This weekend could be the biggest yet for IndyCar Series veteran Scott Dixon with the largest race in American open-wheel racing – The Indy 500 – on Monday which will go ahead behind closed doors for the first time in 104 iterations. Meanwhile, across the ditch it is only the second leg in a month-long haul for the Supercars Championship with another round of races in Darwin. Bikes, junior formuale, SportsCars and Super GT is also on the calendar so here is your guide to it all.
- What: 104th running of the Indy 500
- Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, United States.
- When: MON 5 am
- How to follow: Sky Sport
The iceman missed out on pole by a mere two-feet across ten miles last weekend but will still have a clear road ahead of him when the green flag drops at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dixon admitted after qualifying mitigating traffic will be a key moment in the race across the 200 laps but fuel has often been the deciding factor between victory and defeat in the recent past.
Honda have been formidable all week, the Japanese manufacturer locking out 11 of the top 12 starting positions. But Chevrolet do look strong over the course of long-runs and could be within a shot of challenging for the lead come raceday, especially if the race remains green for a prolonged period.
Dixon has only once started second in 18 attempts in 2011 where he finished fifth. The Kiwi’s sole victory to date in 2008 also came from qualifying on the front row.
- What: CoreStaff Darwin SuperSprint
- Where: Hidden Valley Raceway, Australia
- When: R1 SAT 6.20 pm | R2 SUN 2.30 pm | R3 SUN 4.55 pm
- How to follow: Sky Sport
There will be similar format for this weekend’s second leg of the Darwin doubleheader with the only major difference being all drivers will have an allocation of one compound of tyre. After consecutive rounds of the contentious mixed tyre compound weekends, the 24-strong grid will instead all receive five sets of the soft Dunlop rubber.
Tyre drop-off was less prominent last weekend than previous rounds in Sydney so it likely be an event with race winners determined on ultimate performance. Of which, DJR Team Penske and Red Bull Racing continued to head the usual pecking order while both Penrite Racing and Tickford each showed promising signs of pace.
The margin at the top of the standings between incumbent series champion Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup rests at 101 with the duo sharing one win piece last weekend while Whincup went on to claim the Triple Crown for scoring the most points over the three races.
- What: Super GT
- Where: Suzuka Circuit, Japan
- When: SUN 3.40 pm
- How to follow: YouTube Live Stream
Cassidy and co-driver Ryo Hirakawa will be looking to make amends after surrendering the lead of the GT500 championship to TOM’s Supra teammates Yuhi Sekiguchi and Sacha Fenestraz following the second round of the series in Fuji earlier in the month.
The all-new GR Supra’s have been the class of the field in the premier division, out performing the Honda NSX quintet who were expected to dominant the series following an exceptional pre-season test. Unfortunately success pays a price and both TOMs Supra’s will consequently be forced to bear a sizable success ballast which affected Cassidy’s qualifying performance in Fuji last round.
- What: Michelin GT Challenge at VIR – IMSA
- Where: Virginia International Raceway, United States
- When: SUN 6.50 am
- How to follow: Live Timing (Sky Sport replay MON)
Surprisingly, Earl Bamber is yet to taste victory in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship despite an impressive start to the season.
The Kiwi’s string of podium finishes in GT Le Mans was disturbed last round at Road America where a strategic blunder saw Bamber crash out of the lead on a wet track while on slick tyres.
But since then Bamber has experienced a debut outing in NASCAR is no doubt energised and prepared to give the fight to the recently dominant Corvette squad.
Bamber finished runners up to Porsche teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet last season at Virginia but will be aiming to go one better in 2020.
- What: Cooper Tires Freedom 90 – Indy Pro 2000
- Where: Lucas Oil Raceway, United States
- When: SAT 11.50 am
- How to follow: Live Timing
It is time to go Oval Racing for McElrea and the Indy Pro 2000 fraternity with the traditional Indy 500 curtain raiser at the smaller 0.6-mile oval in Indianapolis.
2020 has been a roller coaster of a season for McElrea. After a incredibly unfortunate opening round in Road America marred by incidents the Kiwi has seemingly found his feat in the competitive junior series as he picked up a podium finish in Mid-Ohio following a strong turn in performance.
McElrea was elevated from 16th to eighth in the standings and has sent a statement to the front runners of his lurking presence and hunger for race wins. The Kiwi finished 11th in his debut outing at the circuit in USF2000 last year with the same Pabst Racing outfit he is running this year’s Indy Pro campaign with.
Damon Rees and Shane Richardson
- What: Pirelli National Superstock 1000
- Where: Snetterton 300, UK
- When: SUN 11.40 pm
- How to follow: Live Timing
Whakatane’s Damon Rees turned plenty of British heads when the Kiwi collected a podium finish in his debut race at Donnington Park.
Rees swiftly guided the all-new Astro JJR Racing BMW S1000r to a pair of top-three results across the season opening round to hold a three-way tie for the championship lead.
Fellow Kiwi Shane Richardson had a more turbulent debut when he fell victim to a gearbox issue in Race 1 followed by a hefty high-side accident in Race 2 after a water hose gave way along the mains straight.