Watch more than just F1 races in 2010

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Fast cars and stars of the future in British F3

F1 Fanatic guest writer Ben Evans reminds us to take in more than just the 19 race on the F1 calendar in 2010.

Over the past few weeks there has been plenty of discussion on F1 Fanatic about going to see F1 races, ticket prices and so on.

Nothing compares to watching the Grand Prix pack charging headlong around the first lap of any race – but don’t end your 2010 track-side experience with Formula 1 – there are plenty of other great motorsport events that are well worth checking out.

In the UK we are blessed with an unbelievable choice of motorsport to enjoy every weekend, ranging from the showpiece BTCC/TOCA package to the stars of tomorrow breeding ground of Formula Three, and of course a multitude of club motorsport. And that’s not to include the visiting international series – WTCC, World Series by Renault, FIA GT, Le Mans Series, DTM and Superleague Formula.

A day out at a club meeting offers unrivalled value in comparison to any other sporting event. Admission to a fourth division football match will set you back 20, but tickets for the Vee Festival at Brands Hatch, which I organise, features up to 15 races.

While F1 support programmes tend to feature just a couple of categoies, club race weekends typically have 18-20 races spread across two days with a range of formulae competing, including saloons, sportscars and single-seaters.

And the racing is often hugely entertaining; with large grids of evenly-matched cars jostling for track position, incidents and overtaking are guaranteed. Access to the paddock at your average national meeting is completely free with fans able to chat with all the drivers and get a close look at the machinery. Better still all viewing areas are open (with some rare exceptions) so you can move around throughout the day and get your favourite spot.

Don’t assume quality is lacking at lower level events. Keen autograph-hunters in the Formula Palmer Audi paddock in recent seasons would have met Justin Wilson, Robbie Kerr and Jereon Bleekemolen amongst others, while in the perennially oversubscribed Production BMW Championship you can often find ex-Clio Cup Champion Ben Winrow keeping his hand in.

If you’ve only ever seen F1 on the TV, the pace of an F3, Formula Renault or Speed Protoype in the flesh is mind-blowing, and some of the manoeuvres (for better or worse) will leave you speechless.

Good national motorsport is not just confined to the UK, in Europe the travelling World Series by Renault package offers a great day out, free of charge. And in the USA, the Star Mazda category is as hard-fought as any championship in the world.

If you’re planning to make it to a Grand Prix in 2010, do set aside a weekend to take in some quality national racing as well – you won’t be disappointed.

What non-F1 races are you planning to go to in 2010? Have your say in the comments.

This is a guest article by Ben Evans. If you want to write a guest article for F1 Fanatic you can find all the information you need here.

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Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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46 comments on “Watch more than just F1 races in 2010”

  1. Great article!
    I will be wacthing Moto GP for sure in Spain!
    I am planning a trip to Monaco this year to wacth F1 live as i have a friend who lives nearby.

  2. I’m in Aus so I’ll be riding from Canberra to Phillip Island to see the MotoGP & SBK. Will drive to see the Bathurst 1000 and potentially more rounds of the Australian V8 Supercar series!

      1. Sorry Al, Ive got to disagree with you on that one.

        GO HRT and GRM!! :p

        1. Terry Fabulous
          30th January 2010, 21:34

          I work 300m from the Sydney 500 track so will be volunteering again this year.

          Very easy way to see a big event for free and really feel like you are part of the event.

          Let me know if you want the website (registration begins on Monday 1 February).

  3. I’ll be watching the IRL on (and Five), NASCAR (pre-chase) and Bathurst V8 also on Five, BTCC on ITV4, British F3 on Channel 4, and occasional WRC on Dave (to see which tree Raikkonen (or Chris Atkinson if he has a drive) has hit this time).

    1. Doesn’t seem like Atkinson will be getting a drive :(

      maybe some cameo’s?

      1. Yes, shame, he made it entertaining. Atkinson may be part of Ken Block’s ‘Monster’ WRC team for 2011 (ref. Autosport). Stuffing a C4 into a telegraph pole in Eire last year doesn’t help!

        Will be watching A1GP on five too if it even happens; not much chance of anything live (as I think the original article was intending). Sitting watching rich blokes throw their ‘classics’ off at Knockhill in ’93 did for me!

        1. Sorry Al, should say Autosport picked up your linked story too.

  4. I’ll be at most of the NW Formula Ford events at Oulton Park and Anglesea with my team UCLAN Racing this year. Should be good fun.

    1. Oulton Park is the closest track to where I grew up and I absolutely love it. Looking forward to my annual trip up to watch the British F3 championship get started. If I’m near there when any of your races are on I’ll try to pop over.

  5. Do you know if ITV4 are still covering the BTCC? Also, I hope someone picks up the GP2 coverage in the UK :(

    1. Eurosport has a contract to show GP2 in Europe this year and next:

      Eurosport to broadcast GP2 in the UK

  6. great article, i got to the dtm at brands hatch when i can. a couple of support races too. love the sound of the merc amg and audi engines.

  7. Both Silverstone and Rockingham are within a fair distance of me, so I’m hoping to make a return to Silverstone for the first time since the 2004 British Grand Prix to see the new GT1 World Championship race, and then maybe up to Rockingham for the first time to have a gander at the BTCC, which I haven’t seen in person since 1998, I do believe.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys
    30th January 2010, 12:50

    I wish I could watch the feeder series, but all Australia gets is the Formula 1 races (delayed telecast), the World Rally Championship (one-hour wrap-up, two weeks after the event) and the V8 Supercars.

    1. Dont all us Aussie wish we could watch the European based categories? If you have ONE HD, then show highlights of various other series such as BTCC, DTM and FIA GT. But unfortunatly they didnt show GP2 last year, hopefully they will this year. Fingers crossed :)

  9. I’ll certainly be following GP2, WTCC (though it’ll be less fun without Alex Zanardi), BTCC, MotoGP, Indycar, WRC (Hope Mikko Hirvonen can improve on his great form from last year) and NASCAR.

    1. WTCC may be more interesting now that SEAT inspired team orders are (hopefully) a thing of the past. I switched off for 2009 when Priaux was ordered (by BMW) to drop from 3rd or 4th so that Farfus could pass him for 8th and 1pt. Pathetic.

      1. Until team orders are outright banned I bet we’ll still see them going on in the second half of the season, though with fewer cars making up the manufacturer teams it’ll probably be less beneficial/possible.

        The moment when I thought the way the WTCC is run needed some serious sorting out was when Tarquini shoulder-charged Zanardi off the track and into the tyre barriers after running wide at Brno last year – as far as I could tell, he was never punished for it. I remember being furious about it for the rest of the day!

  10. HounslowBusGarage
    30th January 2010, 13:28

    A few years ago, I gave myself a real present one summer and set off to as many club races as I could all over the country. I went from circuit to circuit – Mallory this weekend, Donnington the next – but always to club meetings.
    It was absolutely superb, the racing was excellent, and I loved every moment of it. Even having to sleep overnight in the car at Croft!
    Club meetings at provincial tracks are definitely to be recommended.

  11. This year I’m going to the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar race here in Adelaide. It features V8 Supercars, V8 Utes, Aussie Racing Cars, Touring Car Masters and GT Cars.

    Im also hoping to go to Mallala Motorsport Park just north of Adelaide to see the Shannons Nationals Championships which feature Australian Formula 3, Australian Formula Ford, Formula Vee, HQ Holdens and Commodore Cup.

    On TV, ill obviously be watching F1 plus V8 Supercars and their support catergories plus a little bit of WRC, Nascar, and what ever others are televised.

    1. Terry Fabulous
      30th January 2010, 21:40

      Man have fun at Clipsal! Only a few weeks away isn’t it??

      1. Thanks Terry. Yeah its around the 14th of March, so quite a few weeks away but I’m alredy counting down the days

        1. Terry Fabulous
          31st January 2010, 1:53

          14th March!!
          Sorry mate, I had the old Wistful thinking going hoping that it was sooner!!

          1. Haha i wish it was sooner too haha. But theyre starting in the Middle East in the middle of feburary so its only a few more weeks till the season starts which will be good.

  12. “Keen autograph-hunters in the Formula Palmer Audi paddock in recent seasons would have met Justin Wilson”

    Yes I did! :D

  13. In South Africa the only decent open wheel race on TV is F1. I would die from excitement if we had GP2 etc here!

  14. Comment from qazuhb moved here.

  15. here’s one race i’d give an arm and a leg to go see….

    GT1 ferrari;s, astons and mercielagos going round an inactive volcano!!! wow.. just wow

  16. No mention of Superkarts?! I bet we offer the best racing out there, e.g. the grid at Silverstone (2/3/4 April which is, I believe, a Superleague event) will have about 60 karts racing! :) You should at least come and have look.

  17. The FIA historic F1 series is usually good value – a field full of Cosworth DFVs, historic Lotus, Williams, Arrows, Brabhams, Tyrrells, McLarens, Marchs and maybe the odd Ferrari as well. They make a fantastic noise and the drivers actually race. I’ve tentatively put the Brands Hatch round in the diary – but it falls on my wedding anniversary so I’ll have to convince the wife to let me go.

    EuroBoss is also pretty good value in terms of big, fast noisy single seaters – rounds at Donnington and Rockingham.

    I grew up watching British F3 at Thruxton and it’s wonderful to be able to get so close to what are in effect mini-F1 cars driven by some of the stars of tomorrow. The series has lost some of its importance following the rise of the F3 Euroseries, but it still produces some cracking races.

    1. I have also put the Brands Hatch Historics in the diary. They were awesome last year, such beautiful machines, such a wonderful noise (apart from the bag-of-spanners Arrows!)

  18. Great article!!!

    The only thing i wish for is that us here in Scotland had more than just Knockhill, whitch if you take a day out there, if you include the fuel in your cars tank to get you there with the admission fee, is a simmilar ammount to watching a Rangers or Celtic football match, or in most cases cheaper. May get myself along to watch a days racing there this year, support the grass roots racing.

    One question; can you run a article for the armchair fan on where they can catch the action from everything from F1/GP2 to F2 and DTM and even MotoGP in 2010, who is broadcasting what for the armchair fan that cant travel the far distances to see the racing, even in their home country.

    1. Not across every series in every country, no, that would take way too long!

      But perhaps we could have a place on the site where people could add details of coverage in their area to help other fans. What do you think?

      1. I was thinking for us in Britian initially, but with alot of people in foregn shores reading this, maybes have one for the half dozen biggest areas who read this sit from those foregn shores.

  19. I typically attend the local Indy Car race in Miami, which is usually supported by a couple of crash happy Indy lights racing as well as some entertaining multi-class Rolex Grand Am series racing.

    This year I’ll also make the short 2 hour drive to attend the 12 Hours of Sebring event and festivities which is also supported by some entertaining sports car races.

    Other American feeder series don’t usually make their way down to the tip of Florida mostly because of costs. So it’s a loss for me as it’s at a least a 6 hour drive just for me to leave the State.

    American road racing is mostly centered in the Northeast or California.

  20. Nice one Ben Evans,but for me the only other type of motorsports I can watch is karting 25 km away from my home!!!!!!

  21. I am looking at either doing the MotoGP round at Indy, or the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. MotoGP would be great, but “The Glen” is much closer to home for me, falls at a much better time of the summer, and will cost much less than the Indy deal. Other than that, I live less than 50 miles from Pocono so maybe one of the Sprint Cup races there as well- I should be able to score some free tickets from a family friend.

  22. I’m approx 45 minutes away from Thruxton so may well go to this years BTCC opener there in April. I’ve been there twice before and agree the support packages are great fun, great racing and great value. It really does provide real value for money when one compares what you can get at a Grand Prix event.

    My favourite circuit in the UK is definitely Oulton Park but, living in Hampshire its a bit of a drive … I’ve never been disappointed with BF3 at Oulton though!

    1. Glad to see F3 are going back to Thruxton this year.

  23. George Suddaby
    31st January 2010, 15:47

    Im going to see BTCC at rockigham on 25th April… i went to see it at donington last year and it was an ace day out :D

  24. I attended the superleague formula weekend at donington park last summer and it was truly stunning. I took along my brother in law, mother in law and girlfriend (all non motorsport fans, and because the tickets were free) and they all had a great time

  25. Don’t forget the Caterham 7 series too…..

  26. I must say I really enjoy going to motorsport racing events when possible. The thing that often puts me off is the terrible access to and from the venues. They are always whoefully inadequate and people have sadly got used to this. I appreciate for some this is part of the experience but, personally I’d rather watch it on telly if I can as spending god knows how many hours in traffic jams is just not fun…

  27. Bathurst of course, literally anything that goes around Phillip Island and makes it onto the TV (I love that circuit) and hopefully an event or two live at the new Hampton Downs circuit south of Auckland, NZ.

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