So with F1’s first pre season test concluding tomorrow, and some time left before the next, some may be wondering what other motorsport is available throughout February, well when it comes to highlight international events, it is a rather good month to preview with the Bathurst 12 hour, WRC Rally Sweden, The Daytona 500 and the World Superbikes 2015 season opener coming right up.
Starting with the Bathurst 12 Hours, it almost is unbelievable to think that really until 2011, this race was almost unknown in the motorsport world, having being revived in 2007. Yet this year it is seen as one of the most exciting GT races in the world. A huge part of this intense growth which sees fifty-five entrants this year is the equally explosive growth and adoption of GT3 regulations worldwide, partnered with a fantastic broadcast package for the event which sees free live streaming internationally, in addition to comprehensive coverage on 7 and 7Mate in Australia.
The entry list sees six classes of competition, GT3 Pro and Am, Porsche GT3 cup class, GT4 representation as well as two invitational classes, for production and non production cars out of regulations. The GT3 entrants make up the largest segment of the field, with representation from marques including Bentley, Audi and Nissan. The driver entry list is rather interesting too, with former F1 drivers Ivan Capelli and David Brabham present, as well as the great and good of GT racing, single seaters and touring car champions among the entry list.
The only downside this year to the Bathurst 12 Hours is having none of the V8 Supercars drivers among the entry, thank politics for that one … Anyway the race is this weekend, and you can find all the details on the official website.
WRC meanwhile continues with Rally Sweden. Monte Carlo was an exception in many ways, as the battle we saw at least until Loeb retired, was between Loeb and Ogier. For Sweden, the business of the rest of the season gets underway, it’s Ogier from Latvala in the overall standings going in, but this is a strong event for Jari-Matti Latvala, having won Rally Sweden three times since 2008, compared to the 2013 victory being the only win on the Swedish snow stages for Ogier, the Finn has the upper hand if history is to be trusted.
After that, we are back to Daytona International Speedway with the start of Speedweeks culminating in NASCAR’s opening and ultimately most famous event, the Daytona 500. Been from Britain, I have to say the NASCAR Sprint Cup isn’t a huge affair over here as it is in the USA, but the history of the Daytona 500, as well as its prestige among American motorsport interests me and I look forward to seeing how Jeff Gordon gets on in his final season in NASCAR, alongside new emerging talent as one era begins to end, making way for the next generation of American racing stars.
Finally for fans of two wheeled motorsport action, World Superbikes begins its 2015 season at the end of the month with another motorsport highlight of the month, coming from Australia, this time Philip Island. Australia has such mega circuits. Lots of change comes from World Superbikes this season, with a strong twenty-six rider grid present. Reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli moves from Aprilia machinery to the Pata Honda team. Johnny Rea meanwhile leaves Honda to join Tom Sykes at Kawasaki, following Loris Baz leaving the team at the end of last season.
In terms of the other primary teams, Marco Melandri has left World Superbikes for MotoGP with Aprilia, leaving the Red Devils Aprilia representation coming from Britain’s Leon Haslam and Spain’s Jordi Torres. Over at Suzuki BSB champion Alex Lowes goes into his second WSBK season alongside MotoGP veteran rider, Randy De Puniet. Meanwhile Ducati have an unchanged lineup of Chaz Davis and Davide Giugliano.
Then finally we finish the month as it began, with F1 testing back in action, the second test coming from Catalunya.