O) (night)

I’ve added these dates to my TMR Google/iCal calendars which you can import for your own use. If you subscribed earlier in the year these should be visible to you already.

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2012 Race Schedules

For the last two seasons I’ve created race schedules for use in Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook and any other compatible diary system. 2012 is no exception and I can now announce the calendars for the year ahead are now, mostly, complete!

IWTMR Motorsport Calendar for May 2012 (click for Large)

If you want to track some of your favourite series and events, just load your selection of racing categories into your calendar so that you can make plans to watch live or set the DVR – and hopefully never miss another race!

Please go to the Calendar page for futher details and updates.

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Filed under 2012, F1, F2, fans, Festival of Speed, GP2, IndyCar, IRC, Isle of Man TT, MotoGP, NASCAR, Sportscars, Touring Cars, WRC, WSBK, WSbR

Start Times: 6-8 May 2011

A guide to this week’s racing.

All start times are UK (GMT+1 / British Summer Time) and are taken from official series websites or if necessary, educated guesses from elsewhere. Live TV or web coverage is not guaranteed. I include only races and a few notable qualifying sessions of larger series, and not practice sessions or warm-ups or rally stage times.

Friday

WRC – Sardinia Day 1

2.30pm – ILMC & LMS – Spa-Francorchamps Qualifying

12.30am – NASCAR Nationwide- Darlington Race

Saturday

WRC – Sardinia Day 2

Midday – Formula 1 – Istanbul Qualifying

1pm – ILMC & LMS – Spa-Francorchamps Race

1.40pm – GP2 – Istanbul Race 1

3.20pm – GP3 – Istanbul Race 1

5.15pm – World GT1 – Portimao Qualifying Race

12.30am – NASCAR Cup – Darlington Race

Sunday

WRCSardinia Day 3

8.25am – GP3 – Istanbul Race 2

9.30am – Superstars GT Sprint – Valencia Race 1

9.35am – GP2 – Istanbul Race 2

10.20am – Superstars International Series – Valencia Race 1

11am – World SuperbikeMonza Race 1

1pm – Formula 1 – Istanbul Race

2.30pm – World Superbike – Monza Race 2

3.15pm – World GT1 – Portimao Championship Race

3.40pm – Superstars International SeriesValencia Race 2

4.45pm – Superstars GT Sprint – Valencia Race 2



Also racing, no start times found as yet:

FIA GT3 European Championship

Enjoy the weekend!

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