F1 may not have a close title fight but these five do

Why you should watch...

Start, IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix, 2011

Start, IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix, 2011

Sebastian Vettel’s rivals have all-but conceded this year’s championship following his eighth win of the season at Monza.

So if you’re looking for a close championship battle, now’s the time to cast your gaze beyond Formula 1.

Here’s a selection of top racing series with rather more exciting championship battles.

IndyCar

Driver Points
1 Dario Franchitti 507
2 Will Power 502
3 Scott Dixon 430

In the past three races, Will Power has cut Dario Franchitti’s lead from 62 points to just five.

IndyCar’s mix of road, street and oval courses will play a role in deciding the outcome of this championship: Franchitti tends to do better on ovals, Power on road and street courses.

This weekend’s race in Japan was supposed to take place on the Motegi oval. But that was damaged during the March earthquake so the teams have switched to the road course instead, which could be good news for Power.

After that Power has two races on ovals to contend with, in Kentucky and Las Vegas. Last year he went into the final round 12 points up on Franchitti, but the title slipped from his grasp.

Will Franchitti beat Power again to claim his third championship in a row?

Adding more intrigue to the season finale, Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will return to compete for a special prize. He’ll bag $2.5 million if he wins from last on the grid, with the same amount going to a fan at the race.

This one’s too good to miss, so we’ll be following the last two rounds on F1 Fanatic Live.

Races remaining: Three
Points: 50 for a win, two for most laps led and one for pole position
Will I be watching?: Definitely. UK coverage is on Sky Sports.

British Touring Car Championship

Driver Points
1 Gordon Shedden 182
2 Matt Neal 181
3 Mat Jackson 159
4 Jason Plato 147
5 James Nash 135
6 Andrew Jordan 121

After a few shaky years, the BTCC is well and truly back to its best. That’s why I’ve already been to four rounds this year, at Brands Hatch, Thruxton, Oulton Park and Snetterton.

Honda team mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are at the front of the title battle and they’ve already collided earlier this year.

Mat Jackson slipped to third after a disastrous meeting in Knockhill.

Reigning champion Jason Plato’s hopes of retaining his crowd will be boosted this weekend at Rockingham as BTCC continues to fine-tune the current rules balancing the performance of the cars. Plato’s normally-aspirated Chevrolet will be unaffected, but several of his rivals will have less turbo boost and more weight.

The Silverstone finale is in the afternoon following the Korean Grand Prix and ahead of the IndyCar final at Las Vegas, which will make for a great day of racing on F1 Fanatic Live.

Start, British Touring Cars, Knockhill, 2011

Start, British Touring Cars, Knockhill, 2011

Races remaining: Nine (Three triple-headers)
Points: 15 for a win, one for fastest lap and leading a lap, and one for pole position for race one of each weekend
Will I be watching?: Unfortunately I can’t make it to any of the remaining rounds but I will be watching ITV’s excellent live coverage.

World Series by Renault

Driver Points
1 Robert Wickens 198
2 Jean-Eric Vergne 164
3 Daniel Ricciardo 125
4 Albert Costa 120
5 Kevin Korjus 118
6 Alexander Rossi 116

Robert Wickens, who had his first run in an F1 car with Virgin on Tuesday, has a healthy 34-point margin with 100 points to be won in the World Series by Renault.

But he’s up against strong opposition in the shape of Red Bull development drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, both of which have British F3 championship titles to their name.

Ricciardo, runner-up in this series last year, is a creditable third having missed the first two races while on duty for Toro Rosso.

Daniel Ricciardo, World Series by Renault, 2011

Daniel Ricciardo, World Series by Renault, 2011

Now racing in F1 for HRT, he may have to miss the final two races which clash with the Japanese Grand Prix.

Races remaining: Four (two double-headers)
Points: Same as F1
Will I be watching?: If Eurosport are showing any of the races live I will.

DTM

Driver Points
1 Martin Tomczyk 50
2 Bruno Spengler 49
3 Mattias Ekstrom 29
4 Timo Scheider 29
5 Jamie Green 25
6 Mike Rockenfeller 23
7 Ralf Schumacher 21

Audi’s Martin Tomcyk leads Mercedes’ Bruno Spengler by a single point in Germany’s premier touring car series.

While five other drivers are mathematically capable of winning, it’s likely one of these two drivers will claim their first DTM championship wins.

Tomcyk came through to win in a wet race at Brands Hatch at the beginning of the month.

The championship may be close but it’s not been a sparkling year in the DTM for racing.

Martin Tomczyk, Audi A4, Brands Hatch, DTM, 2011

Martin Tomczyk, Audi A4, Brands Hatch, DTM, 2011

That will hopefully change next year with the introduction of new cars and the arrival of BMW.

Races remaining: Three
Points: Ten for a win (same as F1’s 2003-09 system)
Will I be watching?: I’d give it a look if I could but it’s on ESPN in the UK.

NASCAR

Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 2012
2 Kevin Harvick 2012
3 Jeff Gordon 2009
4 Matt Kenseth 2006
5 Carl Edwards 2003
6 Jimmie Johnson 2003
7 Kurt Busch 2003
8 Ryan Newman 2003
9 Tony Stewart 2000
10 Dale Earnhardt Jnr 2000
11 Brad Keselowski 2000
12 Denny Hamlin 2000

If F1 used NASCAR’s ‘Chase for the Cup’ the championship would look very different.

In NASCAR the points are reset with ten races remaining so the highest 12 drivers in the championship have near-equal tallies, and only they can claim the crown.

Jimmie Johnson has made the Chase his speciality and could claim the title for an astonishing sixth year in a row this season.

So should F1 use something like the chase to keep the championship alive until the end?

I don’t think so – for me, the champion should be the driver with the best result over a full season’s racing. Even if that does mean wrapping things up early, as will almost certainly be the case in F1 this year.

Races remaining: Ten
Points: 46 for a win, one for leading a lap and one for leading the most laps
Will I be watching?: Even if it was on anywhere I could see it I wouldn’t bother. For various reasons, NASCAR isn’t my cup of tea.

Other series

Start, NASCAR, Richmond International Raceway, 2011

Start, NASCAR, Richmond International Raceway, 2011

The World Touring Car Championship is a close affair between Yvan Muller and Rob Huff. But, like the DTM, the races haven’t been great this year. That said the end-of-season race at Macau is always worth a look.

What was shaping up to be a great battle between the two Sebastiens in Citroen’s World Rally Championship team – Loeb and Ogier – had the edge taken off it after Citroen began using team orders to favour Loeb.

In Superleague Formula, the football-themed series which morphed into an A1 Grand Prix-style countries’ championship, the major point of interest late in the season is which races will actually take place.

Having held six races at Assen and Zolder this year, it has postponed a round in Russia and cancelled races in New Zealand, Brazil and a planned second event in South America.

Are you keeping tabs on the championship battles in other series like Moto GP, Formula Two or others?

Tell us which racing series are you watching over the closing months of 2011 – the more obscure the better!

Why you should watch…

Images ?? IndyCar/Shawn Gritzmacher, BTCC, Renault, DTM, Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

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87 comments on F1 may not have a close title fight but these five do

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  1. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 15th September 2011, 13:19

    In Porsche Supercup (hosted on F1 tracks as a support series) Kuba Giermaziak is just 17 points behind Rene Rast with 2 races to go. The Pole is the youngest driver in the series, won 2 races this season and is rumored to be joining iSport in GP 2 series for 2012.

  2. foocode (@foocode) said on 15th September 2011, 13:20

    Here’s another one:
    http://www.iracing.com/inracingnews/iracing-news/luis-one-step-closer-to-world-title/
    The nVidia iRacing Series. They race virtual Williams FW31 around mm-accurate tracks…

    Don’t write it off because it’s virtual – the cars may not be ‘real’ but the racing is genuine.

    Try watching the first 10min of the last round held at Spa here and you may just be surprised at the show on offer:
    http://www.psrtv.com/archive

    • I wish the codemaster F1 games were as realistic as that :/

    • Thanks for the links, love these kind of things!

    • Virtual racing is easily as much fun to watch as real racing, and as Foocode says, I’d recommend it to anyone, playing or watching.

      iRacing has some of the best drivers never to have raced a car, and their IndyCar series, World Road Racing Championship (All in Williams F1 cars) and even the lower formula like the Star Mazdas are great fun to watch.

      All edited together and commentated over just like real races.

    • I’ve been watching some of the races when I remember to catch them live, those guys are seriously good and the quality of racing at the front especially is as good as any real-life series. The commentators are great too, although they suffer from technical problems quite often (it’s just two guys in different places watching the race as far as I can gather).

      I have to say I’m a Huttu fan, he’s had pretty terrible luck this year, and the my3id guys feel like an evil organisation to me ;)

    • iRacing is the finest simulation of any form of racing to day.

      You race foocode?

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 15th September 2011, 13:24

    I hope Robert Wickens wins the WSR. I like him.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th September 2011, 13:27

      And he tested for Marussia Virgin recently, so he could wind up in Formula 1 soon.

      • I’ve been watching Wickens for five years now in a variety of open wheel(formula BMW, Champ Car Atlantic, F2, GP3, A1GP, WSR). In all these series Wickens has taken poles and won races, always in the championship fight.

        Unfortunately he does not have alot of sponsorship but he is becoming impossible to ignore. Hopefully a full time GP2 seat with Carlin next year and more time in the Virgin.

        IMHO the best driver outside of F1 right now. Mature, consistent, and fast, fast, fast!

  4. Chris P said on 15th September 2011, 13:24

    WTCC is a joke. It is dull, terrible equalisation and poor stewarding (not even allowed the slightest touch this year – how is that Touring Car Racing?!).

  5. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th September 2011, 13:25

    V8 Supercars might be worth watching. Jamie Whincup has a nice lead at the moment, but we’re heading into endurance season this weekend with Philip Island, and because the enduros are worth double points, one good result can turn a championship around. Plus, SPEED TV have announced that they are sending their team down here to do live coverage of Bathurst and the Gold Coast.

    And there’s one other interesting battle shaping up – last year’s champion, James Courtney, defected from Dick Johnson Racing, a Ford team, to the Holden Racing Team. He’s having a horrid season right now (once Holden got him, they basically ignored him; most people believe Holden were only ever interested in his racing number), and his replacement at DJR, James Moffat, has just passed him in the championship. They’re right down in 17th and 21st, but that’s shaping up as a nice little fight.

  6. Sush Meerkat said on 15th September 2011, 13:28

    That’s below the belt Citroen!

    Monster Truck racing on Bravo is pretty good, lots of crashes, great big Trucks and it shuts the kids up.

    Superleague is fun, but its jarring hearing “listen to Inter Milan’s V12 belting down the straight”, although I do admire its innovative qualifying system, all the cars go out and set a lap and the race starts in the order from fastest to slowest, MENTAL!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th September 2011, 14:51

      That’s below the belt Citroen!

      It’s come back to bite them a few times – Ogier has been given the order to let Loeb have track position, only for Loeb to blow it and gift Ogier the win. It happened in Germany.

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 15th September 2011, 13:35

    I’ll be watching the IndyCar too, might give the NASCAR Chase a whirl too. If I can find a WSR feed I’ll be watching that too and hopefully remembering to see the BTCC. The rest, meh.

  8. F1andy83 said on 15th September 2011, 13:35

    Has anyone compiled a wdc points table if vettel wasnt in this years championship?

    • matt90 said on 16th September 2011, 1:21

      Do you mean assuming he wasn’t there then everybody who finished below him was awarded points for one position higher than they actually finished?

  9. Start of the endurance rounds of V8 supercars are coming up with the mighty Bathurst less than a month away! Very good to see Lowndes on top of his game.

    After that there is the Gold Coast 600 which will include Dan Weldon, Rhyan Brisco, Tonion Liuzzi, Mika Salo, Scott Dixon, Gianni Morbidelli, Lucas Di Grassi, Jan Magnussen, Christian Klein and Sebastian Bourdais plus others.

    Last years event will be remembered for Jacques Villeneuve sealing his reputation of a terrible driver post 1997.

  10. Sherlock said on 15th September 2011, 13:42

    F1 should do “Chase the Vettel” when difference exceeds some predetermined point amount X everyone is given X divided with count of remaining races points.

    Suck it up, NASCAR :D

  11. I am going to watch at least some of the remaining races in DTM, WTCC and WsbR. Unfortunately Indycar, BTCC and NASCAR are not shown on any of those TV channels available in my country.

    I also like Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup so I’ll probably watch those races, too. You can see a lot of former F1 drivers there, including one of my all-time favourites Giancarlo Fisichella. But I guess that the participants don’t really care much about what the championship standings look like.

    • panache (@panache) said on 15th September 2011, 21:14

      What channels are LMS and ILMC broadcast on and where can I find a schedule?

      I would especially like to check out Anthony Davidson, currently driving for the Peugeot works team if I’m not mistaken.

      He was brilliant in the Le Mans 24 hour race this year and I remember him showing good pace in F1 as a test driver for BAR/Honda when he was driving their third car in practice sessions.

      Ultimately though, lots of things seemed to conspire against him and his time at Super Aguri didn’t allow him to demonstrate his potential, much like Senna with HRT last year.

  12. In TC2000 2 Toyotas and a Honda are all within 11 points in the lead, with 3 rounds to go.

    But I couldn’t care less, as all I want is 2012 to start, as they’ll fit the V8’s from those Radical prototypes in the TC2000 cars!

  13. Icemangrins said on 15th September 2011, 14:07

    Ralf Schumi spent more than 5 years in DTM isn’t…. such a shame he is not really closer to winning the title. I think it is always hard to adapt to these cars especially for those from F1. Open wheel racing offers more control than the DTM’s.

  14. V8 Supercars. The race between Craig Lowndes and team mate Jamie Whincup is really heating up. There are atleast 4 contenders too.

  15. Wallbreaker said on 15th September 2011, 14:36

    Here in Germany we´re lucky enough to have plenty of Free TV coverage for DTM, WTCC and especially NASCAR. Servus TV (A TV Channel by Red Bull) reports from every NASCAR race in a one-hour summary and in addition to that it broadcast chosen events live in HD and even with English commentary as an option. Since I´m able to watch Servus TV, I´ve become a big NASCAR fan, which is now more interesting for me than DTM ever was. We´ll see if that changes when BMW joins Mercedes and Audi there next year.

    • Icemangrins said on 15th September 2011, 15:28

      Here in Canada, TSN and Speed offer unlimited NASCAR racing coverage.. to be honest with you, I don’t watch them half the time. But, there is a MObil update where they show one hour summary of all racing events which includes WRC and DTM. I wish I get the DTM coverage here in Canada.

      • Mack41 said on 16th September 2011, 4:50

        No you don’t. DTM is not good racing. We get it on SPEED during the NASCAR off season when they only show 140 hours of NASCAR stuff (I am a fan but only of the races, not all that other baloney) and all the races I’ve watched were less interesting than last years Bahrain GP. Trust me, you’re not missing out

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