Motorsports Weekend Guide: April 18 to April 20


Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly look ahead to who’s racing what and where this weekend. With most of the United States wrapped up in a holiday weekened, the biggest events will take place overseas. Here’s what you’ll find after the jump (and more):

  • World Endurance Championship: Silverstone 6 Hours
  • Formula One: Chinese Grand Prix
  • World Touring Car Championship: Paul Ricard Circuit
  • British GT Championship: Oultan Park
  • 24 Hours of LeMons: Gingerman Raceway (with exclusive Hooniverse content!)

FIA WEC Prologue

World Endurance Championship: Silverstone 6 Hours

While Toyota, Porsche, and Audi all unveiled their newest LMP1 cars a few weeks back during WEC testing at the Circuit de Paul Ricard, the opening round will put the six prototypes through their race paces. Porsche’s 919 was fastest at testing, but it remains to be seen how the Audi R18 and Toyota TS040 run without sandbags attached. The new regulations focus on energy used per lap via fuel flow and electric motor usage, which could result in a unique style of racing where the fastest team could take a backseat to the most efficient. Or maybe not. No one’s really sure yet. The GTE categories both see factory-backed efforts from Porsche and Aston Martin with not-really-Ferrari-factory-but-pretty-close AF Corse running five 458 Italias in the two GT classes. It will all play out at Silverstone in the first of two WEC rounds before the series centerpiece, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Silverstone also see the European Le Mans Series open its season with an enormous field a scant year or two after the ELMS looked headed for oblivion. The cost-capped LMP2 class is the series’ top billing and will see Sebastien Loeb’s  new LMP2 entry (Loeb is owner only) taking on established ELMS contenders Greaves Motorsport,  Jota Sport, and defending champions Signatech Alpine. The GT classes contain mostly Ferrari 458s, but the racing has been tremendous in all classes in ELMS races past. Expect little else in the three-hour prelude to the WEC headliner.

Websites: WEC site. Silverstone site. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: ELMS. FIA F3 European Championship.
Live coverage: Live streaming/timing on WEC site and streaming ELMS and WEC on Radio LeMans.


Formula One: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)

The top open-wheel series continues to race in Asia, tackling its third consecutive Herman Tilke-designed circuit. This race follows on the heels of a titanic battle at Bahrain between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who have three wins at Shanghai between them. Mercedes has looked unstoppable thus far, winning all three races this season and putting both cars on the podium at all races. Can anyone challenge them? The Renault and Ferrari-powered cars have languished somewhat, but one has to expect they’ll catch up eventually. Right?

Website: F1 siteWeekend schedule
Supporting series: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
Live coverage: NBC Sports @ 3 a.m. EST on Sunday (TV). Live timing here.



World Touring Car Championship: Paul Ricard Circuit

The FIA’s WTCC opened its season last weekend at Morocco with Citroen absolutely shellacking the competition, sweeping the podium in Race 1 and finishing 1-2 in the second race. Sebastien Loeb won Race 2 with Argentine Jose Maria Lopez running away with the first race. The series tackles its second continent at the wide-open Ricard Circuit, giving the French Citroen and its French drivers (Loeb and defending champion Yvan Muller) a chance to shine on home soil. 

Website: WTCC site. Ricard site. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: FIA European Touring Car Championship. AutoGP. Abarth Trofeo. 
Live coverage: No live TV stateside. Live timing here.


British Touring Car Championship: Donington Park

While the FIA touring cars run in France, Britain’s top tourers tackle famed Donington Park. If Citroen are going to run away with the WTCC races (as the Chevy Cruze did for several years), then the tight racing and big egos of BTCC might be more your bag. Drama usually appears at BTCC races and the big crowds it draws goes mad for their tour

Website: BTCC site. Donington site. Weekend schedule.
Supporting series: Porsche Carrera Cup UK. Ginetta GT4 Cup. Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. Renault UK Clio Cup. Ginetta Junior Championship. 
Live coverage: Live timing, audio, and streaming on BTCC site.


Blancpain Sprint Series: Nogaro

After a cracking opener to the Blancpain Endurance Series opener at Monza, the Sprint series follows up with a short race at France’s Nogaro.  Many of the names and machinery should look familiar. With five Audi R8 LMS on the entry list in the top class and top drivers like Rene Rast, Stephane Ortelli, and Marc Basseng in them, expect the Four Rings to be hard to top. 

Website: Blancpain Sprint site. Nogaro site. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: Supertourisme. Renault Clio Cup Elf. Mit Jet 2L.
Live coverage: Live streaming on Blancpain site



British GT Championship: Oulton Park

Europe’s top drivers will mostly find themselves at the Blancpain and WEC/ELMS weekends, but Britian’s national GT championship will still trot out quality drivers in GT3- and GT4-spec cars. While only a national championship, the UK’s grand tourers draw some heavy hitters, including Ferrari 458s from Italian racing house AF Corse. The racing has been heartstopping with season championships coming down to the final races of the season more than once. This is good stuff and while we won’t get broadcast of it stateside, you should make an effort to find coverage of it post-weekend.

Website: British GT site. Oulton Park site. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: Ginetta GT5 Challenge. Aston Martin GT4 Challenge. Northern Saloon and Sportscar Championship. Bernie’s V8s (Historic V8 Racing Association). Volkswagen Racing Cup.  
Live coverage: None stateside. 


SCCA Majors: East Region, VIRginia Interntional Raceway

The Majors Tour heads to the famed VIR circuit, where the spec classes will draw huge car counts: 50 Spec Racer Fords and 32 Spec Miatas are registered for the weekend. If you want some good amateur racing on Easter weekend, keep tabs on this via Race Monitor.

Website: SCCA Majors site. VIR page. Event Page. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: Live timing on Majors site or on RaceMonitor app for smartphone.



24 Hours of LeMons: Gingerman Raceway

The low-dollar, multiclass crapcan series heads to the most common Midwestern track, Gingerman Raceway in southwest Michigan. Weather at these April races has become an annual celebration of the region’s weather with everything from snow to 30-mph winds keeping racers on their toes. More importantly, this author will be liveblogging the action from the Penalty Box as he did at Road America (Internet connection permitting). Check back Saturday and Sunday for updates on the wrenching (and possibly some racing) action.

Website: LeMons site. Gingerman site. Event page. Hooniverse preview.
Live coverage: Live timing here or on RaceMonitor app for smartphone.


ChumpCar World Series: Thunderhill Raceway

ChumpCar will debut at the famed endurance-racing venue this weekend with a single seven-hour race Saturday. Thunderhill’s bleak surroundings and crazy elevation changes are not for the meek, but the track draws competitive entries no matter the series.

Website: CCWS site. Thunderhill site. Event schedule and supplemental rules (PDF).
Live coverage: Live timing here or on RaceMonitor app for smartphone.


[Lead and bottom photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: WEC, FIA, Oulton Park]

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