The weekend is rapidly (or perhaps not-so-rapidly) approaching, which means it’s time for Hooniverse to look ahead to the coming weekend in racing. This weekend, coming on the heels of Easter, seems to mark the real beginning of the racing season rush, where something like 20 major racing series hold events every weekend for the next several months. This weekend finds some of the biggest series all racing around the globe, from the kick-off of international endurance-racing season to two-wheelers invading America to big rigs racing on two continents. Read about those and more 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).
World Endurance Championship: 6 Hours of Silverstone
The FIA’s intercontinental endurance-racing series starts its 2015 campaign as it always does at Silverstone. The GT categories should feature solid factory-backed Porsche-Ferrari-Aston Martin battles in GTE-PRO while GTE-AM will see the first non-factory C7.R Corvette (run by Larbre Competition) and McDreamy Patrick Dempsey competing in a Porsche. The series also has a new injection of LMP2 entries with a number of new chassis debuting, although the FIA recently announced a major (and generally unpopular) overhaul to the category’s regulations starting in 2017.
The real interesting racing will remain the factory LMP1 cars, which are high-tech 1,000-horsepower hybrids. Nissan’s much-anticipated GT-R LM will not debut at Silverstone as originally intended (It will first show up for Le Mans Test Day in late May), but Toyota, Audi, and Porsche will all bring back refreshed and updated versions of last year’s cars. Toyota is the defending WEC champion and their TS040 looked invincible over six-hour races but came up just short at Le Mans. The pre-season tests at Paul Ricard Circuit, however, showed that Porsche’s 919 possesses tremendous outright speed that should play well at Le Mans as they seek their first win there in 17 years. Audi’s R18 remains a solid pick for the win at Le Mans and while the Four Rings like to win the shorter races, their sights are always set on the big race.
Also on the docket for the weekend is the four-hour European Le Mans Series season opener. In addition to a massively subscribed LMP2 class (the top category in ELMS), the new LMP3 class will debut with five entries, all of them Nissan-powered Ginetta chassis. In the GT classes, AF Corse makes up nearly half the grid with their Ferrari 458s.
Live coverage: Race starts Sunday @ 7 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (TV). Radio Le Mans will stream all WEC and ELMS sessions live on RadioLeMans.com.
ELMS – Streaming live somewhere sometime. Will add a comment below if I find where.
F3 Euro – Streaming live on series website.
MotoGP: Circuit of the Americas
After the young buck Marc Marquez all but waltzed to last year’s MotoGP championship, few would have predicted wily old veteran Valentino Rossi would swoop in to win this year’s opening round at Losail Circuit in Qatar, but that’s exactly what Rossi did. Marquez fell back to fifth place, one position ahead of his Honda Repsol teammate Dani Pedrosa. The biggest surprise may have Ducati’s two Andreas: Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, who rounded off an all-Italian podium ahead of three Spaniards (Rossi’s Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo finished ahead of Marquez and Pedrosa). So what does all that mean with MotoGP headed to its second round at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas? Perhaps like F1’s last round showed, this may not be the cakewalk that was predicted for last year’s champion(s).
For American motorcycle racing fans, however, the exciting part of this weekend may very well be the launch of MotoAmerica, which is a sort-of rebooting of AMA Pro Road Racing. Run by American moto racing legend Wayne Rainey, the formula closely follows that of the World SuperBikes Championship, which is generally a popular and entertaining format. The TV deal with CBS Sports Network seems less-than-ideal, but it still places the series into a higher-profile position than it’s maintained in several years. With a great schedule, MotoAmerica should be well worth your time this season.
Supporting series: MotoAmerica. Moto2. Moto3.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
MotoAmerica – Sunday @ TBA on CBS Sports Network.
Moto2 – Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
Moto3 – Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
Formula 1: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai International Circuit)
Two weeks ago, both Ferrari and Sebastien Vettel proclaimed their returns to the pinnacle of Formula One, besting defending champions Mercedes and essentially catching Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and their respective Mercedes pitwall staff with their collective pants down. Hopefully, this turns into a season where the two teams compete blow-for-blow while Williams scraps for the occasional podium spot. Interestingly, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s whiz kids Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. beat out their Red Bull varsity counterparts. If that becomes a regular occurrence, Red Bull Racing are going to looking for some new employees soon.
The series heads to its second “Tilkedrome” of the year in Shanghai, a cookie-cutter course of the kind that circuit designer Hermann Tilke has penned over the last 20 years to meet the FIA’s Grade 1 regulations. They’ll be joined by the TCR International Series, a newly launched international touring car series that obviously has some solid backing to be running consecutive races in support of F1.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 1:30 a.m. on NBC Sports Network. Qualifying – Saturday @ 3 a.m. ET on NBC SN. Practice – Friday @ 2 a.m. ET on NBC SN.
TCR – Possibly streaming on TCR YouTube site.
IndyCar: NOLA Motorsports Park
The American open-wheel racing series opened its season two weeks ago on the streets of St. Petersburg, where the story about Team Penske utterly dominating the race weekend was lost amid that of the new aero kits shedding carbon fiber all over the street course. When it was all said and done, a spectator had apparently been injured by flying debris and probably 80 percent of the field had lost some aerodynamic elements during the race. In the time since, Chevrolet was docked 220 manufacturer points for opening up 11 engines and making repairs to them, a major no-no when each car is allowed only four engines for the whole year.
So in the series’ initial foray at NOLA destined to be another debris field of carbon fiber? With a little more space and some runoff, the not-as-close confines could mean a little more quarter given in the close racing. It seems that teams may have learned their lessons, too, with the second half of the St. Pete race running caution-free as drivers began to take a more conservative approach.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and on IndyCar Radio (available on IndyCar Race Control site).
Practice, qualifying, and support races may stream on IndyCar YouTube channel.
Drifting returns to Long Beach as its annual season-opener. The smoke-and-noise show will feature defending champion Chris Forsberg, who narrowly escaped with the championship over Fredric Aasbo last year when Daigo Saito defeated Aasbo in the final round of the season. The drift circuit is the final portion of the Long Beach Grand Prix circuit, including the super-tight Turn 11 hairpin.
Live coverage: Live streaming for free on DailyMotion and on FD site.
Blancpain Endurance Series: Monza
If you didn’t know that GT3-spec racing was huge in the racing world, then one glimpse at the Blancpain Endurance Series would be enough to let you know that it is. Fifty-nine cars will start the season opener at Monza in Italy and some of the world’s best GT drivers will be sharing the car during the three-hour race.
Live coverage: Live streaming on Blancpain site (May be geoblocked in the U.S.). Shown on delay Sunday @ 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
Japanese Super Formula: Suzuka
Japanese open-wheel season begins at Suzuka this weekend. If you watched the Super GT opener, you’ll likely notice a lot of the same drivers compete in Super Formula. Actually, you probably won’t because you can’t actually watch Super Formula anywhere in the U.S. to my knowledge. Still, if you can find it somewhere, the cream of the Japanese racing crop make up a very strong national series.
Supporting series: Japanese Superbikes.
Live coverage: None in the U.S.
World Superbike Championship: Motorland Aragon
In four races this year, British riders have occupied every single podium step. That’s put Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, and Tom Sykes at the top of the points table so far with Rea and Haslam never finishing worse than second. As the series rolls into the motorbike-racing heartland of Spain, one has to wonder if the Brits are going to dominate the whole year.
Supporting series: SuperSport World Championship. SuperStock Cup. SuperStock 600 Championship. European Junior Championship.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 6 a.m. ET on beIN Sports. Qualifying – Saturday @ 1 a.m. ET on beIN Sports.
NHRA: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
It’s still early in the season, but it’s already been a crazy one in the NHRA’s Funny Car class. Matt Hagan started the year with back-to-back wins, but he’s followed that up with back-to-back busts while points leader in the class Del Worsham has ridden consistency to a two-point lead over Hagan. The whole show, including Top Fuel and Pro Stock, roll the dice in Vegas this weekend.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com (live) and @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 (delayed TV).
NASCAR: Duck Commander 500 (Texas Motor Speedway)
After a weekend off for Easter, NASCAR returns to action for another 500-mile race, this one around the 1.5-mile oval in Texas. Defending series champions Kevin Harvick has been lights-out this year while Martin Truex Jr. has quietly finished in the Top 10 in all six races this year. Expect a solid outing from Matt Kenseth, who has historically been excellent at TMS.
Supporting series: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (Xfinity Series)
Live coverage: Saturday @ 7 p.m. ET on FOX (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming Audio). Qualifying – Friday @ 6:30 p.m. Practice – Friday @ 11:30 a.m. ET & 2 p.m. ET.
Xfinity – Friday @ 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and MRN. Qualifying – Friday @ 4:30 p.m. ET.
Trans Am: Homestead-Miami
The Trans Am series races its second round of the year in conjunction with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association in Florida. After a massive field at the season-opening round at Sebring, the field is slightly smaller (68 cars) and will feature a separate race for the TA2 class cars, which makes up nearly half the field and is generally the most competitive class.
Supporting series: SVRA
Live coverage: Live timing on Trans Am site and on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices. Delayed CBS SN broadcast eventually.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West: Irwindale Speedway
Despite news items that Irwindale’s doors may shutter permanently for a shopping mall, the SoCal oval continues business as usual. In this weekend’s case, that’s a visit from the NASCAR development series.
Live coverage: No live coverage in the U.S. Delayed broadcast April 16 @ TBD on NBC Sports Network.
ARCA: Troop Aid 200 (Fairgrounds Speedway | Nashville)
The ARCA Series actually employs the same equipment as the K&N series and they’ll race at Nashville’s oval this weekend. If you’re in the neighborhood, you can drop in for a $30 ticket or you can save a nickel and watch the race online for just one low payment of $29.95.
Live coverage: Live pay-per-view streaming for just $29.95!!! (Not a joke.)
FIA European Hill Climb Championship: St. Jean du Gard
For the most part, hill climbs are a non-U.S. thing. Sure, we have Pikes Peak and the Climb to the Clouds, but the Europeans have an entire FIA-sanctioned series for this. That series starts its season with a 5-kilometer climb near St. Jean du Gard in France. How big is hill climbing in Europe? The entry list shows 191 cars entered, 78 of which are CN (think mini-LMP cars) and open-wheel cars.
Live coverage: None, but some good onboard footage usually emerges within a day or two.
EuroFormula Open: Jerez
The open-wheel counterpart to International GT Open kicks off its season with a standalone event in its home country. The Formula 3-spec cars will tackle coastal spain’s Circuito de Jerez and you can actually watch it for free.
Supporting series: Radical European Masters.
Live coverage: Streaming on EFO YouTube site.
Standing miles are an increasingly popular way to go racing. This standing-mile time trial is held on a runway near Mojave, California.
Website: Mojave Mile site.
Live coverage: None.
Atlantic Championship: Road Atlanta
The SCCA-sanctioned Atlantic Championship will take over Road Atlanta this weekend along with its companion F2000 and F1600 (formerly Formula Ford) series.
Live coverage: Live timing via Race Monitor for smartphones and devices.
British Truck Racing Association: Brands Hatch
Of all the racing this weekend, this is probably the event I most regret I cannot attend. Any weekend where big rigs race and 2CVs are on the support bill is a big win. Add in some Caterhams and Legends cars and that’s would be some tremendous bang for the proverbial buck if you were within driving distance of Brands Hatch.
Supporting series: 2CV Classic Racing Championship. Saloon Championship. Pickup Truck Racing. Caterham series. Legends Cars Championship.
Live coverage: It’s 23 British pounds to go in person. Just go to Brands Hatch. Even if you have to fly from the U.S., it’ll be worth it. (Go here to watch the races on delay.)
Brazilian Formula Truck: Autodromo Nelson Piquet (Rio de Janeiro)
Across the pond, the Brazilians also will be truck racing this weekend in Rio. I can’t read the site and even Google Translate struggles with it, so I’ll just assume it says they’ll ripping around in the completely insane way that trucks always race. Fun fact: Indianapolis 500 podium finisher Felipe Giaffone is and has been a staple of this series for many years.
Live coverage: I have no idea. I don’t speak Brazilian.
African Endurance Series: Dezzi Raceway
Yes, the South Africans go endurance racing and the cars are a weird hodgepodge of everything from hot hatches to those failed Shelby Can-Am revival racers from the 1990s that used a Chrysler V6. If you just shuddered at that, it’s because those words haunt Can-Am faithful.
Live coverage: Possibly livestreaming here, possibly not.
SCCA Majors: Hallet Motor Racing Circuit
Back in the states, the Sports Car Club of America’s Majors Tour rolls on for another weekend of racing. The races at Hallett should bring in more than 100 crs with decent numbers in Spec Miata (13) and Spec Racer Ford (17) with a light sprinkling throughout the other classes.
Live coverage: Live timing on SCCA Majors site and via Race Monitor for smartphones and devices.
SCCA Majors: Thunderhill Raceway Park
Meanwhile out in Northern California, the big numbers will be found again in Spec Racer Ford with 28 cars running in the class. If the SCCA isn’t promoting SRF, they probably should be.
Live coverage: Live timing on SCCA Majors site and via Race Monitor for smartphones and devices.
On the tube, delayed and replayed (All times ET):
10:00 a.m. – V8 Supercars, Symmons Plains – CBS Sports Network
1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. – Pirelli World Challenge, Miller Motorsports Park (2014) – MAVTV
1:00 p.m. – Blancpain Sprint Series, Nogaro – CBS Sports Network
3:00 a.m. – NASCAR Sprint Cup practice, Texas Motor Speedway – Fox Sports 1.
4:30 a.m. – NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying, Texas Motor Speedway – Fox Sports 1.
10:00 a.m. – NASCAR Xfinity Series, TMS – Fox Sports 1.
12:00 a.m. midnight – MotoGP qualifying, COTA – Fox Sports 2.
3:00 a.m. – NASCAR Sprint Cup, Texas Motor Speedway – Fox Sports 1.
2:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m. – Lucas Oil Off Road, Miller Motorsports Park – MAVTV
6:00 p.m. – NASCAR K&N East, Greenville-Pickens – NBC Sports Network
6:00 p.m. – MotoGP qualifying, COTA – Fox Sports 2.
7:00 p.m. – Moto3, COTA – Fox Sports 2
8:00 p.m. – Moto2, COTA – Fox Sports 2
9:00 p.m. – MotoGP, COTA – Fox Sports 2
12:00 a.m. midnight – World Superbikes, Aragon – beIN Sports
5:00 a.m. – Blancpain Endurance Series, Monza – CBS Sports Network
10:00 a.m. – NASCAR Sprint Cup, Texas Motor Speedway – Fox Sports 1
8:00 p.m. – NASCAR Sprint Cup, Texas Motor Speedway – Fox Sports 1
11:30 a.m. – NASCAR Xfinity Series, TMS – Fox Sports 1.
2:00 p.m. – World Superbikes, 2014 Season Review – beIN Sports
1:00 a.m. – IndyCar, NOLA Motorsports Park – NBC Sports Network
2:00 a.m. – World Superbikes, 2014 Season Review – beIN Sports
5:30 p.m. – European Drag Racing Series, Germany – MAVTV
8:00 p.m. – MotoAmerica Season Preview – CBS Sports Network
10:30 p.m. – Blancpain Endurance Series, Monza – CBS Sports Network
Going racing yourself or heading out to watch some racing in person? Tell us in the comments where you’ll be turning your wheels.
Source : http://hooniverse.com/2015/04/10/motorsports-weekend-guide-april-10-to-april-12/