Race is on to fill final Superleague seats

Nine Superleague Formula teams yesterday shook down their machines in preparation for next week's opening round of the inaugural football-themed motor racing championship.

Premier League clubs Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur hit the track for the first time with test drivers James Walker (World Series by Renault) and Jimmy Auby (Spanish F3) behind the wheel.

Other clubs at Donington included PSV Eindhoven, Al Ain, Rangers, FC Porto, Sevilla and AS Roma. The Superleague Formula development prototype was also on hand for drivers to sample.

The Donington shakedown attracted a number of drivers looking to find a seat in the new championship including former Champ Car World Series race winner Nelson Philippe.

The Frenchman took the opportunity to drive the series prototype entry for the first time, albeit on a damp track after afternoon showers hit the circuit. Fellow ex-Champ Car racer Dan Clarke was also on-site at Donington, showing interest in participating in the series. Another Champ Car driver from last year, Tristan Gommendy, made his debut in the FC Porto car.

AS Roma racer Enrico Toccacelo was the busiest man on track, completing laps during both the morning and afternoon sessions.

"This was an important day for us because I have never been to Donington before – it really is a beautiful circuit," Toccacelo said.

"The car was really nice in the dry this morning and it was also vital to get some damp track running in preparation for next week. We probably did more laps than anybody that is very important for our preparation.

"I'm really looking forward to the first race next week."

Recently confirmed Sevilla FC driver Borja Garcia headed to Donington after being introduced to the players at his football club during the week.

"The car this morning in the dry had a little bit of understeer and we didn't do a lot of laps," Garcia said.

"We were able to get plenty of track time in the damp during the afternoon and it was very challenging to drive, lots of power so you have to be very careful. After another day in the car now I'm really starting to feel comfortable."

The Superleague Formula teams will return to the track next Thursday for the final pre-season test before the opening round of the championship.

More driver confirmations are expected in the days ahead with the highly sought after seats for home-town favorites Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur soon to be locked in.

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