Some of our top Kiwis are back on the international stage this weekend. Scott McLaughlin has the opportunity to seal a third successive Supercars Championship while Earl Bamber will be making a surprise entry into the Nürburgring 24 Hour. And with F1 back at Sochi it means aspiring Kiwi star Marcus Armstrong has another chance to prove his worth against a highly-competitive Formula 2 field.
- What: OTR SuperSprint
- Where: The Bend Motorsport Park, Australia
- When: R1 SAT 6.10 pm | R2 SUN 3.20 pm | R3 SUN 5.50 pm
- How to follow: Sky Sport
Scott McLaughlin needs to outscore Jamie Whincup by 85-points to claim his third Supercars crown this weekend. A champion’s drive will also crucially ensure the title is wrapped up before the Bathurst 1000 which this year also acts as the season finale.
This weekend marks the second leg of the Tailem Bend doubleheader but will see the field attack the smaller West Circuit. Plenty of overtaking and carnage has been tipped for the round with teams and drivers entirely unfamiliar with the shorter circuit.
Tickford and Kelly Racing were the thorns in the side of the established front runners last weekend and both outfits will be looking to carry that momentum forth.
- What: FIA Formula 2 – Tuscan Grand Prix
- Where: Mugello, Italy
- When: R1 SUN 4.15 am | R2 MON 4.45 am
- How to follow: Spark Sport
Sochi should bring back pleasant memories for Armstrong. The Russian venue was the scene of his best round in FIA Formula 3 last year. The Kiwi scored a win in the feature race and backed it up with a second place in the season finale.
But 2020 has been a very different affair with Armstrong only scoring two championship points in the last 12 races. The new 18-inch wheels have been the primary cause of his grief and despite the odd glimpse of promise, nothing successful has come since his podium drive back in Austria.
- What: Nürburgring 24 Hour
- Where: Nurburg, Germany
- When: SUN 1.30 am
- How to follow: Live Stream
Earl Bamber was meant to be at Mid-Ohio this weekend for the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car championship. However, three positive Covid-19 cases within the Porsche factory team at Le Mans last weekend has meant three of the manufacturer’s four IMSA drivers have been forced to withdraw.
Bamber’s late reassignment to Porsche customer squad KCMG has the Kiwi reunited with ex-Le Mans winning teammate Timo Bernard in a 911 GT3 Rs for his fourth Nürburgring assault.
No New Zealander has ever won the storied race overall meaning Bamber has a chance to make some Kiwi motorsport history this weekend.
- What: Super FORMULA
- Where: Okayama, Japan
- When: SUN 6.30 pm
- How to follow: Live Stream
The incumbent series champion, Cassidy’s Super FORMULA title defence had a muted start for the opening round at Motegi three weeks ago. A change in the regulations had compulsory pitstops ousted and race length slashed in half. Cassidy labelled the event after the chequered flag as “the most boring race of his life.”
Fortunately, this weekend has seen a return to the norm with pitstops back on the agenda. The aim is to prevent another processional race like the season opener.
Cassidy has only finished in the top-10 once at Okayama. The Japanese circuit doesn’t often play nicely for the TOMs driver, but his pace demonstrated at Motegi suggests another points finish is defiantly on the table.
- What: US Formula 4
- Where: Sebring, United States
- When: R1 SUN 5 am | R2 MON 3 am | R3 MON 6 am
- How to follow: Live Timing
It has been two months since Murphy last took to the USF4. Across the break, Murphy returned home to New Zealand where he has continued his mid-season training. The Kiwi Motorsport driver has never visited any of the three remaining circuits but has been busy working away on his simulator to curb any unfamiliarity.
One of America’s most historic race circuits, Sebring is infamous for its bumpy and changing surface. The circuit still utilises an unchanged WWII landing field which makes it a unique challenge on its own; something Murphy will have to adapt to throughout his trio of 30-minute races.