Some of things happening this weekend that I’ll be watching, in the order in which they’ll happen. Times are approximate and in British Summer Time.
Formula E: Rome ePrix (2pm Saturday, 5 Spike)
The inaugural Rome ePrix looks promising I have to say. The track looks a good one, despite some annoying fiddly sections, the virtual lap video suggests there are some open sections too.
At exactly the halfway point in the season JEV has a 30 point lead with two wins and as the only driver to have finished in the points in every round. Formula E has a genuine mix of competitive guys with 11 drivers having stood on the podium so far this season, each and every race sees different people up front.
Points after 6 races:
109 Jean-Eric Vergne (#25 Techeetah Renault);
79 Felix Rosenqvist (#19 Mahindra);
76 Sam Bird (#2 DS Virgin);
52 Sebastien Buemi (#9 Renault e.dams);
IMSA: Long Beach GP (9pm Saturday, imsa.tv)
Following the two big Floridian endurance races, the two ‘Pro’ classes combine here for one of the shortest races of the season on the streets of California.
IMSA on the streets for 100 minutes is great fun to watch and arguably more fun than the IndyCar race the next day, which feels more serious. They just need to avoid a pile-up at the hairpin.
The Prototype class is becoming more competitive as the various DPi cars get better. Cadillac are still top, but Nissan and Mazda are up there now and you’ve still got well-driven LMP2 cars getting amongst them, for now at least.
As for GTLM it is impossible to pick a winner from this class at the best of times, let alone at the knife fight that is this street track.
The GTD class skips this race this year and returns at the next event.
Most LBGP ALMS/IMSA wins (current drivers);
Overall: 3 Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor;
GT: 4 Oliver Gavin;
Points after Daytona and Sebring
(excluding endurance-only drivers)
62 Felipe Nasr / Eric Curran (#31 AXR Cadillac);
58 Colin Braun / Jon Bennett (#54 CORE Oreca);
56 Felipe Albuquerque / Joao Barbosa (#5 AXR Cadillac);
48 Pipo Derani / Johannes van Overbeek (#22 ESM Nissan);
48 Jordan Taylor / Renger van der Zande (#10 Taylor Cadillac);
48 Mikhail Goikhberg / Stephen Simpson (#99 JDC-Miller Oreca);
63 Richard Westbrook / Ryan Briscoe (#67 Ganassi Ford);
58 Nick Tandy / Fred Makowiecki (#912 Porsche);
55 Earl Bamber / Laurens Vanthoor (#911 Porsche);
54 Joey Hand / Dirk Muller (#66 Ganassi Ford);
54 Connor De Phillipi / Alex Sims (#25 Rahal BMW);
GTD (not racing this week):
65 Bryan Sellers / Madison Snow (#48 Miller Lamborghini);
58 Ben Keating / Jeroen Bleekemolen (#33 Riley Mercedes);
55 Katherine Legge / Alvaro Parente (#86 Shank Acura);
Formula 1: Chinese GP (7am Sunday SSF1 [2pm Ch.4])
Now, I think Shanghai’s track is under-rated, I’ve felt that for a while now. Every series that’s visited has put on good races – not every time, but enough over the years to know it isn’t a fluke. I find myself going into every race there thinking, ‘let’s get through another Tilkedrome’ and yet a lot of them turn out to be pretty good races. This has happened a lot. (Particularly look up the WTCC’s visits pre-Citroen era, those were great fun).
F1 is usually two races in one, the battle for the win and the battle of ‘best of the rest’. I’m really excited about both groups: Mercedes vs Ferrari could be joined by Red Bull. And in the second group we’ve got Haas, Renault, McLaren, Toro Rosso, Force India, even the occasional Sauber now!
Most Chinese GP wins (current drivers):
Points after 2 races:
50 Sebastian Vettel (#5 Ferrari);
33 Lewis Hamilton (#44 Mercedes);
22 Valterri Bottas (#77 Mercedes);
16 Fernando Alonso (#14 McLaren Renault);
15 Kimi Raikkonen (#7 Ferrari);
IndyCar: Long Beach GP (9pm Sunday, BT Sport)
The IndyCars can be as frantic as the IMSA race, especially on starts, restarts and the last ten laps. It is considered the highest profile race outside of the Indianapolis 500, with a long history itself. There have been races here since 1975 with F5000, then F1, then CART/ChampCar and finally the current IndyCar Series.
Like any street racing it can be a gamble with safety cars, as someone is bound to hit a wall some time. The great thing about Long Beach is unlike other street racing you can actually overtake if you are bold.
A great way to finish the weekend.
Most LBGP IndyCar wins (current drivers):
1 Hinchcliffe, Pagenaud*, Sato, Hunter-Reay, Dixon;
* Pagenaud also has 2 overall ALMS wins
Points after 2 races:
77 Josef Newgarden (#1 Penske Chevrolet);
72 Alexander Rossi (#27 Andretti Honda);
70 Sebastien Bourdais (#18 Coyne Honda);
63 Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Honda);
Racing this weekend that I will likely miss live. I’ll catch ELMS at a later date.
European Le Mans Series at Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet;
Pirelli World Challenge at Long Beach;
Blancpain GT Asia at Sepang;
GT Open at Estoril;
ADAC GT at Oschersleben;
World Superbike at Aragon;
British Superbike at Brands Hatch;
NASCAR Cup and Xfinity both at Bristol;
World and European Rallycross both at Circuit de Catalunya;
This is a busy one!