Saturday, December 1, 2012

Winter Testing at Jerez

The Winter F1 and MotoGP testing program is a great motor sports experience, allowing ‘petrolheads’ to experience all the thrills and the violence of the world’s premier motor and motorcycle racing. The tests allow fans to get an early view of the new cars and new teams for the coming season.

Jerez de la Frontera is an annual fixture for both the MotoGP and Formula 1 winter testing. The circuit’s south European climate offers teams the chance to test their latest developments is the sun (often but not always!).

The track and the Spanish town of Jerez de la Frontera, the birth place of Sherry, are both superb.

For fans of both of these race series the winter tests are an excellent way of seeing the world’s fastest motorcycle riders and racing car drivers putting their latest machines through their paces.

What are the advantages of attending the testing over actually attending a Grand Prix?

1) The tests are pretty quiet in terms of crowds so they are very easy to get into and away from.

2) The entry costs are very cheap, about 15% of a race day ticket!

3) With very few attending you can easily work your way around the circuit, and see the action up close from different viewpoints. Watch the masters hard on the brakes, flat out and accelerating hard! A tip on this matter is that the whole circuit only tends to be open on the final day of the tests. On the earlier days only a smaller section of the circuit is open to spectators.

4) For the really keen wanting to stay a few days, or for those wanting to explore the many other great things to do in Jerez and the surrounding area, its easy and cheap to get a hotel.

When are the 2013 Jerez Formula 1 Tests

The 2013 F1 testing at Jerez takes place 5th to 8th February.

When are the 2013 Jerez MotoGP Tests

The 2013 MotoGP pre season tests take place over the following dates for each racing class:

Moto 2 and Moto 3 – 19th – 21st February
Moto 2 and Moto 3 – 11th – 13th March
MotoGP – 15th – 17th March

What to see at the 2013 F1 Tests

For the 2013 season the major change in terms of driver line up and team’s drivers, is Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for next season. In terms of driver line up the other major teams remain pretty much unchanged. Obviously Jerez being in Spain, Fernando Alonso, in his red Ferrari is a big draw.

For the F1 tests, different drivers tend to drive on different days, with test drivers and the top team drivers sharing testing. So not all drivers drive on all days.

What to see at the 2013 MotoGP Tests

There are lots of exciting changes for the 2013 season in MotoGP. In the blue riband class we have the arrival of Marc Marques, the latest Spanish sensation and reigning Moto2 champion, who’s aggressive riding style is sure to cause sparks to fly next year.

Valentino Rossi, who is more popular with most the Spanish fans than their home talent, is back on a Yamaha after 2 disastrous seasons with Ducati. British rider Bradley Smith makes a move up to MotoGP with the Tech3 Yamaha team, alongside fellow Brit Cal Crutchlow.

And of course Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, last year’s championship winner and runner up will both be pushing hard.

NB - With well over 100,000 fans attending the Jerez MotoGP race in May is a great race to attend also, with an amazing atmosphere provided by the army of fanatical Spanish fans, its one of the top motorcycling experiences.

What else is there to do around Jerez de la Frontera?

There are plenty other great things to do around Jerez, while you are there. The town itself is lovely, with plenty great places to enjoy food, drinks and tapas. Of course being the home of Sherry, there are plenty of Bodegas (Sherry Producers) to visit for guided tours. Some of these are combined with horse shows, combining two great Spanish loves! And in case you feel Sherry is a horrible sweet drink your granny has at Xmas (I used to!), try a Fino, a crisp very dry sherry which is served cold. It’s superb.

A little further afield you have the great Spanish towns of Cadiz and Puerto de Santa Maria (make sure you find the old part). You can get a small boat in between the two. I’d recommend an hour in Puerto de Santa Maria old town, and then take the boat across to Cadiz to explore Cadiz.

Just a short distance to the north you have the larger town of Sevilla, which is well worth at least a day of your time.

And for those wanting to take a walk along a stunning beach try Conil de la Frontera or drive south to the chill out kite surfing town of Tarifa. Gibraltar is also just an hour south for those wanting fish and chips and a pint!

To the east you have the Grazalema National Park, and the pretty hill top town of Ronda. The glitzy resort of Marbella is about a 2 hour drive.

Get up there!

I tend to attend both each year, as I'm lucky enough to live just a few hours drive away from the circuit, but I'd highly recommend a trip to either test!

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