The Ben Evans column – The most exciting motor sport

David Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault, Bahrain, 2007Since the racing season started again I have gorged myself on the many fruits of motor sport. A lot of it has been edge-of-the-seat stuff

So I’ve compiled my favourite ten must-watch series.

Obviously the boundaries are fast and loose, but it’s my column so my rules. For example I’m including both cars and bikes and will draw distinctions based on my interested rather than the letter of the law.

And yes, F1 is in there. So here we go:

Supersport

The undoubted highlight of both the World Superbikes and British Superbikes packages is the Supersport races.

Huge grids packed with aspiring stars and class specialists combined with effortlessly entertaining ensures that Supersport is always a winner. Furthermore the crashes are rarely less than excellent.

750MC

Formula Vee, Oulton Park, 2006With too many good classes to chose from I’m nominating the 750MC’s golden quartet of Formula Vee (the series I race in), Stock Hatch, Locust and Saxmax as one package.

Every Formula Vee race is like FF1600′s greatest hits with extremely close and clean racing. Stock Hatch is what the BTCC should be – action (and incident) packed, but with an extremely strong talent pool and largely fair racing.

The Locusts are Caterhams with the large bills and drivers brains removed, whilst Saxmax is teenagers racing cars on a fraction of a karting budget. And all this is ???10 a time for spectators – cracking value for all concerned.

Formula Ford

Long the golden standard for close racing, Formula Ford has had a turbulent few years. However Formula Ford races are very rarely dull and be they 1600, Zetecs or Duratecs the battle between power and mechanical grip is always engrossing.

The best FFord races have gone down in the annals of motor sport history. For me the 1995 FFord Festival Zetec final was the greatest of them all – an absolute classic which I hope makes its way onto YouTube in the near future.

125cc

I love the 125cc Moto GP. Teenagers the size of Snow White’s helpers going for it at lap speeds only just below the big Moto GP bikes. The races are almost invariably slipstreaming epics.

Formula One

The racing can be dull but nothing else on two or four wheels has the capacity to deliver instantaneous high drama in the way F1 does.

Be it an instant of stunning on-track action, political calamity outrageous controversy F1 always delivers 110%. That it can be boring for so much of the time serves to accentuate the drama when it happens.

GP2

GP2 has truly thrived since its inception and enjoys the rarefied status of being a slicks and wings category where the cars can actually overtake.

This year promises an open and unpredictable season and the races will almost certainly entertain – and whoever wins it all can probably expect to be in an F1 car in 2008.

Le Mans

Peugeot 908, Valencia, 2007Nothing polarises motor racing fans like the Le Mans 24 Hours.

For some it is a deadly dull high speed procession, for others it is the essence of motor sport. While the race in recent years has rarely been competitive, nothing beats watching the cars racing through the night and into the dawn. In terms of those goose bump moments nothing compares to Le Mans.

This year’s highly anticipated Audi-versus-Peugeot showdown promises to be the best for a decade.

Porsche Supercup

Once the domain of the rich and talentless, the Porsche Supercup has enjoyed something of a revival in both Europe and the UK in recent seasons. The F1 supporting series has real strength and depth, with the added entertainment factor that a serious accident could wipe out several Fortune 100 CEOs.

What this means is that there is racing throughout the field and there is rarely a dull race. The UK series is predictably more crash and bash.

Caterhams

Most people I know who have been around motor sport for years won’t touch Caterham racing with a bargepole. They claim that the drivers have had their brains removed and that the cars are too easy to drive near the limit.

Both these assertions are undoubtedly true but it does make for mightily entertaining racing, even if there is frequently the ‘what were they thinking?’ factor.

Indy Racing League

NASCAR has the ?????ǣif you ain’t rubbin’ you ain’t racing?????? factor – but the similarly oval-based IRL is arguably the more impressive spectacle as some of the side by side antics defy belief.

Watching an IRL race is never a relaxing experience – who will get hospitalised today? – but it is a breathtaking one. It is an example of how you can have good close racing at high speeds without too many unnecessary incidents. Jason Plato wouldn’t last a lap??????

Does GP2 have too many ex-F1 drivers? Have your say at Maximum Motorsport

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2 comments on The Ben Evans column – The most exciting motor sport

  1. You should check out the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series. The drivers aren’t all that good, and it’s all ovals, but the trucks have the aerodynamics of bricks on wheels. There’s lots of good passing.

  2. Aerodynamics is an unpredictable science – bricks may be quite aerodynamic for all we know. In the sixties, when we first thought of drag co-efficients, the big surprise was that the Renault R8 had a very low drag co-efficient (in other words, it was very aerodynamic). The problem was, it looked rather like a brick…

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