Race of Champions French Formula 1 star Romain Grosjean put in a stunning performance to eclipse 15 fellow superstars of motorsport and win the Race Of Champions on an evening of thrills at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium. Following Team Germany's victory over Team France in last night's ROC Nations Cup, the Race Of Champions pitted many of the biggest names in motorsport against each other in head-to-head combat in a variety of different cars.
Team Germany proves best once again Team Germany's Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel added to their incredible run of success by winning their sixth consecutive ROC Nations Cup title in Bangkok. On another hot evening in the Thai capital, legends from many of the world's biggest motor sport series teamed up in pairs to battle for national pride.
From Thailand Many of the world’s greatest drivers arrived Friday at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium ahead of this weekend’s ROC 2012 – and it didn’t take long for the banter to start. The Race Of Champions, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, MotoGP, IndyCar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
Drivers get ready for today's Race of Champions Formula 1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel are preparing for tonight’s ROC Nations Cup as they bid to extend Team Germany’s run of glory to a record sixth consecutive triumph. The German duo, who have become an all-conquering force in the competition, met the media at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium this evening along with fellow F1 stars David Coulthard and Romain Grosjean. They are part of the dazzling line-up of motor sport greats – also including MotoGP world champions Jorge Lorenzo and Mick Doohan, IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay – who will compete in tonight’s ROC Nations Cup and Sunday’s individual Race Of Champions.
by Stephen Cox There are three rules in short track racing. Number 1, don't give up the inside groove. Number 2, survive at all costs. And Number 3... don't forget Rules 1 and 2. This is doubly important when it comes to the really short tracks, like Lake County's beautiful 1/5th mile oval in Painesville, Ohio, four of which would fit in your back yard. You have to stay with the leaders, avoid the inevitable wrecks, keep the fenders on your truck and drive like a wild banshee in the last few laps.
by Stephen Cox Racecar drivers are eternally besieged by well-intentioned busybodies enforcing a tidal wave of petty rules, policies and regulations, many of which are designed to enrich sponsors and gear manufacturers rather than protect the drivers. Everyone from series directors to the guy at the McDonald's drive-through window is now a “safety expert.” Trouble is, none of them drive racecars. If we want to know what must be done to ensure the safety of race drivers, we should ask a race driver.
by Pete McCole Friday marked the passing a true legend in the motorsports community and a great ambassador to the sport of auto racing with the death of longtime journalist Chris Economaki, known around the racing community as the “Dean of Motorsports”. Economaki, whose voice was familiar to motorsports fans around the world through his insightful and diligent commentary during television coverage of the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, passed away at the age of 91.
by Stephen Cox So I’m sitting in a Bob Evans restaurant in northern Virginia hoping for a decent breakfast before going to the track for the Super Cup race I was competing in that night. I’d just ordered three eggs over medium, sausage and rye toast very well done with extra butter when my daughter suddenly points at the ceiling and says, “Look, Dad!” I glance upward and am astonished by its splendor. Colored red, white and blue, it is battered and worn yet still proud after nearly 40 years of service. I am in awe. There it is…
by Stephen Cox I have figured out what is wrong with America’s youth and their disconnect with racing. They don’t race slot cars anymore. In addition to being overly tattooed, body pierced and not pulling their pants up, most of them couldn’t define “HO scale” if you held a gun to their iPad. Racing HO scale Aurora AFX slot cars with the greatest man I’ve ever known – my dad – in our garage in the summer of 1969 taught me pretty much everything I needed to get through life. After slot car racing, formal education was anticlimactic.
by Stephen Cox Last weekend's ARCA Truck Series JEGS.com 100 in Xenia, Ohio turned out to be one of the most utterly bizarre experiences I've had in two decades of motorsports. The owner of ED CO Racing, Ed Yoak, offered me a single-race deal to drive his truck at Kil-Kare Speedway. I'd never met Ed before, but he is a cool guy who's forgotten more about auto racing than I'll ever know. So I called up Tom Cumbow, the equally cool president of the ARCA Truck Series, to ask his advice.
Scenes from the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
by Bob Heathcote There are times to spectate and there are times to roll up one’s sleeves and participate. At the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this year, both options brought abundant joy, as more than 550 authentic and historic race cars from nearly every decade of motorsports history popped their clutches and shifted gears on the esteemed road course of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Our Bob Heathcote was there to capture all the action.
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Today was the day everyone was waiting for, or at least the 30 or so thousand people flocking to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion were waiting for it: the chance to see 45 competition Shelby Cobras charging around California’s famously challenging 2.238-mile road course known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The year of the Cobra It is said that all things have a beginning, a middle and an end, but that may not be true of the extraordinary Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, which is one of the star cars at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. There seems to be no end to the excitement and awe that this car, of which only six were built in the early 1960s, brings to all who know its history and have had the opportunity to experience the magic of its design.
by Gary Parravani Phoenix Audi won the 24 Hours of Spa 2012 this weekend with an Audi R8 LMS Ultra. The winning drivers were Frank Stippler, Rene Rast and Andrea Piccini. It was an Audi one-two with the WRT Audi R8 LMS Ultra coming a very close second. Over 53,000 fans came to view the race and our Gary Parravani was there to capture all the action.
by Stephen Cox A car was more than transportation when I was a kid. Your car represented who you were. Everyone knew what a car meant... freedom! The liberty to go where you want, to be with your friends and to get into mischief. An automobile was true, genuine freedom and every one of us wanted it. Not so anymore. The average high school kid is far more concerned with grabbing the latest iPad or the coolest cell phone than driving the right automobile.
by Bob Heathcote Casey Stoner, an Australian riding for the Repsol Honda team, completed 32 laps around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course 3.429 seconds ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo, the season points leader. Dani Pedrosa, Stoner's teammate, was third. Our Bob Heathcote was there to capture all the action.
by Scott Morris Many of our loyal AR1 readers are open wheel racing fans, and know that the IndyCars race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, just outside Birmingham. But very few have visited this gem of American motorsports facilities, and even fewer have experienced the sweep and flow of its curves at racing speeds. This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to drive this pure driver’s track, in a pure driver’s racing vehicle; a 125cc Honda modified-class CRG shifter kart.
by Stephen Cox The majority of auto racing sanctioning bodies mandate safety equipment for drivers. Like all regulations, these mandates have become increasingly burdensome over time. One of the most onerous regulations on low-budget, local race teams is the mandate to purchase a new helmet every time new standards are released by the Snell Memorial Foundation. Since new helmet standards are established every fifth year (2000, 2005, 2010, etc), in reality, most drivers must replace their helmet every year or two.
by Stephen Cox Did you ever wonder why so many racecars were called “Specials?” Louis Meyer, for instance, drove the Bowes Seal Fast Special. Mauri Rose won the Indy 500 in the Blue Crown Spark Plug Special. The term “special” is an earmark for many classic American racecars. Here’s how the term originated: In the early 20th century, racecars were simply passenger cars. Manufacturers frequently raced their products with no alterations whatsoever.
by Mark Scheuern On Saturday Scott Dixon won his first IndyCar pole of the year and snapped Penske Racing's streak of having the fastest car in IndyCar qualifying this season. Dixon set a track record of 1 minute, 10.3162 seconds Saturday on the Detroit Grand Prix's slick and tight 2-mile course. Penske's Will Power, the points leader, will start Sunday's race second followed by Alex Tagliani and Simon Pagenaud.
by Stephen Cox On Friday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, several thousand die-hard race fans got a glimpse of what real auto racing is supposed to look like. The 59th running of the Hoosier Hundred was held on the appropriately named “Track of Champions,” the historic one-mile dirt oval where Barney Oldfield drove a mile in less than a minute for the first time in history on June 19, 1903.
Hoosier Hundred Still Reigns Supreme for Short Tracks
by Stephen Cox I would like to invite you to attend an auto race with me this weekend. But first, let me tell you a quick story. It was 11 o’clock on a Saturday morning and I was tired of job hunting. Since graduating from college the previous spring my time was consumed with courting my lovely bride-to-be and finding a job. But thank goodness, this particular Saturday was set aside for fun. The date was September 13, 1986. I was looking forward to spending the day with the greatest man I’d ever known – my father.
by Gary Parravani Audi vanquished the opposition at the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours with a dominant 1-2 finish courtesy of customer squads Team Phoenix and Mamerow Racing. The race included carnage from multiple punctures in the early laps, as many as 17 GT3 cars running on the lead lap with nine hours already run. Our Gary Parravani was there to capture all the action.
by Stephen Cox Here we are, just days before the season opener for the Super Cup Stock Car Series in Columbus, Ohio on April 28. I've been writing about everyone else's events all year long, and finally it's time to write about mine. Super Cup is a short track series that races throughout the mid-east from Ohio to Virginia. For many of these cars, their last full-time job was in the Nationwide series. Since NASCAR's top series abandoned short track racing years ago, Super Cup is the biggest stock car show that the average guy can see at his local race track.
In spite of rain, 72,000 fans celebrate DTM In Wiesbaden, Germany One week from now, on April 29th, the DTM has its season opener at the Hockenheimring, and is looking forward to a new era. For the first time since 1992, the three German premium car brands Audi, BMW and Mercedes- Benz will be competing against each other again in the most popular international touring car series.
by Gary Parravani The Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 No.3 PRO entry of Bas Leinders (BEL), Markus Palttala (FIN) and Maxime Martin (BEL) took the honors in the opening race of the Blancpain Endurance Series in treacherous conditions at Monza. With the Monza track surface heavily waterlogged, the three-hour race began under the Safety Car. Our Gary Parravani was there to capture all the action in these photos.
by Bob Heathcote On an unusual (for southern California) wet, windy and cold day in Long Beach California the IZOD IndyCars practiced, the Indy Lights drivers practiced, ALMS practiced and qualified and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity drivers practiced but their qualifying was rained out. Our Bob Heathcote captured these photographs.
Interview with Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich
Talks about upcoming DTM season Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich played an instrumental role in shaping the new DTM regulations. Here is a keynote interview with the Head of Audi Motorsport on the start of the DTM season at the Hockenheimring on April 29 and the expectations of Audi Sport.
by Mark J. Cipolloni AutoRacing1.com (AR1.com) sent four staff members to participate in Tuesday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete media kart race with IndyCar and other pro drivers and members of the media, in a lead-up to the March 24-26 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The event was held at the impressive Andersen Racing Park in Palmetto, FL just minutes away from the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (GPSP) location, on their state-of-the-art kart racing course, in equally prepared Honda powered go-karts.
by Dave Grayson Despite all of the clues from a long string of rampant rumors, the recent announcement that said the Irwindale Speedway will be dark in 2012 was still stunning. On Monday, February 13th, a very simple, not to mention vague, statement was issued by Irwindale Speedway LLC CEO Jim Williams and track General Manage Bob DeFazio that said "the management of Irwindale Speedway today announced that the 2012 racing season has been cancelled."
by Gary Parravani The seventh running of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI, the first international endurance race of the year for touring cars, GTs and 24H Specials, was hailed as a great success by drivers, team members, spectators, journalists and organizers. An international field with 70 cars and drivers and teams from 38 countries staged a spectacular race twice around the clock that went down right to the wire. Our Gary Parravani was there.
by Gary Parravani Mercedes-Benz customer teams scored a clean sweep of the podium with the spectacular SLS AMG GT3 sports cars claiming first, second and third place overall and also the first three positions in the A6 category. But there were many more stories in this event and our Gary Parravani was there to capture all the action in these photos.
Dakar: Gordon wins final stage, Peterhansel champion
97 motorcycles, 12 quads, 78 cars and 60 trucks finish While the last special was won by Norway's Pal Anders Ullevalseter (motorcycles) and Robby Gordon (cars), France's Cyril Despres and Stephane Peterhansel took their fourth and tenth Dakars respectively, all categories included. The champions were applauded on the podium on Lima's Plaza de Armas by a huge crowd which came to acclaim both the competitors and the arrival of the greatest rally raid in the world to Lima's capital.
Nasser Al-Attiyah beat Robby Gordon Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar won Saturday’s seventh stage of the Dakar Rally with Stephane Peterhansel of France finishing third and keeping the overall lead. He was actually two minutes down at the first checkpoint, but fought back through the remainder of the stage and was on fire during the dunes, passing a number of the cars ahead of him.
Nick Neri Might Just Be the Fastest Kid in America
by Keith Ori There’s that video image of the fast Brazilian kid (there’s always a fast Brazilian kid in these stories)- the one that won one of the Big Deal scholarships and competed in the National Championship last year. Road Atlanta, last lap, hair on fire, chin strap between his teeth, trying an outside pass at 10A. Next frame he’s bouncing across the sand and grass like a damn dune buggy. With that, Nick Neri, a then-15 year-old from Palmetto, FL, won the first car race he’d ever entered. In the entire history of auto racing, I can’t even name another driver that won their first race against legitimate competition in equal cars.
as Al Attiyah bounces back The Coma rocket has taken off. Second yesterday, the title holder has put some distance between himself and his main rivals for victory, starting with Cyril Despres, who is 2'52” behind in the general standings. In the car race, Nasser Al Attiyah put on a show to win the day's special stage and claw himself to within 8'47” of Stephane Peterhansel, the new general standings leader.
The Minis meet the expectations After spending most of the year injured, Francisco Lopez took the first stage of the 2012 Dakar in the motorcycle category and now leads a provisional top 5 which represents a break with tradition. Argentina's Javier Pizzolito (19th last year) finished third. In the truck category, Marcel van Vliet repeats his 2009 exploit by winning the first stage. Among all the race favorites, Francisco Lopez is the one who has done the most to keep a low profile.
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