Monthly Archives: February 2015

IndyCar: There’s an interesting opportunity to expand the IndyCar calendar to Australia

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Organisers of the V8 Supercar Clipsal 500 in Adelaide have said they’re seeking more international support categories for the event and are even considering a separate major race either side of the V8 weekend. Formula E and the World Endurance Championship have been suggested as possible candidates, but there are a number of reasons why IndyCar could the best option for all concerned:

  • IndyCar is keen to start the season with a flyaway race and the Clipsal 500 fits perfectly into the schedule.
  • Australia has plenty of IndyCar history having previously hosted the popular Surfers Paradise race for 18 years. That history would help build a successful flyaway event.
  • An IndyCar race at 12-noon in Adelaide (before an afternoon V8 race perhaps) could be shown during primetime across the whole USA.
  • IndyCar previously shared top billing with the V8s at Surfers Paradise so there is a precedent for the categories working together. This can only be helped by the influential Roger Penske running teams in both series.
  • Australia attracts a large number of tourists from the USA but only a tiny portion ever visit South Australia. It’s a great chance for Adelaide to target a key tourism market.
  • Having Will Power as an Australian champion would certainly help IndyCar and local organisers promote the event.
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WSBK: The moment that made Troy Bayliss feel young again

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Troy Bayliss made a surprise comeback to the Superbike World Championship on Sunday. The 45 year old, who hasn’t raced for 6 years, said his return was good fun and it made him “feel young again”. Perhaps this was most evident during Troy’s short battle with Sylvain Guintoli.

Bayliss made a great start to the first race and on lap 4 he was holding position ahead of Guintoli, the reigning World Champion. Guintoli out-braked Bayliss down the inside of the hairpin, but Troy got back ahead on the exit when he pulled alongside and forced the champ to sit his bike up. It was assertive stuff, and although Bayliss slipped backwards later in the race, it showed his killer instinct hadn’t disappeared in retirement.

When you’re racing a superbike at age 45, pushing around the World Champion is definitely the sort of moment that would make you feel young again.

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WRC: A three day rally was decided in the final minutes when the leader spun under pressure

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One of the great things about sport is that all the pressure and excitement of a big event can be funnelled down into a single moment. This was the case at Rally Sweden on the weekend where the top three drivers were separated by just a few seconds after 300 kilometres of competitive rallying. It all came down to a straight shootout for victory on the final stage. Being the rally leader, Andreas Mikkelsen had the most to lose and was under enormous pressure when his two rivals set very competitive times at the finish. Mikkelsen had never won a WRC event before so, regardless of what happened, the thrilling climax to Rally Sweden was always going to be a big career moment for him.

As he pushed himself to the limit, fighting to keep his narrow lead in the final minutes of a three-day event, Mikkelsen clipped a snowbank and spun awkwardly into the scenery. In one decisive moment his shot at glory was over and the winner’s trophy went to Sebastien Ogier. It was heartbreaking stuff, but highlighted just how combative a race against the clock can be. One of the closest WRC battles was also one of the most exciting.

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FE: The new Moscow Formula E track is in a stunning location

The below photo from Google Street View shows just how amazing the new Formula E street circuit in Moscow is going to look. This sedan is making its way through the last sequence of corners that wind past the Kremlin, Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, and the Moskva river. The race in June will be worth watching for the surroundings if nothing else.

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With wide streets and long straights, the layout itself looks pretty good. Here are a few more pics of the circuit courtesy of Google Street View.

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V8SC: Australian V8 Supercars are drawing massive crowds

The V8 Supercars start testing this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park and the single-day crowd is expected to top last year’s record of 17,600. That’s a lot of spectators when there’s no racing taking place.

It helps highlight just how big the Australian V8 Supercar crowds are in comparison to other events around the world. It’s amazing to think more people went to the Friday sessions of the Adelaide V8 round last year than the German Formula One Grand Prix, where a German won in a German car. Just imagine if South Australia had the same population as Germany (it’s 48 times smaller). The below table has a few more comparisons which make for interesting reading.

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It’s worth noting the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide is a marquee event and other V8 races don’t get that sort of crowd. However, 17,000+ to a test day and 229,000 over a weekend is mighty impressive for a domestic touring car series in a country with a relatively small spread-out population.

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WRC: Sebastien Ogier used a clever tactic during the Monte Carlo Rally

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Whilst Sebastien Loeb stole headlines with a spectacular one-off appearance in the Monte Carlo Rally, Sebastien Ogier was using a clever strategy to slow his rival down. Ogier was running first, so purposely drove his car into snow banks in order to drag debris back onto the road behind him. It’s not often you see a reigning World Champion using Wacky Racers tactics to hinder other drivers during a WRC event.

Either that or Ogier came up with a good excuse for the small mistakes that sent him off the road…

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TRS: You probably haven’t seen the Toyota Racing Series but it’s worth checking out

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It’s hard to find coverage of the Toyota Racing Series but if you ever stumble across the action-packed highlights they’re well worth a look. The championship squeezes 5 rounds into 5 weeks and runs Formula 3 spec cars around some interesting circuits in rural New Zealand (some of which barely have FIA approval). It all happens in January and February which allows drivers to compete during the European winter. This year there are 13 different nationalities represented on the grid, all of whom will be aiming to follow Dany Kvyat’s path from the series into Formula One.

Lance Stroll from the Ferrari Driver Academy is the man to beat halfway into the 2015 season. It will be interesting to see if the 16 year old uses success in the Toyota Racing Series as a springboard to other projects with Ferrari’s backing, or if another young hopeful can topple him before the championship is over.

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