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. MotoGP is superb action, love it!

    I also enjoy nascar, it’s just a different ball game.
    Many hardcore F1 fans won’t give it a shot, but I watched it from time to time and started to watch it more and more since Montoya entered.
    I really started to enjoy it as a great end to my sunday night :) It’s just different sort of racing, but great to watch imo

  2. As a change of pace it’s interesting to watch NASCAR when they hit Watkins Glen or the California track. Most of the regular NASCAR drivers do surprisingly well and the “ringers” that come in don’t.

  3. I’d love to be able to get to the F3 at Oulton Park but it just isn’t going to happen this year. The track is wonderful, lots of ups and downs and fast sweeping corners – the nearest a British track gets to Spa. It’s an astonishing track just to walk around and must be quite an experience to drive.

    If I’m lucky, I’ll get to the Brands Hatch Historic Superprix on 3-4 July to watch historic F1, F2, F3 and F5000. It does, unfortunately, clash with my wedding anniversary…

  4. I must say that even though Portimao track looks great with many gradient changes races on it are really dull. Cars were struggling to pass even in GP2 so you can only imagine how bad it would be for F1 cars there.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 21st February 2010, 18:51

      I was gonna say that. As cool as it would be to see F1 cars on a track like that…there are barely any overtaking spots so it’d just be a procession with a few crashes.

  5. I will be trying to get to the Brit F3 round at Oulton Park this year. If anyone else is planning to go along maybe Keith could set up a discussion thread like for the F1 races?

  6. I’ll probably be watching all of them as I’ve now gave up fighting my addiction to motorsport. Le Mans 24 Hours live blog would be perfect. I love the cars, they really (mostly visually I admit) capture my imagination.
    Seems to be a good few Moto GP fans here and I cvan understand why as there is usually plenty of thrills. I’ll be watching my first full season of it this year but I confess as entertaining as it is, it just doesn’t grab me like F1 -and most other 4 wheeled sport -does.

  7. No NASCAR races? Hahaha.

  8. Steve L said on 21st February 2010, 17:42

    This year, aside from attending my first Indy 500, I will definitely be following the Nurburgring 24 hrs (for those not familiar with it, the N24 is not held on the Grand Prix circuit. It’s on the Nordschleife).

    Last year’s starting grid(s) was a total 179. A disappointing grid after 2008’s 229 cars. Sure it’s all GTs, but still. The sheer size of it is was intrigues me. Still does not seem possible to put on an event of that magnitude.

    • Larry Simms said on 21st February 2010, 19:06

      You’re spot on, Steve. The ‘ring 24 makes some of the things mentioned above seem like playground stuff. BTCC? DTM? Somebody’s joking, I hope.
      “The Nurburgring 24 Hours is more difficult to win than Le Mans” is a statement that was made to me by a driver who has won both.

      • Steve L said on 21st February 2010, 21:33

        Larry, the N24 more difficult to win than Le Mans? No, really ;-)? the Nordschleife makes Le Mans look like a walk in the park. I still have difficulty imagining how the organizers make that event work…but they do and it’s great!

    • Jarred Walmsley said on 22nd February 2010, 4:35

      How do they manage pitstops with that many cars?

  9. le mans 24 hrs blog? – we would be like zombies – but on eurosport hd this year it is allways great – Bathurst its brilliant – remember when the silk cut Jgs won both of them ??

  10. YeaMon said on 21st February 2010, 19:06

    There’s always a big amount of races I try to watch all year. Obviously all the F1 races, but I make sure to watch Monza, Monaco, Canada, Spa, and Silverstone.

    Out of F1 are 24 hours of Le Mans.
    24 hours at Daytona
    Daytona 500
    Michigan Nascar Cup races
    Nascar road courses
    12 hours of Sebring
    Petit Le mans
    Indy 500
    Some GP2 races
    Some V8 supercar races.

  11. David B said on 21st February 2010, 19:11

    We spoke about that lot of times…but I repeat that Potrero is wonderful. I hope F1 can consider to run there, because I see it is quite a difficult track, with no run off areas, but no less than Valencia (jut to say)…so why not???

  12. xabregas said on 21st February 2010, 19:42

    I´am, most of all, a f1 fan, but i also like other types of racing. Last year i watch, becides F1, WTCC, BTCC, INDY, the 3 NASCAR divisons ( CUP, TRUCK, NATIONWIDE ), MOTOGP, some races from ALMS, GRAND-AM, GP2, S. LEAGUE, LE MANS 24H. and some recaps of V8 championchip.
    The reason i´m telling you that it´s because F1 is far less exciting than some of the ones i wrote before, and i´m whatching F1 since 1979. That time the races were amazing.
    Like Keith said, there are lost of racing around the world that should be whatched by motorsports fasns, and not only F1.

  13. sato113 said on 21st February 2010, 20:18

    definately gonna try watch more Rallying from the WRC this year.
    also BTCC whenever i feel like it. wet races are really fun to watch.
    also may well go to the annual dtm at brands hatch.

  14. These guys are always worth a watch

    madmen ! :)

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

  15. theRoswellite said on 21st February 2010, 21:38

    For US West coast fans of racing you could try the American Le Mans series at the Laguna Seca track. It is a 6 hr endurance race on Saturday afternoon-early evening, May 21-23. Also, there is racing on Sunday. A great reason to spend a weekend in the Monterey Bay area!

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