Thanks for visiting our Hot News page
Please visit our
Rumors page for all the scuttlebutt. If you have some
news, or can supply more information about one listed here,
e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible
and we may post it. User agreement & disclaimer. Newer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic. Go to our
forums to discuss any hot news.
Business is booming in South Korea FedEx,
the world's largest overnight package-delivery company, has added
seven flights a week to Incheon International Airport, South Korea's
biggest, to meet increasing freight demand. FedEx increased its weekly
flights to Incheon, which serves Seoul, to 20 yesterday, South Korea's
finance ministry said. The government has been trying to promote the
country as a financial and logistics hub by making Incheon airport and
Busan port into cargo centers for north Asia. Five of the new weekly
flights will be direct services from Subic Bay in the Philippines,
FedEx's Asian distribution centre.
Radical Williams tops timesheets in
Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya lapped fastest as Williams' new Formula
One car made a promising test debut on Wednesday. Montoya lapped the
Jerez circuit in southern Spain with a best time of one minute 16.630
seconds, more than a second quicker than Brazilian Ricardo Zonta in a
Toyota, and completed 51 laps.
"We've concentrated on trying a variety of different set ups and
collecting initial data from the car," said Williams chief operations
engineer Sam Michael.
"Naturally, we have encountered one or two teething problems, as you
would expect with a new car, but Juan managed to complete some good
Montoya's initial reaction was also positive. "The car doesn't feel a
lot different from last year's," he said after that first run in
Valencia. "I think we have a potentially excellent car."
GM reaction to Joe Gibbs coaching
"Joe Gibbs was with the Washington Redskins when we first began to
build a team with him in the early 1990's," said Doug Duchardt,
Director of GM Racing. "Since forming Joe Gibbs Racing in 1991, Gibbs
has executed his racing organization with the same special leadership
skills that brought him success in the NFL. In the past four seasons,
Joe Gibbs Racing has given NASCAR championships to both Pontiac and
Chevrolet. GM Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing have enjoyed an excellent
relationship. With J.D. Gibbs maintaining his role as team president,
we have every confidence that JGR will continue to be a great partner.
We wish Joe all the best in his return venture with the Washington
ArcaEx to sponsor Franchitti
Andretti Green Racing announced today it has reached an
agreement with the Archipelago Exchange (ArcaEx) to become a
major sponsor on Dario Franchitti's #27 Honda-powered
Dallara during the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar™ Series
season. ArcaEx, which is an open, all-electronic stock
exchange, backed the #27 entry in 2003, which used four
different drivers en route to posting one win, seven
top-fives, nine top-10s and a sixth-place ranking in the
final 2003 IndyCar Series entrant points. "It's great to be
able to announce that ArcaEx is not only continuing its
relationship with Andretti Green Racing, but is becoming a
major sponsor," said Kevin Savoree, who owns the team along
with partners Michael Andretti and Kim Green. "ArcaEx stuck
with us through a lot of adversity this past season and was
a valuable partner every step of the way. "As a team owner,
it's gratifying to see a sponsor grow their involvement each
year and take advantage of what your team has to offer,"
said Savoree. "ArcaEx has been with us for three years now
and works harder every year to make sure its sponsorship is
as effective as it can possibly be." "ArcaEx has been able
to leverage it's sponsorship with Andretti Green Racing to
give our customers - traders and exchange-listed companies -
a unique experience at the races," said Archipelago CEO
Jerry Putnam. "We believe in competition, both on the race
track and in the equities market, so our affiliation with a
highly-competitive race team is a perfect fit." Franchitti
started the 2003 season in the Archipelago/Motorola
Dallara/Honda/Firestone, but was injured in an off-track
incident in Scotland after the second race of the season.
Dan Wheldon filled in for Franchitti in Japan, while NASCAR
driver Robby Gordon took over the controls at Indianapolis
and qualified the car on the outside of front row for the
Indianapolis 500. Following Indy, veteran Bryan Herta
stepped in and drove the car the remainder of the season
with the exception of the Pikes Peak event, which saw
Franchitti return for one race before opting for
season-ending back surgery. Herta hauled in the lion's share
of the results this season over the course of his 11 starts,
posting six top-fives, including a win in the Kansas Indy
300 at Kansas Speedway.
Legal firm to sponsor NASCAR
Starting a unique sports marketing initiative in 2004, one of
the country's fastest-growing legal firms will become the
most active car sponsor in NASCAR racing. Jenkins, Jenkins &
Jenkins, P.A., a top personal injury firm based in La Plata,
will sponsor three NASCAR Nextel Cup teams, three NASCAR
Busch Grand National teams, and four NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series teams this season. These associate sponsorships make
the firm the first legal firm to be involved in motorsports
sponsorship on a full-time basis, and make it one of the
very few companies of any type to sponsor teams in all three
divisions. Their involvement with 10 teams will be greater
than any car sponsor in the sport.
"The brand loyalty of NASCAR fans and the marketing power of
stock car racing is well-documented," said Frank P. Jenkins,
who along with his brother Louis P. Jenkins, Jr. are
partners in the law firm established 50 years ago by their
father. If motorsports can help guide consumers to soft
drinks or cell phone services, then something that can be
vitally important such as legal assistance should be a part
of it as well from a marketing standpoint," he added.
BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Dodge of driver Ken
Schrader, will be sponsored by Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins
the entire 2004 season. The logo will also appear on the #02
Score Motorsports NASCAR Nextel Cup entry of driver Hermie
Sadler in selected events, while also appearing on Sadler's
NASCAR Busch Series entry. In addition, the #0 NetZero car
of driver Ward Burton will carry the firm's logo in the four
NASCAR Nextel Cup races at Dover, Del., and Richmond, Va.,
while the #00 Haas/CNC Busch entry of driver Jason Leffler
will carry the Jenkins colors throughout the season. The #77
Moy Racing-owned Busch Grand National entry of driver Donnie
Neuenberger will be sponsored the entire year, as will the
Bobby Hamilton-owned #4 and #18 NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series entries; the #38 Cure Autism Now Ford Truck of driver
Brandon Whitt; and the #21 Innovative Motorsports Toyota
Truck of driver Hank Parker, Jr.
Roush and Yates merging engine building business
Two of the biggest names in NASCAR racing, car owners Robert
Yates and Jack Roush, are merging their engine-building
operations, in a stunning development for the two long-time
rivals. The move comes, Roush said, to meet the challenge of
a tremendous influx of European Formula One technology into
stock-car racing over the past 18 months and the pending
Toyota challenge. At the moment, the Roush-Yates merger
involves only engine technology, but sources said that the
opportunity is now there for much tighter work between the
two Ford camps - Yates, with drivers Dale Jarrett and
Elliott Sadler, and Roush, with drivers Matt Kenseth, Mark
Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle. "Ford has
encouraged Robert and me to have a 'technology transfer' to
become competitive with what Toyota is bringing and what
Chevrolet is doing and what Dodge has done," Roush said. The
Ford thing has been disjointed. Robert and I didn't
cooperate, and Ford was not in a position to carry any
amount of meaningful technology to both of us, even though
both of us were being funded for different projects. The
agreement was to help our programs singularly, but that is
just not going to work going forward, because you can't have
half a program and get the whole result. So we're working to
organize how to build better engines by taking both programs
and putting them together. Beyond that there are discussions
that could lead to deeper involvements, but those aren't
finalized at this point." Some crewmen sense an even deeper
merger of the two camps may be looming.
Winston Salem Journal
Gentilozzi has high hopes for
CART This Detroit Free Press
article says, While Paul Gentilozzi wouldn't say a
merger of CART and the IRL was in the works, he did say he
had spoken recently to Tony George, who has snatched a
number of teams, drivers and engine suppliers from CART in
the past few years.
"It may seem strange, but Tony is a friend of mine,"
Gentilozzi said. "We've been talking, and that's always
Gentilozzi dismissed suggestions that George would make a
counter bid to purchase CART.
"He will not do that," Gentilozzi said. "He's not that type
If Gentilozzi's group, which calls itself Open Wheel Racing
Series, purchases CART, Gentilozzi is confident it can be
successful this year. Sixteen races have been confirmed,
Gentilozzi said, with the first event scheduled for April 18
at Long Beach, Calif.
"I believe 100 percent in the product," Gentilozzi said. "I
think we can be profitable again."
Gentilozzi said Open Wheel Racing was negotiating a
television contract. Although races will not be shown on the
Speed Channel as in past years, Gentilozzi said Spike TV
could replace it.
"We'll have a better contract than last year," he said.
In his second year as a CART team owner, Gentilozzi again
will put Canadian Alex Tagliani in the No. 33 Johnson
Controls Lola/Ford. Last year, Tagliani had three top-three
finishes, won two poles and placed 10th in the series points
"I feel confident about this season," Gentilozzi said. "We
led some laps last year and had a solid seventh- and
eighth-place car at a lot of races. We've made a few changes
on the engineering side and had the new car in the wind
tunnel in England. I think we're a lot smarter now."
While owning a race series, running a race team and
conducting a real estate business, Gentilozzi expects to
race at least four of five times in Trans-Am this year.
"I'd like to get in there and cause a little trouble," he
said. "Maybe run a couple of endurance events, too."
Ferrari wins domain name battle
Formula One team Ferrari has won a legal battle over an
internet domain name. In a little over one month from
registering a complaint against the registered holder of the
domain name f1.Ferrari.com, Ferrari won the domain name.
End of an Era - the last of the Winston signs come down at
Work crews continue to remove Winston signs from the Daytona
International Speedway complex. Nextel Signage is scheduled
to be erected as follows:
Jan 8 and Jan. 9: Infield Trylons
Jan. 12: Tunnel Entrance Awning
Johnson Controls renews with
Rocketsports Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) today
announced its continued sponsorship of Lansing, Michigan-based
Rocketsports Racing in the 2004 Champ Car World Series. Brian Kesseler,
group vice president and general manager of customer business units
for the Automotive Group of Johnson Controls, and Rocketsports team
owner, Paul Gentilozzi announced their return to the premier
open-wheel racing series with ambitious plans for the upcoming season.
The automotive systems and facility management and controls leader
entered Champ Car competition in 2003 with the No. 33 Johnson Controls
Lola driven by Alex Tagliani.
Tagliani took the young team to the podium three times, secured two
pole positions and finished a strong tenth in the championship
Johnson Controls and Rocketsports Racing share a rich history, which
started in 1998, with support of Rocketsports in what is now known as
the Motorock Trans-Am Tour. An accomplished driver, Gentilozzi earned
three Trans-Am championship titles for Johnson Controls and holds
numerous Tour records. Gentilozzi has now shifted his primary focus
from the cockpit to pit lane, directing the open-wheel team efforts.
"Johnson Controls is pleased to join Paul Gentilozzi and the
Rocketsports team for a second Champ Car season," said Brian Kesseler,
group vice president and general manager of customer business units
for the Automotive Group of Johnson Controls. "Through our
involvement, we're able to enhance our relationships with key
customers and gain new opportunities."
"Involvement in the Champ Car World Series has taken Rocketsports
Racing and Johnson Controls to new levels of competition and business
relationships," said Gentilozzi. "We are excited and proud to continue
to build on the foundations we have established in our first season
and plan to further utilize the opportunities available to us through
"Johnson Controls has been an effective and supportive part of our
Champ Car effort," continued Gentilozzi. "They have become an integral
part of the team and have been involved in many aspects of the
competition, making the most of their sponsorship and access to the
team and paddock."
responsible for radical Williams aero design
Antonia Terzi, the woman in charge of the radical aerodynamic package
on the FW26 came up through the ranks at Ferrari, before jumping ship
to the Grove team. She joined Williams’ team of aerodynamicists for
the 2002 season and played a major role in evolving the concept of
last year’s FW25. Terzi assumed responsibility for the car’s look by
becoming chief aerodynamicist in April ’03 and that role placed her in
full control of the FW26 aero project.
Less access for British GP fans
Autosport Magazine reports that British Grand Prix fans will not be
allowed access to the centre of the Silverstone circuit this year,
robbing them of their only realistic chance of meeting the Formula 1
stars. Circuit bosses took the decision after a poor
take-up of centre transfer tickets. They have also claimed that it is
better to focus resources entirely on improving facilities on the
outside of the Northamptonshire track. The decision means
that spectators will have no access to the vicinity of the paddock,
which is the only place where most fans have a chance of gaining
autographs and photos of drivers during the grand prix weekend. It
also means that spectators will no longer be able to watch from the
inside of either Copse or Vale, both popular viewing points.
New owner of Brands Hatch wants
international races Speaking to Autosport Magazine,
Jonathan Palmer, the recent winner of the bid to buy Brands Hatch and
three other UK race circuits had this to say - “It’s pretty clear that
Brands is not the right venue for the GP,” he said. “Silverstone has
the land area that the Formula 1 of today needs. Brands doesn’t have
it and never will. The GP is not on the agenda.
“Having said that, there are plenty of other international race
meetings – and not just international ones, either – major
[national and international] motorsport
events that I believe Brands can and should hold.
“Yes, I would like to see the venue running international events. Part
of our challenge is to see what the costs are in terms of requirements
from authorizing bodies to attain the necessary circuit standards.
“We have to take a sensible view on what is cost-effective and what is
not. We have got to do it in a way that is not just about throwing big
chunks of money at it that the customer will never be prepared to pay
for.” [Editor's Note: We think Champ Cars may
someday be back at the famous circuit]
Renault and Puma announce multi-year
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team has today announced a multi-year deal
with Puma AG as an official supplier. Starting with the 2004
season, Puma will provide the Renault F1 Team with their official
teamwear and footwear.
Managing director Flavio Briatore commented: "We are pleased to
welcome Puma on board as a partner of the Renault F1 Team. Their
young, sporting image is a perfect match for Renault in Formula 1, and
the quality of their products unsurpassed. We look forward to a
successful season together."
"I am very pleased with our new partnership with the Mild Seven
Renault F1 Team," says Martin Gänsler, vice chairman of Puma AG. "With
ties to Italy, England, Spain, Japan and of course France, the Mild
Seven Renault F1 Team perfectly typifies the internationalism of
Formula One. With a long proud history in F1, the team has the
experience and know-how that it takes to thrive in grand prix racing.
We consider Renault a great fit for us as, like Puma, they nicely
combine sport performance with fashion flair."
Zanardi: I am good enough to win
Speaking to British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, Alex Zanardi said: "I
believe I'm good enough to win races.
"This isn't a comeback because I always felt I was a driver and I
never felt I lost my talent - that's in your head not your feet.
"After my accident, racing again wasn't even a dream let alone a goal
- yet here we are. But don't call me Superman because I don't regard
myself as an example.
"I don't want to take racing as seriously as I used to but that
doesn't mean I'm going to ease off.
"Taking part isn't enough and I believe I can win with a competitive
"If I was asked three years ago what I'd do if I lost both legs I'd
have said it would be better to kill myself. But I never think like
"Sometimes we forget what we have. I know that only one guy in a
thousand could have gone home alive after my accident and I'm that
"Now I see a human being is an incredible machine.
"Every one of us has a hidden tank of energy that comes out when it is
needed. This is a sign of hope that I have witnessed within my own
skin. I've experienced how great it is to be alive and how strong a
man can be."
F3000 makes 20-car minimum
An announcement confirming that there will be at least 20 cars in the
2004 FIA International F3000 championship is expected to be made this
week. formula-3000.net has learned that ten two-car entries have
already been submitted to the FIA for this year's championship, which
is expected to be the last under the F3000 name.
1/7/04 Industry News
ESPN Deportes to launch
With Hispanic television booming, ESPN Deportes, a Spanish-language
version of the main cable network, launches Wednesday.
ESPN Deportes will telecast a wide variety of domestic and
international sports programming, including Major League Baseball, the
NBA, the NFL, UEFA Champions League, Major League Soccer, Wimbledon
and the IRL Indy Car Series.
In addition, the network will offer a selection of Spanish-language
sports news and information shows, including its own SportsCenter,
which originates in Mexico City.
Other featured programs are Gol ESPN: Fuera de Juego, a round-table
discussion of the world of soccer, and ESPN's Perfiles, a half-hour
interview show that takes a look at Latin American sports stars.
"The full-time launch of ESPN Deportes demonstrates our commitment to
serve the growing appetite of the Latino sports fan," said Lino
Garcia, general manager of ESPN Deportes. "With a mix of marquee live
events and quality sports news and information shows, ESPN Deportes
will become the primary viewing destination for Latino sports fans."
Sounds great. The only problem is cable distribution.
"It's just a matter of time before we get significant distribution,"
ESPN's Chris Bellitti said. "By the end of the year we hope to be in
the top 25 Hispanic markets."
1/7/04 Industry News
Roush buys renowned race engine builder
from UK Roush, a leading supplier of advanced
automotive engineering services and specialty vehicle body
accessories, today announced the acquisition of Mountune Racing,
Limited, of England. This acquisition is part of Roush's on-going
strategy to expand their European engineering operations, and will
also address the growing demand for small-displacement,
high-performance engines in the United States.
Mountune founder David Mountain announced the acquisition, saying:
"Joining our successful business with one of the world's leading
automotive development organizations is a great opportunity. Our
wealth of experience backed by the considerable resources of Roush
will open a whole range of new collaborative activities."
Mountune Racing, Limited was founded in 1979 in Maldon, England, and
quickly established a reputation for building some of the most
successful Mini engines on the competition circuit. In the late 80's,
Mountune started preparing Cosworth YB engines for motorsport,
producing numerous championships and forging a long-term association
with Ford Motor Company. To date, Mountune has supplied engines for
road and rally racing, supporting championship teams from Ford,
Formula Palmer Audi, Ascari and Petronas/Proton.
"Mountune Racing is world-renowned for designing, prototyping, and
manufacturing championship-level, small-displacement race engines,"
said Jim Yagley, Roush vice president of engineering. "Their
expertise, particularly with turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, will
support Roush's expansion of our OEM engineering and production
Mountune Racing will be a wholly owned division of Roush, and will be
located within Roush's Brentwood, England facility.
"Roush and Mountune have a complementary blend of specialized
engineering talents," said John Mitchell, director of Roush operations
in Europe. "Combined, we can offer our customers a broader range of
services beyond what either organization could achieve on its own. Our
Brentwood facility already houses some of the most advanced automotive
engineering, design, and development capability in Europe. The
addition of Mountune Racing takes that capability to a new level."
1/7/04 German DTM
Safety Council to convene annual
International Council of Motorsport Sciences will convene its
fifteenth annual meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on January 15,
2004. The meeting known as the FIA-ICMS International Motorsport
Safety Symposium will feature safety presentations from experts in the
field of motorsport safety. Delegates from around the World will be in
attendance. Speakers will include, Professor Sid Watkins, Chairman,
FIA Safety Commission, Professor Hugh Scully, Chairman of the ICMS,
Drs. Stephen E. Olvey and Terry R. Trammell from CART, Dr. Henry Bock,
medical director of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, Dr. Paul Kozak, noted NASCAR physician and many additional
experts in the field of safety. Additionally Professor Robert Hubbard,
the inventor of the HANS device (the head neck restraint system for
racing drivers) will deliver an update on the system as well as
planned improvements for the future. There will be panel discussions
featuring experts on various aspects of motorsport. The ICMS is a
catalyst for the presentation and dissemination of safety information
as it pertains to racing drivers, crews and fans. The ICMS was formed
in 1985 by doctors and scientists in the field of motorsport safety.
Champion Racing announces 2004 plans
Florida-based Champion Racing, one of the most successful racing
teams in the U.S., will return in 2004 to compete in the American Le
Mans and SPEED World Challenge GT Series, as well as returning to Le
Mans to defend their podium finish from the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Founded in 1994 by Dave Maraj, Champion Racing (Pompano Beach, FL) has
become a formidable opponent for teams competing in sports car racing.
Supported by Audi Sport North America, Champion Racing will seek to
earn their first Championship title in the American Le Mans Series and
will look to defend last year’s Driver and Manufacturer Title in the
SPEED World Challenge GT Series.
Team ADT Champion Racing will make a concerted attack on this year’s
American Le Mans Series titles having re-signed veteran driver JJ
Lehto, the “Flying Finn”, and acquiring factory driver, Marco Werner.
Lehto and Werner will partner for the nine race American Le Mans
Series piloting a “customer” based Audi R8 prototype sponsored by ADT,
the largest single provider of total security solutions to
residential, business and federal customers.
JJ Lehto, born in Espoo, Finland but now resides in Monaco, spent a
number of years contesting the Formula One Series before coming to the
United States to compete in sports car racing. Since 1999, Lehto has
been competing in the American Le Mans Series driving for BMW,
Cadillac, and most recently Audi. In last year’s American Le Mans
season, Lehto earned eight podium finishes, four first place finishes,
and a third place podium finish at Le Mans.
Marco Werner, born in Dortmund, Germany but now resides in Kreuzlingen,
Switzerland, started racing in 1984 and his career has included
success in Formula 3000, touring cars, and GT racing. In 2002, Werner
joined the factory Audi team at Le Mans where his team placed third.
In his debut with the American Le Mans Series in 2003, Werner scored
three pole positions, eight podium finishes, and earned the Driver’s
Championship Title in his rookie season as well as helping Audi to
secure the Manufacturers’ Title for the 4th time in a row.
Partnering with Lehto and Werner for the 12 Hours of Sebring and the
24 Hours of Le Mans will be veteran driver Emanuele Pirro. Last year
Pirro and Lehto (along with Stefan Johannson) battled brilliantly
throughout the full 24 hours to give Champion Racing first place in
the LMP 900 class and third place overall. This podium finish was the
first overall podium finish by an American team in 19 years.
In the SPEED World Challenge GT Series, Champion Racing will return
with last year’s Audi RS 6 Competition Cars and Championship Drivers
Michael Galati and Randy Pobst.
Randy Pobst (Gainesville, GA) earned three pole positions and eight
podium finishes while teammate Michael Galati (N. Olmsted, OH) earned
one pole position and three podium finishes.
“On behalf of Audi Sport North America, we are once again proud to be
aligned with such a capable and competent organization like Champion
Racing”, declared Len Hunt, V.P. of Audi of America. “Champion Racing
has proven to be one of the best teams in sports car racing and we
look forward to providing them with support for another successful
The opening round for both the American Le Mans Series and SPEED World
Challenge GT Series begins with the 12 Hours of Sebring March 19–20 in
1/6/04 German DTM
Successful roll-out for Audi A4
DTM The preparations for Audi's comeback in
the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) continue in full swing
and exactly according to plan. Audi works driver Frank Biela
completed a successful roll-out with the new Audi A4 DTM
just before Christmas. The next phase of the DTM project
begins for the Audi Sport team after three months of
intensive development work: Following the successful maiden
outing, the Audi touring car with approximately 460 PS will
now be prepared for its race debut on 18 April at Hockenheim
by an extensive test program at various European race
"It was our goal to have the new A4 DTM up and running
before the New Year, to be able to test extensively before
the start of the season", explains Head of Audi Sport Dr
Wolfgang Ullrich. "That our team managed to keep the
extremely tight schedule for roll-out, speaks volumes for
Audi Sport and our partners. This gives us an advantage as
far as time is concerned when compared to our competitors."
The Audi A4 DTM is the first car that conforms to the new
DTM technical regulations, which now stipulates the use of
four-door saloons and has also changed in many other
details. "The A4 DTM is therefore a completely new
development, only the uprights and the prescribed DTM
standard components originate from the Abt-Audi TT-R",
explains Wolfgang Appel, Director of Vehicle Engineering at
Audi Sport. "The DTM regulations are very restrictive.
Nevertheless, we were able to incorporate several things
that made the Audi R8 so successful in the sport prototypes
over the last few years."
The Audi A4 DTM V8-engine is a development of the power unit
already used in the TT-R. "The DTM engine regulations also
only allow a small amount of latitude, that's why we paid a
lot of attention to detail", says Ulrich Baretzky, Director
of Engine Engineering at Audi Sport. Immediately
recognisable to the untrained eye are the V8 power unit's
exhaust pipes that end on car's flanks and were moved as
close as possible to the centre of the car. The driver's
seating position located extremely towards the rear is also
"The seating position is excellent, as is the field of
vision", noted Frank Biela after the roll-out. Although he
completed the first laps in dark, foggy and ice cold
conditions, the former German Touring Car champion and
three-time Le Mans winner was all warm inside: "It was a
very Christmassy feeling. The A4 looks absolutely fantastic
and felt good from the word go. I didn't expect anything
different: I've been lucky enough, during the 13 years in
which I have driven now for Audi, to complete a fair amount
of roll-outs. It was business as usual: You sit in and
everything works as it should, which is not always the case
in motorsport and shows just how professionally Audi works.
Now I can hardly wait for the first proper test."
New ALMS GT class team
The already strong competition level in the GT class of the
American Le Mans Series has jumped up another notch with the
announcement that Flying Lizard Motorsports, a new racing
team, will run two entries in the full series schedule this
season with an All-American driving lineup.
The team, based in Sonoma, Calif., will run a pair of new
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR cars in all nine American Le Mans Series
races. The season begins with the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve
Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway
Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law, two drivers with
extensive experience both in the American Le Mans Series and
in other forms of road racing, will handle the driving for
one of the Flying Lizard cars, while ALMS newcomers Lonnie
Pechnik and Seth Neiman will drive the other.
"We are excited about running in the world's premier road
racing series," said van Overbeek, who scored a GT class
victory in the ALMS in 1999 at Road Atlanta. "It makes for a
challenging first year, but the only way for us to grow as a
team is to run with the best."
Van Overbeek, from San Francisco, made 18 starts in the
American Le Mans Series in the 1999 and 2000 seasons for BMW
Team PTG, posting six podium finishes, including the win at
Road Atlanta. He is an eight-year veteran of professional
Law, from Phoenix, has competed in 13 ALMS races and in 1999
co-drove with van Overbeek to two podium finishes. He
competed in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta that ended the
2003 ALMS season.
Pechnik, who has been racing for 12 years and has been an
instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School, is from
Pacific Grove, Calif., while Neiman is from Burlingame,
Van Overbeek is one of the team's principals, along with
Pechnik, Neiman, team manager Eric Ingraham, crew chief
Tommy Sadler and chief engineer Craig Watkins. Partners
include Shoreline Communications, Inc., Brocade
Communications Systems, Inc., and Michelin Tires.
"Tires are the foundation on any race car," said Watkins.
"Having the product and technical support from Michelin will
help us get the most out of our Porsche RSRs in the coming
Another Sonoma-based team, The Racers Group, recently
announced a two-car effort in the GT class of the ALMS for
2004 with rising young American racing star Patrick Long as
one of its drivers.
"We welcome Flying Lizard Motorsports to the American Le
Mans Series," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the
ALMS. "They will be running a first-class racing team in one
of the toughest classes of competition that exists in the
world of professional sports car racing. We look forward to
a superb season of competition in the GT class and in all
four classes that make up the series."
The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the
green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will be
televised live from flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel. The
American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage
online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information is available online at
www.sebringraceway.com or by calling (863) 655-1442
Daughter Karma gives Bracks New
Year's Joy Team Rahal's Kenny Brack and his
wife Anita received the greatest New Year's Eve present
possible with the birth of their first child, daughter
Karma, at 6:31 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 31 in the Riverside
Methodist Hospital in Columbus. The newest Brack weighed six
pounds, 13 ounces and was 18 inches long. Ironically, Brack,
who was seriously injured in a crash in the IRL IndyCar Series
finale on Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway, also was in the
hospital at the same time after receiving a medical
procedure to improve his rehabilitation. "She is blonde as
could be with blue eyes," said the happy dad. "Everything
went very well, without any complications, except that I
could not be there to assist, or maybe that's why it went so
well! Luckily we had a good friend there instead. I was also
in the hospital, but a few floors up, recovering from
another surgery. What a great ending to an otherwise
challenging year! "I was able to see Anita and the baby in
the hospital room a couple of hours before New Years and we
had a great celebration together. That was very exciting and
I was able to see the new family member on video from the
delivery room!" Anita and Karma returned to the Brack's
Columbus home with Kenny on Jan. 2. "My parents are helping
Anita now with the baby and I am getting my sleep too," said
Brack. "I'm back into my rehab program and that feels good.
We've had some tough times this year but I'm looking forward
to 2004 so much." 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 in the crash with his
Pioneer/Miller Lite Honda car. Persons wishing to send a
congratulatory or 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.
SPEED Daytona testing air times
SPEED Channel will air half-hour shows from Daytona covering
NASCAR test sessions beginning tonight:
Jan. 6-8 -- 6 p.m. ET
Jan. 12-15 -- 6 p.m. ET
Jan. 18 and Jan. 21 -- 6 p.m. ET
Penske and Gaughan make it
Penske Performance, Inc., in conjunction with Jasper Racing
has announced that Brendan Gaughan will run the No. 77 Dodge
in the Nextel Cup series for 2004. Penske-Jasper Racing has
signed a multi-year deal with Kodak to sponsor Gaughan's run
for 2004 Rookie of the Year. "I am thrilled to get this
opportunity and thankful to so many people," said Brendan
Gaughan. "I appreciate the confidence that Kodak and the
Penske organization have shown in my abilities. I can't wait
for the 2004 season to begin." Gaughan joins Penske Racing's
Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace as a teammate.
Top technical talent on the
2001 & 2002 Indy Lights and 2003 Toyota Atlantic
Championship winning engineer, Gerald Tyler, one of the key
components in the rapid rise of RuSPORT this past season as
the team's technical director, responsible for the team's
instant dominating Championship winning performance, has
parted company with the team. Rumor has it he could
move to another CART team, the IRL or even NASCAR.
Red Bull Cheever team expands
to two cars
Red Bull Cheever Racing will expand to a two-car team for
the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series season, with
Alex Barron driving the No. 52 car and rookie Ed Carpenter
in the No. 51 car. Both cars will have
"Our planning for the 2004 season began at the end of last
year," Red Bull Cheever Racing managing director Max Jones
said. We wanted to build for the new season and hire the
best drivers, engineers and crew to get us back on the
podium. We're coming into a new year with two very talented
American drivers who complement each other well with their
range of open-wheel experience. We couldn't be in a better
position than right now."
Barron, 33, won his first IRL IndyCar race at Nashville in
2002. The Menifee, Calif., native served as a replacement
driver for three injured drivers last year – Gil de Ferran,
Arie Luyendyk and Felipe Giaffone. Barron won the 2003 race
at Michigan International Speedway, driving for Hollywood Mo
Nunn Racing. He joined Red Bull Cheever Racing for the final
three races, with a best finish of seventh at Chicagoland
"I'm really looking forward to having a full-time ride with
Red Bull Cheever Racing," Barron said. "The crew has already
been working so hard to prepare for the season. I'm glad
that I will be able to work with Ed Carpenter. He's a very
talented driver that will be able to show his full potential
Carpenter, a 22-year-old veteran of the IRL Menards Infiniti
Pro Series and USAC open-wheel racing, was victorious at the
inaugural Freedom 100 Infiniti Pro Series race last May at
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With three second-place
finishes in the Infiniti Pro Series in 2003, he competed in
three IndyCar Series races for PDM Racing, finishing 13th at
Chicagoland Speedway and 13th at California Speedway.
"I'm happy to be given the opportunity to work with Eddie
Cheever for a team that he has worked so hard to build,"
Carpenter said. "I have a close relationship with him since
he has been a mentor throughout my entire career. Being
teammates with an experienced driver like Alex Barron will
be a great advantage for me."
Cheever, a former IndyCar Series driver, is confident for
the 2004 season.
"GM ended on a really strong note last year," he said. "I'm
looking forward to continuing our relationship with GM and
our third consecutive year partnering with Red Bull. Not
only are we expanding to a two-car team, we're doing it with
two of the best American open-wheel drivers out there."
The Red Bull Cheever Racing team will participate in open
tests Jan. 27-29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the
IRL IndyCar season opener Feb. 29, and Feb. 10-12 at Phoenix
International Raceway, site of the second IRL IndyCar Series
race March 20.
SPEED to do 70 hours of NASCAR
coverage from Daytona
SPEED Channel will begin its coverage of Daytona SpeedWeeks on
Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET with live coverage of Bud Shootout
practice and won't pack up the production trucks until
NASCAR Victory Lane (Feb. 15, 8 p.m. ET) finishes its look
at the 46th running of the "Great American Race" -- the
"We launched SPEED Channel during SpeedWeeks 2002, so this
time of the year is very special to everyone on the SPEED
staff," said network President Jim Liberatore. "SpeedWeeks
is a monster effort for everyone involved, but it's a great
way to get the race season started. The drivers are ready to
go, the fans are ready to go and there is no question that
SPEED Channel is ready as well. Chances are, if there are
cars on the track, SPEED will be there."
Highlights of SPEED Channel's coverage include live
broadcasts of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb.
13, 8 p.m. ET), the ARCA race (Feb. 7, 4 p.m. ET) and the
Goody's Dash series race (Feb. 8, 3:30 p.m.) and in
addition, SPEED will broadcast live qualifying coverage for
the NASCAR Busch Series (Feb. 13, 10 a.m. ET) and NASCAR
Craftsman Truck Series (Feb .11, 6:30 p.m.) events.
SPEED's popular Trackside program with Darrell Waltrip,
Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and host Steve Byrnes will
run nightly from Feb. 9-13, with Friday's show being in
front of a live audience from the brand new 53-foot SPEED
Channel stage truck.
"With this new traveling stage vehicle, SPEED Channel will
have a definitive presence at every NEXTEL Cup event for the
entire NASCAR season," said Rick Miner, SPEED's Sr. VP of
Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "Not only
will it be the home to our Trackside program, but SPEED will
use the setting to generate additional content throughout
***Reader Question***IRL and
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just my two cents on
the whole CART thing. Perhaps I don't give Tony George's ego
enough attention, but here goes: With the IRL going
completely away from its stated vision of American drivers
on American ovals, what better time to talk merger with
CART/OWRS than now, with the reigning champion a
non-American and with the IRL's rumored interest in road
courses? I sure would like to hear the hum of the Champ Cars
at Indianapolis (I still remember the last great Indy 500,
the 1994 version, with the Penske runaway and Nigel
Mansell's "incident" with Dennis Vitolo), and I'm sure the
likes of Hornish, Barron, and Herta would love to tackle
Long Beach. And even though they won't admit it, I'm sure
Little Al and Michael Andretti miss the streets, too.
Maybe I don't think Anton's ego is as big as it is, and
maybe I just don't want it to be. The sport that got me into
racing is in disarray, and you would think OWRS's tenacity
and spirit could be combined with Tony George's deep pockets
to produce a juggernaut to rival, or *gasp* exceed NASCAR.
But unfortunately, with all the bitching and bickering by
factions who are chasing the almighty dollar instead of the
wastegate of the lead Champ Car, it will never happen soon.
So to AutoRacing1, I ask: Do you think that the moons will
align and a merger between OWRS and the IRL will happen in
the next few years? If not, what do you think it will take
to get open-wheel racing back on track? Keep up the good
work! Tim Traylor F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming
Dear Tim, The two sides are talking, so there is hope for a
merger. However, the split should have never happened
in the first place. It has done severe damage to Indy
Car racing as a sport to the point its future is in doubt.
Tony George made a major error in judgment in starting the
IRL. He should have used all that money to field
American drivers in CART when CART was booming and rivaling
NASCAR. Imagine how strong Indy Car racing would be
now if he had done that! As for a merger, I see a
major problem in that the IRL concept of what open wheel
Indy Car racing should be is severely flawed and its
plummeting TV ratings support that. Add to it all the
cars and human body parts that are destroyed each year and
it simply makes no sense whatsoever. We do believe
that CART has the right mix for a strong open wheel series
in North America - mostly road courses with only a few of
the dangerous ovals. Many of CART's road races are a huge
success. Tony George does not see it that way because
he is a member of the oval track cartel, joined at the hip
with the France family who are both in business to
make money from oval track racing. Hence why we feel
if there is to be a merger, the cars should absolutely be
Champ Car specs (which are good for both ovals and road
courses), there should be two divisions (oval division and road
course division) and a 5-race playoff between the two
divisions at the end of the year to crown an overall
champion. Mark C.
White jumps ship from Cosworth to
Renault The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is pleased to
announce the appointment of Robert White as Technical Director
Formerly Chief Engineer at Cosworth, 38 year-old White assumed control
of all technical activities at Viry-Châtillon effective 1 January
2004, and will work alongside Deputy Managing Director Bernard Dudot
at the French site.
“We are delighted to welcome an engineer of Rob’s caliber to the team
at Viry,” commented Managing Director Flavio Briatore. “His
appointment is another key step as we build towards challenging for
the World Championship.”. Press
release, Renault F1 Team Background
information on White
Specter Werkes #24 Cauley Corvette GTR
Damaged in Fire
The final session of testing for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was cut
short on Monday afternoon when the Specter Werks/Sports #24 Cauley
Corvette GTR presented by The Highlander caught on fire. The Corvette
was witnessed with flames as it came down the backstretch and flamed
up when driver Tom Bambard pulled off in the horseshoe.
Bambard was able to get out of the car on his own, and after a visit
to the infield care center, he was transported to Halifax Medical
Center as a precaution for smoke inhalation. He was later released
from Halifax with a clean bill of health.
“I’m not sure how the sequence unfolded,” remarked Bambard. “I recall
a bump or thump and then feeling the car take a violent dive to the
inside… and then spinning. I saw the flames and tried to control the
spin and guide the car to a run-off area. By that time, it was
apparent that I needed to exit the car as quickly as possible. With
the bulk of the fire engulfing the driver’s side, I made my way across
to the passenger window and was able to struggle free.”
Co-driver and owner of Specter Werkes/Sports, Jeff Nowicki, made the
“First and foremost, we are thankful that Tom was not harmed in
anyway. Our team is highly focused and committed to the safety aspects
of our endeavor. Our people come first.”
“With respect to the car, it is too early to determine the cause of
the fire. Hearing the comments of witnesses and putting together Tom’s
remarks, it’s obvious something triggered the bizarre sequence. We
will know more once we get the car back to shop and do a complete
“Overall, we were very happy with the week of testing,” continued
Nowicki. “Needless-to-say, this will be a set back and we face a very
difficult timeline to have the car ready for the Rolex 24 Hour race.
Every member of our team has personally pledged his or her full
support to rebuild the car and put it on the starting grid in Daytona
January 31. I’ve got a hunch we’ll be there.”
Interview with Flavio Briatore
Less than two months before departure for Melbourne, the Renault F1
Team's Managing Director talks about the coming weeks, and his
optimism for 2004. How is work progressing at the Renault F1 Team this winter?
Enstone and Viry are working together better than ever before. Renault
really made a name for itself in Formula 1 this year: people have
forgotten Benetton, or Renault as an engine supplier. We are one
Renault team, working harder than before, and working better. The
structures we have now put in place are the right ones, and the team
is very strong, very motivated. We have assembled a group of people
who want to win. You have recently announced a new major sponsor: how do you see the
commercial climate of F1 at the moment?
We have an excellent relationship with Japan Tobacco, our title
sponsor and thanks to our performances in 2003, we have signed a very
important agreement with i-mode. There will be more sponsors before
the start of the season as well. I think that overall, the environment
is very healthy for Formula 1. 2004 will be an important year,
expanding to China and Bahrain: this is now an international sport,
not just European or South American. F1 costs a lot of money, and
exploring new markets and new countries is part of getting a good
return on that investment. How about the changes for 2004?
I think the engine changes are a step in the right direction: they
will save money in the long term, even though meeting the regulations
will be a challenge for everyone this year. As for other changes, I
still believe we are doing too much testing. In 2003, we proved with
the Heathrow Agreement that the efficiency of your work is as
important as how many days you run: our rate of development matched
the top teams throughout the year. Our business is Grand Prix racing,
not testing: races are what people come to watch. Personally, I would
welcome more races and less testing, but there are other people who
think differently. And what about Renault in 2004? How do you expect things to go?
2003 was an exceptional year for us. As for the coming season, there
is nothing to say just yet. We are concentrating on finishing the car,
and producing a reliable, competitive engine. What I can say is, we
are optimistic about the engine, and those of us who have seen the new
car in the wind tunnel are very excited indeed about 2004. Press
release, Renault F1 Team
Benny Moon Wins Full Deal at
Barber-Champ Car Karting Scholarship Runoff Benny Moon,
19, of Shingle Springs, Calif., took home the top prize -- a fully
paid 2004 14-race season in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National
Championship Presented by RACER -- after the panel of judges
unanimously voted him the best following the two-day Barber-Champ Car
Karting Scholarship Runoff at Sebring International Raceway. The award
is worth $38,150, the cost for practice, qualifying and the race for
all 14 events. The FDNC series is the Official National Amateur
Championship of Champ Car. Earning runners-up prizes of $19,075 each
-- a half-season of FDNC -- were Jason Bowles, 21, Ontario, Calif.;
Mark Burt, 18, Debary, Fla.; Billy Johnson, 17, San Clemente, Calif.;
Lorenzo Mandarino, 17, Burnaby, B.C., Canada; and Ron White, 24, San
Jose, Calif. This was the largest field of karters ever assembled in
the seven year history of the Barber- Champ Car Karting Scholarship
Runoff; 35 of the best young karters from the United States and Canada
each spent the bulk of two days in a Formula Dodge R/T 2000. The
majority of the drivers in the Karting Scholarship Runoff come from
the ranks of the Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow series and the World
Karting Association (WKA). Previous scholarship winners of the Skip
Barber karting runoff include Ryan Hunter-Reay, Michael Valiante,
Patrick Long and A.J. Allmendinger. The judging panel was comprised of
eight noted coaches and drivers: Divina Galica, the managing director
of FDNC as well as the four Regional Skip Barber Race Series, plus
Bryan Herta, Kelly Collins, Jim Pace, Barry Waddell, Gregg Borland,
Rich Beam and R.B. Steiwing.
1/5/04 Industry News
Slight drop in 2003 sales for
DaimlerChrysler A report that does not bode well for
its F1 and NASCAR racing programs (i.e. are they helping?)
DaimlerChrysler AG sold 3,822,000 passenger vehicles around the world
in 2003 (3,976,300 cars in 2002). With unit sales of around 1,215,000
vehicles, the Mercedes Car Group, which encompasses the premium brands
Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, smart and Maybach almost attained the
record level reached in 2002 (1,232,300 units). Chrysler Group which
consists of the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands, sold 2,607,000
vehicles worldwide (previous year 2,744,000), despite a fiercely
contested U.S. market. Meanwhile, German rival BMW of North
America, (BMW and MINI brands combined) ended its best year ever with
robust twelve-month sales gain of 8 percent, reporting 276,869
vehicles over the 256,622 reported in 2002. It was the twelfth
straight year that BMW posted sales increases. Worldwide BMW figures
were not available.
Steve Young now passing in NASCAR
Legendary NFL quarterback Steve Young, already successful in
off-gridiron endeavors such as business and broadcasting has become
involved in the world of NASCAR auto racing. Young announced Thursday
that Jugular and YET, a line of energy drinks of which he is an
investor and company spokesperson, will be the primary sponsor of the
BH Motorsports 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Car. “Like many Americans, I
have been very excited by the explosive growth of NASCAR. To be a part
of a NASCAR team, and to promote healthy energy drinks like YET and
Jugular at the same time, was an irresistible opportunity,” said
Young, a Super Bowl MVP and a regular commentator on ESPN. “And we’re
very happy to be working with BH Motorsports on our entry into NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup. BH Motorsports have fielded cars in NASCAR competition
since 1989, with great drivers like Mike Skinner, Darrell Waltrip, Ken
Bouchard, Carl Long and Ron Hornaday.” The NASCAR sponsorship will
mark the start of a national marketing and advertising campaign for
Jugular and YET. BH Motorsports, signed Sudden Impact Partners, Inc. -
who own the Jugular and YET brand energy drinks - to a long term
sponsorship which will include merchandising and promotional
campaigns. Young explained why he endorses YET and Jugular: “Unlike a
lot of other energy drinks that use caffeine to give drinkers a short
term boost, YET and Jugular are caffeine-free healthy alternatives
that use herbal science to give athletes, or anyone, sustained
Frank admits new car ugly
Talking at today's launch of his team's 2004 FW26 car Sir Frank
Williams admitted that the much talked about nose of the car wasn't
exactly pleasing to the eye. "I don't think it's very pretty,"
admitted the Englishman, "but I'm sure I can fall in love with it if
it's quick." "Much worse from Frank's point of view,"
interrupted Patrick Head, "is that he hasn't got as much space in
terms of marketing exposure. However having known him for a long time
I can assure you that he'll be happy if it's fast. "It's not a
thing of beauty," he continued, "but if it's fast it'll begin to look
Piquet will get 2nd Williams chance
Nelsinho Piquet will have another chance behind the wheel of a
Williams F1 car, said Frank Williams today in Valencia at the launch
of the FW26. "I think the first test was a little bit too soon. He [Nelsinho
Piquet] was a little bit young. We will call him again but I don't
know when. Probably this year," said Williams. Nelsinho tested a
Williams at Jerez in December 2003 but his performance was much slower
than Ralf Schumacher and Marc Gené, who were using similar cars.
Williams doubts France will have 2004
race France is unlikely to be able to host a Formula
One race this season, Williams Formula One team chief Frank Williams
said on Monday. "We're planning for 18 (races) even though I can't see
how France can pay the teams for this 18th Grand Prix," Williams told
journalists in Valencia, where his team unveiled their new car they
hope can end Ferrari's dominance in the months to come.
Indy 500 Mini-Marathon sells
out at 30,000 Organizers announced today that the
28th running of the nation's largest half-marathon, the
Indianapolis Life 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, has sold out
with 30,000 registrations. In an effort to accommodate more
race enthusiasts who embrace this popular community event,
the 500 Festival had increased the field from 25,000 to
30,000 on January 2.
"Selling out this event with 30,000 entries this early is
unbelievable," said Kirk Hendrix, President and CEO, 500
Festival. "It is testament to the popularity of what has
become a prized Indianapolis tradition. As a community
festival, we are thrilled we were able to expand the field
to accommodate another 5,000 participants."
This marks the earliest sellout for the event.
Registrations for the 2004 Mini-Marathon, scheduled for
Saturday, May 8, have been rolling in at record pace. On
this day last year, 5,603 participants had registered. The
2003 event sold out with 25,000 entries on Feb. 12. The 2002
Mini-Marathon reached its capacity of 25,000, March 25.
"The popularity of this event can be attributed to the
support of our corporate partners Indianapolis Life, AT&T
Wireless, WISH TV, Marsh, St. Francis Hospitals, Finish Line
and Susquehanna Radio. We would also like to thank the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway for their continued support of
the event," said Hendrix.
The increased field calls for additional volunteer support.
Individuals or groups (church groups, corporations,
associations, etc.) are invited to volunteer to distribute
race packets to athletes, decorate Victory Mile, answer
questions, motivate participants at designated mile markers,
award medals at the finish line and more. To volunteer,
register online at www.500festival.com or call the 500
Festival's volunteer coordinator at (317) 614-6130.
Registrations for the AT&T Wireless 5K are also on a record
pace. The field of 3,000 participants is nearly half full,
and it is not expected to be expanded. Participants for the
5K may register online at www.500festival.com. Both races,
the Mini-Marathon and the 5K, are scheduled for May 8.
The 500 Festival was created in 1957 to organize civic
events celebrating the Indianapolis 500. It is a
not-for-profit organization supported by corporate
sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales. More than 6,000
volunteers help produce 500 Festival events. With annual
participation of more than 400,000 people from around
Indiana and the world, it has grown to be one of the largest
festivals in the nation.
Williams driver quotes after
testing new car In the bright Spanish
sunshine and average temperatures of 15° C, Juan Pablo
Montoya and Ralf Schumacher completed the
maiden laps of the team's new challenger for the 2004
Formula One World Championship, the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26. The
radical new design of the FW26, especially the snub nose and
front wing geometry, attracted widespread commentary.
Juan Pablo Montoya left the garage at 14:40hrs and recorded
14 laps altogether on the 4.005 km circuit, before handing
over the car to team-mate, Ralf Schumacher. The German
started driving at 16:34hrs and completed a total of 3 laps.
Juan Pablo Montoya: "My first impression of the FW26 is very
good. The car doesn't feel a lot different from last year's,
which is a very good start and I think we have an excellent
potential car. I felt comfortable straight away and could
push the car from the outset, so thanks are due to the team
for having built a very promising car.
In spite of the restrictions imposed by the new rules, which
give you less drag and make the car more difficult under
braking, everything feels just right. The dusty track
conditions were not 100% ideal today and we only completed
six hard laps, so I don't want to sound too optimistic, but
there isn't a single area that doesn't work. I am very, very
pleased, I think this car has got a good future."
"It is always positive if the first day runs according to
plan and I can say that the car feels good, perhaps similar
to the FW25. I really have high expectations of the radical
approach taken to this new car.
Of course the roll out on launch day does not tell us much
about the true performance of a new car and I only completed
three laps. Basically it is all about installation laps and
system checks, so it is far too early to make serious
comments about the FW26."
The team will be now continuing its testing program from
7th to 13th January in Jerez (Marc Gené all days except
10th, Juan Pablo 7-10, Ralf Schumacher 10-13).
Liberatore confirms no CART and
Trans-Am on SPEED Channel
In this interview, SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore
confirms that CART and Trans-Am will not be back on SPEED
Channel in 2004. Transcript
7-11 expands into mainland
China 7-Eleven Japan has teamed up with a Chinese
company to begin opening stores in Beijing and other areas
in China. Currently, 7-Eleven operates 600 stores in Hong
Kong and Shenzhen. Financial Times (London) [Editor's
Note: Maybe the IRL will beat CART into China, or
7-11 sponsor a Champ Car team if CART gets there first.]
Williams designer comments on
his new car WilliamsF1 Chief Designer Gavin
Fisher had this to say about his new FW26 car at today's
"The FW26 is not an iteration of its predecessor, which
might surprise some people given the former car’s relative
success”, Fisher revealed. “You cannot stand still or relax
your development pace for a single minute in Formula One."
“The term 'radical' is devalued because it is over-used,” he
claimed. “To a large extent the possibility is excluded by
the restrictive technical regulations that govern Formula
One. That said, it will be immediately evident to onlookers
that a high degree of innovative design has gone into the
"There is a great deal of anticipation on our part about
this new car," he explained. "It has challenged us
throughout its development, and there is certainly a sense
that the day that it runs for the first time will be more
significant than launch days in previous years. All of the
team members will be proud that they have made enormous
efforts to push the performance of this car as far forward
as possible, and that in doing so will have written the
opening chapter in what will become a successful season.”
Montoya responds to McLaren
move at Williams launch Juan Pablo Montoya
was bombarded with questions at the BMW WilliamsF1 FW26
launch today about his move to McLaren in 2005.
"There are many reasons, and it was a very difficult
decision," Montoya said. "Only time will tell if I made the
right choice, as both teams are at the very top of Formula
One and are expert and very professional."
"The decision was not all about money as some newspapers
have said, and it certainly wasn’t because I don’t think the
BMW WilliamsF1 Team can win titles, as I expect and hope we
will be doing exactly that this year," he added.
"Sometimes it’s as simple as the new challenge, and by the
end of this season, I will have been with the team for four
years, which is probably longer than the average time a
driver stays with one team," he claimed.
Looking to 2004 Montoya said, "If we’re all honest, after a
great mid-season run, we didn’t finish 2003 so well. Winter
hopefully gives us the time to reflect on all the
shortcomings, and I know our main intention is to come out
fighting from Australia, no excuses. In seasons gone by, we
have always looked to see where the opposition is after the
winter. I hope this year that the other teams at least will
have as much concern about our performance as we
traditionally do about theirs."
Gene targets Montoya's seat
Speaking at the launch of Williams' new FW26 challenger in
Valencia today, Williams test driver Marc Gene said he would
be gunning to step-up to its race team when Montoya departs.
"My goal is to replace Montoya in 2005," said Gene. "I am
aware that the competition will be tough, but I think my
performance at Monza last year will help my case."
BAR strengthens ties with STL
Lucky Strike B•A•R Honda has today signed a two-year deal
with UK communications firm, STL, as an official Team
Since its foundation back in 1995, STL has expanded rapidly
and is now one of the largest independent communications
companies in the UK, specializing in the design, supply,
installation and maintenance of business communication
The company will play an integral role in both the internal
and external communications systems for the team, providing
a range of services including state-of-the-art data transfer
from trackside at races and tests back to the team’s
Operations Centre. STL will manage the full
telecommunications system at the Brackley base and also
implement their Least Cost Routing system, ensuring B•A•R
continues to be one of the most efficient teams on the grid.
B•A•R Head of I.T., David France, commented: "Fast and cost
effective telecommunication is a key component of a
successful Formula One team. STL have been working closely
with B•A•R since the formation of the team and we are
delighted to be consolidating our strong relationship. We
are looking forward to working with STL who will be helping
B•A•R to achieve the very best from available and emerging
Following the agreement, Brendon Cross, Managing Director of
STL, said: ‘’Having designed, implemented and supported a
broad range of communications services for B•A•R, we are
delighted with the formalization of our partnership. Our
association with B•A•R helps us to innovate ground-breaking
solutions for the small, medium and large corporations that
form our customer base.’’
Along with its involvement in Formula One with B•A•R, STL
provides communications systems for a range of industries
including high technology consumer firms, petroleum
conglomerates and car manufacturing.
1/5/04 Karting News
Gidley karting classic - Day 2
Despite another gloomy weather forecast, the concluding day of
the 5th annual Memo Gidley Karting Clinic wrapped up Sunday
without a hint of rain. Thus the KT-100, Parilla and 125cc
shifter competitors who turned up at Hawaii Raceway Park
enjoyed a full day of classroom sessions and on-track time
built around simulating a full race weekend. When the dust
settled, Gidley chose Parilla competitor Greg Perrin as this
year's recipient of the Jim Russell Racing School award,
which will send him to Infineon Raceway for the renowned
3-day Techniques of Racing course. "He seemed to have a lot
of good ability and just a good instinct when he was driving
out there, and I noticed it right away," says Gidley. "From
the first session when I was out following him around, I
said 'this guy's pretty good right off the bat,' on a track
he really hasn't been on much before. That's what impressed
me, and after working with him a little bit, he seemed to
get it and understand what I was saying, so that's the guy I
want to send over." For Perrin, an Oahu resident who travels
to Maui frequently as part of the Maui Go-Karting
Association's rapidly-growing Parilla class, the award wraps
up a stellar 2003 season in which he swept the 50th State's
triple crown of karting - The Aloha State Games at HRP, his
club championship at Puunene, and the Hawaii State Karting
Championships at the same facility last month.
1/5/04 Industry News
Big car giveaway by GM
General Motors will give away 1,000 cars and trucks in the United
States during the next two months in its biggest promotion of that
kind, as the world's largest carmaker lures potential buyers to
dealerships. The GM Hot Button campaign will cost US$50 million,
with half for the vehicles and the rest for advertising and marketing,
director of retail planning Steve Hill said. The
promotion, in which dealership visitors press a button in a designated
vehicle, starts today. January and February traditionally
draw fewer new-vehicle shoppers because of cold weather.
GM estimates it will attract as many as 40 per cent more customers
with the promotion.
1/5/04 Industry News
company buys Brands Hatch
The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc., ‘Interpublic’ announced
today that it has agreed to sell four of the motorsport circuits owned
by Brands Hatch Circuits Limited to MotorSport Vision Limited for an
undisclosed sum. The sale includes Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Cadwell
Park and Snetterton.
As a result of the sale, Interpublic’s interest in UK motorsport will
now focus on the Silverstone circuit. Brands Hatch Circuits Limited
will be re-named Silverstone Motorsport Limited. The deal does not
affect its interests and commitments in relation to Silverstone
including the remaining payments under an executory contract and an
MotorSport Vision Limited is a new company led by Jonathan Palmer that
has been established for the purposes of owning and developing the
four circuits. The new company will complement Jonathan’s existing
PalmerSport activities based at Bedford Autodrome, which provides
motorsport events for the corporate market.
Andrew Waller, who remains with Interpublic to become managing
director of Silverstone Motorsport Limited, commented: “We are
delighted that Jonathan Palmer and his team are acquiring the four
circuits and believe that our sale to his company will help to
safeguard the future interests of UK motorsport.”
Jonathan Palmer, managing director of MotorSport Vision, commented:
“Race driving, commentary and motorsport business have dominated my
life and I am thrilled to have been successful in acquiring four of
the most famous motorsport circuits in Britain. We are absolutely
committed to developing motor racing at the circuits and believe that
through innovation and quality enhancement we can revitalize one of
the UK’s most exciting sports.” Press Release [Editor's
Note: Now we will see if this new company has the money to make
improvements (safety on the long circuit and a new pit lane complex)
to the Brands Hatch long circuit and whether they have an interest to
bring the Champ Cars back in 2005.]
runs Toyota FABCAR
FABCAR's Dave Klym has used his Toyota-powered Daytona Prototype as a
show car for the last few months, but today the race car finally hit
the track with Tommy Riggins behind the wheel. Late Saturday
afternoon, an agreement was reached between FABCAR and Brumos Racing
to allow Riggins a chance to test the car this weekend and gain some
FABCAR has been working with Heritage Motorsports, which Riggins and
Dave Machavern won the GTS championship with last season, on an
agreement for the Vermont-based team to run the Daytona Prototype in
the Rolex 24. However since an agreement has yet to be reached,
Jacksonville-native Riggins was not going to get any experience in the
car until Brumos Racing, also of Jacksonville, offered its assistance
with crewmembers and fuel. Goodyear then stepped up to assist with the
tires, and Toyota lent a hand attending to the engine.
Guy Cosmo, who has experience in the Toyota FABCAR of Cegwa Sport,
first took the car out for a quick shakedown before handing it over to
"To say this is exciting would be right. It was a different
environment. I spent a couple of years in the other car (Mustang);
that environment and nature was comfortable to me. This is different.
They are real race cars. It feeds back different. I'm getting used to
that, and I'm getting used to the environment; how things are and the
threshold and things," explained Riggins. "It was just a great
inauguration for me in one of these cars. I know the track here, and
the Brumos guys have just been wonderful to decide to do this
yesterday about 30 minutes before the garage closed and have us make
the first session today. That was a phenomenal thing; I can't thank
them enough for this opportunity.
"The whole focus today was to get me a lot of time in the car. I've
never had car owners so enthused. It overwhelms me that people have
gone out of their way to do something for me like this," added
Jr. likes being back on road course
After spending two years competing with the Indy Racing League, Arie
Luyendyk Jr. returned to his road racing roots this weekend when he
tested with the SpeedSource No. 9 Ford Multimatic. Although the
22-year-old son of Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk is quickly adjusting
to being back on a road course, he is still getting used to being in a
heavier, closed-cockpit car.
"This was the first time I've ever driven a car with a roof over my
head. It was a new experience," said Luyendyk Jr. "My first impression
was it has a lot more weight than what I'm used to driving. That took
a lot of getting used to. This is the first time I've driven a road
course in two years. Just the braking and getting back into the swing
of things; it's a little bit of a learning curve, but at the moment we
are doing very well."
Luyendyk Jr.'s road racing experience includes racing in the U.S.
F2000 for two years in addition to competing in Formula Ford 1800 in
Europe. For the past two years, he has run in the IRL Infiniti Pro
Series, where he raced strictly on oval courses.
"It's nice to finally get back in the car and get on a nice track like
Daytona and really push the limits of the car on a road course," said
Luyendyk Jr. "It's great that SpeedSource gave me the opportunity to
drive in the Rolex Series with a great car. I think we were sixth this
morning, and there are a lot of improvements we need to do with the
car, so I'm really happy to be 22 (years old) and running in the
prototype class at Daytona. It's a pretty prestigious thing, and I
just hope to last the whole race. The longest race I've ever done is
45 minutes or so. I'm going to have a lot of work on the table."
glad to be back in sports cars
To most race fans, team owner Chip Ganassi is known for his NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup Series and open-wheel racing teams. However, the former
sports car racer is returning to his roots with his new Daytona
Prototype team in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
"This is like coming full circle really. I drove here in 1986 in (the
Rolex 24) in a Buick-powered March sponsored by RC Cola for a guy
named Phil Conte, who was very active in sports cars for many years.
He had me come to Daytona and drive down here with John Paul Jr. and
Whitney Ganz," said Ganassi. "Sports car racing has been in my heart
for a long time. There was an opportunity to get involved again, and I
couldn't pass it up."
"I like the idea of the formula now. Back in those days, you had
factories getting involved and if you weren't a factory team, you had
to really struggle to keep up with them as a privateer. It's more open
now for everybody to get involved. With the formula now, you really
have to work hard to find speed and obviously you still need
reliability for 24 hours. We've got a little bit of learning to do. We
like the direction of the series right now and that's why we're back,"
continued Ganassi, who will have Max Papis and Scott Pruett piloting
his team's No. 01 Comp USA Lexus Riley this season.
This weekend's testing was the first opportunity for Ganassi's team to
take its new car on track.
"It's very much in the development stage. When we unloaded here it was
the first time that sucker turned a wheel. We've got a lot to learn in
a short period of time. The first race is always the toughest," said
Pruett. "You've got to take Daytona by itself. The Rolex 24 is the
survival of the fittest. Those guys who have done their homework and
have a bit of luck and can take advantage of the opportunity to come
here, they may not be the fastest, but certainly can run the longest."
Ralf talks ongoing
Ralf Schumacher has revealed that talks are ongoing over his future at
Williams. The German could be using Juan Pablo Montoya's
departure after next season as a way of boosting his reputed
£12million wage demands, though he insists the delay in agreeing a new
deal is nothing to do with money. "The real reasons are
confidential," said Schumacher. "I would not expect anything to happen
in the near future." Schumacher finished back in fifth place in
the drivers' standings last season - 24 points adrift of Montoya - and
has still to prove he can finally emerge from the shadow of his big
brother, world champion Michael.
Luyendyk teams with Pocket Choppers
Arie Luyendyk Jr., a veteran Indy Racing League competitor and the
2003 Infiniti Pro Series’ “Most Popular Driver Award” winner, has
partnered with Pocket Choppers, Inc. from Belding, MI, for the 2004
Pocket Choppers is a company that produces and distributes miniature
motorized bikes that look and sound just like their bigger
counterparts – full-sized motorcycles!
“These bikes are so cool!” stated Arie Jr. after getting his first
taste of riding the Pocket Chopper through the streets of Scottsdale.
“They reach around 40 mph which, on a bike this small, is really fast.
This is going to be the hottest pit bike in the IRL next year! I’m
pretty tall, but the bike still fits me and is comfortable. We’re
going to have some fun with this Pocket Chopper in the next few weeks!
I want to thank Joel and Rachel Golden for the opportunity they have
given me to represent their product. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of
interest in the Pocket Chopper from the racing community.”
Kicking off their association, both Pocket Choppers and Arie Luyendyk
Jr. will be appearing at the 2004 O’Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals
in Tulsa, OK. Pocket Choppers will be exhibiting in a trade show booth
for the duration of the event lasting January 7-10, 2004, while Arie
Jr. will sign autographs and meet with the fans both Thursday and
Friday, January 8-9, in the Pocket Choppers booth.
'We are ecstatic to be teamed up with Arie," said Pocket Choppers CEO
Joel Golden. "We think that this is a great opportunity for people to
see our little chopper. This is also a great opportunity for Arie to
make his presence felt as he rumbles by everyone in the pits! We wish
him the best of luck in his first year of Indy Car racing!"
Pocket Choppers are built with a Tecumseh 4-stroke engines, Comet
Torq-A-Verter, #40 chain, 14-gauge frame tubing, straight pipe exhaust
for a big bike sound, an 8-inch front wheel and a 6.5-inch rear wheel,
custom-made show quality seat and aluminum triple clamps. They have
ergonomically designed peg and handle bar positions for riders up to
and over 6’ and 300 pounds, and they come in red, blue or black,
although custom colors are also available (check out Tony Stewart’s
new “Home Depot Orange” bike at the Chili Bowl).
1/4/04 Karting News
Rain hits Gidley karting classic
Things looked very bleak weather-wise heading into Saturday's opening
of the Memo Gidley Karting Clinic. El Memo conditions had drenched
Oahu with six straight days of heavy rains, keeping the CART veteran
down to a single surfing session over New Year's and thoroughly
saturating all parts of the island. Some areas reported as much as 6.4
inches of rain Friday night (including 4+ in the Barbers Point area by
Hawaii Raceway Park), and the morning paper blared "don't expect blue
sky before Monday at the earliest." But miraculously the opposite
prevailed, and the young karters who turned out for day one got a
proper education and plenty of on-track lead-follow time as the track
quickly dried out and sun block inexplicably became the order of the
day. "Waking up this morning, we were pretty confident it was going to
rain today for sure, but we were prepared for it; we thought we could
still have some fun. It's a relatively new track, which means there's
not a real slippery race line, so even though you don't have rain
tires, you can still run on it and have a good time, and the kart
works pretty well. I'm really happy it dried out, because most of the
kids race in the dry and want to work on their dry line, so it was
nice it turned out pretty clear." The veterans get their turn Sunday
with full practice, qualifying and race simulations scheduled as they
compete for the Jim Russell Racing School prize package. But parts of
Oahu began raining steadily again overnight...
Moss says F1 was better before
Former British F1 driver, Sir Stirling Moss says he wouldn't swap the
measly salary that he earned in the 1950's if it means having to
endure the lifestyle that today's drivers have. "The drivers of today
might get the money but I think they had the worse deal compared to my
day because we had all the crumpet!" Moss told Revved Up.
"In my era, half the pleasure was driving to places. I had a pretty
nice car and you would just drive from one small town where the race
was to the next - like Bordeaux or Sanremo. You would drive there and
then you'd have a party at the end. And if you didn't go to the party,
you wouldn't get your money."
"It was much different then than now. There was a great comradeship,
which is nice. I think we certainly had the best of it. We didn't get
the amounts of money they do now but still it wasn't too bad. I was
the highest-paid driver in the world in Formula 1 in 1961. I did 52
races, won 37 of them and my gross income, if you index-linked it to
today, was about £500,000."
"Nowadays, with all the outside inputs regarding sponsors, the sport
takes over the lives of the drivers. I can't think of anything worse."
Moss also believes that the on-going attempt by F1 to make the sport
safer for drivers and spectators has taken a lot away from the
spectacle. He said: "The one advantage we had was that it was a
"Funnily enough when you are in it, the danger is a very important
ingredient, just like salt is for cooking. The fact that it was
dangerous made it a lot more special. You don't want to die, of
course, but if you managed to pull a move on another guy it felt
"One thing that I never really experienced was G-force. You did get a
little on high-banked circuits but not all that much. The worry of
being safe never really entered our minds. But if I had experienced
how safe the cars are now I would be just the same as the drivers
nowadays and think 'Christ, this is dangerous!'"
He added: "Safety has become important but they don't mind buggering
up the circuits with chicanes. Safety has to be a big consideration
but if you're asking me, I think Formula 1 has got worse overall."
Button expects 2004 to be competitive
"It's going to be so competitive,” Jenson Button told the BBC of the
2004 season. “There's not one team you could pick out which is going
to be above the rest. We're going to be a lot stronger, and Renault
will still be around that area. Toyota will be strong and Jaguar are
going to make a good step forward. It's going to be a great season and
it will be good to see the field bunch up a bit more and have some
1/4/04 Industry News
Chicagoland Expands Infield facilities
Due to the increased demand for extra spaces in the Infield RV area at
Chicagoland Speedway, an additional 184 RV spaces have been made
available for race fans to purchase for the 2004 season. "The growth
of motorsports and the overall excitement both locally and nationally
is very evident by the increased demand we have each season for
additional RV spaces," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and
general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. The additional infield RV
spaces have been added along the backstretch, as well as the inside of
turn 1, allowing race fans to get even closer to the on-track racing
excitement. Chicagoland Speedway currently offers guests the
opportunity to purchase an RV space in the Infield and Speedway Ridge.
The Infield area offers track and non-trackside spaces, while Speedway
Ridge, located outside of the backstretch between Turns 2 & 3, offers
race fans an extraordinary view overlooking the entire speedway.
1/4/04 TEAM USA News
Team USA in New Zealand UPDATE The three winners of
the 2003/2004 Team USA Scholarship continued to show a good turn of
speed today in a test session at a blisteringly hot Levels Raceway,
Timaru, which will host the opening two races of the Talley’s
International Formula Ford Series next weekend, January 10/11.
Joe D’Agostino, 19, from Plantation, Fla., emerged marginally the
quickest of the trio, posting a best lap at 1m 06.8s around the
1.49-mile (2.4 kms) track on New Zealand’s South Island. Charlie
Kimball, 18, from Camarillo, Calif., was within 0.2s in his identical
Stealth/Van Diemen, with Ryan Millen, 19, from Newport Beach, Calif.,
also right on the pace. Unofficially, all three Americans were clocked
faster than a few other local drivers, including Auckland’s Tim Edgell
who took his brand-new Van Diemen RF03 to third- and second-place
finishes in the opening round of the New Zealand national championship
at Pukekohe in November.
"We’re all feeling very comfortable in the cars now," said D’Agostino,
"and we’re starting to understand what we need out of the cars, so
it’s good. Timaru is a relatively short track but it’s fun. It kind of
reminds me of Lime Rock Park (Conn.) because you get to do a lot of
laps and you can really work on improving from corner to corner.
"It was really hot today," he continued. "It was up around 90 or 100
degrees, but what’s good is that even though the track was getting
slower as it got hotter, we were all setting similar lap times. I
think we’re going to be in good shape for the race. It’s going to be a
dog-fight between the three of us."
Kimball, too, was pleased with the test.
"I’m getting to understand what the car needs," he said. "It was a
really good day, but it was SO hot! It reminded me of Buttonwillow
(Calif.) in the summer – it’s almost too hot to run in the heat of the
Millen continued to run an older-spec engine (the race motor will be
fitted in time for a final shakedown test at Ruapuna next week), but
was delighted with his progress.
"Today went really well; it went great," said Millen, who is the only
one of the three to have raced previously in New Zealand – he won last
year’s South Island regional championship, also in a Canterbury Motor
Racing School-prepared Stealth/Van Diemen. "I’m losing a little time
on the straightaways but that’s OK. Once we get the new engine, we
should be good to go."
D’Agostino, Kimball and Millen are following in the footsteps of the
likes of Jimmy Vasser, who won the first Team USA Scholarship in 1990,
Bryan Herta (1991), Jerry Nadeau (1993), Memo Gidley (1995) and A.J.
Allmendinger (2001). The trio will take a little time off to explore
the New Zealand countryside before their next test at Ruapuna.
1/1/04 - Below left is a photo of two of the three Stealth Van Diemens that the
Team USA Scholarship drivers -- Joe D'Agostino, Charlie Kimball and
Ryan Millen -- will drive in the upcoming Talley's New Zealand
International Formula Ford Series, which will include the New Zealand
Grand Prix at Teretonga Park on January 18. All three drivers
tested at Ruapuna Park on December 30/31, with D'Agostino unofficially
circulating below the Formula Ford lap record with a lap at 1m 29.88s.
Bottom right photo, Left to right: Joe D'Agostino, Charlie Kimball and
Ryan Millen pose with one of the Canterbury Motor Racing
School-prepared Stealth Van Diemens.
Johnson gets taste of prototypes
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson got his first taste of
Daytona Prototype racing today when he got behind the wheel of the
Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 4 Boss Snowplows Chevrolet Crawford
Johnson was able to get in his first few laps just before the morning
session was checkered. "It was good. I think I made two laps. I spun
out on my second one. I didn't hit anything. I got (the spin) out of
the way. It's a totally different vehicle to be in. I'm going to have
a lot of fun with it. I'm really looking forward to it. It's the first
time meeting a lot of the drivers I'm teamed up with. It's going to be
a great experience," said the driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home
Improvement Chevrolet in the NEXTEL Cup Series.
"I've always wanted to compete in it (the Rolex 24 At Daytona). I
didn't realize I was going to have a chance to compete at such a great
level with the Crawford group and the Daytona Prototype class. Through
the holidays, it's been the first thing I've been thinking about. I
know Daytona is coming for us in the Cup car, but my first race is
going to be the Rolex race. When I wake up each morning and think of
race cars, I've been thinking of that race and nothing else," Johnson
"It's just for fun. It's obviously a serious effort. They (Howard-Boss
Motorsports) want to win the race. For me, it's a great way to work
out all the rust out of my head and get all my hand and eye
coordination working proper. It's a great way for me to knock off the
rust and have some fun," he said.
In addition to Johnson, NEXTEL Cup drivers Tony Stewart and Dale
Earnhardt Jr. are expected to be on hand for pre-season testing this
weekend, piloting the Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 2 Chevrolet
Crawford. Steve Park has also been in discussions with Schuitemaker
Motorsports about testing the Grand-Am Cup Series team's No. 35 Nissan
350Z this weekend.
Newman to drive in Rolex 24
Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman returned to Daytona
International Speedway this weekend to participate in pre-season
testing in Gunnar Racing's No. 79 Porsche FABCAR. While not listed on
the team's official entry, both Newman and Michael Brockman have
joined Gunnar Jeannette in the team's Daytona Prototype.
"I was very impressed. My expectations were definitely exceeded. The
car is an absolute blast to drive. The Porsche engine is wonderful,"
said Jeannette of his first laps in the Daytona Prototype. "We are all
very happy. Paul's happy, and we just want to get more seat time.
Everyone likes it though, and that's a big part of why we are here."
Newman and Jeannette teamed with NASCAR's Kyle Petty last season in
the Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen International, however
Petty has yet to be added to the team's entry.
In keeping with tradition, the number on the Daytona Prototype
corresponds to Newman's age at the time of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The actor/racer will celebrate his 79th birthday on January 26th.
Purnell backs Klien decision
Jaguar boss Tony Purnell predicts that rookie Christian Klien will
'surprise' people in 2004, despite the fact that some have already
written off the Austrian, claiming he only got the seat due to funds
he will bring from Red Bull.
Speaking to British newspaper The Independent, Purnell said, "I rate
Christian and I think he's going to surprise people. He is very
mature, and you have to remind yourself that he is only 20.
"When he first tested for us at Valencia, I went out to watch him on
the track. People don't do that very much these days. There's a
point where you can see most of the track, and I was quite surprised.
He seemed to be driving very calmly and leaving lots of room on the
exit to each corner. Frankly, he looked pretty slow and I was
beginning to wonder, but then I saw the lap times he was doing, and I
was very surprised. They were genuinely quick."
Bankruptcy court approves procedures
for sale of CART assets U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J.
Otte made several definitive decisions Tuesday, Dec. 30, as he
approved the procedure submitted by CART, Inc. to sell its assets and
accepted the Open Wheel Racing Series, LLC (“Open Wheel”) proposal to
purchase said assets as a “qualified bid.” The proceeding was held in
Indianapolis in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and Courthouse. No
other buyers have indicated an interest in the CART assets to date.
The court also established a timeline to complete the proceedings. Any
other parties interested in submitting competing bids must do so no
later than Jan. 23, and the court will render a final decision with
regard to the Open Wheel proposal on Jan. 28.
“We’re very pleased and encouraged with the proceedings,” said
Attorney James Moloy, who represented Open Wheel at the hearing. “The
bankruptcy judge quickly recognized the importance of an expedited
sales process in order to ensure the 2004 Champ Car World Series
“The court’s ruling was expected and approved the precise relief
requested by both CART and Open Wheel,” added Moloy.
“We continue to have complete confidence in our work and vision for
the Champ Car World Series,” explained Paul Gentilozzi, an Open Wheel
partner and owner of Rocketsports Racing. “As the closing of the
transaction progresses, Open Wheel will continue the planning process
of the operational details required to conduct the 2004 Champ Car
“Our stakeholders and fans continually tell us what a phenomenal
product we have in the Champ Car World Series,” continued Gentilozzi.
“We completely agree, and we’re resolute in our intent to return the
Series to its rightful place in the international motorsports arena.”
Kevin Kalkhoven, an Open Wheel partner and co-owner of PK Racing,
welcomed the decision.
“This is another important step toward ensuring the future of Champ
Car,” he said. “We remain committed to our goal for an expedient
resolution so that our sponsors, teams, promoters, and fans can be
assured of yet another exciting season of Champ Car racing. It’s what
they deserve and we intend to deliver.”
The 2004 Champ Car World Series racing season is slated to begin April
18 with its 22nd running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Reigning Champ Car Drivers’ Champion Paul Tracy will return to defend
his 2003 Long Beach win. OWRS LLC
CART Spring Training to return to
SebringUPDATE As we suspected, the
Spring Training dates have been changed due to the delay in the CART
season to April. Spring Training will be in early March, but not at
Sebring. 1/3/04 - Now that the start of the CART season has been delayed until Long
Beach in April, we are not sure if CART's Spring Training dates will
be changed. However, according to Sebring's website, it was
slated to be February 4-6, 2004 and admission was $10 for fans.
1/3/04 Formula 3
American Richard Antinucci may stay in
American Richard Antinucci, winner of the recent Korean Super Prix F3
race, may stay in Formula 3 for a third season. The 22-year-old
American could stay in the British championship for a full campaign
with Renault powered Hitech Racing, with which he won in South Korea,
or he may go to Japan to lead the attack of Toyota backed TOM’S
reports Autosport. “In terms of prestige and wanting to put
right in England what I didn’t before, I’d like to go to Hitech and go
for the championship,” he said. “But it’s based on funding and
sponsorship, which I don’t need for Japan, and that will determine
what I get.” Hitech boss David Hayle said before
Christmas: “We’re very keen to run him but we’re no nearer than we
were a week ago. I don’t know what the chances are.” [Editor's
Note: This American has proven to be fast and can beat the
best Europe has to offer in the ultra-competitive British F3 series.
Christian Klien leapt right from F3 Euroseries to F1 next year, that is how
competitive F3 is in Europe. The CART Champ Car series desperately
needs more fast American youngsters. How come no Champ Car teams
have tested Antinucci?]
Does sportscar racing have a future?
With Grand-Am and ALMS beating each other into the ground a la CART
and IRL, does sports car racing have a future? Roger Edmondson,
president of Grand-Am, and Scott Atherton, President of ALMS had this
to say in a Autosport interview - “The divide is not as
pronounced as single seaters, but there is confusion, there’s no way
around it,” admits Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the ALMS.
“You’ve got to be a student of the sport to know the differences
because we both have Porsches, Ferraris and Corvettes.
“We’ve got a great event at Sebring and they’ve got a great event at
Daytona, but they’re going in a completely separate direction compared
to most of the world.”
Roger Edmondson, president of Grand-Am, concurs with Atherton. “It’s
not that we are sailing into waters and firing at each other,” he
says. “It’s just that our approach to the business is not compatible.”
Says Atherton: “We haven’t been able to attract comparable competition
for Audi since Cadillac left, but last year Rob Dyson’s LMP675 team
beat Audi and got the overall win at Sears Point and it wasn’t because
of rain or accidents. We’ve got a factory Corvette effort from GM in
GTS and it only beat Ferrari by one point this year, so the
competition is excellent.
“Sportscar racing was in its darkest hour in the early’90s. There were
no manufacturers, fans or television, and rules changed week to week
and sometimes session to session. But with stable rules, we’ve
embraced fans, manufacturers and privateers, and we’ve got a good
Started in 2000 by the France family, Grand-Am obviously has excellent
funding, but more of a
stock ’flavor than the ALMS. In addition to the Rolex24 Hours of
Daytona and Six Hours at The Glen, it partners with NASCAR and IRL on
selected road courses inside ovals.
“Sportscar fans are not confused – they either love us or hate us,”
says Edmondson. “But the sportscar fan base is a relatively small
number of people in this country and the general public doesn’t have sportscars on its radar at all.
“Our best assets are the steady guidance of Jim France and our
schedule. We’re only a four-year-old company, but we’re going to use
NASCAR’s formula and we’ve got confidence.”
Does road racing have a future, sportscar style? “People always ask,
‘Is there enough business for two sportscar series?’, and my standard
answer is, There’s not enough for one’,” says Edmondson. “Ovals are
easiest for the American public because we’re stick-and-ball oriented.
There is an audience out there for sportscars. I’m just not sure how
big it’s ever going to be.” [Editor's Note: It
should be noted that the France family is either directly or
indirectly behind the split in both Indy Cars and Sportscars, which
makes both of them weak and on life support. Meanwhile, their
NASCAR series is booming, perhaps by coincidence, perhaps not]
Williams duo prepare for launch
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers, Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo
Montoya, are waiting in anticipation for the launch of the WilliamsF1
BMW FW26 in Valencia.
Every member of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is looking forward to
the official car launch in Valencia on 5th January, where the team’s
contender for the 2004 season, the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26, will be
unveiled. Engineers and mechanics are eagerly waiting to watch their
car taking to the track for the first time and it’s no different for
the drivers Ralf Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya and test driver Marc
Components of the FW26 have already been tested during November and
December, but seeing the complete car running for the first time is
always an exciting moment. “Even though a driver is involved in the
technical development of a new car, the launch is something special”,
said Ralf. The 28-year-old German is looking forward to driving the
FW26 for the first time. “It feels just like Christmas, you know
roughly what you are going to get, but you’re not exactly sure.”
Juan Pablo feels certain that the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26 is going to be a
winner. “The team has done an excellent job, and I firmly believe that
we will have an advantage in 2004”.
His team-mate Ralf adds, “Last year in Barcelona, before the official
launch, I crept around the back to take a look at the car.”
Jimmie Johnson to also race in Rolex 24
Howard-Boss Motorsports and Crawford Race Cars announced today that
former Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Butch Leitzinger and Elliott
Forbes-Robinson (EFR) will team with car owner Dave Brule and NASCAR
Superstar Jimmie Johnson to drive the No. 4 Boss Snowplow DP03 Daytona
Prototype entry in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"With the addition of Jimmie Johnson, our driver lineup is complete,"
said Brule, owner/driver of the No. 4 Boss Snowplow Daytona Prototype.
"As car owner, I couldn't be more pleased with the talent we've
assembled. Elliott and Butch have five overall Rolex 24 At Daytona
wins and incredible racing histories. Jimmie has obviously proven his
ability to drive just about anything and is clearly one of the rising
stars in NASCAR. I'm also quite pleased with the blend of
personalities. These guys have been absolutely great to work with. Not
only are they extremely professional, they are fun to be around."
"Both Rick Howard and I are pleased with the (test) results at
Homestead and are looking forward to its (DP03 Daytona Prototype)
first run at Daytona," Brule continued. "Plus, we can't say enough
about the effort put in by Max (Crawford) and the team at Crawford
Race Cars -- they've been superb."
How slow is a Grand-Am
Some readers respond, Dear AR1, Following on from the above Hot News
item, may I bring to your attention the following quote from Sascha
Maassen from an interview at DailySportscar.com, made in October after
his drive at Mont-Tremblant. It sums up just how dumbed down the DP
cars are, and how pathetic the whole Grand-Am series is (especially
since at most races the entry numbers have to be made up by Grand-Am
Cup cars!). “Racing the Daytona Prototype at Mt. Tremblant was really
fun. It was an interesting weekend for me as I was racing at a track I
have never been to, in a car that I have never been in. The Porsche
Fabcar handled well, and had good power, but it is not really what I
would consider a prototype. Performance wise, I would guess it would
fall somewhere between a GT and a GTS car in the ALMS." The full
here if you are a subscriber. Stuart Page
Dear AutoRacing1.com, It costs $400,000 for a Daytona Prototype.
$400K for those slow pigs? What a waste of money.
Mordichai Rosen, LA, Calif. 1/2/04 - The new Grand-Am prototypes are
so slow that last year's pole time of 1:50.512 sec set in
the No. 88 Multimatic Ford Focus Daytona Prototype was a
full 17 seconds (yes, you read that right) off the Daytona
lap record of 1:33.875 sec set in 1993 by P.J. Jones in the
All American Races Toyota Eagle MKIII. 17 seconds off
the lap record is downright pathetic and underscores the
fact that these cars are not a test of driver skill, but a
test of not running into each other. In fact the prototype
was not the fastest qualifying car in 2003. A Corvette
was 1.2 seconds faster but the rules mandate the prototypes
must start up front! The race record is 112.897mph:
Hasemi, Hoshino, Suzuki, Oloffson; Nissan R91 CP (1992)...
If you consider the time spent in the pits, the actual
on-track lap times back then were on average probably as
quick as the 2003 Grand Am pole... and they did 762 laps!
Oh...and don't forget that the 2003 winner of the Daytona 24
was a GT Porsche.....a GT Porsche mind you! The margin of
victory was 9 laps. But hey...that won't happen
again.....thanks to the "managed racing" sanctioning body
slowing down the GT's so they won't outshine their beloved
prototypes. Next thing you know...they'll have to de-tune
the street version so it can race in Grand-Am. Oh my!
This is NASCAR's concept of road racing? And you
wonder why the rest of the world looks down their noses at
American Racing? Niki Lauda rightfully termed American
Racing Lazy Racing. What do you call Grand-Am
Racing? How about Pathetically Slow Lazy Racing?
Bräcks have baby girl, but
Kenny still suffering New Year's Eve
saw Kenny Bräck's wife Anita give birth to the couple's
first child while Kenny was recovering from having his
gallbladder removed in the same hospital. Kenny Bräck
missed the birth. Baby Karma was born at Riverside
Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio at 6:37 p.m. local time
on New Years Eve. Mother and daughter are both well as is
Kenny. Since his terrible October accident at the Texas
Motor Speedway in an IRL car, Bräck has suffered from
repeated gallbladder attacks. This on top of the
multitude of fractures he suffered. We wish the Bräcks well with their new daughter.
Fast Facts: 42nd Rolex 24 At
Daytona The Rolex 24 At Daytona is the one
of the most prestigious sports car races in the world and
the season opener to the Rolex Sports Car Series.
Dates: January 29-February 1, 2004
Race Start: Saturday, January 31, 2004
Race Finish: Sunday, February 1, 2004
Course: Daytona Speedway: 3.56-mile combined high bank
tri-oval/infield road course
Distance: 24 hours
Cars: Purpose-built sleek coupes (Daytona Prototype) and
production based coupes
Event Sponsor: Rolex U. S. A., Incorporated
2003 Overall Winner: No. 66 The Racer’s Group Porsche
(Drivers: Kevin Buckler, Sonoma, Calif., Michael Schrom,
Ghent, N.Y., Timo Bernhard, Germany, Jorg Bergmeister,
Margin Of Victory: 9 laps
2003 Pole Winner: Scott Maxwell, 115.969 mph, 01:50.512 sec,
No. 88 Multimatic Ford Focus Daytona Prototype
Distance Covered Record: 2,712.720 miles: Masahero Hasemi,
Hosino, Toshio Suzuki, Anders Oloffson: Nissan R91 CP (1992)
Qualifying Record: 136.521mph; 1:33.875 seconds (1993): P.
J. Jones, All
American Racers Toyota Eagle MKIII
Race Record: 112.897mph: Hasemi, Hoshino, Suzuki, Oloffson;
Nissan R91 CP (1992)
Luyendyk Jr. to drive
in Rolex 24
Arie Luyendyk Jr., Indy Racing League competitor and son of
two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, will pilot the #9
Multimatic Ford Focus Daytona Prototype car in the upcoming
Rolex 24 At Daytona for the SpeedSource team on January
29–February 1, 2004. Arie Jr. will be teamed with veteran
endurance racers Mike Borkowski and Paul Mears Jr., with a
fourth driver for the #9 team being announced in the near
future. Arie Jr. is participating in a practice session for
the Rolex 24 At Daytona January 3-5, 2004.
SpeedSource has had many years of success in endurance
racing, particularly in Mazdas, but 2004 will be their
first attempt in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the powerful
Prototype machines, the premier class in the Rolex Sports
“I am very excited about the chance to compete in the Rolex
24 At Daytona,” said Arie Jr. “This will be the SpeedSource
team’s first run at that prestigious race in the Daytona
Prototype class, so I’m hoping I can run a strong race for
them in their inaugural attempt in that class. SpeedSource
and owner Sylvain Tremblay have given me a great opportunity
to show my talents in the greatest endurance race in
America. I can’t wait to get on track and start working with
my new teammates, Mike (Borkowski) and Paul (Mears Jr.)”
SpeedSource owner Sylvain Tremblay assembled a few veterans
to partner with 22-year-old Arie Jr. for this mammoth event.
“We’re excited to have Arie on our team for this prestigious
race,” stated Tremblay. “It’s great that we were able to put
Arie Jr. with seasoned veterans like (Mike) Borkowski and
(Paul) Mears Jr. on the #9 car. A good finish will be
expected by the entire team with the talent and experience
we have in that car. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
1/2/04 Industry News
After initial boom, Mexico
economy goes bust
This LA Times
article says (registration required),
(Excerpts from article) Rising exports to the United States
fueled Mexico's growth in the first years of NAFTA. Foreign
companies spent billions of dollars on factories that made
everything from cars to vacuum cleaners. Engineers and
skilled managers were in such demand that companies engaged
in bidding wars for their services. Then, in 2000, the
U.S. economy slowed down, dragging Mexico's down with it.
The U.S. has begun to recover — but Mexico remains moribund,
hobbled by serious problems that NAFTA had briefly masked.
However, they now recognize that Mexico's 1990s boom was
merely hiding profound flaws: a weak educational system that
produces too few engineers and technocrats, high energy
costs, low spending on research and development, and
Citing these shortcomings, the Switzerland-based World
Economic Forum recently ranked Mexico 47th in global
competitiveness, behind such countries as Botswana, Tunisia
Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who as president of Mexico in the
early 1990s fought hard for NAFTA, says the country
squandered many of the opportunities the treaty provided.
"Unfortunately, from 1995 on, reforms to make sure Mexico
took advantage of NAFTA were left behind," Salinas said.
The advantages conferred by NAFTA have eroded. Mexico's
proximity to the U.S., the world's largest consumer market,
means less in a world of ever-faster air and ocean
transportation. And trade barriers have fallen around the
world, devaluing Mexico's special trade status.
Mexico has lost nearly half a million manufacturing jobs in
the past three years to countries as far away as China and
as near as Honduras. Last year, foreign investment — an
engine of job growth since NAFTA — declined to its lowest
level in 10 years.
Over the summer, China displaced Mexico as the No. 2
exporter to the U.S. (Canada is first.)
"NAFTA is stuck," said Federico Sada Gonzalez, chief
executive of Vitro, a glass manufacturer in Monterrey whose
post-NAFTA exports to the United States grew 62% before
leveling off three years ago.
Others say the reality is more complicated.
"The issue is not whether Mexico is competitive. It is that
other countries have become more competitive," said Alfredo
Thorne, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in Mexico
City. Competing in the world economy is like going up a down
escalator, he said: "If you stop making progress, you lose
"Five years ago, Mexico was the logical place for
manufacturers to go. Now China is logical," he said.
Red tape and high transportation expenses now mean that it
costs the same to ship a product to Houston from Shanghai as
it does from Mexico City, said Eduardo Bailey, a Mexican
legislator who is secretary of the Chamber of Deputies'
"China threatens all of us," said Jorge Verastequi,
spokesman for Grupo Industrial Saltillo, a Mexican auto
parts manufacturer in Saltillo.
NHL to sponsor Mayfield in
The National Hockey League will sponsor Jeremy Mayfield's
Nextel Cup #19 Dodge in this year's Budweiser Shootout at
Daytona in February. The car's paint scheme will be
unveiled January 8th at Daytona International Speedway.
LBGP starts ad campaign
Today's LA Times newspaper has an advertisement for the
April Long Beach GP Champ Car race. It looks like they
are not too worried about the race not happening due to
ISC's potential bid to buy the series out from under OWRS.
NASCAR gross up 50%
NASCAR had $3 billion in gross revenues for 2002, according to
Florida Trend magazine. That represented a 50% increase over
the previous year and much of the increase is due to the new
TV contract. The 2003 figures have not been completed.
Childress warms to playoff idea
article says, Prominent team owner Richard Childress
was originally cool toward the late-season playoff being
considered by NASCAR. Gradually he's changing his
Childress, like more and more observers, is starting to
realize the unprecedented drama and interest that a
10-driver, 10-race showdown would generate.
''I can certainly see where the added media exposure and
excitement surrounding a playoff atmosphere would help grow
the sport and continue its success,'' Childress said.
Childress retired as a driver to become a team owner — he
fielded the cars that Dale Earnhardt drove to six of his
seven championships. He has tremendous influence in the
sport and his support of the playoff would be invaluable.
Childress admitted he was like many fans at first. He didn't
fully understand what NASCAR was proposing.
''When I first heard about it I didn't think much of it,''
he said. ''Now I think I have a better understanding now of
what NASCAR is thinking. Sometimes you have to step back and
take a look at the big picture.''
The proposed system would match the top 10 drivers in the
standings in a battle for the championship in the final 10
races of the season. All drivers would have 26 races to make
the top 10.
Drivers who don't make the top 10 with 10 races to go would
continue to race. No serious championship contender would be
eliminated. No driver has ever won the championship from
11th or further back in the final 10 races.
Raikkonen to get first crack at
Team McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen will get behind
the wheel of the MP4-19 for the first time next week, as the
team begins a four-day test in Spain. The Finn
will get his first drive of the team's 2004 challenger at
the Jerez circuit, where testing takes place from January
8-11. Kimi said that he was looking forward to
getting behind the wheel. "It is looking very promising and
should be a good car for next year." Also present at
the test will be David Coulthard and Pedro de la Rosa, who
have both driven the car previously. This will be the team's
first test of 2004.
Fortec announces F2 plans
The British-based Fortec team has announced it will quit the British
F3 championship to race in Formula 2, which replaces Formula 3000 in
2005. The team, which has previously entered both the
International and Euro F3000 championships, also runs cars in the
Formula Renault UK Championship. Team boss Richard Dutton
told Motorsport News that he expected F2 to be a much more natural
progression into Formula One than F3000 has been. Fortec have
been assisting F3000 engine supplier Zytek to test a new chassis which
they are developing, based around the former Reynard Formula Nippon
car. However, Lola will get the F2 contract, not Zytek. Zytek
will develop the car for another series. The car was tested at
Misano in Italy before Christmas, with Enrico Toccacelo driving. The
Italian set a fastest lap of 1:18.60. This compares with
1:20.92 for the Lola B99/50 used in the Euro3000 championship tested
by Fabrizio del Monte, set on the same day. Coloni tested
the Lola B2/50, currently used in International F3000, in the same
week, but only set a time of 1:23.30, though this time is thought to
be unrepresentative of the car, driven by the inexperienced Chanoch
Arden to announce 2004 team next week
Arden boss Christian Horner says his team will be ready to announce
its plans for 2004 next week. Arden won the 2003 F3000 drivers
championship with Bjorn Wirdheim and took the team's title for the
second consecutive season.
"It will be difficult to better the 2003 season," Horner told
Autosport. "However this is our target and we will try our very best
to achieve it." Vitantonio Liuzzi, who made his F3000 debut with
Red Bull last season, is widely rumored to be joining the Arden team.
Townsend Bell, who partnered Wirdheim in 2003, has a contract for 2004
but may opt for a F1 test deal instead. Arden's announcement
will be made at the Autosport International Show on January 8th.
Fisichella to test for Ferrari
Giancarlo Fisichella could be handed a chance to convince Ferrari that
he is worth signing by testing for the Italian giant this year,
according to a story in this week's Autosport Magazine. The new
Sauber driver has made no secret of the fact that he is eyeing a
switch to one of the three big teams in the future – and the close
relationship between his current squad and Ferrari means that a test
is highly likely to take place in 2004. Fisichella's team boss
Peter Sauber said: “For us it is important that Ferrari does a lot of
tire testing this year. If they need Felipe Massa or Giancarlo, they
can do it.” That is because Sauber, one of three other
Bridgestone squads, will not be able to contribute as much as had been
hoped. “We will be doing more tire testing if it's possible,”
said Sauber. “But that's the problem. We do not have the staff to do a
lot of tire testing.”
Delphi develops new racing technology
Delphi Corp. said it is continuing to lead the race for advanced
technology in motor sports with the introduction of groundbreaking
sensor technology developed in conjunction with Pi Research, a world
leader in motor sports electronics for nearly all racing segments
including karting, stock and open-wheel.
The products, a three-axis angular rate sensor, a single-axis angular
rate sensor, a three-axis accelerometer and a single-axis
accelerometer uniquely feature built-in temperature compensation.
Racecar temperatures can fluctuate between 32 and 158 degrees
Fahrenheit, and that can warp data. The built-in temperature
compensation in Delphi's products inhibits the effect those changing
temperatures can have on data output, making the information more
accurate. Engineers and crewmembers can use the more accurate data,
along with input from the driver, to make changes to the racecar for
"In racing, accurate information is becoming more critical to the
chase for the checkered flag and we are excited to be able to help
teams through these enhanced sensor innovations," said William A.
Lafontaine, Delphi's corporate director of media relations and
marketing communications. "Working with Pi Research, a company known
for setting the standard in motor sports electronics, to bring these
technologies to the sport is a huge step in our efforts to meet the
needs of the racing community and is a great opportunity to share
research and development capabilities."
Delphi's three-axis angular rate sensor is the first of its kind to
measure information on the car's roll, pitch and yaw, in one small
package. The sensor, which measures 1.05" x 1.05" x 1.3" and weighs
only 2.35 ounces, is usually mounted in the center of the vehicle to
determine rotation in the x-, y- and z-axes. The single-axis angular
rate sensor is 1.05" x 1.05" x 0.77" and weighs only 1.35 ounces while
providing rotational rate data for a single axis.
Delphi's three-axis accelerometer measures acceleration in (Gs) in the
x- y- and z-axes, while the single-axis accelerometer does the same
for only one of the axes. Usually mounted in the center of the vehicle
to show the forces on the car in all three axes, the three-axis
accelerometer is a sleek 1.05" x 1.05" by 1.3" and weighs 2.35 ounces.
The single-axis accelerometer is typically attached to a suspension
component to show that component's movement during race conditions. It
is 1.05" x 1.05" x 0.77" and weighs only 1.35 ounces.
1/1/04 SPEED GT
Cadillac announces 2-car effort
Continuing to demonstrate its technical capabilities and
high-performance credentials, Cadillac today announced a race-going
version of the CTS-V sport sedan, the most powerful car in the brand’s
lineup. The CTS-V race car will compete in the 2004 SCCA Pro
Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship, a highly-competitive
North American race series for production based cars.
Championship-winning sports car racers Max Angelelli and Andy Pilgrim
will drive the works Cadillacs.
"This is a significant day for Cadillac," said Mark LaNeve, Cadillac
general manager. "The CTS-V race car is further evidence of the
dramatic changes taking place at Cadillac. The CTS-V race car will
improve Cadillac’s credibility with luxury performance enthusiasts."
The CTS-V race car is the first race car developed by GM Racing in
conjunction with the new GM Performance Division, an in-house center
designed to explore potential enthusiast-oriented versions of
production models. The CTS-V, introduced in late 2003 as a 2004 model,
signaled Cadillac’s entry into the low-volume, high-performance luxury
car niche, and was the first vehicle to wear the division’s
high-performance V-series badge.
"The CTS-V race car starts from a great set of blueprints," said GM
Racing Director Doug Duchardt. "The outstanding performance
characteristics of the rear-drive Sigma-based CTS and CTS-V lend
perfectly to a race car application. We were able to maintain a
significant amount of shared parts, technologies and processes in
developing the CTS-V race car."
By weight, the CTS-V race car is 73 percent stock-derived. The
production CTS-V and CTS-V race car share common technology – in the
form of the all-aluminum V-8 engine, front and rear suspension,
steering system, differential and halfshafts – and talent, as the
engineers who conceived the CTS-V for street use were directly
involved in the creation of the race car.
tug-of-war A reader
responds to this article
by Jim Allen, Dear Jim; I appreciate your thinking about NASCAR
and what the real benefits are for getting rid of CART. Your focus on
television images is way out of proportion. No sponsor would spend the
money they do based on a flashing image of their logo or product name
during the race. To any sophisticated sponsor, that is a small part of
their ROI. It is the association, creditability, and marketing base a
NASCAR (or other series) provides. Look at the P/R, point of purchase
displays, print and broadcast advertisements, driver appearances,
hospitality, and marketing promotions sophisticated sponsors utilize.
That is what a sponsorship is all about today, not counting
impressions at 180 MPH.
As one of the first 'marketing guys' in motorsports (both with my own
company and a stint at NASCAR), I have seen this change to develop
viable sponsorship programs with appropriate ROI take place over the
years. I understand the average race fan has no idea about all the
ancillary programs that are developed and conducted by corporations to
justify and utilize their sponsorships.
Please look a little deeper at what (if any) NASCAR's intentions may
be with the CART situation. Don't forget their past relationships with
ARCA, their drag racing organization, and IMSA. The France's do look
at and understand the big picture and do very well playing chess.
Webber hopes new Jaguar isn't a dog
Mark Webber's rising reputation can be quickly extinguished if the new
Jaguar R5 turns out to be a dog. Jaguar had a promising year in
2003, but what about 2004? “There’s always that worry for
any driver,” says Webber in an Autosport interview. “Look at Giancarlo
[Fisichella] last year with Jordan, or [Nick] Heidfeld in the Sauber.
That is dangerous for a driver, no question. F1 is a massively fickle
business – one weekend you’re a legend and the next you lock a brake
up and go off and they’ve forgotten who you are. If we
don’t get the performance that we got last year then I’m still the
same driver. Yeah, my reputation might not be as high as it was last
season, because the other teams around us might move on a bit further
than we do, but it’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Webber is a Schumacher fan
Mark Webber has been compared to Michael Schumacher lately, but he
downplays that. He has a lot of respect for Schumacher. In an
Autosport interview he says, "Michael is an absolutely phenomenal
force in our sport. He’s done everything, and there are a lot of
drivers who’d be stupid to say they can’t learn from what he’s done.
The guys who say they don’t respect him, they kid themselves – I look
up to what he’s achieved. He’s definitely coming towards the end of
his career in the next few years, but what he’s packed into the middle
of his career has been amazing. It’s the ethic really, and if you can
only try to get near to what he’s done then that’s great. I’m talking
about off-track as well as on-track. He’s very patient, and all that
stuff that’s thrown in front of his face… the demands are huge.”
Mosley thinks F1 is now more
In an interview in Autosport, FIA President Max Mosley had this to
say, “With the exception of the old slipstreamers – which were
completely boring because the only thing that mattered was the final
lap – there have always been races where there wasn’t a lot of
overtaking. Overtaking is now at an acceptable level, and it is good
that if someone catches the car in front, he is not necessarily going
to go by.
“In the old races in the ’80s,everyone started with a full tank and
one set of tires, and spent the first half of the race preserving
their tires. If you had one of those races now, we would all watch it
and say, ‘What on earth did we see in that?’ Sometimes they show these
old races and you think, ‘Oh God, that was boring.’ I think so anyway.
The modern races have drama and you never quite know what is going to
F1 race drama has increased this past year because the rules now
mandate that pre-race refueling be done before final pole qualifying.
No one knows how much fuel the other cars are carrying.
“That has been a big, big factor,” he says,“ and I am in a very
privileged position because we know what the weights are after
qualifying. It is fascinating knowing that. I would like to publish
that, but we are not allowed to under the rules, and the teams don’t
want it published. It is part of their strategy and one can understand
“However, it’s extraordinary how often the commentators get it wrong
and there is one team principal in particular who is a great one for,
‘I know what is going on.’ And nine times out of 10 he gets it
wrong. If you are sitting watching the television and he gets it
wrong, it is hilarious.”
Montezemolo wants F1 points change
In a report in Autosport, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo says
he thinks it is wrong that rival Kimi Raikkonen finished so close to
Michael Schumacher this year in the points. Di Montezemolo said:
“Raikkonen cannot end up just two points behind Schumacher having won
only one grand prix compared to Michael’s six. It doesn’t make sense
and from 2005 we will try to change things.” Any
alteration to the points system would have to be agreed by the Formula
1 Commission before the end of October in order to be adopted for the
2005 season. McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh said he
would have no objections to talking about a possible change. “I don’t
think either of us [McLaren and Ferrari] was wildly keen on it and we
will be happy to discuss any future changes in the appropriate forum,”
Coulthard has no plans to retire
David Coulthard has brushed off speculation that his future looks
bleak by reminding us of the final grand prix of this season.
The veteran Scot says his was the 'quickest McLaren' on the difficult
and renowned drivers' circuit of Suzuka, in Japan. 'That wasn't
by accident,' said David, 32. 'It was through application and talent
and I want to take it forward.' Coulthard's manager,
Martin Brundle, added: 'David had an outstanding end-of-season race in
Japan where he was miles quicker than Kimi. He blew his doors
off on a circuit which is one of the greatest tests of skill and
speed. After Japan David told me 'This must not be my last race in
2004'". Brundle said Coulthard has 'no plans to retire' in 2005.
It's all about business, dirty
reader writes, Didn’t Forsythe/Kalkhoven/Gentilozzi (FKG) have a
chance to get it all cleanly with the $7.4m bid that they backed away
from a few weeks ago and, instead, let it slide into bankruptcy? If
they went this direction to save $7.4m because they wholeheartedly
believed, as Kalkhoven said in his lengthy interview, that it is not
in Tony George’s “interest” to buy CART, then their miscalculation
might have cost them everything. I can’t believe FKG would have
knowingly risked it all, but maybe they didn’t anticipate each legal
step correctly and ISC/TG saw an opening and jumped on it. Part of me
believes that there is almost no way FKG didn’t anticipate each legal
move even though they clearly knew they were exposing it to another
bidder. Kalkhoven’s statement that it isn’t in TG’s “interest” to
destroy CART was so overtly naïve that it had a calculating ring to
it. This isn’t Paul Tracy talking, this is a guy who was groomed at
the apex of the telecom industry where LBO’s, strategic takeovers, and
back-room deals are a way of life. Kalkhoven insinuating that TG
wouldn’t want to be remembered by race fans as the guy who destroyed
something they loved is like saying Bill Gates wouldn’t crush Netscape
because “people like it”. Something’s fishy somewhere.
…and, you write that “It's all about business, dirty business.” If FKG
and Bernie build up CART and then over the next 2 years conspire to
put it in position to completely overwhelm the IRL, get ABC/ESPN to
not renew the TV contract, and force a merger or wipe out IRL
altogether – is that still “dirty business?” Or is that smart
businessmen outthinking their opponent and taking advantage of a
favorable situation? I don’t see anything dirty about what is
happening in this transaction. Stuff like this goes on everyday in
business all over the world. In fact, this deal probably doesn’t even
get fine print coverage in FT or WSJ. Fortune 500 companies do M&A’s
everyday that make this deal look like peanuts. I think the only thing
we know for sure is that we know nothing. Nobody has their thumb on
this deal – it is fluid and evolving day-by-day. More action than the
average CART race. Name Withheld, Dear No Name, To
address your point in the first paragraph, yes OWRS had a chance to
take it all for $7.4m by going forward with the original proposal.
This assumes they had enough votes to win the proxy ballot. By
letting it slip into bankruptcy they now run the risk of losing it all
because ISC, with its deep pockets most certainly can outbid OWRS.
As for it being "dirty business, " while I agree with you that this
sort of maneuvering happens all the time in big business, it becomes
dirty business when an entity becomes a monopoly and is so powerful it
crushes all competition. While ISC is not an "official"
monopoly, there is already an antitrust lawsuit against them (Ferko
case in Texas) and if you examine their actions in recent years, one
can argue that they have become the Microsoft of racing in the USA.
They have their fingers in everything and are very powerful.
CART/ISC/OWRS fan fallout
Some reader feedback on the CART bankruptcy issues - Any attempt by
Tony George and ISC to kill the OWRS buyout of CART for the express
purpose of eliminating the "rival" series will only prove that their
egos are far larger than their intelligence. One only has to look at
the strong fan support of CART, coupled with the lack of interest and
support for the IRL "crapwagons," to see that the backlash against
ISC, Tony and ultimately NASCAR would do far greater damage to their
own perceived empire than competing against the new and revitalized
Champ Car World Series. I read with great interest the "Letters to the
Editor" section of the current issue of RACER that included strong and
vocal objections to RACER's participation and publication of the IRL
propaganda piece that was sent to all subscribers. It is this kind of
fan loyalty and the fan's understanding of the true sport of racing
that distinguishes the fan base for a racing series such as Champ Cars
or ALMS from that of "free ticket giveaways" to artificially add a few warm
bodies to the seats, is that the true racing fan's money will not
support Tony's egotistical efforts and will stay within the fan's
pockets or be spent on other quality racing efforts such as ALMS and
F1. Paul Klien, Sacramento Another writes, I have to
believe Kevin has all reasonable contingencies covered. The only
possible one (made in his public statements) if one is willing to
spend (risk including legal costs) a large sum to no other end than
shutting down of CART for good. I think Penske would have a say here
and he has said publicly he would be no part of this action . Remember
this is the minor leagues for Kevin. Richard Bowden
A third writes, Let’s say that 88 Corp or ISC or whatever we call the
enemy, submits a competing bid till Jan 28th. A correct bid, then OWRS
submits a counter bid and so on. They will at least try to make it
very expensive for OWRS if they will fail to buy it. My question is,
is there a top value, or there’s no limits in bids? So theoretically
the ISC can counter bid as long as they want? They can make it up to
$5-10-20 million? Csaba Toth Dear Csaba, there is
no upper limit Mark C. A 4th writes, In previous
reports from AR1, I recall comments to the effect that, with regard to
the OWRS/CART sale, the court would not allow the purchase of the
company by another business entity for the sole purpose of liquidating
CART's assets and shutting it down. My impression was that under
Chapter 11 guidelines, CART must be allowed to restructure its
operation in order to continue as a viable business. Question: Your
latest comments seem to be in opposition to this earlier position. I'm
sure that you are planning a more detailed review of these matters and
it would be interesting to set the facts straight on the purpose of an
ISC buyout attempt, given the information you supplied earlier. ISC
could choke hold OWRS in ensuing years via business tactics as opposed
to getting into a bidding war, don't you think? Scott Adams,
Chicago, IL Dear Scott, In bankruptcy there is no guarantee
of the company continuing. The goal is to get the best deal for
the shareholders and the creditors. In that regard, in this case
with ISC's deep pockets, they can easily outbid OWRS thereby taking
all the race contracts and dividing them among their Grand-Am series
and the IRL. Perhaps Winston Cup would even take one or two.
1/1/04 Industry News
Boundless and WoO need more time
Boundless Motor Sports Racing, Inc. (OTCBB:BMSR) (Boundless) and World
of Outlaws, Inc., announced that the outside closing date of the
acquisition of World of Outlaws has been extended until April 9, 2004,
in order to, among other things, allow additional time to complete the
requisite financial audits of World of Outlaws. In addition, Boundless
has extended the maturity date of the $1,200,000 loan it has advanced
to World of Outlaws. Paul A. Kruger, Boundless Chairman
and CEO, has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer for the
World of Outlaws. Ted Johnson, founder and President of the World of
Outlaws, will continue acting as President until the completion of the
acquisition by Boundless. "We look forward to completing
this acquisition and moving forward with the implementation of our
business plan," said Kruger.
AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA, FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission. User agreement & disclaimer