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GP Week : Issue 26
Super League? Mixing Football with Motorsport … a match made in heaven or a stupid idea? The concept has had its critics, soWILL BUXTON went to see what all the fuss was about. WE’D been here before ... Premier 1 Grand Prix. It was going to change the motorsport world as we knew it. Mixing football, the world’s most popular sport, with motor racing, the fastest and one of the world’s most lucrative and international of sports, was a sure-fire hit. But of course, Premier 1 Grand Prix never happened. Five years of talk, five years of hype … and nothing. So when SuperLeague was announced back in 2005, the cynical sigh of, “I’ll believe it when I see it,”was deafening, and not without reason. The motorsport landscape had changed irrevocably in 24 the six years between the initial Premier 1 concept and the notion of SuperLeague. Indeed, almost a decade would pass between that first Premier 1 statement, and the first SuperLeague race, and within that time new and viable racing championships had cropped up to steal its thunder. High technology, F1-speed one-make single-seater racing? GP2 nailed that one in 2005. A one-car championship set to run over the winter? A1GP. Basing support on partisan lines? A1GP, again, had the whole national pride element sewn up. So what exactly did the SuperLeague Formula have that was different? To be honest not a great deal … save, of course, for the golden chalice of football. But would the teams buy into it? A number of them had been burnt by Premier1 and the embarrassment of the grand scheme that never came to pass, so why should this time be any different. This weekend past, the first round of SuperLeague Formula took place at Donington Park in Britain with 17 football teams from around the world represented amongst their number. The likes of AC Milan, AS Roma, Galatasaray, Olympiakos and Liverpool FC had their logos and sponsors emblazoned on the pretty meaty looking Panoz-designed cars, and the circuit resounded to the equally meaty and much missed shriek of V12 engines, designed, developed and built at Menard Technologies at the ex-Arrows, ex-Super Aguri base at Leafield. “For us, a product without passion is just a product, and SuperLeague Formula will offer lots of emotion. This will make us different,”says the championship’s founder Alex Andreu. “The hook is the passion of football fans. They always follow what their club does. Our aim is to give