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. Keith, I reckon you’ve missed a slam dunk – the Supercheap Autos 1000 at Bathurst. Six hours of racing by top drivers in the most spectacular touring cars around, in a series that boasts truly professional teams,a huge native fanbase and all around the spectacular Mount Panorama circuit. What’s not to like?

    P.S. The Indy Racing League changed its name to the Indycar Series about four years ago…

  2. I’m glad you choosed Portuguese GP2 round at Portimão as a must-watch race. Although, as it was said before here, it hasn’t many overtaking spots, it’s in my country. Here in Portugal people who are fanatic by Formula 1 is just a small group of people. But that is enough to create a petition and I am sure that if F1 had a Grand Prix here the attendance to the event would be great.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2010, 22:45

      Although, as it was said before here, it hasn’t many overtaking spots

      That doesn’t matter when we’re talking about GP2, though, because the cars can follow each other closely. There’s a lesson for F1 there…

      • RandomChimp said on 23rd February 2010, 10:30

        Yeah, kick out the most professional drivers in exchange for crash-happy noobs.
        Or run a single spec series. That wouldn’t be quite such a radical change from what we already have.

  3. Icthyes said on 22nd February 2010, 0:00

    The thought of Hamilton driving in the 1988 McLaren gives me the F1 fanatic equivalent if a raging semi.

    I guess now I live in Canada, motorsport coverage will be hard to come by :-(

  4. jose arellano said on 22nd February 2010, 0:18

    did anyone noticed “pechito” lopez overtaking in the last video?

  5. Journeyer said on 22nd February 2010, 4:23

    My ten would be:

    1. Le Mans (LMS)
    2. Indy 500 (IndyCar)
    3. Macau (F3, WTCC)
    4. Rally GB (WRC)
    5. RoC (mixed)
    6. Petit Le Mans (ALMS)
    7. Assen TT (MotoGP)
    8. Daytona 500 (NASCAR)
    9. Bathurst (V8 Supercars)
    10. Goodwood (mixed)

    A bit of everything for me. I follow all these series in varying degrees, but I try my best not to miss these ten. Daytona last weekend was good, despite pothole-gate.

  6. For me Daytona 500. What a race what a finish.

  7. m0tion said on 22nd February 2010, 7:09

    Sorry last one wasn’t the one i was after
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D-JtvVvESc

  8. We’re thinking of going to Le Mans this year. Any tips on where to spectate / sleep / eat / avoid?

  9. … anyone going to the Goodwood revival?

  10. Alexander Rossi won’t be doing GP2 this year. He’s signed to ART Grand prix to contest the GP3 series (which should also be pretty entertaining).

  11. Daniel said on 22nd February 2010, 9:58

    btcc? any thoughout the season! mainly silverstone!

  12. the Sri Lankan said on 22nd February 2010, 10:07

    also dont forget some races put together by the very creative top gear crew

  13. Outside F1, it has to be BTCC. Lights to flag action, lots of overtaking, pushing and shoving. 3 rounds in 1 day, plus all the support races.

  14. Nathan Turner said on 23rd February 2010, 0:46

    I have to say despite all the changes made by the fia in recent years F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport, and therefore my favourite.

    Saying that Le Mans 24 heures is a special event that isn’t matched in any other series. The cars are spectacular and the speeds are just amazing especially when it gets dark and the lights come on ! And it has been fun watching the peugeots and audis battle it out for 24 hours straight.

    I would seriously consider a live 24 hour blog for this years event, as long as I’m next to a BIG pot of coffee I’d be okay :p . It would be nice to let people know what’s going on at the great event for all 24 hours on the same site .

    Keith , let me know if you think this is a serious proposal , alsoo would anybody be interested in reading such a thing :)

    p.s. The btcc is also a cracking series , going to brands for round 2 this year :) should be great!

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