Superleague Formula set to hit the tracks
The Superleague Formula Championship is set to hit the track for the first time this weekend with the global debut of the new football-themed motor racing championship at Donington Park in the UK. The new championship brings together the international passion of club football with the speed and excitement of top-level international motorsport.
Clubs from across the globe will be represented on-track with their colours adorning 750 horsepower, V12-powered single seaters – each time fighting it out for 1 million euro prize money at every round.
The Donington weekend will be the first of six championship rounds in 2008 with other races scheduled for the Nurburgring, Germany (September 20-21); Zolder, Belgium (October 4-5); Estoril, Portugal (October 18-19); Vallelunga, Italy (November 1-2); and Jerez, Spain (November 22-23).
The Superleague Formula grid for Donington Park will include teams from the UK (Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur), Scotland (Rangers), Italy (AC Milan and AS Roma), Spain (Sevilla), Portugal (FC Porto), Netherlands (PSV Eindhoven), Germany (Borussia Dortmund), Belgium (RSC Anderlecht), Switzerland (FC Basel), Greece (Olympiacos), Turkey (Galatasaray), UAE (Al Ain), Brazil (Flamengo and Corinthians) and China (Beijing Guoan).
Each club will compete in identical single-seaters designed and built for the series by Elan Motorsport Technologies in the US. The beautiful music of the 750 horsepower, V12 engine was created for the championship by Menard Competition Technologies in the UK.
After the final round of pre-season testing this Thursday (August 28), the teams will hit the track time for two practice sessions on Saturday morning followed by a new unique qualifying system.
Teams are split into two groups for 15-minute sessions. The top four cars from each group will then go into a shootout competition - 1st vs 8th, 2nd vs 7th, 3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th.
Two cars are sent out on track for a single lap time attack – each car getting the opportunity to set a time with their rival running five seconds behind.
The four winners of the quarter-finals, go into a semi-final battle. The final shoot-out for pole will be fought out between the two semi-final victors.
Sunday's race format will also offer unique action with two races, the grid for the second event being a complete reverse grid of the race finish of the first event. The races will be run through to a 44 minute time limit – at which point, drivers will receive the "one lap to go" signal.
Leading drivers taking part in the championship include a host of stars with experience in Formula 1, Champ Car World Series, GP2 and World Series by Renault including Robert Doornbos (AC Milan), Borja Garcia (Sevilla), Adrian Valles (Liverpool), Andy Zuber (Al Ain), Davide Rigon (Bejing Guoan), Enrico Toccacelo (AS Roma), Tristan Gommendy (FC Porto), Ryan Dalziel (Rangers), Yelmer Buurman (PSV Eindhoven), Max Wissel (FC Basel) and Alesandro Pier Guidi (Galatasaray).
"With the combination of football and motorsport, we wanted to create a race weekend format that was truly unique," Superleague Formula President and CEO, Alex Andreu said.
"Our key focus is on providing excellent entertainment for the fans. We didn't just want to copy what every other motor racing championship had to offer. Our championship will attract many fans who are completely new to motorsport and we wanted to ensure we provide a unique entertainment package.
"That is also why we have also placed a considerable emphasis on off-track activities to provide great entertainment for all the family."
Off track activities will kick off at the Superleague Formula Central Stage that will be equipped with giant screen displaying on-track images. This area will also include entertainment from DJs, break-dancers, a freestyle football show, fashion shows, autograph sessions, interviews with drivers and prize draws.
In the skies above, World Aerobatic Champion Ramon Alonso will entertain the fans aboard his Superleague Formula-branded Sukhoi 31 aerobatic plane. Like the Superleague Formula cars on the ground, this exotic machine is built from carbon fibre, kevlar and titanium. Although it has got 350 less horsepower than the race cars, Alonso's machine wins the top speed race – topping more than 500km/h.
More world champions will also be on track on two wheels with Chris Pfeiffer (World Champion in Freestyle Streetbike) joining forces with Narcís Roca for a motorcycle stunt show.
The Superleague Formula Football Zone will include a spectacular array of activities including a giant inflatable human football table – just like a normal table football game, but using real people. Penalty shoot-outs, radar shoots and an extra-large table football game featuring up to 10 players on each side are also on site.
Go-karting, radio control cars (featuring the colours of the Superleague Formula clubs), entertainers, comedians, cheerleaders and face-painters will also provide added entertainment for the fans.
Sunday's race action kicks off at Donington Park on Sunday at 11.00am for the first race. Race two is scheduled for 2.00pm. Superleague Formula