Monday, September 22, 2008

IndyCar offseason, what are you doing?

So, the season is over. Awards have been given. NASCAR is still going. What are we all supposed to do?

One thought that has been debated here on IndyCar Garage is whether or not A1GP is a good way to spend the off season of the IndyCar series for an open wheel racing fix. Our own member, Xorpheous, provided an excellent recap of the series (below)

A1GP is a bit of an experiment in motorsports. The formula for the equipment isn't too different; they're using a spec engine/chassis combo, Ferrari for both in their case, and running on a variety of purpose-built road courses. What is different about the series is how the teams are structured. Each team represents a home country so that competition and fan favoritism is played out based on nationalistic preferences rather than individual brand or driver preferences. Because of this similarity to soccer's World Cup, A1GP has taken to using the subtitle, "The World Cup of Motorsports." I must admit that the concept is compelling, but the series has struggled to make much headway worldwide.

This season may change some of that, though. Their new chassis is built by Ferrari and is based on the Ferrari F2005 Formula One chassis. Its a very sexy car, with a very sexy Ferrari engine. One smart thing that A1GP has done is to schedule their season during the off-season of most other major motorsports, excepting of course the Australian V8 Supercar series. This way, it won't conflict with the monstrous F1 machine, or lesser series such as ours, MotoGP, DTM, or NASCAR. Unfortunately, there's no one in the US that covers A1GP live, but you can stream the events live or procure the overseas broadcasts from the It really is an interesting series to watch, and a great way to get your open-wheel fix during the off-season.

The series itself is based on an interesting concept - "The World Cup of Motorsport" and is billing itself as an accessible, but glamorous, sport. The teams and drivers compete on a level playing field without financial or technical advantages.

I haven't found any broadcast station here in the US that carries the race (I'm not sure about SpeedTV, seems that they would be the only station that might) but it looks like the series streams the race live on their site. I've also seen a couple other forums where users mention other outlets like TVUPlayer that will stream the races.

The schedule has also seemed to be up in the air to some degree...the latest schedule I can find is below:

A1GP Zandvoort, Netherlands

05 October 2008
09 November 2008
23 November 2008
25 January 2009
22 February 2009

It's also worth noting that there has been some discussion of AGR joining the A1GP series as Team USA and running with Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick to provide some experience during the IndyCar offseason. Another former AOWR series driver, Robert Doornbos, will also compete in the 2008 season for Team Netherlands.

Feel free to join the discussion on the merits of the A1GP series on IndyCar Garage! While I don't plan to necessarily cover the series in this outlet, I think it's worth noting with all of the open wheel fans around these parts!

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