This weekend bridges the gap between the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a busy one next weekend. Formula 1 returns to action while most of the major sports car racing series get a short break (but not all of them). This weekend features a nice variety of racing, from touring cars to big off-road trucks. Get the rundown after the jump.
Want more information on a series mentioned below? Click here for Hooniverse’s Massively Oversized Guide to Motorsports 2015, which will tell you all you need to know (and then some).
Formula 1: Grand Prix of Osterreich (Red Bull Ring | Austria)
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The Red Bull Ring is a great racetrack and a proper venue for F1. Nestled into the Austrian mountains near Spielberg, the breathtaking backdrop is properly fitting for a bit-time race and the race’s climbing and diving makes it a tremendous foil to the F1 calendar’s stodgy and boring schedule. Seeing as though Red Bull sponsors the track and race, one would think they would love to see their Red Bull Racing team succeed. As the year wears on, that seems less and less likely with Mercedes grasping firmly the front of the field.
The Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg continue their string of double podiums that has run all season. Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel and Rosberg are both German drivers whose development driving would have included time at the former Osterreichring, so expect them to have just a bit more experience and perhaps an upper hand, since the Red Bull Ring was only just returned to the schedule last year after a decade-long absence. Want a hot tip: Nico Hulkenberg looked strong in his Porsche drive at Le Mans, so many eyes will be focusing on his Force India car this weekend to see if he can add to his 10 points for the year.
Links: F1 site. Red Bull Ring site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): GP2. GP3. Porsche Supercup.
Coverage: Sunday @ 7:30 a.m. on NBC Sports Network.
V8 Supercars: Sky City Triple Crown Darwin (Hidden Valley Raceway)
In the midst of big-race season in America and Europe, the V8 Supercars championship race has been thrown into turmoil with Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom cleaning up in the last two Super Sprint weekends with four wins and five podiums in six races. His chief rivals—Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup from Red Bull Racing Australia—have stumbled in their Holdens a bit lately, ceding the championship lead to “Frosty” while falling to second and fourth in the points standings, respectively. With the future of the Ford Falcon uncertain in Down Under motorsports, you can get Winterbottom will be clawing for the season’s remainder to get his first driver’s championship. Fabien Coulthard has meanwhile quietly had a solid year to sit third in the championship in his Holden and he sniffs a title spot.
All that said, Red Bull Racing found themselves in a similar position last year and Whincup’s dominating performance at Hidden Valley’s 1.78-mile divebomb festival set off the run to his eventual fourth consecutive championship. That’s the story line, same as it’s been for a few years: Winterbottom vs. Whincup and/or Lowndes. It sounds derivative on paper, but the battles always turn out results and it’s seldom boring.
Links: V8S Site. Hidden Valley site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): Touring Car Masters. V8 Utes. Aussie Racing Cars. Improved Production.
Coverage: Live on V8 SuperView (Subscription service). Delayed broadcast June 28 @ 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
FIA World RallyCross Championship: Germany (Estering)
I took some pot-shots at World Rallycross last year for being a tad boring in its opening rounds, but the series has come alive with a roar. As with last year’s V8 Supercars race at Hidden Valley, the WRX round at Germany last year was a pivoting point for the series. The final round (above) was insanely close and it edified Petter Solberg as the face of the series on the way to his championship in the series’ first season.
Solberg leads the championship this year headed into the weekend, but expect fireworks from an entertaining that includes two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom, rallycross superstar Andreas Bakkerud, and a field that is about 80 percent from Scandinavia. As you do in rallycross.
Links: WRX site. Estering site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): WRX Lites.
Coverage: Streaming live on Sunday @ 8 a.m. ET on WRX site.
Blancpain Endurance Series: Circuit Paul Ricard
The GT3 endurance series gives little respite to a number of a drivers who spent last weekend racing a different long race in France. In this case, at least the travel isn’t terrible. The battles at the front of the field are always great, but look for Le Mans teammates Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre to return to their rivalry for Audi and McLaren, respectively. Sprinkle in about 15 more cars with similar talent depth and then a field of 50+ total entries and you have the ingredients for an enjoyable three-hour due at breakneck pace.
Links: BES site. Paul Ricard site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): AutoGP. Lamborghini Super Trofeo. GT Sports Club. Ultracar Sports Club.
Coverage: Possibly streaming live @ 11 a.m. ET on Nismo.tv. Highlight show Sunday @ 9 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
Super GT: Thailand
Just as Blancpain follows up last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Super GT will also see the return of LMP1 drivers Tsugio Matsuda (Nissan), Lucas Ordonez (Nissan), and Alexandre Imperatori (Rebellion Racing). Toyota and Nissan have split the first two rounds of the season in the extremely fast GT500 class while the GT300 class is similarly wide open between the bespoke class cars and the GT3-spec cars that run there. This is the first Super GT visit to the shiny new Thai circuit; don’t be surprised if it becomes a regular venue not just for Super GT but also for MotoGP and maybe even F1.
Links: Super GT site. Buriram International Circuit. Event page. Entry list.
Coverage: Streaming live on Nismo.tv with Radio Le Mans commentary (and also streaming audio only on RLM site). Not sure the time; it’s usually late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Owens Corning Atticat 300 (Chicagoland Speedway)
Sprint Cup gets a rare weekend off, which means that you’ll see a few heavy hitters at the Chicago race this weekend. Kyle Busch won in Michigan last weekend for the first time since returning from his broken leg, suffered when hitting an inside wall at Daytona. The young guns in stock car racing have certainly turned up at the top of the Xfinity Series standings with Chris Buescher (22), Ty Dillon (23), Chase Elliott (19), and Darrell Wallace Jr. (21) all in the top five in points. On the support bill is TORC, the USAC-sanctioned short-course off-road racing. You can stream those races live for free on Thursday and Friday nights (information below).
Links: Xfinity Series page. Chicagoland Speedway site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): The Off Road Championship (TORC). ARCA.
Coverage: Saturday @ 9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. ARCA – Saturday @ 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. TORC – Live streaming on TORC YouTube channel Thursday and Friday @ 9:30 p.m. (not sure ET or CT).
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: American Ethanol 200 (Iowa Speedway)
I’ll confess to not being the world’s biggest fan of oval racing, but Iowa Speedway’s 7/8-mile oval tends to produce some great racing on its low banks. Low banks mean cars need a healthy dose of mechanical grip, which it turns out can wear on tires. So while this is a short 200-lap blast around Iowa, the strategy mirrors that of endurance races where race management and smart pit-wall strategy both pay huge dividends.
Links: CWTS Series page. Iowa Speedway site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Friday @ 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
NASCAR K&N Pro East: Visit Hampton 175 (Langley Speedway | Hampton, VA)
NASCAR’s development series similarly contains young(er) guns than the Xfinity and Truck series with some drivers. Nearly all these races take place on short bullrings like Langley, where there are no pit stops, just long runs that also require tire management and using track position. This might be the minor leagues, so to speak, but the racing is usually close and the talent pool deep enough that there are few runaway winners.
Links: K&N East site. Langley site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Delayed coverage on June 28 @ 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
NHRA: Thunder Valley Nationals (Bristol Dragway | Bristol, TN)
Last weekend, 66-year-old John Force took home his first Wally (the NHRA victor’s trophy, if you’re not familiar) ever from New England Raceway and with it, he gave a fiery post-race speech responding to Don Schumacher, who said his driver Tommy Johnson Jr. was going to “rip his throat out” in the final. Force proved the better and was absolutely lit up after climbing out of the car. I don’t know that rivalry in-depth, but damn it’s great to see a fired-up racecar driver excited to be showing people he’s still got it after retirement age. The series heads into Tennessee, where Force will hope he and his team can carry that momentum.
Links: NHRA site. Bristol site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Sunday @ noon ET on ESPN3 (live) and then Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on ESPN (live).
IHRA: President’s Cup Nationals (Maryland International Raceway)
I don’t have many anecdotes to add about the IHRA because I’ve not really been following the series this year. Sorry. Still, they’ll be in Maryland this weekend and it’s probably a good time to go out and take in the sights and sounds of speed if you’re in the area.
Links: IHRA site. MIR site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Season points.
Coverage: Delayed coverage on MAVTV.
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: Miller Motorsports Park
While their rival series TORC are running in support of NASCAR, the Lucas Oil series will race around Miller Motorsports Park’s excellent off-road circuit. In case you’ve missed it, short-course off-road racing—whether trucks or rally cars—has started to gain traction (Sorry for pun) with extreme sports fans and athlets, like Brian Deegan and Travis Pastrana.
Links: LOORRS site. MMP site. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Delayed coverage on NBC Sports Network.
FIA European Hill Climb Championship: Limanowa
Another weekend, another big hill climb in Europe. This one is in Poland and, like other ones, it’s better to show than tell.
Supercar Challenge: Zolder
The Dutch love their motorsport and Supercar Challenge is the pinnacle of Dutch sports car racing, perhaps. With a reasonable number of tracks in the Low Countries, this and the various Benelux championships make Holland and Belgium a pretty great place for sports car racing fans. Like most modern series, you can watch official highlights on YouTube with English commentary by none other than Martin Haven.
Links: Supercar Challenge site. Zolder site. Event page. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Video recaps on Supercar Challenge TV.
ADAC GT Masters: Spa-Francorchamps
The Germans’ national GT series is a good one, as well, formerly hosting the world’s only Camaro GT3 car (now racing somewhere in Asia) from Reiter Engineering and also hosting the Callaway Corvette GT3s. It’s a shame there’s no U.S. or at least English-language coverage of this series because the quality of drivers is as high as just about any other national GT series and the classic circuit at Spa is a great backdrop for some high-quality racing.
Links: GT Masters site. Spa site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): FIA F3 European Championshipo. GT4 European Series. Renault Clio Cup Central Europe. ADAC Formula 4.
Coverage: None in the U.S.
GT Asia: Okayama
Information is generally scarce about the GT Asia Series and its generally outdated Asian Festival of Speed site. All we know is the series will race at Okayama in Japan this weekend.
Links: GT Asia site. Okayama site.
Coverage: None in the U.S.
World Touring Car Championship: Slovakia
The WTCC season has been exactly what most people expected from it: A dominant outing for the Citroen factory drivers that is more or less boring while Honda and even a little bitta Lada fight for the scraps. Expect little else at Slovakiaring this weekend, although Lada factory driver Rob Huff made good at the team’s home race in Russia two weeks ago with a P4 and P2 finish, respectively, in the weekend’s two races.
Links: WTCC site. Slovakiaring site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): FIA European Touring Car Challenge. Volkswagen Golf Cup. Kia Lotos Race. Euroseries.
Coverage: None in the U.S.
TCR International: Sochi
The TCR International series has so far this year provided more entertainment bang for its buck in its inaugural year than its WTCC counterpart. Under the radar at the last round at Salzburgring, American driver Kevin Gleason became the first winner in an international touring car race that I can find anywhere at a glance. Gleason has looked great for his West Coast Racing team, no doubt helped by his teammate Gianna Morbidelli, who leads the TCR championship.
Links: TCR site. Sochi site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): Formula 4. Mitjet. Super Production and Touring Light.
Coverage: Live streaming on TCR TV site. See weekend schedule for details.
Turismo Carretera: Rosamonte
The huge fields in Argentina’s stock-car series remains a source of entertainment in the country while it’s one of the more obscure international race series. The straight-six powered South American stock cars carry all of the entertainment as NASCAR on a road course with the barely discernible silhouettes leaning hard on each other around the Argentine race circuits.
Links: TC site. Event page. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: None in the U.S., but Spanish-language commentary/races are archived on the Pistas Argentinas YouTube Channel.
British Superbike Championship: Snetterton
It’s a national bike-racing series and a huge contingent of support series racing at one of the UK’s classic circuits. The main event with the Superbikes has been entertaining this year with Kawasaki teammates Stuart Easton and Shane Byrne topping the standings easily so far this year.
Links: BSBK site. Snetterton site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support Race(s): Superstock 1000. Superstock 600. Supersport. British Motostar. Junior Cup. Sidecars. KTM 390 Cup. Junior Cup.
Coverage: British Eurosport coverage in the UK.
European Truck Racing Championship: Nogaro
Big rigs race around one of France’s oldest permanent racing circuits. The long straightaway leading to Turn 7 will test the series’ 100-mph speed limit before making an acute turn into the challenging third sector of the lap. Winding track and 10,000-pound racetrucks? Sounds entertaining enough.
Links: ETRC site. Nogaro site. Event page. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: None in the U.S. Check TruckRace.org for highlights.
Global Time Attack Pro-Am: Streets of Willow
GTA’s time trial comeptition shows up to Willow Springs Raceway to max out the performance of dozens of purpose-built cars on the Streets of Willow 1.8-mile layout.
Links: GTA site. Streets of Willow site. Event page. GTA track records.
Coverage: Live timing on GTA site and via Race Monitor app.
SVRA: Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival (Auto Club Speedway)
American Endurance Racing: Palmer Motorsports Park
The upstart endurance racing series heads to the brand new racing circuit in Massachusetts. Expect some competitive racing with a handful of club and LeMons veterans sharing the track with pros like Mike Skeen and Colin Thompson.
Links: AER site. Palmer site. Event supplemental documentation w/schedule.
Coverage: Live timing via Race Monitor app.
ChumpCar World Series: Calabogie Motorsports Park
The Canadian Chump contingent hosts a Double 7 weekend at one of Chump racers’ favorite Ontario circuits.
Links: ChumpCar Canada site. Calabogie site. Event supplemental regulations with schedule.
Coverage: Live timing on ChumpCar Canada site or on Race Monitor app.
ChumpCar World Series: Michigan International Speedway
Just a few hundred miles to the southwest, Chump’s American cousins will race a 14-hour slog around MIS’ roval circuit. They’ll be sharing the track this weekend with the Ultimate Street Car Associaion, which tests street cars to see which is the ultimate.
Links: CCWS site. MIS site. Event supplemental rules with schedule.
Support Race(s): Optima Ultimate Street Car Association
Coverage: Live timing on CCWS site and on Race Monitor app.
24 Hours of LeMons: Buttonwillow Raceway
Meanwhile, somewhere out in the California desert, LeMons will be hosting its own celebration of complete and total hooptieness. We’ve covered that in more detail (See below), but suffice it to say that 100-degree temperatures are something that most professional endurance racers have seldom endured.
Links: LeMons site. Buttonwillow site. Event page with weekend schedule. Hooniverse preview.
Coverage: Live timing on Specialty Timing site and on Race Monitor app.
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[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Image/Video Sources: RedBull.com, Callum Smith YouTube Channel, FIA World RallyCross YouTube Channel, amklimanowa YouTube Channel.]