Weekend Preview: 5/6 May 2018

Some of things happening this weekend.

Times are approximate and in British Summer Time.

Endurance sports cars are back!

If it isn’t raining I’ll be watching these delayed so you may only see a small weekend recap post on Tuesday.


MotoGP:  Spanish GP
(1pm Sunday, BT Sport 2)

Circuito de Jerez, Cadiz, Spain

Jerez is a highlight in a season of highlights. The atmosphere at Jerez always looks amazing, there may be four rounds in Spain yet this one usually looks like all of Spain has turned up.

An abrasive surface and a fast, tough track make it a challenge.

Supported by Moto2 and Moto3 also live on BT Sport 2.

Points after 3 races:
Drivers:
46  Andrea Doviziosio;
45  Marc Marquez;
41  Maverick Vinales;
38  Cal Crutchlow;
38  Johann Zarco;

Teams:
70  Yamaha;
63  Honda;
52  Ducati;
47  Tech 3;
47  Suzuki;


WEC:  6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
(WEC app, Eurosport Player, motorsport.tv)

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Race starts at 12.30pm UK (1:30pm Belgium).

The opening round of the FIA WEC. This is the start of the long Superseason for 2018/19, the bridging year to get us to the winter-to-summer calendar starting 2019.

We lose the Porsche LMP1 cars which leaves us just with Toyota running hybrid cars. The good news is the return of privateer LMP1 teams and several of them with high profile names. Now, even without the hybrid advantage you’d expect a manufacturer team to beat them, but these are high quality teams and the Toyotas still have to go the distance.

Those LMP1 entries:

Toyota:  Fernando Alonso joins the team at the expense of Ant Davidson (I feel quite sorry for him to be dumped out – thankfully he’s got an LMP2 gig after Le Mans).

Rebellion:  Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna share one car, the other has younger hotshoes Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurant and Gustavo Menezes. They have ORECA-developed cars with an upgraded Gibson LMP2 engine.

Manor (or “CEFC TRSM”):  Alex Brundle, Oliver Turvey, Oliver Rowland, Charlie Robertson all in Ginetta G60s with Mechachrome power.

SMP Racing:  Jenson Button the big signing from Le Mans onwards, joining Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov. Steph Sarrazin in the other car. The ART F2 team is running this operation with Dallara-built cars and AER engines. Dragonspeed will run the same car but with Gibson power.

ByKolles:  The ENSO CLM returns with Oliver Webb, Tom Dillmann, Dom Kraihamer and Nissan NISMO engines.

As ever there are four categories. A lot of eyes will be on GTE Pro, with BMW joining in the fun with Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Aston Martin. The driver line-up is obviously stellar throughout including several of your Formula E favourites: Sam Bird, Alex Lynn, Antonio Felix da Costa, Tom Blomqvist. Add in Darren Turner, Nicki Thiim, Laurens Vanthoor, Gimmi Bruni, Olly Pla, and on, and on, and on.

There are 7 full-season entrants in LMP2 including a Dallara and a Ligier plus a mix of Dunlop and Michelin, so we’ll see competition this year. Pastor Maldonado makes his sports car debut.

And we see 9 full-season GTE Am entries, the biggest field yet in the Pro/Am class, including Giancarlo Fisichella taking over as the Pro in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari.

So there is plenty of interest throughout the four classes.


IMSA Weathertech Championship:  Mid-Ohio (2h40m)
(Sunday 5:55pm UK, http://www.IMSA.tv, IMSA app)

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio, USA.

This is round 4 for the Prototype and GTLM teams, round 3 for the GTD teams.

The much-anticipated return to Mid-Ohio (with all apologies to COTA) where the ALMS and GrandAm both used to put on great races. This’ll be a race to watch. Managing traffic through the flowing, undulating back section is crucial at this place and a real skill. Be patient and wait for the long straight.

Cadillacs have the points lead but it isn’t like last year. A Nissan won at Sebring, the Acuras look threatening, the Mazdas are getting up there too. And the ORECA LMP2 cars have the reliability which really helped them up the points standings. I think a Cadillac will win the title, but each race? That’s wide open now.

The two GT classes really could go any way. The points show Ford vs Corvette, but that hides that a Porsche led at Long Beach until a Prototype hit it. BMW are still getting their new cars up to speed.

Points
Prototype after 3 races:

91  #5 Mustang Sampling – Cadillac DPi – Albuquerque/Barbosa;
86  #31 Whelen – Cadillac DPi – Nasr/Curran;
79  #54 CORE – ORECA 07 Gibson – Braun/Bennett;
78  #10 Wayne Taylor – Cadillac DPi – J.Taylor/van der Zande;
71  #99 JDC-Miller – ORECA 07 Gibson – Simpson/Goikhberg;

GTLM after 3 races:
95  #67 Ganassi – Ford – Briscoe/Westbrook;
88  #4 Corvette – Gavin/Milner;
84  #66 Ganassi – Ford – Hand/Muller;
83  #911 Porsche – Tandy/Pilet;
81  #3 Corvette – Magnussen/Garcia;

GTD after 2 races:
65  #48 Paul Miller – Lamborghini – Sellers/Snow;
58  #33 Riley – Mercedes-AMG – Bleekemolen/Keating;
55  #86 Shank – Acura – Legge/Parente;
53  #63 Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari – MacNeil/Balzan;
52  #29 Montaplast by Land – Audi – Mies/van der Linde;


Elsewhere

Other things happening this weekend, should you choose instead.

I know a few folks off to Brands Hatch, looks like it’ll be bright and sunny, have fun!

Blancpain Sprint Brands Hatch;
DTM Hockenheim;
Super GT Fuji 500km;
GT Open Le Castellet;
Supercars Barbagallo;
BSB Oulton Park;
NASCAR Dover;

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