Looking ahead at 2017 in motorsport…
This year (2016) is over and done with as far as motorsports is concerned, so our Lewis Isaacs lists his New Year’s motorsport wish list…
It’s holiday time in the world of motorsport, and while some are asking the man in the red suit for all sorts of gifts (like jobs, horsepower and maybe a bit of aero grip), for us in the stands there are plenty of things to want next year.
So here’s what I’m looking forward to following in motorsport for 2017:
The Scott Darley Challenge:
It’s one of the best speedway events on the calendar and held outside of the championship calendars. Head to Parramatta in mid-January for some of the best racing you’re like to see. Ever. My not so fearless prediction is to see Kerry Madsen excel again.
Two races at the Clipsal 500:
The three-race format has been binned. It’s overdue. The twin 250 kilometre races on the street track are a famed test for teams and drivers and it should never have been toyed with. The change is a welcome return and a great way to start the year and whether it’s stinking hot or pouring with rain, the spectacle will be top shelf.
New F1 cars:
Fat tyres, increased grip and faster lap times should be a top physical challenge for the current crop of drivers. Who knows if it will make the racing better, but at least you know the guys behind the wheel will be spent by the end.
WRC’s next gen:
Like F1, the World Rally Championship has some faster cars. Though VW has gone, Toyota has stepped up in its place. The cars themselves promise to be amazing to watch, but the championship battle without a clear favourite will be fascinating.
The continued growth of GT racing:
It’s growing. Everywhere. Beyond GT3, BMW will develop a GTE car for 2018 while Ford is set to have four cars in the Daytona 24 Hours. Porsche also has a new GTE car while at the other end of the scale, the GT4 class is booming and now has a Ford Mustang. GT3 remains the most popular of them all and doesn’t look like shrinking any time soon.
The Bathurst 12 hour:
It’s the biggest GT race in this part of the world and now the rule makers have allowed for professional driver only cars to campaign. With new models across all the classes and a host of pro drivers, the 2017 race will be worth going to. Or at least setting up on the couch for.
The young bloke is Australia’s top open-wheel prospect overseas. He beat Michael Schumacher’s son in Formula 4, and as he steps up a level expect him to start earning more headlines. He deserves them.
Veterans at top teams in Supercars:
Garth Tander and Jason Bright have both returned to former Supercars teams Garry Rogers Motorsport and Prodrive respectively as they aim to continue their careers in top cars. For Tander in particular, the return to a championship challenging outfit could be the change he needs.
The new HRT
Holden has switched its factory support to Triple Eight and now the top-two in the championship from 2016, Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup will go at it again. There’ll be lots of good racing between the surprisingly civil pair.
Matt Campbell in Supercup
This Aussie tin-top star has opted against staying in Oz after Porsche selected him for a worldwide field to race in its premiere global Carrera Cup championship. Believe us, Campbell has the goods to go very far for Porsche. Watch this space.
Another Aussie abroad
Anthony Martin has been chipping away in the USA and won the USF2000 series on the Road to Indy in 2016. How he goes on the next rung will be fascinating, but after Matthew Brabham, it’s nice to see another Aussie try the USA for a change.