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DATE News (chronologically 1/19/02 to 1/24/02)
1/24/02

Skip Barber Pro Series adds Montreal  In 2000, the Barber Dodge Pro Series dipped its proverbial toes into the Canadian waters at the Molson Indy Vancouver. 2002 will be more of a swan dive. The Barber Dodge Pro Series and Molstar Entertainment announce today that the Series will support all three Canadian CART FedEx Series races at Toronto, Vancouver and the newest venue in Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Isle Notre Dame. The three Canadian rounds will be part of a ten-race 2002 schedule that is expected to be announced in its entirety within a few weeks. Vancouver has hosted the Barber Dodge Pro Series twice previously in 2000 and 2001 while Toronto was new to the Barber Dodge schedule last year. "We are very pleased to work with Molstar Entertainment to get all three rounds of the Canadian CART FedEx races on our schedule. Molstar has a history of promoting great events and we need to be a part of great events," said Jeremy Dale, Managing Director of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. "The past three races that we've done in Canada have been a great success and a pleasure to be a part of. Building on the relationship, we are looking forward to Montreal as there is no doubt that it will be a fantastic event not only for us but for CART, Molson and the race fans of Montreal. Thanks as well goes to DaimlerChrysler Canada for their invaluable support." All three rounds are scheduled for the Sunday morning immediately prior to each CART Champ Car race.
1/24/02


Skip Barber adds Mont Tremblant  Skip Barber Racing School, LLC today announces the addition of Le Circuit Mont Tremblant in St. Jovite, Quebec to its extensive line up of top racetracks in North America. Beginning in the spring of 2002, Skip Barber will operate its world famous programs including the cornerstone Skip Barber Three Day Racing School at the former Grand Prix venue. The Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School is to begin operating programs later in the year. The Skip Barber Race Series, North America's largest arrive and drive amateur race series will also bring the excitement of affordable and hassle-free racing to Canada. In all, nearly 50 track days are expected to be scheduled for 2002.  Skip Barber Racing School was named the Official Racing School of CART.
1/24/02
Ed Carpenter to race in Infiniti Pro Series  Sinden Racing Service will field 2001 USAC Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Ed Carpenter in the 2002 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, team co-owner Jeff Sinden announced Jan. 24. Carpenter, 20, will drive the No. 44 Menards-sponsored entry during the inaugural Infiniti Pro Series season with additional sponsorship provided by the Jack K. Elrod Company and Futaba. This will be the fourth consecutive season that Carpenter has driven entries sponsored by Menards. "As one of the founding teams of the Indy Racing League, I am excited to be associated with the new Infiniti Pro Series and proud to continue my relationship with Ed Carpenter," said John Menard, Menards owner and owner of champion Indy Racing League entrant Team Menard.
1/24/02
Fernandez Racing Team Manager very impressed with Chris Pook Tom Anderson was pleased with the Owner’s Meeting yesterday in St. Petersburg: “It’s obvious to me that [new CART President and CEO] Chris Pook is a leader -- on how he conducts a meeting and how he is able to respond immediately to questions asked by the owners. It was probably the most positive Owner’s Meeting that I have ever attended.” At the same Owner’s Meeting, it was also confirmed that Fernández Racing had been granted franchise team status. “Adrian, Don and I are extremely excited about being granted the two franchises yesterday,” added Anderson. “It gives us two votes in the voting process of the Franchise Board, so we now feel more a part of the CART community than we did last year, when we were allowed to observe but not vote.”
1/24/02
Herta gets his feet wet at a wet Road Atlanta  New Panoz Motor Sports signing Bryan Herta continued the team's American Le Mans Series pre-season testing today at Road Atlanta encountering conditions similar to last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Herta had not previously driven the Panoz LMP-01 in wet conditions, but today he was able to try the latest wet weather and intermediate tires from Michelin at the venue for the season-closing Petit Le Mans event. The Panoz team has traditionally been strong in wet conditions, with victories including the Nurburgring event in Germany in 2000 with Jan Magnussen and David Brabham. "It was certainly very handy to get some experience in a wide variety of conditions because that is what I am going to face throughout the year," Herta said. "If we get a race like Le Mans last year, the wet weather experience will certainly be very beneficial. "We didn't get to run as many laps as we would have liked because it actually became too wet at the end of the day. We were actually waiting for the rain to try the wets but it really came down hard apparently there were flash flood warnings announced for the area." "Despite the weather, the car feels really strong in all conditions and I am really feeling comfortable in it now." Herta is looking forward to returning to the cockpit for a further test at Road Atlanta next Wednesday as the team prepares for the opening race of the year, the 50th anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, from March 13 to 16. "Hopefully we can have some dry weather because I looking forward to getting more laps under my belt and trying some different adjustments to learn more about the car," Herta said. "It is also great to get some more laps at Road Atlanta. The only time I have raced here was back before they put in the changes leading up to the bridge coming onto the straight. "Some tracks will be new to me, but others I am really looking forward to. Laguna Seca, Elkhart Lake and Mid-Ohio are going to be fantastic races. I know those places extremely well from Champ cars and I can't wait to try the Panoz at those tracks."

1/24/02
Richard Petty to endorse napkins Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s Brawny paper towel and napkin brand has signed Nascar driver Richard Petty Jr. as a spokesman and plans to debut the sponsorship during the Daytona 500 race Feb. 17. "Richard Petty will emerge as the Brawny man," Georgia-Pacific Chairman-CEO Alston "Pete" Correll said during a conference call today. See full article.
1/24/02
Herdez wraps up shortened Sebring test  A pretty good day that could have been just a bit better seemed to be the general consensus amongst the Herdez Competition crew as they packed up to leave Sebring International Raceway today after a single day of testing with CART FedEx Championship Series rookie Mario Domínguez. Domínguez completed 82 laps around the 1.62-mile circuit, posting a best time of 51.3 seconds on just the seventh lap out of the box. But engine problems late in the day thwarted the team's efforts and sent them packing for home a little earlier than expected. "We were just getting to the interesting bits", said Managing Director Keith Wiggins. "It's too bad because Mario was quick right away today and we had plans to try out a few more things before the day was over. So we didn't get as much accomplished as we had hoped, but the day was still valuable." Domínguez continues on his learning curve in the Champ Car and the return to Sebring helped him get a better feel for this changeable track. "I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get quite as far on our plan for the day as we would have liked. I felt that the car was up to speed right away and we were working through a series of different changes to the car that felt good. I was pretty happy overall and, for sure, the track was faster today than yesterday. I think we could have brought the time down more if we had had the rest of the day to work at it." The team returns home on Friday to begin final preparations for CART's upcoming Sneak Preview test and media event at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The four day event, February 7th through the 10th, will encompass two full days of press conferences, media events, photo shoots and pre-season interviews plus two days of on-track work for the entire field of FedEx Series competitors. Herdez We have updated our 2002 CART Test page.
1/24/02
Atlantic Series 2002 Will Open Saturday March 9th, in Monterrey  The inaugural race of the Toyota Atlantic series 2002 will take place in Monterrey, México, during the weekend of the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix at the Fundidora Park temporary circuit. This race will take place during the afternoon of Saturday March 9th, was announced officially today in Monterrey. The race is the first of 12 in the Atlantic 2002 Championship, the main series in the CART ladder system, and several of the fastest drivers in the world have been discovered in the tracks of the Atlantic series, including Michael Andretti who is the only driver to have more victories than years of age in CART.  The Atlantic cars are completely new for this year, the chassis being a Swift 014.a which will make its official debut precisely at Fundidora. They carry a Toyota 1.6 liters, 4 cylinder engine, delivering over 240 bhp, using Yokohama racing rubber. Among the prominent teams in the series are: multi-champs Lynx Racing, one of the few professional teams managed by women, which will run karting champ Michael Valiante; P-1 Racing with returning Jonathan Macri; World Speed Motorsports with Alex Figge; Rookie of the Year 2001 Joey Hand with the champs of 2000, DSTP Motorsports; Michael Shank Racing with Mexican contender Rodolfo Martínez Lavín and Belgian Sepp Koster from the Barber series; the champs of Indy Lights, Dorricott Racing, with Mexican Luis 'Chapulín' Díaz and Jon Fogarty; argentinian engineer Carlos Bóveda, appropriately named Condor Motorsports; the champs of 2001, Hylton Motorsports with rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay; plus new teams such as Mexicans from Scuadra Fortia and Dynamic Racing, Sigma Autosport, supported by their parent CART team of the same name, and others which should be announced soon.  As far as we know, these are some of the drivers and teams which should be on the grid at the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix, March 9th in Monterrey:
Driver Country Team #
Frank Dancs US Condor Motorsports 6
Jon Fogarty* US Dorricott Racing
Luis Diaz* México Dorricott Racing
Vacant   Dorricott Racing
Joey Hand US DSTP Motorsports 27
Ryan-Hunter Reay* US Hylton Motorsports 1
Michael Valiante CAN Lynx Racing 19
Grant Ryley US Lynx Racing 23
Rodolfo Mtz. Lavin México Michael Shank Racing 11
Sepp Koster* Holland Michael Shank Racing
Vacant   Michael Shank Racing
Vacant   BBGP Racing
David Cutler US P-1 Racing 26
Jonathan Macri CAN P-1 Racing 31
Carl Russo* US Performance Develop. & Racing 81
David Martínez* México Dynamic Racing
Bob Siska US RJS Motorsports 18
Vacant   RoQuin Racing
Vacant   RoQuin Racing
Eduardo Figueroa* México Scuadra Fortia 77
Waldemar Coronas* Argentina Scuadra Fortia 43
Alex Figge* US World Speed Motorsports
Rocky Moran Jr. US Sigma Autosport 3
David Wieringa* US Sigma Autosport 4
* Rookie    
1/24/02
Luis Díaz Signs with Dorricott for the 2002 Atlantic Season  The worst kept secret in Mexican racing finally was confirmed today when Bob Dorricott, owner of the Indy Lights champions team Dorricott Racing, announced that he has signed Mexican driver Luis Diaz (shown at right at the Monterrey 2001 Indy Lights race with team owner Roberto Quintanilla, RoQuin Motorsports), to drive for his team in the Toyota Atlantic series. Luis, popularly known as "Chapulín" (Mexican grasshopper) will be sponsored by Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex. Dorricott also confirmed Jon Fogarty, who ran with him in the Indy Lights 2001 championship, as driver of his second (in a three-car effort) car for the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Bob declared: "We are very pleased to have Luis. His record in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, as well as his record of success in other racing venues, clearly demonstrates his ability to race on the highest level. We look forward to a successful season with Luis behind the wheel. He has the tools and talent to make an immediate impact in Atlantic besides being a great addition to the team".   Luis is 24 years old, hails from Mexico City, and was national karting champion several times between 1989 and 1995. By 1996 he signed with the famous Team GO in Mexico and was in the Formula Reynard series (1.7 liter Renault-engined open-wheel racers) where he finished third and next year he climbed to the F3 where he also became rookie of the year. For 1998 he ran the Formula Mexico (old tubular Barber cars), where he became champion by beating Carlos Contreras (currently at NASCAR Trucks). In 1999 he ran half a season in the Panamerican Indy Lights (Lola T93-96 cars) and was, again, Rookie of the Year and the first Mexican driver to win in it. He also made his debut at the full Indy Lights championship at Laguna Seca finishing in tenth place.   Still with Team GO, he ran the full 2000 Indy Lights season, ending in 13th place after a season best sixth place at Laguna Seca, the only track he knew. Before the 2001 season he tested in Europe for Prost Junior F3000 team and also for Dorricott in California but ended signing with RoQuin Motorsports for a second campaign of Indy Lights, also with sponsorship by Telmex. The season was not as good and although he could mix it with the front runners, the team never gelled and his best was a fourth place. He had several offers but tested since late last year with Dorricott and they found a common ground. After signing with Dorricott, Luis declared: "This a hard earned seat and will allow me to show my full driving capability in a top team. I want to thank Telmex for their faith in me, and their support throughout the years. This season has to give me results to climb further up (to CART). It will be a hard one, lots of teams and good drivers, but I am confident I can succeed".  One last though about Luis. Back in the winter 1999-2000 he measured up against drivers like Adrián Fernández and PJ Jones both from CART, plus many top Mexican drivers in a small race to celebrate the inauguration of GoKartMania in Mexico City. They all ran their karts around a new, twisty track and at the end the winner was Luis, but not only was he the winner, he was two tenths faster than anyone else in his best lap. It might not mean anything, but it is likely we are witnessing another top Mexican driver in the making. Luis will make his debut in the Atlantic series in Monterrey, Saturday, March 9th, at the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix in the Fundidora Park temporary circuit. 
1/24/02
2nd Pit Straight bridge at Monterrey  Rubén Saldívar, director for Mexico's CART project with CIE, announced "that the complete overhaul and check-up of the 4 existing bridges at the circuit in Fundidora Park, Monterrey, has been completed and we already have in place the main structure of the fifth bridge -parallel to the existing one in the main straight. This bridge will be almost 5 meters wide -160% of the existing one- and will allow us to ameliorate fan traffic flow at the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix. The new bridge has a strength of 500 kilos per square meter" and this should be enough to put 8 Cristiano da Matta -winner of the 2001 edition of the TTGP- together in one meter or maybe the defensive line of any football team in that same space. This same strength has been reached in the other bridges around the circuit by reinforcing the cross members in the horizontal beams increasing strength by 43%, all work supervised by the Civil Engineering Institute of the State University, UANL.  The horizontal beams of the new bridge were put in place today since 9 in the morning and the bridge should be finished by February 9th. Alberto Botello, Director of CIE for the CART Monterrey project said this new bridge "along with other changes as simple as putting gate numbers in the tickets, an installing signals in the pathways throughout the park, guarantee to the fans that we will have a n event without problems, even though we are expecting over 320,000 people during the race weekend" -that is march 8, 9 and 10.  Also, the two CIE directors confirmed the Media Center will be at the same place as it was in the inaugural Race, the State Art Gallery and that the latest technology should be available for the media, including some wide band internet lines. The estimate for finishing the track paraphernalia at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, is the last web of February although many other things should be in place earlier. Currently, stands are at over 75%, tires are completely tied and bundled, and the wall and fencing are over two-thirds of the total in place.
1/24/02
Knapp rejoins Greg Ray  Thomas Knapp has joined Kelley Racing as engineer for 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray, reuniting one of the most potent driver-engineer pairings in open-wheel racing. Ray and Knapp have combined to win four Indy Racing League events and 10 MBNA Poles since they entered the league together with the under funded Thomas Knapp Motorsports team in 1997. Ray and Knapp earned their wins and poles during their tenure together at Team Menard from 1999-2000, including the 1999 series championship and the pole at the 2000 Indianapolis 500. "The combination of Greg Ray and Thomas Knapp has proven to be successful time and again," said Jim Freudenberg, Kelley Racing general manager. "We're excited they both have come on board with Kelley Racing." 
1/24/02
Convergent Racing to field IRL team in 2002  Convergent Racing, a new Indy Racing League team based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, will compete in the entire 2002 season with G Force chassis, Chevrolet engines and Firestone tires, team officials said Jan. 24. The team has signed Japanese open-wheel veteran Hideki Noda as its driver. Noda, 32, first must complete the Indy Racing League rookie test before he is eligible to race. Don Batchelor is the managing partner of Convergent Racing and is responsible for all business and sponsorship operations. Longtime Indy Racing team owner Tommy O'Brien, most recently with TeamXtreme, manages all racing operations. Convergent will use many personnel from Texas-based TeamXtreme, which recently ceased operations. "The majority of the previous team's personnel remained in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which has made the transition eamless," O'Brien said. Noda, a native of Osaka, Japan, started racing karts in 1982 and since has competed in Formula One with the Larrousse team in 1994, F3000, Indy Lights and British Formula 3. He won the Indy Lights race in 1997 at Portland, Ore. Noda has raced in the Japanese Formula Nippon open-wheel series for the last three years.
1/24/02
Where's da Matta's pop off-valve?  A reader writes - In the picture of Da Matta featured in the Hot News section, there doesn't appear to be a pop off valve. I compared the picture with the photo of the Target car. Both are Lola's with Toyota engines. Can you explain this please? Mike Kraus AR1: Mike, teams often test without the pop-off valve and set the engine management system to 34 inches of boost. Was da Matta running a higher boost level than the 2002 rules permit? Possibly, but that would serve no purpose except to play mind games with the other teams. MC
1/24/02
Hawthorne and Sportsman Park to merge  Chicago Motor Speedway is part of Sportsman Park.  According to this Chicago Sun Times article, Thomas Carey, the director of operations at Hawthorne Race Course, now is saying it is ''essentially 100percent'' that his racetrack and neighboring Sportsman's Park will have an agreement for corporate consolidation finalized in time for the 2003 Chicago thoroughbred season. ''We continue to collectively progress toward an agreement. I am extremely optimistic that we will have a deal done by the end of the second quarter of 2002, one that would leave us prepared to present a joint schedule for next year to the Illinois Racing Board for consideration at the [2003] dates hearing in September.''  Whether this has any affect on auto racing at CMS remains to be seen.  One would not think so. MC
1/24/02
ALMS news  Former winners Dan Gurney, Bob Akin and Juan Manuel Fangio II are among the latest legendary drivers to accept invitations to be part of the festivities for the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Andy Wallace will again contest the full American Le Mans Series championship for Champion Racing in 2002, and he will be joined in the driver lineup by fellow Englishman Johnny Herbert for all but one of the 10 races on the season schedule. It wasn't expected that a driver with the experience and accomplishments of JJ Lehto would be idle for very long, and that has turned out to be the case. Lehto has joined Team Cadillac and will drive in the three long-distance races on the team's schedule for the 2002 season. Lehto will be the third driver with Eric Bernard and Emmanuel Collard for Sebring, Le Mans and Audi presents Petit Le Mans. Christophe Tinseau, Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli will drive another Team Cadillac entry in the three long-distance races, with Taylor and Angelelli to co-drive the car in selected other ALMS races. Mike Johnson, the owner of Archangel Motorsports, will return to MTV in the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" to air January 28 on the popular cable television network. The show will first be broadcast at 10 p.m. (EST). The program combines past cast members of "The Real World" in a competition against past cast members of "Road Rules." The competition took place in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Johnson was a cast member of "The Real World 4" in London. Archangel Motorsports fielded a car in the LMP 675 class of the American Le Mans Series last year in Audi presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The team is expected to compete in selected events on the series this season.  ALMS
1/24/02
Team Target concludes 3-day Sebring test  Team Target drivers Kenny Brack and Bruno Junqueira split time testing on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway in Florida this week in preparation for the 2002 CART FedEx Series. Junqueira took his first laps in the seat of the 2002 Lola on Monday and Tuesday and Brack assumed the driving duties on Wednesday. Story.  To see how well the Ganassi team faired compared to others who tested at Sebring, see our 2002 CART Test Times page.  MC
1/24/02
Hold the presses, Da Matta goes under 51 seconds at Sebring 2nd UPDATE We now have better info from Sebring yesterday.  Da Matta went 50.6 and Vasser 50.9 seconds, two drivers now under 51 seconds, both Lola's. Cristiano da Matta completed his second day behind the wheel the 2002 Havoline Toyota-Lola at the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway late yesterday and was extremely please with the test not only for the progress made on track but off-track as well. During the three days Newman/Haas Racing tested at Sebring, they set the fastest laps each day. The team is testing in preparation for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship. "The test was quite good -- no, really good," said da Matta, whose lap time of 50.6 was most likely the fastest lap of the day. "We ran almost 200 miles again on the second day. Lola made some good improvements with the car and the Toyota is strong. Compared to the first test I had last season, which was good, this one was much better. We are only starting to work with the car and understand it but so far, so good." Da Matta's new engineer, Guillaume "Rocky" Rocquelin, continued to build on his new relationship with the Brazilian since joining the team in mid-December after a successful season with 2001 "Rookie of the Year" and race winner Scott Dixon at PacWest Racing. Da Matta believes the change in the engineering department is working ever better than anyone had hoped. "The car is good but also the way the engineering department is working now makes everything even better," said da Matta, who led the standings for the first four events last season and scored a total of three races wins and five podium finishes. "Rocky and I worked well with each other but it was only our first test together so we can only improve on this. With Peter Gibbons moving up to oversee the engineering of both cars, adding Rocky (Rocquelin) and promoting Craig (Hampson) to race engineer has been a very positive change. My impression is that it is working out even better than anyone had hoped."  We have updated our 2002 CART Test Times page again.  1/23/02 - We have added a picture of Da Matta's hot setup taken today at Sebring. The new Lola just looks right. 1/23/02 -  Our spies in Sebring tell us that Cristiano da Matta has just turned a lap under 51 seconds today, the first driver to break that barrier this year.  He was driving a Toyota powered Lola.  The Lola's dominated on the ovals the past several years.  It look like they may be as dominant on road courses this year as well.  We have updated our 2002 CART Test Times page.  MC
1/24/02
TSN secures F1 broadcast rights in Canada  TSN, along with French-language partner RDS, have reached a new three-year agreement with Formula One to broadcast all F-1 races through 2004. "The international allure of F-1 racing continues to grow in Canada and TSN is pleased to continue its relationship with the sport," said Keith Pelley, President of TSN. The deal includes live coverage of the Air Canada Grand Prix from Montreal, which will be seen on CTV, while in Quebec, each race will be available on RDS and SRC. TSN will continue its in-studio pre- and post-race show hosted by Vic Rauter. The shows will be complemented with live on-site reports and analysis from TSN’s Formula One correspondents. The 17-race 2002 season begins in Australia on March 3 in Melbourne and culminates at Suzuka in Japan on Oct. 13. The highlight for Canadian race fans will be the Air Canada Grand Prix from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 9. TSN will report on the Grand Prix throughout the week with features on SportsCentre. The network will also air qualifying rounds in addition to the race itself. TSN
1/24/02
Earnhardt Memorial at Daytona  A memorial to racing legend Dale Earnhardt will be unveiled next month. The memorial is under construction at the Daytona International Speedway and will be revealed during Speedweeks, which begin Feb. 2. Another Earnhardt memorial is under way in his hometown of Kannapolis, N.C., near Charlotte. The Daytona statue is designed by John Lajba, who also cast the 1994 bronze statues of Bill and Anne France in front of Daytona.
1/24/02
Prost Team still on life support, will it become an Italian team? 2nd UPDATE Various deadlines have been set over the past couple of weeks in an effort to secure the team’s future using voodoo economics and all have passed without anything concrete being announced. However, today the team released a statement confirming that the administrator was looking at a number of new bids and a definite decision would be made on Monday. The statement read: "Several proposals for financial partnership aiming at the continuation of Prost Grand Prix have been received from foreign investors and have been studied at many meetings involving the Official Receiver and the Judge. "These proposals are similar in their characteristics implying a direct or indirect shareholding participation in the Prost Grand Prix capital and immediate funding allowing the team to honor all of its commitments. "Alain Prost, the Administrator and the Court are waiting for complementary pieces of information and guarantees allowing to ensure the company’s longevity. For this reason, no judgment has been rendered since January 15." 1/22/02 - Bloomberg reported today that the team will learn its fate on Thursday and a spokesperson for the team was quoted: "The tribunal has fixed a hearing for Thursday at 4 p.m. and we'll just have to wait until then to find out". They also quoted a spokesperson for the team's employees Fabrice Guignard saying: "We will have to begin with last year's cars. Because of a lack of money, we've been unable to order parts for the new model.''  Tell us once again how this consortium can justify spending $68 million to use last years cars and have zero percent chance of winning.  We classify this as another case of voodoo economics, propping up something artificially just to ensure 2 more cars on the grid.....moving chicanes as we call them.  We can hear the call from CART to Alain Prost and the Italian Consortium now - "Hello, this is Chris Pook calling.  If we told you that it's possible to field a 2-car winning effort in CART for $20 million per year would you be interested?  CART's international reach is as big as F1's and in 2003 the cost to participate will be down to $12 million per team.  We would very much like a French team in CART and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further." 1/21/01 - The Prost team was expected to make an announcement on Monday, but according to reports in French daily La Tribune, talks are continuing and they quoted a spokesperson for the team saying: "The fact that talks are ongoing is a positive sign. There will be no liquidation today, at least, and discussions may continue beyond tomorrow. There is a meeting this afternoon after the industrial tribunal of Versailles study the case, but we might not be yet at the end of the whole procedure. We will maybe have some indications about whether the team will survive or not, but no definite decision". La Tribune also reported that an Italian led consortium has found a principal sponsor to ensure the team's presence in 2002 and that the administrator is waiting for the deposit from the consortium to cover the estimate of $68 million to compete in 2002.  Imagine that - to spend $68 and never have a chance to win. And what about next year or the $27 million debt from last year? Did something bother to tell this Italian consortium that for $20 million they can contest for the Championship in CART.  Talk about being way over priced.  McLaren boss Ron Dennis said that he believes some of the teams on the F1 grid will really struggle to make it through the 2002 season. "There are some people who are going to be going through some hardship but I think...most of them will survive in one form or another. But there's going to be a few walking wounded, I'm absolutely sure.'' "There is not a business in this world that has an appetite like Formula One for money. It will eat anything that you wish to throw at it from a monetary standpoint. It is remarkably like an animal in that the more you feed it the more it wants. And when you want it to slim down, it doesn't respond.'' 
1/24/02
New NBA TV deal moves most games to ESPN and TNT  The NBA's new six-year, $4.6 billion TV deals with ABC, ESPN and TNT were completed Tuesday, shifting nearly all of the league's games to cable. The deals are worth $765 million a year, a 25 percent increase from the $615 million the league made annually in TV rights under the four-year, $2.46 billion deals with NBC and Turner Sports that expire after this season.  We don't expect the games to impact IRL race broadcasts, but they will fill the void left in ESPN programming with the departure of CART and NASCAR.
1/24/02
St. Petersburg Mayor makes pitch to CART  When Championship Auto Racing Teams puts the final stamp of approval on the St. Petersburg Grand Prix, which it almost certainly will, Barry Green will be among the first to call for a reservation. For his yacht. "Once we get through all the agreements and we see ourselves working together, I'll be the first one to call and see if I can get a parking space for my boat," said Green, who owns a three-car team and is on the board of directors for the open-wheel series. "This is a beautiful spot." CART's board of directors is holding two days of meetings at the Vinoy Resort so members with the final vote can experience the city and view the street course being proposed for a February 2003 event. "We held this meeting here to showcase the city of St. Petersburg," CART spokesman Adam Saal said. "This is a very encouraging project. It has everything we need for a race: a major market, a compelling venue. It's a chance not just to have a motor race, but to have an event." Mayor Rick Baker made a presentation Tuesday to the executive board, comprising businessmen and competitors. The franchise board, comprising team owners, was given a tour Wednesday. Feedback has been positive. "The mayor's address was impressive, as well as the enthusiasm from the community," said recently elected CART president Chris Pook, a former promoter integral in the planning of the race. "It's subject to the board and the owners all agreeing, but if we can open up the season here that would be fantastic. I'm going to recommend it to the board." A vote is not on the board's agenda this week. The next meeting is scheduled Feb. 19. "I think it's a good sign they came here to have their board meeting," Baker said. "Our presentation was to let them know why St. Petersburg is a great venue for CART. I'm the city's biggest cheerleader." Joanne Korth, St. Petersburg Times
1/23/02

Loan approved for Miami race  The Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority unanimously approved a $3.2 million loan to Raceworks on Tuesday to help the company make preparations for a Grand Prix auto race in downtown Miami, ending a tough period of negotiation for loan terms and security. Raceworks will close on the loan between now and Feb. 15. That and this report from The Miami Herald's Oscar Corral. Construction on the track has begun, and Grand Prix of the Americas signs are cropping up around Miami, as the city prepares for its first downtown street race since 1995. City officials are expecting a windfall in tourism revenues related to the race, which is to be in early April. ``I feel great. This is a slam dunk,'' said Raceworks principal Willy Bermello. ``Here we go with a green light. This is a strong backing from the city.'' The loan is to be paid back over five years at the prime interest rate plus 1.5 percent. Raceworks also agreed to give MSEA 10 percent of the profits if the company sells the race within the first five years, according to the agreement.  ``Clearly this is a step closer to getting their loan,'' said Jorge Luis Lopez, a lawyer for the Homestead-Miami Speedway, which is strongly opposed to the race. ``But this is not an iron-clad guarantee.''  MC
1/23/02
Piro and Audi set to defend  title in ALMS  Driving champion Emanuele Pirro, team champion Audi Sport North America and manufacturer champion Audi will defend their championships in the American Le Mans Series in the 2002 season, Audi has announced. The 2002 season begins with the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on March 16. The Audi team has won the prestigious race the past two seasons. Audi Sport North America will again campaign two Infineon Audi R8 Prototypes in the entire 10-race championship. The team won six of the eight events held in 2001, as well as its second consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans. Italian Pirro will again be paired with Frank Biela of Germany in what will be car #1 in 2002. Pirro and Biela scored three wins on the American Le Mans Series last season, taking the checkered flag in races at Mosport, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and in the season-ending Audi presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The final win propelled Pirro into the driving championship for the season. The second Audi will again be driven by Rinaldo Capello of Italy and Tom Kristensen of Denmark, who combined to win ALMS races in 2001 at Texas and Sears Point. Capello was also part of the winning team in last year's event at Sebring, joined by Laurent Aiello and the late Michele Alboreto. For Sebring and Le Mans, Kristensen will move to join Biela and Pirro, the three having driven together to win the 2000 Sebring event and the last two races at Le Mans. Capello will be joined by Johnny Herbert and Christian Pescatori for the two races. The Audi R8, which has achieved 20 victories in two years, is one of the most successful cars in sports car racing history. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi Head of Sport, said that the car is improved in detail for the 2002 season. "The car and the new FSI engine still have potential that we want to exploit," he said. Audi
1/23/02
IMSA to launch new website for ALMS  The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series, will debut an exciting new Internet site on January 29. The site will be located at www.imsaracing.net. The launch of the website is another step in the regeneration of the IMSA name in a new direction and expansion for the organization formerly known as Professional Sports Car Racing. The return to its original name of IMSA brought back one of the most recognizable names in the history of American and International auto racing. "We are excited about the launch of our new website," said Dennis Huth, President of IMSA. "As our sanctioning body continues its growth, and road racing in America continues its upward trend, the IMSA name is returning to its rightful place at the top level of the sport." The site will feature the American Le Mans Series, as well as other series sanctioned by IMSA including the Panoz Racing Series, the Star Mazda Series, Celebrity Neon Team Challenge and the Super Truck Racing Association 
of North America. Live timing and scoring of practice, qualifying and racing events for the American Le Mans Series will be a feature of the new site, as will information on drivers, teams and racing circuits. Schedules for all series will also be included, along with information on purchasing tickets to events. An expanded news and photo section will also be a feature of the new site. The popular Sports Car Talk Message Forum, where racing fans can post messages and have discussions about their favorite sport, will continue on the new site. In addition, race fans will be able to access the American Le Mans Series Radio Web for live coverage of Sebring. The 2002 American Le Mans Series season will begin with the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, on March 16 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. When launched on January 29, the site will also be available at www.americanlemans.com and www.professionalsportscar.com
1/23/02
Fernández Upbeat After First Laps in New Honda/Lola Adrián Fernández completed his initial laps behind the wheel of the team’s new 2002 Honda/Lola/Bridgestone package today with a full day of testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. Fernández logged 82 laps on the 1.65-mile road course -- his first laps in a Champ Car since the CART FedEx Championship Series season finale in Fontana, Calif., last November. Fernández, however, was not in the cockpit of his familiar red, green and white machine after a problem was detected in the fuel cell of the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola yesterday. With teammate Shinji Nakano not scheduled to test until the 24th, Fernández hopped aboard the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola. A new fuel cell was delivered today, and both cars will take to the track for the conclusion of the test tomorrow. Fernández was delighted with the day’s activities and his first outing with new race engineer Don Halliday: “My first impressions of the car are very good. We concentrated on changes to see what the car liked throughout most of the morning, and not on speed. By the end of the day, the changes we were doing were making sense and the car was getting better and better. “My fastest lap was a 51.4 and I believe I could have gone a little bit quicker. From what we can see compared with everyone else, I think we are maybe three or four tenths off the fastest time. I am pretty happy to be able to get into these times on the first day.” Fernández Racing is currently the only team running the Honda/Lola combination this season.  “Even though we are in the early stages of testing, we are in much better shape as a team in terms of organization, working together, lap times, everything, compared to last year,” added Fernández. “It is great to have Don onboard, and you can already see changes in the way the team is operating. We will keep working like this, and our aim is to be ready and fully-organized for the first race in Monterrey.”   We have updated our 2002 CART Test Times page.

(L) Don Halliday (far left), Martin Pare [race engineer Nakano] and Adrian Fernandez
 (R) Fernandez in Nakano's car

1/23/02
Team Players makes strides at Sebring  Team Player's continued to make major strides in its off-season testing program as driver Alex Tagliani was among the quickest during a two-day session completed Wednesday on the 1.72-mile Sebring road course. It was the first testing session of the new year for Tagliani, who clocked a fast lap of 51.1 seconds, shaving almost one second off his time on the same Sebring course last month. Tagliani put in 140 laps over the two days, including 78 on Wednesday. Full Story.  We have updated our 2002 CART Test Times page.


Alex Tagliani and Bruno Junqueira in action at Sebring
Photos by Dan Boyd, courtesy of CART

1/23/02
Safety improvements at Lowes  As part of an on-going effort to enhance safety and improve the motorsports experience fans enjoy while attending events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, a major grandstand renovation project is underway that includes eliminating the first three rows of seats in the Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Grandstands along the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile superspeedway. "We are continually updating and looking at things we can improve to benefit fans," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Eliminating those lower seats will increase the distance from the fence to the first row of spectators by approximately eight feet." In addition to increasing the distance from the race track to the front row, the change will ease congestion on the walkway along the track's 1,952-foot frontstretch. A railing is also being installed in front of what will now be the first row of seats. The concourse will be widened by approximately 30 feet while the new Gate 4 will feature larger entry gates and walkways.
1/23/02
2002 Monterrey, Mexico track map  Here is the updated Monterrey, Mexico track map.  Some grandstands have changed, but unfortunately the track owners decided not to take out a chicane or two, so the track remains somewhat Mickey Mouse.  It was very hard to pass on last year, so expect more of the same this year.  CART needs to examine the show it puts on for the fans, and that includes making sure tracks are NOT follow-the-leader affairs. MC
1/23/02
Mi Jack and Conquest team up  Conquest Racing, LLC, an Indianapolis-based open-wheel racing team, and Mi-Jack Products, Inc. a manufacturer of specialized cranes based in suburban Chicago, have reached an agreement to form Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing, LLC and will compete in the full Indy Racing League season in 2002. Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing will bring together two well-respected names in the racing industry. Conquest fielded an Indy Racing League entry for two races in 2001 and also successfully competed in the Indy Lights series from 1997-2001. Mi-Jack has been a supporter of open-wheel racing for the past 10 years as a sponsor in the Indy Racing League, Indy Lights and CART. Indianapolis 500 veteran Eric Bachelart will maintain his position as CEO of the team and will direct the race operations from the team's facility in Indianapolis. "We are excited about the upcoming season in the IRL," Bachelart said. "We ran the last two races of the season last year and were pleased with the new team's performance. We know we still have some learning to do, but we think we can make an impact on the series." Said Mike Lanigan, president of Mi-Jack Products, Inc.: "It is the next logical step for our racing program. After 10 years as a sponsor, to evolve our racing program into a partnership with Eric is good business. "Eric's racing experience, as a driver and an owner, makes him a great partner in helping us achieve our marketing goals. We know he can bring a winning program to the table." Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing is finalizing driver negotiations and will have an announcement within the next 10 days  IRL
1/23/02
T.E McHale off to TransAm, named VP  UPDATE Here is the official press release.  Sorry we blew the hoopla by announcing it a month ago.  Congratulations TE. - T.E. McHale, who possesses nearly 25 years of experience working in and with the media, has joined the Trans-Am Series as Vice President of Media Relations. The appointment takes effect immediately. In his new position, McHale will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with the mainstream, motorsports and Internet media, both at and away from the race track. He will also be primarily responsible for the composition and distribution of all media-oriented material related to the Trans-Am Series. “T.E. McHale is another major professional building block as we structure Trans-Am for the future,” said Trans-Am President Dennis Huth. “His big-league experience and work ethic are perfect fits for the management team we are putting in place.” McHale, 48, joins the Trans-Am following six years with Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., where he served in a variety of capacities, most recently as Senior Manager of Public Relations. He spent 18 years as a sportswriter at the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal prior to joining CART. “I am extremely grateful to the Trans-Am for giving me this opportunity,” McHale said. “The Trans-Am Series is well established and occupies a unique and storied place in the annals of motorsports. “It was a difficult decision to leave CART, where I formed a number of lifelong friendships, but I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge.” McHale is a 1975 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in English. He and his wife, Brenda, have three children and five grandchildren. 12/20/01 - Long before Chris Pook was announced as CART's new CEO, T.E. McHale had decided to tender his resignation from CART, so no he was not fired as some might think.  T.E. was one of the most likeable guys in the CART PR department and we wish him well in his new job with the TransAm series working in Florida.
1/23/02
Holdup on Montreal ticket sales  Pierre Durocher reports in Le Journal de Montreal that the Montreal race promoter, Normand Legault, has not yet decided when they are going to start the sale of the tickets for their CART race in August. There is a problem with the company that supply the grandstands and Normand has to get a new deal with another company. That's the official reason for the delay.  MC
1/23/02
Team Motorola has productive test in Sebring  Team Motorola and driver Michael Andretti got their 2002 testing season underway Monday at Sebring International Raceway. Over the two-day test, Team Motorola completed 277 trouble free miles on the 1.65-mile road course with a fast time of 51.5 seconds (Andretti is now 3rd fastest at Sebring, see our updated Test Times page).  "The new 2002 Reynard is really reliable," said team manager Tony Cotman. "The Team Motorola guys did a great job putting together this new car and we were able to work through our test plan with no real downtime. This was our first time on the track this year with the new Reynard so I'm pretty pleased with what we accomplished." Monday was the first day back in the race car for Team Motorola driver Michael Andretti since the season finale in Fontana last November. "It's always nice to regroup and have some time off after the season," said Andretti, "but by the first week of January, I'm ready to get back on the race track and get to work. This was a very good first test. The Team Motorola guys did a great job in preparing the car so we were able to get a lot of work done and I feel like it was a productive two days." Team Motorola began the test Monday with a project list mainly focusing on the mechanical side of the race car. "Our goal in this first test was to learn how the 2002 Reynard differs mechanically from previous years," explained Cotman. "We didn't tune the car towards the track over the first day and half but on Tuesday afternoon we did touch on some aerodynamics work. We finished the test a bit early and we were right on pace. It was good test and I think we're establishing a good baseline to start the season." Team manager Tony Cotman was also pleased with the winter conditioning that Andretti has been doing. "We kept Michael in the car pretty much the whole two days," Cotman said. "And you can tell that the conditioning Michael does during the winter really pays off because he wasn't fatigued at all." 2002 marks Andretti's 19th season in Champ Cars and he currently holds the record for most career victories (41) and most career starts (290) for active Champ Car drivers. The team returned to their Indianapolis shop last night and will now begin preparations for their next test, which will be at Sneak Preview, February 7-10 in Monterey, California.  Photo by Dan Boyd, courtesy of CART
1/23/02
Team Cheever test Tomas Scheckter, announces press conference  The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew completed their first test of 2002 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 21 and 22. "The purpose of this test was two-fold," said General Manager Richard Caron. "First to continue our testing program with Eddie, in preparation for the 2002 Indy Racing League championship, and second to hold our final evaluations of drivers for the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Infiniti." Tomas Scheckter, a 21-year-old racer from South Africa, joins Jeff Ward, Buddy Rice, and Dan Wheldon as drivers that have tested for the coveted second seat at Cheever Indy Racing. Tomas, the son of 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter, passed his Indy Racing League rookie test by completing 85 laps, and reaching a top average speed of 210.7 mph. His unofficial speed was several miles per hour faster than the pole position (208.502 mph) for the last IRL race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April 2000. "The first few sessions were unbelievable with the g-forces I felt," said Scheckter about his first oval track experience. "Driving an average speed of over 200 miles per hour was a great feeling, similar to a roller coaster. I got used to the feeling pretty quickly, and with guidance from Eddie, was able to do some good lap times. The team was very professional. Hopefully they feel as good about the test as I do." Currently the runner-up in the European Formula Nissan championship, Scheckter spent part of last year as a test driver for the Jaguar Racing Formula One team. His racing resume also includes championship titles in go-karts and the European Opel Lotus series, and second in the 2000 British F3 standings with two victories. In addition to monitoring Scheckter's rookie test, team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. drove 35 laps during the two-day test, focusing on engine development with the Infiniti Indy 35A. "The proverb, the apple does not fall far from the tree, is very much the case with the Scheckter family," said Eddie Cheever Jr., owner and driver, Red Bull Cheever Racing. "Jody was a phenomenal driver, and Tomas is following in his footsteps. He didn't miss a beat and was very methodical in his approach." Cheever Indy Racing will announce the driver of the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Infiniti during a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum at 10 a.m. (EST), Feb. 1. The new colors of the Red Bull Cheever Racing cars will also be unveiled at the event.  Nissan
1/23/02
Visteon/Patrick team puts 2002 Reynard through test  Visteon/Patrick Racing put its new 2002 Toyota/Reynard through the paces for the first time during two-days of testing January 21-22 in Sebring, Florida. Townsend Bell, who will pilot the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry during the 2002 FedEx Championship Series campaign, ran approximately 300 miles over the two days. The talented and aggressive native of California turned a quick lap of 51.58 seconds on the 1.6-mile Sebring road circuit (Bell is now 4th fastest at Sebring, see our updated Test Times page).  Not all teams have published test times as they consider them top-secret.  F1, NASCAR and IRL publish all off-season test times, but not CART nor many of its teams). The time, unofficially, put him second fastest among the drivers testing. This was Visteon/Patrick Racing's second preseason test and second at Sebring. They previously ran there November 27-28 with last year's car. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a very productive two days of testing at Sebring," Bell said. "We had a couple of minor teething problems, which is to be expected from new a car, but all in all it was a very positive test. The reliability of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard was outstanding. The Toyota engine continues to be very impressive from both a reliability and power standpoint. The new Reynard chassis is an evolution of what we had last year and all indications are that the updates and improvements are headed in the right direction. The major difference I notice between last year's car and this year's is the shifting on the new car has a more positive feel. Overall, it was a good two days. I learned a lot and I am looking forward to the next test," Bell concluded. Bell, a rookie, is the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Champion. He tested twice and ran two races with Visteon/Patrick Racing last year, but is entering his first full CART season in 2002. Commenting on testing with Visteon/Patrick Racing he said, "This is a very experienced and professional team so I am just trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as possible. Testing gives me the opportunity to establish a solid working relationship with the engineers and crew. As far as the car is concerned, the more miles I get the more I learn about champ cars and what is necessary to get the setup to work for me." Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee was also pleased with the results of the test saying, "We have gained over a second in lap speed from when we were at Sebring six weeks ago. That is a considerable improvement especially at this track. Technical Director Ed Nathman and the Visteon/Patrick Racing engineering group have done an excellent job of selecting the configuration for the Reyanrd chassis and were are, as usual, very pleased with the reliability and power of the Toyota engine." McGee went on to say, "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has come together very quickly. Townsend fit in right away and the level of communication between he and the team is already very good. We have five more tests in the next six weeks. That will give us the opportunity to get plenty of miles under Townsend's belt. We should be ready to challenge for wins right from the start of the season," McGee concluded. Next up for Visteon/Patrick Racing is another two-day test, January 30-31 on the road course at Homestead, Florida.. Photo by Dan Boyd, courtesy of CART
1/23/02
Industry News
Bryan Herta named President of NAKA  The North American Karting Association, at its January meeting, elected a new slate of officers for 2002. Bryan Herta, one of the most successful American open wheel racing drivers, was elected president of NAKA for 2002. Herta, owner of the Las Vegas Karting Center, started his career in karting and has been instrumental in developing the CART Stars of Tomorrow series for aspiring open wheel racers emerging from karting. Rick Waddell, with a long history of assisting American drivers to develop their talent, was elected Vice President of NAKA. Waddell brings a corporate background from Microsoft to guide NAKA in serving the entire karting industry. Joe Ramos of SSC Racing was reelected to the position of secretary of the corporation. Ramos was instrumental in creating the NAKA organization to upgrade the infrastructure of karting in this country, working with retailers and karting tracks to improve their business success. As the new treasure, Jean Marchioni, of JM Racing, has the experience of not only kart racing, but the international experience of FIA and CIK racing and organization. With his international experience, knowledge, and associations, Jean adds to NAKA's focus on the global, or big picture, which is the future of karting in North America. The North American Karting Association is a trade organization for the entire karting industry. It's goals and objectives are to grow and expand karting to be a major part of the motorsports industry in North America.
1/23/02
Motorola posts first loss in 71 years, expects quick turnaround  Technology giant Motorola on Tuesday posted its fourth consecutive quarterly loss as expected, reflecting a slowdown in customer spending, but projected a profitable year despite two more quarters of losses. The fourth-quarter loss meant Motorola, which is in the process of slashing almost a third of its work force, posted its first operating loss in 71 years, along with a net loss of US$1.2 billion. Motorola, based in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois, predicted losses in the first two quarters of this year, with profits in the second half of the year and a profit for the full year. The company has been struggling to turn a profit amid a punishing downturn in the telecommunications sector. "While we expect to incur losses in the first and second quarters of 2002, we expect to return to profitability in the second half of the year and be profitable for the full year, barring an unforeseen political or economic disruptions," chairman and chief executive Christopher Galvin said. Photo by Dan Boyd, courtesy of CART
1/23/02
New Cadillac for ALMS Team Cadillac presented their new Le Mans and ALMS challenger in Sebring, Fla., Monday. The completely new Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 will mark the next step in General Motors’ luxury brand’s sportscar race program. Team Cadillac produced the new car in less than nine months The Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 features all the latest in sportscar technology, both in the mechanical and the aerodynamic domain. 


Cadillac Northstar LMP 02, more sophisticated than a 2003 Champ Car.  It even has paddle shifters.  Starting in 2003 CART fans will love to see joint events with ALMS to get their high-tech 'fix.' Photos: Tim Crete

The best technological experience and knowledge in sportscars was made available by matching the Brackley, UK, based design team and the Warren, Mich., based GM Racing engineers. The trans-Atlantic team produced the stunning looking car in less than nine months. Cadillac’s third season in the world’s top sportscar competition includes a race debut in the 50th edition of the "Sebring 12 Hours" on March 16, as well as the "Le Mans 24 Hours" in June. "We’re looking to be present on the podium race after race. Participation at Le Mans and in the American Le Mans Series is a means to connect with luxury customers through a program that demonstrates endurance, durability and technology," said Cadillac’s General Manager, Marc LaNeve. "We anticipate considerable improvement over our performance in 2000 and 2001. The past two years have demonstrated that we can endure and also have innovative technology, like the Northstar engine. Now, we’re looking to be present on the podium race after race." Le Mans winning designer Nigel Stroud is Team Cadillac’s chief designer and led this new design team. While Stroud and the rest of Team Cadillac were still working with the 2001 car, resources were allocated to begin development of performance packages as early as May of last year. More than 40 days of wind tunnel testing for LMP 02 "It has been a very busy year," said Stroud. "The Cadillac Northstar LMP 02 is completely designed using CAD, which means not a single piece of paper or a pen has been used. The car packs a number of sportscar novelties, but we obviously won’t disclose which ones just yet. We spent some 40 days working in the wind tunnel to define the aerodynamics. We also tried a number of very extreme mechanical solutions, but in the end decided to go for a more conventional, yet state-of-the-art package." Team Cadillac returns its four primary drivers Confirming their confidence in the program, Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli, Eric Bernard and Emmanuel Collard will again lead Cadillac’s attack in Le Mans and selected races of the American Le Mans Series. Third drivers for the Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans endurance classics will be announced shortly. 

1/23/02

ISC reports race title sponsorship weakness  In terms of business trends in the upcoming season, ISC management mentioned in their recent financial reports, that the company is currently missing a total of 18 race title sponsorships, including 5 Winston Cup races, 8 Busch Grand National and 5 (of 8) IRL races. Moreover, management also indicated that ticket renewals are lagging last year somewhat but at this point it is too early to draw any conclusions from the data.  ``NASCAR says, while challenging economic conditions have continued, our success in the fourth quarter gives us confidence in our ability to attract additional corporate sponsors in 2002. Contributing to earnings will be recent agreements for the entitlement of North Carolina's NASCAR Busch event in February and the Indy Racing League event at Richmond. In addition, we are in the final stages of negotiation for large multi-track agreements with several companies which should provide additional earnings visibility.''
1/22/02
Sigma Team lands big sponsor  AutoRacing1.com has just learned from new Managing Director Gerard Hermsen that Sigma Autosport will announce a new multinational Champ Car sponsor on February 1st.  One car is definite and a 2nd car is looking very very good at the moment.  The sponsorship is a full 3-year deal. Roberto Moreno is one of the drivers being considered for the 2nd seat.  There are others.  All we are at liberty to say until the announcement is that the company will surprise a lot of people.  Since the 2nd car is looking pretty good, Mr. Hermsen told us they are going to be looking for more mechanics ASAP.  If you feel you are qualified for such a position, send us an e-mail at contacts@autoracing.com and we will provide you information where to send your resume.  Our hat's off to Sigma Autosport.  A new team who finished third in the pitstop competition their first year in CART, and has now landed a big multinational sponsor, something many established teams have been unable to do.  This is exactly the type of sponsor CART teams need more of, sponsors who sell product worldwide and recognize the value of the worldwide reach CART brings. We have updated our 2002 CART Silly Season Page Now do you get the feeling things are starting to turn around for CART? Mark C.
1/22/02
More Brazilian stars in CART's farm system?  Brazilian driver Jonatan Jorge (Montoya Racing/Dedgewater Construction/TL Racing) won the 6th Round of the Formula Barber Dodge - Southern Championship / Group 1, this past Sunday in Daytona, FL, after starting in the last position in the grid. Jorge was the pole sitter, but another driver's crash into the back of his car at the starting line interrupted the race. As Jorge's car needed repairs, forcing him to start from the back of the pack. Demonstrating an amazing adaptation to both the car and the circuit, Jonatan Jorge had a spectacular start and - in the 8th lap - took over the lead and held it until the end of the race. On Saturday, in the 5th Round, Jorge also scored the pole as well as winning the race with a start-to-finish lead. Jorge, who also set the fastest lap during both races, maintains the the lead of the championship in points, with five wins (in six races), one second place, five pole-positions as well as scoring the fastest lap in five events. Jonatan Jorge, remember that name!  Other Brazilian drivers with good performances were Christiano Piquet (related to Nelson), who also won both rounds after starting on the pole in Group III, and Eduardo Marques Jr. (related to Tarso), who attained a second place in Group II on Saturday, after securing the pole. On Sunday, in an audacious move for the lead, Marques dropped to last, but finished the race in 8th - marking a nice overall, recovery performance. The next event will be held in Sebring, FL, in February.
1/22/02
China continues to boom  China's information technology industry is the world's fastest-growing market and one foreign vendors cannot afford to miss, according to IT research institute Gartner.  "Napoleon said: 'If China wakes, the sleeping lion will shake the world'. Now . . . China is awakening," Gartner senior analyst Dorothy Lai said yesterday. According to Gartner, revenue from the mainland IT sector will reach US$137 billion by 2005, compared with US$72.7 billion in 2000. Gartner expects China's IT industries to maintain an average annual growth rate of 13.5 per cent until 2005, outpacing the rest of the world. The rumored CART race in Shanghai was to be in the Pudong district.  On a related topic, office rents in Shanghai's Pudong district rose 26.39 per cent last year. DTZ research director Alva To said Shanghai, as a key commercial city in China, would benefit most from the mainland's membership of the World Trade Organization. Mr. To said more multinational corporations were expected to establish regional offices in Shanghai's financial districts. Puxi, Shanghai's traditional business district, saw a modest 5.14 per cent increase in its occupancy cost last year to HK$20.05 per square foot. The vacancy rate in Pudong was sharply lower, standing at 12.4 per cent last year down from 28 per cent in 2000.  With CART rumored to eventually be going to China, one must think Gateway (potential PacWest sponsor) will be quite happy with CART.  But let's not put the CART before the horse, because Bernie Ecclestone is likely going to put F1 in China before CART.  CART will have to land more multinational sponsors like Gateway, and Sigma (February 1st announcement) before it can add China because the majority of CART's sponsors want to see more USA races.  As Gartner says, "China, the sleeping lion, is awakening, and the world is about to shake."  Mark C.
1/22/02
Patrick Schartz named Marketing chief for Trans-Am series  Patrick Schartz has been named Director of Marketing for the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup. In his new position, Schartz will be responsible for a variety of functions for the Trans-Am Series, including developing national event marketing plans, building the contingency program, and overseeing the creative development of all Trans-Am Series sales materials. Schartz, 30, comes to the Trans-Am Series from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) where he served as Sales and Marketing Manager for National Trail Raceway, the NHRA-owned facility in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to joining the NHRA, Schartz directed the Sales and Hospitality Program at Heartland Park Topeka, a multi-purpose motorsports facility in Topeka, KS, working with a variety of sanctioning bodies including NHRA, NASCAR and the World of Outlaws. Preceding his tenure at Heartland Park, Schartz worked as an account executive in radio. “Patrick has an excellent background and proven record of success,” said Trans-Am President Dennis Huth. “Piece by piece, we are assembling a staff of true professionals. Patrick shares our commitment to service and excellence.” A native of Ellinwood, Kan., he graduated with a B.A. in Mass Media from Washburn University.
1/22/02

NBC and CBS to televise Washington DC races  The D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission and National Grand Prix Holdings announced today that both NBC and CBS networks will air live coverage of the National Grand Prix in Washington, D.C. The National Grand Prix will be the only Grand Prix in the United States with live racing coverage on two major networks. This news comes after the Trans-Am Series announced last week that its July 20, 2002 race will be broadcast live on CBS. NBC had already announced its intentions to broadcast the American Le Mans Series race on July 21, 2002. The Trans-Am Series race is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. start, with a 90-minute broadcast on CBS, the only live network broadcast during the Trans-Am season. The American Le Mans Series event is slated for a 12:00 p.m. start, with a two-hour broadcast on NBC beginning at 1:00 p.m. "These live broadcasts will not only provide positive visibility for Washington, D.C, but will also significantly increase awareness of the National Grand Prix," said Chris Lencheski, founder and chairman of the board, National Grand Prix Holdings. "We are very excited to have this level of support from the networks in our first year of racing in our nation¹s capital." "One of the great benefits of bringing an event of this magnitude to the nation's capital is the visibility it creates, in large part through television coverage," said Bobby Goldwater, president, D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission. "We are delighted that these two networks which are known for outstanding auto racing production will be here." The National Grand Prix, which is coming to the grounds of RFK Stadium July 19-21, will feature races of three sanctioning bodies; American Le Mans (ALMS), Trans-Am and World Challenge GT. It will be the first major auto racing event in the D.C. metropolitan area in more than 80 years. The ALMS race will be televised live on NBC and CBS will air the Trans-Am race. The corresponding three-day festival will feature a concert, car shows and a celebrity match race among other events.
1/22/02
Da Matta glad to be back behind the wheel  Cristiano da Matta was happy to be back behind the wheel today in his first day of testing the 2002 Havoline Toyota-Lola since he scored back-to-back wins in the final two CART FedEx Championship Series events in Australia and the 500-mile race at The California Speedway. Da Matta took over testing duties from teammate Christian Fittipaldi who had already completed two days of testing this month on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway. The team is testing in preparation for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship. "It was great to get back behind the wheel," said da Matta, whose lap time of 51.5 was possibly the fastest lap of the day. "The car was nicely balanced after Christian worked with it for two days. I thought it was pleasant to drive. After a few runs to get the cobwebs off, I was able to do a 51.4 just before lunch. We were then able to start work on different set-ups and we made a big change to the car after lunch but weren't able to go quicker. Overall it was a good day and I am looking forward to more tomorrow." Da Matta's new engineer, Guillaume "Rocky" Rocquelin, worked with da Matta for the first time today although the Frenchman has been present at all tests since joining the team in mid-December after a successful season with 2001 "Rookie of the Year" and race winner Scott Dixon at PacWest Racing. "It was nice to get down to work with Cristiano," said Rocquelin. "I think we communicated well straightaway. We started with the car in good shape and continued to learn how to make it better. We ran 186 trouble free miles today and plan to do the same tomorrow. We have much more work to do in order to be ready for the season but I am glad to have had the first day with Cristiano go so well. I think we will work well together."  Newman Haas Racing
1/22/02
Tic Tac to Sponsor Fernández  [Editor's Note: Do you get a sense things are starting to turn positive at CART?  There's more announcements coming...stay tuned] Ferrero de Mexico, distributor of Tic Tac, the world’s best-selling mint, and Adrián Fernández, CART’s only competing owner/driver, have formed a partnership for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship season. Ferrero’s global brand will be highlighted as a personal sponsor of Fernández, one of Mexico’s biggest stars, and the familiar green and white logo will be featured on the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone piloted by Fernández as he enters his tenth season of Champ Car competition. “Tic Tac is a very recognized brand, and it was an honor that they were interested and called us to put a deal together,” said Fernández. “I am very excited about our new partnership and so is the team, and we are looking forward to promoting Tic Tac this season. Ferrero is a great company with great products, and I think this relationship will grow in the next few years.” The Ferrero Company is the third largest confectionery company in the world. Its most popular brands include Kinder, Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and Mon Cheri. Tic Tac tops the breath mint sales charts with more than 40 billion mints sold annually in more than 50 countries in the world. Headquartered in Italy, Ferrero has factories throughout Europe as well as North America, Australia and South America. Ferrero de Mexico is based in Guadalajara. Fernandez Racing
1/22/02
Texas and Kentucky to host Infiniti race  Kentucky Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway each will play host to an Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series event during the inaugural 2002 season, track officials announced Jan. 22. The Infiniti Pro Series will visit Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 11, 2002, during the Belterra Resort Indy 300 weekend for its first race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, with the season finale scheduled for Sept. 15 on the high banks of the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.  IRL
1/22/02
Fernández Prepares for First Run in New Honda/Lola  Adrián Fernández will take his first laps behind the wheel of the team’s new Honda/Lola package this week as Fernández Racing resumes its pre-season testing program with a two-day outing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., beginning January 23rd. Fernández recently spent two days at the team’s base in Indianapolis in preparation for the test, and is ready to get to work: “It was nice to be at the shop to see the guys in action with the new cars, and to see Buckwheat [new team manager Bob Adie] and Don Halliday working with everyone. The atmosphere was great, and the new car looks good.  “I was getting my seat done which took about two full days, but it feels pretty comfortable. We will know for sure at the test, which I am very excited about. I have been preparing myself physically better than I have ever done before, and I am really looking forward to getting back in the car. I think the team is going to be a lot better prepared to face the championship, so we are very excited. All of the guys are very motivated and working very hard. I think this is going to mean a lot for the first race in Mexico.” Shinji Nakano, who put the Honda/Lola through its initial paces during a shakedown test on January 10th, will join Fernández trackside and resume testing on the 24th. The team’s pair of Honda/Lolas won’t be the only Champ Cars on the 1.65-mile road course as Michael Andretti, Cristiano da Matta, Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani, Jimmy Vasser and Tora Takagi are also expected to test at Sebring this week.  Fernandez Racing
1/22/02
Atlantics: Sigma driver Moran Jr. escapes near plane crash  Sigma Autosport's Toyota-Atlantic driver Rocky Moran Jr. escaped injury when the Cessna 172RG airplane he was flying experienced a malfunction of the right landing gear during a routine flight on the Friday afternoon of Jan. 11. "This turned out to be anything but routine," said Moran, 22, of Cota de Caza, Calif., who holds a private pilots' license. "What we thought would be an hour trip, turned into a life threatening experience." Moran and two passengers, Scott Fullmer of San Clemente, Calif., and Brian Hatch of Mission Viejo, Calif., decided to fly to nearby Murrieta for some lunch and a chance to get in some airtime. The group left John Wayne/Orange County Airport in Costa Mesa, Calif., at 4:30 p.m. and flew 30 minutes to Murrieta with no problems. It was the trip back that had all the adventure. "I was coming in for my approach at John Wayne, when I operated the landing gear. I couldn't see the light to indicate they had come down so I checked on my (left) side of the airplane and could see that the left side was down. I asked Scott to check out his side and when he said the landing gear didn't come down, I knew there was a problem." Moran tried using the manual pump to operate the landing gear, but after several hundred pumps by Moran and both passengers, it was still stuck. Moran then contacted the airport and FAA authorities. Moran was instructed to keep trying to operate the manual pump, and to circle the airport until his fuel was low. The 30-minute return trip ended up taking three-and-a-half hours. During that time, Moran and his passengers tried everything possible to get the landing gear down, including trying to pry the gear down by making several flying maneuvers, but unfortunately nothing worked. Moran had to land the plane on two sets of wheels instead of three. When the plane landed at approximately 8 p.m., it skidded more than 2,700 feet before coming to a stop at the end of the runway. Emergency vehicles were on hand in case of any injuries. Remarkably, there were no injuries and minimal damage to the Cessna. "When we landed, we got out of the airplane and jumped around and hugged each other," said Moran. "There were plenty of reporters, paramedics and officials on hand, which was a wonderful sight after the long ordeal." Having survived two accidents in less than two months has Moran counting his blessings. Moran injured his back a month ago when he fell off the back of a motorcycle. The back injury, although not serious, prevented him from taking part in the first test of the season for Sigma Autosport's Toyota-Atlantic team. "I've survived falling off a motorcycle and now this," said Moran. "I guess I'm very lucky, but I credit my racing experience with helping me through this. I was calm as were my passengers. "Thankfully, we were all okay." FAA investigators are still looking into the cause of the malfunction.
1/22/02
Coors extends agreement with IRL  The Indy Racing League and Coors Brewing Company will continue a longtime partnership in 2002 with Coors continuing as the Official Beer of the Indy Racing League. In addition, Coors has extended a longtime partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the Official Beer of the Indianapolis 500 and as the sponsor of the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and Coors Carb Day during the Indianapolis 500. Coors Brewing Company has sponsored the Pit Stop Competition, which takes place during May each year as part of the Indianapolis 500, since 1996. The company has sponsored Carburetion Day since 1999. Carburetion Day takes place traditionally on the Thursday before the Indianapolis 500, the largest single-day sporting event in the world. "The Coors Brewing Company is proud to continue our relationship and partnership with the Indy Racing League," said Steve Saunders, event marketing director for Coors Brewing Company. "This program has proven to be very beneficial to our brands and our sales team in the past, and we look forward to the 2002 season with the Indy Racing League.  "We are excited about the growth of the league in terms of attendance, media coverage and competition." IRL
1/22/02
NASCAR adjusts spoiler heights for Fords  Officials for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced a ¼-inch decrease for the rear spoiler height on the Ford Taurus to be used in next month’s Daytona 500. Measurements for the rear spoilers on the Ford Taurus will now read at 6 ¼ inches tall by 57 inches wide. The past two weeks during NASCAR Winston Cup Series testing at Daytona, Ford’s rear spoiler was 6 ½ inches tall. The Ford and Chevrolet teams now have the same measurements, while the Dodge and Pontiac teams measure at 6 ½ inches tall by 57 inches wide. NASCAR announced last November that modifications to the current aero-package might be necessary to assure parity amongst the various manufacturers. It was also announced that teams would be informed of these modifications prior to testing and could continue through the weeks leading up to the Daytona 500. NASCAR
1/22/02
Industry News
ISC meets earnings estimates  International Speedway reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.56, exceeding the Street consensus estimate of $0.55. The company’s positive performance this year is mostly representative of the built-in 15% increase in the industry's TV rights contract, as well as strong results from the addition of the inaugural Kansas City Winston Cup event and the new Chicagoland track. On the call, management indicated that as a result of the early adoption of FASB 142, ISCA would record a one-time, $584 million non-cash charge ($514 after-tax) in 1Q 02, which will be recorded below the EPS line and have no impact on the company’s performance or earnings. In terms of business trends in the upcoming season, management mentioned that the company is currently missing a total of 18 race title sponsorships, including 5 Winston Cup races, 8 Busch Grand National and 5 IRL races. Moreover, management also indicated that ticket renewals are lagging last year somewhat but at this point it is too early to draw any conclusions from the data. At current levels, shares of ISCA are trading at 19.6x and 17.4x our 2002 and 2003 EPS estimates of $2.30, respectively. In addition, ISCA trades at 9.6x and 8.1x our 2002 and 2003 EBITDA estimates of $238.3 million and $261.8 million, respectively. Although we remain positive on the long-term prospects for the company, we believe visibility into next year and the potential earnings impact is still limited at this point and, as such, maintain our neutral rating on ISCA. Reprinted with permission from Bear Stearns
1/22/02
Industry News
Dover Downs splits gaming and motorsports business  Late yesterday, Dover Downs filed an 8-K indicating that the company’s Board of Directors had officially approved its plan to split the company’s motorsports and gaming businesses into two separate public entities, originally announced in July 2001. The company indicated that it is on schedule to meet its first quarter target date for the split. If and when the split does occur, Dover Downs Entertainment would change its name to Dover Motorsports, Inc. and focus on the company’s motorsports operations, while the gaming business would be renamed Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., and focus on the company’s Dover, DE based video lottery, harness racing and hotel operations. Edward Sutor, currently an Executive Vice President with Dover Downs, would work exclusively for Gaming and Entertainment as the company’s COO. In the filing, management also clarified the details behind the split of certain related services, including support services such as accounting and human resources, employee benefits, as well as a tax sharing agreement. DVD shares are currently trading at 9.7x and 7.7x our 2001 and 2002 EBITDA estimates of $66.1MM and $81.1MM, respectively, based on yesterday’s closing price of $13.30. In our view, the relatively small size of the two independent businesses increases the likelihood that one or both of the new entities could eventually be sold to larger companies operating in each of the respective gaming and motorsports industries. We remain optimistic for the outcome of the split and, as such, maintain our Buy rating, given this promising split. WHY SPLIT? - We continue to believe that splitting the company into separate, independent motorsports and gaming businesses allows each segment of the company to access the capital markets in order to further its respective growth plans. In our view, this strategy has been more difficult and less attractive as a combined entity, given the different dynamics and valuations that characterize the nature of each of the businesses. - We also continue to believe that Dover Downs has long been considered a potential take-out target. In our view, however, the company’s unusual business combination limited the potential pool of suitors. Currently, we believe splitting the company into independent motorsports and gaming businesses increases the likelihood that that one or both of the two separate entities could be sold off to bigger players in the respective businesses. - Moreover, in the event that the companies were not sold, we believe the shares of each company would receive more appropriate EBITDA multiples based on the respective industries in which the gaming and motorsports businesses would operate. This should result in at least some upside in the stocks. In our view, the motorsports business could experience the most upside, based on comparable valuation levels in the sector. - Through the split, the company should also be able to more efficiently manage its day-to-day operations, in our view. Specifically, the company’s 8-K indicated a number of key management changes that would accomplish this goal. Namely, Edward J. Sutor, currently the Executive Vice President of DVD, will resign and retain a position as Chief Operating Officer of the newly-created Gaming and Entertainment company. Further, Denis McGlynn, DVD’s CEO and Timothy Horne, the company’s CFO, will become “dual” employees and split their time between the two companies. Reprinted with permission from Bear Stearns
1/22/02
Industry News
Kmart files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection  Former CART and NASCAR sponsor Kmart today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  How this affects Kmart's future involvement in motorsports remains to be seen.
1/22/02
Jay Abraham named to head NASCAR Images   Jay Abraham has been named president and CEO of NASCAR Images, the video and film production and creative marketing joint venture between NASCAR Digital Entertainment and FOX Sports Ventures. Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting, NASCAR, and Larry Jones, chief operating officer, FOX Sports, made the announcement jointly today. Abraham was formerly vice president of business development for HJ Heinz Company. He replaces Tom Grabowski who stepped down on November 15, 2001, to pursue expanded opportunities with Urban Sports, a company he recently founded. Abraham will be responsible for overseeing the strategic planning and day-to-day operations of NASCAR Images original programming, television production and corporate business development for NASCAR sponsors, teams, tracks and broadcast partners, in addition to the establishment and growth of home video production and distribution for NASCAR-related entertainment. “Jay brings an ideal background of business development, management experience and NASCAR industry know-how to lead the creative, marketing and production teams at NASCAR Images,” said Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting for NASCAR. “Jay is the perfect executive to take NASCAR Images to the next level as a business entity,” said Jones. “Our goal is to make NASCAR Images the premier supplier for NASCAR-branded entertainment products.” “I am excited to have this opportunity to work with NASCAR and Fox Sports Ventures and to lead the NASCAR Images team,” Abraham said. “Our goal is to offer the highest quality NASCAR-related programming and products while building the company and brand identity to be a leader in NASCAR entertainment.” NASCAR Images, located in Charlotte, N.C., is an original programming, video and film production, post-production and creative marketing company serving corporate sponsors, marketers and advertisers, as well as NASCAR’s drivers, teams, tracks and television partners. Currently NASCAR Images produces NASCAR This Morning and NASCAR Tech for Fox Sports Net and Inside Winston Cup for SPEED Channel.
1/22/02
ALMS statement on BMW  "BMW has been a participant in the American Le Mans Series since its inception in 1999 and has brought a great deal to the series, not only in terms of star drivers and cars but also strong marketing support. We worked closely with BMW AG and BMW North America in an effort to resolve the situation and while we are deeply disappointed, we are confident of BMW's return to American Le Mans Series racing in 2003." --- Scott Atherton, President and COO, Panoz Motor Sports Group
1/22/02
BMW withdraws from ALMS  BMW of North America, LLC, and its racing partner Prototype Technology Group Inc. (PTG) announced today that the BMW M3 GTR is being officially withdrawn from competition in the 2002 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). At the same time, the BMW AG-backed Team BMW Motorsport will also withdraw from the series. "Although we are in full support of IMSA and the American Le Mans Series, BMW of North America and BMW Team PTG cannot conform to the changes in the rules and regulations issued by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) for the LM GT category for 2002," said Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America, LLC. "In 2001 the M3 GTR was constructed at great expense to meet the 2001 homologation requirements and was granted its homologation accordingly. The 2002 rules and restrictions will not allow the M3 GTR to race competitively in the GT category." "The M3 GTR that competed for one season in 2001 was the culmination of six successful years of M3 racing development by PTG and BMW on both sides of the Atlantic. The decision to withdraw from the 2002 ALMS is not taken lightly, and it's unfortunate that BMW will be unable to build on its longstanding GT racing heritage in the U.S. in 2002," added Purves. "BMW and PTG have faced our share of adversity over the past seven years together and I am proud of our achievements and consistency. We are all dedicated to racing at BMW; it's part of the fiber of our brand," said Tom Salkowsky, Motorsports Manager for BMW of North America. "In the end, our goal was always to raise the level of competition within the GT class. BMW, PTG, our drivers and crew members were looking forward to vigorously defending our 2001 championship. We are all greatly disappointed with this final result for 2002." --- BMW Motorsports
1/22/02
Industry News
Reynard forced to downsize  UPDATE A reader writes - In regards to Reynard's downsizing, keep in mind that this has happened before, with the aborted 1997 MasterCard Lola F1 ( which Keith Wiggins ran...) program draining the money from the CART program to F1. The Mastercard Lola's ran in qualifying for the Australian GP but were more than 10 secs. off the pace of the front-runners, although Lola engineers said that with a little more testing that gap could be reduced dramatically. The season was short lived for the team, but nonetheless caused a huge downturn in the CART market for them which required new ownership to emerge from to be in this healthy state compared to Reynard. Reynard has had problems with F1 before-- Reynard tried to establish his own F1 team in 1990, with the 
intention of entering F1 in 1992. He bought land and hired Rory Byrne and some of his engineers from Benetton and began negotiating for an engine deal with Yamaha. That deal fell through and Reynard sold his entire project - including the Enstone factory - to Benetton. 1/22/02 - The current economic conditions within the motorsport industry has led Reynard Motorsport to reduce its workforce, with just over 50 redundancies in various divisions of the company announced today. Reynard, like many similar companies within motorsport has experienced a downturn in demand for its products and services, particularly in the USA.  In response, the company has streamlined its operations to ensure that the company continues to maintain the high levels of service and quality that it is renowned for, with the appropriate cost levels. Adrian Reynard, Chairman of Reynard Motorsport, comments, “It has been a difficult time for us over the last few months and this has, unfortunately, led to a need to tighten our belts to ensure we can operate efficiently. This has inevitably caused a loss of jobs in some areas. My commitment to the company has never been stronger and we have a dedicated management team that is aligned and focused on these challenges. We are all working very hard to maintain our leading position within the marketplace during these tough times.”  Editor's Note: We are of the opinion that because Reynard has put so many resources into their F1 program, they have lost CART market share to Lola, which seems more willing to make radical changes to their car to improve performance. The Reynard car has not made any radical changes for the last 4 or 5 years, just annual updates.  The Penske Reynard won the CART championship in 2000 and 2001, but it was highly modified by the team.   In CART Reynard makes money from its customers, whereas its F1 program is like a black hole sucking every last penny to keep up with Ferrari, McLAREN, etc.
1/21/02
Herdez battles the elements in Phoenix  Unseasonably cool weather in Phoenix forced the Herdez Competition team to adjust their testing schedule last week after completing two of their three scheduled days in the west. On Wednesday, the team took to the one-mile oval of Phoenix International Raceway. Rookie driver Mario Dominguez completed 199 laps in the afternoon after waiting the entire morning for reasonable operating temperatures. Despite the delay, Dominguez was excited about his first oval laps in the Ford-powered Lola Champ Car. "Things happen a lot quicker in a Champ Car than in Indy Lights!", Dominguez said. "It's been over two months since I've been on an oval but this is much different. We were hitting 200 mph there compared to 180 or so at Fontana in the Lights car. Believe it or not, once you get used to the difference in speed, the Champ Car is a lot easier to drive - it's a much better balanced car from a technical standpoint. I think that Herdez Competition's engineers really know the ovals. I don't think I've ever driven an oval car that was set up this well. It seems that I have made a good connection with the car - we are having a lot of fun together!"  After a day to turn the car around from oval to road course set up and move across town to the Firebird International Raceway, the team embarked on Friday on what was intended as a two-day session. But the continued cool conditions changed the team's plans. Herdez Competition managing director Keith Wiggins explained, "Because of the cold in the morning, we were forced to wait until after lunch to get started. While we had some decent runs and learned quite a bit from an engineering standpoint, we were concerned that we were only getting a half-day's work in. Since we're the first Champ Car team to test at Firebird East this season, we don't have any good reference points and we felt that we would gain more by returning to Sebring as opposed to a second day at Firebird. While we never go testing with the goal of setting the fastest laps times, having other FedEx Championship Series drivers running on the course at the same time is helpful for benchmarking your progress." After a less than 24-hour turnaround in Indianapolis, the team's transporters will depart for Florida on Tuesday morning and the team will take to the Sebring International course for the second time in as many weeks on Thursday. 
1/21/02
Team Bucknum to run 2 cars in ALMS  The American Le Mans Series grid for the 2002 season grew again today with an announcement by Arizona-based Team Bucknum Racing that it would field two cars in the LMP 675 class for the full season. The team, which made its debut in last year's Audi presents Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta, will campaign Pilbeam MP84 chassis powered by Nissan engines in the class for smaller, less-powerful Prototype race cars. The team is moving up from the Star Mazda Series, where it won four of the six available championships in the 2000 and 2001 seasons. "We have competed successfully over the last two years," said Jeff Bucknum, who will co-drive one of the cars. "We wanted to parlay that momentum into a move up onto the world stage and the ALMS can make that happen for us." Bucknum, from Lake Havasu, Az., will pair with Chris McMurry of Phoenix to create an All-Arizona driving squad for the team's number one car. The second car will be co-driven by Bryn Williams of Kirkland, Wash., and Pierre Ehret of Germany. Ehret will join Bucknum and McMurry as a third driver for longer races. "We've had the chance to watch ALMS develop over the last two years, since the Star Mazda Series has run as one of its support races," said Bucknum. "It just keeps getting better and better, with world-class drivers and teams, excellent broadcast exposure, the top road racing venues ... the series is flat-out professionally run and sponsors like it." 
1/21/02
McLaren ready to take on Ferrari with new car  Team West McLaren-Mercedes has undergone many changes and will undergo many more in the upcoming season as it takes up the challenge to regain the Drivers and Constructors FIA Formula One World Championships from Ferrari.  Story
1/21/02
Fittipaldi has another good test with 2002 Lola  Christian Fittipaldi completed the second day of testing Newman/Haas Racing's 2002 Toyota-powered Lola chassis on the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway today and was happy with the progress of the car since the initial test on Jan. 11. The team is in the midst of preparation for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship after three wins and six podium finishes overall in 2001. Story
1/21/02
Pit Pass show to give Indy Racing fans behind the scenes look  Motorsports fans will enjoy unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the speed and strategy of Indy Racing with the debut of "Indy Racing Pit Pass," a new half-hour show that will air on ESPN2. The first episode of "Indy Racing Pit Pass" will air at 6 p.m. (EST) Jan. 28 on ESPN2. The show will be broadcast monthly on ESPN2 and distributed worldwide by ESPN International. Produced by IMS Productions and filmed primarily during the 2001 Indy Racing League season, each episode follows one driver and team through the highs and lows of an entire weekend of Indy Racing League competition, providing fans total access to the inner workings of an Indy Racing team. "This is true human drama," said Buddy McAtee, assistant vice president of broadcast communications and business development for the Indy Racing League. "'Indy Racing Pit Pass' was created to showcase IRL teams, their dedication and their technical expertise. We wanted to give viewers the true feeling of what it's like to be on an Indy Racing team and what it takes to put a car on track every weekend. "Our whole mission at IMS Productions is to provide an accurate and entertaining historical account of the Indy Racing League, and I think we've done that with 'Indy Racing Pit Pass.' This is going to be a show that will last forever. Twenty years from now, we'll be able to look back and say, 'That's what it took to compete in the Indy Racing League in 2001.'" Narrated by Indianapolis native and nationally acclaimed voice talent Dave Dugan, the first 12 episodes of Indy Racing 'Pit Pass' will air this season on ESPN2. Fifteen more episodes will be produced in 2002 for broadcast in 2003. "This is a show that we know will work long term for the benefit of the fans, the teams and the series," McAtee said. "With the growth of the Indy Racing League fostering new drivers, teams and technology, this series has a bright future. We hope that we can make 100 episodes of 'Indy Racing Pit Pass.'"
1/21/02
Murder of mayor puts Brazil F1 race at risk  The 2002 Brazilian GP is scheduled for the end of March 2002, but the murder of one of the mayors on Sunday coupled with several serious issues in recent weeks, could put the 2002 race at risk. Sunday's murder of Santo Andre mayor Celso Augusto Daniel has prompted a sharp response from the Brazilian government, who has promised vigorous action against kidnapping, which has an average five kidnappings per week.  This coupled with five Williams Engineers being held up last year, Jaguar had seven computers stolen, Minardi had wheels stolen and the Minardi Team Manager was held up at gunpoint at a bank, all leaves a bad taste in the mouths of F1 officials. Can we forget that Bobby Rahal was almost killed when a large TV camera came crashing to the ground last year, missing him by inches?  With other countries wanting an F1 race, perhaps Brazil will move to the top of the list of those being dropped.  Wouldn't it be ironic if Brazil ends up with no races?  They already lost their CART race, and it sounds like F1 might not be far behind.
1/21/02
CART close to finalizing international TV deal UPDATE We received this official statement from CART's Adam Saal - "Among many critical issues CART is faced with is our international TV package.  Although it is inappropriate to go into great detail at this time, several significant steps have been made over the last two weeks to ensure our that global TV coverage will be in place in the near future." 1/21/02 -  We received this e-mail from a CART fan in Europe who thinks CART won't be on Eurosport in 2002.  We here at AutoRacing1 know CART is close to announcing an international TV package for 2002, so when you read this letter, please take that into account.  Like last year when the CART international TV deal was announced at the last minute, it leaves a lot of doubt in race fans, sponsors and track promoters minds. - Good morning from Europe. Actually, not good at all if you are a CART fan living there. While browsing through Eurosport's online schedules, I discovered that - as it looks now - they won't carry CART races this season. If that weren't bad enough, Eurosport - which reaches approx. 250 Million European viewers - will most likely switch to (tape-delayed) IRL programming for 2002. Here's their press release: Welcome to the Indy Racing League on Eurosport. The spectacular oval races arrive on our channel in 2002. You will have the chance to follow the action from the United States on Sundays. The races will be broadcast just one week after being held. The 2002 season includes 15 rounds from March 2 to September 15 (Texas Motor Speedway). 22-year-old, Sam Hornish Jr dominated the 2001 IRL season, winning three races, setting numerous records and winning the championship. The other drivers to follow will be Buddy Lazier (second in 2001) and his brother Jaques Lazier (according to Sam Hornish Jr. himself), Scott Sharp, Billy Boat, Eliseo Salazar from Chile (a former Formula 1 driver), Felipe Giaffone, Al Unser Jr. (a big name in the American motorsports) and Eddie Cheever (former teammate of Prost in Formula One) among others. The big thing in 2002 will be the entry of Team Penske coming from CART. Winner of the last two CART Series Championship, the team will arrive with its two brilliant Brazilian drivers Gil De Ferran (CART champion in 2000 and 2001) and Helio Castroneves (defending Indianapolis 500 champion). -- I guess this is directly related to CART losing ABC/ESPN as US domestic broadcasting partner (with the IRL securing it) since Eurosport, which is affiliated with ESPN International, always carried the ESPNi feed (with the great Jeremy Shaw as co-commentator). Of course this may also lead to other markets relying on ESPNi having no CART coverage (S. America, Australia etc.) and possibly IRL races instead. Well, apart from long-time and potential CART fans probably missing out on the 2002 season altogether (at least concerning live races which in my book is all that matters), I won't have to tell you what impact this might have on issues like international venues, drivers and sponsorship. So while the IRL is slowly taking over the US OW scene (15 domestic races vs. max. 10 for CART, Penske/Marlboro switch, TV deal), CART's managing to mess up what might be its best shot at expansion (or at least independent survival) - international exposure. The schedules and the above press text can be found at http://www.eurosport-tv.com:82/. Click on menu item "Schedules" and log in using guest/guest. Follow the link "View by day". You'll than have to select Sunday in the top menu and browse to 3/10/02 using "Next Week". Sorry, but this seems to be the only way to get there as the pages are dynamically generated.  Bernhard from Germany
1/21/02
Grand-Am
Cope to drive for Ferrari in Rolex 24-hours  Derrike Cope, winner of the 1990 Daytona 500, will complete the driver lineup for the Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Ferrari 360 GT at the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Cope, of Spanaway, Wash., currently resides in Huntersville, N.C., where he and famed NHRA driver Warren Johnson founded Quest Racing in 2000. Best known for his 1990 Daytona win, Cope has 248 career Winston Cup starts with two wins, 30 top ten finishes, and almost $3,000,000 in winnings prior to the 2002 season. During his career Cope has scored victories in four different NASCAR divisions. In addition to racing, Cope joined Fox Sports Net in 2001 as TV analyst. Cope has previous Daytona road racing experience as well, having finished fourth in class and 11th overall in the 1991 twice-around-the-clock race, driving a Chevrolet-Spice prototype for Tom Milner Racing. The addition of Cope give the Scuderia Ferrari of Washington team three Daytona champions in their Ferrari. Both Bill Auberlen and Cort Wagner are former winners at the Rolex 24. Auberlen in 1997 and 1998, and Wagner in 1999. The fourth driver is Costantino Bertuzzi, the 1999 Italian Touring Car Champion and a test driver for Ferrari. 
1/21/02
ASCAR
ASCAR lands Channel 4 TV deal  Remember Tom Cruise in "Days of Thunder"? The same thrills will be seen for real on Channel 4, when the entire 2002 ASCAR racing series will be televised in a series of programs, to be shown on Saturday mornings. The series, which features races on Britain's first banked oval racing circuit in a generation at Rockingham, near Corby in Northamptonshire, offers ultra close, 180mph action, with the added excitement of driving within a hairsbreadth of a solid concrete wall. The races will be shown as part of Channel 4's Saturday morning coverage of British motorsport, which also includes Formula 3 and GT racing. ASCAR is a new form of motor sport in Europe featuring the thrills and spills of American oval racing. All the cars have the same specification, with an American 500bhp V8 engine and a choice of three body styles. The only difference is the set-up of each car and the driver, which leads to very close racing and the lead continually changing. 2002 will also be the first season for ASCAR in Europe, with six meetings at Rockingham in the UK and six at Eurospeedway in Germany. The starting flag will wave on 9 May at Rockingham, with the first races being broadcast in the following weeks. "The agreement is great news for everybody involved. It offers Channel 4 an exciting new form of motor racing and offers ASCAR competitors exceptional coverage for their sponsors and supporters" said Eve Hewitt, Marketing Director of Rockingham Motor Speedway. "ASCAR, which started from scratch last year, has already established itself as a key British motor sport series and looks set to become one of the most popular championships with racing enthusiasts and casual spectators alike." Rockingham Motor Speedway
1/21/02
CART, to benefit from European ESPN station  The ESPN Classic channel will soon be offered in Europe.  Because ESPN Classic shows programming from previous years, and since CART had a lot of races broadcast by ESPN over the past 20 years or so, there's sure to be a lot of CART action on European TV's soon.  This can only help to raise CART's awareness in Europe, and its two European races.
1/21/02
Minardi launches new car in style  With base-jumpers parachuting in from the nearby Petronas twin towers, an eye-popping pyrotechnic display and the arrival of three two-seater Formula One cars in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000 people, the official unveiling in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday evening of the Minardi team’s 2002 title sponsor was bound to be a memorable occasion.  The appearance of the first of the Grand Prix-type cars, as it raced up to a grandstand containing 600 VIP guests, including the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Dr Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dato’ Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, revealed all. The distinctive new emblem of the “Go KL” campaign, incorporating the flag of the city of Kuala Lumpur, was clearly visible on the sidepods and engine cover of the gleaming black machine. Also proudly displayed on the car were the logos of Magnum Corporation Berhad and, for the first time, those of two new team partners, BSA and Admiral.  As the excited crowd looked on and pyrotechnics illuminated the Malaysian night sky, the uncompromising bark of more Formula One engines exploding into life heralded the arrival of two more cars – and judging by the helmet design, all three machines were being piloted by the country’s first-ever Grand Prix driver, Alex Yoong! After the final car screeched to a halt, had its tires changed in a simulated Formula One pit stop, and then tore off again, the engines fell silent, the drivers removed their helmets, and the mystery was solved. The Alex Yoong “driving doubles” had been none other than KL Minardi Asiatech boss, Paul Stoddart, and regular F1 two-seater driver, Rob Gray.  It had been a memorable finale to a memorable evening, but amid all the excitement of the occasion, Paul Stoddart made clear the longer-term significance of the event. “As a Grand Prix team owner, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that I believe the sport offers a platform for creating global awareness that is second to none,” he commented. “In one way, the ‘Go KL’ emblem that our team will carry proudly to Formula One races this year is a symbol of Kuala Lumpur’s desire to let the world know that it is the gateway to a fast-growing center for tourism, sport, international commerce and the development of high-technology industries.  “It is also, however, about providing a high-profile platform for this country’s privately owned companies to market themselves globally. To the extent that the colors of two new Malaysian team partners, BSA and Admiral, can be seen alongside the distinctive logo of Magnum Corporation Berhad on the KL Minardi Asiatech cars, the initiative has already begun to succeed.  “I must also pay special tribute to Kuala Lumpur City Council and to the foresight and imagination of the Malaysian government. Their belief in, and enthusiasm for, the ability of Formula One to carry this country’s message to the world, and to act as a catalyst to encourage the younger generation to aspire to higher levels of performance and excellence, marks them out as exceptionally forward-thinking leaders. They are focused not solely on short-term improvement, but rather on establishing the solid foundations necessary for the long-term economic and social prosperity of their people. It is an honorable and worthy goal, and one in which we at KL Minardi Asiatech are exceptionally proud to play at least a small part.” Should CART teams do big PR launch events like this to bring PR to their sponsors and to their team?
1/21/02
Williams team completes marathon 7-day test  The BMW WilliamsF1 Team concluded a productive non-stop seven day test in Valencia this afternoon, the second stage of an intensive pre-season program. The test, conducted by both team drivers, Ralf Schumacher & Juan Pablo Montoya, as well as both official test drivers, Marc Gené and new recruit Antonio Pizzonia, was the last before the team’s 2002 car, the FW24, is scheduled for its shakedown on January 25th at Silverstone. As in Barcelona the previous week, the test program was conducted with a combination of 2001 season and interim chassis to run BMW’s new engine, the P82, as well as associated gearbox and drivetrain updates. Assessment of the new powertrain was conducted in tandem with extensive Michelin tire testing in a variety of conditions, and a range of subsidiary component testing including braking and electronic control systems.  Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1): “Since January 7th, it’s been a really intense program in Spain, which is set to continue in Barcelona as of next weekend, so all credit really to the entire team both at the circuit and those supporting us back at Grove and Munich for making it so productive. We encountered some problems at the start of the week, but all of the small niggles were quickly ironed out and the drivers managed to clock up substantial and invaluable mileage.  We have focused our attentions on reliability running of the major components that are new to the car for 2002, as well as committing extensive energy to assessing Michelin’s new compounds and constructions.  By today I am happy with both the performance and reliability we have been able to achieve.”  Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):   A seven day test needs a massive input of resources, which makes it nearly impossible to keep all three cars running all day for this long. Therefore it is even more pleasing that we managed to get through most of our program. As before in Barcelona, we generated a lot of information about the new engine from the test, things one simply can not learn while running the machine on the test bench. Considering these high demands and the richness of information we generated, it was good, and now we have the benefit of five days without testing to work in Munich."
1/21/02
Americans down under - More on Coulthard disqualification 24-hours ago AutoRacing1 reported that Fabian Coulthard was disqualified from both race wins this past weekend.  Here's more details -  Team USA Scholarship winner Bryan Sellers has been elevated into the lead of the eight-race Talley's New Zealand International Formula Ford Championship following the revelation that runaway points leader Fabian Coulthard had been using an illegal engine. After scoring two dominant victories at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Sunday to add to a string of seven straight National championship race wins prior to being beaten twice by Sellers at Timaru one week ago, MotorSport New Zealand officials found a "technical irregularity" late on Sunday evening. Coulthard was disqualified from the event, fined NZ$250 and received an endorsement on his racing license. Consequently, Brady Kennett and Nick Ross were declared winners of Sunday's races, with Ross taking home the Ron Frost Memorial Trophy. Sellers was promoted to second in the official results of both races, with Team USA Scholarship teammate A.J. Allmendinger placing fourth on both occasions. "Dammit," exclaimed Sellers, 19, from Centerville, Ohio, when he learned of Coulthard's disqualification on Monday morning. "I wish I would have stuck that [last-lap] pass on Ross now!" Sellers had drafted past Ross on the long back straightaway on the 15th and final lap, only for Ross to reclaim the position with a desperate lunge down the inside -- with two wheels on the grass -- at the ensuing hairpin. At the time, both men thought their tussle was for second place. Following Coulthard's disqualification, however, it had taken on a greater significance. "Oh well," said Sellers. "There's not much you can do except take the two seconds. Heck, what kind a bad day is it if you're disappointed with two seconds?" Coulthard still holds a massive lead in the National Championship, but in the International title-chase, which comprises the past three weekends plus one more double-header at Manfeild on February 2/3, Sellers now holds the upper hand. After six of eight races, unofficially, Sellers has 168 points to the 122 of Coulthard. Kennett and Ken Smith are tied for third on 108, followed by Ross (105), Nelson Hartley (97) and Allmendinger (95). Sellers will attempt to secure Team USA's fourth championship victory in as many years following the successes of Paul Edwards in the 1998 Formula Opel Winter Series and the ‘99 Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series, plus Phil Giebler's success in the 2000 FPA Winter Series. Support for the Team USA Scholarship is provided by CART, Steve and Christine Horne, The Craig Company, American Honda, Prappas Company, Klein Tools, Las Vegas Karting Center, Road Racing Drivers Club, Sparco USA, Skip Barber Racing, Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, Buttonwillow, Speedstar and Racer. 
1/21/02

EuroLights
EuroLights wants relationship with CART Thought you might be interested in this transcription of a quick interview with Oval Race Management's Bob Berridge, from the UK's World Motorsports program on Sky Sports first shown today (19th Jan). He was interviewed at the launch of the Euro Lights Lola chassis mock-up at the Autosport International Show, which opened on Friday 11th January. 
Q: Bob, tell us about the EuroLights championship you've announced. 
A: "It's to go alongside ASCAR which is basically...it's [EuroLights is] an aspirational formula - it'll slot in between Formula 3000 and Formula 3. We will be attempting to get some form of relationship going across in the States to either CART or IRL and the winner of the championship we're looking to get either a race or a test in CART or IRL. What we're doing at the moment this year in 2002 is just testing the water, getting the car reliable, get it running in testing, and basically depth-sounding the level of interest that we've got, and talk to the teams with a view to getting it up and running in 2003." 
Q. Has this idea come from the fact that obviously the Indy Lights championship is no more, is this to try and encourage it mostly in America or are you going to try and really push it for Europe? 
A: "I think that the European scene badly needs oval racing and EuroSpeedway [Lausitz] is now up and running, Rockingham is now up and running - the guys did a remarkable job at Rockingham in the first year to get it running from basically scratch. To actually run a CART meeting in September for me was a remarkable achievement. There are plans for three or four other oval circuits and I think that it will be a natural evolution that oval racing will develop in Europe, and I think it will become a big thing in Europe, and I don't think it will need America really, in the long run." 
Q: Lola have just designed the chassis of the car - what's the actual spec on it? 
A: "The spec is...basically it's very similar to an F3000 car so we kept the cost down, with the unit cost of production. We're looking to get 4000km per engine, we're looking 450-500bhp, we're looking to do something like 180-190mph around Rockingham and probably faster at EuroSpeedway." 
Press Release - EuroLights is Europe’s first banked oval racing, single-seat formula. In terms of cost and performance it will fit between Formula 3 and Formula 3000, but EuroLights offer the unique opportunity to develop European talent for the IRL and CART American series. EuroLights cars will utilize the Lola B255 chassis and a 450bhp, V6 engine prepared by Langford Performance Engineering. The car’s underbody, rear diffuser, wings and sidepods are specially designed to optimize oval race aerodynamic performance, drawing on Lola’s successful CART racing experience. Average lap speeds of over 160mph are predicted. The car is purpose-designed for the continuous stresses and high speeds of banked oval racing and incorporates the latest safety technology. The carbon-aluminum monocoque is constructed in ‘one-piece’ for maximum integrity around the driver and complies with the FIA F1 safety requirements. The new car is expected to run for the first time in May, with an intensive test program in June, July and August. An announcement will be made in September on the new series, which is set to race on the European ovals at Rockingham in England and at EuroSpeedway in Germany. 
Specification: 
Chassis: Lola B255. Carbon-aluminum honeycomb composite monocoque with aerodynamics developed during Lola’s CART program. 
Engine: 450-bhp, V6 engine prepared by Langford Performance Engineering 
Suspension: Independent with unequal length, aero profile, steel upper and lower wishbones, with anti-intrusion link at front. 
Top Speed: Circa 170mph.
1/20/02
Nissan Lights program already affecting IRL? Sinden Racing Services of Indianapolis, which used to field IRL cars, has announced plans to compete in the new Infiniti Pro Series this season.  Before Bob Reif left the IRL, he warned that the Nissan series would drain sponsors and teams from the IRL.  While one can argue that Sinden had dropped out of the IRL anyway, certainly any sponsor they or any other Nissan team pick up, will be one less sponsor for an IRL car.  Mark C.
1/20/02
CART Race Operations burning the midnight oil  John Lopes and CART Race Operations have been going non-stop in the off-season to improve the way CART races are run.  AutoRacing1 has learned that Race Operations has been in a two month project to re-write various rules in the rulebook. Over 60 rules have been re-written. Look for significant changes to qualifying procedures, including the elimination of two-group qualifying on street and road courses.  Everyone will now qualify in one group for 1-hour, rather than split 30-minute sessions. That should be plenty of time to find a clear lap, and makes it much more fair for everyone.  Friday qualifying will return as well.  The rule book will be completed by mid-February. We expect the 2003 car and engine specs to be released then as well, and we expect them to be pretty much as laid out in this article. Annual team costs will be slashed in half.  John has also hired another technical person.  Look for an announcement soon. Mark C.
1/20/02
A slight cooling of the Ecclestone/George relationship?  We published weeks ago that former CART President Andrew Craig's company had won the rights to broadcast all F1 races in the USA.  What we failed to mention was that Tony George's Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio network lost those rights.  It was thought that George was trying to twist ABC's arm to get the F1 broadcast rights in the USA.  One would think losing the radio rights to Andrew Craig didn't sit too well with George, and perhaps he won't feel so compelled to help Ecclestone get on the ABC TV Network.
1/20/02
David Pook released from Hospital David Pook, the 30-year-old son of Championship Auto Racing Teams President and CEO Christopher R. Pook, was released from Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix this afternoon and is traveling back to his home in Long Beach, Calif., after being treated for a severe neck injury sustained in a private testing accident late Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway. David Pook sustained a clean fracture of his second cervical vertebra in the accident that occurred in a late afternoon test run on the one-mile Phoenix oval. Pook was testing his NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Chevrolet stock car that suffered a suspected steering failure. He was travelling approximately 150 miles per hour down the front straightaway at the time of the suspected equipment failure, which resulted in a nearly head-on collision with the Turn 1 wall. He was wearing a HANS Device. Pook has been fitted with a "halo" external support device although his injury did not require surgery. Although he remains bruised and sore, Pook has been awake and alert since the incident and remains in good spirits. He is expected to wear the "halo" for up to three months. "We are incredibly touched and grateful for the out-pouring of sympathy and support that the racing community, literally from around the world, has shown for David and all in our family," the elder Pook said today. "We feel very, very fortunate that David survived an impact as big as it was with only a fracture. I want to particularly express our gratitude to David's crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner who built a unique and special seat that held in place during the complete impact, as well as the HANS Device that played a major role in David's survival." David Pook is a veteran race driver who has competed in both the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. He also drove a Van Diemen RF95 to the 1995 SCCA Formula Continental national championship. Friends and well-wishers can contact David Pook through his web site DavidPookRacing.com that is scheduled to come online tomorrow. Cards and letters may be sent to the following address:
DP Motorsports
3710 Industry Way, Unit 201
Lakewood, CA 90712  --CART
1/20/02
Coulthard caught cheating, podiums for Americans UPDATE Please note that Fabian Coulthard has been excluded from both victories in Pukehoke (NZ) this weekend for technical irregularities with his engine, giving Bryan Sellers a pair of seconds, and AJ Allmendinger a pair of fourths. In the six races contested, this gives Sellers two wins, three seconds, and a fourth to Coulthard's two wins, two seconds, and two DQs. 1/20/02 -  Team USA Scholarship winners Bryan Sellers and A.J. Allmendinger put up another solid showing in today's pair of Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship races at Pukekohe Park Raceway. Local driver Fabian Coulthard's Van Diemen/Stealth was in a class of its own as the young New Zealander padded his championship lead with two utterly dominant victories, but the action behind was of classic Formula Ford quality as seven drivers battled for supremacy on the fast and demanding track which encircles a popular horse race facility some 45 minutes south of Auckland. Race One this morning saw Brady Kennett edge out Sellers, 19, from Centerville, Ohio, for the runner-up position, with veteran Ken Smith, Allmendinger, Nick Ross, Simon Gamble and Nelson Hartley blanketed by less than a second in fourth through eighth after a 10-lap thriller. Race Two, fought over 15 laps for the coveted Ron Frost Memorial Trophy, saw Sellers pass Coulthard with a bold out-braking maneuver into the hairpin on lap four. Coulthard, however, motored past Sellers on the next lap before romping away to victory. In his wake, Sellers, Ross, Hartley, Allmendinger and Kennett were embroiled in another enthralling drafting contest. "I went by Fabian, but then we went back past me and he was gone," said Sellers. "After that it was just a cat-fight." Positions were exchanged almost constantly before Ross made second place his own with a banzai move down to the inside -- with two wheels on the grass -- at the hairpin on the final lap. "It was one of those things," said Sellers. "I could either finish third or crash. I thought, man, I want to take this car to Manfeild [in two weeks' time], so I took third." Hartley, 16, impressed in taking fourth place from Allmendinger, with Kennett also within one second of Ross as the second-through-sixth-placed cars were covered by a scant 0.944sec at the checkered flag. "I didn't have enough for them at the end of the straightaway," declared Allmendinger, 20, from Hollister, Calif., who was fighting off the effects of a heavy cold. "Every lap I would get slaughtered and then blocked, so there wasn't much I could do." Even so, Allmendinger pulled off one of the moves of the day as he passed Kennett around the outside at the almost-flat-out Turn One. "Fifth, honestly, I'm not happy, but I think that's the best I've driven since I've been here [in New Zealand], so, hopefully, I can carry that [form] into Manfeild and finish off on the right note," he said. Among the large crowd enjoying an action-packed schedule at Pukekohe today were staunch Team USA Scholarship supporters and former Tasman Motorsports Group principals Steve Horne, who was raised in New Zealand before pursuing his career in Europe and then North America, and his wife Christine. "It was fun to come back to Pukekohe -- a track where I grew up in motor racing -- and see Team USA perform so impressively," said Horne. Race One results (10 laps): 1. Fabian Coulthard (NZ), Van Diemen/Stealth, 10:42.466; 2. Brady Kennett (NZ), Van Diemen, 10:45.346; 3. Bryan Sellers (USA), Van Diemen, 10:45.445; 4. Ken Smith (NZ), Van Diemen/Stealth, 10:48.035; 5. A.J. Allmendinger (USA), Van Diemen, 10:48.074; 6. Nicholas Ross (NZ), Van Diemen, 10:48.380; etc. Fastest lap: Coulthard, 1:03.261. Race Two -- for the Ron Frost Memorial Trophy (15 laps): 1. Coulthard, 16:01.444; 2. Ross, 16:06.456; 3. Sellers, 16:06.473; 4. Nelson Hartley (NZ), Van Diemen, 16:06.555; 5. Allmendinger, 16:06.785; 6. Kennett, 16:07.400; etc. Fastest lap: Coulthard, 1:03.171. Support for the Team USA Scholarship is provided by CART, Steve and Christine Horne, The Craig Company, American Honda, Prappas Company, Klein Tools, Las Vegas Karting Center, Road Racing Drivers Club, Sparco USA, Skip Barber Racing, Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, Buttonwillow, Speedstar and Racer.
1/20/02
Why not Cadillac?  A reader writes - Why can't Cadillac rebadge the Chevy IRL engine for CART? Since they are (1) trying to enhance their "quality approach", and (2) going international and high-tech (coming out with Sister car to the Corvette), it would seem to me that CART would be a perfect fit for them. Morichai Rosen
1/19/02
New Winston Cup team in the works   Former Vikings coach Dennis Green has formed a partnership with the owner of a group that hopes to field a NASCAR team and start racing in May. Green and Darwin Oordt, owner of the Ford Taurus Galaxy Motorsports Winston Cup team, made the partnership public Thursday. Their company will be called Denny Green Racing, LLC. The team did not say who would drive for them, and it's not clear if it has sponsors.
1/19/02
Industry News
Hall-of-Fame Inductees  Stock car icon Dale Earnhardt, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, drag racing king Eddie Hill and pioneering open-wheel racer Gaston Chevrolet will lead a class of eight racing legends into the Motorsports Hall of Fame when the organization stages its annual enshrinement ceremony, June 12, 2002 at the State Theatre in Detroit. These four, along with racing engine designer Fred Offenhauser, sports car champion Brian Redman, international motorcycle road racing ace Eddie Lawson and air racer and Hollywood stunt pilot Paul Mantz, will join the 122 racers already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame. "The names of those elected this year reads like the book of racing royalty," says Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. "Combined, they represent well more than 24 major championships, three Bendix air racing trophies, world speed records and a half century of engine design." Earnhardt, whose death in a crash during last year's Daytona 500 shocked the racing world, was a seven-time NASCAR champion who compiled 76 wins and $40 million in prize money. Johncock amassed 25 Indy car race wins, including two visits to the Indy 500 winner's circle and a CART season championship. Hill, a drag racer in both boats and cars, reached 229 mph in 1982 for a world water-speed record and later set numerous National Hot Rod Association speed and elapsed time records, capped by a top fuel World Championship in 1993. Chevrolet, the youngest of three racing Chevrolet brothers, won the 1920 Indy 500 driving a car built by his brother, Louis, who was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1995. Offenhauser built the dependably fast four-cylinder "Offy" Champ Car and midget car engine that dominated open wheel competition for more than a half century. Redman is best known for his reign over the Formula 5000 road racing series in the 1970s, winning the title in 1974, 1975 and 1976 with 10 race wins and five second-place finishes in that span. Lawson won the 500cc motorcycle FIM World Road Racing Championship in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1989. He also won four championships in other classes throughout his career. Mantz, a famed movie and stunt pilot, won the 1946, 1947 and 1948 Bendix Trophy Races. Tickets for the enshrinement ceremony can be purchased by calling 1-800-RACE (7223). Eligibility for induction into the Hall of Fame is available to anyone who has driven, piloted, ridden, owned, designed, built, supported, maintained, prepared, or promoted motorized vehicles in pursuit of speed, distance, endurance, or other records: or in racing, endurance or other competition. To be eligible, an inductee must have been retired for at least three years or must have been engaged at the top level of his or her specific field for at least 20 years. The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame is operated by the Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc., a non-profit corporation. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is located within the Novi Expo Center, I-96 at Novi Road (Exit162), in the Detroit suburb of Novi, Michigan. The museum spotlights more than 40 racing and high performance vehicles. The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, Can Am, TransAm, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, air racing and even snowmobiles. Among the highlights are the last-ever Novi Special Indy car, Art Arfons' Green Monster jet car, and Winston Cup cars driven by Dale Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough.
1/19/02
Americans 1st and 6th in New Zealand quals  Team USA Scholarship drivers Bryan Sellers and A.J. Allmendinger will start third and sixth on the grid for the first of tomorrow's pair of Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship races at Pukekohe. The pair were quick in unofficial practice yesterday, in changeable conditions, with Sellers turning the fastest lap in wet weather practice and teammate Allmendinger close behind in his identical red-white-and-blue Canterbury Racing School/Crawford Services-prepared Van Diemen. Today, however, dawned sunny and windy at the fast Pukekohe circuit, situated 20 miles south of Auckland. The entirely different conditions left the Americans at a slight disadvantage to the more experienced locals for the single 20-minute qualifying session, but car owner John Crawford once again was impressed by the pair's ability. "They're right there [on the pace]," said the former New Zealand Formula Ford Champion. "Considering that they've never seen the place before and have had only one dry session, they've done a pretty good job. It's a tricky place. I've seen people win here [at Pukekohe] from the sixth row [of the grid], so they're in good shape for tomorrow." Series leader Fabian Coulthard once again set the pace, posting a fastest lap of 1:02.973, followed by vastly experienced Brady Kennett, a former winner in the more powerful Formula Holden cars. Sellers was third despite not being able to take advantage of the draft. "We were geared too high," said Sellers, 19, from Centerville, Ohio. "We made some changes from yesterday but we went in the wrong direction, so I set my best time without a draft. We're in decent shape. The car feels good, but this place is all about the draft and I wasn't able to take advantage of that. We'll make some more changes tonight and just have to wait and see how things pan out tomorrow." Teammate Allmendinger, who has been fighting a heavy cold since last weekend at Timaru, wound up sixth after qualifying this afternoon. "Decent," summarized the 20-year-old from Hollister, Calif., succinctly. "I got only one good lap. It's all about finding the right drafting partner. When I did that, there was a caution flag going into Turn One, so that cost us some time. The car's pretty good. Starting positions don't really mean a lot here, so I just need to make sure I get off the line well tomorrow [at the standing start]." Top six times from qualifying: 1. Fabian Coulthard (NZ), Van Diemen, 1:02.973; 2. Brady Kennett (NZ), Van Diemen, 1:03.189; 3. Bryan Sellers (USA), Van Diemen, 1:03.400; 4. Ken Smith (NZ), Van Diemen/Stealth, 1:03.588; 5. Simon Gamble (NZ), Van Diemen, 1:03.771; 6. A.J. Allmendinger (USA), Van Diemen, 1:03.785; etc. Support for the Team USA Scholarship is provided by CART, Steve and Christine Horne, The Craig Company, American Honda, Prappas Company, Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Klein Tools, Las Vegas Karting Center, Road Racing Drivers Club, Sparco USA, Skip Barber Racing, Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, Buttonwillow, Speedstar and Racer.

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