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DATE

News (chronologically)

1/22/03

CART Toyota Atlantic Series news  With two months remaining before the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship begins its 30th Anniversary season in Monterrey, Mexico on the weekend of March 23, the list of teams and drivers who will be competing in the series is beginning to come together, with 16 cars confirmed and several other deals approaching completion. Full Story

1/22/03

Lexmark replaces Honda as Surfers sponsor  We expected this to happen now that Honda has thrown their support behind the IRL.  Premier Peter Beattie today announced Lexmark as the new Naming Rights sponsor of the Indy 300 on Queensland's Gold Coast in a four-year multi-million dollar agreement.  Queensland's premier annual Event will now be known as the Lexmark Indy 300, with the 2003 edition to be held from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 October on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Full Story

1/22/03

Villeneuve pans Honda  Jacques Villeneuve told Montreal newspaper La Presse “The new BAR chassis is really quite good, but the engine lacks punch, it's down on power. The chassis is good enough for us to get to the podium. Now, it all depends on Honda. For now, our engine lasts for half a race, no more.”  Villeneuve is not making friends at BAR Honda of late, however, we expect he will not drive for BAR in 2004 anyway.  Villeneuve is a great talent behind the wheel, but a diplomat he is not.  Questioned as to if he thinks that his way with words is bad for his reputation, the former world champion said: “No. I am actually respected for that. People know I'm not playing games. I'm sure it closed a few doors on me, but it also opened some; anyway, if I couldn't be myself, I'd rather stay home.”

1/22/03

Mario Andretti helps blood drive succeed  Race fans were treated to a joyride around the world-famous road course at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday, and at the same time they aided a worthy cause. More than 300 race fans braved cold and wet conditions at the 2nd annual "High Speed Blood Drive" to benefit the American Red Cross. Race fans were treated to a hot lap at speed around the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course in exchange for donating a pint of blood. The bonus was that 75 lucky people were given hot laps around the track by Mario Andretti, the only driver in history to win races in five different decades. “We're delighted that we were able to help the Red Cross at a time of such critical need,” said Steve Page, president and general manager at Infineon Raceway. “The turnout was tremendous and we are grateful to Mario for helping to attract so many donors. We look forward to hosting and growing this event in future years.” Race fans lined up more than an hour before the start of the blood drive, anxious to meet their favorite driver. Andretti not only spent the day giving fans laps around the track in a 2003 Audi Quattro S8, he also signed autographs, took pictures and mingled with the fans. Other hot laps were given by instructors from the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. The event was co-sponsored by The Bone 107.7 FM out of San Francisco. "This was a very unique experience," said Christian Reed, from San Francisco. "I came out for a good cause to donate blood but I also had the excitement of meeting Mario and going 90 mph around hairpin turns. It doesn't get any better than that on a rainy Tuesday afternoon." Said Kimberly Taylor, a Vallejo resident: "The lap with Mario was something I'll never forget. I was videotaping while he was going around so I started to get a little sick but it was pretty fun. This was just a great way to get people to come out and donate blood, by having Mario out here."  The drive netted 106 pints of blood, exceeding expectations of the American Red Cross, which called it one of their best events in the Bay Area. That number was more than a 300-percent increase over the amount of blood donated at last year's High Speed Blood Drive at Infineon Raceway. American Red Cross representatives said the 106 units will help save 318 lives. "Currently we have a one-to-two day supply of blood so every unit that we collected today will help save lives," said Phil Bureau, director, recruiting marketing blood services for the Northern California Region of the American Red Cross. "This has been a great event." Andretti, a spokesman for Infineon Technologies, was pleased to spend the day with race fans, and also help the American Red Cross. He is the 1978 Formula One world champion, a four-time CART champion and former winner of both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. "I had a great time today. It's amazing to see how many race fans came out to donate blood, especially considering the bad weather. I just hope they had a good time with me in the car," Andretti said

1/22/03

Dominguez blisters Sebring with fastest lap this year  Sophomore Champ Car World Series competitor Mario Dominguez returned to the track for his first two days of pre-season testing on the 1.65 mile Sebring International Raceway in Florida on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Dominguez had shoulder surgery in December and was just recently cleared by the doctors to return to testing duties. The two-day test was the team’s second at Sebring this month but was the first time for Dominguez to work with the newly assembled engineering staff. While Chief Engineer Tom Brown will continue to direct the program from a technical and strategic standpoint, new hires Chris Gorne and Brian Ma will take over Race Engineer duties. Brandon Fry continues as a Data Engineer and is now joined by Rick Mahurin. Bill Trowbridge also continues in his role as Development Engineer. “I was very encouraged by the results of this test,” said Brown. “The chemistry is developing nicely between the drivers and also within the engineering staff. These additional resources add a strength and depth to this team that will allow us to really move forward rather than just working to keep up. My role will be more focused on the overall direction and planning while the race engineers will focus on the day-to-day operations.” Dominguez completed 105 laps of the circuit on Monday and added more than 60 additional rounds on Tuesday, posting a best time of 51.7 seconds [Editor's note: this is by far the fastest lap recorded at Sebring this year that we are aware of]. “I’m very excited about how things went,” commented Dominguez. “My shoulder was much better than I expected and the times were good. There are a lot of new people on the team now so it was also really great to start getting to know everyone and building those relationships.” Roberto Moreno, who substituted for Dominguez in the Sebring test last week, was also on hand to provide feedback and input. “It was great to have Roberto there,” continued Dominguez. “I really respect his opinions and appreciate that he is willing to share information with me. It’s a real help.”

1/22/03

CART stock watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.41 Down $0.08 on Volume of 9,400 shares.
$2.79 Bid - $3.73 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.41 / $3.51
MPH Value Change Down 2.29%
DOW Jones Down 124.17 or 1.47% on Volume of 1.9 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 4.77 or 0.35%
S&P 500 Down 9.26 or 1.04%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

1/22/03

Infiniti Pro races on ESPN2  All 2003 Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series events will be broadcast on ESPN2 in the United States and distributed worldwide through ESPN International, series officials announced Jan. 22. Produced by IMS Productions, the 30-minute shows will feature race coverage and unique profiles of Infiniti Pro Series drivers and teams. Each race will be televised within two weeks of the event, with the July 6 race at Kansas scheduled to air at 7 p.m. (EDT) on race day. "We're delighted to continue our relationship with our partners at ESPN2 as we grow the Infiniti Pro Series," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Infiniti Pro Series. "As they did last year, the shows will feature great race action and the driver profiles that allow fans to get up-close-and-personal with the stars of the Infiniti Pro Series." Veteran motorsports commentators Dr. Jerry Punch and Amy East will serve as host and pit reporter, respectively, for the 30-minute shows. An IRL IndyCar Series driver analyst will join Punch in the booth at each race.

1/22/03

Mast announces his retirement  Rick Mast announced his retirement from Winston Cup racing during a press conference today during the UAW-GM Media tour in Charlotte. Mast’s retirement was due to the long term effects of acute and chronic exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning. Mast told the press that he can no longer risk the exposure to further carbon monoxide poisoning. Mast, plans to work with NASCAR to help other drivers avoid suffering long-term effects from exposure to the invisible gas. Mast, a 47-year-old Virginian who began competing in the Winston Cup Series on a part-time basis in 1988 and a full-time basis in 1991, ran in nine races last year before being sidelined by the illness.

1/22/03

Schumacher fastest in Barcelona on Wednesday 
1. M. Schumacher – Ferrari - 1.17.206 - 89 laps
2. R. Barrichello – Ferrari - 1.17.605 - 54 laps
3. J. Villeneuve – BAR - 1.18.787 - 55 laps
4. L. Badoer – Ferrari - 1.18.841 - 39 laps
5. A. Pizzonia – Jaguar - 1.19.123 - 46 laps
6. J. Button – BAR - 1.19.145 - 19 laps
7. M. Webber – Jaguar - 1.19.839 - 29 laps

1/22/03

Villeneuve would team with Vasser  From Jacques Villeneuve's website - Hi Jacques. Is Les 24 Heures du Mans on your mind? Is it on your agenda? If so, who are the drivers you would like to team up with? - Francois Duranleau (lead guitar for Les Parfaits Salauds) Montreal, Canada. Jacques: "Le Mans could be fun but it’s not a priority right now. When I stop racing in F1 I might not be interested in racing anymore. It would be nice to win it though in addition to the CART and Formula 1 Championships. "If I did compete in Le Mans, I would like to partner with Patrick Lemarie and maybe Jimmy Vasser, or someone like that."

1/22/03

CART deal 5 years with Brands  The deal CART signed to race at Brands hatch is for five years, meaning there is no plan for this race being short-lived.  Planned improvements for the "Indy" circuit include increasing some run-off areas, extra debris fencing, and modifying the pits to accommodate CART's refueling rigs.

1/22/03

Montoya fastest in Valencia 
Weather: Sunny - Covered and rain in the afternoon
Temperature: Track 19°; Air 16° (Track Length: 4.005 kilometers)
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m.10.794s 81
Kimi Räikkönen McLaren 1m.11.111s 42
Alexander Wurz McLaren 1m.11.911s 94
Marc Gene Williams 1m.12.331s 74
Heinz-Harald Frentzen SAUBER PETRONAS 1m.12.991s 64
Gary Paffett McLaren 1m.14.491s 35

1/22/03

CART logo launch drives website traffic  The Champ Car World Series launched its new corporate and the new Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford logos last week not only in a ceremony at its Indianapolis headquarters, but also live on www.champcarworldseries.com where fans from across the globe could follow the action. CART partners VFX Digital Solutions and Lingner Productions combined their resources to provide fans with unparalleled coverage of the event, which included the launch of the new PK Racing team. Given the opportunity to look in live on the event, Champ Car fans responded in typical fashion, sparking a 60 percent increase in traffic over the daily average of the site. The website featured live streaming video and audio and included an immediate transition of the site to incorporate the new logos.  The site averaged nearly 24,000 visits and over 250,000 page views per day during the month of January, but the logo launch date of January 15 saw 38,533 visits and 432,879 page views while January 16th saw 41,756 visits and 415,531 page views. The day after the logo was officially announced saw fans visit the site at a rate that was more than twice the number of an average day from January 2002.  "When we were informed of the logo launch, we wanted to let our fans join in the celebration. With the great relationship we have with the Lingner group, we were able to stream the festivities live during the event and had an archived, on-demand version available immediately after the webcast ended," said Coniah Chuang, President, VFX Digital Solutions. "The part I loved was how the site transitioned from the old logos and colors to the new look as the press conference was winding down so that visitors on the site got the new look the next time they clicked on a link. The wall paper images that were immediately available gave the fans a chance to show their support by putting the new Champ Car World Series logo right on their desktop."

1/22/03

Cowboys to start Winston Cup team  UPDATE According to this Dallas Fort-Worth Star Telegram article, Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, partner in a new Winston Cup venture with NFL Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, will conduct his first NASCAR-related news conference during the Texas Tour 2003 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Jan. 29. Aikman and Staubach, another legendary Cowboys quarterback, have formed Hall of Fame Racing with the intention of joining the Winston Cup Series in 2004. The guest lists features Bruton Smith, chairman of the board of Speedway Motorsports Inc. and owner of TMS; four-time Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon; and Sam Hornish Jr., two-time and reigning Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion.   1/16/03 - According to this Dallas Morning News article, Former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach plan to become owners of a NASCAR Winston Cup team in time for the 2004 season, Aikman confirmed Thursday.

1/22/03

Coca-Cola renews with Lowes    The Coca-Cola Company today announced it has signed a 10-year contract extension with Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) to continue as title sponsor of the Coca-Cola 600, held annually during Memorial Day weekend in Concord, N.C. The new agreement serves as an expansion of the long-standing relationship between Coca-Cola and LMS, a partnership that began when the speedway opened in 1960. Financial terms were not disclosed. "We're thrilled to extend our association with such a prestigious race - the longest and most challenging event on the circuit," said Bea Perez, vice president of sports marketing, Coca-Cola North American Division. "This agreement is part of our commitment to bringing fans closer to the passion and excitement of NASCAR racing for years to come." Dating back to 1985, the Coca-Cola 600 represents the longest continuous race sponsorship in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "Coca-Cola has been a loyal partner of the speedway since the gates opened 43 years ago," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Coca-Cola has played a major role in promoting our facility and the sport of NASCAR. We're excited to have one of the world's top sports marketers on board as sponsor of the 600 for another decade." The new agreement between Coca-Cola and LMS includes a substantial commitment from Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. "The Coca-Cola 600 and the events that surround it have become a tradition for race fans and Charlotte-area residents," said Frank Harrison III, chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated. "We'll continue to use this partnership to bring the spirit of NASCAR to life for race fans - both inside the track and beyond."

1/22/03

Chevrolet renews with Bristol    Chevrolet vehicles will continue to pace the field for Bristol Motor Speedway's motorsports events as General Motors and BMS recently reached an agreement in which the manufacturer will retain its "Official Vehicle" status. The partnership between GM and BMS began in 1998. "It pleases us tremendously to continue our association with one of the most recognizable motorsports venues in the nation," commented GM's Jeff Chew. "During the last five years the partnership between General Motors and Bristol Motor Speedway has been mutually beneficial and we look forward to building upon this existing foundation and taking it to a higher level."

1/22/03

NASCAR defines new garage access policy    UPDATE We forgot to mention that this topic was discussed here on AR1 last September in this article by Doug Belliveau.  1/21/03 - NASCAR has instituted an access policy for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series garage and pit areas, designed to alleviate overcrowding and improve safety and security in the 2003 season and beyond. The policy, which goes into effect next month for season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway, is based on the designation of "hot" and "cold" times in the garage and pit areas and the requirement that some people have a "hot pass" allowing them garage and pit road access during "hot" times. NASCAR and its tracks will issue "hot passes" prior to and during a race weekend. Those passes must be accompanied by a normal NASCAR or track-issued paper credential for access during hot times. Those possessing a NASCAR season credential [commonly referred to as a 'hard card'] will not be required to have a hot pass. Accredited news media personnel will have the access they have been granted in past seasons.  . Hot times for the garage will begin 30 minutes prior to any scheduled on-track race-car activity, and will end approximately 10 minutes after the on-track activity [ including practices, qualifying sessions and races] concludes. At other times the garage will be considered “cold." In addition to the garage restrictions, pits will be designated as hot 30 minutes prior to the start of a race and will remain so until a race ends. "Our goal is to reduce the number of people in the garage and in the pits," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications. "We want to significantly reduce the number of people." To help facilitate adherence to the access policy, large, red, strobe-like lights will be prominently positioned in the garage area to signify hot times. NASCAR reviewed the issue of allowing autographs in the garage area and determined the establishment of hot and cold times should inherently reduce the number of autograph-seekers. NASCAR will continue to monitor the new access policy as the season unfolds, and will make changes as needed. Said NASCAR President Mike Helton: "We're constantly working to improve the environment for everyone involved with NASCAR Winston Cup racing. This policy is all about two issues - safety and security. And this policy should improve the environment considerably."

Q: What is a "hot" pass?
A hot pass, which will be issued by NASCAR and track during a race weekend, allows the holder access into the garage area and pit area during "hot times." A hot pass by itself will not allow the holder access; it must be accompanied by a credential issued by NASCAR or a track.

Q: What is the difference between "hot" and "cold" times?
A: A hot time for the garage area is defined as a period beginning 30 minutes before any on-track race-car activity, and ending approximately 10 minutes after that activity. All other times are considered cold. A hot time for the pits is defined as a period beginning 30 minutes before the start of a race, and ending when the race ends.

Q: What is the reasoning behind the access policy?
A: To significantly reduce the number of people who have access to the garage and pits during a race weekend and, in the process, increase safety and security in the garage and pits.

Q: Will media be issued hot passes?
A: Media members who have a NASCAR-issued season credential [commonly referred to as a 'hard card'] will not need a hot pass for garage/pit area access. Other accredited media members who do not possess a hard card will have to request a hot pass.

Q: Will other "hard-card" holders be required to have hot passes for garage/pit area access?
A: No. Those possessing a hard card will have access during hot and cold times.

1/22/03

CART driver Vasser fastest in NASCAR debut  CART star Jimmy Vasser warmed up for his venture into NASCAR this season by posting the fastest lap in Busch series testing Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway. The 1996 CART champion ran a lap around the 2 1/2-mile track at 184.158 mph in the No. 19 Braun Racing Dodge. "I'm sure the race is going to be a whole different story for me," he said. "I've never encountered a bunch of cars in a pack drafting. I'm looking forward to coming back and practicing in a draft." Vasser plans to run a full CART schedule this season, as well as 10-to-12 Busch races, beginning with the season-opening event Feb. 15 at Daytona. "I see myself racing in NASCAR in the future, and this is the first step getting experience and meeting people and getting out there to do some racing," Vasser said.

1/22/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Electronic F1 Bans To Strike In July
World Champion Back With A Bang In Spain
Renault Boys Keen On Qualifying Shoot-Out
Toyota: Second Year Blues Could Bite
Jacques: Heading To BAR Was A Mistake
Windy Progress At Twisty Valencia
Baptism Of Fire Continues For EJ13
Jacques Villeneuve Slams His BAR Team
Hakkinen Prepares For Arctic Rally Debut
Pedro De La Rosa Eyes McLaren Role
R4 Not A Sexy Car, Says Aero Designer
Berger Welcomes Gizmo Bans To Grand Prix
Webber And Pizzonia Put Rivalries Aside
Prost Rules Out Role As Jaguar Boss
Thumbs-Up To New BAR Charger: Villeneuve
F1 Fans Listen In On Radio Banter?

1/22/03

Tuesday times and Ferrari photos from Barcelona UPDATE   We have added Ferrari photos from Barcelona below.

1 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1:17.616 54 laps
2 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:18.132 43 laps
3 Mark Webber Jaguar 1:19.354 49 laps
4 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:19.740 20 laps
5 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1.19.773 48 laps
6 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1.20.462 24 laps
7 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford 1.20.788 13 laps
8 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar 1.20.880 54 laps

1/21/03

First picture of 2003 Penske  3rd UPDATE  We have added another photo of the 2003 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara taken at Homestead testing recently. That is definitely a very low-profile tub forward of the cockpit, unorthodox by today's standards. The cross-sectional area of the front part of the tub is smaller by today's standards.  We wonder how well it did in crash tests.  That of course is very important given the vulnerability of the drivers legs and feet in frontal impact with the wall. 1/11/03 - A reader writes, Dear AR1, In regards to the photograph of Marlboro Team Penske’s new race car, please permit me the following observation. Man, that is one butt ugly race car the Capitan’s got there! No way will it get confused with the REAL race cars run in CART! Warmest Regards, J.N. Anderson, Chicago, IL   Another writes, I loathe the IRL, but be careful about jumping to conclusions on this design. Pullrods are a perfectly acceptable solution for activating springs and dampers. In fact, they position the dampers lower in the car which is theoretically better. One of the F1 teams experimented with pullrods in the last few years and ran them for at least one season - Arrows, I think it was (then abandoned them because inferior). The reason most open wheel designs use a pushrod is that it places the dampers and springs within easy reach for the mechanics making it quicker to change springs and make damper adjustments. Non-open wheel designs do it because open wheel do it!  As for the profile, we know the cars have plenty of downforce so perhaps this is attempt to reduce drag by decreasing frontal area. Dallara may have struggled in Formula 1, but they're not a bunch of hacks. I love your site and visit everyday. Thanks, Kerry Vincent  Dear Kerry, frontal area is not reduced at all, it is just moved back to the cockpit where the windscreen pops up into the air.  1/10/03 - One thing we missed but a reader spotted, was the fact that the front shocks are activated by pull-rods (a la 1980's design philosophy), not push rods as seen on most current day cars.  1/10/03 - Here is the first picture of the 2003 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara (Castroneves) with Toyota power.  We are quite taken aback by the low profile of the tub between the front wheels.  The trend has been toward a stiff high profile cross-section for increased polar moment of inertia and increased crash protection.  This design is bucking recent trends in CART and F1 and was has to wonder what the thought process was behind the change.  F1 is typically the leader in car design trends and technology, and it anything their tubs are getting stiffer and taller.

1/21/03

Castroneves gunning for Indy 3-peat  Helio Castroneves bent down and admired his back-to-back countenances on auto racing’s most famous trophy, the Borg-Warner Trophy, as the TV cameras zeroed in on him and his beaming smile.  Castroneves is undefeated at Indy, winning his first two attempts.   More....

1/21/03

CART stock watch 

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.49 Down $0.06 on Volume of 42,900 shares.
$2.81 Bid - $3.81 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.45 / $3.65
MPH Value Change Down 1.69%
DOW Jones Down 143.5 or 1.67% on Volume of 1.6 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 11.94 or 0.87%
S&P 500 Down 14.16 or 1.57%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

1/21/03

Fernández given green light  Owner/driver Adrian Fernandez has been cleared to return to the cockpit of his Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone following the results of a recent CT scan. He will make his first on-track appearance of the season in the CART open test at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on January 25 and 26 as the team prepares for the start of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. “His fractures are healed and he can go back to normal activities,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, CART’s Chief Orthopedic Consultant. “There have been no further changes since the last scans.” Fernandez last turned a lap on October 27 in Surfers Paradise, Australia, the site of the multi-car accident that left him a spectator for the final two events of 2002. After an off-season spent in physiotherapy and an intensive fitness program, Fernandez was given the green light yesterday. “I didn’t anticipate any problems with the scan, but it gives you peace of mind to know for certain that everything is okay,” said Fernandez. “I am really looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend. I feel fine and I am ready to go. I am not 100 percent in terms of doing everything I want – I can’t play golf yet or do things where I have to twist – but that will improve over time.” The 2003 season marks the third year of competition for Fernandez Racing, and CART’s only competing owner/driver is optimistic as he looks forward. “We hope that this time we can capitalize on what we have built the last few years,” said Fernandez. “I feel we have a better organization and we should be able to get the results that we want. With a little bit of luck, we should be able to fight for the championship and that’s our main aim. “There are a lot of new things at CART; this is a brand new ship. I think there are a lot of good opportunities. From what I have heard, the new Ford-Cosworth engine is different in terms of response so everyone will have to adjust to a different Champ Car than what we are used to. I hope we can keep at the front and keep fighting with the top teams and top drivers throughout the entire year.”

1/21/03

Driving 101 aligns itself totally with IRL  What used to be CART Driving 101, has now disassociated itself with CART and is now 100% aligned with the IRL.  They are even using detuned 2002 IRL cars now.  This move makes sense.  Driving 101 allowed fans to experience driving ovals.  The IRL is a 100% oval series and CART is nearly a 100% road racing series.  CART would be better off setting up a similar CART 101 program, with say, Skip Barber at the many Skip Barber schools around the USA.  What cars would they use?  How about significantly detuned used Champ Cars?...i.e. the cars should be full sized Champ Cars (like Driving 101), but safe enough so no one gets out of hand.  What does this accomplish?  It gives Skip Barber another program to offer and it gives CART a chance for their fans to experience the real thing.  CART has the pace car program, but nothing beats driving the real thing yourself.  We don't know if it is economically feasible, but it might be worth a look.  Mark C.

1/21/03

Mario Andretti agrees with more underbody downforce  AutoRacing1.com suggested this concept way back in 2000 in this article by Mark Cipolloni.  The idea is beginning to gain favor.  In this CART.com interview, Mario Andretti says - Q: Do you think CART should consider allowing more downforce to be generated by the cars' underbodies? Mario: To just increase the amount of downforce from the surface wings to me is not the answer either. I think they've got to go underneath the car. If you put more of a premium for downforce on the surface wings, the turbulence will still be a factor because you're disrupting the flow to the wings. But the turbulence is not as much a detriment to ground-effects downforce. They need to regain some of that. They need to open up the diffusers at the back and regain some of the ground-effect downforce to be able to make the cars stable so that you could put your nose right up to the other guy's gearbox. If you do that, you're going to have some passing because you would be able to set the guy up and get the suction--all the things that are necessary to complete a pass. Like anything else, experience should teach you something and now I think we have enough data to support what I'm saying. I feel the tunnel downforce is a more forgiving type of downforce because a flat bottom makes the car too pitch-sensitive. The tunnel-type downforce is more benevolent, more forgiving and better, especially for the ovals.

1/21/03

Mario Andretti hints at CART team with Michael  In this CART.com interview, Mario Andretti says - Q. Will you have a CART team in the future? Mario: That remains to be seen. I'm certainly open to it, as everyone knows, and have been exploring the options. There are possibilities that I could contribute to an existing team. Or, even set up my own operation within Michael's team to run in CART. I continue to be open to all possibilities. I guess it's fair to say that the idea is still alive, but just hasn't materialized yet. Champ Car racing remains a highlight in my life and if I see something that's really solid, it's well-funded and we can have all the right people and right ingredients in place and I'm happy with it, then I'll do it-–and have fun doing it.

1/21/03

FIA sets dates for gizmo ban  Formula One will outlaw traction control systems and automatic gearboxes from the British Grand Prix on July 20, the sport's governing body has announced. But drivers will still be able to communicate with their teams after the International Automobile Federation (FIA) went back on an earlier plan for the immediate elimination of pit-to-car radio. The final ruling on traction control fell halfway between the FIA's desire to ban so-called 'driver aids' from the start of the season on March 9 and the opposition of some teams to any change until 2004 at the earliest. The FIA had announced sweeping changes last week to cut costs and liven up racing after a difficult year that has seen two teams, Prost and Arrows, put out of business.

* Pits to car telemetry - eliminated with immediate effect.

* Car to pits telemetry - eliminated from 2004 and a standard data logger introduced at the same time. Immediate implementation would not save money because the limiting factor is the data acquisition system. This cannot be eliminated from a car in the short term.

* Radio communication between team and driver to be allowed provided
(i) the system is stand-alone and cannot transmit other data
(ii) the communications are open and accessible to the FIA and broadcasters.
The possibility of a standard system accessible to the public at a Grand Prix is being explored

* A third car will now be allowed if a race car is damaged beyond repair. If a race car fails just before the start, any spare car will start from the pitlane, as will a spare car used following a race stoppage in the first two laps.

* Cars will be held under Parc Fermé conditions between qualifying and the race, but can be kept in a team's garage under supervision. Any work other than a very restricted list will require special authorization.

* Traction control and automatic gearboxes will no longer be allowed from half way through the season - i.e. from the 2003 British Grand Prix.

* Launch control will end at the same time provided the teams can all operate their current clutches manually.

* Following today's meeting the FIA is satisfied that the absence of traction control, launch control and fully automatic gearboxes can be proved using a combination of new technology and extra (FIA) sensors.

1/21/03

Speedweeks to be busy for Harvick    Kevin Harvick will be the busiest driver during Speedweeks 2003 at Daytona International Speedway. Races on Harvick's schedule during Speedweeks include the Daytona 500 (Feb. 16), the Koolerz 300 NASCAR Busch Series season opener (Feb. 15), Round 1 of the True Value IROC Series (Feb. 14), the Gatorade 125's (Feb. 13), Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 9) and the Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 8). Harvick will also be atop his pit box during the Feb. 14 Florida Dodge Dealers 250 as an owner. He'll field a truck in the season opener of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for driver Ed Berrier. "Just winning anything, whether it's IROC or a truck race as an owner or a Busch race or a Winston Cup race or a Budweiser Shootout. Just winning at Daytona is important," Harvick said. "Whether it's any of those or a 125 or anything." Staying busy racing is just the way Harvick likes it. In 2003, he plans on racing limited schedules in both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, defend his True Value IROC championship and compete full time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in the No. 29 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. "I think I'm better when I race more," Harvick said. 'I'm more in to what's going on. You don't have time to lose track of what's working and what's not working. It's important to me to be in the race car."

1/21/03

Villeneuve on offensive again  Speaking in Montreal newspaper La Presse, Villeneuve said: "David Richards came in the middle of the BAR project and had a complete disregard for what had been done before. Instead of respecting the contract that I had signed, he provoked uncomfortable situations. If Michael Schumacher had come to BAR, he would have destroyed the team within six months. He would not have put up with people tarnishing his image." Villeneuve’s tough talking was not just reserved for Richards. The 31-year-old remains unconvinced by his new team-mate Jenson Button. He added: "I'm not starting the season thinking 'I have to beat Jenson'". I don't care about Jenson! It wasn't the case with some of my other teammates: Damon (Hill) had already won races, Frentzen was considered an extremely quick driver when he came along, same for Olivier Panis. Jenson hasn't done anything yet. I don't see him as the new guy to beat; if I don't beat him, I'd better stay home because that would mean that I don't belong in F1." "I'm willing to admit that Jenson can compete, but as of now, he hasn't shown anything. Everyone talks about him like he's the next world champion. They say it'll be tough for me, that I need to step up my game, that it'll be a dog fight. I find this insulting, people are putting us on equal footing! I don't see why I should go down to his level."

1/21/03

Vasser to drive Busch and CART  UPDATE Jimmy Vasser has signed to run 10 BGN races in addition to the full champ car season. His first race will be the season opening Koolerz 300 at Daytona.   1/17/03 - According to this Indy Star article, Vasser will divide his time between rookie owner Stefan Johansson's CART team and a NASCAR Busch Series team the driver is partly funding himself.  AR1 sources say Vasser may bring a personal services contract he signed with Ford, though that is not confirmed.  If true, it may further explain the "American" spirit team name.  Vasser said loyalty drove him to find a way to stay in CART. "It's a pivotal year and I didn't want to be walking out on them," he said. "Good things are starting to happen. It's shaping up to be more than what people thought it would be."

1/21/03

Ferrari numbers grow in ALMS    The GT class of the American Le Mans Series was dominated by Porsche in 2002, but the Prancing Horse of Ferrari will definitely make its presence known in the series in 2003. ACEMCO Motorsports is the latest team to announce that it will campaign a Ferrari 360 Modena in the American Le Mans Series in 2003 to provide competition to the Porsche brigade. The American-owned team, based in Spring Hill, Mich., will field a pair of experienced American drivers in its first season of ALMS racing.

1/21/03

NASCAR looks to light more tracks    According to this ThatsRacin article, It is likely that NASCAR officials will address the likelihood that more tracks will be encouraged to add lights to their facilities to provide more flexibility in setting the starting times for races, particularly those in the season's second half. NASCAR is considering later starts to allow the finishes of some races to extend into the late afternoon and early evening hours in an effort to further boost television ratings

1/21/03

UPS extends thru 2006    According to this ThatsRacin article, Dale Jarrett, which on Monday announced it has extended its sponsorship deal with UPS for two years through 2006, took umbrage at a Charlotte Observer story last week saying that Ford's hopes for winning the 2003 manufacturer's championship depend largely on the performance of Roush Racing's five teams. "I am going to give that story to our guys because they might take a little out of it," he said. "I have to disagree with that. They have good teams up there at Roush, they have good drivers and nothing against them. But you're going to see two cars right here that are going to make a huge difference for Ford and it's quest for another manufacturer's title. I can guarantee you that."

1/21/03

Daytona 500 is big, but it's hardly super   Each winter we hear of two Super Bowls -- the one that really is, and the one that really isn't. The Daytona 500, some NASCAR drivers will tell you ad nauseam, is "our Super Bowl." It is not. After Super Bowl XXXVII next Sunday, there'll be no doubt who is champion of the NFL. After the 45th Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, there'll be no clue who'll win the Winston Cup..  More from Orlando Sentinel....

1/21/03

Andretti still undecided on future  Michael Andretti acknowledged in a media teleconference today that he still had not made his decision as to whether or not he would be driving for his Andretti Green Racing team beyond the Indianapolis 500 this May, although he says the decision is getting closer. “To be honest with you, I do not know yet,” said Andretti. “I was asked right after the [Homestead] test how I felt, and at that point I felt like it is going to work OK. But then there is all the follow-up work that has to go into it and everything, and then you start seeing that is a lot of work, and it is taking away from my commitment of the driving. So that is something I have to weigh, and right now I am having problem with it in my mind, but I am working with it.  Full transcript

1/21/03

NASCAR admits to "Common Template"    Listen close. We're going to talk about NASCAR's dirty little secret, the one thing they hate to discuss. No, not the Francis Ferko lawsuit. We're talking about the term "common template." That sounds like something the 20-to-life inmates make at the Huntsville State Prison, but this isn't a license plate. Common template means all the bodies of the Winston Cup cars are aerodynamically the same. That's what we have this year for the first time. NASCAR prefers the term "aero matching." Whatever you call it, the end result is the racecar bodies for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the Pontiac Grand Prix, the Dodge Intrepid and the Ford Taurus are almost identical. The front grill is the only noticeable difference in the shells of the cars before paint and decals are added. The cars now fit a common template, metal blades that fit over the tops of the cars from front to back and side to side. At key spots on the body, it now is interchangeable between models. Executives for Ford, DaimlerChrysler and GM don't like to discuss it. They want to keep the illusion that the car you see on the track is similar to the car you can buy off the showroom floor. That hasn't been true for more than two decades, but the bodies of the cars were visibly different until now.  More from Dallas Morning News....

1/21/03

Michael Schumacher crashes on first lap  Michael Schumacher has crashed on his first Formula 1 lap of the year at Barcelona this morning. Schumacher lost control of his Ferrari on his warm-up lap and spun backwards into a tire barrier. He was unhurt but the rear of the car, including the wing, was damaged. The German is expected to be back out on track later today.

1/21/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Renault Unveil R23 In Switzerland
Alonso '200% Ready' For Race Return
Trulli And Alonso: Better Driver Match
Points At Every Race For New Renault
Renault Sponsors Mild Seven Extend Deal

Renault: Friday Testing The Best Option
Fiery Start To Jordan's New Year
Pocock Joins Oastler As Jaguar Tech Boss
Renault Threaten To Quit Formula One
Like A House On Fire For New Sauber Duo
Wilson Sets Sights On Regular Points
Schumacher Only Third Best: Montoya
Minardi Tester In Illegal Street Race
Andersson To Japan: Leave Toyota F1 Alone
Briatore Warns Bans Could Return Cheats
McLaren Planning Melbourne Boycott?
BMW Abandons GPWC Hostility To Reform
Brief: Renault, Bell, The R4 And Minardi

1/20/03

Tony Kanaan and Michael Andretti on IRL weekly teleconference  We would like to welcome today two drivers from the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, Michael Andretti and Tony Kanaan. Late last year the team announced the formation of Andretti Green Racing, which would field three cars full time in the IndyCar Series in 2003. The three drivers, Michael Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti. Today we have Michael Andretti and Tony Kanaan with us, because they just completed their first test in the new IndyCar Series equipment for 2003.   Full transcript

1/20/03

Renault can't accept rule that engines must last 6 races  The proposed rule change to engines lasting 6 race weekends could lead to Renault quitting the sport, its chief, Patrick Faure, claimed on Monday. "The plan is the end of Formula One," Faure was quoted by the BBC as saying in the Swiss city of Lucerne as the team revealed its new car for the forthcoming season. "We will not stay in the championship with these kind of rules, clearly, none of us." Although Faure said most of the other changes, such as banning radio communication between team and driver and automatic launch control, were acceptable but would need further discussing he took exception to the manner in which Mosley had announced them. "We are hoping to find some clarifications on when the measures are going to be implemented," he said. "There is still some need for discussion and refinement. The only thing totally unacceptable for us is the engine for six races. The rest we can discuss. But the way things have been announced is slightly aggressive and I do not think it is a way to behave." The new regulations were due for approval by F1's Technical Working Group last Friday but it failed to come to a conclusion and will meet again on Tuesday. Mosley had said that the engine ruling would be gradually eased in. "We will allow one engine per weekend in 2004, one per two weekends in 2005 and by 2006 it will go up to six weekends which will reduce the costs of the engine dramatically." "We have gone over to zero tolerance," Mosley told the BBC. "We could have probably been more insistent [last season] so now we decided we would impose the regulations to the letter." [Editors Note: The reaction by some of the F1 engine manufacturers demonstrates what is wrong with F1.  They are trying to throw their weight around, threatening withdrawal, etc., just like they did to CART.  It's about time F1 got control of its engine manufacturers and the new rules is the first step.  If Renault or some others withdraw, there are others ready to step in at the new lower cost.  That is why Max Mosley and Bernie have both said they are not worried.  They hold the trump cards to all the rights to F1, which has a long history.  Let some of the cry-babies go off and start their own, out-of-control cost series.  It won't last long.  The plan in play now has been well thought out by Bernie and Max.  The reactions they are getting were expected.]

1/20/03

Fernandez team completes initial shakedown  Fernandez Racing today completed its first test with the new Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone package that owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will campaign in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Young Mexican talent Luis Diaz, who recently signed with Dorricott Racing and will pilot a Telmex-sponsored Swift in the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship, handled the shakedown duties. “We are in very good shape and we are happy with everything,” said Team Manager Gustavo del Campo of the initial outing with the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex machine. “The goal was to do 70 laps but Luis spun out on Lap 63. It was no big deal and we are working on the car now. Up to that point, everything was very good.” The test marked the first trackside outing for the team with its new partners at Ford-Cosworth, the official engine supplier of the series.  “The new engine is very good and we didn’t have any problems,” added del Campo. “We were working with two engineers from Cosworth and everything was very, very smooth.” Diaz, who made his Champ Car debut with Fernandez Racing at the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante in Mexico City last November, was disappointed with the way his day ended. “I was trying to give a good impression to the team and unfortunately I crashed,” said the 24-year-old from Mexico City. “The track was very slippery and I had a little bit of a problem in adapting to the new engine. With my little experience, I made a mistake. Several of the other drivers spun, but unfortunately I was the only one to hit the wall. “At the beginning of the test, I think I was doing pretty well. I had good lap times. At least the car wasn’t very damaged. It was bad luck but it was my fault, too.” Fernandez Racing will head west this week as Adrian Fernandez prepares to make his first on-track appearance of the season at the CART open test on January 25 and 26 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

1/20/03

Tracy tests for Players at Sebring  Paul Tracy beamed as he donned the blue-colored Team Player’s fire-suit for the first time Monday, before putting in 50-60 productive testing laps on the 1.72-mile Sebring road circuit that he shared with two other CART teams. “The driver’s suit was a bit late arriving, but I was happy when it got here,” said Tracy. “I put it on as soon as I saw it. It’s been a good day. We seem to be quite competitive right away, with no mechanical problems or issues at all.” The first day of Tracy’s two-day session at Sebring was spent getting adjusted to his Team Player’s Champ car that bears the number 3, especially its steering and pedal arrangements, as well as conducting braking evaluations, using different pads and discs to find the best combination. While Team Player’s has switched this year to a Lola chassis, with which Tracy is familiar, it also has the Ford Cosworth engine that every team in the CART series will be using this season. In recent years, Tracy has run with the Honda engine. “I believe that getting used to the Ford engine is the biggest hurdle for me at this time,” remarked Tracy. “It drives a lot differently than what I’ve been accustomed to, so I’ve got to learn the engine’s characteristics, and that’s something we will be working on in our pre-season testing sessions.” While Tracy’s testing debut enabled him to get acquainted with his new crew, he needed no introduction to at least one Team Player’s member Tony Cicale, the team’s technical adviser who was previously Tracy’s race engineer. “After this first day of testing, it’s clear that Paul is a great addition to the team,” said Team Player’s manager Phil LePan. “He has plenty of experience, he’s very calm and cool, and you can see right away that his relationship with Tony Cicale will be a big benefit to the team’s success this season.” Following Tracy’s testing session on Tuesday, he will then join teammate Patrick Carpentier for another two-day test session with all CART teams in Laguna Seca, California, January 25-26.

1/20/03

Testing from Sebring  Our man on the spot David Jackson today at Sebring randomly clocked the drivers with nobody seriously flirting with anything better than 53.5 seconds (Moreno). Diaz seemed like he was still coming to grips w/ the car and or track w/ times in the mid 50s range. We are not sure what is a good time these days with the reduction in HP. Anything 51 seconds or under was very aggressive in years past, we even saw times under 50.0 2 years ago. Tracy did not appear to get up to speed while David was there. Only a few "installation" type laps completed. Notice he is carrying #3.

1/20/03

AT&T to sponsor BAM    One of the fastest-growing teams in NASCAR Winston Cup racing will team with one of the most admired companies in the United States in 2003. 1 800 CALL ATT for Collect Calls, AT&T’s automated service that lets you make collect calls from any phone, will sponsor BAM Racing’s #49 Dodge and driver Ken Schrader. AT&T will be the primary sponsor for six NASCAR Winston Cup races and an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. “Watching this race team grow from what was infancy a year ago to a full-season schedule with one of the top drivers in motorsports and one of the top corporate brands in the world has been tremendously exciting,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, the Florida investor who owns BAM Racing with her husband, Tony. “We paid our dues last year and that is starting to pay off for us. All along we have been building and fine-tuning our race team, on and off the track,” she said. “Bringing a wonderful brand like AT&T in as a sponsor is a tremendous step in the right direction for us.” 1 800 CALL ATT sponsored a NASCAR Winston Cup car for two races last season and is expanding its sponsorship this year. AT&T joins Schrader, one of the top qualifiers and racers in the sport, who joined the team in December.

1/20/03
F3000

Townsend Bell getting married, lands ride in F3000 3rd UPDATE In attendance at the wedding were such notables as Townsend's former team owner Pat Patrick, Tommy Kendall, etc.   1/20/03 - Remember you read it here first, days ago.  2002 FIA F3000 Team Champions Arden International have today confirmed that American Driver Townsend Bell will partner Bjorn Wirdheim during this years F3000 Championship. Townsend 26, joins the Team on a 2 year contract after previously dominating the 2001 Indy Lights Championship and several promising performances in the 2002 CART Championship Series. Townsend will commence testing with the Team in February at Imola as part of an extensive pre-season test program prior to the first race at Imola on 19th April. Christian Horner commented: "I am delighted that we have secured Townsend's services to join our F3000 program. For us it is critical, after such a successful season last year with Tomas Enge and Bjorn Wirdheim, that we have a Driver who will push Bjorn. In Townsend we have a Driver with considerable ability whom we firmly believe will achieve this after a very impressive career in the USA. The whole Team will now be focusing on repeating and exceeding our 2002 performance in what I'm sure will be another close and exciting year of F3000 racing". Townsend Bell commented: "I am delighted to be joining the top Team in F3000 and thank Arden for giving me this opportunity. The FIA F3000 Championship is the obvious step to Grand Prix Racing and I am really looking forward to racing on European Circuits. 2003 will be a learning year as all the circuits will be new to me but I am confident that with the new free practice format I will be able to get up to speed quickly. I can't wait to get started". The F3000 category is widely regarded in Europe to be the next step to Formula One, as previous champions have included Ricardo Zonta, and Christian Fittipaldi. The category has been the stepping stone for other Barber Dodge graduates on their way to glory, as Kenny Brack and Juan Montoya both secured championships in F3000 after having raced in the Pro Series. The F3000 series runs identical Lola B2/50 cars with Zytek engines producing over 450 hp.  1/19/03 - We have added an AR1 exclusive photo of Mr. and Mrs. Townsend Bell (Heather and Townsend) who were wed yesterday. Congratulations and many happy years together!  AR1 sources say there will be an announcement as to where Townsend is racing in 2003 tomorrow January 20th.  You read it here first.  1/17/03 -  Townsend Bell is getting married to his business manager Rod Campbell's daughter Heather Campbell this weekend (congratulations to the couple).  For 2003 he is aiming for a ride with a top team in Formula 3000 and the word on the street is that he is close to signing a deal with one of the leading British teams. We talked to Rod Campbell about Townsend at CART's Awards banquet in Miami.  Bell had aspirations of getting into Formula 1 but was unable to raise the money to compete for the available drives and now intends to use Formula 3000 to make an impression on the F1 team bosses.  He was also trying to get back into Champ Cars but that did not materialize as well.

1/20/03

Renault to launch today  UPDATE In Lucerne today, the Renault F1 Team officially launched its 2003 Formula 1 challenger. Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, the Team's two race drivers, unveiled the new car - code-named R23 - in front of Patrick Faure, Flavio Briatore and the senior management of the Team's official partners. For the Renault F1 Team, the revelation was a special moment: this new car has been the focus of attention at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon for over twelve months. "Seeing a new F1 car take shape is always an exciting experience," said Jarno Trulli. "Over five hundred people have invested their passion, determination and hard work in making it happen. Straight away, I want to thank all the people working at Renault F1 for their efforts this winter. It is an honor to be competing in Grands Prix as a Renault driver." Fernando Alonso, returning to the race circuit after a year as the Team's test driver, echoed his team-mate's sentiments: "Getting a race seat with a major manufacturer is a big opportunity, and I'm not going to let it go to waste. One thing's for sure: before fighting for myself in 2003, I will be driving for the Team."  "The 2003 season will mark Mild Seven's tenth season in Formula One," stated Mr. Kimitsuna Kidachi, Vice President of Marketing for JT. "Our numerous successes in this category have enabled us to improve the international awareness of our company, and to become the second world-wide brand in terms of sales. The renewal of our contract with the Renault F1 Team confirms our ambition and our desire to once again win the World Championship."  In the opinion of Patrick Faure, Chairman of the Renault F1 Team, this decision represents a genuine affirmation of confidence: "With our facilities at Viry-Châtillon and Enstone, we possess a sound technical base," he commented. "The extension of our partnership with Mild Seven offers the perfect combination, providing us with both long-term financial stability and a solid partnership."  Added photos of new R23 (bigger and better ones to follow later). The car looks almost the same as the 2002 model.  Perhaps the nose droops more ala Ferrari.  1/20/03 - The launch of the new Renault F1 challenger for 2003 takes place this afternoon in Luzern in Switzerland. The venue was chosen because it allows the team to exhibit the car in its full tobacco livery, something which is banned in France.

1/20/03

Feedback on common engine for CART and F1  UPDATE Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I too found the article by Mark Cipolloni enlightening, but what about the 4-cylinder engine proposed, by I think, Tony Cicale?  John Defrees SF, California  Dear John, There are two primary reasons why CART should not adopt a turbo 4-cylinder engine.  1) The first thing a person thinks about when you say 4-cylinder engine is an econ-box. That is NOT the image F1 and CART are selling. V10's imply something more "special"  2) A V10 has smaller reciprocating parts hence can not only rev higher, it can get to those revs that much faster - hence the wonderful screaming sound. Mark C  1/19/03 - A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The latest article by Mark Cipolloni on a common engine for CART and F1 makes a whole lot of sense for all the reasons he outlined.  I for one can't wait to hear the sound of those engine here in America more than just at the USGP.  The sound alone will increase the attendance.  Will CART implement standing starts like in F1 now?  Arthur Morse Dallas, Texas  Dear Arthur, thanks for the feedback on the article.  We have harped on CART to use standing starts on the tracks where the main straight is wide enough for years now.  To date they have not implemented the idea.  I think they are afraid it will cause too much excitement for their fans.  Can't have that, they prefer follow-the-leader parades with no drama.  However, now that David Clare is in place, we are hopeful he will bring his F1 experience to bear and implement the idea.  He understands the magnitude of standing starts...and the normally aspirated V10's in 2005 should help.   Mark C.

1/20/03

Vegas laments that CART will race under lights  This Las Vegas Sun article talks about CART's two new night races but laments at the fact that the Las Vegas track had lights and at one time talked to CART about racing under the lights there.  However, we here at AR1 believe CART will never race at LVMS because 1) it's owned by a member of the oval track cartel, and CART's last race at a Bruton Smith track resulted in a cancelled race and a lawsuit, 2) CART would be much better off on the streets of Las Vegas than out of town at LVMS.  You just don't get the gamblers in Vegas to drive out of town for anything except a Winston Cup race.  Now a night race on the streets of Vegas would be something.  After all, if they can light an entire airport (Cleveland) they can light the streets of Vegas.

1/20/03

Minardi test driver finishes last   According to the RIA news agency, occasional Minardi tester Sergei Zlobin (Russian) suffered the embarrassment of finishing last in an illegal street race – but insisted that was because he had obeyed the law of the road, stopping at traffic lights and slowing down for the police. The race is reported to have taken place early on Monday morning. Zlobin clocked a time of 25m35s over the city-street course, putting him more than nine minutes down on the winner, who was immediately apprehended by police. Zlobin told RIA that his defeat was down to "the observance of the rules of the road." He added: "For me the main thing was not to win. The most important thing is to draw attention to the development of Russian motor sport." Zlobin said he would take part in a return race - "but not under any circumstances in the city."

1/20/03

Sportscar driver to NASCAR trucks    The former sportscar driver TJBell of Reno changes his career path significantly for 2003. The 22-year-old used to race in open-top sports prototypes in the recent years, making a name of himself in an Ascari in both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and in the prestigious Le Mans 24 hour race in France. After having talked to Panoz for a full factory ride in the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans in 2003, Bell opted for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series instead – the third biggest division of NASCAR racing behind the all-conquering Winston-Cup and the Busch Series. Bell will be driving in 19 of the races in a Chevy entered by Team Racing of Concord, North Carolina. “We were looking carefully at what we could ultimately achieve in sportscars,” Bell explains the reason for his move. “The highest we could possibly go to was a deal with Panoz. We felt there were a lot more opportunities in NASCAR, not least because there are a whole lot more races. There are 25 races in our series this year – I get to do a lot more races than I would in sportscars, and racing is what I love doing most.” Bell has already had his first taste of stock car racing. He underwent a few lessons in the “Richard Petty Driving Experience” in Las Vegas, totaling 60 laps. “It’s a much heavier car with a lot more movement than the sportscar,” he compares. “It feels slower because you don’t have the wind blowing into your face. And since it’s got a much bigger steering wheel you’ve also got to slow down your hands movement compared to what I was used to from sportscars.” Subsequently, there’s not much Bell can actually take with him from the successful sportscar days. “The driving style is completely different,” he knows. “But I’ve learnt that the biggest deal with the trucks is conserving tires – and tire management is something I’ve found out a lot about in the Ascari.”

1/20/03

Details of money sharing confidential  BAR Boss Dave Richards stated last week - "Firstly, the teams collectively with Bernie have come to a financial solution that secures the future of all ten teams in the championship, which has been a concern for everyone," he told Autosport. "So there is now no uncertainty over any of the teams and there will be 20 cars appearing on the grid from the start of the season to the end of the season." However Richards was reluctant to explain the exact arrangements by which the Jordan and Minardi teams were going to be assisted. "There won't be any clarity about that," he said. "That is a confidential arrangement between Bernie Ecclestone and the teams and that is all anyone needs to know."

1/20/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

FIA To Reject Delay On Electronic Bans?
F1 Legend Andretti Questions New Reform
Toyota Target Best Of The Rest Crown
Sato: Praise For Progress At Brackley
Pizzonia Can't Wait For R4 Track Debut
FIA Unmoved By Manufacturer Threat
Mosley: We're Not Partial To Ferrari
McLaren Lead Opposition For F1 Reform
Lauda: Youngsters Will Struggle In '03
Villeneuve: HANS Could Cost Us Our Lives
Renault Cautiously Welcome New Reforms
Frentzen Excited About Revamped Future
Top Three Lose Competitive Advantage?
Ferrari: 'Happy And Curious' About Reform
Richards Blames Press For Driver Spat
Reform Has Saved Formula One: Mosley
No Spa Race - Even For Champcars
Schumacher Predicts Closer Championship
Dan Gurney Applauds Rules Revolution
$1 Million Reward For Whistleblowers

1/20/03
Announcement

Photos of the week are back  As the 2003 racing season nears, our regular Pictures of the Week feature has returned to our home page.

1/19/03

Mosley takes shot at McLaren 2nd UPDATE  Dear AR1, Mr. McConkey reacts in an overly defensive manner, reading a lot more political commentary into Mr. Mosley's statement than what was said. Mosley did not say that the USA bringing the Soviet Union military threat to its knees through upping the the financial ante to a level only the US economy could support was a bad thing. The goal was to put the Soviet government/military out of business (or to be more precise, probably, speed up the process). Mosley's point in the comparison was that such a tactic by McLaren, in a sport, where the goal should not be to put competitors out of business, is not appropriate; that to continue rules that allow McLaren's/Ferrari's unique financial strength to put them on a plane that will cause the demise of several other teams and perhaps the sport itself is absurd. Although the "state of the economy" is roundly blamed, I think there is a growing realization that there are fewer and fewer corporations willing to commit tens of millions of dollars to associate with and put their logo on the side of a "loser" that has no chance of being competitive.  Larry Adcock, Westfield, IN  1/19/03 - A reader writes, FIA President Max Mosley recently compared McLaren's initial hard line response to 2003 regulations to America's foreign policy during the cold war... Max insinuated that America was the bad bully - blind to global desires, carelessly stepping on little nations - pushing the Soviet Union to the brink in order to win the cold war. We all know that Max really wanted to be a politician, but he should stick to governing motorsports! Obviously Max didn't mix in too many political science classes with his law studies. His assertion being that McLaren is the big bully, complaining about the regulations (and what's right for the world of F1) only because they have the fiscal strength to weather the tough times and spend more than other teams. Could it be that Ron Dennis and McLaren's stake holders were just upset about investing several $100MM on car development to have the FIA slam new regulations down their throat at the last minute - making much of the development investment moot? Max's offensive, insensitive comment seems appropriate coming from someone who slept under America's blanket of security during the cold war and now has the nerve to criticize the way in which that security was provided. Without America's forward looking - progressive policy for dealing with the Soviet Union, England may have become the smallest province of the evil empire. I'm a die-hard Formula One fan, but this closet America bashing attitude from left wing liberal Brit's reminds me why Americans don't readily embrace sports and ideas from the UK. Max would be well advised to let Agnes Kaiser, the FIA press delegate handle communications from now on. Mark McConkey, Chicago, IL1/18/03 -  Mosley, who expects some teams to resist the F1 changes, said he already detected some problems with McLaren. "McLaren have a position that reminds me of America's during the Cold War, when they spent so much to win that conflict, also because nobody could match them on an economic level."

1/19/03

Max and Bernie get Ferrari support   It appears the tide is turning away from team owners like Ron Dennis who wants to spend everyone else into the ground.  Luca di Montezemolo, chairman of the Ferrari has told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that he is "very happy and curious about the decisions taken" by FIA President Max Mosley over the Formula 1 regulations. "I think it is right that radical changes have been decided," Montezemolo said. "Ferrari does not feel weaker or stronger but the goal is to prove that we are the best. I'm sure we will see a great World Championship." Montezemolo said that Ferrari was not seeking an alternative World Championship but a championship which gives the constructors more money and avoids Formula 1 being left in the hands of banks and of the teams."  We here at AR1 feel that if Ferrari supports these radical changes, then others will one-by-one, fall in line.

1/19/03

St. Petersburg construction photos  


Photos courtesy St. Petersburg GP

1/19/03

St. Petersburg alters track...finally  2nd UPDATE  We can now report that the St. Petersburg finally got their act together and updated their track map showing the revised turn 1.  It s now a "proper turn" with lots of paved area for some great overtaking possibilities. We show the revised final layout in the top right graphic.  1/2/03 - Since the St. Petersburg track website still shows the incorrect circuit layout, AR1 staff have created the image to the right showing how the first turn will be "squared off" to a proper right-hander. It was our comments on AR1 months ago that led to this change we are told by St. Pete staff, so it's good to see a voice of reason is sometimes heard.  The useless right-hand kink just before turn 1 would have prevented any passing under braking. Our Paul Josephson did this review of St. Pete back in December 2001, well before recent changes were decided.  Mark C.  11/28/02 - When we first saw the new St. Petersburg track layout (see layout to right) we could not believe what we were seeing.  The main straight had a major right-hand bend in it just before turn one so that passing under braking would have been impossible.  We thought, how can they be so shortsighted?  We spoke to St. Pete general manager Tom Begley last weekend in Miami and we are happy to report they have decided to square-off the corner into a proper 90-degree right-hander (actually it's more like 120-degrees).  However, the track layout they show on their website still has the ludicrous bend in the track before the turn.  For the first year they have decided to construct 15 grandstands plus suites.  In future years, if the demand is there, they have planned for over 25 grandstands.

1/19/03

CART Mazdaspeed RX-8 Pace Car poster  2nd UPDATE Added a Mazdaspeed RX-8 CART pace car poster by Dick Pong (top left).  12/30/02 - Added a poster showing the specs of the Ford GT, which has been approved for limited production by Ford. Superchargers and Turbochargers are being used with increasing frequency production cars in recent years.  If for some reason CART does not adopt the F1 V10 engine for 2005, perhaps a Supercharged 2.65L V8 would make an interesting alternative as suggested by Dick Pong on these pages. 12/27/02 - Dick Pong submitted this Supercharged Ford GT CART pace car poster (Bottom Left) for your enjoyment.  The Ford GT will likely debut in a CART race after Ford's 100th birthday (June 2003).


Mazdaspeed RX-8, Ford GT Tech Spec, Ford GT


Ford Mustang, Ford Cosworth, Toyota Atlantic Posters

1/19/03

Mosley says "we had to do this"   "In the medium to long term, F1 could have collapsed," Max Mosley told BBC Radio 5 Live. "One or two of the independent teams might have stopped. The bigger sides might not have been able to run a third car and they might have stopped as well. "If we had left everything as it was, the whole thing could have spiraled." "To begin with there was a shocked silence," said Mosley. "One or two teams were against and most of the others had reservations on one point or another. Ron Dennis said he had so much to say he didn't want to say anything but in the end the consensus was that something had to be done." "When you know who is going to win each race because the cars are so reliable it becomes uninteresting. "If you eliminate some of the electronic aids, you eliminate some of the certainty. In the end the best team will win, so we are not punishing success."

1/19/03

Lauda likes new rules  “Personally, I already find an implementation by Melbourne interesting,” he said. “The older drivers, those who drove without all the gimmicks, will have it easier. But the youngsters, those who never had to operate the rear wheels with their accelerator foot, they will be pretty surprised when in Melbourne they will have to qualify themselves on just one lap.”  Niki Lauda

1/19/03

Back pain forces Ralf out again UPDATE  Dear AR1, The Schumacher family seem to have a history of back problems. Whilst Ralf Schumacher had to do some (token) military service in a Luftwaffe Sports Battalion a few years ago, his big brother Michael avoided the draft (according to British ITV) into the German Armed Forces due to back trouble but somehow has been able to pursue his racing career despite this condition! Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England  1/14/03 -  After back pain forced him out of the cockpit on Monday morning after just five laps of the Barcelona circuit, Ralf Schumacher tried again on Tuesday morning, only to suffer more back pain. As a result, Ralf has opted to sit out the remaining test days this month to allow himself time to heal properly. "Of course, it's a pity that I'm not in the condition to complete the tests,” he said. “But it doesn't make any sense if you can hardly move. I wasn't due to test in the near future anyway. I'm going to take a break until the presentation of the new car in order to really get my strength back." Williams have employed Olivier Beretta on the short term, the month of January, to take over Ralf's scheduled duties. 33-year-old Beretta used to race in the series, albeit briefly, back in 1994 when he completed ten events for Larousse.

1/18/03

Tagliani gets married  Canadian CART driver Alex Tagliani wed Bronte Kok on Saturday January 18th in Montreal.  We here at AutoRacing1.com wish the couple many years of happiness together.

1/18/03

Engine rules for Daytona    According to this News and Record article, the number of engines a team will be allowed to use will be limited at Daytona next month, said John Darby, Winston Cup series director. Last season, the series' one-engine rule began after last year's Daytona 500. This year, teams must run the same engine from Saturday's first practice session (Feb. 8) through the twin-125 mile qualifying races (Feb. 13). If a team makes a change, then it must start at the rear of the field "at the minimum," Darby said. After the twin 125 races, teams can make an engine change before the next day's practice session. After that, they risk a similar penalty for changing engines.

1/18/03
Industry News

Johnson controls sales up in Europe  No wonder the Rocketsport team rejected the IRL and went with CART.  Their primary sponsor, Johnson Controls sell product worldwide, not just in the USA.  Johnson Controls Inc. said Thursday that quarterly profit rose 17 percent, boosted by higher sales of automotive systems in Europe that helped offset flat U.S. auto results. Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls, is a leading maker of automotive interiors and batteries, also stood by its forecast for record 2003 results. In the key North American market, sales of automotive interior systems and batteries were about level with last year. Softer sales of passenger-car components for the Chrysler arm of DaimlerChrysler AG and Ford Motor Co. trucks weighed on results, the company said.

1/18/03
Industry News

Car imports into China skyrocket  As F1 and CART eye races in China, this Reuters article says, China imported more than 127,000 vehicles in 2002, up a huge 77 percent from the year before as lower import taxes following its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership cut the cost of foreign cars in the world's fastest growing auto market. The official Xinhua News Agency quoted customs figures as showing China imported 127,394 vehicles last year, with their combined value surging 81.6 percent year on year to $3.17 billion. "There was a steep rise in the average value of imported sedans, indicating that locally made medium- and low-end sedans are more competitive so imports of high-end cars rose," Xinhua said on Saturday. China has pledged to lower import duties on automobiles to 25 percent by July 1, 2006. It will also raise import quotas by 15 percent annually with all limits to be abolished by 2005........Global giants like General Motors Corp, Volkswagen AG and a slew of top Japanese carmakers are fixing their eyes firmly on the rapidly growing Chinese market, the product of years of robust economic expansion.

1/18/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Luca Badoer: Formula One Is Never Easy
Jordan And Minardi Handed Cash Lifeline
Fifth Year For Jordan And Bridgestone
Manufacturers Reject Cost-Cutting Reform
New And Improved Run At Barcelona Track
Davidson Eyes Champcar Switch For 2004
All-New Jaguar R4 Makes Belgian Debut
Brief: Bernie, Rally, F1 And Asiatech
GPWC Reaffirms Commitment To Breakaway

1/17/03

More backlash on Road America  UPDATE More readers write, Amen brother about the V10 road racing cartel.....like the phoenix its beginning to rise. But to lose Road America, it would be a grave mistake. Road America is what CART is all about when it comes to road racing. To replace it with ANOTHER street race, like Houston AGAIN where the racing was horrible, the track was almost all 90 degree turns, and attendance poor may be a sign of focusing too much on the urban thing. I understand the Dallas track is a road course that appears to be superbly designed. Add it, but don't take away the history and prestige of our SPA! Why in the world would you do that when we are focusing more and more on F1-like road racing? Besides probably Road Atlanta, there is no other great American road racing track that encourages high speeds and great overtaking opportunities. Why would we want to lose that? It would make me sick and again start to question management like the old days. Derek Hughes, Jacksonville, FL After reading all of the comments today about the "possibility" of CART pulling out of Road America I am reminded of the CART Town Meeting that we had last summer in Columbus. The first question is quoted below: AUDIENCE: First question for Chris Pook. Why not bring a race back here to Columbus, Ohio? CHRIS POOK: Gosh, never thought about it till you asked about it. Sure, Bobby Rahal, get a check out, write it for us, we'll be back. I'm not sure that Michelle Trueman would be too excited about that. We certainly will talk to her about it, if she'd care to promote it. AUDIENCE: She'd get plenty of volunteers here, I think. CHRIS POOK: I think there's a real delicate balance here. We have to respect the permanent courses we have left in this country. We've really got to work around these issues. It's important to do street racing, but it's equally as important to make sure our permanent courses remain healthy, because that's where the bulk of the testing takes place. We have to have places for these teams to test. We've got to keep them healthy. That's really critical to us."   Kevin McFerrin, Columbus, OH    1/17/03 - A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I've read the article in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal regarding the possibility of Road America and CART splitting ways.  If this were come to pass, it would be one of the gravest mistake that CART has made. My hope is that with the new CART regime, that CART's history of paying lip service and then not following through (Michigan comes to mind) is a thing of the past. This past week has given me a new sense of hope in CART, but the idea that CART would easily abandon RA is disheartening in the least. While I can appreciate CART's desire to race in major markets, I for one do not want a racing series that is made up entirely of temporary street circuits. It's bad enough that CART is abandoning it's ovals (I'm sorry, but 2 ovals in a 20 race schedule does not make CART the most diverse series in the world). With the sole exception of Long Beach, no temporary street race has the prestige or aura that a natural terrain road course such as RA has. And as Miami and Denver have proven, and most of CART's street races, a major market street race does not necessarily mean great or even good racing. Road America is possibly the only American road course that can be spoken in the same breath as Spa or any of the world's classic road courses. RA has traditionally been one of CART's best attended races (outdrawing many of CART street "events"). Yet Pook would easily abandon it because he has a chance to race in downtown Houston or Dallas? As the premier road racing series in the country, CART needs to cultivate relationships with the road courses here in the U.S. , not rake them over the coals because they aren't in a major metropolitan area. Besides...the idea that Tony George would put the IRL at RA is sickening enough as it is.  Joe Angers, Boston, MA

1/17/03

Tony George sees no merger, concedes CART likely to survive  This Automotive News article says don't expect a merger of the Indy Racing League and Championship Auto Racing Teams, or CART, Automotive News World Congress attendees were told. "I don't see the two organizations coming together," IRL CEO Tony George said. "The IRL has an idea of what it wants to be. CART needs to adapt a vision and adhere to it.".........Regarding the competition with CART, George after his speech said that motor sports is a big enough arena to accommodate both.   "By focusing on ovals, we can develop our niche and grow our business," he said. "Likewise, CART moving toward road courses, they should be able to develop that as well."   More....

1/17/03

T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview UPDATE    Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) have donated the complete shell of a NASCAR Winston Cup No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Saturday's auction at the 14th annual T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. The braces were cut and the shell was lifted off the chassis in one piece. The windshield, rear glass and roof flaps are included. The shell will be autographed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. The No. 8 Budweiser shell is one of many items that will be sold at auction Saturday with all proceeds going to the charity. The five charities of the Preview are the T. Wayne Robertson Memorial Fund, the Winston Cup Wives Auxiliary, Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem, Speedway Children's Charities and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Tickets are available at the Coliseum Box Office.

1/17/03

Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Wraps Up First Week of Testing  Super Aguri Fernandez Racing concluded its first week of pre-season testing today at California Speedway with Roger Yasukawa logging another two days of seat time aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Yasukawa will be challenging for Rookie of the Year honors in the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series. “I am very pleased,” said Tom Anderson, Co-Owner and Managing Director, of the two-day test. “We still have an excellent reliability and durability record so it has been a very productive two days at Fontana. [Race engineer] John [Dick] and Roger had an opportunity to work through some suspension and aero combinations in order to have a reasonable baseline for our return here at the Test in the West. This has been a very productive, very informative test and I’m looking forward to the next one.” Yasukawa completed over 320 miles on the two-mile oval and tallied over 620 total testing miles for the week after the team’s successful outing at Phoenix International Raceway on Monday and Tuesday. “This was my first time on a superspeedway and it was pretty good actually,” said Yasukawa. “It is quite a bit different from the short ovals that I am used to. It’s definitely a different game that you have to play with the car together with the engineer. I think it went well considering it was my first time here with the car. I am reasonably happy with the two days. “My biggest challenge is going to be trying to have a perfect pit stop – parking the car at the right place and all that is something that is very new to me. The best thing about everything today was that I got experience on what pit stops are like and what I need to do, and I have a good picture of what you need to have for the race. I think that was the best part of it. I’m really happy with everything and looking forward to coming back here for the open test.”

1/17/03

Andretti, Gurney, comment on F1 rules changes   In this RPM.ESPN article, Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney, former American F1 winners, had some interesting comments on the proposed F1 rules changes.  Most were positive, but some rather scathing - Andretti doesn't understand what outlawing radios, spare cars and working on race setups will accomplish. "There's a safety issue here with communication. You've got to be able to warn a driver if there's an accident and the track is blocked or there's oil down or whatever. "I killed a crewman in the pits once (Hanford, Calif., in 1968) because his pits were on fire and he ran right out in front of me. Had we had radios and communication back then, his life could have been spared. I think you've got to think twice before you abolish that." As for no spare cars, he snorts: "You crash on Friday and they send you home? What is that going to accomplish? Is that cost saving? How about your sponsors? "I mean I'd like to see F1 have guest drivers. That's how I started. I won races as guest driver and can you imagine if you got one or two guest drivers from CART or NASCAR to run in the U.S. Grand Prix? It might put another 50,000 people in the stands. "Not being allowed to work on your car after qualifying until the race is also farfetched. Isn't that also a safety issue?"

1/17/03

Man the battle stations, Car makers resist changes   UPDATE Here is the full GPWC statement that was issued today.  1/17/03 - Formula One's car manufacturers have criticized the dramatic rule changes announced this week. GPWC - a company set up to represent the interests of five of the manufacturers in F1 - said the new regulations would harm the sport's traditions of being a pioneer for technical development. It also criticized the sport's governing body, the FIA, for introducing them without sufficient notice and for disregarding cost-cutting measures that had already been agreed. GPWC does not believe that the proposed changes are consistent with the contractual framework under which F1 operates. It said it would attempt to "ensure that changes are not implemented, or precedents set, that will cause problems for F1, the teams and drivers in the future."  The GPWC said: "The manufacturers are in favor of reducing costs. "But F1 needs to keep its fundamental characteristic that it is the showcase for the highest level of technology, a place where the most advanced research is applied. "It is also important that any changes to the rules be established with sufficient advance notice knowing that any change whatsoever inevitably increases cost, at least in the short term. "We are dismayed to note that the cost-cutting measures already proposed have effectively been partially disregarded by the FIA. "Whilst it does not believe that Wednesday's proposed changes are consistent with the contractual framework under which F1 operates, GPWC is committed to resolving matters in a manner that supports the sport."

1/17/03

Carpentier gets hands on Lola  Patrick Carpentier led off Team Player’s off-season testing program in the Champ Car (CART) series when he ran laps on the 1.25-mile Firebird road circuit on Friday in the first of a two-day session that will provide the team with the opportunity to work with its new Lola chassis. Carpentier, who is coming off the best season of his six-year CART career, has previously run with the Reynard chassis, but his adjustment to the new package seems destined to be a smooth transition if his first laps of the off-season are an indication. “It was great to get back on the track again,” said Carpentier. “Today, we spent a lot of the time just doing a typical shakedown of the car. It wasn’t so much a case of seeing how things went with the Lola chassis as it was seeing how the car reacted overall. It was basically a feeling-out process, and things went well on all fronts.” Carpentier, who had the track all to himself, said the surface was slippery in places, but he actually welcomed the slick conditions. “In one way it’s good to have a track like that because without the help of traction control this year, we have to rework that aspect of racing in terms of the power and engine relationship, and how that affects the handling of the car.” Carpentier’s teammate, Paul Tracy, was on hand as an observer at the Firebird test session . He will turn his own first laps with Team Player’s next week January 20-21 on the Sebring road circuit in Florida. Sebring is also the site of this year’s CART spring training sessions, February 4-6, when all of the teams in the series there are currently 19 will run officially timed laps. Prior to spring training, the CART teams will gather at Laguna Seca, California (January 25-26) for untimed testing sessions.

1/17/03

Diaz to test for Fernández   Fernandez Racing will kick off its pre-season testing program with Toyota Atlantic driving talent Luis Diaz putting the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex machine through its initial paces at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on Monday. He will shake down the new Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone package to be piloted by owner/driver Adrian Fernandez as the team prepares for the start of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. Diaz, 24, of Mexico City, made his Champ Car career debut with Fernandez Racing at the 2002 CART season finale – the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante – after Fernandez was sidelined due to a fracture of the T2 vertebrae resulting from a multi-car incident in Australia. “We are happy that Luis will be putting some miles on our new car while further developing his skills,” said Fernandez. “He has done a great job for us in the past, and this seat time in a Champ Car is very valuable as he looks towards the future.” Fernandez will make his first on-track appearance of the season at the CART open test to be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on January 25 and 26. He will undergo a follow-up CT scan next week on his injuries, but doesn’t anticipate any problems: “This is more of a routine checkup to make super-sure everything is okay. I have been talking with [CART Chief Orthopedic Consultant] Dr. Trammell and he feels very confident that I will be able to participate in the test.” Diaz finished fourth in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship last season, driving a Telmex/Quaker State-sponsored Swift for Dorricott Racing. “I am grateful to Adrian and the team for the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a Champ Car,” said Diaz. “My goal is to move up to the Champ Cars one day, and this seat time is so valuable. I spent this week with Adrian and he has been helping me with my fitness and nutrition programs. I have witnessed first hand the hard work he is putting in to get back to 100 percent.”

1/17/03

Smaller spoilers, softer tires    According to this That's Racin article, Winston Cup series director John Darby confirmed Thursday that NASCAR is moving toward cutting the height of rear spoilers and softening tires to help reduce the aerodynamic problems that have plagued the series in recent years. For the first time, Darby put somewhat of a timetable on addressing the problem. During preseason testing the past two weeks, such drivers as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin have expressed their desire to see changes come sooner, rather than later. The primary complaint is that the dependency on aerodynamics of the cars, combined with the harder tire compound, have made passing extremely difficult and put more emphasis on pit stops during races. "Obviously, Goodyear will have to have a lot of notice. It's easy to soften one tire, but they have to manufacturer tires enough for everyone to race on," Darby said. "That process alone is likely a three-month lead time." The tire change assessment itself indicates a change involving tires and spoilers would likely not be implemented before the second half of the season or even 2004.

1/17/03

Jordan extends Bridgestone deal   The Jordan F1 team has extended their agreement with tire suppliers Bridgestone for a fifth year. The deal comes two days after the team reportedly received $16 million from the FIA in a redistribution of television revenues. "Bridgestone have been a crucial partner to Jordan over the last four years and I'm very pleased we have extended our relationship," said team chief Eddie Jordan. "The Jordan Ford EJ13 package, with the chassis from Henri Durand and Gary Anderson, combined with Ford Cosworth RS power and Bridgestone tires will be a strong contender and we are looking forward to a season of good racing."

1/17/03

Mosley talks tough   Ferrari along with McLaren are not too happy with the changes to be made to the sport but Max Mosley does not care. "I wouldn't say we've got Ferrari's unqualified support by any means. Because some of these things could be seen as being quite detrimental to them. Even Ferrari is coming under pressure to reduce costs, but they are now saying: 'We've got all these systems in place and we can't use them.' But whatever you decide as a cut-off point, this sort of problem will always be the case." "McLaren was absolutely against it. And I think Ron went into shock when he realized what we were proposing. If a major manufacturer doesn't like it, too bad. If a major manufacturer pulls out of the sport because of it, again too bad. What we will gain from these rule changes is far bigger than what we will lose by their absence." "When Ferrari was losing, and bearing in mind that they are the best-known brand in Formula One, you could imagine people saying that for commercial reasons, Bernie Ecclestone and possibly the FIA would want to help them win. But when it gets to the stage that their top driver is on the podium at every race for more than a season, and where people are switching off the television because of Ferrari, then anybody who believes that we are helping them must be mad. Because we would be sawing off the branch we're sitting on.  "We've never been partial to Ferrari. The main basis for that accusation is the famous bargeboard test. Where McLaren screwed up their case. If McLaren had pressed the point properly they would have won the case," he said. "Had they asked Ferrari to prove that their deflector was at the correct angle, they couldn't possibly have done it because it had been removed from the car and the car wasn't in the court. But they didn't make that point. I can't go in to argue McLaren's case; if they screw up, they screw up. Anyway, it's manifest nonsense after what has happened over the last two seasons."

1/17/03

IMG's McCormack suffers heart attack  This happened a day after announcing the CART night race - Mark McCormack, founder and chairman of sports management giant IMG, was in critical condition yesterday after suffering a heart attack, the company said. IMG said the 72-year-old McCormack had immediate medical attention and was hospitalized. McCormack was named one of the top 10 most powerful people in sports last December by The Sporting News. His Cleveland-based company represents dozens of major sport stars including golfers Tiger Woods and David Duval, baseball player Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, tennis stars Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati as well as Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch. IMG has 85 offices in 33 countries and employs almost 3,000 people. The company did not immediately say where McCormack was being treated.

1/17/03

Night race makes headlines in Milwaukee, but.....  A reader writes, Dear AR1, Just wanted to drop a note telling you about the great response the Milwaukee night race has received in Milwaukee. Helped by the fact the it was a slow sports day in Wisconsin, the night race received major air time in both the early news and the 10:00 P.M. sports on all major TV stations in Milwaukee. The announcement also received front page and bold text headlines in the sports section this morning. I believe this will be the start of a rebirth at Milwaukee. Two concerns, weather can be dicey at night in early June. A cold weekend will kill the night race. Also, the track needs some extra entertainment like a concert before the race to really put on a show.   Also listed in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a report that Road America stands a good chance of losing it's CART race next year. Dave Kallmann quotes Pook after asking the question if the track and the series are heading in different directions due to the date change this year. Pook is quoted as saying "That's the message, isn't it?" I believe Pook is missing the boat on this one. When you look at the license plates of the cars at the Champ car race it has an extremely large Illinois presence. Giving up a track the quality of RA for the short term gain of a street race in downtown Chicago is very short sighted. It leaves the door open for the IRL to fill the date at RA and they will get a great crowd there due to the atmosphere of the place. It also goes against what Pook and CART are selling as their image, I will be less interested in a series that only runs on street circuits. Everyone wants to hold up Long Beach as the model for CART racing on the street. However, Road America and Mid-Ohio have lasted much longer, are better for racing and are more stable than all the other street races that have come and gone. Thank you. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI  Dear Arno, CART must find a way to make Road America work.  Yes, it is hard to get people to travel far distances for a CART race, but if they drop Road America from their schedule in 2004, it will be perhaps the biggest mistake in the history of the series.  If CART is willing to invest, and sometimes lose, money in urban markets, it must be willing to invest in places like Road America, which is so steeped in history....besides being a fantastic road race track, the best in North America.  CART dropping Road America will be analogous to F1 dropping Spa, and a piece of their history lost forever.  If CART builds the drivers into household names, the fans will travel great distances, NASCAR has proven that.  Let's hope in the end, common sense prevails.  Mark C.

1/17/03

IRL testing news from Fontana Dario Franchitti continued to prepare for his first full season of IRL IndyCar Series competition by testing Jan. 16 at California Speedway. Franchitti, 29, from Edinburgh, Scotland, tested an Andretti Green Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone on the 2-mile oval. “Everything is going pretty good here at California Speedway,” Franchitti said. “We’re working with a lot of different things on the car, and Honda has given us some good power from an engine standpoint. We are still early in our testing program, but we are already seeing some progress. The IRL has asked us to test a few different aerodynamic packages, and I think the racing will be good fun if we can find the right combination.” IndyCar Series rookie Roger Yasukawa, who lives in nearby Los Angeles, also tested at the 2-mile oval Jan. 16. He drove the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. Both drivers will test again on Jan. 17.

1/17/03

Friday test times from Barcelona 

Today's Times

Driver

Team

Tires

Laps

Time

Speed/Gap

Fernando Alonso

Renault

M

79

1:16.920

137.551 mph

Marc Gene

WilliamsF1

M

103

1:17.296

0.376

Takuma Sato

BAR

B

44

1:17.749

0.829

Juan Pablo Montoya

WilliamsF1

M

43

1:17.877

0.957

Antonio Pizzonia

Jaguar

M

86

1:18.717

1.797

Jarno Trulli

Renault

M

62

1:18.910

1.990

1/17/03
F3000

Townsend Bell getting married, aiming for F3000  Townsend Bell is getting married to his business manager Rod Campbell's daughter Heather Campbell this weekend (congratulations to the couple).  For 2003 he is aiming for a ride with a top team in Formula 3000 and the word on the street is that he is close to signing a deal with one of the leading British teams. We talked to Rod Campbell about Townsend at CART's Awards banquet in Miami.  Bell had aspirations of getting into Formula 1 but was unable to raise the money to compete for the available drives and now intends to use Formula 3000 to make an impression on the F1 team bosses.  He was also trying to get back into Champ Cars but that did not materialize as well.

1/17/03

Senna court case reopened  This Racing Lines article says, Just over 3 years ago Patrick Head and Adrian Newey were cleared of culpable homicide in relation to the death of Ayrton Senna on May 1st 1994. However the Italian supreme court is to re-open the case. The decision to clear the british duo came after years of investigations and legal actions and seemed to bring an end to the whole sorry business. However the prosecutors involved have finally asked for the case to be reviewed once again and applied to the Italian Supreme Court (known as La Corte Suprema di Cassazione). More.....

1/17/03

Bill France back to health  NASCAR's chairman Bill France Jr. is just fine after recent health problems and back at work keeping a watchful eye over the family business. ``I'm feeling better, a lot better,'' the 69-year-old France said in an interview with The Associated Press. ``My hip's a little sore, that's it. But the way I see it, things are good because I'm on the right side of the grass.'' France, the oldest son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., broke his right hip in August when he fell after misjudging a step in a Daytona restaurant. Before he could be treated for that injury, doctors insisted he have heart bypass surgery. The long recovery and a setback -- one lung filled with fluid in early December -- kept him away from most NASCAR functions and led to speculation that the cancer he beat in 2001 was back. A recent checkup, though, gave him a clean bill of health, he said. ``As far as I can tell, the genie is still in the bottle,'' France said. ``She was playing in the sand right close to the bottle. We had to grab her and put her back in.''

1/17/03

Petty to chair motorsports association  Richard Petty, the driver with the most wins in NASCAR history, will serve as chairman of the newly formed N.C. Motorsports Association. The association, which is based in Clemmons, was created last summer to promote the economic impact of the motorsports industry on the N.C. economy.

1/17/03

Vasser to drive Busch and CART  According to this Indy Star article, Vasser will divide his time between rookie owner Stefan Johansson's CART team and a NASCAR Busch Series team the driver is partly funding himself.  AR1 sources say Vasser may bring a personal services contract he signed with Ford, though that is not confirmed.  If true, it may further explain the "American" spirit team name.  Vasser said loyalty drove him to find a way to stay in CART. "It's a pivotal year and I didn't want to be walking out on them," he said. "Good things are starting to happen. It's shaping up to be more than what people thought it would be."

1/17/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

Wilson Hopes For Pre-Season F1 Tests
Yoong Introduces Baby Alister To World
Trim Barrichello Targets More Victory
Big Three Reserve Judgment On Reform
Strong Support For Change By Aussie Boss
Fisichella Impressed With Aggressive EJ13
Arrows In Liquidation, Assets For Sale
Gizmos To Remain On F1 Cars This Year
CART Contingency For Jacques Villeneuve
Toyota F1 Support Cost-Cutting Plans
Panis Finds TF103 'Room For Improvement'
Bernie Spurns Claims Of Grand Prix Crisis
Privateers Saved As Grid Fixed At Ten
Ferrari: No New Car For Season-Opener
Another Meeting To Decide F1 Fate Today
McLaren Maintain Grip At Barcelona Test
Schu Warns: Costs Cut But Danger Fueled?
BAR Use Ferrari F2002 As Design Template
Jos Verstappen Heads To Faenza Factory
Jaguar Ease Failed Crash-Test Reports
Back Strain Puts Ralf Out Of Action
Rules Won't Stop Schu's Reign: Mosley
Changes Will Cost Jobs, Ferrari Warns

1/17/03

Winston Cup TV Guide Preview  After the successful launch last year of its first-ever sports-themed standalone magazine, NASCAR 2002, TV Guide is rolling out its second-annual NASCAR preview magazine, TV Guide Winston Cup. Hitting newsstands January 20, the full-size publication (as opposed to TV Guide’s customary digest size) is a comprehensive preview of the upcoming 2003 season. Targeted at the millions of NASCAR faithful, it also serves as the perfect primer for the many recent NASCAR converts. TV Guide Winston Cup features two different collectible covers, one with 2002 Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart and the other featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., along with teammates Steve Park and Michael Waltrip. Each issue also includes a full-size poster of either Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Gordon. Fans will also find one of two sets of collectible trading cards: one set features the top stars of Winston Cup racing, the other is a set of commemorative Dale Earnhardt tribute cards. The 96-page, full-color magazine provides an exciting look at the season to come, with several features contributed by some of the nation’s top NASCAR journalists, including David Poole, Monte Dutton, Mike Hembree and Jim McLaurin.

1/17/03

Celebrate Paul Newman's 78th birthday  CELEBRATE CART TEAM OWNER PAUL NEWMAN’S 78TH BIRTHDAY AT A SPECIAL BENEFIT MATINEE to support Westport Country (Connecticut) Playhouse at the closing performance, Sunday, January 26, 2003. Ticket prices range from $2,000 to $250. Call 203-227-7617 ext. 13 for more information.

1/17/03

Cleveland race biggest mobile lighting project ever  The July 5 event will be run under the lights as world-renowned Musco Lighting will turn the airport runways into what will be the world's largest outdoor lighting project. Musco, which has lent its temporary and permanent lighting facilities to events ranging from The Olympic Games to rock concerts, will erect 22 lighting towers to illuminate the racing circuit. By way of comparison, Musco states that a typical college football game requires four towers, Ground Zero in New York required five towers, and the Battle of Big Horn outdoor golf match required eight towers.  "This is by far the largest mobile lighting challenge we've ever taken on," said Musco President Joe Crookham. "These twenty-two trucks, generators and lighting systems will create as much light as nearly a half-million car headlights."  The Musco Light is the most powerful and innovative mobile lighting tool available. The system provides an array of fifteen remote controlled 6K HMI lights mounted on a 150-foot hydraulic boom to give you 120 million candela of light on wheels. Completely self-contained and self-sufficient, the Musco Light’s range is incredible — you can flood up to 40,000 square feet with 25 footcandles up to 1/2 mile away.  They will simply drive the 22 trucks on and off the airport as needed during the race weekend.

1/16/03

FIA to force manufacturers to add teams  At Wednesday's meeting with the team bosses, the FIA revealed that should the engine suppliers not agree to supply multiple teams then the FIA would push through a rule stipulating that they must. Even without their consent. 'The FIA will invite the major manufacturers currently supplying engines to teams competing in the Championship to ensure collectively that all teams have competitive engines at a readily affordable cost,' the FIA statement read. 'In default of satisfactory and agreed arrangements, the FIA reserves the right to introduce a change to the Sporting Regulations to achieve this result.' 'The savings to an engine supplier by reason of the single-engine rule for 2004 will normally exceed the costs of supplying a second team.' 'This is because development costs will have been met in supplying the first team while, as a result of the new rule, the total number of engines supplied to the first and second teams together in 2004 can be expected to be less than the number supplied to the first team alone in 2003.'

1/16/03
Industry News

Condolences to Bussing family  We extend our condolences to AR1 extended family member Joe Bussing, who lost his father Ed this week.  Joe is a loyal customer of AR1.  The Bussing's are hard core CART fans who have been to every CART race since CART was formed.  Edward Stephen Bussing, 68 of Speedway. He passed away on January 15, 2003. He was born October 18, 1934 in Brazil, IN and grew up in Dana, IN. Ed had worked for General Motors at the Chevrolet Bus & Truck Division. He retired in 1993 after 32 1/2 years service. He was also a Navy veteran. Ed was a member of St. Christopher Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus Holy Family Council #3682, UAW Local 23, Slovenian National Home and the Yaggers Conservation Club. He was preceded in death by his Son: Eddie Bussing. He is survived by his wife: Mary Agnes Milharcic Bussing; Sons: John & Joe Bussing; Daughters: Monica Condon & Marla Greenway; Sisters: Anna Marg Fravel, Betty Jo Brown, Gert Corley, Madeline Hendrix. He also had 6 Grandchildren. A Prayer Service will be held at 10:30am Saturday (1-18-03) at the Usher Funeral Home and a Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11am Saturday (1-18-03) at St. Christopher Catholic Church. Friends may call from 4-8pm Friday (1-17-03) at the Usher Funeral Home. Ed donated his body to the Indiana University Medical School. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Holy Trinity Day Care Center.

1/16/03

CART stock watch  

Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.65 Up $0.39 on Volume of 162,400 shares.
MPH Value Change Up 11.96%

1/16/03

Race partner, Octagon, ignores CART  UPDATE Finally something has appeared on the Brands Hatch website, barely.  This news release on the Octagon Motorsports website says that the MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) announced a significant move ahead of the 2003 season with news that Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. (CART) will feature Britain's premier saloon car race series at Brands Hatch, prior to the main Champ Car race. Taking place on May Bank Holiday weekend (3-5 May) and with the popularity of CART and BTCC combined, the event is set to attract the largest event audience for motor-racing this year outside of the F1 British Grand Prix. Brands Hatch will witness the second round of the MSA British Touring Car Championship with the meeting at Thruxton being rescheduled for later in the season, ensuring that race fans in Hampshire do not miss out. Richard West, MSA British Touring Car Championship Series Director commented: "This has been an important week for the Championship, reinforcing the stature of the series in the Motorsport calendar. Hosting the second round at Brands Hatch prior to the U.K. CART race will increase the growing popularity of BTCC and open it up to new audiences, providing us with a strong platform for growth in 2003." (Editor's Note: The site provides a link for Event and Ticket Information and a further link to the weekend racing schedule. Notice that the race will be on Monday, a Bank Holiday.   1/13/03 -  If you go to Octagon's website for Brands Hatch http://www.octagonmotorsports.com/ you will see zero mention of the upcoming CART race on May 5th.  Octagon was hired last year to help CART with several marketing related things and for international TV negotiations.  To not even mention the CART race is a slap in the face to CART. Eurospeedway had their announcement up the same day the race was announced.  Let's hope the rumors of Bernie Ecclestone buying Octagon are true, because certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.

1/16/03
Industry News

2003 Mid-Ohio news  TrueSports, Inc., parent company of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, announced today that Mid-Ohio will provide road racing fans six world-class motorsports events in 2003. Sports car racing’s past and present will be featured in June, with July giving way to two-wheeled action for the 21st consecutive year. The world’s best professional drivers converge on the track in August and set the stage for the top amateur drivers in the country competing for twenty-four national championships in late September.   More.....

1/16/03
Industry News

Road America to host Harley's  Road America will host to up to 20,000 motorcyclists during Harley-Davidson's 100th Anniversary celebration, according to George Bruggenthies, president and general manager. The motorcycle riders are expected to start arriving Aug. 25 and stay through Labor Day, which concludes Harley's 100th Anniversary Milwaukee celebration. Road America was selected as a campsite because of its long history with motorcycle racing, the area's reputation for service and hospitality and the track's ability to host a large number of guests. Visitors will be able to register online using Road America's secure website, www.roadamerica.com in a new website section, under construction, called Cruisin' Cycle Central ®. All camping reservations must be made in advance. The event is being produced by Destination Wisconsin, of Milwaukee, Wisc., and Homecoming Tours of Melbourne, Australia in partnership with Road America. Campers may stay on the grounds for a weekly fee of $115 per person. Daily activity passes will be available for $35. Motorcycle clubs may stay together in a group if they make a group reservation; all camping reservations must be made in advance. Daily activities will include traditional motorcycle rally and meet activities, including burn-out contests and a ride-in motorcycle show. (A burn-out contest is when a rider spins the back tire until it literally burns out; a ride-in motorcycle show allows riders with customized motorcycles to compete in a bike show.) Judges will award prizes to contestants each day. All activities will be held at Road America. Because the race track is booked, motorcyclists will be able to watch on-track sports car activities. Road America's existing vendors will be asked to participate in food and beverage service, and additional vendors will be brought in to complement the non profits who serve food at the track's races. The track will develop a vendor midway in the paddock area. "It's going to be a big week for Road America, for the community and the state," said Bruggenthies. "We're looking forward to having motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world staying here." The race track will be working closely with community leaders and will encourage motorcyclists to ride the scenic Kettle Moraine and visit area communities, Bruggenthies said.

1/16/03

Toyota supports cost cuts  Toyota released this today - "Toyota supports and appreciates any FIA initiatives aimed at reducing costs, increasing the safety and improving the excitement for spectators of the Formula One. In absence of an agreement between the teams, Toyota welcomes the proposal received yesterday from the FIA and will attend the meeting of the Technical Working Group in London on January 17, with the intent to positively contribute to the definition of the detailed rules. Toyota expects the FIA to be open-minded and accept constructive proposals from the teams aimed to reduce costs, with no compromise for the drivers safety."

1/16/03

Important sportscar summit held   American Le Mans Series executives met in Paris today with representatives of auto manufacturers and officials of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to discuss plans for the future of Le Mans-style sports car racing. Don Panoz, the founder of the American Le Mans Series, represented the series in the summit meeting along with ALMS President Scott Atherton and Doug Robinson, the Executive Director of series sanctioning body IMSA. The ALMS operates on an agreement with the ACO, which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to utilize both the “Le Mans” name as well as the technical rules of the event. Automobile manufacturers participating in the meeting included Audi, Michelotto (Ferrari), SARD (Toyota), General Motors, Panoz and Porsche. Topics included new technical rules for Prototype racing that will take effect in 2004 and will be shared by the ACO and the FIA, performance criteria for each class of car, balance of performances between 2003 and 2004 cars and plans for future European endurance sports car races. Robinson has been heavily involved in the development of the new rules for much of the past 18 months. “It was a very spirited and productive meeting,” said Atherton, who returned to the United States with Panoz and Robinson after the meeting. “This meeting was by invitation of the ACO and was designed as an open forum of communication on a number of topics related to the new specifications and how they can best be implemented with current guidelines. “It’s very early, but indications are that manufacturers are finding the new rules to be appealing. The presence of a number of manufacturer representatives at the meeting, and those who wanted to be there, is an indication of the interest level,” he said. The 2003 American Le Mans Series season begins with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway Mar. 12-15. ALMS

1/16/03

Players team ready to test  With the start of the 2003 Champ Car World Series less than six weeks away, drivers Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy are looking at an intensive schedule as they work to develop the new Lola chassis that Team Player’s will be using this season. Carpentier will be the first to conduct testing sessions when he takes to the Firebird road course in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday (January 17-18). “Because of the testing delay imposed by CART in order to provide an equal opportunity to teams that recently joined the series, we weren’t able to run testing sessions before the Christmas holidays, as we did in the past,” explained Carpentier. “Still, Paul and I will be entitled to seven days of testing each prior to the start of the season, and that should give us sufficient time to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the new engine-chassis package.” Carpentier has spent much of the off-season making the trek between Las Vegas and his hometown of Joliette, where he took advantage of Quebec’s ideal winter conditions to do some snowmobiling. Carpentier’s teammate, Paul Tracy, will turn his first laps with Team Player’s a few days later (January 20-21) on the Sebring road circuit. Sebring is also the site of this year’s CART spring training sessions, February 4-6, when all of the teams in the series will run officially timed laps. Prior to spring training, the CART teams will gather at Laguna Seca (January 25-26) for untimed testing sessions. “I’m really looking forward to putting on my new driver’s suit and getting to know my engineers and mechanics,” said Tracy. “I’ve been training on the road bike almost every day for the last two months – on the twisty terrain of Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas – and I’m raring to go. We have a lot of work to do before the season starts, but I’m confident that Team Player’s will be up to the challenge.”

1/16/03

IRL cars 100% throttle at Homestead  South Florida Motorsports Report is a TV show that airs every Sunday in southern Florida.  This Sunday their show will feature interviews from recent IRL testing at Homestead.  Reporter Tony Castaneira interviews Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan.  Tony Kanaan told the reporter that the IRL cars are 100% throttle on the flat Homestead track, which we find appalling.  Wasn't racing supposed to be about driver skill?  We knew the cars were 100% throttle on the banked tracks, but to run 100% throttle on the flat Homestead track.......perhaps we are just too old fashioned.  We always thought racing was a sport and the athletes skill (the driver) meant something.  Mark C.

1/16/03

Pook says CART rebuilding right on schedule  This AP article by Mike Harris says CART president and CEO Chris Pook can joke now about the freefall his series has been in since last year. "I'd venture to say the elevator has quit going down now and is going up steadily," he said. Some had predicted the Champ car series would race with fewer than the promised minimum of 20 cars in its lineup, promoters would withdraw events from the series - or perhaps it wouldn't take to the track at all in 2003. Pook can smile about those predictions now. He said the series has a 20-race schedule in place, 17 cars already under contract, 18 signed orders for the new Ford-Cosworth engines and the possibility of a few more entries before the season begins Feb. 23 at a new venue in St. Petersburg, Fla. "We can see where we are with our teams and our new team owners, and we can very clearly see the direction we're heading in," Pook said in an interview with The Associated Press.  More.....

1/16/03

Penske team promotes Beresford  Nick Goozee, Managing Director of Penske Cars, Ltd., announced that Nigel Beresford has been named Technical Director. In his new role, Beresford will be responsible for overseeing diverse engineering projects involving Penske Racing and Penske Cars, and liaising with the Team’s technical partners. Beresford, 44, first joined Penske Racing in 1992 when he worked as race engineer for Rick Mears. During the 1993 and 1994 seasons he worked as race engineer for Paul Tracy scoring eight wins and six poles. When Tracy left the Team at the end of the 1994 season, Beresford moved back to England and resumed his Formula One career with Team Tyrrell. Beresford returned to Marlboro Team Penske in 1996 and was named Head of Engineering at Penske Cars, Ltd. at the start of the 1997 season. Prior to joining Penske, Beresford had worked for the Tyrrell Formula One Team since 1986 under the direction of Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite. Initially employed as a design engineer, he also spent a period managing the wind tunnel testing program before becoming race engineer for Jonathan Palmer in 1989. He was transferred to Jean Alesi's car for 1990 (scoring second places in Phoenix and Monaco) and worked with Stefano Modena in 1991 (placing second at the Canadian Grand Prix). When he returned to Tyrrell in 1995, he was named Operations Manager, responsible for the preparation and durability of the race cars for the two-car team.

1/16/03

Thursday test times from Barcelona, Coulthard on top again 

D Coulthard McLaren Mercedes MP4/17B M 1:15.382 53
K Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes MP4/17B M 1:16.007 66
J Montoya Williams BMW FW24 M 1:16.151 65
O Panis Toyota Toyota TF103 M 1:16.386 48
C da Matta Toyota Toyota TF102B M 1:17.008 58
A Wurz McLaren Mercedes MP4/17B M 1:17.480 94
M Gene Williams BMW FW24B M 1:17.587 71
A Davidson BAR Honda 005 B 1:17.628 26
F Alonso Renault Renault R202 M 1:17.865 57
A Pizzonia Jaguar Cosworth R3B M 1:18.817 50
J Trulli Renault Renault R202 M 1:20.778 77

1/16/03
Industry News

Mickey Thompson murder trial update  Here’s a belated update on the trial of Mike Goodwin for the deaths of Mickey and Trudy Thompson. (He continues to be held in the Orange County Jail.) On December 6, 2002 the court determined that “all actions and the court date would be stayed". The next activity will be on February 21, 2003, when the 4th District Court of Appeals will hear the appeal filed by the defense regarding the jurisdiction motion to move the trial from the Orange County Courts to the Los Angeles Courts. (You will recall that Orange County is pursuing the case because Goodwin lived there and the planning for the murders purportedly took place there. The actual murders took place in Bradbury, which is in Los Angeles County). It is possible that the Appellate Court could take anywhere from sixty days to several months to return with a ruling. This timing indicates that the trial will likely not get underway on the currently scheduled date of April 7, 2003.   It is possible that the trial could be many months away.

1/16/03

Cowboys to start Winston Cup team  According to this Dallas Morning News article, Former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach plan to become owners of a NASCAR Winston Cup team in time for the 2004 season, Aikman confirmed Thursday.

1/16/03

Friendly Ice Cream to sponsor Cope  Friendly Ice Cream Corporation will sponsor Quest Motor Racing and the #37 Chevrolet of driver Derrike Cope in 2003. The announcement was made today. Friendly's, a family restaurant company serving signature sandwiches, entrees and ice cream desserts, will sponsor Cope for the majority of NASCAR Winston Cup races this season, continuing a sponsorship which began last season. The first race will be February's Daytona 500. NASCAR and Friendly’s demographics are similar, becoming a sponsor and getting involved with NASCAR is a great fit for Friendly’s. This sponsorship fulfills a marketing objective for Friendly’s of increasing brand awareness. We believe Friendly’s and Quest Motor Racing make a formidable team and we look forward to a strong racing season,” stated Peter E. Bell, Senior Director, Marketing for Friendly’s.

1/16/03

Schumacher OK with F1 changes  "My view is that it doesn't really change so much because, with all the electronic possibilities, you needed a very good team around you and good engineers to work with you to understand the system 100 percent in order to maximize everything because you have so many possibilities with all the aids,” he said. “I don't see that I, or any good driver, will take the advantage by a big amount. I honestly don't think so. A good team is always a good team.” “The only way I can see that (a big change) is in rain conditions because I believe, without traction control in particular, it will be very, very difficult and you need a lot more feeling in order to be on the pace. At the same time, it will be quite a bit more dangerous. But it has been the same in the past and we will have to deal with that -- so it is going to be a little bit more exciting.” “Personally I believe that Formula One has to adjust to changing times,” the reigning world champion admitted. “Perhaps with this F1 will become more accessible for smaller teams. There are huge expenses involved in the sport and some of the smaller teams are afraid. Maybe it is something positive, F1 has to consider how to find funds. We know that in races the technical details are not always so important - you can have a race without these aids.”

1/16/03

FIA strips Ron Dennis of his toys  Although most F1 team bosses were delighted with the new FIA rules, Ron Dennis left the meeting visibly upset as he left the meeting.  "I have nothing to say," he told the gathered press.  McLaren has an extensive state-of-the-art facility and want to remain very-high tech.  Now, however, much of that has been stripped away, meaning a lot of McLaren staff will become redundant.  If the engine manufacturers were to start a breakaway series, we expect Ron Dennis would jump ship with them.  However, the breakaway series will die quickly.  The FIA won't recognize it as a World Championship, they won't have the rights to any existing F1 races, and if Bernie tells Max, "Max, have the FIA pass a rule that any driver competing in the breakaway series will never be eligible for a F1 World Championship Super License," that will effectively cause the breakaway series to be stillborn.  No driver would race for the breakaway series knowing they can never become World Driving Champion.  In essence, Bernie and Max hold all the trump cards, and people like Ron Dennis are just going to have to learn to live with it.  It has been this sort of selfish thinking by team owners and manufacturers in the past that got F1 (and CART) in the mess they currently find themselves.  Mark C.

1/16/03

Australian GP chief hails changes  The drastic cost-cutting moves in Formula One overnight were greeted today by the Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Mr Ron Walker, as "great news for motor sport -- and for F1 and the Foster's Australian Grand Prix in particular". "The body that runs world motor sport, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), is getting F1 out of the space age and returning it to pure motor racing," Mr Walker said. "The operating costs for the teams had got way out of control and so much of the money being spent meant nothing to the people who matter most in the big picture -- the hundreds of millions of viewers around the world watching GPs on television." "The moves we have seen from the FIA overnight will get those costs back under control over the next couple of years and will be for the benefit of everyone involved in the sport and who love watching the global phenomenon of F1." Mr Walker said that, as a member of the Formula One Commission, he had long been arguing for many of the clamps that will now be enforced. "The teams, because of the intense competition in which they are involved, were not going to initiate these moves. None of them was going to dare to be brave enough to put the brake on the spiraling costs, so I applaud the FIA president, Max Mosley, and FOM (Formula One Management) chief, Bernie Ecclestone, for having the fortitude to take lead on this and impose a massive load of common sense." "It is wonderful news for the sport of F1 and, with Melbourne as the host of the opening round of the 2003 world championship on March 6-9, it is great for the Foster's Australian Grand Prix and the hundreds of thousands of people who will come to Albert Park for the four-day carnival -- this year and in future years." Mr Mosley and Mr Ecclestone advised the 10 F1 team principals of the moves at a meeting in London last night, Australian time.

1/16/03

Max: Teams will get over it  This ITV-F1 article says that yesterday's FIA meeting went relatively well and most teams were in favor of the radical changes to F1 after they got over their initial shock.

1/16/03

Latest F1 Hot News 

FIA Enforces Radical Cost-Cutting Plan
Rubens: Ferrari's Number Two Can Win
Button Lines Up Podiums With New BAR
BAR Boss Plays Down Early Driver Spat
Teething Trouble Strikes New Toyota Car
Frentzen Gets First Taste Of Improved C22
McLaren Trio Leads At Barcelona Tests
Jordan-Ford: Much More Than Customer Team
Internet Launch For Jaguar On Tuesday
Giants Urged To Help Independents
Thumbs-Up As New Honda Engine Hits Track
Mosley: We Can Police Electronic Bans
Jordan Signal Thumbs-Up For Reform
No Panic Buttons For Jaguar's Mark Webber
Burti Stays On As Ferrari Test Driver
Pollock Turns Back On F1 For CART Team
Barrichello Primed For 2003 Shoot-Out
Financial Help For Struggling Privateers
Button Fires Back At Caustic Jacques
New Brackley Racer Makes Catalan Debut
Mark Webber Admits Talks With Toyota

1/16/03

Andretti reiterates he may retire   UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Great article. It acknowledges that the competition in CART is too good now and he has to go to the IRL to be competitive. Furthermore it states that CART is too tough for old folks and they can only survive in the IRL. Funny note though, the only good thing Michael could really say about the IRL was that "it was fun and they at least still have Indianapolis!" Sounds like someone really trying to justify their decision!  Momentum my arse!  Derek Hughes, Jacksonville, FL  1/16/03 - In this AP article, Michael Andretti said he is considering leaving the cockpit for good after racing in the Indy 500 — the race his father, Mario, won in 1969, and the win Michael doesn't have and most covets. "I know I don't want to be out there driving if I cannot give it 110 per cent, and I don't know right now whether I can do both," Andretti said. "My future in racing is ownership, so that is where my real commitment is going to be. I want to make this team one of the best, if not the best, and that is my goal. "So, if I cannot do that and drive at the same time, then ... driving is the thing that I will probably give up only because I know that I am getting to the end there anyway."

1/16/03

Tony George needs a bigger hammer  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I can't help but remember Tony George's words back in May when it appeared he had CART on the ropes.  When asked if the Honda to IRL announcement was the final nail in CART's coffin, Tony stated, "I bring my hammer to work everyday," in other words he was boasting how he stole just about all the big names out of the CART paddock and CART was just about dead.  Well here it is seven months later and the tables are completely turned.  The IRL ended up with all of CART's dead wood and CART has all the new young blood.  The talk is all about CART now, the excitement of all the unknowns for next year, and its alliance with Bernie Ecclestone and F1.  I have to agree with you that yesterday's announcement of the radical rules changes in F1, opens the door for CART and F1 to use identical engines in 2005, sans all the unnecessary electronics and exotic materials.  Finally we will see affordable V-10's that all teams can afford, and I think you are right, now new manufacturers can afford to participate and get more bang for their buck.  Tony George had better get a bigger hammer, because clearly the one he had didn't get the job done.  I wonder if he hammered his thumb in the last few days with all the positive CART press?  Regards, Jonathan Moser, LA, California  Dear Jonathan, the Phoenix has not yet risen, but clearly it's safe to say CART appears well on the road to a full recovery by 2005.  Mark C.

1/16/03

A little story on PK Racing's Kevin Kalkhoven  This Motley Fool article will give you a little background on PK Racing partner Kevin Kalkhoven.  "JDS Uniphase is in an outstanding position today from the perspective of our financial performance and strength, our market position, our products, and our strategy." With those words, Kevin Kalkhoven, the chief architect of fiber optics phenomenon, turned the reins of JDS Uniphase over to Jozef Strauss. Kalkhoven left in the midst of an acquisition orgy by JDS, in which it combined with Uniphase, and then acquired, among other less prominent companies, E-Tek, OCLI, and the biggest fish of all, SDL.   More....

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