Motorsports Weekend Guide: May 2 to May 4

MWG Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly look ahead to who’s racing what and where this weekend. The next few days is a tin-top bonanza of sportscars, touring cars, rally cars, stock cars, andjust for kicksa two-wheel grand prix. A dozen or so big series will be in action and you can read about them after the jump. Some of the Big Ones:

  • FIA World Endurance Championship: 6 Hours of Spa

  • Tudor United Sports Car Championship: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

  • DTM: Season-opener at Hockenheimring

  • MotoGP: Grand Prix of Spain

  • FIA World RallyCross: Series debut in Portugal

WEC_SPA FIA World Endurance Championship: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps After Toyota’s new TS040 finished 1-2 at the season opener and Audi’s refreshed R18s both scored DNFs, the WEC rolls onto to its second round, the final tune-up before the 24 Hours of LeMans, the series’ marquee event. Porsche’s 919 scored well with a podium in its first race, though some have speculated Stuttgart’s entry was running with low-downforce Le Mans aerodynamics. Whatever the case, Belgium will test all four classes as much as the first round at Silverstone did. Also of note, Rebellion Racing bid adieu to their Lola LMP1 cars and will debut a brand new car at Spa, the spindly R-One. Silverstone also saw 1-2 finishes for Porsche in GTE-Pro and Aston Martin in GTE-Am. Both look strong, but the plethora of AF Corse-backed Ferrari squads might have something to say about that at Spa. Website: WEC site. Spa site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux. Trofeo Maserati Live coverage: Live streaming video from WEC site (subscription). Streaming audio on   Tudor United Sports Car Championship: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca IMSA’s sportscar series heads to Monterey for the first time as a combined series and it’s the first circuit on the IMSA calendar that has traditionally hosted both of its predecessors (Grand Am and ALMS). With 57 teams entered, the series has wisely split the main event into two races: One will feature the top Prototype (P) and GT-LeMans (GTLM) classes while the earlier Sunday race will feature the Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT-Daytona (GTD) classes. Both races will be two hours. The class-formerly-known-as-LMP2 are still seeking their first win against the former Daytona Prototype class (DP) with both balanced in the Prototype class, but Laguna Seca’s fast corners in the middle sector could favor the high-downforce LMP cars. That said, the super-slow final corner could favor the more powerful DPs on the front straight. A full lineup of supporting races will keep it interesting all Friday and Saturday. Website: USCC site. MRLS site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: Continental Tires SportsCar Challenge. Porsche GT3 Cup USA. Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Mazda MX-5 Cup Live coverage: Fox Sports 1 @ 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m on Sunday (TV) and Motor Racing Network (radio and streaming audio).   Motorsports / DTM: german touring cars championship 2012, 1. Race at Hockenheim DTM: Hockenheimring The top German touring car series open its 2014 campaign as it always does at Hockenheimring, a 2.8-mile monster of a course that mixes high-speed corners and tight hairpins with lengthy braking zones. This marks the first season of DTM sharing regulations with Japan’s Super GT series, although the DTM cars will keep their V8 powerplants until 2016 (while Super GT has already switched to turbocharged four-cylinder engines). Audi, BMW, and Mercedes combine for 23 full-season entries in the series (8, 8, and 7, respectively) with the drivers as a virtual who’s who in European GT and touring car racing. Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller returns as the series’ defending champion. The lone American,  Joey Hand, has struggled in his first two DTM campaigns, but he looked fast in his BMW at preseason testing. With DTM-style racing allegedly planned as a potential IMSA supporting series in the next couple years, this could be a series worth keeping tabs on this year. Website: DTM site. Hockenheimring site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. Live coverage: Live timing on   Super GT: Fuji 500 km (Fuji Speedway) DTM’s Japanese sibling series will also race this weekend at Fuji in the second round of the year. Lexus RC Fs finished 1-2 at the opening round at Okayama in the hands of Daisuke Ito/Andrea Caldarelli (Lexus Team Keeper’s TOM’s) and Kazuya Oshima/Yuji Kunimoto (Lexus Team LeMans Eneos), respectively, in the top GT500 class. The cars are all tube-frame silhouettes, so performance is far more on par than you would find in street cars. Expect the Nissan GT-R and Honda NSX Concept to come back with something at Fuji. The lower GT300 class features a fantastic mix of JDM entries (Honda CR-Z, Subaru BRZ, Toyota Prius) built to perform alongside European GT3-spec cars like the BMW Z4, Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin Vantage, and the Nissan GT-R GT3 cars. Website: Super GT site. Fuji siteEntry list. Live coverage: None stateside, unfortunately.   NASCAR: Talladega Superspeedway (Alabama) NASCAR will run one of the country’s famed super-speedways, a high-speed 2-2/3-mile D-shaped oval that sees high speeds and close finishes: Jimmie Johnson tied the NASCAR record for closest finish in history by edging out Clint Bowyer by 0.002 seconds in 2011. Coming into the race, neither of the top two drivers in the points, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth, have nabbed a win in the opening nine races. They’ll both need wins at some point to make the season-ending Chase. Gordon has six wins at Talladega but none since 2007, when he won both races there. With restrictor plates on the engines to reduce overall speed, expect the racing to be close with the best drivers managing fuel and slipstreaming to make a decisive late-race move. Nationwide and ARCA will both race at Talladega, as well, this weekend. Website: NASCAR site. Talladega site. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Nationwide. ARCA. Live coverage: Sprint Cup – FOX @ 1 p.m. EST on Sunday (TV) and Motor Racing Network (radio). Nationwide – ESPN @ 3 p.m. EST on Saturday (TV) and MRN (radio). ARCA – FOX Sports 1 @ 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.   FIA World Touring Car Championship: Hungaroring The top international touring car series runs at Hungary’s Grand-Prix circuit. The new Citroen squad featuring French superstar Sebastian Loeb absolutely dominated the opening rounds at Marrakech and Paul Ricard. There’s little reason to suggest it will be any other way, given the way the Chevy Cruze ran away with several consecutive championships in the past. It’s hard to make a championship exciting when one manufacturer looks poised to run away with it, but don’t be surprised if Honda looks strong in Hungary with Norbert Michelisz driving on his home track and veteran Gabriele Tarquini still capable of dicing with his old rival, Citroen driver Yvan Muller. Website: WTCC site. Hungaroring site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Euro GT Sprint Series. RCM Cup. AutoGP Live coverage: None stateside.   RallycrossRX FIA World RallyCross: Montalegre (Portugal) RallyCross has been around in Europe for a few decades, but 2014 sees the launch of a new FIA series, World RallyCross. This comes at a time when RallyCross is growing in popularity as a means of capturing the intensity of performance rally in a stadium environment where fans can access the action. The series will see four different classes with different performance envelopes: Supercar (top class, 2.0-liter, AWD, ~600 horsepower), Touring Car (RWD or RWD conversion, 2.0-liter), Super1600 (FWD and 1.6-liter), and RX Lites (Mid-enginer, AWD, 310-horsepower with spec chassis). The Supercar class will get top billing with big names like Petter Solberg and Jacques Villeneuve, but the real stars will probably be a bevy of Northern Europeans who have spent much of their lives sideways on dirt at 80 mph. Website: World RallyCross site. Event pageEntry list. Live coverage: Possible livestream here.   MotoGP: Grand Prix of Spain (Circuito de Jerez) World-class motorcycle racing, from what this non-rider can tell, depends as much or more on the rider than most forms of motorsport. If that’s the case, then Honda rider Marc Marquez is surely the best in the world, having romped to victory in all three MotoGP rounds to date. He heads home to Spain, the unofficial world’s center for motorcycle road racing with teammate and countryman Dani Pedrosa, himself having landed podiums in all races. Don’t expect either of them to fall off their pace at their home track, but tune in anyway because their physicality on the bikes is incredible. Website: MotoGP site. Jerez site. Event page. Supporting series: Moto2. Moto3. Live coverage: FOX Sports 1 @ 7 a.m. EST on Sunday (TV).   British Touring Car Championship: Thruxton If the WTCC is a bit boring with Domination by Citroen, then perhaps the BTCC is more up your alley. Dull moments are few and far between in the UK’s touring car series with rivalries, personalities, and even a bit of racing occasionally to keep the masses entertained. They’ll race this weekend at Thruxton Circuit, one of several former World War 2-vintage RAF airfields that now hosts motor racing on a permanent circuit that rings the runways. Interestingly, Thruxton is still contains an active airfield inside the track’s 2.3-mile perimeter. Website: BTCC site. Thruxton site. Event page. Supporting series: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain. Renault UK Clio Cup. Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. Ginetta GT4 SuperCup. Ginetta Junior Championship Live coverage: Live timing, audio, and video on BTCC Live Zone.   Ecurie_BGT British GT: Rockingham International Just 120 miles north of Thruxton, the UK’s national GT series will also run this weekend with a huge host of supporting races. Unlike Thruxton, Rockingham is a purpose-built race facility and the GTs will run its longest layout, a challenging 2.5-mile roval course. The GTs will run a single two-hour endurance race and the field consists of a tremendous mix of GT3- and GT4-spec machinery, including two new Bentley Continental GT3s and big-time names in motorsports like Ecurie Ecosse and AF Corse. Website: British GT site. Rockingham site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: British Formula 3 Championship. Volkswagen Racing Cup. Ginetta GT5 Challenge. Aston Martin Racing GT4 Challenge. Ginetta Racing Drivers Cup. Live coverage: None stateside   SVRA/VARA: British Extravaganza (Buttonwillow Raceway) Maybe you can’t get to England to watch the BTCC or British GT, but a joint weekend between the Vintage Auto Racing Association and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association could hold you over if you’re in Southern California. Website: VARA site. Buttonwillow site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Live timing on RaceMonitor app for Smartphone.   Rally America: Oregon Trail Rally I hate to bury this so far down the post, but there’s just a complete glut of motorsports this weekend (a good thing). The rally’s first four stages include Portland International Raceway, using sections of the tarmac circuit, the infield roads, and even a road or two outside the track. The string of rally-prepped monsters then head out into the hills and forests of Oregon near Mount Hood National Forest. Subaru specialist David Higgins leads the RA Drivers’ Championship by a single point over Ken Block (who will sit out this rally) and Dillon Van Way (who will be there). Travis Pastrana will also return to Oregon in his Subaru. As always with RA, locals will enter some awesome machinery (full entry list here), including a turbocharged Volkswagen Rabbit, an FC Mazda RX-7, a couple of Volvo 240s, a 1985 Toyota Celica, a Saab 96, a Porsche 912, three assorted Corollas (’73, ’81, and ’87), a BMW E30, and a 1977 Lancia Scorpion (!). Website: Rally America site. Oregon Trail rally siteSpectator guide with schedule, entry list, and maps. Supporting series: Several regional rallies will run alongside national rally competitors. Live coverage: Tape delayed coverage, but the 100-Acre Wood Rally highlights air on NBC Sports Network @ 6 p.m. EST on Saturday.   EuroV8 Euro V8 Series: Vallelunga Have you ever heard of the Superstars Series? It was an Italian series that featured a weird assortment of eligible cars from the Chrysler 300 to the modern Chevy Lumina CR8 (It’s a Holden) and Porsche Panamera. That series’ promoter folded late last year and it has been relaunched this year as the EuroV8 Series. Almost all of the drivers and circuits are Italian and broadcasts were a bit hard to come by, but I’d be awfully surprised if it’s not the only (non-LeMons) series in the world with a road-racing Chrysler 300, BMW 5-Series, and Holden-based Chevys. Website: EuroV8 site. Vallelunga site. Event page. Live coverage: Possibly streaming on the website here.   NASCAR K&N West: Stockton 99 Speedway NASCAR’s Home Tracks series tackles an interesting mix of tracks, from the road course at Sonoma Raceway to this weekend’s host, the 1/4-mile oval bullring at Stockton 99 Speedway. This is only the series’ third round of the year and the first in seven weeks, but things pick up starting here with three rounds this month. Website: K&N site. Stockton site. Live coverage: None unless it’s on, who announces their streaming coverage pretty late in the week, typically.   SCCA Majors Tour: High Plains Raceway The SCCA tackles the rolling hills of High Plains in Colorado this weekend. Consider this a weekend to compare regional differences (see below) with regard to car choice. HPR will only see seven Spec Miatas and 16 Spec Racer Fords while a (fairly) remarkable 15 Formula Fords are registered of the 105 total cars this weekend. Website: Majors Tour site. HPR site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Live timing on RaceMonitor app for Smartphone or on the web here.   SCCA Majors Tour: Blackhawk Farms Yep, the SCCA will also make a stop at the little seven-turn course around a tiny farm-village thingie. Unlike High Plains, Blackhawk will draw 27 Spec Miatas and 16 Spec Racer Fords to dice around its 1.95 miles compared with just six Formula Fords. Spec Miata and SRF are competitive everywhere, but the bevy of talent in both classes in this region makes the racing particularly close. Website: Majors Tour site. Blackhawk site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Live timing on RaceMonitor app for Smartphone or on the web here.   24 Hours of LeMons: Southern Discomfort (Carolina Motorsports Park) LeMons makes its annual spring trek to CMP, one of the staples of the series’ schedule. The racing is usually pretty decent and the post-race partying seldom fails to entertain. Read our race preview here. Website: 24 Hours of LeMons site. CMP site. Event page. Entry list. Live coverage: Live timing on RaceMonitor app for Smartphone or on the web here.   ChumpCar World Series: Motorsports Park Hastings ChumpCar makes its first trek to Nebraska this weekend for a visit to Motorsports Park Hastings. Saturday will feature a long 12-hour slag while Sunday’s race will run a six-hour “sprint.” With pleasant weather expected and an entry list that features several quality Chump teams from the Great Plains, this could be a very good pair of events on a weekend full of them. Website: CCWS site. Hastings site. Supplemental regs with schedule. Live coverage: Live timing on RaceMonitor app for Smartphone or on the web here.   For series with no live coverage available stateside, check YouTube for links throughout the week from official series pages. Did we forget a series? Heading to any of these or another event? Give us a shout in the comments! [Lead photo copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: FIA WEC, Audi Sport, FIA World RallyCross, Ecurie Ecosse, Maserati]

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