The month of December is pretty much an off month for the entirety of the motorsports world. Most posts on MotorSportsTalk have been on quotes, with little in the way of actual on-track action. That changes in January, and here’s what there is to look forward to:
- TUDOR’s big launch: The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship gets the ball rolling with the Roar Before the 24 test this weekend, January 3-5, at Daytona International Speedway. The Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of North America’s longest-running sports car races, drops the green flag on Jan. 25 to launch a new era in North American sports car racing as the combination of teams from the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series come together. Throughout the past 16 months, the process of merging the assets together has occurred, and final details are emerging this month. It should be interesting to watch.
- NASCAR preseason testing: Six days of mostly primer-only cars and trucks going in circles doesn’t sound exciting on paper, but considering it’s the first on-track activity in six or so weeks, NASCAR Preseason Thunder at Daytona always seems to wake fans from their offseason slumber. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams test Jan. 9-10, Nationwide Series teams Jan. 11-12 and Camping World Truck Series teams Jan. 13-14. The first three days will see 12 total hours televised on FOX Sports 1.
- F1 comes close to filling its field, and begins launches: As of this writing, no Formula One team has yet announced its launch date for its 2014 car. But from renderings that have followed their way around the Internet, and based on the technical changes that come into play for 2014, they should be shaken up from what’s been out the last five years. The first launches will likely occur toward the end of the month, and run into February. Additionally, Marussia (second seat) and Caterham (its two seats) still need to confirm their drivers to round out the 22-car field.
- IndyCar testing resumes: IndyCar testing is blacked out until January 8 and the first major bit of on-track action after it resumes will occur on January 17 at Sebring International Raceway with a Chevrolet manufacturer’s test. The Ganassi, Penske, Carpenter, KVSH and Panther teams are currently slated for that test.
- IndyCar’s silly season continues: Since our last silly season update, the IndyCar driver market has quieted down. But over the next few weeks, there could be news from some or all of the Barracuda, Coyne, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, KVSH and Panther teams.
- Elsewhere: The Dakar Rally commences soon, with TV broadcasts on NBCSN … NHRA testing will occur before its first race at Pomona Feb. 6-9 … the FIA World Rally Championship has its annual landmark event, Rally Monte Carlo, Jan. 14-19 … the Pirelli World Challenge Championships will likely see some driver and team announcements over the month considering its projected car count north of 80 cars across its five classes and one subcategory.