Formula 1 is in the midst of its off-season, like many other motorsport championships, but it really is not long until racing gets back underway.
With the Dakar Rally already well under way, the opening round of the new Formula E season kicked off on Saturday, while the World Rally Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship also start this month.
Other racing categories commence again before F1, such as NASCAR and Supercars, so here is a run-down of when every major series starts in 2024.
*Championships are shown in chronological order
First event: Mexico City E-Prix: 12-13 January, 2024
Formula E was the first of the single-seater seasons to start in 2024, with Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein kicking off his title challenge with victory, although he had to wait for the outcome of a stewards investigation into a potential technical infringement.
Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3
World Rally Championship
First event: Monte Carlo Rally: 25-28 January, 2024
Reigning world champion Kalle Rovanpera will return to the series in 2024 but only part-time sharing Toyota duties with Sebastien Ogier. This leaves a huge opportunity for a new WRC champion with Rovanpera having won the past two titles – can Briton Elfyn Evans finally clinch the crown after finishing second in three of the last four seasons? His championship hunt will start with the Monte Carlo Rally where drivers face 210 miles of tarmac and snow over the final weekend of January.
IMSA SportsCar Championship
First event: 24 Hours of Daytona: 27-28 January, 2024
The world-renowned 24 Hours of Daytona will continue its tradition of kickstarting the IMSA season on the final weekend of January. The race, which is held at the famous Daytona International Speedway’s road course, dates back to 1962 and is part of the endurance racing triple crown alongside Le Mans 24 Hours and 12 Hours of Sebring, with many famous past winners like Juan Pablo Montoya, Fernando Alonso and Martin Brundle. It will start the 11-round IMSA season which features huge manufacturers like Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Lamborghini and Porsche.
First event: Desert X-Prix: 17-18 February, 2024
Saudi Arabia will once again host the Extreme E season opener after the 2024 calendar was recently announced for year three of the all-electric series. It means the middle eastern country will open the season for a third consecutive year where Johan Kristoffersson is Extreme E’s defending champion. He and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky clinched the 2023 crown for Rosberg X Racing, which followed Kristoffersson’s 2021 championship win where Nico Rosberg’s squad edged out Lewis Hamilton’s Team X44.
Photo by: Colin McMaster / Motorsport Images
Hedda Hosas, Tanner Foust, NEOM McLaren Extreme E, Amanda Sorensen, RJ Anderson, GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing, and Cristina Gutierrez, Fraser McConnell, X44 Vida Carbon Racing
First event: Daytona 500: 18 February, 2024
Following the non-championship Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 4, the Daytona 500 will continue the tradition of hosting the NASCAR Cup’s opening round with drivers taking to the speedway in February. Ricky Stenhouse Jr scored a shock win in the 2023 edition, but it was Ryan Blaney who claimed his maiden Cup title last season and he will defend his crown, without series legend Kevin Harvick on the grid as the 2014 champion has retired from racing.
First event: Bathurst 500: 22-25 February, 2024
The hallowed Mount Panorama Circuit will open the 2024 Supercars Championship with the Bathurst 500’s return, which has not featured on the calendar since 2021. It is where Brodie Kostecki begins his title defence, however, the one-time champion has a new team-mate in 2024 with the addition of Jack Le Brocq to Erebus Motorsport. It will be the second year racing with a Gen 3 Supercar across 12 weekends in 2024, which finishes with the Adelaide 500 in November, but three-time champion Shane van Gisbergen will be absent, as he’s moved to America to race in NASCAR.
First event: Bahrain Grand Prix: 29 February – 2 March 2024
F1 has its earliest start date since the 1992 South African Grand Prix (1 March) when Max Verstappen will begin his title defence in Bahrain on 2 March. The triple world champion could become the fifth driver in history to win four consecutive F1 championships behind Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton and, after a dominant 2023 season where Verstappen won a record-breaking 19 of 22 grands prix, he is favourite to do so. The Red Bull driver was unstoppable at times, so the main question heading into Bahrain is will anybody close the gap on Verstappen and his team in 2024?
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
First event: Bahrain: 29 February – 2 March, 2024
F2 will begin on the same weekend as F1, acting as a support race to the series. It will be a much-changed F2 grid following the departures of Theo Pourchaire, Frederik Vesti, Jack Doohan and Ayumu Iwasa, who all finished inside the top four in 2023. So, without them, there is the opportunity for new drivers to rise to the top with Oliver Bearman amongst the favourites to do so. It is also worth paying attention to reigning F3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto, who is set for his rookie season in the series.
First event: Bahrain: 29 February – 2 March, 2024
F3 will be an F1 support race on 10 weekends in 2024 beginning with Bahrain, where the top five drivers from 2023’s championship have all progressed to F2. However, many from the 2023 grid will return to F3 leaving the championship picture quite unpredictable. Who will be the ones to battle it out for the 2024 crown?
World Endurance Championship
First event: Qatar 1812km: 29 February – 2 March, 2024
The 2024 World Endurance Championship season commences on the same weekend as F1 with Qatar making its debut on the calendar. WEC drivers will race 1812km – or a 10-hour time limit – around Losail Circuit with Toyota arriving as the dominant force having won the past five championships. However, the hypercar class size has increased for 2024 with the addition of Alpine, BMW and Lamborghini, while 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button is set to drive the Porsche 963 for Team Jota in WEC.
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
First event: Jeddah Corniche Circuit: 7-9 March, 2024
F1 Academy kickstarts its second year with a debut visit to Saudi Arabia as part of a new era for the all-female single-seater championship. All 10 F1 teams will support an F1 Academy driver in 2024 with Alpine, for example, backing Abbi Pulling whose car – which is F4 spec – will be dressed in its colours. F1 Academy will visit seven countries across three continents in 2024, but without its defending champion as Marta Garcia has moved to the Formula Regional European Championship – so who will be next to claim the crown?
First event: Grand Prix of Qatar: 8-10 March, 2024
MotoGP is one of many racing championships starting in March 2024, with Francesco Bagnaia’s title defence beginning in Qatar. The Ducati rider has won the past two championships and is one of the favourites for the 2024 crown, however, his competition should be stern. Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has joined Gresini Racing thus ending his legendary partnership with Honda, while Enea Bastianini will hope to bounce back from his injury-plagued 2023 campaign and compete closer with team-mate Bagnaia.
First event: Grand Prix of St Petersburg: 8-10 March, 2024
The 2024 IndyCar season commences on the same weekend as MotoGP with St Petersburg in Florida hosting the opening race for a third consecutive year. It is where Alex Palou will start his championship defence after driving a mega 2023 which resulted in a second IndyCar crown. However, the Chip Ganassi driver has never won the Grand Prix of St Petersburg as Palou’s former team-mate Marcus Ericsson had that honour in 2023, while the former F1 driver has joined Andretti for 2024.
Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images
Fireworks at Race Start
First event: Suzuka: 8-10 March, 2024
Super Formula will be without its top two drivers from the 2023 championship. Winner Ritomo Miyata has moved to F2 while 2023 title challenger Liam Lawson is Red Bull’s reserve driver, however the Japanese open-wheel championship will still have big names from European racing in 2024. F2 champion Pourchaire is set for his debut, as is Iwasa who finished fourth in the 2023 F2 standings. Ex-F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi will also continue to race in Super Formula, with its season beginning at Suzuka in March ahead of a nine-round season consisting of Japan’s biggest circuits.
European Le Mans Series
First event: 4 Hours of Barcelona: 12-14 April, 2024
Many big names are set for a season in the European Le Mans Series, which commences its campaign in Barcelona for another year. Ex-F1 drivers Robert Kubica and Will Stevens are returning to the endurance series and will race against the likes of Gregoire Saucy, Oliver Jarvis and Clement Novalak. Meanwhile, Alex Lynn will defend his LMP2 crown alongside new team-mates as Olli Caldwell and Matthias Kaiser have joined Algarve Pro Racing. ELMS will visit six circuits in 2024 with all races being four hours long.
First event: Motorsport Arena Oschersleben: 27-28 April, 2024
Thomas Preining will commence his championship defence at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, which opens the DTM season for a second straight year. It was Preining’s maiden crown in Germany’s top touring car championship, however, this year he may have extra competition with the addition of three new manufacturers to DTM as McLaren, Aston Martin and Honda are all understood to be planning an entrance. DTM will visit eight circuits in 2024 which includes two overseas tracks with Zandvoort and the Red Bull Ring on the calendar.
British Touring Car Championship
First event: Donington Park: 27-28 April, 2024
Ashley Sutton will begin his defence of the British Touring Car Championship crown in Donington Park after a record-equalling 2023. Sutton won his fourth BTCC title, which meant he matched Colin Turkington and Andy Rouse for the series’ most drivers’ championships. The 2024 BTCC season will begin at the end of April, a month after British GT starts its year, before visiting nine other UK circuits.
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Start of the race, Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST leads