"Approaching the ISM Raceway in Phoenix, USA, is like approaching a moonbase. The road is as straight a ribbon of blacktop as an ironed liquorice chew, and fires you directly at an imposing ring of rust-coloured mountains. Across open desert "
Which races are our picks for 2018?
2018 is upon us and the anticipation for many motor racing series to have exciting years is already building.
There are lots of races taking place, and some immediately stand out. There will also be high-profile names making starts at some, while other events will simply produce electric atmospheres and should produce unbelievable racing if recent years are anything to go by. Be it watching in person or from the comfort of your own home, these are always worth tuning in for.
Daytona 24 Hours (27th-28th January)
Daytona is the crown jewel of the IMSA Sportscar Series and its curtain-raiser. The thought of watching a race which lasts an entire day is off-putting for some. But, if recent years are anything to go by, the 2018 event can be just as scintillatingly tight as the past few. In 2016, the race in the GTLM class (very similar to GTE for those familiar with sportscars in Europe) was not decided until the very final corner. A raft of famous faces will be participating in the race this year, including Formula 1 stars Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, and former F1 names such as Juan Pablo Montoya and Paul di Resta. As with any multi-class race, many races will happen at once – with the beautiful Prototype cars being the fastest of the three classes leading the way, ahead of the GTLM class and finally the GTD class (like GT3 cars). There is always a lot of entertaining action at Daytona.
The Daytona 24 Hours, like every IMSA race, will be streamed on IMSA’s website. Tickets here.
Berlin ePrix (19th May)
Formula E is not everybody’s cup of tea. That is okay. Some are not yet convinced by the speeds the cars produce or by the whirring noises from the motors. What cannot be denied, however, is the racing aspect of the series, and that the all-in-one-day element separates it from most top categories. One round has already been run in the 2017-18 season, at Hong Kong. What was shown there is that many teams are very competitive. The racing was great, and the cars are very tough to drive. Berlin was one of the highlights of last season, and the unique Tempelhof Airport circuit looks poised to play host to another great race in 2018.
You can watch the Formula E on Channel 5 or Eurosport. Tickets here.
Indianapolis 500 (27th May)
The Month of May is the critical towards the IndyCar championship. It also hosts one of the biggest prizes in motorsport – the Indianapolis 500. Alonso went to have a go last year (before, typically, his Honda engine blew) and it gave the event a lot of global attention. And rightly so. On paper it is around three and a half hours of slipstreaming on an oval, but in reality, it is playing chess at 240mph. Often it’s the case that this race is not determined until the very end, and several drivers can remain in contention until the finish. To add to the apparent randomness of the event, will be an all-new (and awesome-looking) aerokit introduced this year. The aim of that is to make the already-close racing even closer.
You can watch the IndyCar on BT Sport. Tickets here.
Dutch TT (1st July)
MotoGP is in a true golden era right now. The racing is second-to-none and has produced epic, bike-to-bike racing for much of the 2010s. This is all despite Marc Marquez sometimes dominating the series. However, despite this apparent dominance, the margins in MotoGP are often very small. The Dutch TT at Assen has produced some of the best racing in recent years, and is definitely one of the highlights of the motorsport calendar. As with every other MotoGP race, the excellent support package of Moto 3 and Moto 2 (the former producing arguably the finest racing in the world anywhere now) will also be present and is a fine warm-up for the big event.
You can watch MotoGP on BT Sport. Tickets here.
Macau Grand Prix (Date TBC)
Monte Carlo may be the most famous street track in motorsport, but Macau is probably the most fearsome. The Macau Grand Prix circuit features three very distinct sections: the flat-out blast from the start line, the tight, twisty and unforgiving runs up and down the hills, before stopping for the slowest corner in motorsport and then the run back to the line. The Formula 3 event is prestigious, and many names who won it have gone on to race in F1 with success. Last year, the race was not decided until the very final corner, as the top two took each other out. Also at Macau is a GT3 ‘World Cup’ featuring some of the biggest names, touring car racing and even motorcycle racing.
The Macau Grand Prix will be streamed on the FIA’s website. Tickets not yet available.
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