Curious as to what Superleague Formula’s all about but puzzled by the way its YouTube channel dried up just as its first-ever season began? Well, puzzle no longer – it’s sprung back into life.
The football-themed open-wheel racing series, just coming to the end of its inaugural six-event, 12-race season, has put months’ worth of race and qualifying footage on its official channel at the video sharing site.
Despite the fact it’s attracted a degree of derision from some quarters (most notably F1 fans) and can be a bit random in its driver choices, we’d say it has actually some pretty good points and is definitely worth a look.
For instance, the cars sport a 750-hp V12 engine and a chassis from Elan Motorsports – the same outfit that has serviced Champ Car, the Indy Racing League and the American Le Mans series.
A recent appearance within days of an A1GP test at Donington Park allowed for some performance comparisons – which suggested the SLF cars are delivering performance only just short of that series’ much-hyped new Powered by Ferrari car, which is based on Michael Schumacher’s championship-winning Ferrari F2004.
There are three English or Scottish teams to support (and an English driver with a foreign club) as well as a number of clubs who will be more than familiar to followers of European football – including AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven.
Perhaps most interestingly of all, in a year where F1 drives (and, by extension GP2 opportunities) are proving extremely static, it has provided another area of gainful employment for drivers who we’d all rather see in action than languishing on the sidelines.
Amidst a number of GP2 pilots including Adrian Valles, Andy Soucek, Yelmer Buurman and Andreas Zuber, there are familiar names from F1, Champ Car, the IRL and A1GP including Robert Doornbos, Nelson Philippe, Franck Perera and Antonio Pizzonia.
British drivers who have got scarce car time as main drivers or substitutes thanks to the series include Duncan Tappy, Dominik Jackson, James Walker, Ryan Dalziel and Craig Dolby – whose performances for Anderlecht made him the stand-out Brit this season.
Finally, we suspect here at Brits on Pole that we may be about to go into a period where the opportunities to watch top-flight open-wheel racing in this country contract – whether for reasons of economics, environmental concerns, management issues or sporting politics.
If that happens – and if Superleague Formula is one of the series able to survive the crunch – then the opportunity to hear those V12s howling their way round British circuits might seem considerably more valuable to motorsport fans in a couple of years than it does now.