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The current state of play in world motorsport

Daniel Herrero

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Wednesday 22nd April, 2020 - 2:00pm

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As a number of organisers make tentative steps towards a return to competition, Speedcafe.com presents a round-up of the current status of the major series in Australia and the world.

Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Dunlop Super2 Series

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer told selected media last week that the championship will make a call on the Truck Assist Winton Super400, scheduled for June 5-7, by the end of this month.

Running that event on its original date was described as an “optimistic” proposition and the earliest possible return date based on the best information available at the time.

A decision on the Townsville 400 which is currently set to follow on June 26-28 has to come by May 15.

For now, the Tyrepower Tasmania Super400, ITM Auckland Super400, and Pirtek Perth SuperNight remain the only events postponed so far, although there is also an intent to make up for the forced cancellation of the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400.

Super2 was also to have raced at Symmons Plains and in Townsville, while the V8 Touring Cars series is meant to support the Winton event.

FIA Formula 1 World Championship

While the French Grand Prix on the final weekend of June has not yet been postponed, it is becoming more likely that Formula 1 competition will finally commence in Austria a week later.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has confirmed that racing at the Red Bull Ring on the original date of July 3-5 is the current plan, although it is still a ‘hope’ rather than a formality.

If that is the case, the event would proceed behind closed doors with the blessing of Austria’s national government, and that would be the patter potentially for all European rounds this year.

Silverstone and other circuits could play host to multiple events in 2020 in order to fit in as many races as possible, with F1’s Managing Director of Motorsport, Ross Brawn, still optimistic of running up to 19 grands prix this season.

MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

Despite the German MotoGP still officially being set down for June 19-21, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has now told Spain’s Onda Cero radio network, “the most optimistic (scenario) would be to start racing in Brno (Czech Republic) and Austria in August.”

ADAC had already requested a date change due to Germany’s ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings, and the Dutch TT which would follow a week later is also a dubious proposition.

Finland’s return to the calendar is likely to be delayed at least a year given the new KymiRing, originally the last event before the summer break on July 10-12, still requires homologation.

National series

The Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships season, and therefore TCR Australia’s, is currently slated to commence at The Bend on June 12-14, although a fully revised calendar is still to be locked in.

Sydney Motorsport Park was to have hosted Round 1 in March, Easter’s Bathurst 6 Hour was to have doubled as Round 2, and Round 3 was set down for Winton in early-May.

The Bathurst 6 Hour itself will be rolled into ARG’s other Mount Panorama event, the Bathurst International, in mid-November.

Australian Formula Ford’s first three runs, the latter of which was to have been held at The Bend on July 29-31, have now been cancelled.

The next two, at Sandown on July 24-26 and Queensland Raceway on August 7-9, are currently listed as ‘suspended’ until further notice as per an update issues by the Formula Ford Association last week.

IndyCar Series

IndyCar’s revised calendar kicks off with Texas Motor Speedway on June 6 and salvages 15 races out of 17 on the original version, although the regular season-opener of St Petersburg does not have a new date allocated thus far.

There are now three separate visits to Indianapolis instead of the back-to-back events comprising the month of May.

IndyCar’s spiritual home will host a road course race in July, the 500 in mid-August, and another road course race in October.

Iowa and Laguna Seca now host double-headers, while Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, Circuit of the Americas, and Detroit (double-header) have been lost from the 2020 calendar.

FIA Formula E Championship

Formula E recently extended the suspension of its season until the end of June, a decision which arguably impacts only one race in marginal terms, namely the Berlin E-Prix set down for June 21.

However, the only two venues which would have followed had the calendar not been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, those of New York City and the London double-header, are both currently in use as temporary hospitals.

July is nevertheless a ‘yellow flag’ month, meaning the season could potentially resume then, and organisers are considering races behind closed doors, moving to permanent race tracks, and extending the end of the season.

Other overseas series

The next round on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar is that of Kenya on July 16-19, after events in Argentina, Portugal, and Italy were all postponed.

The FIA World Endurance Championship’s flagship race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will now take place on September 19-20 (Practice from September 16).

At present, the Spa-Francorchamps round is still slated to precede it, on August 13-15, two weeks before bans on mass gatherings in Belgium are due to end.

SRO, however, has already postponed the 24 Hours of Spa that was to have run from July 23-26, to an as yet unconfirmed date later this year.

As such, the Suzuka 10 Hours on August 21-23 is the current second round on the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar.

The W Series will invariably have to issue a revised calendar given its first of six rounds on the DTM support card was Igora Drive on May 29-30, whereas the German touring car series’ season-opener will now take place on July 10-12 at the Norisring.

GT World Challenge Asia’s first event is still listed as being at Fuji Speedway on May 23-24.

The IMSA SportsCar Championship’s next event is now the Six Hours of The Glen on June 25-28.

NASCAR’s next race is currently the All Star affair at Charlotte on May 16, but that is not certain given North Carolina’s existing ban on non-essential business.

Upcoming events by series

Series/championship Date Event/Circuit Current status
NASCAR May 16 All Star Race, Charlotte In doubt
GT World Challenge Asia May 23-24 Fuji Speedway Proceeding
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Jun 5-7 Truck Assist Winton Super400 In doubt
IndyCar Series Jun 6 Texas Motor Speedway Proceeding
Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships (incl TCR, S5000, Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge) Jun 12-14 The Bend No change notified
MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 Jun 19-21 German Grand Prix In doubt
IMSA SportsCar Championship Jun 25-28 Six Hours of The Glen No change notified
Dunlop Super2 Series Jun 26-28 Townsville No change notified
FIA Formula 1 World Championship Jun 26-28 French Grand Prix In doubt
W Series Jul 10-11 Norisring To be confirmed
FIA Formula E Championship Jul 11 New York City In doubt
FIA World Rally Championship Jul 16-19 Safari Rally Kenya No change notified
Australian Formula Ford Jul 24-26 Sandown TBC
FIA World Endurance Championship Aug 13-15 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps In doubt
Intercontinental GT Challenge Aug 21-23 Suzuka 10 Hours Proceeding

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