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DATE

News (chronologically)

11/20/03

Penske calls for CART/IRL merger  On SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel Thursday night Roger Penske sounded pretty confident that the CART buyout will be successful.  Once in private hands, Roger says that will open the door for a possible merger of the two series in the future.  He emphasized that must happen because there are not enough sponsors to support both series.  However, later he said the big oval tracks (read that ISC's oval tracks) have a big investment to build them and they can't survive on just one Winston Cup race per year.  So what he was saying was that these tracks need an Indy Car style race too.  However, when you race open wheel cars on high speed oval circuits drivers get severely injured and some die, and you tear up a lot of very expensive equipment.  At some point the Indy Racing community has to examine its conscience and ask itself whether it is humane to put a driver in such a position to risk the injury (almost certain) or the death?  We think not.  The idea of racing cars without fenders on high speed ovals in such close proximity (caused by 100% throttle racing) is a severely flawed concept (some would call it downright irresponsible) which every IRL driver who lays in a hospital bed realizes.  The number of back injuries alone is alarming (the list of injured drivers is long, very long).  There have been an enormous number of broken backs in the IRL and it's only by the good grace of God that more didn't end up like Sam Schmidt.  And you wonder why the Europeans look down at their noses at American racing and laugh?  We just cry....and pray a lot. Mark C.

11/20/03
Formula 3

Mercedes renews with Spengler  The motor sport division of German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz announced today in Stuttgart, Germany that they extended their contract with Canadian race car driver Bruno Spengler. Therefore, Spengler will remain in 2004 a member of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team drivers development program.

In his maiden year in the hotly contested Euro Formula 3 Series, Spengler, now 20, stunned the experts and the fans by finishing three times on the podium despite having missed most of the pre-season testing because of a broken back. However, despite the serious lack of seat time and having missed the opening three rounds of the season, the young Canadian raced hard, climbing on the podium in only his fourth Formula 3 race. He ranked 10th in the final standings of the series with 34 points.

“Because of my injury, it has not been an easy year for me,” said Spengler. “Most circuits were totally new to me because I missed some ten days of testing at the beginning of the year. That forced me to work extremely hard during each race weekend. I managed to finish three times on the podium and to lead a race. When I returned in action in June, I immediately ran at the front of the pack. I think the people at Mercedes-Benz Motorsport fully understood that despite the very difficult conditions I always gave my best. I am delighted that they extended my contract and offer me the chance to win races in the Euro Formula 3 Series.”

The Mercedes-Benz Junior Team provides seven international drivers with the best chances to move up the motor sport ladder and maybe reach the pinnacle of motor sport - Formula 1 - in a not too distant future. In 2003, the Euro Formula 3 Series attracted some 34 drivers from 14 different countries, and staged 20 races over ten race weekends on famed road circuits such as Hockenheim, Pau, Le Mans, Zandvoort and Magny-Cours.

St-Hippolyte, Quebec’s Bruno Spengler began today in Europe an intense winter testing program at the wheel of his Formula 3 car.

11/20/03

Bahrain GP Update   The Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir, to the south of Bahrain's capital Manama, is beginning to look more and more like a Grand Prix circuit with every day that passes. With construction engineers working around the clock to complete the brand new circuit in time for next year's inaugural Grand Prix, there was time for celebration this week as machinery completed the first half of the all important track surface.

As the engineering team begin the 136-day countdown to the Grand Prix all eyes are on the track surface on which drivers such as World Champion Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonen, David Coulthard, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber will race for the coveted title of the first driver to win a Grand Prix in the Middle East.

The track laying activities are vitally important not only because the curing process is critical in terms of the final racing surface, but also because it is a milestone on the road to the circuit's completion. 04.04.04 will be a significant date in the Kingdom of Bahrain - traditionally, hosting a Grand Prix demonstrates a country's engineering, business and organizational prowess. Bahrainis are immensely proud of the Grand Prix and see it as the catalyst to promote awareness for Bahrain while endorsing the Kingdom's standing within the Gulf region.

The first layer of asphalt now covers over half of the new circuit and work is on schedule to have the complete circuit covered by early December. The construction team is laying an average of 650 tons of asphalt per day.

Overall some 12,000 tons of stone will be used in the track building exercise - four thousand tons of which comes from Wales and the remainder from Malaysia.

The second layer of asphalt will be laid when all the racing curbs and run-off areas have been completed in the middle of January and the final layer in early February.

As the work on laying the all-important racing surface continues apace, the engineering teams are continuing to weave a magical spell on the construction of the buildings and the landscaping of the area that will give the circuit its unique Arabic appeal.  Press Release

11/20/03

Tagliani to support karting event  Rocketsports’ driver, Alex Tagliani will lend his support to karting in Canada at the Mosport Kart Club 2003 Banquet of Champions Saturday, November 22, 2003, at the Holiday Inn, Oshawa. Tagliani will be on hand for the crowning of 11 club champions in classes ranging from Junior and Senior Honda 4 Cycle, Junior and Senior Rotax to Junior and Senior Shifter.

In the spring of 1997, karting became an important and permanent fixture at Mosport International Raceway, Canada's foremost motorsport facility. With the addition of the Mosport Kart Circuit, Canada's talented young racers can hone their skills at the traditional home of Canadian motor racing. Tagliani, who started racing karts at the age of ten, will address over 150 driving members of all ages from across Ontario.

“I’m all for supporting younger drivers because I appreciate how competitive the sport is,” said Tagliani. “Whether these club drivers want to reach a level like Champ Cars or race on a recreational level, they need encouragement and direction to progress and stay competitive. Kart racing is different from mainstream sports, but clubs like the Mosport Kart Club make it a safe and affordable sport for people to pursue. Competitive racing is physically demanding and develops skills, discipline and teamwork like traditional sports.”

Tagliani came up through the ranks of karting clubs like Mosport, before entering the CART Toyota Atlantic Championships in 1996, where he raced for four years prior to entering the Champ Car World Series in 2000. This season, with tremendous support from automotive interior supplier, Johnson Controls, Tagliani led the first-year Rocketsports team to three podium finishes and two pole starts. Tagliani battled among the top teams all season, securing a tenth place finish with 97 points in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championship.

Tagliani also supports the next generation of drivers by personally mentoring Montreal drivers Pierre Luc Ouelette and Jeffery Petriello. Tagliani joined the young kart drivers, his father, Raymond Tagliani and the SRA Karting organization at the SuperKartsUSA (SKUSA) SuperNations in Las Vegas last weekend. In addition to his time and attention Tagliani pleased the Vegas crowd with demonstration laps in his twin 125CC shifter kart and dominated a cast of drivers in the pro-celebrity race. Watch for the SKUSA events and Tagliani’s pro-celebrity victory to be broadcast in December on SPEED Channel.  For more information check out the following sites;
http://www.mosport.com/karthome.htm
http://www.rocketsportsracing.com
http://www.skusaonline.com

11/20/03

Technical debrief with Bernard Dudot   The wide-angle RS23 V10 benefited from frequent developments during the 2003 season, to the point that the Renault F1 team’s R23B was fighting for regular podiums during the final races of the championship. Here Bernard Dudot speaks about life at Viry during 2003.   More.......

11/20/03
Industry News

Despite worldwide anti-tobacco efforts, Imperial profits up  Imperial Tobacco Group, the world's fourth biggest tobacco firm, has reported a 40 percent jump in annual profits and outlined plans to expand in China and Turkey to fuel further growth.

The company IMT.L , which makes West and Davidoff cigarettes in Germany and Lambert & Butler and Embassy in Britain, saw profits lifted by last year's takeover of Reemtsma and raised its forecast on Monday for cost savings from integrating the German company.

Imperial is expanding into the huge Chinese cigarette market, where it plans to launch its West brand early next year to tie in with West's sponsorship of the McLaren racing team at China's first Formula One race in September in Shanghai.

"The Chinese market is huge, one third of the world market, and the potential is huge," said Chief Executive Gareth Davis in a conference call after full-year results.

The group said it had signed a 10-year deal with Yuxi Hongta Group for the production and distribution of West cigarettes in south west China, to sell to the world's biggest smokers, the Chinese, who smoke 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year.  Reuters

11/20/03

***Reader Question***Will CART survive?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, There have been no team sponsor announcements, series sponsor announcements or really any good news coming out of the CART camp as of late.  The only thing we hear is that the company will run out of money mid-January and be forced to file for bankruptcy.  Stick a fork in CART, I think it's done.  Scott Morrison, Brooklyn, NY  Dear Scott, From the outside we have to agree that things look pretty bleak for CART.  However, when we talk to people in the paddock, they don't appear the least bit concerned.  Everyone seems to feel things will improve quickly once Open Wheel takes over and that they will have a series of positive announcements from deals they have put together.  We don't expect any major announcements between now and December 19th.  Assuming the proxy vote passes on the 19th and there is a CART series next year, the new owners will no longer be under an SEC gag order to remain silent.  If the proxy vote fails, CART will go into receivership and we expect that Open Wheel will work with the bankruptcy administrator to structure some sort of deal whereby they buy the company at a price that would probably be a fraction of the $0.56 per share they bid.  There is one interesting clause in the proxy that says if 16% or more of the voting shares request an audit of the books, Open Wheel has the right to withdraw their bid.  From the outside that would appear to be in there because they fear an audit might reveal the company is worth more than is being stated.  We don't know for certain.  However, if the audit delays the takeover by even a few days, CART will almost certainly fall into bankruptcy, meaning those that filed for the audit will see their shares immediately become worthless.  Hopefully it does not come to that, the vote passes and CART moves forward.  Mark C.

11/20/03

***Reader Comment***CSI: Miami - How ironic  A reader writes, Dear AR1, How do you spell irony? CSI+ASTJ. It was a great episode with a lot of technical explanation thrown in for the non-race fan, which I think is a nice touch. What is ironic is the sponsorship opportunities that were lost by ASTJ not having a main sponsor. As you mentioned, with all of their exposure in the show, a team sponsor would have made out great! At one point you could see, barely, the Merlins logo on a front wing, but that was it.  ASTJ is a great team, and truly the Cinderella of the series. I would hope that their exposure, and their recent success, can assist them in landing a great sponsor. J. Gonzalez, San Dimas, CA

11/20/03

Schumacher relaxes in home town   Michael Schumacher is spending time with his family back home.  ‘Yesterday I was in Kerpen, the place where I was born,’ revealed Michael. ‘I feel great when I am there and I have had a good day. We went to see my father and some old friends and I had some time to drive the karts and please some fans; the perfect combination!’   Michael has always enjoyed driving karts to relax  ‘It’s true,’ confirmed the German champion, ‘above all when I can also spend a pleasant time with my fans as happened yesterday during an event held by one of Ferrari’s major sponsors, Vodafone.’

11/20/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Montoya Didn't 'Fall Out' With Williams
Schu Scolds Exaggerated Injury Reports
F1 Never Looked So Tough: Sauber
Montoya Will Drive Williams In 2004
Kimi Seeks Comfort In New McLaren
Webber Welcomes Quicker Pitlane Limit
Jaguar Aim For 'Big Leap' With R5
F1 Costs Australia Too Much: Report
Iceman Unfazed By Montoya Arrival
Hakkinen Honored At Melbourne GP
Bernie Donates Millions To Save Canada
Schu'll Replace Montoya?
Briscoe Targets F1 Debut In 2005
Williams 'Take Time' To Find New Driver
Trulli Looking Forward To R24
Webber Admits 'Talks' With BMW-Williams
Coulthard Wants To Keep Racing: Manager
Bahrain's Plan For F1 'Tent City'

11/19/03
F3000

Giebler tests F3000 car for Coloni  Monza, Italy:American driver Phil Giebler ran in an FIA open F3000 test here yesterday with Coloni Motorsport. Even though the car suffered a couple of failures including a right rear upright that held Phil to under thirty total laps, he still ended the day third quick overall. "The car was quick and the team was quite good, unfortunately we ended up a bit short on track time due to a few problems outside of all of our control, I feel certain we could have made it to the top of the board with another session or two. I've never driven on this track before, so regardless of the final outcome, it was most helpful to have the chance to get to know the place. I am very grateful to Paolo Coloni for the opportunity" stated Phil. Giebler has been offered several opportunities in F3000 for the 2004 season.

11/19/03

Ferrari vs Eurofighter back on   With reports early on this month that the Eurofighter jet would be grounded because of a brake problem it meant that Ferrari's publicity stunt to race their F2003-GA against the jet was cancelled. But it's all been sorted and the event will now go ahead as scheduled.

Builders of the Eurofighter said on Monday the fighter jets would be cleared to fly again within days, allowing first deliveries to resume less than a month after a surprise braking failure shook the program.

"Clearance for the DA (development aircraft) fleet to fly is being finalized this afternoon and they should start flying tomorrow or on Wednesday morning," said lan Bustin, spokesman for the Eurofighter consortium.   He said the next step would be to get approval from a joint safety panel including industry and air force officials for production aircraft destined for the air forces of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

"Everything is coming back on stream...it's a matter of days," Bustin said referring to flight approval for production versions of the plane. A braking failure on a test plane last month is being attributed to an anomaly in a landing gear computer, he said.

11/19/03

CART announces special buyout meeting  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. ("Championship") (OTCBB: CPNT) announced today that it will hold a special meeting of its stockholders, at which it will ask stockholders to vote to adopt the previously announced merger agreement with Open Wheel Racing Series LLC. The meeting is scheduled for December 19, 2003 at 10:00 am, local time, at Championship's headquarters.

Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. and Open Wheel Racing Series LLC announced previously they have signed a definitive merger agreement providing for Open Wheel Racing Series to acquire Championship for cash equivalent to $0.56 per share, based on the number of shares of Championship common stock currently outstanding. The transaction is subject to a number of closing conditions, including approval by Championship's stockholders.

Open Wheel Racing Series is a newly formed holding company owned indirectly by a group of investors including Gerald R. Forsythe, Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi. Open Wheel Racing Series currently has beneficial ownership of 3,377,400 shares of Championship common stock, which represent approximately 22.9% of the outstanding shares of Championship. These shares will be contributed to Open Wheel Racing Series by Mr. Forsythe or entities owned or controlled by him. Open Wheel Racing Series has previously stated that, if the transaction is completed, it intends to continue to operate the business of Championship, including continuing to sanction the motorsports series currently known as "Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford."

11/19/03
F3000

Bell tests at Monza, prepares for Jag test  Townsend Bell was back in an ARDEN F3000 race car yesterday in an FIA pre-season test program at the Monza circuit in Italy and was happy to be back in the seat...This was the beginning of a hectic three week program that included testing in another F3000 car at Valencia in Spain tomorrow (November 20), followed next week by the Jaguar F1 test (November 25-26) at Valencia, Spain.

Bell was at the Jaguar F1 team's headquarters in Milton Keynes, England for a seat fitting today before catching a flight to Valencia.  The Spanish test in an Astromega F3000 car was arranged by ARDEN team owner Christian Horner so that Townsend could learn a little bit about the track before he will test the Jaguar F1 car there next week..."If I can get in 15 or 20 laps in a F3000 car it will help me know the corners, bumps and undulations I will encounter in the Jaguar F1 car", said the young Californian who is so determined to break into the F1 championship series.

The Monza test for ARDEN yesterday was a part of the ARDEN team's ongoing development work in preparation to defend their F3000 championship won this year by the Swedish driver Bjorn Wirdheim. Bell noted, " It was cold in the morning but we managed to get in about 30 laps all together. I really wanted more time at Monza because of being knocked out of the Monza F3000 race on the 2nd lap in September. I finally got the time to better understand the circuit, which will help me be faster there when I come back. I also had the chance to work with Mick Cook at this test and that was very satisfying. Mick has had a lot of success in F3000 - it shows in his confidence as we worked through the setups for evaluating things". Cook is the man who engineered the Wirdheim F3000 championship car in 2003.

Enrico Toccacelo, in a Coloni F3000 car was fastest at the Monza test with a time of 1 minute, 38.7 seconds with Bell 2nd at 1 minute, 39.5 seconds. American Phil Giebler was 3rd quickest in another Coloni car at 1 minute, 40.28 seconds, followed by Mathias Lauda (World Champion Niki Lauda's son) at 1 minute, 40.29 seconds in an ARDEN test program.

The Jaguar F1 car seat fitting took about 3 hours and was handled by Mark Webber's engineer Pete Harrison. The fitting was a bit easier than the BAR-F1 fitting because Webber is taller than TBell and they are used to tall drivers.  Justin Wilson is the other driver at Jaguar F1 and he is also very tall. After the seat fitting he climbed back into his taxi for the hour ride back to Heathrow airport and then to Spain.

The pressure changes from corporate offices to the racetracks of the world.  TBell has spent the short off-season talking to everyone who will listen about the need and values in funding the American challenge. Several companies are interested, and especially so if a Formula One contract is committed.  The young American is optimistic that he will prove his pace in a race car and his business influence on the commercial side. We will not have long to wait on a next step in the Challenge.

11/19/03

Unser buys Lola for his museum project  Al Unser has found another prominent race car for his museum.  Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Unser  was one of the few racers among 320 people who attended an auction Nov. 15 in Phoenix as Vince Granatelli, son of Speedway Hall of Famer Andy Granatelli, sold all of his racing equipment and his 38,500 square-foot shop and private jet. Vince retired as a car owner in CART after the 1991 season yet maintained his equipment in spotless condition for the past 12 years.

The prize among the four Indy-type cars available was the 1991 Lola that Arie Luyendyk drove to third place in the 1991 Indianapolis 500. The car also won at Nazareth, Pa., and finished second at Michigan. Unser purchased that car. He also bought benches, shelves and other equipment and hauled them back to Albuquerque.

“All the cars were sold,” Granatelli said. “I have offers on the building and jet.  “I’m out of the racing business. Everything was sold. I have mixed emotions. Al said, ‘I know how you feel.’”   When Unser was asked what he paid for his car, he laughed and said, “Too much.” Then he laughed again and added, “More than a dollar.”

The Kruse International auctioneering firm of Auburn, Ind., handled the sale. Greg Weld, who drove in the 1970 Indianapolis 500, purchased a 1991 Lola backup car without an engine. Dean Kruse of Kruse International bought the other two cars, the 1987 March that Roberto Guerrero drove to second in the 1987 Indianapolis 500 and won with at Phoenix and the 1991 Lola that Luyendyk won in at Phoenix and finished second in at Detroit.

Roger Penske sent some representatives, but mostly the crowd was comprised of people seeking memorabilia. Granatelli said many people thanked him for keeping every piece in such immaculate condition.

The Luyendyk car joins about 30 that Unser and son, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., have in their shop ready to place in the museum when it is constructed.

Al Unser is enthusiastic about his museum project.  “It’s for kids and grown-ups to let them see what we did and see what cars are all about,” he said. “I’d like to create something for the kids.”
Unser is dismayed that auto mechanics has been dropped from the curriculum of most high schools. He wants his museum to be open to all young people so they can get a hands-on feel for working with cars, both passenger and race vehicles.   “I want to get the kids interested and get them off the street,” he said.   Now the tough part of the project is underway – finding funding.   “I thought racing was hard,” Unser said, “but raising money is really hard.   “I’ve just now started raising some money. We’re talking large dollars.”   The museum will be housed in an already planned and designed 50,000 square-foot building.   “It’s a good project,” he said.

11/19/03
Industry News

Red Bull names winners  The Red Bull Driver Search announced the winners of the 2003 program at the famed Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society’s monthly meeting. The meeting was in conjunction with the International Automotive Media Awards and Brock Yates of Car and Driver, Jean Jennings of Automobile Magazine and Roger Werner of SpeedVision fame were present among scores of automotive industry and media representatives, and over 150 members of the Chowder Society.

Danny Sullivan, head of the Red Bull Driver Search program announced the four American members of the 2004 Red Bull Junior Team, who will be rewarded with a Red Bull sponsorship worth upwards of $500,000 for the 2004 racing season.

Three of the four drivers will be racing in Formula Renault in Europe:

Dominique Claessens of Rolling Hills, CA will be driving with the Italian team, JD Motorsports;
Colin Fleming of North Hills, CA will be with the Swiss team, Jenzer Motorsports;
Scott Speed will be with the German team, Motopark (Speed was unable to be present at the event);
Matt Jaskol of Las Vegas, NV will be spending the 2004 season in Formula BMW in the U.S.

Now, that finding sponsorship, the most difficult obstacle for any racer has been overcome, it is up to these young drivers to be focused and invest hard work and dedication to take their careers to the next level. Ultimately, their goal is to advance to the pinnacle of world motorsport, Formula 1, with the support of Red Bull.

In his presentation, Sullivan outlined how a nationwide search for America’s most talented race car drivers had culminated in the selection of these promising stars. Sullivan also discussed the format for the 2004 Driver Search highlighting the extensive reach of the program and the emphasis on finding the “diamond in the rough” from the grassroots of American motorsport; the go-kart community. The 2004 program will kick off in mid March.

11/19/03
Industry News

Stock Split for Johnson Controls   Johnson Controls Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. auto parts maker and CART team sponsor (Rocketsports), on Wednesday said its board approved a two-for-one split of the company's shares and a 25 percent increase in the dividend. The quarterly dividend was raised to 45 cents from 36 cents, bringing the annual payout to 90 cents on a post-split basis. The increase marks the 29th consecutive year in which Johnson Controls has boosted its dividend, which it has paid since 1887. The dividend increase and two-for-one stock split will be effective Jan. 2 for shareholders of record Dec. 12.

11/19/03

Montoya: Why I am leaving for McLaren   Juan Montoya told the Gazzetta dello Sport: “The decision to change teams wasn’t dictated by a falling out with Williams. As soon as I had signed with McLaren I went and told Frank.

“I am happy here at Williams and for this reason I will honor to the letter my contract, driving one more year with them.

“An offer was made to me, I spoke to Ron Dennis and the Mercedes directors who I knew a little bit from having driven their DTM car in 1996 and then I made my decision.”

Montoya said McLaren’s offer, which is believed to be worth $9.5million per season, was simply too good to turn down.

He said: “In life you often find yourself at a crossroads – take it or leave it. I decided to take it.

“My choice was dictated by considerations for the future and I believe that in the long term I can achieve more with McLaren.”

The timing of McLaren’s announcement, more than a year in advance, has surprised many. However, Montoya is not worried that it will jeopardize his 2004 championship chances.

He said: “The decision to make the deal public was taken by Ron Dennis and I don’t believe it will do me any damage.

“Williams had been warned well ahead of time of my decision.

“I will continue to work as I always have with the objective of winning the world championship and I am sure that this season McLaren will be a very tough opponent.”

Montoya is due to test for Williams at Valencia next week, alongside Ralf Schumacher and Marc Gene.

11/19/03

Brands Hatch confirms loss of Champ Car race  This Autosport.com article says that UK company Brands Hatch Circuits Ltd has formally confirmed that its Kent road circuit will not host a round of the Champ Car World Series next year. "Brands Hatch was making plans to hold the London Champ Car Trophy in 2004, but CART has informed us that it is no longer its intention to hold a race here," BHCL's Andrew Waller told Motorsport News. "We're adjusting our plans accordingly."

11/19/03

Photos of Bjorn Wirdheim's Champ Car test  F3000 sensation Bjorn Wirdheim recently tested for Patrick Racing's Champ Car team at Arizona Motorsports Park.  Here is a link to some photos from that session.

11/19/03

Champ Car-Themed CSI: Miami Delivers For CART Sponsors, Teams  Last week’s episode of the CBS crime drama CSI: Miami, filmed on location at the Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com in late September, turned South Florida’s streets into a 200 mph blur with thoroughbred Champ Cars screaming through downtown as a high-profile Hollywood murder mystery unraveled. After the show received the third-highest rating in its history, supporters of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford reached new levels of sponsorship exposure for their involvement in the popular show.

Exposure from the episode, which earned a 12.0 rating and a 19 share (12,960,000 households), provided series’ sponsors Bridgestone and Ford a great return on their investment, along with footage that featured the two-car team of American Spirit Team Johansson. These ratings were parlayed into estimated dollar values through sponsorship exposure, time and mentions compared to the CBS network’s cost per 30-second commercial rate of $265,000.

Respected industry leader in sponsor exposure analysis Joyce Julius and Associates reported that Ford Motor Company racked up $1,192,500 in value with the crime centering around one of the 750hp engines that propels all the machines in the Champ Car World Series, while the series’ presenting sponsor and official tire manufacturer Bridgestone received $1,042,340 in exposure for numerous placements throughout the show.

In addition, through specific mentions and logo placement directly relating to the show’s storyline, CART Champ Car’s exclusive engine manufacturer Cosworth received $618,335 in value.

Champ Car-related signage and logos were displayed prominently at the crime scene investigation based in the Champ Car paddock, with American Spirit Team Johansson ($2,084,670), Team Rahal sponsor Gigante ($106,000) and Mi-Jack Conquest Racing ($530,005) most notably reaping the benefits from the nationwide coverage. The series itself benefited with $1,042,330 worth of exposure, while the CART brand specifically enjoyed $706,670 in value for sharing the episode’s spotlight.

11/19/03
Industry News

Michael Andretti featured   Michael Andretti, along with over 50 celebrity athletes, is featured in a new charity book entitled “America’s Athletes,” which was launched yesterday. The book includes photographs of the sports stars along with a patriotic perspective written by each athlete. All photos contain a patriotic theme and were developed following the events of September 11, 2001. America’s Athletes features Andretti along with other sports superstars such as Marion Jones, Evander Holyfield, Tony Stewart, Tim Duncan, Kurt Warner, Kristi Yamaguchi, Jeremy Roenick and many more. America’s Athletes will be available at select Borders bookstores and online at www.andretti.com or www.AmericasAthletes.com. Log onto Andretti.com for more information on the book along with a complete list of the sports figures featured in America’s Athletes and the charities benefiting from this project. Proceeds from the sale of America’s Athletes will be divided among charities selected by the athletes featured. Michael Andretti’s selected charity is the Michael Andretti Foundation. “After the events of September 11th, the opportunity to get involved in a book of this magnitude with so many other high-caliber athletes made it impossible for me not to participate,” said Andretti. “Knowing that a portion of the proceeds will not only benefit my foundation, but all of the other athletes’ charities as well, is just an added bonus.” America’s Athletes is a project of the FairPlay Foundation, a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization created by Sandra Tenuto to assist professional athletes, celebrities and the affluent who want to become more involved in enhancing the community in which they live, play and serve. The Michael Andretti Foundation supports a variety of charitable causes and initiatives that promote children’s charities, educational purposes and wellness programs. For more information about the Michael Andretti Foundation, visit our website at http://www.andretti.com.

11/19/03

Jaguar launch date set   Jaguar Racing will launch its 2004 challenger, the Jaguar R5, at the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona), on Sunday 18th of January.

11/19/03

Roush to bring a mob to NY City  Jack Roush employs over 300 people to maintain his five Winston Cup entries.  He intends to bring all 300 of them to the NASCAR Awards banquet in December at the Waldorf Astoria.  It's Jack's first Winston Cup victory (Kenseth) and since he's not sure if he will ever win one again (it took him this long to win his first) he's going all out this year.

11/19/03

Team Rahal opens doors to CART ladder hopefuls  Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford and CART Toyota Atlantic Championship competitor Team Rahal recently announced that the Hilliard, Ohio-based team will provide a full Toyota Atlantic test to the ICC and ICA category winners of the 2003 Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow competition. The two champions will have a chance to show their skills in Team Rahal's Argent Mortgage Toyota/Swift, December 10-11 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, N.C. Bobby Wilson of Dousman, Wis., will have his dream shot in the Team Rahal machine usually piloted by Danica Patrick in the top level of the Champ Car Driver Development Ladder System, after capturing the 125cc ICC category championship with five national Stars race wins. The 22-year-old was recently named the winner of the inaugural Jim Trueman Scholarship Award for the 2003 Snap-on Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow presented by RACER karting series, and received a $25,000 prize to be used toward his 2004 racing program. "The chance to test the Team Rahal Toyota Atlantic car is awesome," said Wilson. "I've always wanted to drive one of those cars and it is great that the Stars of Tomorrow program gives a karting racer the opportunity to get behind the wheel of that kind of machine." Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa., captured the 100cc ICA category championship with five Stars national wins, including four of the first five events of the season. For his efforts, the 16-year-old was awarded a full season of competition in the 2004 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship, the 13-race series that has produced many of the top young racers in North America including 2003 Champ Car rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone), A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT Toyota/Swift), the 2003 Toyota Atlantic champion, and this season's Barber Dodge Pro Series titlist Leo Maia. "I am really excited to drive that Toyota Atlantic car," said Pecorari. "It has been one of my goals to get into one of those cars and this chance should be a thrill. Now that I am moving into cars next year, this opportunity will be very good experience. I want to thank Team Rahal and the Stars program for this chance." Both Wilson and Pecorari will be visiting the Team Rahal race shop in the next few weeks for seat fittings and final preparations before their early December test. Team owner Bobby Rahal and representatives from the team's Toyota Atlantic program will oversee the two-day test session.

11/19/03

KKK wants a boycott on NASCAR  Ku Klux Klan members were apparently busy distributing a newsletter and fliers as some local residents found them attached to their mailboxes on Monday, Local 4 reported. The newsletter called "The Flame," along with a flier, was attached by rubber bands to mailboxes in Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township. The materials reportedly called for the boycott of McDonald's, NASCAR and Coca-Cola for what the KKK says are the companies' tendency for discriminating against whites by hiring blacks and Hispanics. Residents said the timing of the fliers was perfect because Monday was trash day, Local 4 reported. ClickOnDetroit.com

11/19/03

New Mercedes engine tested   The 2003 'P' specification of Mercedes-Benz V10 engine will not be raced in a GP, but it is providing valuable information for the 2004 'Q' spec engine. Norbert Haug insists that the manufacturer has learned a lot about its successor, the 'Q' spec, from tests in McLaren's never-raced MP4-18 chassis.  'We ran the MP4-18 in a variety of configurations to optimize the 19's design,' said team principal and McLaren CEO Ron Dennis. Haug confirmed that the 'Q' spec will debut at Melbourne's Albert Park next season, mounted in the rear of an evolution of the 18, the MP4-19.  'What we learned from the P certainly can be put into the Q,' the German added. 'The Q is not completely different from P but it is a step.'

11/19/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

We Must Improve Reliability: Renault
Sauber To Launch New Car In January
Canadian Grand Prix Is Saved
Sore Knee Won't Affect Driving: Schu
Kimi Vows To Freeze Montoya Out
Williams To Dump Montoya?
Changes To Albert Park F1 Circuit
F1, China And Tobacco
Burti Happy After DTM Test
Minardi 'Work Hard' On Bruni Deal
Coulthard Not Thinking About 2005
FIA Should Publish Fuel Stats: Ralf
Jaguar's Webber 'Admires' Williams
Geist Retained In Bahrain F1 Project
Renault Have 'Best' Drivers In F1
Kimi Recovers From Surgery
Ecclestone: Welcome Back, Canada
Briscoe Vows To Join F1 Grid

11/18/03
MotoGP

Honda snubs Rossi  World champion Valentino Rossi suffered an embarrassing snub on Sunday when Honda, with whom he won three world motorcycling MotoGP championships, refused him permission to practice with his new Yamaha employers.  Yamaha, who signed the Italian on a two-year deal after he wrapped up this year’s title, wanted their new superstar to take part in an official three-day test at Sepang in Malaysia from November 28. However, Honda refused to grant their permission as their contract with Rossi doesn’t expire until December 31. The approach was made by Fortuna Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio who spoke to his Honda counterpart Carlo Fiorani last Wednesday but he rejected the request admitting they did not want to hand an advantage to the world champion and his new machine. “Despite our affection for Valentino Rossi and respect for Team Yamaha, we cannot allow Rossi to test the M1 machine before the 31st of December,” Fiorani told the championship’s official website www.motogp.com. “We simply cannot afford to concede advantages to our rivals. To allow Yamaha to test with Valentino would be like giving a sixth card to an opponent in a game of poker. “This is a game and you have to respect the rules. I think Davide Brivio was right to ask our permission, and I think we were right to turn him down.”

11/18/03

CART announces 2004 Toyota Atlantic schedule   Highlighted by the series' first race in Vancouver since 2001, officials from the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama released its 12-weekend 2004 schedule today.  "The 2004 schedule, once again, provides a solid mix of various racing venues that assist in developing driver skill," commented Les Unger, national motorsports manager for Toyota. "The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship continues to provide fans throughout North America the opportunity to watch 'tomorrow's stars' display their racing talent."   More....

11/18/03

Sauber to present new car January 12th   Team Sauber Petronas will present its 2004 F1 Championship contender, the Sauber Petronas C23, on Monday,  January 12, 2004 at Red Bull's Hangar-7 in Salzburg, in Austria.

11/18/03

Bernie orders changes to Australian GP   Bernie Ecclestone, Chairman of Formula One Management, announced today that major changes to the format of the Australian Grand Prix would be possible following the result of decisions taken at a recent meeting of Formula One promoters and ratified by the F1 Commission.

Mr Ecclestone said the F1 Commission had approved an increase to the pit lane speed limit. The limit, raised to 100kmh, will apply to all FIA Formula One World Championship venues from the beginning of 2004.

In addition, Melbourne's Australian Grand Prix circuit has now been instructed to straighten, and thus substantially shorten, its pit lane entry, a move that will make its event a three-pitstop race for competitors.

Mr Ecclestone also revealed that investigations were underway by Formula One Management (FOM) and the world governing body of motor sport, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) that will allow faster refueling of F1 cars during pit stops.

It is anticipated that the changes to Melbourne's pit entry and the increase in the pit lane speed will cut three to five seconds off the length of pit stops.

Quicker refueling could increase the emphasis on team strategy that plays such a crucial and exciting role in Grand Prix racing today. Time saving tactics such as faster refuelling stops will heighten the strategic battle between the leading teams such as Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Renault and Jaguar and the world's top drivers, including six-time world champion Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Australian star Mark Webber.

Traditionally the leading drivers and teams have made only two pit stops during the Australian GP. The changes announced today could put this up to three further adding to the excitement and drama of the race.

The FIA and its Australian affiliate, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, have approved the changes to the track layout.

Mr Ecclestone said new F1 rules introduced in 2003 had already made the sport much more competitive and exciting to the fans and millions of television viewers around the world. He added that the latest moves demonstrated an on-going commitment to exciting racing.  Press Release

11/18/03

Ideas to fix the IRL's woes   This Valvoline.com article paints a very bleak picture of the IRL.  Tony George split the sport in half and both CART and the IRL are in a crisis.  It's quite possible that one man's actions will eventually destroy the sport.  NASCAR is getting stronger by the day, and pulling away.  The only thing increasing in the IRL are injuries and destroyed cars.  From a sport that was booming in 1995, we now have a sport in crisis. Since its inception, his idea of what Indy Car racing should be (all ovals, 100% throttle) has sent so many drivers to the hospital we have lost count.  Read the article - it lays it on the line about the IRL.

11/18/03

Still no answers to Renna's crash   This Indy Star article talks about the fact that there still is no determination as to why Tony Renna's IRL car took flight, went into the fencing above the wall and fatally injured him.  Joe Renna and his family want to know.  Brian Barnhart said he does not expect major adjustments to the cars for next season, in part because he thinks Renna's flip was an aberration. He said the other four cars that went airborne this season got off the ground with help from outside factors such as wheel-to-wheel contact with another car. [Bingo - wheel-to-wheel contact, which is why the destruction will continue].

11/18/03

Franchitti back at AGR   Veteran Dario Franchitti will return to Andretti Green Racing to drive the No. 27 Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season, AGR officials announced Nov. 18.

Franchitti, who finished second in the 1999 CART championship, competed in just three IndyCar Series events in 2003 due to a back injury sustained in a motorcycle accident in April in his native Scotland.

“Andretti Green Racing is really looking forward to having Dario back full-time next season,” said Michael Andretti, co-owner of AGR along with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. “Dario will definitely give Andretti Green and Honda another real shot at winning the series championship because of his technical feedback, his team leadership, and obviously, his proven ability to win.”

Franchitti competed in the first two races of the 2003 season at Homestead and Phoenix before the back injury caused him to miss races at Japan, Indianapolis and Texas. He returned to the cockpit in June at Pikes Peak and finished fourth, but underwent back surgery in the weeks following the Pikes Peak event, which caused him to miss the remainder of the 2003 season.

“To say I’m eager to get going again would be a huge understatement,” Franchitti said. “My recovery has been going very well, and I know I’m not quite through the process yet, but I really can’t wait to get back in an AGR car and work with my guys. I’m working very hard to regain my fitness, and I feel like I’m a bit ahead of schedule. I am very focused on getting back to 100 percent.”

Franchitti has been under the care of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammell, who performed the back surgery in July in Indianapolis.

“Dario is currently weaning out of his brace and is continuing to increase his general physical conditioning,” Trammell said. “I would anticipate his healing process to continue normally, in which case he will be able to begin undertaking more vigorous activity in the near future. Once he is healed, his risk of a spinal injury in the future will be no greater than it was before he was injured.”

11/18/03

Canadian GP saved   According to ¨Le Journal de Montreal¨ this morning, the Canadian GP is ON.  Labatt matched Molson's offer (as a main sponsor) and Ecclestone agreed to a $30M compensation, once, this year only and won't bother the Canadian GP about tobacco laws again.  Ecclestone will dig in his own pocket to some extent and both Canadian and Québécois governments will chip in as sponsors ($7M-$12M).  A recap of the entire saga.

11/18/03

China to ratify anti-tobacco treaty   The Shanghai Daily newspaper is reporting that the Chinese look set to ratify its signature of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at the National Peoples' Congress when it meets in March next year. But the country's huge tobacco industry says that banning all cigarette advertising will be a disaster.  "It will deal a heavy blow to China's tobacco business," said Zheng Fugang, the secretary-general of the China Tobacco Society.  The Chinese government supports the move but other agencies, notably the city of Shanghai, which wants to have tobacco sponsorship allowed for the inaugural Chinese GP.  Grandprix.com  More.....An agreement forcing the government to implement a series of anti-smoking measures will have little impact even if it is ratified, industry experts say.  Under the agreement, signed by China's ambassador to the United Nations, the country became the 77th nation to endorse the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control introduced earlier this year.  This calls on all signatories to introduce regulations and legislation to control the production, sale and consumption of tobacco products.  The convention states that all cigarette packages must carry a health warning covering at least 30 per cent of the box.  At present, cigarette packets in China carry the warning 'Smoking harms your health'.  But tobacco industry experts maintain the convention will have little impact on smokers in China.  'Most of the items included in the convention are already incorporated into the law in China,' said Yuan Benli, director of the China Smoking and Health Association.  The convention also calls for legislation to protect against exposure to tobacco smoke in public places, but the government has shown little interest in complying. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco. The industry employs nearly 60 million people and contributes 145 billion yuan (HK$136 billion) in taxes.  The industry is run as a state monopoly with the central government controlling raw materials, production and licensing.  More than 2,000 people die of smoking-related illnesses in China every day. The number is expected to reach to 8,000 a day in 2050.

11/18/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Official: Montoya To McLaren In 2005
Renault To Run Rising Racers
Alex Yoong Is A Race-Winner
Sauber Still Batting For Heidfeld
BMW Urge Montoya To Maintain Focus
F1 Braces For Newest Flying Finn
We'll Do A Better Job With JPM: McLaren
Montoya All Smiles After Kart Race
Ralf Disappointed With Montoya Switch
Raikkonen Eyes New McLaren Teammate
McLaren To Unveil New Mercedes Engine
Renault Made Giant Strides In 2003
Williams Start Search For New Driver
Coulthard Will Race On: Manager
McLaren Rue Reliability Record
Toyota Misjudged Second F1 Season

11/17/03

US Army close to renewing with #01  Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports this week that the U.S. Army is close to renewing its sponsorship with MB2 Motorsports for the team's No. 01 Nextel Cup entry. Columnist Terry Lefton says the Army spent more than $16 million on its NASCAR sponsorship this year but says it generated 79 billion media impressions and 50,000 leads on possible Army enlistments. "That equates to $20 million in advertising we didn't have to spend, so we're pretty happy," Col Thomas Nickerson, director of Strategic Outreach of the U.S. Army Accessions Command, told the weekly publication. Joe Nemechek is scheduled to continue to drive while Jerry Nadeau continues to recuperate from his May accident at Richmond International Raceway. Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter

11/17/03
Industry News

Tickets to go on sale at Infineon Raceway   Infineon Raceway is not only offering tremendous value for race fans purchasing a season-ticket package for the 2004 motor racing season, it is also giving them a coveted NASCAR Pit Pass for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend.

It's all part of the upcoming 2004 Big O Tires Racing Season, which kicks off in earnest on Friday, Nov. 21, as Infineon Raceway officially opens its ticket windows to the public. The new season will be headlined by the NASCAR Dodge/Save Mart 350, presented by Snap-On Tools (June 25-27) and the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series FRAM Autolite Nationals, presented by Supercuts (July 30-Aug. 1).

The biggest savings for 2004 will come with a season-ticket package, which will cost $395, a $130 savings over the same package in 2003. Plus, you'll get a NASCAR Pit Pass that will allow access to cold pit lane at designated times over the weekend (this pass will not allow entry into the NASCAR garage). In addition, you will receive premium reserved seats to NASCAR and NHRA, tickets to the remaining five major-event weekends planned for 2004, a raceway hard card, and preferred parking.

Individual race tickets for all events on the 2004 major-event calendar will be available beginning Nov. 21, including the AMA Kawasaki Showdown (April 30-May 2), featuring the Supercuts Superbike Challenge, and the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma American Le Mans Series (July 16-18), presented by Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. Infineon Raceway will also feature the best in vintage automobile racing and the Team Superstores NHRA Division 7 Summernationals.

11/17/03
Industry News

This week's Wind Tunnel guests  The week will be the last LIVE week of SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel until next season and the show is closing out an exciting debut season with a stellar guest list:

Monday -- Motor sports safety pioneer Bill Simpson (and a little fun with Speed Racer)
Tuesday -- Motorcycle giants Jeremy McGrath
Wednesday -- Dan Gurney, one of the true legends of racing
Thursday -- Multi-race team owner, Roger Penske

Send your e-mail questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL to be a part of the live call-in portions of the show.

11/17/03

Team Rahal to provide test for Stars champions  Team Rahal, one of the leading open-wheel racing teams in North America, announced today that it would provide a full-day Toyota Atlantic Championship test to the ICC and ICA category winners of the 2003 Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow competition. The two rising stars will each participate in a full-day test in Team Rahal's Argent Mortgage Toyota/Swift with Team Rahal's Toyota Atlantic team December 10-11 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, Sorth Carolina.

Bobby Wilson, a 22 year-old native of Dousman, Wis., captured the 125cc ICC category championship with five national Stars race wins in addition to a victory in the Grand Prix of Windsor. The winner of the 2003 Jim Trueman Scholarship Award, Wilson will be visiting the Team Rahal race shop in the next few weeks for a seat fitting and final preparation for his early December test. Wilson is already committed to running the 18-race Formula Ford 2000 Zetec championship for Cape Motorsports of St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of his 2004 racing program.

"The chance to test the Team Rahal Toyota Atlantic car is awesome," said Wilson. "I've always wanted to drive one of those cars and it is great that the Stars of Tomorrow program gives a karting racer the opportunity to get behind the wheel of that kind of machine."

The second recipient is Robbie Pecorari, a 16 year-old native of Aston, Pa., who captured the 100cc ICA category championship with five Stars national wins, including four of the first five events of the season. Pecorari failed to finish on the podium only once in nine events this season. Like Wilson he will be visiting the Team Rahal race shop for a seat fitting and additional preparations for the full-day Toyota Atlantic test.

"I am really excited to drive that Toyota Atlantic car," said Pecorari. "It has been one of my goals to get into one of those cars and this chance should be a thrill. Now that I am moving into cars next year, this opportunity will be very good experience. I want to thank Team Rahal and the Stars program for this chance."

"We at Team Rahal are pleased to present the testing opportunity to Bobby and Robbie, an opportunity that they both richly deserve," said Bobby Rahal, Team Rahal owner who won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and three Champ Car championships. "They both had fantastic seasons in their respective divisions and they both have a bright future ahead of them. I have always been a big supporter of the Champ Car ladder system of which the Stars of Tomorrow program is the inaugural step. Team Rahal has been involved with the Stars of Tomorrow program from the first year and we are proud to continue our involvement in helping develop the next generation of racing champions."

11/17/03

Toyota truck announcement press conference  PARTICIPANTS: Jim Aust - Motorsports Vice President, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. President and CEO, Toyota Racing Development U.S.A. Les Unger - National Motorsports Manager, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Lee White - Group VP and GM, Toyota Racing Development U.S.A. Alex Meshkin - Owner and CEO of Bang Racing Larry McReynolds - VP of Bang Racing George deBidart - Owner, Innovative Motorsports, Inc. Mike Brown - GM of Bill Davis Racing Darrell Waltrip - Owner of Waltrip Racing Inc. Transcript

11/17/03

Schumacher injured playing soccer/football   Michael Schumacher injured his knee playing football. He has been ordered to rest for a couple of weeks after getting injured playing for a local team near his Switzerland home. The injury means that he will not be able to train with the Manchester United squad on Wednesday, as planned. Schumacher is not expected to climb back behind the wheel of an F1 car until January so the injury should not affect his Ferrari testing plans.

11/17/03
World Rally

Burns diagnosed with brain tumor  British rally star Richard Burns has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and will be forced to sit out next year's World Rally Championship while he undergoes treatment. The 32-year-old Burns was forced to skip Wales Rally GB, the series finale at which he had been in with a chance of winning the World Championship, after passing out at the wheel of his road car while en route to the event. Tests to determine the cause of his blackout revealed that Burns has Astrocytoma. This is a form of tumor that develops on the brain's Glial cells, which support and protect the nerve cells. Burns will be treated for the condition through a course of radiation therapy, and doctors are confident that this will prove effective. "I would really like to thank everyone for their continued support – it means a lot to me," said Burns. "My fans, the Peugeot WRC team and also everyone at Prodrive and Subaru (where Burns was set to drive next season) have all been tremendous. "The doctors have advised me that I am unable to get back in a rally car for the 2004 World Rally Championship and I have to accept that. I'm obviously extremely disappointed, but I am feeling very positive and I am determined to focus all of my efforts on getting back to full fitness as soon as I can."  SPEED Channel

11/17/03

Juan Montoya goes to Skip Barber school  2nd UPDATE We have added a more complete set of photos.  The Skip Barber instructor in some of the photos is Don Kutschall.  Juan and Frederico's father, Pablo, is seen in many of the photos also. He has a white beard, and he's wearing a gray & black shirt and a beige & black hat. 11/15/03 - We have added images below.  11/14/03 - How would you feel if you enrolled in a racing school, and one of the people there to give you advice and encouragement was a CART Champ Car champion, an Indy 500 winner and a three-time F1 race winner? That would be pretty cool, don't you think? Well, that exact scenario just happened at the Skip Barber Racing School in Sebring, Fla. A 16-year-old karter, making his first foray into racing cars, took a Skip Barber Two-Day Advanced Racing course. According to lead instructor Walt Bohren, the young karter did an exceptional job, following a bit of apprehensiveness in the beginning. And what famous racer was there to offer a hand? None other than Juan Pablo Montoya. And who was he helping? His little brother… Frederico Montoya, the younger brother of Juan Pablo Montoya -- Barber Dodge race winner, CART-Champ Car Champion, Indy 500 winner, three-time F1 race winner -- completed one of Skip Barber Racing's Advanced Two-Day Racing Schools at Sebring International Raceway last week. Using the same car as employed in the four Skip Barber Regional Series as well as the Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER -- the two-liter, 140h.p., sequential gearboxed R/T 2000 -- the up-and-coming karting star lapped the Sebring Modified circuit within a few tenths of what the front-runners in the regional and national series do. Older brother Juan Pablo was there to lend support, as well as observe the Skip Barber teaching system. The F1 star said even he learned a few things from the instructor corps in charge of the class: Walt Bohren, Don Kutschall, Todd Snyder and Keith Watts. The boys' dad, Pablo, was also on hand during the two-day school and said he was impressed by the curriculum, which included sequential-gearbox technique, trail-brake practice, passing exercises, full-course lapping, starts and re-starts. Final note: Divina Galica, managing director of both the Formula Dodge National Championship and the four regional Skip Barber Race Series, had conversations with Frederico's father about the youngster entering the Southern Region Race Series event at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Dec. 5-6-7, with Juan possibly stopping by. Hmmm… that's the same race weekend that Michael Andretti is guest coaching. And that would make for an A-list pit lane, we would say.
JuanF.jpg JuanE.jpg JuanD.jpg JuanC.jpg JuanB.jpg
JuanA.jpg JuanN.jpg JuanM.jpg JuanL.jpg JuanK.jpg
JuanJ.jpg JuanI.jpg JuanH.jpg JuanG.jpg JuanR.jpg
JuanQ.jpg JuanP.jpg JuanO.jpg

11/17/03

Andretti ride contingent on sponsor  According to this Indy Star article, John Andretti appears to have done enough to convince Dale Earnhardt Inc. he is deserving of a job next season. Now it's up to DEI to convince a sponsor. The Indianapolis native, who was fired in June after six years at Petty Enterprises, has been in DEI's No. 1 car since the Sept. 6 race at Richmond, Va. The results have been mediocre, with a 42nd-place finish Sunday and best of 12th in 11 starts. But Andretti and DEI executive vice president Ty Norris contend the team has performed better than the results indicate. "We've had some super-fast cars and for a lot of reasons didn't get the results," Andretti said. "Sure, we've had some struggles, but find somebody in this garage who hasn't." Pennzoil won't be back as the team's sponsor in 2004. DEI is one of several teams courting Kodak, which bought out its contract with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and is shopping for a new partner. Norris said he expects to hear something late this week. "If we're able to land a sponsor, there's a good chance John will stay in that car," Norris said. "It's completely contingent on that."

11/17/03

McLaren signs Montoya for 2005   McLaren has confirmed that Juan Pablo Montoya will drive for the team in 2005, ending months of speculation about the Colombian's future.  He is expected to team with Kimi Raikkonen with David Coulthard being shown the door, or moved down to test driver.

"I am thrilled to be joining West McLaren Mercedes," said Montoya. "The team is consistently a strong World Championship contender and has a fantastic heritage. It's a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to the first time I will be able to drive one of their cars. To join them is an amazing challenge and experience which I plan to fully enjoy.

"However, my short term aim is to concentrate 100 percent on winning the 2004 World Championship."  The opportunity to sign a talent like Juan Pablo was too good to miss
Ron Dennis.

"We want to win races and World Championships, and in order to do so we have to plan for the future whilst applying every effort in the short term," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. "The opportunity to sign a talent like Juan Pablo was too good to miss, and there is already a considerable amount of anticipation within our team about 2005.  "We are certainly looking forward to seeing what he can do in one of our cars and I believe that it's a prospect that can't fail to excite Formula 1 fans around the world."

11/17/03
Industry News

Saabs now 100% turbocharged  As supercharged and turbocharged passenger cars proliferate, the entire 2004 Saab model line is turbocharged.  Which manufacturer will be next to follow suit?

11/17/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Sons Of Champions Get Williams Test
Jaguar's Wilson Still In The Running
Minardi Launch Search For Arab Star
'Webber Challenge' May Return In '04
Courtney Crashes At Macau
Zanardi To Test F1 Ferrari: Rubens
Young Stars Get Jaguar 'Shoot-Out'
Brazil Grand Prix Axe Appeal Fails
F1 Ace On Record Blitz At Macau
First Tests Crucial, Says Schumacher
Sauber To Make Gains In Wind Tunnel
Throw Away Blue Flags: Minardi Chief
Mexico Eyes 2005 F1 Grand Prix
Sauber Pair Did 'Nothing' To Inspire Axe
Coulthard To Wear 'Milk Moustache'
Montoya Lends Hand At Racing School
Sauber Regrets Dumping Heidfeld
No Grid Girls, Champagne, In Bahrain
Minardi Capitalize On Arab F1 Invasion

11/16/03

Chevy steps up effort in Trucks  Already established as the most successful manufacturer in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history, Chevrolet have reacted to strengthen their preserve against the imminent onslaught of Toyota by increasing its role to include primary sponsorship for two of its teams in 2004.

The #46 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Dennis Setzer for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports will carry the divisional flagship vehicle line “Silverado” as its primary sponsor. The #16 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Jack Sprague for Xpress Motorsports will be branded “Chevy Trucks.”

This new level of activation by Chevrolet is yet another program emphasizing the division's support of racing as a key marketing platform for increasing sales. It also coincides with Toyota's arrival on the NCTS scene with no less than six factory-backed teams, including current Winston Cup outfit Bill Davis Racing.

“Chevrolet is committed to NASCAR and the Craftsman Truck series for the long term,” said Jim Campbell, marketing director for Chevy Racing. “We know from our research that racing fans are extremely loyal and passionate in their support of racing, and we want to reinforce our commitment to making the Chevy Silverado the ‘Right Truck' for their needs. The Craftsman Truck series continues to provide us with a strong platform for making that connection of dependability and performance between Silverado, Chevy trucks and consumers.”

In addition to the two primary sponsorships, several GM internal associate sponsors will be featured on both trucks. These include: GM Powertrain key equity brands Duramax Diesel, Vortec Engines, Allison Transmission and key technology partners XM Radio, Quadrasteer by Delphi and OnStar. The bedcover of both trucks will carry rotating sponsorship from regional Chevrolet dealers linking with local race venues.

These two teams will be joined the #75 Spears Motorsports Silverado, driven by David Starr, and the new #6 GM Goodwrench Silverado, driven by Matt Crafton, in receiving factory support from GM Racing.

“GM Racing is also stepping up its support in 2004,” said Pat Suhy, GM Racing Oval Track manager. “We're moving from one to four teams receiving factory support next year. Given this new group, GM Racing will organize a Key Partners program similar to what we did in Winston Cup. We will also create a new position within GM Racing for someone to work exclusively on truck development and, we will also provide a new dedicated shock specialist.”

Since the inception of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series in 1995, Chevrolet has won five of nine manufacturers titles and 104 of 216 races run, while Toyota bound Travis Kvapil clinched the closest Truck Series title chase in history for the GM brand in Friday's Ford 200 season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Chevy PR

11/16/03
Industry News

Mitsubishi withdraws for all motorsports for 2004  Mitsubishi Motors North America announces today that it is withdrawing from motorsports in 2004 to focus its resources on continuing to grow its brand and build retail sales.

Mitsubishi Motors won both the 2003 Manufacturers and Overall SCCA ProRally Championships. Racing enthusiasts saw the formidable capabilities of the Lancer Evolution which brings a new North American chapter to Mitsubishi’s impressive performance heritage.

Mitsubishi Motors would like to thank drivers David Higgins, Lauchlin O’Sullivan, Daniel Barritt, Christian Edstrom and Mark Williams for their dominating efforts that brought Team Mitsubishi Motor Sports America seven victories out of nine SCCA ProRally events.

Mitsubishi Motors thanks Vermont SportsCar, Xtreme Autos and MEM Racing for their impeccable preparation of the Lancer Evolutions with their skill and leadership, Team Mitsubishi won every event that it finished.

Further, Mitsubishi Motors thanks sponsors Michelin Tire, Mitsubishi Fuso, Infinity Audio, Ralliart, HKS Engines, PIAA, and Motul for their strong support and guidance during our 2003-championship season.

The company looks forward to a time when it can re-enter the motorsports arena.

11/16/03

Homestead A+, Goodyear F  The redesigned banking and SAFER barrier walls at Homestead-Miami were a huge success. The once single groove racetrack saw two wide and three wide racing all weekend in all three divisions that competed on the new surface. Everyone involved in the track’s redesign deserves an A+. Goodyear on the other hand deserves a big fat F as in failure - as in right front failure going into the turn and heavy contact with the SAFER barrier wall. By the end of the day, much of the Winston Cup field looked like demolition derby cars from contact with the wall after experiencing blown tires. Johnny Benson and Rusty Wallace even had right rear tires coming apart, but fortunately managed to get them changed before they blew avoiding contact with the wall.  Speedway Media

11/16/03

EuroSpeedway in the news in Germany  The financially troubled EuroSpeedway has been in the news in Germany today and earlier this week.  Articles have appeared in the Berliner Zeitung, the Berliner Morgenpost, and the Lausitzer-Rundschau.  From what we can understand from the German language articles, a group is demanding that President Han-Jörg Fischer be replaced.  Apparently a regional initiative called "Veranstaltungs-GbR am Lausitzring" is demanding changes at EuroSpeedway.  Spokesperson Diethelm Tinko sent a letter, signed by nearly 1000 people, to Brandenburg´s minister of economics Ulrich Junghans.  The letter demanded Fischer be forced under political pressure to resign or to step down voluntarily. However, Fischer has some supporters who say the track's troubles are not his doing.  The bankruptcy can be ended with a leasing contract to a new operating company,  stated Ulrich Junghans ( Brandenburg´s Minister of Economics ) on Friday. Junghans met with 40 people from the "Veranstaltungs-GbR am Lausitzring." He told them that the track's management is not to blame for the track's financial woes. It's because of the bankruptcy of the Berliner Bankgesellschaft (a bank that initially financed the track).  Junghans (the government) will sign a contract with Fischer whereby they will lease the track for five years and take it out of bankruptcy. The local government is going to give the track up to 5.8 million Euros to stay afloat until 2008.   Fischer estimates the track will lose 500,000 Euros per year until 2008 and the 5.8 million Euros by the government will be used to balance any loses.  However, 500,000 times 5 years = 2.5 million Euros.  Where would the other 3.3 million Euros go?  That's around $4 million US dollars.  Our guess is that EuroSpeedway offered to pay CART at least $1 million per year, perhaps more, for five years.  Whatever the exact amount, CART turned it down.....for now.  Why do we say that?  because the government is now supporting the track but who will race there?  It needs some big races.  The V8-Star series is gone for 2004 (A statement from series organizers read: "To run the series is feasible only with several strong partners. This circumstance is made worse by the present economic conditions. V8STAR regrets this step, however, we are convinced of the fact that this is the correct way." The V8STAR organization will use next year to find further partners in order to bring back the championship in 2005. Teams involved in the series were informed about the decision on Friday. "I find this very unfortunate," said team owner Sven Schnabl. "V8STAR represented a stage between DTC and the DTM for teams and drivers and offered good sport.").  So they have some minor races plus the DTM. If CART does not come back in 2004 they will have no "big" events capable of drawing big crowds. We think the government will do whatever it takes to ensure the track turns around by 2008, which starts with their flagship race - CART. Mark C.

11/16/03
Formula 3

Macau GP: Lapierre wins 5th Macau GP  UPDATE  Here is a link to photos from the race.  11/16/03 - F3 Euroseries driver Nicolas Lapierre has won the 50th Macau Grand Prix over two incident-packed races (Race 1: 10 laps, Race 2: 15 Laps). The Frenchman triumphed by winning the second of two races and finishing 2nd in the first race. He was a bit fortunate to win, however.  Australian James Courtney won the first race but fell out of race two with just five laps to go while heading to a seemingly sure win.  More, including race results

11/16/03
Industry News

What Detroit's Big 3 are spending in China 
Ford and its Chinese partner plan to boost current production of passenger cars from 20,000 to 150,000 a year. Ford Chairman Bill Ford said last month in China that the automaker would invest more than $1 billion to expand production and build a second plant.
General Motors
, trailing Volkswagen, is a market leader for passenger cars in China, but its production facilities are strained by the heavy demand. GM plans to boost capacity by 50 percent by 2006, raising production limits from 510,000 to 766,000 units. The world's top automaker has about 10,000 employees in China and operates five joint ventures, totaling more than $2 billion in investment.  GM will start offering Cadillacs in China next year. It already sells Buicks, Chevrolet Blazers and mini-trucks and minivans under the Wuling brand name.
DaimlerChrysler is the parent company of Beijing Jeep, China's oldest automotive joint venture, dating to 1983. Beijing Jeep has posted big losses in recent years, unable to harness the surging demand for autos to its outdated product line.  DaimlerChrysler will invest about $1.1 billion in new production and begin offering Chinese-made Mercedes-Benz sedans starting in 2005.  Detroit Free Press

11/16/03

Watch for this  The Arete Awards, a national recognition program for people showing extraordinary courage in sports, includes a racing flavor this year. Wheelchair bound Bootie Barker, a former NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief, is one of several nominees for the 2003 Arete Awards. The ceremony, which airs Sunday evening, Nov. 30, on CBS, is sponsored in part by Nextel, which opens 2004 as the new title sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series. Barker currently is on leave of absence from Jasper Motorsports, which fields Dave Blaney’s No. 77 team. He will join Haas Automation as the NASCAR Busch Series crew chief for driver Jason Leffler..  NASCAR PR

11/16/03

15% increase for Rockingham ratings  With Matt Kenseth’s countdown to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series title as a pivotal draw, the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400, the NASCAR Winston Cup race held last Sunday at North Carolina Speedway and televised by TNT, enjoyed a significant viewership jump from 2002. A total of 3,707,000 households tuned in, a 15% increase over last season’s 3,229,000 households. An average of 5,422,000 viewers tuned in to the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400, a 13% increase over 4,805,000 viewers in 2002. For the Target House 200, the NASCAR Busch Series event held last Saturday at Rockingham and televised by TNT, a total of 769,000 households and 1,004,000 viewers tuned in.  NASCAR PR

11/16/03

Seen at Homestead - Tracy & Childress  UPDATE  CART champion Paul Tracy said he would love to drive on the Winston Cup circuit, but he doesn't think his chance will come next year. Richard Childress hopes it does, but said he would "cross that bridge when we come to it." As far as Tracy knows, he said, CART's proposed buyout by Open Wheel Racing will be completed in time to save the series, and he plans to honor his contract with Forsythe Racing through its final year in 2004 if it does. Team owner Gerald Forsythe is one of the main investors in Open Wheel Racing. "I feel like there will be a series next year from what I'm hearing from my boss," said Tracy, attending his first NASCAR races this weekend on a Ford champions tour. "There's a schedule out and it looks good." Tracy's presence in the garage area piqued curiosity that he and other Champ Car drivers might be looking for employment since CART announced it would run out of money and cease operations if the deal was not completed in mid December. As one of the most successful and recognized drivers in the world, Tracy would not have to make contingency plans as much as peruse offers. He doesn't think converting to stock cars would be difficult. Childress said he would like to sign Tracy for his team. "There's a good chance of it," Childress said. "We spoke (Saturday). I'd like to see how he does in one. The first thing we have to do is set up a chance." Childress said no plans have been made for a test in one of his Chevrolets. Tracy would seemingly be the perfect Winston Cup fit for an owner who enjoys feisty competitors such as current drivers Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon. "I think he's the perfect combination," Childress said. "He's a great driver and a great personality." St Petersburg Times   11/16/03 - Spotted at NASCAR's Homestead event this weekend was CART champion Paul Tracy in deep conversation with Chevrolet Team owner Richard Childress, despite being there as a guest of Ford.  NASCAR team owners have been after Tracy for years.  Perhaps someday they will get him.  After all, not able to pay decent salaries, CART loses all its top drivers to F1, the IRL and even NASCAR.

11/16/03

Death of Renna makes Priestley decide to give up racing   According to this Vancouver Sun article,  Jason Priestley has decided to give up auto racing. Priestley suffered some horrific injuries in August 2002 when his IRL Infiniti Pro race car crashed at 290 kilometers an hour at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. He broke his nose, back and bones in both his feet in the crash, and suffered a concussion. However, he had been talking about going back to racing as recently as last month. "It wasn't my accident that really made me give it up," Priestley said. "[Racer] Tony Renna was a really close friend of mine, and he just passed away a couple of weeks ago [in a crash at the Indianapolis Speedway]. "You know, I've buried two of my friends in four years [Renna and Greg Moore], and I don't want to join that club." Priestley's father was surprised but delighted that his son has decided to give up racing. "That's the first time he's given that clear an answer," Lorne Priestley said. "He's waffled with everybody else." Lorne Priestley said the family had been adamantly opposed to Jason racing after the accident. "I told him if he wanted to race again he'd have to do it over my dead body," he said.

11/16/03

Biffle to run all Busch and Cup races in 2004  Jack Roush intends to enter driver Greg Biffle in both Winston Cup and Busch Series championship races next season, with full sponsorships for both programs, Roush said Friday. Like Kevin Harvick in 2001 with Richard Childress, Biffle would run full seasons in both series, Roush said. Grainger, the industrial supply company, will continue to sponsor the Cup effort, with the sponsor for the Busch car not declared. Also, Roush said, the company will continue with the two Craftsman Truck teams for Jon Wood and Carl Edwards and will have a second Busch car, which would be run by up to four different drivers [The Pennzoil sponsorship]. The total effort for Roush Racing would be the five Cup teams, two in Busch and two in Trucks. Biffle, 2000 champion in Trucks, won the Busch championship in 2002 and was graduated to Cup this year, running second to Jamie McMurray in rookie points and winning the summer race at Daytona. Since mid-year, he has run part-time in Busch with Ed Evans's #7 team. The second Busch team is interesting. Roush said he already has backing to run three of his Cup drivers part-time, those being Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth, in about 20 races. Sponsorship may also be available to run one of the Truck jockeys in the remaining races, bringing the team up to full-year status. Roush also says the means may be available to do a third Truck team with a driver to be named. Speed Channel

11/16/03

Goodyear to run Wrangler brand   Goodyear Race Tires to Tout Wrangler Brand in 2004: The rising popularity of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series combined with the continuing growth of the consumer truck and sport utility vehicle tire markets has prompted The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to take its Wrangler brand to the track for the 2004 season. Although the truck series will race on Wrangler brand tires Goodyear will provide a means of converting tires with the Eagle name to Wrangler, and vice versa, at the company's race tire warehouse facility in Concord, N.C. That will allow truck teams to continue the practice of racing on tires that are purchased by Nextel Cup and Busch series teams in 2004, but not used by them.  Goodyear PR

11/16/03

Stoddart would welcome back Wilson  It is rumored that Jaguar is looking for a funded driver for their 2nd seat next year alongside the talented Mark Webber.  Justin Wilson might lose that ride because of that.  Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart has come to his rescue.   “Jaguar would be well advised to retain what I regard as an extremely powerful driver line-up. With a full winter test program under his belt, Justin will be in a position to demonstrate the natural talent that we know he has,” Stoddart told Motorsport News.  “I sincerely hope that he won’t need a Minardi safety net, but if Jaguar elected not to retain him he would definitely be at the top of my shopping list. The usual commercial considerations apply of course, but we would welcome him back with open arms.”

11/16/03
Formula 3

Macau: Yoong beats Kwan in Porsche race  A very determined Alex Yoong made it looked easy winning the Macau Grand Prix's Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race from Hong Kong's Charles Kwan and Britain's Matthew Marsh - or was it?

According to Yoong at the post race press conference, he didn't think it was that easy as he had gear selection problems from lap 3 onwards in the 10 lap race. "It was quite difficult in the hills as I kept encountering difficulties in selecting second but the car was good through the last two corners before the straight and that kept Charles and Matthew behind."

Yoong who was driving a 2002 Porsche Carrera GT3 as opposed most of the field who were in 2003 cars did not have the qualifying that he preferred - "Pole would have been better than third," said Yoong yesterday - had to count on his experience of making the cold tyres work for him in the opening lap. Hoong starting from third on the grid, made sure he had a good start and went alongside Marsh in turn one as both after Kwan who was in second position at the start. At the awesome flat-out turn 2 Mandarine corner, Yoong took Marsh from the outside and never looked back after that.

In lap 4 the safety car was called out to remove Charles Nattavude's car which crashed at Donna Maria. At the restart, Yoong used his Champ Car experience to get a jump on Kwan and then held on at the end to win from Kwan who was 1.186s behind Yoong. Marsh finished third ahead of Nigel Albon with Hong Kong's Marchy Lee fifth.

11/15/03

CART & IRL to go back-to-back in Colorado   This Denver Post article says, Colorado, one of three states to host North America's two premier open-wheel racing circuits in 2003, has become a political hot spot in the CART-Indy Racing League war.

The Grand Prix of Denver announced Thursday that its 2004 CART street race is scheduled for Aug. 15, a week before the IRL race at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

The situation of staging back-to-back weekend races between rival organizations could present a promotional problem for both events. But being first figures to be an advantage, which is what PPIR thought it had by changing its IRL date from mid-June to Aug. 22.

"Some people will choose our event, others will choose their event, and some will go to both," PPIR president Rob Johnson said Thursday. "They have an urban street race and we have a high-speed oval. We'll do our best to market our product, as I'm sure they will."

The IRL's move to August at PPIR, announced a week before the second Grand Prix of Denver on Aug. 31, infuriated Grand Prix general manager John Frew. He called it a "sinister" attempt to take away interest and promotional opportunities from his CART race, which has a 12-year contract to compete around the Pepsi Center on Labor Day weekend.

Frew said Thursday the date change for his race wasn't about getting even.

"Pikes Peak is not a factor in my thinking," he said of the 1-mile oval in Fountain, which is south of Colorado Springs. "It's not part of our market. It's in Timbuktu. Would we go head-to-head with them? No, but only out of respect to Colorado motorsports fans."

Frew said CART officials and the prospective new CART owners gave him four dates to choose from - Aug. 1, 8, 15 and 22. He settled on the 15th because Aug. 1 and 22 are race weekends at Pikes Peak, with the NASCAR Busch Series and the IRL, respectively, and Aug. 8 is the final day of The International at Castle Pines Golf Club.

"I'd rather they were a week before our IRL race than the same day as our Busch race," Johnson said.

Frew no longer wants to compete with other major Denver-area events, particularly during Labor Day weekend. In the first two years of the race, the Taste of Colorado and the Colorado-Colorado State football game at Invesco Field at Mile High stretched spending too far, he said.

"We think our interest will be served with a stand-alone weekend, when there isn't a lot of pressures downtown," Frew said. "And Labor Day weekend is just too tough. School has started and for many people, it's the last chance to go to the mountains. We need to race in the summer."

11/15/03

Moreno admits to leaving Herdez team   Of course, the cancellation of the race at California Speedway was not how any of us wanted to finish up the 2003 season. But we must remember the impact the fires were having on the people of the San Bernardino area – it was not the right time for us to be having a race when people were being put out of their homes. I feel good about the 2003 season overall. I came to Herdez Competition to assist in the development of Mario Dominguez and to help in the development of the car. I feel that we have achieved those objectives. So my satisfaction with the season is not related to one particular day or event, though the 1-2 finish in Miami is a special memory. Simply put, my satisfaction was in seeing the development of the team as a whole, day in, day out. It gives me great pleasure to know that I am leaving the team after being part of their graduation to the next level of competitiveness and becoming one of the top teams in the Champ Car paddock.

11/15/03

Mario Domínguez looks back on 2003   "I think overall, you have to say it was a good season for all of us at Herdez Competition. We had some great results; the two podiums in Europe, the 1-2 finish in Miami and the third place in Mexico City – which felt like a win because of the incredible support from the crowd! But we also had some races that other people might not realize were important to us – I’d say the fifth place in Cleveland was one of the hardest-earned results I’ve ever had; the conditions were so tough that night. Also, the fifth place in Montreal was one we fought hard for. They weren’t podiums but they felt like it because of the effort we put in to get there.  Everyone on the team can be proud of our sixth place finish in the championship. We proved that we can be competitive week-in, week-out. I was also very honored to receive the Bosch Most Improved Driver Award, especially because it was voted on by the other drivers. Of course there is always room for improvement and development. We’ve come a long way in the last year and we need to keep that momentum over the winter so that we can come back for next season as contenders for the championship. I’m very motivated to train as hard as I can over the off-season so I can be 100% ready for 2004." Dominguez was voted Champ Car’s Most Improved Driver for 2003. The award, sponsored by Robert Bosch Corporation, was presented at the CART Champ Car Awards Celebration in Indian Wells, California.

11/15/03

Why Townsend Bell is just what F1 needs   This grandprix.com article says that the news that Townsend Bell is to test for Jaguar Racing is great news for Formula 1. The 28-year-old from San Luis Obispo in central California has all the right credential for Formula 1 although it would perhaps be better for him to have one more season in Formula 3000 in order to post a good result in that series. Bell's rise through the ranks has been relatively rapid given that he did not do much karting and was 22 before he began car racing in Formula Dodge. A year later he was an instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School at Laguna Seca and in 1999 won his first races. This led to a chance in Indy Lights in 2000 and Bell rose to the job and finished second in the series behind the more experienced Scott Dixon. In 2001 there was no stopping him: Bell beat Dan Wheldon to the title with six wins, becoming the first American driver to win the Indy Lights title since Bryan Herta in 1993. At the end of the 2001 season he was signed up by Patrick Racing to compete in CART. In 2002 he raced with Patrick Racing but, despite some promising results for a rookie, the relationship did not gel and Bell left the team in the mid-season. He decided to head for Europe in 2003 and signed up with Formula 3000 Champions Arden International. More....

11/15/03

Forsythe increases stake in Rockingham   Now we know where the rumors came from that CART could possibly return to Rockingham, England someday.  CART team boss Jerry Forsythe has bought more shares of the 1.5-mile UK oval.  Forsythe has bought a percentage of Chief Executive Ashley Pover and Chairman Joe Dickinson.  Dickinson had bought out former owner Guy Hands earlier this year.  A Rockingham spokesman said, "Jerry has always been a prime shareholder.  He has increased his stake, but Ashley Pover remains the Chief Executive."  Autosport

11/15/03

***Reader Opinion***Love your "ideal" CART schedule   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I saw the ideal 2004 CART schedule that you suggested below.  That schedule makes a lot of sense, what do you think the chances are that CART will do it?  Ralph Paluzzi, Brooklyn, NY  Dear Ralph, CART would be foolish not to adopt it exactly as shown.  There are a couple of key points with the schedule we proposed.  CART and IMSA were most successful in Miami in the 90's when the race ran in early March.  The weather is more pleasant then and a lot of vacationers are in town that time of year. Miami will never be successful until it moves to either March, or the last weekend in January, the week after the Super Bowl.  The March date plugs the big hole that CART had between St. Pete and Long Beach.  St. Pete's contract stipulates no other Florida CART races within months of their date.  That clause is simply not necessary, ridiculous, and must be renegotiated.  The two venues are geographically far enough apart, and draw a completely separate winter-break crowd such that neither will affect the other's attendance.  More of an issue for Miami would be the IRL's Homestead race the week after St. Pete.  If CART schedules Miami within one week of that event, it could possibly put an end to that venue for the IRL.  Attendance is already weak, and having a downtown Miami race within a week or two should drive the final nail in that IRL Homestead event....which is a good thing because with the higher banks there now we anticipate big crashes, lots of destroyed cars and, unfortunately driver injuries.  One last word on Miami.  MTV has live shows from Florida during Spring Break time.  The college students flock to these events.  MTV will be a new TV partner with CART starting in 2004.  MTV can set up their stage right inside the race track and CART will have a media bonanza like never before.  Las Vegas has no business being in May as CART published.  Way too hot.  It's the perfect venue for a season finale in early November in conjunction with the SEMA show, which is a natural tie-in.  Making Vegas the season finale makes too much sense - - there are so many spectacular Vegas casinos/hotels to hold their year-end banquet on Monday evening following the race, and, Forsythe is working on a street race in Vegas.  It should be right around the Convention Center as shown in our proposed track layout. It's a proper 2+ mile long street course and note all the parking lots for paddock area and to erect grandstands. You can write Fontana off the CART schedule even though there is one year remaining on the contract.  It is obvious ISC does not want to do business with CART any longer.  If CART tries to make Miami their season finale they will butt heads with ISC's NASCAR finale in Homestead and the lawsuits in Miami will start again.  Moving Vegas out of May opens up two weekends for CART to return to Europe when it's ready (as shown below). In 2005 we expect as many as three new venues to be added, so weak ones like Portland and Laguna Seca are running on borrowed time unless they can improve their attendance and their facilities.  Mark C.
The Ideal 2004 CART Schedule

February 22 – St. Petersburg, Florida – Street Course
March 14 – Miami, Florida – Street Course (with MTV's usual Spring Break shows)
April 18 – Long Beach, California – Street Course
May 2 - Brands Hatch, UK - Road Course (Bank Holiday weekend)
May 9 - EuroSpeedway, Germany - Oval
May 23 – Monterrey, Mexico – Road Course
June 5 – The Milwaukee Mile – Oval (Night Race)
June 20 – Portland International Raceway – Road Course*
July 3 – Cleveland, Ohio - Road Course (Night Race)
July 11 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Street Course
July 25 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Street Course
August 8 – Road America – Road Course
August 15 – Denver, Colorado – Street Course
August 29 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada – Road Course
September 12 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Road Course
October 3 – Mexico City, Mexico – Road Course
October 17 – Seoul, South Korea – Road Course
October 24 – Surfers Paradise, Australia – Street Course
October 31 – California Speedway – Oval (We doubt ISC wants this race to happen)
November 7 - Las Vegas, NV Street Course around Convention Center w/SEMA Show
November 8 - Las Vegas, NV - Annual Awards Banquet

11/15/03

Cialis to be approved   According to this Seattle Times article, expect Newman/Haas sponsor Eli Lilly to receive final FDA approval of their Viagra beating drug Cialis.  Cialis, has that potential because it lasts up to 36 hours, works slightly faster than Viagra and has similar side effects.   The drug, already on sale in dozens of countries, is expected to win U.S. approval soon.   In its first nine months, Cialis has snapped up 25 to 30 percent of the impotence-drug market in key European countries, and more than 1 million men have tried it. Many people struggle to pronounce it, (See-AL-iss), but the drug has already gotten a catchy nickname in Europe — "le weekend" pill - - and it's sure to bring the same intense sexual satisfaction to men and women throughout the USA.

11/15/03

Enge & Keohane impress in Sebring test   A pair of up-and-coming European stars were impressive in their maiden test in Champ Cars. Tomas Enge and Michael Keohane ran for two days in two cars prepared by the Dale Coyne Racing team over the 1.6 mile Sebring circuit.

Tomas Enge with his impressive background in Formula 3000 and Formula 1 ran 360 miles over the two days. “The cars are quite heavy and require a little different driving style, but I am quite happy with what I have learned.” Commented the 27-year-old Czech Republic native. “I am very thankful to Mr. Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity to run a car I have always dreamed about driving.” The Prague resident ran a flawless two days recording very competitive lap times given the Florida track conditions.

Michael Keohane also ran a pleasantly surprisingly two days recording over 260 miles. The Irish driver who spent most of the past two years in British Formula 3 took to the powerful Champ Cars with amazing ease. “These cars are really fun to drive.” Reported the County Cork native. “You are never sure of how you will do until you get in one, but I am very pleased with the performance of the car and the way the whole team worked.”

Michael ran at Sebring for his first time at any American track. “Michael went from a 170 horsepower F3 car to 750 horsepower champ car and looked very natural and impressive in doing so.” Commented team owner Dale Coyne. “Michael’s lap times were within a few tenths of Enge’s best. Each driver showed that they have what it takes to be highly competitive in CART.”

11/15/03
Industry News

US automakers rush to grab piece of China market  [Editor's Note:  This is why AutoRacing1.com was pushing hard for CART to schedule a race in China.  We saw it coming years ago, but still no race in China for CART.  CART seeks manufacturer support.  Racing in China would help their efforts.]  This Detroit Free Press article says, Workers at the Shanghai General Motors plant build new cars around the clock. They toil hard and work fast, but they simply can't produce enough. Demand for cars in China is too high.   "It's just phenomenal," said Daphne Zheng, the director of public affairs for GM operations in China. "The market is growing explosively."   Automakers are revving production as hard as they can. Many plants run 24 hours a day, and virtually every global auto producer is announcing a huge new investment in China. China will overtake Germany this year as the world's third-largest auto marketplace, and may surpass Japan within four or five years, analysts say.

China cautiously welcomes the wave of foreign investment in the auto industry, but clearly hopes that its own companies will snare a major share of the business -- perhaps becoming global competitors.  Foreign automakers must ally with Chinese companies in joint ventures to operate in China. Even so, they're pouring money into the country at stunning rates, determined to get in on a passenger-car market that's growing 50 percent to 60 percent a year. Top automakers worry that they may slip in the global rankings of auto producers if they fail to grab a significant share of business in China.

"This is like the gold rush in the United States or the diamond rush in South Africa," said Jia Xinguang, chief analyst with the China National Automotive Industry Consulting and Development Corp.  Demand is so great that Detroit automakers announced this week that they will ship new cars to China to complement production from plants that are unable to satisfy customer demand. Auto showrooms commonly tell Chinese customers they must wait months -- or even up to a year -- for their new cars.   "There's only one show in town in the world auto industry, and that's in China," said Michael Dunne, founder of Automotive Resources Asia Ltd., a consultancy firm based in Bangkok, Thailand. "Money is just gushing."

11/15/03

****Reader Question***Questions about sports cars  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I've been a subscriber to AR1 for the past couple of years, and I think it's a great site. Thanks not only for all the information on CART especially, but all the racing info you guys provide. It's quick and timely. Now, to the crux of my question. I'm a CART fan primarily, but also interested in sportscar racing (ALMS in particular, and I follow Le Mans every year), and I have some questions about the basics of sportscars and I don't know where else to turn. I'm hoping you can help me.  Why are there different classes of cars on the track at the same time? LMP 900, 675, GTS and GT can't compete head to head; it seems like a professional 400-meter hurdler on the track with a high school JV team. I'm not saying the GTS/GT cars are inferior by any means, but since they lack the power, why put them on the track at the same time?  My other question is why do sportscars have only one windshield wiper, and why is it straight up? I realize they can (and do) race in the rain, so that part's obvious, but why only one? Do they keep it straight up for aerodynamics? It seems as though it might block the driver's vision.   These questions may seem insignificant, but understanding the basics of something leads people to appreciate the sport (whichever it is) that much more and is a way to grow the fan base.  Thanks for your help, Rich McGuigan, AR1 Subscriber since 4/02  Dear Rich, Sports car racing has already been run with different classes on the track at the same time. There are of course individual class winners. To run a separate race for each class would take too much time. A weekend only has so many hours to get in practice, qualifying and the race. Also, the challenge is like real-world conditions we face on the highway everyday with cars moving at various speeds, I like to call them moving chicanes.  As for the wiper being straight up, less wind force on the wiper arm and wind resistance from the wiper arm if left straight up. As for why one - Mercedes cars have only one on their passenger cars. The wiper is designed such that rather than following a circular arc, it follows an oblong shape and actually clears a larger percentage of the window. And with one blade the entire mechanism is far simpler and less prone to mechanical failure than one with two arms whereby each blade must be in-synch at all times using a convoluted mechanical assembly.  Mark C.

11/15/03

Sauber hoping Heidfeld lands a ride   After replacing him for 2004 for political reasons, Sauber is now hoping that Nick Heidfeld will be able to find a drive for the 2004 season, possibly with Jordan who has an empty seat after Fisichella’s defection.  “Nick is in a very difficult situation right now and I do hope that he can find a seat, maybe with Jordan," Sauber told Autosport. "If he can’t find a drive, then it’s important for him to search for a test drive in a team that doesn’t have two strong drivers."

11/15/03

Testing will be crucial says Ralf  “You should always look ahead,” Ralf Schumacher said on the BMW website. “Currently we are in a promising position and I want it to stay like this. Successful testing in the coming four or five weeks will be a key factor concerning the development of our new WilliamsF1 BMW FW26. Next year we want to be able to fight for top positions right from the start, so we need to be already in January or February at a level of competitiveness we had reached only in the middle of the 2003 season.”

11/15/03

The Lizard is hatched  With perhaps one of the most unusual names and looks in racing, Flying Lizard Motorsports will join the American Le Mans Series in 2004 and will race a Porsche in the GT class.

The California-based team has five principals, including drivers Seth Neiman of Burlingame, Calif., Lonnie Pechnik of Pacific Grove, Calif., and Johannes van Overbeek of San Francisco, along with chief engineer Craig Watkins and crew chief Tommy Sadler.

Van Overbeek is a former winner in American Le Mans Series competition, taking GT class honors in a BMW M3 in a race at Road Atlanta in April of 1999 while driving for the PTG team. Neiman and Pechnik will race in ALMS competition for the first time in 2004.
 

11/15/03
Industry News

Porsche leadership changes January 1st  Porsche, which has more wins in the American Le Mans Series than any other manufacturer, will make important motorsports leadership changes as Alwin Springer, 60, will hand his position as President of Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) to his successor Uwe Brettel, 38, as of January 1.

Since 1997, Springer, born in Essen, Germany, has directed the activities of the Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG subsidiary based in Santa Ana, Calif. Brettel, who holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering, headed the Porsche Makes Cup Organization (Supercup and Carrera Cup) until the end of 2002.

Springer, for whom the recent weekend at the final round of the American Le Mans Series at Road Atlanta was the last in his current position, shaped and promoted Porsche motorsport not only through exclusive retailing and servicing of Porsche racing sportscars and parts in the USA as well as Canada, but also played a central role in US motorsport organizations and belonged to those who molded the sport in the world's largest market for Porsche. His efficient working style combined with strong ethics and distinctive originality made him - and Porsche Motorsport North America - an institution.

Employed as a consultant to PMNA since 1990, Springer not only became the principal to many race drivers but, most of all, became their confidante and friend. His far-reaching connections earned him the reputation as "Porsche's motorsport ambassador" to the USA.

Springer has been closely linked to Porsche motorsport in the USA since 1969 when he took over the responsibility for Porsche racing vehicles with the California dealer, Vasek Polak. In 1975 Springer together with Arnold Wagner and Dieter Inzenhofer founded Andial, an enterprise specializing in the preparation and running of Porsche race cars and engines. In a five-year period from 1984, Porsche's 962 cars won 50 IMSA races with engines tuned by Andial.

Under the direction of Springer, production-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and GT3 RS cars have been successfully competing since the end of the 1990s with customer teams. In September of 2003, Porsche customers supported by works drivers secured the GT championship of the American Le Mans Series for the second year in a row and fourth time in five years.

Since May 1, 2003, Brettel - a Porsche employee since 1995 - has held the position of vice-president of PMNA. "Alwin is handing me a well-established role. I hope to add a few new areas of emphasis," said Brettel.

Brettel took over as head of the international Porsche Michelin Supercup in 1996 and one year later Porsche also gave him the added responsibility of the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. He successfully managed both one-make series until the end of 2002 and furthermore organized the factory entry at Le Mans in 1997 and 1998.

11/14/03

Hamilton wins truck race  Bobby Hamilton won the Ford 200 and Travis Kvapil took the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in a wild day at the New Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Hamilton, driving the No. 4 Square D Dodge, held off Rick Crawford on the final restart to take a .186 second victory and the $10,000 bonus from Craftsman for winning from the pole.  More....

11/14/03

CART in danger of collapse   [Editor's Note:  This story appeared in big headlines in the Sport's section of today's LA Times]  Championship Auto Racing Teams announced a makeshift 2004 champ car schedule Thursday amid growing concerns that it may not happen.

Coincidental with the CART schedule came a Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure by CART that said it expected its cash resources to be depleted by the middle of December, which puts the open-wheel sanctioning body in peril of collapse. Already in default is a $473,000 payment that was due Oct. 8.

The earliest date that a shareholders' vote can be taken on a buyout offer by new owners is Dec. 18. The anticipated new owners, Open Wheel Racing, plan to change the publicly owned company to private ownership.

"Without sufficient financial resources, Championship will be required to cease operations and cancel the 2004 season," CART said in its filing. It announced losses of $77.9 million for the first nine months of the year, including a $1.7-million payment to former CEO Joe Heitzler to settle several lawsuits.

Open Wheel Racing, formed by CART team owners Jerry Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven, has offered 56 cents a share for outstanding stock — about $7.4 million. The opening race on next year's schedule is at St. Petersburg, Fla., on Feb. 22. Five of the 19 races, including one at California Speedway, have no date announced, and another is "subject to final commercial terms."

The 2003 California Speedway race was canceled because of wildfire conditions near Fontana last weekend.

11/14/03
Industry News

Road America holds prices  Road America will hold the line on ticket and camping prices in 2004, according to George Bruggenthies, president and general manager. Season Tickets, which include all major spectator events, are $250 until Dec. 15. Events included with the Season Ticket are CCS motorcycle races April 23-25; SVRA vintage races May 14-16; AMA Suzuki Super Bike Doubleheader, June 3-5; the Kohler/SCCA June Sprints®, June 17-20; vintage racing, the Brian Redman International Challenge Presented by Jaguar, July 15- 18; the Grand Prix at Road America, featuring Trans-Am (CART TBD); and the Road America 500 Aug. 19-22, featuring the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Camping remains $75 for an unreserved RV, tent or pop-up space, or $275 for a reserved RV space for the race weekend. Customers may order gift certificates, tickets or camping by calling 1.800.365.7223 (RACE) or online by visiting www.roadamerica.com New for 2004, Road America is adding five Super Motard events on the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex, one of which coincides with the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader June 3-6. Other Super Motard races will be held April 25-25, May 22-23, July 10-11, Aug. 24-15 and Sept. 11-12. Super Motards are a hybrid motorcycle that uses a dirt bike frame and smaller street tires. Competitors race in more of a dirt bike, or upright position. With the exception of the AMA weekend, the Super Motard events will require a separate ticket and entrance will be through Gate 4, on County Hwy. J, on the south side of the race track. The 2004 Super Ticket and Sunday pricing follows; daily event pricing on the web, www.roadamerica.com Tickets include free parking, Road America's open paddock policy and children 12 and under are free with paying adult. Online sales represent some 10 percent of the race track's ticket orders, according to Bruggenthies. "Our Internet sales have grown slowly but steadily as we continue to develop our website as a business tool to communicate with our customers." The track launched its website in 1995 and today offers a secure website for transactions. Road America has been accumulating e-mail addresses from race fans who wish to be contacted via the Internet, and will e-mail ticket and other information to them from time to time. At present, about 10 percent of the track's customers have asked for information electronically. Race fans can opt in for e-mailings on the website, www.roadamerica.com The race track will put its entire 2004 ticket brochure online when it becomes available after the first of the year. Road America also uses its site for merchandising and has select items from its store, the 4-Mile Merchant, online. Road America hosted its first race in 1955 and today hosts top road racing series on the original track and karts and Super Motards on the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex.

11/14/03

Minardi to help Arab drivers  Minardi is aiming to be the first team to help an Arab driver into Formula 1. The team today announced a link-up with Algerian driver Nassim Sidi Saïd to evaluate a scheme to help young Arab drivers into the sport's top flight.  Saïd, 30, has raced extensively in Formula 3 in Europe, and still plans to race in the Austria, French and German championships next year. Under the agreement he will devise a training and evaluation program to help other promising Arab drivers in motor racing, and will also help Minardi's commercial department source Arab sponsors.  Minardi has a history of unearthing talent from less traditional sources, most recently by running Malaysia's Alex Yoong in Formula 1. The team may give Saïd the opportunity to test in the future.   “To be involved with Minardi is an excellent opportunity,” said Saïd. “My aim is to encourage activities related to motor racing in the Arab countries, while taking in to particular consideration emerging young talent who could make their driving debut in F1 one day.   “I would love to be among the first of these F1 newcomers. I am looking forward to the future co-operation with Minardi.”  Gian Carlo Minardi added: "This collaboration paces the way to the frontiers of the Arab world, a relatively new geographical area for Formula 1. It is clearly a market in search of new commercial and sporting challenges, something that F1, as the pinnacle of motor racing endeavour, is able to provide." Autosport

11/14/03

Robby Gordon to run 2004 Busch series  Fruit of the Loom announced that it has teamed up with three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series race winner Robby Gordon to compete in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004. Beginning with the season-opening Hershey's Kisses 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, Gordon will drive the Fruit of the Loom-sponsored #55 Chevy in 24 NASCAR Busch Series races. Robby Gordon Motorsports will own the entry and will operate from its new facility in Huntersville, NC. Robby Gordon website

11/14/03

Statement from California Speedway's Bill Miller on 2004 CART schedule   “We believe it was misleading for CART to include California Speedway on its 2004 race schedule released on November 13, 2003. It is our position that there is no valid Official Organizer/Promoter Agreement in place for a 2004 CART Competition at California Speedway."

"Further, we are currently in litigation with CART as it relates to the 2003 event regarding a “force majeure“ as described in the Official Organizer/Promoter Agreement due to the wildfires that were burning throughout San Bernardino County and surrounding areas, which led to the cancellation of the King Taco 500."

"Per the Official Organizer/Promoter Agreement, California Speedway is due back the $2.5 million Organization and Rights Fee previously paid to CART, less a mutually agreeable amount for legitimate expenses reasonably incurred by CART in preparing for the event. Until this matter is resolved, we are unwilling to participate in discussions concerning future relationships.”

11/14/03

Tracy to be Ford's guest at Ford Champion weekend   2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Paul Tracy will be a guest of Ford Motor Company throughout Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the 2003 NASCAR season finale this weekend. Tracy will participate in question and answer sessions, sign autographs, and race against fans in the Ford Racing Simulator at the Ford product display area behind the track's main grandstand at various times throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the Canadian will watch the Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series event from the ppc Racing pit area as the team's drivers, Jason Keller and Scott Riggs, vie for the 2003 Busch Series title in the season finale. Sunday's Ford 400 race day festivities call for Tracy to meet and greet executives from the Champ Car World Series sponsor and watch the start of the race from the Ford Skybox before moving onto the Ford corporate suite for the remainder of the race. The 2003 CART Champ Car champion will also be introduced to several Ford-powered NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, and owners, as well as participate in media activities throughout the weekend.

11/14/03

Newman/Haas to test IRL car at Phoenix   Bruno Junqueira will test the Newman/Haas IRL car at Phoenix next week when many IRL teams visit the desert track for some post-season testing.  There is much speculation as to what this might mean for Newman/Haas next year, but from our perspective it's quite simple.  Carl Haas told our Mark Cipolloni he had no plans to race in the IRL next year.  However, Haas is hedging his bets.  Should the CART buyout fail and CART go out of business, Haas wants to have someplace to race in 2004.  Hence he is preparing for the IRL just in case CART is not around.  At least that is what AR1 is being told, but only Carl knows for sure.....

11/14/03

Williams to test Piquet and Rosberg kids  The BMW Williams team will test Nico Rosberg and Nelson Piquet Jr at Jerez de Frontera in the first week of December. Rosberg had a very brief run with the team last year but Williams is keen to give the pair (both sons of former Williams World Champions) a proper run to see if they have the potential to be test drivers with Williams in 2004. The team will retain Marc Gene but may take on a second test driver as well. Although the two youngsters are under consideration, it is thought likely that if Williams does decide to take on another tester that the job will go to Antonio Pizzonia.   GrandPrix.com

11/14/03

Judge rejects Brazilian GP review  The judge at the centre of the controversy over the Brazilian Grand Prix has rejected an attempt to review his decision into the Brazilian Grand Prix. The city's sports secretary had gone to the judge with documentation to show that the race produces a large amount of income for the city but the judge said in a short statement that he would not reconsider his decision. The city pays only for the upkeep of the racing circuit and not for the fees for the F1 teams to attend. Those are paid by TV Globo, which owns the right to promote the race. TV Globo hires Tamas Rohonyi to run the event on its behalf. The costs of upkeep are more expensive than at most tracks because the circuit is built on unstable ground and so subsidence is a big problem each year. The investment made by the city in the track is not only used by F1 as the track is used for the rest of the year by local racers. The judge's rejection of a review is bad news for the event, as there will now have to be an appeal against the judge's decision to the appeal court of the state of Sao Paulo. The problems will no doubt be solved by the time the race takes place in October next year but it is not something that Bernie Ecclestone needs happening with his only race in Latin America.  GrandPrix.com

11/14/03

CART Champ Car pulls into Monster Garage   If the California Department of Transportation had Jesse James and his band of renegade car builders from the Discovery Channel’s mega-hit series Monster Garage on their staff, every highway line in the entire Golden State could be re-done in about two days. James and his Monster Garage crew accepted the challenge of turning a Champ Car into a working street-line painter for an upcoming installment of the popular program, which is the second-highest rated show of all cable series among males 18-49. The crew took a former Walker Racing Champ Car chassis and transformed it into the world’s fastest street-line painter, successfully demonstrating it at the Irwindale Speedway oval in Irwindale, California earlier this week. The crew included Rocketsports Racing team owner and potential Champ Car World Series owner Paul Gentilozzi, who flew to James’ California shop last month to help oversee the design and production of the car as well, while PK Racing engineer John Ward was on hand to supervise the demonstration phase of the project. The car ended up turning laps around the half-mile Irwindale track at over 90 mph with James behind the wheel, laying out perfect street lines. The Champ Car, which squared off against a traditional RoadLazer street-line painter during its demonstration, ran on short-oval racing tires such as those used at this year’s Champ Car event at the Milwaukee Mile, which were provided to the show by Bridgestone. The Champ Car episode, which is broadcast on Monday nights from 9-10 p.m. ET/PT, is slated to air November 24 on the Discovery Channel.  CART

11/14/03

CART's Mid-Ohio run ends   [Editor's Note: We would not be surprised to see the IRL jump at the chance to race at Mid-Ohio should they decide to go road racing in 2005.  However, with declining attendance and a track that is difficult to pass on (too narrow) we don't expect they will meet with much success.  CART fans who support CART really dislike the IRL and Mid-Ohio fans were mostly die-hard CART fans.]  All the petitions and all the outcries on the Internet went for naught. The CART Champ Car World Series will not be racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004.  "It basically came down to it wasn't a business plan that made sense for us and for them in their transition and we needed to move forward," Mid-Ohio media relations coordinator Reece White said.

CART released its 2004 schedule Thursday and Mid-Ohio wasn't on it.  "We have crafted a schedule that is challenging for our teams and drivers, as well as enticing to our sponsors and fans," CART CEO and President Chris Pook said. "This schedule holds true to our philosophy of taking the racing to the major urban markets of NAFTA while at the same time embracing our ties to the rich history of Champ Car racing at such places like Milwaukee, Road America and Long Beach."   Other than the Milwaukee Mile, no event on the CART schedule had a richer and longer history than Mid-Ohio. The permanent road course hosted Champ Car's first race under the CART-sanctioning umbrella in 1980 and returned for a 21-year run in 1983.

It was speculated before the 2003 Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio that it was going to be CART's last at the Lexington track. Fans tried to rally with a petition drive during race weekend, while others railed on open-wheel racing Web site forums. A strong walk-up crowd on race day gave it a slight attendance boost over the 2002 race, bringing both sides together for talks about the future.   "It was a case where we exhausted every option," White said. "It's a fine line between the emotions of what you want to do and what you have to do."

So the 2003 race was indeed the Lame Duck Grand Prix.  "We weren't going to put ourselves in a place where we were in jeopardy over one race, not that it got to that point," White said of TrueSports' stance, the company that owns and operates Mid-Ohio. More....  Mansfield News Journal

11/14/03

BAR team afloat in red ink  According to reports in Motorsports News, the British American Racing team have recorded a deficit of $65 million in regard to their operating costs in 2002. The team has been in Formula One for six years now, starting up at the end of the 1998 season when they took over Ken Tyrell’s team and since then they have reportedly lost almost $250 million.

11/14/03

Klien and Bell to test for Jaguar  Rising Austrian star Christian Klien and American Townsend Bell will test for Jaguar Racing in Valencia at the end of this month. The duo will join regular drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson as the team continues its on-going driver evaluation program for next season. All three drivers are in with a chance of securing the role of Webber's team-mate for 2004, but the result of the test will not be the only factor. "This is not a shoot-out," said team spokesman Nav Sidhu. "We know these guys well, but what we don't know is how well they will go in a Formula 1 Jaguar." The test will take place over three days on November 25-27. The team will have two cars on hand, which Klien, Bell and Webber will share over the first two days, with Wilson joining the Australian on day three. Jaguar has not ruled out the possibility of testing more drivers before deciding on its 2004 lineup.  Autosport  Also, "On the subject of Justin Wilson, he is under contract until December 31, 2003 and is in contention for the 2004 race seat on level terms with others," said Jaguar's Nav Sidhu.  "He is here, as is Mark Webber, to test the car as part of our development of the R5. We are not testing him -- we know what he can do. He is not partaking in a "shoot out" of any kind against Bell and Klien."  "Justin has done a good job in his short time at Jaguar Racing. He fits in well with the team and is very well liked. His application and focus are beyond reproach and he has performed well, particularly at the U.S. Grand Prix in trying circumstances where he scored his first championship point. All these factors are positive for him but the decision for 2004 will be widely based."

11/14/03

CART files new SEC document   UPDATE  CART has filed two more documents related to the OWRS buyout, a form 13-D/A and a 13E-3. Both documents give updated and near-final information with regard to the offer and to CART's status.  One interesting tidbit - the series expects to spend $13.4 million on TV each of the next three years and only realize revenue of $4.8, 6.4 and 7.4 million over the next three years, i.e. they expect to continue to lose money on TV. However, they expect to lose less each year until such time as the ratings become high enough to at least break even on TV, or dare we say, make a profit.  The Company's Forecast estimates that they will have a negative cash balance of ($1.2) million as of December 31, 2003. The Forecast estimates they will have a negative cash balance of ($14.7) million, ($17.4) million, and ($14.5) million as of the end of 2004, 2005 and 2006, respectively. The documents paint a fairly bleak picture and attempt to make the $0.56 per share offer look attractive.  They also disclosed  that CART was already in default on some of its financial obligations. 11/13/03 - Today CART filed this SEC Form 8K..  Download PDF file.

11/14/03
Formula 3

Final Macau GP qualifying times (Combined from both days)  Brazilian Fabio Carbone and Australian Ryan Briscoe bumped Australian James Courtney off the provisional pole and down to third starting spot for this weekend's Macau GP in China.  Other notables include a 5th starting spot for German Pierre Kaffer, rumored to be CART bound in 2004, who will start a respectable 5th after being out of open-wheel cars for quite some time.  American Richard Antinucci will start 6th, Nico Rosberg, son of former F1 champions Keke Rosberg will start 7th and Nelson Piquet Jr. will start 13th.  The field is one of the strongest we have seen in a long time, with any of the top 13 drivers being future F1 or CART material.  Photos

1. Fabio Carbone BRA Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo 2m 13.016s
2. Ryan Briscoe AUS Prema Powerteam Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess 2m 13.223s
3. James Courtney AUS TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-TOM's 2m 13.232s*
4. Nicolas Lapierre FRA Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo 2m 13.270s
5. Pierre Kaffer GER Superfund TME Racing Dallara F303 Toyota-TOM's 2m 13.506s
6. Richard Antinucci USA Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo 2m 13.514s
7. Nico Rosberg FIN Carlin Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen 2m 13.906s
8. Tatsuya Kataoka JPN TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-TOM's 2m 13.910s
9. Paulo Montin ITA Three Bond Dallara F303 Nissan-Tomei 2m 13.958s
10. Robert Doornbos NED Menu Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Opel–Spiess 2m 14.146s
11. Alvaro Parente POR Carlin Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen 2m 14.593s
12. Fairuz Fauzy MAL Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 2m 14.728s
13. Nelson Piquet Jr BRA Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo 2m 14.949s
14. Robert Kubica POL Target Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess 2m 14.965s
15. César Campanico POR Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo 2m 15.001s
16. Danny Watts GBR Alan Docking Racing Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 2m 15.050s
17. Narain Karthikeyan IND Carlin Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen 2m 15.135s*
18. Lewis Hamilton GBR Manor Motorsport Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 2m 15.160s
19. Hiroki Yoshimoto JPN Swiss Racing Team Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess 2m 15.189s
20. Ronnie Quintarelli ITA JB Motorsport/Inging Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess 2m 15.478s
21. Andrew Thompson GBR Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo 2m 15.515s
22. Pedro Barral ESP Swiss Racing Team Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess 2m 15.782s
23. Katsuyuki Hiranaka JPN Prema Powerteam Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess 2m 15.854s*
24. Ernesto Viso VEN Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 2m 16.006s
25. Rob Austin GBR Menu Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Opel-Spiess 2m 16.368s
26. Michael Ho MAC Superfund TME Racing Dallara F302 Toyota-TOM's 2m 16.877s
27. Naoki Yokomizo JPN JB Motorsport/Inging Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess 2m 18.183s*
28. Marco Bonanomi ITA Target Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess 2m 18.247s*
29. Lei Kit Meng MAC Manor Motorsport Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 2m 20.537s
30. Joesph Merszei MAC Alan Docking Racing Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 2m 24.503s

11/14/03

Kyle Busch to miss Cup debut Kyle Busch will not make his Winston Cup debut this weekend at Homestead after his car failed NASCAR inspection, more specifically the "X" body test, the same test that Tony Stewart's car failed and NASCAR confiscated the car.  The X-measurement is taken from the base of the car's rear window to the back corner of the opposite rear fender. This is done in both directions and is supposed to be the same, ensuring that the car body is "square" and not angled.

11/14/03

Latest F1 Hot News items 

Racing Thicker Than Blood Of Brothers
Villeneuve 'Slams' Jaguar Link
Schu To Sit Out Post-Season Tests
Da Matta 'Stronger' Than Veteran Panis
F1 Spotters Descend On Macau Grand Prix
Report To Outline Brazil GP Benefits
Webber 'Hammered' After 12-Hour Hike
F1 Teams Ready To Race Third Car
Bring Back Slick Tires, Urges F1 Racer

11/14/03

Night races for CART   Given the Saturday dates for both Milwaukee and Cleveland in 2004, it would appear that both venues will again be night races, though the press release did not specifically say.  What was once a 15-race schedule appears to now have grown to a possible 18 or 19 races (19 if Brands Hatch added....20 if EuroSpeedway added too).  There is room in the schedule to run both Germany and England on the same weekends as 2003 - the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May.  This is what we feel CART should strive for as a final schedule.  Plug some of the gaps, move Miami to where it should be in Mid-March and end the season in Las Vegas in conjunction with the SEMA show.
The Ideal 2004 CART Schedule

February 22 – St. Petersburg, Florida – Street Course
March 14 – Miami, Florida – Street Course (with MTV's usual Spring Break shows)
April 18 – Long Beach, California – Street Course
May 2 - Brands Hatch, UK - Road Course (Bank Holiday weekend)
May 9 - EuroSpeedway, Germany - Oval
May 23 – Monterrey, Mexico – Road Course
June 5 – The Milwaukee Mile – Oval (Night Race)
June 20 – Portland International Raceway – Road Course*
July 3 – Cleveland, Ohio - Road Course (Night Race)
July 11 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Street Course
July 25 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Street Course
August 8 – Road America – Road Course
August 15 – Denver, Colorado – Street Course
August 29 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada – Road Course
September 12 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Road Course
October 3 – Mexico City, Mexico – Road Course
October 17 – Seoul, South Korea – Road Course
October 24 – Surfers Paradise, Australia – Street Course
October 31 – California Speedway – Oval (We doubt ISC wants this race to happen)
November 7 - Las Vegas, NV Street Course around Convention Center w/SEMA Show
November 8 - Las Vegas, NV - Annual Awards Banquet

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
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