Motorsports Weekend Guide: May 15 to May 17

Welcome to another edition of Hooniverse’s look ahead to the weekend in racing in the U.S. and around the world. Headlining this weekend is perhaps the most intense of the world’s 24-hour races, a fairly obscure but famous European street race, and qualifying for the world’s biggest one-day race. If that’s not enough, there are plenty of two-wheel, off-road, touring-car, tin-top, and just about everything else running wheel to wheel in the coming days. Make the jump for more informaiton.
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).


VLN: 24 Hours of Nurburgring

The Le Mans 24 Hours is undoubtedly the king of full-day races, but no 24-hour race is as treacherous and epic as that held at the monstrous Green Hell. The Ring’s big race has grown tremendously in the last five years from an obscure, German enthusiasts’ event to a one of the biggest international sports car races. Despite the terrible fatal accident in the VLN qualifying race and subsequent changes in safety requirements, the race remains highly subscribed. The GT3 field is huge and its driver depth just unbelievably deep. It frequently rains during the race and the night sections are extremely dark with massive closing speed between the GT3 cars and bottom classes, which include low-power street cars.
On the weekend program is one interesting thing of note: The World Touring Car Championship and European Touring Car Cup will run two combined three-lap races on the Ring.
Links: 24H site. Nurburgring site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Spotter guide.
Support races: World Touring Car Championship. European Touring Car Cup. Porsche Carrera Cup Germany.
Coverage: Live audio on Radio Le Mans. 24H starts Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET.

European Formula 3 Championship: Pau Grand Prix

If you like the narrow, dangerous confines of Monaco’s street circuit and its less-prestigious cousin the Guia Circuit in Macau, then Pau is one of the great hidden gems of racing. Held on the climbing and tight streets of the city that hosted the very first Grand Prix in 1901, Pau features a number hairpins and even a tight jog on the main straight. The racing is tight and passing becomes a risky and exciting venture. Even if you’re not familiar with Formula 3 or its field of young drivers, this is an entertaining throwback to grands prix past.
Open-wheel racing takes up most of the billing, including the French 2.0-liter Renault cars. The World Touring Car Championship at one time raced at Pau, but they have since moved on with French Supertouring racing instead taking the tin-top part of the billing.
Links: Euro F3 site. Pau GP site. Event Page with schedule. Entry list.
Support races: Formula Renault 2.0. French Formula 4 Championship. Renault Twingo Cup. Caterham R300. Supertouring.
Coverage: Live stream on Euro F3 site Saturday @ 7 a.m. & 8 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 8 a.m. ET.

IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 Qualifying

The warm-up for Big Race started at the beginning of the month and with daily testing leading up to this weekend’s qualifying, fans should have a good idea of what kinds of speeds to expect. With the new speedway aero kits, some have predicated astronomical qualifying speeds well above 230 miles per hour. Qualifying takes place over two days: Saturday’s fastest nine requalify on Sunday for the pole while positions 10 through 33 requalify Sunday as well for those positions.
Early-week testing has shown that, predictably, the huge stable of Chip Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing, and Andretti Autosport entries—14 between the three teams—are likely to populate the Fast 9 on Sunday, although CFH Racing’s Ed Carpenter is an oval ringer who has claimed the last two Indy 500 poles. With 34 cars on the official entry list, someone will also get bumped Saturday from the 33-car starting grid..
Links: IndyCar site. IMS site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list.
Coverage: Saturday @ 4 p.m. ET & Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET on ABC (TV) and IndyCar Race Control (streaming audio and timing). Live Month of May streaming of practice sessions on IndyCar YouTube, on IndyCar Race Control site (with live timing), and on IMS site. NBC SN?

European Le Mans Series: 4 Hours of Imola

The ELMS heads to Imola for Round Two of the season after a nail-biting opener at Silverstone last month. The new-for-2015 LMP3 class is already growing with six Ginetta-Nissans entered for this race. In the top LMP2 class, the older Gibson (formerly Zytek) chassis of Greaves Motorsports and Jota Sport both looked stronger than the next-generation cars, but we’ll see if that metes out as teams come to grips with the newer cars.
Links: ELMS site. Imola site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list.
Coverage: Audio streaming on Radio Le Mans @ 8 a.m. ET.

MotoGP: Grand Prix of France (Le Mans Bugatti Circuit)

I’m not sure anyone could have predicted this start to the 2015 season. Yamaha has so far outscored Honda 2-to-1 after Honda dominated last year and, likewise, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi holds a substantial 15-point lead over Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso in the riders’ championship. Defending champ Marc Marquez managed a second-place finish last round despite riding injured, but he trails Rossi by 26 points for the title lead. Marquez has been good on the Bugatti Circuit in the past, so this could be the first stage of a resurgent title fight with Rossi. If that’s not enough variables, Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa returns this weekend after being sidelined with an arm injury.
Links: MotoGP site. Le Mans site. Event Page with schedule. Season points.
Support races: Moto2. Moto3.
Coverage: Sunday @ 7:30 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Moto2 – Sunday @ 6 p.m. ET on FS1 (Replay). Moto3 – Sunday @ 5 p.m. ET on FS1 (Replay).

MotoAmerica: VIR

The new American moto series has already held two rounds, one at MotoGP and its first standalone race at Road Atlanta. Now, the World Superbikes-based series heads to Virginia International Raceway’s North Course, the first time bikes have raced wheel-to-wheel in…well, a long time. Cameron Beaubier has won three of the first four rounds of the year with AMA Pro Road Racing champion Josh Hayes winning the only other round. Both are legitimate stars and one has to wonder if/when Beaubier heads to Europe to race in the World SuperBike Championship.
Links: MotoAmerica site. VIR site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support races: Stuperstock 1000. Supersport. Superstock 600.
Coverage: Possibly streaming on Delayed broadcast on CBS Sports Network on May 24 @ 4 p.m. ET.

Pirelli World Challenge: Victoria Day Speedfest (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park)

In truth, NASCAR’s Canadian Tire Series headlines the Victoria Day Speedfest, but since that race isn’t covered with the same breadth and depth in the U.S. as World Challenge, we’ll focus on that. PWC has struggled this year with expanded grids and new classes and the Track Formerly Known as Mosport gives no quarter for tight racing. High-downforce cars should have an advantage at CTMP, where the average speeds are absolutely insane across the track’s 10 turns, many of them very high-speed corners with elevation change.
Links: PWC site. CTMP site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support races: NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Canadian Touring Car Championship. Porsche Carrera Cup Canada. Formula 1600 Championship.
Coverage: PWC streaming live on (See schedule for times). Delayed broadcast May 24 @ 5 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: All-Star Races (Charlotte Motor Speedway)

Meanwhile in Charlotte, NASCAR’s annual All-Star race(s) transpire wherein NASCAR allows anyone who’s looked at a racecar in the last two decades to jump behind the wheel and race in the heart of NASCAR country. Actually, I’m not really sure how the All-Star race works, but I guess NASCAR people are fans of it. The stock cars and their tenders will hang out for a week until next week’s Coca-Cola 600. [EDIT: I looked into a bit and Friday night’s race is like a Young Drivers’ race and Saturday’s is the HUGE MEGASTAR RACE.]
Links: Sprint Cup site. CMS site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support races: NC Education Lottery 200 (Camping World Trucks Series).
Coverage: Friday & Saturday @ 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. CWTS – Friday @ 8 p.m. ET on FS1.

NASCAR Xfinity: Winn Dixie 300 (Iowa Speedway)

NASCAR’s “development” series gets down to business on Iowa’s tight 7/8-mile bullring. It’s a tough track that is hard on cars and tires (See last year’s IndyCar race for proof of that) and it also hosts the K&N Pro East and West Series meeting to battle in the middle of the country.
Links: Xfinity Series site. Iowa site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support races: Casey’s General Store 150 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West)
Coverage: Sunday @ 1:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. K&N Series – Delayed broadcast May 21 @ TBD on NBC Sports Network.

V8 Supercars: Winton Supersprint (Winton Motor Raceway)

Down Under, V8 Supercars rolls into Victoria for another Super Sprint race with two super-short 20-minute races Saturday and one feature-style long race Sunday. Winton has been a regular on the V8 calendar for 30 years and is nearly split in Holden and Ford victories over that time. A dismal showing at Barbagallo cost Red Bull Racing’s Jamie Whincup the lead, but his teammate Craig Lowndes has scored four podiums in the last six races to take over the season points lead. Look for a resurgent Mark Winterbottom to challenge at Winton for his Ford Performance Racing squad.
Links: V8S site. Winton site. Event PageEntry list. Season points.
Support races: Touring Car Masters. Sports Sedans. Sports Racers.
 Live on V8 SuperView (Subscription service). Delayed coverage on CBS Sports Network.

World RallyCross: Belgium

World RallyCross runs its third round of the year in Belgium after opening in Portugal and Hockenheim. The short-track, closed-circuit racing really tends to distil stage rally into an easily digestible, spectator-friendly event. Defending champion and fan favorite Petter Solberg leads the championship thus far in the series’ sophomore campaign.
Links: WRX site. Circuit Jules Tacheny. Event Page. Entry list. Season points.
Support races: WRX Lites.
Coverage: Sunday @ 10 a.m. ET on WRX site.

NHRA: Southern Nationals (Atlanta Dragway)

The National Hot Rod Association rips into Atlanta for another championship round and, surprise, the season points battle in Funny Car is still absurdly close. Ron Capps leads Matt Hagan by just six points after Capps won the last round in Houston. This weekend features four-wheel drags only with Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock classes competing.
Links: NHRA site. Atlanta site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Eliminations on Sunday @ 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Qualifying – Saturday @ 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Red Bull Air Race: Chiba (Japan)

For the first time ever, Red Bull’s Air Race visits Japanese, taking to the eastern Japanese city of Chiba. The race comes nearly three months after the season opener in Abu Dhabi, where Brit Paul Bonhomme scored the first victory.
Links: Air Race site. Event Page with schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Delayed broadcast on Fox Sports 1, TBA.

ARCA: Menards 200 (Toledo Speedway)

ARCA’s stock-car tour visits Toledo this weekend within V8 earshot of the Motor City. The half-mile oval is one of ARCA’s home tracks, a title that also includes nearby Flat Rock Speedway in Michigan.
Fun fact: The 24 Hours of Lemons raced at both tracks in 2007 and 2008.
Links: ARCA site. Toledo site. Event Page with schedule. Entry list.
Support races: ARCA Trucks.
Coverage: Saturday @ 2 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

European Hill Climb Championship: Falperra International Hill Climb (Braga, Portugal)

The EHCC continues its long-running tradition of ripping up continental mountainsides, going from northern Spain last weekend to northwest Portugal and Falperra, a tight and long hillclimb.
Links: EHCC site. Season points.
Coverage: None in the U.S.

European Truck Racing Championship: Red Bull Ring

Big rigs and the hilly Red Bull Ring near Spielberg? This is not available for consumption in the U.S. unfortunately, but the highlights should certainly be worth checking out. This is always a true spectacle and one of the best truck races in the world.
Links: ETRC site. Red Bull Ring site. Entry list.
Coverage: None in the U.S. Check for highlights.

GT Asia: Korea

GT Asia headlines the Asian Festival of Speed, a touring series of racing on the continent that has an incredibly out-of-date website. However, the link below gives a quick preview with the entry list, which is heavy with a number of recognizable Australian GT heavyweights.
Links: GT Asia siteRace preview with schedule, season schedule, and Entry list.
Coverage: None in the U.S.

The Off-Road Championships: Gateway Motorsports Park

After competing mostly at rural and woodland racetracks, TORC has started visiting stadium-style tracks, opening at Texas Motor Speedway and now visiting Gateway near St. Louis.
Links: TORC site. Gateway site. Event Page. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Possibly streaming on TORC YouTube Channel. Delayed broadcast on June 25 & July 2 @ 10 p.m. ET.

Rally America: Olympus Rally

Washington’s Olympus Rally marks the third stop on the Rally America calendar.  David Higgins leads the championship and there’s not really much else to say about it.
Links: Rally America site. Olympus Rally site. Event Page. Schedule. Entry list. Maps.
Coverage: Rally America Radio on the Down & Dirty Show.

SVRA: Spring Vintage Festival (Road America)

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association heads to one of America’s oldest purpose-built road courses in Wisconsin’s rolling, naturally glaciated terrain. Vintage racecars, vintage racetrack that hasn’t changed much in decades? I wish I had time to go to this.
Links: SVRA site. Road America site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.

Atlantic Championship Series: Watkins Glen International

Speaking of classic American racetracks, SCCA Pro Racing’s Atlantics series heads to western New York and WGI. At one time, the Glen was America’s Formula 1 venue; today, the Atlantics are the biggest open-wheel series that races there, I think. I might be assuming that, though.
Links: ACS site. Watkins Glen site. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Support races: F2000 and F1600 championships
Coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor.

ChumpCar World Series: Motorsports Park Hastings

After good numbers at MPH last year, ChumpCar returns to Hastings for a two-race weekend with 12 hours Saturday and six more Sunday.
Links: CCWS site. MP Hastings site. Event supplemental rules with schedule.
Coverage: Live timing on CCWS site and on Race Monitor.
Did we miss something? Are you going to watch racing live or perhaps even to participate? Let us know in the comments so we can talk about racing.
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[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: Marc VDS, FIA European F3 Championship, IndyCar]

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