World Series by Renault starts its ninth season at Motorland Aragon, Spain, on 27-28 April. Featuring races in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Eurocup Megane Trophy, the meeting will follow the same successful format that has attracted nearly five million race fans to WSR since its creation in 2005. There are a host of other attractions on the bill at the season’s opening event, including the Formula One demo drives, laid on by F1’s reigning world champion team. Tickets to the meeting are free for fans to download at www.worldseriesbyrenault.com.
For the fourth year running the Spanish circuit, situated near the town of Alcañiz, will stage the opening meeting of the World Series by Renault season.
On the bill at the Hermann Tilke-designed track are races in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Eurocup Megane Trophy and Supercars International Series, while one of the most eagerly awaited sideshows will be the Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 Show, starring Daniel Ricciardo. For most spectators the meeting will be a unique opportunity to get up close to a Formula One car at a free event. Among the weekend’s other main attractions are the Renault Sport Show and its Megane Renaultsports, the Renault Classic Show and the vintage rally.
The Renault Village is also sure to prove popular with car lovers. Exhibitions set up in the paddock will show visitors Renault’s most recent creations, such as the Captur and ZOE, while the Time Tunnel, with its Alpine, Circuit, Clio, Rally and Records zones, will link the marque’s past and present.
There is also a Children’s Village for little ones, complete with bouncy castles and a road safety awareness workshop. As for grown-ups, they can try their hand at the Pit Stop Challenge and the Renault and Michelin driving simulators.
Formula Renault 3.5 Series: Vandoorne and Da Costa the men to beat
The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season began at the start of this month at Monza, where Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) won the opening two races of the campaign.
Much is expected of the Belgian and the Portuguese, though they are not the only men to keep an eye on as the championship unfolds. Victory might have eluded Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) in Italy, but the Dane did manage to pick up some vital points with two second places, while McLaren Young Driver Programme member Arthur Pic (AV Formula), Christopher Zanella (ISR), Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsports), Norman Nato (DAMS) and Mihai Marinescu (Zeta Corse) all scored in both races at Monza.
For others, Motorland Aragon will provide an early chance to make up for a disappointing opening weekend. Former Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Mikhail Aleshin (Tech 1 Racing) has a point to prove in Spain, as do Daniil Move, Lucas Foresti (SMP Racing by Comtec), Sergey Sirotkin (ISR), Nicolay Martsenko (Pons Racing), André Negrão (International Draco Racing), Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing) and Marco Sørensen (Lotus).
The 26 drivers will get their first taste of the track in a three-hour collective testing session on Thursday afternoon.
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0: revamped car marks fresh start
Having uncovered many talented drivers over the years, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 is gearing up for a season that promises much. Lining up alongside a posse of youngsters who have already proved their worth in the discipline are a group of newcomers looking to find their place in the sun.
In all 36 drivers will take their place on the grid in a car boasting revamped aerodynamics, with over half of them having finished in the top five in one session or other over eight days of pre-season collective testing, all of which points to an intensely competitive season.
Several members of the field have already starred at Motorland Aragon. Last year Oscar Tunjo took pole position for the Sunday race before finishing second on the podium, while Nick de Vries (Koiranen Motorsports) claimed the runner’s-up spot the day before. Among the other racers with a season in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 already under their belts are Oliver Rowland (Manor MP Motorsport), Guilherme Silva (Koiranen Motorsports), Esteban Ocon (ART Junior Team) and Pierre Gasly (Tech 1 Racing), who have also distinguished themselves at the Spanish track.
After impressing in collective testing, Steijn Schothorst (Josef Kaufmann Racing), Victor Franzoni (Koiranen Motorsports), Jake Dennis, Mikko Pakari, Ed Jones (Fortec Motorsport), Matthieu Vaxiviere (Tech 1 Racing), Felipe Fraga (Manor MP Motorsport), Williams Vermont (ARTA Engineering), Ignazio d’Agosto (KTR) and Bruno Bonifacio (Prema Powerteam) will be worth keeping an eye out for as well.
Eurocup Megane Trophy: young guns take on the gentlemen
The title offensives launched by Oregon Team and Gravity Charouz, who are sending out five ambitious young drivers for the start of the new Eurocup Megane Trophy campaign, should deliver plenty of entertainment.
The Italian outfit has put its faith in former Italian Formula Three and FIA Formula Two champion Mirko Bortolotti, Kevin Gilardoni, who finished third in the 2012 Eurocup Megane Trophy standings, and Vladimir Lunkin. For their part the Czech stable has gone with Erik Janis and Jakub Knoll, two budding stars with experience of both single-seater and saloon-car racing.
Stalwarts of the discipline also, Equipe Verschuur retain a strong Dutch accent with Jeroen Schothorst, Max Braams, who has just turned 20, and Mike Verschuur himself, the 2009 champion in the category.
Also worth watching out for will be Team Lompech Sport’s French twosome Steven Palette and Jean-Charles Miginiac, the winner of last year’s gentleman drivers’ title. And the same goes for Margot Laffite, who will be sporting the No1 plate with Oregon Team, and Toni Forné, the only Spaniard in the Pujolaracing line-up.
Live coverage on Eurosport
The partnership between Renault Sport Technologies and Eurosport will grow even stronger this year. All of this season’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series races will be shown live across Europe on Eurosport and Eurosport 2 as well as online on the Eurosport Player. Last year World Series by Renault attracted a television audience of nearly 80 million viewers.
Both Saturday and Sunday’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series races at Motorland Aragon will go out live on Eurosport at 2:30pm CET on each day, with race two being shown again at 11:00pm CET on Sunday night.