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F1, WRC, BTCC, WEC - Why 2014 Could Be a Classic Racing Year

12/02/2014 17:00 GMT | Updated 14/04/2014 10:59 BST

The motorsport year just gets better and better - and yes, that's even with those F1 noses that have brought many out in a rash of schoolboy humour.

But look beyond those phallic protrusions and see what else has happened and what's yet to come. Not only have we - come on, admit it - enjoyed The Great F1 Shake-Up after Red Bull's disastrous test at Jerez, but events elsewhere have got petrol heads champing at the bit for the season to really get going - and it's still only February. If all falls into place, we could potentially be in for one of those classic years.

First up was the Monte Carlo Rally where Kris Meeke (regular readers of this irregular blog may recall my previous ravings about his new World Rally Championship career) scored the first podium place for a Brit on a WRC event since Richard Burns in Australia 11 years ago.

That wasn't a bad start. Well, actually it was inspirational to watch the man from Northern Ireland step on to the podium after such a barren decade for British fans and he followed it up with 10th place at Rally Sweden. If you think Monte Carlo is a difficult rally, Sweden is uniquely tough; it's the only all-snow event on the WRC and one where Meeke had never turned a wheel before last week. That didn't deter him though and the man from Dungannon had been running as high as sixth for much of the event before an off on the final day cost him too much time and he dropped down the order.

It's not just Meeke though. Also embarking on his first full WRC season is Elfyn Evans, a 25-year-old from Wales, who is definitely one to watch for the future. He comes from a rallying family with pedigree - dad Gwyndaf was the 1996 British Rally champion and finished runner-up a further four times - and has already shown his potential on world events. The excitement amongst the British rally community is palpable with talk of a first British WRC win since Colin McRae on the Safari Rally in 2002. Roll on Mexico next month (6-9 March).

Meanwhile, back home and earlier this week it was revealed that Colin Turkington would be retaking his seat with the eBay Motors team for the British Touring Car Championship.

The inclusion of Turkington, who won the BTCC title in 2009, means that we can look forward to seeing seven champions competing in Britain's premier tin-top series. Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Gordon Shedden, Alain Menu and current champion Andrew Jordan will join Turkington on the grid; between them they have clocked up 14 titles since 1997, which was also the last time so many ex-champs were to be seen in the series.

What's driving this revival? The latest incarnation of the BTCC involves Next Generation Touring Cars, where standard parts can be taken by teams to bolt on their cars and which have helped reduce costs. All designed to increase the number of teams which leads to bigger grids and more on-track drama. If you've not witnessed the BTCC pack charging down Paddock Hill Bend and up to Druids at Brands Hatch or at any other of the great circuits this country has to offer, I'd recommend breaking that duck in 2014. First meeting: Brands Hatch, 29-30 March.

If short races don't do it for you, there's plenty of endurance racing to look forward to. Triple Le Mans winner Allan McNish may have quit the World Endurance Championship but the series continues to grow from strength to strength. After the past couple of years where Toyota have been the ones taking the fight to Audi in the prototype class, 2014 welcomes back one of the most iconic names in sportscar racing, Porsche. Not only that, they're bringing ex-F1 driver Mark Webber with them as well. Looks like his decision to quit red Bull at the end of last season was a wise one. First race is the Silverstone 6 Hours (18-20 April) but if you want the full-fat version, clear your diary for mid-June and head to northern France for the big one - Les 24 Heures Du Mans. You won't regret it.

Now back to those F1 noses. So they're different and they're certainly no oil paintings but anyone who can remember the Ferrari 312 T4 will know it was no looker. And if you can remember that far back, you'll more than likely also know that it took Jody Scheckter to his only F1 world title.

Ugly? Who cares, I can't wait for it all to begin.