Autodrom Most 2019: Jacques Villeneuve, Fabian Vettel and a new asphalt surface

02.04.2019 14:36

Autodrom Most faces another extraordinary season in 2019. We managed to fill our sporting calendar with premium events dominated by the ADAC GT Masters, the American NASCAR, and the traditional Czech Truck Prix. “The spectators will watch world-class competitors in full swing headed by former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. The participants are sure to appreciate a new asphalt surface covering already 75 per cent of the course after this year’s circuit reconstruction,” says Autodrom Most CEO Ivo Diviš.

Cars valued at 250 million and Mercedes driver Fabian Vettel

For the second time, a series of three special race weekends will start with the ADAC GT Masters on May 17–19. Super sports car races will include Audi R8 LMS, BMW M6 GT3, Corvette C7 GT3-R, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Ferrari 488 GT3, Honda NSX GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3-R cars. The total value of the cars entering this series is estimated at well over 250 million crowns. The applied balance of performance system, which eliminates performance differences, results in the top twenty cars often finishing qualifying sessions within the same second.

Fabian Vettel, four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s brother, will liven up the event taking part. He will defend the colours of the HTP Motosport team, which enters Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars, the so-called Yellow Mambas. It is Mercedes, of all makes, that has been his more famous brother’s old rival. “Mercedes has always been our rival. Our entire family has felt it this way because my brother has always competed against them. At the beginning, it was a kind of fun. But it comes natural to me. Mercedes is a very successful marque whatever it does,” Fabian Vettel explained the situation in an interview with the German Bild daily. Like last year, the home country will be represented by Filip Salaquarda of the ISR team driving his Audi.

Doorless cars and a former Formula One World Champion behind the wheel

There will be another motor sport feast: on June 28–30, an OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR show will see the Czech premiere of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Unlike the USA, where the special cars cruise around ovals, the contestants run primarily on classic natural circuits in Europe. On condition that any spectator has a full view of at least fifty per cent of the track. The stars of the weekend will include Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula One World Champion from Canada, and Ellen Lohr, the most experienced female racing driver in the field.  This woman is a German motor sport legend having won a DTM race and participated in the Dakar Rally as well as the FIA European Truck Racing Championship.

“It is possible that the Most NASCAR event will also see Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series (the US most prestigious stock car racing series) champion who has taken part in 729 races and won more than 81 million dollars over his career. Undoubtedly, there will be lots of nail-biting battles,” added Jana Svobodová, the AUTODROM MOST Business and Marketing Manager.

A NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) machine consists of a welded tubular frame carrying the interior and an engine covered with a glass reinforced plastic body. Construction of all cars is identical. The cars are powered by Chevrolet V8 engines delivering 450bhp to rear axle through manual four-speed gearbox. The drivers don’t have any electronic aids at their disposal. The Czech Republic’s great white hope is Martin Doubek, a Litomyšl-based driver racing a Ford Mustang for Hendriks Motorsport. The race weekend will also include battles fought by historic cars including single-seaters that used to excel on renowned world circuits in the last century. These shiny old-timers will meet for the third time in Most.

Doubek and Lohr tested their equipment for the first time in Most on Thursday 28 March. Martin has put in initial lap times around 1m45.5s. “I’m going to change tyres which meant that I should improve my times by about 1.5 seconds,” this nice driver said after he had got the feel of the track. The Most Autodrom track record holder for cars is Stefan Mücke of Germany who set the fastest lap of 1m25.6s in his Mercedes Benz C-Klasse DTM in May 2009.

Adam Lacko in a starring role

At the end of the summer holiday, on August 30 to September 1, Autodrom Most will traditionally feature the Czech Truck Prix, an FIA European Truck Racing Championship event. The last edition was marked, above all, by Adam Lacko’s battle with the later winner of the whole series, Jochen Hahn of Germany. “I appreciate my last year’s runner-up spot very much because at the start of the season, it hadn’t been clear whether I would take part in the championship at all. But I still love to win and I’d like to take back the title this year. The fans can count on me really fighting for it,” says Adam Lacko, the fresh winner of the Golden Steering Wheel award in the circuit-racing category.

Traditionally, such a race weekend includes an interesting programme of side events, not excluding a racing truck parade through downtown Most along with a cultural programme and a driver autograph session held in the 1st Square in downtown Most already on Friday 30 August from 4.35 p.m. to 5.50 p.m. The spectators can also look forward to a pit walk and a grid walkabout just before the start of the individual races. And of course, there will be some fun attractions for kids on the children’s traffic-drill playground.

Motorcycles are back; new black top and simulator; and partners’ support

It is also two-wheel vehicle fans that will get their money’s worth. After two years, the Alpe Adria Road Racing Championship, an international motorcycle championship for Central Europe, is returning to Autodrom Most as the 2019 season finale. A new feature is an International German Motorcycle Championship (IDM) event. The series has existed since 1924. More than 300 riders will appear on the grid.

A busy motorsport programme will be supplemented with some more new features. Workers have replaced an old 2.4-kilometre section of the asphalt surface, bumpy at many places, with a new layer. Following up the first stage in 2016, replacement of the road surface cost roughly 15 million Czech crowns. Approximately 75 per cent of the surface of the 4.212 kilometres long circuit have already been renewed. “Initially, the tarmac was slippery but the racing-line is beginning to gain rubber, and there is more and more grip. We are sure to see track records broken this year,” said Jakub Krafek, AUTODROM MOST Sales Manager – Sport, revealing the feelings expressed by the drivers who tested the new surface in mid-March.

Another novelty this season is catering at Autodrom’s own expense, which will result in a much more varied assortment and a stylish restaurant design as well as an updated rollover crash simulator. Again this year, Autodrom continues to organise free safe-driving course for seniors.

But the main non-sporting novelty is undoubtedly entering into a new strategic partnership with the company Nissan. “Last year, we successfully started our strategic partnership with the petroleum product and natural gas manufacturer OMV, and this year, we are including another important partner. We have acquired four Nissan Navara cars from the Nissan motor company until at least the end of this year. These cars will be available to the course participants within our Navara Off-road Park,” said Jana Svobodová.

 


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