“British series need to stop clashing dates”
This is always an exciting week to be working on Motorsport News. It’s the week we receive the first draft of the National Racing Calendar for the 2016 season. For those not familiar with the calendar, it details each and every race meeting happening in the UK and Ireland this year, along with each round for the 209 individual racing series operating.
There are a colossal 201 race meetings this season, so no doubt we’ll be able to bring you plenty of content to enjoy over the coming season.
But the calendar also raises a few concerns. There is such a thing as too much choice, and with 201 meetings taking place largely between March and November, there are inevitably going to be clashes, but a few just seem down right silly.
Within my role at MN, I cover the British GT Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship. Being a sportscar fan, it’s a dream, but this year could be a bit of a nightmare.
Let’s look at the weekend of April 16/17. The WEC roars into life at Silverstone, precisely the same weekend as British GT begins at Brands Hatch. That’s Britain’s best sportscar class starting in Kent, and the world’s best one starting in Northamptonshire. For a fan – or a journalist – that’s a pain as we have to choose one or the other, as do the drivers involved in both series.
Aside from just sportscars, you will also find the British Touring Car Championship holds its second round at Donington Park on that date too.
Don’t fancy top-flight sportscar racing? Well the Endurance Racing Series is on at Rockingham too to make it three endurance races within a few miles of each other!
Or fancy something more classic? Head to Castle Combe for the 50th Anniversary meeting of the Historic Sports Car Club! This must be a joke, surely? But it’s not. That gives us four major meetings and an interesting ‘clubby’ – none too far removed from each other geographically – on the same date. That’s plain stupid scheduling. Crowds will inevitably suffer for each event as fans are forced to choose, and it makes it near impossible for an individual to keep up with everything that’s going on across those two days.
Surely somebody in a position of power should be standing up and demanding a rethink?
I understand the pressure on championship organisers to find suitable dates, and the pressure on venues to accommodate them. But a bit more coordination to avoid clashes – between the British championships we control especially – would surely work better for everybody involved.