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DATE

News (chronologically)

1/20/04

Quick Laps    Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson will be inducted into the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Hall of Fame during the group's annual banquet Jan. 25. Motorsports safety pioneer Bill Simpson also will be inducted . A CD of music by Jim Nabors, known worldwide for singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" during Indianapolis 500 pre-race ceremonies, was released Jan. 20. "More Songs of Inspiration" is on Sony's Legacy label.

1/20/04

Gregoire wants to land Indy 500 ride   Gregoire keeps eye on Indy: Indianapolis 500 veteran Stephan Gregoire may have a strong, full-time ride in sports cars this season, but he still has his eyes on the month of May at Indianapolis.

Gregoire recently signed with the Spirit of Daytona team to drive a Chevrolet Crawford in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, which starts with the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 29-Feb. 2. But he would like to make his seventh start in the Indianapolis 500, too.

"I'm always hoping to do it again," Gregoire said. "I feel I never accomplished my goal."

Gregoire, 34, could drive in two of the most prestigious races in the world in a span of less than three weeks if he races May 30 at Indianapolis. He's also scheduled to drive in the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 12-13 in his native France.

This will be Gregoire's second start at Le Mans. He finished seventh overall last June in a Courage-Judd with teammates Jonathan Cochet and Jean Marc Gounon.

Gregoire made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1993, leading a lap. His best finish was eighth in 2000 while driving for Dick Simon Racing. Gregoire's last Indy start came in 2001, with Heritage Motorsports.

"I would like to be back with a good ride," Gregoire said. "It takes a good sponsor. Greg Beck is somebody I would like to come with. He was my first owner."

Gregoire won't need to travel far to get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He lives with his wife, Virginie, and their two young children in central Indiana.

"I like it a lot here," he said. "I've been here full time since 1996. We have lots of friends here. There is no reason to go back to France."

1/20/04

Boycott threats real says Mosley  Formula One teams' threats to boycott European Grand Prix this season are real, the sport's supremo Max Mosley claimed on Tuesday, though he added a compromise could be reached. Their threat to boycott certain races stems from new European Union rules relating to death on the track. Team chiefs fear the warrants could be used against them if a driver is killed.

Eight EU member states, including Britain, Belgium and Spain, have already implemented the warrant while the seven remaining members - including France, Germany and Italy, who host two races - have pledged to implement the legislation by March.

The European Arrest Warrants (EAW), introduced on January 1, replace national extradition deals between EU member states which allows the arrest, extradition and detention of people being prosecuted in countries signed up to the law.

"It is very annoying and unacceptable," Mosley told BBC Radio. "But if you were locked up while that was going on, that is just outrageous, and it is possible under the new system. Under the European Arrest Warrant, the local magistrate could simply order the arrest of whoever was concerned and have them carted off to the relevant country and lock them up until there was a trial. The difficulty is that at the moment there are no bail provisions under the European Arrest Warrant, it's all been rushed through on the basis of things like terrorism. So it's a real menace, not only to the team principals but also to the mechanics and all the technicians and engineers - everyone concerned with the team."

Team owners are "not saying they are not responsible [for the deaths of their drivers or spectators] or that they object to being put on trial," he said. "The difficulty for them is they don't want to be arrested as soon as they are prosecuted and carted off to jail in the relevant country to await trial. Unless teams were given binding assurances that these procedures will not be used against them in the event of an accident, they simply won't race - they won't take the risk," he said. Teams bosses do not want a repeat of the on-going legal process following the death of Brazil's three-time former world champion Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy, almost 10 years ago.  Michelin F1

1/20/04

Pacific Coast Motorsports to expand to two cars  Pacific Coast Motorsports will again compete in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic series and will expand to a two car team commencing with pre-season testing heading into the Toyota Atlantic series opener in Long Beach, CA. Pacific Coast President Tyler Tadedvic states "Current Atlantic standout Alex Figge will return to pilot the #69 Atlantic entry and a second car #96 will be added with a driver to be announced within the next few days". Tadedvic also said: "We are delighted to expand to two cars for next year (2004). This off season gave us the opportunity to review all our objectives. We feel strongly that a two car effort helps the entire package and are extremely excited about our driver lineup, which I will announce next week." Alex Figge had this to say: "It's great to have a teammate. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car and testing.  I've been driving go-karts over the winter and feel good about my conditioning and our chances for this year, the second car represents additional data and will assist our team and the Toyota series overall." More to follow.

1/20/04

Greg Ray to drive in Rolex 24  IRL IndyCar Series driver/team owner Greg Ray has been added to the driving lineup of the Risi Competizione No. 30 Maserati GT-class entry for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 31 - Feb. 1.

It will be the first Rolex 24 appearance for Ray, who is set to co-drive with Risi Competizione regulars Anthony Lazzaro and Ralf Kelleners at this year's historic 24-hour endurance classic at Daytona. Ray first rose through the professional racing world driving in Formula 2000, Formula Atlantic and the Dayton Indy Lights series before joining the IRL IndyCar Series in 1997.

"It's an honor to drive with such a formidable team as Risi Competizione -- they are dedicated to winning and are known for having the highest standards of excellence," said Ray, the 1999 IRL IndyCar Series champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 polesitter who owns and drives the No. 13 Access Motorsports Honda-powered Indy car that will begin its second season on the IRL IndyCar Series in 2004.

"I discussed driving the 24 hours of Daytona for (team owner) Giuseppe (Risi) many times in 2000 and was even signed to run in 2001 and 2002, but with my Indy Racing schedule and timeframes I was not able to participate until now. I'm grateful once again Giuseppe extended the offer to come and drive with Anthony and Ralf this year," said Ray.

"I've known Anthony since '92 when we raced Formula 2000 together. Anthony is an incredibly quick and precise driver, and I'm sure he'll be very instrumental in helping me become acclimated to the team and the nuances of the new Maserati GT.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to road racing, where I cut my teeth from 1992 through 1996. Hopefully, we'll have a fantastic run at Daytona and my schedule will allow me to participate more with Risi in the future."

1/20/04

Interview with George Lendrum  Pi Research plays an important role as a sister company of Jaguar Racing, providing the electronics systems for the team. George Lendrum is the Director of Motorsport at Pi Research. He tells us more about the relationship between his company and Jaguar Racing. Transcript

1/20/04

Interview with Michelin Racing boss  Michelin's Head of Competition Pierre Dupasquier talks about the relationship between the French tire manufacturer and Jaguar Racing. He also speaks about the upcoming 2004 season.  Transcript

1/20/04

Williams team 1-2 in Barcelona 

Barcelona testing day 2:
Pos Driver Car-Engine Time Laps
1 Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW) 1m15.710s 80
2 Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW) 1m15.822s 85
3 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1m15.896s 88
4 Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 1m15.994s 60
5 Luca Badoer (Ferrari) 1m16.989s 59
6 Jarno Trulli (Renault) 1m17.046s 41
7 Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda) 1m17.082s 90
8 Anthony Davidson (BAR-Honda) 1m17.309s 83
9 Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas) 1m17.776s 61
10 Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m18.101s 83
11 Cristiano da Matta (Toyota) 1m18.101s 15
12 Timo Glock (Jordan-Ford) 1m19.625s 54
13 Christian Klien (Jaguar) 1m19.781s 41
14 Mark Webber (Jaguar) 1m20.384s 10

1/20/04

MB2/MBV owners sell  Atlanta banker Tom Beard and attorney Read Morton have sold their interests in the MB2 and MBV teams to Chattanooga businessman Nelson Bowers. Bowers now owns the #01 U.S. Army team [Joe Nemechek/Jerry Nadeau] outright, and he and Valvoline each own half of the #10 Valvoline team [Scott Riggs]. Beard said the three remain friends and simply decided that the teams would be better off with a single owner. "You can't run a race team by committee, especially when we live in different cities," Beard said. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

1/20/04
Formula GP2

FIA comments on GP2 Series   UPDATE  The new GP2 Championship which was launched yesterday is apparently not being organized by Renault, contrary to the FIA press release yesterday. The French car company issued a press release today saying that it would like to clarify the situation and that it is only involved in the championship as it is the supplier of the engines. Renault says that it is confident that GP2 will become the stepping stone for drivers to Formula 1.  As we rumored on our rumors page, we believe the company that runs the Superfund World Series powered by Nissan, R.P.M. Racing, will organize the GP2 series.  1/19/04 - The FIA has noted the Renault press release regarding the proposed formula GP2 series, one of several Renault promotional formulae.  Like any other private series Renault GP2 cars can run during FIA Formula One World Championship weekends, subject to making the necessary commercial arrangements with Formula One Management Limited, the commercial rights holders.  The FIA has not yet seen any proposed technical or sporting regulations for this series. When received, the draft regulations will be considered in the usual way.  FIA.com

1/20/04

Yasukawa IRL ride cut to just two races   Team Rahal announced today that it reached an agreement to field a Honda-powered Panoz G-Force/Firestone car in two races for 2003 Rookie of the Year runner-up Roger Yasukawa in this year's IRL IndyCar Series (last year Yasukawa had a full time ride, but his seat was taken by a Japanese driver at Honda's request.  Another American loses a full-time ride.).

Yasukawa, 26, from West Hollywood, Calif., will drive in the IndyCar Series events at Twin Ring Motegi on April 17 for the Indy Japan 300 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30 for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.

Yasukawa competed in all 16 races in the 2003 IndyCar Series for the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing team and finished twelve of the 16 races. He placed second to Dan Wheldon in the final Rookie of the Year standings. Yasukawa's best 2003 finish was seventh at Kansas City, Kan., and Fontana, Calif.

Yasukawa, who placed in the Top Ten on seven times in 2004, will be the second driver for Team Rahal at Japan and Indy along with young American driver Buddy Rice, who is replacing the injured Kenny Brack prior to the former IRL and Indy 500 champion's return to the seat of the Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Honda G-Force. Team Rahal plans to announce sponsorship of Yasukawa's car at a future date.

"I am thrilled to be able to join Team Rahal," said Yasukawa, who placed 12th in last year's final IndyCar Series points. "Being able to run the Indy Japan and Indy 500 with Team Rahal is a fantastic opportunity for me and I really want to thank Honda for helping me put the deal together. Last year was a learning year for me. Now this year I must challenge to win races. Team Rahal and Honda will have a strong package for me. I was very impressed with the team after my first visit last week. Obviously Team Rahal has a first class operation and I am hoping to learn a lot from Bobby's (Rahal) experience as a former Indy 500 winner. I am looking forward to working with Buddy as a teammate. At the same time, I wish Kenny a speedy recovery and I am looking forward to seeing him at the track very soon."

"Adding Roger to our lineup for Motegi and Indy is a tremendous asset for Team Rahal," said Rahal, the 1986 Indy 500 champion. "Roger showed plenty of potential last year in his rookie season in the IRL and his working with Buddy and Kenny will help him and our team overall for two of the most important races for us this year. Kenny previously won at Motegi and Indy and he has a great knowledge of those tracks that can assist both Roger and Buddy. Roger brings a strong professionalism and enthusiasm to our organization. His working with Honda adds to our preparation for those events. We believe the new Honda G-Force car will be a strong package this year."

"We are pleased that Roger and Team Rahal were able to put this program together, giving us the opportunity to continue our relationship with Roger," said Robert Clarke, Vice President and General Manager of Honda Performance Development. It was a pleasure to watch Roger's progress during his rookie IndyCar season last year. He is an intelligent, talented driver, and we believe his association with Team Rahal will be a productive one for him, the team and Honda."

1/20/04

New Renault hits the track  The new R24 has taken to the track for the first time in Barcelona today.  Team driver Jarno Trulli was the first to take the team’s 2004 contender round the Spanish circuit while team-mate Fernando Alonso is expected to take over duties later in the week.  The team have opted for a conventional front end of the car sporting a traditional raised nose.  But eyes were on the rear of the car which features an unusual engine cover with a number of aero ‘flick-ups’ to aid downforce on the side.  The team will officially launch the R24 in Sicily on the 29th of January.  Photos/ITV-F1.com

1/20/04

Intersport team after two ALMS titles   The Ohio-based Intersport Racing Team, one of the most successful privateer sports car racing teams of the past five years, is "locked and loaded" for an assault on two class championships in the 2004 American Le Mans Series season, team owner Jon Field has announced.   The Intersport team will campaign two cars in the full nine-race series in pursuit of championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes, the two Prototype classes in the professional sports car racing series. The chase begins in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 17-20.   More.....

1/20/04

Oval track victim Nadeau faces facts - he can't race now  Another oval track accident victim, NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau is moving to another home. But unlike some of his Nextel Cup competitors, Nadeau is downsizing to save money.

Nadeau, critically injured at Richmond International Raceway last May, is switching residences from Mooresville, N.C., to nearby Davidson.

The reason? Nadeau is thinking about his future and his wife and young daughter.

``I get a certain amount of money from my insurance,'' Nadeau said Monday. ``But I couldn't retire on it.''

Nadeau, who probably won't drive in any races this season, was in Charlotte for the UAW-GM Motorsports media tour, hosted annually by Lowe's Motor Speedway. As part of the MB2 Motorsports team, he hopes to resume a full racing schedule in 2005, but there's no guarantee he will.

``I'm lucky to be alive,'' said Nadeau, 33, who slammed into the wall on the driver's side at Richmond and suffered head, lung and rib injuries. ``The last eight or nine months, I've thought about my life, and I know there is life after racing. I've got a beautiful family, and if I never race again, I can always say I did it.''

Nadeau, who drove 10 races last year in the No. 01 U.S. Army Pontiac, admitted his head was ``just not right'' yet. He also suffers from weakness in his left side and a tingling in his left arm and down his body.

``It never goes away,'' Nadeau said of the tingling. ``You guys don't know how it feels if you've never had a brain injury.''  Mercury News

1/20/04

SIC: Shanghai race will be sensational Already 70% completed, the massive and ultra modern Shanghai Circuit, which will host China's first ever F1 race in September, aims to give the world an excellent race.

Built under a visionary project “Shanghai longs for F1 while F1 is in need of Shanghai”, the circuit aims to woo 200,000 local as well as international racing fans to Round 16 of the F1 World Championships, which will be held on Sept 26.

A partner to Sepang International Circuit (SIC), success for China's inaugural F1 Grand Prix will be rejoiced by their Malaysian counterpart as both have set out to help each other to promote the two GPs as well as in the development of motorsports in Asia.

The SIC general manager, Ahmad Mustafa, said: “Looking at the progress of the construction and the efforts that they are making to prepare for the event, I am sure it is going to be a sensational Grand Prix of China.”

Ahmad, who visited the circuit last week, admitted that he was amazed by the speed and progress of the circuit's construction, adding that it was a totally different picture when he visited the track about a year ago.

From a wide open space he saw last January, Ahmad said in a press statement issued yesterday that there was already a massive 30,000 capacity main grandstand and an almost ready pit building, waiting for him at the circuit.

Besides glass-walled paddock clubs, a media centre constructed over the starting grid, team offices, which are built on water, and a secondary grandstand arena with a capacity of 20,000 spectators have been constructed, while works on the 5.4-km track is still in progress.

“Everthing looks on track and ready. It is going to be a very beautiful circuit,” said Ahmad.

He said that similar to the Malaysian agenda, Shanghai International Circuit were established in February 2002 to be a catalyst for motorsports development in China and Asia.

With 15 turns and five straights, the layout of the track is built to spell out a favoured Chinese character named “Shang”, which means “ascend”. The circuit is located in Anting town, Jiading District, on the north-western outskirts of Shanghai.

Construction of the circuit began in October 2002 and all works will be completed in March. And as required for F1 and all other races sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the circuit will be inspected for homologation in May before its first national event in June.  The Star

1/20/04

BAR extends sponsorship deal with UGS PLM The Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda Formula One team has signed a new three-year Technical Partnership agreement with market-leading software company, UGS PLM Solutions. The deal is an extension of the existing five-year relationship, which has proved an integral part of B·A·R's design capabilities.

UGS PLM provides B·A·R with the latest CAD-CAM software for use by the team's 80 designers. A substantial maintenance and development contract ensures that both parties extract maximum benefit from the relationship.

The importance of this software to the team cannot be overestimated. A modern Formula One car is modeled almost entirely using high-technology software solutions, and throughout the year the design evolves constantly in order to maximize on-track performance. B·A·R's partnership with UGS PLM allows the team to make changes to the car and communicate between departments both quickly and cost effectively.

Commenting on the value of the partnership, B·A·R Technical Director, Geoffrey Willis commented: "B·A·R is delighted to continue its technical partnership with UGS PLM. The CAD-CAM system is an integral part of the design and manufacturing process and it is vital that we maximize efficiency in this part of our operation. We therefore require the most up-to-date solutions and support. UGS PLM constantly develops and refines its products for our specific needs, and as a result we have an extremely valuable relationship."

Jim Duncan, Vice President General Manager Europe at UGS PLM Solutions, also spoke about the link-up between the two companies: "UGS PLM Solutions is delighted to sponsor such a dynamic and innovative company such as B·A·R. In Formula One there is no margin for error, and considering the sophistication of our product solution, we feel that this partnership is a perfect fit."

1/20/04

Latest F1 News in Brief  

Verstappen To Sign Jordan Deal Today
Zsolt's Fans To Save Minardi Drive?
Ferrari 655's Front Wing To 'Surprise Everyone'
F1 Teams Threaten European Boycott
Scarlet Ship Keeps Sailing With 655
Jordan To Test Timo Glock In Spain
Williams Go It Alone At Barcelona 
Toyota May Open Door To Coulthard
Formula One To Get New Feeder Series
Has Beauty Abandoned F1 Design?
Webber: What's A Bit Of Tax, Mate?
Toyota Drivers Happy With Gascoyne
Jaguar Must Improve Race-Day Pace
Sauber Extend Puma Deal
Toyota Wants Points, Podiums 

Webber Reckons Klien Will Last Distance
Purnell Admits Jaguar Car 'Fault'
Ferrari Still On Search For Young Blood
Fisichella To Test Ferrari: Jean Todt
How Is Panis Like Michael Schumacher?
Toyota: Gascoyne Influence Will Take Time
F1 Yet To Solve Financial Crisis
Chinese F1 Track Is 70 Percent Complete
Webber, Jaguar, Ready To Pounce
Ferrari Assert Faith In Bridgestone

1/19/04
Team USA

D'Agostino Recovering From Major Crash In New Zealand Grand Prix  UPDATE Team USA Scholarship driver Joe D'Agostino, 18, from Plantation, Fla., was released from Southland Hospital in Invercargill his morning (Tuesday) after suffering a broken humerus bone in his (upper) left arm and a concussion when he crashed heavily during Sunday's New Zealand Grand Prix at Teretonga Park.  "It's good to be out; it's a relief," said D'Agostino. "Everyone at the track and the hospital was really good. They were very efficient, they treated me really well and helped me out with anything I needed. I'm very grateful for that, and for everyone who called and sent messages to ask how I was doing. That means a lot to me.  "It was a pretty rough time but I was just happy to have a lot of people there to help me through it."  D'Agostino has opted to remain in New Zealand, rather than fly home immediately, and will be in Christchurch to lend his support to teammates Charlie Kimball and Ryan Millen in this coming weekend's final round of the Talley's International Formula Ford Series at Ruapuna Park Raceway.  "I'll be there cheering on Ryan and Charlie," said D'Agostino. "I'll be in their corner just as they were in my corner when I was in the hospital.  "So that means these guys had better win," he added cheerfully.  1/18/04 - Invercargill, New Zealand - Team USA Scholarship driver Joe D'Agostino is recovering in the hospital after being involved in a multi-car accident during today's Ford New Zealand Grand Prix at Teretonga Park Raceway.  The 19-year-old from Plantation, Fla., suffered a broken arm and a concussion when his Stealth/Van Diemen was sent into a series of flips after two cars directly in front of him made contact and spun into his path on the third lap of the race.  The event was halted almost immediately to allow rescue workers to attend to the accident scene. D'Agostino eventually had to be cut from the car and was taken by ambulance to the Southland Hospital in nearby Invercargill.  He was listed in stable condition on Sunday evening after doctors treated him for a clean break in his upper left arm. The two other drivers involved in the accident, D'Agostino's teammate Ryan Millen and New Zealander Marc Doran, were unhurt. The race eventually was won by veteran Kenny Smith.  Full Story

1/19/04

Hendricks announces EMP sponsorship  Hendrick Motorsports today announced a multi-year agreement that will feature Engineered Machined Products Inc. (EMP), the world leader in automotive thermal cooling and oil management systems, as an associate sponsor of the No. 25 Chevrolets driven by Brian Vickers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

"EMP has already enjoyed a successful association with Brian and we're delighted they've chosen to continue that relationship by joining the No. 25 team," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We're looking forward to many years of partnership."

EMP began its relationship with Vickers in 2001 as a primary sponsor in the USAR ProCup Series and continued into the following year on the driver's NASCAR Busch Series entry.

"It's very exciting for us to be associated with Hendrick Motorsports, the No. 25 team and Brian Vickers," said Brian Larche, EMP president and CEO. "Brian has developed a serious following of fans within the EMP family and our entire organization looks forward to cheering for him at auto racing's highest level."

1/19/04

Marco Andretti sweeps Daytona  On January 17th and 18th Marco Andretti competed in round four of the seven race weekends for the Skip Barber Southern Regional Series in Daytona, Florida. Marco was tied for fourth place coming into the weekend and short two races from missing a weekend. To catch up, he engaged in what is known as a double weekend, racing two races a day.

Saturday’s weather conditions were dry and cloudy in the Daytona infield as Marco qualified on the pole for both races, capturing another track record. In race one (group 2), he battled with the current points leader, Victor Ramos. He made a skillful outside pass going into the turn six chicane with three laps to go and lead on to the finish. Marco completed race one (group 3) with ease, maintaining the lead from flag to flag.

Weather conditions became wet and rainy on Sunday for the second race day of the weekend. Marco started on the inside of the front row for both races due to his wins on Saturday. In race two (group 2) Marco took the lead on the start. On lap three, he locked up and slid off into turn one. The second and third place drivers followed, and all three cars went off into the grass. Marco rejoined onto the track, completed his stop and go, and returned to the pack in second place. With the length of the track’s straight-away between himself and the leader, Marco charged him down and passed him for the win. There was little competition in race two (group 3), and Marco once again walked away with a win.

Marco: “It was an awesome weekend; I needed one like this for the points. Now that I have the lead, I just have to be consistent and have some more good finishes.”

Marco’s next race will be with the Skip Barber Southern Regional Series in Sebring, Florida on February 20th and 21st.

1/19/04

Youngest ever road racing winner  In what could be a U.S open-wheel road racing first, a 12- year-old boy won a race Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. John Edwards, 12, of Little Rock, Ark., competing in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series, took pole position in qualifying Saturday morning on Daytona's infield road course, then led the 13-car field in flag-to-flag fashion in the 30-minute race for his first auto racing victory. Edwards is the youngest driver ever to compete in the 28-year history of the Skip Barber Race Series; in years past there have been a handful of 15-year-olds in the series. Edwards backed up his impressive and possibly record-setting Saturday win with another victory Sunday, posting a startling 25-second margin of victory -- in downpour conditions -- over second place finisher Atle Gulbrandsen, 25, of Norway. Edwards, a karter who stepped up into the Formula Dodge ranks this past October, has shown race craft and discipline that belies his age. The drivers he beat this weekend included two former Formula Dodge race winners as well as championship contender Jeff Relic, 23, of Palm Coast, Fla. Edwards is eighth in points after eight rounds of the 14-race championship and Relic third. Second in points is Victor Ramos, 19, of Brazil, while the points leader is another youngster -- Michael Andretti's son, 16-year-old Marco. Skip Barber Racing operates the Formula Dodge Race Series, a leading single-seater junior series comprised of four regional championships and one national championship. The race cars used in all the series are identically prepared 2.0-liter, wings-and-slicks 140 mph open-wheel, single-seat Formula Dodges. The Southern Division, where Edwards posted his win, is the same ladder series championship contested by such current open-wheel stars as Champ Car's Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2003 Toyota Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger and 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion Leo Maia.

1/19/04
FIA-GT

FIA-GT signs deal to race at Zhuhai, China  The agreement for the eleventh round of the 2004 season of the FIA GT Championship was signed in Beijing, China, on January 13th.  The 500 km, three hour race will take place at the Zhuhai International Circuit, on November 12th 2004. This will be the first time that the Championship has raced in China since the last round of the 1999 season. On that occasion, the race was won by Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger in a Chrysler Viper Team Oreca car.  Full Story

1/19/04
Formula 3000

2004 F3000 Entry List and Calendar 

TEAM

APPLICANT

ARDEN INTERNATIONAL LTD

ARDEN INTERNATIONAL LTD

TBA *

EUROPEAN FORMULA RACING LTD

DURANGO

DURANGO FORMULA

TBA *

COLONI MOTOSPORT SRL

SUPER NOVA RACING LTD

SUPER NOVA RACING LTD

TEAM ASTROMEGA

ASTROMEGA RACING BUBA

BCN COMPETICION

BARCELONA COMPETITION & MOTOSPORT S.L.

MA-CON ENGINEERING

MA-CON MOTOSPORT GMBH

SPERO I.E. ENGINEERING

I.E. ENGINEERING SRL

EGM

EQUIPE GIOVANARDI MONACO

* Team name to be announced
In accordance with Article 33.b. of the 2004 Formula 3000 Sporting Regulations, drivers may
be nominated and/or changed up until 15 days prior to the start of the first Event of the
Championship.

Date Circuit Name
April 24 Imola (San Marino)
May 8 Catalunya (Spain)
May 22 Monaco (Monaco)
May 29 Nürburgring (Germany)
July 3 Magny-Cours (France)
July 10 Silverstone (Great Britain)
July 24 Hockenheim (Germany)
August 14 Hungaroring (Hungary)
August 28 Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
September 11 Monza (Italy)

1/19/04

Andretti, Moss, Rahal, Holbert & Shelby to be inducted   Sebring International Raceway's Hall of Fame Selection Committee has announced its 2004 inductees.  Sir Stirling Moss, Mario Andretti, Carroll Shelby, Bobby Rahal, Bob and Al Holbert, race official Ford Heacock Sr., and the legendary manufacturer Ferrari headline the prestigious list of inductees.  Induction ceremonies take place Friday March 19, the day before the 52nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, at the Chateau Elan Hotel and Spa overlooking the raceway's famous Hairpin Turn. The Sebring Hall of Fame luncheon is a non-profit event that benefits the Sebring International Raceway Hall of Fame Museum fund.  More.....

1/19/04

Timo Glock to test for Jordan German F3 Euroseries racer Timo Glock, who recently tested a Champ Car for Dale Coyne Racing will test for the Jordan Formula 1 squad during this week's test at Barcelona. German 21-year old Timo Glock will drive for Jordan Ford tomorrow on the first day of the team’s four day Barcelona test session. Glock finished fifth in the new Formula 3 Euro Series Championship last year. Timo Glock said, “I am proud to be invited to do a test with Jordan Ford as it has been by biggest dream to drive in Formula One. I am quite nervous but as always I will do my job to my best ability and as soon as I sit in the car I will be ready.” Eddie Jordan said, “Timo Glock is probably the most promising young driving talent in Germany at the moment and I’m delighted that we are able to offer him his first F1 test. He’s come up through the junior categories quickly and with good results so I’m optimistic that he will be very significant in the future of German motorsport.” Timo Glock began his motorsport career in 1997 at the age of 15, winning several karting championships and the BMW Formula ADAC Series in 2000 and 2001 before finishing third in his first International Formula Three Series in Germany in 2002, when he was awarded “Rookie of the Year”. He finished fifth in the International Formula 3 Euro Series last year, winning three races and achieving a further three podium positions in the series, competing against Christian Klien and Ryan Briscoe, who have also secured driving roles in F1.


Glock gets Jordan seat fitting

1/19/04
Formula GP2

Formula GP2 to replace F3000   An agreement has been reached at Formula One events to replace F3000 Championship from 2005 with the new Formula GP2 Series, which will take place at the European Formula One events.  This will be a stepping-stone into Formula One. The chassis and the engine will be more sophisticated than the current F3000 and the engine will produce 600 HP. This formula is supported by Renault with the chassis produced by Dallara and the engine to be designed, built and serviced by Renault. Bernie Ecclestone has been helpful in this new formula and said that this will be a very good way for drivers, engineers and mechanics into Formula One.  As with F3000, the FIA will be the technical and sporting regulator of the series as they are in Formula One. The Formula GP2 series has the support of Bernie Ecclestone, who, like organizer Bruno Michel (former Supertec Chief), believes it will be a very good way for drivers, engineers and mechanics to get into Formula One racing. "We will have a car that is going to be as close as possible to Formula One,” Michel told the BBC.  "This new series will be the last step before Formula One, and costs will be kept low to make it successful."  Press Release Formula GP2 Series  [Editor's Note:  So much for Lola thinking they won the bid for the chassis]

1/19/04

Judge Otte must expect a lively CART hearing  2nd UPDATE Derrick Walker yesterday confirmed to www.Motorsportok.hu (our Hungarian CART web site), that he’s listed in the January 28th hearing with two lawyers because “one lawyer is representing the unsecured creditors committee of which I am one of them and the other is my lawyer who represents me as one of the unsecured creditors.”   1/17/04 - As it turns out, Derrick Walker is listed most likely because he is still owed about $300,000 in prize and support money from last year.  1/16/04 -   From Judge Otte's calendar posted on the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana website, it is interesting to see the CART bankruptcy hearing is the only one scheduled for that day. Looking at Otte's other scheduled days, it looks like he is typically booked pretty solid. We suspect he must anticipate a long drawn out day of many challenges. Also, we are somewhat surprised to see representation for Walker Racing listed here. A CART team owner suing CART?  Trying to sink the deal?  Hmmm.....we will try to find out what that is about.

1/19/04

Sepang hoping to lure more Asian fans  Asia will stage four legs of the F1 Grand Prix this year with Bahrain and China joining in the fray.  And Sepang International Circuit (SIC) want to cash in on the expected greater interest in the races in Asia.

The SIC, who are the organizers of the Malaysian F1 GP, are looking at attracting at least 120,000 spectators to this year's event scheduled for March 19-21.   Speaking at the launch of the 2004 Malaysian GP campaign, the second leg of the championship, at the KLCC on Saturday, the SIC chairman, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, said that they were not taking things easy even though they managed to attract their biggest attendance last year.

“We are setting an increased target of 120,000 spectators. We hope to attract at least 50,000 international fans – a 60:40 ratio breakdown between locals and foreigners.  The South-East Asian countries will be the key markets but we want to woo no less than 10,000 fans from Europe as well. This will be an exciting year for motor-sports in Asia because Bahrain and China will also be hosting the F1 race for the first time.”

The SIC recorded their highest attendance of 101,485 spectators on race day last year. Out of the figure, 77,453 were from the domestic market.  The Star

1/19/04

McReynolds lukewarm over points changes  Playing politics in NASCAR is always tricky, and for Larry McReynolds it may be even trickier, playing TV commentator and team owner too.

So how does he view the first major controversy of the season, NASCAR's proposed championship change?

The new rules should come out this week, and NASCAR's handling of the issue so far smacks of amazing arrogance. Drivers have criticized it, as have fans. And there is a pattern of "shoot first, ask questions later" in NASCAR's headquarters.

McReynolds' take? "When I first heard of the championship changes, I said, 'Good grief, what coconut fell on whose head?' But I thought about it and I'm probably not as anti as I was. I still think it's drastic.

"They say everyone has a playoff series, for the Super Bowl or the World Series, and we haven't had that. But there are some aspects to our sport that are different - we have major sponsors involved.

"Let me take, say, AOL for example. They're sponsoring a rookie, Johnny Sauter, with a race team that has struggled. They're probably spending as much money as Lowe's (on championship contender Jimmie Johnson). And you're telling AOL, 'You probably won't have a chance to get a lot of coverage the final 10 races because you probably won't be in the top 10.' Trust me, the whole focus of those final 10 races will be on those 10 guys.

"The jury is out. I don't really understand the knee-jerk reaction, because NASCAR has always said, 'We don't do knee jerks,' and this is pretty knee jerking right here.  More at Winston-Salem Journal

1/19/04

Ferrari loses engine man  This Grandprix.com article says, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has lost its chief track engineer for engines, Pino d'Agostino. The 55-year-old engineer from Taranto was in charge of dyno development, production and track development in the tests and at races. He had been with Ferrari since recruited from Alfa Romeo in 1997. A very capable engine designer in his own right, d'Agostino was formerly head of engine design at Alfa between 1985 and 1996 and led the team that built the company's CART engine in 1989. He is moving to a new role within Fiat. D'Agostino's place in the team is to be taken by Mattia Binotto, who was previously looking after Rubens Barrichello's engines. As part of the switch around Frenchman Noel Cavey becomes the head of engine testing. Cavey was a Renault engineer in the Williams days but moved to Ferrari in 1995.

1/19/04

TV Networks thrilled with NASCAR playoff system    UPDATE  NASCAR vice chairman Bill France Jr. flatly denies that television partners FOX Sports, NBC and TNT wielded any influence in the new points and playoff systems. "You don't let someone else drive your car, do you?" France says. But he warns the "doubting Thomases to beware" of passing judgment on the new systems too hastily. "Sometimes we're right, and sometimes we're wrong," he says. "And if it turns out that it's not the smart thing to do, then we'll fix it." France says the networks have persuaded NASCAR to start some races later and run more of them at night, but any changes in the points or playoff systems come from NASCAR.  Yahoo Sports/Sporting News  1/18/04 - This St. Petersburg Times article says, Next week, NASCAR will shake up the auto racing world when it unveils a new playoff plan designed, it hopes, to reward brilliance over consistency and spice up the last half of the season.

Some drivers have said they don't like the concept.

But NBC (and TNT) will be thrilled. Though the network has declined to comment, when the plan is announced, NBC's deal to cover the second half of the season (Fox covers the first half while TNT covers some second-half races) will be golden.

Last year, NBC's NASCAR ratings declined 2 percent. The last race of the season at Homestead, with the points title long wrapped up by the steady but unspectacular Matt Kenseth, was down 13 percent.

That was due to a scoring system (175 points to the winner, progressively fewer for each finisher) that did not place enough of an emphasis on winning.

But the new plan expected to be implemented would make only the top 10 or 12 drivers after 26 races eligible for the title, which would be decided during the final 10 races.

For NBC, this means more drama, better television and higher ratings. It means potentially cutting into football ratings, and if not, at least holding steady and cementing the sport as No. 2.

While some in the media believe NBC is driving NASCAR to its doom by forcing the playoff system as a way to boost its ratings, that's unlikely.

Make no mistake, the two have discussed the potential of a playoff (and Fox probably has chimed in as well), but it's hard to fathom NASCAR, a stubborn organization, bowing to NBC with such a wholesale revamping.

1/19/04

SAFER Barrier at all tracks by 2005  NASCAR held safety meetings with drivers and crew chiefs during both Daytona testing sessions to update them on the latest advancements. NASCAR said it plans to have the SAFER barriers installed at every Nextel Cup track where they are recommended by the start of the 2005 season. Yahoo Sports/Sporting News

1/19/04

What about Adelaide?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, CART is so successful teaming with the V8 Supercars in Surfers, how come they don't do a joint race in Adelaide too?  Mary Joleski, Seattle, WA.  Dear Mary, Funny you should ask.  We published this article on that very topic two years ago.  In 2003 the Supercars by themselves drew a record 70,400 spectators on race day, which pushed the total weekend crowd past 200,000 for the first time in V8 Supercar history.  Fans in Adelaide certainly like their motorsports and Adelaide is very far from Surfers, so geographically it works.  However, we doubt OWRS would want to spend another week in Australia, regardless of whether the race would be a huge success, which it would be.  This year the Seoul, South Korea race will be run the week before Surfers and that means the Champ Car circus will be out of the country at least two full weeks.  They could do three, but we would think they will add a China race to their Pacific Rim tour before adding a 2nd race in Australia.  Don't look for China to be added before 2005 or 2006.  Mark C.

1/19/04
Industry News

More broadband surfers than dial-up  There are now more broadband internet surfers in Hong Kong than narrowband users - a sign the city is becoming increasingly technology savvy as consumers prefer lightning-fast downloads to pedestrian dial-up access.   Last year, 51 per cent of all households connected to the internet through broadband. This shored up its No 2 position behind South Korea, which has long led the world in broadband penetration, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).  Meanwhile, in the USA, supposedly the most advanced country in the world, dial-up users still outnumber broadband surfers by a wide margin.....but that is quickly changing.  If you are reading AutoRacing1.com on dial-up, shame on you.  Get with the program!  You won't regret it.

1/19/04

Jaguar launch photos  We have added a link to a page of Jaguar R5 launch photos that were taken last night at the official unveiling.  See our Home Page for the link.

1/19/04

Latest F1 News in Brief  

Denso Strengthens Toyota Deal
Toyota Aim For First Podium
Verstappen Deals Jordan Ultimatum
Jaguar Face Task To Keep Webber
Webber Admits 'Big Team' Interest
Jaguar Reveal Modest Goals
New Engine Is Just As Fast: Toyota 

New Rule Is Pain In Neck: Michelin
F1 To Get New Champ In 2004: Webber
Toyota Trim Formula One Budget
Jaguar Yet To Sign 'Third' Driver
Klien Turns To Legends For Advice
Michelin Didn't Want To Supply BAR
Do New Rules Tame F1's Horses?
Purnell 'Worried' About R5 Progress 

Fisichella Denies Sour-Grapes
Pressure Lands On Austrian Rookie
Celebrity Races To Get Green-Light
Bahrain Running Out Of Time
Da Matta Prepares To Pounce
French Race Is On, Ecclestone Confirms
Retaining Rubens Was 'Automatic'
Nothing Wrong With R5: Jaguar
Gascoyne Defends Big-Spending Toyota
Senna May Have Driven For Ferrari

1/19/04

Undetectable traction control   UPDATE Here is Davis Technologies' website.  It looks like the TM-2000 is an entry level unit. The more expensive models are advertised "Very Small (about the size of a pocket lighter)"    1/18/04 - Found this ad on eBay.  We wonder how many of these have slipped by NASCAR inspectors?   Practically Brand New Davis Technologies TM-2000 MSD 6AL Traction Control Unit with Self-Learning Upgrade.. The Unit has only been ran in 3 Late Model races and the reason for the sale is to upgrade. Comes with owners manual and is guaranteed to make you faster and running up front or YOUR MONEY BACK. I have ran several of Davis' units and there is no doubt they do work and help you win. We won enough in 8 races to pay for 2 units! Big money races, Saturday night bullrings, worn out asphalt, are no problem with this baby. For you Dirt Racers, this unit is unbelievable....imagine 100% Throttle control and all you have to do is bury the throttle in the middle of the corner and let the Traction Control do the rest! This is a no reserve auction and the highest bidder will win. Key Features are: UNDETECTABLE, it does not affect the sound of the engine, No External Sensors unlike other units, Can Easily be moved to another car, Better Lap Times and Lower Tire Tems. Self-Learning model requires NO user configuring, this system simply plugs in to where your other MSD box was and you are ready to go. There are no extra wires coming out of the unit and it looks no different than any other MSD you have seen. This unit new costs $5400 but it will be sold at the highest bid. If you have any questions please e-mail me.

1/18/04

Jaguar warns again to keep hands off Webber   JAGUAR Racing have warned Formula One rivals to keep their hands off Mark Webber. The Aussie ace is rated a possible replacement for Juan Pablo Montoya when the Colombian switches from Williams to McLaren in 2005. But Jaguar boss Tony Purnell hit back at the launch of his team's new R5 car today. "Everyone keeps saying Williams are going to ring up. They haven’t. It’s up to us to show Mark this team is worth sticking with. We definitely would like to keep him and we’ve already got an agreement to keep Mark in 2005. We’ve got some contractual things that are on our side. The atmosphere he brings is very positive - he feels part of the team."

1/18/04
German DTM

Audi drivers impressed by new A4 DTM    After its successful roll-out shortly before Christmas which was followed by tests in the wind tunnel and on a dynamic suspension test bench, the Audi A4 DTM has passed its first examination on a race track at Jerez in Spain. After five days of testing and completing over 1,000 kilometres in Audi´s new touring car, Audi factory drivers Emanuele Pirro, Mattias Ekström and Tom Kristensen were impressed by their new "tool".

"I felt well in the car immediately," explained Emanuele Pirro, who, on Wednesday, was the first of the three Audi drivers to climb into the cockpit of the new A4 after getting accustomed to a DTM car at the wheel of an Abt-Audi TT-R. "The A4 is real fun to drive. The car is very forgiving, you can really attack. Following the seat fitting at Ingolstadt, I had some worries regarding the extreme position of the seat. However, driving the car, this was not a problem at all."

Similarly enthusiastic were the comments from Mattias Ekström. "After only 20 laps, I felt at home in the A4 DTM," said the Swede. Having completed the past three seasons in the DTM, Ekström was in the best position to make comparisons: "Driving the car, there is no concrete difference to the TT-R. Nothing is in fact completely different, but everything a little better. Every detail is worked out and prepared absolutely professionally. The team of Audi Sport did not leave anything to chance while developing the car. Of course, after the first test, it is too early to evaluate the whole potential of a new car. In spite of that I am convinced that my team mates and I will have a lot of fun with the A4 DTM."

At Jerez, Ekström also acted as a "driving instructor" for DTM newcomers Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen. Five times Le Mans winner Kristensen got to grips with a DTM car at the wheel of the TT-R on Saturday before driving the Audi A4 DTM for the first time on Sunday. "We practiced everything: practice, qualifying, long-runs, starts, pit stops - the full program," explained Kristensen. "I knew the DTM only from watching television and did not know what to expect. After this first test I feel much more comfortable. The speed was there immediately and I know more about the DTM now - for example that I will again use my left foot for braking as in former times."

Audi motorsport chief Dr Wolfgang Ullrich followed the tests at Jerez on site and returned satisfied to Ingolstadt: "The new Audi A4 DTM ran without problems and does not have any teething troubles. We got to know the car quite well during these five days and tried out various different set-up options. Our engineers have collected many valuable data which will help us developing the car."

1/18/04

Skinner to drive #10 in Bud Shootout   MB2 Motorsports and Valvoline Racing have revealed that Mike Skinner will drive the team's #10 Chevrolet in NASCAR's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway early next month.

Skinner earned the right to compete in the Budweiser Shootout, a special race for 2003 pole winners and former champions, as a result of winning the pole position while driving the US Army/MB2 Motorsports entry in the 2003 fall race in Richmond. The #10 car will be crewed by the Valvoline team, led by crew chief Doug Randolph, who serves in the same capacity for rookie driver Scott Riggs in the Nextel Cup Series.

“I am fired up about the ride and the race,” Skinner claimed, “I feel we have the ingredients to put on a good show. I'll have a good car, good crew and I like to draft. Another positive is that I get along so well with the folks at MB2 and Valvoline – we hit it off last year and it is sure exciting to come back and race for them again.”

Skinner replaces Johnny Benson in the #10 Valvoline car, after the previous incumbent parted company with the team at the end of the 2003 season.

“We are thrilled to have Mike compete in our #10 team car,” said James Rocco, senior vice-president of the Valvoline Company, “He has always been a fierce competitor as well as being an excellent superspeedway racer. We look forward to a great race and having Mike represent Valvoline Racing.”

Skinner will be joined in the Shootout by MB2 team-mate Boris Said, who will compete in the #01 US Army Chevrolet. Said qualified for the Shootout by winning the pole in the Army car at last year's race at Sears Point.

“Having both teams in the Budweiser Shootout is a real tribute to the strength of our operation,” said MB2 general manager Jay Frye, “This has always been a prestigious race and we are excited to be part of it. It's a great way to start the new season and I am confident that it will also enhance our Daytona 500 program.”

This season's race will be Skinner's fifth appearance in the Budweiser Shootout, an event in which he has a best finish of fourth from 1999.

1/18/04

Pirelli tire test at Sebring    Pirelli conducted five days of tire testing this past week at Sebring International Raceway with its principal American Le Mans Series development teams: ACEMCO Motorsports, Risi Competizione and Hyper Sport.

The tire test marked the debut of ACEMCO's new Saleen S7R, driven by Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem. The ACEMCO team, owned by Jeff Giangrande, competed in the GT class of the ALMS last season with a Ferrari, but is moving up to GTS this season. Borcheller won the 2001 GTS driving title in the ALMS.

"I drove for ACEMCO last year in the ALMS and was impressed with their professionalism and their commitment to win in the series so I was very excited when Jeff Giangrande discussed his plans for the 2004 season with me," said Borcheller. "I was fortunate to win the 2001 ALMS GTS championship in a Saleen S7R and probably know the car's potential better than anyone. The 2004 version is very impressive right off the trailer.

"As far as the team goes everyone knows my respect for (team engineer) Jim Bell," said Borcheller. "He has been my engineer for four of my championships, and we're looking forward to competing with the Corvettes and Ferraris this year. I'm also excited to be back with Pirelli. They've really made considerable progress since returning to the ALMS and the tests this week confirmed that. And last, but not least, everyone who follows the ALMS knows that Johnny Mowlem has been one of the best Porsche drivers for a long time. He also had the fastest (GTS) lap at Le Mans in 2001 driving a Saleen S7R similar to the factory Saleen that I drove to third place. This really promises to be a great year for the fans watching the GTS battle."

The Risi Competizione team participated in the test with one of the Ferrari 360 Modena cars that it raced in the GT class of the ALMS last year. Drivers Ralf Kelleners and Anthony Lazzaro conducted the test. The team will have a new-model Ferrari in time for the Mar. 17-20 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Hyper Sport, which campaigns a Panoz Esperante GT-LM in the GT class, had drivers Joe Foster, Brad Nyberg, Rick Skelton and Nic Jonsson on hand. The team also used last year's race car but will have two new machines ready for Sebring.

Pirelli will run a second extensive test at Sebring in late February with more cars on hand. Pirelli Tire North America's Vice-President of Marketing, Peter Tyson, and North American Motorsports Manager, Giuseppe Scrolini, were on hand for this week's session.

1/18/04

NASCAR points system announcement    On Tuesday, NASCAR chairman Brian France and NASCAR president Mike Helton will be in Concord, NC, at the NASCAR Research and Development Center to unveil the new NASCAR Nextel Cup Series points system. The announcement will be available via a free LIVE Webcast on NASCAR.com, beginning at 9:30am/et. NASCAR.com.

1/18/04
Industry News

Hearn opens up shop at LVMS    Richie Hearn, owner of Hearn Motorsports Inc., is proud to announce that he has opened up a 7000 sq. ft. shop at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to campaign 3 cars in the Pro Formula Mazda Series. The facility should be ready to move into in two weeks. Richie feels that the Pro Mazda Series will be an important step on the racing ladder for young drivers. The Pro Mazda Series will run a ten race schedule with the American LeMans Series and will be shown on Speed Channel through out the year.

Richie is very excited about this new venture in his career. Although he is not giving up driving, he wants to create a environment where he can use his knowledge and skills as a driver/coach to have a winning team. This is something he has been thinking about for a long time and with the introduction of the new Mazda car, he thinks the time is right to go forward with his plans. Those plans include running three professionally prepared cars. Drivers interested can e-mail Richie at richie@richiehearn.com. The team is looking to run at least one car at the first race in Sebring on March 19th and the goal is to have a three car team for the rest of the season. There will be more details to follow on his website soon.

1/18/04

Jaguar goes into damage-control mode   JAGUAR Racing has swiftly changed gears into damage-control mode after earlier admitting that Mark Webber's new Formula One car had a fundamental fault.  The R5 model Jaguar that Webber is to race in Melbourne on March 7 is to be officially unveiled in Barcelona, Spain, tomorrow night, with the team now vigorously denying there are problems with it.  Tony Purnell, chief executive of Ford's Premier Performance Division which runs Jaguar, told Britain's Autosport magazine early this week: "There are some things that I know are wrong.  There is one aspect where we think there is a gain to be made.  If we were Ferrari we would have done it by next week, but we will have to bring it in mid-season. That's a bit of a frustration." After media reports highlighting possible faults in the R5, Nav Sidhu, the race team's regular spokesman, has told website pitpass.com: "There is not any fault with the car.   The word fault suggests that it is something which cannot be fixed.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the car, and the proof of the pudding will be in less than 48 hours when we run at Barcelona.  If our car was perfect it would be a Ferrari."

1/18/04

F1 teams go all-out to promote China race, Tung shunned   2nd UPDATE:  In a bit of an about face, the director of the Shanghai F-1 Circuit Yu Zhifei has met Chinese-Dutch Ho Pin Tung and advised him to make a strong impression in an upcoming race. Yu Zhifei has unveiled that he will call on the BMW Williams team in Britain this February and is expected to negotiate for the young racer's future benefit.  The 21-year-old Ho Pin Tung has impressed people by an outstanding mark in his trial test with BMW Williams last December.   12/30/03 - The F1 teams are all doing whatever they can this winter to try and capture the attention of the Chinese ahead of the Shanghai Grand Prix next September. Renault and BAR brought drivers to tour China and meet with prospective sponsors and government dignitaries; Ferrari had their own “Schumacher” marketing blitz; Toyota and Sauber cars can be seen in many high-profile corporate marketing campaigns throughout the country; and McLaren handed out marketing proposals to so many Chinese companies the rumor was that they distributed them by throwing them out of the corporate jet as they flew over Beijing and Shanghai.

The Williams F1 team has pinned some of their Chinese marketing hopes on Dutchman Ho Pin Tung. Tung, who has already had a much publicized test drive in the Williams F1 car, is set to compete in F3000 next year, that is, if he can come up with the money. To acquire the funds for F3000, the Dutch citizen of Chinese dissent, who was born and raised in the Netherlands, has decided to let as many people as possible know that although he is a foreigner in China, he’s still Chinese. On his recent Williams sponsored tour of China, while wearing Williams’ colors, Tung marketed himself as being on a quest to become China’s first F1 driver. Unfortunately for Williams and Tung, Yu Zhi Fei, the General Manager of the Shanghai Circuit, threw water on that dream with his comments this week to “Shanghai Youth” newspaper.

“Ho Pin Tung called me recently and asked for a meeting to see if I would be willing to fund his efforts to become China’s first F-1 driver. Deciding not to meet with him was difficult for me, and it wasn’t difficult just because of the money. I have already provided significant financial support to two Chinese in their driver training programs overseas – but what made the decision difficult concerning Tung Ho-Ping is his nationality. As everyone knows, Tung is not a Chinese citizen; he is a citizen of the Netherlands, so how could I support him? Only Chinese drivers can be successfully marketed. This is only a joke, but if he is ready to give up his Dutch citizenship, I will reconsider.”

Yu Zhi Fei went on to say that even if Tung is the closest Chinese driver to reaching F1, in the end, from a pure marketing standpoint, his citizenship will be a problem. Only drivers who can be completely integrated into the Chinese motorsports environment will be able to attract the Chinese fans’ attention, and ultimately, generate the marketing dollars necessary to make it to F1.  Unfortunately for Tung, he might be forced to make it to F1 the hard way – prove himself on the track.  12/11/03 -   But is he really Chinese?  According to this Dutch website, Ho Pin Tung was born and raised in Holland...which makes him Dutch. This link is a newspaper article from his website. The fact he was Dutch born is openly admitted.  It even says he isn't a Chinese citizen, but he would move to China and apply to be a Chinese citizen if that's what F1 wants or needs.

1/18/04

Workmen rush to finish Bahrain circuit in time  Late changes to Bahrain's Formula One plans have pitched contractors in a race against time to complete the track on schedule, according to the man responsible for building it. Cebarco Bahrain chairman Khalid Abdul Rahim says last-minute alterations to circuit designs, in addition to a decision to bring the Formula One race forward from October to April, have increased the pressure to finish on time.

He is confident that construction of the track, which is now 89.1 per cent finished according to the latest executive summary, will be completed by the March 7 deadline.  But he says the main challenge will be commissioning the circuit in time for the Gulf Air Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, which takes place at the circuit from April 2 to 4.

"Our main concern is commissioning the whole project to make it workable," Mr Abdul Rahim told the GDN.  You might finish the project, but you have to make it operational.   We have only three weeks to commission the circuit - normally we have three or four months to do that.  It is a big challenge."

Commissioning the circuit means making sure that everything, from air-conditioning to electronic equipment, is working correctly.

The limited timetable means this work has already started - three months before the track is even finished.

Meanwhile, Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) officials have also started carrying out tests where possible to ensure the circuit meets strict international standards by the time of the race.  "We were originally told that we would have four months between finishing the track and it being tested," said Mr Abdul Rahim.  Then there was three months for the FIA to test.   But the FIA have already started testing - the first one was a month ago.  At the moment they are looking at safety, such as whether the crash barriers are in the right place.  We would have had seven months before - now we have only weeks.  It was a big risk for the contractor once they brought it down. No one thought about this."

A decision to simply straighten out a section of the track meant 250,000 tons of additional rock excavation was necessary.  "They increased the amount of rock excavation by 50pc, which had a knock-on effect to other projects," said Mr Abdul Rahim.  That additional rock excavation was necessary because they straightened out the track between turn three and turn four to make it faster.  At that time we had to expedite to achieve the same program with the same timetable."  More from Gulf Daily News article.....

1/18/04

Latest F1 News in Brief  

Toyota Unwrap TF104
Panis: TF104 Seems Better
Ralf Or David To Drive 2005 Toyota?
Massa Drives New Sauber
FIA Scraps Drive-Through Slap
18 Races In 2004, French GP Saved
Third-Driver Rule Sticks, Say Teams
Panis: I'm Not Quitting

1/17/04

St. Pete rescheduled for May 16th  According to this St. Petersburg Times article, the postponed CART Champ Car race in St. Petersburg, originally CART's first race of 2004, slated for February, has a new date - May 16, 2004.  The date is not set in stone, but will be if OWRS wins their bid on the 28th.

1/17/04

IRL admits it can't run any of CART's races in 2004  We think this puts an end to any chance Judge Otte will rule against OWRS on the 28th and in favor of an IRL bid, should there be one.  In this SPEED article, IRL spokesperson Fred Nation admits it is "highly unlikely" that the IRL would add any road or street races to its 2004 schedule regardless of the outcome of the CART bankruptcy proceedings. He said IRL officials are not in contact with promoters of CART’s most valued street and road venues about the 2004 schedule, including the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Toronto Molson Indy and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

"We don’t really have the ability to run those venues (in 2004)," Nation said. "First, they’re under contract to CART. Second, our season is complete, our sponsors are complete, our TV schedule is complete. We have a very limited ability to make any changes at this point. If we make a bid and we are successful, we can put on a 2005 season that will incorporate the best of road and street courses with our oval schedule and preserve them in a way that provides a sound foundation."

Nation said a final decision regarding a possible bid for CART’s assets isn’t likely until shortly before the Jan. 23 deadline.  Do you realize how many people will be out of work if the CART series doesn't continue intact, both on the team and the race event side?  Unless a better bid comes in to take over the entire series and keep it running for the 2004 season, which OWRS has proposed, Judge Otte is going to rule in the favor of OWRS on the 28th.  End of story.  Mark C.

1/17/04

IRL bid could unify USA Open Wheel Racing  UPDATE  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, If the IRL is so serious about reunification, why are they attempting it with muscle and money instead of old-fashioned dialogue? I can remember several overtures that CART made to the IRL about reunification, and Tony George was too busy swinging his hammer at what he thought was CART's coffin (I was hoping he would miss and hit his big toe instead). Now his series is waiting for OWRS to plead for mercy and just come begging to their table; it's pretty much kicking a man while he's down.  Instead of letting the fans decide (and potentially seeing OWRS rise from the big pile of ashes it's in now), the IRL wants to force OWRS's hand and ensure that whatever series comes to fruition has ol' Anton at the helm. This is simply disgusting. The IRL is a dumbed-down version of what CART was (big manufacturers, foreign drivers, foreign venues, and now manufacturer squabbling with the Chevworth situation), and Tony George wouldn't have it any other way. The sad part is he thinks he's a winner. Unfortunately, the fans of both series are the losers. And Tony seems not to care about them at all.  Tim Traylor, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming Dear Tim, You are absolutely correct.  Before the bankruptcy Bear Stearns approached Tony about buying the series, but OWRS were the only bidders. A few years ago Tony was negotiating with Barry Green, Bobby Rahal, et al about merging the two series and then, after he had the ABC contract signed, terminated negotiations immediately.  How soon Mr. Rahal forgets.  Does he really think Tony wants a unified series?  He had plenty of chances. Now all of a sudden they have pulled this PR stunt to cast more doubt on CART's future. We believe Judge Otte will see right through their facade should they attempt to bid, and decide in OWRS's favor.  As we have written, the only way a unified series can be successful is if there is a true merger such that the fans from both sides think nobody won or lost.  If one series dies the fans from the losing side will never support the winner.  There is just too much bitterness there now. Mark C.  1/17/03 - This Autosport article says, If the Indy Racing League is successful with its potential bid for CART's assets it would be a major step toward reunifying US open-wheel racing, claimed an IRL spokesman on Friday.

Fred Nation, the IRL's executive vice president for communications, said league officials are in the process of determining what, if anything, they plan to bid on. CART has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors; Open Wheel Racing Series, a group led by CART team owners Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven, has proposed to purchase the assets. Parties interested in submitting bids must do so by January 23, and a final decision will be made on January 28.

"We have a greater chance of going forward with a unified approach to open-wheel racing on both ovals and road and street courses – a better chance than anyone else does, in our opinion," said Nation. "The gentlemen who are bidding on the bankrupt CART assets are not responsible for CART's bankruptcy. They're trying to resuscitate a failed operation and take it forward with the same failed business model used in the past. We would argue that everyone's energies would be better spent on a unified approach to open-wheel racing in North America."

Bobby Rahal, who fields teams in both series and is a past CEO of CART, echoed Nation's sentiments: "Having one clear leader in the sport, certainly to me, is of great value. If I look back on CART, clearly that's what it didn't have. That probably pre-empted or probably produced much of the unfortunate things we've seen over the last 10 years. 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."

Nation acknowledged that the IRL is interested in CART's capital assets but is assessing the value of race contracts and the possibility of penalties from promoters if CART races are cancelled. IRL officials have toured CART headquarters in Indianapolis, looking at equipment that includes a portable care centre, timing and scoring devices and black boxes. Series officials then indicated they were considering a bid.

"There's little doubt that a lot of that [equipment] would be of use to us," Nation said, adding that the IRL is more concerned about signed contracts and other obligations CART currently has and may still have after bankruptcy proceedings are final.

"What OWRS is saying is they'll take it all. We're saying we may not be willing to take that risk," Nation said. "There are a lot of things we're looking at. We could decide to do nothing. That's always an option. We could decide to bid on everything or just bid on certain portions."

Kalkhoven said earlier this week that any bid by the IRL would be merely an attempt to destroy the rival series.

1/17/04

Major tactical error by the IRL  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I'm an attorney who wishes to have his name withheld.  I am writing to say that in addition to the non-disclosure agreement, there is an issue of interference with existing contractual relations that I have to believe CART/OWRS will pursue if the IRL approaches any of their existing race promoters.  Name Withheld by request. Dear No Name, Gentilozzi and Kalkhoven have not been in the game before.  We suspect that if they win on the 28th and take over the contracts, they will go on the offensive should anyone try to muddle in their affairs.  1/15/04 -  Many readers have written to ask what we meant when we said the IRL has made a major tactical error in making an attempt to bid for CART's assets.  Let us explain.  The IRL had to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to peer into all of CART's assets, including their race contracts, which is what the IRL is really after, at least the key ones.  Assuming OWRS prevails on the 28th, which we have no reason to believe they won't, the IRL has now locked themselves out of stealing any of CART's existing races for a period of, we believe, 15 years (the terms of the non-disclosure agreement).  By having seen the contracts they have confidential information.  If the IRL attempts to talk to any of CART's existing promoters about taking over a CART race and replacing it with an IRL race, OWRS will immediately sue them for violation of the non-disclosure agreement for they would have had access to the terms of the existing contract and can use that to their advantage in trying to outbid OWRS.  We suspect the IRL will regret what they have done for quite some time.....15 years to be exact.  Mark C.

1/17/04

Marco Andretti to continue with CART ladder system in 2004  After an outstanding championship season in 2003, Marco Andretti will continue running the Skip Barber series in 2004. He will progress into the Barber Dodge National Series against some new competition and on some new tracks. The racing venues include: Virginia; Road America, Wisconsin; Mont Tremblant, Canada; Lime Rock, Connecticut; and Sebring, Florida.

Marco will be sponsored this year by Motorola and Vonage and will wear a new fire suit to represent these sponsors. His helmet, however, will remain as the slight alteration of the signature red and blue stripes worn by his father and grandfather.

Marco: “I’m really excited to start the new season, especially now that I’m more familiar with the (Skip Barber) series. My goal is to take the championship again and move on to the Skip Barber Pro Series next year.”  Andretti.com

1/17/04

Judge Otte must expect a lively CART hearing  UPDATE  As it turns out, Derrick Walker is listed most likely because he is still owed about $300,000 in prize and support money from last year.  1/16/04 -   From Judge Otte's calendar posted on the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana website, it is interesting to see the CART bankruptcy hearing is the only one scheduled for that day. Looking at Otte's other scheduled days, it looks like he is typically booked pretty solid. We suspect he must anticipate a long drawn out day of many challenges. Also, we are somewhat surprised to see representation for Walker Racing listed here. A CART team owner suing CART?  Trying to sink the deal?  Hmmm.....we will try to find out what that is about.

1/17/04

Tracks adding sensors for yellow flag rule    Tracks Adding Sensors for Yellow Flag Rule: This season NASCAR hopes to clear the confusion of the "No racing to the caution" rule by using computerized scoring. According to NASCAR competition director John Darby, each Nextel cup track is currently being equipped with sensors that will quickly enable scorers to identify driver's exact running position at the time of a caution. The system is a modified version of the loop that currently exists at the start-finish line of all tracks. Expanding upon that, tracks will now incorporate multiple sensor loops that will divide each track into trap zones. ESPN

1/17/04

St. Pete rescheduled for May 16th  According to this St. Petersburg Times article, the postponed CART Champ Car race in St. Petersburg, originally CART's first race of 2004, slated for February, has a new date - May 16, 2004.  The date is not set in stone, but will be if OWRS wins their bid on the 28th.

1/17/04

Fernández joins host of international celebs  Fernandez Racing Owner/Driver Adrian Fernandez will be a guest on TV Azteca’s DeporTV this Sunday, as the first-ever dedicated sports show broadcast in Mexico celebrates its 30-year anniversary with a special program featuring a host of international celebrities.

DeporTV, which debuted in 1974 and is broadcast every Sunday at 6:00 pm in Mexico, provides analysis, commentary and interviews with athletes in every major sport including the World Cups, Olympics, NBA, NFL and Formula One as well as the Champ Car World Series. Since its inception, the show has been hosted by Jose Ramon Fernandez, one of the most influential sports journalists in Mexico and the vice president of sports for TV Azteca.

To acknowledge its anniversary and recognize sports legends of the past 30 years, star athletes such as Pele, Nadia Comaneci, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jimmy Connors, Fernando Valenzuela, Julio Cesar Chavez and Emerson Fittipaldi and as well as Fernandez will participate in the two-hour show which will be viewed by an estimated audience of 25 million.

“I am very proud to be part of DeporTV’s anniversary to acknowledge their tremendous achievements over the past 30 years,” said Fernandez. “To celebrate such an important landmark with celebrities that I have admired and respected is very special. I am honored to have been invited by TV Azteca and very much look forward to Sunday’s show.”

The live television show will be followed by a private reception for over 1,000 guests including the athletes, celebrities, sponsors and media.

1/17/04

IRL admits it can't run any of CART's races in 2004  We think this puts an end to any chance Judge Otte will rule against OWRS on the 28th and in favor of an IRL bid, should there be one.  In this SPEED article, IRL spokesperson Fred Nation admits it is "highly unlikely" that the IRL would add any road or street races to its 2004 schedule regardless of the outcome of the CART bankruptcy proceedings. He said IRL officials are not in contact with promoters of CART’s most valued street and road venues about the 2004 schedule, including the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Toronto Molson Indy and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

"We don’t really have the ability to run those venues (in 2004)," Nation said. "First, they’re under contract to CART. Second, our season is complete, our sponsors are complete, our TV schedule is complete. We have a very limited ability to make any changes at this point. If we make a bid and we are successful, we can put on a 2005 season that will incorporate the best of road and street courses with our oval schedule and preserve them in a way that provides a sound foundation."

Nation said a final decision regarding a possible bid for CART’s assets isn’t likely until shortly before the Jan. 23 deadline.  Do you realize how many people will be out of work if the CART series doesn't continue intact, both on the team and the race event side?  Unless a better bid comes in to take over the entire series and keep it running for the 2004 season, which OWRS has proposed, Judge Otte is going to rule in the favor of OWRS on the 28th.  End of story.  Mark C.

1/17/04

Motorock Trans-Am Tour adds archives to website  Box scores dating back to the Motorock Trans-Am Tour’s inaugural year, 1966, are now available on the Tour’s web site. The archived results, which were complied in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), can be accessed in the “Paddock” section of www.trans-amseries.com.  The results were scanned and organized by accomplished GT-1 racer Cheyne Daggett. Daggett hopes to compete in this year’s Motorock Trans-Am Tour.

“The Trans-Am Tour has a long history as America’s oldest continuously running road racing series, and its race results are an immensely important part of that history,” said Trans-Am Tour Executive Director John Clagett. “This is the first time in recent history that this information has been compiled in one place, and this has been our No. 1 request for an improved web site. We are pleased to offer this important resource to our fans, the media, and our competitors.

“Also, we owe a debt of gratitude to Cheyne Daggett,” added Clagett. “Without his help, this project would not have been possible.”

The Motorock Trans-Am Tour features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Tour is America’s oldest continuously running road racing series and will celebrate its 39th anniversary in 2004.

Motorock is the creation of a popular culture brand that blends the enthusiast markets of cars, stars and guitars. It is a yearly series of destination live events that showcases the excitement of motorsports, music and lifestyle while delivering a unique new form of broadcast entertainment programming.

1/17/04

IRL bid could unify USA Open Wheel Racing  UPDATE  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, If the IRL is so serious about reunification, why are they attempting it with muscle and money instead of old-fashioned dialogue? I can remember several overtures that CART made to the IRL about reunification, and Tony George was too busy swinging his hammer at what he thought was CART's coffin (I was hoping he would miss and hit his big toe instead). Now his series is waiting for OWRS to plead for mercy and just come begging to their table; it's pretty much kicking a man while he's down.  Instead of letting the fans decide (and potentially seeing OWRS rise from the big pile of ashes it's in now), the IRL wants to force OWRS's hand and ensure that whatever series comes to fruition has ol' Anton at the helm. This is simply disgusting. The IRL is a dumbed-down version of what CART was (big manufacturers, foreign drivers, foreign venues, and now manufacturer squabbling with the Chevworth situation), and Tony George wouldn't have it any other way. The sad part is he thinks he's a winner. Unfortunately, the fans of both series are the losers. And Tony seems not to care about them at all.  Tim Traylor, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming Dear Tim, You are absolutely correct.  Before the bankruptcy Bear Stearns approached Tony about buying the series, but OWRS were the only bidders. A few years ago Tony was negotiating with Barry Green, Bobby Rahal, et al about merging the two series and then, after he had the ABC contract signed, terminated negotiations immediately.  How soon Mr. Rahal forgets.  Does he really think Tony wants a unified series?  He had plenty of chances. Now all of a sudden they have pulled this PR stunt to cast more doubt on CART's future. We believe Judge Otte will see right through their facade should they attempt to bid, and decide in OWRS's favor.  As we have written, the only way a unified series can be successful is if there is a true merger such that the fans from both sides think nobody won or lost.  If one series dies the fans from the losing side will never support the winner.  There is just too much bitterness there now. Mark C.  1/17/03 - This Autosport article says, If the Indy Racing League is successful with its potential bid for CART's assets it would be a major step toward reunifying US open-wheel racing, claimed an IRL spokesman on Friday.

Fred Nation, the IRL's executive vice president for communications, said league officials are in the process of determining what, if anything, they plan to bid on. CART has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors; Open Wheel Racing Series, a group led by CART team owners Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven, has proposed to purchase the assets. Parties interested in submitting bids must do so by January 23, and a final decision will be made on January 28.

"We have a greater chance of going forward with a unified approach to open-wheel racing on both ovals and road and street courses – a better chance than anyone else does, in our opinion," said Nation. "The gentlemen who are bidding on the bankrupt CART assets are not responsible for CART's bankruptcy. They're trying to resuscitate a failed operation and take it forward with the same failed business model used in the past. We would argue that everyone's energies would be better spent on a unified approach to open-wheel racing in North America."

Bobby Rahal, who fields teams in both series and is a past CEO of CART, echoed Nation's sentiments: "Having one clear leader in the sport, certainly to me, is of great value. If I look back on CART, clearly that's what it didn't have. That probably pre-empted or probably produced much of the unfortunate things we've seen over the last 10 years. 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."

Nation acknowledged that the IRL is interested in CART's capital assets but is assessing the value of race contracts and the possibility of penalties from promoters if CART races are cancelled. IRL officials have toured CART headquarters in Indianapolis, looking at equipment that includes a portable care centre, timing and scoring devices and black boxes. Series officials then indicated they were considering a bid.

"There's little doubt that a lot of that [equipment] would be of use to us," Nation said, adding that the IRL is more concerned about signed contracts and other obligations CART currently has and may still have after bankruptcy proceedings are final.

"What OWRS is saying is they'll take it all. We're saying we may not be willing to take that risk," Nation said. "There are a lot of things we're looking at. We could decide to do nothing. That's always an option. We could decide to bid on everything or just bid on certain portions."

Kalkhoven said earlier this week that any bid by the IRL would be merely an attempt to destroy the rival series.

1/17/04

Major tactical error by the IRL  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I'm an attorney who wishes to have his name withheld.  I am writing to say that in addition to the non-disclosure agreement, there is an issue of interference with existing contractual relations that I have to believe CART/OWRS will pursue if the IRL approaches any of their existing race promoters.  Name Withheld by request. Dear No Name, Gentilozzi and Kalkhoven have not been in the game before.  We suspect that if they win on the 28th and take over the contracts, they will go on the offensive should anyone try to muddle in their affairs.  1/15/04 -  Many readers have written to ask what we meant when we said the IRL has made a major tactical error in making an attempt to bid for CART's assets.  Let us explain.  The IRL had to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to peer into all of CART's assets, including their race contracts, which is what the IRL is really after, at least the key ones.  Assuming OWRS prevails on the 28th, which we have no reason to believe they won't, the IRL has now locked themselves out of stealing any of CART's existing races for a period of, we believe, 15 years (the terms of the non-disclosure agreement).  By having seen the contracts they have confidential information.  If the IRL attempts to talk to any of CART's existing promoters about taking over a CART race and replacing it with an IRL race, OWRS will immediately sue them for violation of the non-disclosure agreement for they would have had access to the terms of the existing contract and can use that to their advantage in trying to outbid OWRS.  We suspect the IRL will regret what they have done for quite some time.....15 years to be exact.  Mark C.

1/17/04
Team USA

Kimball leads the way for Team USA  A day of mixed fortunes for the three Team USA Scholarship drivers saw Charlie Kimball and Ryan Millen each claim a sixth-place grid position for tomorrow's pair of hotly contested Talley's International Formula Ford Series races at Teretonga Park. Millen will start sixth for the preliminary race, to be held over 10 laps, while Kimball earned sixth on the grid for the main event, the 40-lap Ford New Zealand Grand Prix.

The first of two qualifying sessions saw Kimball turn unofficially the third fastest time, 1m 03.00s, beaten only by New Zealanders Tim Edgell and Kenny Smith. The results were later nullified, however, when it became apparent that the timing transponders on several cars were not functioning properly. MotorSport New Zealand officials decided instead to determine grid positions for tomorrow's first race according to the overall times from the second session, which saw Millen a strong sixth (just over two-tenths slower than polesitter Simon Gamble), Kimball eighth and the third Team USA driver, Joe D'Agostino, 11th following a carburetor malfunction. The top 12 cars were separated by less than a half-second.

The fastest 10 drivers then were invited to take part in a one-car-at-a-time shootout to decide the top starting positions for the feature event. This time it was Kimball who emerged quickest of the American contingent, in sixth, with Millen in eighth. D'Agostino once again will start 11th for the NZ GP.

"The car pushed really bad in the Turn One sweeper," said Kimball after his first-ever attempt at single-car qualifying. "I stayed in the throttle longer than I had before because I just didn't have anything to lose, but I had to lift a little bit at the exit, just to get the car to turn."

Millen opted for a conservative approach to qualifying for the Grand Prix, and will start from eighth.  "It was a good day," he said. "I'd rather aim for an OK position than risk it all and end up 10th. I wasn't at full pace -- just [losing] a little bit at each corner."

D'Agostino, who finished a fine second on his Formula Ford debut one week ago at Timaru, had to make do with 11th on the grid for each race after enduring all manner of misfortune this weekend. First of all he was involved in an accident on Friday when veteran Kenny Smith spun in front of him. In first-qualifying this morning he lost a little more track time when excessive understeer caused him to slide into the gravel trap at Turn One. Then, in final qualifying, a broken accelerator pump in the carburetor cost him some speed on initial acceleration. Under the circumstances, 11th on the grid represented a fine effort.

"It's been a rough couple of days but it's just a matter of getting through it and doing the best I can," he said.  "The car's pretty good. We dialed out most of the understeer so I think I'll have a good car for the races."

Qualifying results for Race One: 1. Simon Gamble (NZ), Spectrum 010, 1m 02.711s; 2. Tim Edgell (NZ), Van Diemen RF03, 1m 02.779s; 3. Phil Hellebrekers (NZ), Spectrum 010, 1m 02.790s; 4. Kenny Smith (NZ), Van Diemen/Stealth Evo2, 1m 02.880s; 5. Chris Pither (NZ), Spectrum 07, 1m 02.886s; 6. Ryan Millen (USA), Van Diemen/Stealth RF94, 1m 02.938s. Also, 8. Charlie Kimball (USA), Van Diemen/Stealth RF94, 1m 03.010s; 11. Joe D'Agostino (USA), Van Diemen/Stealth RF94, 1m 03.123s.

Qualifying results for the New Zealand Grand Prix: 1. Edgell, 1m 03.004s; 2. Hellebrekers, 1m 03.065s; 3. Gamble, 1m 03.172s; 4. Smith, 1m 03.446s; 5. Pither, 1m 03.500s; 6. Kimball, 1m 03.553s. Also, 8. Millen, 1m 03.692s; 11. D'Agostino (did not take part in single-car qualifying).

1/17/04

Marco Andretti to continue with CART ladder system in 2004  After an outstanding championship season in 2003, Marco Andretti will continue running the Skip Barber series in 2004. He will progress into the Barber Dodge National Series against some new competition and on some new tracks. The racing venues include: Virginia; Road America, Wisconsin; Mont Tremblant, Canada; Lime Rock, Connecticut; and Sebring, Florida.

Marco will be sponsored this year by Motorola and Vonage and will wear a new fire suit to represent these sponsors. His helmet, however, will remain as the slight alteration of the signature red and blue stripes worn by his father and grandfather.

Marco: “I’m really excited to start the new season, especially now that I’m more familiar with the (Skip Barber) series. My goal is to take the championship again and move on to the Skip Barber Pro Series next year.”  Andretti.com

1/16/04

Shanghai 2004   This article talks about the booming city of Shanghai and its upcoming F1  race.  We proposed that CART race in Shanghai three years ago and were ridiculed.  Now F1 beat them there and is going to reap all the benefits while CART is on the outside looking in.

1/16/04

Newman/Haas sponsor Cialis makes TV debut    ADAGE.com reports that all three erectile dysfunction drugs “will advertise on the Super Bowl.” Eli Lilly and Icos’ Cialis, “which will make its eagerly anticipated advertising debut this Sunday” during the NFL Conference Championship games, will run a 30-second spot. GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer’s Levitra, an NFL corporate sponsor, had already bought a 30-second spot, as has Pfizer for Viagra  ADAGE.com. The INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports that the Cialis spot is known as a “reminder ad,” one that does not “mention the disease being treated – male erectile dysfunction in this case – or the benefits of the drug.” The full-branded advertising will not “start for another week to two months” INDIANAPOLIS STAR

1/16/04
Industry News

Yet another NASCAR TV show, enough already!   Host Steve Byrnes will take to the stage with NASCAR beat writers Ben Blake, David Poole, Mike Mulhern and Marty Smith as SPEED Channel's new live program -- Pit Bull -- debuts Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. from North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. "SPEED continues to bring the fans fresh ways of looking at our sport, and Pit Bull is yet another example of that continued effort," said Smith, a featured columnist on NASCAR.com. "David, Mike, Ben and I are all rather opinionated people when it comes to the intricacies of NASCAR racing, its personalities and the folks that run the show, and profess those feelings daily in print. So, taking those opinions and putting them in a live television format should make for some serious fireworks. It's going to be a hoot, and I'm really excited about the opportunity. I think the show has great potential, because with each of the four of us, what you see is what you get." The live show, which will air Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on NEXTEL Cup weekends when on-track action permits, will be produced from SPEED Channel's new traveling stage truck from the site of each week's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. Additional reporters will join Pit Bull throughout the racing season.

1/16/04
Industry News

Robin Miller joins SPEED Channel   Veteran motor sports journalist Robin Miller joins SPEED Channel for the 2004 season as a regular contributor to Speed News and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Miller also will write regular columns for SPEEDTV.com and make appearances on Pit Bull. "Robin has long been viewed as one of -- if not the -- leading open-wheel journalist in America," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "SPEED Channel couldn't be happier with the addition to our outstanding group of reporters."

1/16/04

Lammers & Goossens join Doran Lista   Doran-Lista Racing announced today that Jan Lammers and Marc Goossens will join Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard Sr. in the cockpit of the Doran-Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran JE4 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 29 - February 1. Lammers is the reigning FIA world sports car champion as both a driver and team manager. Last month he and his Racing for Holland Dome S101 Judd team received FIA awards for winning the 2003 world sports car championship at a gala in Monte Carlo, Monaco, sharing the spotlight with Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Peter Solberg and John Bosch, among others. Like Theys, Lammers has won the Rolex 24 At Daytona twice, taking the overall victory in 1988 and 1990. He has competed in the Rolex 24 eight times. The native of Zandvoort, The Netherlands also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1988 in a Jaguar. Goossens, of Geel, Belgium, will be making his first start in the Rolex 24, but he has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans every year since 1996. He won the Zolder 24 overall twice in a Porsche (1997 and 1998). He's been competing most recently as a member of the Jim Matthews Riley & Scott program, finishing third in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2002. He was a member of the Cadillac LMP program in 2001 and 2000.

1/16/04

Dana joins Ferrari team for Rolex 24   JMB Racing USA announced that Paul Dana has been signed to co-drive the JMB Racing USA No. 11 Ferrari 360 Modena at the 42nd Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 29 - February 1. A graduate of Northwestern University (1996) with a degree in journalism, Dana, 28, comes to JMB Racing USA with ambition and determination to do well at his first ever endurance race. Dana, a member of the prestigious Forsythe Racing Driver Development Program, started his career in 1996 but already has extensive racing experience that includes many successes in Skip Barber Formula Dodge series, USF2000 series and U.S. F3 series. Last year, Dana competed in the Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series where he scored six top-10 finishes.

1/16/04

No playoff in Nextel Cup    According to this Florida Today article, It will be "something dramatic." But NASCAR's new system for determining a Nextel Cup champion will not involve a playoff.

That's the word from new president and CEO Brian France, who while speaking in an impromptu meeting with reporters Thursday on the final day of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway, said the sanctioning body is still fine tuning the new procedure. It will be an upgrade to the system NASCAR used to crown champions in its elite Winston Cup Series since 1975 and will herald the arrival of new title series sponsor Nextel.

France also demurred on whether the system will involve the 2004 season's final 10 races, as has been widely reported.

"We haven't announced a 10-race schedule and secondly, it's not a playoff. No matter what we do, it will not be a playoff format," France said of the procedure, which is expected to be announced during a media tour in Charlotte on Tuesday.

"We committed to doing something, and we are committed to doing something very shortly, and I have said all along that if we do something, we're going to do something dramatic because we have a good system.

"We can make a good system great, and that takes a dramatic move. We'll look at it and we'll do it and we'll announce it shortly."

France said the new procedure most likely will encompass the final 2-1/2 months of the season -- or roughly 10 races.

"There'll be some features to whatever we announce that have not been reported that I think when it all gets all laid out and everybody understands . . . everybody will go, 'You know what that makes sense.'

1/16/04

Former Indy 500 starter dies   Duane Sweeney, who waved the checkered flag as the chief starter when Al Unser and Rick Mears each won the Indianapolis 500 for a fourth time, died Jan. 15 at his home in New Berlin, Wis. He was 81.  Sweeney was starter of the Indianapolis 500 from 1980-96, taking over for Pat Vidan.

Sweeney's first checkered flag unfurled over Johnny Rutherford's third victory. Sweeney climbed out of his perch, battled his way through the crowd and finally got over to congratulate his first winner. Rutherford, now head of special projects and Pace Car driver for the Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series, looked him straight in the eyes and, tongue in cheek, said, "It's about time."  During the next 16 years, Sweeney's flags waved over some record-breaking, precedent-setting and bizarre races. 

Included among those finishes were the fourth Indy victories of Unser, in 1987, and Mears, in 1991, Danny Sullivan's famous "spin and win" triumph in 1985, Arie Luyendyk's 185-mph average-speed victory in 1990 and Al Unser Jr.'s half-car edging of Scott Goodyear in 1992. Sweeney also waved the checkered over the controversial finishes between Bobby Unser and Mario Andretti in 1981 and between Jacques Villeneuve and Scott Goodyear in 1995.

Sweeney concluded his career as chief starter in 1996, waving the checkered flag over Buddy Lazier. Due to failing health, he turned the duties over to Bryan Howard for the 1997 race. He stood in as assistant starter that year, his last time on the starter's platform.

Summarizing his career in 2002, Sweeney said: "Made millions of friends ... millions of enemies. Enjoyed every minute. Lot of heartaches and a lot of laughs."  Sweeney died one week after his daughter, Joan B. Ramirez, passed away following a vehicle accident. She was 51.  Survivors include: wife, Mary; son, Mark; daughters, Cathy Gudlin and Jean Niedercorn. Services will take place at 7 p.m. (CST) Jan. 20 at Krause Funeral Home, 12401 W. National Ave., New Berlin, WI 53151. Calling hours will be from 3-7 p.m. on the same day. Cards may be sent to the funeral home, and they will be delivered to the family. The family indicated memorial donations will be distributed among Sweeney's favorite charities.

1/16/04

No hard liquor for NASCAR     NASCAR will not follow the lead of the International Race of Champions series and accept advertising money from hard liquor companies, CEO Brian France said Thursday. IROC officially announced Crown Royal as its new sponsor Thursday. The sponsorship will allow the all-star series to quadruple its championship prize to $1 million. NASCAR has had a longstanding policy of not allowing sponsorship from hard liquor brands. ``We think the negatives outweigh the positives in terms of accepting hard liquor at this time,'' France said. ``We understand other series might feel differently. There's been a lot of loosening up in the last several years. Remember, in the '70s, the networks voluntarily pulled those ads off. Some of them have brought them back on. We'll monitor that, but right now we just think it's best to stay as we are.'' Tampa Tribune

1/16/04
Industry News

Another Softwall hits the market    Invention Submission Corporation announces that one of its clients, an inventor from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, has created a device that would reduce the damage to cars and injuries to drivers caused by race car collisions.

The JR. SOFTWALL BARRIER would be made from resilient materials to endure forceful impacts that can occur during races. Because of its ability to recover after an initial contact has been made, the device could be reused for other races. The assembly of the device would depend on the direction in which cars would be traveling in order to provide the greatest effectiveness when a race car crashes.

The inventor learned about racing from personal experience and realized some of the flaws in the construction of racetracks. He said, "I have been in racing my entire life. Although I am retired now, I still enjoy watching races and have seen too many fatal accidents. I designed this device to prevent such tragedies."

The original design was submitted to the Cleveland office of INVENTION SUBMISSION CORPORATION. It is currently available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers. For more information, write Dept. 02-CLC-636, ISC, 217 Ninth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or call (412) 288-1300 ext. 1368. Visit our Web site at www.isc-online.com.

1/16/04
Karting

Champ Cars and karts make Popular Science    This Popular Science article is a detailed feature on go-karting, but also makes a comparison with overweight Champ Cars and a Corvette.
CHAMP CAR
Price: $600,000
Engine type: Turbo V8
Displacement: 2.65 liters
Peak power: 700 hp
Hp/liter: 264
Weight: 1,565 lb.
Hp/pound: 0.45
Lateral acceleration: 4 Gs
0-to-60: 2.2 seconds
Quarter mile: 10 seconds
Top speed: 240 mph
Lap time (2.38 miles): 1:10
Cost per second gained*: $11,500

CORVETTE- Basic
Price: $50,000
Engine type: V8
Displacement: 5.7 liters
Peak power: 350 hp
Hp/liter: 61
Weight: 3,100 lb.
Hp/pound: 0.11
Lateral acceleration: 0.92 G
0-to-60: 4.8 seconds
Quarter mile: 13.2 seconds
Top speed: 175 mph
Lap time (2.38 miles): 1:50
Cost per second gained*: $2,500

SUPERKART
Price:$30,000
Engine type: Two-stroke
Displacement: 0.25 liter
Peak power: 90 hp
Hp/liter: 360
Weight:462 lb.
Hp/pound:0.19
Lateral acceleration:2 Gs
0-to-60: 4 seconds
Quarter mile:12 seconds
Top speed: 150 mph
Lap time (2.38 miles): 1:25
Cost per second gained*: $143

MIATA
Price: $25,000
Engine type: Inline-4
Displacement: 1.8 liters
Peak power: 142 hp
Hp/liter: 79
Weight: 2,400 lb.
Hp/pound: 0.06
Lateral acceleration: 0.88 G
0-to-60: 8.1 seconds
Quarter mile: 16.3 seconds
Top speed: 121 mph
Lap time (2.38 miles): 2:00
Cost per second gained*: NA

1/16/04

ALMS Notes of Interest   
SEBRING TO OPEN ALMS SEASON
IMSA TO DELAY IMPLEMENTATION OF RULE CHANGES
ALMS PRESIDENT IN PARIS
PIRELLI TEAMS TEST AT SEBRING
LEWIS & DRISSI TO RETURN TO ALMS
AMERICAN SPIRIT NAMES NEW ENGINEER
ALMS PROMOTERS HOLD SUCCESSFUL MEETING  Story.....

1/16/04

Gurdjian to head up Bahrain GP at Bernie's request   In addition to presiding over development of the airport and hotel at Le Castellet in France, Philippe Gurdjian has been appointed FI Executive Consultant for the inaugural 2004 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit. The event is due to be held on the April 4th, 2004 at Sakhir, south of Bahrain's capital Manama.

Philippe Gurdjian accompanied Bernie Ecclestone on an official visit to Bahrain on December 21st, 2003 and consequently Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the General Organization for Youth and Sports and CEO Bahrain International Circuit, decided to appoint Gurdjian to oversee completion of the circuit construction in time for the event on April 4th, 2004. He will also supervise the set-up of the paddock area for the F1 teams and the building of grandstands to host the public. Gurdjian will also be responsible for the general organization of this year's Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Gurdjian faces a tight deadline with only ten weeks - 70 days – remaining until the scheduled completion of the venue. The 2004 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will be the 20th Formula One event Gurdjian has presided over since 1985. He has organized six Grands Prix at Paul Ricard; seven at Nevers-Magny-Cours; three in Malaysia; and three in Spain. This Grand Prix will be his 20th Grand Prix as a race organizer, promoter or consultant. He started his career as the Promoter and organizer of the F1 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard in 1985.

Philippe Gurdjian made his debut as a race Organiser/Promoter during the 1985 Formula One French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard. In July 1990, Gurdjian organized his sixth French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard.

In November 1990 he became the Promoter and Organiser of the Formula One French Grand Prix at the Nevers-Magny-Cours circuit.

In 1991 Gurdjian won his first FOCA (Formula One Constructors' Association) trophy for the best organized Formula One Grand Prix of the season.

In 1992 he received the 'best organized Grand Prix' trophy for the second time and continued to preside over the French Grand Prix at Nevers-Magny-Cours for a total of seven years.

In 1998 he became a consultant for the Sepang circuit in Malaysia and the organization of their first Formula One Grand Prix for which he won another trophy for the best organized Grand Prix of the season.

In 2001 Gurdjian became Consultant for the Spanish Grand Prix and in 2003 won his fourth 'best organized Grand Prix' trophy for that season's Spanish Grand Prix. Philippe Gurdjian has achieved an extraordinary string of successes an unparalleled achievement in the highly competitive world of Formula One.

In 2004 Gurdjian will divide his time between the Paul Ricard HTTT in France, where he presides over development of the Castellet Airport and the Castellet 4-star Hotel, the organization of the 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix, and consulting on the 2004 Spanish Grand Prix.

1/16/04

Wilson's hopes snuffed out   Justin Wilson is likely to seek a switch to the CART series in the United States after his hopes of staying in Formula One were snuffed out by team bosses.

Wilson, who lost his drive with Jaguar last year, had hoped that the 10 team principals would overturn the controversial third driver rule ahead of the 2004 season.

The ruling bars anyone who has competed in at least six races in the previous two years from acting as a test driver at Grand Prix weekends.

Wilson had hoped to stay in F1 as a test driver, believing it would enhance his prospects of landing a drive in 2005.

"The ruling was not changed," said Jaguar boss Tony Purnell after the meeting near Heathrow Airport.

"It's rather disappointing. I cannot see that the sport benefits from locking out drivers of Justin's ability."

1/16/04

Green light for French GP   The French Grand Prix will take place on July 4 after being reinstated to the Formula One calendar, the FIA has announced.

The race at Magny-Cours had originally been axed from the programme because of a lack of cash, but won a reprieve after a meeting between FIA president Max Mosley, Formula One management president Bernie Ecclestone and team bosses.

The World Motor Sport council had given the French motor racing authorities (FFSA) until the end of December to meet two conditions for the race to be held.

Those were that the FIA received confirmation that a contract had been put in place between Ecclestone's Formula One management and the FFSA, and that all the teams in the F1 Championship agreed.

The decision means the 2004 season will feature an unprecedented 18 races.

1/16/04
Industry News

Continental becomes Next Marketing   Reflecting an expanded business structure and a renewed commitment to client growth and delivery as it enters its second decade of operation, officials of Continental Sports Inc. announced today that the corporation has been re-branded as Next Marketing.

Introduced in 1993 under the Continental banner by President and Founder Henry Rischitelli, the switch to the Next Marketing name comes as the company celebrates its 10th Anniversary while strategizing and planning for its next period of successful sales and client service. After beginning with two people and a modest client list 10 years ago, Next has grown to 18 associates servicing 28 clients.

The decision to re-brand was also driven by a vision and desire to re-position the company with a more contemporary look and feel and to draw attention to an expanded portfolio of services that builds on Next’s core offerings. Next will continue to be anchored by its proven services in the fields of sports marketing and corporate event management, but the Next Marketing brand is more indicative of Next’s rapidly expanding relationship and event marketing practices.

“We believe the agency’s new name and structure is more reflective of Next Marketing’s approach to the markets we serve,” Rischitelli said. “Throughout our 10 years of client service, the agency has constantly evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry. Our re-branding more accurately conveys the progressive attitude of the company.”

Next Marketing is staffed by a knowledgeable passionate group of individuals who pride themselves on bringing edgy and innovative solutions to its clients over the long-term. Next provides large agency expertise and stability in an independent entrepreneurial environment. The company delivers real-world marketing solutions and stands accountable to its clients for program results.

Next Marketing’s client list features a wide-ranging roster of companies including the GM Card, Hewlett-Packard, Duraflame, Panasonic, Ernst & Young, General Motors, SAP and Household Finance.

For more information, please visit the company’s new website at www.nextmarketing.com.

1/16/04

Webber moves closer to Williams ride   Mark Webber has moved up a place on the grid in the race to join the Williams Formula One team after the news that Rubens Barrichello is staying with Ferrari long-term.  Barrichello was at the top of Williams' shopping list to replace Juan Pablo Montoya when the Colombian switches to McLaren next year.

Webber and Englishman Jenson Button are now firming as the drivers in the sights of Sir Frank Williams, whose team has become a powerhouse again after not winning a world title since 1997.

Nelsinho Piquet and Nico Rosberg, sons of two F1 world champions and former Williams drivers, are also in the running, even though they are not yet in F1.

There may yet be two vacancies in the team, with Ralf Schumacher's negotiations for a new contract beyond this year stalled.  Webber is contracted to Jaguar until the end of 2005, but his destiny is controlled by Flavio Briatore, who runs Renault's F1 team.

Briatore has hinted he may want to move Webber across from Jaguar to Renault next year, alongside Spanish wonderboy Fernando Alonso - F1's youngest race winner.

However, Franck Montagny, a French test driver for Renault, is emerging as a genuine F1 prospect and it may suit Briatore to pair him with Alonso and sell Webber to Williams.

1/16/04

What next for CART?    A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Assuming OWRS is successful in their bid to acquire CART and continue the series, what do you expect to happen after January 28th? David Martino, Buffalo, NY Dear David, We expect the following to transpire soon thereafter:
1. A final 2004 race Schedule
2. A final 2004 TV Schedule
3. An announcement on Las Vegas (what venue)
4. An announcement of St. Petersburg (new Date)
5. An announcement on Seoul - we never saw a formal one
6. An announcement on South Africa - if there is to be a race there
7. A series of team and driver announcements - example: RuSPORT, 2nd cars, sponsors, etc.
8. An announcement of a Spring Training date and venue
9. A formal announcement on Formula BMW and CART
10. An announcement on another Tin-Top support series (was to be VW Beetles, now another car)
11. New engine and chassis specs by Spring

1/16/04

Q&A with Brian France     NASCAR has created a firestorm over the past month with the announcement that it will change the way it determines the Nextel Cup champion, going to a playoff-type format.

Drivers and fans have overwhelmingly been against it, but NASCAR is moving forward anyway, hoping to convince everyone the new plan will create more excitement and interest.

NASCAR chairman Brian France, one of the architects of the plan, stopped by the Daytona International Speedway media center Thursday afternoon and was greeted with a variety of questions on the proposed system.

While he didn't reveal any new information, he addressed some of the facets of the new system, which should be announced next week during the UAW-GM Motorsports NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C.   More.....

1/16/04

American Spirit Racing names Dowe   American Spirit Racing President, Jon Lewis announced today that Tony Dowe has been signed as Chief Engineer for its two-car LMP2 program in 2004.

"I cannot say how excited I am to have the expertise of Tony on board our Team this year," commented Lewis. "Tony brings a wealth of experience to the program and his understanding of our Lolas is unsurpassed. Our drivers and the entire Team will benefit tremendously from his knowledge."

"I'm delighted to be joining American Spirit Racing in this project," says Dowe. The ALMS is the perfect platform for the drivers and team to display their talents and expertise. I'm also looking forward to continuing the relationship with Lola, Pirelli and AER-Nissan, super companies! The challenge of the coming year will be to improve on last year's results against the Dyson and Intersport teams, it's going to be a lot of fun!"

Tony Dowe's resume speaks for itself. Tony spent the 2003 season as Chief Engineer with Essex Racing (with the Lola B2K/40's now owned by American Spirit Racing). Prior to that he was the Team Manager for Arrows Grand Prix (Formula 1) and Ligier Formula One. Tony's accomplishments include Team Director of the IMSA TWR Jaguar Prototype Team, winning the 1990 24 hours of Le Mans, Daytona 24 Hours in 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1993. Tony was also the Team Manger for the Carl Haas Can-Am Championship winning Team with driver Patrick Tambay and Chief Mechanic for Keke Rosberg's Newman Budweiser Can-Am car, which claimed 12 pole positions in 13 races.

1/16/04
Industry News

Portugal latest to sign tobacco treaty    Portugal is the latest country to have committed itself to enforcing a global ban on tobacco sponsorship. The Portuguese signed the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control a few days ago, bringing to 86 the number of countries which are now committed to making the international anti-tobacco treaty a reality.

The only European Union country which has yet to sign the Convention is Belgium.

The signature adds another hurdle to any ambitions the Portuguese may have had to get the Portuguese GP back on the F1 calendar. Bernie Ecclestone has made it clear that he intends for there to be more non-European races in the future and is planning new events in Turkey, Russia, India and Mexico. This will inevitably mean that there will be fewer races in Europe as the teams are only bound to have 17 races in a year and even with a new Concorde Agreement and a reduction in testing they are not going to agree to many more each year.  Grandprix.com

1/16/04
F3000

Entries close for 2004   Teams wishing to enter the 2004 FIA Formula 3000 Championship had until today to submit their championship registration documents and deposit with the FIA.

We reported last week that ten teams had already done so at that point, however it is not known whether any other teams have made applications since.

Rumors suggest as many as three new teams were planning to join the championship in addition to nine of the ten which took part last year.

If there are more than 13 entries, the FIA will give priority to those teams who competed last year, then to newcomers on a first come basis.

The FIA is expected to release a provisional entry list next month. Dates for three official pre-season tests are due to be announced later this month. formula-3000.net

1/16/04

Denso becomes official Toyota sponsor   Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motorsport GmbH have announced today that DENSO Corporation becomes a corporate sponsor for the Panasonic Toyota Racing F1 team from the 2004 season.

DENSO Corporation is a leading global supplier of advanced automotive technologies, systems and components and has supported the Toyota F1 team as a technical partner since 2002, by providing products such as tailor-made spark plugs for the team's V10 engine.

Under the new sponsorship deal, DENSO expands its relationship to become a corporate sponsor for Panasonic Toyota Racing, in addition to the existing technical support.

DENSO's logo will appear on the engine cover of the team's 2004 race car, the TF104, which will make its debut tomorrow, Saturday 17 January. Furthermore, Denso's logo will be branded on team clothing, driver overalls, helmets, and pit walls, in addition to the logo already allocated on motorhomes and technical trucks.

Koichi Fukaya, president of DENSO Corporation commented on the new sponsorship: "DENSO has a long relationship with Toyota Motor Corporation in motorsports and I am pleased that being a corporate sponsor of Toyota F1 team this year will reinforce the relationship. For long-term success, not only will we intensify our technical support, but all 90,000 DENSO Group associates will also back up the team."

Tsutomu Tomita, chairman of Toyota Motorsport GmbH and team principal of Panasonic Toyota Racing welcomed DENSO as corporate sponsor by adding: "Toyota and DENSO have a long and intimate business relationship, and we are honored that DENSO has supported Toyota's various motorsports activities. We are very pleased that our good relations will be further strengthened by their decision to become corporate sponsor of our Formula 1 team. DENSO's technology plays a very important role in developing Panasonic Toyota Racing's F1 car and we are all committed to doing our best throughout the 2004 season to meet DENSO's expectations."

1/16/04

Toronto ticket sales strong, refunds if.....    UPDATE  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I read the news on the Toronto ticket sales. Coincidentally, I called the Long Beach Grand Prix ticket office today and asked them the same question. I've been a regular attendee for over a decade and always buy my tickets early. I asked; 1) how were ticket sales so far. Answer: excellent, on par with last year at this point. 2) IF the IRL should gain control of this race, would the tickets be refunded. Answer: Quite a few people have asked the same question, currently Long Beach GP management doesn't have an 'official' answer since they fully believe CART will be there to race. HOWEVER, he felt that since the fans were buying tickets for a CART race, if the IRL were to race instead, there should be no reason why those who wanted a refund would be denied, given that the LBGP advertises a CART race, and it would not be delivering on that product. J. Gonzalez, San Dimas, CA  1/15/04 - The Toronto Indy ticket office says sales are on pace with last year, which is good and they are telling ticket buyers that if the IRL were to gain control of CART's assets they would give a full refund to anyone who requests it.

1/16/04

Latest F1 News in Brief  

New Jaguar Sports 'Serious' Faults
Rubens Thinks Of Senna 'Every Day'
Toyota Process New Deal With Intel
Fisi Clocks Quick Time With New Sauber
Schu May Keep Racing Beyond 2006
Schu: 'No Better Choice' Than Barrichello
Badoer Wants To Keep Testing Job
Schumacher's Genius: Luck - Or Happiness?
McLaren 2005: Coulthard Out, Raikkonen In
F1 Deal Was No Deal At All?: Report
Leinders To Test Jordan At Barcelona
Mourning Schu Was 'Not Alone' At Budapest
F1 Has Lost A 'Great Figure,' Says Schu
Schu Brothers Won't Race In Same Team  

Schu Confirms Ferrari's New-Car Policy
France Will Host 2004 Grand Prix: Todt
Villeneuve Opts Out Of Formula One Race
Alonso Plans On 'More Wins And Podiums'
Launch Ban To Return Cheating To F1?
Williams Defuses Driver Disarray
Agent Admits Concern Over Baumgartner Drive
Alonso Dislikes Tusk-Nosed F1 Racer

1/15/04

Letterman mocks the IRL   Last night David Letterman did his usual Top 10 gig.  The questions for the night - The Top 10 reasons your car should be recalled.  His No. 9 reason why your car should be recalled - it can only make left turns.

1/15/04

Weak dollar killing F1 teams  This Sun newspaper article talks about how the weak US dollar is having a major effect on their 2004 race budgets because the majority of deals in the F1 paddock are based on the US dollar.

1/15/04
IROC

Busch to return to defend IROC crown   Defending 2003 IROC series champion Kurt Busch and Roush Racing teammate Matt Kenseth will compete for the champion’s $1 million purse in the 2004 Crown Royal International Race of Champions series. The new series title sponsorship brings a significant increase in the champion’s prize money. The combined purse for the 2004 season will be $1.9 million, with a $1 million check to the champion. In 2003 Kurt Busch won the previous highest payout for the series champion, taking home $250,000 in his successful rookie campaign. “Being invited to participate in the IROC series is such an honor, and being able to win the championship last year meant so much to me” Busch said. “These IROC races are a great opportunity for us to go out and compete against drivers from other series – and that’s something we would otherwise never have the opportunity to do. And now with the new series sponsor coming in there are a million reasons to go out there and compete that much harder.”

1/15/04

Fisichella sets pace in Valencia  Team Sauber Petronas continued its three-day test at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo today. Giancarlo Fisichella covered 80 laps in chassis C23-01 while Felipe Massa in chassis C22-05 ran 53 laps.
Jacky Eeckelaert (Chief Race Engineer): "80 laps without technical problems, a quick lap time and a car that feels good - what else can you ask of the Sauber Petronas C23 on its second day on the track? For us it is a really good result and we are happy with the outcome. We have mainly worked with Bridgestone today and tested different tire constructions, finding one which enhanced the car's handling balance. Experimentation with the set-up was also an important part of today's program as we assessed the car's sensitivity to parameter changes.

"Felipe tested a new damper system with the C22, which had previously been evaluated on our seven-post rig in Hinwil. Its characteristics enhance traction and we will apply it to the C23 and assess it further in our forthcoming tests.

"In the afternoon we have also shot some copyright-free video footage for promotion and media purposes, which will be available shortly.

"Tomorrow we will continue with our Bridgestone work and examine several tyre compounds with Felipe and the C23."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "I must say that I'm very happy. Usually it is difficult to do a lot of laps with a new car as there are often some problems here and there. But this was not the case today. Our absolutely highest target was to reach a lap time of 1:10.5 - and we achieved it! The car is good and I can feel that there is quite some potential. Still, I need to get more confident with it and we need to do more set-up work, but that's normal. Overall it's a good feeling to drive this car."

Driver Team T Laps Time Gap
Fisichella Sauber B 80 1:10.530 127.049 mph
Massa Sauber B 53 1:11.960 1.430

1/15/04

Three IRL drivers gain IROC berth   Indy Racing League IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon, Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves will compete in the Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series in 2004. Dixon, who drives for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, is the defending IRL IndyCar Series champion.

IROC is an invitational racing series that matches 12 drivers from different disciplines of auto racing in equally prepared cars. The series consists of four 100-mile races with points awarded for finishing positions. At the end of the fourth race, points are tallied and a champion of champions is named.

The schedule includes stops at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13, Texas Motor Speedway on April 2 and Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9. IROC is finalizing a fall date for the Crown Royal IROC Championship finale at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

1/15/04
Industry News

Eurosport race broadcast plans for 2004    "With over 1000 hours dedicated to motorsports – including Rally, LG Super Racing Weekend, 24 Hours Le Mans, NASCAR and Indy Racing League – Eurosport confirms its position as pan-European leader in motorsports TV coverage."

1/15/04

Agency, City chasing Miami GP debt    This Miami Herald article says, The city of Miami and an independent agency that promotes sports in the city are owed more than $1.6 million by the group that ran downtown's now-canceled Miami Grand Prix of the Americas auto race.

And if Miami can't get the money from the Championship Auto Racing Teams, city attorney Alejandro Vilarello says the two men who guaranteed the loan, local business promoters Willy Bermello and Peter Yanowitch, are responsible for it.  Bermello and Yanowitch were instrumental in bringing the Champ Car race to Miami two years ago.

The duo, who ran Raceworks LLC before selling it to CART, personally guaranteed a $2 million loan from the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority, an entity chaired by the mayor that promotes sporting events in Miami.  Yanowitch owned 64 percent of the company, Bermello 33 percent, and Miami racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi the other 3 percent.

In March 2003, Raceworks and its assets were purchased by CART for $1.2 million. Under that agreement, the Miami street race was to continue until 2017.  But a subsidiary of CART filed for bankruptcy a month ago, and as part of the reorganization, its assets -- including that of Raceworks -- were purchased by Open Wheel Racing Series.

Open Wheel subsequently canceled the Miami race, saying it lost $9 million in its two-year existence.  The sports authority lent Raceworks the $2 million at a low interest rate more than two years ago to get the race off the ground. Raceworks still owes $1.2 million of that money, and is up to date on its payments.

But Raceworks also owes more than $60,000 to the city's Bayfront Park Management Trust, plus $1 for each ticket sold; $279,552 plus interest to the city's Department of Offstreet Parking; and $30,000 to other city departments for various services.  Vilarello said the loan payments to the sports authority have been on time. But he said the other payments have fallen three months behind, allowing the city to require that the sports authority loan be repaid more quickly.

CART officials could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.  Bermello did not return calls Tuesday.

1/15/04

Johnson hits wall, he's OK but car not    Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy was just the second car on the track Thursday morning, spun in Turn 3 and hit the wall, doing extensive damage to the front end of the car. Johnson was unhurt. The car, however, was expected to be Johnson's entry for the Feb. 15 Daytona 500 and had been his fastest during this week's test. "Maybe the track's just wet, especially in the shadows," Johnson said. "We run the top all the way around here the first two laps basically and maybe it was still wet up there. Without a doubt there was something on the track." #41-Casey Mears was the first car on the track, starting just before 9 a.m. Eastern. He also experienced problems in Turn 3. "I went through there the first time and thought there was something on the track, but it could have been possible it was my car," Mears said. "The second time I went through the turn, I took it easy and it was OK. Then, Jimmie went in there and went into the wall." Johnson said losing car will likely mean his team will not chance participating in Thursday afternoon's scheduled drafting practice. They don't want to risk damaging both cars.  ThatsRacin.com

1/15/04

Elliott on his reduced schedule    "If a certain deal comes up that sounds good, I might go run a Cup car. I might run a truck or Busch car. I'm so flexible at this point in time. The money is not the same, but if I was in it for the money I would have quit a long time ago. That's my favorite saying now. That's very true. I could have done things differently to this point, but I'm very happy with where I'm at right now. It's kind of a new era for me. It's a new look. One side of you says I'm going to miss all the races and the other side says, well, I'm not going to miss 'em. When it comes Monday morning and you're beat up from running 500 miles on Sunday afternoon, that I'm not going to miss."

1/15/04
IROC

Crown Royal named IROC sponsor   The International Race of Champions announced today the signing of a multi-year agreement with Crown Royal to be the official title sponsor of the IROC Series for 2004 and beyond. IROC is auto racing’s All-Star Game. It is an invitational auto racing series that matches 12 drivers from different disciplines of auto racing in equally prepared cars. The Series consists of four 100-mile races with points awarded for finishing positions. At the end of the fourth race, points are tallied and a champion of champions is named. The 2004 Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series schedule will begin, per tradition, with race one at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Friday, Feb. 13. New venues added in 2004 will include, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, April 2., and Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, September 9. IROC is also finalizing a fall date for the Crown Royal IROC Championship finale at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Ga. IROC is in negotiations with Fox/Speed Channel to televise all four events. With the new Crown Royal sponsorship comes a significant increase in the Series’ prize money. The purse for the 2004 IROC season will be $1.9 million including $1 million to the Series champion. This is a major increase from the 2003 season in which the champion received $250,000 and represents the highest payout for a Series Champion in IROC history.

1/15/04

Battle over CART - The gloves come off   Kevin Kalkhoven spells out the IRL's intentions exactly, which will make CART fans despise the IRL even more should they win a bid to gain control of all CART assets.  They will never support the IRL any more than they do now.  Kalkhoven stated,  "I doubt that the IRL would put in a bid in order to continue the (CART) series," Kalkhoven said. "In my opinion, their desire would be to kill it." Paul Gentilozzi added insult to injury when he said, "the IRL is entering the race with one lap to go and they are already one lap down."  They appear rather confident they will prevail and are probably willing to go head-to-head on the bids should they need to.  OWRS has a complete plan to continue the CART series as a whole, and unless a competing bid is submitted to do likewise in this the 11th hour, a piecemeal proposal to cherry-pick CART's best races is not going to prevail.  The strategy we see unfolding by OWRS appears to be right up 'company takeover expert' Kevin Kalkhoven's alley.  They're playing on his turf now, and he certainly appears to have the home field advantage.

1/15/04

Chevy fields dream team for Rolex 24   Chevrolet yesterday announced the formation of a powerhouse team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the most prestigious sports car races in the world. NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson will join sports car veterans Andy Wallace, Butch Leitzinger, Elliott-Forbes Robinson and Dave Brule in Chevrolet-powered Daytona Prototypes for the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic on January 31.

"Chevrolet is proud to have such a dominant team of drivers at this prestigious event," said Gary Claudio, marketing manager for GM Racing. "Speedweeks will be a family affair for both Chevrolet and our NASCAR drivers, starting out with Chevrolet-powered Daytona Prototypes and finishing with the Monte Carlos in the Daytona 500."

The Crawford-built, V-8 Chevrolet-powered prototypes, which will aim for an overall win at the daylong event, will have some of GM Racing's finest talent behind the wheel.

Chevrolet driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion and most recently a star in the top-level NASCAR Winston Cup Series, competed at the Daytona 24 in 2001 behind the wheel of the factory Corvette C5-R along with his father, the late Dale Earnhardt. The Earnhardts had an impressive showing in their sports car debut, finishing fourth overall and second in class.

"I am really excited about going to Daytona again with Chevrolet," said Earnhardt Jr. "The Crawford Chevrolet opportunity came up in November and given the chance to work with Andy Wallace and Tony Stewart, it was simply too good to pass up."

Chevrolet driver Tony Stewart, who captured the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship in 2002, is no stranger to sports car racing. Stewart made his debut at the Daytona 24 in 2001 behind the wheel of a Crawford prototype and will look to add an overall victory at the legendary event to his already expansive motorsport resume, one that includes championship titles in NASCAR, the IRL and USAC.

Jimmie Johnson will be making his first ever start in the Daytona 24 after finishing second in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings in 2003. Johnson posted three wins and captured two Bud Pole Awards as well as winning "The Winston" at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.

Stewart and Earnhardt, Jr. will be joined by Daytona-winning endurance champion Andy Wallace in the #2 Chevrolet Crawford DP03 Daytona Prototype, while Jimmie Johnson will partner with sports car veterans Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Dave Brule in the #4 Chevrolet Boss DP03 Daytona Prototype.

1/15/04

F1 penalty system close to approval  An overhaul of the Formula 1 driver-penalty system could get the green light this week when team bosses meet motorsport chief Max Mosley. This is according to a story in this week's AUTOSPORT Magazine.

The matter is one of a number of topics up for discussion tomorrow (Friday), and sources have claimed that the new system of imposing driver penalty points has a chance of being voted through. It would need unanimous support from the teams to be implemented in time for 2004.

Under the system, drivers would get points on their licenses for infringements, rather than a drive-through penalty in races. If a driver exceeded a certain number of points over a fixed period then he would receive a race ban.

There is also expected to be discussion on changes to the current Concorde agreement, the future of the French and Bahrain Grands Prix, as well as the ruling that Friday test drivers need to have less that six races' experience.

1/15/04

Leinders locks up Jordan test  2003 Nissan World Series driver Bas Leinders will drive for Jordan Ford at the team's first test session of 2004 in Barcelona next week. The 28-year-old Belgian will get his first outing in a Formula One car on 21 January, the second day of Jordan's four day test session.

Bas Leinders said, "I'm very happy that Jordan have given me the opportunity to do my first Formula One test. I, along with all Belgians, am looking forward to this. Hopefully we can do a good job and see what the future brings."

Eddie Jordan said, "I'm pleased to give Bas Leinders this opportunity in F1. He has proved himself to be a talented and persistent driver in the junior categories and this chance is well deserved. I'm delighted to see the Belgian Grand Prix return to the calendar - we have great memories associated with the track at Spa- Francorchamps, where we scored our historic 1-2 maiden victory - and it would be great if there was a Belgian driver participating as well."

Leinders has several championships under his belt including: European Karting Championship (beating Jarno Trulli) in 1990, British and European Formula Ford Championships in 1995, European Formula Opel Championship in 1996 (beating the records of Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen to obtain eight victories in one season) and the German Formula 3 Championship in 1998 (first Belgian to win this series) - the same year he set the fastest lap time in the Macau Grand Prix. In recent years he has competed in the FIA International F3000 Championship and he finished third in Championship in the Nissan World Series in 2002 and 2003.

Jordan Ford will shortly announce drivers for the remaining days of the test.  Jordan

1/15/04

Major tactical error by the IRL   Many readers have written to ask what we meant when we said the IRL has made a major tactical error in making an attempt to bid for CART's assets.  Let us explain.  The IRL had to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to peer into all of CART's assets, including their race contracts, which is what the IRL is really after, at least the key ones.  Assuming OWRS prevails on the 28th, which we have no reason to believe they won't, the IRL has now locked themselves out of stealing any of CART's existing races for a period of, we believe, 15 years (the terms of the non-disclosure agreement).  By having seen the contracts they have confidential information.  If the IRL attempts to talk to any of CART's existing promoters about taking over a CART race and replacing it with an IRL race, OWRS will immediately sue them for violation of the non-disclosure agreement for they would have had access to the terms of the existing contract and can use that to their advantage in trying to outbid OWRS.  We suspect the IRL will regret what they have done for quite some time.....15 years to be exact.  Mark C.

1/15/04

An unofficial history of the CART/IRL split (updated)   The following is intended to be a timeline of significant events related to the split between CART and the IRL/Indy by Chris Biordi. I'm humbly NOT claiming to be a historian: just consider this page as a general guide. I've tried to list each event without bias or opinion toward either side. Over the years I've attended USAC, CART, and IRL races at Trenton, Pocono, Meadowlands, Dover, and Nazareth. This page is eternally under construction and always open for suggestions.  More.....

1/15/04

Rubens can't forget Ayrton  Regarding his superstar countryman who was killed at Imola 10 years ago, Rubens Barrichello had this to say to the press during his announcement of a contract extension with Ferrari - “They wanted to see me take over from Ayrton,” he said. “It was hard for me to lose this sensation. I think of Ayrton every day and I know that in Brazil they are organizing special events to remember him. I hope that they are joyful occasions for everybody, one where the people can enjoy the day. Inside myself I don’t feel the need to do any more because ten years have passed since his death; I have learnt to be myself. Now I have my feet on the ground, I’m calm and very positive.”  Photos from press conference at annual Ferrari International media ski event where Rubens spoke.

1/15/04

Alex Yoong eyes CART return   Alex Yoong drove a Champ Car for Dale Coyne in 2003 in the early part of the season until his money ran out.  He is now eyeing a possible return. Yoong told AutoRacing1.com,  "It would be a great pity if IRL's bid for CART is just to put the Champ Car World Series out of business. Personally, I have really enjoyed competing in Champ Car last year and it's too good a series for it to not go ahead. It has great potential to succeed further with the new ownership under OWRS. I will certainly like to return to Champ Car this season, if I can, and we hope the dust will settle soon so that everybody knows where we are."

1/15/04

Schumacher does not rule out racing after 2006  Despite speculation that 2006 may be Michael Schumacher's last year, he still leaves the door open.  "I have never excluded continuing after 2006," he said at Madonna di Campiglio. "When we extended the contract to 2006, the president told me, ‘Stay as long as you like, as long as you are motivated and quick’. There is no reason to close doors for the future. If I feel then as I do now then it is an open future."

1/15/04

Delay in India deal  This Grandprix.com article says, The meeting which was planned for today to discuss an Indian GP has been postponed at the request of the Indians but the intention remains to have a contract signed and sealed as soon as possible so that the first race can be run in 2007. The project will be a major undertaking for the local government which must construct a complete facility close to the city's new airport. The aim of the race is to boost tourism and investment in the state of Andhra Prakesh.

1/15/04

Toyota completes deal with Intel  Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motorsport GmbH announced today that Toyota has come to a basic agreement on a sponsorship deal with Intel Corporation, the world's largest chip maker. The agreement includes substantial technical and marketing collaboration between the two companies.

Intel Itanium 2 processor based solutions will help dramatically advance Toyota Motorsport GmbH's computing infrastructure in terms of technical capability and raw performance. In addition, the sponsorship deal will see Intel's Itanium 2 processor brand logo appear on the rear wing of the 2004 Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 Racing car, the TF104.

The TF104 will be launched at the team's factory in Cologne, Germany on Saturday 17 January. Additionally, Intel's corporate logo will appear on the side of the TF104 and on its nose, as well as branded on team clothing, driver overalls, pit walls, motorhomes and technical trucks.

John Howett, President of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, is pleased to welcome Intel to the Panasonic Toyota Racing team:

"It is a fitting start to our 2004 season that we are able to join forces with such a globally renowned corporation as Intel. Intel's Itanium 2 processor is a world-class performance server processor and Toyota has decided to take advantage of this architecture to develop a computing design edge in the highly competitive world of F1. Ahead of our TF104 car launch this weekend, I am pleased to welcome Intel to the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. Together, I am sure we will reap mutually beneficial rewards as we aim to close the gap to the top F1 teams over the coming season."

Mike Fister, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Intel Corporation's Enterprise Platforms Group added:

"The decision to associate the Intel Itanium 2 processor family and sponsor Toyota's F1 team was a natural one. Both Intel and Toyota stand out as leaders of global manufacturing and innovation within our respective industries, and both strive to constantly deliver products that showcase high reliability and quality combined with performance. We're proud to stand behind the Toyota F1 team and its goal of winning world championship races in the next couple of years."

1/15/04

Latest F1 News in Brief  

Barrichello Signs New Two-Year Deal
Barrichello Had Other Options On F1 Grid
Fisichella Happy With 31st Birthday Present
RB: Three More Chances To Claim Schu's Title
Rubens Is Underrated: Ferrari's Brawn
Williams 'On Alert' For New F1 Driver
Ecclestone Pledges Support For Bahrain
Villeneuve Is Paying For Arrogance: Rubens
Teammate Schu Is Privilege, Not Problem: RB
Rubens Looks Beyond 2006 
Bahrain To Stage Exciting Races: Jordan
India Races Towards Seven-Year F1 Deal
Parry-Jones Calls For Concorde Overhaul
Barrichello Does Not Have Ferrari Parity
Sauber Lauds 'Remarkable' C23 Roll-Out
Rubens: Montoya Faces Tough F1 Season

1/15/04

Grand-Am to sanction FR2000   Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson announced today that Grand American has reached an agreement with RaceTeam Promotions to become the sanctioning body of the FR2000 Series. FR2000 is an entry-level open-wheel series for aspiring young drivers and teams who aim to find success in the category and launch themselves towards the highest levels of the sport including IndyCar racing and Formula One. The developmental series utilizes the high technology all-carbon fiber Formula Renault cars which feature a sealed 2.0-liter, 186-horsepower four-cylinder engine, front and rear wings, a six-speed sequential gearbox and spec-Michelin Sport slick racing tires. FR2000 will be contested by a strong group of American racers as well as a significant international entry. "Grand American is pleased to announce our sanctioning of the FR2000 Series. It is our goal to provide American race fans with exciting, competitive road racing in all forms - sports car, production car and open-wheel," said Edmondson. "We are looking forward to working with Grand American in building a strong synergistic relationship that provides premier North American road racing in both open-wheel and sports cars," said Jim Holpp, FR2000 Winter Invitational Director and Grand American liaison. FR2000 will kick off its 2004 season with a five-race Winter Invitational, which will offer more than $150,000 in awards. The first two rounds of the Winter Invitational will be held at Sebring International Raceway, January 23-24. The final three rounds will be contested at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Rounds three and four will be run on the Speedway's full road course, February 14-15, and the final round, held February 17, will be on the modified road course that uses the banked portions of the track in NASCAR turns three and four.

1/15/04
Karting

New Gidley karting book  Memo Gidley, accomplished open wheel race car driver and shifter kart champion has again joined forces with author/publisher Jeff Grist to produce a new title under the Memo Gidley's Secrets of Speed banner. Memo Gidley's Secrets of Speed for Two-Cycle Kart Racing will focus on two-cycle karting and use the unique format and style created in the first book.  More.....

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