Motorsports Weekend Guide: April 3 to April 5

Welcome to a holiday edition of the Motorsports Weekend Guide. For the most part, there’s little racing in the U.S. because this weekend is the holiday of Easter, where a bunny comes back from a three-day chocolate binge and has to hand out its remaining candy to get over the bump. It’s something like that, anyway; feel free to fill me in on the details in the Comments section, which is after the jump. Also after the jump: Electric racing goes to California, NASCAR (pretty much) gets a week off, and every British series in the world goes racing because they hate and fear rabbits.
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 E: Long Beach

The United States is the only country getting two Formula E dates, having hosted a race in Miami and now traveling cross-country to a shortened version of the Long Beach Grand Prix Circuit. To date, the all-electric racing series has seen five different winners in five races, though the e.dams Renault squad (Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost) have won two of those and lead both the teams and driver championship. A great result from American Scott Speed in the Andretti Autosport car at Miami seems to have finally solidified Andretti’s driver pairing with Jean Eric-Vergne in the other car. Look for Lucas DiGrassi and Sam Bird to get back on track at this round.
As mentioned, the series will use a shortened Grand Prix circuit, omitting the fountain and aquarium sections and just cutting to the middle section of the traditional circuit. That leaves the excellent passing opportunity of Turn 9 and the super-tight Turn 11 hairpin from the traditional circuit. Expect the Andretti duo to have a better idea of the circuit, having extensive setup notes from thousands of race miles at Long Beach, albeit in very different cars.
Website: Formula E site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Supporting series: FE School Series.
Live coverage: Saturday @ 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Blancpain Sprint Series: Nogaro (France)

The European GT series announced last week a partnership with Pirelli World Challenge to host “exchange races” with PWC teams invited to a race in Italy next year and a Blancpain round at Circuit of the Americas. Just as World Challenge wrapped up its second round of the year last weekend, the one-hour sprint series opens its 2015 campaign in southern France. Nogaro’s 2.2 miles are an  interesting blend of flowing sections with a huge straight that leads to a tight hairpin, meaning lots of overtaking there during the pair of weekend races.
The entry list looks a bit slimmer compared to the 2014 version with the HTP Motorsports Mercedes gone; however, of the 19 cars on the opening round’s entry list, fans can get seven Audis with a pile of Audi factory drivers behind the wheel for totally-not-factory efforts from the Belgian Audi Club WRT. McLaren, BMW, and Lamborghini all have lent factory drivers to “private” teams since GT3 racing is meant to be “customer” racing and certainly no factories would intervene in that regard.
Website: Blancpain site. Nogaro site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: GT4 European SeriesClio Cup France. Supertourisme. Twingo Cup.
Live coverage: Live streaming on the Blancpain site, although it may be geoblocked in the U.S. Delayed broadcast may be on CBS Sports Network eventually.

British Touring Car Championship: Brand Hatch

The never-boring touring car championship opens its season as it always does at Brands Hatch’s short Indy circuit, a 1.2-mile bullring built into a naturally bowl-shape of Kent countryside. A full grid of cars wheeling down the steep Paddock Hill Bend and then dive-bombing into Druids Corner puts the BTCC on display at its best and worst. Like most touring car races, the British series gets physical with the pointiest elbows usually often getting the best spot at the proverbial dinner table.
More than most years, the BTCC field is full of surprises, returns, and lineup changes. Defending champion Colin Turkington has ditched his BMW 125 for a Volkswagen CC, which he will race alongside his teammate Jason Plato, the always-colorful BTCC staple having lost his MG factory drive. Triple World Touring Car Champion and BMW factory driver Andy Priaulx will be in one of the factory BMWs for his first BTCC races since 2001. Finally, Nicholas Hamilton has the opportunity to be one of the big racing stories of the year; the half-brother of F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will drive the only Audi A3 in the field in his first BTCC season. There are even more changes than that, if you can believe it, but we’re out of room here. Go to Wikipedia for a quick summary of it, if you’re interested.
Website: BTCC site. Brands hatch site. Event page with schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain. Ginetta GT4 Supercup. Clio Cup UK. MSA Formula (Ford) Championship. Ginetta Junior Championship.
Live coverage: CBS SN on April 15 @ 7:00 p.m. ET

Japanese Super GT: Okayama

Japan’s national tin-top series returns with the tube-frame-and-tub GT500 field as competitive as ever with entries from Nissan, Toyota (Lexus), and Honda. That said, the GT3-and-series-homologated GT300 class entry list is absolutely massive. Super GT remains one of the few series with an honest-to-god tire war with Yokohama, Dunlop, Michelin, and Bridgestones all represented among the huge entry list.
Here’s Hooniverse’s Totally Unsolicited and Uninformed Suggestion of the Week: Watch for the Kondo Racing #24 Nissan GT-R in the GT500 class this year featuring GT Academy winner and LMP1 driver Lucas Ordonez alongside Daiki Sasaki, a young Japanese F3 champion who could be the next trump card plucked from the Nismo deck.
Website: Super GT site. Event page. Entry list.
Live coverage: None in U.S. Races subtitled in English and posted on the #SuperGT YouTube channel eventually.

British GT: Oulton Park

Just as BTCC kicks off its year, the GT3 and GT4 series on the British Isles starts its season with two one-hour races. As if to prove how big GT3 racing has become, the series is fully subscribed this year and the first round should keep Oulton Park’s 2.7 miles plenty busy.
Website: British GT site. Oulton Park site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: British Formula Ford. F3 Cup. Volkswagen Racing Cup. Ginetta GT5 Challenge.
Live coverage: Motors TV in the U.S. for two races, but no coverage in the U.S.

British Rallycross: Lydden Hill

The bank holiday in Britain lends itself perfectly to BRX’s one-day format, allowing a Monday race that should be well-attended at the site of rallycross’ genesis. The race should be streamed live all day Monday.
Website: BRX site. Lydden Hill site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Streaming live Monday on Livestream.

British Superbike Championship: Donington Park

Add the British Superbike round to the list of UK series opening their year on Easter weekend. They’ll start off at Donington Park, one of the great bike tracks in the British Isles.
Website: BSB site. Donington site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Shown on ITV4 in the U.K. and possibly live streaming…somewhere. I’ll post in the comments if I find out where and when.

European Rally Championship: Circuit of Ireland Rally (Northern Ireland)

Just a quick jump across the Irish Sea from the bevy of British debuts this season is the ERC’s third round of the year. However, as it’s held in Northern Ireland, you can actually add the asphalt rally to the list of United Kingdom rounds this weekend. Look for Irishman Craig Breen to be the crowd favorite on his home island.
Website: ERC site. Rally Ireland site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Rally guide with Maps!
Supporting series: ERC2, ERC3.
Live coverage: No live coverage in the U.S., but the series posts videos and recaps to its YouTube page.

Stock Car Brazil: Ribeiro Preto Street Circuit

The V8-powered tubeframe cars will rip through the streets of Ribeiro Preto, a track originally designed for IndyCar. Two-time champion Ricardo Mauricio won the series’ opening round.
Website: Stock Car Brazil site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: No live coverage in the U.S.

Turismo Carretera: La Pampa

Interestingly, the TC season opener also occurred on the same weekend as Stock Car Brasil’s. The six-cylinder racecars will race around the relatively simple and very fast La Pampa Circuit in…uh…La Pampa.
Website: TC site. La Pampa site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: No live coverage in the U.S.

Supercar Challenge: Zandvoort

It’s hard to describe Supercar Challenge in a couple sentences, but basically this is where the Dutch go to race sports and road cars of all sizes and configurations. There are all kinds of classes from (sports-racer) prototypes to GT3-spec cars to hatchbacks. The Dutch—who aren’t really all robots like I once said—open their race season at Zandvoort, which may or may not be Dutch for “Sand Fart.” Or “Sand Fort.” Or “Z And Foort.”
Website: Supercar Challenge site. Zandvoort site. Event page. Entry list.
Supporting series: Clio Cup Benelux. Truckrace Battles.
Live coverage: No live coverage in the U.S., but the series posts videos and recaps to its YouTube page.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East: Greenville-Pickens Speedway (South Carolina)

After a wild opening round at New Smyrna to kick of Speed Weeks this year in Daytona, the K&N East Series heads up the coast to South Carolina and GPS. I’m still not sure if it’s “Greenville Pickens Speedway” or “Greenville-Pickens Speedway” because the series own website seems to use either at random. This really, really bothers the copy editor in me.
Website: K&N East site. Greenville Pickens site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Delayed broadcast on NBC Sports Network on April 7 @ 6:30 p.m. ET.
Going racing or watching some other form of racing this weekend? Feel free to tell us in the comments.
[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photo: Formula E, Blancpain, BTCC]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here