Formula E, R1&2 Santiago ePrix January 16-17
Formula E is back with a double-header in Chile to kick off its 2020-21 season. The unveiling of the new Spark Gen 2 EVO chassis has been pushed back by a year to save costs amid Covid, but having similar machinery could make this new season all the more competitive after six different teams and eight drivers recorded a victory last season.
For the first time ever, a double-header in Chile will begin the year as the Santiago ePrix will feature back-to-back races. With the removal of chicanes last year in an effort to improve the racing, it is guaranteed to produce some flashpoints.
Last season it was BMW i Andretti’s Maximilian Günther who took victory in Chile, becoming, at 23 years old, the youngest Formula E race winner in the series’ six-year history in the process.
The 2019-20 season also produced a brand new champion, with Portuguese driver António Félix da Costa notching up three race victories and three more podiums to secure the crown ahead of Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne as well as out-going champion and DS Techeetah team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne.
It has been a busy off-season with the likes of Sam Bird, Alexander Sims and Pascal Wehrlein all on the move from their 2019/20 teams and joining Jaguar, Mahindra and Porsche respectively, and new faces such as Norman Nato and Jake Dennis will freshen up the grid for the new season.
Da Costa’s margin of victory last season was the largest of any Formula E champion, and the Techeetah team looks set to be right at the sharp end once again. Can he become just the second man to successfully defend his crown? Or will we have yet another new name announce their intentions when the electric racing begins in 2021?
WRC, R1 January 21-24
Drivers, co-drivers and teams will not have had much of a break by the time they all reconvene in January for the Monte-Carlo Rally and the traditional season-opener of the World Rally Championship. A seriously curtailed 2020 season led to only seven rounds being run, but 2021 is scheduled to be as action-packed as usual. New rallies in Estonia and Croatia will join returning events in Japan and Kenya. Sweden follows in February.
Rolex 24 at Daytona
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will open with the traditional Roar Before the 24 a week in advance of the main race. This will be the 59th running of the event, and as usual will attract big names from all across the motor sport world to compete. Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger van der Zande were the victors last year with Cadillac.
Dubai 24 Hours
The sports car season starts with a loud curtain-raising round at Dubai Autodrome, with teams from around the world invited to compete. The 2020 race was cut short due to adverse weather, with a constant downpour leading to flooding after just seven hours of the race had been completed.
The 43rd running of the Dakar Rally will go ahead as Saudi Arabia hosts the event for the second time but on a completely new route from 2020’s version. More technical, slower and varied stages are prepared in place of the planned trek through multiple countries following travel restrictions. Carlos Sainz took victory with Lucas Cruz last year for the third time in their Mini Cooper buggy.
More January events
January 9 Gulf 12 Hours, Bahrain
January 14-17 Autosport International Show, Birmingham NEC
January 22-25 Roar Before the Rolex 24, Daytona, US