Since it’s debut in 2006, the racing TV series Speedway has followed a rather simple formula: four or five regular drivers battle in weekly grands prix held at prestigious English venues such as Donington Park and Silverstone, with each race lasting 15–20 minutes and being moderatly exciting.
Is it any wonder that Speedway has been a massive hit, and arguably the most successful series of its kind? With large audiences in all relevant parts of the world (200 million on NBC Sports in the US, 75 million on Sky Sports in the UK), it’s clear that fans of motorsport love nothing more than a short, snappy race followed by some exhilarating action such as a driver change or overtaking manoeuvres.
Here, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Speedway in 2018, looking at the channel’s schedule and predicting the results of the upcoming races.
When Is The Next Grand Prix Race?
The first thing to note about Speedway in 2018 is that the events will now be streamed live in real-time on the show’s official website, making them extremely accessible for those who can’t get enough of the action. This is also the first year that the series is set to be televised in 4K, making it even more accessible to viewers.
The next Grand Prix race will be held on March 23, and it will be the first race of the 2018 season. This will be followed by another meeting on April 20, and then the final race of the year on October 26. All three races will be held at the legendary Silverstone circuit in England.
This follows a similar schedule to that of the previous year, with the exception of the Brazilian Grand Prix, which was moved to February at the request of Formula One. This was to accommodate the February race in Argentina, and give the track more time for preparations. The Argentine Grand Prix is one of the most important races on the calendar, and draws in huge crowds and incredible TV audiences. The series will therefore want to avoid a clash as far as possible, and will want to hold the Argentinian Grand Prix as late in the year as possible. This will allow the teams and drivers to take a well-deserved break after such an intensive season, and for the series to recover from the rigours of a full calendar year without any breaks.
Is Silverstone A Stable Venue?
The most prominent venue to host Speedway this year will be Silverstone, an iconic English circuit located just outside of London. It is one of the most storied tracks in all of motorsport, and is the site of many famous races, including the UK Grand Prix. It was originally built as a military airfield in the 1930s, and later became home to a motoring club. Today, it is run by the British Racing Drivers’ Club and is a well-known pit stop for many touring car teams and top-flight racing squads.
Touted as the Mecca of motorcycle racing, Donington Park in Leicestershire is another popular venue for Speedway. Though it’s a newer circuit, it has hosted international races and welcomed touring car competitors from all over the world. The track now runs by the Powerleague motorsport group, who have spent over £13 million upgrading the facilities for 2018.
The final race of the year will be held at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. Though the venue has hosted international races and welcomed touring car competitors from all over the world, it is most famous for its association with the Grand Prix circuit. The track was originally built in the 1950s and is considered to be one of the most historic sports venues in the UK. With a capacity of over 160,000, it is certainly one of the largest and most prominent venues in all of motorsport. For many years, the Grand Prix was held at Brands Hatch, and it was here that the legendary Enzo Ferrari, and his legendary car No. 76, won the first of his seven World Championships. Though the Grand Prix has now been moved to Monza in Italy, the world of motorsport still flocks to the Kent circuit every year for the annual Formula One Celebration, named after the great man himself and attended by many of his friends and family. The event features a parade lap by famous racing cars, a trackside tented party, and an exhibition where fans can come face-to-face with some of the greatest racing cars of all time. For those in the UK looking to attend this prestigious event, tickets are still available from:
The Biggest Names In Motorcycle Racing.
With such a rich history in motorcycling, it’s no surprise that many of the world’s greatest names will be on hand to take part in Speedway. The list of confirmed riders for the 2018 season is as follows:
- Étienne Gachot (Belgium)
- Francesco Bagnaia (Italy)
- Álvaro Bautista (Spain)
- Leonard Stigend (Australia)
- Michael Rookes (New Zealand)
- Eddie Powell (England)
- Randy Mamola (USA)
- Takeshi Miya (Japan)
- Toni Elias (Germany)
- Martin Mortensen (Denmark)
- Hirving Lozano (Mexico)
The above riders represent some of the biggest names in motorcycle racing, and each one of them will be looking to add to their World Championship tally this year. The Belgian star Étienne Gachot is currently leading the World Championship standings, with 24 points followed by Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia on 22 points. Spain’s Álvaro Bautista and Australia’s Leonard Stigend are also in the top four, while England’s Eddie Powell, New Zealand’s Michael Rookes, and USA’s Randy Mamola round out the top five. This means that the field is set to be extremely competitive, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
As well as famous names, Speedway also features many established touring car series, with the following series’ set to take part in the 2018 season:
- American Musclecar Championship
- Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
- British Automobile Racing Club Championship
- French GT Championship
- German Supercar Championship
- Pirelli World Challenge
- World Series by Renault
- and more…
As well as the above, Speedway will also stage a couple of “mini-series” for those looking for something more competitive. The first of these is the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), and features six top-flight touring cars battling it out over 10 legs across Europe, with each driver scoring points for their national team. The series kicks off in February in Barcelona, and will travel to Italy, Germany, and Hungary before concluding in October in Suzuka. Teams will be looking to score as many points as possible to help their drivers gain a foothold in the World Championship, with the defending champion claiming the coveted World Cup.
The final “mini-series” worth mentioning is the TCR International Series. This is a new addition to the 2018 schedule, stemming from the merger of the Japanese Touring Car Championship and the European Touring Car Championship. The series will see factory-backed teams compete across Europe, with each driver required to make several appearances per year in the series to retain their driving license. Teams will be looking to score as many points as possible, just as in the case of the above series, with the winner taking home the coveted TCR International Series World Cup.
The above summary highlights just some of 2018’s highlights. To receive all the latest news and gossip about the world of motorsport, sign up to Racecar-UK’s newsletter here:
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