Six races to fill up an F1-free August

Why you should watch...

F1 is in summer break mode. The teams’ factories are going into shutdown and there’s no F1 racing for the next four weekends.

If, like me, you find that far too long to go without some motorsport action, here are some suggestions for other places to get your racing fix.

Weekend one: WRC and IndyCar

WRC Rally of Finland

Mikko Hirvonen, Citroen, Monte-Carlo Rally, 20122nd-4th August

As F1 heads into its summer shutdown the World Rally Championship is emerging from its break.

The Rally of Finland – or, to use its historic name, the 1000 Lakes Rally – is one of the classic events on the WRC calendar and a great introduction to the sport if you’ve never watched it before.

Its equivalent on the F1 calendar would probably be Monza, and not just because of its heritage. This is one of the fastest rallies, with cars hurtling along gravel roads and and jumping through the air at breakneck speeds.

One of the most famous and controversial sections of the rally is the Ouninpohja stage, whose particularly high jumps and terrific speeds have been a cause for concern with the FIA. The 33km stretch will be the finishing point for this year’s rally.

Finland’s F1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen don’t have a Grand Prix of their own to perform at. Sadly, despite his best efforts, Raikkonen has been forbidden by Lotus team principal Eric Boullier to compete in this year’s rally.

However Finnish drivers have a terrific record of winning their home event and there are a pair of them driving for top teams. Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) have each won their home race once but they’ll have to contend with the dominant force that is Sebastien Loeb to add a second.

The rally began with three stages yesterday, but the bulk of the action takes place today and tomorrow.

Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Graham Rahal, Barber Motorsport Park, 20125th August

With four rounds remaining the 2012 IndyCar championship is very closely contested. Ryan Hunter-Reay is leading the standings as he bids to become the first American to win the series since Sam Hornish Jnr in 2006.

But with a maximum of 212 points to be won Hunter-Reay faces stiff competition from Helio Castroneves (23 behind), Will Power (26) and last year’s winner of this race Scott Dixon (61).

Mid-Ohio, scene of the next race, is a challenging and undulating road course. Its the kind of circuit which lends itself to strategic competition rather than wheel-to-wheel racing, but IndyCar have attempted to address that with changes to the push-to-pass system.

The limited run-off in places makes this a race which often features caution periods, so look for some drivers trying alternative strategies in a bid to gain ground.

Rubens Barrichello will be looking to improve on his best finish of seventh. Former Jordan racer Giorgio Pantano will join the ex-F1 driver contingent of Takuma Sato, Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais.

We’ll be following the race on F1 Fanatic Live this Sunday. Those in the UK can watch it on Sky Sports 4 from 5:30pm.

Also this weekend

Weekend two: British Touring Car Championship

BTCC Snetterton

Gordon Shedden, Oulton Park, BTCC, 201212th August

The British Touring Car Championship resumes after its summer break at the recently revamped Snetterton circuit.

The championship has developed into a contest between the Honda duo of reigning champion Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, the latter trailing his team mate by a single point, and Jason Plato.

The MG driver has had poor reliability to contend with but his car was quick out-of-the-box and has been making gains.

BTCC pack a lot of action into a single day with three races. The field is close and the final race of the day, with its partially reversed grid, is always hectic. And the Snetterton changes produced some great racing last year.

Also this weekend

Weekend three: DTM

Filipe Albuquerque, Auti A5 DTM, Red Bull Ring, 201219th August

Moving on from its non-championship thrash in Munich, the DTM championship resumes at the Nurburgring (using the sprint circuit), a venue whose financial troubles have kept it in the headlines recently.

The last round of the championship at the Norisring produced a spellbinding race, the outcome of which was in doubt until the last corner of the last lap. Jamie Green picked off Bruno Spengler and Martin Tomcyk in the final laps to score a memorable win.

Championship leader Gary Paffett impressively recovered to fourth after being punted off on lap one. As they pass the halfway point in the season Paffett’s rivals will be increasingly eager to make a dent in his 26-point lead.

Also this weekend

Weekend four: World Endurance Championship and IndyCar

WEC Six Hours of Silverstone

Toyota TS030, Le Mans, 201226th August

Audi and Toyota’s cutting-edge LMP1 endurance racers face each other for the second time, following their previous skirmish at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Toyota’s TS030 hybrid proved a tough rival for Audi at the endurance classic but both Japanese cars were eliminated during the course of the race.

The six-hour race on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit will be a scaled-down contest in every sense: a shorter track, a quarter of the race duration and half the number of principle combatants.

Audi will have one of each of their current models: the four-wheel-drive hybrid R18 E-tron Quattro and a more conventional R18 Ultra. Toyota will enter a single car for Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima and Nicolas Lapierre, while Anthony Davidson continues to recover from his Le Mans injuries.

The LMP1 entry stretches to just seven cars but a healthy LMP2 field should provide plenty more action. F1 driver turned commentator Martin Brundle will once again share a Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan with son Alex, joined by Lucas Ordonez.

Ferraris dominated the meagre GT Pro entry but expect Aston Martin to offer them some competition.

Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

Scott Dixon, Barber Motorsport Park, IndyCar, 201226th August

IndyCar’s final road course race of the year takes place on the swoops, crests and curves of Sonoma Raceway (formerly Infineon and Sears Point) in California.

While the track has always been a spectacular venue for single-seaters, it has been extremely tough to overtake on. With that in mind a few changes have been made to the later part of the lap this year.

After this race there will be just two rounds of the series left on the streets of Baltimore and the superspeedway oval at Fontana, so this could prove a decisive race for the championship.

Also this weekend

Will you be watching any other racing between now and the Belgian Grand Prix? Have your say in the comments.

What motorsport would you recommend other F1 fans to follow? If you want to put the case for your favourite non-F1 category write a guest article and send it in. More information here: Write a guest article for F1 Fanatic

Why you should watch…

Images ?? Citroen, Honda/LAT, BTCC, DTM, Toyota, Honda/LAT

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32 comments on Six races to fill up an F1-free August

  1. @keith-collantine Is that one of your own photos from last year’s Snetterton BTCC race?

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd August 2012, 9:17

    @keithcollaintine – I’m suprrised you didn’t mentioned the Sydney Motorsport Park 360 at Eastern Creek from Augst 24 to 26. It’s the last round of the V8 Supercars before the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst, which makes it one of the most important races of the season because it’s the last chance for drivers to score points and pick up position. Anyone who isn’t in the leading group of drivers before Sandown is going to have a difficult job in the final phase of the championship, because the endurance races pay out double points. Right now, there are four drivers – Jamie Whincup, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison and Craig Lowndes – who are in championship contention, so this weekend’s race at Ipswich and the Eastern Creek round will be a series of do-or-die races for everyone else.

    Plus, Jacques Villeneuve is still in action, driving the #51 Pepsi Max Commodore.

  3. Hydro (@hydrouk) said on 3rd August 2012, 10:13

    What about MotoGP, I think the race at Indianapolis is in around two weeks?

  4. joshyb (@joshyb) said on 3rd August 2012, 10:40

    Great info Keith, I keep meaning to post to say thanks for the great content. This site has turned me from an F1 fan to a motorsports fan :-)

  5. Imre (@f1mre) said on 3rd August 2012, 11:40

    BTCC and WEC are my main choices. I hope Eurosport will show a couple of hours from Silverstone.

  6. Euro Brun (@eurobrun) said on 3rd August 2012, 13:19

    Can I add this weekend is also Croft Nostalgia weekend.

    For us northerners its the closest we get to Goodwood! A mix of F2, F5000, Formula Ford, Touring Cars, GT’s, and Mini Coopers from the 40s thru 70s.

    Can’t wait!

  7. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on 12th, August!

  8. TED BELL said on 3rd August 2012, 14:49

    Add an NHRA event and see what real speed is about

  9. racingfanatic96 (@racingfanatic96) said on 3rd August 2012, 15:04

    Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch on August 18-19 will have classic F1 demonstration runs: 1968 Lotus 49B, 1979 Lotus 97T, Lotus 102, 1989 Lotus 101 and the 1962 Lotus 22

    Racing-wise, it doesn’t get any better than full grids of Elise Trophy, Lotus Cup UK and Production BMW, amongst others, on the Grand Prix circuit.

  10. Robbie (@robbie) said on 3rd August 2012, 16:01

    Also, Saturday August 18th, Jacques Villeneuve will be at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve running a Penske car in the Nationwide series.

  11. davidnotcoulthard said on 3rd August 2012, 16:09

    I think Keith missed out on The Olympics….and the Paralympics.

    Just watch the 500 m for men and rev up the engine of one’s car, It’ll sound like motorsport!

  12. Mikemat5150 (@mikemat5150) said on 3rd August 2012, 16:24

    I’ll be watching the Indycar races! Hope ya’ll check em out too!

  13. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 3rd August 2012, 16:30

    I’ll be at the Grand-Am race at Mid-Ohio which runs on Saturday before the Indy Cars. If anyone else will be up there this weekend, come say hi :). I’ll be wearing this t-shirt: http://www.80stees.com/images/products/Atari_Grand_Prix-T.jpg

  14. Kanil (@kanil) said on 3rd August 2012, 18:59

    I’ll be watching the two Grand-Am races, next week and the week after at Watkins Glen and Montreal respectively.
    The ALMS races too. I’ll probably skip IndyCar and NASCAR though — maybe tune into the Nationwide race at Montreal to see Villeneuve wreck someone.

  15. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 3rd August 2012, 20:02

    Weekend One: NASCAR Cup & Trucks are at Pocono, but the Nationwide Series is at Iowa.

    Weened Two: Grand-Am is also at Watkins Glen

    Weekend Three: NASCAR Cup & Trucks are at Michigan, but the Nationwide Series is at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (along with the Canadian Tire Series & Grand-Am).

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