Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly look ahead to who’s racing what and where this weekend. In this edition, we’ll preview a pretty good variety of racing machinery from open-wheelers to superbikes to smoky burnouts mixed with time trials. It’s all happening this weekend, including these and more:
F1 in Spain
IndyCar at Indianapolis (but not the Indy 500)
Formula Drift, Global Time Attack, and Trans Am at Road Atlanta
Pau Grand Prix
Formula One: Spanish Grand Prix (Circuit de Catalunya)
Just one week after a Spaniard won the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, F1 heads to the Iberian Peninsula to tackle the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona. Catalunya’s 2.9 miles put all cars through their paces with a broad mix of corner types and a long run at wide-open throttle down the main straight. No one’s yet touched Mercedes, whose drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are 1-2 in the championship, respectively, with more than 30 points separating Hamilton from third-place Fernando Alonso. Rosberg won the opening round and Hamilton has won all three since. No one’s seriously challenged either at all this year and one has to wonder when the competition is going to show up, if ever.
IndyCar: Indy Grand Prix (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
With testing on Indianapolis’ road course starting last week, IndyCar has more or less established a month-long stay in the series’ home city to drum up excitement leading to its marquee event at the end of the month, the Indianapolis 500. The Indy Grand Prix will be the first IndyCar race on IMS’ revamped road course. With a full complement of supporting races from the Road to Indy ladder, the series might just pull off grabbing sorely needed publicity for the open-wheel series. Some weather forecasts indicate that the weekend could be marred by rain, hopefully not the torrential downpour that shortened the race at Barber Motorsports Park two weeks ago.
Website: IndyCar site. IMS site. Event page with downloadable schedule.
Supporting series: Indy Lights, USF2000, Pro Mazda
Live coverage: ABC @ 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday (TV) and SiriusXM Channel 209 (Radio). Live timing and audio stream on IndyCar Race Control site.
Formula Drift: Road Atlanta
Few sports are growing as rapidly as drifting and Formual Drift are doing everything in their power to maintain that. They return to the site of the first Formula D race in 2004 with a motorsport that’s burgeoning. Buoyed by free streaming coverage, cars pushing 1,000 horsepower, and a following with “the kids,” don’t expect the tire-shredding to go away any time soon.
Trans Am: Road Atlanta
This could probably be combined with Formula Drift since Trans Am and supporting series Global Time Attack are sharing the track with Formula Drift, but since these two will use the full course instead of the shortened drift section.
Like drifting, Global Time Attack is one aread of motorsports that is growing like a weed. Trans Am has experienced strong turnouts so far this season, so could this combined weekend demonstrate one path for the future of American motorsports? Trans Am just launched a slick new website and with their sanctioning body (the SCCA) already hosting free streaming coverage of Pirelli World Challenge, one has to wonder if Trans Am will get a similar treatment eventually.
FIA World Rally Championship: Rally Argentina
The WRC winds through the scrub-lined mountains and valleys near Córdoba in the middle of the Argentina. Not only does it cover a grueling mix of terrain, but Rally Argentina covers more then 500 kilometers between the performance and transit stages.
Volkswagen drivers Sebastien Ogier and Jari Matti-Latvala reside at the top of the standings, having won all four WRC rounds before them. No current WRC driver has ever won in Argentina, as Sebastien Loeb won eight consecutive times there before departing this season to run in the World Touring Car Championship.
F3 European Championship: Pau Grand Prix (Circuit Pau Arnos, France)
The oft-forgotten Pau Grand Prix near the Pyrenees in France gets less fanfare than most city races, perhaps because the top race is still a lower-formula series in Europe. The Formula 3 series is the headline at the historic Pau Grand Prix, but World Series by Renault’s lower-formula (Formula Renault 2.0) will also run at Pau (pronounced “Poe,” apparently). It’s likely not on many people’s motorsports radars, but the narrow street circuit is highly technical with major elevation changes. It’s a little like Monaco without the glitz, glamour, money, or oceanside vistas, but the tradition is as deep, if not deeper: Pau hosted the world’s first Grand Prix in 1901.
NASCAR: Kansas Speedway
NASCAR runs under the lights at Kansas for the first time this weekend. The 1.5-mile tri-oval regularly hosts a bevy of NASCAR races, but this is the first time since lights were added that a primetime race is scheduled. They’ll be joined by the Camping Trucks World Series, whose tube-frame pickups return to action after a long break.
Website: NASCAR site. Kansas Speedway site. Weekend schedule.
Supporting series: Camping Trucks World Series.
Race Names: SFP250 (Trucks). 5-Hour Energy 400 Benefitting Special Operations Warrior Foundation (Sprint Cup)
Live coverage: Sprint Cup – FOX @ 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Live Streaming Audio). Camping Trucks – FOX Sports 1 @ 8:30 p.m. EST on Friday (TV) and MRN (Radio/Streaming).
Japanese Super Formula: Fuji Speedway
The top open-wheel series in Japan heads to Fuji just a week after Super GT’s visit there. Fuji’s current layout is a looping 2.8-mile circuit in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain. Frenchman and Audi LMP1 factory driver Loic Duval won the opening round at Suzuka, eding out British hotshoe James Rossiter. Defending champion Naoki Yamamoto missed the points entirely and will be hoping to get back into the championship hunt.
FIM World Superbike Championship: Imola
Calling the series “World” Superbikes is a bit misleading when only three of the 12 planned rounds are outside Europe, but that continent is really the unofficial home of motorcycle road racing. This weekend finds all five classes tackling the 3.0 miles of Imola’s storied circuit just down the road from the supercar havens in Maranello and Modena. The top Superbike class sees defending champion Tom Sykes atop the championship standings.
Website: World SBK site. Imola site. Event page with schedule.
Supporting series: SuperSport. SuperStock 1000. SuperStock 600. European Junior Cup.
Live coverage: SBK VideoPass (Subscription) or BeIN Sports (TV).
FIA World Touring Car Championship: Slovakia Ring
The FIA’s touring cars stay in in Eastern Europe(-ish) with a pair of races around the lengthy 3.6-mile Slovakia Ring. Citroen’s stranglehold on the race wins ended after the second race at Hungaroring, but the French maker and its three drivers lead the championship by a wide margin. There’s no live race coverage in the U.S. and the highlights on the series’ YouTube channel sometimes leaves a bit to be desired.
ADAC: GT Masters, Zandvoort
This weekend sees a relative dearth of GT racing, Britcar notwithstanding, but the German automobile club ADAC’s GT series has a tendency to bring out some big names and cool cars to their races. This event at Holland’s Zandvoort Circuit is no exception with big leaguers like Jeroen Bleekemolen, Nicki Thiim, Audi R8 specialist Rene Rast, and former F1 driver Heinz Harald-Frentzen piloting first-rate GT3 cars, including Callaway-built Corvettes, AMG SLSs, Audi R8s, Porsche 911s, BMW Z4s, a Camaro, and a lone McLaren MP4. Even if no one were to win, everyone would win. A full complement of ADAC series will open before the headliner, too, including the vintage Kampf der Zwerge series.
Website: ADAC site. Zandvoort site. Event page with schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: ADAC Formula Masters, ADAC Procar, Kampf der Zwerge.
Live coverage: Tape-delayed TV coverage on Fox Sports. Live timing on ADAC site.
Britcar: Donington Park
The grassroots British sportscar series undertakes its second round taking on Donington Park after opening the year at Silverstone. As with Silverstone, each of the three series that comprises Britcar will run their own races. The Endurance series will run a pair of 90-minute races while the Trophy series runs three 30-minute races. The Sports and Touring Car Championship will run a 90-minute race. All three series feature multiclass racing and I do wish there was live coverage of it stateside.
24 Hours of LeMons: New Jersey Motorsports Park
LeMons heads to NJMP for the first of two races this year. This coming just a week after the Carolina Motorsports Park, it may surprise some to see at least five cars running back-to-back weekends. That merits some sort of super-endurance trophy, maybe. Check out the preview below for the full story and keep tabs on Park Bench Racing’s Buick Regal, which features Hooniverse’s own Kamil Kaluski behind the wheel.