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Last season IndyCar danced to the shots of the ‘young guns’. Palou, Herta and O’Ward will be firing on all cylinders in Texas

IndyCar – XPEL 375, Texas Motor Speedway, March 20

There has been plenty of change in the break between IndyCar seasons but the Grand Prix of St Petersburg returned as Round 1 in February to kick things off, while Round 2 will play out at the Texas Motor Speedway oval.

Alex Palou won his maiden title in 2021 to become the latest first-time winner since 2017 as IndyCar’s new generation came to the fore. The Spaniard claimed three victories en route to the championship and will be a tough prospect to overcome after displaying consistency beyond his years.

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward was another youngster who impressed and won a brace of races, though Colton Herta – who’ll be 22 years old in March – was the fresh-faced home-grown hero. Apart from title winner Palou, Herta was the only other driver to win three races in 2021 but poor luck and the odd error deprived him of a serious title challenge. He will be keen to set that right this time around.

Romain Grosjean’s phoenix-like return to racing following his horror F1 crash couldn’t have gone much better, and he has been rewarded with a drive with Andretti Autosport for 2022. The Frenchman will also be competing at every round this time having kept away from ovals during the start of his first IndyCar campaign. Ferrari Academy outcast Callum Ilott has the chance to revive his career too with Juncos Racing, the same outfit that deprived Fernando Alonso a spot on the Indy 500 grid in 2019 as it commits to a full season. Another familiar name will be making an Indianapolis return as Juan Pablo Montoya has confirmed he will be aiming for his third 500 victory in a reunion with McLaren once more.

Hélio Castroneves was the winner of last year’s 500 but the experienced Brazilian will be aiming for much more, competing in his first full season since 2017, driving for Meyer Shank Racing. The combination has already tasted success in 2022, winning the Daytona 24 Hours in January. That’s not to mention the usual suspects such as Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon. As IndyCar’s popularity builds, can it capitalise and have a thrilling season to match? There’s more than enough talent on the grid to make it happen this year.

NASCAR – Pennzoil 400
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 6

NASCAR’s third round of the 2022 season takes place in Las Vegas. Last year, Kyle Larson kick-started his campaign in the desert and took the first of his 10 wins on the way to the Cup Series title.

1000 Miles of Sebring
World Endurance Championship, March 18

The new era of WEC begins at Sebring with the second 1000-mile race at the airbase in the series’ history. Toyota was the last team to win here (of course) with Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso taking the TS050 to victory over eight hours. Will its new Hypercar retain the crown?

MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar
Losail, March 6-7

The first race of the 2022 MotoGP season takes place under the floodlights of Losail. ‘El Diablo’ Fabio Quartararo enters the campaign as the defending champion, but Ducati looks strong and there’s the small matter of a fully fit Marc Márquez of Honda to deal with.

F1 Testing
Bahrain, Sakhir, March 10-12

Formula 1 testing concludes in Bahrain a week before lights out with the second three-day test of the year. It will be the final opportunity teams get to iron out any issues ahead of the first race of the 2022 F1 season.

Donington Park Stage Rally
March 13

Makeshift chicanes, infield sections and tight hairpins make up a challenging layout at Donington Park for the Circuit Rally Championship. Plenty of sideways action from a bumper 80-car entry list will provide rally fans with their fill early in the UK racing season.

More March Events

March 11 Motor Sport Goodwood Track Day
March 13 500 at Phoenix NASCAR Cup Series
March 12-13 BMCRC Club Bike Championships (Brands Hatch)

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