What To Look Forward To In 2017

There is a lot to look for in the 2017 motorsport season.

I felt something was missing in 2016. I don’t know what it was. Some sort of spark. Maybe it was me, maybe it was other events away from racing, or maybe motorsport just didn’t grab me as much as before – with the exception of IndyCar and MotoGP which were excellent. I didn’t invest as much time in keeping up with WEC and IMSA, something I’m doing over the winter break.

I think that should change this year.

Formula 1

New cars! Better looking cars. No more silly rear wings. Faster over a lap, faster through the corners. Hopefully they’ll look as fast and dramatic as the last time we had high downforce F1 cars, about a decade ago. The drivers are going to have to work hard.

With luck this will shake up the order. Some teams will get it wrong and will spend the year catching up. We’ll see them do it, much like we’ve seen McLaren-Honda get faster through the year over the last two years.

The downside? More downforce usually reduces overtaking opportunities. I wonder whether the larger rear wing will increase the effectiveness of the DRS. I would rather have no DRS – or have it and allow a driver to use it wherever he likes, no zones, no limits.

There should be good news with the tyres. Pirelli are charged with making tyres that allow a driver to push and not conserve so we might see some flat out racing again. Let’s hope they get it right.

How will Valterri Bottas fare at Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton? I’m excited to find out. I don’t think he’ll be a pushover. And Hamilton will want to fight after being defeated last year – I think he’ll win another title, but may again trip over himself in doing so.

How will Max Verstappen get on at his second season at the big Red Bull team and how will Dan Ricciardo react? Will Ferrari sink or swim, will Seb Vettel get fed up and move on? Will McLaren be back?

MotoGP

MotoGP is always fun at the front of the field. Even a dominant lead can be lost with a momentary lapse of concentration sending a rider to the floor.

Jorge Lorenzo moves to that hard-to-tame Ducati. Maverick Vinales replaces him at Yamaha alongside Valentino Rossi. Iannone across to Suzuki. I reckon the title fight will be between Marquez and Vinales. I’d love to see Pedrosa up front more often.

How will KTM get on in their first season? Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, Tech3 teammates last year, both move there.

Formula E

I’m excited to see the races at New York and Montreal. I hope to see Jaguar improving through the year. Adam Carroll is vastly underrated and ought to have had a top works drive years ago.

I would like to see a greater energy allocation, more harvesting, as the cars are too energy-restricted. They did grant more allocation this season but they also lengthened the races which offset the benefit. If they’d given more energy for the same distance, everyone could’ve pushed harder in the race. It feels like the series is wasting the opportunity for good races while everyone is cruising around saving energy.

Sebastien Buemi leads after the two rounds held so far, but my tip is to keep watching Felix Rosenqvist.

IndyCar

Some of the best racing in the world will continue to be found in IndyCar. I fully expect the Indy 500 to be a highlight again.

Aero Kit competition is now frozen. In theory this means Honda are at a disadvantage, at least on road and street courses. A spec kit will appear in 2018.

Chip Ganassi Racing are moving back to Honda. With the might of CGR’s resources, joining Andretti’s, I suspect the Honda vs Chevy competition may become more equal.

AJ Foyt’s team go the other way to Chevy. Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly join. I’m starting to think Foyt will have a very good season! Takuma Sato goes the other way, to Andretti.

Josef Newgarden will have the most attention. His was the biggest move in the driver market, joining Team Penske to replace Juan Montoya. (JPM will still contest Indy). It took someone with the talent of Simon Pagenaud a full season to ‘bed in’ at Penske so I think we should go easy on Joe-New, at least this year.

As in 2016 I expect Pagenaud versus Power over the season, too close to call, but you must watch all of the races because really anything can happen from race to race!

World Endurance Championship

It’ll be very strange without Audi competing. Only five LMP1 cars:  2 x Porsche, 2 x Toyota, 1 x ByKolles CLM. We may see another Toyota at Le Mans and surely this is their year for the 24 Hours?

We saw great battles between two manufacturers in the past, Audi vs Peugeot, then Audi vs Toyota, so there’s every reason to think Toyota vs Porsche will be just as good.

All-new cars in LMP2. Which will be quickest? I’m sad they felt the need to restrict it to four chassis makers but I understand the budgetary reasons for it. Hopefully the cost savings will attract more entrants. Rebellion Racing step down from LMP1 with a hell of a driver line-up.

GTE Pro is a balance of performance (BoP) nightmare. Ford and Ferrari ahead last year but Porsche have a new car – and it is a mid-engined 911. Heresy! This could be the best fight in the field. And in 2018 we’ll see the brand new BMW.

GTE Am. Early yet but I’m not seeing a lot of takers. Perhaps it is time to replace it with GT3?

IMSA Sportscars

The story in the US is very different, IMSA is having a resurgence. The Prototype class will use the same brand new LMP2 cars as the WEC. In addition are the new Daytona Prototype international “DPi” cars, which take those LMP2 cars and add manufacturer engines and bespoke bodywork. It is a cost-effective way to bring in manufacturers and it has attracted Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan. It should be a fantastic year in the top class and it stars next week with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

The GTLM class in IMSA, just like the ALMS before it, is top drawer. Often it is the best race among the 4 classes and it is usually better than the WEC equivalent (which runs to the same rules).

GTD will be numerically dominant with a lot of GT3 cars, no slouches themselves, including the new Acura (Honda) and Lexus. Worth checking out the entry list.

And the much-maligned PC class will finally be put out of its misery at the end of the year! It worked well when it started, but really ought to have been killed off a couple of years ago.

European Le Mans Series

The top class will have those new LMP2 cars which seem to be attracting a lot of attention in this series. LMP3 is also proving popular so there should be a lot of Prototypes in the ELMS again this year. I’d like to see a bigger GT field.

The supporting Michelin Le Mans Cup, featuring LMP3 and GT3 cars in a series of 2-hour races (1 hour at Le Mans before the big race), is also booming. This should be one of the hidden gems of 2017 so do look out for it, especially the LM24 support race.

World Rally Championship

New cars. Faster cars. Okay, some people are heralding them as the second coming of Group B – they are decidedly not that. They aren’t that extreme, with much less power than Gp.B, but with modern suspension, tyres, electronics and all the rest they will be very fast. It is good to see the WRC return to more advanced tech.

Citroen are back, Toyota are back, Hyundai continue and the M-Sport Fords look competitive.

My TV

One more reason this year will be good? I’ve upgraded from a 30″ standard definition TV to a 50″ Ultra HD TV. Wow what an upgrade! Even the size difference is remarkable, let alone the quality.

Okay there’s not much content in UHD, for motorsport basically it is only MotoGP, but I bet it’ll look damn good! (I think F1 is in UHD this year – but I don’t have Sky Sports). Certainly I will be enjoying a lot of stuff in ‘normal’ 1080 HD – and I can’t wait!

 

Advertisements

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.

World of Racing: 16 Jan 2011

Links posts. Often useful, these can sometimes be seen an easy route to blogging, simply sharing what’s around as a way to have something on your own blog. Never one to shy away from stealing a good idea which lazily gives me content, I present ‘World of Racing’, my interpretation of the ubiquitous links post!

I’ve noticed many posts in this style focus on one championship, so you’ve got F1 sites sharing F1 links and IndyCar sites sharing IndyCar links, which great and these blogs do it very well indeed, but I don’t see many cross-motorsport blogs doing the same which I think is odd. Whilst it is true many fans focus on one series as their preferred championship and they might not watch all the races of other series or read the dedicated blogs/news sites, perhaps they are interested enough in other championships to watch the occasional race, catch up with a bit of gossip or read an interesting post on the topic. That’s where I hope to come in.

Let’s get started with the first set of links!

Continue reading “World of Racing: 16 Jan 2011”

On The Limit – Kimi Goes Rallying

It is about time I posted another On The Limit, the occasional featured video of drivers on the ragged edge.

Just in case you were wondering whether to follow Kimi Räikkönen’s exploits in the World Rally Championship this year, perhaps this will help?

Yep, does it for me.

With thanks to Scott in the Sidepodcast comments for pointing this out. Be sure to hit the original file for full widescreen goodness, because WordPress sucks and won’t let me change the size.

2010 Race Calendar

During the 2009 season I thought it would be a great idea to create a race schedule in Google Calendar featuring different racing series. I was busy with accounts studies at the time and I never got around to taking it further. Early last month I decided it was worth exploring so I set up a trial with F1 and IndyCar dates. I’d add more later if I decided it looked okay. Again I let it drop when other things got in the way.

Christine from Sidepodcast recently created a calendar highlighting F1 events and the SPC / F1 Minute podcast schedules and she did a great job, enough to inspire me to get on and finish my idea.

Here it is!

(note – WordPress doesn’t allow the iFrame code that makes the embed work so I have had to leave it out for now)

My schedule includes F1, F2, GP2, IndyCar, Le Mans 24hr, ALMS, LMS, MotoGP, WRC, IRC and WTCC. I’ve also put in Dakar, Goodwood and a couple of other things. I’ll add NASCAR Sprint Cup and DTM soon – there are categories already so if you add them the events will hopefully appear in your calendar automatically.

Christine’s calendar is F1-specific and it includes Free Practice, pre-season testing and car launches. My calendar includes none of these things, only qualifying and race. I highly recommend adding Christine’s F1 calendar if you would like this extra information.

Click the “+GoogleCalendar” button to add to your own Google Calendar account. I have split events by race series so you can just pick the ones you want. I think there is a way to get them into iCal and other systems, though I don’t know how.

The calendar is set to UK time because that’s where I am and that’s most useful to me. I’m not sure but I believe when you import it, it will adjust it to your own default timezone. Have a play with it and see.

Race start times are estimates apart from F1 and Le Mans. This information is surprisingly hard to find. E.g. IndyCar.com only lists TV start times, not race starts. Many sites only give the dates and I’ve had to improvise. Then there’s the issue of timezones which I may have got wrong. I plan to make each forthcoming weekend as accurate as I can, beyond that just use this as a guide.

I’ve included qualifying for F1, Le Mans 24Hrs and IndyCar (times estimated). I don’t intend to include any more qualifying.

I hope you find this useful and please let me know if there is anything you would like to add. If the demand is there and I think it warrants adding, I’ll do so. I’m already considering Indy Lights.

As you can see I’ve also added a list version to the sidebar. When I create the new site I will have a version similar to the one above on its own page.

EDIT – WordPress does not allow embeds so I have linked them on the sidebar. This means you can pick and choose the series you are interested in! I’ve also since created calendars for Indy Lights and GrandAm.

Weekend Preview : 1-2 August 2009

Feature Events


IRL IndyCar Series

– Meijer Indy 300
– Kentucky Speedway
– Sparta, Kentucky, United States
– (12/17)
www.indycar.com

Changes to the aero rules for this race (see previous post) should mean an improvement in the racing on this 1.5 mile oval, as it has been fairly bad on ovals earlier this season. Since side by side open-wheel racing on ovals is the hallmark and unique selling point of this series, let’s hope they work.

Note this is a Saturday night race under the lights.

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on Sky Sports 1 at 2am Sunday
(repeated 11.30am and 4.30pm on SS Xtra)
USA – LIVE on VERSUS at 8pm ET Saturday

Other Events


Le Mans Series

– 1000KM do Algarve
– Portimao
– Algarve, Portugal
– (3/5)
www.lemans-series.com

The is the first evening/night race for the Le Mans Series in Europe, and also the first visit of the series to this new circuit. The race will begin at 7.15pm local (and UK) time and run for the usual LMS distance of 1000km or six hours.

TV Guide:
UK – Eurosport at 7pm for 1h30m.


Formula Renault 3.5

Portimao
– Algarve, Portugal

Supporting the LMS, both races are on Saturday afternoon.

TV Guide:

Race 1 on Eurosport at 12pm Saturday.
Race 2 doesn’t appear to be covered.

NASCAR Sprint Cup

– Pennsylvania 500
– Pocono, Pennsylvania, United States
www.nascar.com

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on Sky Sports 3 at 7pm Sunday
US – LIVE on ESPN at 1pm Sunday


NASCAR Nationwide Series

– Iowa Speedway
– Iowa, United States
www.nascar.com

NASCAR Camping World Trucks

– Nashville Speedway
– Tennessee, United States
www.nascar.com


DTM

– Oschersleben
– Germany
www.dtm.tv / www.dtm.com

dtm.tv should have live coverage from 1pm UK time.

V8 Supercars

– Norton 360 Sandown Challenge
– Sandown, Australia
www.v8supercar.com.au


Indy Lights

– Oschersleben
– Germany


F3 Euroseries

– Kentucky Speedway
– Kentucky, USA

Superleague Formula

– Donington Park
– Leics., England, UK

World Rally Championship

– Rally Finland
www.wrc.com

Kimi Raikkonen has entered his home round of the WRC in a Super 2000 spec Abarth. After the first day’s stages he’s performing among the top runners in his class and in the top 20 overall!


Intercontinental Rally Challenge

– Rally Vinho Madeira
– Madeira, Portugal
www.ircseries.com


British Touring Car Championship

– Snetterton
– Norfolk, England, UK

TV Guide:

UK – The usual six hours (3 x BTCC plus lots of support races) on ITV4 from 11.30am!

* * * *

Sources:
Live Sport on TV
RadioTimes.com
and several of the series sites mentioned above

Weekend Preview: 27-28 June 2009

Feature Events

IndyCar Series

– SunTrust Indy Challenge
– Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Virginia, USA
– (8/17)
– 300 laps
www.indycar.com

A Saturday evening race as darkness falls at the short oval where traffic will be an issue, it could cause problems or it could help the racing as the better drivers through lapped traffic will run well.

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on Sky Sports 1 at 1:30am Sunday morning
USA – LIVE on VERSUS at 8pm ET Saturday night for an 8.45pm green flag (why not a nice easy 9pm??)

Support races: USAC Silver Crown, USAC Sprint Car


MotoGP

– Alice TT Assen
– Assen, Holland
– (7/17)
www.motogp.com

MotoGP is also on a Saturday as is the tradition at Assen.

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on BBC Two at 12:40pm Saturday afternoon
Delayed on Eurosport

Support races: 250cc and 125cc available on the BBC Red Button

Other Events


NASCAR Sprint Cup

– Lenox Industrial Tools 301
– New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire, USA
– (17/36)
www.nascar.com

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on Sky Sports 1 at 7pm Sunday
USA – LIVE on TNT at 1.30pm ET Sunday

(The Nationwide Series at Loudon on Saturday night, Trucks are at Memphis also on Saturday)

For all other events I will list the UK time (BST not GMT) and channel only, if you are elsewhere you will have to look it up (check their website).


World Rally Championship

– Rally Poland
– (5/10)
– Eurosport and Dave
www.wrc.com
This is the first time Rally Poland has been a part of the WRC.

DTM

– Norisring
– Nuremburg, Germany
– (3/8)
– live web streaming: just before 1pm Sunday
www.dtm.tv
The UK TV deal collapsed when Setanta Sports did, let’s hope someone else picks it up. Check the webstream if you can, Norisring is nuts!
(supported by F3 Euroseries)

Superleague Formula

– Magny-Cours, France
– (1/6)
– Eurosport 2: Race 1 at 10am, Race 2 at 1pm followed by the new ‘extra time final’
– there may be live streaming on the website? I refuse to look at it.
www.superleagueformula.com
The whole idea is a bunch of hokum clearly, but it features interesting if unspectacular drivers such as Enrique Bernoldi, Giorgio Pantano, Antonio Pizzonia, Yelmer Buurman, Adrian Valles, Tristan Gommendy and Ho-Pin Tung, all in powerful V12 single-seaters.

(also on the bill: Euroseries 3000, this is the series which picked up the old Lola A1 cars, no telly coverage as far as I know)

FIA Formula 2

– Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
– (3/8)
– Eurosport: Race 1 live 12pm Saturday, Race 2 delayed 11:30pm Sunday night but there is live streaming online
www.formulatwo.com
The first visit to Spa for this series should be a bit of fun!
(with the International GT Open and the Dutch Supercar Challenge)


Formula Nippon

– Fuji, Japan


Grand-Am Rolex Series

– Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio, USA
– (6/12)
www.grand-am.com


Super GT

– Sepang, Malaysia
– (4/9)
www.supergt.net/en

* * * *

For those in the UK, don’t forget Top Gear on BBC2 at 8pm Sunday!

I will be quiet on the blog and on Twitter for a few days because I’ll be offline, if anything crazy happens I’ll text it in but won’t see responses until Sunday at the earliest. Enjoy the weekend!