Robert "Bobby D" Doornbos in his new car riding for the motorsports team named for the professional football (soccer) team from Italy, A.C. Milan in the new Superleague Formula. Image Credit: The Beautiful Race
CCWS Rookie Of The Year Captures Nurburgring Win
The very last full season of the ChampCar World Series (CCWS) in 2007 saw several drivers make their North American debut only to see their good performances get washed away with the unification of open wheel racing series into the Indy Racing league and the IndyCar Series Championship.
One of the brightest stars of the 2007 season of the CCWS was Robert Doornbos who raced for a new team that had its roots in Formula 1 and wanted to expand its reach in motorsports team management to North America - Minardi Team USA . In 2007, Doornbos was able to earn a podium position in the series championship with third place and be awarded Rookie Of The Year having accumulated the most points of any rookie. He made a successful debut in the series in the first race of the season, the Vegas Grand Prix. After qualifying 3rd, Doornbos finished on the podium, taking 2nd place in the race.
He won two races (Mont-Tremblant Grand Prix, Montreal Canada and San Jose Grand Prix in California's silicone valley), had another second place finish and looked forward to having a great season for CCWS in 2008. After the merger of the CCWS and the Indy Car Series was announced for 2008, Minardi elected not to take part, leaving Doornbos without a drive for 2008.
After failing to secure a seat with competitive teams in the IRL, and refusing to drive for uncompetitive teams, Doornbos opted to sit out the 2008 season in search for a competitive seat in 2009. It was announced on May 21st 2008 that Doornbos will drive for A.C. Milan in the Superleague Formula, a newly created racing series where the cars are sponsored by football clubs. The A.C Milan club's technical director is the son of Giancarlo Minardi, former owner of the Minardi Formula One team under its take over by Paul Stoddart.
Well, "Bobby D" has found a home and is back to his winning ways. At the second venue of a six venue season, Doornbos wins his first race after leaving North America to race in open wheel motorsports elseware.
2007 ChampCar World Series Rookie Of The Year Robert Doornbos on the front wheel of his new ride in Superleague Formula. Image Credit: The Beautiful Race
This excerpted and edited from Setanta Sports -
AC Milan claim Race 1 victory
by setantasports.com staff, 21 September 2008
The AC Milan racing team have won their first race in Superleague Formula after dominating Race 1 from pole at the Nurburgring on Sunday.
With the experienced Robert Doornbos behind the wheel, the Italian outfit made up for their first round disappointment in Britain, to finish ahead of Anderlecht and Galatasaray.
“I was bit worried at the start when I locked up the brakes into turn one - I was very keen to make sure I led on the opening lap. The tyres are cold early and it was easy to get a vibration from a flat spot. I starting pulling away from Antonio [Pizzonia, Corinthians] and we had a very good pit stop," Doornbos said afterwards.
“I am happy I practiced with the team until late last night.
“It was certainly worth it because our stop went well and the last ten laps were an easy ride and I was able to bring it home. It is a great result for AC Milan and myself and I am now looking forward to the rest of the championship.”
Doornbos started well for AC Milan, holding his position as Anderlecht moved up to third with a superb move at the first corner.
Results - Nurburgring, Race 1
Pos Driver Club Result
1 R.Doornbos AC Milan 46:13.313
2 C.Dolby RSC Anderlecht -6.631 sec
3 A.Pier Guidi Galatasaray -19.978
4 J.Walker Rangers -23.002
5 D.Rigon Beijing Guoan -29.603
6 B.Garcia Sevilla FC -30.140
7 A.Pizzonia Corinthians -34.028
8 T.Gommendy FC Porto -42.546
9 M.Wissel FC Basel -43.436
10 Y.Buurman PSV Einhoven -53.033
11 A.Zuber Al-Ain -53.541
12 K.Andersen Olympiacos DNF -6 laps
13 D.Tappy Tottenham Hotspur DNF -8 laps
14 A.Valles Liverpool FC DNF -19 laps
15 N.Philippe Borussia Dortmund DNF -23 laps
16 T.Rocha Flamengo DNF -26 laps
17 A.Toccocela AS Roma DNF -26 laps
18 A.Soucek Atletico Madrid DNS
Many here in North America may be unfamiliar with the new Superleague Formula open wheel motorsports racing series.
Scuderia Playteam’s V12, 750-horsepower car that will feature the red and black colors of the prestigious AC Milan club in Superleague Formula in 2008. Pictured here in front of the famous Piazza Duomo (church plaza), Milan. Image Credit: The Beautiful Race
For some insights on this crossover sports promotional series, this was excerpted and edited from F1 Rage -
Robert Doornbos Back on Track
F1 Rage, May 22nd, 2008
Former F1 racer Robert Doornbos, has been appointed to drive for Scuderia Playteam’s AC Milan team in the new Superleague Formula. The Dutch racer will be in charge of the Scuderia Playteam’s V12, 750-horsepower car that will feature the red and black colors of the prestigious AC Milan club and the car will make its race debut at the start of the season in August at Donington.
“I am very pleased to have reached an agreement with Scuderia Playteam and to take on this important responsibility of driving for the team at the official tests in Barcelona and Montmelo in July,” Robert said.
“For me it is really exciting since I’ve always been a huge AC Milan fan. My aunt Jeanine actually used to be the physiotherapist of the extraordinary famous successful trio of Dutch players Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit.
At school I could brag and proudly show all the latest club stickers of the club to my friends. Now they have left or retired, but current Dutch Champion Clarence Seedorf who is currently at the club is one of my best friends. I also drove in F1 for Minardi and I have maintained good contacts with Giancarlo Minardi whose son now manages Scuderia
Playteam. It’s definitely a small world and my first chief engineer in racing was Gabriele Tredozi, so I speak fluent Italian also!”
In the Superleague Formula each football club will fight it out for 1 million Euros prize money at each of the six championship rounds. Each round will feature two races – one with a completely reverse grid.
My two shillings: What the hell are these people thinking?
They make the claim and believe apparently, “that football and motor racing can combine to deliver something spectacular,” that Superleague Formula “is about feeling the pride and the passion” while other formula’s “are dominated by technology.”
Which raises the overt and obvious question; If they are so adverse to advanced technology why complicate matters with a brand new formula that uses a Menard Competition Technologies 750-horsepower, V-12 power plant?
I don’t see it from a marketing standpoint either.
A1GP has seen reasonable success with the one-car-for-all formula and based on nationalism inherent in having the cars the stars so to speak. With each car flying the flag of the home country, and each team with a driver of the same country they can count on a certain amount of pride taking root and the added support it brings from those not normally attracted to motorsport.
I fail to see that happening in Superleague Formula.
Taking AC Milan for an example, the league and the racing team will market to AC Milan football fans obviously, but how many fans of the other 19 Serie A football clubs in Italy can they count on for support?
They can pickup some, those already motorsports fans will cross over and support the team. But how many of the football team’s bitter rivals like S.S. Lazio or A.S Roma will root for, and more importantly, attend a race to support A.C Milan?
I’m thinking not enough to take this league much further than the first season without some serious Euros tossed under the redline to keep it afloat.
My bottomline is, if it works fine, the more opportunities for drivers to strut their talent the better chance they have to move into GP2 and F1.
If it doesn’t, oh well, its not my cash pounded down a rat hole.
As an aside to F1 Wolf, if you dislike A1GP’s tagline of World Cup of Motorsport, what are you thoughts on the SuperLeague Formula’s?
SuperLeague Formula - “The Beautiful Race.”
As for generating a fan base in North America, if the crossover does not mention the Oakland Raiders, Philidelphia Eagles, or the Dallas Cowboys … "fuggeddaboutit".
… notes from The EDJE