Weekend Preview: 16-17 May 2009

Feature Events

MotoGP

– Grand Prix de France
– Le Mans Bugatti Circuit
– Le Mans, France
– (4/17)
www.motogp.com

Much as last year the forecast for this weekend is for rain, it could be fun! I have to say I don’t usually enjoy events at this racetrack – the short Bugatti circuit, that is – but last year’s was very interesting due to the different tyre strategies involved. In fact the DTM race at same venue was under similar conditions. Is there a micro-climate we should be aware of?

TV Guide:

UK – LIVE on BBC Two at 12:30pm

US – DELAYED on SPEED at 1pm ET

Support races: 250s, 125s, etc.

Other Events

NASCAR All-Star Race

– Lowe’s Motor Speedway
– Charlotte, South Carolina, USA
– (non-points)
www.nascar.com

Not a part of the Sprint Cup but featuring all of the drivers and teams, this is basically a race for the sake of entertainment and a shedload of prize money. I don’t really understand how it works and quite honestly I don’t care.

TV Guide:

UK – LIVE on Sky Sports 2 at 12.30am Saturday night / Sunday morning, repeated on three times across Sky Sports during Sunday.

US – LIVE on SPEED at 7pm ET Saturday

Support races: Nationwide Series (Saturday), Truck Series (Friday)

American Le Mans Series

– Grand Prix of Utah
– Miller Motorsports Park
– Tooele, Utah, USA
– (4/10)
www.americanlemans.com

Last week the European LMS held their last round before Le Mans and this week the Americans do the same. Simon Pagenaud and David Brabham raced last week for Peugeot at Spa (Pagenaud won) and this week both are on ALMS duty for Acura in the de Ferran and Highcroft entries respectively.

Of note here is the high altitude of the course which adds an extra dimension to the challenge of the race. The ALMS isn’t in as great a form as it used to be and they’ve had to bring in some GT3 cars as field-fillers, yet while the quantity is down the quality of entrants at the sharp end of each category is as high as it ever was.

Note – while many ALMS races are on Saturday, this race takes place on SUNDAY.

TV Guide:

UK – DELAYED BY ONE WHOLE WEEK to 5pm on May 24th, that’ll be shortly before the Indy 500 then… :stupid:

US – DELAYED at 10pm ET Sunday on SPEED (the race happens at 2.15pm ET)

Support races: Atlantics, Star Mazda, IMSA GT3 Cup, IMSA Lites

DTM

– Hockenheimring
– Hockenheim, Baden-Wurtemburg, Germany
– (1/10)
www.dtm.tv

At long last the DTM gets started! After what seems like an eternity since the end of their 2008 season in October the German tintops heavily reliant on little aero tabs finally start their season. I’m not sure which genius decided they’d start in May but I suppose it separates them from all the other championships which start in March/April.

Mercedes vs Audi once again then and it looks like the 2-yr-old cars have been ditched, which is great news. It means Kat and Susie can finally demonstrate their known abilities against the rest of the 1-yr-old field, and a well-driven 1yr car can mix it with the current cars and certainly gets noticed. It could be a good year to watch DTM – unfortunately the FTA coverage on MotorsTV has vanished to be replaced with coverage on the pay-monthly Setanta.

TV Guide:
UK – DELAYED at 10pm on Setanta Sports 2

Support: Formula 3 Euroseries


FIA WTCC

– Race of France
– Pau, France
– (4/12)
www.fiawtcc.com

Pau is a crazy place. Imagine Macau if it only had the narrow part, and fast. The racing isn’t always great but it’s worth a look to check out the precision driving, particularly over the chicanes with walls very close by. Of course it could all get horribly embarrassing very quickly indeed.

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on Eurosport at 11.45am (race 1) and 1.45pm (race 2).

Support: Formula Master (LIVE between the two touring car races)


Grand-Am Rolex Series

Laguna Seca, California, USA
– (4/12)
www.grand-am.com

TV Guide:
UK – highlights at silly o’clock midweek on Five
US – SPEED at 4pm ET


FIA GT

– Adria, Italy
– (2/8)
www.fiagt.com


BTCC

– Donington Park
– Leicestershire, England, UK
– (3/10)
www.btcc.net

It’s on!! Donington Park has finally corrected the problems which blighted the running of events between February and this month by realigning the run-off area at the new tunnel and the circuit now has a licence! The BTCC races at Donny are always a lot of fun so make sure you check it out. Those outside the UK can surely get a stream somewhere…

TV Guide:
UK – LIVE on ITV4 from 11.30am, they will flash up the race schedule during the programme so that you can plan your day according to which support races you want to watch.

Supports: Clios, FRenault, Porsches, Ginettas


FNippon & JF3

– Suzuka, Japan

* * *
That’s it, if ever if you think I’ve forgotten something please point it out in the comments.

Don’t forget, in addition to these races there are also the final two qualifying sessions for the Indy 500. Third Day qualifying is on Saturday to fill positions 23-33 and on Sunday there is Bump Day as the last-chance qualifying. I’m not sure how many bumps there will actually be, it doesn’t seem like many so unlike last week I won’t be following it all that closely.

I tried an experiment on Twitter on Thursday night. I tweeted some race results, just the top few places, as an idea to promote discussion of series people may not usually follow. It turned out to be a bad idea! It doesn’t work at all on Twitter – but I think it may just work on the blog. I will be writing a test post at some point over the next few days using the format as these Previews and we’ll see how it goes.

Finally, an apology for the lack of updates recently. I am in the final stages of an accountancy course and I have been concentrating on that!

Enjoy your weekend!

Advertisements

Weekend Preview: 18-19 April 2009

* * * *
Feature Event

FIA Formula 1 World Championship (3/17)
– Chinese Grand Prix
– Shanghai, China

See my Chinese GP Preview here!

Race coverage:
UK: Live on BBC1 @ 6.00am BST
US: Live on SPEED @ 2.30am EDT

* * *
Other Major International Events:

IRL IndyCar Series
– Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (2/17)
– Long Beach, California, USA

See my Long Beach Preview here!

Race coverage:
UK: Live on Sky Sports 3 @ 9.00pm BST
US: Live on VERSUS @ 3.30pm EDT

American Le Mans Series
– Tequila Patrón American Le Mans at Long Beach (3/10)
– Long Beach, California, USA

The ALMS returns to Long Beach for another Saturday race. The field is slightly bigger this week with the final ever North American appearance from the Corvette GT1 programme. Pratt & Miller will be taking the cars to Le Mans before replacing them with a GT2 effort in the ALMS later in the year.

Race coverage:
The race takes place on Saturday afternoon/evening local time.

UK: Tape delayed on MotorsTV @ 5.00pm BST Sunday
US: Tape delayed on ABC @ 12.30pm EDT Sunday

NASCAR Sprint Cup
– Subway Fresh Fit 500 (8/36)
– Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Another 500 miler! This time it is a Saturday night race.

Race coverage:

UK: Live on Sky Sports @ 1.30am BST Saturday night (Sunday morning)
Sky Sports Xtra has highlights at 8am, Sky Sports 2 has highlights at 6.30pm.

US: Live on FOX @ 8.00pm EDT Sunday

* * *
Other Events – check your TV listings:
(according to FORIX (sub req.))

World Series by Renault / Formula Renault 3.5
– Barcelona (1/9)
– Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

WSbR’s season kicks off with the usual double-header format at Barcelona. Driver line-ups were still being formalised as late as this week! As ever the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup will be in support, and I assume the Meganes and Clios will be there too.

Race coverage:
There is a race on Saturday and a race on Sunday. This year Eurosport will be providing coverage for selected rounds which is big news for this series.

UK: Race 1 is live on Eurosport at 12.45pm BST Saturday. Race 2 is live on Eurosport at 12.00pm Sunday.
US: n/a

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Firestone Indy Lights
Long Beach, California, United States

Australian V8 Supercars
Hamilton, New Zealand
(UK tape delay: MotorsTV 2pm Sunday)

Super GT
Suzuka, Japan

International GT Open
Imola, Italy

Weekend Preview: 4-5 April 2009

Here it is people, it all kicks off this weekend! Tons and tons of racing!

* * * *
Feature Event

FIA Formula 1 World Championship
– Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix (2/17)
– Sepang International Circuit
– Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
www.formula1.com
Track Map

Please see my F1 Preview here.

Support events:
GP2 Asia Series (x2); Formula BMW Pacific (x2);

A much quieter support card to Australia. GP2 Asia is holding rounds 9 and 10 of the winter series with just one double-header remaining in Bahrain (again supporting F1).
FBMW Pacific kicks off their year here this weekend.

* * *
Other Events:

IRL IndyCar Series
– Honda Grand Prix of St.Petersburg (1/17)
– St Petersburg, Florida, United States
www.indycar.com

Please see my IndyCar preview which follows imminently!

UK TV: Race LIVE on Sky Sports Xtra from 7.30pm BST Sunday.
US TV: Qualifying recap at 5pm ET Saturday.
Race LIVE on VERSUS from 2pm ET Sunday, race starts at 3.

Support races: Firestone Indy Lights (x2)

American Le Mans Series
– Acura Sports Car Challenge of St.Petersburg (2/10)
– St Petersburg, Florida, United States
www.americanlemans.com

A very low entry of just 17 cars is a cause for concern with just 6 prototypes and no GT1 cars. GT2 is the battle to watch here.

UK TV: Race DELAYED by one day, from 3.00pm BST Sunday.
US TV: Race LIVE on ABC from 1.30pm ET Sunday.

Le Mans Series
– 1000km of Barcelona (1/5)
– Circuit de Catalunya
– Barcelona, Spain
www.lemans-series.com/

The European endurance racing season gets going with an entry list of 43 cars this weekend! Aston Martin are currently topping the times in the absence of Peugeot and Audi, which means the LMP1 entry is fairly thin in number compared to last year – but it does boast Aston, Pescarolo and the two Kolles Audi R10s.

UK TV: The start can be seen LIVE on Eurosport at 10.15am BST for 45 minutes, with further coverage at 11.45am for 30 minutes. There will be highlights at 11pm. Eurosport are busy with GP2 Asia, World Rally, Superbikes, cycling and European basketball so they really had to fit in what was a late deal wherever they could.

NASCAR Sprint Cup
– Samsung 500 (7/36)
– Texas Motor Speedway
– Fort Worth, Texas, United States
www.nascar.com

Yet another 500, they seem to have a lot of them in NASCAR. Didn’t 500 mile races used to mean something?

UK TV: TAPE DELAYED on Sky Sports Xtra from 10pm BST Sunday.
US TV: LIVE on FOX from 1:30pm ET Sunday.

The reason for the UK tape delay? SSX is showing IndyCars at St Pete live instead! Three cheers for the ICS bumping Cup! Hooray!

Support races: Nationwide Series (Saturday)

FIA World Rally Championship
– Rally de Portugal (4/12)
– Vilamoura, Portugal
www.wrc.com

Intercontinental Rally Challenge
– Safari Rally (3/12)
– Nairobi, Kenya
www.ircseries.com

Formula Nippon
– Fuji (1/8)
– Fuji, Japan
Support races: Japanese Formula 3;

HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship
– Brands Hatch Indy (1/10)
– Brands Hatch (Indy)
– Kent, England, UK
www.btcc.net

Time for some proper tin-top wheel banging! The BTCC season opens on the one mile Indy configuration of Brands Hatch, with the three fast and frenetic 20 minute BTCC races and a packed support card.

UK TV: LIVE on ITV4 from 11.45am Sunday with uninterrupted coverage until 6pm including a whole bunch of support races.

The reason for the UK tape delay? SSX is showing IndyCars at St Pete live instead! Three cheers for the ICS bumping Cup! Hooray!

Support races: Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Formula Renault UK, Renault Clio Cup UK, Ginetta G50, Ginetta Juniors

* * * *
Hectic!!

I think that covers everything, please add your comments if you find anything more!

2009 Le Mans 24 Hours – Entry List

Last Thursday the ACO released the official entry list for the 2009 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it confirmed some pre-announced deals, verified some rumours and offered some complete surprises – as it does every year!

I’m writing this quite late so I’m going to just do short notes.

LM P1

1 / Audi Sport Team Joest / Audi R15
3 / Audi Sport Team Joest / Audi R15
2 / Audi Sport North America / Audi R15

Audi are returning with a new car, which will be raced first at Sebring but will probably not contest the full 2009 season.

14 / TME Kolles / Audi R10
15 / TME Kolles / Audi R10

I’m not sure if this is backup plan from Audi, but they’ve sold or loaned to R10s to Colin Kolles. They’ll still need to be adapted to the narrower rear wing regulations.

7 / Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908
8 / Team Peugeot Total / Peugeot 908
9 / Peugeot Sport Total / Peugeot 908

Peugeot also return with three cars. An updated car and revised driver line-up should mean they are quietly confident ahead of this year’s race – but they said that last year.

17 / Pescarolo Sport / Peugeot 908
16 / Pescarolo Sport / Pescarolo Judd

Count this is as a surprise. A customer Peugeot for Pescarolo. Surely this is in response to Kolles? It seems to be a 2008 car modified to new rules from what I’ve read, and not the ’09 cars of the factory team.

007 / Aston Martin Racing / Lola Aston Martin
009 / Aston Martin Racing / Lola Aston Martin
008 / AMR Eastern Europe / Lola Aston Martin

Three entries also from Aston Martin, who are in a naming dispute with Lola at the moment. First year with these cars so a win surely isn’t on the cards, but they’ll be looking to show good speed. AMR Eastern Europe is Charouz, in fact they all might be, but this is the only one under the Czech flag.

13 / Speedy Racing Team Sebah / Lola Aston Martin

This entry seems to be being run more at ‘arms length’ from the factory/Prodrive.

10 / Team ORECA Matmut AIM / Courage-ORECA AIM
11 / Team ORECA Matmut AIM / Courage-ORECA AIM

Can’t say I know much about this so I’m assuming it’s a continuation from last year.

6 / Team LNT / Ginetta Zytek
23 / Strakka Racing / Ginetta Zytek

Zytek and Ginetta merged toward the end of last year and LNT have stepped up from running a GT2 Panoz (and they entered Petit with this car). Quick chassis, promising for the privateer sub-class.

12 / Signature Plus / Courage Judd

The Formula 3 team makes the switch to endurance racing. ‘Tis all I know.

20 / Epsilon Euskadi / Epsilon Euskadi Judd

I’m surprised this only got one entry.

4 Creation Autosportif Creation Judd

Yay, Creation are back. I like them.

LM P2

5 / Navi Team Goh / Porsche RS Spyder
31 / Team Essex / Porsche RS Spyder
49 / Vitaphone Racing Team / Porsche RS Spyder

Team Goh won overall with the Audi R8 a few years back, they’ve been absent for a while. Team Essex weren’t going to enter and changed their minds. Vitaphone are a surprise announcement, they run Saleens in FIA GT and did enter Le Mans last year with an Aston GT1 but a prototype wasn’t expected at all.

25 / RML / Lola Mazda Coupe
44 / KSM / Lola Mazda Coupe

RML are always strong. No idea who KSM are. This Lola is fast, I think it’s basically the P2 version of what Aston Martin are running.

30 / Racing Box / Lola Judd Coupe
33 / Speedy Racing Team Sebah / Lola Judd Coupe

More Lola coupes for these guys but a choice of Judd engines instead. It’ll be an interesting battle between the four Lolas!

24 / Oak Racing / Pescarolo Mazda
35 / Oak Racing / Pescarolo Mazda

Pescarolo with a Mazda engine? Fair enough.. I’m sure I read who Oak Racing are, it’s a name change of a team I know about but I can’t remember who at the moment.

40 / Quifel-ASM Team / Ginetta Zytek 09S

The P2 version of the P1 car above. ASM had a Lola last year.

41 / Gac Racing Team / Zytek 07S

No idea. Seems like they have the previous version of the car ASM will run.

26 / Bruichladdich Bruneau / Radical AER

I like this team too and the Radical is pretty quick.

LM GT1

63 / Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R
64 / Corvette Racing / Corvette C6.R

With no works Astons, guess who’ll win this class? This is the last appearance of works GT1 Corvettes though, so enjoy it.

72 / Luc Alphand Aventures / Corvette C6.R
73 / Luc Alphand Aventures / Corvette C6.R

Back-up for a fight that never came. They weren’t going to enter after a fight with the ACO over the promotion of the LMS, but changed their minds last minute. Not to mention wanting to prove how pacesetters in European GT racing fair at LM.

60 / Gigawave Motorsport Ltd / Aston Martin DBR9
66 / Jetalliance Racing / Aston Martin DBR9

Two quick Astons may just push Corvette hard enough.

55 / IPB Spartak Racing / Lamborghini Murcielago
68 / JLOC Isao Noritake / Lamborghini Murcielago

Is it unkind to say these are field-fillers?

This is probably the last year of GT1 in this spec. I know Ratel’s FIA World GT coming next year will run to different rules.

LM GT2

76 / IMSA Performance Matmut / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
77 / Team Felbermayer-Proton / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
80 / Flying Lizard Motorsport / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)

Just three Porsches this year in GT2. I’m amazed, they used to dominate! Shame the Lizards didn’t get a second entry.

78 / AF Corse Srl / Ferrari F430 GT
82 / Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT
83 / Risi Competizione / Ferrari F430 GT
84 / Team Modena / Ferrari F430 GT
89 / Hankook – Team Farnbacher / Ferrari F430 GT
92 / JMW Motorsport / Ferrari F430 GT
96 / Virgo Motorsport / Ferrari F430 GT
97 / BMS Scuderia Italia / Ferrari F430 GT
99 / JMB Racing / Ferrari F430 GT

Nine Ferraris!! I think that shows this is the faster car, as everyone gravitates toward it.

87 / Drayson Racing / Aston Martin V8
85 / Snoras Spyker Squadron / Spyker C8 Laviolette

Good to see that Drayson got an entry. You have to say they are aiming to score a finish, but that’s what Le Mans is about. Nice to see Spyker still plugging away but only one car this time.

You’ll note I’m not tipping winners in any class (except GT1!). Frankly with this field it’s much too difficult to go picking winners this early, and with no Test Day it’s even harder.

Reserves
There are ten reserves this year as opposed to 8 in previous years. As always they’ll enter the race in this order should any of the above withdraw, regardless of class. So if a P1 drops out the first reserve, a GT2 this year, will take that spot.

R1 / GT2 / Team Seattle Advanced Eng / Ferrari F430 GT
R2 / GT2 / Endurance China Team / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R3 / GT2 / IMSA Performance Matmut / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R4 / LMP2 / Barazi Epsilon / Zytek 07S
R5 / LMP2 / Gerard Welter / Zytek
R6 / LMP1 / Epsilon Euskadi / Epsilon Euskadi Judd
R7 / GT2 / Team Felbermayer-Proton / Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
R8 / GT2 / Snoras Spyker Squadron / Spyker C8 Laviolette
R9 / GT1 / Team Larbre Competition / Saleen S7R
R10 / LMP2 / Racing Box SRL /Lola Judd Coupe

That answers where Epsilon Euskadi and Spyker’s second cars are, as well as several Porsches. How did Barazi and Larbre not get entries??? That’s nuts.
I don’t think we’ve seen Welter on the list for a while..

More Info

Okay I think I’m done. Unfortunately I don’t have time to scout for more information, sorry, but I hope this was enough to work as a little primer.

No doubt the boys at RadioLeMans.com will discuss this in great detail (along with more USF1 news and lots else) in tomorrow’s Midweek Motorsport which you can hear live at 8pm GMT / 3pm EST. I think it’s repeated at 8pm EST. If that’s not helpful, the podcast will follow on a day or so later. You need to count MWM as a ‘Must Listen’ even if sportscars isn’t your thing, ‘cos they cover all sorts of stuff.
(I also recommend FastMachines.com for a quick weekly hit and Sidepodcast.com for specialist F1 talk)

And of course there’s always the official website of the race.

Launch Season: Peugeot 908

Peugeot 908 HDi FAP

The 2009 edition of the Peugeot 908 was launched yesterday.

The car looks substantially the same as last year, albeit with a rear wing 400mm narrower per the ACO’s regulations for this season. Pug’s engineers say they’ve been working on the engine mapping, cooling and traction control systems. Partly this is due to the new rules cutting power by 10% on last year, and partly this is because Peugeot really struggled with overheating last year. It cost them the win at Le Mans because the airflow when it was raining wasn’t sufficient to cool the engine. There were other factors as well of course, like their crazy tyre decisions and inexperienced drivers (many were new to sportscars, anyway), but the cooling was a major factor.

Also in ‘cooling news’, the roof sports a ‘reflective chromelike aluminium covering’ according to Olivier Quesnel.

A surprise announcement on the driver front, to me at least, was the unveiling of Sebastien Bourdais and David Brabham. Bourdais was rumoured on Thursday night, which was a surprise to me because nobody has dovetailed a full F1 season with an attack on Le Mans for many, many years. The last to try the F1/LM crossover was Franck Montagny (fairly recently too, say 4 years?) but he was just an F1 test driver. at the time.
Brabs wasn’t on my radar at all for this, maybe I missed a comment on Midweek Motorsport (I’m still an episode behind) or other sources. I had thought he was still signed to drive the Acura and perhaps he is, which is why he won’t appear at Sebring.

The full driver line-up:
S Bourdais, D Brabham, M Gene, C Klien, P Lamy, N Minassian, F Montagny, S Sarrazin, A Wurz.


It’s still a fantastic-looking car.

Peugeot confirmed their plans for the first half of 2009: they will take two cars to the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, and three cars to the 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps in May before sending all three to Le Mans. There is no word on what will become of the team after Le Mans. In my opinion they’ll see what Audi does, and how they perform against Audi (and Aston!) in the big race.

Drivers confirmed for Sebring:
Car 7: Minassian / Lamy / Bourdais
Car 8: Montagny / Sarrazin / Klien

This leaves Gene, Brabham and Wurz for the 3rd car if the line-ups remain the same. Line-ups for Spa will be confirmed at a later date.

Photo credit: Peugeot Sport

PS – yes, I know I didn’t post about the new Acura. They aren’t going to Le Mans. Yet..
PPS – I’m begging you here, PLEASE get the name right. “Le Mans”. There are TWO WORDS. Writing “LeMans” (or “Lemans” which is worse) really does annoy me! I don’t mind it on Twitter because of the character limit. A pet peeve of mine, just like hyphenating ‘F1’.

Taking stock

Okay, let’s take stock and see where we are. I don’t mean to be downbeat about all of the crappy news we’ve had over the last six weeks, but I do think it prudent to give a summary of what has changed since the end of the 2008 racing season.

Honda out of F1. Big news for all concerned. Since last week, Honda has claimed they have 3 potential buyers lined up. I’m not sure how likely that is. I hope someone does buy the team and continue, even if they have to make swingeing cuts to survive. If nobody buys it we’re down to 18 cars and dangerously close to the other teams having to field a third car per Bernie’s contracts. Team orders? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Audi out of ALMS and LMS. I’d half-suspected they’d only do the LMS for the one year, the bigger surprise to me is dropping the ALMS almost entirely apart from Sebring. Instead they choose to take a new car to Sebring and Le Mans (and I bet they show up at Petit as well). Methinks Peugeot will win Le Mans.

AGR out of Acura/ALMS and into A1GP. I’m sure if they jumped or if they were pushed, either way you have to think running the A1 car is a significant cost-saving over developing a prototype sportscar – I’m assuming they were helping develop it.

Penske out of ALMS, and seemingly no Porsches at all in P2 in America OR Europe. Weird. In the US someone needs to run a customer car to go against Acura, and in Europe there are are easy wins going begging.

– I was going to mention GT1 collapsing globally, but I think that was happening anyway.

SEAT out of BTCC. This was an announcement a couple of months back. SEAT are out of British Touring Cars, although they seem to be continuing in World Touring. The claim at the time was SEAT UK had met its marketing expectations and had reached the end of the programme. Now we’ve had all these other announcements, I’m not so sure that’s true.

– If any of the US carmakers go under (particularly GM) then it will knock on to racing activities somewhere or other, especially NASCAR but all over the world as well in Aussie V8s (Holden), WTCC (Chevrolet), BTCC (Vauxhall), and who knows where else.

– Don’t forget Super Aguri’s collapse earlier in the year.

There will have been more I’ve missed here (let me know in the comments), and more will unfortunately follow I’m sure.

One thing is very clear. 2009 is going to have a VERY different look.

Don’t get too disheartened though, think of this as a natural correction. Things got way out of hand especially in Formula 1. It’s time for a bit of restructuring before we head into the eco era.

Some good news:

Acura is still moving up to P1 in ALMS as well as running a couple of P2 cars.

– BMW will have a new GT2 car in ALMS which will be run by Rahal/Letterman. A group of BMW’s WTCC drivers have been out at Road Atlanta developing it.

– Audi will have their new R8 GT car out. I saw it marked as a GT3 but I’m sure I’ve seen word of it going into GT2.

More independent/privateer cars entering touring cars and world rally. This is a mixed blessing. Sometimes these teams and/or drivers are delusional no-hopers making up the numbers, yet sometimes it allows an underfunded but otherwise excellent team to take part and prove themselves. I like those guys, I always root for them.

– Honda’s F1 woes will not affect their IndyCar, MotoGP, ALMS interests or any other racing activity.

– IRL will seemingly still get 24+ cars at each round.

We still have shitloads of racing – Too Much Racing for one person to follow, and long may it be so.

Again, let me know of any more good news in the comments.

Sorry for not posting on Friday as promised.

This Week in Racing w/c 4th Aug 08

I thought I would write a weekly post with short comments on the racing I watch every week. Some weeks this is more than others. Some weeks I don’t see much at all during the week. This wasn’t one of those weeks, this was a Catch-Up Week.

I tend to concentrate on watching F1 and MotoGP live, with IndyCar very shortly after the event. In many weeks I don’t watch anything else. I prefer IndyCar to MotoGP, I just don’t have immediate access to live coverage of IRL. I might even do Pressdog-style notes. I tried taking notes for the British GP and it is harder than it looks, big up to the ‘Dog and any of the other bloggers who do this.

Anything else I want to watch goes into a backlog. Mainly, this is to see me through the barren winter months and that’s how I started collecting so much of it in the first place, this time last season. F1 has a 5-month offseason and IndyCar is worse so you need to pass the time. But the pile can get too big, and when F1 and IRL aren’t running I need my fix, so I do a Catch-Up Week where instead of watching TV or what have you, I watch racing. Yes, I said I was a nerd, look at the profile.

On to the comments.. I’m going to insert logos here and this could look embarrassingly amateur.


Greece
, 1hr highlights
Took place: 1 June
Watched: 3 August

I’m not a huge fan of rallying but I’ve been giving it a shot this season. These are the most talented, craziest drivers in the world. A little less since Marcus Gronholm retired but they are up there. So I put the WRC on whilst I was sorting some food. I can’t say I paid much attention – it was yet another gravel rally in some dusty faraway place. Seen several of those this year already. Unfortunately my expectations were met. I just can’t get into it. What’s wrong with me? So far I’m only watching for the car control and the excellent TV coverage, but for sporting contest – I’m struggling.

I can’t remember who won.




EuroSpeedway Lausitz (‘roval’), Germany

Took place: 18 May
Watched: 4 August

Now the DTM is an entertaining championship. Big powerful V8s with star drivers and enough aero grip to get good speed through the twisties.
This particular instance wasn’t the best example but I think that was due to the silly pit rules this year. DTM races last an hour and a bit. Drivers must make 2 compulsory pit stops in which they have to take on a bit of fuel and change at least 2 tyres. Great, no problem here, makes for good strategy races.
The problem is the pit window. This year they have to pit in the middle 1/3rd of the race when previously they could stop on lap 3 and lap 50, if they thought that was the best strategy. This means everyone is forced into almost the same strategy. If that’s the case, why force the pitstops at all?
I understand the rule has been changed for subsequent events in response to critisism from drivers, teams and fans – I look forward to seeing how that pans out.

Paul di Resta won for Mercedes, he’s a very good driver and should be in single-seaters. He’s Dario and Marino Franchitti’s cousin.

Throw some ALMS in here from Utah, the SPEEDTV coverage. Not sure I agree with P2s beating P1s on outright pace so it was nice to see the P1s stretch their legs for the time it lasted..
The only two reasons I didn’t watch this closely was because a) it was after work and I needed to clean the flat and cook food, and b) the race is so fucking long! And this is only a 2h 45m race, not like the 5h LMS races in Europe. I tend to only half pay attention to these races which is why they make good Catch-Up Week or Off-Season fodder. Hmm I could put music on instead..


Croft, North Yorkshire, England
live recording

Okay so this one was a strange event.

Race 1
Two red flags caused by heavy monsoon-condition rain flooding the track. Race abandoned. Doesn’t look good.

Race 2
Possibly the best BTCC race of the season! Turkington coming up through from near the back, started 18th and passed almost every car to finish 2nd. The other BMWs made it to the front but they were visibly slower by a long way.

Race 3
Also entertaining in a BTCC-type way. Wheels banging, cars passing.

I never usually like Croft but this was a good one, even with the first race red flag. I’ve become a fan of Jackson’s – and of Adam Jones in the independent petrol SEAT outclassing the superior diesel factory cars. I always root for the underdog.

Coming up this weekend:
IRL at Kentucky
Since this isn’t an F1 week, in that timeslot I will hopefully get a chance to catch up with some GP2.