Ten must-watch races of 2010 (Video)

Audi aim to hit back at Peugeot at Le Mans this year

Audi aim to hit back at Peugeot at Le Mans this year

We’re all F1 fanatics here but even with a biggest-ever calendar of 19 races this year that still leaves 33 F1-free weekends.

So what’s the other must-see racing action in 2010 this year? Here’s my top ten picks – name yours below.

British Formula Three, Oulton Park

Rounds one, two and three – 3rd & 5th April

The traditional Easter weekend race at Oulton Park is a must-see for me – the first chance to see the new crop of young drivers fighting it out for honours in the British Formula Three championship.

Two years ago Jaime Alguersuari and team mate Brendon Hartley tangled at the hairpin, leaving Oliver Turvey to win.

Last year got off to an amusing start as Max Chilton jumped the start by a good five seconds and passed my position halfway down the start straight while the rest of the field were still waiting for the green light. Have a look at the video from the race below:

The 2010 British F3 season kicks off the day after the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Formula Two, Silverstone

Rounds one and two, April 16th-18th

The Formula Two championship was re-formed last year and for its second season the cars are being given more power and more grip.

Will this be enough to make a series an essential step on the path to F1 – which it really should be, given its name? We’ll get our first look at the 2010 contenders at Silverstone in May.

Indy Racing League, Indianapolis 500

Round four, May 30th

The Indy Racing League continues to get back on its feet in its third year of re-unification. This year Takuma Sato joins the sport’s former F1 contenders such as Robert Doornbos and Justin Wilson.

The centrepiece Indy 500, held the same day as the Turkish Grand Prix, is essential viewing. Also keep an eye out for the classic Long Beach street race, formerly on the F1 calendar, and the series first visit to the streets of Sao Paolo and Barber Motorsports Park.

Last year’s Indy 500 wasn’t a vintage race but it was a result to remember. Helio Castroneves won the race for the third time having returned to the championship having been investigated for tax evasion:

Le Mans 24 Hours, Circuit de la Sarthe

12th-13th June

Like the Indy 500, a historic race which gets on this list by default. This year’s race is an especially tantalising prospect as Audi prepare to hit back at Peugeot, who finally defeated them last year.

Former F1 champion Nigel Mansell will make his long-overdue first appearance in the race (he originally tried to contend it in the early eighties). And Aston Martin will enter a pair of their gorgeous V12 coupes once again.

Here’s a video of last year’s race getting started. Anyone fancy a 24-hour live blog for this year’s Le Mans?

GP2, Algarve

Rounds seven and eight, 19th-20th June

This year’s GP2 line-up is already looking exciting. iSport duo Davide Valsecchi and Oliver Turvey have shown good form in the Asia series, ART boast Ferrari-backed Jules Bianchi and there’s plenty of promising talent like Sergio Perez and Alexander Rossi elsewhere on the grid.

The championship’s sole foray away from the F1 support schedule takes them back to the fantastic Algarve circuit in Portugal where the series concluded last year. It’s a pity the track hasn’t got an F1 deal, but watching the Formula 1 drivers of tomorrow slug it out over its crests and swoops is the next best thing.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

2nd-4th July

Yes, yes, it’s not really a race – but with an entry list the likes of which Goodwood attracts, who’s complaining?

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both appeared last year and hopefully they’ll turn up again for McLaren in 2010.

Hamilton’s hopes of driving Ayrton Senna’s 1988 McLaren up the hill last year were dashed – will he get the chance this year?

Expect plenty of other appearances from contemporary F1 drivers and teams plus loads of classic Grand Prix cars and racers. If you’ve never been to this before, you really are missing something special. Take a look at F1 Fanatic’s coverage from last year:

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009

American Le Mans Series, Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta

Round nine, 29th September – 2nd October

One of few opportunities to see the best LMP1 racers in action next year. The 1,000 mile/ten-hour race around the challenging Road Atlanta circuit is also one of the rounds which comprise the new Intercontinental Cup for Le Mans prototypes, the precursor to a new world championship for the cars starting next year:

Le Mans Intercontinental Cup

DTM, Shanghai

Round ten, 30th-31st October

Increasingly, the DTM is the only touring car championship I bother to follow very closely. The WTCC put me off long ago with its ridiculously short races, poor choice of circuits and success ballasting. I still have a soft spot for the BTCC but there’s no denying the championship is a shadow of what it what in its mid-nineties heyday.

It may only boast Mercedes and Audi as manufacturer entrants but DTM’s cars are more dramatic and they race on some great tracks.

This year the championship is heading out to China once again, to a street circuit in Shanghai. Could this new venue be the future for F1′s presence in China, which has struggled to draw a crowd to the remote Shanghai International Circuit?

Hopefully the DTM won’t suffer a repeat of the loose manhole covers that plagued their 2004 visit to the country, as well as A1 Grand Prix’s attempt at holding a street race in Beijing in 2006.

Macau Grand Prix, Guia circuit

20th-21st November

The most coveted of the big F3 races, drawing the cream of the crop from the British, European, Japanese and other championships. This is a proper street circuit, mixing fast straights, tight corners and unforgiving walls.

GT1, San Luis

Round 19 and 20, 5th December

The entry list for the new FIA GT1 world championship reads like a Top Gear episode: Aston Martin DB9, Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV, Maserati MC-12, Nissan GT-R, Ford GT…

The supercar fun gets started at Abu Dhabi in two months’ time and the season wraps up at the gorgeous Potrero de los Funes lakeside circuit in San Luis, Argentina in December.

Have a look at the gorgeous circuit in this video:

Any more?

These are the ten races outside of the F1 championship I most want to see in 2010. But what other events do you think I should make time for? What are you going to be watching this year?

Should I be getting up at midnight to watch Australian Touring Cars? Which races on NASCAR’s mammoth schedule are most worthy of our attention? Is it time I broadened out from four-wheel circuit racing to take in Moto GP and rallying?

Or maybe for you F1 is number one and nothing else will do. Make your case in the comments for which are the must-watch races this year.

Read more: Watch more than just F1 races in 2010

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118 comments on Ten must-watch races of 2010 (Video)

  1. Bahrain because it’s the first F1 of the season,
    Korea because it’s brand new,
    Abu Dhabi because it was only race I missed last year,
    Silverstone + Monaco, my faves

  2. i think moto gp has to be right up there keith, sum of the races from the last few years have been the best i have seen in any form of motorsport. Rossi vs. stonner and rossi vs. lorenzo have been fantastic, with more action in some races than F1 sees in season unfortunately, and this season promises to be a ripper with pedrosa looking better and spies to watch out for. And definatly tape the afforementioned v8 rounds if you have the option (although bathurst live is special)
    I allways celebrate the race with a massive barbie with all my mates, with lots of sun (usually), banngers and beer. Great times.

  3. What a great track, Oulton Park. I’d never seen it before. Really great.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2010, 22:52

      I have a soft spot for it because it’s near where I grew up – I’m staying near there as I write this, actually. Lots of tracks get dubbed the ‘mini-Nurburgring’ but Oulton Park really deserves it – it’s got some interesting corner combinations and a lot more gradient and camber than you’d expect for a circuit in Cheshire!

      It reminds me of Spa in a way in that it doesn’t generally produce great races in the dry but it’s great watching cars being driven at speed around it – especially F3s. Would dearly love to see an F1 car driven in anger around it but can’t see it happening soon.

      • David Sherwood said on 22nd February 2010, 8:48

        I grew up and still live near Oulton Park and have to agree that it is a classic circuit. Jackie Stewart once said it would make a great F1 track, but the number of trees that would have to be cut down to make the run off areas would never be agreed to.

        That said, non-championship F1 did run at Oulton, at the Gold Cup and I have seen, Stewart Surtees, Rindt, Graham Hill and many others battle it out on several occasions in the late 60s and early 70s.

        My favourite Oulton memory is one wet summer afternoon in 1970 taking a ride on my motorbike down to the circuit and finding the Tyrell team with the Tyrell 001 and Jackie Stewart testing it. The whole thing was so open, with no barriers between the few bystanders who were there and the car, engineers and Ken and Jackie. We could talk to them and as long as we did not get in the way, our presence even seemed to be appreciated.

        Ah, memories.

      • sato113 said on 22nd February 2010, 10:08

        used to play it on toca2 touring cars. great track. love the high speed double apex right hander towards the end.

        • ajokay said on 22nd February 2010, 14:30

          Ahh yes, the TOCA games. Oulton Park was definately my favourite. The last couple of turns were always really tricky to get right.

          • sato113 said on 22nd February 2010, 15:24

            yeah especially when using the directional arrows instead of the stick (ps1). nothing beat silverstone in the rain on expert difficulty tho.

  4. Bathurst 1000 Is always a go-er. Brilliant race track just a shame they only race V8 supercars there I’d love to see some open wheelers on that track

    Dakar is always on my list to watch
    Motogp has some good stuff

    But most of all the Isle of Man Electric TT is the most must watch of this year

  5. LewisC said on 21st February 2010, 14:12

    I’ll be going to this. More races than you can shake a stick at over a packed weekend, with priceless cars (and some famous drivers) from different ages, on the brilliant Brands Hatch GP circuit.

    http://www.themastersseries.com/
    https://tickets.motorsportvision.co.uk/calendar/race-event-details.asp?ProductID=3895

  6. Don’t forget about the Isle of Man TT and the Northwest 200!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvwH3Zv1ghE
    Absolute Madness!!

  7. Toni Vasconcelos said on 21st February 2010, 14:45

    Hi.I´m from Brazil.I´m a motorsport Jornalist.I like NASCAR.Here in Brazil,we watch NASCAR – Speed channel.The fans growing every day,and two brazilians – a speaker and a comentarist – living in Los Angeles,and we have news from NASCAR almost every day.But my favorit is F1,since 1977…
    Thank you

    • Aleksandar Serbia said on 21st February 2010, 15:05

      Toni, Nascar will never ever never not in a million years get even close to F1, even if u get 10 Brazilians to compete in it and F1 has none, Aytron made damn sure F1 is every Brazilians top moto success! Nascar is a stupid Hamburger sport requiring only balls no brain to run, just like Rodeo.
      Senna Deus te abençoe; saúde!

  8. The Comedian 39 said on 21st February 2010, 15:04

    I remember a few years ago, in September 2005 I went to Doddington Park to see the World series by Renault.

    I have just dug out the guide from the event and the weekend featured ‘Renault Formula UK’, ‘Renault clio Cup’, ‘Eurocup Megane Trophy’, ‘Renault F1 Demostration Laps’ and ‘Renault Historie et Collection demonstartion laps.’ Plus more. Over this weekend there were 10 races, plus 6 demostration events. As well as qualifying sessions and practice. That is a whole weekend sorted. now looking at drivers – Bertrand Baguette and Kamui Kobayashi in the Formula Renault 2.0, Robert Kubica, Markus Winkelhock, Karun Chandhok and pastor Maldonado in the World Series by Renault.

    I was 11 then, and it was great. Stars of tomorrow, a variety of cars – past and present.

    Pardon my ignorance, but does anyone know if there is still these kind of events?

  9. Patrickl said on 21st February 2010, 15:14

    As F3 races goes, I’d say the one in Zandvoort is THE one to watch. They put all different leagues together for one big “masters” event. The best of the up and coming driver all put together.

    Often the winner of that event goes on to race in F1 later. For instance Coulthard, Verstappen, Sato, Klien, Hamilton, Paul di Resta, Nico Hülkenberg and Jules Bianchi (not yet in F1, but seems likely)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2010, 22:33

      The thing with the Zandvoort race is because the Euro F3 guys race their every year they tend to have an advantage there. Macau’s a one-off for drivers from every series, plus it’s such a special track.

  10. wasiF1 said on 21st February 2010, 15:48

    No doubt the F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports,but I will follow MotoGP,GP2,Rally (for Kimi) & some other racing as well (if I can make some time)

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 21st February 2010, 16:40

      I watched the WRC Sweden on Dave yesterday, great coverage. It featured a couple of interviews with Kimi – before and after the event. And do you know what, he actually smiled and chuckled! I think he’s enjoying himself.

      • Yeah I noticed that too HBG. I doubt we’ll see him back in F1 but good on him for making the switch.

      • Patrickl said on 21st February 2010, 20:16

        You know what, I’ve seen interviews with Kimi while he was in F1 and he smiled and chuckled then too …

        It’s just in the obligatory press events that he’s quiet. During those it’s a programmed scruipt of what they have to say anyway.

  11. Biggest events i would see in 2010!!!

  12. KingHamilton&co said on 21st February 2010, 16:15

    does anyone know why The British F3 at Oulton is being held on a monday instead of a sunday? or is it some tradition that i’ve ignored all these years (I only watch occasional highlights on MotorsTV see)

    • Bank Holiday Mondays are often used for motorsport: for example, the Oulton Park Gold Cup spans all three days of the August Bank Holiday weekend. April 5 is a public holiday to celebrate my birthday ;) (also something to do with Easter Monday, I think).

  13. indycar rocks..

    http://www.indycar.com

    i love indycar..

    great circuits, varied circuits, street, airport, indy, ovals

  14. the first race is on the 14th, at sao paulo…..

    with the longest straight ever on a street circuit…

    goint to be awesome

    and you can watch online http://www.indycar.com

  15. closest 1 – THIRD finish ever

    IRL rocks

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2ruMyqG_3I

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