As W Series folds, which lost series would we most like to bring back?

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W Series has officially ceased operation following its curtailed third season last year. It joins a long list of racing series that have come and gone over the years.

Which other long-gone championships would RaceFans’ writers most like to bring back? Here’s our choices.

Procar: The ultimate support series

BMW M1 Procar, Monte-Carlo

Imagine, if you can be so bold, Formula 1’s best talents competing against each other in a special sprint race on grand prix Saturdays. Except this isn’t some cynical F1 sprint race like the kind we’ve become all too familiar with in recent seasons, but a support event in which the race takes place not in F1 cars, but in identical sports cars designed solely to provide the best possible racing action.

Didier Pironi, Jacques Laffite, Gerhard Berger, BMW M1 Procar, Zandvoort
F1 heroes faced off in identical cars in Procar
It sounds like a fantasy. Except this isn’t some bold new vision or radical concept – this is exactly what the M1 Procar series was all about.

Between 1979 and 1980, the BMW M1 Procar series was the ultimate grand prix side show. Dreamt up during a boozy lunch meeting between the head of BMW and FOCA’s Max Mosley, this was a one-make series like no other. World champions Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Alan Jones were just some the names who raced in the most remarkable support series F1 has ever seen.

Removed from the all the pressure of the world championship, this was the perfect tonic to cleanse the palate before a grand prix Sunday. Watching F1 drivers among some of the best sportscar races on the planet at the time was also a thrilling way to approach the timeless question of who truly is the best racing driver in the world – one the series had never actually been set up to answer.

Of course, there’s about as high a probability of seeing a spiritual successor to the Procar Series set up in the modern age as there is of Nyck de Vries winning this year’s drivers’ championship. Drivers are so much more restricted, contractually, than 40 years ago. And even if they weren’t, there’d be key names who’d likely refuse to participate to avoid losing face.

But far more than it being a shame that we’ll never see another series like this again, it’s just excellent to know that it ever existed to begin with.

Will Wood

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Formula Renault 3.5: Top-drawer feeder category

When I started in motorsport I worked for Radio Silverstone, which at the time was a 24-hour radio station covering all events at the track.

I had a radio show on a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday morning, but at the time lived on the other end of the country. As you can imagine I had many uncomfortable sleeps on a studio floor and was often woken up by the sound of cars on track with the studio located by the old paddock.

FR3.5 drew big crowds to watch the likes of Ricciardo
On Sunday the 26th August 2012, I was just packing away my sleeping bag as a thundering V8 engine screamed past the commentary box carrying a very fast Jules Bianchi. I was immediately hooked with a few rounds to go before the thrilling end of the season.

That season was one of the most competitive and exhilarating ends to a motorsport series I ever witnessed as Robin Frijns, Sam Bird and Bianchi had a three-way fight for the title in Spain.

Frijns picked up a third place in Saturday’s race which meant there were just four points between him and Bianchi heading into the title decider on Sunday, with Bird still in the mix. That year alone had talent such as Antonio Felix da Costa, Nico Muller, Arthur Pic, Will Stevens, Alexander Rossi and Kevin Magnussen racing, to name just a few. The series also had champions such as Carlos Sainz Jnr, Oliver Rowland and Tom Dillman, with Daniel Ricciardo taking part in 2011.

It was a brilliant feeder series into Formula 1, something we are desperately missing with Formula 2 not providing enough future talent to move up a class, not to mention at one point provided fantastic racing.

Claire Cottingham

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Superleague Formula: Oddball alternative

First attempted in 2002 and finally turned into reality in 2008, Superleague Formula consisted of football clubs from Europe, the Middle East, Brazil and China who each entered a car into a spec single-seater series for races across Europe – and, for one season only, also in China.

Racing cars in football strips? It happened
SLF made cult icons of its star drivers, particularly Tottenham Hotspur’s Craig Dolby who had an incredibly low profile before making a big step up to SLF and quickly making an impact. It also gave fans of underperforming clubs something to cheer about when their on-track results made up for their lack of wins on the pitch.

The two Chinese rounds in October 2010 may have been infamous, with heavy rain and the ground-breaking Beijing street circuit not getting the FIA grading required to host races that counted towards the championship, but that kind of drama just made it even more gripping to follow. And online, rFactorcentral and other racing forums were full of fantasy SLF liveries and team entries as the series ignited the imagination of fans of football, racing and design.

Not all the clubs were world-famous, and the drivers representing them were a mix of F1-capable talents and has-beens wanting to drive high-powered machinery again. But it provided a thrill on track and even included a football-inspired ‘super final’ race at each round contested by the top six from the first two races (or two halves) of the weekend.

There’s much to be said for reviving the idea. We’ve already seen Hollywood get on the F1 bandwagon in the form of Brad Pitt’s untitled racing film and Ryan Reynolds’ investment in Alpine. Meanwhile Reynolds also has bought a football club in Wales which he is turning into an international media entity.

A revival of SLF doesn’t even have to be limited to football clubs, because it can take any sports franchise. Imagine Jumbo-Visma going up against London Wasps, Philadelphia Eagles and Manchester City around Silverstone – and how keen circuit promoters would do to attract those kinds of names to their tracks.

Ida Wood

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CART: F1 rival killed by politics

For me one series stands out most clearly among all the others as the most regrettable loss in the history of motor racing: The CART era of IndyCar.

I hadn’t heard of CART until Nigel Mansell joined it in 1993 – as reigning Formula One champion, no less. The presences of two other world champions – Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi – piqued my F1-biased interest.

It turned out to be a terrific season. Mansell duelled for the title with Fittipaldi and his Penske team mate Paul Tracy. At a time when F1 only had two proper street tracks, CART’s range of venues was mind-blowing: Not just permanent road and temporary street courses but bowl-like short ovals and thundering superspeedways. A rough track laid out on the runways of an airport in Cleveland produced arguably the best race of the year, Mansell and Fittipaldi dogfighting their way around the wide course.

That’s where my love of IndyCar racing began. In the years that followed it produced moments of motor racing drama to rival any other championship. Mark Blundell’s photo-finish victory at the Portland road course in 1997. Alex Zanardi coming back from a lap down to win on the streets of Long Beach the year after. Juan Pablo Montoya straining every sinew as he pipped Michael Andretti to the flag on the Michigan superspeedway at over 350kph.

Mansell’s move into CART IndyCar generated huge interest
CART had competition between chassis, engine and tyre makers. It had great-looking cars, daunting circuits and a roster of driving talent to rival F1’s.

Unfortunately in the mid-nineties it also had a bitter rivalry between the CART administration and the man in charge of the series’ most famous race. In 1995 Tony George announced he would form a rival series and limit entry to the blue riband Indianapolis 500. From that point on the demise of CART was inevitable, and it came at a huge cost to the profile of single-seater racing in America.

As much as I enjoy the current IndyCar series, which now races at many of the same tracks CART did, anyone lucky enough to have seen the latter knows today’s championship falls a long way short of what went before, both in terms of spectacle and popularity. For that we have Tony George to thank.

Keith Collantine

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Over to you

Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Which series would you most like to bring back?

Have your say in the comments.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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55 comments on “As W Series folds, which lost series would we most like to bring back?”

  1. Soon we’ll be talking about F1 this way. The name remains, but the sport already doesn’t look the same to me.

    1. Indeed. Listing CART here is like listing the V10 period of F1, that likewise is gone and won’t come back.

      1. F1 is already very different compared to the beginning of the hybrid era let alone 20 years ago. Which is why for me indycar feels like a massive gist if fresh air. It reminds me of older F1. Good racing and championship that feel from all places that it’s just about racing and relative common sense, ran by racers and much more competitive than any F1 season

    2. Absolutely. I was going to say the same about f3000 vs F2 or even GP2 vs. F2.

  2. W series. But this time with full coverage on f1tv amd other platforms, as well as regular lineair media

    1. Similar to other women’s sports if it’s good it will be on TV. Good example women field hockey, women tennis. If it isn’t, it doesn’t gain traction, example W series.

      1. @maxv W-Series did gain traction. It was killed by the FIA wanting an in-house series it could control more, an ill-advised contract to follow F1 around the world, which made it more expensive to run and a TV contract with Sky, which effectively put it behind the paywall in many European demographics.

    2. I like this!

    3. Coventry Climax
      9th August 2023, 20:47

      I liked the W Series for the very simple reason they raced without DRS. Some thought it boring, I was quite happy watching it – whenever that was possible. It seemed quite pure, in a way.

      On the other hand, I’m in a split over whether there should be separation between men and women in motorsports.
      Ofcourse we’ve got women tennis and football and what not, and it sometimes makes sense, e.g. weight lifting. But motorsports is probably one of the sports where men and women could perform equally. Well, given that the opportunities and support in all of the classes, including the lower ones, is equal too, ofcourse.

      1. I think we cant underestimate how physical top level racing is. Apart from that you see a lot of talent from F2/F3 absolute not be able to cut it in F1 and that is due to the add on complexity, stress and just plain how fast handling everything is driving an F1 car. You might think maybe women could have a unique edge there if they can overcome some of the physical. Its hard to focus if you are physically at the edge, but once that is settled the female brain could cope better with some of “multiple things at the same time management”. It would be great to see a Senna like female F1 driver.

  3. Jeffrey Powell
    9th August 2023, 13:31

    Scrap 10 of the existing rubbish F1 races and replace them with a winter series of The Tasman Cup with 1970s F1 cars limited to 500 bhp . and 500kg weight limit. Points to add to Drivers W.C. I then awoke and took my tranquilizers.

  4. Combining football and racing was always a bad idea. While I’m sure there’s people that watch footy and also watch racing, I doubt there’s genuinely much overlap between the two. Why would I care about a Juventus racing team when I already don’t care about a football club?

    I think A1GP was a much better idea, and I wouldn’t be opposed to a revival of F1-rivalling spec cars that represent different countries, gives everyone a dog in the fight, so to say and quite frankly, the races for that were a lot of fun.

    1. There is an attempt to revive A1GP for end 2024 – they have a website but currently just says coming soon and has a contact form

    2. I loved A1GP. Gave a casual viewer someone to support, a fun mix of experienced drivers and up-and-comers, proper coverage on Sky. Such a shame it folded.

  5. I don’t think it’s a surprise the owner of the website would pick CART given the scope of development allowed in the series would yield the most stories and intrigue (by quite some margin). The rest are bland series that never really garnered much worthwhile attention, though they did provide opportunity for drivers. Super Licence requirements killed it off though.

    I do think we are lacking a series for development for smaller outfits. A return to proper Formula 2, not the rubbish we have now. Somewhere for small teams to design and develop cars. As an aside I find it somewhat odd that we are talking about making F1 more inclusive, yet all I can see is less engineering jobs as we have resistant to new teams and reported a brain drain (due to budget cap). I think it’d benefit the sport tremendously, and also aid with media outlets who need stories and features to write about.

    1. I like that but how about a championship for aspiring F1 teams they can get engine deals then produce cars to a budget run it on a saturday instead of sprint races then have the winners promtoted to f1 and then the lowest scoring team of F1 is reglected so F1 becomes 2 tier

      1. The engines are too complex and expensive to be run at a budget. I’d say 3lt engines and do what you want.

  6. I would like to see F1 return as a motor sport again. It’s become a show/circus with the focus on money and personalities. It has become more “reality TV” than “sport”. There shouldn’t be a “W” series. F1 should be performance driven and if women can/cannot compete at that level on merit, then so be it. There is nothing saying that. F1 is a “men only” series. Having a special “W” series is discriminatory – and if it’s just to be PC why not go the whole hog and have an “L” series, a “G” series, a “B” series, a “T” series …….& so on. :)

    1. I don’t think it’s so much that they cannot compete, but starting at very young age is a big advantage, and atm their parents don’t really see a point trying to get them interested in cars, as they know the chance to make it to f1 is very slim; I see a woman only series much like f3, f2 and so on, there are rules in those series where you can’t stay if you win the championship there, you can’t stay more than x amount of years, they are specifically used to find out who is worthy of moving on to f1 and who isn’t, I think chadwick should’ve been given at least a seat in f3, to see how she could do compared to the other drivers, and then ofc if she wasn’t good enough, as some people said, they would’ve had to search for even better female drivers, as it goes without saying that if you can’t compete in f3 you won’t be able to beat any driver in f1.

      1. Chadwick was clearly the best of the W series lot, but hasn’t exactly repeated that success over in Indy NXT.
        W series was closer to an entry-level formula and having it as a support race on F1 weekends didn’t help; the visibility & profile were great for it sure, but gave more casual viewers the impression the drivers were knocking on the door of F1 rather than being several steps down the ladder

    2. It’s become a mechanism for repressive states to whitewash their bloody reputations. The same has happened to EPL. Why let the barbarians inside the gates? Greed? They’ve ruined the sports it is far too distracting to enjoy to the same degree as before.

    3. It wasn’t just to be PC – it was to provide a leg-up to higher series because many women who do karting don’t progress further because they either lack the sponsorship or are outnumbered by men 10:1 or worse.

      The problem is it was so successful in it’s first series that it was invited onto the F1 support bill, which made many of the drivers look very ordinary next to more experienced men in other series, drove up the costs to run the championship (especially as it followed the higher series behind the Sky paywall) and ultimately let the FIA kill it off by encouraging an ‘official’ women’s series.

    4. There’s literally nothing stopping you from just watching the race coverage and not watching the interviews with drivers and team staff

  7. Coventry Climax
    9th August 2023, 14:35

    Which series to bring back?
    Eh, Formula 1 please?

  8. CART was glorious…the racing in the early 90s was just sublime and the series was good enough to get Bernie seriously worried. That alone tells you the level it was at. The cars looked good, sounded good, the racing was great, the liveries were great and the driving talent was superb. Fittipaldi, Andretti (Michael and Mario), Mansell, Rahal, Tracy, Villeneuve, Cheever, Zanardi, Herta (the original one) and Montoya. It was just great period to be a fan of motorsport.

    1. Greg Moore too!

      1. Now that boy had talent…

  9. WSR 3.5

    1. What did that offer which F2 doesn’t?

  10. I miss the old DTM of the early 90s with its diverse and huge grid.

  11. Can-Am series with the basically unlimited regulations.

    1. I could get behind this! An ‘open’ series would be great.

      I do, however, suspect it would detract from WEC and F1 investment if successful. Prior to cost management programs in the series you’d often find the big manufacturers choosing one series over the others based on marketing and corporate strategy.

      If it were to be a thing, I’d love to see it simply limit the amount of fuel/energy that can be used. How you use it is up to you. I’d be intrigued to see how many hybrids would result and what the energy recovery systems would be capable of.

  12. My vote goes to the Super Touring era of Touring Cars

  13. I’m with Claire on Formula Renault 3.5 which was a huge loss to junior single seater racing. The same goes for the European F3 championship before its name was applied to what is still basically GP3. And although it was flawed and I wasn’t hugely keen on the nationality concept I miss A1 Grand Prix too.

    1. What did Renault 3.5 offer that F2 doesn’t?

  14. Eric Rocheteau
    9th August 2023, 15:41


    1. Shittyusername
      9th August 2023, 23:10

      CanAm, anyone? At one point they were faster than F1, had 1000 horsepower in the 70s, super lightweight. Obviously these days the cars would be twice the weight and twice the size with engines 4x smaller, but those things were mean.

  15. Formula Renault 3.5 was a fun series, although arguably by the time it was known as such it had already lost a bit of its appeal. When it was still the World Series by Nissan it produced champions who all made it to F1 and did quite well for themselves, both in and out of F1. I think Antonio García is the only one who ‘stalled’ at a test role, but even he can credit some F1 involvement. The Renault years started strong with Kubica, but after that it quickly became less impressive, ending on a bit of a high around the 2013 season with guys like Magnussen, Sainz, Gasly and Vandoorne.

    Although I didn’t see any of it, the Can-Am series always piques interest in motorsport books. Looking at the Wikipedia page, it’s surprising that a series known for some outlandish cars was mostly won by variants of just three cars (and not even entirely separately designed ones). Still, in a world of spec cars and BoP sportscars, it’s something that’s easy to miss, perhaps all the more so as it’s something that’s probably never going to return.

  16. FIA Group C-a grand collection of the most beautiful race cars ever made. It died when manufacturers drove up costs. Honorable mention goes to the original DTM German Touring Cars series.

  17. I loved Superleague Formula. Until F1 entered my life full time in 1997 it was all about football and Liverpool FC for me. I lost interest in football and never regained it, but SL Formula gave me the opportunity to cheer on the Reds once again. Watched very race and cheered so loud when they won the title.

  18. A new version of PROCAR. Spec GT or open wheel cars. And if you award a small number of points, like todays sprint races, drivers will be motivated to go for it. Maybe allow some guest drivers to participate too. Then we will finally find out who the GOAT is… ;-)

    1. I’m for this too. I see lots of risks and obstacles to it, but makes for a great pipe dream. From the view of creating as much action on track as possible and making it action people are going to really care about and follow—having the F1 drivers race in different cars than the main series could be compelling. I love the Ferrari and Porsche Cup series races, but have a hard time following because I don’t know who any of the teams and drivers are.

      Would it be feasible to have a Dallara or similar ‘non-manufacturer’ spec car so sponsors and manufacturers don’t get upset at the idea of their drivers driving another car? Can celebrity/pro-am drivers get involved, like Patrick Dempsey, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt? Or perhaps drivers from the support series? That could allow young developing drivers the chance to show their talent.

  19. F1 before the return of refueling. To me that is when it started to go wrong.

  20. I know you couldn’t have included every dead category but surely A1GP should’ve been the first one on your list?! A great little series with a cool format, it was also fun to see drivers old (J. Verstappen) and young (Hulkenberg) compete against each other

  21. I truly enjoyed the IROC – series. The international race of champions was a single make/constructor series where only small changes were allowed in set up and driver fit. It ended up being a nascar oval heavy series at the end but the idea of having great drivers in equal machines made it very compelling.

  22. I liked the old Indycar except for the ovals, but with the Indy500. I really liked the non-oval series after George blew it up: Champcar. The very first series that I saw street races from, live in person, SanJose California. Very good looking cars, approachable paddock and drivers and good racing.

    Bringing back old series I don’t long for. Yes, loud engines, almost unlimited budgets were fun while it lasted but nowadays not acceptable anymore. I keep the memories, and did enjoy the historical F1 race at Austin few years back, but just as a one off, nostalgia thing.

    I do like how F1 evolves, changes with the time, each era bringing new, different challenges and other types of talent to rise to the top.

  23. Put me on the A1GP fan list too. Really felt this could have used a bit more promotion……. and time to build the image. ………and, with my ‘daydream’ hat on, cars a little closer to the big leagues too.

    But despite my wish list, I enjoyed it as it was.

  24. Its fascinating when you look at the old times when F1 drivers drove occasional races in lower formulas like F2, and it was actually a real racing series, not only a rush through thing for getting to F1 or if you win it you have to warm the bench at some f1 team at best. Would be fun with a formula series lower and cheaper than F1 where more experienced and young guns could mix up and race, maybe showing off talent more than F1.

  25. I miss old Formula 3 that FIA killed off in 2018. It used to be a unique series with unique calendar including classics like Pau, Norisring and Macau. Nearly all current F1 drivers and champions raced in F3 Euro Series, as it was usually the last step before GP2 or F3.5. Current F3 is just rebranded GP3 series with nothing to so with the old Formula 3 European Championship. 5 years later, still no other series (Formula Regional, Euroformula Open, Eurocup-3) have really replaced the spirit, calendar and talent pool of the old F3 Euro Series.

  26. I vote for Grand Prix Masters, but with manual gearboxes this time.

    And though it was only a single annual event rather than a series I also nominate the Paris Bercy Karting – scene of Senna and Prost’s final races together.

  27. Two half words…


  28. WOAH!!! Nobody mentioned FIA GT?!? That was one of the best racing series EVER. McLaren F1 vs Mercedes CLK GTR. That series made those cars legendary.

  29. The real Formula1..!

  30. Imagine a race serries where there would be 20 spec Red Bull F1 cars?

    Something about giving everyone same car makes it realy enticing.

  31. God, I missed CART so much, even thought 2001 was decisive towards their downfall(the cancellation of the Texas race, the near fatal crash of Zanardi, the pop-off valve issue, and Chip Ganassi and Penske defecting to IRL) , and I didn’t like their indy 500 variation.

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