General Motors Sets Sales Record in China in 2011 General Motors and its joint ventures sold a record 2,547,171 vehicles in China in 2011, an average of one car or truck every 12 seconds in its largest global market. GM’s sales were up 8.3 percent from the previous high of 2,351,610 vehicles sold in 2010.
GM’s Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling joint ventures along with all of its passenger car brands experienced record domestic demand, enabling GM to remain the sales leader among global automakers in China for the seventh consecutive year.
2012 Dakar Rally Rest Day Recap 125 motorcycles, 21 quads, 123 cars and 71 are still in the running as the rally takes a rest day in Copiapo. Some competitors are still arriving at the bivouac after spending the night on the dunes. Halfway through the race, none of the four titles at stake have been decided, but the list of contenders has been whittled down.
Chile looking forward to the 2013 Dakar The Chilean authorities held a press conference near the Copiapo bivouac. In keeping with tradition, since 2009 the rest day has been an opportunity for ministers concerned by the passage of the rally to meet and greet the participants, as well as to show their gratitude for the general effort made by the race organizers and their local contacts, in this case the city of Copiapo and the Atacama region.
"Muchísimas gracias a todos", said the assistant secretary of the National Sports Institute, Gabriel Ruiz Tagle, who also stressed the impact the arrival of the 2013 rally to Santiago, the capital of the country. Ministry of Economy and Tourism Pablo Longueira highlighted the economic windfall generated by the Dakar and showed his satisfaction with the selection of Santiago as the finish of the 35th edition. He then took the wheel of Fernando Le¢n's mixed gas/petrol-fuelled car (no. 348) and went for a quick drive on nearby dunes.
F1 teams urged to boycott Bahrain Grand Prix again Human rights groups have urged Formula One teams to consider boycotting the Bahrain Grand Prix in April amid continued political unrest in the Gulf kingdom.
Bahrain’s season-opening race at Sakhir circuit was postponed last March after widespread political unrest in the country and the deaths of a number of pro-reform demonstrators.
Efforts were made to reschedule the race, but the Gulf state was eventually dropped from the 2011 calendar in June after protests from Formula One teams and drivers.
Star Mazda President off to Europe to seek best talent In response to the growing international recognition of the Mazda Road to Indy - the official IndyCar driver development program that provides scholarship funding for the champions of each series (USF2000, Star Mazda and Indy Lights) to move up and compete at the next level, Gary Rodrigues, founder and President of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear-- will attend the Autosport International Racing Car Show in Birmingham, England to meet with top young drivers from around the world.
(GMM) Jaime Alguersuari has "definitely ruled out" contemplating a switch to the HRT team for 2012.
At the end of only his second full season on the grid, the 21-year-old Spaniard has been dropped by rookie team Toro Rosso and overlooked for Red Bull's reserve role.
Struggling HRT was earmarked by the media as one option for Alguersuari, given the efforts by the team's new management to adopt a more all-Spanish image.
But new boss Luis Perez Sala, whilst admitting that Alguersuari would be an attractive signing, also acknowledged that a driver with crucial sponsorship will be a more likely teammate for Pedro de la Rosa this year.
Justin Wilson and Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian announced today that they will team up again for this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. Fully recovered from the back injury sustained last August, which forced him to miss the remainder of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series, Justin is more eager than ever to get back on track. The famous sportscar endurance event, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and kicks off GRAND-AM’s 2012 Rolex Sports Car Series, is the perfect way to start the year.
Justin will once again partner with former RuSPORT team-mate and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger as they join full time pilots Ozz Negri and two-time Pro-Am Champion John Pew in the No. 60 MSR Daytona Ford-Riley entry.
Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mark Martin will drive the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Las Vegas in March. "We've always hoped to have the opportunity for Mark to drive for us and to have him behind the wheel of our Interstate Batteries Toyota for the Nationwide race in Vegas is exciting," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "He is a great example to all drivers of the dedication it takes to be successful and certainly we're honored to have him part of our efforts in 2012." While Martin is only currently scheduled to race in Las Vegas for JGR, the team is still working on opportunities for the veteran driver to secure additional races. Joe Gibbs Racing
Force India 'on schedule' with '12 car Force India has indicated that its 2012 car will be ready for the first winter test at Jerez from Feb. 7, having completed the mandatory crash tests for the VJM05.
In a rule change for 2012, the FIA now stipulates that the crash tests must be passed before testing can commence, putting pressure on teams to be ready sooner. With a two-week gap between the first and second tests, there had been speculation that others might adopt Mercedes' stance and use a 2011 car for the opening sessions, but Force India technical director Andrew Green said his squad was on target to be ready from the outset.
New Camaro continues to eat old Mustang's lunchUPDATE
The more modern looking Camaro (top) is eating the retro look Mustang (above) in the hearts and minds of American Pony Car buyers
By comparison, Dodge Challenger sales for 2011 were 39,534, up from 36,791 in 2010, but still significantly behind the Camaro and Mustang.
01/07/12 When the Chevrolet Camaro beat the Ford Mustang in sales last year (81,299 versus 73,716), Ford seemed to shrug it off with a “won’t happen again” attitude. After all, the Camaro had never before beaten the Mustang in sales, so Ford chalked it up to buyer excitement over the newly-released Camaro.
A year later, it’s not looking good for the Mustang faithful. Not only did Camaro sales increase in 2011, but Mustang sales fell from 2010 levels, widening the gap. Last year, Americans bought 88,249 Camaros, but just 70,438 Mustangs.
After nearly five decades of competition (excluding the seven years that the Camaro was off the market, of course), why is the Camaro pulling ahead in sales while the venerable Ford Mustang is struggling? Could it be that the Camaro’s styling is still seen as fresh, while the Mustang’s, which dates back to 2005 in current form, is getting old?
GRAND-AM: SPEED Returns As Series' Home In 2012 SPEED will continue to be the television home of GRAND-AM Road Racing in 2012, televising all 13 Rolex Sports Car Series events either live or on a same-day delay basis.
Current plans call for live coverage of 10 races, beginning with 15-and-a-half hours of coverage from the 50th Anniversary running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway.
The Rolex 24 kicks off the 2012 season on SPEED with a one-hour pre-race show at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 28 before rolling into the first seven-and-a-half hours of the race. (3:30-11 p.m.) Live coverage resumes at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29. A new component will enhance the Rolex 24 telecast: live video from the overnight portion of the race on SPEED.com through a number of camera streams and a running leaderboard.
Riley Technologies DPG3 Makes Official Debut at Daytona
The Gainsco No. 99 is a Riley chassis underneath the fake Corvette bodywork
A new chapter in Riley Technologies history opened on Friday as the firm’s latest new offering hit the track for its first official GRAND-AM session at the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
Riley Technologies DPG3 MKXXVI will make its competition debut in the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28. The design will look to extend the remarkable run of Riley Technologies success as GRAND-AM enters a new era. 2011 marked Riley’s eighth consecutive Manufacturer Championship, and Riley’s DP designs have 84 wins to their credit, including seven consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona victories.
Former top fuel racer Rice killed in snowmobile accident Former top fuel racer Bill Rice was killed in a snowmobiling accident in Wyoming Dec. 29.
Rice and his former partner, Mark Williams, had recently repopped their '68 AA/FD and cackled it at the California Hot Rod Reunion in October. Rice, who also partnered with many other High Country racers throughout the years, was recently inducted into the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Rice was also an active competitor in SCORE off-road racing, and his mechanical expertise has helped win many races. He is survived by his wife, Susie, and son, Danny.
Global iPrint named official sponsor of NHRA Global iPrint, a premier printing and distribution company, has signed a three-year agreement to become the official print sponsor of NHRA.
Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Global iPrint offers a number of printing services, including offset printing, digital printing, large-format printing, mailing services, bindery, specialty finishing, and distribution. As the preferred printer, Global iPrint will provide a wide array of services to the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body. “Given the enormous printing needs of NHRA throughout the year, Global iPrint will be able to provide professional and timely printing capabilities for all of our applications,” said Tony Driscoll, NHRA vice president of sales and business development.
HipLink Software will sponsor Henkelman Motorsports effort HipLink Software, a technology leader in platform software for enterprise notification used in incident response and emergency notification, will become the primary sponsor for Henkelman Motorsports. The team will field an A/Fuel Dragster in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events in 2012 in preparation for a transition to Top Fuel in 2013.
NHRA announces first official Lucas Oil doubleheader event NHRA has announced the first official doubleheader NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in history, scheduled for the week following the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway in Phoenix.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series doubleheader will consist of a standard race on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 23-24, followed by a regional NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event featuring Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25-26.
Stenhouse to run Daytona 500 for Roush Fenway in No. 6 car
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won the 2011 Nationwide Series title, will compete in the 2012 Daytona 500 in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 car.
The team does not expect to run the unsponsored car for the full season but is locked into the first five races based on owners points from 2011 when the car was driven by David Ragan. The only race confirmed for now is the Daytona 500.
The team currently does not have a sponsor for the race, team spokesman Kevin Woods said.
Bernard changes IndyCar Leader Circle program criteria
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard continues to do a lot of things right for the series and below are his quotes on the major change in the TEAM payout Leader Card Circle program as told to Speed.com. It's now going to be merit based - i.e. what is your team going to do to help IndyCar in the way of sponsor activation and other criteria that makes you deserving of this money.
“Townsend Bell and I were sitting at dinner one night doing some brainstorming, and he brought up the idea of the Leader Circle program being more merit-based than just making payouts based on entrant points—looking at what teams do to deserve those contracts above and beyond what takes place on the race track,” he told SPEED.com. “I really like the concept. If we’re going to make a significant financial investment to help our top 22 teams, I think it’s fair to ask or understand how those teams plan on helping the sport of IndyCar.
GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: Daytona - Roar Before the Rolex 24
Fastest overall was the SunTrust Corvette
Roar Before the Rolex 24 Preseason Testing For The Rolex Sports Car Series And Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Friday, Jan. 6, 2011
The Story: The Corvette Daytona Prototype looked fast standing still when the new car was unveiled at Daytona International Speedway in November. The new cars lived up to their billing Friday, taking the top five positions in the Roar Before the Rolex 24, opening a three-day test at Daytona International Speedway.
IndyCar schedules Winter test The IZOD IndyCar Series will hold a five-day open test at Sebring International Raceway between March 5-9 for spring training, giving teams, manufacturers and the media a chance to prepare for the season opener later in the month at St. Petersburg.
Although extensive testing will take place prior to the Sebring event, it will represent the first opportunity for most teams to run together at the same time.
INDYCAR will split the test into three phases, with half of the IndyCar teams running Monday and Tuesday, the Firestone Indy Lights Series taking over on Wednesday and the second group of IndyCar teams completing the test Thursday and Friday.
Teams will use Sebring's short course throughout the test, and upon its completion, the American Le Mans Series will load in and start testing for the 12 Hours of Sebring which takes place the following week.
Unique Point System Announced for North American Endurance Championship A unique point system will determine the winners of the inaugural North American Endurance Championship, announced today by GRAND-AM Road Racing officials.
The three-race series encompasses the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29; Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on July 1; and the Super Weekend at the Brickyard, the first Rolex Sports Car Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27.
Points will be awarded on a 5-4-3-2 basis for drivers and teams in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. The first finishing position earns five points, with four for second, three for third and two for fourth and each following position in the field. The events will be scored differently so that drivers and teams can earn a maximum of 20 points at each of the three races.
For teams preparing for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28-29, 2012, the final test event -- the Roar Before the Rolex 24 – got underway today at Daytona International Speedway after the fog that had blanketed the area burned off to leave behind sunshine and comfortable temperatures in the high 60s. With ideal conditions the 57 well-tuned sports cars – 14 Daytona Prototypes and 43 GT cars – exited the pits and entered the road course on the first of the three practice days.
The big news in the GT class are the new entries from Ferrari and Audi. The iconic Italian marque from Maranello has built the 458 Italia Grand-Am specifically for the Rolex Grand-Am Sportscar Series and it has caught the attention of motorsports enthusiasts from around the world. The Grand-Am version of Audi’s R8 looks very much like its street legal R8, but with modified suspension and a 5.2 liter V10 engine.
Tiny Lund's widow found shot to death in N.C.UPDATE
Wanda Lund-Early, widow of former NASCAR legend Tiny Lund, was found shot to death Thursday night at her home in Waynesville, N.C., Police Chief Bill Hollingsed confirmed this afternoon.
The wound appears to be self-inflicted but that determination will be made once an autopsy is complete, he said. Officers have worked throughout the night on the investigation into the shoot, he said. More information will be released later.
Roland Via, webmaster for tinylund.com website, confirmed Early's death shortly after noon.
Chevrolet Cruises to U.S. Passenger Car Leadership Chevrolet led all automakers in U.S. passenger car sales in 2011 and posted its largest year-over-year retail sales increase in 35 years, due in large part to strong sales of the Cruze compact sedan. Chevrolet compact car sales almost doubled compared with 2010.
“Leading the U.S. industry in passenger car sales in our centennial year proves that we have transformed the Chevrolet product lineup and are delivering the high-quality, fuel-efficient, expressively designed cars that more and more people want,” said Alan Batey, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Sales and Service.
Another NASCAR team goes belly up Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC (RWR) announced today that the team's on-track activities will be put on a temporary hiatus.
While the organization's day-to-day competition activities will temporarily cease, key elements of RWR's business staff will remain in place to continue development of future opportunities.
The team is currently assisting No. 66 driver, Steve Wallace, in exploring several exciting opportunities for 2012, with backing from his current RWR sponsors. RWR will continue to maintain and manage those sponsor relationships on Wallace's behalf.
Greaves Motorsport confirms drivers for 2012 FIA WEC Greaves Motorsport is pleased to announce their driver line up for the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. Christian Zugel, Ricardo Gonzalez and Elton Julian will drive for the team in Renate Ojjeh’s Zytek-Nissan in the LM P2 class. They will take part in the eight rounds of the new FIA World Championship, which includes the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Christian Zugel, originally from Stuttgart, is an enthusiastic competitor in the US Historic Racing scene. During the past two seasons, Christian has also raced a prototype successfully in the LMPC and FLM categories in the American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans Series.
Dovizioso fractures collarbone in training accident Andrea Dovizioso fractured his right collarbone on Thursday in a training accident, when he fell whilst riding a motocross bike. The Italian rider, who will ride a Yamaha M1 in 2012 with Hervé Poncharal's Tech 3 team, received immediate medical attention and will undergo surgery at Bologna Hospital on Saturday.
Manager of the French team Poncharal explained that until Dovizioso's operation had taken place it would be difficult to give any indication with regards to the amount of time the rider will need to recover.
Carter moves to Hendrick Larry Carter has resigned from Rusty Wallace Inc. to join Hendrick Motorsports. Carter, 48, spent just over a year as general manager of RWI. The 12-year NASCAR veteran previously worked as a crew chief for Wallace in 2004 when the Cup champion still drove for Penske Racing. Carter also oversaw the Cup programs for Jamie McMurray at Roush Fenway Racing and Paul Menard at Yates Racing. Carter's departure is the third recent loss for RWI. Crew chief Doug Randolph, who joined the organization one year ago to work with Steve Wallace, will fill the same role at Brad Keselowski Racing with Parker Klingerman. Ryan McKinney, car chief on the #62 team and a 14-year NASCAR veteran, moved to Kyle Busch Motorsports. FoxSports
Danica gets a car chief After 13 seasons with Roush Fenway Racing in a variety of roles, Todd Zeigler was looking for a new challenge. The 39-year-old native of Albion, Ind., joined Stewart-Haas Racing as the new car chief for #10-Danica Patrick on Tuesday. Zeigler will oversee the crew and supervise the setup of the car. He will report to Greg Zipadelli, who is serving as the interim crew chief this season along with his duties as competition director. A full-time crew chief is expected to be named later this year. Zeigler started as a tire changer with Roush Fenway Racing in 1998 and served as car chief for Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray. Most recently he worked as the shop foreman with the #16 team after opting to get off the road crew. After Mike Lingerfelt was injured, Zeigler was asked to substitute and found himself going over the wall again. At the end of the 2011 season, Zeigler was asked to help rebuild the #16 team with driver Greg Biffle. He declined. The prospect for working with Stewart, NASCAR's reigning Sprint Cup champ, was too tempting .FoxSports
Stenhouse to run the Daytona 500 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won the 2011 Nationwide Series title, will compete in the 2012 Daytona 500 in Roush Fenway Racing's #6 Ford. The team does not expect to run the unsponsored car for the full season but is locked into the first five races based on owners points from 2011 when the car was driven by David Ragan. The only race confirmed for now is the Daytona 500. The team currently does not have a sponsor for the race, team spokesman Kevin Woods said. Stenhouse will participate in the NASCAR test next week at Daytona International Speedway to prepare for the Daytona 500. Whether he runs a full Nationwide schedule in 2012 has not been solidified, Woods said. SceneDaily
Bryan Herta Autosport forms joint venture with Bowen & Bowers Motorsports For Bryan Herta Autosport, 2012 is all about strength, stability and performance, both on and off the track. Last year’s Indy 500 winning team had previously announced it will field one full time entry in 2012 as a Factory Partner Team to Lotus. Now the details for that planned attack are being released over the next week in a series of exciting announcements.
Fundamental to success on the track is developing strong marketing partnerships. To that end, Bryan Herta Autosport has formed a joint venture with Bowen & Bowers Motorsports, which will focus on the team’s commercial needs. The two entities will operate as one under the Bryan Herta Autosport banner.
Buemi eyes Le Mans and Webber's 2013 race seat (GMM) Sebastien Buemi has revealed he might contest Le Mans this year in addition to being Red Bull's official reserve driver. The 23-year-old Swiss has been handed a lifeline by the world championship-winning team after being dropped from its rookie squad Toro Rosso.
He told Le Matin newspaper on Friday it was the "logical continuation" of his three-year F1 race career.
Andretti featured on NBC's Celebrity ApprenticeUPDATE
Andretti Autosport lost one lucrative driver when Danica Patrick walked. Now Michael Andretti will try to catapult the racing team with a stint on the popular show Celebrity Apprentice.
Now, we must say that we can't be certain what the impetus is for Andretti to feature on the hit NBC show. The fifth season of Donald Trump's brainchild will also feature: Lou Ferrigno, Debbie Gibson, Dee Snider and Arsenio Hall
Andretti will also join a bunch of reality TV stars like American Chopper dad Paul Teutul Sr. and American Idol's Clay Aiken. There are others that will only further the question, what is Andretti doing on this cast?
Barber track to expand museum George Barber, who built the Barber Motorsports Park and Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum with tens of millions of dollars of his own money, expects to complete plans for a 100,000 square-foot museum expansion this year and break ground in 2012.
The new building will be built on the inside of the racetrack and will be connected to the existing museum by an enclosed bridge over the track. You'll be able to stand in the walkway and watch cars and motorcycles race below, he said this week.
James Allen to lead F1 commentary on BBC Former ITV F1 employee James Allen has revealed that he will become BBC Radio 5 live's lead commentator this season, taking David Croft's old role. The 45-year-old commentated full time with ITV from the 2001 USA Grand Prix until the channel relinquished coverage of the sport to the BBC after the dramatic 2008 finale in Brazil.
''I’m delighted to announce that I am joining the BBC Radio 5 live team as F1 correspondent and lead commentator this season,'' explained Allen. ''I’m really happy about this; 5 live is the default setting on my radio at home and in the car, it’s a great institution and I’m proud to be part of it.
Raikkonen psyched about new car Lotus Renault GP driver Kimi Raikkonen has been left in an even more excited mood over his Formula 1 return this year, having visited the team's Enstone factory for a seat fitting on Thursday. The Finn was impressed by the efforts of 'every single department' during his tour, raising his confidence level ahead of the season opener in Melbourne.
"I love this time of the year at the factory," said the 2007 Champion. "There’s a real buzz surrounding the new car, every single department is working flat out in order to have everything ready on time. You can really feel people’s dedication and it’s nice to be a part of it."
Dakar Day 5: Nasser al-Attiyah hits more trouble Qatar’s defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah suffered another disastrous drive on Thursday’s fifth stage of the Dakar Rally, losing more than 20 minutes after his Hummer overheated.
Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc, in a Mini, won the stage between Chilecito and Fiambala ahead of American Robby Gordon, with Stephane Peterhansel coming in third to maintain his lead atop the overall standings.
Holowczyc finished the 153km special in 2hr 10min 51sec, 1:01 in front of Gordon, with Peterhansel, a six-time Dakar motorcycling champion and three-time car winner, at 3:52.
“It was so easy because of the rain in the evening yesterday and overnight the sand was not too soft and it was easy to drive,” said Holowczyc.
Officials call off sixth leg of Dakar Rally Officials called off the sixth leg of the Dakar Rally on Thursday due to dangerous, snowy weather conditions in the Andes, where drivers were to cross Friday from Argentina to the Chilean city of Copiapo.
Officials said vehicles will cross the high mountain pass in a convoy Friday, but there will be no competitive leg.
It was not immediately clear if the sixth leg would be run later, or if the rally would simply move to the seventh leg on Saturday.
Stephane Peterhansel of France leads the overall car category after Thursday's fifth leg, while Cyril Despres leads the motorcycles.
Schumacher: Mercedes just needs a small step Michael Schumacher has insisted that only a ‘small step’ lies between Mercedes and more success in Grand Prix racing. The silver arrows, which bought out Brawn GP at the end of 2009, are yet to win a Formula 1 race under their own guise since legendary Juan Manuel Fangio claimed victory at Monza 57 years ago.
Seven-time World Champion Schumacher made his F1 comeback in 2010; although team-mate Nico Rosberg picked up three podium finishes that year, the elder of the two Germans is yet to enjoy any more than four fourth place results. However, he is sure that the Brackley-based outfit can finally celebrate positive accomplishments in 2012.
Pocono offers half price tickets for kids Pocono Raceway, home of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events annually, has always strived to be fan friendly with an emphasis on families. Pocono Raceway is proud to announce its latest initiative, Kids 12 and under will be admitted at half price to ALL Concourse Grandstand sections for the June 10, Pocono 400 and the August 5, Pennsylvania 400, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 2012. These sections include: Concourse Gold (adult price $55.00, kids price $27.50), Concourse Vista (adult price $50.00, kids price $25.00) and Concourse (adult price $45.00, kids price $22.50.)
Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) and its brands Motorcraft and Quick Lane will continue to support the No. 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford Fusion owned by the legendary Wood Brothers in 2012, with defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne behind the wheel.
“We are proud to continue our relationship with such an outstanding team,” said Mary Lou Quesnell, Marketing Director, FCSD. “Thanks to the hard work of the Wood family, the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion continues to be one of the most popular cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - and fans are just drawn to Trevor’s enthusiasm. We look forward to a successful 2012 season, starting off by defending our win at the Daytona 500.”
GM Announces Enhancements to Chevrolet Volt General Motors today announced enhancements to the vehicle structure and battery coolant system in the Chevrolet Volt that would further protect the battery from the possibility of an electrical fire occurring days or weeks after a severe crash.
The enhancements come in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Preliminary Evaluation to examine post-severe crash battery performance.
More bad news in NASCAR land Hearing that NASCAR will be lucky if they get 36 cars for the Daytona 500. Things are looking bad on the sponsor front. Bill Elliott cannot even find a ride. Former Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series champion Johnny Benson had hoped to drive for Turn One Racing in 2012, but his sponsorship deal fell through.
Benson had announced that he planned to have some sponsorship from the state of Michigan’s tourism office and had hoped to run the full truck schedule in 2012, but the deal never was finalized.
“We were really looking forward to bringing the 2008 champion back to the sport,” said team owner Stacy Compton. “It’s unfortunate that the financing fell through and we’re not going to be able to campaign a championship winning effort for him. Everyone was working hard to try and pull this deal together, but it just fell short.”
Frye rejoins Hendrick Jay Frye and Rick Hendrick have been friends since the 1980s, when Frye was a rep for first Budweiser and then Valvoline, and Hendrick was an ambitious car dealer trying to gain a toehold in NASCAR. So when Red Bull Racing closed its doors at the end of 2011, it made sense that Frye, the former team's vice president and general manager, would turn to Hendrick. On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Frye will work with the team as a consultant for 2012, focusing on business development.
"Jay is one of the most well-connected people in the sport, and he's going to be a great resource to help develop strong partnerships," said Marshall Carlson, president of Hendrick Motorsports.
"We've known him for a long time, so there's an immense level of trust and respect between us. The opportunity to work with Jay again and have the benefit of his experience is something we're excited about." In NASCAR parlance, "business development" means helping the team find sponsorship and build relationship with sponsors. Frye's long friendship with Hendrick, as well as his familiarity with former Red Bull driver Kasey Kahne should benefit the team hugely in that department. SPEED
The Series for SCCA-legal Formula Atlantic race cars will be run in conjunction with the F2000 Championship Series and F1600 Formula F Championship Series, sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing.
The new Atlantic Championship Series, operated by Formula Race Promotions, has appointed Joe Griffin as technical director. Griffin brings years of Atlantic car experience to the Series, having been involved with the class going back to the Formula B days, and working for a former version of the Series from 1983 to 2006.
“I first joined the SCCA in the early 1970s,” said Griffin, “working corners. Then I was a technical inspector for a few years and after that, a crew member for an Atlantic team – which was Formula B then.
Kia Optima named 2012 Sedan of the Year Following a year in which Kia Motors America (KMA) received more vehicle awards and accolades than ever before, the brand's stylish Optima mid-size sedan kicked the New Year off in high gear by being named "2012 Sedan of the Year" by Autobytel. Recognized by the automotive research website's editors as "setting the bar" in the sedan category, the Optima took top honors against tough competition with its head-turning design, roomy interior and outstanding fuel economy.
Cole Whitt lands JR Motorsports No. 88 seat Aric Almirola's departure to Richard Petty Motorsports opened up a seat at JR Motorsports and Cole Whitt filled that vacancy on Wednesday when he was named driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Series entry.
The 20-year-old Whitt will compete for 2012 Sunoco Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year honors.
SPEED Kicks off 2012 Season with 21 Hours of Live Testing SPEED and SPEED.com present live coverage of Daytona Preseason Thunder testing in its entirety from Daytona International Speedway Jan. 12-14 as racing roars back to life after a short but very lively offseason.
SPEED and SPEED.com combine to offer 21 hours of live coverage during the three-day test session, with SPEED live from all afternoon sessions and SPEED.com streaming the morning sessions.
Raikkonen has seat fitting with Lotus Kimi Raikkonen travelled to Lotus Renault GP’s Enstone factory in order to have a cockpit seat fitting on Thursday. This year sees the 2007 World Champion return to Formula 1 following two years in the World Rally Championship and NASCAR.
It is not yet known whether the seat fitting applies to Raikkonen’s 2012 race car or the 2010 Renault chassis which the Finn hopes to test on the run-up to February. The team is yet to officially confirm whether an outing in the old car will be taking place.
The fourth stage of the 2012 Dakar began today, with competitors racing over a 326km special stage, which saw Stephane Peterhansel snatching the victory from Juan Roma.
Roma kicked off proceedings and was the first driver to finish the first section of the course. However, soon Nasser Al-Attiyah surged through checkpoint one, smashing Roma’s time by two and a half minutes. Peterhansel would soon post the second fastest time at checkpoint one, 41 seconds behind Al-Attiyah.
By the second checkpoint, Al-Attiyah had increased his lead to three minutes and nine seconds over Peterhansel. Things would soon change for the defending champ who stopped his Hummer after 288km. His teammate would soon stop to help him before Al-Attiyah got going again after being stationary for roughly 15 minutes.
Red Bull confirms demotion of Buemi to reserve driver
Red Bull Racing is pleased to confirm that Sebastien Buemi will continue his relationship with Red Bull as Red Bull Racing’s test and reserve driver for 2012. The 23-year-old joins Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who are already confirmed.
Sebastien Buemi said: “It’s good to remain with Red Bull for another year and have this opportunity with the World Championship winning team. I would prefer to be driving at the races of course, but working with Red Bull Racing on the development of their car and providing them with feedback throughout the season is the next best thing.”
Christian Horner commented: “It was entirely logical for Sebastien to continue with Red Bull having been a member of the Junior Team since 2004. He already knows the team well from his time with us in 2008 and has gained significant race experience over the past three years. He will complete important test and simulation work for us throughout the year and will be in attendance at each grand prix.”
More unrest in 2012 F1 host Bahrain (GMM) More civil unrest in Bahrain will intensify speculation the island Kingdom's return to the F1 calendar early this year will be called off.
Last year's pre-season test and also the grand prix at the same Sakhir circuit were cancelled due to a political uprising, in which the government was later found to have used excessive force against its people.
"We have been assured that this is not what's happening," said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to the Guardian newspaper last month.
"What did the report say? Yes, there were instances or whatever, but ... I wanted to go out there. I was happy to go. I'd like to go into the prison or the hospital or whatever and ask What actually happened?" he said.
Mazda Reports 4.1 Percent Sales Gain Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today reported December U.S. sales of 22,353 vehicles, an increase of 4.1 percent versus last year. On a Daily Selling Rate (DSR) basis, Mazda's December 2011 sales also were up 4.1 percent. December 2011 represented Mazda's best December since 2007, the strong sales showing attributable to the launch of the company's innovative SKYACTIV-G engine and SKYACTIV-Drive and -MT transmissions in the 2012 Mazda3 compact sedan and 5-door hatch.
Win With Force Sweepstakes When Jennifer Goodnight attended the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, NC in the spring of 2011, the last thing she thought would happen was to get a call at the end of the racing season saying she had won a new Ford Focus. That scenario did in fact take place recently, with Jennifer being notified that her name was drawn from more than 115,000 entries in this year’s Win With Force Sweepstakes sponsored by BrandSource, Castrol and Ford Motor Co.
Jennifer admitted that her limited travel schedule doesn’t allow her to get to as many NHRA races as she would like, but when she attended the 4-Wide Nationals in April she got to see her favorite team, John Force Racing, on the track and visit the Win With Force midway display. “I never thought I would win anything. It just goes to show you that dreams do come true” she said.
Monahan Named Marketing Coordinator at Infineon Raceway Colin Monahan has been named Marketing Coordinator at Infineon Raceway, raceway officials announced.
Monahan, 23, will assist the marketing team with the planning and execution of event-related initiatives and programs, coordinate off-site tradeshows and promotions, and oversee the raceway’s Little Racers Club and social networking efforts, among his many other responsibilities.
Monahan originally joined the team in 2009 and has worked as an intern and part-time employee the past three seasons. He graduated from Sonoma State University in 2011 with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. He is a native of Yorba Linda (Calif.), currently living in Novato in the North Bay.
APR Motorsport will debut its Audi R8 GRAND-AM in the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona
OPELIKA, Ala. - Bolstering its first effort on the Rolex 24 At Daytona, APR Motorsport is proud to announce that Emanuele Pirro - a man synonymous with Audi and success in endurance racing - will be behind the wheel of the no. 51 APR Motorsport Audi R8 GRAND-AM for this year's 24 hour classic.
"I would like to thank APR for giving me this opportunity to drive in one of the classic 24 hour races," said Pirro. "I have a lot to learn and I hope to be able, together with the rest of the APR Motorsport team, to finish the race in a good position to make the best possible introduction of the Audi R8 Grand-Am in the American market. I know the race will be super competitive. I am ready for it, I am well trained, I am in very good shape and very motivated. I will have a very open-minded approach, as I have very limited experience in the GT class, although I have overtaken tons of them in ten years of prototype racing!"
Big 3 see double-digit sales growth for 2011 Auto sales remained strong in December as Detroit's Big Three collectively reported a 12 percent sales increase amid growing confidence about the economy.
Most automakers reported sales increases for 2011 and in December. But two of the seven largest automakers — Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. — reported overall sales declines in 2011 of 7 percent in the United States amid fallout from the March earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and flooding in Thailand.
Ford Motor Co. said its Ford brand sales were up 17 percent in 2011. Overall, the automaker's total U.S. sales added up to more than 2.1 million vehicles in 2011, a year-over-year gain of 11 percent. In December, Ford's sales were up 10 percent.
Baltimore City officials need to get realUPDATE #2
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake can kiss her Baltimore GP goodbye if she thinks the next race organizer is going to pay the city. How much is $47M in economic stimulus worth to her?
"Hopefully there will be some businesspeople that see it as [an] asset as I do. You know we have something valuable and we just need someone who can manage that valuable asset" – Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, in her first public comments about finding an operator for the Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix since the city terminated a deal Dec. 30 with Baltimore Racing Development LLC.
01/02/12 It takes $200 to $300 million or more to build a new oval track, and only public companies like SMI and ISC can afford to do it today. Street races also have up-front costs to overcome, nowhere near that of an oval track, but still significant enough if the race organizers don't have a lot of shareholder money to get them through the early years. By bankrupting the first company no one who had money owed to them, or the investors, will get their money. Now a new race organizer will come in and with most of the up-front costs already expended by the original organizers, will have a much better chance of turning a profit. If the city thinks it is going to get paid to have a race on their streets, well forget about it. If they try they will just bankrupt the next race organizer and they won't get their money again. It's either that or kiss their race goodbye.
01/01/12 "It is with great disappointment that we announce the termination of the City's agreement with Baltimore Racing Development. Like many Baltimoreans, I hoped that BRD would restructure, recapitalize and begin to pay taxes and debts by the December 31 deadline. BRD's corporate officers and managers have failed to take the appropriate steps to put the company on a sustainable path forward. The Grand Prix generated $47 million in economic impact and proved valuable in terms of positive media exposure and civic pride for Baltimore's residents. The event, if conducted responsibly, has significant economic value to potential investors and the City this year and in future years." Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
"City officials may have to restructure their expectations. No other community demands to be subsidized by the event," he said. "Other communities give money." Sean Conley of West Tisbury, Mass., a founding investor in the Baltimore GP saying OK Baltimore, the race brought $47 million into your economy, so why are we paying you instead of you helping us get past the startup costs any race encounters by paying us. Excerpts from ESPN/AP article
Baltimore Grand Prix: City must learn from the mistakes of the first GP Baltimore did the right thing in setting and sticking to a deadline for Baltimore Racing Development, the financially insolvent company that put on last year's Grand Prix, to pay its taxes and other debts or have its contract to put on this year's race canceled. The fact that the company was unable to agree to a deal with an outside investor to restructure and recapitalize by the end of the year was emblematic of the dysfunction that got it into more than $12 million in debt to begin with. Now the city is looking for a new vendor to come in and run the race this year and in the future. That's also the right thing to do, but it must be accomplished in a way that shows the city has learned from the failings of last year's event.
The race weekend was outwardly a success. Some 160,000 people attended the three days of trial heats and races, and if the impact was nowhere near as high as organizers promised, the $47 million boost to the local economy wasn't insignificant either. Hotel rooms were booked in what otherwise might have been a slow weekend, some restaurants in the area of the race did well (though others, not as well as they had expected), and spectators generally reported having a great time.
Barfield ready to rewrite IndyCar rules Beaux Barfield is bringing a plan to the IndyCar Series.
He'll tighten the rules, create a more consistent penalty structure and change the way he communicates with teams.
Series CEO Randy Bernard introduced Barfield as the new race director during a news conference Wednesday. Barfield accepted a 1-year contract to replace Brian Barnhart, who was criticized by drivers last season for what they deemed arbitrary calls.
Barfield wants to change that perception. He says he will continue to call blocking, though he intends to use the same penalty in the first race as the final race unless it's a repeat offense. He wants to use instant messaging to communicate with teams during races rather than radio communications. And he'll get to write the rules the way he wants them, too.
Volt sales fall short, car overpriced General Motors reported solid growth in vehicle sales this year, but its high-profile electric Chevy Volt fell short of targets.
The company reported today that it sold 7,671 Chevy Volts in 2011, fewer than the 10,000 it had expected to sell because at $40,000 the cost is simply out of reach for most buyers, especially Chevy buyers. The car should have been sold to Cadillac customers, who tend to be wealthier, or the cost has to be lowered to the level of a Toyota Prius.
FIA clarifies defensive-driving rules (GMM) A new overtaking rule has been added to formula one's official sporting regulations for 2012.
Last month, the FIA flagged the forthcoming rule by announcing that drivers "may no longer move back onto the racing line having moved off it to defend a position".
The rule has until now been an unwritten one that was agreed and understood by the drivers, with the stewards empowered to issue penalties for questionable maneuvers.
But from 2012, the actual regulations now declare: "More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted.
"Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner," the rule goes on.
IMSA promotes Walter up to Race Director A new season for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n also will see a new Race Director. Sanctioning body IMSA announced today that Paul Walter will take over as the lead official for the ALMS, starting with the 2012 opener at Sebring.
Walter – from Columbus, Ohio – has been an IMSA official since 2005, with his most recent duty as Clerk of the Course. In his new role, Walter will be responsible for all officiating during ALMS races, qualifying and practice sessions. He also will conduct driver and team manager meetings on event weekends.
“It's an honor to be named Race Director for the American Le Mans Series and to continue working closely with the tremendous group of professionals that have made my years at IMSA so enjoyable,” Walter said. “I look forward to the challenges ahead, building on the continuity and success that our dedicated competitors and everyone at IMSA and the American Le Mans Series have worked so hard to develop over these years. I'm proud of our Race Control team and expect to build on our strengths and consistency.”
IndyCar names Barfield Race Director INDYCAR announced today that Beaux Barfield has accepted the position of Race Director for the IZOD IndyCar Series. He will begin his duties immediately.
Barfield, a native of Houston, has served as race director of the American Le Mans Series since August 2008. He previously worked as a Champ Car race steward (2003-2008) during which he served as Race Director of the Champ Car-sanctioned Atlantic and Trans Am series. Barfield was also chief steward for the USF2000 National Championship from 2001-2003.
"Though Beaux's most recent experience is in sports car racing, his roots are in open-wheel racing," said INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard. "He has built a strong reputation as a race director with ALMS and bringing him on board ensures that INDYCAR has a dedicated Race Director with the right level of expertise for the IZOD IndyCar Series."
Felix Serralles joins Fortec for British F3 campaign
Fortec Motorsports confirms today that 19-year-old Felix Serralles is to join its four-car assault on the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series. Puerto Rican racer Serralles will team up with Brazil’s Pipo Derani and young Brit Alex Lynn on the Fortec force for 2012.
Serralles steps up to British Formula 3 after strong showings for Fortec in the Formula Renault Eurocup last year and some impressive F3 winter test results. “We gave Felix some runs in the F3 car towards the end of 2011 and he surprised us with his pace,” said team chief Mick Kouros. “We think he will take to the new car and be a key player in the team alongside Pipo and Alex.”
Hunter-Reay, McNish, Luhr, Kanaan, and Viso in star-studded entry for Rolex 24UPDATE
Ryan Hunter -Reay part of star studded lineup for Rolex 24
This story has been updated with quotes further down in the article.
01/03/12 Starworks Motorsport have confirmed a star-studded line-up for this month's Daytona 24 Hours, with two-time Le Mans winner Allan McNish, reigning GT1 champion Lucas Luhr and IndyCar star Tony Kanaan all set to race for the team at the endurance classic.
McNish and Luhr will join 2010 Daytona winner and Starworks regular Ryan Dalziel, as well as Venezuelan racers Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow, aboard one of the Florida-based outfit's Riley-Ford machines.
"A 24-hour race at the beginning of the season certainly blows the cobwebs away and, since my first time there in 1998 when I finished second overall and won the category, I have always enjoyed going back. I can't think of a better way to prepare for the season," commented McNish.
NASCAR Ethanol blended with oil not from 'Terrorist' countries Everyone is familiar with the term “Conflict Diamonds” but few people are as concerned about the use of “Conflict Oil.” Mining of diamonds via slave labor helped finance some of the worst civil war atrocities in African nations in the twentieth century. After the attacks of 911 I thought the world would get equally irate about the financing of terrorism from the sales of oil from the Middle East. But ten years later nothing has changed. Turn on the news and you will hear about Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz choking off the supply of oil from that region. The United States has spent over $1.3 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and it would be very costly to keep the Strait of Hormuz open if the Iranians try to back up their threats. Shouldn’t we all demand information on the sourcing for petroleum products so we know if we are using “Conflict Oil” in our cars and trucks? NASCAR should be bragging about the official gasoline of NASCAR because Sunoco does use ethical oil to make their products.
Rahal and Walker back Barfield as new IndyCar Race Director
Bobby Rahal, whose Rahal Letterman Lanigan team has run BMW’s factory effort in the ALMS since 2009, and Derrick Walker, who took over the factory Falken Tire ALMS program in 2010, have gotten a solid feel for Beaux Barfield’s on-the-job performance as Race Director.
“I think Beaux did a good job at the ALMS,” said Rahal, who inked an engine deal with Honda as part of RLL's full-time return to IndyCar racing.
“That’s a tough deal there," he continued. "You have all the ALMS manufacturers politicking you like crazy and I’m sure you end up feeling like you have a lot of bosses. I don’t think that’s going to change; IndyCar is very challenging and [always] has been. Dealing with the [IndyCar] owners…there are a lot of people who want their voices heard and oftentimes followed, but I’m sure he’ll be prepared for it.
Jamie McMurray has another Daytona victory on his resume. The 2010 Daytona 500 Champion won the TAG 2 Final Race Friday during WKA Daytona Kartweek events on the 0.7 mile sprint track located at Daytona International Speedway. McMurray, driving the #1 JMK Chassis, captured the pole and lead every lap in the Pre Final and the TAG 2 Final race, an event that features some of the best kart racers from around the world.
The victory was especially gratifying for the NASCAR veteran as this is the first victory with a JMK chassis, which was designed and built by McMurray himself. McMurray commented after the win, "This victory is a little more special since I did this on a kart that I designed and had built here in America. Most of the kart chassis in this series are manufactured in Europe, so it was very special to put and American made chassis on the top step of the podium." EGR
Risi Ferrari team announces Rolex 24 lineup With its two-car Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am entry to the Rolex 24 at Daytona recently confirmed, Risi Competizione with American Canadian Racing is pleased to announce its all-star roster of driving talent.
The Daytona effort, backed by long-time Risi Competizione sponsor Motorola as well as QT Technologies, and supported by a consortium of Ferrari dealers including Ferrari of Ontario, Ferrari of Beverly Hills, Ferrari of Silicon Valley, Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale, Boardwalk Ferrari, Ferrari of Vancouver, and Ferrari of Houston, will present a very highly experienced driving team to contest the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
2011 Bentley sales up Though most major automakers are expected to post their year-end results on Wednesday, Bentley, the ultraluxury subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, announced Tuesday that its 2011 sales exceeded 2010 levels by 37 percent. The company recorded sales of 2,021 vehicles in the United States, a 32 percent increase over 2010. China overtook Europe as the marque’s second-strongest market by volume, with 1,839 vehicles sold.
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