Motorsports Weekend Guide: June 20 to June 22

MWG Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly look ahead to who’s racing what and where this weekend. This weekend follows up the world’s biggest endurance race at Le Mans with another 24-hour race in the neighboring country. American stock cars will race an uncharacteristic variety of circuits while the “Thunderschleife” opens its tarmac this weekend. Read about those races and whole lot more after the jump.

  • The Nürburgring 24 Hours

  • NASCAR on road courses!

  • Formula Drift and Global RallyCross on the East Coast

  • The SCCA opening America’s new longest race circuit

  • And a whole boatload more!

Nurburgring ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours You didn’t think you’d get a rest after Le Mans, did you? Yes, the most notorious racetrack in the world, all 13 miles of it, will host a 24-hour race a week after 24 hours of ground-pounding at Circuit de la Sarthe. Sanctioned by Germany’s automotive agency, ADAC, this race features a mix of production-based cars from GT3-spec supercars down to tuned hatchbacks. Anyone who’s watched Leh Keen’s “Raindance” video has seen some of the perils that renders the N24 its own unique brand of twice-round-the-clock action. Last year, the superstar-laden Black Falcon Mercedes SLS GT3 just barely beat BMW’s Z4 GT3 for the overall win. This year sees BMW with two absolutely stacked lineups in the top SP9 GT3 class, which features more than 20 entries. They won’t be alone, of course, as the N24 is a matter of national pride among the automakers: Audi and Porsche will sprinkle their factory drivers (many fresh from Le Mans) in with the teams running GT3 machinery. To boot, Jeroen Bleekemolen drove 14 hours of the Le Mans race in the Porsche he split with Cooper MacNeil and he’ll be the lead driver in the Black Falcon Merc at the ‘ring. With 200 entries in the field, it’s nigh impossible to cover them, but if you poke around the Web, some people smarter than me should be able to give a good preview of the race. As an added bonus, the Radio Le Mans crew will be pulling their own mega-endurance race, as they provide streaming audio for the whole 24 hours and for practice sessions, making well more than 50 hours of live race coverage in a week. One more bonus point: Former Ferrari F1 driver and Audi Le Mans driver Stefan Johansson will drive a Mazda MX-5 in the V3 class. How cool is that? Website: N24 site. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: ADAC Procar. Classic touring cars. Clio Cup Europe. ADAC Classics. Live coverage: Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET. Live stream links can be found here on BridgetoGantry.com. Radio commentary and streaming audio on RadioLeMans.com.   Formula One: Austrian Grand Prix The last F1 round at Canada saw Red Bull and Danny Ricciardo at last topping Mercedes, though Rosberg finished P2 to retain his points lead. One has to wonder if this is the bellwether for Red Bull’s strong second half of the season, as predicted by many early-season pundits. Heck, maybe Sebastian Vettel, languishing in the fifth position in the championship, will even show up for a race. With the series returning to the Red Bull Ring (formerly the Österreichring) for the first time in more than decade, expect extra pressure on the Red Bull cars to win and also expect Rosberg and Hamilton to feel motivated to steal one away from the title sponsor in Austria. Keep an eye out for Fernando Alonso, who’s quietly proving that he might be the best race driver in the series by sitting fourth in the championship with a Ferrari that has seriously lacked pace. Website: F1 site. Red Bull Ring site. Event page. Weekend schedule Supporting series: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. GP2. GP3. Live coverage: Sunday @ 8 a.m. ET on NBC Sports (TV).   NASCAR: Toyota Save Mart 350 (Sonoma Raceway) I’ll confess to not being the world’s biggest oval racing fan and, therefore, not the world’s biggest NASCAR apologist. That said, I generally find the series’ few forays into road racing to be fascinating because watching American muscle rip down the straights and then whoa-down 3,200 pounds of car before flinging the tubeframe beasts into the corners. It’s a formula that works for V8 supercars and SCCA’s Trans Am, but it’s never entirely fair to compare them. They’re each their own beast. That said, many younger Sprint Cup drivers cut their teeth in road racing, so there really are few road-racing slouches these days. As it turns out, a good driver is a good driver, regardless of the car. As an added bonus, this writer will be at the racetrack to take in the race and Saturday qualifying. And to boot, Hooniverse podcast host Blake Rong will be there, as well. Website: NASCAR site. Sonoma siteEvent page. Weekend schedule Supporting series: K&N Pro Series West. Live coverage: Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on TNT (TV) and Performance Racing Network (Radio/Streaming audio).   NASCAR Nationwide: Gardner Denver 250 Fired Up By Johnsonville (Road America) Personally, I find it odd that NASCAR schedules their road races on the same weekend at different circuits, but what can you do? Nationwide running Road America tends to produce outstanding results and very, very close racing. The big grunt of the American V8s really plays well on the circuit’s long straights. They’ll share the weekend with their distantly related road-racing specialists from Trans Am as well as Pirelli World Challenge. This weekend marks the first for Trans Am’s TV coverage on MAVTV, although it sounds like tape-delayed coverage. World Challenge will see the American debut of Dyson Racing’s Bentley Continental GT3 and RealTime Racing’s new Acura TLX. It will also add drama for the GTS class, where Porsche Cayman driver Jack Baldwin leads the Kia Optima of Mark Wilkins by a single point. Website: Nationwide site. Road America siteWeekend schedule. Supporting series: Pirelli World Challenge. Trans Am. Live coverage: NASCAR – Saturday @ 2:45 p.m. ET on ABC (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming audio). World Challenge – Two GT/GTS races, Friday @ 4:15 p.m. ET and Saturday @ 10:10 a.m. ET streaming on World-ChallengeTV.comTrans Am – TV coverage on MAVTV, times TBA.   V8s V8 Supercars: SKYCITY Triple Crown (Hidden Valley Raceway | Darwin) The standings remain as they were before the last race weekend in Perth with Mark Winterbottom the sole Ford ahead of five Holden drivers, though his lead is a stout 101 points over his nearest rival, Craig Lowndes. This weekend sees a tripleheader at Darwin’s Hidden Valley, where Lowndes will celebrate his 40th birthday. However, look for Winterbottom to extend his championship lead at Darwin; not only have the Fords performed well there, Winterbottom himself has been a superstar with 11 top-five finishes in his last 12 races on Hidden Valley 1.78-mile course. Website: V8 Supercars site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: V8 Utes. Australian Formula 3. Touring Car Masters. Improved Production/Commodore Cup. Live coverage: Three races – Friday @ 11:50 p.m. ET, Saturday @ 3:00 a.m. ET, and Sunday @ 1:45 a.m. ET on V8 SuperView (Subscription streaming site).   Formula Drift: The Gauntlet (Wall Stadium Speedway | Wall, NJ) The season’s first three rounds of Formula D all took place on street or road courses, but Round 4 of the season finds them tearing around Wall Speedway’s oval and interior sections in front of a grandstand. Some experts (of which I am not) have said this is drifting at its finest: thousands of raucous fans applauding the sideways-and-smoke show. In the season championship, Chris Forsberg won the opener at Long Beach, but Vaughn Gittin Jr. won the Road Atlanta and Miami-Homestead events, though his early exit at Long Beach has proven costly: He currently trails Forsberg by 10 points. The Gauntlet represents the season’s halfway point, so there’s still plenty of drama left to unfold. Website: Formula D site. Wall Speedway pageEvent page with weekend schedule. Live coverage: Saturday @ 1:30 p.m. ET with finals @ 5:30 p.m. ET (Streaming on DailyMotion).   Red Bull Global RallyCross: Washington, D.C. The Global RallyCross organizers really have it together in terms of finding their market, which is not an easy thing to do in motorsport these days. Not only is Red Bull the title sponsor, but they also managed to run a round as part of the X Games. Scott Speed won the gold at that race ahead of billion-time X Games medalist Bucky Lasek. GRC now heads to the nation’s capitol, where they’ll use a circuit around RFK Stadium, a callback to when the American Le Mans Series raced on the streets of D.C. As with the previous round, they’ll get live TV coverage, another major accomplishment in motorsport. Website: GRC siteEvent page. Entry list. Live coverage: Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET on NBC (TV).   Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: Miller Motorsports Park The Lucas Oil series tends to find itself at dirt-specific tracks most of the time, but they’ll be headed to Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park this weekend. In addition to several miles of pristine tarmac, Miller hosts a tremendous off-road course. The variety of entries will get their kicks there and you can watch it on delay via MAVTV. Website: Lucas Oil Offroad Series site. MMP siteWeekend schedule. Live coverage: All day Saturday and Sunday with Live Timing on the site. Tape-delayed TV coverage on MAVTV and CBS Sports.   AUTO - ERC IRELAND RALLY 2014 FIA European Rally Championship: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium) The Flemish region isn’t renown for most of the iconic landscapes most associate wit h rallying. There aren’t huge elevation changes and the rally doesn’t wind through forests in quite the same way as, say, Finland. Instead, the Geko Ypres Rally, an icon of the lower tiers of European rallying, will tear around the narrow lowland roads of northwest Belgium. This is the rally’s 50th run, so expect a bit of pomp and circumstance from the FIA about the rally. Website: ERC site. Belgian Rally siteEvent page with Rally Guide (Schedule and Maps). Entry list. Live coverage: None.   World Superbikes: Misano World Superbikes saw a shakeup in the points at the latest round in Sepang. The Asprillas of Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli finished 1-2 in both Malaysian rounds, vaulting them to fifth and second in the championship, respectively. Tom Sykes still leads for the title, but Asprilla riders have come on strong and may challenge the defending champ’s lead on Misano’s 2.5-mile, bike-heavy circuit. Website: WSBK site. Misano siteEvent page (with weekend schedule). Supporting series: SuperSport Championship. Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. Superstock 600 FIM European Championship. European Junior Cup.  Live coverage: Races all weekend (See schedule above). TV coverage on beIN Sports, times TBA.   AMA Pro Road Racing: Triumph Superbike Classic (Barber Motorsports Park) The American Motorcycle Association’s race series heads to Alabama for weekend of racing around Barber’s super-technical, roller-coaster circuit in a doubleheader weekend. It’s not the most relevant form of two-wheel racing in the world, but the championship is awfully tight halfway through the season with Cameron Beaubier and Roger Hayden tied for the series lead and three-time champion Josh Hayes looming just four points behind. Website: AMA Pro Road Racing site. Barber siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: GoPro Daytona Superbike. SuperSport. Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson series. Live coverage: Races all weekend (See weekend schedule). Live streaming on FansChoice.TV.   International GT Open: Jerez After the grinding 24-hour race at Le Mans, several GT drivers not going to Germany will instead head to Spain to run a pair of International GT Open races at Jerez. GT Open is almost like the Blancpain Sprint Series Lite with the same spec cars (GT3) but without quite as much big-name talent. Nevertheless, it’s a good venue to see the future of GT racing and the series provides free streaming on its website. Website: GT Open site. Jerez siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: Euroformula Open Live coverage: Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 7 a.m. ET, streaming on GT Open Live.   British GT: Snetterton Down a notch yet from International GT Open is the national GT series of UK. British GT doesn’t draw even the quality of drivers as GT Open (generally), but it does pull big GT3 and GT4 fields that run together. The highlight for most international fans is watching the Bentley Continental GT3s ripping around the circuits of their home country. Website: British GT site. Snetterton siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: British Formula 3 Championship. Ginetta GT5 Challenge. BRDC Formula 4 Championship. Volkswagen Racing Cup. Mini Challenge. Live coverage: Two races Sunday @ 6:40 ET and 10:35 ET. Motors TV coverage across the pond but nothing stateside.   FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 - SLOVAKIA World Touring Car Championship: Spa-Francorchamps Another WTCC, probably another points boon for Citroen, who are currently obliterating the rest of the field. Granted, they are one of only three “factory” efforts and Lada is one of the other two. You may guess how well the Russians have fared in WTCC. They scarcely even get coverage during the races, but when was the last time hubbub was made over backmarkers? Regardless, the series will run on the expanse of Belgium’s premiere road course this weekend. Here’s a curious bit of news: The WTCC may race the Nordschleife next year. Website: WTCC site. Spa siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: FIA F3 European Championship. FIA European Touring Car Championship. Abarth Cup. Live coverage: Plenty of coverage and replays on Eurosport but nothing stateside.   FIA European Truck Racing Championship: Nogaro These are big rigs and they will run around Nogaro’s tight confines. I really wish this had TV coverage stateside. Website: ETRC site. Nogaro siteEvent page. Live coverage: Highlights on Motors TV, but nothing stateside.   EuroV8 Series: Brno That weird European touring car series ducks out of Italy and makes for the Czech Republic’s sprawling 3.36-mile circuit. The primarily Italian driver lineups remain, although the series is oddly the home of Eddie Cheever Jr., son of the famed open-wheel racer of the same name. Website: Euro V8 site. Brno siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Ferrari Challenge Trofeo. Live coverage: Streaming video on EuroV8 site.   NHRA: New England Nationals (New England Dragway and Motorsports Park | Eppling, NH) As NASCAR does, the NHRA just rolls along with an event nearly every weekend. This weekend finds them in New Hampshire, ripping down the New England Dragway. Website: NHRA site. New England Dragway siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Qualifying – Saturday @ 7 p.m. ET  on ESPN2 (TV – Highlights). Eliminations – Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET on ESPN (TV).   ARCA ARCA: Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care (Elko Speedway | Elko, MN) While the top NASCAR series run road courses, ARCA will drive 250 miles around Elko’s 3/8-mile oval. That’s close quarters and the short ovals make ARCA a pretty dang exciting series to watch. Website: ARCA site. Elko Speedway siteEvent page (with Weekend schedule). Live coverage: Saturday @ 9 p.m. EST on CBS Sports (TV).   NASCAR K&N East: Visit Hampton 175 (Langley Speedway | Langley, VA) The K&N East series runs its second consecutive weekend. The last round at Five Flags saw Ben Rhodes win his fourth race of 2014 to pad his lead over Gray Gaulding to 55 points, which is probably useless to note because I have no idea how the series tabulates points. Website: K&N East site. Langley site. Live coverage: None.   Canadian Touring Car Championship: Calabogie Motorsports Park I can’t honestly tell you if the CTCC is the top-billed series at the Calabogie Grand Prix, but it’s an intriguing series, isn’t it? The rules homologate a broad mix of machinery and run them together in three classes (Super, Touring, and B-Spec). They’ll share the track with the IMSA-sanctioned GT3 Cup Canada and some other interesting lower formula. Seems like a delightful weekend of racing around the 2.5-mile Ontario track. Website: CTCC site. Calabogie siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. 944 Challenge Canada. Formula Libre Challenge. GT Challenge. Live coverage: None.   Skip Barber Series: Mid-Ohio Both of the Barber development series run around Ohio’s most iconic track this weekend. It’s worth nothing that Ben Auriemma leads the Summer Series in the formula cars while his dad, Michael, leads the MX-5 series. Ben has won three of the first four rounds. There’s racing scholarship money at stake for the formula winners and previous winners are currently racing in Indycar’s Road to Indy ladder. Website: Barber Series site. Mid-Ohio site. Live coverage: None.   SCCA Regional – Thunderhill Double Regional Ordinarily, the Motorsports Weekend Guide doesn’t point out club racing’s regional events, but this SCCA regional holds the distinction of opening Thunderhill’s new five-mile layout (called “Thunderschleife” by some). That makes the full configuration the longest road course in the U.S. Later this year, the 24 Hours of LeMons will run the Thunderschleife and I believe the 25 Hours of Thunderhill will also run the configuration for the first time in December. Website: SCCA San Francisco Region website. Thunderhill site. Event page. Live coverage: Live timing via RaceMonitor app for smartphones and devices.   LeMons 24 Hours of LeMons: Buttonwillow Raceway Park LeMons runs its annual summer race in the California desert, a traditional human simulation of the Christian concept of “hell.” Last year’s summer race at Buttonwillow saw daytime temperatures peaking near 115 degrees and the organizers instituting a mid-day break for hydration and recooperation. This year, the high temperatures are expected to be double digits, which is nearly pleasant. The heat is tough on cars and tougher on drivers, making this one of the most grueling races on LeMons schedule. Website: LeMons site. Buttonwillow site. Event page with schedule. Hooniverse preview. Live coverage: Live timing on SpecialtyTiming.com or via  RaceMonitor app for smartphones and devices.   ChumpCar World Series: Road America ChumpCar returns to its staple track at Road America following the NASCAR weekend. Much as LeMons followed up the 2012 ALMS race at Road America, ChumpCar’s 10-hour race will come on Monday. Sunday will be reserved for the weekend held in conjunction with the Ultimate Street Car Association, which we’ve covered here on Hooniverse a couple of times. The USCA event will eventually be broadcast on MAV-TV with perhaps some Chump racing tossed into the show(s) to boot. Website: CCWS site. Road America site. Supplemental regulations with weekend schedule. Live coverage: Live timing on CCWS site or via RaceMonitor app for smartphones and devices.   ChumpCar World Series: Summit Point Raceway ChumpCar will also hold its first race at West Virginia’s Summit Point on the Shenandoah Circuit familiar to many a crapcan racer. The two-race format is a bit different with a 10-hour race Saturday and a four-hour sprint race Sunday to accommodate the track’s Sunday morning quiet hour. Website: CCWS site. Summit Point site. Supplemental regulations with weekend schedule. Live coverage:  Live timing on CCWS site or via RaceMonitor app for smartphones and devices.   [Lead photo copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: Nürburgring, Erebus Motorsport, FIA, Citroen Racing, Elko Speedway, Murilee Martin]  

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