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Marco Andretti signs with Star Mazda team Marco Andretti signs with Star Mazda teamMarco Andretti, the son of 1991 CART champion Michael Andretti, has signed with MJ Motorsports for the 2005 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Marco, who won the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER in 2004, will drive a Vonage-sponsored Pro Formula Mazda for MJ Motorsports. The Nazareth, Pa., native also competed in one Star Mazda Series event last year, at Lime Rock Park.

“This will be my first series in a car with any kind of real horsepower,” said Andretti (the Star Mazda features a 240hp Mazda engine, whereas the Formula Dodge has 150hp). “This year will be a great learning experience for me, I am in the best open-wheeled series with the team that we think offers me the best chance to win. It feels as if I am taking over [series champ Michael] McDowell’s seat from 2004.” SPEED TV

Trio to test Minardi next week Trio to test Minardi next weekThe Minardi F1 Team today confirmed that its driver line-up for next week’s test at the Autodromo Santamonica, Misano, will consist of Christijan Albers, Chanock Nissany and Nicky Pastorelli.

Albers, who was recently signed as one of the team’s 2005 race drivers, will take part in all three days of the session (January 18- 20), while Israel’s Nissany, who enjoyed his initial experience of Formula One performance when the team last tested at Misano, in November, will take the wheel on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

Pastorelli is currently scheduled to drive on Tuesday afternoon. The young Dutch star won the 2004 Superfund Euro 3000 Championship, and the Misano session will mark his first time in a Formula One car.

All three men will use a Minardi Cosworth PS04B, the purpose of the test being to provide F1 familiarization time for the drivers and to assess components destined for the Faenza squad’s 2005 car. Minardi

Walker Racing Switches to Lola Walker Racing Switches to LolaWalker Racing owner Derrick Walker announced today that his team will campaign with the Lola chassis for the entire 2005 Champ Car World Series season. Walker had been a customer of Reynard racing cars since 1995 and ultimately became the owner of the design rights for the company's Champ Car product.

Walker Racing was the last team using the Reynard, a car that delivered seven consecutive championships to various drivers since its introduction in 1994. In 2002 Reynard was officially dissolved, and that's when Walker stepped in. Since that time the series rules have hampered the ability for the Reynard design to remain competitive. "In some respects we regret giving up on the Reynard. It provided a good package price wise, but without some rule modifications we are forced to face reality and make the necessary change" said Derrick Walker.

A considerable investment has been made in purchasing two Lola cars. "We are all looking forward to the challenges that this change will bring and at least now we will not be fighting with one hand tied behind our back" remarked team manager Rob Edwards.

In addition to the Lola purchase, Walker Racing is busy working on its Champ Car race program with which it plans to compete as a two-car team for the full 2005 season.

The 2005 season will mark Walker Racing's 16th consecutive season in the Champ Car World Series. The team competed in the entire 2004 Champ Car season with Brazilian, Mario Haberfeld driving their #5 Cummins-Ford-Reynard with additional one-off entries for Australian, David Besnard and Canadian, Michael Valiante.

Kumho Tires enters USA racing Kumho Tires enters USA racingThe American Le Mans Series continued its distinction as the only racing series in the world that creates a platform for multiple tire manufacturers to prove their capabilities as KUMHO Tire U.S.A. joined the ultra competitive ALMS tire ranks. KUMHO announced a prototype program focused with Miracle Motorsports, the reigning LMP2 champions and will now compete with as many as six other tire manufacturers all set to battle, beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 17-19.

While the ALMS will represent KUMHO's first foray into professional road racing in the U.S., the company is involved with other professional series around the world, such as the Japanese GT Championship and Formula 3 in Europe and Asia. KUMHO will also continue to be a part of amateur racing in the U.S. through participation in the series sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America, Porsche Club of America, BMW Car Club of America, the National Auto Sport Association and Championship Off Road Racing, among others.

KUMHO TIRE U.S.A. has agreed to supply tires for the Miracle Motorsports team in the American Le Mans Series. Miracle is the defending class champion in LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) and also won the LMP2 class at last year's running of the 12 Hours of Sebring. KUMHO and Miracle signed a multi-year contract; terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Miracle Motorsports is a proven, experienced team that knows how to win," said Rick Brennan, brand manager for KUMHO TIRE U.S.A. "Coming into the ALMS with the defending class champions will help us get up to speed quickly, and it will also put some pressure on us because we want to help them defend their championship. We've got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time to be ready for Sebring, but we're up to the task. Everyone at KUMHO-in Akron, Fontana, Korea and Europe-is excited about this venture and will work together to make it successful."

KUMHO will begin tire development testing with Miracle in January, under the direction of Rudy Consolacion, KUMHO's motorsports manager. Consolacion developed KUMHO's most recent DOT-approved race tire, the ECSTA V710, which won numerous races and SCCA regional and national championships in 2004, its first year of competition.

"The ALMS is the one and only North American racing series where a 'David' can go up against and compete directly with the 'Goliaths' in world-class sports car races," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "KUMHO has obviously done its homework and has recognized that the combination of world-class manufacturers competing at the best road racing venues on network television and with an unmatched fan following makes the American Le Mans Series the place to be."

Based just 40 minutes from Sebring, Florida, Miracle and team owner John Macaluso will defend the series crown in 2005 with a French-made Courage C65. Piloting the car will be the familiar series duo of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry, who have raced in 29 ALMS events as a tandem including 11 podium finishes and three victories. Macaluso will co-drive in endurance races.

"We're pleased by this partnership because everyone involved is determined, dedicated and focused on the same goal," said John Macaluso, owner of Miracle Motorsports. "KUMHO may be new to the American Le Mans Series, but they have a great track record in racing globally, and we're looking forward to applying that knowledge and their intense commitment to competing successfully to work for our program."

"The ALMS is the only professional road racing series in the U.S. that promotes tire competition, and that's important to us," said Brennan. "We don't want to compete against ourselves in a spec tire series because that doesn't prove how good our tires are."

In addition to open tire competition, KUMHO will benefit from ALMS' recognition as the world's premier professional sports car championship. ALMS will also provide good television exposure for KUMHO, with races broadcast live on CBS or Speed Channel (where 2004 ratings increased 25 percent over 2003). Additionally, KUMHO will receive on-site exposure from big crowds at ALMS races; nearly 550,000 people attended the series' nine races in 2004-a 20 percent increase from 2003.

"KUMHO Tires has shown a very sensible approach to motor sports, building on success and technology at each level of racing as they develop new products," said Tim Mayer, COO of IMSA. "They will now compete in one of the most difficult racing platforms in the world, the American Le Mans Series, where competition amongst tire manufacturers is at the very highest level. We welcome this development as it continues to validate our belief that the ALMS provides world class competition and world class value to drivers, teams and manufacturers." ALMS

Bob Forbes dies Bob Forbes diesLongtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network reporter Robert C. "Bob" Forbes died Jan. 13 in Terre Haute, Ind. He was 76.  Forbes served on the IMS Radio Network from 1971-94, filing Indianapolis 500 reports for anchors Sid Collins, Paul Page, Lou Palmer and Bob Jenkins.

In 1971, Forbes started with the Radio Network as its first wireless reporter. He filed reports from around the vast Speedway grounds during the Indianapolis 500, including the pits, Gasoline Alley, infield medical center and grandstands.

One of Forbes' most memorable interviews came in 1979, with former United States President Gerald R. Ford. He also reported from the back seat of the Buick Riviera convertible Pace Car during the parade and pace laps in 1983, the only time the Radio Network has broadcast from the Pace Car during the Indianapolis 500.

Forbes also conducted the Victory Lane interview in 1988 and 1989 with winners Rick Mears and Emerson Fittipaldi, respectively.  Forbes retired from the Radio Network in 1994 and was honored in May 1995 when he was presented with his IMS Radio Network reporter's fire suit in a glass case.

A graduate of Indiana State University, Forbes was a renowned radio and television broadcaster in Terre Haute for decades. He started his radio career with WBOW-AM before being hired by WTHI-AM in Terre Haute in 1947.  Forbes became the "Voice of the Sycamores" while broadcasting Indiana State athletics and called many memorable sporting events, including the march by the Sycamores to the NCAA Division I basketball championship game in 1979, led by the legendary Larry Bird. He continued to call broadcasts of ISU athletics until 1988. Forbes was inducted into the Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

Forbes also served as the sports director for WTHI television from 1954-85 and also broadcasted for WTHI-FM radio, both in Terre Haute. He also announced races at the Terre Haute Action Track.

Survivors include his wife, Jo Ann; son Kevin, who is director of engineering and construction for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his fiancée, Ruthie Culbertson, of Cloverdale, Ind., son Randall and his wife, Karen, of Terre Haute, daughter Leslie Ann Marguerite Almack and her husband, Tim, of Noblesville, Ind., five grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16 at the Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home, 605 S. 25th St., Terre Haute, Ind.

Wurz fastest, Heidfeld beats Pizzonia again Wurz fastest, Heidfeld beats Pizzonia againFriday test times from Jerez.  Once again Nick Heidfeld has outpaced Antonio Pizzonia and it's looking more and more likely he will land the 2nd Williams race seat.
Alex Wurz (McLaren Mercedes) - 1'16"052 - 102 laps
Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren Mercedes) - 1'16"558 - 102 laps
Nick Heidfeld (Williams BMW) - 1'16"736 - 117 laps
Antonio Pizzonia (Williams BMW) - 1'17"070 - 125 laps
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) - 1'17"305 - 162 laps
Jarno Trulli (Toyota) - 1'18"048 - 75 laps
Marc Gené (Ferrari) 1.18"475 - 50 laps
Toyota Jerez test report Toyota Jerez test report
Location: Circuito Permanente de Jerez, Spain
Dates: 11-16 January 2005
Drivers: Ralf Schumacher (11-12), Jarno Trulli (13-14), Ricardo Zonta (13-16)
Track Length: 4.428km

Jarno Trulli - Chassis TF105/02
Best lap time: 1m18.048s
Total laps: 170
Total distance: 752.8km

Jarno, what have you been working on over your two days of running?
"I have spent my two days here in Jerez learning about the new TF105. It is not only a new car but one that is completely different because the rules have been changed to make the cars slower. The car is not yet in the definitive aerodynamic specification for the first race, but it is good to be able to try it out so early to iron out any teething problems. That means that by the time we get to Melbourne we will already have completed a lot of mileage on important parts like the engine and gearbox."

What progress can you already see from the TF104B to the TF105?
"The fact that I know both the TF104B and the new TF105 has helped me compare the two. So far I would say that the new car is stiffer and much more balanced overall. But it is still too early to say more - especially because of the influence of the regulation changes for 2005, which have made this car so different from last year's."

What area do you think needs most attention?
"So far, the new rules mean that the grip level is lower than what I'm used to, but I'm sure we will recuperate that before and during the season. Apart from that I would prefer to keep testing and trying different things to know the car better. To date things are going reasonably well. Now we have to keep discovering and resolving all the problems that you always get with a new car, but I am optimistic because the team and the car are working well."

Ralf Schumacher - Chassis TF105/02
Best lap time: 1m18.242s
Total laps: 109
Total distance: 482.7km

Ralf, what has your program been for this week's Jerez test?
"The program for the week has just been about doing baseline work and making sure we sort out all the little problems that occur when you run a car for the first time. I must say it's all been very positive, so a big compliment to the team. They've done a really good job on the mechanical side of the car, addressing the problems we had with the TF104B."

How productive has the test been?
"We did very well this week. As the TF105 is the first 2005-spec car to run it is difficult to compare times because most of the others have been running their 2004 packages. We put in fewer laps than we hoped on the first day because of some minor problems with an electrical box overheating. That is a typical issue when you run a new car and it was resolved by Wednesday, which was a trouble-free day on which we made significant improvements."

What are you initial impressions of the TF105?
"We are happy with what we've seen so far on the TF105, and I think it is a competitive package. It handles well and it is one of the few cars which I have thought was a very good car from the start - even if the new rules make it slightly slower. We still need to carry out work to find out more about it but the baseline is really good, so I am really pleased with the job the team has done."

Ricardo Zonta - Chassis TF104/11B
Best lap time: 1m16.672s
Total laps: 263
Total distance: 1164.6km

What is your main area of work for this week?
"I have been working almost exclusively on tires this week. Thursday was the first time since the end of the season that I have completed a performance tire test, which is always enjoyable. It was a positive day and we were able to pick out a few sets to do some longer runs on Friday to check degradation and long-distance performance. That is probably even more important because this year's tires have to be strong from the first lap of a race until the last."

Ricardo, what are the benefits of running with the TF104B?
"When it comes to tires, it doesn't matter which car you are running. The information can be correlated directly from one car to the other. But of course we have changed some of the parameters on the TF104B - like the downforce settings - to bring them closer to the 2005 car."

You will also be testing on Saturday and Sunday - what is the plan?
"This weekend we are doing a wet tire test which works in the same way as the dry one. On Saturday I will do some short runs to pick out tires to test over longer distances on Sunday. The track dries during those long runs, much as it would do in a race as the racing line dries, so again it is useful for checking degradation."

Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Chassis

Mike, are you pleased with the debut of the TF105?
"Up to now, we're happy with the debut of the TF105. There has been a positive feeling from the drivers about the new car's handling, especially in relation to the rear end. All the feedback was in the direction we expected, confirming the data we had gathered in the wind tunnel. In terms of reliability this car gives a very good feeling too. As for performance, there is still a lot to come as we get used to how the new regulations affect how the car runs. But it's been a pretty good start."

How would you summarize the week's work?
"This Jerez test has effectively been a week-long shakedown, doing basic systems checks on all the different areas of the car. The job here has really been to get all those checks out of the way so that we can understand better how the car works. Only after that can we begin more detailed work on setting up the car. Although we have done some work on balancing the car, we still have much to learn. With the TF104B if we have a balance problem we know how to change it because we have done it in all kinds of conditions, but with the TF105 we don't yet have all that information. That is work you need to do in a controlled way, step by step."

Testing moves to Barcelona next week - what will the program be?
"In Barcelona we will have our second new TF105 chassis available and our race drivers are scheduled to run for four days each in the new package from next Tuesday (18 January). That is when we can start the detailed work on set-up, fine-tuning the balance and looking to extract performance. A typical program would be that one car would look at a front camber scan while the other does a rear camber scan. Then, one would run stiffer on roll bars while the other goes stiffer on springs, or one might move the weight distribution forward, the other rearward. That way we can start to build up the big picture."

Toyota joins forces with Red Cross Toyota joins forces with Red CrossToyota Motorsport GmbH has joined forces with the German Red Cross to open the doors of its Formula 1 factory to raise money for the Asian Tsunami appeal. From 10:00-17:00 on Sunday 23 January 2005, members of the public can visit the Toyota Motorsport factory in Cologne, Germany, to gain a unique insight into the operations of the Panasonic Toyota Racing team.

President of Toyota Motorsport, John Howett: "We were all shocked and horrified at the devastation caused by the Tsunami in Asia, so we felt compelled to do something to help. Toyota Motor Corporation has already donated over $3m to help, but we hope that our Open Doors event will offer something unique and exciting to the public, whilst contributing even further to vital relief efforts."

President of the German Red Cross, Dr. Rudolf Seiters said of the event: "We would like to thank Toyota Motorsport for the excellent fundraising initiative. Toyota has been close to the Red Cross, because it is a global company and represented in many regions - including south Asia where the recent tragedy occurred. Furthermore many of the vehicles we use for our operations are supplied by Toyota."

Entry to Toyota Motorsport will be a donation of 30 Euro for adults and 20 Euro for children (under 14). All proceeds will be transferred directly to the Red Cross in support of the Southeast Asian aid. Please note that it will not be possible to make any reservations beforehand.

A website has been set up specifically for the Open Doors event - www.toyota-f1-opendoors.com - where anyone interested in attending can find full information on the event as well as directions to and behind the scenes information on the Toyota Motorsport factory.  For more information on the German Red Cross, please visit www.DRK.de.

Industry News
Johnson Controls to open plant Johnson Controls to open plantAuto supplier Johnson Controls Inc.(Rocketsports team sponsor) will invest $26.5 million in a new plant to be built in Lucenec, Slovakia, the company and government officials said Thursday. The plant is expected to start production in mid-2006, and by 2007 it should employ 340 people, the company said. The plant will produce foam parts for seating. One of the key reasons Johnson Controls decided to build the plant in Lucenec was that one of its clients, Kia Motors Corp., is building a plant in western Slovakia. Johnson Controls said it also would like to supply other automakers with plants in Slovakia.
Round 1: Heidfeld slays Pizzonia Round 1: Heidfeld slays PizzoniaAs expected, Nick Heidfeld came out on top in a head-to-head testing showdown with Williams rival Antonio Pizzonia at Jerez on Thursday.  Testing times are difficult to interpret as Heidfeld's time, just over a 10th of a second quicker than his Brazilian rival, was accomplished with more laps by the German than the Brazilian.

01 Zonta Toyota 1:16:672 101 laps
02 Räikkönen McLaren 1:16:814 124 laps
03 Montoya McLaren 1:16:946 92 laps
04 Heidfeld Williams 1:17:036 146 laps
05 Pizzonia Williams 1:17:165 94 laps
06 Montagny Renault 1:18:055 118 laps
07 Trulli Toyota 1:18:423 95 laps
08 Bernoldi BAR 1:18:589 72 laps
09 Button BAR 1:18:897 110 laps
10 M. Gené Ferrari 1:19:044 107 laps

New Ferrari to debut in Spain New Ferrari to debut in SpainFerrari's 2005 Formula One car will make its race debut at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, team boss Jean Todt said on Friday. "We are going to present the new Formula One car at the end of February," he told a news conference in the Italian Dolomites. "We are going to start the championship with the F2004B to a specification which takes into account the new regulations and today our program expects to do the first four grands prix with the 2004 car. "Why four? Well, simply considering the new rules, one power unit for two grands prix, we want to do two sequences of two grands prix and then we are going to start from Spain with the new car," said the Frenchman. The Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona is on May 8. Reuters
Industry News
Texas Motorsport Hall of Fame Inductees Texas Motorsport Hall of Fame InducteesNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veteran Terry Labonte and long time drag racing veteran Lee Shepherd will be the next inductees into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 14, at Texas Motor Speedway during the Samsung/RadioShack NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend. Labonte and Shepherd join inaugural award winners Johnny Rutherford and A.J. Foyt as members in the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Labonte has won on short tracks, intermediate tracks, superspeedways and road courses in his 26-year NASCAR career. The 2006 season will be his final one as a driver. Along the way "Texas Terry" won the 1984 and 1996 Cup Championship after finding his love for racing at the age of seven in quarter-midgets in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Shepherd was one of the best drag racers ever to compete in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). The soft-spoken Texan won four straight NHRA championships in 1981-84 and was on his way to a fifth consecutive title the drag racing world was rocked by news that he had died in a testing accident in Oklahoma on March 11, 1985. Shepherd was the first driver to win both the NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock championships.  In addition to Labonte and Shepherd being inducted, the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame has announced other award winners.  Jim Hall of Midland, Texas, has been named the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Bruton Smith Legends Award winner. Hall helped revolutionize open-wheel racing with his development of the famous Chaparral race car. Tony Kanaan won the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Championship and earned the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Racer of the Year Award. Texas Motor Speedway added soft walls in the past year and in so doing Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame has honored the designer of the SAFER barrier walls, Dr. Dean Sicking, with the Vision Award. It is no secret the amount of time and resources Kyle Petty gives to charity, and in particular the Victory Junction Gang. Kyle and his wife Pattie will be honored with the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Sportsmanship Award. The 2005 Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon will be on Thursday, April 14, in The Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame benefits the children of Happy Hill Farm in Granbury, Texas, in association with Speedway Children's Charities. TMS PR
New Procedure for Determining Race Lineups New Procedure for Determining Race LineupsNASCAR will institute a new procedure for establishing the starting race field in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series effective with the 2005 season, NASCAR officials announced today. NASCAR has revamped the system by simplifying the procedure with teams no longer accruing provisionals throughout the season to gain entry into the starting fields. While starting positions one through 42 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series still will be determined by qualifying speed, the new system will assure the highest-ranked 35 positions of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series owner championship points that have entered the event prior to the entry deadline one of those starting positions in the field, providing they have made an attempt to qualify [which usually means the team at least practiced and made an effort to qualify]. The remaining seven positions will be assigned to those drivers with the fastest qualifying speeds whose car owners are not among the top 35. The final starting position – the champion’s provisional – can be utilized by a car owner whose driver is a current or past NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion who participated as a driver during their 2004 season and was entered in the event for that owner in that car prior to the entry deadline. If there is more than one series champion vying for the position, it will be given to the most recent series champion. If the final provisional starting position – 43rd in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup – is not filled by a current or past series champion, it will be assigned to the next eligible car owner according to qualifying results. Through the first five races of the season for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the top 35 in the NNCS of the 2004 owner championship points entered in the event prior to the entry deadline will be assured one of the 42 starting positions in the field, provided they have made an attempt to qualify. From the sixth race on, the current owner championship points will be used to determine the top 35 each race week. In the event that conditions prevent qualifying from being run, starting positions will be assigned according to the respective series’ 2005 Rule Book. NASCAR PR
France won't comment on TMS lawsuit France won't comment on TMS lawsuitNASCAR chairman Brian France still won't say if Texas Motor Speedway was ever promised a second race.  "Well, look, it doesn't do any good to rehash," France said Thursday. "I have a point of view on all of that. They have points of view. But you know what, there is a second date here that we're going to be very enthusiastic about to make it work well."  Prompted in part by a lawsuit filed by one of the track's shareholders, Texas will host two Nextel Cup races this year: on April 17 and Nov. 6. The new fall race is part of the season-ending championship run.  The schedule realignment announced last summer helped settle the 2002 lawsuit.  "We're beyond that, those things happen," said France, a featured guest during the track's media day for his first visit there since the settlement. "We all have to move forward and do things together ... This place was worthy of a second date." More AP Story
CBS to show Formula 1 races in 2005 CBS to show Formula 1 races in 2005UPDATE Building on the increasing worldwide popularity of motorsports, Grand Prix Entertainment, an entity formed by DIC Entertainment, and Wasserman Media Group, are partnering to support a full- scale Formula 1(TM) brand launch in the United States. The announcement was made Thursday by Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO, DIC Entertainment and Casey Wasserman, CEO, WMG. Grand Prix Entertainment purchased the exclusive, domestic broadcast television rights to Formula 1(TM), and subsequently entered into an agreement with CBS Television to air a series of specials. Through the partnership, WMG's sales force will develop programs offering marketers access to and alignment with the world's most popular racing sport. Michael Heyward has been named Managing Partner, Grand Prix Entertainment.

Bernie Ecclestone stated, "Andy and I have been talking for a while about the possibility of working together, and I am delighted that we have finalized the deal. This is an important step forward in our strategy to promote Formula 1(TM) in the U.S. and to reach a wider audience over the coming years." He added, "Formula 1(TM) is the pinnacle of world motor sport, combining speed and cutting-edge technology with glamour and excitement. I am confident that with the expertise and credibility of DIC Entertainment and WMG combined with the wide audience reach on CBS, Formula 1(TM) will build its popularity and a tremendous fan base in the U.S."

"Formula 1(TM) is one of the most popular sports in the world. Bernie is a global sports icon, and it is an honor for us to join forces in business with him. Casey Wasserman and his gifted organization, run by Jeff Knapple, represent the cutting-edge of sports marketing, media and business. We have an all-star team assembled to bring F1(TM) to broadcast television and to generate tremendous brand awareness in the U.S.," said Andy Heyward.

CBS has committed to broadcast four F1(TM) races during prime weekend sports programming time-slots, scheduled to commence April 24, 2005 with coverage of the race in San Marino Grand Prix, Italy. Additional races to air include the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and the Grand Prix of Europe staged at the famous Nürburgring in Germany. In addition CBS will air two hour-long specials based on lifestyle elements of Formula 1(TM). These specials will be produced by Grand Prix Entertainment in association with WMG.

"CBS is pleased to present Formula One(TM), the most popular racing series in the world, to the U.S. television audience," said Rob Correa, Senior Vice President, Communications, CBS Sports. "We look forward to introducing F1(TM) racing to a new and broader audience."

"Formula 1(TM) represents the ultimate lifestyle sports experience, and we are thrilled to support this major promotional effort," said Wasserman. "Given Andy's expertise in launching some of the world's most recognized television franchises, we are proud to partner with his team to leverage our sales capabilities and build on F1(TM)'s valuable, global appeal," said Wasserman.

WMG's involvement with this project further signals a major utilization of its seasoned sales division. The WMG team will handle all broadcast sales responsibilities and is developing marketing partnerships targeted to the upscale F1(TM) audience. Recently WMG represented the largest sponsorship in Europe when they closed the $180 million naming rights deal between Arsenal and Emirates Airlines. WMG was also recently selected to handle the high profile naming rights and shirt sponsorship sales for Italy's prominent Juventus football team.

Concurrently, Grand Prix Entertainment will develop strategies to expand the F1(TM) television audience beyond its current domestic fan base specifically to engage a younger, more progressive audience. The program will be supported by PR initiatives, on-air promos, print, outdoor and broadcast advertising, as well as a major viral marketing campaign with Seth Berman serving as GPE's Director of Marketing.

The global popularity of the Formula One World Championship is unsurpassed by any other annual sports property and each Grand Prix race attracts 100s of millions of television viewers in over 150 countries. A typical event attracts more than 120,000 spectators to the grandstands. F1 generates annual revenues of up to $2 billion in TV rights and advertising time. Formula 1 racing team budgets can reach over $300 million per season and their drivers are an elite and exceptional group of athletes who are among the most highly paid sports stars in the world. Wasserman Media Group, LLC

01/13/05 Grand Prix Entertainment (GPE), an entity formed by DIC Entertainment and Wasserman Media Group (WMG), has purchased the exclusive domestic TV broadcast rights to F1, and has subsequently entered into an agreement with CBS to air four F1 races in ’05 beginning with the April 24 San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. Additional races include the Grand Prix of Europe, Spanish Grand Prix and Canadian Grand Prix. CBS will also air two hour-long specials based on lifestyle elements of F1. The programming will be produced by GPE in association with WMG. WMG will handle ad sales. Michael Heyward has been named GPE Managing Partner (GPE). Heyward said that F1 racing is “aspirational, high-profile and perfect for the [CBS sister network] MTV audience.” Heyward: “Once the audience is aware of the sport, we think it will have a bright future.” The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Paul Gough reports the agreement is “believed to be a revenue-sharing deal” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER  [Editor's Note: This is good for F1 in the USA]
Formula Superfund announcement on delay Formula Superfund announcement on delayThe Formula Superfund series will start in 2005 but not on the scheduled date of 1 May 2005. To ensure that all objectives are met for the first season, the management has decided that an intensified test and development program must be completed before the first race. The new start date will be announced no later than May 2005.

The decision comes following a significant delay in the research and development program after a crash in the December test in Estoril. This caused valuable time to be lost for chassis repairs which delayed the production cycle.

The Formula Superfund management will implement a more extensive testing and development program in the pre-season preparation to make up for lost time. The program has two objectives. Firstly, in accordance with Formula Superfund’s self-imposed requirement, it is to ensure the newly-designed SF-01 achieves maximum development before the season begins. Secondly, it increases the emphasis on keeping costs low for the teams, whilst not compromising on the quality of the race car.

Formula Superfund has also assumed direct control of the car production, development and supplier liaison and is moving all parts of the development to Austria.

Martin Schneider, Head of Motorsport Development:
“We have imposed the highest technical standards on the SF-01 and safety, reliability and low costs are the priorities. The SF-01 fulfils the brief to be an extremely powerful and safe race car, with 650 hp and a top speed exceeding 300 km/h. However our stringent technical requirements have not yet been satisfied and we are not prepared to issue the chassis until the most rigorous test program has been completed. Equally it is fundamental that the teams can operate on a reasonable budget and so we cannot permit expensive shortcuts. We have no doubt that all the objectives will be achieved and the series will start once the program has been completed.”

Niki Lauda, three times Formula 1 World Champion:
“I agree with and support the Formula Superfund organizer’s decision to put the priority on technical and safety development. It makes no sense to risk errors because the car development wasn’t completed in full, even if it means delaying the start of the season.”

Bridgestone announces student journalism contest Bridgestone announces student journalism contestAnnounced to coincide with the inaugural GP2 Series, the Bridgestone and Renault-backed one-make Formula; Bridgestone e-reporter is offering a chance of a lifetime to students hoping to pursue a career in journalism. Now in its second year, the initiative will dramatically increase the prizes on offer for 2005. Seven finalists will be invited to attend a European Grand Prix to report on the GP2 Series, meeting the drivers and personalities behind the Championship, and sample the exclusive Formula One Paddock and witness the international media in action.

The articles will be published on the Bridgestone Europe and GP2 websites. The overall winner will then win a once in a lifetime trip to Tokyo, Japan. Here they will have the chance to visit Bridgestone’s global headquarters and report on a major Bridgestone event. To ensure the lucky winner has all the tools required to continue with their newfound career in journalism, they will also be presented with a state-of- the-art laptop computer.
Entries will be submitted online via http://www.bridgestone-eu.com/e-reporter/, to be judged by a panel of internationally respected motorsport media and F1 representatives.   Chairing the panel is ITV’s Formula One Studio Analyst Tony Jardine, who has over 20 years of Formula One media experience. “Bridgestone e-reporter is an excellent opportunity for all European students who are considering a career in sports journalism. Formula One is arguably the most global and commercially advanced sport in the world and as a result is fiercely competitive and notoriously difficult to break into, be it as a driver, engineer or journalist."   Bridgestone e-reporter is open to all students aged 18-30 studying full time in Europe at a high school, college or university and the closing date for entries is 1200 GMT on Monday 14 March 2005. Bridgestone

Jordan Pushing ahead with 2005 Plan Jordan Pushing ahead with 2005 PlanWith team launch season and test programs underway, Jordan has been quietly keeping busy with its design and build program for the 2005 season. The team is working towards a first track test for the EJ15 in February, with a long term development program to take the car's performance forward throughout the season. "It's been something of a race against time for us during the winter, given the short notice we had for the engine supply and various other challenges that have presented themselves," explained Jordan Technical Director Mark Smith. "Jordan currently has to operate within certain constraints that are not necessarily the same for other teams but I believe our circumstances will change in the future which should help us to improve quite significantly. In the immediate term we are focusing on the work in hand so everybody in the team has been giving their all and with the good faith and support of our network of suppliers we have been making progress.” "We have planned two full weeks of testing during February and that is likely to begin with an interim version of the EJ15 in the first instance so we can develop systems relating to the engine installation before we implement our full race specification for the Australian Grand Prix. We have been very impressed with Toyota's support and we enjoy a genuinely good working relationship with them. The EJ15 is essentially a development of the EJ14 with a Toyota engine installation, and to the new regulations. Once we are able to move forward from this start point, the plan is to look at a significant development mid season.” Jordan's last works engine deal was with Honda before a two-year stint with Ford Cosworth in 2003 and 2004. Jordan
Pizzonia and Heidfeld head-to-head Pizzonia and Heidfeld head-to-headFrank Williams has gone on record saying that it will probably take all three remaining tests before his team are able to choose whether Antonio Pizzonia or Nick Heidfeld will team up with Mark Webber this year. Testing at Jerez yesterday, Pizzonia and Heidfeld were both on track together for the first time in 2005. Under blue skies and temperatures reaching 17°C, both Pizzonia and Heidfeld were instructed to focus on the preparation work for the 2005 season rather than worrying about lap times. Nick Heidfeld conducted further tire evaluation tests with the team’s tire partner, Michelin, and worked on the engine mapping and the set-up of the interim WilliamsF1 BMW FW26. The German covered a total mileage of 144 laps, more than any other driver, and set a lap time of 1:17.039s, fourth fastest on the day. Antonio Pizzonia completed a different program to his team-mate. The Brazilian covered 95 laps and evaluated brake ducts, traction control configurations as well as cooling systems. He set a personal best time of 1:17.177s for fifth fastest. Both Antonio and Nick executed several practice starts and will continue their testing duties Friday, on the last day of this week’s tests at Jerez. "We had a much more productive session today, the penultimate of this week’s test," said Test Team Manager Tim Newton. "Antonio spent the majority of the day evaluating various new systems on the interim FW26. Nick Heidfeld returned to the track today and worked on different set-up options on the car. Both drivers also carried out tire testing for Michelin.” BMW Williams will announce their second driver before the launch of the new FW27 chassis on January 31st. WilliamsF1
Creation to use Judd power Creation to use Judd powerCreation Autosportif will be using Judd power in their DBA4-03S prototype sportscar in 2005. A deal has just been completed whereby Engine Developments will be providing the Bicester-based team with their XV V8 engines plus trackside engineering support. Creation will be targeting success in the Le Mans Endurance Series and - subject to an entry being granted - the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This new engine deal is a key part of a package of developments that the team is implementing for the 2005 season. Ian Bickerton, joint Team Principal, explains why the team has changed from the Zytek engine that was used in 2004. "It was a difficult decision to make. Zytek have been a very good partner. They worked closely with us to develop the car over the last year and were integral to our successes last year. Good people and good engines. For 2005, Judd were able to offer us a tightly focused, very sportscar-orientated deal. They have vast endurance racing experience from working with Rafanelli, Doran, DAMS and Oreca to name but a few, and have won some big races including the Daytona 24 Hours. We have high hopes for what we can achieve together." John Judd echoed the feeling of expectation and delight at the prospect of working together. "This is a significant opportunity for us and we are very excited about working with Creation. Their results over the last year showed what a competitive, young team they are and we were very keen to take up the chance to take things onto the next stage with them." The XV V8 comes from the same family as the V10-an engine that has been successful over the last few years (top six finishes at Le Mans for the last 3 years). The XV V8 was new for 2004 and was run in Europe and North America at selected events. Creation's engineers are currently working on the installation of engine in the DBA chassis with KW Motorsport (who were involved with the original design of the car at Reynard). The team is expecting to carry out its first test in early February.
Schumacher: ‘I see no end at the moment’ Schumacher: ‘I see no end at the moment’Madonna di Campiglio – After an entire day on the slopes with his snowboard, and the evening floodlight session Michael this morning seemed relaxed for the press conference at the 2005 Wroom event.
During the Christmas holidays the media reported on the news of his generous donation to the tsunami victims in South East Asia. Michael explained the reasons for his gesture. ‘I’ve always been doing something in other fields and at other times when I felt it was appropriate. I’m very lucky that I earn a lot of money in my job. It is my way of contributing to this situation. It’s obviously a little bit personal as well, to some degree. It’s kind of tough to see and deal with this and explain it to your children, so it was a very sad moment for us, and a way of trying to help people.’  More......
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Sauber unwrap C24
McLaren sign new sponsor
Red Bull cancel Jerez launch
Kimi, Nick, triumphant
F1's Schu to race on
BAR to launch new car
F1 to expand in US - Bernie
F1 to consider quali repair
New Renault car fired up
England to host 'A1' debut
Asia asking F1 for help

Kimi 'annoyed'
Pantano and GP2
Finn to drive Arden
RB planning fast start
Mosley joins car group
Jordan role 'may change'
Austrian in Minardi running
Liuzzi eyes full time drive
Todt.  Still worried
'Sign Nick' - Schumacher
Stewart back in Bernie row
American won't buy F1 drive
Klien keen on RB 'rhythm'
McLaren to challenge - Schu
Kovalainen and Lapierre confirmed as Arden drivers Kovalainen and Lapierre confirmed as Arden driversThe Arden Team have today confirmed at the Autosport Show in Birmingham, UK that Heikki Kovalainen (Finnish) and Nicolas Lapierre (French) will spearhead their attack in the inaugural GP2 Championship. Heikki Kovalainen (23) joins the multiple F3000 Championship winning team after winning the 2004 Nissan World Series Championship and has retained close links with the Arden Team since initially testing at the end of 2002 season. Following Arden’s intensive Driver Evaluation Program, where 17 drivers were evaluated for a place within the team, Nicolas Lapierre (20) immerged as the obvious candidate to partner Kovalainen and has been signed on a two year agreement. GP2 will be replacing F3000 as the main support race at all European Grand Prix and Arden will commence testing during February.

Christian Horner: “I am delighted to confirm that Heikki Kovalainen and Nicolas Lapierre will be joining the Arden team for the inaugural GP2 Championship. Kovalainen first came to our attention 2 years ago when he tested for us and I am delighted that we have finally managed to secure his services having followed his career closely during the past 2 seasons.

Lapierre joins the team with an impressive record in F3 having previously won the Macau F3 Grand Prix and finished 3rd in last years F3 Euro Series with three race wins. He was consistently impressive during our Evaluation Program and I believe that Heikki and Nicolas represent one of our strongest ever driver line ups.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “Arden has proved to be the top team in recent years in F3000 and I am really pleased to be a part of their team in 2005. GP2 is going to be a new challenge for everyone and I am really looking forward to driving the new car and can’t wait for testing to start.”

Nicolas Lapierre: “After competing with so many drivers for a seat at Arden, I am very happy that the team have selected me as one of the drivers for 2005. This is a great team to work with and the GP2 Championship will be an exciting new challenge.”

Statement from Ray Bellm, former Chairman of the BRDC Statement from Ray Bellm, former Chairman of the BRDCI categorically deny the statement from the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) dated January 12th stating that I stepped down from my position of Chairman of the Board of the BRDC. At a Board meeting held on January 11th the post of Chairman was removed and through this decision, I no longer hold the position.

I was elected Chairman of the Board in November 2003 in order to bring to bear on the BRDC my business skills to take the BRDC forward. I was charged with exploiting the commercial opportunities available and secure the long-term future of the Club, which was asset rich and cash poor, and this included securing the future of the British GP, and progressing the plans for redevelopment of the facility.

During 2004 we secured $38m net of tax from IPG’s exit. We secured a 5 year agreement with FOM to promote the British Grand Prix with a projected operating profit over the 5 years, based on full gates. We reorganized the management of our Technology Park development as progress was slow to non-existent, and we worked closely with a third party adviser over future plans for the circuit. Securing the British GP for 5 years on profitable terms alone increased the worth of our land by £50m.

The underlying issue for removal of my position is a disagreement by some Board members of the terms of the contract with FOM for the British Grand Prix. I led the negotiations on this and acted in the interests of the Club to secure the best – and possibly only - deal available to us. I am saddened that, after all the hard work, there is dissent and disillusion within the Board.

The Club’s action has left it without a Chairman, which I do not believe is correct corporate governance for the effective running of the Club. After a very productive year in which so much has been achieved, the Club has put itself into a vulnerable position and little clear, commercial and success-driven direction. I will remain on the Board at the current time and hope that I can continue to contribute to the Club as successfully as when I was Chairman.

Indy Racing League display at Detroit Car Show Indy Racing League display at Detroit Car ShowThe Indy Racing League and Michigan International Speedway will bring the excitement of the IRL IndyCar® Series to downtown Detroit during the North American International Auto Show Jan. 15-23 at the Cobo Center.  In partnering with the NAIAS, Michigan International Speedway and the IndyCar Series will have unprecedented exposure at one of the most prestigious auto shows in the world.

"We're pleased to bring the exotic and exciting vehicles of the IndyCar Series to the Super Bowl of the automotive industry," said Bill Long, the IRL's vice president for marketing. "This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our race cars, powered by our partners at General Motors, Honda and Toyota, as well as introduce the high speed and close competition of the IndyCar Series to thousands of new fans."

Among the interactive items on display in the IRL and MIS booths will be two Indy Racing League simulators featuring the IndyCar Series 2005 video game, a Panther Racing Chevrolet race car and an Indy Racing Experience two-seat IndyCar Series car also will be displayed.  In addition, Indy Racing Fan Experience properties, including the Indy Racing Live Stage, which will serve as centerpiece of Cobo Arena, will also be on hand.  "With Detroit area companies such as Chevrolet, BorgWarner and Delphi and one of the most successful owners in open-wheel history, Detroit's Roger Penske, it seems a perfect fit to partner with the Indy Racing League on this interactive display during this year's North American International Auto Show," said MIS President Brett Shelton. "For automotive and race fans, this year's auto show has it all."

In addition to the race cars and interactive displays, several IndyCar Series personalities, including IRL Rising Star Award winner Vitor Meira, A.J. Foyt IV, the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, and Paul Dana, will make appearances at the show Jan. 15. The drivers will sign autographs at noon.  Fans attending the auto show also can purchase tickets to the Michigan Indy 400 IndyCar Series event using the IRL's "Two for $40" tie-in.  Ten dollars out of each ticket package sold will benefit the auto show's designated charities.

Andy Priaulx confirmed in Williams F1 test Andy Priaulx confirmed in Williams F1 testThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed that Andy Priaulx, the reigning European Touring Car Champion, has been extended an invitation to test with the team on January 27 at the team’s Valencia test.

The invitation has been made in recognition of his achievements in the BMW 320i in the 2004 FIA Touring Car Championship. The award was made in December 2004 at the BMW Motorsport Party and Award Ceremony.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, said, “To drive a Formula One car is every racing driver’s dream. We are delighted to be able to fulfill that dream for Andy. His successes in formula racing go back a few years now, but his hard work and his success in the European Touring Car Championship have won our confidence. Our recognition goes beyond granting him the Formula One test as BMW have also confirmed a BMW works driver contract for Andy for the new 2005 World Touring Car Championship.”
For his part, Priaulx commented, “It was a great Christmas present for me on December 4th when I was given this opportunity. I almost had to fight back the tears during the party. Since then I’ve been putting in a lot more physical training than before, especially for my neck muscles, but I don’t have any illusions - like every Formula One novice g forces in the car will be a challenge. I can’t wait for the test and it is the best way to celebrate being contracted as a BMW works driver.”

BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal Frank Williams said, “It is great to see some home grown success, and I have followed Andy’s touring car progress since his debut in the 2002 British Touring Car Championship. I hope he finds the experience a positive and enjoyable one.”

Priaulx was born on 8th August, 1974 on the Channel Island of Guernsey. He began his racing career in karting at the age of eleven, before enjoying success in competitive motocross. His interests moved on to hill climbing, often competing in Formula One cars. At 21, he claimed the British Hill climb Championship title in commanding fashion. By 1998, he had won the British Renault Spider Championship with 13 wins and 13 poles – an achievement unmatched to this day.

Priaulx continued his career in Formula 3, before making the switch to touring cars in 2001. In 2003 and 2004, he drove the BMW 320i in the ETCC for BMW Team Great Britain under the direction of Bart Mampaey. In his debut year he remained in contention for the title until the final race. In his second season, he took the European title with five race wins. In 2005, he will be back with BMW Team Great Britain in a BMW 320i, this time battling for the World Championship title.

Priaulx, who is married to Joanne and has two children, also oversees the Education and Coaching Program for young racing talents in Britain as Chief Instructor for the Formula BMW UK Championship. WilliamsF1 Team

Fans invited to Fontana test Fans invited to Fontana testAs part of NASCAR's Preseason Thunder, several NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams will participate in a test session at California Speedway from January 31 - February 3, 2005.  As of early January, nine NASCAR Busch Series drivers have confirmed for the first two days of the test and 32 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers have confirmed for the remaining two days of the test.

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test dates, February 2 - 3, will be open to the general public, free of charge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"This open test will officially kick off our 'Speed Month' as we build toward the upcoming NASCAR Tripleheader, February 25 27," said Speedway President Bill Miller.  "The test is very important to the teams, but it is also very important to us in launching this final ticket sales drive.  A sneak peek like this will help whet the appetite of fans, or those who are curious and wanting to learn more about NASCAR racing, to witness the sport up close in anticipation of the big event weekend."

Guests will be invited to park inside the oval in the Suite Parking Lots and view the test session from above the Terrace Suites on Pit Road to get up close to the action.  A few additional entertainment-type opportunities are also being worked on for guests who attend the test, including a Terrace Suite opening, which will allow guests to experience how the NASCAR weekend's Suite Action puts them right on top of the action in one of the Speedway's well-appointed luxury suites.  A three-day Suite Action package for February 25-27 is $1,100 and a two-day for February 26-27 is $950.

Individual tickets for the upcoming race weekend will also be on sale, and guests who purchase tickets at the test to any one of the three February 25-27 race dates will receive a free license plate frame.  Those that have already purchased tickets and bring a friend to the test who purchases a race ticket will receive a free license plate frame as well as the ticket purchaser.

Sunday's Auto Club 500 tickets are on sale for $65 and $105. Saturday's ticket, which includes NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series qualifying, the NASCAR Busch Series Stater Bros. 300, the Miller Lite Rock 'n Racing Concert and a fireworks show, is $40 and $50.  Friday's ticket, which includes NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying, NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series practice and the "night time thunder" of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series American Racing Wheels 200, are $30 with children 12 and under free with a paid adult admission.

Party Zone passes, featuring driver question and answer sessions on race weekend, are also on sale.  This fan hospitality area is located inside the Infield and every Party Zone pass includes a pit pass for the day purchased. Saturday's pass is $85, Sunday's pass is $125 and a combined two-day pass is $175.  A weekend pit pass, which will allow guests to tour pit road prior to each day's race, is also available.  Guests can sign the Start/Finish Line on Sunday prior to the Auto Club 500.  For guests 18 and over, a weekend pit pass is $55 - those under 18 are free on Sunday when accompanied by a paying adult.  A grandstand ticket is required to use the Party Zone pass or pit pass.

Buddy Rice receives Indy 500 ring Buddy Rice receives Indy 500 ringIt was a year and four days ago that Rahal Letterman Racing announced that Buddy Rice would serve as an "interim" driver for the team.  While Rice's impressive performance early in the 2004 IndyCar® Series season quickly earned him a ride with Rahal Letterman for the remainder of the season, it was his hard-fought victory in the 88th Indianapolis 500 that earned him immortality.

Rice was the guest of honor at a press conference Jan. 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum to unveil his likeness on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy. Thanks to the work of a skilled silversmith, Rice's bas-relief image now appears with the faces of drivers that have won 87 Indianapolis 500-Mile Races before him.

Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of IMS, also presented Rice with the coveted Indianapolis 500 Champion of Champions ring during the event. Herff-Jones created the diamond-adorned ring.  "It's pretty 'blingy,'" Rice quipped. "Pretty flashy; it's a cool ring."

To put in perspective the honor of having the image of his face permanently affixed to the Borg-Warner Trophy, Rice first cited one of his racing heroes and fellow Phoenix resident Arie Luyendyk, who he had just seen hours before at an Indy Racing League safety meeting.

"To be in company with people like that, and A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and everybody else that made this trophy so coveted and what makes everybody from around the world and all different motorsports come to this race and run, this is what we do it for," Rice said. "It's because we love racing, but to be associated with the people that are on this trophy, it's just a phenomenal feat for myself and the team. This is one for all the guys."

Rice was impressed with his likeness on the trophy, even though it came without a certain trademark of his public image.  "It would look better if I was wearing a hat," he said wryly.

Rice has not had much time at home in Phoenix following the end of the 2004 IndyCar Series season, due in large part to special events and appearances related to his Indianapolis 500 victory.  Rice admitted he was overwhelmed by the post-Indianapolis 500 events of 2004, one of the highlights being a visit to the White House and meeting President George W. Bush, but he still relates the accomplishment in his trademark humble and low-key style.

"Some people race and do this thing for different reasons, to be in front of the camera and all the hoopla," Rice said, "other people are here for one reason, and that is to race. That's what brings me here. Being so special and so big, it takes awhile for it all to be taken in."

Rice said his approach to the 2005 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for May 29, will not change from last year. The biggest difference for Rahal Letterman Racing is that it has added a third car for rookie Danica Patrick, the 22-year-old who hopes to become only the fourth woman to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500.  The only way that may affect Rice's approach at Indianapolis is that he will serve as a mentor, if asked.  "You can be a mentor; it depends on how people perceive it and take it in," he said. "Everybody drives and thinks and has their different approach. The door is always open.  On my approach, I'm going to do the exact same thing I did last year. The only thing different is the schedule is a little more compact. Whether it's Indy, Homestead, Phoenix or on down the road, it's going to be the exact same from start to finish."

Vault350 to sponsor Long Beach race Vault350 to sponsor Long Beach raceAdding to the week-long festival atmosphere surrounding the April 8-10 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Vault350, Long Beach’s new entertainment hot spot, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Grand Prix. The venue is planning major live concert events with internationally known acts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights of Grand Prix week

The concerts will take place later in the evenings. On Friday and Saturday nights, the shows will start after the Tecate Fiesta Friday and Rock-N-Roar concerts in front of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center have ended. Thursday night’s concert will be presented as the “grand finale” to the annual Tecate Thursday Thunder on Pine street festival event on Pine Avenue between Broadway and 4th streets in downtown Long Beach.

The headlining acts for all three concerts will be announced soon.  “What an honor to be in a partnership with California's most distinguished, successful and longest-running Grand Prix event,” said Mitchell Stewart, owner of Vault350. “Like the Grand Prix we pride ourselves on presenting the best entertainment in Southern California.”

Some of the world-class performers who have appeared at the Vault350 include B.B. King, Chris Issak, Joe Walsh, Leon Russell, Marilyn Manson, Keith Sweat, Cheap Trick, Three Dog Night, the B-52s, Sinbad, Merle Haggard and Little Feat.   The Vault350 is an upscale yet intimate concert venue, located in a historic 1920s, renovated bank building.  Inside, Vault350 offers 28,000 square feet on three levels with a mezzanine and VIP Lounge overlooking the giant stage. The 110,000 watt, state-of-the-art sound system is considered by many audiophiles and engineers to be the finest in Southern California. There are two 50-foot projection screens on either side of the stage for “larger than life” close-ups that greatly heighten the sense of intimacy.

Montoya now a TAG man Montoya now a TAG manTAG Heuer announced today that Juan Pablo Montoya has joined Hollywood superstars Uma Thurman and Brad Pitt in joining its prestigious roster of Brand Ambassadors.

With McLaren Mercedes for 2005, Montoya joins Kimi Raikkonen in promoting TAG Heuer's image and inspiring its product development. Montoya, Raikkonen, Thurman and Pitt will actively participate in TAG Heuer communication and provide valuable input in the design of TAG Heuer products.

"This is going to be a great year and I can't wait to get started," said the Colombian. "Signing on as a TAG Heuer Ambassador- is a dream position for me. To be part of the TAG Heuer legend, part of such an incredible team of sports heroes and inspirational celebrities, is very exciting and a great honor. I'm especially keen about taking part in the design and development of new timepieces. I've got some great ideas!"

McLaren Mercedes has been a TAG Heuer partner since 1985. Montoya joins an illustrious roster of McLaren drivers who have represented the company.

"Like TAG Heuer, Juan Pablo Montoya has always been a front runner," explained Jean-Christophe Babin, President and CEO of TAG Heuer. "In his first practice start for McLaren in late November, he swept the field, sending out a strong message that he is ready to make a serious challenge for the F1 World Championship in 2005. He is driven to excel, to pursue perfection, to finish at the top."

Like his fellow TAG Heuer Ambassadors, Juan Pablo Montoya will be directly involved in the development of new products. In particular, the new ambassador will share duties with Brad Pitt, jointly participating in the design and development of TAG Heuer's prestigious Carrera series.

TAG Heuer will also partner with 2004 Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais, 2003 IRL IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and NASCAR star Jeff Gordon. Montoya is back on the testing trail on Thursday at Jerez.

Industry News
Watkins Glen improvements underway Watkins Glen improvements underwayAs part of the ongoing capital improvement plan at Watkins Glen International (WGI) to enhance the experience of fans and prepare for one of their best racing seasons, Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust announced that the capital improvement plans are already underway. Renovations and enhancements will not effect the existing track configuration and are being made to areas surrounding the track such as runoff areas, fencing, and barriers. Renovations will be completed before the start of the 2005 season at The Glen.

“This is the second largest renovation project in the 57-year history of Watkins Glen International and a very exciting time for The Glen,” stated Rust. “We are committed to the continued success of Watkins Glen International, the Home of American Road Racing, and are getting ready for one of the best seasons in over 20 years.”

The largest renovation project was in 1971, when the course was rebuilt to the present configuration including the addition of the famous “Boot.”

The runoff area in Turn 1, also know as “The 90,” has been regraded and elevated by approximately four feet and will be paved later this Spring along with Turn 9 (at the exit of the Boot), and Turn 11. Tire barriers have also been replaced throughout the facility, while some existing fencing will be replaced or extended around the Boot and along the front stretch, by Turn 11. New competition curbing will be added to the bottom of the Esses by Turn 2, throughout the Inner Loop, and by Turn 11. In several key areas, such as the Esses, the Boot, and Turn 11, the iconic blue guardrail will be shifted back from the track in order to improve sightlines for the Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix, IndyCar Series event September 23-25. The guardrail will not be permanently removed as reported in previous media articles.

“While many of these improvements are being made in order to accommodate the faster, lower cars of the IndyCar Series, we have met with all of the series including NASCAR and Grand-Am and have received their input and support,” commented Rust. “We are all in full agreement that these improvements will be better for all of the series, teams, and drivers that compete here.”

In addition, Phase Three of the previously started capital improvement project involving upgrading the restroom facilities and adding a new 42-row high grandstand are also underway. The previous grandstands including the Gray, Green, Yellow, and Orange located along front stretch by the start/finish line, have been removed and the area is being prepared for the new aluminum FrontStretch Grandstand structure.

Eight events are featured at WGI in 2005 including the highly anticipated NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. This year they return with the NASCAR Busch Series, for the first time at WGI during the annual SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen, August 11-14. Open wheel racing also returns to the famed road course, during the inaugural IndyCar Series event September 23-25. Tickets go on sale January 22 and are available at an advance price until Opening Day, May 1. For additional information, please contact the Watkins Glen ticket office at 866-461-RACE, log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com, or stop by The Shop located at Two North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is Watkins Glen International's headquarters for official merchandise and apparel, event memorabilia, gift certificates and Thunder Road Tours.

Positive testing start for BAR Honda Positive testing start for BAR HondaLucky Strike B·A·R Honda took part in the first test of 2005 this week at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain. The four-day test saw test drivers Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi driving for the first two days, joined by race driver Jenson Button for the final two days of the test. All drivers were in the Concept cars for the final test before the launch of the new B·A·R Honda 007 this weekend. The week proved very successful with both the car and engine showing high levels of reliability through some tough endurance tests.

On the first morning of the test (Monday) Enrique ran through a chassis program, completing 50 laps. In the afternoon session, he began a long tire evaluation before a clutch problem brought an early end to his session, bringing his final lap tally for the day to 89 laps. Anthony spent most of his running on a series of tire evaluations, completing a total of 76 laps.

Both drivers spent the second day (Tuesday) running through intensive tire evaluations, completing long runs over full race distances. Enrique completed an impressive total of 131 laps for the day, with Anthony running for 96 laps.

Jenson joined the test on the third day (Wednesday) and spent the day running through aerodynamic and chassis work, alongside a tire evaluation program. He completed a total of 94 laps for the day, setting the fifth fastest time - a 01:17.56. Anthony also completed a tire evaluation doing medium length runs and completing a total of 125 laps.

On the final day of the test (Thursday) Jenson completed 73 laps in the morning session evaluating the tires over long runs. He continued the program in the afternoon, alongside gearbox tuning and suspension set-up work to complete a further 62 laps. He also ran through a series of simulated race starts. Enrique spent the day running through a race simulation program although his running was limited by a mechanical problem. He completed a total of 73 laps and will remain in Jerez to complete a wet test on Saturday.

SPEED Channel to air rest of F1 races SPEED Channel to air rest of F1 racesSPEED Channel kicks off its 10th consecutive year of coverage of Formula One Grand Prix racing with live coverage of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET. SPEED will broadcast 15 of the series' 19 events live, including live coverage of qualifying for all 19 events and weekend race replays on Sundays at 12:30 p.m.  ET*.

"F1 racing is a very integral part of the heritage of this network," said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. "When FOX purchased SPEED in 2001, one of the first things we went to work on was a multi-year deal with F1 -- recognizing its importance to our viewers. Since then, we have added the archival gem F1 Decade and we continue discuss ways to grow this very passionate audience."

In addition to the 15 live events, SPEED Channel also will re-broadcast four additional races scheduled to air on CBS in 2005.

SPEED Channel's 2005 F1 broadcast schedule:

·       Australian Grand Prix (March 5, 9:30 p.m. ET)
·       Malaysia Grand Prix (March 19, 1:30 a.m. ET)
·       Grand Prix of Bahrain (April 3, 7 a.m. ET)
·       Monaco Grand Prix (May 22, 7:30 a.m. ET)
·       U.S. Grand Prix (June 19, 1:30 p.m. ET)
·       French Grand Prix (July 3, 7:30 a.m. ET)
·       British Grand Prix (July 10, 7:30 a.m. ET)
·       German Grand Prix (July 24 (7:30 a.m. ET)
·       Hungarian Grand Prix (July 31, 7:30 a.m. ET)
·       Turkish Grand Prix (Aug. 21, 7:30 a.m. ET)
·       Italian Grand Prix (Sept. 4, 7:30 a.m. ET)
·       Grand Prix of Belgium (Sept. 11, 7:30 a.m.)
·       Brazilian Grand Prix (Sept. 25, 12:30 p.m. ET)
·       Japanese Grand Prix (Oct. 8, 1 a.m. ET)
·       Grand Prix of China (Oct. 15, 1:30 a.m. ET

Four races delayed on SPEED Channel following CBS telecasts:

·       San Marino Grand Prix (April 29, midnight)
·       Spanish Grand Prix (May 13, midnight)
·       Grand Prix of Europe (June 3, midnight)
·       Canadian Grand Prix (June 17, midnight)

Veteran broadcaster Bob Varsha returns to head the five-star SPEED Channel team of David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Peter Windsor.

F1 Decade returns this season at 10 p.m. ET on March 4 with a prime time premiere of the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix. Inside Grand Prix, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of F1 racing, also returns in 2005, debuting on March 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET, followed by live F1 qualifying.

SPEED Channel, now in its 10th season, is the nation's first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED Channel delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in more than 68 million homes in North America, SPEED Channel is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country.

PKV Racing announces Jim McGee as GM PKV Racing announces Jim McGee as GMPKV Racing owners, Dan Pettit, Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser made it official today by announcing that Jim McGee has assumed the position of General Manager of the team.  McGee, who celebrates his 47th year of competition in 2005, is the most successful Manager/Chief Mechanic in the history of Champ Car racing having amassed a total of 89 wins and nine national championships.  Renowned for his racing experience and knowledge, McGee has been a consultant for PKV Racing for the past two months.  During the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, McGee served as Vice President for Special Projects at Newman/Hass Racing where he guided Bruno Junqueira to a fifth place showing in the 2004 Indianapolis 500.  

“We are very excited to have Jim McGee join PKV Racing on a permanent basis,” said Pettit.  “Jim brings a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to our team.  Having him at the helm of PKV Racing provides us with a key ingredient in our effort to take the team to the next level and achieve our goal of winning a championship,” Pettit explained.  “On another note, I want to thank Russell Cameron for the outstanding job he did in putting together a first class organization and guiding us through our first two seasons,” Pettit concluded.

McGee, a native of New England, who resides in Indianapolis, began racing in 1959. He was spotted by renowned Chief Mechanic Clint Brawner, who hired him for the 1960 season.  Since then, McGee has gone on to become the only Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60’s - 90’s) and have at least one victory in each of the last five decades (60’s-00). 
“I am very pleased and excited to be joining PKV Racing for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season,” said McGee.  “This is a first class organization with outstanding ownership and a championship caliber driver in Jimmy Vasser.  I look forward to continuing the work that Russell Cameron began by helping PKV Racing become a team that competes for championships for many years in the Champ Car World Series.”   

Over the years McGee has worked with such top drivers as Bobby Allison, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Gordon Johncock, Nigel Mansell, Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Rutherford, Eddie Sachs, Tom Sneva, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser, Bobby Unser and Jimmy Vasser.  His employers have included such notable team owners as Al Dean, Vel Miletich and Parnelli Jones, Andy Granatelli, Paul Newman and Carl Haas, Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal and Carl Hogan and U. E. “Pat” Patrick.

“Having competed with and against Jim McGee led teams I know from experience the winning atmosphere that Jim brings to an organization,” said Vasser.  “His knowledge of the sport, his race craft, is second to none and I am just happy he is now part of our team.  PKV Racing is just two years old and we have already shown signs of being very competitive.  With the addition of Jim McGee I am confident, as both a driver and owner, that we have the final piece of the puzzle that will allow us to compete for championships for many years to come.”

A results-oriented and meticulous mechanic and manager, McGee enjoyed much of his success while working with Andretti.  Of Andretti’s 52 career Champ Car victories, 34 came with McGee, including three national championships (‘65, ‘66 and ‘69) and one Indy 500 in 1969 with Andy Granatelli’s STP team.  McGee was also part of the Vel’s Parnelli Jones “Super Team,” featuring Andretti, Al Unser and Joe Leonard in the early ‘70’s.  He joined Penske Racing in 1975 as a Chief Mechanic and Team Manager.  In six years with Penske, he won three national titles (Tom Sneva, ‘77 and ‘78; Rick Mears, ‘79) and one Indy 500 (Mears, ’79).  McGee joined Patrick Racing as Team Manager in 1981 and won two more Indy 500s, (Johncock, ‘82; Fittipaldi, ‘89) and a national title (Fittipaldi, ‘89).  When Patrick sold the team to Bobby Rahal and Carl Hogan after the 1991 season, McGee stayed on and helped the new team capture the 1992 PPG Cup.  Newman/Haas Racing signed McGee for the ‘93 and ‘94 seasons where he won his ninth title in ‘93 with Nigel Mansell.  In 1995, McGee joined the newly formed Patrick Racing as General Manager and lead the team to several successful seasons, including second and third place finishes by Adrian Fernandez and Roberto Moreno respectively in 2000.  He left Patrick Racing after the 2003 season.

Steiner lands technical role at Red Bull Steiner lands technical role at Red BullRed Bull have completed their new management line-up with Gunther Steiner confirmed as the team's technical director. Steiner, 39, from Italy's South Tyrol region joins the team from Opel.  Steiner’s connection with the team goes back to 2002 when he spent a season with Jaguar Racing under then team principal Niki Lauda.  The news follows last week’s announcement that Britain's Christian Horner, 31, has accepted the post of sporting director of Red Bull Racing. The pair replaces the previous line-up of Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth. Formula1.com
Raikkonen nips Montoya on first day Raikkonen nips Montoya on first dayMcLaren teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya went head-to-head for the first time today at Jerez.  The Finn just barely beat Montoya with a  time of 1:16.814 edging the Colombian by only a tenth-and-a-half, but because Kimi drove 35 more laps, not because he is a faster driver.  Raikkonen was second overall behind Ricardo Zonta in a 2004-spec car.

We get on fine and over the past couple of years have talked quite a lot and I think he's a good guy,” he said. “It's annoying to read that we'll be at each other's throats, because we never had a problem with each other and do get on, ” said Kimi.

“Up to the start of the season there's no reason to be any tension.  I'm doing my work, he's doing his work and we're both doing our best to improve the car and the team. Only when competition will start we will see how things will develop, but I cannot see any problem developing between the two of us.”

Jerez F1 testing times - Day four
1. Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1:16.672, 101 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) 1:16.814, 124 laps
3. Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren) 1:16.946, 89 laps
4. Nick Heidfeld (Williams) 1:17.036, 144 laps
5. Antonio Pizzonia (Williams) 1:17.165, 92 laps
6. Franck Montagny (Renault) 1:18.055, 118 laps
7. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1:18.423, 93 laps
8. Enrique Bernoldi (BAR) 1:18.589, 72 laps
9. Jenson Button (BAR) 1:18.897, 108 laps
10. Marc Gene (Ferrari) 1:19.044, 106 laps 

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing holds Formula BMW shootout Gelles Racing holds Formula BMW shootoutGelles Racing carried extensive and successful testing for six days at the Sebring and Savannah race circuits for ten of the seventeen drivers that are presently taking part in the Formula BMW USA final shoot-out in Valencia, Spain. These sessions served as last minute preparation for the young drivers who are vying for one of the five scholarships that will be announced after this final training camp. The FB2 cars ran with supreme reliability for a total of 6,140 miles, a workload they would usually tackle over many weekends in the season.

"We were very impressed with the FB2 single seaters, claimed team owner Bob Gelles. These little four-bangers are incredible racing machines. We had a total of thirteen drivers take turns in our cars on the track and they kept performing session after session. Ten drivers who are now in Spain for the final shoot-out worked with our engineers and driver coaches while three more used the sessions as preparation for new challenges they are about to undertake."
Spain countdown
Among the 17 drivers that are present in Valencia, ten were with Gelles in Sebring and Savannah. Not only are they in contention with the BMW USA $40,000 scholarships from the series, but Gelles Racing will gladly supersize this funding with the same amount through its own sponsors.

In addition, Jonathan Summerton, third in the 2004 standings, tuned his talent before flying to Europe to test with a Formula 3 team. Highest returning driver, Billy Johnson, was also present and so was 2005 Red Bull hopeful John Edwards.  "We could not expect finer weather for all week and the drivers kept improving their times as they worked with our staff, continued Gelles. This new generation of drivers is younger and more mature then ever because they benefit from a wealth of experience acquired in karting. Their hopes of climbing the racing ladder up to Formula 1 are justified and Formula BMW is obviously the best way to start. We will have four of these drivers in 2005 and we find them to be potential winners. We wish all of them the best luck in Spain. "
Maintenance before more testing
Cars are back in the Gelles shop in Virginia for a complete revision. More testing is scheduled in ten days in Georgia but the 2005 Gelles foursome could start pre-season testing as early as January 23, 2005. "Confirmation of drivers is anticipated within the next week, added Mr. Gelles, but we know our team will be strong. This second season of Formula BMW USA promises to be very exciting, comprising two Formula 1 venues. This is something any young driver would hope for in his first open wheel season." Testing schedule can be seen on Gelles Racing web site at www.gellesracing.com . Gelles Racing is the reigning 2004 Formula Renault Champion Team.   For more information, Bob Gelles may be contacted at (703) 926-2474 or by email at bob@gellesracing.com
Industry News
Give blood, meet Mario Give blood, meet MarioMario Andretti will return for the 4th annual Infineon Technologies High-Speed Blood Drive on Friday, Jan. 28, from noon-5 p.m., at Infineon Raceway. It's your chance to meet one of the most famous race-car drivers in history, and at the same time, donate a pint of blood to a very worthy cause. The event will benefit the American Red Cross.

In addition to meeting Andretti, who will be available for pictures and autographs throughout the day, all those who make an appointment on www.beadonor.com will also be given a hot lap around the 12-turn, 2.52-mile circuit by professional drivers from the ESPN Russell Racing School, which is based at Infineon Raceway. The pint of blood will be drawn by representatives from the American Red Cross following the hot lap. If you have questions regarding your eligibility, be sure to visit www.beadonor.com. To make an appointment, you can search for this drive using the sponsor code "INFINEON" at www.beadonor.com.

The event generated 126 pints of blood for the American Red Cross last year, and officials hope to shatter that number in 2005. The raceway will again partner with 107.7 The Bone FM and Niello Audi on this worthwhile event.

Champ Car adds Monterrey to NBC deal Champ Car adds Monterrey to NBC dealChamp Car has added another race to its network television package for 2005. NBC will broadcast the May 21 event in Monterrey, Mexico live from the temporary road circuit in Fundidora Park. The event will move to Saturday from its original Sunday date. The addition gives Champ Car a total of seven races on network television in 2005, with four events on CBS and three on NBC, including the season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Each of the first six races of the Champ Car season will be shown live on CBS or NBC, marking the first time since 1997 that Champ Car will open its year with six consecutive races on network television.
Champ Car signs deal with SPEED Channel Champ Car signs deal with SPEED ChannelThe Champ Car World Series today finalized its 2005 television schedule, announcing a return to SPEED Channel for seven of the 14 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford events, beginning with live coverage of the inaugural Grand Prix of Edmonton July 17.

SPEED Channel, which broadcast Champ Car races in 2002 and 2003, is the premier motorsports network in the United States reaching 68 million households across the nation. Seven of the year’s final eight Champ Car events will be shown on SPEED Channel, culminating with live coverage of the season-ending race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

“Champ Car is pleased to renew our partnership with SPEED Channel in 2005 and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “The opportunity to get Champ Car racing on one of the leading motorsports networks in the world is a major step for our series and our fans. It is only fitting that the top open-wheel series in the country be featured on the best racing network in the United States.”

SPEED Channel will air four races live including the inaugural Grand Prix of San Jose July 31 and the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. As it did during the 2003 season, SPEED Channel will feature two-and-a-half hours of coverage from each event, allowing fans to see not only all of the high-speed action on track, but also some of the pre-race pageantry and the post-race reaction and excitement.

“SPEED Channel viewers will be thrilled to have Champ Car back on the network,” said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. “The fans of American open-wheel racing are some of the most passionate in our audience and we look forward to serving them. This relationship further defines SPEED as the television home of motor sports and all things automotive.”

In addition, Champ Car has added another race to its network television package for 2005. NBC will broadcast the May 21 event in Monterrey, Mexico live from the temporary road circuit in Fundidora Park. The event will move to Saturday from its original Sunday date. The addition gives Champ Car a total of seven races on network television in 2005, with four events on CBS and three on NBC, including the season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Each of the first six races of the Champ Car season will be shown live on CBS or NBC, marking the first time since 1997 that Champ Car will open its year with six consecutive races on network television.

“CBS Sports is excited to be back televising the premiere open-wheel racing series in the United States.” said CBS Sports Senior Vice-President of Programming Rob Correa.

As announced previously, Champ Car fans in Europe will be treated to live coverage of every 2005 series event on Eurosport and the new Eurosport 2 network. Champ Car action will be available in 19 different languages through Eurosport, reaching 98 million households and 240 million viewers across 54 nations.

SPEED Channel, entering its 10th season in 2005, is the nation's first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED Channel delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in more than 68 million homes in North America, SPEED Channel is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country. For more information, please visit SPEEDTV.com.

Date   Venue    TV
April 10  Long Beach, California  NBC 
May 21   Monterrey, Mexico  NBC
June 4   Milwaukee, Wisconsin  CBS
June 19   Portland, Oregon  CBS
June 26   Cleveland, Ohio   CBS
July 10   Toronto    CBS
July 17   Edmonton   SPEED
July 31   San Jose, California  SPEED
Aug. 14   Denver, Colorado  SPEED
Aug. 28   Montreal   NBC
Sept. 24  Las Vegas, Nevada  SPEED *
Oct. 16   Ansan, Korea   SPEED *
Oct. 23   Surfers Paradise, Australia SPEED *
Nov. 6    Mexico City   SPEED
* - Events to be shown on a next-day tape-delay basis

Hotel Rooms a problem for Daytona 500 Hotel Rooms a problem for Daytona 500Damage from last summer's hurricanes could have a significant impact on this season's Daytona 500, because about 3,700 hotel rooms of the city's 13,548 were knocked out of commission by the storms and many may still be under repair when SpeedWeeks kick off. It's unclear how reservations with those properties will be handled, or even how many of those Daytona 500 ticket holders are even aware of the situation. About 60 Daytona Beach hotels and a number of high-rise condos were damaged by the hurricanes. Winston Salem Journal
NASCAR kills 'Dash' Series NASCAR kills 'Dash' SeriesThe IPOWER Dash Series, the successor to NASCAR's now defunct Goody's Dash Series, has canceled its 2005 season that was to open on Sunday, Feb. 13 at Daytona. Front-row qualifying for the Feb. 20 Daytona 500 will continue as planned on Feb. 13. The Dash Series cited issues regarding sponsorship and corporate involvement as the reasons for the series being scrubbed. The series debuted at Daytona in February of 2004 with a less than auspicious beginning when a track worker was struck and killed by a race car while picking up debris under a caution period. Florida Today
The genesis of CART/Champ Car - Gurney's White Paper The genesis of CART/Champ Car - Gurney's White PaperThe genesis of CART began in early 1978 when team owner Dan Gurney composed a white paper and sent it to all the owners. Gurney was frustrated that car owners had little or no control over the direction of the United States Auto Club's National Championship Series, and Gurney saw the 21-member USAC board as a major obstacle in moving the Championship racing agenda forward. Gurney then wrote the following white paper, and CART was born. The formation of CART prompted the CART/USAC split of 1979, which was the genesis of the CART/IRL division. More....
Schumacher still loves F1 Schumacher still loves F1Seven-time World Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher says he is "more in love" with Formula One than ever and has no plans yet to retire.  "I think I am more in love with it now because I know the sport much better, I know what I am doing," he told a news conference at the team's winter retreat in the Dolomites.  When you come into the sport, you are very hot to do it and you very quickly enjoy it. But there are also a lot of things to do and a lot of things to struggle with and it's a love and hate life but it has turned more to the love side," said the German.

"I have a contract that runs until the end of 2006 and for me there is enough time to talk at the right moment about it but I see no end at the moment. I'm sorry."  As for his rivals, "I would expect [McLaren] Mercedes to be there more from the beginning, so they will be stronger for the whole year but other than that it will be pretty much the same"

Montoya expects Kimi to have upper hand Montoya expects Kimi to have upper handJuan Pablo Montoya expects new teammate Kimi Raikkonen to hold the upper hand early at McLaren Mercedes as it will take the Colombian time to adapt to the team and equipment.  “When I came into Formula One everybody was expecting me to be as quick as Ralf, who started out quicker,” the Guardian report Montoya as saying. “Frank thought Ralf was the guy. He signed for some stupid money and after that I beat him."  At McLaren, Montoya predicts a similar pattern. “I am not expecting to be quicker than him in the first race. For me it's a new engineer and new mechanics.”
USA Telco giant teams up with McLaren USA Telco giant teams up with McLarenAs McLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya began testing together for the first time at the Jerez circuit in Spain earlier today, the occasion was marked with global communications provider AT&T's branding appearing on both drivers' overalls and Formula One cars for the first time.

AT&T, one of the world's leading integrated voice and data communications companies, has joined the team as the exclusive Corporate Partner for voice and data networking services. Under a multi-year agreement, AT&T will provide its advanced range of communications solutions to the team on a global basis.

The AT&T Global Network (AGN) will connect the team's headquarters in Woking, UK, with other significant locations in the UK and Europe, including Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany, and the engine manufacturing facility at Mercedes-Ilmor in Brixworth, UK.

AT&T will also support connectivity at Formula One Grand Prix race locations around the world for the team, managing data communications during race events and at Formula One testing sessions, such as the one taking place in Jerez for the rest of this week.

Advanced communications technology is critical to the success of a Formula One racing team, and AT&T's portfolio of services will ensure that West McLaren Mercedes can leverage the most advanced Internet Protocol (IP) technologies available on a worldwide basis and optimize the performance of its data network.
AT&T technology will ensure that the vast amounts of data generated during racing, practice and test sessions can be accessed by the team's technical and research and development staff in real time from anywhere in the world, allowing the team to optimize performance of their cars. AT&T will also support innovative Voice over IP (VoIP) communications for the team and Internet connectivity to the team trackside facilities.

"Formula One racing is in a league of its own as a prestigious global sports event," said AT&T Chief Marketing Officer Kathleen Flaherty. "I can't think of a better way than through this Partnership to complement AT&T's global brand and showcase our leading-edge technology."

Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group commented that: "In welcoming an organization of the stature of AT&T into our Partner portfolio, we are demonstrating a resounding level of confidence in the West McLaren Mercedes team and our sport of Formula One. At West McLaren Mercedes, we strive for innovation, technological excellence and quality, values that have seen AT&T push boundaries and pioneer at the very leading edge of new technologies for over 125 years. We are proud to have established our Partnership with such an organization."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport said that: "In these quite challenging economical times it is a good signal for Formula One in general and especially for our team that a prestigious company like AT&T commits itself to our sport and to West McLaren Mercedes. We are looking forward to the new co- operation, which we believe will be a very productive one." As a Partner of West McLaren Mercedes, AT&T's branding will appear on both the Formula One car as well as drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya and on the pit crew clothing. McLaren Mercedes

Istanbul construction update Istanbul construction updateUPDATE The last turn has been taken in the construction of the circuit for Formula 1 Grand Prix races, which will be organized in Turkey for the first time this year.  It is reported that 90 percent of the project, which is run by Evren Construction and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) and Formula Istanbul Investment Incorporation (FIYAS), has been accomplished following the completion of asphalt and rough construction work and the beginning of environment arrangements and artificial pool studies in the circuit which will host the fourteenth Formula 1 race of 2005 season. The facility will be opened in June 2005 and will host various international races like Istanbul Grand Prix, Moto GP, DTM, LG SW WTCC & FIA GT as well as national events. The project can be followed at the official website: www.formula1-istanbul.com/f1/en/

Turkish Automobile and Motor sports Federation (TOMSFED) President Mumtaz Tahincioglu has said that Formula 1 is a national project and they will accomplish this task successfully. Tahincioglu noted that the organization does not only belong to Istanbul and said: "This is a very important project for Turkey in terms of sporting, economic and promotion purposes. We will have a very modern facility as a result of this. People coming to Turkey for these races will spend money in our country and create job opportunities for some people. We will reach a mass audience. We had some budgetary difficulties, but we have overcome these with the support of the ITO." Zaman.com

01/07/05 The new Istanbul, Turkey F1 track construction is progressing nicely.  This webpage has photos of the construction as of December 17th, 2004.  Track diagram courtesy of e-Tracks Online 
Mario Andretti just won't slow down Mario Andretti just won't slow down1978 F1 champion Mario Andretti just won't slow down.  He may be 64, but the American-Italian - also Indy 500, Champ Car, Daytona 500 and Sebring 12-Hour winner - will taste up to 120km/h in a Olympic-sped bobsled next week.  Andretti, who won the drivers' (F1) title in a Lotus, will be part of a four-man crew, including two members of the Canadian national team and also Bridgestone (US) big-man John Gamauf.  They'll experience 4-g cornering on the Calgary layout.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Further delay in F1 call up
Badoer, Ferrari, extend deal
Quick Oz, crashed Spaniard
F1 marriage report 'true'
Ferrari men to meet Pope
'Tell Ron to f**k off' - Hill
Chairman of GP host 'fired'
F1 driver to win 'with head'
BMW pleased with Webber
'We'll seat share' - Klien
No sympathy for Coulthard
Schu pledge 'image building'?
F1 duo to run management firm
Klien at Auto show
Jordan won't run until Feb.
Albert Park in action
'Don't be fooled' - Ralf S.
Webber at braking point

Nick's good for F1 - Rubens
Brit GP back in doubt?
Toyota accept Pasquali ruling
FIA-GT re-ups with Zhuhai FIA-GT re-ups with ZhuhaiJust two months after the successful Zhuhai, China round of the 2004 FIA GT Championship, which closed the season, Stephane Ratel, promoter of the Championship, was back in Zhuhai for a press conference and a signing ceremony for the 2005 event, which will be held at the Zhuhai International Circuit (ZIC) on 21-23 October 2005.

Zhuhai vice mayor Ms. Den Qiong Fang, ZIC general manager Mr. Joe Lim and Stephane Ratel all made speeches at the press conference, held at the circuit in front of over 100 journalists.

Photos courtesy of ZIC

"All the race officials, teams and drivers were very happy with the circuit. They were happy to be here last year, it was a great way to end the championship." Ratel said. "The best proof of the success of that event is that, just two months later, the Championship and Event promoters are back here to sign a new agreement, for a further round, to be held later this year."

"Ten years ago, I was the first man to introduce international motorsport to Zhuhai, I am glad that ten years on I am still here. I hope that I will still be here in another ten years time and by then, who knows, maybe we'll have a Chinese team winning the championship." Mr. Ratel added.

ZIC President Datuk Lim Hock Seng said, "The success of the FIA GT Championship last year gave the staff at ZIC great encouragement. Not only did the event promote Zhuhai to the world, it also strengthened the organization and management of the circuit. We hope to present the 2005 FIA GT Championship - China Round perfectly to the local and overseas fans."

Ms. Den Qiong Fang promised to provide all the support necessary from the seaside city. She explains that the staging of the world-class event has helped Zhuhai to gain more exposure in the international community and it helps in the promotion of tourism to Zhuhai.

Mr. Joe Lim was understandably enthusiastic about the exciting prospects the championship brings to the circuit. The 2004 event attracted massive media coverage in China - including the Hong Kong and Macau SARs - and internationally. He believes the return of the championship in 2005 will generate even greater interest in ZIC once again.

During the signing ceremony, ZIC President Datuk Lim Hock Seng signed the promotional contract with Mr. Ratel; ZIC Director of the Board Mr. Wang Gang Bo signed the race contract with FASC vice-chairman Chen Xue Zong, therefore formally appointing ZIC to be the host and promoter of the 2005 FIA GT Championship - China Round.

After the ceremony, popular Taiwan entertainment celebrity Jimmy Lin was appointed "ZIC Motorsports Promotion Ambassador" by ZIC Executive Vice President Ms. Cynthia Lim.

Kahne and Johnson continue tire tests Kahne and Johnson continue tire testsGoodyear Tire testing continued Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway as Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson ran an array of tire compounds in preparation for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500.  Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear’s stock car tire development group, said the second day of testing really helped to narrow the field of potential tire compounds for the upcoming Atlanta race weekend.  “Today went really well,” Keto said, “There are four new tires we’ve been working with, plus several from yesterday that are giving the drivers some extra grip and confidence.”  Engineers also found that even with the new NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height, Kahne and Johnson were running speeds comparable to last fall’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.  Goodyear Tire experts will analyze data from the two-day test before finalizing which compound drivers will run during the Golden Corral 500.
Crash ends day early for Ferrari Crash ends day early for FerrariThird day of testing this week – the first at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit – for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Marc Gene took to the track this morning, working on a development program of electronics, new components and tires. Testing ended earlier than anticipated after an off-track excursion for the Scuderia’s official test driver. The driver was unhurt, but the car sustained damage to the bodywork and some components: the necessary repairs took up the rest of the day. Up to that moment, Gene had covered 36 laps, with a best time of 1.18.248. Gene continues testing at this track tomorrow.
McDonald's back in NASCAR McDonald's back in NASCARFast food giant McDonald’s is back in NASCAR racing as a full-time sponsor after inking a deal to back a Team Rensi Motorsports entry in the Busch Series this year.  The multi-year agreement has allowed Rensi to expand its Ford-supported operation to run a second Taurus, with veteran Busch racer Jason Keller tabbed to drive the new No. 35 entry.
The deal marks the restaurant chain’s return as a full-time NASCAR program since an abortive effort with the PPI team back in 2001. It also sponsors reigning Champ Car title holder Sebastien Bourdais. SPEED TV.com
Mexico City NASCAR testing Mexico City NASCAR testingNASCAR driver Jeff Burton roared around Mexico City's winding road course Wednesday in a test for the first points race outside the United States in 50 years.  "It seems like there's 30 corners back there," Burton said after taking the first few laps in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. "It never stops. You mess up one of those and you mess up all the rest." The Nextel Cup driver was here to help teams figure out the braking, shifting and gearing needed for the Busch series race March 6. Burton was chosen by NASCAR because he won't be in the race. The sanctioning body believes a Busch driver might have gained an advantage by testing.
35 Drivers Testing in Vegas 35 Drivers Testing in VegasAll 10 drivers in last year's Chase for the Nextel Cup have indicated they will visit LVMS Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 to prepare for the March 13 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. In 2004, eight of the 10 drivers who made the Chase for the Championship tested in Las Vegas. The top-10 drivers from 2004 are part of a record list of 35 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers who will attend the two-day test on the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The testing list includes Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman — two drivers who didn't test in 2004 and struggled during the race. FoxSports
Daytona Day 2: Jarrett to the fore Daytona Day 2: Jarrett to the foreCumulative results of Nextel Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway, through Wednesday afternoon:
1. Dale Jarrett, No. 88 Ford, 48.269 seconds, 186.455 mph
2. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, 48.456, 185.736
3. Randy LaJoie, No. 98 Chevrolet, 48.588, 185.231
4. Boris Said, No. 36 Chevrolet, 48.601, 185.181
5. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, 48.624, 185.094
6. Jeremy Mayfield, No. 19 Dodge, 48.656, 184.972
7. Elliott Sadler, No. 38 Ford, 48.668, 184.926
8. Mike Bliss, No. 0 Chevrolet, 48.691, 184.839
9. Kurt Busch, No. 97 Ford, 48.773, 184.528
10. Mike McLaughlin, No. 20 Chevrolet, 48.787, 184.475
11. Ricky Rudd, No. 21 Ford, 48.818, 184.358
12. Michael Waltrip, No. 15 Chevrolet, 48.865, 184.181
13. Kenny Wallace, No. 00 Chevrolet, 48.890, 184.087
14. Kyle Petty, No. 45 Dodge, 48.957, 183.835
15. Jason Leffler, No. 11 Chevrolet, 48.967, 183.797
16. Ryan Newman, No. 12 Dodge, 49.008, 183.643
17. Morgan Shepherd, No. 89 Dodge, 49.039, 183.527
18. Travis Kvapil, No. 77 Dodge, 49.074, 183.397
19. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, 49.087, 183.348
20. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet, 49.092, 183.329
21. Kyle Busch, No. 5 Chevrolet, 49.100, 183.299
22. Jamie McMurray, No. 42 Dodge, 49.156, 183.091
23. Kerry Earnhardt, No. 33 Chevrolet, 49.281, 182.626
24. Casey Mears, No. 41 Dodge, 49.399, 182.190
25. Mike Skinner, No. 23 Dodge, 49.423, 182.101
26. Jeff Fuller, No. 92 Chevrolet, 49.818, 180.658
Champ Car reject moves to NASCAR Champ Car reject moves to NASCARAfter CART (now Champ Car) yanked his drivers license because he was a moving chicane, Shigeaki Hattori moved to the IRL and immediately was on pace in the 100% throttle racing series.  Now Hattori plans to run a full season in the NASCAR Truck Series this year. Hattori will become the first full-time NASCAR driver from Japan.  Hattori will drive for Germain/Arnold Racing, which is expanding to two Toyota Tundras this year. Hattori will partner Chad Chaffin.
NASCAR FanFest starts in Daytona NASCAR FanFest starts in DaytonaThe NASCAR Preseason Thunder FanFest begins this morning at Daytona Int’l Speedway’s new FanZone infield, and the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL reports that after a $30M renovation, the infield “has taken on a whole new look.” The four FanFest days “will provide the first test of the new real estate, as well as a shakedown needed to iron any kinks before the crush of Speed Weeks next month” Daytona Beach News-Journal
Rahal Letterman Racing Partners With Menards and Johns Manville Rahal Letterman Racing Partners With Menards and Johns ManvilleRahal Letterman Racing announced today the formation of a partnership with longtime open-wheel racing proponent Menards Home Improvement Centers and with Johns Manville, a leading manufacturer of quality building materials, for the entry of Vitor Meira in a Honda-powered Panoz in the 2005 IRL IndyCar Series championship. Meira will enter his first full-season with Rahal Letterman Racing after having run 14 of 16 races for the team in 2004 en route to an eighth-place finish in the IndyCar championship.

“I am very pleased that we were able to join with John Menard, who has been a longtime supporter of open-wheel racing and an industry leader like Johns Manville for our 2005 IRL IndyCar Series effort,” said three-time IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal. “Over the years John has repeatedly demonstrated his passion for open-wheel racing, and his support and dedication to the IRL IndyCar Series since its inception is well-documented.”

"Bobby Rahal's commitment to success is also a core value of Menards, we both share the same principles in racing and in our business," said John Menard, whose Eau Claire, Wis.-based home improvement store chain totals more than 200 locations in 10 upper Midwest states. "The opportunity to partner with Rahal Letterman, Johns Manville and my friend Vitor Meira creates a program that will have success on the track and at Menards."

Meira is entering his fourth season in the IndyCar Series having run parts of the 2002 and 2003 seasons for Team Menard. Meira joined Rahal Letterman Racing in April of 2004, when the team expanded its IndyCar program to a multi-car effort. Meira posted six top-five results and 11 top-ten finishes in 14 races for Rahal Letterman. He captured the pole position at Milwaukee and twice finished second (Richmond and Kansas). At Kansas, he finished behind his teammate Buddy Rice by .0051 of a second, the second closest finish in series history. For his on-track efforts, Meira was named the 2004 IRL Rising Star and was the recipient of the Tony Renna Memorial Award.

“The opportunity to drive for Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and John Menard would be a thrill for any driver,” said Meira. “For me it represents the people who have given me the opportunity to compete in the IndyCar Series over the last few years. Last season, we were able to make great strides at Rahal Letterman and we finished in the top-ten of the championship, despite running fewer races than all the other drivers. This year, with a full off-season of testing and strong support from the team and our sponsors at Menards and Johns Manville, we have an opportunity to run for the championship and that is exactly what we are preparing to do.”

The #17 Rahal Letterman Team Menards/Johns Manville Honda/Panoz of Meira will combine with the Argent Mortgage/Pioneer cars of Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick to give Rahal Letterman Racing its first full-season three-car program. All three cars will be utilizing Firestone Firehawk tires.

Castroneves to appear at Karting Expo Castroneves to appear at Karting ExpoKart Expo™ International presented by SSC Racing, the nation’s premier kart racing show, is proud to announce that Helio Castroneves, the 2-time Indy 500 Champion will appear at Kart Expo International on Saturday, February 26. The 13th Annual international kart racing show will take place on February 26-27, at Pheasant Run Resort and Convention Center in St. Charles, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. 

Castroneves, 29, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will be signing autographs in the MG Tire display, on Saturday at the show. Castroneves started racing in karts and was Brazilian champion, then went to Formula 3, Indy Lights and raced in CART and the IRL. His two victories at Indianapolis 500 in 2001 and 2002, put him in elite company and he thrilled the crowd when he climbed the safety fence to salute the fans at the famous speedway.

“We are honored to have Helio at the show this year, which underscores the importance he places on grass roots motorsports, such as kart racing,” said Darrell Sitarz, Expo Director. “He’s a great ambassador for the sport.” Sitarz continued, “Whether 6 or 60, male or female, kart racing has something for everyone. It can be a starting point for a racing career or a wonderful activity for the whole family!”

Petersen/ White Lightning Announce 2005 Campaign Petersen/ White Lightning Announce 2005 CampaignPetersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing and Porsche Motorsports North America jointly announced today that the two-time 24 Heures du Mans champions will again defend their 2003 and '04 GT2 Le Mans titles. The Michael Petersen-owned race team will also return to compete as a factory-supported operation in 2005 at both Le Mans and in the full American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Longtime partners Petersen (Southern California) and team manager Dale White (Las Vegas, Nev.) further announced that, along with an increase in factory support for '05 and '06, the Las Vegas-based Grand Touring 2 (GT2) class team will enjoy a full complement of championship drivers for the upcoming season. Jörg Bergmeister (Langenfield, Germany) and Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.) will pilot the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR throughout the season. A third driver for the endurance races (Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the ten hour Petit Le Mans) will be announced at a later date.

Bergmeister and Long are making their returns to Petersen/ White Lightning as both drove the race winning entry at Le Mans in '04. In 2004 ALMS competition, Bergmeister won four GT2 events in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on his way to third in the final point standings. Racing the Westward Ho Casino car, the lanky German set a new track record for the class in pre-qualifying at Le Mans on his way to helping the team win the pole and the race at La Sarthe. Bergmeister has eight class wins in 27 ALMS career starts.

Long is considered a prodigy in American motorsports. While only 23, the Californian has taken the sport by storm having stepped from the high intensity world of international karting, to European formula car racing and, in 2004, fulltime in sportscar racing. After competing with the White Lightning Racing-prepared Porsche at Le Mans last season, he completed his first full season in the ALMS with six top-five GT2 finishes and sixth in the GT2 driver standings.

Industry Ndews
Brundle and Blundell form company Brundle and Blundell form companyMartin Brundle and Mark Blundell have set up a new company, 2MB Sports Management Ltd, to provide a management service for racing drivers. The two former British Formula One drivers will represent drivers within motorsport, offering a comprehensive portfolio including legal, commercial, marketing and communications services. Announcement of new signings to 2MB are expected shortly.

Martin Brundle says: "Mark approached me with this concept and I am delighted to join forces with him. Together we have a tremendous knowledge and experience of all aspects of motorsport. As team mates at Brabham, Ligier and F1-ITV we know that we work well together and have complimentary skills and outlook. Mark will lead the organization and be the first point of contact, and I will contribute as and when my experience and contacts are needed. Hopefully this is a business which will grow over the next few years"

Mark Blundell adds: "2MB will focus on young talent and we hope we will be able to promote British drivers. We will also be looking to work with drivers from around the world competing at national and international level. With the depth of experience that Martin and I share, we aim to develop the business and grow the company.”

Superfund Series trouble Superfund Series troubleThe opening round of the new-for-2005 Formula Superfund series, which was due to take place at Brno on May 1, has been cancelled. The championship, which replaces Euro F3000, will now kick off later in the year at an undisclosed venue. The new calendar is expected to be revealed next month.  Autosport Magazine
New Lola to race in USA New Lola to race in USAOne of Lola’s new B05/10 LMP2 prototypes will race full-time in this year’s ALMS. Binnie Motorsports, owned by former historic racer Bill Binnie, will run the Nicholson-McLaren-powered entry in all 10 races, starting at the Sebring 12 Hours. The US-based Briton will share the car with Briton Adam Sharpe and Canadian Bobby Julien.  Autosport Magazine
Two Champion Audis in 2005 Two Champion Audis in 2005Saying that the American Le Mans Series "affords the best chance to showcase our cars at the highest level of racing," Audi Sport North America Monday announced that Audi is expanding its prototype involvement by running two full teams for the entire ALMS 2005 season. "We are again partnering with Champion, the reigning ALMS championship operation, and will be starting our seventh year of affiliation with the American Le Mans Series," said Audi Sports North America spokesperson Rod Bymaster. "We believe the ALMS is the top level of sports car racing in the world and we will once again make a very competitive run towards the overall championship."

The announcement was made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Audi expects to finalize its driver combinations later this month. The Champion Audi stable will be participating in the first ever ALMS Winter Test at Sebring, January 31-February 3. A year ago, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner teamed to win Champion's first overall ALMS title – the first for Lehto and second consecutive for Werner -- and Pompano Beach, FL based team owner Dave Miraj.

Bymaster indicated that both Champion teams would compete at the world famous 24 Heures du Man (24 Hours of Le Mans) in mid-June in France with the goal of becoming the first American privateer team to win the prestigious event. ALMS

Bernhard and Dumas to race in USA Bernhard and Dumas to race in USAPorsche factory drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas will remain in the USA in 2005 to drive the solo works backed Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3-RSR in the American Le Mans Series. The team will also run a privately-funded car.
Webber again fastest at Jerez Webber again fastest at JerezUnder a blue sky and a temperature of around 20 degrees, the teams continued their work today at Jerez to prepare for the 2005 season.  Ferrari and McLaren joined the action today to mix with Williams, BAR, Toyota and Renault.
1. Mark Webber (Williams BMW) 1'16"505 - 72 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes) 1'16"857 - 89 laps
3. Alex Wurz (McLaren Mercedes) 1'17"185 - 99 laps
4. Franck Montagny (Renault) 1'17"464 - 135 laps
5. Jenson Button (BAR Honda) 1'17"568 - 93 laps
6. Antonio Pizzonia (Williams BMW) 1'17"691 - 63 laps
7. Anthony Davidson (BAR Honda) 1'17"705 - 124 laps
8. Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) 1'18"242 - 69 laps
9. Marc Gené (Ferrari) 1'18"255 - 35 laps
Stewart absent from Daytona testing Stewart absent from Daytona testingTony Stewart's absence was duly noted. Stewart was scheduled to test at Daytona next week, but he will be doing a Goodyear tire test at Texas instead. Stewart may not be the only star skipping Daytona 500 testing. Kevin Harvick might pass. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli said that the driver really has little to do here, so he's not worried about not having Stewart at the wheel. "We just tested Kentucky, we're going to Texas for two days of testing, then we're going to Vegas and California for more testing this month, and Tony is running in the 24 Hours here," Zipadelli said. "And Tony just ran the Chili Bowl too. So basically we're just giving him a couple of days off." Winston Salem Journal  [Editor's Note:  All the drivers will tell you that their input is meaningless at the restrictor plate tracks.  They just run 100% throttle lap after lap.  As Frank Williams said, it's entertainment.....certainly not a aspect of the sport where talent is required...a la the IRL.]
Ferrari team to visit Pope Ferrari team to visit PopeFormula One world champion Michael Schumacher and the rest of the Ferrari team will meet with the Pope at the Vatican, the German's team-mate Rubens Barrichello said on Wednesday. Brazilian Barrichello told a news conference at the team's winter retreat in the Dolomites that himself, Schumacher, team boss Jean Todt and a small delegation from the team would visit the Pope on Monday.  "It has always been my dream to meet the Pope and I am really looking forward to Monday," said Barrichello. Reuters
Industry News
Honda to focus on pickup truck Honda to focus on pickup truckHonda's U.S. sales target for 2005 is modest.  Its plan is to grow by about 60,000 vehicles, or to about 1.45 million. That would be a jump of about 4 percent. Most of those new sales would come from the new Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, which will hit U.S. showrooms in March. The Ridgeline will be Honda's first-ever stab at a pickup in the United States.  "We would like to sell 50,000 to 60,000 units of the Ridgeline as we announced. That's what I'd ultimately like to do," said Fukui, speaking Tuesday through a translator. "Other than that, I really aim for achieving the highest customer satisfaction possible."  [Editor's Note:  NASCAR here they come]
Industry News
Japanese plan to increase USA market share Japanese plan to increase USA market shareJapanese automakers are not all the same, but one thing the Japanese Big Three have in common is that they all plan to sell more cars and trucks in the United States this year than they did last year.  Again.  Toyota expects to sell at least 60,000 additional vehicles this year. Honda is looking to move 50,000 more cars and trucks. And Nissan plans to boost sales by 50,000 to 100,000 this year.  So, in a year when American consumers are expected to buy at most 100,000 more cars, pickups, minivans and SUVs than they did last year, the top Japanese automakers are planning to sell them at least 160,000 more. Detroit Free Press
Ferrari extends Badoer contract Ferrari extends Badoer contractFerrari have extended test driver Luca Badoer's contract for a further two years, keeping him at the Formula One world champions until 2006. The Italian has been with Ferrari since 1997 and the new deal brings him in line with the rest of the team, whose deals also run until next year. "I hope we continue to enjoy as much success as we have," said Badoer. He has been given the title "third driver", putting him ahead of new test driver Marc Gene in the pecking order.
NASCAR testing at Talladega NASCAR testing at TalladegaTesting will be held Tuesday and Wednesday for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Teams Including drivers Joe Ruttman, Eric McClure and Keith Segars; NASCAR Busch Series Driver Johnny Sauter and ARCA RE/MAX Series Teams Including Drivers Chad Blount, Mike Guerity, Chris Serio, Jeff Spraker, Doug Reid III, Tim Steele and Terry Jones. Talladega Superspeedway PR
Industry News
HPD moving into new digs HPD moving into new digsHonda is moving its 113-employee HPD (Honda Performance Development) unit into an all-new facility in Santa Clarita, Calif., next month where engines for its IRL team cars, and in the future, NASCAR will be built.
Renault back on track Renault back on track2005 testing got underway for Renault on Tuesday at Jerez with Franck Montagny was the team’s sole representative at the wheel of the R24. The French test driver set the third fastest time of the day behind Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld.

Continuing from work before Christmas, the team concentrated on tire development for 2005, conducting performance evaluations on new compounds and constructions on behalf of Michelin, while also pursuing the development of electronic hardware and software for 2005. Montagny also completed a set-up program in the morning.

“Franck made a very useful start to 2005 today, running a full program without any problems at all," Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk said. "We have continued our work on the 2005 specification electronics, and the tire developments we tested looked promising. Franck was happy with the car’s handling, and the lap-times seemed competitive. It was a good way to start the year.” Renault

Piquet:-the next Senna Piquet:-the next SennaNelson Piquet Jr., son of former Formula One World Champion Nelson Piquet finds himself as good as countryman and F1-legend Ayrton Senna. "If I would pay I could enter Formula One at any time. But I want to arrive in Formula One at a top team and become a successful driver. I'm not interested in buying my seat - I want to conquer it. Anyone could buy a seat at Jordan or Minardi," Nelson Piquet said. "My father speaks from the heart, but I'm more cautious in what I say. I am more like Ayrton Senna. If you know what I'm like you'll understand, I am not worried about those who don't know me. My father speaks what comes in his head. I am more cautious in this direction. I find that I look at myself as Ayrton Senna more. Who knows me knows as I am. I am not worried about who does not know me."
Team USA
Miller Looks Forward To The New Zealand Grand Prix Miller Looks Forward To The New Zealand Grand PrixTeam USA Scholarship driver Slade Miller is confident of a strong showing in this coming weekend's New Zealand Grand Prix at Teretonga Park, near Invercargill, especially after the discovery of a serious problem with his Stealth/Van Diemen following last weekend's races at Timaru.

Miller spent Monday and Tuesday at the Motorsport Solutions team's base in Christchurch, where it was discovered that his efforts at Timaru had been severely hindered by a faulty coil which left his engine drastically down on power. The problem was not evident in the streaming wet conditions on Sunday morning, when the 18-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, ran among the regular Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship front-runners en route to a promising eighth-place finish. When the track dried out for the afternoon race, however, the handicap became more apparent, resulting in both a noticeable lack of straightline speed and excessive understeer due to the reduced power being transmitted through the rear wheels.

"It was disappointing to have struggled so much at Timaru," said Miller, "but the problem with the coil was just one of those unfortunate things. It could happen to anyone at any time."

Once the cause of his troubles had been isolated -- and a fresh coil installed -- Miller was able to turn a few laps at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park on Monday evening. He then undertook a more concerted test on Tuesday, when he turned some competitive lap times.

"He ran very well. At this stage I think he just needs more laps to rebuild his confidence and get ready for the weekend," said former New Zealand Formula Ford Champion John Crawford, whose newly renamed Motorsport Solutions team has run cars successfully for a series of Team USA Scholarship drivers since 2002.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf pleased with new F1 Toy
Montoya - 'I'm fitter now'
Heidfeld hunt on course
Court found firing 'unfair'
FIA engine rule 'worked'
Record selling Ferrari
Davidson to marry 'Bond' girl
'F1 will find speed again'
F1 champ in action
Bull likely to 'seat share'
Schu not 'one man show'
Briton eyes final step to F1
Salo won't drive - Ferrari
Frank may 'flip a coin'
Little Lauda to do Champ Car
'Uncle David' not critical
'I aim to thrash Kimi'
Hard tire 'not slow' - Ralf
Carpentier's first day in Cheever car Carpentier's first day in Cheever carFormer Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier got some seat time with his new Red Bull Cheever Racing team at Sebring recently.


Jeff Gordon fastest at Daytona Jeff Gordon fastest at DaytonaTwo-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon was fastest out of the box Tuesday morning in the opening day of Nextel Cup Series testing at Daytona International Speedway, but it was Boris Said who turned the most heads.  With a smaller restrictor plate opening keeping down the overall speeds, Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet was fastest of the 26 teams at the test, with a best lap in 48.579 seconds -- an average speed of 185.265 mph.  Said, driving two different No. 36 Chevrolets, had the second- and third-fastest laps of the 48 cars that participated in the morning session.  Said's "36B" car turned a lap in 48.601 seconds, 185.181 mph. The team's new 36A car was close behind at 48.663/184.945.  The noted road racer Said plans at least a 10-race program this season in cars engineered by veteran crew chief Frank Stoddard and sponsored by Centrix Financial.

Cumulative results of Tuesday's Nextel Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway:
1. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, 48.531 seconds, 185.448 mph
2. Randy LaJoie, No. 98 Chevrolet, 48.588, 185.231
3. Boris Said, No. 36 Chevrolet, 48.601, 185.181
4. Elliott Sadler, No. 38 Ford, 48.753, 184.604
5. Jeremy Mayfield, No. 19 Dodge, 48.779, 184.506
6. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, 48.792, 184.456
7. Kurt Busch, No. 97 Ford, 48.802, 184.419
8. Michael Waltrip, No. 15 Chevrolet, 48.868, 184.170
9. Dale Jarrett, No. 88 Ford, 48.913, 184.000
10. Mike Bliss, No. 0 Chevrolet, 48.947, 183.872
11. Ricky Rudd, No. 21 Ford, 49.002, 183.666
12. Morgan Shepherd, No. 89 Dodge, 49.039, 183.527
13. Ryan Newman, No. 12 Dodge, 49.070, 183.411
14. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet, 49.092, 183.329
15. Jason Leffler, No. 11 Chevrolet, 49.097, 183.311
16. Travis Kvapil, No. 77 Dodge, 49.117, 183.236
17. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, 49.119, 183.228
18. Mike McLaughlin, No. 20 Chevrolet, 49.123, 183.214
19. Kenny Wallace, No. 00 Chevrolet, 49.137, 183.161
20. Kyle Busch, No. 5 Chevrolet, 49.182, 182.994
21. Kyle Petty, No. 45 Dodge, 49.211, 182.886
22. Kerry Earnhardt, No. 33 Chevrolet, 49.281, 182.626
23. Jamie McMurray, No. 42 Dodge, 49.332, 182.437
24. Mike Skinner, No. 23 Dodge, 49.460, 181.965
25. Casey Mears, No. 41 Dodge, 49.463, 181.954
26. Jeff Fuller, No. 92 Chevrolet, 50.361, 178.710

Industry News
Ferrari chooses Bridgestone for Superamerica car Ferrari chooses Bridgestone for Superamerica carBridgestone Corporation, parent company of Tennessee-based Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., announced today that it will supply Potenza RE050 radial tires for the Ferrari Superamerica. The company will begin delivering tires in January 2005 for factory installation on the newest Ferrari convertible. Ferrari will equip the Superamerica with Bridgestone’s Potenza RE050 tires.

The Superamerica is a brand new innovative convertible derived from the 575M Maranello that will be produced in limited edition, powered with a 12-cylinder engine and feature an innovative rotating roof in combination with electrochromic technology, which allows the driver to adjust the amount of sunlight that shines into the cockpit. The Potenza tires will be of size 255/35ZR19 on the front wheels and 305/30ZR19 on the rear wheels.

Bridgestone has adopted a non-directional, asynchronous tread pattern in the Potenza RE050 tires that will appear on the Ferrari Superamerica. Wet-weather handling is an especially important consideration in Europe. So Bridgestone’s engineers have designed the tires to provide excellent performance on both wet and dry surfaces. They have designed the inner tread to optimal wet-surface performance and the outer tread for optimal dry-surface handling.

Comfort was also a big emphasis in creating the tires, and the result combines a quiet, pleasant touring experience with superior wet and dry handling. Potenza RE050 tires similar to those destined for the Ferrari Superamerica have earned factory fitments on high-performance cars from Porsche, Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW, and Aston-Martin, as well as Ferrari.

This latest factory fitment for Bridgestone tires on a new Ferrari Superamerica marks another step in an extremely productive relationship. The legendary manufacturer of ultrahigh-performance cars has ridden Bridgestone tires to six consecutive constructors’ championships in Formula One racing. It has also installed Bridgestone tires on a series of production models, including its present flagship model, the Enzo.

Top Toyota Atlantic team leaves series Top Toyota Atlantic team leaves seriesUPDATE #2 We are told by inside sources that they will not be moving up to Champ Car, but will move elsewhere. 01/11/05 Many have asked where this team is headed.  We will try to find out what leagues they are talking to. 01/10/05 Sierra Sierra Enterprises, a leading team in the Toyota Atlantic Series, has announced it will not return to compete in the 2005 Atlantic Championship. The Sierra Sierra Atlantic program was created in 2002 with the goal of being a premier team in the open wheel ladder system in the United States; providing drivers with the skills and experience necessary to graduate to Champ Car. Sierra Sierra has taken pride in providing subsidized rides, and the professional and technical training both on and off the track, that is necessary to succeed at the highest levels of motorsport. Sierra Sierra has run up front in the Atlantic Championship since its inception, earning seven victories, 17 podiums and seven pole positions led by drivers Ryan Dalziel, Andrew Ranger, Kyle Krisiloff and Marc DeVilles. The Minden, Nevada based team is exploring options for 2005 and beyond. Sierra Sierra Enterprises
Toyota Atlantic drivers test for Rolex 24 Toyota Atlantic drivers test for Rolex 24UPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned that Alex Gurney, who finished 3rd in the '02 Atlantic championship, also turned a few laps in a Daytona prototype on the weekend, the CITGO #20 Crawford Pontiac. He is rumored to be involved with a new team that may enter the series part way through the year. 01/11/05 Joining a number of talented road racers, including several stars from the Champ Car World Series, recent graduates of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama looked strong this past weekend during testing for next month’s Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona. A total of 14 drivers with Toyota Atlantic experience tested on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend as the teams turned in their final preparations for the February 5-6 sports car race.

Two Atlantic series champions put their skills on display in testing as 2004 and 2002 Atlantic title winner Jon Fogarty competed for the California-based Flying Lizard Motorsports team while 2000 Atlantic champion and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice tested for the Krohn Racing/TRG team.

Several drivers who just missed claiming an Atlantic series championship also turned in good practice laps at Daytona. Canadian Michael Valiante, who finished as series runner-up in 2002 and earned a Champ Car ride with Walker Racing in the 2004 season finale at Mexico City, joined 1997 Atlantic silver-medalist Memo Gidley on the Ten Motorsports team. The squad will also feature one of last season’s top Atlantic rookies, Jonathan Bomarito. Another series second-place finisher - Dan Wheldon, who was runner-up to Rice during the 2000 season, also tested over the weekend.

After finishing in the top 10 in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in both 2002 and ’03, Mexico’s Luis Diaz will compete in this year’s 24-hour race and his squad actually posted the fourth-fastest time among all testing teams at Daytona with a top lap of 1:47.601.

Two Atlantic competitors from last season – Chris Dyson and Tom Nastasi - also ran over the weekend along with Joey Hand, who finished third in the race for the Atlantic championship in 2001. A pair of drivers with Atlantic experience and impressive Champ Car resumes also saw their teams record competitive lap times. Paul Tracy, the 2003 Champ Car champion, ran well along with two-time Champ Car race winner Bryan Herta. Practice for the Rolex 24 will resume at Daytona on February 3 with the race scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. Eastern Time on February 5. Toyota Atlantic

Dakar Rally
Gauloises releases Meoni statement Gauloises releases Meoni statementGauloises has released the following statement following the death of Gauloises KTM rider Fabrizio Meoni during today's eleventh stage of the Dakar Rally:

"Fabrizio Meoni died today on the Atar – Kiffa stage of the 27th Dakar Rallye following an accident at km 184.85, where it was indicated that there was a series of undulations, marked by one exclamation point (on a danger scale of one to three). From 182 km the going was announced 'becoming much faster'.  The riders had stopped 9 kilometres earlier at CP1 to fill up there fuel tanks. At 10.15 GMT David Fretigne stopped to let off Fabrizio's distress beacon. At 10.36 a medical helicopter arrived at the scene of the accident and gave cardiac massage for 45 minutes, but were unable to save his life. Born on 31/12/57, Fabrizio Meoni was without doubt the most experienced and respected rider on the rallye, and was in second position overall behind his team mate Cyril Despres. He had taken part in the event 13 times and had won in 2001 and 2002. He leaves behind him a wife Elena, a son Gioele and a daughter Chiara, aged 14 and 2 years old.  Gauloises express their sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends."

“After Fabrizio Meoni's death the KTM factory teams decided not to ride tomorrow's [Wednesday] stage to Bamako. The ASO respected their decision. They will transport the bikes by airlift to Bamako. The 12th stage is therefore cancelled for the motorcycles. The factory riders will start racing again on Thursday.”  Race organisers ASO confirmed that the stage will go ahead as normal for the cars and trucks.

Formula BMW
Team Rosberg signs Summerton Team Rosberg signs SummertonJonathan Summerton, the 2004 top American in the Formula BMW USA series and youngest driver ever to win at Indianapolis Speedway, has been selected by Team Rosberg to drive in the German Formula BMW ADAC series in 2005. Jonathan was selected after testing with the team during November at the Hockenheim and Spa tracks setting some of the fastest test times of the day. CEO of Rosberg, Arno Zensen , said, “ As a leader in Formula BMW ADAC and other series Team Rosberg require a very high standard of professionalism in addition to a driver who is capable of obtaining podiums. Jonathan has a great driving style and attitude that will allow him to work his way up the Formula ladder”.   Jonathan will commence testing with the new car in 2005 to help the team get to know him. Jonathan said, “To be selected by Team Rosberg is a great opportunity as together I feel we are capable of winning the BMW series”. Team Rosberg also has competitive cars in Formula 3 and the German DTM series.
ArcaEx re-signs with Andretti Green ArcaEx re-signs with Andretti GreenAndretti Green Racing announced today it has reached an agreement with the Archipelago ExchangeSM (ArcaEx®) to continue its role as a major sponsor on the #27 Honda-powered Dallara for the upcoming 2005 Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season.

ArcaEx, which is the first totally-open, fully-electronic stock exchange in the U.S., has backed the #27 entry, with Dario Franchitti driving, in each of the past two seasons. During that time, the ArcaEx team has enjoyed three wins, 12 top fives, 17 top 10s and sixth-place rankings in
both the final 2003 and 2004 IndyCar Series entrant point standings.

“It’s exciting to announce that ArcaEx is returning to AGR in 2005 as a major sponsor,” said Kevin Savoree, who owns the team along with partners Michael Andretti and Kim Green.   “The combination of ArcaEx, Dario and AGR resulted in two victories last season and we’re looking for even better things to come in 2005,” said Savoree. “It’s exciting, from a marketing perspective and brand campaign, to have a company as progressive as Archipelago in our stable. They have become known for their creative ways of communicating their brand and competition, and we’re excited to be a part of their marketing campaign.”

“We’re excited about the upcoming season,” said Jerry Putnam, CEO of ArcaEx. “IndyCar racing and ArcaEx share the innovation and unending focus on speed required to be competitive in racing and in trading. Sponsoring AGR is a great way for us to get our message across to traders, issuers and investors.”

ArcaEx earned its first IndyCar Series victory during the 2003 season, when Bryan Herta took the checkered flag at the Kansas Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway while filling in for the injured Franchitti.

“The relationship we have with Archipelago goes back a while and just gets better and better every year,” said Michael Andretti. “I know 2004 was a landmark year for Archipelago and it was also a pretty solid year for the ArcaEx car and for Dario, as well. But, as good as last season was, I don’t see any reason why 2005 can’t be really special for this team.”

Andretti Green Racing will field a league-high four entries in the IndyCar Series in 2005, all of which will be powered by Honda engines. During its first two years of competition, Andretti Green succeeded in winning 10 races, eight pole positions and the 2004 IndyCar Series championship. All four AGR entries finished among the top nine in the final 2004 series standings.

Office Depot to sponsor Edwards Office Depot to sponsor EdwardsBudding Star Carl Edwards Will Be "Taking Care of Business" for Office Depot on the Race Track Delray Beach, Fla., January 11, 2005 - Office Depot, (NYSE: ODP), one of the world's leading resellers of office products and services, and Roush Racing announced today that Office Depot will sponsor Roush Racing's No. 99 Office Depot Ford Taurus driven by Carl Edwards in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race season. The sponsorship comes on the heels of Office Depot's new multi-year agreement with NASCAR to become the sport's first-ever Official Office Products Partner.

Beginning with the Daytona 500 in February, Office Depot will be the primary sponsor of Roush Racing's No. 99 Office Depot Ford Taurus for a minimum of eight races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and an associate sponsor for the remaining races in the season. The Office Depot paint scheme, unveiled today during the first day of testing at Daytona International Speedway, will be featured on the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Taurus for the Daytona, Darlington, Chicago, California, Atlanta, Homestead, Texas and Bristol races.

"Office Depot is very excited about taking its relationship with NASCAR to the next level through our partnership with Roush Racing," said Chuck Rubin, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising/Marketing Officer for Office Depot. "Joining the NASCAR family and the championship Roush Racing team aligns our business with an exciting sport, a winning race team, and a talented young driver who will take care of business on the track."

"Office Depot's decision to join Roush Racing in 2005 will give NASCAR fans an opportunity to show their support for Carl Edwards and Roush Racing's No. 99 Ford Taurus in their office supply choices for their homes and offices," said Jack Roush, team owner. "All of Roush Racing is extremely excited about the future with Carl and Office Depot in the years ahead."  See AutoRacing1.com story
Seen at Daytona Seen at DaytonaThe Office Depot Team was shooting a commercial at Daytona yesterday.  Also had the chance to see the new “fishbowl” garages there.  It is an awesome concept where fans admitted to the new area at the track can watch the team work on the car.  And there is a “pass through” similar to a bank teller window where fans can get autographs but only look at their driver through a window.  Now there is physical separation between driver and fan.  In addition you can go on the roof of the structure and look down as they roll the cars out.  It’s a slick setup that an ISC official said will be the model of the future.
Rick Benjamin a welcomed addition Rick Benjamin a welcomed additionUPDATE #2 Dear AutoRacing1.com, As a huge Champ Car fan, I just want to say thanks for the great picture of the week with Emmo, Christian, and Mad Max at Daytona. With all the current and former CART/Champ Car drivers taking part in the Daytona 24, do you think some good things could happen for Champ Car here such as attracting new teams, drivers, or sponsors?  Also, as I have said before, my $20 subscription was money well spent. Now it gets even better. As a huge Champ Car fan, I am absolutely delighted with the addition of Rick Benjamin to your staff. I am certain, as I'm sure everybody is, that Rick will bring the utmost respect, dedication and knowledge to all of us. I look forward to the insight I hope he brings us in the world of Champ Car. Keep up the good work everyone. Deke Mcteer, Twin Lake, MI  Dear Deke, Having Champ Car drivers compete in the Rolex 24 race can only help get the Champ Car drivers such much needed exposure. Mark C.  01/10/05 Another writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, What a pleasant surprise to find Mr. Rick Benjamin writing a column for my favorite web site. He truly is a class guy and adds to the depth of AR1's racing coverage.  Best to you all. Dan Wilk, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 01/10/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, We sit back in the off-season waiting to hear big news from our favorite series, so we constantly check AutoRacing1.com's website to see this news. Then AutoRacing1 decides not only to tell the news but to make the first BIG NEWS STORY of the year - Rick Benjamin is writing for AutoRacing1.com! That's great for the website and those who subscribe to it. Over the years, watching racing news programs, and checking different websites has shown me that there just are not that many people of Rick's caliber. I respect his opinions very much and he's a great writer/announcer at that. Great news AutoRacing1! That's a great way to start the new year. I look forward to reading his input to your already well staffed/written website. Brian J. DeFreese.
Jerez testing: Webber fastest on Day 2 Jerez testing: Webber fastest on Day 2
Jerez F1 Testing - Day two
1 - Mark Webber (Williams) 1:16.558, (116 laps)
2 - Nick Heidfeld (Williams) 1:16.765, (86)
3 - Franck Montagny (Renault) 1:17.458, (104)
4 - Anthony Davidson (BAR) 1:18.593, (96)
5 - Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) 1:19.018, (40)
6 - Enrique Bernoldi (BAR) 1:20.178, (134)
Terry Labonte announces 2005 plans Terry Labonte announces 2005 plansNASCAR veteran Terry Labonte, who in October announced plans to drive partial schedules with Hendrick Motorsports in 2005 and 2006, today laid out his calendar for the upcoming NEXTEL Cup Series season.  "One of the things that excited me about moving to a part-time deal was being able to pick my favorite race tracks," Labonte said.  "Now, having everything finalized and being able to look at the schedule on paper, I'm even more energized and ready to go.  "I've got a great balance.  I'm visiting my ranch (in Texas), spending time with family, working with Justin (Labonte, son), and racing.  It's going to be a fun year."

Driving a Kellogg's-sponsored No. 44 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the two-time Cup Series champion will kick off the first leg of his "Shifting Gears -- Lone Star Style" tour Feb. 27 at California Speedway.  Entering his 27th year of NASCAR competition, Labonte, 48, will compete at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 3, followed by the first of two Texas Motor Speedway appearances April 17.  He will also enter a pair of races -- the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the Memorial Day-weekend 600-miler -- at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.

The June 12 event at Pocono Raceway will open the second half of the 10-race slate, prior to dates at Chicagoland Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.  Labonte's 2005 season-finale will come Nov. 6 at Texas.  Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 1994, Labonte has posted 12 of his 22 career wins -- all with Kellogg's backing -- and bested teammate Jeff Gordon by 37 points to claim the 1996 Winston Cup (now NEXTEL Cup) championship in one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history.

Yellow and red with green and white trim, the No. 44 Kellogg's Chevrolets will resemble the fleet Labonte drove to his second championship in 1996.  Hendrick Motorsports partners GMAC Financial Services and ditech.com have also secured dates as primary sponsors of the car.

Feb. 27, California Speedway
April 3, Bristol Motor Speedway
April 17, Texas Motor Speedway
May 21, Lowe's Motor Speedway*
May 29, Lowe's Motor Speedway
June 12, Pocono Raceway
July 10, Chicagoland Speedway
Aug. 7, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Oct. 9, Kansas Speedway
Nov. 6, Texas Motor Speedway
* All-star event.

Dakar Rally
Rider dies in Dakar Rally Rider dies in Dakar RallyUPDATE The Dakar Rally has claimed a second victim following the death on Monday of Jose Maria Perez and on Tuesday afternoon of the former double winner Italian motorcyclist Fabrizio Meoni.

On Tuesday morning second-placed Meoni, the winner of the Dakar in 2001 and 2002, was running with a group of other leading riders in the stage between Atar and Kiffa in Mauritania when he crashed heavily. Rival David Fretigne saw the crash and immediately triggered the Italian's distress signal. A medical helicopter was on the scene in just over 20 minutes but paramedics were unable to revive Meoni, despite attempts which lasted for 45 minutes. Meoni was 47 and known to his fans as "The African" because of his love of desert raids.

Sadly, he had previously announced that this would be his 13th and last Dakar.

Meoni is the 42nd person to die on the Dakar since the event began in 1979. Ten of these have been motorcyclists who have fallen or been hit by cars. The total includes spectators (13), journalists (6), support crews and, of course, the original rally organizer Thierry Sabine, who was killed in a helicopter accident in 1986. One truck driver in 1991 was shot by unknown assassins, another was killed by a landmine in 1995.

Meoni is the second topline Dakar rider to die in four months, three-time winner Richard Sainct having been killed in an accident in September on the Pharaohs Rally in Egypt.Grandprix.com 01/10/05 Organizers of the Dakar Rally have announced that motorbike rider José Manuel Perez has died from injuries sustained in an accident on stage seven of the event between Zouerat and Tichit on Thursday. Perez, who started the marathon stage in 118th place overall on his KTM, was treated by medical teams following the accident before being transferred to the bivouac in Zouerat where he underwent emergency surgery for a serious abdominal trauma and was then transferred to Alicante. However, Perez succumbed to his injuries in an Alicante hospital earlier today [Monday]. The Spaniard, who was competing in his fourth Dakar, was 41-years-old.
Tobacco support to come to end for F1 Tobacco support to come to end for F1Formula One, already cutting costs to fend off a financial crisis among smaller teams, will this year be forced to face the reality that the era of dependence on tobacco sponsorship is drawing to a close. The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) estimated in 2002 that tobacco companies contributed $350 million a year to motorsport and it is fair to assume Formula One took the lion's share.

From July 31, a European Union (EU) directive will outlaw all print advertising, radio advertising and event sponsorship by tobacco companies. Although other sports, such as snooker and darts, will be affected, Formula One will be by far the hardest hit. "If we lose tobacco sponsorship in Formula One there will be a rupture," Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said before last season. "People don't realize how bad it would be."

Half of the 10 teams in F1 -- Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Jordan and BAR -- were substantially backed by cigarette brands in 2004. report in December said that McLaren were going to drop title sponsors West cigarettes. The team responded that they would carry the brand on their cars when the West cigarettes. The team responded that they would carry the brand on their cars when the season opened in Australia on March 6, but the deal might not last much beyond the EU ban.  More at Sport News

New NASCAR team delayed until '06 New NASCAR team delayed until '06The DALLAS MORNING NEWS reports that the HOF Racing team owned by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach will not field a NASCAR entry until the ‘06 season.  Anticipated to debut in '05, the team was delayed after NASCAR refused to approve a primary sponsorship deal HOF had with a communications company because of conflicts with Nextel’s title sponsorship.  The team, which has a working relationship with Hendrick Motorsports, was also set back after the Hendrick plane crash in October DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Salo to test Ferrari - NO Salo to test Ferrari - NOUPDATE Various media reports published the news that Mika Salo has an option in his FIA GT contract with Maserati that offers him a one-day test with the Ferrari Formula One team. The Ferrari Formula One team is denying the news though. "There is not anything true of what has been said about this subject," a Ferrari spokesperson told F1Racing.net. "Our official test drivers are Luca Badoer and Marc Gené, who can be occasionally joined by Andrea Bertolini." 01/10/05 Mika Salo has revealed that his contract with the Maserati sportscar team includes the guarantee of a test with world champion Ferrari.  Speaking about his deal for 2005, Salo said his Maserati contract includes: “the guarantee that I'll do at least one test with a Formula 1 car per year. That was something I really wanted to put in my contract and they accepted it, so I'm very happy.”  “I've seen the testing schedule for the season and my name is put down to a number of days of testing,” added Salo in an interview with Turun Sanomat. “So I'm expecting to do a lot more running than what was initially planned.”
Industry News
Auction to aid tsunami relief efforts Auction to aid tsunami relief effortsChevrolet is supporting a unique benefit auction on eBay to assist Indian Ocean tsunami relief efforts. The ultimate racing package, including an all-access trip for two to the 2005 DAYTONA 500 along with a 2005 Chevy SSR autographed by four-time driving champion Jeff Gordon, will be available for auction on eBay beginning Jan. 10. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. The person with the highest bid will receive a 2005 Chevy SSR signed by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Penske Racing moving into their new digs Penske Racing moving into their new digsPenske Racing South is currently busy moving into its new home at 200 Penske Way in Mooresville, N.C. While many divisions of the race team have already moved, the #12 ALLTEL team looks to be completely and permanently housed in the new facility following the 2005 Daytona 500. Penske Racing PR
NASCAR VP Bolts for the NBA NASCAR VP Bolts for the NBABrett Yormark, NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing, has submitted his resignation to the sanctioning body and will soon be announced as the chief executive officer of the NBA's New Jersey Nets. Not only did Yormark develop NASCAR's New York marketing office over the last six years, he was instrumental in closing the deal that made Nextel the title sponsor of NASCAR's premier series. Yormark returns to the Nets where he began his sports marketing career as an account executive in 1998. FOX Sports
Industry News
Media training important to every driver Media training important to every driverEvery racer is looking for that magic part, the one that will put them at the front of the pack each and every time out. In reality, that part doesn’t exist, at least not at your local speed shop. In today’s media-driven motorsports world, knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it may be more important than anything you can bolt on your race car. The world is full of great drivers who never made it to the top because they couldn’t get in the passing lane in front of the camera, microphone or, perhaps most importantly, a prospective sponsor. “It’s a different world for drivers trying to break into the top echelons of racing today,” says veteran motorsports broadcaster Rick Benjamin. “Twenty years ago, if you could drive the wheels off a car, that might be enough to get you to the big leagues. It certainly made you a star at the local level. Today, speaking well and projecting yourself positively is essential if you want to be successful in racing. That’s true no matter how old you are, from the local tracks right up to the top levels of the sport.”

If anyone is an expert on driver media relations, it’s Benjamin. The Charlotte, NC broadcaster had called countless open wheel and stock car races on both radio and television for the past 20 years. When it comes to recognizing solid media skills, Benjamin’s got a unique perspective. That’s why he says media and public relations training for drivers at all levels are all but a must in today’s sponsor-driven racing world. “The escalating cost of auto racing at all levels has almost put drivers in the position of having to be a salesperson first and a racer second,” said Benjamin. “It’s easy to see why drivers at the top levels have to be quality spokespersons. They’re on television all the time and they have to justify multimillion dollar sponsorships both on and off the track. Considering a late model stock car or a sprint car can cost upwards of $100,000, drivers at the local level have also had to improve their interpersonal skills in order to network the kind of sponsorship dollars just to go racing on a weekly basis. If you want to run fast and run up front, you have to have the appropriate funding and most guys at the local level don’t have that kind of money.”

In an effort to give drivers at all levels a fighting chance in the glare of the media and corporate spotlights, Benjamin’s Visioncast company started a Media Training program a couple of years ago. The program, which is facilitated in conjunction with Close Finishes, features classroom and live camera sessions, and has been used by several top NASCAR drivers including Jimmy Johnson and Jeremy Mayfield. According to Benjamin, the one-day program is beneficial to almost any racer. “We use the morning classroom session to give the participants an overview of the different kinds of media, how they work and what to watch out for,” stated Benjamin, who this year will call everything from Champ Car racing internationally to Modifieds on the Syracuse Mile. “We talk about key themes and how to get your point across. There’s also emphasis on working with adversarial media and dealing with stressful race-related situations. “In the afternoon session, we put the participants in interview situations in front of the camera so they can get comfortable with the process,” Benjamin continued. “Just being comfortable in front of the camera, having the correct body language as well as knowing what to say and when, is a big advantage. That’s not only true in working with the media, but also very critical when you’re standing in front of potential sponsor who has the financial ability to take your racing efforts to the next level.”

While Benjamin’s clients have included top stars the likes of Johnson and Mayfield, recent classes have been populated by a number of “Young Guns” and aspiring racers hoping to quickly advance through the ranks. “Sanctioning bodies like NASCAR are definitely aiming for the coveted 18-34 year old demographic,” said Benjamin. “Those are the people buying tickets, souvenirs and sponsor-related products and that’s why we’re seeing so many ‘ Young Guns’ - drivers in their early 20s – getting great rides. One of the first things these young drivers are recognizing on their way up is they need to work well with the media and be able to sell the sponsor’s product. We’re getting a lot of inquiries from young drivers about taking our media training classes. They view media training like going to a driving school – it’s something they have to learn if they want to get to the top. “We just completed a Media Training class for Mike Mason, a 17-year-old California driver who has his sights set on the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series this year and NASCAR Busch Series ride by the time he’s 20,” Benjamin continued. “

That kind of stuff – a 20-year-old driver in Busch - was unheard of 10 years ago. Now, young drivers are the norm at the top levels of NASCAR and open wheel racing. Driving talent might initially get them noticed, but being able to sell themselves to the media and potential sponsors is going to get them the ride.” And what about Media and Sponsor Training for drivers who will never get to the big leagues? According to Benjamin, it’s still a worthwhile exercise.

“There’s a great line from the movie The Right Stuff where the astronauts tell the NASA officials ‘No Bucks, No Buck Rogers,’” said Benjamin. “It’s like that at all levels of racing. If you want to go fast and win races, you have to have the right financial backing. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a Street Stock or a Nextel Cup car. Being able to present yourself well is key to getting the right funding. With it, you can win races and maybe advance your career. Without it, you’re just driving in circles.” For more information on Media and Sponsor Training, please contact Rick Benjamin at rickben@earthlink.net

Other Racing
JN track days usher in Hawaii race season JN track days usher in Hawaii race seasonAlong with the traditional detonation of fireworks which engulf Oahu every New Year’s Eve, the ever-growing list of performance car owners on the island have JN Automotive Group’s annual Track Days event with which to kick off the new calendar year. The sixth installation of this customer driving experience, held over four days at Hawaii Raceway Park this past weekend, brought back sportscar aces Doc Bundy and Michael Galati as instructors, plus several new faces, helping participants learn more about driving their beloved Chevrolet, Mazda, Audi, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Lotus vehicles. More.....
Ryan Sharp signs with DPR Ryan Sharp signs with DPRTalented young Briton, Ryan Sharp, will be spearheading David Price Racing's 2005 attack on the newly formed GP2 Championship.  The 25-year-old driver, who hails from Aberdeen and who was runner-up in a closely contested 2004 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup series, is the first of DPR' s driver line up to be announced.

David Price explained why he was so delighted to obtain Sharp's services. "We had our eye on Ryan all last year and could see then what great potential he has. I was very keen to have a British driver in the team and Andy [Miller] is, of course, well versed in bringing through young Scottish drivers to bigger and better things from his many years with the Stewarts!

"As well as having the obvious on-track talent, I was very impressed with Ryan's manner and acumen in the commercial areas of the business. He will, I'm sure, be as much at ease standing up in front of guests and sponsors as he will be behind the wheel."

As with many of his famous Scottish motorsport colleagues, such as Coulthard, Franchitti and McNish, Sharp began in karting and was a multiple Champion before moving onto single seaters in 1999. In the short time since then, he has gone on to win the 2003 German Formula Renault Championship before graduating very successfully to the V6 Eurocup, both years with the Swiss based Jenzer Motorsport.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 team sale 'complete'
Salo set for F1 return
2005 Sauber is 'brand new'
Nick quick in New Year action
F1 in 'complete turmoil'?
McLaren in title sponsor blow
Schu's set for F1 return
Toyota to deliver Jordan V10
Toyota's early debut drawback
'Driver's head is top weapon'
Sepang F1 given green light
JV to race in ski marathon
Silverstone 'Academy'
'A1' set for Asian pledge
'There's pressure' on Mike
New F1 quali to go ahead
Jordan to sign pay driver
'Follow our example' - Toyota
Toyota V8 design 'finalized'
Toyota 'will win' - Trulli
Industry News
2005 Race Schedules 2005 Race SchedulesExcept for Champ Car, which still has not finalized their 2005 schedule, we have updated our 2005 Race Schedule Pages:
Main Schedule Page
Composite 2005 Schedules
2005 Detailed Champ Car Race Schedule
2005 Detailed F1 Race Schedule
2005 Detailed NASCAR Race Schedule
2005 Detailed IRL Race Schedule
Industry News
Chevy officially unveils 2006 C6 Z06 Chevy officially unveils 2006 C6 Z06We have updated our article on the 2006 Chevy Corvette C6 Z06 that was officially unveiled at this week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  The article now includes many more photos of the new car.
NASCAR tidbits NASCAR tidbitsEd Young, who was the shop foreman for Matt Kenseth's No. 17 team, has left Roush Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing. Justin Nottestad, who also is Kenseth's front tire changer, will take over Young's duties. ... Teams aren't thrilled with the new 4-and-10 rule for testing. The four refers to the driver, crew chief, car chief and owner, and 10 is the number of additional workers allowed to attend a test. In the past, teams took a variety of specialists, such as the lead engineer, engine builder or technical director, to gather data at tests. NASCAR has told teams that the change will allow them to save money, but there are other considerations. Some organizations had used tests to reward sponsors and court potential sponsors, but that won't be possible now. FoxSports
Historian passes away Historian passes awayPhil Harms, who was responsible almost single-handedly for building up the database of historical results of Champ Car/Indy Car racing going back before the existence of CART and the existence of USAC - all the way into the AAA era, has passed away.
Frank Williams mocks NASCAR Frank Williams mocks NASCARFrank Williams was asked about Jeff Gordon being considered for the second Williams F1 seat in 2005. Williams admitted that Gordon was given serious consideration after impressing the Williams engineers two years ago in a test at Indy. Williams said on SPEED News Sunday, "We both realized it was too late in his career to switch from being a great NASCAR 'entertainer' to being a top-level F1 driver." In essence Williams was calling NASCAR a 'show' for entertainment and that there is a big difference between entertainers and real race car drivers.
Dodge unveils NASCAR Mack Truck Dodge unveils NASCAR Mack TruckIf you ever hear NASCAR called stock car racing again just yell "FARCE"!   Have a look at the new 2006 Dodge Charger.  Look at that blunt nose.  Image how much horsepower it will take to plow that baby through the wind.  Have no fear, NASCAR is here.  Wait until you see the bastardized nose that NASCAR allows the Dodges to run.  Like we said.....all the cars are the same, just change the headlight decals and call the car a Ford one week, a Chevy the next and a Dodge after that.  Why not just call NASCAR IROC-II (which it really is) and give the NASCAR fans a little credit for some intelligence.

(L) The all-new 2006 Dodge Charger is unveiled from underneath a Dodge Charger race car 'mask' at the NAIAS.  (C) Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and CEO, Richard Petty, NASCAR's racing king and owner of Petty Enterprises, and Kasey Kahne, NASCAR's Nextel Cup "Rookie of the Year," pose with the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger.  Under their breath Petty and Kahne are probably whispering, "Oh shit, look at that Mack Truck front nose."  The new Dodge Charger race car will make its NASACAR Nextel Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 20, 2005.

Ten Motorsports’ success carries through the weekend Ten Motorsports’ success carries through the weekendThe weekend of testing finished on an equally high-note for the Ten Motorsports team. In the early going of the first test day the BMW-Riley Daytona Prototype suffered a minor setback due to an infield incident that damaged the car’s front-end. Prior to the incident, Michael McDowell’s 1:50.862 was sixth-fastest. That trend continued through the remaining sessions of the weekend, culminating in the team’s best finish – and second-best lap time – in the final session on Sunday.  The recently formed Ten Motorsports team that will make its Rolex Sports Car Series debut at Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 next month had their coming out party at the same facility this weekend. The testing at Daytona was the first opportunity to truly showcase the team’s talent, as the only other public test came just days after receiving their Daytona Prototype at the Hoosier Tire Test.   Steve Cameron, team manager, was optimistic about the results from the weekend. “Only time will tell how we will perform over the long-run, but without a doubt we proved we can be one of the fastest teams on the track and that’s a big key to success,” he said.  The team’s driver line-up of McDowell, Memo Gidley, Michael Valiante and Jonathan Bomarito all had significant seat time throughout the test in order to become more comfortable with the Prototype. Gidley is the only one to have raced in a car with an enclosed cockpit and fenders in the US Air Force Reserve’s Ford Focus SPEED World Challenge entry. McDowell last year was the Star Mazda Champion, while Valiante competed in the Champ Car World Series and Bomarito raced in the Toyota Atlantic Championship.
Industry News
Milwaukee Mile season tickets on sale Milwaukee Mile season tickets on saleA mixture of championship stock car racing and open wheel racing events highlight the 2005 racing season at The Milwaukee Mile.  Season tickets to four exciting race weekends at America’s Legendary Oval go on sale this Monday, January 17th at 9:00am CST by calling The Milwaukee Mile ticket office at (414) 453-8277.   Full season packages start at $99.

“When we introduced season tickets to our fans one year ago, it was well received.  We’re confident with additional NASCAR and USAC events, we’ve developed packages for our fans to enjoy their favorite racing action at very affordable prices,” stated Mark Perrone, Vice President / General Manager of The Milwaukee Mile.

Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser and the open wheel stars of the Champ Car World Series kick off the season June 3 & 4.  In addition to the challenging Toyota Atlantic Championship series, the accomplished stock car drivers of the ARCA RE/MAX Series, led by defending champion Frank Kimmel, have been added to the weekend schedule.   Both the Champ Car and ARCA main events will be run on Saturday afternoon June 4th, in a shift back to daytime events.

The popular NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series weekend will feature the only night races this season at The Milwaukee Mile, on Friday June 24 and Saturday June 25, respectively.

The Indy Racing League IndyCar Series will make their triumphant return the weekend of July 22, 23 and 24.  The stars of the Indianapolis 500 will be accompanied by the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series, the thrilling USAC Silver Crown Series and daring drivers of the USAC National Midget Series.

The fourth weekend of racing to be included in the season ticket package is August 26, 27 and 28.  For the first time since 2001, the NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Midwest Series competitors will race on Sunday afternoon.  Joining the line-up is the ultra-fast USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series and over 170 grass-roots Midwest stock car racers competing in Governor’s Cup events.

Annual statements have been produced and are being mailed to all current ticket subscribers, ensuring them the first opportunity to renew their tickets and to take advantage of season ticket packages.   Two partial season ticket packages will again be available.  Pricing starts at $49.

Open wheel race enthusiasts have an option to witness all of the country’s best open wheel competitors on all 5 days of racing in the Open Wheel Package, encompassing every day of the Champ Car and IRL IndyCar weekends.

The NASCAR Package includes the NASCAR Busch Series race, the Friday night NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, and tickets to all three days of the August 26-28 NASCAR Midwest - USAC Sprint Car Series - Governor’s Cup stock car race weekend.

With the growth and popularity of the NASCAR Busch Series event at The Milwaukee Mile, and the tough ticket it has become, the only way to obtain a race ticket in the 300- and 400-level seating in the new grandstands will be through the purchase of a NASCAR or Full Season package, and are subject to availability.

For ticket information, contact The Milwaukee Mile Ticket Office at (414) 453-8277.  For the latest information on The Milwaukee Mile, and to view ticket packages and pricing beginning Friday, January 14, visit www.milwaukeemile.com.

The Milwaukee Mile - 2005 Schedule
June 3-4
Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford
Toyota Atlantic Championship
NASCAR Busch Series
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
July 22-24
IRL IndyCar Series
IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series
USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series
USAC National Midget Series
August 26-28
NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Midwest Series
USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series
Governor’s Cup Stock Car Races

Jordan expects arrival of new engines Jordan expects arrival of new enginesAccording to reports by Reuters the first batch of Toyota engines is due at the Jordan F1 team sometime this week.  Toyota's engine guru, Luca Marmorini is hopeful that the relationship will prove beneficial, both for Jordan and Toyota - although he admits it has been a big challenge.

"The decision to supply Jordan was made a little bit late for us," he told Reuters, "so that means it is a big amount of work with a lot of uncertainties.  I think it will be a struggle for them and for us.  We started in the middle of November needing to be ready in Melbourne with a car.  So if we go there and the performance is good, it will be a fantastic technical result for our group and Eddie.  I am sure that the car will be ready for the first race. Then we hope that it will be ready in the right way and can also be a fast car and also that we can do enough tests to get the best out of the engine.  I feel a big responsibility to give them what they are expecting."

Jordan plan to start running with the Toyota power EJ15 in February.

Ferrari opens testing at Vallelunga Ferrari opens testing at VallelungaFirst day of testing of 2005 for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Vallelunga, just outside Rome, was chosen as the venue for the initial outing of the year and Luca Badoer was the first of the Scuderia’s official drivers to jump into the car. The Italian driver’s program focused on development of Bridgestone tires and new electronic solutions. Badoer completed a total of 80 laps, the quickest in a time of 58''454. Luca Badoer continues testing at this circuit tomorrow.
Industry News
BMW’s USA sales up big in 2004 BMW’s USA sales up big in 2004The BMW Group has achieved a clear growth in volume sales in 2004 with an increase of 9.4%. World-wide, 1,208,724 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce cars were delivered to customers (prev.yr.: 1,104,916). The BMW brand passed the million mark for the first time in the company's history, with 1,023,575 automobiles sold. This is an increase of 10.3% compared with the previous year (928,151). [Editor's Note:  We wonder if this is as a result of that survey that showed BMW car owners had sex more often and buyers trading in their cars for new Bimmers?]
Newman talks about upcoming tests Newman talks about upcoming tests
Newman on adjusting to the all-new Dodge Charger: "Anytime the body style changes on a race car, it's big. We just concentrate on how we can make it the fastest car on the track. We take the changes in stride and work with the car to prepare it for both qualifying and racing.  As a team, we're looking forward to the test session at Daytona. We're anxious to get a firm grasp of the Charger. I'm sure that this session will teach us a lot leading into the next few weeks of testing and the 2005 season."

Newman on the new qualifying format: "While the rules may have changed, the playing field is still the same. We won poles while everyone was in qualifying trim, and we'll win poles when everyone is in race trim. Collectively, our goal is to be the fastest car every time we're on the track. That won't change with this rule."

Newman on championship picks: "We're not really disappointed that we weren't picked to win the championship this year. We were in 2004, and that was a lot of pressure on the team. Picks are just picks. They don't guarantee you anything. Maybe we'll prove them wrong again this year."

Champ Car stars on track at Daytona Champ Car stars on track at DaytonaCurrent and former stars of the Champ Car World Series were on track this weekend at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.    Three series champions headline the list of stars that drove during the three-day test session for the 24-hour endurance race. Sebastien Bourdais (’04), Paul Tracy (’03) and Emerson Fittipaldi (’89) all lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course and were joined by former Champ Car driver Christian Fittipaldi and team owner Paul Newman.

Bourdais is teamed with his car owner Paul Newman for the event in the Newman Racing entry.  The team was able to turn in a best time of 1:52.237 seconds but also ran into some difficulty on the weekend when Newman spun in Turn 2.  He did not make contact with any of the barriers but the car did catch on fire when he attempted to restart it.  Newman was unhurt as the fire was contained in the engine compartment and did not reach the cockpit.  “I don’t know what happened,” said Newman. “I’m fine; it just caught on fire somehow.” 

Bourdais spent Saturday getting used to the differences between his Champ Car and the sports car he will be driving next month.  “The car is really different,” said the 2004 series champion. “It has very little mechanical grip and the car is sliding around.  I am really looking forward to racing with Paul, (Newman) he’s a great owner and now I’m learning that he is just as good as a teammate,”

The Bell Motorsports team including Paul Tracy and Christian Fittipaldi are looking to repeat as the overall race winners.  The drivers wheeled the Bell Motorsports machine to a best time of 1:49.183 seconds and were consistently among the top-ten in each of the eight practice sessions.  Also taking a turn behind the wheel was 1989 Champ Car World Series champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who has not been in a race car since his final Champ Car race in 1996. 

“I wanted to go back in an official practice like today with a lot of cars to see how it would feel on a race day,” said Fittipaldi.  “It felt great! There were a lot of people passing me, and I was very careful of people overtaking me. But then I started passing some people and started having fun again.”

Also getting some track time was Guy Smith who started seven races for the Rocketsports Racing team last season.  Smith is a noted endurance racer whose resume includes a win in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.  The field for the Rolex 24 at Daytona is littered with Champ Car experience as more than 15 drivers who have made a start in the series are scheduled to drive in the historic sports car race.  Practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins on February 3 with the race starting at noon on February 5 and ending at noon on February 6. Champ Car

Heidfeld nips Webber in Jerez Heidfeld nips Webber in JerezGerman Nick Heidfeld showed he wants to beat Antonio Pizzonia for the 2nd Williams seats by topping the highly respected Mark Webber on opening day of testing at Jerez, Spain.  Speaking to autosport.com at the end of the day, Quick Nick Heidfeld declared himself happy with his day's performance.

“I was doing some long runs, putting mileage on the engine and gearbox,” he said. “The car is getting very reliable now. In the afternoon I stopped for a short while because we had to change some components on the car and later in the afternoon I went off the track and put some dirt on the circuit which brought out the red flags, but there was no damage to the car.”

“I was thinking about this year throughout the Christmas period, but I wasn't nervous at all,” he said. “I have been in a similar situation before a couple of times, but it is good that I will get some more chances with the team and I know that I have got the same number of test days as Antonio, so we will see. But yes, I am confident.”

The activities resume tomorrow, when Ferrari, Renault and Toyota are expected to join the frame in Spain.
Monday Times
1, Nick Heidfeld (Williams) 1m17.457s, 91 laps
2, Mark Webber (Williams) 1m17.583s, 90 laps
3, Anthony Davidson (BAR) 1m18.202s, 75 laps
4, Enrique Bernoldi (BAR), 1m19.255s, 89 laps

Industry News
Silverstone Owners Launch Academy Silverstone Owners Launch AcademyThe Silverstone Motorsport Academy has set out to become “Europe’s centre of excellence for racing driver development” and intends to set new drivers on the road towards grand prix racing. The Academy, which is a development of Silverstone’s racing school, will offer training to rookie drivers as well as a championship for them to find their feet in the racing world.

Academy manager Ken Bowles said: ”Silverstone Racing School gave us a fantastic foundation on which to build, grow and improve the range of motorsport driver development programs available at Silverstone – the home of British motor racing. The launch of the Silverstone Motorsport Academy marks a significant step for all of us involved in this program. Anyone who knows us understands how motivated we are to provide excellence in driver development at all levels in the sport. Silverstone Motorsport Academy provides something unique and crucial in the sport and we will relish the challenge of developing and growing this part of the Silverstone operation.”

The BRDC has been able to commit to ambitious plans for Silverstone since securing a long-term deal to host the British Grand Prix.

Industry News
Disney track going nowhere fast Disney track going nowhere fastFive years ago this month, the checkered flag fell for winner Robbie Buhl at the Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway.  The race was over, but so was racing at the track, though no one knew it at the time.

In June of 2000, the Indy Racing League announced that it would not return to the track that it built on Disney property, carved out of a piece of the Magic Kingdom parking lot. The problem: Disney and the Indy Racing League couldn't agree on a suitable race date. Disney wanted to continue with the January race because this is a relatively quiet time at the park, and the point of the race was to fill up hotel rooms.

The Indy Racing League teams found the January date unworkable. The regular IRL season ends in October and doesn't start again until March, and having to gear up for one race midway through the off-season was an expensive distraction. Some teams didn't have next season's cars ready, and had to run leftovers from the previous year.

It was the same thing with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series, which made a few visits to the track. Everyone wanted to race in Orlando, but not in January.  A shame, says Eddie Cheever, former IRL driver and current team owner, and winner of the 1998 Indianapolis 500. "It's a great track," Cheever says. "Of course, I'm biased -- I live in Orlando, and I won two races at the track, and should have won three." Cheever won in 1997, beating future NASCAR champ Tony Stewart, and again in 1999. He was leading on lap 199 of the 200-lap race in 2000 when modified driver Doug Didero, a rookie in the IRL and several laps behind, blocked Cheever long enough for Buhl to squeeze by.

Disney World Speedway -- nicknamed the "Mickyard," after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's "Brickyard" -- was completed in just 10 months at a bargain-basement cost of $6 million. It was dedicated in November 1995, with an appearance by Cheever, former Indy 500 champ Arie Luyendyk and several other drivers. The one-mile oval track is a "trioval," like the bigger Daytona International Speedway -- rather than a simple oval, a trioval is more of a streamlined triangle.  Disney and the IRL saved money by erecting temporary aluminum grandstands holding 51,072 fans, rather than building permanent seating, and by eliminating a tunnel that would allow for infield access during a race. A narrow, one-vehicle tunnel was added after that first IRL race.

Despite the cost-cutting, the track itself is a gem -- a very smooth, very challenging circuit. The one-mile length -- the same as Phoenix International Raceway, Dover International Speedway, North Carolina Speedway, New Hampshire International Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway -- allows for ample speed, but up-close action.

That seems unlikely. Although the track and infield are in near-perfect shape, those temporary grandstands are gone, apparently for good. The IRL already is racing twice in Florida this year -- March 6 at the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and April 3 on the street course in St. Petersburg, the first ever non-oval race for the IRL. The NASCAR Craftsman truck series opens its season at Daytona, ends it at Homestead. Few series are looking for more places to race in Florida.

But the fact that Disney has invested in upgrading the Richard Petty Driving Experience facilities suggests that the track, at least, will be around for a while.  That's a good thing. But a racetrack with no racing -- well, it's a little sad.  Excerpts from Orlando Sentinel

BAR selects MTS BAR selects MTSMTS Systems Corporation  today announced that the B A R Honda Formula 1 team has selected the Company to provide rolling road and model motion systems for the new B A R Honda wind tunnel to be built at the team's headquarters located in Brackley, U.K.

"The high accuracy and repeatability of MTS' model motion system coupled with the ability to run the rolling road system at very high speeds in the wind tunnel with both model scale and full scale cars are key to B A R Honda meeting its competitive objectives over the coming racing seasons," said Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director at B A R Honda. "The systems supplied by MTS will provide us with greater, more accurate aerodynamic information and insight, and give us the tools necessary to allow us to realize our goal of winning the Formula 1 World Championship," Willis said.

"Wind tunnel applications of rolling road and model motion systems are fast becoming key components in the development of high performance vehicles -- both racing and passenger cars. We are pleased that B A R Honda has chosen MTS for these state-of-the-art testing systems," said Sidney W. Emery, Jr., MTS Chairman and CEO. "This selection continues to support our objective of being the leading supplier of testing solutions to enhance new product development worldwide," Emery said.

Industry News
Ford will meet goals Ford will meet goalsFord Motor Co. will reach the goals for pre-tax profits it established three years ago during a serious financial crisis, top executives said Sunday, despite continuing problems with the money-losing Jaguar brand.  "We are well on track to deliver our commitments," Chairman Bill Ford told a group of automotive industry journalists on the first day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  In the midst of losing $6.4 billion in 2001 and 2002, the company crafted a major cost-cutting plan to close plants and quickly introduce exciting new models. Ford executives pledged they would return the automaker to profitability and set a long-term goal of earning $7 billion before taxes in 2006.
Charter NASCAR Sponsorship to Include Nextel Cup and Busch Series Charter NASCAR Sponsorship to Include Nextel Cup and Busch SeriesCharter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today announced an expansion of its NASCAR profile for the 2005 season with sponsorships in both the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series. Charter will once again sponsor a full Busch Series slate with the No. 60 Charter Ford Taurus. The Company will also serve as an associate sponsor for the No.16 National Guard car in Nextel Cup Series races. Both sponsorships are in affiliation with Roush Racing, the team that's been home to the Nextel Cup Series Champion for the last two seasons.

"We're excited about renewing our partnership with Roush and once again being a part of NASCAR," said Carl Vogel, Charter President and Chief Executive Officer. "In so many of the markets Charter serves, NASCAR is the premier sporting event. It provides a vehicle that appeals to our customers and potential customers, fits well with our business partners and is fun for our employees."
As an associate sponsor for the No.16 National Guard Ford, to be driven again by Greg Biffle, Charter will have its logo prominently featured on the car and on driver and crew uniforms throughout the season. For a handful of races in key Charter markets, the No. 16 will feature a dedicated Charter paint scheme as Biffle looks to build on a successful 2004 campaign, in which he won two Nextel Cup Series races and became the first NASCAR driver to ever race full seasons in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in the same year. "We plan on maximizing our NASCAR investment," said Vogel. "NASCAR was a winner for us last year and with what we've learned, we plan on our sponsorship paying even bigger dividends in 2005."

With Biffle cutting back on his Busch Series schedule in 2005, relative newcomer Carl Edwards will drive the No. 60 Charter Ford Taurus. In 2004 Edwards finished fourth in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings and took home five top-10 finishes in his 13 Nextel Cup starts, including a third-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Industry News
Toyota sees slower 2005 Toyota sees slower 2005Toyota Motor Corp.'s top American sales executives expect the automaker's U.S. sales to continue growing this year, but at a much slower rate than in 2004.  Jim Press, executive vice president of Toyota's U.S. sales operations and a managing officer of the corporate parent, said he expects total U.S. sales to rise to 17 million cars and light trucks, a 0.6 percent increase from 2004.  He predicted a 3-percent gain for combined sales of Toyota, Lexus and Scion brand vehicles, saying the company wants to maintain its "slow and steady" growth.   That would be quite a slowdown from last year, when Toyota sales grew by 10 percent to 2.06 million.  About half of last year's nearly 200,000-vehicle increase came from the national rollout of the youth-oriented Scion brand.
A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP to help Tsunami victims A1 GP to help Tsunami victimsThe A1 Grand Prix car will run at the Dubai Autodrome on 26th and 27th January, in a two-day testing and display program organized by A1 Grand Prix President, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum and sponsored by IMGG (Ilyas Mustafa Galadari Group).  The test will be open to the public at an entrance price of AED 20 (approximately £4.00), with all ticket proceeds from the two days going to the International Tsunami Relief Fund.  Sheikh Maktoum has been keen to run the car again in the Middle East and particularly his native Dubai, to allow its people the opportunity to see and enjoy the car in its latest form. They have not seen the car run since March 2004, when it appeared in a street demonstration run in an early development stage of the car's life.  Sheikh Maktoum said, "It is great to be able to bring the project back to the Middle East and my home country of Dubai to show the commitment A1 Grand Prix has of  increasing awareness of motorsport, and in particular A1 Grand Prix in the developing world".  Sheikh Maktoum was also generous in his praise of the companies whose sponsorship of the event has made this possible, who include IMGG (Ilyas Mustafa Galadari Group), The Media Factory and Dubai Autodrome.  A1 Grand Prix will also be appearing at the Autosport International Exhibition at Birmingham's NEC in the UK this week from 13th - 16th January 2005. Sheikh Maktoum himself will be in attendance at the show, where the latest developments of the new series will be announced. The A1 Grand Prix car will be one of the star attractions in the Live Action Arena, where the public will be able to see the car run for the first time in the UK.  The attendance at the show  follows the beginning of a global marketing campaign in January for which A1 Grand Prix has produced nearly half a million DVD's. The distribution of these DVD's is being rolled out globally during January and February and will be appearing on publications such as F1 Racing, BusinessF1 and Sport Business.
New Corvette C6-R debuts today in Detroit New Corvette C6-R debuts today in DetroitThe brand-new Corvette C6-R race car will debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2005 after a full year of rigorous testing and development. The two-car, factory-backed Chevrolet sports car program will compete in the production-based GT1 class (formerly GTS) of American Le Mans Series as well as the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, a race where the Corvette has won its class for three out of the past four years. The new race car is the most technically advanced sports car ever developed by General Motors, culling years of experience from the dominant Corvette C5-R as well as the advancements brought forth from the next-generation Corvette C6 and Z06 production models.

“The Corvette C6-R is the best sports car we’ve ever built and it has been our privilege to develop it alongside the new Corvette Z06,” said Harry Turner , GM’s group manager for road racing. “History will remember the C5-R as one of the best sports racing cars of all-time and we’ve set the bar high for the C6-R. With the new C6 chassis and body structure as our starting point, we’re already ahead. We left no stone unturned in the development of this new car and we are looking forward to racing it in front of the world in 2005.”

Like the C5-R before it, the Corvette C6-R starts from production roots: the same hydroformed frame rails that roll down the assembly line at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green , Kentucky are sourced for the structure of the race car. With the new C6 production model measuring shorter in overall length (but with a longer wheelbase), race car engineers faced a new set of numbers in which to achieve their goals to make the car faster on the 180-mph Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans and other high-speed circuits.

“At first glance, the shortened front and rear overhangs on the C6 would seem to present a challenge in developing a racecar with maximum aerodynamic downforce,” said Steve Wesoloski , program engineering manager for Corvette Racing. “However, the low drag features on the C6, such as the sleek body and flush headlamps, lend themselves to an easy task of converting the production design into a low-drag race car.”

Adding a rear wing and a front splitter enabled the team to develop a package that achieves a lift-to-drag ratio better than that of the C5-R. Through a combination of Computational Fluid Dynamic studies and on-track testing, the end result will be an aerodynamically balanced package, tunable to the low drag demands of Le Mans or the high downforce requirements of Mosport.

The phrase “technology transfer” has never been more appropriate than when used to describe the matched set of Corvette C6-R and Corvette Z06. Lessons learned on the track have benefited the Z06, just as GM’s vast resources have enriched the C6-R race car. Both cars are powered by 7-liter small-block V-8 engines with dry-sump lubrication systems, CNC-ported cylinder heads, titanium valves and connecting rods, forged steel crankshafts, and plate-honed cylinder bores. While the components and specifications of the street and competition engines are tailored to their specific environments, the thought process behind them is identical.

The same six drivers that piloted the C5-Rs to an historical undefeated season in 2004 will return to the track in 2005: Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Max Papis will drive the #3 Corvette C6-R and Oliver Gavin , Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen will drive the #4 Corvette C6-R.

Industry News
Toyota and GM to duke it out Toyota and GM to duke it outToyota is doing very well around the world. It is doing so well in the United States, for example, that it is now battling Ford to become the world's second largest automobile manufacturer and the aim is catch and pass General Motors. Toyota boss Fujio Cho has set Toyota the goal of taking a 15% share of the global market within the next 10 years, while GM has seen its share drop to 14.5% in 2004.  The Americans are obviously worried because at the North American International Auto Show GM boss Rick Wagoner told reporters that "We have been ahead for 73 years in a row, and I think the betting odds are we'll be ahead for the next 73 years." Grandprix.com
Toyota satisfied with health of F1 Toyota satisfied with health of F1Despite ongoing battles over testing restrictions, cost cutting measures and rules changes, Formula One is in good shape says Toyota Motorsport President John Howett.

"Toyota does a lot of studies of the market and what's happening with Formula One and our information really shows that Formula One is still fighting with football and athletics to be the number one sport worldwide," Howett said at the launch of the TF105 on Saturday. "It is growing on a global basis at around five percent per year. So there is still a lot to be proud of and excited about around Formula One."

"I think also on the political side, if I can use that term, there's a clear intention among many teams to find constructive solutions towards items like competing in the British and French Grand Prix and also in terms of reducing costs and testing, so I think that sometimes we denigrate ourselves. Instead we should see that our cup is more than half full. We just need to keep working to make the other half positive."

Howett believes that the move to a formula where the race engine must last for two race weekends, almost 1500km, is a step in the right direction. "It is clear that in terms of variable costs we save money. That's why we are able to supply a second team. And there are other alternatives. If we can get the testing reduction in place, that will take fixed cost out of our business and put more value where the customer sees it – on the track at race weekends."

Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli test the new TF105 this week in Jerez starting on Tuesday, while Ricardo Zonta will put some miles on the development TF104B. Toyota

Gidley and Ten Motorsports impress in test Gidley and Ten Motorsports impress in testMemo Gidley ended the last Grand Am Daytona Prototype practice session in second place, a mere 2/10's of a second behind Scott Pruett to compete a stunning three day run for the rookie Ten Motorsports Team. The number 19 Air Force Reserve BMW powered Riley never finished outside of the top five in all nine sessions over the three test days for next month's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. A total of 74 cars took part in the test.

"Like everyone, we had our ups and downs but the team always rose to the occasion and we found our way to the front in every session. I couldn't be more pleased and really look forward to joining Michael, Michael and Jonathan in next my second Daytona 24 Hours next month. With all the superstar drivers from NASCAR, The IRL, Champ Car and Grand-Am joining some of the best known drivers around...we didn't attract all that much attention upon our arrival. I certainly think we didn't leave here unnoticed. Rob Finlay and the Cameron brothers have put together an exceptional team and I believe we have a very good shot at bringing the Air Force Reserve #19 home on the podium a few weeks from now. It's going to be a great race and season" said Gidley.

The team took delivery of the car at Homestead last month and turned their very first Grand Am DP laps that weekend. Ten Motorsports reunites Memo, Steve and Rick Cameron who worked together at Lynx Racing in 1997-8 where Gidley finished second and third in the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Co-Driver Michael Valiante is also a Lynx alumni.

The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will take place February 4-6 and can be seen live on Speed. The number 19 Air Force Reserve/Ten Motorsports BMW powered Riley Techno will be driven by Memo Gidley/Michael McDowell and will be joined by Michael Valiante and Jonathan Bomarito for the 24 Hours. All will be running in support of Make A Wish.

Memo Gidley can also be seen driving the #48 Air Force Reserve Techsport Ford Focus in the Speed Challenge World Series this season on Speed TV.

BAR acquired by new Joint Venture Company BAR acquired by new Joint Venture CompanyBARH Limited, the new 55/45 joint venture between British American Tobacco and Honda Motor Co., Ltd, has completed the acquisition of the B*A*R Formula One racing team from administrators Grant Thornton.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Toyota launch TF105
Red Bull sack top F1 duo
Branded Webber is 'happiest'
Ralf in Frank attack
Duo in January 'shootout'
Red Bull reject F1 sponsor
Media 'got it wrong' - Ralf
Toyota to open Cologne HQ
Midfield team impressed Prost
Ferrari's 'clever' car plan
Game to shame Ferrari foiled
Fear will make Schu quit
F1 reliability to take a hit
JPM, Kimi, to duel
Will GPWC rule a new F1?
Briscoe's dead F1 dream
Liuzzi boost in F1 move
Toyota appearance to change
Teams might have sued Ford
Another American on F1 road
Cocaine doctor at it again
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