Successful debut for Superleague After five years in development, Superleague Formula has scored its first major goal last weekend – kicking off the championship with its first race at Donington Park in the UK.
The unique football-themed motor racing championship featured the colors of 17 major clubs from across the world. The championship enables many of the key international brands to compete against the big European football names for the first time in a brand new competition.
Beijing Guoan soared to the top of the Superleague Formula “premiership” with a stunning debut victory and solid 6th place finish in the unique reverse grid race. UK rivals Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur jointly hold second place in the championship after the first round while Sevilla FC also hit the headlines with a victory in the reverse grid event.
While football fans took the opportunity to cheer on their colors in an entirely new sport, motor racing fans were also delighted with the unique race format including a qualifying shoot-out and inverting the entire field for the second race, based on the results of the first event.
Liverpool FC Racing Team boss David Hayle was one who was pleasantly surprised with the spectacle.
“The race format for Superleague Formula is quite a radical idea and very different form the norm, but it worked extremely well,” Hayle said.
“Qualifying was very exciting for the spectators and the races were really interesting and great to watch. At the end of the weekend, we had six different guys on the podium and it was a very exciting weekend.
“I think we are on to a very good thing. It is only the first steps, but, with a bit of fine-tuning, I think the championship is going to be fantastic. We didn’t know what to expect before the weekend and it turned out to be an exciting challenge.”
Championship leader, Italian Davide Rigon is eagerly awaiting the chance to get back behind the wheel of his Beijing Guoan car at the next round of the championship at the Nurburgring on September 20/21.
“I’m obviously thrilled with the way the weekend worked out, it is great to be leading the championship,” Rigon said.
“The qualifying format is very exciting but very hard. You have to concentrate extremely hard and pull out three perfect laps in one-on-one battles with your competitor.
“The result is also great for my team because when it comes to football, not many people had heard of Beijing Guoan – now we have taken a win against some of the biggest football names.
“I’m really looking forward to the next race a the Nurburgring. I won there last year in the F3000 Euroseries so it will be great to go back with the Superleague Formula car.”
The first Superleague Formula event attracted key football officials from major clubs including PSV Eindhoven, FC Basel, Galatasary, Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Flamengo, Al Ain, Beijing Guoan, FC Porto, Olympiacos, AC Milan and Sevilla FC – some, including Tottenham Hotspur’s Executive Director, Paul Barber, missed key football games to cheer on their race team.
“It was fantastic to see the Superleague Formula series get underway and it was certainly a very satisfying result on the track for Tottenham Hotspur,” Barber said.
“To secure a podium finish in our first start was great news for everyone connected to the race team and the Club. From what we saw over the weekend Superleague Formula promises to be an exciting racing series and there is already a competitive rivalry emerging between clubs.
“Hopefully we will be able to take the success and support from the opening race to the Nurburgring.”
Superleague Formula President and CEO, Alex Andreu, was also pleased with the championship’s kick off, but vowed to continue to strive to make improvements to the new sporting spectacle.
“It certainly has taken a lot of work to finally get to our first race and we are very proud of the event and the product we have created,” Andreu said.
“I have to say a big thank you to our football clubs, race teams, investors, our broadcasters and everyone else in involved in putting this together.
“The weather certainly wasn’t on our side for our first weekend but the on-track spectacle and the off-track entertainment we have created were certainly spectacular.
“We could all see the passion of football fans clearly showing throw with the on-track rivalries between the teams – Corinthians are out for revenge against Flamengo after the first round and Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are already in a great fight in joint second place.”
“This is just the start for us, we know we still have a lot of work to do to enhance our championship, help our race teams, educate more fans and promote our series to a wider audience.
“But this is just the first step. We have received a lot of feedback about our first weekend, but one thing is certain, everyone who witnessed the first Superleague Formula weekend loved the qualifying format and were thrilled with the on track race action.”