First up we make the long trip to Christchurch New Zealand, for the start of the 2017 Toyota Racing Series at Ruapuna Park, where another exciting crop of young stars will be hoping to emulate former champions Brendon Hartley, Mitch Evans and Lance Stroll by attaining superstardom. Expect close-quarters racing in spades as Ferrari Academy driver Marcus Armstrong, Red Bull junior Richard Verschoor, Force India-backed Jehan Daruvala, plus racing royalty Ferdinand Habsburg and highly-rated Aussie Thomas Randle battle it out at the sharp end of the grid, but who will come out on top is anybody’s guess.
From there, it’s a short hop to the streets of the Gold Coast for the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia season finale at Surfers Paradise, as Matt Campbell hoped to sew up the championship. After his stylish hat-trick at Bathurst, 21-year-old Campbell looks destined for stardom, but certainly won’t have it easy on the demanding street course, with Alex Davison, David Wall and Nick McBride locked in battle for second in points and desperate to end their seasons on a high.
Next it’s over the Chang International Circuit in Thailand for the third round of the Asian Le Mans Series, where all three classes are finely balanced. With slots on the grid for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours up for grabs, there’s everything to play for as we approach the mid-point of the season, with no team managing to win more than once. In LMP2, the Jackie Chan DC Racing team will hope to recapture the form that saw them defeat defending champions and Fuji winners Race Performance in the opening round at Zhuahi, while their LMP3 arm will again face strong competition from fellow Ligier runners Tockwith Motorsport and the ARC-Bratislava Ginettas. Meanwhile in the GT class, the Ferrari 488 has been the car to beat, but with no less than five gunning for the top spot, it’s too close to call!
Then at last it’s back to wintry Europe, where you can catch up with all the best bits from the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally. With treacherous ice and snow waiting to punish any lapses in concentration, could Sebastien Ogier mark his first outing in the M-Sport Ford by taking his fourth consecutive victory on the Monte, or would the brand-new Toyota Yaris of Ogier’s former team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala spoil the party?
Then to finish, why not tune in for a replay of the 2016 Le Touquet Enduropale to get you in the mood for the upcoming 41st anniversary edition of the legendary beach enduro, set over three-hours with a mass start of 1,000 hardy riders!
Saturday 28th January
11:30 – Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Rd 8, Surfers Paradise08:35 – Le Touquet Enduropale, 2016 Replay10:25 – Toyota Racing Series NZ, Rd 1, Ruapuna Park10:55 – Toyota NZ 86 Championship, Rd 3, Taranaki Superboats13:40 – FIA World Rally Championship, Rd 1, Monte Carlo Rally Best-Of
Sunday 29th January
13:40 – FIA World Rally Championship, Rd 1, Monte Carlo Rally Best-Of19:50 – Asian Le Mans Series, Rd 3, Buriram