Motorsports Weekend Guide: March 6 to March 8

Welcome to another edition of Hooniverse’s weekly look forward to the weekend ahead in racing. For this week, two FIA series go westward, NASCAR, and a huge field heads to Texas. Follow the jump for more.


Pirelli World Challenge: Circuit of the Americas

After growing by leaps and bounds last year, the SCCA-sanctioned Pirelli World Challenge opens its 2015 season with its first visit to COTA for a standalone race. The series has a brand new CBS Sports Newtork TV deal for this season that gives all of the classes from the mostly GT3-spec cars in the GT class down to the economy cars in Touring Car B (TCB) class.  Also new for this year is GT3 Trophy, a Porsche 911-only class.
Defending GT champion Johnny O’Connell returns in a Pratt & Miller Cadillac, although gone is the CTS-V homologated only for the class, replaced instead with a GT3-spec ATS-V. With 113 cars across all the classes, it’s fruitless to try previewing it all here, especially since there are so many new entries this season. As with last year, you can also stream all of the hour-long races live for free, one of the biggest selling points to teams and fans.
Website: PWC site. COTA site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: Live streaming on and on the PWC YouTube channel. Delayed broadcast on CBS Sports Network edited with onboard cameras March 14 @ 11 a.m. ET (GT/GTS/GT Cup classes) and March 18 @ 8 p.m. ET (TC/TCA/TCB classes).

World Touring Car Championship: Argentina

The FIA’s top-tier touring cars series charges into action in South America, where Citroen’s defending champion Jose Maria Lopez will begin his title defense in his home country. Citroen again looks strong with Lopez, touring car ace Yvan Muller, last year’s part-timer Ma Qing Hua, and French megastar Sebastien Loeb, who will also field his own privateer Citroen with Moroccan Mehdi Bennani in the driver’s seat. Seaking to challenge Citroen for the manufacturer’s title is a surprisingly strong Lada lineup with Brits James Thompson and Rob Huff, who won the final round of 2014 in a Lada. Honda’s pairing of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro are nothing to scoff at, as well.
The season begins at Autodromos Termas de Rio Hondo, a recently renovated circuit that may very well be the most modern on the continent. Lopez swept the weekend last year and will again be the favorite in front of his home crowd to jump out to a big points lead for the season.
Website: WTCC site. Termas de Rio site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: Argentine National Touring Cars.
Live coverage: No race coverage in the U.S., unfortunately, although Eurosport will have the races if you’re across the pond. All qualifying will be streamed on for free, however.

World Rally Championship: Rally Guanajuato (Mexico)

After what must be the most exciting rally finish in years at Rally Sweden, the WRC crosses the Atlantic for warmer weather and the season’s first gravel rally. The Mexican rally traverses 395 kilometers of mostly dusty desert mountain roads near Leon. However, as Bill Caswell will gladly tell you, the parties and crowds around the rally’s ceremonial start in the ancient city of Guanajuato makes it a driver favorite.
Sebastien Ogier has won both WRC rounds so far this season and also comes to Mexico as the rally’s defending champion. He beat out Finnish teammate Jari-Matti Latvala last year, but the big story last season was Thierry Neuville saving Hyundai’s first WRC podium by filling up the radiator with an oversized bottle of Corona. Ogier remains the class of the field, but who knows what might happen?
Website: WRC site. Rally Mexico site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Maps! Season points.
Supporting series: WRC2.
Live coverage: Live coverage on MAVTV at the following times: Thursday @ 8 p.m. ET, Saturday @ 1 p.m. ET, and Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET (Power Stage). Live onboard cameras and tracking on WRC+ (Pay subscription). Live radio and stage times (with splits) on WRC Live.

NASCAR: Kobalt 400 (Las Vegas Motor Speedway)

The NASCAR train rolls on, trucking from Atlanta cross-country to LVMS for another drive around another 1.5-mile D-oval. Both race weekends to date had ominous overtones with heavy impacts on inside walls lacking in Safer Barriers. Kyle Busch drove his leg in the Xfinity Series race at Daytona and last weekend, it was Jeff Gordon’s heavy impact with the AMS inside wall. Gordon is now 0-for-2 in finishing races in his final season to date, so look for redemption from him.
In terms of winners, superstars Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson have already clinched a spot in the season-ending Chase while Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhart Jr. have both finished both races’ Top 5s. Interested in playing the numbers on it? Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth have historically been very good at LVMS and would be a decent bet if one were inclined to wager on NASCAR (not really recommended).
Website: Sprint Cup site. LVMS site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Standings.
Supporting series: Boyd Gaming 300 (Xfinity Series).
Live coverage: Sunday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX (TV) and Performance Racing Network (Radio/Streaming Audio). Xfinity – Saturday @ 4 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (TV) and PRN.

SCCA Majors: NOLA Motorsports Park

The Majors Tour runs its third race in the Southeast Region already this year at Louisiana’s renovated circuit. Interestingly, the Spec Racer Ford is huge (46 entries split between the old CVH-powered SRF and the new Gen3 cars), as is Spec Miata with 41 cars that includes most of the usual suspects. Of note, several Trans Am drivers will be running in the Big Bore GT1 and GT2 classes just a week after TA’s huge opener at Sebring.
Website: Majors site. NOLA site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: Live timing on Majors site and on Race Monitor for smartphones and apps.
Racing this weekend or headed to the track to watch a race? Let us know in the comments section!
[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: FIA, WRC, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.]

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  1. ninjacoco Avatar

    Greetings from COTA’s media center!

    1. The Rusty Hub Avatar
      The Rusty Hub

      Did you finagle your way into a media ridealong?