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Thanks for visiting our News Bits page - news snippets from the world of Auto Racing.  Please visit our Rumors page for all the scuttlebutt.  If you have some news, or can supply more information about one listed here, e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible and we may post it.  User agreement & disclaimer. Newer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic.  Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.  

DATE News (chronologically 0811/00 to 08/15/00)
8/15/00

Scheckter name back in F1 (Source: Autosport.com
Tomas Scheckter had his first taste of Formula 1 as he tested a Jaguar at Silverstone today (Tuesday), under the scrutiny of Jaguar Racing director Jackie Stewart and 1979 world champion, father Jody. The 19-year-old has stepped into the limelight in recent weeks by first taking over the Formula 3000 seat of Stephane Sarrazin in the McLaren Junior Team - scoring a second place at Hockenheim on his debut - and now driving the Jaguar R1 as part of his Formula 3 deal with Stewart Racing. Under blue skies and bright sunshine the young South African took to the track as soon as the pit lane opened at 10:00 BST. Five runs of three laps each during the morning session produced a best time of 1m29.4s, less than a second behind regular Jaguar test driver Luciano Burti's time of 1m28.5s. It was not only Scheckter's first run in an F1 car, but also his first ever run on the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. An unfamiliar track and a car with twice the performance and four-times the power of his Dallara F3 car made for something of a baptism of fire.  "I would love a race contract with the Jaguar team," he said, "but I need to prove to them that I am quick, then hopefully they can take up their option on me for next year. It's up to them really, but that's what this testing is for." Father Jody looked on somewhat anxiously as his son acclimatized to the 800bhp machine.  "When you see how quick he's going," said Scheckter Sr, "I just think I want to get him out of there... But I guess it's a bit late for that now." 

8/15/00

F-1 tire concerns at Indy (Source: Autosport.com
Grand Prix tire supplier Bridgestone has moved to allay tire concerns ahead of the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, according to this week's Autocar magazine.  The track for the Grand Prix uses just under half of the Brickyard's 2.5-mile oval, but run in the reverse direction, and computer simulations by the teams predict that cars will be on full throttle for close to half a minute. Of particular concern will be the g-loadings on the cars' left rear tire through the nine-degree banking of Turn One. To handle the loads, equivalent to almost a ton for five seconds, Bridgestone originally recommended that teams run tires at up to 10psi more than normal pressure. But the teams are concerned that the resulting reduction in contact patch will lead to over-heating and blistering.  "Aside from the safety implications," said one F1 team insider, "it's absolutely essential that we put on a good show when we hit the USA, and that means not having to worry about tires. The fact that we don't test in advance means Bridgestone has to get it right first time. " Bridgestone technical chief Yoshihiko Ichikawa agreed with the concerns, but the company is expected to use its experience gained from CART racing with its Firestone brand to develop a tire specifically for the demands of Indianapolis. 

8/15/00

Todd Bodine to again sub for Terry Labonte - Terry Labonte needs at least another week of rest after trying out a Busch car and still not feeling right.  Todd Bodine will fill in for him at Michigan this weekend.

8/15/00

Charlotte will use soft walls - Lowe's Motor Speedway will be the first oval to use soft walls for a leading motorsports event.  When the Winston Cup cars arrive there in October they will find the exit of turns 2 and 4 to have a vinyl covered Styrofoam material placed in front, we believe sold by Simpson Safety products.  Our hat is off to Lowe's Motor Speedway for being at the forefront of trying to make oval racing safer.  We challenge all other oval tracks to follow suit.  When compared to a life, the cost is minimal.

8/15/00

Active Motorsports to test 2001 perspective drivers
For the first time in their 3 year history, Active Motorsports will hold a 4-day test for prospective 2001 Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers.   The Memphis Motorsports Park will be the site of the test from October 16th to the 20th. Talented and interested drivers will have the opportunity to drive the Swift chassis on the 1.7 mile road course. Prospective drivers will benefit from the entire Active Motorsports team including complete engineering support and driver coaching. 

Daniel Incandela, Team Manager adds, "We are already talking to several drivers about next year and with our resources, we could easily run a 2-3 car team in the 2001season. Over a 4-day test we can work with some of the drivers already under consideration and assess other gifted drivers."  A very aggressive 2001 season will see Active Motorsports looking to fulfill their goals of the championship and rookie of the year trophy.  October will be a busy month for Active Motorsports. Aside from the season finale in Houston, and the 4-day Memphis test, the team will also move into their new Office and Shop space of 9,000 sq/ft in Dublin, Ohio.  For information about the test or Active Motorsports please contact Daniel Incandela at 614.854.0074 or Daniel@activemotorsports.com.

8/15/00

British Eurosport to Televise CART live - Tentatively British Eurosport will broadcast the CART races at Vancouver and Laguna Seca live, welcome news for CART fans in England.

8/15/00

Mark Webber signs Benetton testing contract - F3000 driver Mark Webber has signed to be a Benetton test driver in 2001.

8/14/00

Improved Gil de Ferran crash photos -  We were able to get higher resolution images from our Photographer stationed in Turn 1 at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, Tom Malaska.  Enjoy! 


Gil spins (L), turns upside down (C), safety crew arrives (R)

Safety crew uprights car with Gil still in it, and then Gil waves to the crowd (R)
All photos copyright AutoRacing1.com and Tom Malaska. Click to enlarge any photo

8/14/00

New CART board member James Alan Henderson, formerly Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Cummins Engine Company, Inc., has been named to the Board of Directors of Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. "We are delighted to have an individual of Jim's experience and stature joining our Board of Directors," said Hardymon, who assumed CART's chairmanship on June 16. "CART is in an excellent position to build and grow both its company and its racing. We believe Jim's presence on our Board will help us achieve our goals and take CART to the next level."   Henderson's career at Cummins Engine spanned 35 years. He retired from the Columbus, Ind., company at the end of 1999. He was named President and Chief Operating Officer in 1977 and became Cummins' President and CEO in 1994 and Chairman and CEO in 1995.   The Culver, Ind., native is active on several major Boards of Directors, in addition to CART. He serves on the board of International Paper; Rohm and Haas Company; Ryerson Tull, Inc.; and SBC Communications. He also is chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Culver (Ind.) Educational Foundation. "The CART series has long been one of the premier racing series in the world and I have followed it closely since its inception," said Henderson. "The CART Board is working hard to attract new fans and deliver value to shareholders. I look forward to being a part of that effort."  In addition to Henderson and Hardymon, who retired as Chairman of Textron Corp. in 1999, CART's Board of Directors is comprised of: Bert Roberts, Chairman of Worldcom; Fred Tucker, President of the Semiconductor Products Division of Motorola; interim CART President and CEO Bobby Rahal; and CART race team owners Gerald Forsythe; Chip Ganassi; Barry Green; Carl Haas; Bruce McCaw; U.E. "Pat" Patrick; and Derrick Walker. 

8/14/00

CART to announce new engine formula by Early 2001 - Bobby Rahal told us CART will announce its new engine formula for the 2003 season no later than early in 2001 to give the manufacturers enough time to design and test it.  The 1.8 liter, high boost formula is what everything seems to be migrating to.  The 3.5 liter naturally aspirated proposal is losing popularity with each passing week.  We think CART will announce it even earlier as the 1.8 liter option seems to have reached almost unanimous acceptance.  Therefore, why wait?

8/13/00

Changes in store at NASCAR  NASCAR currently uses a (restrictor) plate with four holes that are 7/8 of an inch in diameter. They likely will test Tuesday with one-inch holes as they try to increase horsepower to around 600-625. NASCAR will experiment with a 65-degree rear spoiler, angled 20 degrees more than the spoilers used for the 2000 Daytona 500. There are also possibilities of changing the front air dams and adding an inch-high bar across the roof. NASCAR will supply the roof strips and possibly some strips to go in front of the air dams. The Richard Childress Racing teams will bring an adjustable spoiler that can be changed from 30 degrees to 70 degrees. One thing that likely won't be adjusted is the fender (Jayski)

8/13/00

Reduction in testing well received by owners - UPDATE The new rules (full story):

  • No more in-season testing

  • In the off-season, a maximum of 20 test days for a 2-car team, current rules provide for 36.  A 1-car team will be allowed 14, down from 20 now.

  • The testing window was redefined to start November 13th and conclude March 1, 2001, with blackouts for holiday seasons and specified events.

  • Friday's will be 4-hours of practice (up from 1.5 hours now) and qualifying (road courses) will be eliminated.  All qualifying will now be on Saturday.

  • Exceptions to the testing limits will be made for driver injuries, special tire or engine tests, etc.

Earlier - Hal Whiteford told us he made a presentation to the owners this morning for a reduction in testing next year.  Hal asked if he was going in the right direction with the proposal and he got 100% agreement.  There are still a few details to work out, such as allowances for new teams, or new testing of new engine pieces, but for the most part the deal is about done.

8/13/00

Three proposals received for new Indy Lights cars - Roger Bailey has received three official proposals for a new Indy Lights car/engine starting in 2002.  We believe CART is still accepting proposals so don't expect an announcement as to who the winner is until the end of the year.

8/13/00

A lap around Mid Ohio - AutoRacing1.com and Max Papis take you around Mid-Ohio in pictures and audio.  Pictures | Audio Free Real Player

8/12/00

FedEx contract up after 2001 - Bobby Rahal met with FedEx two days to talk about better promotion of the series and start to talk about extending the contract with FedEx. 

8/12/00

Seen at Mid-Ohio - Carl Haas was seen lunching with the Lola guys at lunch today at Mid Ohio.  Could he have been talking about his cars for next year? 

8/12/00

Jason Bright to test a Champ Car in a few weeks - As he stated in his interview below, Jason Bright will get his first taste of a Champ Car at a Sebring test in several weeks.

8/12/00

Jason Bright wins Indy Lights pole at Mid-Ohio - Badly bruised back and all, Jason Bright won the pole position for this weekends Lights race at Mid-Ohio, just nipping his Dorricott teammate Townsend Bell and Team Kool Green driver Johnny Kane.

Townsend Bell Interview | Jason Bright InterviewFree Real Player

8/12/00

Oval events to stay 3-day events - Bobby Rahal is hoping to get an agreement this weekend on further reductions in testing next year.  In exchange, the speculation of ovals going to 2-day weekends won't happen.  The teams will need that extra day to make up for lost testing time.  Also, the two new rumored teams for 2001 (see Rumors page) would be at a real disadvantage with the 3rd day each weekend.  As the CART schedule expands, he also hopes to get more money to the teams via a better TV package or more prize money, to enable the teams to hire more crew members to take some of the strain off their schedule by rotating people in and out.  He also said a reduced testing schedule will help.

8/12/00

European TV coverage much better for 2001 - As a result of CART racing in Europe next year, Bobby Rahal stated that the German network TV's have shown a great interest in covering CART races live. Ditto for other networks in Europe.

8/12/00

Papis confirmed with Team Rahal - Bobby Rahal told us today that Max Papis and Miller Lite are both confirmed for to be back with the team in 2001. With Brack and Shell also confirmed, Team Rahal is set for next year.  We are updating our 2001 Silly Season Page accordingly.

8/12/00

Herta to drive Champ car on Eurospeedway - According to this article on Speedvision, Bryan Herta will be the track record-holder at Lausitzring (now called Eurospeedway). That's because Herta is slated to drive Walker Racing's Honda/Reynard in a demonstration run during the German track's grand opening next weekend. With Walker's regular Champ Car team competing at Road America with driver Shinji Nakano, Herta (who drove for Walker at Long Beach and Rio this year after Nakano was injured in a test) was deputized to do the driving duties while Walker's Indy Racing League crew – headed by chief mechanic Ron Catt – will prep the car.

8/12/00

Kane on Lights pole - Team KOOL Green’s Jonny Kane earned the provisional pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights race.  Kane clocked a lap of 1 minute, 16.579 seconds (107.554 mph) around the 2.258-mile road course.   Kane, who won the pole at Long Beach and Detroit already this season, is four one-thousandths of a second ahead of Casey Mears, the second fastest qualifier of the day. Felipe Giaffone is third (1:16.612) and Townsend Bell is fourth (1:16.627) in provisional qualifying.   Indy Lights drivers have one more 30-minute practice tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. (EDT) before final qualifying begins at 12:15 p.m. The 34-lap race will be televised in same-day coverage on ESPN2 in a one-hour show later on Sunday at 11:30 p.m. EDT. (8:30 p.m. PDT).  JONNY KANE, #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (1st with a lap-time of 1:16.579 seconds at 107.467 mph)   “The track was pretty slow and felt quite bad this morning. We knew that we had a good two-day test here earlier this season, so when we were two to two-and-a-half seconds off the times we did at the test in this morning’s practice we were reluctant to change anything on the KOOL car in case it upset it. We decided to save both sets of our tires for tomorrow, and I think only Jeff (Simmons, teammate) and Scott Dixon have saved theirs. I think we’re in pretty good shape for tomorrow.” 

8/12/00

ABC's Howard Katz a big CART fan - In talking with Paul Page at Mid-Ohio we learned that ABC's Howard Katz is a big CART fan from way back.  It turns out Katz and Page worked together years ago.  That should go a long way toward CART's ongoing negotiations with ESPN/ABC.  Page said the contract that gets signed, will likely be with ESPN, if the ABC/ESPN deal comes together.

8/11/00

Memo Gidley announces CART.com poll - American driver Memo Gidley is celebrating his eight-race deal with Della Penna Motorsports by announcing a fan poll to name his hard-working pit crew. The poll, which debuted this morning on CART.COM, offers fans a choice of five nicknames for Gidley's posse: Red Menace, Crimson Tide, Wrenchmen, Lug Nutz, and Gidley's personal favorite, Pennamania. Now it's up to the fans to select their favorite name, and the votes will be tallied at the end of the race weekend.  "I feel like I've known these guys for a lot longer than a month," Gidley said. "It's quickly become a family thing. I've been stopping by the shop every day during the week, getting to know them better, and they are some of the most dedicated, determined people I have ever met. So I'm hoping to make us even more of a unit by having a name for the group, and I thought it would be fun for the fans, who have given me such amazing support this season, to have the chance to pick the final name." 

8/11/00

Seen at Mid-Ohio - Alex Barron talking at length to Dale Coyne and Jason Bright (top left).  Toyota boss Jim Aust (top right) and Luiz Garcia Jr.'s damaged machine from a morning session accident (bottom row).

8/11/00

CART Fan Forum a big hit - CART held a fan forum at Mid-Ohio today with Bobby Rahal, Mario Andretti, Hal Whiteford, Rick Mears, Parker Johnstone, and Paul Page on hand to answer fans questions.  The tent was full-to-the-brim and the fans were very enthusiastic.  We will have a story later on some of the great questions that were asked.  The event was such a success, we heard one CART person say we should do this at every race.  We 2nd that.

8/11/00

CART gets better TV numbers in some markets - Bobby Rahal stated that CART actually gets better TV numbers in some markets than NASCAR.  He used Houston as an example.  He said you will be happy when you see the 2002 TV package.  It will be a deal that ensures the TV network is a team player in promoting the series.  He wants a network that cares about CART and will invest in the series.  He said it will take time to build the TV ratings, but what's important is that the core product is solid.  He used the example that 3/4 of the CART drivers have led at least 1-lap this year, more than NASCAR or any other series.  He feels it is the most extreme, best racing series in the world.

8/11/00

Fittipaldi hit 102 G's in Chicago - Mario Andretti stated today that Christian Fittipaldi's accident in Chicago registered 102 G's on the Newman Haas recorders.  He stated that he was at the Brickyard 400 last weekend and saw the Simpson impact attenuation foam barriers (i.e. soft walls that we have been advocating) that NASCAR is looking at.  He said the HANS device is good, but CART must also look at softening the walls too.

8/11/00

Rahal impressed with Germany - Bobby Rahal stated that today that he just got back from Eurospeedway in Germany and it is absolutely the best racing he has seen anywhere in the world....and he has seen them all.

8/11/00

Kurosawa out for season - We talked to Dale Coyne today in Mid-Ohio about his injured driver Takuya Kurosawa.  He informed us that due to his head injuries he probably will not return for the rest of the year.  Gaulter Salles is in the car this weekend and there is a chance he may finish out the year for Coyne.

Go to our forums to discuss any hot news.

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