EU V6/2000: Brno preview

Rapidly approaching mid-season, the fifth LG Super Racing Weekend of 2004 will take place at the Brno Automotodrom, in the Czech Republic. The picturesque and popular circuit is a favourite with the drivers, and its changes of elevation, medium...

Rapidly approaching mid-season, the fifth LG Super Racing Weekend of 2004 will take place at the Brno Automotodrom, in the Czech Republic. The picturesque and popular circuit is a favourite with the drivers, and its changes of elevation, medium speed corners and tricky chicanes usually guarantees some fascinating racing.

The historic circuit is situated 16 km from the Czech city of Brno, the second largest city in the Republic, and is 200 km to the south-east of the beautiful capital city of Prague. There has been motor racing at the Masaryk circuit since 1930, when the first race took place on a 30-km track, made up of ordinary roads. The track was shortened over the years, and a new permanent circuit was opened in 1987. This will be the fourth visit of the multi-platform series to the circuit, and will mark the end of the first half of the season. A break of nearly a month will follow, before the sixth round takes place at the British circuit of Donington Park, on June 27th

After missing Hockenheim due to their race around the streets of Monaco, as part of the Formula One Grand Prix, the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup cars will be back in the LG Super Racing Weekend series in Brno. This will be their first time at the Czech circuit, as they missed the 2003 event for the same reason. Other races during this weekend include the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup and the Skoda Octavia Cup.


Austrian driver Toto Wolff , like many of the other Austrians competing in this year's FIA GT Championship, considers Brno his home circuit, as well as one of his favourites. Toto has being racing in the Championship since 2001; his most successful year to date was 2002, when he raced for Autorlando. As well as a win at Oschersleben with compatriot Philipp Peter, a string of other points placed him 6th in the final classification. This year he has moved up to the GT class, racing the nr 17 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 M Maranello with Karl Wendlinger and Robert Lechner Jr.

"I like Brno very much. It is very challenging from a technical point of view. It has slow, medium and fast corners, going up and downhill. For me, it's like a little Spa. I learned to race on the old A1 Ring and Brno, so I have lots of good memories of Formula Ford, and I like it a lot. The circuit itself is quite long. The first corner is very challenging; you take it in 4th gear in a GT car, and need to exit well to get the speed for the next long straight. This is followed by a left-right corner followed by a very fast double right-hander, which, if the car is perfect, the second can be taken flat out. After, you have to be heavy on the brakes for the next corner, which is almost a hairpin. A short straight leads into a left-right hander, where once again you have to sacrifice the left part to gain speed in the straight. We are now at the lowest part of the circuit, taken in 5th gear and quite fast, followed by a 4th gear corner, which is two-thirds downhill. This is followed by the most important part, a left-right chicane, followed by a long uphill straight, nearly a kilometre long. The handling has to be perfect here, so as not to have oversteer exiting the chicane. With no oversteer, you can get on the throttle early, and gain a lot of time. The last part sees another left-right hander, taken in second gear, exiting in 3rd, with a little straight and a fast right-hander leading onto the main straight, which is taken in 6th gear. The top speed is not as fast as circuits like Monza, but the circuit is very abrasive and the weather can be very hot, which means that tyres can be very important. It is a circuit where the set-up is crucial."

Circuit length : 5403 m
Location : 10 km northeast of Brno
Directions : from Brno, take the D1 Motorway westbound for Prague; take exit 182 and follow signs for the track.

A special night of entertainment , organised by event sponsor Matador, will take place at the Automotodrom Brno on Friday 28th May, between 8 pm and 11 pm. This will include concerts from Czech and Slovak bands and singers, a dance show and a fire-working competition. Cars from the various Championships taking part it the event will be lining the track.

The teams and drivers from the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup will be in action this weekend, as one of the support events for the prestigious Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. With practice on Thursday, qualifying on Saturday, they will have a single race round the narrow city circuit, where overtaking is difficult, on Sunday morning. They will then head for Brno for the fifth LG Super Racing Weekend of the 2004 season.

Going into the Monaco race, Ryan Sharp, from Scotland, leads the classification, ahead of Giorgio Mondini, who took the maximum points at Magny-Cours, winning the first race and taking half points for the second race, which was halted due to torrential rain.

25-year-old Ryan Sharp leads the championship after six rounds. He cannot be overtaken in the championship at Monaco this weekend, and is therefore guaranteed to go to Brno as the points leader. "I have played the computer game more than any other," said Sharp. "Everyone knows where the circuit goes though, it is just so famous. We are in good shape for the race, but street racing is new to me. We have got a lot of experience with the car, so that makes it much easier to prepare everything. After Monaco we go to three tracks which I know, Brno, Donington and Spa so I am confident for those races. I want to win at Monaco and put that on my cv, because not many other people can say the same."

Brno will be new territory for the FR V6 drivers. Last year, the Brno round of the LG Super Racing Weekend series saw the single-seaters give up their track time to the Formula Renault 2000 cars, for the opening round of the Masters.

All the drivers will be on equal terms at a circuit where no-one has much prior data. This should mean that the race will be particularly open, and the free practice sessions will be extremely necessary in order to set up the car. On this undulating and technical track, it is important to find a good balance between downforce and speed. The V6 engineers are likely to turn towards their colleagues in the FR2000 paddock for a few tips !

Graff Racing's Simon Pagenaud will arrive in Brno as leader of the FR2000 Eurocup. "We should be quite good there," he said after his two podium finishes in Hockenheim. "Last year I finished on the podium in the Czech Republic. I am quite confident. But it's a long season; you have to be in front, but you also have to manage the situation. No matter what happens, I am confident -- but I'm also cautious !"

With the Formula Renault V6 cars missing Hockenheim, the Formula Renault 2000 drivers were in the limelight. Scott Speed, the young American driving for the German-based Motopark Academy team, made the most of the weekend, claiming one pole and two race wins. He was joined on the podium for both races by Frenchman Simon Pagenaud and German Pascal Kochem, each taking a second and a third place finish. Pagenaud now leads the Championship, ahead of Speed, with the winner of the season's first races, Pastor Madonado of Venezuela, in third.


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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Karl Wendlinger , Scott Speed , Ryan Sharp , Robert Lechner , Giorgio Mondini , Simon Pagenaud , Toto Wolff , Philipp Peter , Pascal Kochem