What’s happened to all the racing?

I have noticed that Britain will be losing a lot of top international motor racing next year.

The calendars for theĀ World Series by Renault, the World Touring Car Championship and the GT1 World Championship all omit British rounds that had been regulars before.

I am not too fussed about the WTCC. But I was considering going to either the World Series by Renault or GT1. Now they are both off the menu.

It looks like Formula Renault 3.5 (the main race that is part of the World Series by Renault) might support the World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Silverstone. But it won’t have the same sort of atmosphere that makes the World Series by Renault great, nor will it be free, nor will it have the package of brilliant Renault support races.

In rallying, I am also disappointed that the Rally of Scotland will not be part of next year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar. I attended to motorsport events in 2011, and both have been cancelled for 2012!

As it is, the 6 Hours of Silverstone is beginning to look like the only international motorsport event in Britain to write home about, apart from Formula 1 and MotoGP. So what’s going on? Why have three major championships deserted the UK?

4 comments

  1. I’m propper bummed by the GT1/3 championship not coming to Britain next season. A real kick in the teeth. love that series and I’ve been to both this and last season’s rounds at Silverstone. Offered a great Sunday of racing (and I’m sure Saturday too) for a decent price and it didn’t take you hours to get in or out.

    Why are we being shafted this year?

    I hope all the oil money is worth it for these race series, because they certainly won’t be getting the money from bums on seats like they do over here.

  2. GT1 World is in significant financial crisis; I suspect it decided it needed 2 Chinese rounds (and their huge sign-on fees) to keep itself afloat. Given that they’re having trouble getting enough cars to even start the season, Britain might not have lost much by losing that round.

    The Renault World Series race is a pity. Having a festival of motorsport like that was superb and I can see going to a pay format seriously reducing WSR’s attractiveness. Supporting the WEC means they’ll probably still get a good crowd in Britain but it won’t be the hugely varied backgrounds of yesteryear – they’re limiting themselves to sportscar and Silverstone buffs.

    World Touring Cars was a different sort of financial issue. Apparently it clashed with British Touring Cars and the latter gets better audiences and gives a better profit to the circuit operator. The FIA naturally refused to move their date for a national-level event and therefore WTCC had to go elsewhere. And if it must go elsewhere, they concluded, they could take the best sign-on fee offer…

    Auctioning races doesn’t really work that well for sustainability of individual series, yet the organisers of racers persist in employing that approach.

  3. Thanks for the insightful comment, Alianora. Individually the cases make sense (except World Series by Renault). But with the three coming at the same time, it’s tempting to wonder if there are deeper factors at play. I guess it all comes down to money, but why is Britain in particular suffering?

  4. Britain has traditionally offered good, understanding audiences, a great welcome, nice tracks to race upon and short travel times for teams. Most other countries offer more money. Short-termism has gripped motor racing, so they go where there’s more money. Hopefully they will come back when they a) have the financial option to do so or b) when they realise what they’re doing – ditching everything except the immediate dollar – won’t keep their series working in the long run.