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DATE

News (chronologically)

12/5/03

Even if CART survives, Vancouver race may not  This Canadian Press article says, No matter whether CART continues or collapses under its current financial burden, the Molson Indy will probably survive in Toronto and Montreal but the future of the Vancouver race is clouded.  Championship Auto Racing Team is running on empty financially and is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.   That will allow Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, formed by three CART team owners, to buy the series and resurrect it in another form.

"As long as there's a CART we will honor those contracts," Bob Singleton, vice-president and general manager of Molson Sport and Entertainment, said Friday. "I firmly believe OWRS will buy the assets of CART and then the 2004 racing season will happen."  The Indy draws huge crowds in all three Canadian cities and would be attractive venues for whoever takes over operation of open-wheel racing in North America, said Singleton.

Molson has a contract with CART to stage races in Toronto and Vancouver for one more year. The agreement with Montreal spans three more years.  The problem with Vancouver is the temporary street circuit in the downtown False Creek area will disappear when construction begins on the athletes village for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

"We'll run on the existing track until we can no longer run on it," Singleton said. "We're probably only good to 2006 for track life, then they are going to start digging up for the Olympics."  With tracks already established in Toronto and Montreal, Molson might balk at developing a new Vancouver circuit.   "We'll get through this year and see where CART is at and where everything is at before you even contemplate it," Singleton said. "There is no guarantee now we'll go beyond 2004."  If CART disappeared completely, Singleton would try to bring the rival Indy Racing League to Canada.

12/5/03

Cheever - CART is dead  UPDATE A reader responds to Cheever's comment - The absolute best evidence yet that CART IS in fact going to survive. Eddie (the mouth that roars and says absolutely nothing) Cheever says CART is dead. What more proof could anyone want! Robert Kachel, Ceres, CA  12/5/03 - Eddie Cheever, a former CART owner/ driver, believes the series may not make it to 2004.  He told the Arizona Republic, "CART no longer has a viable business plan," Cheever said. "They're dead."

12/5/03

IRL would have a hard time picking up CART races in 2004  What happens if there is no CART season in 2004? Could the rival Indy Racing League add a couple of CART's top road racing venues?  The IRL plans to add one or two road course races in 2005, but the founder of the series is unsure whether road races could be added in 2004 at this late date.  "We've talked about needing four months to get ready (for a road course race)," IRL President Tony George, who was at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday attending a test session that included stepson Ed Carpenter auditioning for Eddie Cheever Jr. told the Arizona Republic.  "I suppose we could do them late in the year (2004), but we have a set schedule already, and it's pretty late to contemplate anything. Besides, we don't know what's going to happen (to CART)."

12/5/03

IRL test in West at Phoenix  The IRL Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway has been moved to Feb. 10-12, 2004.

12/5/03

More clarification on the CART buyout  There has been some confusion by many on the CART buyout so we contacted OWRS for clarification.  While the final closing will take up to 60 days per the SEC Schedule 13D/A filed, things will begin to happen almost immediately. OWRS will be entering into an agreement that gives them the final bid no matter what. It is also important to know that per the agreements in place any other bidders have to prove they are going to run the business, not shut it down, so there won't be any unfriendly takeovers by, say, Tony George.  In ten or so days when the agreement is signed OWRS will be paying CART's operating expenses which would have to be repaid to them if someone else bid a higher price to run it. OWRS is confident that is a less than small chance.  OWRS will be able to announce everything well before January 31st (i.e. 60 days).  That includes TV deals, sponsor deals, final schedule, etc.  Once the contract with CART is signed in a few days (or before next Friday) OWRS will be going forward 100%.  The principals feel confident the car count will be at least 18 for 2004 and that the stockholders will be taken care of.  Mark C.

12/5/03

Fellows home after surgery   American Le Mans Series driver Ron Fellows is home in Canada after undergoing successful surgery on his injured left shoulder Monday in Indianapolis. Fellows, who drove the last two races of the 2003 season with a painfully dislocated shoulder, expects to be fully recovered from the surgery when the 2004 ALMS season starts with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 17-20. The GTS class driving champion of the series in 2002 and 2003, Fellows will try to become the first three-time champion of any class in series history. He drives for the factory Chevrolet Corvette team. Fellows injured his left shoulder in a rock-climbing accident on Sept. 20 near his home in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ont. The surgery was performed by Dr. Stephen L. Kollias, a shoulder specialist at the OrthoIndy group, and repaired rotator cuff and ligament damage. There was also a fracture.

12/5/03

BAR and Koni renew   Lucky Strike BAR Honda today announces that it has renewed its supplier agreement with Koni, which has provided BAR with dampers since the team’s debut race in 1999.  Koni has an illustrious 46-year history in Formula One, with 226 Grand Prix victories and 13 World Championships to its name. In fact, it can lay claim to being the most successful racing shock absorber on the market.  As in previous seasons, Koni will supply racing dampers for use on the suspension systems of the BAR Honda 006 in 2004. BAR and Koni will also be working together on a race technology research and development project.  BAR Technical Director, Geoffrey Willis, commented: “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Koni for quite some time now and they provide us with a very reliable system of custom dampers to meet our chassis requirements. We look forward to working with them in 2004, which promises to be a very exciting year for the team.”  Frits Altorf, Koni’s Product Operations Manager, is delighted that the successful partnership is entering a new phase: “We have been very impressed by both the organizational restructuring and the technical progressive enhancements over the last few months at BAR. We have every confidence in achieving good results for the coming race season and we are proud to be a valuable part of this ever-improving team.”  In addition to Formula One, Koni also supply dampers to a variety of motorsport disciplines, including Formula 3, F3000, GT Racing, IRL and Touring Cars. BAR Honda

12/5/03

More SAFER Barriers  NASCAR president Mike Helton, in his annual state of the sport address, said the sanctioning body's goal is to have steel and foam energy reducing (SAFER) barriers installed at every track where recommended by the end of 2004. "There may be one or two doubting Thomases," Helton said, "but it's hard to argue with the facts. The effectiveness of the new barriers is real."

12/5/03

Top 10 NASCAR drivers visit White House  NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth and a large group of current and former Winston Cup stars were honored Tuesday at the White House by President Bush. With seven brightly colored Winston Cup cars arrayed behind him on the south lawn, and nine of the 2003 top 10 drivers standing alongside, the President joked, "I see a lot of the Bubbas who work in my administration have shown up." On a cold, wind-swept afternoon, Bush, a self-proclaimed longtime stock car fan, praised Kenseth, saying, "Like all champions, he has succeeded because of his dedication and hard work." On the stage with the president and Kenseth were Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Bill Elliott, and brothers Terry and Bobby Labonte. The only top 10 driver not on hand was Jeff Gordon, who had a previous commitment.

12/5/03

CART lawyers sort through offer termination  This Indy Star article says, The CART board had hoped to meet today to vote on the proposal but was told it needs further study.

CART spokesman Eric Mauk said company attorneys have advised the board that a bankruptcy court is unlikely to approve any plan that ignores the stockholders.

According to the CART statement released Tuesday night announcing the original offer had been withdrawn, the only alternative other than the new OWRS proposal is to cease operations and liquidate the company's remaining assets.

While the latest shuffling has caused confusion in the CART community, some see it as a positive. In theory, at least, if the new owners spend less to buy the series, they'll have more to spend on it. And now removed is the variable of an angry group of stockholders vetoing the sale.

"I think it might speed things up. If the stockholders had voted no, it was going to go to bankruptcy anyway," said Jim McGee, team manager for Patrick Racing and a CART mainstay since its inception in 1979.

"From all indications we're getting, I think these guys aren't wavering on wanting to buy the series. They're just changing their business approach. If you're buying a company, you want to buy its assets and not its liabilities."

Like many CART teams, Patrick Racing has neither a driver nor sponsor for 2004 and can't do much about either until CART's future is resolved.

"Like everybody else, we're just waiting for something to happen," McGee said.

Also among the interested onlookers is the Indy Racing League, which stands to inherit teams, drivers, sponsors and venues should CART go out of business. The IRL plans to add two to four road races to its schedule in the next few years regardless of what CART does.

The plum on the CART schedule is the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix, scheduled to open the 2004 season in April. The IRL also would be interested in races in Mexico and Canada because of the sponsor dollars available.

12/5/03

Villeneuve accuses Richards of ruining his career   "What you have to understand is that every team, when they get rid of a driver, make sure that his image is intact so he can go somewhere else," a furious Jacques told Autosport magazine. "Somehow David has done the opposite. He made sure that I was worth nothing so that he wasn't obliged to keep me.  I don't know what he gains out of that, apart from personal pride and happiness that next year I don't have a drive and it's thanks to him. There's nothing I could do."

12/5/03

Villeneuve - I will never be a pay driver   On the rumor of Jacques Villeneuve buying a ride at Jaguar -  "That's nonsense. If it's the only reason I'm wanted somewhere, then no way," the 1997 World Champion told Autosport. "Why would I do that? I won't be a pay driver. If all they're looking for is a pay driver, it's already the wrong attitude. That means you're not wanted for what you can bring on the work side. They don't care. It's just a business. I'm not interested in it.  I will not prostitute myself. I never have and never will. I will not be on my knees just to drive in F1, to just be part of the paddock. If I'm wanted, it's because of my qualities."

12/5/03

Gag order prevented JV from talking about Japan withdrawal    Craig Pollock has confirmed that BAR put a 'gag order' on himself and Jacques, thus denying them the chance to defend JV's reputation when he pulled out of the Japanese GP.   "Knowing Jacques and also knowing the way that his father had died, when your head is not 100% on the job, that's when you're going to make a mistake," he told Autosport magazine. "What was the point of Jacques getting hurt when it was obvious that all the team really wanted to do was put Takuma Sato in the car? The reality was that in his own mind Jacques was so let down by all this that he would overdrive the car. We were fully aware that it would be perceived negatively by the media. But there was a 'gag order' and both Jacques and I were contractually bound not to be at the circuit, so we couldn’t defend our position in any way."

12/5/03

Earnhardt Jr. wins most popular driver award  The votes are in, and race car fans across the country have named Dale Earnhardt Jr. the 2003 Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver. The announcement was made today during the National Motorsports Press Association’s (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

While Earnhardt, Jr. finished third in the top on-track honor in major league stock car racing, he led throughout the Most Popular Driver fan balloting for the highest off-track honor in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet maintained a solid first place as voting closed mid-November for the only fan-based award in professional motorsports.

“It means a ton to see the support I’ve received from the fans,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I know that no matter how bad things have been in my life that week or if I’ve struggled with the race that weekend, it’s always helpful to hear the cheers when I walk across the stage during driver introductions.”

Earnhardt Jr.’s win also marks the first time both a son and a father have received the Most Popular Driver honor. Racing legend Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001.

“The NASCAR fans are a smart bunch. They choose their favorite drivers based on who that driver is as a person and what they represent,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “I try to remember that every day. This means a lot to me that the fans have supported me in such a big way. It was emotional for me to have to accept this award on behalf of my dad in 2001, but it will feel a lot better being able to accept the award this year.”

From the fan votes to at-track enthusiasm, it’s clear Earnhardt Jr. creates excitement on the racing circuit.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver,” said journalist Kenny Bruce, president of the National Motorsports Press Association. “He came close to winning a year ago, and anyone who has listened while he was introduced at races would know that the fans really seem to love him. We are grateful to all of the NASCAR fans who were part of the voting process, and we feel they made a good choice.”

12/5/03

Valiante gets Champ Car test  Following in the footsteps of such Lynx Racing alumni as Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron, Memo Gidley and Buddy Rice, the team’s latest graduate, Michael Valiante, 23, of Vancouver, B.C., will ‘get his claws’ this weekend when he makes his debut as a Champ Car driver in a test with Walker Racing during the week of December 8 at Sebring Raceway in Florida.

Valiante will be one of four drivers participating in the test, including fellow Canadian Jonathan Macri and Scotsman Ryan Dalziel, who finished 2nd and 4th respectively in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship. Also participating will be Timo Glock, a driver in the German Formula 3 series.

Valiante, who won three races and finished 3rd in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, was scheduled to test and race with the Walker team in the CART season finale at Fontana Speedway in Southern California on November 2. However, the event was cancelled due to the devastating wildfires in the area.

“I had been fitted in the car and CART agreed to give me some extra practice time on Wednesday, so I was excited to be making my Champ Car debut at such a big event,” says Valiante. “It obviously didn’t happen, but this upcoming Sebring test will be an excellent way for Derrick to gain exposure for the team and sponsors, and for me to get some experience with a Champ Car in advance of the 2004 season. With four of us testing, there is obviously going to be some competition, but I’m confident in my ability and in the education I’ve gotten during my two years with the Lynx Racing team.”

“We’re very proud of Michael, and happy that Derrick Walker is giving him this opportunity,” says Lynx Racing co-owner Jackie Doty. “No doubt his learning curve over the next couple of days is going to be quite steep, but he’s a very intelligent driver who’s very, very good at what he does, and if he’s teamed with the right group of people – which we feel Walker Racing is – there’s every reason to expect him to do well.”

“There is a lot of young driver talent out there and with all the changes that have happened in the sport over the years, it’s clear that we need to find a way to give this talent an opportunity to progress in the sport of open wheel racing” said team owner Derrick Walker.

Walker Racing will take its 2003 Reynard chassis and provide two days worth of evaluation and simulation for each driver. Data analysis and feedback sessions with the engineering staff will also be key parts of the two-day program.

12/5/03

Ferrari aims for new car in Oz    For the past two years, Ferrari has raced its old car in the opening rounds of the season. However, Todt is looking to change that philosophy for next year. He told the Italian Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper: "We would like to be able to launch the new car in January, and to have its debut on the first race."

12/5/03

Penske-Jasper Motorsports deal  The Penske-Jasper Motorsports deal to share ownership of the #77 team and bring it under the Penske and Dodge umbrella is all but completed, ThatsRacin.com has learned. A formal announcement of the merger should be made within two weeks. NASCAR Truck series driver Brendan Gaughan is to join the team, sources said. "We should know a lot more very soon. Until then, there isn't much for me to say," said Penske vice president, Don Miller, in New York for this weekend's Winston Cup awards ceremony. Miller and team owner Roger Penske have said they were considering a third Nextel Cup team next season after being approached by Kodak, which could be the team's sponsor. Sources said the remaining issues in the Penske-Jasper deal included contracts with the sponsor and a new driver as well as those related to the #77 team and its current driver, Dave Blaney. Blaney would not remain with the team under the new deal. However, he may well join another Cup operation, sources said. Who would serve as crew chief as the new team remains unclear, but sources said Gaughan's Truck series crew chief, Shane Wilson, and Bill Wilburn, who recently stepped down as crew chief for Penske Cup driver Rusty Wallace, were both under consideration. ThatsRacin.com

12/5/03

CART woes threaten Denver GP  Financial woes at CART could cost Denver its Grand Prix race -- and millions of dollars in potential revenue -- after just two years.  Officials with the Indianapolis-based racing series are considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and this week postponed the 2004 season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  CART, which became a publicly traded company in 1998, has struggled since the creation of the rival Indy Racing League in 1996. A bankruptcy filing would cloud the future of races across the country.  The company that operates the Grand Prix races said Wednesday it is too early to speculate on what will happen.  "We're watching the situation very closely," said Chris Esslinger, spokesman at Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Inc. "The good thing is we have the luxury of time, because the Denver race is not until August."  Last year's race brought $26.5 million to Denver, including food and souvenir sales, taxes, team expenses and track construction, according to the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.  "The national exposure on TV is great, and having an event that keeps or brings people into the city rather than the mountains is always important for Denver," said Rich Grant, spokesman for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Grand Prix organizers have contracts with Denver through 2008. The 2004 Denver Grand Prix is scheduled for Aug. 13-15.  AP Article

12/5/03

CART future uncertain, may fold  According to this Grandprix.com article, The merger between CART and Open Wheel Racing Series is off and the CART company now faces the prospect of being placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. OWRS may then try to buy the assets and run the series in 2004 but with time being short (very short), the prospects do not look good and it seems more likely that the rival Indy Racing League will break out of its oval-only position and will run road races as well. The IRL warned its teams and chassis builders in the summer that they should be ready with update kits to run the cars on road courses in 2004 in case CART did fold. The IRL has to date run only on ovals. Several CART teams are already looking at switching to the IRL and it may be that the whole OWRS concept will fade away if the team owners involved cannot come up with enough cars to run the series.  [Editor's Note:  As you can see, while some people believe CART will emerge and run in 2004, some feel it is destined for ultimate failure because everything has been left so late.]

12/5/03

Surfers Australia promoter confident CART will be OK  Fearing that the highlight of its Surfers Paradise race weekend may be in jeopardy, Lexmark Indy 300 general manager James Ashworth has spoken to both Kevin Kalkhoven of OWRS and CART president and CEO Chris Pook - to try and ascertain the latest details.

"Everything is full steam ahead for 2004," Ashworth stressed, apparently happy with the outcome of his conversations, "I spoke with Kevin Kalkhoven yesterday and he remained adamant there would be a series in place for 2004.

"The Open Wheel Racing Series partners previously indicated that the Lexmark Indy 300 will be a 'jewel in the crown' of the series once the acquisition is complete, and we look forward to working with OWRS to continue the success of the Lexmark Indy 300 and also re-establish the Champ Car World Series as a dominant force in open wheel racing in 2004."

Another OWRS partner, Paul Gentilozzi, said that the new proposal would allow OWRS to acquire the assets necessary to continue the CART racing tradition into 2004.

"OWRS expects to retain a sufficient number of cars to meet CART's contractual obligations with our race promoters," he said, "OWRS plans to maintain, and ultimately expand the CART racing series in the Americas and throughout the world."

Ashworth said that the new deal being offered to CART would allow OWRS to take ownership of the series and the race contracts much faster.

"This is positive news on a number of fronts. Once the administrator approves the offer by OWRS, all existing race contracts - including the Gold Coast - will immediately be assumed by OWRS with no renegotiations necessary.

"All teams, sponsors and promoters can then get to work on the 2004 series much earlier than if the December 19th stockholder vote went ahead. This new offer could actually expedite the whole acquisition process."  Crash.net  [Editor's Note:  In the SEC document filed yesterday outlining the new offer, it states the entire process can take 60 days, not necessarily a good thing, but we believe this was stated as a worse case scenario]

12/5/03

***Reader Comment***Champ Cars overweight  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, First time I read the lap comparison page. Tell Dick Pong excellent job and I thought it was most appropriate to compare the F1 car, to all the others, at the best and most challenging tracks the USA has to offer, Road Atlanta and Road America. Excellent Job!

By the way, it is most obvious on this page, that the best and most efficient way to instantly increase the performance of the ChampCar is with a weight reduction. 2004 is going to be the same as last year. But it is absolutely imperative to reduce the weight by min. 150lbs for 2005 to get any respectable lap times. Easiest way is smaller chassis dimensions. This reduces costs compared to using lighter more exotic materials to reduce the weight. Also, a smaller chassis instantly improves the racing by allowing more room to maneuver, especially on the street courses.

Acceleration, braking, cornering limits will all instantly improve and there is no need to have a better (HP) engine for 2005 to increase the performance, although having a higher revving engine of any sort is an absolute must for ultimate sound effect. Ultimately, 15,000rpm should be the target range for the engine and a 200lb lighter chassis of smaller dimensions.

I just finished watching the 1999 Mid-Ohio race where Montoya came from behind to pass Franchitti and Tracy for the win. It is just so obvious how much faster and exciting the cars are to view from the in-car camera to the stationary cameras. I'm almost discouraged to go back through this year's races. They don't look nearly as fast, exciting, or challenging to the drivers. I still relish the 1999-2000 years.  Doug Ferguson, Florida

12/5/03

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12/5/03

She can drive and she can sing   UPDATE Nice story on Rhonda. She tested in our Lynx Atlantic car a while back and did a really good job. She was fast, worked well with the team and showed a lot of progress during her day in the car. We already had Michael Valiante as a driver, so there wasn't a seat available for her, but all of us were very impressed with her ability.  Peter Frey, Lynx Racing   12/4/03 - Rhonda Trammell, wife of Chief Orthopedic Surgeon for CART Dr. Terry Trammell competed in the Barber Dodge Pro Series a couple of years with the aspirations of moving up to the CART Toyota Atlantic Series, that was until funding ran out.  What few people in the racing community know about Rhonda is her ability to both write and sing songs.  We were most pleasantly surprised to discover just how good she is.  Show your support and visit Rhonda Trammell's website, take a listen to a few of the music clips...if you like it go ahead and BUY ONE. If you like it that much...go ahead and forward this e-mail to your friends. She thanks you for your support!
Sound Delusion Music Presents Singer/Songwriter
Rhonda Trammell

Purchase her CD here or online at Tower Records

12/4/03

***Reader Comment***Absurd Journalism   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, You know I am personally averse to controversy, especially when the subject is hazy. We know the very capable and dynamic triumvirate of Jerry Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, and Kevin Kalkhoven intends to completely rebuild the troubled CART series and leave behind the technical and financial woes of the past. But while this is going on, certain self-appointed prophets look to steal a corner of the limelight with absurd journalism, and I use that term loosely.

You don't need to be a lawyer to know that the members of OWRS are under a gag order for obvious financial and legal reasons, and it has been made apparent that OWRS is working diligently and passionately toward a goal they truly believe in. However, these "journalists" construe what they wish from the silence, and more often than not, paint a gloom-and-doom picture of CART's demise to fill their columns.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram calls upon Dennis McAlpine to tell us that "You have to have teams [to run the race]." Quite a revelation! He continues, "It's hard to tell which teams are going to be out there and whether they will be solid enough to put up the money required to run a complete season."  If it's so hard to tell, should the Press-Telegram be reporting his pure speculation? They should stick to their in-depth coverage of the Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant cases until they have facts regarding CART. The LBGP almost single-handedly catalyzed the development of Long Beach into a viable city, and CART has been part of that for 20 years. Is this the kind of journalism that CART, Jerry Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven get for their effort? Lino Manocchia N.Y.

12/4/03

Evernham announces 2004 plans 
· Elliott to run limited schedule in Evernham Motorsports Dodge
· Kahne succeeds Elliott as driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
· Baldwin joins Evernham as team director for Kahne’s No. 9 Dodge team
· Evernham Engines to supply engines for Kahne’s Busch Series Dodge

Evernham Motorsports announced its lineup this morning for the 2004 NASCAR season. The lineup will include NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, who will run a reduced race schedule in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge; NASCAR Busch Series standout Kasey Kahne, who will succeed Elliott as the driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge; Jeremy Mayfield, who will continue as driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge; and Tommy Baldwin, who will join Evernham Motorsports as team director for the No. 9 Dodge team.

12/4/03

Hornish and Manning crash at Phoenix  UPDATE Buried (as if to hide) in today's press release from the IRL was the fact that both Hornish and Manning hit the wall at Phoenix yesterday as we reported yesterday. Other info in their release -

The Dec. 3 test was Wheldon’s first opportunity to drive on the slightly reconfigured track. Construction crews eliminated the opening in the backstretch wall and widened the exit to Turn 2. In addition, a portion of Turn 4 was torn up to build a tunnel, and a piece of asphalt in that area had to be repaved.

“It really hasn't changed too much, as far as what the driver feels,” Wheldon said. “The entry to Turn 1 is still obviously quite tight, so you've still got to get the car through there and through the middle of the corner.

“You do have a bit more road to play with on the exit, so if you're under-steering, it does make it a little bit more comfortable from that standpoint. In (Turns) 3 and 4, the bump on the exit is perhaps not quite as harsh now. There is definitely not a huge difference.”

Wheldon feels the biggest change may come during racing conditions.

“It will perhaps make a difference during the race because you will have a little bit more room on the exit,” Wheldon said. “But, as far as a qualifying lap, your speed is still dictated by entry and how you get through the middle of the corner.”

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon tested for Target Chip Ganassi Racing along with his rookie teammate Darren Manning.

“It was great to get back on the track,” Dixon said. “I liked the Phoenix track before they made the changes to the layout, and it’s definitely better than it was before. I didn’t turn too many laps out there, but I was able to get a pretty good feel for the new design.

“It should allow for more side-by side racing coming out of Turn 2, and that will be great for both the drivers and the fans. It’s kind of hard to believe that we’re already getting ready for another season, but I’m excited about the 2004 season and defending the championship for Team Target.”

The test marked Manning’s first test in an IndyCar Series car at Phoenix.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Manning said. “The cars are powerful and have great throttle response. Phoenix is one of the more difficult tracks that we’ll race on next year, so it was good to get out there and get some laps under my belt.

“It’s quite a feeling, really, to be with such a great team like Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The cars are strong right off the trucks, and you can see why they’ve been so successful. These guys have one focus and that is being the best. I’m looking forward to having a full off-season worth of testing, which is something that I haven’t had before. It’s going to be a fun season.”

A late afternoon accident in Turn 2 brought a premature end to Manning’s day. He was uninjured.

“The damage wasn’t too severe, but it wasn’t the way I wanted to wrap up the day,” Manning said. “I would have loved to have been able to put in another 60 to 70 laps.”

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was involved in a separate accident in the morning. He also was not injured.

Drivers and teams expected to test Dec. 4 at Phoenix include Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing), Alex Barron and Ed Carpenter (Red Bull Cheever Racing), and Tomas Scheckter and Mark Taylor (Panther Racing).    12/3/03 - Both Sam Hornish Jr. and Darren Manning crashed in testing at Phoenix today, both smacking the hard concrete walls of the 1-mile desert oval.  Luckily neither driver was injured, but the same could not be said for their race cars.  The extremely high cost of competing in the IRL continues unabated.  Luckily for them, their team owners, Messrs. Penske and Ganassi are quite wealthy and are always happy to write a check for the repair bills.  Lesser funded teams are not so lucky.  Meanwhile, Robbie Buhl tested Dec. 1-2 at Phoenix.  Buhl, driver of the No. 24 is hoping to improve the team’s performance on short ovals.

“We've gotten a lot of stuff done for Chevy, and it's been good for us to spend the last couple of days with the Chevy guys to get to know them better,” Buhl said. “I’ve never really been happy with this car at Nazareth (1-mile), St. Louis (1.25-miles) or Phoenix (1-mile), but I’m as happy as I have ever been with the car on the mile ovals. It's taken us a long time to get there, but we're closer.

“We ran trouble-free miles, kept learning about car and made headway about what we wanted to learn. Now we're in the ballpark, whereas before we just weren't in the game. We're out here to try some new stuff, new configurations and just see what it does to improve my feel for the car.”

12/4/03

Burton to stay with Roush  Roush Racing and NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Jeff Burton announced today that Burton will remain with Roush and the No. 99 team heading into the 2004 season. Burton signed a multi-year contract with Roush back in September and he continues to be committed to Roush Racing and the No. 99 team. "My commitment to Roush Racing is strong," said Burton. "I have said all along that Roush is where I want to be and that's where I'm staying. Jack (Roush, Owner) is committed to this team and so am I. We've built something that really means a lot. We spent last year re-building and we are looking to capitalize on it in 2004 and return the No. 99 Ford to victory lane where it belongs." Roush Racing will continue the search for a primary sponsor for the No. 99 Ford while Burton and the team move ahead with off-season testing and preparation. Roush Racing President Geoff Smith remains strong in his conviction that there will be a sponsor for the No. 99 team in the near future. "We are optimistic that the general economic recovery will soon bring several new primary sponsors into the Nextel Cup Series." Smith continued, "Jeff Burton is an incredible corporate spokesman and a great race car driver. We can't imagine giving up on a team that has brought us 18 wins. So, we decided to make the investment to continue the operation of the No. 99 team and continue to pursue sponsorship."

12/4/03

AGR re-signs Motorola to reduced contract  Andretti Green Racing (AGR) announced today it renewed its contract with Motorola, Inc. which will serve as an associate sponsor on the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone during the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar™ Series season. Motorola spent last season as an associate sponsor on all of AGR's cars, but enjoyed a significant presence on the #27 Dallara/Honda/Firestone, which was driven to a victory by Bryan Herta at Kansas Speedway and went on to post a sixth-place finish in the IndyCar Series entrant point standings. "It's great to be able to welcome Motorola back to Andretti Green for another year," said Michael Andretti, who owns the team along with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. "Motorola has been a great partner of ours and continues to be an important part of the foundation we are building here at Andretti Green Racing." Motorola has been involved in auto racing since 1937 when it sponsored a car competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and began product development based on its involvement in racing. The company launched its relationship with Andretti in 2001 when he made the move to Team Motorola and played a major role in clearing the way for Andretti's return to the Indy 500 that season, ending his five-year absence from "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." "Motorola is looking forward to teaming with 7-Eleven and continuing its relationship with Andretti Green," said Tom Crawford, director of Motorola's corporate sponsorship marketing. "Motorola's sponsorship with Andretti Green Racing will continue to further its growth in new technology developments as well as continue to build relationships with other sponsors, which will help to increase Motorola's public awareness and enhance its brand recognition. Motorola's sponsorship represents exciting opportunities and we look forward to a great season in 2004."

12/4/03

OWRS bid officially withdrawn   This SEC Form 13D/A was filed by CART, which in essence, says the OWRS offer of $0.56 per share has been withdrawn and they have made a new offer, which is summarized below.

OUTLINE OF PROPOSED TERMS
Structure: Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC ("Open Wheel") would acquire certain assets of CART, Inc. ("CART") from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of CART. This outline summarizes the principal terms of the proposed transaction. Other terms would be described in an Asset Purchase Agreement and other documents to be negotiated among the parties.

Purchased Open Wheel would acquire the following assets of CART (the Assets: "Purchased Assets"):
(a) All tangible personal property, whether owned or leased;

(b) All intellectual property, including trademarks and rulebooks (the "Intellectual Property");

(c) The following contracts: (i) all contracts with promoters (including claims related to such contracts such as claims against Brands Hatch and the ISC), (ii) sponsorship contracts with Bridgestone and Ford, (iii) the contract with Cosworth related to engine purchase and maintenance, (iv) the Engine leases with the Teams, (v) the contracts related to Brazilian and Mexican television rights, (vi) all intellectual property licenses pursuant to which CART or Champ license the Intellectual Property to third parties and (vii) certain other contracts to be identified by Open Wheel (the "Assumed Contacts");
(d) The note from SCRA of Monterrey to CART; and
(e) The memberships in ACCUS and FIA.
Assumed Open Wheel would not assume any liabilities other than the Liabilities: Assumed Contracts and the leases for tangible property.
Consideration: $2,000,000
Bankruptcy: As soon as practicable after the signing of an asset purchase agreement, which shall occur prior to Friday December 12, 2003, CART would file the required documents to initiate Chapter 11 bankruptcy, including a sale order and the Asset Purchase Agreement, for a consolidated bankruptcy and sale of assets under Sections 363 and 365 of the Bankruptcy code in the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Oakland County, Michigan (or such other Federal Bankruptcy Court as shall be mutually agreed).
Prize Money: Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. will undertake to pay the prize money owed to all of the teams for the 2003 season (other than teams controlled by affiliates of Open Wheel) provided this can be done without a preferential transfer occurring. If the payment would create a preference, Open Wheel would assume the obligation to make the payment and the
purchase price would be reduced accordingly.

Interim Immediately prior to the filing of a bankruptcy petition, CART Management: would terminate the employment of its CEO and appoint a new CEO satisfactory to both CART and Open Wheel to serve as CEO until the closing of the transaction.

DIP Financing: Open Wheel would provide DIP financing, provided that it can obtain a first secured position, to CART to finance its operations for 60 days after the signing of the Asset Purchase Agreement. The amount and terms of the DIP financing would be as mutually agreed among the parties. Any DIP financing would be repaid not later than the closing of the sale by CART of any substantial assets (including the closing of the transaction described herein). Any unpaid DIP financing would be credited against the purchase price for the assets.

Documentation: The proposed transaction would be documented in an Asset Purchase Agreement and other documentation that would include the following terms and conditions:

(a) Representations and warranties, covenants and closing conditions customary for an acquisition of assets out of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. These could include representations as to the ability of CART to complete the acquisition subject only to board and bankruptcy court approval, and representations as to the ability of CART to transfer the assets free of liabilities other than those expressly assumed. The closing will not be conditioned upon CART's continued relationship with its teams or the absence of litigation against CART. The closing will be conditioned on CART's representations being true in all material respects, on the absence of any further material adverse change in the business of CART, and on compliance with all rules and procedures of the bankruptcy court and the entry of all appropriate orders by such court to approve the transactions.

(b) A termination date which is 60 days after the signing of the Asset Purchase Agreement.

(c) Customary overbid procedures and break up fee.

12/4/03

Cosworth worried about CART's future   "This news (of CART's possible demise) is certainly a bit concerning," Bernard Ferguson, Cosworth's commercial director told The Guardian. "We have around 70 people working at our base in Torrance, California, preparing the engines for CART, and it is a very important piece of business for us.   It would have a significant impact on that workforce if the series did not continue. But we are watching all these negotiations as carefully as we can and hope that the series will be able to continue in some form or other."

12/4/03

Jim Bowie hired by Continental   Jim Bowie, one of the senior directors at CART who was recently let go, has been hired by marketing agency Continental Sports.   Bowie, who joins Continental as the director of business development, had previously been the director of team, manufacturer and supplier partnerships at CART.  While at CART, Bowie offered strategic sponsorship support for the teams and their partners in the Champ Car World Series and the Toyota Atlantic Championship.  Continental’s founder and president Henry Rischitelli commented: "Jim is extremely knowledgeable and very well respected within the industry. His presence will have an immediate impact on our clients and service offerings."   Bowie’s role with Continental will be to ensure that the company continues its reach as a full-service marketing company within the realm of motorsports and beyond.

12/4/03

Breakthrough reached in F1's future   The prospect of a manufacturer-backed Formula 1 breakaway series looks to be over after a breakthrough was reached in negotiations between GPWC - representing manufacturers Ferrari, BMW, Daimler Chrysler, Ford and Renault - and Formula 1 holding company SLEC. Bernie Ecclestone was also a participant in the talks.

A statement from Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky, representing the SLEC shareholders, Prof Jurgen Hubbert, chairman of GPWC, and Ecclestone read: "We are happy that today we reached a breakthrough in our negotiations about the future of Formula One. The outcome is in the best interests of Formula One and the millions of its fans around the world."

The GPWC and the banks, comprising BayernLB, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers, said they agreed to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding before the end of the year regarding the future structure.  Autosport  [Editor's Note: It now remains to be seen whether Bernie Ecclestone is still bound by a non-compete clause such that he can't be involved with any other open-wheel series, such as CART].

12/4/03

Dover pulls out of CART race   This Delaware Online article provides more detail as to why Dover Motorsports sold their rights to the St. Pete race to CART. 

12/4/03

Andretti to drive #1 car at Daytona  John Andretti will drive Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s No. 1 Chevrolet in the 2004 Daytona 500, but sponsorship problems might prevent the team from racing a third full-time car in the 2004 Nextel Cup Series. The team said Wednesday that the No. 1 will run only "special" 2004 races with Andretti driving in the season opener and up-and-coming driver Martin Truex Jr. in five to seven later events.

12/4/03

New Crew Chief coming for Wallace  Miller Lite Team Penske Dodge driver Rusty Wallace confirmed today that his team is engaged in an "active effort" to land a new crew chief for his Penske Racing South Team for the 2004 season. "We had a lengthy discussion and the situation with Billy is as amicable as it can possibly be," Wallace said of Bill Wilburn, his crew chief for the last two seasons. "Billy will continue to be an active team player with us and he will be a big asset as he has always been. He will remain as a key member within our organization. The bottom line was, after studying our team situation at great length and laying out our plans for the future, we concluded that this change was necessary," Wallace added. "Bill felt that it was in everyone's best interest that he go ahead and tell all the guys on the team what was occurring -- or going to occur -- and I applaud him for that. With Billy deciding to make it known that he would not be returning in the crew chief position and with our desire to launch an active effort to find the best person available to fill the spot, we just felt it was appropriate to get all of this out in the public. This is the best way to handle it -- to present the facts as they are -- and not see the rumor mill churn out hearsay, half-truths and innuendo." Tom Roberts PR

12/4/03

Developer proposes NASCAR track for Conn.  A Trumbull developer said he wants to build a 140,000-seat racetrack in North Stonington.  Gene Arganese said he has bought options on several properties along Routes 2 and 184 that total 400 acres. He said he plans to build a one-mile track that would host NASCAR-sanctioned races, monster-truck rallies and other events.   NASCAR is the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.   Arganese plans to outline his project Thursday night at a special meeting of the Economic Development Commission. He said the track would be modeled on Dover Downs International Speedway in Delaware.   First Selectman Nicholas Mullane said the scope of the raceway project raises many questions about noise, emergency services, traffic and parking.   The project would require approvals from a variety of state, regional and town agencies. Currently town zoning regulations do not permit a racetrack. AP Article

12/4/03

Jarama to be torn up   Autosport Magazine reports - The historic Jarama circuit is set to be demolished and replaced by a state-of-the-art facility nearby in order to entice the Spanish Grand Prix back to Madrid.   The Royal Automobile Club of Spain (RACE) is in talks with local authorities to obtain planning permission for a 50,000-square-metre motorsport complex next to the city’s Barajas airport. RACE is planning to sell the land on which the Spanish GP was held 11 times between 1967 and ’81 to finance the deal.  RACE official Diego Azua said: “The president wants to create the best motorsport facility in the world and bring back the GP.”   The aim is for the circuit to be built by 2007, the year that the RACE celebrates its 40th anniversary.  No map for the new track was available, but Azua said it would retain the spirit of the original Hans Hugenholtz-designed Jarama and possibly a major part of its layout.

12/4/03

Newman says CART has bright future   Autosport Magazine reports - Champ Car team boss Paul Newman has predicted a bright future for the series. Newman believes that the series will grow under the auspices of the Open Wheel Racing Series (OWRS) organization, which is poised to take control of CART. Newman said: “Paul Gentilozzi and the other guys behind OWRS have a real business plan.”

12/4/03

Tracy weighs NASCAR test offer   Autosport Magazine reports - CART champion Paul Tracy could test a Nextel Cup car for the first time later this month.  Tracy is considering taking up a longstanding invite to try one of Richard Childress Racing’s Chevrolet Monte Carlos. He would drive the car at the traditional December test organized at Daytona ahead of February’s 500 at the Florida track.  Tracy, 34, said: “I may well do it just to see what it is all about. Stock car racing is something I’m thinking about for when my single-seater career comes to an end.”

12/4/03

North America is #1 market for Ferrari   [Editor's Note:  An argument of why Ferrari should supply an engine in the CART series under the Maserati name.  Monday evening President Montezemolo of Ferrari was on the Charlie Rose show. The interview was basically warm and fluffy, chatting about the race team, new products, and the New York Auto Show. The only topic raised that caught our interest, was the subject of Ferrari being spun off from Fiat.  Montezemolo intimated that General Motors would be a good fit for Ferrari in so many words.  We got the impression that the deal may have been explored, and GM may have first option in the event of a sale.]  2004 will mark the fiftieth year of Ferrari activity in the United States. The link with the USA is fundamental for the Prancing Horse as North America is Ferrari's number one market.

 

A little over a month from this important anniversary (one that will be celebrated with the official presentation of the '612 Scaglietti' at the Detroit Motorshow) Luca di Montezemolo, President of the Ferrari Maserati Group, displayed the new 12 cylinder model in New York to a select number of American clients and VIPs.

Flanked by some historic cars from the past and the F1 World Championship winning F2003-GA, President Montezemolo defined 2004 as a crucial year as it marked a half century of Ferrari presence in the US. 'The relationship began in the 1950s and got stronger in 1960s, when three Prancing Horse models won at Daytona ahead of the Fords'. This unleashed the passion and enthusiasm of the American public for cars from the Modena. This same enthusiasm will bring 2003 to a good end: it has been a record year for Ferrari in America with a 15% growth in sales compared to 2002. Maserati has also fared well in a sector - that of luxury cars like Porsche and Jaguar - that has shown an overall fall of 20%.

 

Montezemolo said that 2003 will see total sales for Ferrari in the US of 1,300 with Maserati at 1,000 (thanks to 33 Prancing Horse and 40 Maserati sales points).

The '612 Scaglietti', defined by Montezemolo as 'the fastest 2+2 in the world', was presented in two liveries: one in Ferrari Red and the other in Ingrid grey. 'Ingrid' is the name given to the grey tone requested by the director Roberto Rossellini for the Ferrari given to his partner Ingrid Bergman, famed for her icy grey eyes.

 

President Montezemolo also recalled the emotional roller coaster that was the last F1 season. It was a win that gave the Scuderia Ferrari a new record, partly secured by the crucial victory at Indianapolis. 'No-one has ever won five straight consecutive constructors' titles and four consecutive drivers' championships. Ferrari is a mid-sized Italian company gifted with passion and enthusiasm, always under the spotlight, but it is just like the hundreds of thousands of other Italian companies that have the same passion. Now we can enjoy the moment but we will keep our feet on the ground.'

The North American market continues to acclaim Ferrari: for the fourth time the 360 Modena, one of the best-loved Ferraris in the US, won a prize from the American Automobile Magazine. Two years ago, the same magazine awarded President Montezemolo as 'Man of the year'.

12/4/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

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Jaguar Plumped For A Budget: Wilson
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Ferrari Boss Takes F2003-GA To New York
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BAR-Honda To Race New Car After All
Webber Wishes Jaguar Had Bigger Budget

12/3/03

St. Pete giving full refunds   Race fans are reporting to AutoRacing1.com that Dover Motorsports is giving full ticket refunds to the CART race and are telling them the race is cancelled, not postponed.  AutoRacing1.com was told differently today.  The race rights are now owned by CART, not Dover, and if they choose to hold the race on a new date, it will happen.  Mark C.

12/3/03

Monster garage gives boost to CART backers   Last week’s episode of the Discovery Channel’s Monster Garage turned a 750hp Champ Car into the fastest street-line painter in the world, with the hit show receiving one of the highest ratings of the season. Supporters of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford continued the recent trend of receiving more off-track exposure for their sponsorship dollars, this time for their involvement in the popular cable show, which has already attracted 3,234,000 viewers over the first four of the episode’s scheduled six airings.

Champ Car sponsors Bridgestone, Ford Motor Company and Cosworth were among the frontrunners of those receiving significant coverage from the ratings, which were parlayed into estimated dollar values through sponsorship exposure, time and mentions compared to the Discovery Channel’s cost per 30-second commercial rate of $60,000. All values are based on the total of the scheduled six airings of the show through late December.

Respected industry leader in sponsor exposure analysis Joyce Julius and Associates reported that the series’ presenting sponsor and official tire manufacturer Bridgestone racked up $280,000 in value, while Ford Motor Company received $254,000 in exposure for over 15 mentions throughout the show’s run. Bridgestone also gained another $84,000 worth of exposure for the Potenza racing tires used by all cars competing in the Champ Car World Series.

Cosworth, supplier of Champ Car’s exclusive 2.65-liter turbocharged V8 engines, reeled in $16,000 worth of exposure, while sponsors of the Rocketsports Racing entry driven by Alex Tagliani (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) Johnson Controls and Microchip earned $76,000 and $48,000, respectively.

The series itself benefited with $512,000 worth of exposure, while the CART brand specifically enjoyed an additional $20,000 in value for sharing the episode’s spotlight.

The Champ Car-driven episode will re-air on the Discovery Channel again on Saturday December 27th at 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. ET

12/3/03

Chinese currency to become convertible   In this article from 10 months ago, AutoRacing1.com's Mark Cipolloni explained the difficulties that CART and F1 were having trying to do business in China.  China's currency, the Renminbi (RMB), is not convertible currency on the international market. Even though China acceded to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year didn't mean its currency can be deposited into the local bank and withdrawn in your favorite denomination. This fact has put the brakes on more than one race team's hopes of finding new sources of money from China, but it's a hurdle that can be overcome.

However, all that is about to change.  The head of China's foreign exchange administration has announced that the mainland will gradually loosen a host of capital-account controls and, for the first time, allow foreign financial institutions to issue yuan-denominated debt paper. Guo Shuqing, the head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, told Xinhua that the steps were designed to improve China's capital-account management "in the near and medium term". Mr Guo said the types of capital-account transactions for which yuan could be converted to foreign currency had been expanded. "The aim is to pursue basic . . . convertibility of the yuan on the capital account," he said. The yuan is already convertible on the current account.

Foreign banks, on the other hand, are expected to leap at the chance of issuing yuan-denominated bonds in the mainland. They lack large deposit networks and have found it difficult to raise the cash they need to grow their China-based lending businesses. Persistently low interest rates add to the attractiveness of the new fund-raising mechanism.

By making it easier to convert yuan to foreign currencies and opening a channel for financial institutions to invest more overseas, Beijing ultimately hopes to help relieve upward pressure on the yuan.  The publication of Mr Guo's interview yesterday precedes Premier Wen Jiabao's maiden visit to the United States, where he is likely to face intense pressure over America's US$90 billion trade deficit with China.

Goldman Sachs China economist Hong Liang said the timing was "sending a signal that it may start to adjust its fixed-pegged exchange-rate regime". 

"These relaxations will step up the pace of capital-account liberalization, but it doesn't necessarily mean a wholesale opening of the capital account," Mr Coulton said, adding that the measures involved limited fund flows.  Ms Hong said it was significant that an official of Mr Guo's rank had publicly admitted the shortcomings of the exchange-rate regime.

"In the past, they said the regime reflected demand and supply. But now they say the regime has some inadequacies. For example, it does not reflect the domestic supply and demand situation."

12/3/03

Ferrari buys French company   The Ferrari Maserati Group has acquired the French company Charles Pozzi S.A. - official importer of the two marques in France - and its branches. The new direct management structure will be operative from January 2004.

Andrea Castronovo, formerly Commercial Director at Maranello, will be General Manager. Working under him in the Commercial Department for Maserati will be Matteo Camesasca and for Ferrari, Edwin Fenech.

Daniel Marin, President of Charles Pozzi S.A., will have the same role in the new operation. Founded by the French driver, the company has been the official importer since the 1960s. It has 16 sales points overseen by concessions in Paris and Lyon. France is one of Ferrari and Maserati's traditional markets and absorbs 5% of the two marques' production.

12/3/03

Montagny crashes Renault   Conditions were wet all day in Barcelona and Franck Montagny had an accident at the end of the wet tire test, damaging the car.

Once repairs had been made, conditions prevented any meaningful running. The situation improved during late afternoon, but Montagny did not take to the circuit again.

Lopez continued yesterday's test, running at the same time as Montagny in the morning, although using the extreme wet weather tire for safety.

During the improved afternoon conditions, Kovalainen succeeded in completing eight introductory laps. He will continue with his program tomorrow.

Montagny repeated the wet tire program from Valencia. The results corroborated those found last week, and the range of tires tested included one which looked like a significant improvement at both tests.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering : "A difficult day in Barcelona, especially because of the conditions. We were pleased to see last week's work on wet tires show the same results today, although Franck unfortunately lost running time with his accident."

"As for the young drivers, Jose-Maria did a very mature job," added Symonds. "Times are meaningless in these kinds of conditions, but his confidence and feedback were very good. In the short time he spent on track, Heikki adapted very quickly and was immediately setting the sort of lap times we had expected from him."  Renault

12/3/03

Rosberg tests for Williams   Team Williams continued their work at the Jerez circuit. Under a cool temperature of around 14° Celsius, Ralf Schumacher, Marc Gené and Nico Rosberg were on duty to conduct a comprehensive testing program.

The track was dry for most of the day but rain started falling towards the end of the afternoon, giving all three drivers the opportunity to evaluate Michelin tires under wet conditions.

Nico Rosberg sampled a Williams last year in December and today was his first F1 test since that time. Nico will continue his work tomorrow.

Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer at Williams, said: "For our second day of testing at Jerez, Nico Rosberg joined Ralf and Marc. Nico utilised the morning for set up work and getting used to the car, while in the afternoon he did a long run. By the end of the session, we were pleased with his competent performance on track and the feedback he relayed to the engineers."

"Meanwhile, Ralf spent the day tire testing with Michelin and developing electronic set ups," added Michael. "Test driver Marc Gené continued reliability and systems work on the interim car. All drivers had some useful wet weather running towards the end of the day."

"Tomorrow, Ralf and Marc will work through more tyre testing and set up tasks. Nelson Piquet will return to the cockpit tomorrow, undertaking testing duties for the morning, while Nico Rosberg will take over for the afternoon session," concluded Sam Michael.  Williams BMW

12/3/03
Industry News

SPEED Channel surpasses 60 million homes   Comcast's local cable system of Gadsden, Alabama has launched Fox Cable Networks' SPEED Channel to approximately 18,000 basic cable subscribers, propelling SPEED past the 60 million Nielsen home mark for the first time in its nine-year history, based on latest Nielsen data released today. SPEED has added more than 4.7 million homes in the past 12 months. Since Fox Cable Networks acquired the former Speedvision in July 2001, the channel has added 19 million homes making it America's fastest-growing sports network. The additional homes translate to a brisk 46 percent acceleration pace since Fox began beefing up live race coverage and original programming within the rechristened SPEED Channel.

Comcast's Gadsden system lies about an hour's drive from Talladega Superspeedway, one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit and home to the Winston Cup Series tour twice a year in April and September. Arguably the most competitive track in all of Winston Cup, six of the ten closest Winston Cup events were held at Talladega Superspeedway since 1969. The track also holds the fastest qualifying mark in NASCAR history with Bill Elliott's 212.809 mph in April of 1987 and the fastest 500 mile race in Winston Cup history when Mark Martin won the DieHard 500 in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds in May of 1997.

"As close as we are to Talladega, it's a natural for us to help make SPEED Channel available to as many of our local race fans as we can," said Cindy Cade, Comcast General Manager for the Gadsden and Tuscaloosa region. "SPEED has become all the more influential with shows like 'Trackside' and 'Wind Tunnel' yet can still have a lot of down home fun with something like 'Speed Racer.'"

Said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore, "We're really fortunate to have found a nice mix of live racing, original programming and shows that help to define with the SPEED culture is really all about. The past couple of years have been truly rewarding, and while breaking past 60 million so fast is great, helping to raise the profile of the entire motor sports industry and the culture that has always embraced it is even better. We couldn't be happier that the people of the Talledega region are the ones to help us hit this historical mark."

12/3/03

Tony George talking to Molson  Tony George has admitted to being in contact with the Molson Indy management about the future of their events.  If CART doesn't survive the takeover, which we think it will, Tony clearly has his eye on the popular Canadian market.  "Right now we have a contract for 2004 with CART and we fully expect that contract to be honored," Molson Indy general manger Bob Singleton said. "But if the sale fails -- and I don't think it will -- we have to look at other options."

12/3/03
Industry News

Auto Racing ranks only 5th best attended sport   In its fourth annual comprehensive study of sporting event attendance, The Sports Business Daily found that more than 470 million fans attended sporting events of all types in the United States and Canada during the 2002-03 sports year. The figure marks a 1.6% increase from last year’s total of just under 463 million. It also marks an 11.4% increase from the 422 million in 1999-2000, as the sports industry has added new leagues, teams and events.   More....

12/3/03

DEI announces plans for 2004   For the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series seasons, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has announced changes to two of its four teams.

Chance 2 Motorsports, co-owned by Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will run a full schedule in a quest of the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 2004. Martin Truex, Jr. will be the primary driver and Earnhardt, Jr. will drive a second car for superspeedway races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

Also, the No. 1 Chevrolet will be run under a different marketing program next year only participating in special races. John Andretti will drive in the season-opening Daytona 500.

The new plan also calls for Truex, Jr. to run five - seven Nextel Cup Series races in 2004 to prepare for a possible full-time move to the series in 2005.

“This is the approach we decided to take looking toward the 2005 season,” said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. “We are going to strengthen our program for the No. 1 car and get that back to the status of Earnhardt standards.

“From a marketing standpoint, this is a great opportunity for a company to get involved with a Nextel Cup team. And, a young driver such as Truex Jr. in our No. 1 car will be the perfect place to utilize that strategy.

12/3/03

Corvette team announces deal with Michelin  The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing program announces a new partnership with the Michelin Group, effective immediately. The tire manufacturer will provide technical assistance and full tire support for the Corvette C5-R in the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

"We are excited about the developments we have in store for our Corvette C5-R in preparation for next season," said Harry Turner, GM's group manager for road racing. "On the heels of a third consecutive ALMS championship we do not plan to rest on our laurels. The addition of Michelin to our race effort is a big step in the right direction for next year and beyond. We're looking to improve all areas of the program to further the Corvette C5-R as the most successful race car in the 50-year history of the marque."

The new partnership will not affect Corvette's longtime relationship with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for production car sales. The next generation Corvette model, set to go on sale in 2005, will continue a strong relationship with Goodyear.

12/3/03

New deal for CART better than first thought  Our initial reaction to the fact that CART may be put in receivership was that it would be a bad thing for the CART shareholders. This was based on our personal experience in the past as a shareholder whereby our stock became worthless when the company went bankrupt. As it turns out, that is not the case this time with CART.  First you must understand that CART is made up of two companies, the Michigan Company and the Delaware Company.  For more see revised story on home page.

12/3/03

Kahne to replace Elliott   According to this AP article, Former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott will race a part-time schedule in 2004, an auto racing source said Wednesday. The announcement will be made Thursday, the source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Rookie Kasey Kahne will move up from the Busch Series to race full time in the No. 9 Dodge that Elliott has driven the past three years, according to the source. Elliott could drive between five and 10 races, and his arrangement is not necessarily for just one year, the source said. A representative for Evernham Motorsports said Kahne and team owner Ray Evernham were not available for comment.

12/3/03

Renault signs major new sponsor   The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is pleased to announce the signature of a long-term partnership agreement with NTT DoCoMo, Inc., the Japanese market-leader in mobile communications and a service provider of i-mode, for 2004 and beyond.

NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode is the world’s most popular platform for mobile e-mail and internet access. In addition to serving over 40 million mobile phone users in Japan, i-mode is available in Taiwan, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and, next year, will be brought to market in Greece.

Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Chairman Patrick Faure commented:
“We are delighted to welcome i-mode as a partner of the Renault F1 Team. Communications and mobility are at the core of i-mode’s business, and also critical factors for Renault and its Formula 1 operation. We are a perfect fit, and look forward to a successful future together.”

Managing Director Flavio Briatore added:
“Renault had a fantastic season in 2003, and this new partnership is proof of a strong team and a healthy sport. We will be making another step forward in performance next year, and it is a pleasure to be taking that step in partnership with i-mode.”

Keii-chi Enoki, Executive Vice President, managing director of NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode Business Division, commented:
“We are delighted to become a partner of the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team. This relationship is a tremendous opportunity to enhance awareness of our world-leading i-mode brand in F1 markets around the globe.”

NTT DoCoMo is the world’s leading mobile communications company with more than 47 million customers. The company provides a wide variety of leading-edge mobile multimedia services. These include i-mode, the world’s most popular mobile internet service, which provides e-mail and internet access to over 40 million subscribers, and FOMA, launched in 2001 as the world’s first 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA.   In addition to wholly owned subsidiaries in Europe and North and South America, the company is expanding its global reach through strategic alliances with mobile and multimedia service providers in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North and South America. NTT DoCoMo is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM), and New York (DCM) stock exchanges.

12/3/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

German F1 Base Not A Hindrance: Gascoyne
Winter Testing Resumes At Spanish Tracks
F1 Needs Permanent Race Stewards: Whitmarsh
Argentine Ace Impresses F1 Bosses
Nelson Piquet Jr. Gets Maiden F1 Run
Jaguar Confirm Klien, Wilson Dumped
New F1 Season Starts Now, Says Ralf
Jaguar's Klien Is 'Happiest Man On Earth'
Jaguar Deny Signing Klien For Money
Wilson Looks At Test-Drive, CART Option
Klien Won't Go Down In Flames: Pitchforth
Jaguar Wants To Overturn Friday Test Rule
Da Matta Wins First Race Of 2003
Brazil GP Set For Season-Finale Slot
Schu: No Longer Despised In Britain?
Coulthard Cool On Qualifying Reform
Indian F1 Hopeful Lands Minardi Test?
Dumped Wilson Eyes Return To Minardi

12/2/03

Three IPS drivers test for Schmidt  Sam Schmidt Motorsports tested Dec. 1-2 at Phoenix International Raceway in preparation for the 2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season.

Road racer Larry Mason joined Pro Series veterans Thiago Medeiros and Brad Pollard for the two-day test at the 1-mile desert oval.

“Sam invited me to do the test, and it was a good opportunity to get more track time in the Pro Series car,” said Medeiros, who earned his first series victory at the Texas season finale in October. “I’m happy to be driving and developing the Firestone tires and my performance, too.”

Medeiros recorded lap times in the low 23-second range. Mark Taylor earned the pole for the Phoenix 100 in March with a fast lap of 24.0141 seconds, 149.912 mph.

“I’m still working to get sponsorship for next season,” said Medeiros, who finished fourth in points as a series rookie. “I’m doing everything to be in the Infiniti Pro Series in 2004. I want to be in the series next year.”
Newcomer Mason completed 100 miles in the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone in his oval debut.

“My goal going in was to be smooth and consistent,” Mason said. “It went really well. My very first time on an oval was a real eye-opening experience. It was awesome, and I appreciate Sam giving me the opportunity.”

Team owner Schmidt said the team is preparing for a strong 2004 season.

“We’ve evaluating our options for 2004,” Schmidt said. “Recognizing that Phoenix is one of the more technical and difficult tracks that we race on, it gives us a chance to gather information and data to help us be more competitive next year.”

12/2/03

Montagny shines in Barcelona  Four teams were in action at the Barcelona circuit today where, under clear skies RenaultF1 test driver Franck Montagny led the way ahead of McLaren driver David Coulthard.
Pos. Driver Team Time Lap
1 Franck Montagny Renault F1 1:16.329 108
2 David Coulthard McLaren Mercedes 1:16.607 75
3 Mark Webber Jaguar Cosworth 1:17.178 94
4 Alex Wurz McLaren Mercedes 1:17.679 77
5 Ricardo Zonta Toyota 1:17.250 85
6 Ryan Briscoe Toyota 1:18.188 79
7 Christian Klien Jaguar Cosworth 1:18.273 91
8 Jose Maria Lopez Renault F1 1:18.892 59

12/2/03

Kenny Brack update  IRL IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack was transferred near his Columbus home Monday afternoon after almost six weeks in Indianapolis’s Methodist Hospital and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana.

On Monday (Dec. 1), Brack was transferred to Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Center at the Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus for inpatient therapy. Brack and his wife Anita anticipate Brack to return to their Upper Arlington home within two weeks and Kenny will continue outpatient physical therapy in Columbus.

“I can tell you that I feel I am getting stronger every day,” said Brack, who suffered massive injuries on Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway in Team Rahal’s Pioneer/Miller Lite Honda Dallara. “I was ecstatic the other day when the leg doctor came in and said “your bones are healing faster than what we expected and you can start walking on your left leg tomorrow.” Since then I have walked nearly every day. Every day I am walking a little bit further. I have been walking with crutches. That’s a lot harder as it requires more balance and it wears me out really fast at the moment. That’s what happens when you spend about six to seven weeks in bed.”

“It was very emotional to see Kenny up on his feet and walking with crutches,” said Anita Brack, who is scheduled to have the Brack’s first child in late December. “He is improving daily now. I’m sure he will be working harder in therapy as he gets stronger. I know he and I are thrilled to be back home in Columbus now.”

Brack was injured in an accident on Lap 188 of the Chevy 500, the final race of the 2003 IndyCar Series season.

Brack, the 1998 IRL IndyCar Series champion and 1999 Indy 500 winner, suffered a fractured right femur, a fractured sternum, a fractured lumbar (L-3) vertebrae and fractures to both ankles. Brack had surgery on Oct. 12 (femur and ankles) and Oct. 13 (vertebrae) at Dallas Parkland Memorial Hospital. He had follow-up surgery on his vertebrae and right ankle on Nov. 4 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Persons wishing to send a get-well message to Brack can do so at www.rahal.com or by sending cards or letters to: Team Rahal, 4601 Lyman Dr., Hilliard, Ohio 43026.

12/2/03

Green signs to drive #43   Picking up where he left off at the end of 2003, Jeff Green will drive the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge in 2004 for Petty Enterprises. Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises, made the announcement today.

The 41-year-old Green, a native of Owensboro, Ky., first climbed behind the wheel of the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge at the tough one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway, and knocked down a 16th-place finish. The fact he and the ‘Helping Hands’ crew were able to come together so quickly was not lost on Petty Enterprises, or the rest of the Winston Cup garage.

Green finished the season with Petty Enterprises, developing a rapport with crew chief Gary Putnam and the rest of the team, and helping develop strong morale.

“We just kind of clicked,” Green said. “Gary and those guys have a lot of knowledge and experience, and we communicated well from the very beginning. Having those races together this past season should help us a lot as we start 2004. I am excited to be part of Petty Enterprises, to drive the famous number 43, but most of all, to be working with some very talented people.”

Petty said he was excited as well.  “As Jeff spent more time in the car, and as he and Gary and the Cheerios guys worked together, it started to become pretty obvious he was the best choice we could make for a driver,” Petty said. “He knows how to win races and he knows how to win championships. We feel we can give him the people and equipment he needs to be successful, and we’re looking forward to a great relationship.”

“We are thrilled with Petty Enterprises’ decision to put Jeff Green behind the wheel of the #43 in 2004,” said Laurie Greeno, Vice President of Motorsports for General Mills. “We are excited to work with Jeff and are confident that he’ll be a good ambassador for Cheerios, Betty Crocker and other great General Mills brands featured on the #43 throughout the year.”

12/2/03

Johansson team being liquidated  UPDATE Stefan Johansson announced today that he is no longer associated with the Champ Car team which raced under the name American Spirit Team Johansson in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. “As of November 18, 2003, I have resigned as a director of the team. Circumstances necessitated my departure from the company. I want to express my gratitude to the entire team for an incredibly satisfying and exciting year in racing, and I look forward to new and different challenges,” said Johansson.   12/2/03 - This Grandprix.com article says, Stefan Johansson's American Spirit CART team is being wound up following a lawsuit from Motorsports Spares International, Inc. for the non-payment of debts. The case came to court in the Marion County Court, Indianapolis, last week.  American Spirit Team Johansson was started by a group of investors put together by Nick Hunter-Reay although he himself was never a shareholder in the team. He is however now acting on behalf of the secured creditors and will liquidate the team's assets to pay outstanding debts. The team owes a total of $894,000 but the sale of assets will almost certainly cover the money owed.  According to the court records, Johansson left the team on November 14.  Hunter-Reay hopes that despite the problems with American Spirit Team Johansson, his son Ryan will be in Champ Cars again next year although we have heard suggestions that the 22-year-old Texan is interested in getting into Formula 1 in the future.  [Editor's Note:  Ryan is in demand in Champ Cars and we understand Ryan is in negotiations with several top teams.]

12/2/03

CART Communications Director resigns   Likeable CART Communications Director Merrill Cain has resigned.  He is moving back to Michigan to get married.  We wish him the best of luck.

12/2/03

CART getting good non-race coverage   Often overlooked in the sights and sounds of a rigorous 10-month Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season is the off-track exposure the series receives, but that wasn’t the case in 2003 as the series set a new standard highlighted by feature appearances on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, the CBS crime drama CSI: Miami and Discovery Channel’s ever-popular Monster Garage.

In May, the inspirational story of Alex Zanardi’s emotional return to the cockpit of a 750hp CART Champ Car thrilled racing fans across the globe when he turned laps around the two-mile EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany at over 194 mph. HBO’s sports magazine show, Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel aired a segment on Zanardi and his remarkable story on the award-winning show, with Gumbel covering much of the behind-the-scenes action on location from the landmark event. The show re-aired nearly 60 times across all of HBO’s family of cable networks.

Following Zanardi’s emotional drive, a Champ Car-themed CSI: Miami delivered for CART sponsors and teams in a big way after the popular show earned a 12.0 rating and a 19 share, with 12,960,000 households tuning in for the high-profile murder mystery, which was filmed on location at Miami’s Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com. Supporters of the series reached new levels of exposure for their involvement in the popular show after the episode received the third-highest rating in its history.

Monster Garage’s popular host Jesse James and his gang of automotive extremists converted a Champ Car into a working street-line painter in November on the ever-popular Discovery Channel, with the episode delivering one of the highest ratings of the season. The hit cable show followed the crew, which included Rocketsports Racing owner Paul Gentilozzi, through the entire process of transforming a former Walker Racing Champ Car chassis into the world’s fastest street-line painter, drawing in 1,097,000 households at 1.2 with a 2 share. The show’s rating eclipsed the 2003 average of 1.1 at 969,000 households and ranked third overall that night among programs for men ages 18-49.

In addition, the series was recently featured twice on ESPN2’s new catch-all sports morning show Cold Pizza, with 2003 CART Champ Car titlewinner Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing and CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook both making appearances. The Late Show on CBS opened their doors for the annual visit by the series’ champion last month, and Newman/Haas Racing co-owner Paul Newman stopped by to talk racing with host and fellow Champ Car owner David Letterman of Team Rahal.

The Champ Car World Series was also seen this season on the National Geographic Channel with Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) in the documentary “Dangerous Jobs: Need for Speed.” A significant portion of the hour-long program– which is based on the life of a race car driver– tracked Fernandez through his recovery from injuries sustained last season in Surfers Paradise, Australia, to his return to the cockpit in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida.

CART Toyota Atlantic standout Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company Toyota/Swift) of Team Rahal stopped by FOX Sports’ irreverent ‘Best Damn Sports Show Period’ in September, joining former all-star athletes John Kruk, Michael Irvin and John Salley as well as host Tom Arnold in a discussion of her first full season of Toyota Atlantic competition. Patrick was also featured in the April issue of the popular men’s magazine FHM.

Major publications also highlighted Champ Car action, with Popular Mechanics running a five page spread on the intricate design and layout of Alex Zanardi’s specially-prepared Champ Car used in his memorable run in Germany. Watchtime ran a feature story in its December issue on former CART and Formula 1 champion and current Champ Car team owner Emerson Fittipaldi, which included a cover shot of the team’s sister car from Mi-Jack Conquest Racing driven by rookie Mario Haberfeld (#34 Mi-Jack/Conquest Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone).

12/2/03

Nelson Piquet Jr. tests, but Schumacher fastest at Jerez  Nelson Piquet Jr., son of former world champion Nelson Piquet, is currently testing for the Williams BMW team.  Piquet Photos

Ralf Schumacher broke his own unofficial lap record at Jerez today beating  fellow Williams drivers Marc Gene and Nelson Piquet Jr at Jerez..   Nelson Piquet Jr attracted the most attention today however, and father Nelson was there to witness his 64 laps. The young Formula 3 star was exactly three seconds down on Ralf in his first day's running with a Formula 1 car.  "Today was not bad at all. I thought it would be more difficult than it was. I actually found it easier than the F3000 car I drove here recently. It's nice not having to take your hands off the steering wheel, and using two pedals was something to get used to. But I think it would take me longer to get used to a clutch!"
Jerez day 1:
Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1 Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW) 1m17.453s 68
2 Marc Gene (Williams-BMW) 1m18.326s 73
3 Nelson Piquet Jr (Williams-BMW) 1m20.453s 64

12/2/03

Only 4 seats open in F1 for 2004   Only 4 seats remain open in F1 for 2004.  Both seats at Minardi and both seats at Jordan have yet to be named officially.  Though Heidfeld appears to have one of the Jordan seats, meaning in reality, only three seats remain and Minardi's will certainly be for ride-buyers only.

12/2/03
IMSA

Tim Mayer named COO of IMSA   The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the sanctioning body of the American Le Mans Series and other road racing series, has named motorsports veteran Tim Mayer to the newly-created position of Chief Operating Officer.

Doug Robinson, Executive Director of IMSA since 1999, will remain in that position and will now focus primarily on managing the competitive and sporting aspects of IMSA. He will continue to work closely with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, manufacturers, race teams and suppliers.

Mayer, who assumed his new duties on Dec. 1, will oversee the daily operation of the business of IMSA, including administrative functions and working closely with race tracks, event promoters and their staffs in all aspects of conducting IMSA events. He has worked in many areas of the racing business and was associated with CART from 1997 until this year, serving as Vice-President of Race Operations and later as Vice-President of Promoter Operations. For most of 2003, he worked as a contractor with CART and was responsible for design, promotion and operation of CART's two European races, as well as coordination of CART's international TV programming.

Mayer has been in motorsports all of his life. His father, Teddy Mayer, established Team McLaren with Bruce McLaren and later worked with Penske Racing. Tim Mayer started his career managing business interests of former World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi and later formed G3 Communications, a diverse firm with many aspects, including handling all CART TV broadcasts in Brazil and design and construction of the Rio de Janeiro oval track that formerly hosted CART events. Mayer also managed logistics, track and U.S. operations and sanctioning body coordination for the Rio event for three years.

Mayer and his wife, Patricia, are relocating to Suwanee, Ga., from their home in Indianapolis. They have two children. He is a graduate of Lehigh University and held the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army.

IMSA has also expanded with the addition of Larry Hayes, who joins the staff in the role of Event Director. Hayes comes to IMSA from the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., where held the position of Event Manager. In addition to being credited with developing numerous successful events, he has also worked in many other areas of the Museum's operations, including sponsor and vendor programs, fundraising, facilities rental, special exhibits and sponsor/VIP relations.

Hayes, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, rose through the enlisted ranks and retired as a commissioned officer, serving much of his time aboard submarines. He will assume his new duties Dec. 15. He and his wife, Brenda, who have two adult children, are relocating to Buford, Ga.

IMSA is the premier sanctioning body for road racing in North America. Since its establishment in 1969, IMSA has conducted hundreds of races on a variety of permanent and temporary racing circuits in the United States and Canada. In addition to the American Le Mans Series, IMSA also sanctions the Super Truck Racing Association of North America (STRANA), the Panoz Racing Series and the Star Mazda Series. IMSA's offices are in Braselton, Ga.

12/2/03

Indian driver to get another test   Minardi announced that it will conduct a private testing session from 10-12 December at Vallelunga. The Italian team will have a PS03 chassis to evaluate young drivers José Maria Lopez, Heikki Kovalainen, Fabrizio Del Monte and now Narain Karthikeyan. Minardi should confirm his participation very soon. Narain Karthikeyan was competing in the World Series by Nissan this season, finishing in fourth position in the championship. The Indian driver took part in two F1 tests in 2001: one for Jordan and another one for Jordan. Karthikeyan dreams of becoming the first Indian in F1 and Bernie Ecclestone might help him to achieve his goal. As a matter of fact, Ecclestone wants to host a Grand Prix in India and having a local driver would be a strong asset to succeed in this new market. With a television audience of around 400 million people, India is a very interesting market for Formula One. "We will soon have a Grand Prix in India, that's for sure!" said Bernie Ecclestone in Week magazine. "India is a dynamic country. We are going to China in 2004 and the next step is India."

12/2/03

Ganassi shop move   Mooresville business officials say they hope the Chip Ganassi Racing building, which sits in a prominent location among Race City USA's NASCAR shops, won't be vacant long. "It will be loss, but we're hopeful that another company will buy their existing building," said Melanie O'Connell Underwood, economic developer for the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce. "Although it's not a given, the building is made for racing." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates confirmed last week that it has accepted roughly $370,000 in incentives from Cabarrus County and Concord to move to a new and larger facility closer to Lowe's Motor Speedway. Ganassi Racing, which supports NASCAR Winston Cup drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears, employs about 150 people in Mooresville at a high-profile location just inside the main entrance to Lakeside Park. The business park is home to several dozen racing teams. The larger Concord facility, which is already der construction, will have up to 350 employees. The team had also been looking for places to relocate to in Mooresville, having outgrown its Lakeside Park site. In April, Ganassi struck a tentative deal to move into the vacant Matsushita Compressor Corp. plant in Mooresville, but those plans fell through despite incentive offers from Iredell County and Mooresville. Underwood showed the team the high-tech Matsushita building, which manufactured electronics. But Concord's incentive –a 65% property tax return over four years- with an airport and speedway were factors in the decision to move. "They're going to be looking for a hangar at the Concord Airport," Underwood said. Right now the airport, a popular location for NASCAR team jets, is in the process of lengthening a runway to accommodate longer flights. "The airport, I think that's a huge driver in this project," said John Cox, CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ganassi racing has occupied its Lakeside Park location since 1994. In 2000, Chip Ganassi bought majority ownership of the team. Previously known as Team SABCO, the organization was initially a NASCAR research and development team that Felix Sabates bought from Rick Hendrick in 1987. Mooresville Tribune

12/2/03

Brazil race back on as injunction is lifted   The courts in Sao Paulo lifted the ruling that had left the Brazilian Grand Prix in a state of limbo. "We will have the GP and, following that, we will see," Sao Paulo's sport's minister Nadia Campeão told the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, "We hope to be able to discuss the renewal of our agreement with the promoters by four or five years, having already prepared our defence against the court action and produced a broad study of the benefits for Sao Paulo, which has been requested by the public prosecutor's office."

According to the newspaper, the city's Office of Justice has asked that $8million be contributed to its coffers by the race.

"I believe that everybody is satisfied with the decision from the Office of Justice, " promoter Tamas Rohonyi told Estado de S. Paulo, "What will be judged now is the merits of allowing us to stage the race, having given us the necessary time to present the facts requested by the public prosecutor's office."

Campeao added that he expected work necessary to upgrade the circuit to be underway by February, with the extra months available to the organizers between the usual April date and the new October slot used to complete the work. .”

12/2/03

IRL announces pre-season test dates  Indy Racing League teams and drivers will participate in pre-season Open Tests Jan. 27-29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Feb. 10-12 at Phoenix International Raceway, IRL officials announced Dec. 1.

Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams and drivers will test on the first day of each three-day session, followed by two days of IndyCar(R) Series testing.

Both tracks have undergone changes since each series competed at the respective facilities in March.

After Tony Kanaan won the Purex Dial Indy 200 March 23 at PIR, construction crews reconfigured the track, eliminating the opening in the backstretch wall and widening the exit to Turn 2. In addition, a portion of Turn 4 was torn up to build a tunnel, and a piece of asphalt in that area had to be repaved.

At Homestead, after Scott Dixon won the Toyota Indy 300 on March 2, construction crews began rebuilding the four turns, which had been banked at six degrees. The track now has a variable banking system, and the degree of banking increases progressively from the bottom to the top of each turn. At the midpoint of each turn, there are 18 degrees of banking at the bottom, 19 degrees in the middle and 20 degrees at the top.

The track was repaved, and the SAFER Barrier, which debuted in 2002 at the 86th Indianapolis 500, was installed in the four turns.

"The first two tracks we will compete at in 2004 are Homestead and Phoenix and each has changed since the Indy Racing League last competed there," said Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL. "It's important for all of our teams and drivers to get an opportunity to get acclimated to these changes, and that's why we decided on Homestead and Phoenix for our Open Tests. We want to ensure a good race for all of our fans, drivers, teams and sponsors."

Other 2004 Open Test dates will be announced at a later date.

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 on Feb. 29, 2004 at Homestead. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN. The 200-mile Phoenix event is March 21 and will be broadcast live on ABC. Both races will be broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network.

12/2/03

Wilson disappointed to lose Jaguar seat   After Jaguar Racing confirmed that Austrian driver Christian Klien will be Mark Webber’s new teammate in the 2004 Formula One season, former driver Justin Wilson has been left very few viable options if he wants to keep his F1 career alive.

Apart from a possible role as test driver for the team, if the FIA changes their new ruling about wanting new talent on the grid on a Friday morning, Justin still has a chance of returning to the Minardi seat he vacated after the 2003 British GP.

"It's disappointing," Wilson told the Mirror. "I have known this was on the cards for a while. I know why they made the decision they have and there is little I can do about it. I'm still waiting to see what happens about the rule governing test driving. I would like to remain with the team in a test driving role. Minardi is also a possibility."

"I did really well in testing last week. I came back after the break and was straight on the pace and was quick all day. It is a shame things have not worked out as I had hoped. But it is not always a bad thing to struggle.”

12/2/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

DC Keen To Resume MP4-19 Test Program
Klien Earns Stripes With Jaguar F1 Team
Heidfeld Signs Deal To Race 2004 Jordan
Jordan Sign Robinson As Engineering Chief
Gascoyne Gushes Over Zonta, Toyota Racers
All-New McLaren Passes FIA Crash Tests
Jacques Would Rather Ski Than Pay To Race
Bahrain Urges Citizens To Open Homes For F1
Test Ace 'Builds Trust' With Renault Racers 
'Gimmy' Bruni To Race For Minardi In '04
Da Matta Faces 2004 With Level Playing-Field
McNish To Contest Le Mans 24-Hour Race
Gascoyne To Have Little Influence On TF104

12/1/03

***Reader feedback*** On St. Pete postponement  A reader writes, Dear AR1, Given CART's history of postponements....you can pretty much kiss St. Petersburg goodbye for 2004 (and who knows if ever). I am so dumbfounded by the absolute shortsightedness displayed by CART and its principals. You'd think these guys were involved in motorsports for the first time ever the way it's all being handled. Friggin unbelievable. No wonder teams are going to the IRL or Grand-Am.......even amateur spec racing is more organized than this. Joe Angers, Boston, MA  Another writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The more I look at this buyout deal the more I am convinced the plan was to shaft the shareholders by running the company completely into the ground and buying it for almost nothing.  It appears they have carefully orchestrated it such that it's just one bad news story after another right up to shareholder vote time.  Then, out of complete desperation the shareholders have no choice but to vote to sell their shares for a few pennies on the dollar. They are playing with fire.  They had to wait until the very last moment to take it over because if they did it 6 months ago there would have been too much money left in the bank and they would have had to pay more per share to get it.  Why didn't they liquidate the company 6 or 9 months ago so the shareholders could have gotten something out of the remaining assets.  What gave CART management the right to burn off all the shareholder equity when they knew there was no hope to stay liquid.  They kept the series alive by spending the shareholders money, for what?  I could see if the company had more value by spending that money and reaping a return, but it only served to lower the value of the stock.  Who cares if there was a 2003 season?  If I was a shareholder with millions invested I would look at this as total ineptitude on the part of CART management.  Their job is/was to protect shareholder equity, not flying all over the world propping up races so they can say "look we saved the series."  They didn't save squat.  The stockholders money in their bank saved the series.  This entire episode should go down in business books as one of the worse management performances in the history of business enterprise, or the shrewdest raping of shareholders ever. Lenny Martin, Phila. PA.

12/1/03

CART postpones season opener  [Editor's Note: A lot of people are going to look at this and say it's the beginning of the end for CART.  In fact, because they screwed up the planning of the takeover, and put it off to so late, CART had no choice but to postpone the St. Pete event.  What's more telling however, is the fact that Dover Motorsports sold the rights to the race to CART (where did that money come from?  Right, the stockholders).  Is Dover losing faith in CART, or is CART getting smart and taking over all the Dover races?  Why do you ask?  Because if Dover were to be sold, as has long been rumored, to ISC, what do you think would happen to some of CART's marquee events?  You got it - they would fall into the hands of arch-rival the IRL.] The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season will open with the 21st running of the Champ Cars at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2004 after CART and race promoter Dover Motorsports Inc. announced the postponement Monday of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The second running of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was to open the season on February 22nd, but the race was postponed, as the impending stockholder vote and possible change in ownership of the series limited the time that the teams would have to prepare for the 2004 Champ Car World Series season.

“There are many issues involved in the pending sale and privatization of the company, but chief among those is the fact that our teams need a certain amount of time to properly prepare themselves for a racing season,” said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. “We looked at many options, including changing the St. Petersburg race date, but the onset of Major League Baseball Spring Training in Florida limits the available Spring dates. We will continue to work with the city of St. Petersburg to find an appropriate race date for the community in hopes of returning to St. Petersburg in 2004 and beyond.”

CART took steps to ensure the future of the event by acquiring the rights as well as all supporting safety equipment associated with the successful operation of the event from Dover Motorsports Inc, allowing CART to hold a race in St. Petersburg pending final approval by the city. CART Champ Car ran its first event on the streets of the South Florida city last year in an historic event that saw Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) become the first Champ Car driver ever to lead the opening lap of his Champ Car career. Series champion Paul Tracy (#3 Player’s/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) would go on to win the race, the first of three consecutive victories to start the year.

The postponement means that the series’ marquee domestic event will kick off the Champ Car season, as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will start the year on April 16-18. Over 200,000 fans attended last year’s event at the 1.968-mile street course and this year’s edition will mark the fourth time that Long Beach has served as the season opener (1984, 85, 87). Dover Motorsports Inc., who will also serve as the race promoter for the Long Beach event, announced that it will issue refunds to all fans that purchased tickets to the St. Petersburg race.

“While we regret that the Champ Car fans won’t get the opportunity to see the 2004 season begin in St. Petersburg, we are delighted to kick off a great year of racing with one of the most popular events on our schedule,” said Pook. “This will ensure that our teams have sufficient time to ready themselves for the 2004 campaign.”

12/1/03

Shank shuns CART for Grand-Am series  Michael Shank Racing (MSR) announced today that it will field a Toyota-powered Doran JE-4 in the Daytona Prototypes division of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004. The team is slated to begin its winter testing program Dec. 19-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, at Daytona International Speedway. "We're extremely pleased to be able to make this announcement," stated MSR owner Michael Shank. "After seven years of competing for championships and winning our share of races and poles in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, we started looking for a racing series that made more sense for us, both competitively and financially. "And once we researched all the options available, we came to the conclusion that the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series was where we wanted to be. We really believe in the Series' leadership and the concepts that they have established, and we think they are well on their way to taking sports car racing to a new level here in North America."   "Michael Shank Racing is another welcome addition to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series," said Jim France, chief executive officer of the International Speedway Corporation. "Mike Shank was voted car owner of the year twice in the Toyota Atlantic Series, and his record for finding young driving talent -- including Sam Hornish and Kenny Wilden -- speaks for itself. MSR will be a great addition to the competitiveness of the Rolex Series, joining a stellar group of teams to create a tremendous show for the fans. This is shaping up as one of the most exciting road racing seasons in years, and I can't wait for it to open with the 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona."  "We're thrilled to be a partner with another proven team like Michael Shank Racing, a team that we've been associated with for a number of years through our relationship in the Toyota Atlantic Series," stated Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. "Mike Shank has helped develop some top-flight young racing talent in the past few years, and we're confident that he'll continue to enjoy that type of success in Grand American Rolex Sports Car competition."

12/1/03

Chevy adds to winning tradition  Long a world leader in motorsport, GM has concluded another championship season across the entire spectrum of competition. In venues ranging from grassroots drag strips and dirt tracks to winding road courses and high-banked super speedways, the teams and drivers from GM Racing notched championships in NASCAR, NHRA, the American Le Mans Series and British Touring Car Championship.

"GM Racing has continued to show that it's a worldwide leader in motorsport competition," said Doug Duchardt, director of GM Racing. "Motorsport offers a dynamic showcase for GM products, spotlighting GM's advanced technology in design, development and manufacturing of automobiles and related services. We've proved that this year and we'll be back again to show what we're made of in 2004."

It was another banner year for the great brands that comprise GM's worldwide commitment to competition on the racetrack. Chevrolet captured the NASCAR Winston Cup manufacturers' championship, its 23rd in the last 31 years. GM Racing won 20 of 36 Winston Cup races with the Chevy Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix and also the manufacturers' and drivers' titles in the Busch series and drivers' title in Craftsman Truck.

As Corvette celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2003, America's sports car icon stood at the pinnacle of international endurance racing, once again winning the ALMS manufacturers', team and drivers' championships as well as staking a fourth consecutive podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On the drag strip, Pontiac won the manufacturers' and drivers' titles in NHRA Pro Stock competition and the drivers' title in NHRA Hot Rod class while Chevrolet took home the championship in NHRA Sport Compact Pro FWD.

In international competition, Chevrolet notched its sixth four-wheel crown in the demanding SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, winning overall for four-wheel vehicles and placing first in the top classes. In Australia, the works Holden Monaro racecars dominated the Bathurst 24-hour endurance race for the second year running, with both of the factory-run cars crossing the finish line some twelve laps ahead of the next closest competitor. In the United Kingdom, the factory-backed Vauxhall VX Racing team clinched the manufacturers', teams', and drivers' titles in the British Touring Car Championship for a record third year in a row

12/1/03

Jordan F1 team seat fittings  Nick Heidfeld and Janis Jaroslav will be testing for the Jordan team shortly.  They recently had seat fittings.  Photos

12/1/03

2004 F1 entry list (Tentative)  The traditional December 1st (deadline) entry list for 2004 is as follows: 1, Michael Schumacher, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Ferrari; 2, Rubens Barrichello, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Ferrari; 3, Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW Williams F1, Williams-BMW; 4, Ralf Schumacher, BMW Williams F1, Williams-BMW; 5, David Coulthard, West McLaren Mercedes, McLaren-Mercedes; 6. Kimi Raikkonen, West McLaren Mercedes, McLaren-Mercedes; 7, Jarno Trulli, Mild Seven Renault F1, Renault; 8, Fernando Alonso, Mild Seven Renault F1, Renault; 9, Jenson Button, Lucky Strike BAR Honda, BAR-Honda; 10, Takuma Sato, Lucky Strike BAR Honda, BAR-Honda; 11, Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber Petronas, Sauber-Petronas; 12, Felipe Massa, Sauber Petronas, Sauber-Petronas; 14, Mark Webber, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar-Cosworth; 15, TBA, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar-Cosworth; 16, Cristiano da Matta, Panasonic Toyota Racing, Toyota; 17, Olivier Panis, Panasonic Toyota Racing, Toyota; 18, TBA, Jordan Ford, Jordan-Ford; 19, TBA, Jordan Ford, Jordan-Ford; 20, TBA Minardi Cosworth, Minardi-Cosworth; 21, TBA Minardi Cosworth, Minardi-Cosworth. Drivers may be changed or nominated up until March 4 2004.

12/1/03

Villeneuve says he won't miss F1 at all  "It is a strong possibility that my F1 racing career is finished, but I am comfortable with that," he told to Montreal's La Presse newspaper.  "To be honest, there is a part of me that does not necessarily want to return to the F1 paddock. There is nothing there that I will miss, and I don't think I will get bored. I will do all that I did before, but more intensely. I will ski a lot, and I also want to take some music courses to do the things correctly.  "I don't need to race - I can get the same amount of adrenaline and competition when I go shopping for ski stuff! If I want to spend time in a car, I can always buy myself a race track and run with my friends. That has to be better than to paying to run with Jaguar, doesn't it?"

12/1/03

Homestead now a 100% throttle track too  In this Las Vegas Sun article, Dan Wheldon has this to say regarding the new banking at Homestead - The new banking system at Homestead -- 18 degrees on the bottom of the track, 19 degrees in the middle and 20 degrees at the top -- will force IRL drivers to change their approach to next year's race, Wheldon said.

"It's certainly a big change," Wheldon said. "The corners, they've got between 18 (and 20 degrees of banking), so it changes the strategy for the race. It was comfortably flat out [Editor's Note: Just what we need another 100% no-talent required track on the IRL circuit] when we were there (for the test). I wouldn't say it's quite as easy as a superspeedway in terms of how easy it is to be flat out.

"I certainly think when we race there that the car definitely has to be very, very good in traffic. I think that window is going to be slightly smaller than, say, a Chicago, than a Michigan, than a Fontana."

In the wake of Kenny Brack's serious accident in the season finale at Texas Motor Speedway and Tony Renna's fatal crash during a test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month, there has been increasing talk of the need to slow down the IRL cars. Wheldon sidestepped the issue but expressed confidence in Brian Barnhart, who is in charge of racing operations for the IRL.

"I'm sure the IRL will make sure that they have the cars as safe as possible and I think they do an excellent job," Wheldon said. "I'll kind of leave it in their hands. I love the racing in the IRL and I think if you ask every one of the drivers, they'd say the same thing; they're very confident.

"Everybody's confident in Brian Barnhart; we'll kind of leave it to him. When he asks us a question, we'll certainly give our opinions and feel on what we think." [Editor's Note: Slowing the cars down will make the situation worse.  At the slower speeds the packs of cars will be larger making it more likely for rubber-tire-to-rubber-tire contact resulting in BIG crashes.]

12/1/03

Jordan names Robinson to head of Race and Test Engineering  Jordan Grand Prix is pleased to welcome James Robinson as Head of Race and Test Engineering. Robinson will work alongside John McQuilliam (Chief Designer), Nicolo Petrucci (Head of Aerodynamics), Mike Wroe (Head of Electronics) and David Williams (Head of Operations) in Jordan’s Technical Management Group. Jordan’s winter test programme commences on Wednesday 3 December in Jerez with Nick Heidfeld and Jarek Janis driving and the all new EJ14 is due to be launched in the first week of February 2004. Prior to joining Jordan, Robinson held senior engineering management roles at BAR, Williams and McLaren.

12/1/03

Scottish racer set for Sebring Champ Car test  Scottish racing's hottest prospect Ryan Dalziel, runner up in the US-based 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, looks set to reach the upper echelons of motorsport courtesy of a maiden Champ Car test with Walker Racing at Sebring Raceway, Florida on 10-11 December.

The 21-year-old from Lanarkshire, a double winner this season, will step up from his 165mph Toyota Atlantic racecar to the unadulterated power of a 750bhp turbocharged 240mph Champ Car when he tests in America next month. The Champ Car Series, America's premier open-wheel category, combines races on ovals, street circuits and road courses with foreign excursions including trips to Australia, Canada and Mexico.

Commenting on his forthcoming test Ryan enthused:
"This is a fabulous opportunity for me and one I've been working towards all season. Champ Cars are awesome racing machines, this will be by far the fastest car I have tested to-date, but I'm relishing the increase in power and look forward to a productive two days in Florida with Walker Racing. It'll be a busy few days for me as after the test I'm flying straight back to Scotland to attend the Scottish Motor Racing Club's annual dinner dance on Saturday 13th!"

Dalziel's final step up the racing ladder comes courtesy of fellow-Scot Derrick Walker. Born in Leven, Fife, Derrick (58) formed Indianapolis-based Walker Racing 12 years ago to contest the Champ Car Series, quickly developing a reputation for excellence based on his vast experience in the category working for Penske Racing. This season the team ran former BAR F1 test driver and Champ Car rookie Darren Manning to ninth overall and runner-up in the Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year standings with the Ford-Reynard-Bridgestone package.

Walker is equally excited to be giving his countryman his first Champ Car experience:
"Ryan's proved himself to be one of Scotland's finest up-and-coming racing talents, his success here in America is testament to that. I'm delighted to give Ryan his first Champ Car test, he's the first Scottish driver to run for me and I hope his outing at Sebring will help determine his options for racing in 2004."

Having switched his blossoming race career Stateside at the start of 2002, Ryan Dalziel has continued to make a name for himself in the ultra-competitive US racing scene, collecting podiums and poles in his rookie season before going on this year to score two race wins for Sierra Sierra Racing, including his first on an oval circuit, from a total of nine podium finishes in 12 races. Two pole positions and three lap records merely serve to highlight the flying Scotsman's supreme pace as he finished runner up in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, the recognised feeder series to Champ Car. -ragepr

12/1/03
Industry News

EuroSpeedway Lausitz Revs up with a New Operating Company   Hans-Jörg Fischer (37) and Matthias Tomasetti (35) concluded today a lease agreement between their newly founded operating company EuroSpeedway Lausitz GmbH and the owner of the facility, the Förderverein Lausitzring e.V.. Fischer and Tomasetti hold each 50 per cent of the shares in the company. The lease has been concluded for a period of five years until and including 2008. For this period, the State of Brandenburg will support the operation of the Lausitz racetrack totally with 2.5 million Euro. Further funds will be provided for investments. Altogether, the support granted by the State will amount to 5.8 million Euro. On 1st January 2004, the EuroSpeedway Lausitz GmbH will take over the operation of the racetrack facility covering an area of 370 hectares. It is located 60 km to the north of Dresden and 130 km south of Berlin.

Ulrich Junghanns, Minister for Economy in the State of Brandenburg: "The lease agreement gives the ring and the region the required secure planning and offers the appropriate framework for a sale in the years to come."

Hans-Jörg Fischer who has been CEO of the company since August 1999 said about the new start under a stable sign: "We firmly believe in the potential of this still young motor sport and event facility and will fight hard for its positive development and establishment in the years to come, together with the people living in the region and important partners, such as the ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg." Hans-Jörg Fischer will be responsible for the fields of marketing and sales, event management as well as public relations.

Matthias Tomasetti, who has been CFO since the official opening in August 2000, will stay in charge of the finance and administration issues and, in addition to it, technical department of the multi-functional facility: "Mr. Fischer and myself are prepared to take over an entrepreneurial commitment for EuroSpeedway Lausitz. We are glad that we have convinced the State of Brandenburg of the facility's potentials to that effect that they have decided to make a significant financial contribution to the stabilization and development in the years to come."
Event schedule 2004 (preliminary)
April
- Easter folk festival
May
- Quarter Mile Cup (1. race)
- Ski Rolling World Cup
- IDM (Int. German Motorcycle Championship)
June
- DTM (German Touring Cars Masters)
- Formula 1 Oldtimer Race Festival
- One Day Open-air Music Festival
- Quarter Mile Cup (2nd race)
July
- Drag Racing Masters
- Quarter Mile Cup (3rd race)
- Porsche GTP Weekend
August
- Ducati Speed Week
- World Series by Nissan
- Quarter Mile Cup (4th race)
September
- 3 Days Open-air Music Festival
- Beru Top 10 Series
- Quarter Mile Cup (5th race)
- Historic Super Touring Cars Series
- Chrom & Flames - "Lausitz 100 Oval Invitation Race"
October
- "Herbstglühen" - The Lausitz folk festival

12/1/03

Bahraini people asked to help GP   It's well known that there is a lack of hotel rooms for F1's first ever Bahrain GP in 2004.  Homeowners in Bahrain have been asked to help. "There is a lack of hotels in Bahrain and we are looking for people to rent out rooms or apartments which offer bed and breakfast," explained SAS International administration manager Georgina Gray. "This happens at a lot of other Grands Prix, such as Australia and Europe. At the minute we are doing things on a small scale, but we are building it up. It is a new concept for a lot of people in Bahrain so we want to see what kind of feedback we get."

"We want to know how many beds people have, whether they have en-suite rooms and if they have any preference on guests - such as nationality or sex. We want to know how people will be looked after and prefer them to have their own bathroom. So far we have had a positive response and people are wanting to know what it is about - not just expats. A few Bahraini people have contacted us as well. They are happy to have people stay and it is a good concept to bring people from another culture into a Bahraini household."

Residents have been told that they stand to earn up to BD50 per night for each guest staying in their home. This news comes on the back of the ‘tent city’ plan to help accommodate the expected Arab turnout.

12/1/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

BAR Racers Won't Stay Black: F1 Team
Michelin Making Progress In Wet-Weather
Minardi To Test F1 Hopefuls In Italy
Wilson To Lose Jaguar Seat To Austria's Klien
Zonta 'Impressed' With Hybrid F1 Toyota
Wurz Out Of Race For Jaguar Drive
Patient Coulthard Starts Wait For Melbourne
FIA Bans New Tire-Warming Innovation
Ecclestone: French Grand Prix Is Off
Time's Up, Coulthard: Former Champion
Hybrid Williams Gets Spanish Work-Out
French Grand Prix: No Help From Michelin
Changes To Spain's F1 Circuit
Panis Is A 'Nice Guy,' Says Da Matta
Gascoyne Eyes F1 Title For New Team Toyota

11/30/03

Champ Car vs. F1 tires  In this recent article regarding AutoRacing1.com's suggestion of what the next generation Champ Car should be, we mentioned the issue of tires and wheels.  The diameter of all four wheels on a Champ Car are 15", vs. 13" for a F1 wheel.  As can be seen in the photos below, the tire sidewalls on an F1 car are, therefore, higher.  The tire diameter on an F1 car is also 1 inch larger, which contributes even more to the higher sidewall.  For those of you who have low-profile performance tires on your street car, you know that the tires don't roll under during hard cornering.  They are short and stiff and add to the overall spring rate of your car.  A lower profile tire allows for higher cornering speeds, but when it breaks away, it breaks away suddenly, sometimes without warning.  A higher profile tire flexes more which gives the appearance the car is dancing around a bit.  More importantly it has a lower stiffness, which means the ultimate cornering capacity is somewhat reduced, but because the tire does not break away unexpectedly, the car does not appear as if it's always on rails.  In fact it allows the driver to get the car sideways more, to toss it around in the corners and kick the tail out and apply a healthy dose of opposite lock (see Coulthard below in bottom right photo).  The wider F1 front tires also give the driver more front-end grip, which allows for a later and faster cornering turn-in speed.  The next generation Champ Car will hopefully be close to a F1 car dimension and weight-wise, including the tires and wheels.  By being identical to F1, it immediately opens up CART to both Michelin and Bridgestone should they decide to supply their F1 tires to the next generation Champ Cars. 


Champ Car tires - slicks, lower stiffer sidewalls because wheel diameter 2" larger.  Cars always look as though on rails


Champ Car tire 15" Dia. Wheels = lower profile tires


F1: Smaller wheels plus larger diameter tire = higher sidewalls


Formula One tires - are more forgiving and allow the driver to kick the back out and apply more opposite lock

11/30/03
Nissan Superfund World Series

Jarama: Bernoldi and Leinders score  The Dallara Nissan World Series finale was run on a wet track after two days of dry practice, which resulted in a rather chaotic two races at Jarama, Spain. In race one pole position man Enrique Bernoldi took the win and in race 2, Racing Engineering's Bas Leinders took the win with a daring move around the outside of Frenchman Ravier in turns 1 and 2.  GD Racing, KTR, Campos and Carlin drivers lost their chance at a win because of poor pit stop strategy because they did not fully understand the rulebook as to when the pits would be open.
Race 1
1. Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing 18 laps
2. Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +11.028s
3. Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +27.395s
4. Paul Edwards KTR +30.938s
5. Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering +34.424s
6. Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport +37.537s
7. Narain Karthikeyan Carlin Motorsport +38.301s
8. Pablo Donoso GD Racing +45.589s
9. Felix Porteiro KTR +49.182s
10. Enrico Toccacelo RC Motorsport +56.941s
11. Didier Andre Saulnier Racing +1m 08.003s
12. Bas Leinders Racing Engineering +1 lap
13. Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport +5 laps
14. Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion +8 laps
15. Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing +13 laps
16. Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport +13 laps
17. Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport +13 laps
18. Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi +17 laps
19. Angel Burgueno Repsol RFS Vergani +17 laps

Race 2
1. Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 26 laps
2. Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +1.407s
3. Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing +2.773s
4. Enrico Toccacelo RC Motorsport +11.165s
5. Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +13.281s
6. Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport +18.050s
7. Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport +21.410
8. Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing +28.315s
9. Paul Edwards KTR +34.061s
10. Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport +34.146s
11. Felix Porteiro KTR +41.972s
12. Pablo Donoso GD Racing +3 laps
13. Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport +6 laps
14. Didier Andre Saulnier Racing +15 laps
DNS. Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering 0 laps completed
DNS. Narain Karthikeyan Carlin Motorsport 0 laps completed
DNS. Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion 0 laps completed
DNS. Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 0 laps completed
DNS. Angel Burgueno Repsol RFS Vergani 0 laps completed 

11/30/03

Chris Pook eyed switching LB to IRL in 1995  This Long Beach Press Telegram article makes it sound like Chris Pook never had any allegiance to any race organization, even back in 1995 when the IRL was first formed. His interest as a promoter was in making as much profit as possible.  He even kicked F1 out of Long Beach and replaced it with CART in 1985, and if he could have gotten a better deal with the IRL in 1995, he might have kicked CART out.

In 1995, the year Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George began creating the IRL, Long Beach Grand Prix Association leader Chris Pook was among the first people to express an interest, even though his race was in a fruitful relationship with Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART).

"Pook was in on some of the early meetings in 1995. I believe at that point he was considering Long Beach as an IRL venue,' George said. "That may have been self-serving. He may have wanted to leverage a better deal with CART. I don't think it was anything sinister. I think he was genuinely curious about the IRL.'

Pook said his interest waned after consulting with the race's sponsors mainly title sponsor Toyota and it soon became obvious he made the right decision [But now Toyota is in the IRL].

11/30/03

IRL has sights set on CART's LB and St. Pete races  This Long Beach Press Telegram article paints a pretty gloomy picture for CART.  Already, Dover Downs Motorsports are making preparations for the IRL to take over both CART's Long Beach and St. Petersburg, Florida events. With both races early in CART's 2004 schedule, you can bet this type of negative news is going to send potential ticket buyers running for the doors and the promoter to take a financial bath. 

"CART might not even come out for the season,' said analyst Dennis McAlpine. "You have to have teams. It's hard to tell which teams are going to be out there and whether they will be solid enough to put up the money required to run a complete season.'

In 2003, with LBGP founder Chris Pook in charge, CART paid more than $31 million in team subsidies to keep 19 cars racing. Most event contracts, including the one with Long Beach, require CART to furnish a minimum of 18 cars at a race.

Most, if not all, of those subsidies will go away in 2004, creating a greater need for advertising dollars that have not been available in recent years.

If CART, or Open Wheel Racing Series, can't meet the 18-car minimum stipulated in contracts, the Long Beach Grand Prix Association could go in another direction.

CART's proxy statement says a promoter has "the right to cancel the event, due to the minimum car count not being met.' The Grand Prix Association would have to submit a written notice to CART, which would have seven days to come up with additional entries to meet the required car count.

Grand Prix Association officials didn't want to speculate on what they would do if CART can't meet the 18-car limit. Michaelian said he plans to fulfill the Grand Prix Association's contract with CART, which runs for two more races.

Sources within the auto-racing industry believe that Dover Motorsports the parent company of the Grand Prix Association would only move to void the contract if the Indy Racing League could replace CART.   [If?  The IRL and Toyota will jump through hoops to get these two races.  Whatever it takes.  AR1 sources told us two years ago when Toyota jumped to the IRL that they want the Toyota sponsored Long Beach race to become an IRL race]

"We have a relationship with those people already,' said George of his dealings with current CART venues. "We talk from time to time. That's not to say they haven't gauged our interests. We tried to be as honest as possible with them.'

Michaelian said he hasn't talked to IRL officials about racing here in 2004, and a Dover Motorsports spokesman said the Long Beach parent organization had not talked to the IRL either.

"We do not shop our races when we are bound by sanction agreements,' said Jerry Miraglia, an executive vice president at Dover Motorsports. "In the event that the sale were not to close and CART was unable to honor its contractual obligations to our company, we would then evaluate all potential options for running events.'
More......

11/29/03

McLaren's Whitmarsh talks about new car   Team McLaren Mercedes team's 2004 car, MP4-19, made its track debut at Valencia in Spain on Tuesday 25th November.  McLaren Racing's Managing Director, Martin Whitmarsh spoke about the philosophy behind next year's new car.   Interview

11/29/03
Nissan Superfund World Series

Jarama Round 2 qualifying, Kovalainen takes pole  Qualifying times for race two at Jarama, Spain - the ninth and final round in the 2003 Superfund World Series by Nissan.
1. Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion 1m 22.763s
2. Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing 1m 23.014s +0.251s
3. Felix Porteiro KTR 1m 23.250s +0.487s
4. Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi 1m 23.354s +0.591s
5. Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport 1m 23.371s +0.608s
6. Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering 1m 23.377s +0.614s
7. Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 1m 23.405s +0.642s
8. Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion1m 23.487s +0.724s
9. Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 1m 23.498s +0.735s
10. Paul Edwards KTR 1m 23.663s +0.900s
11. Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing 1m 23.762s +0.999s
12. Angel Burgueno Repsol RFS Vergani 1m 23.778s +1.015s
13. Enrico Toccacelo RC Motorsport 1m 23.923s +1.160s
14. Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m 24.099s +1.336s
15. Narain Karthikeyan Carlin Motorsport 1m 24.231s +1.468s
16. Pablo Donoso GD Racing 1m 24.308s +1.545s
17. Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m 24.328s +1.565s
18. Didier Andre Saulnier Racing 1m 25.288s +2.525s
19. Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport 1m 25.542s +2.779s

11/29/03
Nissan Superfund World Series

Jarama Round 1 qualifying, Bernoldi takes pole  Qualifying times for race one at Jarama, Spain - the ninth and final round in the 2003 Superfund World Series by Nissan.
1. Enrique Bernoldi GD Racing 1m 22.648s
2. Franck Montagny Gabord Competicion1m 22.673s +0.025s
3. Felix Porteiro KTR 1m 22.858s +0.210s
4. Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion 1m 23.004s +0.356s
5. Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport 1m 23.042s +0.394s
6. Polo Villaamil RC Motorsport 1m 23.259s +0.611s
7. Paul Edwards KTR 1m 23.264s +0.616s
8. Stephane Sarrazin Racing Engineering 1m 23.283s +0.635s
9. Narain Karthikeyan Carlin Motorsport 1m 23.316s +0.668s
10. Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m 23.441s +0.793s
11. Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi 1m 23.482s +0.834s
12. Enrico Toccacelo RC Motorsport 1m 23.498s +0.850s
13. Didier Andre Saulnier Racing 1m 23.628s +0.980s
14. Bas Leinders Racing Engineering 1m 23.952s +1.304s
15. Ander Vilarino Epsilon Euskadi 1m 24.146s +1.498s
16. Angel Burgueno Repsol RFS Vergani 1m 24.270s +1.622s
17. Bruno Besson Saulnier Racing 1m 24.326s +1.678s
18. Pablo Donoso GD Racing 1m 24.422s +1.774s
19. Santiago Porteiro Adrian Campos Motorsport 1m 24.923s +2.275s

11/29/03
Nissan Superfund World Series

American sets early pace at Jarama  This Autosport.com article says, Dropped from the Red Bull search for an American Formula 1 driver (doesn't say much about that program does it?), a relaxed Paul Edwards turned the form book on its head to set the pace ahead of Sunday's final races in the Dallara Nissan World Series at Jarama, near Madrid.

Edwards set a great pace, lapping 0.4s quicker than Ricardo Zonta's 2002 lap record, despite cold conditions and a slippery track. But although it was a good result, he knows that he has to repeat the showing when it matters, in Saturday's qualifying sessions.

"The car feels good, but it's only practice," he said. "I feel really relaxed behind the wheel and I hope I can continue this form tomorrow."
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Paul Edwards KTR 1m23.192s
2 Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +0.207s
3 Felix Porteiro KTR +0.250s
4 Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +0.478s
5 Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport +0.541s
6 Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport +0.563s

11/28/03

***Reader Comment*** CART is riding the subway  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I usually go to your website a ridiculous amount of times throughout the day, and even here there is so little going on with CART. They are not below the radar screen right now, they are riding the subway!  Jeff Teravainen, Dear Jeff, And that is exactly where they want to be right now.  CART is putting out mostly tidbits of news and PR to remind us they are still there, but until the December 19th vote, don't expect much more.  Mark C.

11/28/03

Minardi to test at Vallelunga   European Minardi Cosworth today confirms that it will stage a three-day test at Vallelunga, on December 10, 11 and 12. The team will take two PS03 chassis to the Italian circuit, situated near Rome, with the dual aims of conducting driver evaluations and carrying out a detailed technical program.

Among those scheduled to test for the Faenza squad are Argentina's José Maria Lopez, Heikki Kovalainen, from Finland, and Italy's Fabrizio Del Monte, although there is a possibility the trio may be joined by one or two other drivers.

In addition, one of European Minardi's regular 2003 drivers will shoulder a technical workload that includes tire testing for Bridgestone, engine development work for Cosworth Racing, and the evaluation of possible new chassis components for the 2004 European Minardi.

"This looks set to be our busiest test of the year," comments European Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. "It makes the best use of resources, however, to run what amounts to two separate, but parallel, programs at Vallelunga, one focused on evaluating a number of young drivers whom we have been watching closely in recent months, and the other, on testing and assessing various components for the 2004 Minardi."

"The driver evaluation part of the exercise is simply a further example of the team's ongoing, and highly successful policy of seeking out the best young talents on the motor racing scene and introducing them to Formula One in a controlled and responsible way. It is obviously an approach that has paid off handsomely, as we saw at Monza this year, when eight of the 20 competitors on the starting grid for the Italian Grand Prix were either former or current Minardi drivers."

"As for the technical program scheduled for Vallelunga, this is aimed at developing some of the key performance aspects of the 2004 European Minardi Cosworth. Work is progressing well on the new car, and this test should provide the team's engineers and designers with some valuable data that will assist them in developing a definitive specification for the PS04." Minardi

11/28/03

Toyota testing summary - Valencia and Paul Ricard   Ryan Briscoe: "I am very happy with how the team has worked and with the progress we have made this week, especially considering how busy the track was at times and the amount of disruptions due to red lights. We managed to complete our test program for the week, which consisted mainly of wet and dry weather Michelin tire tests. To complete so much work and so many laps is always a good feeling at the end of a session.  I found myself having to adapt to manual shifting again as we began our preparations for the 2004 season and the new regulations that will be introduced. The wet tire testing today has shown that there have been noticeable steps in tire development and performance and I am now looking forward to continuing our winter testing program next week alongside Ricardo Zonta in Barcelona."
Dates: 25-28 November 2003
Location: Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain
Driver: Ryan Briscoe
Total Laps: 338
Best Lap Time: 1m11.950s
Chassis: TF103/03
Ricardo Zonta:  "The test this week was essentially an installation run of our new TF103B car, which has a completely new rear end. We used the four days to get a feel for the new engine, gearbox and rear suspension and I was quite impressed with the new components, because we had no real problems all week. This is definitely a positive sign for the future.  Having said that, it is difficult to draw any real conclusions of this first test with the new car, because there was some inconsistency with the weather conditions, which made it hard to do any back-to-back comparisons. I am certainly pleased to be driving again after a small vacation in Brazil and I am looking forward to next week's Barcelona test."
Location: Circuit Paul Ricard, France
Driver: Ricardo Zonta
Total laps: 237
Total Distance: 903km
Chassis: TF103B

11/28/03

Wet track testing at Valencia Friday   Formula One testing continued at Valencia Friday, with artificial wet track testing for Michelin teams.  Ryan Briscoe (Toyota), Marc Gene (Williams), Alex Wurz (McLaren) and Franck Montagny (Renault) were all in action.  Click here for Valencia testing images

11/28/03

Wurz to stay with McLaren   Alexander Wurz has ruled himself out of contention for the second seat at Jaguar by signing a new deal with McLaren. The West McLaren Mercedes team has confirmed that current third driver Alexander Wurz will remain with the team for the 2004 season.

Alex will continue to play an integral part in the team’s 2004 World Championship challenge as he, together with David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen and Pedro de la Rosa, will be developing the West McLaren Mercedes MP4-19 Formula One car, which made its track debut on Tuesday 25th November at the Valencia circuit in Spain.

"I am pleased to announce that I have decided to stay with the West McLaren Mercedes team as their third driver,” said Alex Wurz. “It is no secret that I have been on the shortlist for the second race seat at Jaguar Racing, which has been a privilege. However with West McLaren Mercedes’ 2004 testing program having already begun I felt it necessary to take my future into my own hands so as to fully focus on the season's preparation. West McLaren Mercedes is a loyal and rewarding team to be part of and I believe they offer me the best future."

“Alex’s contribution during the past three years has been immense and everybody in the team is pleased that our relationship will continue,” said McLaren Racing’s Managing Director Martin Whitmarsh. “We knew that there were opportunities for Alex to get back into racing and would have supported him in whatever decision he made. However the fact that he will remain with the team is positive and will help to further emphasize our challenge for the 2004 Formula One World Championships.”

“We all had every understanding for Alex’s ambitions to go back to racing in Formula One”, said Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “The fact that he received offers from other teams clearly shows that he is seen as one of the drivers deserving a seat as a permanent Formula One racing driver. McLaren, as well as Mercedes-Benz, supported Alex in his plans to make his understandable wish come true. However we all are very pleased that Alex has taken the decision to stay with West McLaren Mercedes. He has contributed a lot to our technical development in the past three years and Mercedes-Benz is particularly happy to have in Alex a proven ambassador for our brand.”  McLaren

11/28/03

Renault V10 must complete 700km at qualifying speed   The production of an F1 engine passes through three primary steps. The aim is to ensure a powerful, reliable unit: here is the explanation.  More.....

11/28/03
German DTM

German DTM gets revamped schedule  Three new races have been added to the 2004 German DTM schedule, and three dropped (Austria A1-Ring due to construction, Nurburgring's 2nd date, and Donington Park, England).  Interestingly, the Estoril date could be the weekend CART might someday race there.

2004 DTM calendar
April 18 Hockenheim (D)
May 2 Estoril (P)

May 16 Adria (I)
June 6 EuroSpeedway Lausitz (D)
June 27 Norisring (D)
August 1 Nürburgring (D)
August 8 Oschersleben (D)

September 5 Zandvoort (NL)
September 19 Brno (CZ)

October 3 Hockenheim (D)

11/28/03

Winter upgrades planned for Barcelona   The Circuit de Catalunya will start work to improve its facilities for the 2004 season in five different places. The two more important improvements for motor sport supporters are a new braking point at the entrance of the stadium area, at turning “la Caixa”, and improvements at the Repsol bridge, that gives access to Grandstands L and M (8.000 people in all). Apart from that, a stretch of the main straight will be reasphalted, and outside walls at Repsol and Seat will be moved back.

The first stage, that is, changes to the outside walls of the Repsol and Seat turns, have already started and do not affect activity on the track. They will last until the 12th January.

The second part is planned from the 9th December to the 15th January. An alternative stretch will be done at the turning “la Caixa” and 500 meters of the main straight will be asphalted, from the finishing line and the starting grid to the scoreboard.

Thanks to the new stretch, turning “La Caixa” will be sharper and a 100 meters long straight will join it to the turning Banc Sabadell. This new stretch will be used for F1. The area between both stretches will be asphalted.

11/28/03

Villeneuve calls the IRL too unsafe  In this icCoventry article Jacques Villeneuve dismisses any notion of racing in the dangerous IRL series.  The Monaco-based racer is considering a switch to NASCAR, the American stock car series, but has ruled out any move to the Indy Racing League believing the all-oval series is too dangerous.  "I won't go to IRL," he added. "I have nothing against taking risks but taking risks in IRL means you die or you hurt yourself massively. How many a year get hurt?"

11/28/03

Renault happy with Thursday Valencia test   Chassis testing was primarily conducted by Montagny. He continued work on rear suspension modifications for 2004 as well as his work on damper characteristics, with very positive results. Both cars continued testing components of the 2004 running gear, and have now amassed considerable mileage on these parts without any problems.

Trulli focused on tire testing, looking at a number of new constructions as well as re-checking changes that were made during the year. This work was in line with expectations, and among the new constructions, one appears better both in one-lap performance and consistency on longer runs.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering commented, "We did a significant amount of mileage, completing more laps than any of our competitors today. The circuit appeared to get slightly slower in the afternoon, but we had a productive day even so. The developments Franck has tested have increased the car's stability, while Jarno has been very happy with the car throughout the test."

Tomorrow, Montagny will conduct wet testing with a single car in a private session for Michelin when the circuit will be artificially soaked to test wet tires.

11/28/03
Industry News

Ferrari to sell cars in China  Ferrari will not ramp up production of its sleek sports cars despite plans to enter the booming China market officially in 2004, said Mario Micheli, Ferrari's commercial and marketing director. The first Ferrari on the mainland was a 348 Berlinetta in 1993. Today, about 85 of the cars with their prancing horse emblem are said to exist in China.

11/28/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Jock Clear To Engineer Sato In 2004
Trulli To Wear Chrome Helmet In 2004
BAR Extend Deal With Sportswear Brand
Ferraris Star On Final Day In Spain
Bridgestone Thank Ferrari, Sauber
DC Flies To Lap Record In New McLaren
BAR's Button Buoyed On Michelin Tires
Good Early Signs From All-New Honda V10
Villeneuve Slams McLaren Over Coulthard
Paul Ricard Will Not Stage French GP
F1 Cars Get Fuel-Tank Boost In 2004
Penske Not Eyeing F1 Team Return
If BAR Wins, Villeneuve Won't Celebrate
My Two Champion's Sons: Williams
Schu To Build Five-Storey Swiss Mansion
Hill Asks Williams To Re-Sign Button
Fabrizio Del Monte To Test F1 Minardi
Heidfeld To Test Jordan At Jerez
Rule Changes Unfair, Unsafe: Mark Webber
Ecclestone: British GP To Get Date Switch

11/28/03

Disgruntled Villeneuve blows a gasket   This Toronto Star article says that time has not healed Jacques Villeneuve's wounds. Far from it. Six weeks after he skipped the year's final Formula One race and left the BAR Honda team after five disappointing seasons, Villeneuve broke a self-imposed silence yesterday with a bitter broadside at both his former team and the F1 fraternity. Chief among his targets was David Richards, who replaced Villeneuve's agent, Craig Pollock, as the head of BAR. "I was being bad-mouthed to other teams by David and a few others at BAR. I don't know why they did it. Maybe it made them feel good, feel bigger," Villeneuve said to a small group of F1 reporters assembled on a sunny terrace at Pollock's home in this ski resort in the Swiss Alps. "Usually when a team tries to get rid of a driver, they make him look good so he can go somewhere else. With me it was the opposite. `Now that he's down on the ground, let's squash him even more, because we can. The more we beat him, the stronger it makes us.'" Villeneuve thinks the way he was treated is symptomatic of an F1 that has gone to the dogs, become a place for strutting poodles and poseurs, like Hollywood. "There are not enough passionate people in the paddock any more. It's full of idiots who couldn't care less about F1 racing. There are too many people who just want to be part of the paddock, the same way some people want to be in Hollywood, because they will never achieve anything on their own. "They're not good enough, but being part of the F1 paddock makes them feel special. That's what they achieve in life. That's how they can go to a bar, talk to a girl and feel big and strong." More...

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