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Andretti & Rudd first to crack 188 MPH
Leading the way Wednesday at Daytona was Ricky Rudd, who posted the
fastest speed in testing with a blazing 188.460 lap. John Andretti,
driving Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s No. 1, also topped 188 mph, going
188.198 mph. "We're definitely real pleased with that," Rudd said.
"Gosh, it's been a long time since I've been at the top of the speed
chart at Daytona. It's been many years. Daytona's been a good track
for the Wood Brothers, but there's been a lot of big changes within
the team. We're just reaping some of the benefits of all the changes
(co-owner) Eddie (Wood) put into the team - a lot of personnel
changes, a lot of good people brought on board. We're just tickled to
death about it." Behind Rudd, Andretti and Johnson in
Wednesday's afternoon session was Sterling Marlin's No. 40 Dodge
(187.649) and Ken Schrader's No. 49 Dodge (187.414).
Gregoire to run Rolex 24
Spirit of Daytona Racing is pleased to announce that
Stephan Gregoire has been signed to contend the entire 2004
12-race season of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car
Series. Stephan will be the primary co-driver of Spirit of
owner/driver Doug Goad beginning at the 42nd Anniversary of
the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 29 - February 1.
Gregoire comes to Spirit of Daytona Racing with impressive
credentials that include six starts at the Indianapolis 500
where he qualified seventh in 1993, his rookie year, and
finished eighth in 2000, both career highs. Gregoire has
also competed at the 24 Hours of LeMans in France where he
finished fifth in 2003 in the LMP 900 class. Gregoire was
born in Neufchateau, France and currently resides in Carmel,
Ind., with his wife Virginie and children Eliza and Romeo.
"I am very pleased to be driving in the Grand American
Series," said Gregoire. "The Crawford Daytona Prototype
looks like it's going to be a very competitive car which
will give Doug and I a chance at winning the championship
"I am very eager to test the car prior to the Rolex 24 Hours
of Daytona and feel fortunate to be able to compete in the
full schedule this year."
Gentilozzi: Tony George is a
lap down and doesn't know he can't win
This Oregonian newspaper
article says, Paul Gentilozzi, a CART team owner,
said Tuesday he is confident that his group will have
control of the troubled racing series after a Jan. 28
hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis.
Gentilozzi still has Portland penciled in for June 20 on a
tentative CART schedule that calls for the season opener
April 18 in Long Beach, Calif.
Portland promoter Mike Nealy has been trying to find a major
sponsor and gather enough community support to keep the
race, which began in 1984. But Nealy's effort has been hurt
by the uncertainty of CART's future and the confusion over
who will control a series that might not exist in three
Meanwhile, Gentilozzi said another venue wants Portland's
race dates, and, "We aren't going to wait forever. We're
going to hang here until we get through the first of
February, when we know if we own (CART). So a kind of D-Day
for Portland would be Feb. 1. . . . I'm a little confused
about Portland. . . . I'm not sure what's happening there."
Gentilozzi said he was mildly surprised at Monday's
announcement that Tony George's IRL might make a competing
bid for CART's assets. All bids must be submitted by Jan.
23, and Gentilozzi said, "They can't conceivably get
prepared to do this in 10 days or less. We've spent
thousands of man-hours on this."
The threat of the IRL buying and dismantling CART does not
"I'm sure his intention is to buy a bunch of used racing
equipment in an effort to make sure we can't race,"
Gentilozzi said. "It won't work. My view is, we're going
into the last lap and he's a lap down. He doesn't know he
Portland city officials have signed off on a 2004 race,
assuming Nealy can close the deal with Gentilozzi.
"We want CART to come, and we're still holding a date for
them," said Kevin Jeans Gail, the chief of staff for City
Commissioner Jim Francesconi, who oversees the Parks Bureau.
"We've done what they've asked of us. We've lowered (rental)
fees, the Rose Festival has sacrificed, and we've sent a
positive message we want them to come to Portland."
Successful rollout of new Sauber Team
Sauber Petronas successfully completed the roll-out of the
new C23 at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo
Tormo in Valencia. Giancarlo Fisichella did the driving over
33 laps and completed a scheduled program, which focused on
"Today is my birthday and the crew surprised me with a cake.
But this was not the best present I got from the team,"
Fisichella said. "That was the new car, which felt good on
the track. I did a few runs in the afternoon and everything
went well. Usually there are some problems on the day of the
roll-out, but today everything was working perfectly. That's
the most important thing at the moment. Next week we will be
testing in Barcelona, like most of the Formula One teams,
and then we can make comparisons with other cars and see
just how competitive we are. Today was a great day, overall,
as the C23 ran so well, so I'm happy."
"Today's roll-out program for the C23 concentrated on tests
of the cooling, electronics, and fuel and hydraulic systems.
The results are satisfying," Technical Director Willy Rampf
said. "Tomorrow we plan to run different set-ups and will
use the day to familiarize ourselves with the performance
characteristics of the new car."
"33 trouble-free laps in a half day of testing is a
remarkable roll-out for us and just the right birthday
present for Giancarlo," Team Principal Peter Sauber added.
"Nevertheless, it is too early to say more about the
potential of the car. We must await references to other
Giancarlo Fisichella will continue testing the C23 tomorrow
before Felipe Massa takes over the driving on Friday. Team
Sauber Petronas will be running in Barcelona from 20 to 23
January. Press release Sauber Petronas
Ecclestone supporting long-term future of Bahrain GP The
Bahrain Government and Bernie Ecclestone today clarified
speculative media reports about the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand
Prix and its venue, the Bahrain International Circuit.
Recent stories on the status of the race have included
suggestions that current terrorist threats across the Gulf
region will have a negative impact.
This was refuted when the Bahrain authorities received a
welcome endorsement for the status of their race from Bernie
Ecclestone, President of Formula One's commercial
controlling organization Formula One Management. "We have a
long-term agreement with Bahrain to organise the Grand Prix.
We are extremely serious about our commitment in the Middle
East and fully support the addition to the FIA Formula One
World Championship. Nobody is immune from terrorist threats
and I know how seriously the authorities take such claims.
Neither the circuit nor we have received any such threats,"
said Mr Ecclestone.
He continued, "Having visited the new circuit late last year
I have seen that the construction work is ahead of schedule
and that we are on target for the first Grand Prix in the
Government officials in the Kingdom of Bahrain are also
quick to refute media speculation. "Nobody is immune from
threats. The entire Middle East region is a victim to them
and we take all such claims very seriously. However, Bahrain
takes its national security as a matter of paramount
importance and is working very closely with its regional and
international allies to minimise any risk" said a BIC
Answering speculation about the status of construction work
at the circuit, the spokesperson said, "The construction
work at the circuit is 89% completed. The final layers of
tarmac will be laid within the next three weeks. All of the
necessary facilities are ahead of schedule."
Tagliani says CART will race no
This Toronto Sun
article says, It doesn't matter who ends up owning
CART, there will be a 2004 Champ Car season, Alex Tagliani
told The Toronto Sun yesterday.
Tagliani, who just signed a new contract with Rocketsports
Racing owner Paul Gentilozzi, said stories that Indy Racing
League boss Tony George might possibly make a bid for the
bankrupt CART's assets would make no difference in the
driver's preparation for a new season.
"There are too many contracts in place with both race
promoters, drivers and series employees to suddenly stop the
series from having a 2004 season," Tagliani said from Las
The Montreal native said that even if George was successful
at getting CART, he would have to honor all the deals made
"Nobody is going to be stupid enough to invest into the
series, kill it, then have to spend hundreds of millions in
possible penalties for cancelling races," Tagliani said.
Toronto Molson Indy general manger Bob Singleton said
yesterday that if George does buy CART's assets, it would
make little difference to the annual racing bash along the
"One scenario is that we have Gentilozzi's group here, the
other scenario is we have the IRL here," Singleton said.
"Either way we have a Toronto Molson Indy."
Bobby Rahal, who has teams in both CART and the IRL, said
yesterday it was time for the two series to come together.
"I definitely think there needs to be one series with all
marketing efforts, all organizational effort dedicated to
that one program," Rahal said in a teleconference call.
"We're all in this together.
"And I think if we want open-wheel racing to be what it once
was or at least get on the path to what it once was, then
we've got to all work together."
Rahal, who won the first Molson Indy in 1986, said if George
ends up buying CART, a race in Toronto would have to be part
"You know, I certainly think that there are great road
racing events that would be nothing but a credit to (the
IRL)," he said. "Long Beach, Toronto, Elkhart Lake, these
are great, great circuits and have big crowds."
deal with Milwaukee Mile
Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT), and
The Milwaukee Mile announced today that they have entered
into an official partnership for the first time in the long
motorsports history of both companies.
Bridgestone/Firestone has signed a multi-year agreement for
its Bridgestone and Firestone brands to serve as the
“Official Tires” of The Milwaukee Mile. As part of the
agreement, both the Bridgestone and Firestone brands will
have a prominent presence at “America’s Legendary Oval”
throughout the racing season, highlighting the ‘Mile’s
unique status as the only venue currently scheduled to host
both the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series
in the 2004 season.
“We’re thrilled to announce this new partnership,” said Al
Speyer, executive director of motorsports, BFNT. “The
Milwaukee Mile is one of the world’s legendary racing venues
and has a history in motorsports as long as our own
company’s. It’s such a unique opportunity for us to be able
to showcase both our brands at one venue, and there is
certainly no more appropriate place for us to do that than
at the ‘Mile.’ ”
In 2003, the Bridgestone brand became the presenting sponsor
of what is now known as Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car
World Series Powered by Ford. The Bridgestone brand also
appears worldwide in all types of motorsports, including
motorcycle and kart racing as well as the FIA Formula One
World Series, where Bridgestone-equipped drivers have won
six consecutive drivers’ championships.
The Firestone name is synonymous with American open-wheel
racing, having first appeared on the motorsports scene at
the 1909 Indianapolis 300. Today, Firestone is the official
tire of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500 Mile
Race, where last May Gil de Ferran became the 54th driver to
win the Indianapolis 500 driving on Firestone tires.
Every car in every Champ Car event in the 2004 season will
be outfitted with Bridgestone Potenzas, including the event
currently scheduled for June 3-5 at The Milwaukee Mile.
Firehawks will appear on every IndyCar Series and Menards
Infiniti Pro Series car this season – both of those series
will be in action at Milwaukee on July 23-25.
“We are excited and believe our proactive, promotional
partnership with Bridgestone/Firestone will be a great
benefit to The Milwaukee Mile and its loyal race fans,” said
Mark Perrone, vice president and general manager, The
Milwaukee Mile. “We are formulating plans for in-store
promotions with area Bridgestone and Firestone retail
locations, which we know will generate great interest and
bring new race fans to see world-class racing on one of our
four race weekends at The Milwaukee Mile.”
Last season, Bridgestone served as the official tire for
several Champ Car venues, including St. Petersburg, Miami,
Cleveland, Denver, Laguna Seca and Long Beach. Firestone has
agreements in place to serve as the official tire of the
Nashville Superspeedway and Nazareth Speedway for the 2004
The Milwaukee Mile is the longest running, continuously
operated motorsports facility in the world – the 2003 season
marked the track’s 100th anniversary. For details regarding
specific events and ticket/hospitality availability, visit
TNT marries basketball and
Roush Racing announced today that Turner Network Television
(TNT) will bring the NBA to NASCAR when they sponsor the No.
99 Roush Racing Ford and driver Jeff Burton for the Daytona
500 on Sunday, February 15, and for the Twin 125s on
Thursday, February 12. TNT will place the NBA All Star Game
on the hood of the No. 99 Ford and on a specially designed
fire suit for Burton for this one race deal.
"Although our entire season of sponsorship is not totally
lined up," said Burton, "The No. 99 team will begin the
season with the most exciting sponsor in the garage that's
for sure. Being selected by TNT and the NBA All-Star Game is
an honor and a testament to what this program has to offer a
"While we have a lot of things working, we are still seeking
sponsorship for the remainder of the year for the No. 99
team but having TNT on the car for the 500 is certainly a
great start." Burton continued, "This is such a great
platform to show potential sponsors what a great program we
have and what an excellent opportunity it would be to
sponsor a championship contending team."
David Levy, president of Turner Sports echoed Burton's
“We are thrilled to be able to marry two of the biggest
sporting events of the year, the NBA All-Star Game and the
Daytona 500, and would not have been able to accomplish that
without the help of our NASCAR television partner, NBC, and
the services of one of the top drivers and teams in the
sport in Jeff Burton and the No. 99 Roush team,” said Levy.
“I believe that for the first time in television history a
network will be able to cross-promote these two great events
to millions of sports fans, reaching one of the largest male
audiences of the year.”
TNT will televise the Twin 125s on Thurs., Feb. 12, at 1
p.m. ET and will air the 2004 NBA All-Star Game on Sun.,
Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. ET. NBC will broadcast the Daytona 500 on
Sunday at 1:30 p.m. preceding TNT’s NBA All-Star coverage.
NBC and TNT are partners in broadcasting Speedweeks in
Daytona as well as the second half of the NASCAR season
beginning in July. This is the 19th year Turner Sports has
featured NBA All-Star coverage, and the second consecutive
year the NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time
Burton concluded, "Through this sponsorship we are hoping to
introduce some NBA fans to NASCAR and some NASCAR fans to
the NBA. I'm an avid basketball fan as well as a NASCAR
driver and I'm really excited to carry the NBA All Star Game
on the No. 99 Ford at the Daytona 500. It's a great way to
kick off the 2004 season and begin our quest towards being
the first NASCAR Nextel Cup champion.
"February 15 will be a great day to have a Coke, eat a hot
dog and be a sports fan."
Plans for Long Beach going
forward as usual This LA Times
article says, As one racing organization after
another circles the carcass of bankrupt CART, once America's
premier open-wheel motor racing sanctioning body, plans for
the 30th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach — a CART race — are
moving ahead as usual, Jim Michaelian, president and chief
executive officer of the event, said Tuesday.
"On April 16, racing sounds will fill the streets of Long
Beach, just as they have for the past 29 years," Michaelian
said. "The city wants what it has always had, open-wheel,
open-cockpit racing with cars that look sleek and sound
fast. And so do our sponsors and our fans."
"We continue to have complete confidence in our work and
vision for the Champ Car World Series," Gentilozzi said. "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 World Series.
"We're resolute in our intent to return the series to its
rightful place in the international motorsports arena."
Rand Racing to contest full
Rand Racing, SRPII winners at the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona,
will return to competition by entering a pair of AER
Nissan-powered Lola B2K/40s in the LMP2 class of the 2004
American Le Mans Series. The team will begin the season at
the Mar. 17-20 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, aiming for
an invitation to the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"We've been successful in endurance racing," said team owner
Bill Rand, "and our Daytona win made us think about Le Mans.
That's the most important race in the world, and we want to
be there. The ALMS recently stated that 'the Road to Le Mans
Passes Through Sebring,' so that's where we're going to
start. We've combined the key elements of our old team with
some outstanding drivers, and we're anxious to get back on
Johnson fastest Tuesday at
Jimmie Johnson set the fastest time in pre-season NASCAR
testing at Daytona yesterday (Tuesday), as the second set of
drivers and teams took to the track. The Hendrick
Motorsports driver lapped the imposing 2.5mile speedway at
an average speed of 187.535mph to claim the day's fastest
time. By comparison, Michael Waltrip set the fastest time in
last week's test session, lapping at an average of
Pos Driver Car Time
1 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 47.941s
2 John Andretti Chevrolet 47.998s
3 Bill Elliott Dodge 48.048s
4 Ricky Rudd Ford 48.059s
5 Ken Schrader Dodge 48.185s
6 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 48.187s
7 Ryan Newman Dodge 48.205s
8 Sterling Marlin Dodge 48.211s
9 Brian Vickers Chevrolet 48.254s
10 Rusty Wallace Dodge 48.267s
Renault fires 2004 engine Renault
Formula One officials say they test fired the new 2004
engine on Monday, some 16 days before the official launch of
the new car. "The 'birth' went very smoothly," said
technical director Bob Bell as the R24 chassis was also
assembled for the first time. "No problems were reported,
and we are very pleased with the results." The RS24 V10 is a
completely redesigned engine after Renault's decision to
abandon its radical-V configuration in favor of a more
India race decision due
A draft proposal has been submitted and if all requirements have been met
when India officials meet with Bernie Ecclestone Thursday, we
would expect an announcement
tomorrow that India has landed an F1 race starting in 2007.
With more and more non-European events being added to the F1
calendar, it does not bode well for European races,
especially the second races in Italy and Germany.
Brack says he will return
“I don't know when I'll be back. A May return could be a
realistic goal, or maybe not. If I had been in this position
before, maybe I could give you a hint! But I
haven't," stated Brack to Autosport. "I don't
think I have doubts in my mind I can do it again. It's
something that I've always done. I've always lived with
racing. I love the sport. It's my life, basically.”
OWRS ready to fight IRL for control of
This Indy Star
article says, Paul Gentilozzi said Tuesday that he and Open
Wheel Racing Series partners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven
emerged from two days of meetings prepared to do and spend whatever is
necessary to get their offer accepted by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
"We're here for the duration. We're not at all intimidated,"
Gentilozzi said. "We have put thousands of hours into this
transaction. We're not going to pack our bags just because some guy is
looking to buy a few computers and trailers."
Gentilozzi said he and his partners learned last week that IRL
president Tony George had dispatched league officials to inspect the
racing assets of CART. George visited CART's local headquarters Monday
News of the IRL's interest became public late Monday.
"Obviously, it caught me by surprise since Tony told me months ago he
didn't plan to get involved," Gentilozzi said. "He obviously has one
thing in mind: to close it down and get rid of the competition. This
11th-hour involvement doesn't seem very honorable to me." [Editor's
Note: Mr. Gentilozzi gets it]
The IRL has until Jan. 23 to submit an offer to the court. Judge Frank
Otte has scheduled a sales hearing for Jan. 28 to consider all bids
and resolve any outstanding issues concerning the sale.
At the most recent hearing Dec. 29, an attorney for California
Speedway -- which faces dueling lawsuits with CART over cancellation
of the 2003 season-ending race -- told the court he also represented
another potential buyer which he later identified as 88 Corp., a
wholly owned subsidiary of International Speedway Corp.
But Tuesday, ISC spokesman David Talley said "ISC has no present
interest in acquiring the assets of CART."
The OWRS offer is for $1.6 million. It also has agreed to assume
certain liabilities, primarily prize money owed to teams, that would
push the total to around $3 million.
The judge is not obligated to accept the highest bid and is driven by
what is best for the company. Since the OWRS group intends to keep the
series going, that could work to its advantage with the court.
But the IRL can argue that no reincarnation of a bankrupt series is
likely to succeed, and in the long run open-wheel racing and those who
make a living from it will benefit from having it exist as one series.
The sport has seen a steady decline in popularity since it split into
two factions in 1996.
Gentilozzi vehemently rejects that notion. "This isn't about
unification," he said. "Tony doesn't want to create one series. He
wants to kill one series." [Editor's Note: Mr. Gentilozzi
definitely gets it]
But IRL vice president Fred Nation said the IRL can't kill something
that technically is already dead. [Editor's Note: The IRL has
made a major strategic blunder, which we will reveal after the January
Row over launch control policing looms McLaren
technical director Adrian Newey told AUTOSPORT that "while the
regulations were clear about what defined launch control, there
remained an issue about policing the possible illegal use of traction
control. The rules themselves are reasonably clear in terms of what is
launch control and what is traction control, so I don't think there is
too much of an issue there," said Newey. The Autosport article goes on
to say - It is understood that FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting
wrote to the teams earlier this week to outline the latest
developments in the situation, having previously laid down guidelines
to the teams to ensure that traction control was not used at the start
of races in 2004. To ensure compliance with this rule, the
FIA will monitor the cars via dedicated data loggers. These will be
analyzed at the end of each race. When asked whether or not he
believed the matter could go as far as protests during the season,
Newey said: "there is always the possibility of protests, it would not
be F1 if there wasn't."
Barrichello re-signs with Ferrari Ferrari
announced today that it has extended its agreement with the driver
Rubens Barrichello to cover the 2005 and 2006 racing seasons. The
extension brings his contract in line with other key Ferrari
personnel, including six-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who
all agreed to deals until the end of 2006 last June.
Gordon belittles NASCAR point system
NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon had this to say about NASCAR's new point
system: "It's not a driver-based point system. It's an
entertainment-based point system."
and IRL make front page headlines
The image to the right is the front page of today's Indianapolis Star.
Clearly the IRL is getting some mileage out of their statements about
possibly buying some of CART's assets. However, as spelled out
on our rumors page, they don't fully understand the terms of the deal,
or they are simply using this as an opportunity to peer into all of
CART's contracts and/or cast doubts about CART's future. To
underscore what we stated in the past, the "CART" name has gotten so
much mileage from all the bad press the past two years, everyone in
the racing industry, fans included, know what "CART" is. It's
all been free press too, CART didn't have to pay for a single
newspaper ad. In some respects, now that the name is so widely
recognized, tarnished perhaps, it's questionable whether it should be
tossed aside as planned. Perhaps OWRS has a better name...such
as Champ Car Grand Prix Series, which remains our #1
Ecclestone Urges Volkswagen Into F1 Bernie
Ecclestone is urging German car manufacturer Volkswagen into F1.
The sport's impresario told this publication that the inaugural
Chinese Grand Prix, to be held in Shanghai in 2004, is the perfect
catalyst for an VW foray.
Volkswagen Group is the market leader in China, said the 73-year-old.
He added, 'The growing popularity of Formula One in China shouldn't be
an argument for Volkswagen not to get involved.'
Of the world's nine major carmakers, only Volkswagen and General
Motors are currently not involved in some capacity at the pinnacle of
Fiat, BMW, Daimler-Chrysler, Renault, Ford, Honda and Toyota are all
But Peter Sauber, owner of an independently-run team, said with
today's economic climate it 'makes no sense' for either GM or VW to
contest grands prix. Andrew Maitland
Pathtrace Announces Partnership with
Honda Racing Pathtrace
Engineering Systems today announced a partnership with Honda Racing.
Honda Racing has recently installed Pathtrace’s EdgeCAM computer aided
manufacturing software at its facility in Louth, Lincolnshire. EdgeCAM
will be used in support of the company’s race teams as well as to
manufacture commercially available components.
The installation of EdgeCAM at Honda Racing includes EdgeCAM Solid
Machinist, the leading CAM system for solids based machining and
EdgeCAM Part Modeler, a modeling tool specifically for simple part
construction, manufacturing modifications and fixture building.
EdgeCAM is used extensively throughout the motorsport industry where
the pressure is intense in the run up to, and during the racing
season, often requiring 24 hour turn around in order to meet demand.
“EdgeCAM is a key part of our manufacturing plans,” said Neil Tuxworth,
Honda Racing Race Team Manager. “EdgeCAM Solid Machinist’s
associatively to the CAD model means any design changes are
immediately recognized and can be incorporated without having to start
over. This is important in an industry where delivering quality
products in a very short timescale is critical. We are confident that
EdgeCAM is the right system for us.”
“EdgeCAM software has a proven track record within the motorsport
manufacturing industry and we are delighted that Honda Racing has
endorsed EdgeCAM as the perfect solution for their highly competitive
operation,” said Walter Wade, Pathtrace UK Sales Manager.
Pathtrace Engineering Systems is a division of Pathtrace plc.
Pathtrace has offices in the UK, USA, China and Japan, complementing a
worldwide network of resellers.
Pathtrace Engineering Systems is the developer of EdgeCAM an extremely
powerful, but easy to use software solution devoted to automating the
process of NC programming for metal cutting machine tools. For
information about Pathtrace and EdgeCAM visit our website
www.edgecam.com. EdgeCAM is
Windows 2000 Professional and XP compliant and has over 28,000 users
Ricky Rudd and Greg Biffle Q&A
Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus, and Greg
Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus,
held brief Q&A sessions during the lunch break of Tuesday's
preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Williams FW26 test summary Following
the launch of the FW26 last week, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team
have spent the past seven days testing the new car at Jerez,
with drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and Marc
Gené all undertaking testing duties. Piloting the FW26
for the first three days of the test, Montoya concentrated
on mechanical and aero set up work. Despite some initial
teething problems, the new car completed 193 laps over this
period, with Montoya securing the best time in two of the
Barber Dodge Pro hires ex-Yates
man The Barber Dodge Pro Series has
contracted former Robert Yates Racing race engineer and test
team manager for the number 88 Ford Taurus, Scot Elkins, to
be its race engineer. During the 2004 Champ Car Barber Dodge
season, Elkins will oversee data acquisition on the fleet of
Reynard-Dodges and will provide data analysis for all series
drivers and driver coaches. He's also engineering the
remaining BDPS winter test days at Sebring International
Raceway in January, February and early March. Prior to his
three-year stint at Yates, from 1996 to 2000 Elkins was the
NASCAR business unit manager for Pi Research, the UK-based
designer and manufacturer of motorsport electronics and
software. At one point during that tenure, he doubled Pi's
sales in the Winston Cup and Busch arenas. Elkins recently
returned to that position with Pi Research (with the
additional responsibility of sports car and road racing);
he'll be conducting his Barber Dodge duties under the
auspices of his own firm, The Elkins Group. Elkins, 33, has
a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering technology
from Indiana State University. In addition to a background
of race engineering for IRL and Toyota Atlantic teams,
Elkins was the Pi Research data acquisition engineer
assigned to Barber Dodge between 1997 and 2000. "A big part
of what drew me to Barber Dodge and the Reynard is the
challenge of engineering a single make, where there is a
wide range of drivers with varying levels of experience,"
Elkins said from his office in Huntersville. It's a wholly
different -- and exciting -- opportunity for me. In Cup
racing, the challenge is to be as clever as possible within
the framework of the rules. Here, much of what I need to do
is help make each driver as fast as he or she is capable of.
That's not only fun, it's very rewarding, in a different
Rosberg Jr. and Piquet Jr. to
test again Following their initial test
in December last year, Nelson Piquet (BR) and Nico Rosberg
(GER) are set to return to the track to assist with the BMW
WilliamsF1 Team's intensive pre-season testing schedule.
Both tests will take place at Barcelona, with Nico Rosberg
undertaking testing duties on 21st and 23rd January, while
Nelson Piquet will run on 3rd and 5th February. Both drivers
will run the modified FW25A.
NASCAR Lifestyle Magazine To Debut Feb. 1
American Thunder, a new NASCAR lifestyle magazine backed by an
investment of between $5-10M from S.F.-based hedge fund
Clarium Capital Management, "hits newsstands Feb. 1 with its
debut March issue" featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the
cover, according to Jon Fine of AD AGE, who notes Val Landi
is publisher and former PayPal VP Aman Verjee is
editor-in-chief. An estimated 200,000 copies will be sent to
newsstands, "while around 100,000 are expected to be sent to
charter subscribers, although the launch rate base is set at
100,000." About half of each issue "will be devoted to
NASCAR doings, but the rest will cover heartland-guy topics.
The debut issue contains articles on salt-water fishing,
deck-building and bomb-defusing." Landi: "There's an
opportunity right now to publish a really great,
next-generation lifestyle publication focused around one of
the largest under-served markets in the country." Fine
writes, "There's no equivalent title to American Thunder
covering football — or for any other sport short of luxe-life
paeans that are found in some golf titles." Advertisers
signed on include the U.S. Army and DeWalt. Full-page color
ads sell for $10,000 AD AGE, 1/12/04 issue
Rain hits Jaguar R5 debut On
Monday the Jaguar team were busy in Belgium where they put their
challenger for the new season, the R5, through its debut paces.
However, a heavy rain pounded the Lommel test track for the majority
of the one day session, only allowing the team on track for 30 miles
"The weather broke," said Nav Sidhu. "It was too wet to even run in a
straight line but the running we did do was trouble-free and we ticked
all the boxes we planned to. The next run will be on the day of the
Sauber prefers just 17 races Speaking
at the launch of his team’s new car, the C23, which took place at Red
Bull's Hangar-7 facilities at Salzburg airport on Monday, Peter Sauber
made it clear that he would only agree to there being an 18th race if
he was financially compensated.
“I prefer 17 races - 18 races is too much for the teams,” Sauber said.
“But if my colleagues, nine of them, prefer an 18th race then we have
to go in this direction. And then we take the money, of course.”
This does not bode well for the French GP being reinstated.
Said to drive #01 in Bud Shootout,
tests to get ready
Boris Said, who will drive the #01 Chevrolet in the Bud Shootout
[February 7], joined Joe Nemechek and the U.S. Army team last week in
Thursday's final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway.
"The goal was to get out there to feel the bumps, to feel the air and
to just get a good handle of the track," commented Said, who earned a
spot in the Bud Shootout by qualifying on the pole when he drove the
#01 Army Car in last year's road race in California.
"This [superspeedway racing] is all new to me. The seat time I got
today was valuable. Now I get to go home and think about it for a few
weeks. I can't wait to come back here and jump in the U.S. Army car
for the Bud Shootout. That will be a dream come true."
Nemechek and the Army team maintained its consistency Thursday with
another strong performance on the historic 2.5-mile tri-oval.
"It's been a great three days," said Nemechek. "We have a fast car,
learned a lot and accomplished our mission. As far as qualifying is
concerned for the Daytona 500 the work is done at the shop. The guys
at the shop determine how fast this car will go and they are doing a
good job. Though we've established a good baseline, we still could use
a little more speed. I guess every team feels the same way."
The next test session for the U.S. Army car will be for downforce cars
at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, January 26-29.
Wheldon aims for IRL crown
English IRL IndyCar Series star Dan Wheldon believes he can win the
championship this year because engine supplier Honda will make a
massive push in a bid to grasp the title from bitter rival Toyota.
The Andretti Green Racing driver is set to follow the lead of
team-mate Tony Kanaan and adopt a consistent approach this season in
his efforts to claim the crown.
'Honda are certainly going to be pushing really hard to turn over
Toyota's championship win,' said Wheldon on stage at the AUTOSPORT
International show at the NEC, Birmingham in England last weekend.
'There's a huge rivalry between Honda and Toyota. To be honest, I
didn't really understand how big it was until I raced in Motegi in
Japan. We certainly feel that Honda can fight back, and we have no
doubt they'll be very strong this year, as will the team.'
Asked if he could challenge for the title this season, Wheldon said:
'Yeah, I think so. The main thing with the IRL is that the way the
points system works you can't afford to not finish. I've got to make
sure that when I don't have the car to win, that I keep racking up
those top five finishes and then win when I possibly can.
'Tony Kanaan was a good example. He only won one race but he was in
the championship hunt - and leading the championship - right up until
the last minute. But, remember, that last year was only the team's
first season in the IRL, and that this year is going to my first full
season as well. I think everything's in place to go well. We've looked
really strong in testing and I'm looking forward to it.'
Last year, Dan Wheldon - from Emberton in Buckinghamshire - won the
IRL's Bombardier Rookie of the Year title. It was Wheldon's fourth
Rookie of the Year title since moving to the USA in 1999.
In December, the 25-year old Englishman was voted 2003 Autosport.com
Rookie of the Year in an online poll and received his award in London
from the 2002 award holder, Jaguar Grand Prix driver Mark Webber.
American Le Mans Series GTS champion Ron Fellows was honored as a
First Team member of the 2004 Auto Racing All-America Team at an
awards banquet Saturday night in Pomona, Calif. Fellows attended the
banquet with his wife, Lynda.
The popular Canadian racer was selected to the team for the second
year in a row by members of the American Auto Racing Writers and
Broadcasters Association (AARWBA).
Frank Biela and Marco Werner, co-champions of the LMP 900 class in the
ALMS, were also recognized by the membership of AARWBA, though neither
was able to attend the banquet. Biela was named to the Second Team and
Werner earned Honorable Mention. The three drivers were named in the
road racing category, one of seven categories for the All-America
Team. Joining Fellows on the First Team was Scott Pruett, the 2003
champion of the MotorRock Trans-Am Tour.
Other members of the First Team included Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth,
Stock Car category; Gil de Ferran, Scott Dixon and Paul Tracy, Open
Wheel; Larry Dixon and Tony Pedregon, Drag Racing; J.J. Yeley and
Steve Kinser, Short Track; Brian Vickers and Frank Kimmel, Touring
Series; and A.J. Allmendinger and Mark Taylor, At Large.
$1 Million Dollar Prize Fund for 2004
Days of Thunder Championship Following on from the
success of the 2003 season, the Days of Thunder Championship will once
again boast the biggest prize fund in British motorsport. Last year's
million-dollar prize fund proved to be successful in attracting teams
and drivers, with 28 drivers competing throughout the season. The
combination of start money, finishers' payments down to 14th place,
controlled costs and low levels of car value depreciation, mean that
Days of Thunder racing offers teams the most cost-effective budget of
any major series and attracted major sponsors such as LEGO, McDonalds,
Texaco, Reebok and the Territorial Army. "The million-dollar prize
fund for the teams and drivers has been a great success in ensuring
spectacular, but cost-effective racing," said Rockingham CEO Ashley
Pover. "By focusing our attention on racing exclusively at Rockingham
in 2004 means that competing in the series will be even more
cost-effective for those involved." In 2003 over 150,000 people
traveled to the Northamptonshire facility to see the combination of
fast, action packed racing and live music by some of the UK's top
music talent. "We have a first-class facility here at Rockingham -
every one can sit in comfort and watch these spectacular Days of
Thunder muscle cars compete wheel-to-wheel on the oval at average lap
speeds of over 150mph," says Pover. "Our customers can then wander to
the stage behind the Rockingham building and watch a top-of-the-bill
music event before they make their journey home. People want a
thoroughly memorable day out and we deliver it."
Clapton is a racer at heartUPDATE
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, As well as being a huge race
fan, I'm also a devoted Eric Clapton fan, and I saw your story about
him getting busted for speeding. Clapton loves racing cars, and
supposedly he's a regular at F-1 races (although he goes incognito).
He was also at Silverstone a couple of years ago for a huge concert
celebrating Ferrari's championship winning season where he was the
main act. A few years ago, there was a biography on him on television,
and it showed him driving on England's country roads in a 1960 Ferrari GT SWB, and it showcased his collection of model cars he's built. His
love of speed has almost gotten him killed when in 1976 he was in a
high speed accident in a Ferrari that destroyed the car. Another huge
racing fanatic is Nick Mason, drummer for Pink Floyd, whose collection
includes a 1970 5.0 liter Ferrari 512S V-12 he drives at vintage
events regularly. Mark Knopfler also loves speed, being a huge fan of
motorcycle racing (he even had Honda build him a custom CBR fashioned
after the Isle of Man TT bikes). It seems like rock and roll
and speed go together perfectly. Regards, Joe Angers, Boston, MA1/12/04 - Rock
legend Eric Clapton risks another driving ban after he was caught
speeding at over 100mph, The People reports. The guitarist, nicknamed Slowhand, was clocked doing 110mph in a 50mph zone. Clapton, 58, told
police he was rushing to buy a present for his two-year-old daughter
Julie Rose. The star, who owns a collection of supercars including a
220mph Ferrari Enzo worth £400,000, was nabbed on the A3 at Tolworth,
Surrey, England. He was given a ticket by police after the incident on
Christmas Eve. He faces being banned by a court if police decide to
prosecute. A police source said: "The officer suspected he was doing
about 110 mph. "He said he was off to buy Christmas presents for his
daughter." Clapton, who lives with American wife Melia McEnery, 27,
and their two daughters, has had three previous bans for speeding.
Brian Ma signs on as Engineer for
Rocketsports Racing recently appointed Brian Ma as engineer of the No.
33 Johnson Controls Lola, driven by Alex Tagliani.
Ma is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida
and brings a variety of race-engineering experiences to the second
year team. Most recently with Herdez Competition, Ma configured the
No. 55 car, which broke team records in 2003. At age 25, Ma was the
youngest engineer to take the lead on a Champ Car when he worked with
Memo Gidley at Della Penna Motorsports. Ma’s open-wheel race
experience also includes stints with Dan Gurney All American Racers,
Arciero Blair Racing and Bradley Motorsports.
“Rocketsports Racing made a strong impression in the Champ Car World
Series last season and Tagliani is an intense and talented driver,”
said Ma, who has already set to work with Tagliani and crew. “We’ve
had a good start to our 2004 preparations and we’re confident that we
can take Rocketsports to another level this season.”
“This is a great opportunity to grow and develop with a different
team. I hope to play a part in getting that first win for the
Rocketsports’ Champ Car team and Tagliani,” added Ma, who has
contributed to the career-best years of the last three drivers he has
worked with in open-wheel racing.
1/12/04 Industry News
End of road for MG Rover? According
article, British Car maker MG Rover is on the skids and may
not be in business much longer. And to think Chris Pook almost
brought them on as an engine supplier for CART, badging John Judd
engines. That would have been yet another black eye for CART
when they folded.
All hotels booked in Bahrain Having
been booked to capacity, all 90 hotels in the Kingdom have begun the
countdown, waiting with bated breath for the Formula One Grand Prix
which is a little more than two months away. The travel and tourism
sector is agog to host thousands of visitors and are making all
arrangements to ensure their comfort at reasonable rates. And if the
rush of visitors, participants and spectators exceeds the estimates of
the Government and the industry, four new hotels , facilities in
neighboring countries as well as Government accommodations will do
their bit to cope with the rush. "We have confirmed with all 90
hotels, including one five-star one, and they are fully booked for
mid-March to April," the Assistant Undersecretary of Tourism Affairs,
Mubarak Saad Al Atwi, told the Tribune yesterday. The Grand Prix is
scheduled for April 4-6. "The Kingdom is ready to accommodate nearly
20,000 visitors, at all tourism facilities under the Tourism Affairs
of the Ministry of Information and other apartments under the Ministry
of Municipalities and Agricultural Affairs," Al Atwi said. "Each of
the 90 hotels is accommodating visitors who will attend the Formula
One activities. The Formula One management has been coordinating with
Tourism Affairs to accommodate their nearly 3,500-member technical and
support team," Al Atwi said. He said that facilities under Tourism
Affairs alone could accommodate about 13,000 people, while another
5,000 to 6,000 people can be put up at facilities under the
municipalities. "If the rush exceeds our expectations, then we will
take help from neighboring countries. We have cooperation agreements
with neighbors on accommodating some visitors. We have also directed
the travel agencies and tourism operators to take all steps to bring
these visitors for the Formula One races," he said. "Two new four-star
hotels - Novotel Al Dana Resort and Moven Pick - are ready for opening
and can take in some of the visitors. Another two four-star hotels -
Majaaz Hotel in the Seef district and one near Al Hadi Centre - are
under construction and expected to be ready in two to three months,"
he said. "We have held meetings with general managers of various
hotels in order to ensure the best facilities and arrangements for the
visitors and Formula One teams. All one- to five-star hotels have
fixed reasonable rates in order to attract tourists and Formula One
spectators from across the world. Al Atwi said that Gulf Air would
start frequent flights during this time. "The Tourism Affairs is ready
to host the global sports event - the first time in the region - and
the Kingdom is ready to utilise all its resources to make the event a
great success," Al Atwi said. "We are also ready to co-operate with
various sectors and Government organizations to provide required
arrangements to help attract the Formula One management team to
organize future events here which in turn will contribute to the
healthy growth of the tourism industry of the Kingdom," Al Atwi said.
No friendly skies for airborne
This National Post
article says, Sadly, more serious issues than those
regarding the ownership of CART -- whose assets are surely
to end up in the hands of the Open Wheel Racing Group of
team owners Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry
Forsythe -- have punctuated the off-season. None has been as
serious or as sad as the investigation into the death of
Renna was a rising star taking his first turn at the wheel
as a full-time Indy Racing League driver after signing with
Chip Ganassi when he was killed Oct. 22 at the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway. Speculation abounded for some time that a
mechanical failure or even a design flaw in the IRL chassis
might have caused the accident, which occurred during a
private test session. Naturally, speculators also wondered
aloud if it could have been driver error.
When Renna's car jumped sideways in Turn 3 at 360 kilometers
an hour -- slightly less than normal IRL racing speeds --
and skittered across the infield before careening, airborne,
into the catch fencing, nobody saw it happen. What can be
concluded, though, is that what killed Renna was not the
speed he was traveling -- others have crashed at the track
at higher speeds -- it was the fact that he was in the air
at an odd angle when the impact occurred.
It was not the first instance of an IRL driver finding
himself launched skyward. Mario Andretti was trying to do
the old-guy comeback at a practice session leading up to
last year's Indy 500 when his car ran over some debris left
by Kenny Brack's car and shot 40 feet into the air, only to
land, mercifully, back on its wheels. And, only a few days
before Renna's accident, Brack himself was seriously injured
when he tangled with another car and he cartwheeled along
the Texas Speedway catch fence.
There was a time, not all that long ago, that fire was the
dreaded outcome in any accident, but modern fuel cell
technology has virtually extinguished that fear.
Today, few things cause a driver more concern than the
prospect of becoming airborne. It represents the ultimate
loss of control. In the old days, when cockpits were more
open, spectators told stories of drivers, hands firmly
gripping the wheel, seemingly struggling for control as
their inverted cars passed overhead. Truth be told, most of
the time they were just hanging on.
Mosport, for the unacquainted, is generally regarded as one
of the most challenging circuits in the world and, until
recent changes to the track, also saw a few cars leave the
tarmac as they neared the end of the rising Mario Andretti
Straightaway, where the track flattened for Corner 8. Ludwig
Heimrath was one of those unlucky drivers, but he was
sanguine about the whole incident, which could very well
have proven fatal. He didn't blame the track; he simply said
that you just have to set a car up so that it doesn't fly
into the air. Sound advice.
Ralf runs impressive race pace
at Jerez Ralf Schumacher ran 90 laps at Jerez today as
Williams conducted a full race simulation. His fastest
time of 1m17.875s was also quick enough to eclipse Toyota's
Ryan Briscoe, who reportedly set his time on low fuel and
Schumacher was delighted with the result, and told
autosport.com: "We did a full race distance and it was very
good. On heavy fuel, we had no problems at all. It's an easy
and nice car to drive. Like I said yesterday, we have a few
things to do back at the factory. I'm quite happy, it was a
good test and we've completely finished our program."
Williams chief operations engineer Sam Michael was equally
upbeat. He told autosport.com: "I was pleasantly surprised
with today's test. We had some small problems, with a faulty
sensor and a technical problem at the end, but it's the
first test we've managed a proper race simulation.
"The baseline of this car is very good. There are things to
do, but I'm very happy to complete our program here. It's a
big compliment to the team both here and back at the
factory. Compared to this time last year, we are almost
three months ahead of where we were. It's unbelievable." Formula 1 test Jerez Day 6 times (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tyres Time Laps
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m17.875s 90*
2 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m17.959s 107
Stewart team hires ex-convict
Tony Stewart has made several changes in his motorsports
empire for 2004. While the 2002 stock-car champion
continues to race in NASCAR, the open-wheel programs he owns
have been overhauled. Directing the two-car sprint-car
program will be Larry Curry, the former Indy Racing League
team manager who recently got out of prison for defrauding
his employer, John Menard. Curry was Stewart's closest
friend at Team Menard from 1996-98, and they briefly owned
an IRL team together. Stewart's father, Nelson,
directed the first-year sprint car program last season, but
Stewart fired him last month for undisclosed reasons.
CART announces resignations
Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. (the Company) (OTCBB:
CPNT.OB) announced today that James F. Hardymon, James A.
Henderson, Rafael A. Sanchez and Frederick T. Tucker
resigned as members of the Championship Auto Racing Teams,
Inc. Board of Directors, effective January 9, 2004.
Christopher R. Pook is the sole member of the Board of
Directors following such resignations.
Christopher R. Pook, President and Chief Executive Officer
of the Company, offered his thanks for the contributions
each director has made to the Company. "On behalf of the
Company and its Shareholders, I wish to extend my heartfelt
thanks to Jim Hardymon, Jim Henderson, Ralph Sanchez and
Fred Tucker for their guidance and dedication during their
tenures as directors. They have committed a substantial
amount of time and energy in fulfilling their obligations as
directors, and we appreciate the support each has provided
to the Company and our sport. The Company will no longer be
actively engaged in business operations and intends to wind
up its affairs in an expeditious manner.”
Sauber to get latest Ferrari
engine in 2004 Sauber will use exactly
the same engine as Ferrari in 2004. The Swiss team announced
on Monday that Ferrari had agreed to supply them with the
very same power units as the Ferrari F2004 will use. The
decision is likely to have been forced on Ferrari by this
year's change in engine regulations. Now powerplants must
last the whole grand prix weekend, with any driver who has
to change being dropped 10 places down the grid. The new
Sauber, named the C23, is also equipped with Ferrari’s
New Jaguar passes crash tests Jaguar
Racing's new Formula One car, the R5, has passed the
mandatory FIA crash tests and will make its track debut
today in Belgium. Jaguar spokesperson Nav Sidhu, told
Reuters: "The R5 has passed all crash tests for the season."
NASCAR fans petition against
2084 people, and counting, have signed a petition against
initiating the NASCAR “play-off” rule. The petition was
written by Karl Thacker at
This proposed change would decide the NEXTEL Champion during
the last 10 races. Only the drivers in the top ten positions
after the first 26 races would be in contention for the
Championship title. No matter how many points a driver in
12th gains, he would be in the 11th position at best.
Shanghai racks up double-digit
growth again Shanghai's economy grew
11.8 percent in 2003, its fastest clip since 1998, and could
again rack up double-digit expansion in 2004 if it tackles
gridlocked traffic and the rising costs of housing and
goods, its mayor said on Monday.
Sidestepping SARS and a summer power crunch that crippled
businesses, China's financial crown jewel kept intact a
12-year streak of double-digit growth, but now faces the
task of staying competitive amid rising costs, mayor Han
The city of 20 million, the population of Australia, was hit
with its worst power crunch in years last summer, sparked by
a scorching heat wave. Analysts estimated the city used one
million kilowatts (kw) more than its grid was designed to
handle. Businesses were forced to curtail operations as the
city rationed power to more than 1,000 companies.
Bahrain circuit on schedule Work
on the Bahrain International Circuit, venue for the
inaugural Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, is ahead of schedule
prior to the circuit's FIA inspection date of March 7th. The
brand new circuit to the south of capital city Manama is 89%
completed according to the construction team's schedule.
Work has been in operation around the clock prior to the
Grand Prix on April 4th. The state-of-the-art circuit is
expected to become the benchmark design for future Formula
One tracks. Recent visits by Formula One drivers Jenson
Button and Ralf Schumacher have raised the profile of the
construction work and the latest to visit the circuit was
Irish team owner Eddie Jordan. Jordan's visit to the circuit
this week was by invitation of His Highness the Crown Prince
Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and came at a critical
point in the life of the new track. I am amazed,
breathless actually. The circuit exceeds words, said Jordan
before he flew back to London. I was tremendously impressed with the
work that everyone in Bahrain has done in building this
magnificent circuit. The first layer of the 5.410 kilometer
(3.362 mile) track has now been laid and engineers are
beginning work on the second and third layers. Run-off
areas, gravel traps, safety barriers, marshal posts, control
facilities and the medical centre are all in the final
stages of preparation. The completed track will be ready for
Formula One cars at the end of February, prior to the FIA
circuit inspection that takes place in March. 04.04.04 will
be a significant date in the history of sporting achievement
in the Middle East. The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will be
the first round of the FIA Formula One World Championship
held in the region. A crowd of 100,000 people is expected
over the three-day event.
1/12/04 Industry News
Duane Sweeney needs your
prayers Received this letter from CARA Charities -
Wasn't sure if you had heard the latest news about Duane
Sweeney. Last time, he ended up in the hospital for close to
2 weeks. He did get home for Christmas and the New Year, but
ended up back in a few days later. This time around the news
is rather grim--they discovered pancreatic cancer and give
him only 3-5 months.
On top of that, one of his daughters was in a car accident
the day after he was re-admitted. She was critically
injured, and they took her off of life support on Friday.
Father Grubba, a family friend, was in town and he went to
see Duane; he did give Sweeney last rites and helped the
family tell him about Joan (he had been so weak that they
couldn't tell him before).
They will be sending Duane home soon. If you, or anyone you
know, would like to get in touch his email is
home address is 6170 Racine Place, New Berlin, WI 53151. The
daughter's obituary is below.
Feel free to share as little or as much of this information
as you are comfortable with. They are being very open about
everything. Right now cards, prayers, calls and visits are
the best thing for him--and probably sooner rather than
later. To be honest, if he can't get back down to Indy I
don't know how long he will hold on.
Ramirez, Joan B.
Publication Date: January 11, 2004
(nee Sweeney). Passed away peacefully surrounded by her
loving family Fri., Jan 9, 2004, age 51. Cherished wife of
Larry Ramirez. Loving mom of Gary (Andrea) Huebner and Jason
(Lisa) Huebner. Step-mother of Jesse (Jamie) Ramirez.
World's best nana of Joshua, Peyton, Dylan, Kasey, Keegan
and Nathaneal. Beloved daugther of Duane and Mary Sweeney.
Dear sister of the late Mike Sweeney, Mark (Jayne) Sweeney,
Cathy Gudlin and her twin Jean (Tom) Niedercorn. Also loved
by other relatives and many dear friends.
Visitation Wed., Jan. 14 at CHURCH AND CHAPEL FUNERAL HOME,
National Ave. from 4-6pm. Funeral Service celebrated 6pm.
Joan was a faithful volunteer for the Wisconsin Paralyzed
Veterans of America.
New Sauber launch today, two
new sponsors announced Today, SAUBER
PETRONAS are presenting the new C23 racing car and two new
sponsors, "Sokhna Port" and "Tai Kang Life", to
international media representatives at Red Bull’s Hangar-7,
Salzburg Airport. Team Principal Peter Sauber and the two
drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella (30) and Felipe Massa (22),
are looking towards the upcoming season with confidence.
"Our goal for 2004 is to clearly increase our performance.
How well we’ll be able to do this primarily depends on how
quickly we’ll be able to translate the results of our wind
tunnel work to the race track," Peter Sauber said, adding
that, "Certainly, the presence of seven automotive
manufacturers has made the competition in Formula One
fiercer than ever, but we’re ready to accept this
The reason for the launch of the new SAUBER PETRONAS C23
being staged at Red Bull’s Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport is a
special anniversary: The partnership and friendship between
the Austrian energy drink producer, Red Bull, and Sauber is
entering its tenth year in the 2004 season.
For the design of the new SAUBER PETRONAS C23 Technical
Director Willy Rampf chose a pragmatic approach, developing
a car with a good basis as well as plenty of potential for
continued development. "Owing to the fact that we will not
be able to start working in our new wind tunnel until after
the roll-out of the C23, this solution made sense to us more
than any other." Thanks to engine supplier PETRONAS Sauber,
for the first time, will be receiving the same type of
engine as Ferrari. For the first time, as well, the Swiss
team will be using Ferrari’s seven-speed gearbox.
Giancarlo Fisichella is looking forward to the roll-out of
the C23 with eager anticipation: "Day after tomorrow, on
Wednesday, I’ll be able to drive the new car for the first
time at Valencia. I take the fact that this date coincides
with my 31st birthday as a good omen." Having just returned
to Team SAUBER PETRONAS, Felipe Massa is optimistic, as
well: "I’ve learnt a lot during my year as a Ferrari test
driver and am ready, now, to apply this knowledge to the
On the sponsoring side, Team Principal Peter Sauber was able
to announce good news, too, as the team has just gained two
new partners: "Sokhna Port" and "Tai Kang Life".
Sokhna Port with its ultra-modern logistics centre is
strategically located on the coast of the Red Sea at the
Gulf of Suez, 130 km east of Cairo. The port was inaugurated
in 2002 and makes use of the latest state-of-the-art IT
technologies, ensuring the smooth transit of containerised
and bulk cargoes. The project has a long-range focus and is
intended to make Sokhna Port an international hub for
warehousing and distribution of goods. Sokhna Port’s
management plan to use Formula One and SAUBER PETRONAS’
contacts particularly in the B2B area. Sokhna Port’s logo is
placed on the front nose of the SAUBER PETRONAS racers.
Tai Kang Life is one of China’s six leading life insurance
companies holding a national licence. In June 2003, the
company’s total assets amounted to 2.67 billion U.S.
dollars, with income from insurance premiums at 2.12
billion. Tai Kang Life has achieved triple digit growth
rates in two consecutive years, reflected by a significant
increase in market share. Tai Kang Life’s logos are placed
on the car’s rear view mirrors.
"I’m delighted that, with Sokhna Port and Tai Kang Life,
we’ve been able to gain two new partners. Only thanks to our
strong and loyal sponsors are we able to pursue a
forward-looking strategy as an independent team," Peter
Sauber said, commenting on the new partnerships.
The actual unveiling of the SAUBER PETRONAS C23 will take
place tonight, starting at 6.30 p.m. (CET), during a show at
Red Bull’s Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport, featuring a special
performance by the "Sugababes" from the UK as a highlight of
the evening. Starting at 6.30 p.m., a live broadcast of the
show can be watched by visiting either of the following
three websites: www.sauber-petronas.com,
Verstappen visits Jordan today Jos
Verstappen and his manager Raymond Vermeulen are in England
today visiting the Jordan factory at Silverstone, some think
to sign a contract. Verstappen was invited by Eddie Jordan
to watch the progress of the new EJ14 car but Eddie himself
is in Bahrain visiting the new track there. "Don't take this
too seriously," Verstappen warned his fans on his official
website. "The visit is more friendly rather than anything
official. Eddie called me to visit the factory to see the
progress of next season's car and of course I accepted."
F1 teams must help themselves The
FIA have tried their hardest to help Formula One teams cut
costs, but unfortunately their hands are tied to a vast
degree due to the Concorde Agreement. The problem is
that all votes must be unanimous and that is difficult to
achieve. “We can produce ideas and ask people for
ideas but the teams themselves have got to recognize that
they have allowed the costs to get too high,” FIA President
Max Mosley told Autosport. “If there is going to be
discipline imposed, it is not going to be the FIA that
imposes it, it’s going to be the factories. We can have a
bit of a go in rallies but we can't in F1 because of the
Concorde Agreement. Even the gentle measures we made last
January, the gentle application of existing rules, have
produced arbitration. We don’t need it. We have got better
things to do than save them from their own folly.”
7-speeds for new Williams - Times
through Sunday According to Autosport, the new
BMW Williams FW26 features a seven-speed gearbox instead of the
previous six used on last year’s contender, the FW25. The significance
of this fact is that it brings the Grove based squad up to par with
rivals at Ferrari and McLaren. “It has been important to have seven
speeds once more,” Patrick Head told Autosport. “Because of the one
engine rule. It will allow some stress to be taken off the engine.”
1/12/04 Formula 3
American Richard Antinucci may stay in
F3UPDATE American driver
Richard Antinucci has revealed that he will join works team TOM's to
drive a Toyota-powered car in the 2004 All Japan F3 Championship. “The
chance to race an F3 car in Japan is a fantastic opportunity for me,"
Antinucci admitted, "I am delighted to have been chosen by TOM's to
join its team. I thoroughly enjoyed my previous experiences in Japan
while racing karts and, after successes in various racing categories
in Europe, I am relishing the challenge of racing in F3 with a team of
such good pedigree.” The American, who has flown out to Japan to join
the team this week, is not the first driver from his extended family
to race a Toyota-powered car in the Far East. His uncle, Ross Cheever,
drove for Toyota in the Eighties and won the Japanese F3 championship
in 1987. “We are delighted to welcome Richard to the Toyota family,"
team director Juichi Isobe commented, "We have been watching his
racing career carefully, and were particularly impressed with his
performances in Macau and Korea. Here in Japan, our F3 series is very
competitive and we need a driver of the highest possible calibre. We
feel we have found this in Richard, and are hopeful that we will have
a very productive and successful season with him.”
1/3/04 - 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?]
Raikkonen sets lap record at Jerez -
Times through Sunday Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m16.074s 87
2 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m16.110s 82
3 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m16.245s 24
4 Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m17.237s 104
5 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m17.240s 39
6 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m18.422s 103
7 Jenson Button BAR-Honda M 1m18.563s 95
8 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m19.837s 103
Toyota helps to fuel rebirth in US
Basketball fans arriving at Houston's new Toyota Center to see the
Rockets and their All-Star center Yao Ming also get to kick the tires
on the latest Tundra pickup trucks, Camry sedans and 4Runner
A car-and-truck showroom in the arena's concourse is part of Toyota
Motor Corp.'s $100 million naming-rights package for the just-opened
home of the NBA team. Toyota says it sees the Rockets and the
Chinese-born, 7-foot-5- inch Yao as a ticket to more vehicle sales in
Toyota's July agreement is one example of improving - and more
demanding - times for the $213 billion U.S. sports industry. After
almost three years of declines in attendance and television ratings,
and unsuccessful attempts by media companies to tap broadcast and
marketing income by owning teams, sport is coming back into fashion in
the U.S. It's reaping more fans, higher television ratings and greater
"Companies are more willing to entertain ideas of sponsorship in
sports than they have been in recent years," said Jim Andrews, vice
president of IEG Sponsorship Report of Chicago, which has tracked
corporate marketing for 20 years. "They're also recognizing that
sponsorship has to be a long-term proposition, at least three years,
more likely four or five."
Bank of America Corp. promised larger purses when it agreed to sponsor
the PGA Tour's Colonial golf tournament. Major League Baseball's
postseason television audience leapt compared with 2002. Interest in
19-year-old Cleveland Cavaliers rookie LeBron James has helped boost
NBA attendance 1.7 percent so far this season after a decline last
season. Viacom Inc.'s CBS says 30- second ad rates for football's
Super Bowl game are about $300,000 above last year.
The U.S. economic recovery is at the heart of the sports rebound, say
analysts such as Steve Rosner of 16W Marketing LLC in East Rutherford,
"Companies with extra dollars are able to market their products in the
way they intended, not at 70 percent or so," Rosner said.
Toyota's 20-year agreement with the owners of the Rockets and the
arena operator, Clutch City Sports & Entertainment LP, is the first
time the world's largest automaker by market value has put its name on
"Sports has always been the dominant way we can connect with our main
target - male customers and potential male customers," said Deborah
Wahl Meyer, corporate marketing manager of Toyota Motor Sales USA.
Toyotas continue to lag at Daytona
The Toyota trucks are out to lunch so far at Daytona, but we predict
they are sandbagging so as not to upset the regulars too early,
especially since they are the first non-American brand in NASCAR, at
one time a true redneck sport. Their entry into NASCAR is well
orchestrated by NASCAR itself, that you can count on. They will
sandbag until it counts then they will begin to move toward the front.
The cumulative results of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Preseason
Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway as of Sunday
1. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, 49.664 seconds, 181.218 mph, 1/10
2. Bobby Hamilton, No. 4 Dodge, 49.786, 180.774, 1/11
3. Phil Bonifeld, No. 25 Chevrolet, 49.846, 180.556, 1/11
4. Chad Chaffin, No. 18 Dodge, 49.903, 180.350, 1/11
5. Jon Wood, No. 50 Ford, 49.919, 180.292, 1/10
6. Steve Grissom, No. 59 Dodge, 49.922, 180.281, 1/11
7. Chase Montgomery, No. 8 Dodge, 49.954, 180.166, 1/10
8. Jack Sprague, No. 16 Chevrolet, 50.101, 179.637, 1/11
9. Steve Park, No. 62 Dodge, 50.233, 179.165, 1/11
10. Steadman Marlin, No. 67b Ford, 50.251, 179.101, 1/11
11. Dennis Setzer, No. 46, Chevrolet, 50.326, 178.834, 1/10
12. Matt Crafton, No. 6 Chevrolet, 50.339, 178.788, 1/11
13. Ted Musgrave, No. 1 Dodge, 50.370, 178.678, 1/11
14. L.W. Miller, No. 28 Chevrolet, 50.416, 178.515, 1/11
15. David Starr, No. 75 Chevrolet, 50.445, 178.412, 1/11
16. Tina Gordon, No. 13 Chevrolet, 50.446, 178.409, 1/11
17. Tracy Hines, No. 88 Chevrolet, 50.504, 178.204, 1/11
18. Kelly Sutton, No. 02 Chevrolet, 50.578, 177.943, 1/11
19. Brandon Whitt, No. 38 Ford, 50.595, 177.883, 1/11
20. Ken Weaver, No. 08 Chevrolet, 50.643, 177.715, 1/11
21. Terry Cook, No. 10 Ford, 50.659, 177.658, 1/11
22. Mike Skinner, No. 42 Toyota, 50.705, 177.497, 1/11
23. Bill Lester, No. 22 Toyota, 50.723, 177.434, 1/11
24. Carl Edwards, No. 29 Ford, 50.857, 176.967, 1/11
25. David Reutimann, No. 17 Toyota, 50.862, 176.949, 1/11
26. Shane Sieg, No. 07 Chevrolet, 50.881, 176.883, 1/11
27. Travis Kvapil, No. 24 Toyota, 50.881, 176.883, 1/11
28. Rick Crawford, No. 14b, Ford, 50.926, 176.692, 1/10
29. Geoff Bodine, No. 03, Chevrolet, 51.104, 176.111, 1/10
30. Wayne Edwards, No. 95 Ford, 51.338, 175.309, 1/11
31. Robert Huffman, No. 12, Toyota, 51.411, 175.060, 1/11
32. Shelby Howard, No. 23, Toyota, 51.434, 175.016, 1/11
33. Hank Parker Jr., No. 21 Toyota, 51.621, 174.348, 1/11
34. Loni Richardson, No. 48 Dodge, 52.274, 172.170, 1/11
35. Loni Richardson, No. 0 Chevrolet, 52.543, 171.288, 1/11
team submits first Sebring entry
The new Barron Connor Ferrari racing team, with former Indianapolis
500 winner Danny Sullivan as a driver, has submitted the first
official entry for the 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The Barron Connor team, based in The Netherlands, will run a pair of
factory-built Ferrari 575 GTC machines that will compete in the GTS
class in the Sebring event. Sullivan, from Louisville, Ky., and John
Bosch of The Netherlands will be two of the team's drivers, with more
to be announced.
"I'm really excited about being back in the saddle again and racing at
Sebring," said Sullivan, who won the Indy 500 in 1985 and was CART
champion in 1988. "I've raced at Sebring a few times but never had the
results I'd have liked. This opportunity has come together for me to
go there and have some fun again.
"Sebring is a very special track and has such a great history," he
said. "The people who come there are special and it's a great crowd
with diehard race fans and a festival atmosphere. It's just a neat
"We are nicely on schedule," said Bosch. "We are now finalizing our
pre-season testing program, while the second car will be ready in time
for Sebring. We are a new team, but I believe we have brought together
a lot of expertise and experience. As for drivers, interest is high
and we are talking to many people at the moment."
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
Ticket information is available online at
by calling (863) 655-1442 (toll-free 800-626-RACE).
Indy releases 2004 schedule
The 2004 event schedule at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will
provide fans with three of the most prestigious races in the world
between May and August, creating a summer of speed unmatched at any
other facility. Drivers from three of the world's top series -- the
Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, FIA Formula One World Championship
and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series -- will compete at the world's most
famous racetrack on these race days:
Sunday, May 30: 88th Indianapolis 500
Sunday, June 20: Fifth United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis
Sunday, Aug. 8: 11th Brickyard 400 More.....
Baumgartner may lose some backing
Zsolt Baumgartner's sponsorship may be cut back before he even
competes in his first race for Minardi in 2004. The budget
allowed by one of the Hungarian drivers main sponsors, oil company Mol
Rt, had agreed to a specific sum of money, 1.5 million, on the plan
that he would be signing a deal with Jordan, not Minardi. "We
had signed a memorandum of understanding last year, which has only
been valid in specific circumstances,” a spokeswoman for Mol Rt told
Hungarian television. “This memorandum was not a binding agreement.
Mol Rt. started the negotiations in light of the conditions, which
have changed since then." "I've heard the reports,” Zsolt told
MTI. “I hope this is only a misunderstanding and my management will be
able to sort it out soon. In any case, I will continue my preparations
in the same way as before."
1/11/04 Team USA
Strong Start For Team USA Scholarship
Drivers Joe D’Agostino led the Team USA
Scholarship charge in this afternoon’s opening two races of the
Talley’s International Formula Ford Series at Levels Raceway.
D’Agostino led most of the first race before having to settle for
second, and followed up with a sixth-place finish later in the day.
Toyota tests Tundras at Daytona Four
Toyota-powered teams and seven drivers participated in the Tundra's
first open test at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for
the program's debut at the Feb. 13 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
season opening race. Toyota's newest addition to its driver line up,
Bill Lester of Bill Davis Racing, took to the track in his No. 22
Toyota Tundra to turn the trucks first official timed laps at the
historic super speedway. In the first of three days of testing, David
Reutimann was the fastest of the seven Toyota pilots in both the
morning and afternoon sessions. The Darrell Waltrip Motorsports driver
had a top speed of 176.672 mph in the No. 17 Toyota Tundra, good for
13th overall. 1995 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike
Skinner, driving the No. 42 Toyota Tundra for the new Bang Racing
team, was the second quickest Toyota at 176.581 mph. The rest of the
Toyota contingent included Lester, defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series champion Travis Kvapil of Bang Racing, Robert Huffman and Hank
Parker Jr. of Innovative Motorsports, and Shelby Howard of Bill Davis
Racing. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series open testing at Daytona resumes
on Sunday, Jan. 11, and will run through Monday, Jan. 12.
Ferrari announces launch date for new
Fourth and final day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari
Marlboro at the Jerez circuit. Once again today, Luca Badoer and
Felipe Massa took to the track to conclude the tire and electronics
test program initiated on Wednesday. Badoer completed a total of 79
laps, the quickest being a 1’18”807. Massa did 57 laps, setting a best
time of 1’18”627. The new Ferrari car, which will compete in the 2004
Formula 1 World Championship, will be launched on 26th January at
Schumacher in new Williams fastest on
Saturday at Jerez
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time
1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m16.359s 82*
2 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1m17.014s 104*
3 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m17.945s 103
4 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m18.054s 87*
5 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m18.175s 3**
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari B 1m18.681s 62
7 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda M 1m18.830s 95
8 Luca Badoer Ferrari M 1m18.841s 79
9 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m18.864s 90***
Possible problem with new McLaren
McLaren drivers David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen are having trouble
fitting comfortably in the team's new MP4-19, sources close to the
team have told AUTOSPORT.
Raikkonen tested the car for the first time at Jerez yesterday
(Friday), but he only completed 32 laps because of hip and rib-cage
pain caused by the tight confines of the MP4-19s cockpit. Coulthard
has also suffered bruising after testing the car. After testing the
machine yesterday, Raikkonen said that "problems with the car"
prevented him from doing more running. McLaren is in the process of
rebuilding Raikkonen's seat, and are hopeful that this will solve the
problem. Alex Wurz, McLaren's designated third driver, was forced to
cut short his test programme in the new car because he could not fit
in it comfortably.
Woman becomes minority owner
in truck team NASCAR veteran Steve Park has
joined Orleans Racing as the full-time driver of the No. 62 Dodge in
the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, team officials announced Jan. 9.
Park replaces Brendan Gaughan, who will drive full time in the NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup Series for Penske-Jasper Racing.
Team founder Gaughan (Brendan's father), who also is the chairman of the board for Coast
Resorts in Las Vegas, remains the primary owner of the Las Vegas-based
team but has restructured much of the management.
“We also are pleased to announce new additions which will make the
team even stronger as they race for the championship,” Gaughan said.
“Agnes Ferretti is now the managing general partner for Orleans
Racing. She has a great deal of experience and enthusiasm. As I spend
more time focusing on Coast Casinos, Agnes will take an active role in
running the team. David Pepper is the new team manager. He brings
extensive motorsports experience and will manage the day-to-day
operations of the team. The only missing component is a crew chief,
and we are actively searching for someone who will reach the standard
set in the past.”
Born in the Philippines, Ferretti becomes the first minority female
owner in NASCAR’s 55-year existence.
“This partnership is a dream come true for me,” Ferretti said.
“Orleans Racing is a first-rate organization that is of championship
caliber. We have assembled a group of talented and experienced sports
professionals, so we will be one of the premier race teams in this
Ferretti, 36, has 15 years of experience with top level sports and
entertainment companies, including deals with the National Football
League, Disney, Touchtone Pictures, Baywatch, Cap Cities/ABC, AT&T,
Coca-Cola and Toys “R” Us. She lives in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and is a
graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.
Pepper joins Orleans Racing after five years as director of marking
for Bobby Hamilton Racing. He also has experience in the NASCAR Busch
Series handling public relations for Brewco Motorsports. A native of
Owensboro, Ky., Pepper is a graduate of Western Kentucky University
and recently relocated to Las Vegas.
Park wants to drive Dodge in shootout The
announcement Friday that Steve Park would wheel Orleans Racing's Dodge
in the Craftsman Truck Series narrowed his potential rides in the
upcoming Budweiser Shootout. But Park still has hopes of getting a
shot into the Budweiser Shootout, set for Feb. 7. "We are pursuing it
and we want to make sure we can do it in a Dodge," Park said. "We have
the support of Dodge and that means a lot to me.
"We've been talking to numerous teams that might be able to field a
car for us. Even though we haven't heard a lot of things, things are
not out of the perspective of us getting a chance to race in the Bud
"We have been working hard on putting a deal together for that," Park
said. "It wouldn't surprise me that myself is in a Dodge for the
Budweiser Shootout, and I'm looking forward to that."
"After the last year and a half of dismal displays in the Nextel Cup
Series, I'm looking forward to getting with a winning race team, as
Brendan Gaughan has displayed this team is, in the past," Park said.
"I'm looking forward to getting back with a team that has a chance to
win races and my main goal is to continue the winning tradition the
Orleans Racing team has and to compete for the championship."
"It's not like I need to prove something," Park said. "We pretty much
had won races from Busch right up to Nextel Cup. I've been racing
since I was 10 years old and I have been lucky enough to win just
"I'd rather win races and be in a position to run good and win races
than I would be to run good and finish 15th (in Nextel Cup). It's a
situation where it's hard to get out of bed Sunday morning when you
know that if all the stars line up you're best effort is going to be a
15th place effort.
"I race to win and I'm looking forward to getting back to that."
F1 costs must be cut warns Ford boss
Ford's Group Vice President, Richard Parry-Jones has warned that
Formula One must cut costs or risk self-destruction. Speaking at the
Autosport International show where Jaguar was launching its SCV8
Supercar, he had this to say: "Most observers of the sport believe the
cost escalation cannot be continued," he said. "Formula One is going
to have to find way of putting on a spectacle without consuming too
much of the customers' money. If we don't, we are heading for a cliff.
We are no longer into having an opulent motorhome," said Parry-Jones.
"There is no money in the budget for that sort of bullshit. Everything
we have we spend on the car. It is not sensible in the long term to
try to buy your way to the front of the grid."
Richards took the broom to BAR
'We had to start again,' said BAR boss David Richards, salaried team
principal at the Brackley-based operation since late 2001, when
founder Craig Pollock was fired. 'We've put in solid foundations
and will keep improving from there,' he added.
'It was steady, I would say,' David told Top Gear.
'Issues with tires and reliability need to be addressed, but there's a
clear trend of improvement.'
Also CEO of racing arm Prodrive, and chairman of world rallying's
commercial rights company ISC, Richards is undoubtedly a busy man in
motorsport. 'The reality is that these roles all overlap,' he
explained. 'My function is not day-to-day operational stuff; it's
about taking the businesses forward. And at that level there are
many common issues. This is business and I have to treat it that way.
But I'm fortunate in that it's also a passion for me."
New Jag to debut Monday
Autosport reports that Jaguar is on target to run its new R5 Formula 1
challenger for the first time on Monday, and has set itself the aim of
converting its impressive qualifying performances into race results.
Team boss David Pitchforth has confirmed that Jaguar's 2004 car is an
evolution of last year's R4, and that it will feature a traditional
nose. The R5 is due to be finished today (Saturday) before it is taken
to Lommel in Belgium for three days of running next week prior to its
official launch on January 18. The R5 has been finished on time and
"It [the R5] is an evolution focusing carefully on areas that needed
attention," said Pitchforth. "This is an all-new car but has lineage
to its predecessors. Everything changed on the car is based on fact."
Toyota Jerez testing roundup - drivers
wait for new car
Total laps: 175
Best Lap Time: 1m17.967s
"For me, the test this week was quite good. It is always nice to get
back in the cockpit after a relatively long break. We worked very
closely with Michelin on Wednesday and Thursday to do some tyre
testing with the standard TF103 chassis and we found some more
positive results. It was a nice way to begin what I am sure will be an
exciting year for Panasonic Toyota Racing." Olivier Panis
Total laps: 225
Best Lap Time: 1m18.513s
Chassis: TF103B (7-8) TF103/08 (9)
"I am very happy with this test. We were able to complete a lot of
laps over the three days. We worked on the reliability of the TF103B
car for the first two days and managed over 130 laps, which is really
quite encouraging. Today I switched to the 103 car and did some long
runs to evaluate tyres with Michelin and everything went well. I am
excited that our new TF104 car is being launched next week, and
confident that it will be a big step forward." Cristiano da Matta
Total laps: 45
Best Lap Time: 1m19.589s
"I only drove on one day during this week's Jerez test and
unfortunately it wasn't such a good day with some problems, which
prevented us from completing too many laps. On a more positive note
though, everyone in the factory has done a great job over Christmas
and New Year to put the final touches to the TF104, which will be
unveiled in Cologne next week. I am looking forward to testing it as
our preparations for the 2004 season really intensify."
11-13 January 2004 Jerez Ryan Briscoe
20-23 January 2004 Barcelona Da Matta and Zonta (20-21) Briscoe and
Panis (22-23) TF104/TF103B
27-29 January 2004 Valencia Ricardo Zonta (27-29) Olivier Panis
(27-28) Cristiano da Matta (29) TF104/TF103B
Bernie says USA and Asia the future for
F1, Europe to lose more racesUPDATE Mario Theissen has backed
Bernie Ecclestone's plan to hold more races outside Europe, because he
believes it will be good for BMW's marketing campaign. "As an
automobile manufacturer, we welcome the development of Formula One
from a one-sided concentration on Europe to a genuine World
Championship," Theissen said. "It is an extremely attractive
proposition as far as we are concerned to be able to use Formula One
to demonstrate our technical expertise to emerging nations like China.
The first venue in the Middle East also enriches the tournament from
our perspective. The North American market is also particularly
significant for us." Read that more USA F1 races and their
support of the Champ Car series with Formula BMW. 1/7/03
- Formula One will continue its trend out of Europe, according to the
sport's impresario Bernie Ecclestone. The 73-year-old Briton
told German magazine Max that more races on the continent will be
cancelled 'sooner or later.' 2004's official schedule will lack
Austria and, in all probability, France.
Ecclestone, group principal of Formula One, continued: 'Our sponsors
want us in growing markets - and Europe isn't a growing market.
He said: 'As I see it, Europe will be part of the third world in ten
years.' Asia and America, on the other hand, will be dominating
the world, he added. 'We must be established there,' said
Ecclestone, who will - for the first time ever - take his circus to
the Middle East (Bahrain) and China this season.
IROC will not return to Indy
The International Race of Champions will not be part of the 2004
Brickyard 400 weekend schedule, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
announced Friday. Since 1998, IROC had staged one of its four races at
IMS in conjunction with the NASCAR race. IROC, which uses 12 drivers
from different racing series in identically prepared cars, had lost
its sponsor, True Value, after last year's race. IROC spokesman George
Signore said the series has landed another sponsor and will continue
at four other tracks, which he would not identify. "We didn't know for
quite some time,'' he said. "As a matter of fact, we're slamming this
thing together as we speak, and we're planning an announcement on
Thursday.'' From where we sit, they should kill this series,
which caters to NASCAR drivers, putting open wheel drivers at a severe
disadvantage, and in turn making them look like fools. However,
if your ultimate goal is to eventually see just NASCAR left standing
in the USA with its three series, IROC helps to further that goal.
IROC is, for all intents and purposes, an extension of NASCAR, and the
conspiracy theorists say NASCAR would like nothing better than to get
rid of all the different forms of racing in the USA and have Americans
think of racing as stadium-style stock car oval racing, and nothing
more. The divide and conquer strategy is working perfectly for
them. They supported Tony George in his IRL efforts and by
dividing Indy Cars that form of racing is close to death. On the
sportscar side, having the Grand-Am series divides and conquers what
the ALMS was trying to build thereby never allowing that form of
racing to become too strong. Meanwhile NASCAR becomes stronger
by the day to the point they are close to becoming a monopoly in the
the AutoRacing1.com archivesUPDATE A reader writes,
The AR1 archive note on Eddie Sachs brought back a rush of indelible
memories today. I was at Indy the day Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald
died. I was sitting almost directly across the track on the front
straightaway where their
cars came to rest in that huge fireball 40 years ago this May.
David Smith, Louisville KY1/9/03 - Eddie Sachs, celebrates as winner of the 1955 Dayton 100.
Those who remember the high banks of Dayton will know just how
dangerous the track was, taking many a drivers life. Ironically,
Sachs survived Dayton but was to later lose his life in the tragic
1964 Indy 500 driving a Champ Car. Photo
by Steven Levinson.
Wobbly CART race up in the air
This Portland Tribune article
says, Time is ticking away on Portland's chances of staging another
CART race, the staple of the local racing scene and a fixture of the
Rose Festival since 1984. By next Friday, the race could be out
of gas. Mike Nealy, president of the race promotion company
Global Events Group, has been busy courting potential corporate
sponsors for a race tentatively scheduled for June 18 to June 20 at
Portland International Raceway --without much luck. Paul
Gentilozzi, co-owner of the Open Wheel Racing Series group that is
trying to navigate the Championship Auto Racing Teams series through
bankruptcy proceedings, is putting the onus on Portland race
supporters to secure sponsorship and pay a sanctioning fee. "I'm
certain we're going racing. We'll have a series," Gentilozzi says. "If
Portland wants a race, they'll have to show that by signing a
sanctioning agreement. Other venues are selling tickets. I guess
they have more confidence in us."......
Portland organizers want to say yea or nay to a 2004 race by Jan. 16.
But to further complicate matters, a bankruptcy court will not hear
CART sales proposals until Jan. 28.
"That's really the challenge (of selling), the uncertainty of the
series itself," Nealy says.
G.I. Joe's: in or out?
One source says G.I. Joe's does not plan to renew its agreement to be
the title sponsor of a Portland race. Norm Daniels, president of G.I.
Joe's, would say only, "We would like to look at all avenues and make
sure that the event will be up to, or exceed, the standards that the
race fan expects in Portland." Daniels and others want CART to
Concession sales, an indicator of race attendance, have slipped 48
percent since 2000.
The CART series has lost some of its luster in recent years, as many
high-profile teams and drivers have jumped to the rival Indy Racing
League. And CART, which has suffered through managerial and financial
turmoil trying to stay afloat, has lost more than $90 million since
the start of 2002. Still, Nealy intimates that he could virtually put
18 Studebakers on the PIR track and put butts in seats to watch them.
But he needs financial backing, such as another title sponsor to go
along with G.I. Joe's. "It's strictly a financial situation,"
Nealy says. "If there's not the community support -- corporate support
-- then maybe the community doesn't want it. The part that's
frustrating for me is I think the event represents more than just a
car race. I think it's a loss to the community as a whole, if it goes
Meanwhile, Mark Wigginton, the PIR manager, sits and waits. Normally
he has the next year's PIR schedule set in October. Another
entity, the Oregon Motorcycle Roadracing Association, would like the
June 18-20 weekend for an event. So there will be racing at PIR --of
some sort --the third week of June. "I told Mike (Nealy) I would
give him the dates, but we need a firm commitment," Wigginton says. "I
would like CART, because I think it's good for the city."
Wigginton chairs a committee appointed by city Commissioner Jim
Francesconi to look at potential events for PIR, including a
replacement race for CART. Daniels and Bob Ames, both founders of the
CART race, also sit on the committee. Some talk revolves around the
NASCAR Northwest Tour and Southwest Tour, probably run the previous
weekend, as part of Rose Cup races.
It could be the rebirth of the Rose Cup as the main racing event
around town. "We're up for any race somebody can put on," Ames
says. "I wish we could have a (CART) event. There's still a reasonable
number of people who like to go, even though they're mediocre races.
But we want the racetrack to be healthy and survive. "We're all
waiting to see what happens with CART."
"But the concern now is we're starting to run out of time," says Kevin
Jeans-Gail, Francesconi's chief of staff. Francesconi oversees
Portland Parks & Recreation, which manages the track.
Jeans-Gail says the city has offered lower rental fees, and the Rose
Festival will take virtually nothing from the event. "We need
certainty," he says. "Everybody's stretching to make it work. If we
don't get certainty soon, we're in trouble."
likes new McLaren Kimi Raikkonen completed his first day of
testing in the MP4-19 today at the Jerez circuit. McLaren.com caught
up with Kimi to get his first reactions on the team's 2004 challenger. How did the MP4-19 feel today?
It was great to be back testing and of course to drive the MP4-19 for
the first time at Jerez today. It is still early days as I have only
completed one days running, but the car felt good and I am looking
forward to getting back behind the wheel tomorrow and Sunday, and
putting in some more mileage. What were you working on today?
This morning, the main focus was for me to get acquainted with the
car, making sure I was comfortable in it and getting used to how it
felt on track. Also, the track was damp in the morning, which meant
that everyone's times were a little slower. Then during the afternoon,
we continued the scheduled development program for the MP4-19, and as
is often the case with testing, you do a few laps and then come into
the garage and changes are made and you then go back out to see how
that feels. It was a positive day though and we will continue the
BAR designer doesn't think Williams
nose worth it According to this Autosport article,
The radical front end of the new WilliamsF1 BMW FW26, which features a
short nose and extended ‘tusks' that support the front wing, is not a
new idea according to BAR-Honda technical director Geoff Willis.
The former Williams chief aerodynamicist says that the concept was
looked at previously but dismissed because the advantage it produced
was minimal in comparison to the drawbacks it presented in chassis
“We had that idea a few years ago,” he said at Jerez where he is
overseeing BAR's test program. “But we didn't think it was worthwhile
pursuing it because the merits of such a design were so small. Earlier
last year I heard that Williams were looking at it and maybe they have
found something because obviously they have state of the art
facilities over there.”
Willis believes that because of the smaller nose structure more carbon
fiber has to be used to make it strong enough to pass stringent FIA
crash tests, which increases the overall weight of the component. This
in turn compromises the overall weight distribution of the chassis.
“It's a trade off between increased airflow and extra weight,” he
Willis did allow that Michelin-shod cars have a tendency to require
more weight to be distributed at the front of the car. This has also
been a major factor in the development of BAR's new car, since the
team has switched from Bridgestone to Michelin for 2004 and has had to
make significant changes to its hybrid chassis' weight distribution.
Willis confirmed that he has continued with a traditional thin-nosed
design on the 2004 BAR which he described as “very sleek”. He said:
“This year our car carries the lines I have always wanted my cars to
have. It's more curvaceous than last year's. It looks just like a sexy
Jordan team hope to debut new car in
February The Jordan team have predicted that their 2004
challenger, the EJ14, should get its first track outing in early
February. Though no official launch date has been set for the new car,
they hope it will make its test debut at Silverstone on February 4-5.
The team will be on track ahead of that at Barcelona, later this
month. According to the team’s official website, a four-day test at
the Spanish venue from January 20-23 is likely to be the last circuit
appearance for the outgoing EJ13.
Jordan also has further tests lined up at Jerez, Barcelona and
Silverstone later in February. They have yet to announce any drivers
for the 2004 season and, according to their website, boss Eddie Jordan
will “carefully evaluate the shortlist of available drivers before
deciding who will best complement the team's 2004 package”.
Salo to test at Laguna Seca PK Racing's Mika Salo will
test on January 26-27 at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, in preparation
for the upcoming 2004 Champ Car World Series season.
Salo, who joined the PK Racing squad for the final four races of
2003, will pilot the #27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth Lola during the
two-day test in order to build upon the information and teamwork he
and the crew established last year.
Making an immediate impact upon the Champ Car scene, Salo scored two
top-five finishes in those final four races. His brief season was
highlighted by a third-place podium finish at the Grand Prix Americas
in Miami, his second race in a Champ Car.
"I am really looking forward to getting back in the car again after
a few months off," Salo said. "It has been nice spending time with my
family over the holidays, but it is time to get back to work and focus
on competing for the championship this season. We will pick up where
we left off last year, where I really felt we had the car and the
potential to win in Australia."
PK Racing General Manager Russ Cameron stated, "The upcoming test at
Laguna is a critical one. Last season, we were behind from the start
because we had a rookie driver, and we barely had a team together in
time for Spring Training."
"This year," he continued, "will be different. We have had a full
year to gel as a team, and we have a driver with experience who is
eager to compete and win in Champ Cars. Beginning our testing program
earlier will give us that much more of an advantage in the coming
season, which looks to be just as competitive as the last one, if not
Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PK Racing fields a
one-car effort in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series
Powered by Ford. The team is co-owned by successful motorsports
businessman Craig Pollock and high-tech industrialist Kevin Kalkhoven
and is managed by Champ Car veteran Russell Cameron.
Kyle Busch set for rookie season
Lowe's and Hendrick Motorsports today announced a multi-year agreement
that will feature Lowe's as primary sponsor of the No. 5 Chevrolet
driven by Kyle Busch in the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series. In addition,
four Lowe's vendor partners, including Shop-Vac®, GladiatorT
GarageWorks, Briggs and Stratton® and Pella®, will rotate associate
sponsorship of the No. 5 Chevrolet throughout the season.
"The success of Team Lowe's Racing, with Jimmie Johnson and the
talented 48 team led by Chad Knaus, has resulted in an unprecedented
level of interest and excitement from our customers, our employees and
our vendor partners," said Dale Pond, Lowe's senior executive vice
president of merchandising/marketing. "We're honored that our vendor
partners view the Team Lowe's Racing program as an effective way to
raise awareness of their products.
"This expansion of our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports gives
our vendor partners exposure for their brand with one of the most
respected and successful organizations in motorsports while giving the
most loyal fans in all of sports, our customers and employees a second
championship-caliber team to root for at the track."
The move combines Busch, who signed with Hendrick Motorsports in
February 2003, with a team that won the 2003 Busch Series championship
with driver Brian Vickers. Vickers moves to the NASCAR Nextel Cup
Series in 2004.
"This team is very close to my heart, so I'm excited that Lowe's and
its vendor partners are enthusiastic about joining us in the Busch
Series," said Ricky Hendrick, team owner. "They have been an integral
part of Hendrick Motorsports' success over the past few years and we
look forward to continuing that in 2004."
Busch, 18, posted two runner-up finishes and five top-10 qualifying
efforts in seven Busch Series starts last season. The Las Vegas native
also earned two victories and three pole positions in ARCA Series
"As a young driver, I just couldn't ask for a better situation,"
said Busch. "With a sponsor like Lowe's and the resources at Hendrick
Motorsports behind me, I know this is a special opportunity to learn
and develop on and off the race track."
Lance McGrew, the 2003 Busch Series championship crew chief, returns
to lead the team in its third season.
"I'm looking forward to the upcoming season for a lot of reasons,"
said McGrew. "We have a talented young driver in Kyle Busch and a
great sponsorship program with Lowe's and their vendors. It should be
another fun year for us."
Jerez: Friday test times
1 Marc Gene Williams 1:17.401 68 laps
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1:17.500 54 laps
3 Jarno Trulli Renault 1:17.683 87 laps
4 David Coulthard McLaren 1:17.998 73 laps
5 Franck Montagny Renault 1:18.320 73 laps
6 Olivier Panis Toyota 1:18.513 93 laps
7 Luca Badoer Ferrari 1:18.576 84 laps
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:18.896 80 laps
9 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 1:18.914 32 laps
10 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda 1:18.996 82 laps
11 Cristiano da Matta Toyota 1:19.589 44 laps
12 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1:19.724 22 laps
NASCAR announces major changes to
points system The new point system for NASCAR's
Nextel Cup Series was revealed today, with a 10-race "playoff
determining the 2004 champion. NASCAR vice president of
corporate communications Jim Hunter revealed the unfinished plan at
Daytona International Speedway.
"Yes, we are committed to changing the format we use to determine
the champion," Hunter said. "We're looking at 26, 10. We're looking at
a number to make sure we don't exclude anybody in the 10 who would
have a chance to win the championship."
"We'll start them off with x number of points, and the leader will
have more than second, third, fourth, fifth, on down the line," Hunter
said. "Then we still use our same points system the rest of the year
That's to make sure drivers out of the playoffs won't end up with
more points with drivers in the playoffs. That starting-point number
for playoff drivers has been established, but Hunter wasn't ready to
Hunter said NASCAR will award more points to the winner of each
race, but it won't be a large number.
"You're racing to win races," Hunter said. "That's what you're
supposed to be here for -- not running for points. We're toying with
the idea of putting special point fund money to that position."
"The balance of winning and consistency has sort of gotten out of
whack," Hunter said. "It seems that the consistency factor plays more
of a role than winning races. We need to change the format. It's
a new day, so we want to try this. We think it'll work. In the end, if
it doesn't work, we'll change it back." More details will
be provided as the final system is determined, according to Hunter.
team announces 2004 driver lineup, including Papis The
General Motors Chevrolet Corvette racing team has added three star
drivers to its lineup as well as powerful upgrades to its cars and
team as it prepares to race for a fourth straight manufacturer's
championship in the American Le Mans Series in the upcoming 2004
season. Two-time American Le Mans Series GTS class driving champion
Olivier Beretta (right) will join the team on a fulltime basis and
will partner with returning driver Oliver Gavin in the team's #4
Corvette for the nine-race ALMS season, beginning with the Mobil 1
Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 17-20. Defending GTS class driving
champions Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell will continue as drivers of
the #3 Corvette, with Fellows gunning to become the first driver in
ALMS history to win three straight titles. Along with Beretta, the
team has added additional firepower to its driving lineup with
veterans Jan Magnussen and Max Papis, who will be with the team as
third drivers in long-distance
Magnussen will join Gavin and Beretta while Papis will race with
Fellows and O'Connell. Ironically, Beretta was the lead driver for the
former factory Dodge Viper team and battled fiercely with the Corvette
team en route to winning back-to-back ALMS GTS class driving titles in
1999 and 2000. The Chevrolet Corvette C5-R will start its sixth full
season of racing with significant developments in tire technology,
personnel, engineering and aerodynamics. "Corvette proved once again
why it is worthy of the title 'America's Sports Car Icon,'" said Harry
Turner, GM group manager for road racing. "Racing is the crucible
where Corvette's reputation was forged. The accomplishments of this
team mean so much to Chevrolet and the millions of
and enthusiasts worldwide. We plan on continuing that tradition in
2004." The Corvette Racing program recently announced a new
partnership with the Michelin Group, which will provide technical
assistance and full tire support for the team in the ALMS and the 24
Hours of Le Mans. In addition, the team will start 2004 with a new
six-speed gearbox from supplier Xtrac, engine performance enhancements
and further aerodynamic modifications. In 2003, the Corvette team was
part of one of the most competitive and exciting battles in sports car
racing history, capturing the attention of racing fans around the
world as it battled with Ferrari 550 Maranellos in the GTS class. The
Corvette vs. Ferrari fight in the ALMS was so close that Chevrolet won
the coveted manufacturer's title by only one point after edging
Ferrari 5-4 in race wins.
Add Fittipaldi to Rolex 24 field
Nextel Cup driver Christian Fittipaldi will compete in the 2004 Rolex
24 Hours at Daytona. Other NASCAR regulars such as Kyle Petty, Tony
Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will also take the
green flag on January 31 for 24 hours of tough competition.
Fittipaldi, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil will be driving with the
defending North American Road Racing Champions Bell Motorsports.
Co-driving the #54 Doran/Chevy in the Daytona Prototype division along
with 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber
and Andy Pilgrim, Fittipaldi feels the team has a better chance at
success this year as compared to their 2003 effort at the endurance
classic. In the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona they were able to
complete only 67 laps before retiring with mechanical difficulties.
Brundle reprimands Schuey for on-track
etiquette "Michael sets a bad example as far as I am concerned
as he will run everybody off the road at the first opportunity. He did
it in Formula Three in Macau, he did it to me and he has even put his
own brother into the wall," Martin Blundle told Sporting Life.
"I am a massive fan of Michael's and I respect him enormously but he
will cross the line and he should be setting a better example to young
drivers. Sure you have got to race hard and it is so hard to draw the
line, but you have got to have discipline."
He added: "If Michael has been about in the mid- 1980s he would have
been over the wall. He would not have been allowed to do it by
Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, and Nigel Mansell."
Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Signs
Kosuke Matsuura Super Aguri Fernandez Racing today
announced that 24-year-old Kosuke Matsuura of Aichi, Japan, will pilot
its #55 Panasonic ARTA Honda-powered Panoz G Force/Firestone entry in
the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series.
Matsuura, a long-time member of the ARTA Project driver development
program founded by team co-owner Aguri Suzuki, has spent the past
three years garnering attention through his racing efforts in Europe.
He finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup, claiming
three wins [Donington Park, Oschersleben and Estoril] and five
additional podiums, including six consecutive podiums in the final
rounds. Matsuura also was a credible force in German Formula 3
competition, finishing second in the 2002 championship with two wins
[Hockenheim and Zandvoort] and six pole positions.
“I have been supporting Kosuke Matsuura through the ARTA Project
since he was competing in karts,” said Suzuki. “He is very decisive
and clever when driving, and he is very fast. I am looking forward to
the first win for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing.”
Co-owner Adrian Fernandez was on hand when Matsuura turned his first
laps in an IRL IndyCar Series car at Phoenix International Raceway on
November 12, and was immediately impressed: “I’m excited about the
season. I was very impressed with what I saw and believe Kosuke is
going to do a good job for us. Obviously, there will be things to
learn, but I think he has what it takes to be very competitive.”
Matsuura, who began his career in karts at the age of 14, will make
his U.S. racing debut when the season gets underway on February 29 at
“It has been my dream to race in a top category and also in the
United States,” said Matsuura, “so I am very happy to be able to
compete in the IndyCar Series. I am especially excited to race at the
Indy Japan and the Indy 500. I will do my best to meet the team and
the sponsors’ expectations.”
The 2004 season will mark the second year of IRL IndyCar Series
competition for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, which will continue its
partnership with industry leaders Panasonic, Honda and Firestone. The
team will once again be led by Managing Director Tom Anderson,
co-owner of Fernandez Racing, with John Dick returning as race
engineer and Steve Ragan as chief mechanic.
In addition to Matsuura, the other major change within the team is a
switch to the Panoz G Force chassis, which emerged with dual crowns in
2003 – the IRL IndyCar Series Championship and the Indianapolis 500.
“We are very impressed with Kosuke’s natural driving ability and
appetite for speed,” added Anderson. “Kosuke has had enough experience
to understand the details of the sport, and has shown in his first
three tests the ability to learn very quickly – a trait needed for
success in the IndyCar Series. We have also seen Kosuke’s larger than
life personality in action, and believe this will be a great team
“We are excited to return for our second season in the IRL IndyCar
Series with the continued support of Panasonic and Autobacs, and to
continue our long-term relationship with both Honda and Firestone.
It’s going to be a really good season.”
Honda Michelin race to run in
conjunction with Canadian GP Honda Canada announced the return
of the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series to Canada. The new regional
"spec" racing series will feature stock Honda Civic DX Coupes and will
return Honda Canada to the grassroots racing of the past. A formal
race schedule will be announced at a later date, but a minimum of 10
races will be held in Ontario and Quebec during 2004. The new series
is scheduled to include a race in conjunction with the Grand Prix of
Canada Formula One race weekend in Montreal. It is anticipated that
for 2005, the series will be expanded to include western Canada.
The single-marque road racing series was originally launched in 1975
with the Honda Civic Hatchback. During its 17-year run, the series is
estimated to have attracted more than 400 amateur racers. The series
also involved well-known Canadian race drivers such as Richard Spenard,
Tony Morris, Frank Allers, and Jacques Villeneuve Sr.
Williams BMW pips Ferrari for sponsor
exposure Ferrari may be champions on the track, but in terms of
exposure for sponsors, the BMW WilliamsF1 team is better.
According to the latest findings from the research and evaluation firm
S-Comm on the 2003 Formula One season, delivering sponsor exposure was
a hard fought battle between the teams. S-Comm figures show the
Ferrari team managed to hold a leading share of team coverage with 23
percent, but did not win out in terms of clear exposure for sponsors –
where Williams BMW prevailed. Said an S-Comm spokesman: “Analysis of
the ability to convert team coverage into useful exposure for sponsors
throws up some interesting results and, after BMW WilliamsF1 team,
shows the Panasonic Toyota Racing team as especially efficient.
However, unlike other teams such as BMW WilliamsF1 and Sauber
Petronas, the Panasonic Toyota team retained the major part of this
exposure – 90 percent - as a benefit to its title and manufacturer
Montoya: It wasn't about the money
Juan Pablo Montoya has denied that it is money that motivated his
decision to leave Williams at the end of this year and join McLaren.
"I'm going to another team that I can win races with. It's like when
you work for a newspaper and you go to another newspaper or from one
magazine to another," Montoya told Autosport.
"It's not the money. I think I could probably get more money here at
Williams. Everybody thinks I'm going to get $20m to be at McLaren, but
you'd be surprised at what I'm getting."
"I think if I had started dealing with Frank I could have got more
money, but it wasn't about getting more money. It was about a choice
that I wanted to make and that was it."
"I want to experience something new. I think I've achieved what I
wanted to in my career as a Williams driver. You set yourself goals
and I did them. If you really think about it you're going from one top
team to another and in both teams you can win races."
He added: "At the end of the day you say 'okay, I want to go and try
something new' and I did. Simple."
Montoya also refuted Sir Frank Williams' recent comments that the
Colombian was leaving because he was unhappy about the fact that his
team-mate Ralf Schumacher earned more than him. "I wasn't happy. I've
never been happy that Ralf was earning more than me, but that's not
the reason I'm leaving."
"I'm making enough money to live on, honestly. When Ralf did his
deal with the team, it was good timing. At the time, I was struggling
with the team. They were not doing what I wanted on the car. It was
very difficult for me when I was saying 'I've got understeer' and they
were saying 'you can't have understeer because Ralf doesn't have
understeer'. That was a very tough time for me. Ralf took that
opportunity to get a lot of money out of Frank, and he did. That's
ESPN to make Earnhardt movie
ESPN officials confirmed Thursday much of the footage of a planned
made-for-TV movie devoted to the life of the late NASCAR star Dale
Earnhardt could be filmed in Charlotte and Atlanta. Rob Tobias, ESPN's
director of media relations, said the network originally had
discussions with officials with Dale Earnhardt Inc., including owner
Teresa Earnhardt, the driver's widow. "In the end, we couldn't agree
on a story line, so we have proceeded on with the project. The script
has been given the green light," he said. Tobias said the movie should
be ready by late summer. Production is under way and casting decisions
will be made soon, he said. DEI officials reached Thursday declined to
comment on the movie. A spokesperson at Lowe's Motor Speedway in
Concord, N.C., said ESPN had not been in touch with the track as yet.
NASCAR popularity waning?
NASCAR executives may be having second thoughts about moving the
NASCAR Preview - now the NASCAR Fanfest -out of North Carolina. What
was a successful Saturday-long venture in Winston-Salem for so many
years was a flop here [Daytona] Wednesday night. Daytona Speedway
officials said that 4,600 people showed up (at $10 a head) to ask
questions of nine drivers, who sat on stage and didn't sign
autographs, although autographs were available in souvenir packs.
Others pegged the audience at fewer than 1,500. While in
Winston-Salem, the event annually drew a sellout of 25,000. The
drivers' stage was so low that most in the audience couldn't see the
drivers. NASCAR officials said they would consider moving the preview
around, perhaps one year in Charlotte, the next year in Richmond.
Winston Salem Journal
Strong start for Max Papis and Ganassi
Max Papis and Chip Ganassi Racing have started their new adventure
together in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series on a good note.
Beginning on January 3 to January 5, the pre-season testing took place
at the Daytona International Speedway. Papis’ No.01 Comp USA Lexus
Riley ended up an impressive third overall with a 1:48:877 lap at
117.71 mph. Bell Motorsports, the defending champions had the fastest
lap time of 1:48:311 at 118.33 mph.
This was the first time that the No. 01 Comp USA Lexus Riley had ever
gone on track and overall winner of the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona Max
Papis was pleased with the car’s performance, ”Being that this is the
first time we put the car on the track, third overall is a good start.
We are going to continue the development of the car in the up coming
test at Phoenix so we can come back to Daytona ready to win the race.”
This was also the first time that Chip Ganassi Racing competes in an
endurance racing series like the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and
Papis is looking forward to contribute with his previous experience in
endurance racing, “ Obviously CGR needs no introduction and their
achievements speak for themselves, but endurance racing is different
and this is going to be a whole new challenge for them and I am
looking forward to sharing it with this professional group of people.”
Papis will team up with racing veteran Scott Pruett for the 2004 Rolex
24 at Daytona (January 29 to February 1) and for the rest of the 2004
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Best Practice Times Saturday-Monday
1. (54) Barber; Borcheller; Pilgrim; Duno, DP, Bell Motorsports
Chevrolet Doran, 01:48.311, 118.326.
2. (58) Donohue; Law; Maassen; Luhr, DP, Red Bull – Brumos Porsche
Fabcar, 01:48.635, 117.973.
3. (01) Scott Pruett; Max Papis, DP, CGR Grand Am Lexus Riley,
4. (2) Wallace; Earnhardt Jr; Stewart, DP, Howard – Boss Motorsports
Chevrolet Crawford, 01:49.038, 117.537.
5. (27) Theys; Lienhard, DP, Doran Lista Racing Lexus Doran,
6. (59) Haywood; France; Sharp; Goodyear, DP, Brumos Racing Porsche
Fabcar, 01:50.230, 116.266.
7. (6) Martini; Wagner; Newton; Erdos; Collins, DP, Michael Shank
Racing Lexus Doran, 01:50.248, 116.247.
NASCAR set to announce new points
indeed is changing the way it crowns a champion in the Nextel Cup
Series in 2004, switching to a season-long points race to a 10-race
"playoff," vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter
confirmed to NASCAR.com Thursday afternoon. While Hunter didn't
disclose the exact nature of the playoffs -- because NASCAR hasn't
nailed down the details -- a system will be used in the final 10 races
to determine the champion. Matt Kenseth led the standings by over 400
points at one point in 2003. "Yes, we are committed to changing the
format we use to determine the champion," Hunter said in an exclusive
interview with NASCAR.com. "We're looking at 26, 10. We're looking at
a number to make sure we don't exclude anybody in the 10 who would
have a chance to win the championship."
A new look at Daytona
Days after removing Winston signage, Daytona International Speedway
replaced the familiar red and white with new series sponsor NEXTEL
signage in time for Speedweeks which begins later this month.
Lewis and Drissi return to ALMS
AutoCon Motorsports in conjunction with RPM Holdings, LLC will
campaign a Riley & Scott MkIIIc in the 2004 ALMS Championship.
Michael Lewis has been announced as primary driver and
Tomy Drissi has signed on for a majority of the schedule as
well. Lewis and Drissi ran the entire 2003 ALMS schedule as
teammates for American Spirit Racing and had encouraging
results for a freshman team with a top-3 qualifying effort in
Miami and strong finishes in the later half of the season. A
trip to Le Mans for the world famous 24-hour race is also
planned for the duo.
"We certainly learned a great deal during our rookie season
in ALMS," said Lewis. "The quality of competition in the LMP
class was incredible. Every part of your program has to be
top-shelf if you want to compete with the likes of the Joest,
Champion and Panoz. Tomy and I both feel as if we have some
unfinished business and look forward to returning to the
best sportscar series in the world".
Although new to ALMS, AutoCon Motorsports has successfully
run in the Trans-Am Series for the last six years,
culminating in Michael Lewis' third (3rd) place finish for
the 2003 championship. The challenges of running in a new
series are not lost on the veteran team but experience was
gained during 2003. "It's not really new for us as we ran
last year's American Spirit effort out of our shop in San
Diego," explained Lewis, "so most of the personnel and
equipment will be the same for 2004. It's
particularly important, in my opinion, to have that
continuity in effort at this level of the sport, particularly
for Sebring, Le Man, and Petit. It's undoubtedly our biggest
challenge yet at AutoCon, but the entire team is looking
forward to building on the momentum we had late last year."
Tomy Drissi added, "Michael and I had a blast last year and
are anticipating podiums this year. We're both extremely
competitive personalities". As for the trip to Le Mans,
Drissi continued, "It's always been a dream of mine to run Le
Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing, and I'm really
happy to be making the effort to get there. We're both pumped
and ready to start testing. I'm excited about the changes in
this season's package. I can't wait for Sebring!"
About the Riley & Scott MkIIIc, Lewis had this to say,
"What a great little car this is! I can't say enough about
how good a job Bill Riley and his boys did in turning out
such a tremendous car with a fraction of the development
budget the factory teams had. We definitely were interested
in continuing with it, so when it became available from
American Spirit Racing, AutoCon and RPM snapped it up. Just
look at the run that Matthews Racing had at Le Mans last year
and you can see the potential. We'd love to realize that
potential this year".
AutoCon/RPM is currently looking to fill out their line-up
with funded drivers who have the skills and desire to compete
at Sebring, Le Mans, Monza, Petit and other selected events.
Further details of the program will be released as they
Montoya again sets pace at
de la Rosa
1/8/04 Team USA
Team USA ready for first races
The Talley’s International Formula Ford Series kicks off
this weekend with a pair of races at Levels Raceway, Timaru,
and three talented young American drivers are hungry for
Joe D’Agostino, 18, from Plantation, Fla., Charlie Kimball,
18, from Camarillo, Calif., and Ryan Millen, 19, from
Newport Beach, Calif., will pilot a trio of red, white and
blue Team USA Scholarship Stealth/Van Diemens, prepared by
the Canterbury Motor Racing School, as they attempt to
follow the lead set by countryman Bryan Sellers, who in ’02
took his Team USA car to victory in both races at the
1.49-mile (2.4 kms) track on New Zealand’s South Island.
Today, in a final test session prior to the start of
official practice, D’Agostino unofficially headed the time
sheets with a best lap at 1m 06.49s, which was around 0.3
secs faster than he managed in testing last Saturday.
Teammate Kimball, who had been marginally quickest in the
first of today’s pair of half-hour sessions, posted a lap at
1m 06.62s, while Millen, whose car was hobbled by an
irritating misfire, still managed to set a very respectable
By the team’s reckoning, New Zealand veteran Kenny Smith was
fastest of the local contingent with a time of 1m 06.78s in
his brand-new Stealth 04. Canterbury teenager Peter Knight,
who also runs a Canterbury Motor Racing School-prepped car,
was close behind at 1m 06.88s. Over 20 drivers participated
in today’s test.
"It was a great day," said an excited D’Agostino. "The car
was fantastic. We all ran well but we’re under no illusions.
Right now we’re sitting pretty comfortable, but we know the
locals will be catching up to us pretty quickly, so we have
to keep working at it and getting faster."
"There was a lot of traffic out there today," added Kimball.
"It was amazing for a Thursday test day. Joe and I spent the
first session running around with each other, getting used
to the slipstream [draft] and seeing if we could learn
something from each other, which we did. It was good. I
learned a lot and we’re getting quicker. The conditions were
a bit better, not quite so hot, in the second session and I
didn’t really get a good lap in, but the car feels good. I’m
very happy. I know what I’m doing and I know what I want
from the car. Now it’s just a case of working away at it and
then getting ‘that lap’ in qualifying."
Millen, on the other hand, whose testing so far has been
plagued by engine problems, was further hindered today by a
persistent misfire. Despite the disappointment, he remained
upbeat about his prospects for the weekend.
"I’m frustrated at the moment but at least the car is
handling reasonably well," he said. "The other two guys are
doing a very good job. I’m very impressed, and I’m very much
looking forward to the weekend."
The entire Formula Ford field is set to have three 20-minute
practice sessions tomorrow (Friday), followed by two
20-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday to set the grids
for Sunday’s pair of races. The first race will be contested
over 10 laps and the second over 15 laps. For more
information, please contact: Jeremy Shaw, 949-766-9504,
SPEED to show over 15 hours of
SPEED Channel, the exclusive North American broadcaster of
the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, will offer race
fans more than 15 hours of live coverage of the 42nd
Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 31 -
SPEED Channel's in-depth coverage of America's classic
endurance race will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, January
31. SPEED will go live to Daytona International Speedway for
pre-race ceremonies and the green flag, and then follow the
action through the afternoon, sunset and into the evening,
wrapping up their Saturday broadcast at 9 p.m. ET.
SPEED Channel will return live in time for race fans to
watch the sunrise over Daytona International Speedway and
find out who has survived the night, with the Sunday,
February 1 broadcast beginning at 6 a.m. ET. After catching
up on all the excitement that happened during the evening,
SPEED's coverage will continue throughout the morning as
teams battle for positions before the checkered flag drops
shortly after 1 p.m. Race fans will get to hear from the
victors before SPEED wraps up their extensive coverage at
1:30 p.m. ET.
A veteran lineup has been put together by SPEED Channel to
deliver the best possible coverage of the Rolex 24. Bob
Varsha will host the broadcast, while Leigh Diffey handles
play-by-play and Dorsey Schroeder and David Hobbs provide
color commentary from the booth. Chris Neville, Calvin Fish
and Brian Till will keep fans updated on what is going on in
the pits and garage.
For race fans that want to catch the excitement of the Rolex
24 At Daytona in person, tickets are currently on sale
through Daytona International Speedway's ticket office and
can be purchased online at
www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling
To check the availability of SPEED Channel in your area,
Argent to Sponsor Team Rahal's
IRL Indy Car and Toyota Atlantic Car
Team Rahal announced today the expansion of its partnership
with Argent Mortgage Company LLC as a major sponsor for the
Ohio-based team's 2004 racing program.
In 2004 Argent Mortgage Company will serve as a co-primary
sponsor with Pioneer Electronics on Team Rahal's IRL IndyCar
Series Honda/G-Force entry driven by former Indy 500 and IRL
Indy Car Series champion Kenny Brack. Brack was injured in
the final 2003 IRL IndyCar Series race in Texas on October
12 and is currently recovering at his home in Columbus,
Team Rahal also has announced that young American driver
Buddy Rice of Phoenix, Ariz., will be the substitute driver
for Brack in the opening races of the 2004 IndyCar Series.
Argent Mortgage will continue its involvement as the primary
sponsor with Team Rahal's Toyota Atlantic Championship
program and rising open-wheel star Danica Patrick. The
Toyota Atlantic Championship is the final step in the Champ
Car ladder system, which develops young drivers for the
highest levels of open-wheel racing in the United States and
around the world.
Argent Mortgage entered the motorsports arena in 2003 with a
successful campaign that included sponsorship of Team
Rahal's Toyota Atlantic car driven by Patrick as well as
race event sponsorship in the Toyota Atlantic Championship.
Argent was the primary sponsor on Team Rahal's second Indy
500 entry in 2003 driven by past open-wheel champion Jimmy
"Our opportunities in 2003 with Team Rahal -- including
Danica Patrick's Toyota Atlantic program and the Indy 500
entry with Jimmy Vasser -- were great marketing successes
for Argent Mortgage," said Wayne Lee, President of Argent.
"We are very pleased to expand our racing program for 2004.
Auto racing is a unique forum for a company to express its
messages and we feel that Team Rahal and Bobby Rahal, with
Danica, Kenny and Buddy as our drivers, gives us an
outstanding vehicle for Argent. We are looking forward to
another sensational racing season in 2004."
"The expansion of Argent's partnership with Team Rahal is
extremely exciting," said three-time CART champion and Team
Rahal co-owner Bobby Rahal. "The alliance we enjoyed in 2003
with Argent and our Toyota Atlantic and Indy 500 programs
proved to be a tremendous asset for both of us. Argent
introduced itself to a new audience through its marketing
and media programs last year. With two racing programs in
2004, we feel our partnership will support Argent's
Renovac to sponsor Ray
IRL IndyCar Series competitor Access Motorsports, and 1999
series driving champion Greg Ray of Plano, welcomes
first-year associate sponsor Renovac Systems, Inc., on board
as an associate sponsor of the team’s #13 Honda-powered,
Panoz G Force Indy car beginning with the 2004 season.
“We are very excited and hope this is the beginning of a
long and prosperous relationship,” said Ray, Access
Motorsports owner-driver who founded the team in partnership
with Ted Bitting and Jamie Nanny in early 2003. “It’s
particularly exciting to join forces with a thriving company
from your own backyard. Perhaps this will be a big step to
help us fulfill our championship dreams in the very near
Ex-convict hurls bench through Lauda's former car window
A struggling ex-convict hurled a bench through the window of a
Lamborghini sportscar to get himself jailed again, a court
has heard. David Walker wandered drunk into the car
park of a hotel before smashing the rear wing and mirror of
the Countach, which had been owned by Formula One legend
Torbay Magistrates Court was told that the 42-year-old had
only left jail in Durham four days before his offence, by
which time he had "had enough of life on the outside".
Ann Bellchambers, defending, told the court: "On the train
heading south from Durham prison he lost his bag containing
his working tools and addresses for accommodation and
"He made his way to devon feeling depressed and suicidal. He
did what he did to get back to prison where he felt he might
Walker, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to four months'
prison, to begin when his original nine-month term ends.
The 180mph car will have to be sent to Italy for £9,000
worth of repair work to the wing, mirror and a scratch on
the bonnet. Its owner, 18-year-old Navin Patel, said:
"I've been keeping the car at the hotel until I pass my
test. It's an awesome car. It's one of the originals
and with its history it's worth twice what you'd pay for a
Ned Miller passes away Ned
Miller, who served as CART’s equipment coordinator as well
as ambulance driver and fueler for many years dating back to
the inception of CART, passed away this past Saturday and
was laid to rest on Thursday. Ned and his wife Annie were a
fixture with the series for many seasons, Annie working in
the registration trailer while Ned was on Pit Road.
Annie is at home after having a medical procedure herself
and can be contacted at:
Elizabeth Scott Community
2720 Alban Rd.
Maumee, OH 43537
Ferrari signs deal with Beta
Ferrari proudly announced today that they have established a
long-term technical and commercial agreement with Beta
Utensili S.p.A. Beta, one of the world leaders in the
manufacture and sale of professional tools and high-quality
equipment, will be an official supplier to the Scuderia up
until the end of the 2006 season.
Arden announces 2004 drivers
Arden International have today confirmed Vitantonio Liuzzi
(IT) and Robert Doornbos (NL) as their 2004 Drivers for the
FIA F3000 Championship which was announced at the Autosport
International Show in Birmingham.
Liuzzi (23) a former Karting World Champion joins the Team
after a successful debut season in 2003 with the Red Bull
Doornbos (22) has committed to a 2 year agreement with the
Team and is a graduate from the F3 Euro Series where he was
a front runner and recently finished second in his final F3
race at the Korean Grand Prix.
Having won both the Team and Drivers Championship last year,
both Drivers were selected after having tested for the Team
during October and November.
Both Drivers will commence an extensive pre-season test
program during February prior to the first race at Imola on
Christian Horner commented: "I am delighted that we have
secured the services of Vitantonio and Robert with our goals
clearly being to retain both Championships. Vitantonio
clearly demonstrated his championship potential during the
2003 season and was very impressive when he tested with us
at both Estoril and Monza.
Robert demonstrated considerable speed during his F3 career
and was immediately quick when he tested with us at Jerez in
October and I am sure that he will quickly adapt to F3000.
F3000 look set to have another competitive year and with a recent
introduction of mandatory pit stop, I am sure the races will
be extremely exciting".
Vitantonio Liuzzi commented: "It is a great privilege for me
to join the Arden Team which provides me with a great
opportunity for this year. Bjorn did a fantastic job last
season and obviously I will try to repeat his performance."
Robert Doornbos commented: "This is a really big opportunity
for me which I fully intend to make the most of. 2004 will
be a learning year but I hope to learn as quickly as
possible and I can’t wait for testing to begin in February."
[Editor's Note: Where this leaves American Townsend
Bell is anyone's guess, though Bell is hoping to land a F1
testing contract as he has his eyes set firmly on making it
fulltime to F1.]
Jarrett reaction to Joe Gibbs coaching
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 UPS Taurus, was the first driver
hired by Joe Gibbs in 1992 when he became a car owner. Jarrett, who
won his first Daytona 500 with that organization in 1993, gave his
reaction to the news that Gibbs will once again coach the NFL's
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus - WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO JOE GIBBS
GOING BACK TO COACH THE REDSKINS? "I don't know how much of a loss it
will be for our sport. Hopefully, he'll still be around, but it's
certainly a gain for the NFL by far. They're not only getting a great
coach back in Washington, but they're getting a quality person.
Anytime that any business or sport comes across someone like Joe Gibbs
and can put them in their court, it's gonna be better for that
organization. I'm happy for Joe. He's a really good coach, and that's
an understatement, but he's a fun person to watch on the sidelines.
You always knew that even though he's had a lot of success here in
NASCAR racing, it just never was right not seeing him on the sidelines
because he is so good. We'll all enjoy it and, hopefully, he'll invite
us all to a Redskins game sometime." WHAT WAS IT LIKE DRIVING FOR JOE?
"It was literally a life-changing experience for me in a lot of ways.
Joe helped me personally to become a better person. He made me look at
things differently and taught me a lot about life. All of that
translated in and helped make me a better race driver, but, more than
that, I think it helped make me a better person. It was fun,
especially when I started because I got to go to Redskins games and to
a Super Bowl. That was all fun, but I think the biggest thing was just
being around someone of that caliber. It helped me to realize what
things were really important in life." IS THAT WHAT MAKES HIM
SUCCESSFUL AS A COACH TOO? "There's no doubt that that's what makes
him successful as a coach. I said it then that he's a people person.
He understands how to get the most out of people and that's what makes
him so good at what he does."
Tobacco deals in China
According to this Grandprix.com article,
The Chinese tobacco giant Hongta has just begun producing West-branded
cigarettes in China, as part of a deal with the Imperial Tobacco
Group, the world's fourth largest tobacco company. Imperial will be
investing $8.4m a year in China for the next 10 years and is aiming to
sell 10m West cigarettes every year. This is a tiny amount when one
considers that the Chinese smoke 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year but it
is a sign that the markets are beginning to open up. West cigarettes
will be on sale in Shanghai and in the south-western city of Kunming,
home of Hongta.
British American Tobacco and Gallaher (Benson & Hedges) also have
deals with Chinese manufacturers but sales of the cigarettes have yet
to begin. Marlboro remains the biggest foreign company active in
China, a key market for the tobacco companies in the future and thus
an important target for F1.
Interview with BMW's Mario Theissen
The P84 is one of the aces up the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s sleeve for the
2004 season. BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen tells us more
about the engine. Transcript
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