Autosport 19/03/20

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The UK’s ‘must-read’ motorsport magazine AUTOSPORT is revered by fans and industry personnel alike as the ultimate source of motorsport news and analysis. The magazine’s expert editorial covers all aspects of the sport, from major international series such as Formula 1, Sports Car racing and the World Rally Championship, to the less glamorous but hugely important grassroots events in UK club motorsport

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2 min.
making the right call a little too late in australia?

Few would claim that cancelling last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix was the wrong decision. With the coronavirus situation changing by the day and a case being confirmed in the Formula 1 paddock, resulting in McLaren’s withdrawal, the decision seemed inevitable. But what about the timing? As Alex Kalinauckas shows in our extensive analysis of what went on in Melbourne (page 16), some teams initially wanted to carry on with the race weekend and, even when enough of them decided to pull out, there was still a delay in communicating the fact that the GP wasn’t happening. That’s why some fans still travelled to the circuit and were, understandably, not impressed when they couldn’t get in. Not for the first time, F1’s key players appeared to do the right thing, but – perhaps…

4 min.
as f1 reels, le mans comes under threat

LE MANS 24 HOURS As the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic escalates around the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours organisers have given themselves a D-Day of 15 April as to whether the race can go ahead on its traditional June date. That’s the deadline that race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has given for pushing ahead with the 2019-20 World Endurance Championship season finale or postponing it to later in the year. The statement from the ACO on Monday afternoon followed on quickly from the cancellation of this weekend’s Sebring 1000 Miles and what has been billed as a postponement of the Spa WEC round on 25 April. But the French organisation, also promoter of the WEC, was at pains to stress that there will be a Le Mans 24…

2 min.
btcc delayed until mid-may as openers axed

BTCC The British Touring Car Championship postponed the start of its season until mid-May just as Autosport went to press, with series organiser TOCA planning to reorganise its opening three rounds for later in the year. With the Football Association and English Football League announcing late last week its suspension of fixtures until early April, the BTCC – which draws crowd figures on a par with the EFL’s Championship – was surely living on borrowed time amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, particularly regarding its scheduled season opener at Donington Park on 29 March. As motorsport fixtures intended for the next few weeks collapsed like dominos over the weekend and on Monday, the BTCC-supporting Porsche Carrera Cup GB bucked the trend by holding its scheduled test day at Silverstone on Monday, as the BTCC…

2 min.
juncadella switches to gt as entries are boosted for 2020

GT WORLD CHALLENGE EUROPE Daniel Juncadella is moving across from R-Motorsport’s defunct DTM squad to race in the renamed GT World Challenge Europe with the Swiss Aston Martin entrant. The Spaniard (above) is joining an expanded three-strong entry of Vantage GT3s across the GTWCE’s Endurance and Sprint Cups. Juncadella, a race winner in the DTM with Mercedes, will join up with GT regulars Jake Dennis (his 2019 DTM team-mate) and Ricky Collard in the five enduros. The deal marks a return to the series formerly known as the Blancpain GT Series for the Spaniard, who won a round with the Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes team in 2017. R-Motorsport has now confirmed its full programme in the GT3 arena after a series of announcements, including those that Luca Ghiotto and Tom Blomqvist were joining the…

1 min.
pro gt race for ‘olympics’

MOTORSPORT GAMES The promised expansion of the FIA Motorsport Games for year two in 2020 will include a one-driver GT3 sprint event for professional drivers. It is one of nine new competitions, including four rally disciplines, added to the roster for this October’s competition at Paul Ricard. Event promoter Stephane Ratel revealed that it was felt important to add another circuit-racing category for professional drivers to TCR touring cars in motorsport’s Olympic-style competition on 23-25 October. “We needed a bigger pro element in the Games and probably the easiest way to do it is in GT racing,” said Ratel, while stressing that the new event was in no way a replacement for the Macau GT World Cup in November. The format and schedule for the event, which follows on from last year’s inaugural…

2 min.
neal back in his honda after serious bike shunt

BTCC Three-time British Touring Car champion Matt Neal got back behind the wheel of his Team Dynamics-run Honda Civic last week as he bids to recover from injury in time for the start of the 2020 season. Neal, 53, sustained multiple fractures and a collapsed lung while out mountain-biking with friends. That meant that Neal’s friend, fellow triple BTCC title winner, Gordon Shedden, replaced him for early pre-season testing alongside team-mate Dan Cammish, and has been on standby to fill in for Neal in the early races if required. After completing 70 laps of the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit last Tuesday, and 30 on Wednesday, Neal (right) is confident that he can be fit in time for the start of the season, whenever that may be. Neal said he was “pretty sore” after his…