Motors TV Weekend Highlights January 14,15

Confession time. Have you managed to stick to your resolutions during the first two weeks of 2017? If so, then congratulations – why not reward yourself to some high-octane entertainment on the High Speed Television Channel? If not, commiserations – but do tune in anyway. There’s always next year after all!

Top billing this weekend is a recap of the stellar 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season, which saw all three manufacturers win races in LMP1, while Ford made a successful start to life in GTE-Pro. It also produced one of the most heart-breaking defeats in Le Mans history, when the leading Toyota gave up the ghost with just three minutes left on the clock, handing a remarkable 18th victory to Porsche. With nine rounds traversing four continents, including a first visit to Mexico, what are you waiting for?

There’s much more sportscar racing action where that came from, with a full review of the British GT Championship’s three-way tussle between Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Bentley to enjoy. Jonny Adam was looking to become the first man in series history to defend his title, but would the switch from Beechdean AMR to TF Sport allow Barwell pair Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen to capitalise? Single-seater convert Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jr. also starred for Team Parker, taking a season-high four pole positions with the big Bentley, setting up a fascinating final round at Donington Park…

Next it’s over to sunny Sandown for the sixth round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. After winning both races at Sydney Motorsport Park, young gun Matt Campbell entered the weekend on a roll, but would pulling double duty with the V8 Supercars throw him off his stride? The chasing pack led by Bathurst 1000 winner Steven Richards, Alex Davison and F3 graduate Nick McBride certainly hoped so, with only three rounds remaining to catch up.

Sun is normally preferable to rain, but there can be such thing as too much sun when the action takes place in the unforgiving desert. Welcome to the Africa Eco Race, the spiritual successor to the legendary Paris-Dakar, which follows the traditional and highly demanding route along the African equator. This week sees the competitors forge their course to the finish line in Dakar on the rally’s final two stages, the Senegalese city set to be a welcome reprieve after the gruelling 546 km run from Akjoujt to Saint Louis on the penultimate day.

Now the High Speed Television Channel isn’t just limited to four-wheeled exploits, or even two. Indeed, NZ Jet Sprints shows you don’t need any wheels at all to go flat out, with the lightweight 6.5-litre Superboats churning out a staggering 1000 bhp. Get ready for a time trial unlike any you’ve ever seen before…

Finally, we return to dry land for the toughest classic rally in Europe, the Hero Cup Le Jog from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Only cars built before 1986 are eligible to enter, making this an epic test of not only human but mechanical endurance too. Featuring plenty of night-time driving, adverse conditions and long stages, this is not an event for the faint of heart!

Saturday 14th January

08:35 – Africa Eco Race, Stage 11, Akjoujt/Saint Louis10:25 – NZ Jet Sprints, Rd 3, Taranaki Group A10:55 – NZ Jet Sprints, Rd 3, Taranaki Superboats11:30 – Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Rd 6, Sandown13:40 – British GT Championship, Best Of17:50 – Hero Cup, Le Jog19:45 – FIA World Endurance Championship, Best Of

Sunday 15th January

08:35 – Africa Eco Race, Stage 12, Saint Louis/Dakar08:50 – FIA World Endurance Championship, Best Of10:10 – Hero Cup, Le Jog18:25 – NZ Jet Sprints, Rd 3, Taranaki Group A18:55 – NZ Jet Sprints, Rd 3, Taranaki Superboats19:50 – Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Rd 6, Sandown