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Superleague Formula is an open-wheel motor racing formula, which started in 2008, at Donington Parkmarker in the United Kingdommarker. The league introduced team sponsorship by association football clubs. It goes by the saying 'The Beautiful Race: Football at 300 km/h'. It is overseen by businessmen and Superleague Formula founders Alex Andreu and Robin Webb. The season runs between May and November at the same time as Formula One. The cars are similar to Formula One cars. However every team uses identical cars and 750-horsepower V-12 engines. The Sonangol Group has been the series' title sponsor since June 2009.

History



Continuing the concept of Premier 1 Grand Prix, the Superleague Formula was announced in 2005, receiving the full approval of the FIA in December 2005. The goal was to have a starting grid of twenty teams, each of which with one car. Much of the sales, marketing and technology work would be handled centrally by the league, thus affording a considerable cost-savings to the teams.

First season

The first season was won by Chinese club Beijing Guoan, driven by Italian FIA GT Championship racer, Davide Rigon. The season consisted of six double-headers, featuring 18 clubs, and also brought victories for Liverpool F.C., A.C. Milan, PSV Eindhoven, F.C. Porto, Sevilla FC, Al Ain FC and Borussia Dortmund. Superleague Formula's debut race was seen in 62 countries, and 100,000 people watched the 12 races, with 34,000 fans attending the last race in Jerezmarker, broadcast live in 70 countries.

Second season

The second season was won by English club Liverpool F.C., driven by Spanish racer Adrián Vallés. The season consisted of six double-headers, featuring 19 clubs, and brought first victories for Tottenham Hotspur F.C., FC Basel, Rangers F.C., Olympiacos CFP, Sporting CP, R.S.C. Anderlecht and Galatasaray S.K.. This was the first season to feature the Super Final format, adding a 6 car shootout to four of the six rounds.

Third season

Champions

Season Champion Second Third Race team Champion
2008 Beijing Guoan (Davide Rigon) PSV Eindhoven (Yelmer Buurman) A.C. Milan (Robert Doornbos) Zakspeed
2009 Liverpool F.C. (Adrián Vallés) Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (Craig Dolby) FC Basel (Max Wissel) Hitech Racing


Race format

Superleague Formula’s race format incorporates a Saturday qualification and races on Sunday, one with a reverse grid. For each round, the competing teams will compete for prize money, plus points in a yearly championship.

2008

  • Saturday: 45-minute free practice session, qualifying and rookie session
  • Sunday: Two 45-minute races (one with reverse grid)
  • €1 million prize money per race weekend


2009

  • Saturday: Two 45-minute free practice sessions, 1 hour rookie session and qualifying
  • Sunday: Two 45-minute races (one with reverse grid)
  • Compulsory pit stop in Races 1 and 2 which must be made between laps 8 and 20
  • A third 10-minute 'Super Final' race in 4 of the 6 events with the top six points scorers from the weekend's first two races racing to find a 'Weekend Winner'
  • €333,000 prize money to share per race weekend, including €5,000 for Race 1 pole position and €3,000, €2,000 and €1,000 for the three podium positions in the first two races as well as overall weekend prize money for the top 20 cars by performance, the most one club can get per weekend is €111,000


Qualifying

Superleague Formula employs a unique qualifying system based on a group stage to knock-out format used in some football tournaments:
  • There is a draw on the Friday to split cars in Group A and Group B
  • No refueling or tyre changing can take place during the qualifying
  • Each group in turn has a 15-minute session to try to be in the fastest four in that group
  • Five slowest from the group of the fastest driver go 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th on the grid
  • Five slowest from the other group go 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th on the grid
  • Quarter Final 1: first from fastest group versus fourth from slowest: single flying lap: loser goes 8th on the grid
  • Quarter Final 2: first from slowest group versus fourth from fastest: single flying lap: loser goes 7th on the grid
  • Quarter Final 3: second from fastest group versus third from slowest: single flying lap: loser goes 6th on the grid
  • Quarter Final 4: second from slowest group versus third from fastest: single flying lap: loser goes 5th on the grid
  • Semi Final 1: winner from quarter final 1 versus winner from quarter final 4: single flying lap: loser goes 4th on the grid
  • Semi Final 2: winner from quarter final 2 versus winner from quarter final 3: single flying lap: loser goes 3th on the grid
  • Final: single flying lap: loser goes 2nd on the grid, winner gets pole position


Scoring

The championship is decided by points, which are awarded according to the place in which a driver classifies at each grand prix. The points are allocated as follows:

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd
Points 50 45 40 36 32 29 26 23 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


Unlike in Formula One, the driver does not need to finish the race in order to collect points but does have to start. The same points are awarded for Race 1 as Race 2, despite Race 2 having a reverse grid with the slowest given the advantage at the front. The 2009 format of having a third race in some weekends does not award points for that race.

Drivers and teams

Notable drivers and teams

Drivers who have also raced in Formula One
Teams who have also raced in Formula One


Broadcasters

Fans globally are able to view the championship on national TV channels or via live streaming from the Superleague Formula website.

Future

The organisers of Superleague Formula are looking to expand and evolve the sport very quickly with up to 17 races by 2012 and the possibility of a separate street race series so the fans can get up close to the cars and drivers. They are also considering introducing new classes of racing within the series in the idea of soccer 'divisions'. Their original plan was to have:
Season Races in Europe Races outside Europe Total races
Year 1 6 0 6
Year 2 8 1 9
Year 3 10 2 12
Year 4 12 3 15
Year 5 13 4 17


In June 2009 Robin Webb stated he wanted the formula to eventually increase to 26 cars and 12 rounds per season: all going well he hoped 2010 would see 9 rounds including one outside Europe, most likely in Brazil. He expects the formula to quickly attract more big football clubs from yesterday and today. He was keen to promote the idea that "Superleague Formula combines the passion of football with the thrill of auto racing".



  • PSV Eindhoven has a contract with Superleague Formula until 2013. The contract includes the condition that they will only race if they are the sole club entrant from Hollandmarker. Fellow Dutchmarker football giants AFC Ajax have said that even come 2013 they have little wish to venture into motorsport pointing out that they would have no control over the running of their car in the series and that they are primarily a football club.




Technology

The car has been built by Panoz under the Élan Motorsport Technologies banner and offically named the Panoz DP09. It will be powered by a 750 bhp 4.2-litre V12 engine designed by US-owned Menard Competition Technologies. Élan manufactured the Panoz DP01 for Champ Car, as well as cars for other championships.

The chassis is built on a two-metre wide track with entertainment in mind, using under-body aerodynamics to create the needed conditions for increased overtaking opportunities. The cars have been subjected to the latest FIA safety tests, and the car has continued under development during 2007.

Car Details

  • Carbon fibre tub for extreme strength / lightness
  • Under-body aerodynamics to facilitate nose-to-tail driving/overtaking
  • Hewland 6 speed LSFA gearbox with Hewland semi-automatic system
  • Pi “SIGMA” based dashboard / data logging system
  • Slick’ racing style tyres with no grooves or tread
  • Weight Target: 750 kg


Engine Details

  • No of Cylinders: 12
  • Capacity: 4.2 Litres
  • Configuration: 60 degrees V formation
  • Weight: 140 kg (308 lb) Dry
  • Peak Power: 750 bhp (560 kW) @ 11,750 rpm
  • Maximum RPM: 12,000
  • Peak Torque: 510N·m (376 ft·lb) @ 9,500-10,500


Performance

At Magny-Coursmarker in 2009, the best qualfying time for a Superleague Formula car was 1:26.391, almost 11.5 seconds slower than the fastest qualifying time for an F1 car in 2008 of 1:15.024. Both Superleague Formula and Formula One will be racing at Monzamarker in 2009 where a real time comparision will be possible assuming conditions such as rain are similar. The fastest F1 time at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix happened during a dry second session of qualifying and was 1:22.955. A month later, also during a dry qualifying, the fastest SLF time at the 2009 Monza Superleague Formula round was 1:36.444, 13.5 seconds slower.

References

  1. http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/News-Media/News-archive/Sonangol-becomes-Superleague-Formula-title-sponsor-for-2009-and-2010-seasons
  2. http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/What-is-SF/Race-format/The-Races
  3. http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/What-is-SF/Race-format/Qualifiying
  4. http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/SF-Races
  5. http://www.gpnu.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=220:superleague-formula-even-te-gast-op-zolder&catid=3:slf&Itemid=37
  6. http://www.rtl.nl(/sport/rtl_gp/rtlgp/nieuws/)/sport/rtl_gp/superleagueformula/nieuws/articles/081203_superleague_nederland.xml
  7. http://www.guiadacidade.pt/portugal/?G=artigos.index&artid=20858&distritoid=11
  8. http://www.ed.nl/sport/psv/article5135955.ece
  9. http://www.rtl.nl/(/sport/rtl_gp/overig/nieuws/)/sport/rtl_gp/superleagueformula/nieuws/articles/090810_ajax.xml
  10. http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/News-Media/News-archive/Superleague-Formula-announces-launch-of-official-videogame
  11. http://www.superleagueformula.com/superleague/News-Media/News-archive/Star-drivers-test-new-Superleague-Formula-video-game


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