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DATE News (chronologically)
01/13/11
f1

Massa: I know that Ferrari believes in me
Felipe Massa at Ferrari's annual Wrooom media event
Ferrari
Felipe Massa is now the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro veteran. Since the departure of Luca Badoer, the Brazilian driver is the man with the longest service for the Maranello team. Under contract with Maranello since 2001, Felipe is now in his sixth season as an official Ferrari driver. He spoke to the media at the Wrooom event.

“My target for this season is simple: to win races and to fight for the title,” said Massa. “I know that things didn’t go well last year but that is the past. I believe I can return to fight for the crown and I have nothing else in my mind. I am happy to start the year here at Wrooom: it’s a very enjoyable week. As I’ve now been coming here for so long, I’ve also learnt to appreciate snow, something that we Brazilians don’t see very often. I’ve always enjoyed skiing because I did in on water when I was young. Here I’ve also learned how to do it on snow.”

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01/13/11
f1

2011 Lotus Renault GP Livery Unveiled At Autosport  International
Petrov unveils the new Lotus Renault GP livery
Crowds gathered on the first day of the world’s greatest motorsport show, Autosport International, to see the high-profile unveiling of Lotus Renault GP’s black and gold Formula One livery. The team’s driver Vitaly Petrov and F1 legend Jean Alesi took the covers off at the show to reveal the 2011 Lotus Renault GP colors.

“I didn’t know much about F1 and Lotus when I was young,” said Russian driver Vitaly Petrov. “But when I came to Europe I felt a sense of the Lotus history and the team left a big impression on me. Being part of this squad makes me very happy and also proud. My ambitions for 2011 are clear: I will do my best and fight for poles and podium finishes.”

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01/13/11
dakar

Man dies in collision with Dakar Rally competitor
Argentine media reports a man died when the small truck he was driving collided with a car participating in the Dakar Rally. The death was not immediately reported Thursday by rally officials. Argentine media widely carried coverage of the fatality and showed photographs of the damaged vehicles.

The accident reportedly took place when Argentine driver Eduardo Amor was still completing the 10th stage, which leading competitors finished on Wednesday. Amor was reportedly driving on a road near the northern town of Tinogasta when he collided with the other vehicle.

The dead man was identified by the Argentine news agency Diario y Noticias as 42-year-old Marcelo Reales.

Comment
01/13/11
dakar

Al-Attiyah closes in on Dakar victory
Nasser Al-Attiyah took a big step towards his first Dakar Rally win after Volkswagen teammate Carlos Sainz hit trouble on the 11th stage of the event.  The reigning champion, who was second behind Al-Attiyah until yesterday, lost over an hour after breaking his suspension at the 410-km point of the stage. As a result of the problem, Sainz dropped to third in the standings and is now nearly 80 minutes behind Al-Attiyah and half an hour behind Giniel de Villiers, second in another Volkswagen.

The 11th special of the Personal Argentina-Chile Dakar 2011, 370 km long and divided into two parts, smiled on Cyril Despres. The Frenchman's objective was to regain ground on the bike category leader Marc Coma. With 2'12 lost by the Catalan to the Frenchman, in the end, the day could have been worse for Coma. Despres will have to settle for a 3rd special stage triumph this year. Coma's lead in the general standings now stands at 15'59. In the car race, the die seem cast. Carlos Sainz, already in trouble yesterday, seriously damaged his Volkswagen Race Touareg and lost more than an hour. Nasser Al Attiyah holds a solid lead over his new nearest rival, De Villiers.

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01/13/11
f1

Alonso: You win and lose as a team
Fernando Alonso at Ferrari's annual Wrooom media event
Ferrari
Fernando Alonso was in the “hot chair” at the Marlboro backed Wrooom media event at Madonna di Campiglio, talking about the year past and looking ahead to 2011 during his first press conference of the year. Inevitably the subject of Abu dhabi was raised, “In the second part of the year we made an extraordinary recovery then, at the last race, we didn’t manage to win the title,” said Fernando. “Certainly after the race you can say that decision was wrong and we should have acted differently. But at the moment that we chose to come into the pits it seemed the right move to us. Now we can stand here and say the degradation of the soft tires evolved in a surprising manner and that we could have stayed on the track until lap 30 but it’s easy to say that now.”

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01/13/11
fil

Neil Micklewright named general manager of AFS Racing Indy Lights team
Veteran motorsports executive Neil Micklewright is the new general manager and vice president of operations for Firestone Indy Lights championship-winning entrant AFS Racing, the team announced on Thursday.

"I am absolutely delighted to have been given this opportunity by [team owner Gary] Peterson," said Micklewright. "The history of AFS Racing as both a perennial championship contender and also developer of star drivers is hard to beat. I relish the chance to be involved with a first-rate Firestone Indy Lights Team and look forward to contributing to many more years of success."

Micklewright served previously as general manager and vice president of operations for CART World Series team Forsythe Racing from 1994 to 2009. Prior to that, he was team manager for Douglas Shierson Racing, where he participated in his first Indianapolis 500 win with Arie Luyendyk. He also spent 11 years in Formula One.

AFS Racing will run its operation out of Forsythe Racing's Indianapolis facility.

"I'm very pleased to have Neil join AFS Racing," Peterson said. "His tasks will include securing sponsorship and handling race operations. The chance to work side-by-side with Neil in Forsythe Racing's Indianapolis facility is a dream come true for me. I trust Neil and his experience in running one of the premier teams in the history of open-wheel [racing] to help AFS make the transition into fulltime IndyCar racing as soon as possible."

Comment
01/13/11
f1

Alonso sees Schumacher as main threat
Speaking at the annual Ferrari Vroom winter meeting Fernando Alonso sees Michael Schumacher as his main rival ahead of the start of the 2011 season.

"There will be five World Champions on the track and the most dangerous champion for me is always Michael," Alonso told reporters during Ferrari's winter retreat at Madonna di Campiglio on Thursday. "Now, if I have to choose one name I have to say Michael. He is seven-time champion, he has nothing to prove. He had a difficult season but he is still a champion. He is still super class and if the car is right he will be a contender."

"Hopefully our car is better than the others and my toughest rival next year is Felipe," Alonso added. "No doubt Sebastian [Vettel] will be a contender. He will have experience and will be calm in certain moments. He will drive better than last year and that makes him dangerous to us. McLaren will also be one of the favorites."

Comment
01/13/11
f1

Senna movie set for June UK release
The film ‘Senna’ is set for a June release in the United Kingdom, with other European countries also poised to see the much-awaited film this year.

Premiered in his native Brazil in the same week as last year’s São Paulo Grand Prix, which was staged in early November, only a select few Senna family members and Formula 1 paddock insiders have so far been able to watch the film.

“Universal, who are distributing it, have set a release date for 3 June for the United Kingdom - that’s a big release date,” Manish Pandey, Writer and Executive Producer for ‘Senna’, explained on Peter Windsor’s The Flying Lap webcast on Wednesday night.

“There’s a release date around then, perhaps a bit earlier, for France and there’s a release in Italy for February. Then we’re going to Germany at some point in July and Australia, but that date hasn’t been set.”

Comment
01/13/11
nassprint

Intimidator Camaro to be produced
Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet announced the production of the 2011 Intimidator Camaro. Three different Dale Earnhardt cosmetic/performance packages will be available on most new vehicles. Also, in a collaboration with Kerry Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet will be producing a history making truck series under the Kerry Earnhardt name. More info at earnhardtautomotive.com

Comment
01/13/11
f1
automotive

Jean Alesi appointed Lotus ambassador
Lotus Motorsport are delighted to announce that French F1 driver Jean Alesi has become an ambassador for the Type 125 and Exos program. The Lotus 125 is an exclusive ultra high performance F1 inspired race-car complete with Cosworth 3.5 liter GP V8 engine producing 640bhp linked to a six-speed semi automatic gearbox with paddle shift.

Unlike a Formula One car however, an army of technicians and mechanics is not required to start the engine and keep the car running. The start button is all the driver needs to press to get going.

Given his F1 pedigree, Alesi is the perfect person to partner with for the Type 125. He enjoyed a successful and eventful F1 career competing in 202 grands prix and collecting a total of 241 points driving for teams such as Ferrari, Tyrell, Benetton, Sauber, Prost and Jordan. From 1989 to 2001, Alesi didn’t stray far from the race track and is still known as one of the most popular drivers in the F1 paddock.

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01/13/11
nascar

NASCAR Hall of Fame faces $4.8M in budget cuts
The NASCAR Hall of Fame had its budget cut by nearly $4.8 million on Wednesday as the board that oversees its performance opted to base its budget on a worst-case scenario of 250,000 visitors from July 2010 to June 2011.

In the last month, executives from the hall of fame had presented budgets to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority proposing cuts of $4 million based on 350,000 visitors to the one adopted, which includes $4,784,041 in cuts based on attendance of 250,000. For the first five months of the July-June fiscal year, the hall of fame has had 119,576 attendees and is running a deficit of $509,703, $342,871 from royalties due to NASCAR that NASCAR agreed to defer until the hall of fame turns a profit.

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01/13/11
racing news

EUROINTERNATIONAL to enter the 2011 Formula Pacific Series
Eurointernational Group is pleased to announce the participation in the 2011 Formula Pacific Series and the opening of a new racing branch in Asia at Sepang, Malaysia with the creation of  Eurointernational Asia Ltd.

“Since the 2009 Singapore GP “explain the Team Principal Antonio Ferrari” we have believed in Asia motorsport and increased our effort in the Formula BMW Pacific Series. 16 Races later, with 11 wins, 15 Podium, 13 Poles and all Formula BMW Pacific track records,  Eurointernational welcome the new 2011 Formula Pacific Series adding another Company to the Group and creating a new racing operation in Asia, with a permanent base, managed by European engineers and Technicians, at Sepang track in Malaysia, and testing units in Indonesia and China”.

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01/13/11
f1

More Power to Marussia Virgin Racing
The Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One team is delighted to announce that it has strengthened its existing relationship with Technology Partner CSC for 2011 and beyond. The newly enhanced partnership will see CSC, the world’s leading independent IT Services company, helping the team to double the computing power of its all-digital racing car development facility.

The impressive new computer suite, which will be housed at the Banbury base of Marussia Virgin Racing’s Technical Partner, Wirth Research, means that the team can make more changes, more quickly, at less cost than any other team, to improve and optimize on-track performance.

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01/13/11
f1

Have the 2011 F1 cars become too complicated for drivers?
Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are worried they’ll have too many buttons to press on their steering wheels following the latest Formula One rule changes. Speaking at Ferrari’s annual winter retreat in the Italian Dolomites on Thursday, the drivers addressed the admission of adjustable rear wings, the return of the KERS power boost system, plus the switch to Pirelli tires, all combined with extensive testing limits.

“Without realizing it, we’re losing the focus on driving,” Alonso said, adding that “the cars become tougher to drive when you have to make all these changes from one turn to the next.”

The rear wings are perhaps the biggest novelty. While designed to facilitate more passing and appease fans, nobody is quite sure what effect they will have.

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01/13/11
British F3

New branding for an exciting new season of British Formula 3
British Formula 3 racing celebrates its 60th birthday this year and, to mark the anniversary, the world’s foremost Formula 3 championship - the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series - is planning a season of spectacular celebratory action.

The excitement got underway today (Thursday) at the Autosport International Show at Birmingham’s NEC, where British Formula 3’s new branding was unveiled by Lisa Crampton, general manager of series promoter SRO. The stylish new logo adorned a new Dallara chassis like those which will be campaigned in 2011 by all the teams.

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01/13/11
ga

Domenicali: Ferrari aim to win both F1 titles
The historic Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona kicks off the 2011 sports car racing season with 14 hours of live coverage from Daytona International Speedway (DIS) starting Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon P.T. This year’s broadcast includes a special Rolex 24 preview show slated for Sunday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, which also premieres on FOX family network, F/X, Jan. 22 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. P.T.

Long-time SPEED sports car racing voice Leigh Diffey anchors play-by-play coverage from this year’s twice around-the-clock opener. Handling lead color commentary are Dorsey Schroeder and Calvin Fish, while Bob Varsha and David Hobbs are set to host the race. Justin Bell, Brian Till, Chris Neville and Jamie Howe cover all of the pit road action from one of the sport’s most revered tests of driving will.

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01/13/11
motogp

Acer links up with Ducati
Ducati has signed a two-year deal with computer company Acer. The announcement means the Italian-based outfit will be able to benefit from the most recent technology Acer has to offer.

“Both Acer and Ducati have proved that teamwork and the spirit of competition can turn ambitious goals into concrete results," Gianpiero Moerbello, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Brand at Acer, said about the agreement.

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01/13/11
f1

Domenicali: Ferrari aim to win both F1 titles
Domenicali at Ferrari's annual Wrooom media event
Ferrari
There was a vast number of questions during a three-hour, marathon media session, what with a press conference and TV and radio interviews that constituted the main part of Stefano Domenicali’s day at Madonna di Campiglio.

There was no way the 2010 season could be ignored, especially the way it all ended in Abu Dhabi. As usual, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Team Principal had a very reasoned approach to those events. “Everyone reckons that it was all down to Abu Dhabi and the mistake made there, but the truth is that the championship was lost in the early part of the season, when we failed to pick up the points that were within our grasp.”

“At the final race we missed a decisive penalty shot, but as is the case in football, the best thing to do is to take another one immediately, to consign the mistake to history, even if it does not wipe out all the good work we did earlier,” said the Italian team boss.

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01/13/11
nassprint

No rookie driver has committed to run the full Cup season UPDATE Jayski rumors that Brian Keselowski and his team are working on cars to run Sprint Cup for 2011 that Keselowski plans to run for Rookie of the Year. The team has recently acquired three Penske Dodges to go along with their current fleet of former Gillette/Evernham cars.

01/13/11 One storyline NASCAR fans won’t be reading about in 2011 will be a race for Sprint Cup rookie of the year.

So far no rookie driver has committed to run the full Cup season.

With teams looking to reduce costs and sponsors hesitant to take a chance on unproven drivers, Cup teams have mostly shied away from driver development programs in recent years.

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01/13/11
ga

TRG's owner elected to Road Racing Drivers Club
TRG Motorsports owner/driver [#71 Chevy Sprint Cup Series] Kevin Buckler has been elected to the prestigious Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC). The 58-year-old organization headed by Bobby Rahal holds a roster of over 350 distinguished members from the worldwide motorsports community. Kevin Buckler Buckler's resume includes championships behind the wheel as well as on the pit box. Prominent in his trophy case as a driver are three Rolex Series Daytona 24 Hour wins in 2002 and 2003, the last was an overall victory in a GT class car. The third win in 2009 was as a team owner. In addition, in 2002 he won the GT category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in that same year he also won the prestigious Porsche World Cup as the most successful Porsche driver of that year. On the pit box his sports car team won two back-to-back Rolex Series GT championships in 2005 and 2006 and holds the Grand-Am win record with 31. As a team owner he expanded his racing footprint in 2007 by adding a Camping World Truck Series team and made the ultimate jump in 2009 with the addition of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. By a vote of its current members in 2010, the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) elects a small and distinguished group of drivers and supporters of the sport to membership in the 58-year-old organization. This year's list includes the likes of Chip Ganassi and Arie Luyendyk. TRG Motorsports

Comment
01/13/11
nassprint

MWR owners to race in Dubai 24 Hour sports car race
Michael Waltrip Racing owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman are teaming up again to race in the sixth-annual Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome on Friday [Jan 14]. The event marks the first international motor race of 2011. Two-time Daytona 500 champion Waltrip and Kauffman will drive one of 90 entrants in the race that features nearly every sports car manufacturer. Waltrip and Kauffman will join co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team. Waltrip and Kauffman raced this car in Dubai last year and in Belgium where they scored an impressive third-place finish on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Bobby Labonte and David Reutimann joined Waltrip and Kauffman at a Dec. 18-21 test session in Portugal where the AF Corse team prepared for Dubai. MWR

Comment
01/13/11
USF2000

Perdigão and Veach Snare Victories at Sebring
JDC MotorSports’ Vinicius Perdigão of Bahia, Brazil and Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach of Stockdale, Ohio won the first two rounds of the five-race Cooper Tires Winterfest Monday and Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway as some of the teams in the “Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda” prepared for the 2011 season-opening doubleheader to be held at the same venue March 17-18. Those races will support the American Le Mans Series’ Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the most popular endurance sports car race in North America.

Veach won the Cooper Tires “Don’t Give Up a Thing” Pole Award on both Monday and Tuesday but Perdigão holds the points lead going into the second half of the Winterfest Jan. 12-13 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. The young Brazilian was able to finish third in Tuesday’s 13-lap race, behind Veach and Veach’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Spencer Pigot of Windemere, Fla., while Veach didn’t finish Monday’s 12-lap race due to gearbox issues.

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01/13/11
irl

Barber Motorsports Park to host Preseason Open Test
IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights teams will continue preparations for the 2011 season with an Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on March 14-16.

The first four races of the IZOD IndyCar Series will be competed on road/street courses, including the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 10.

IZOD IndyCar Series teams will be on the 2.38-mile circuit that features 80 feet of elevation change March 14-15. Firestone Indy Lights teams will be joined by Star Mazda teams on the track March 16.

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01/13/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Domenicali
    Commentator says Grosjean to be Renault third driver
  • Olympic Committee has power to delay Russia GP
  • More broadcasters announce HD for F1 coverage
  • 'Wrong' to talk about Massa's future now - Domenicali
  • Petrov to debut 2011 Renault at Valencia
  • Ferrari to make Fiorano track debut on January 28
  • No Renault rift as Kubica sits out rally
  • No grand prix for Rome, says Ecclestone

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01/13/11
nascar

Lawsuit against NASCAR reveals details of $6.2M sponsor contract
Automotive companies obviously will pay a lot of money to put the NASCAR logo on their products.

How much?

In the case of Advanced Fluids Solutions, which wanted to market its new EXP4 fuel and oil performance additive through the “NASCAR Performance” program, it had agreed to pay $6.295 million over seven years, according to the contract that is now part of a lawsuit between Advanced Fluids and NASCAR. The lawsuit was originally filed last month in Volusia County (Fla.) Circuit Court, and NASCAR had the case moved Friday to United States District Court in Orlando.

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01/13/11
starmazda

Ex-IndyCar team to Star Mazda
Entrepreneur and racing enthusiast Dale Pelfrey announced today that Pelfrey Indy Racing, a competitive IZOD IndyCar team from 1998 – 2000 then run under the banner of Team Pelfrey, will return to competition with a multi-car effort in the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. 

Nick Andries, a rising young open-wheel racer who competed in both the 2010 Skip Barber National series and the Star Mazda Championship with sponsorship from Dale Pelfrey, has been signed as the new team's first driver.  Andries, 20, is a student at St. Petersburg College.

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01/12/11
f1

Fittipaldi F1 track near Rockdale, Texas up in smoke
It looks like there will be no Formula One track designed by Emerson Fittipaldi in Rockdale.
“Duh?” you say?

Well, in October Florida-based developers Velocita Holdings Inc. signed a letter of intent to evaluate the purchase of 11,000 acres in the Rockdale area owned by Alcoa. Velocita planned to build a self-sustaining community for green research, one that Velocita claimed could eventually create 5,000 jobs.

Those plans called for the “largest motorsports facility in the world.” According to Velocita literature those plans included state-of-the-art wind tunnels and an F1-grade test track designed by Fittipaldi and Tilke GmbH, the German engineering firm that is designing the F1 circuit for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

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01/12/11
motogp

Hellmund denies MotoGP talks
Construction has barely begun on the 970-acre site slated to host the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix beginning in 2012 and there’s already talk that the 3.4-mile circuit could be in line to stage another big race — this one with motorcycles.

Wednesday, in an autosport.com report, MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta said he has been in preliminary talks with promoters of the U.S. Grand Prix to stage a MotoGP event in Austin in 2013 or later.

Could that mean 100,000-plus motorcycle fans descending on Austin for a weekend?

“MotoGP would be great for Texas and the fans but I haven’t had any discussions with him (Ezpeleta) about that,” U.S. Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund said Wednesday. “Everything is F1.”

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01/12/11
irl

Barber Motorsports Park to host 3-day IndyCar test session
The IZOD IndyCar Series will return to Barber Motorsports Park in March for its preseason open test session.

The three-day session March 14-16 will include the open-wheel series' top teams and drivers, as well as its two development programs -- the Firestone Indy Lights Series and the Star Mazda Series. A decision has not been made yet whether the session will be open to the public.

"We are pleased to have the IZOD IndyCar Series back again to test at our facility, and we hope that it provides more opportunity to promote the event in April," said Zoom Motorsports President Gene Hallman said. "Barber Motorsports Park is a very technical track and the more familiar the drivers get with the layout, the better the racing will be."

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01/12/11
fil

Revised 2011 Indy Lights schedule
The complete 2011 Firestone Indy Lights schedule:

Date

Track
March 26-27 Streets of St. Petersburg
April 9-10 Barber Motorsports Park
April 16-17 Streets of Long Beach
May 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
June 18-19 The Milwaukee Mile
June 24-25 Iowa Speedway
July 9-10 Streets of Toronto, Canada
July 22-21 Edmonton City Centre
Aug. 6-7 Streets of Trois Rivieres, Canada
Aug. 13-14 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sept. 3-4 Streets of Baltimore
Oct. 1-2 Kentucky Speedway
Oct. 15-16 Season Finale TBA (Las Vegas)

Comment
01/12/11
dakar

Dakar Stage 10: De Villers wins stage as al-Attiyah extends lead
The return to Argentine territory of the Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile 2011 turned out to be very complicated for the challengers. Despite setting off behind Cyril Despres, his main rival for the bike title, Marc Coma took advantage of a major mistake by the Frenchman to put one hand on the trophy. On completion of the 10th stage, the Catalan now has a lead of 19' over Despres as well as a third special stage victory. In the car race, the hopes of regaining the lead in the rally were dashed for Carlos Sainz as early on as the day's 13th kilometer. Stuck in the dunes around Fiambala, the Spaniard then lost more time after a navigation error. Al Attiyah increased his lead in the general standings whilst Giniel De Villiers won his first special stage this year. In the truck race, Vladimir Chagin in his Kamaz regained command.

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01/12/11
dakar

Late Start for Dakar Stage 10
A late start to the stage today due to the mammoth 668km liaison drive over the border back into Argentina. The participants are currently tackling the short, but very technical, 176km Stage 10. Will Nasser Al-Attiyah give it everything and try to make a break from Carlos Sainz on his favorite terrain, the dunes, or will he be content with shadowing him, picking up the 2 minutes for catching Sainz in the stage.

Tactics too for the bikes. All Marc Coma needs to do is sit off of Cyril Despres back wheel and let him lead. Stage victories are insignificant when the outright win is at stake.

A battle also in the truck class and the see-saw battle between Kamaz team-mates Vladimir Chargin and Firdaus Kabirov. Both are desperate to be ahead in case team orders are brought into play now that the closest challenger Ales Loprais is out of the equation.

Comment
01/12/11
motogp

Rossi’s Desmosedici GP11 unveiled

The Ducati prototype which Valentino Rossi will ride during the 2011 MotoGP season was officially presented on Wednesday, with the Italian’s own individual touch added.

Rossi’s Desmosedici GP11 unveiled
Rossi and Hayden unveil the 2011 Ducati Desmosedici

Valentino Rossi’s inauguration as an official Ducati rider took a further step at Madonna di Campiglio on Wednesday, when along with team-mate Nicky Hayden he was on hand to unveil the Desmosedici GP11 that both with ride in the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

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01/12/11
LMES

Pescarolo is back for 2011
On the 3rd of January, the Pescarolo Team has officially returned to its headquarter in the Le Mans Technoparc. It was a very special day for Henri Pescarolo, he met up in the early morning with ten faithful members of his first racing team, who joined him back in 2000.

"Watching my racing team being dismantled last year was a very painful experience," recalls Henri Pescarolo. "However, these people never gave up on me and patiently waited until I was able to hire them back. The first day of work was weird, but in a good way. Last time we were all together was more than a year ago, yet, today felt strangely normal, as if we never stopped being a team. However, this is not just 'another season'. Creating, again, a racing team means a lot of extra work. I fell like being back to my very first day as a team manager, ten years ago, except that I can rely now on my experience."

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01/12/11
f1

Domenicali hopes for rain in winter testing
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali on Wednesday said he hopes it rains at some point during the 15 scheduled days of pre-season testing before the 2011 opener.

F1 has switched from Bridgestone to Pirelli for this year, but solid sunny weather will mean the circus congregates in Bahrain in March without having tried the Italian marque's wet tires.

"If it doesn't rain, there is no other way to try them," Domenicali told reporters at the 'Wrooom' media event in the Italian Dolomites.

"That would make the first wet session at the track interesting," smiled the boss of the Ferrari team, a staunch opponent of F1's harsh restrictions on track testing.

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01/12/11
f1

Haug has no sympathy for Red Bull's engine plight
(GMM)  Norbert Haug on Wednesday said he had no sympathy amid Red Bull's quest for more engine performance.

Mainly due to having no viable alternatives, Red Bull is staying with Renault power for 2011 but the team regularly complains that engine performance should be equalized because of the development 'freeze'.

"That (equalization) is not formula one," Mercedes' motor sport vice president Haug told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"In that case we should all go over to GP2.  Competition has nothing to do with equality," he added.

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01/12/11
f1

Domenicali quits FOTA vice chairman post
(GMM) Stefano Domenicali has quit as the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) vice chairman. The Ferrari F1 team boss announced to assembled reporters at the Wrooom media event in Madonna di Campiglio that he is stepping down as FOTA’s vice chairman. Current chairman Martin Whitmarsh is staying on. Domenicali said a successor for his post in the F1 team’s organization will be announced soon.

Comment
01/12/11
motogp

Hayden: Rossi arrival won't change anything
Nicky Hayden has stated that Valentino Rossi's arrival at Ducati this season will not modify his own approach to racing, with the 2006 title winner having joined the Italian team in 2009 and his new teammate now replacing the departed Casey Stoner.

The new signing marks the reuniting of Hayden and Rossi, who also competed together at Honda in 2003. “It shouldn’t change our approach on my side,” the American commented at this week's Wrooom skiing event in north-east Italy.

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01/12/11
f1

Ferrari not poaching Red Bull's 'spirit' - Domenicali
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali on Wednesday scoffed at claims Ferrari is trying to poach the "spirit" of the reigning champions Red Bull team.

The energy drink-owned company's motor racing advisor Helmut Marko had made the 'spirit' claim recently after Ferrari hired Red Bull's F1 strategist Neil Martin.

"Stealing their spirit?  The only spirit I know is Ferrari's because I've spent my entire career here, and our spirit is fantastic," Domenicali is quoted by Italian media.

The Italian was speaking during a press conference at the 'Wrooom' media event in the Dolomites.

He rejected the traditional assumption that Ferrari is F1's biggest spender.

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01/12/11
f1

F1 confirms HD television feed for 2011
(GMM)  Formula One Management (FOM) on Wednesday has as expected confirmed reports that a high definition (HD) feed will be available to all of the sport's host television broadcasters in 2011.

The announcement comes after Sky Deutschland said its German-speaking subscribers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will be able to watch the sport in true "native" HD this season.

FOM on Wednesday duly confirmed that all F1 track sessions including support events "will be originated in HD ... throughout the world at a data rate of 42 Megabits/second (MPEG-2)".

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01/12/11
f1

FOTA investigating team overspending charge - Domenicali
(GMM)  FOTA is investigating claims about a potential breach last year of the cost-limiting agreement, the F1 team body's vice-chairman Stefano Domenicali revealed on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Red Bull's Christian Horner denied claims Red Bull, on the way to last year's titles, flouted the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) to the tune of EUR 60 million.

Without referring to Red Bull specifically, Domenicali – also team principal of the Ferrari team – confirmed to reporters at the 'Wrooom' media event in the Italian Dolomites that an investigation is taking place.

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01/12/11
f1

Petrov selected to drive Renault first
The Lotus Renault GP team has told GPUpdate.net that Vitaly Petrov is most likely the driver to debut their new car, the R31, in next month's first test session of the year in Valencia. However, it is team-mate Robert Kubica who will be enjoying two full days in the black and gold cockpit.

Although plans remain provisional, Russian Petrov is currently in-line to drive on Tuesday 1 February – a day after the newly-branded squad's launch at the same venue – before handing over to his Polish team-mate. Incidentally, both men are contracted to the team until the end of 2012. 

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01/12/11
automotive

New Mercedes SLS supercar goes all-electric
As the entire automotive industry moves toward electric cars, Mercedes announced their new SLS will get an all-electric version before long
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
Mercedes-Benz has shown its SLS AMG E-Cell concept car at the Detroit Motor Show. This isn’t the big news though.

The big news is that Mercedes say it will enter production in a coupe of years.

The SLS AMG E-Cell will be powered by four, high revving, synchronous electric motors that can reach 12,000rpm. These electric motors will produce 525HP.

This will be enough to launch the SLS AMG E-Cell to 60 mph in just four seconds, nearly as quick as the normal cancer causing trade deficit destroying fossil fuel powered SLS.

The E-Cell will also have a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack that features a modular design and a maximum electric load potential of 480kW. The battery can be recharged from a standard electricity outlet but it can also recharge itself by using its regenerative braking system.

Mercedes have positioned the electric motors as close to the wheels as possible and have paid special attention to the placement of the batteries throughout the chassis. Because of this, the SLS E-Cell has near perfect weight distribution, ensuring that it remains a thoroughbred sportscar.

The E-Cell will also get new front suspension, featuring a multi-link set-up and pushrod damper struts. The SLS AMG E-Cell may be green, but Mercedes are ensuring that it will not be dull in anyway.

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01/12/11
f1

No stopping Ferrari, their chassis for 2011 is ready UPDATE (GMM)  Ferrari will launch its 2011 car on January 28, the Italian team announced on Wednesday. Maranello based Ferrari had already revealed that the car, codenamed 288 but perhaps to be officially named the F11, will be revealed to the world in the last week of this month.

The launch will take place at the team's headquarters, a few days ahead of the debut of the car at Valencia, boss Stefano Domenicali announced during a press conference at the 'Wrooom' media event in the Italian Dolomites.

Ferrari said that last Friday, the first chassis was being put together by the car assembly department.

Domenicali also announced to the assembled reporters that he is stepping down as FOTA's vice chairman, even though the current chairman Martin Whitmarsh is staying on.

He said his successor will be announced soon.

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01/12/11
f1

Sauber renews sponsorship deal with Certina
The watches are ticking as the Sauber F1 Team and CERTINA approach the start of another new year together. The Swiss sports watch brand has been a partner of the team since 2005. The Premium Partner’s logo presence on the Formula One team’s cars was extended in 2010, and in 2011 the brand’s logos will be displayed on the deflectors in front of the sidepods, as well as once again on the helmet visors of both drivers. Plus, CERTINA will kit out drivers Kamui Kobayashi (JP) and Sergio Pérez (MX) and the whole race team with its sporty and precise timepieces.

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01/12/11
irl

Highlights of IndyCar State of the Union Address
The full transcript can be found on our Home page, but below we summarize the highlights of yesterday's IndyCar State of the Union address in Indianapolis.
  • Indy Racing League, the name synonymous with destroying IndyCar Racing, has been officially changed to IndyCar, the name CART used so successfully for over 25 years.
  • Drivers now will have to go faster to start a race, qualifying at 105 percent of the fastest lap time. Previously, it had been 107 percent. The move is designed to keep drivers from going too slow and causing race day problems.
  • On ovals IndyCar will now use double file restarts like NASCAR.  When the outside lane hits the marbles and crash they will throw another caution to clean up the carnage.  IndyCar restarts will start closer to the start/finish line. Previously, they started in the third turn of the oval tracks.
  • Pit selections now will be based on qualifying performance at a previous race rather than entrants points. But the results will come from the previous event on a similar venue, or road course to road course and oval to oval. 

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01/12/11
f1

Alonso nursing minor leg injury
(GMM)  Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is nursing a minor muscle injury, it emerged from the 'Wroom' media event on Tuesday.

When his 2011 teammate Felipe Massa began skiing at the Madonna di Campiglio resort, Spaniard Alonso simply posed for photographers at the top of the slope.

Spanish media reports reveal that the 2010 championship runner-up is suffering from a minor muscle lesion in his right leg.

"Sitting on the couch," Alonso told La Nueva Espana when asked what it will take for the injury to heal.

In fact, even though the 29-year-old has set aside his racing bicycle for now, the reports insist Alonso has still been working in the gym.

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01/12/11
wrc
f1

Raikkonen to keep rallying with own team in 2011
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has ended speculation about his motor racing career by signing up for another season of the world rally championship (WRC).

After talks about a possible return to F1 broke down, and then the death of his father Matti two days before Christmas, rumors had suggested F1's 2007 world champion might hang up his helmet.

Having made his debut with Citroen's junior team in 2010, the 31-year-old Finn has now formed his own team called ICE 1 Racing to run a Citroen DS3 WRC.

L'Equipe in France said the team is funded by Raikkonen's own sponsors.

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01/11/11
f1

Lotus Renault team to unveil Black and Gold livery
Lotus Renault
This Thursday (13th January 2011) at 2pm, the NEC in Birmingham will play host to the much anticipated unveiling of Lotus’ motorsport line up including F1, GP2/GP3, IndyCar, GT2/GT4 and much more besides.

Lotus Renault GP driver Vitaly Petrov will be in attendance alongside F1 legend Jean Alesi as the cover is lifted for the first time on the new 2011 Lotus Renault GP black and gold F1 car livery.

Top BBC F1 pundit David Croft will be hosting the press unveil at the Lotus stand where representatives from Lotus Motorsport and the various race series will present the Lotus Motorsport offering and detail some of the exciting things to come.

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01/11/11
imsa
alms

IMSA releases preseason ALMS regs
The International Motor Sports Association released a series of preseason updates for competitors in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The Series’ sanctioning body announced regulations dealing with driver eligibility in three classes, schemes for ALMS Leader Lights, car numbers and other rules for 2011.

Driver Ratings
Drivers in the LMP2, LMP Challenge and GT Challenge classes will be classified according to their competitive history including previous series, race results and championships, and past racing licenses held, among other factors. Once IMSA receives the appropriate information, it will – in conjunction with the ACO – assign a driver rating that applies to all IMSA and ACO events for 2011.

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01/11/11
f1

Germany's Sky to broadcast F1 in HD
German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland will show the Formula 1 races in native HDTV in the 2011 season. The live footage from all 20 weekend races will be produced in high-definition for the first time this year. In December 2010, Sky Deutschland extended its Formula 1 rights contract.

“Like millions of car racing fans across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, we have long hoped for Formula 1 in true HD,” Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Deutschland, said in Munich.

“This is a great expansion of Sky’s market-leading HD service, which will allow Sky subscribers to enjoy the best coverage of top motor-sport action without commercial breaks in a quality never seen before.”

The native HD coverage of the Formula 1 will commence at the Bahrain Grand Prix taking place March 11-13. With the Sky Sport App Sky subscribers can also follow the races in HD quality when they’re away from home.

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01/11/11
automotive

GM to amp up Volt production
General Motors CEO and President Daniel Akerson said today GM will boost production of its Volt extended-range electric vehicle from the planned 10,000 to more than 25,000 this year.

The $41,000 Volt, built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, was named Car of the Year Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Ackerson, speaking to the Automotive News World Congress today, said GM intends to expand the extended-range technology it developed for the Volt to two additional vehicles — a hatchback and a minivan — that should be on the U.S. market by 2013.

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01/11/11
irl

It's Official: Edmonton back on 2011 IndyCar schedule
Octane Motorsport Events Inc., a subsidiary of Octane Racing Group Inc. is proud to announce that it has successfully completed all necessary negotiations with the City of Edmonton, reached satisfactory agreements and will act as promoter of 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series 10th round, July 22, 23 & 24 at Edmonton City Centre Airport.

Octane Motorsport Events Inc. has also agreed on terms of a 3-year (2011-2013) sanction agreement with Indy Racing League to act as promoter and organizer of an IZOD IndyCar Series race at Edmonton City Centre Airport new racecourse, designed on and around the Eastern runway.

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01/11/11
irl

Minors gain access to INDYCAR garage area
Fans as young at 9 years old will be able to get behind the scenes at IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights events beginning in 2011.

INDYCAR is working with each of its racetrack partners to allow minors to hold garage passes during event weekends for the opportunity to see the stars and preparation of cars up close.

Venues will set their individual policy based on insurance and state-specific regulations.

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01/11/11
irl

2011 IZOD IndyCar Series competition rules changes unveiled
Double-wide restarts on ovals and the restart area moving closer to the start/finish line were among the 2011 rules alterations announced today by IZOD IndyCar Series president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart.

On-track changes incorporated in the rulebook followed input from team owners and drivers, along with communication with fans.

"We're trying to increase the excitement and drama around the events," Barnhart said. "Much of it is a response to fans' expectations."

Double-wide restarts will begin with the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 - the first oval race of the season. The race director will instruct drivers to line up according to running order on the final caution lap, with the race leader taking the inside position of Row 1.

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01/11/11
irl

INDYCAR name change officially announced
The sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy will now be known as INDYCAR.

"As I was talking to fans and press through the course of last season, it was apparent that we needed to make a name change to reflect the history and heritage of our sport," said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR.  "The time has come for our sport to move forward under a name that truly signifies a unified organization. The INDYCAR name has worldwide recognition and aligns with our positioning as the fastest, most versatile racing and drivers in the world."

A new sanctioning body logo to coincide with the name change was unveiled today during the State of INDYCAR presentation in Indianapolis.

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01/11/11
irl

IZOD IndyCar Series announces 2012 engine displacement change
IZOD IndyCar Series announces 2012 engine displacement change: The IZOD IndyCar Series announced today that it will reduce specifications for all 2012 engines from 2.4 to 2.2-liter.

"One of our goals with the new engine was to challenge the automotive industry to balance power, efficiency and durability," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations, IZOD IndyCar Series. "As we've progressed defining our engine rules with the INDYCAR Engine Committee, we felt it necessary to reduce displacement to a maximum of 2.2 liter to be in line with our smaller, lighter and more efficient direction."

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01/11/11
nassprint

ISC to shorten races
Auto Club Speedway and Richmond Int’l Raceway, both ISC-owned tracks, “revealed significant changes” today. ACS President Gillian Zucker said that the March 27 race at her Fontana, Calif., track – ACS’ only Sprint Cup Series event in ’11 – will be “shortened from 500 miles to 400.” The race had been known as the Auto Club 500. Also, RIR President Doug Fritz today announced that the track’s grandstands “will be smoke-free beginning this season.” Fans who smoke “may continue to do so, but in approved areas only” SpeedTV.com

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01/11/11
irl

IndyCar to add more video screens and leader boards UPDATE The IndyCar Series this year will add four LED leaderboards at street courses, reduce the minimum age for garage access to nine, and build a small-portable stage that crew members can use to explain what fans see in the garage. The moves, expected to be disclosed today at 4:00pm ET during the organization's State of The Series address in Indianapolis, are part of a series of steps designed to improve the at-track experience for fans and raise awareness of drivers, said IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard.

"We want to give our fans value,” Bernard said. “We want to say, 'We've had a tough eight years but give us a chance and let us show you our sport again.'" He said that leaderboards were not visible at street courses, so the series is adding four this year to showcase driver standings, individual drivers and sponsors. He said he wanted to lower the minimum age required for garage access from 18- to 9-years old, so that kids could "see and smell and hear the amazing cars."

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01/11/11
track news

Richmond Grandstands Going Smoke-Free
Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz announced that Richmond International Raceway’s grandstands will be smoke-free beginning this season. Fans who smoke may continue to do so, but in approved areas only. The new policy is in response to fan feedback. “Beginning this season, smoking will not be permitted in and in front of the grandstands or in portals leading to seating areas,” said Fritz. “Additionally, restrooms, buildings and areas that were already smoke-free at Richmond International Raceway will continue to be smoke-free,” said Fritz. “We are implementing this policy based on comments received from fans. Those who wish to smoke may continue to do so in designated areas.” Grandstand ushers will monitor seating areas to ensure the grandstands remain smoke-free at America’s Premier Short Track. Fans can notify an usher or use our text messaging service if they wish to report a violation of the non-smoking policy. Tickets for the Spring NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend at Richmond International Raceway go on sale this Friday [Jan 14] at 8:30 am. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections on Thursday and Friday. For tickets and additional information, go to rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223). RIR

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01/11/11
automotive

VW tops 7 million for 2010
In 2010, the Volkswagen Group significantly improved on prior-year vehicle deliveries, handing over more than seven million units for the first time in a twelve-month period. In total, 7.14 (2009: 6.29; +13.5 per cent)* million vehicles were delivered to customers. Developments on the global passenger car market were positive, too, although growth only ran at 11.3 per cent and the Group therefore won further market share. The Volkswagen Group also reported growth for the month of December, delivering 545,400 (444,200)** units to customers, representing an increase of 22.8 per cent.

“2010 once again showed we are forging ahead with our international growth and implementing our Strategy 2018,” Group Board member for Sales Christian Klingler said on Monday at the motor show in Detroit. “In 2011, our focus on innovative products and top technologies will remain the foundation of our success,” Klingler added. 

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01/11/11
automotive

Record 20 percent increase for Ferrari in North America
After the record results achieved in China, Ferrari’s preliminary figures for the North American market show that 2010 was a record year for the marque.

The USA, which has always been Ferrari’s primary market, and Canada together have posted an increase in sales of nearly 20 per cent compared to the previous year, with over 1750 cars sold.

This record is particularly significant in the light of the continuing challenges of the economic climate. The company’s two V8-engined models – the Ferrari California and the 458 Italia, sales of the latter having started in the summer of 2010 - have met with considerable success.

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01/11/11
irl

Mario Andretti brings Indy to the Middle East
U.S troops serving in Iraq likely won't get time off to attend the 2011 Indianapolis 500, so the famed circuit decided to bring a bit of the race to them.

A 10-day tour will see a trio of Indy 500 champions – Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, and Al Unser Jr. – along with IndyCar Series drivers Sarah Fisher, Davey Hamilton, and Graham Rahal, and Firestone Indy Lights’ racer Martin Plowman meet between 10,000 and 15,000 U.S. and British troops at bases and hospitals in Europe, Qatar, Iraq, North Africa and the United Arab Emirates, with a stop on a U.S. aircraft carrier thrown into the mix.

Along the way, some lucky soldiers will get up close and personal with IndyCar competition during rides in the series’ two-seater car with Andretti at the wheel. While he knows he’ll be offering high-speed diversions to the troops, the trip is so secret that Andretti doesn’t even know where he’ll be taking them for a spin.

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01/11/11
f1

Kobayashi first to drive Sauber C30
Sauber told GPUpdate.net that Kamui Kobayashi will be the first driver to pilot this year's new C30, with the Japanese set to debut the Ferrari-powered car in a Valencia filming day before kicking off official Formula 1 testing 24 hours later.

When in communication with GPUpdate.net on Monday afternoon, the Swiss team also noted that F1 newcomer Sergio Perez of Mexico will be enjoying two full days of running at the opening test.

Sauber's Valencia test line-up is as follows:

Tuesday 1 February Kamui Kobayashi
Wednesday 2 February Sergio Perez
Thursday 3 February Sergio Perez

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01/11/11
f1

Barrichello first to test new Williams
Williams No. 1 driver Rubens Barrichello will be the first driver to pilot the team's new car as Formula 1 pre-season testing begins in Valencia at the start of next month. The Paulista will then hand over to fellow south American pilot and new teammate Pastor Maldonado.

Williams' Valencia test line-up is as follows:

Tuesday 1 February Rubens Barrichello
Wednesday 2 February (AM) Rubens Barrichello
Wednesday 2 February (PM) Pastor Maldonado
Thursday 3 February Pastor Maldonado

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01/11/11
irl

IndyCar Series to use double-file restarts on oval tracks in 2011 UPDATE See more on this story at SPEEDTV.com.  Let the carnage begin.

01/10/11 NASCAR-style restarts are coming to the Indianapolis 500. Like their stock car brethren, Indy-car drivers will be lined up two-by-two for restarts on all oval tracks in 2011. That's a change from the single-file restarts used for years.

The difference is in the positioning of lapped cars. NASCAR sends its to the rear to provide the best opportunity for frontrunners to battle one another.

The Izod IndyCar Series will keep lapped cars in their spot in the running order because, as competition director Brian Barnhart said, the leaders "have earned that advantage."

Officials will discuss the plan during a state-of-the-union presentation Tuesday at The Westin. Indy Star

[Editor's Note:  IndyCars do not have fenders allowing drivers to bang and bump on double file restarts like NASCAR.  Hopefully this idea does not destroy too many cars, especially when the adrenaline gets going close to the finish line.]

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01/11/11
F2000
fil

2010 F2000 Champ Victor Carbone to Indy Lights

Carbone moves way up the ladder to Indy Lights in 2011. (click for high-res).

Indianapolis, IN - Victor Carbone dominated the 2010 F2000 Championship Series en route to six wins and the overall title and will make the leap to the Firestone Indy Lights for 2011 with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Following his title-winning season, Carbone tested both Indy Lights and Star Mazda cars, and the Brazilian wasted no time in inking a deal with last year’s championship winning team for a 2011 campaign.

“I am really excited for 2011, as I will have a great opportunity driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports,” Carbone commented. “They have just won the championship so I will be working with the best people. I am aware this is a big step and things are different from the F2000 world.

“Even though there are many differences I feel the two years I spent in F2000 gave me the necessary foundation to make this move. I am making the leap to Indy Lights, because I tested both the Lights car and the Star Mazda car, and I feel I am ready to take this challenge and succeed.”

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01/11/11
automotive

Detroit Auto Show: Tesla Model S

A stripped Tesla Model S, on the convention floor of the Detroit auto show.
A stripped Tesla Model S, on the convention floor of the Detroit auto show
Norman Mayersohn/The New York Times
The wags were out prior to the Tesla press conference Monday at the Detroit auto show, wondering if the bare Model S chassis on display was intentional — or was it accidentally left outside and stripped by car thieves?

“No, we wanted to show off our naked body,” said Ricardo Reyes, Tesla’s vice president for communications, after a sheet was pulled off the vehicle. “Our engineers wanted to show what’s under the skin, the level of detail and engineering expertise that is going into this car. We’re doing it all in-house.”

The all-aluminum rolling chassis — an early production version known as an alpha build — evinced a high level of craftsmanship. So high, in fact, Mr. Reyes had to field repeated challenges to his assertion that the car’s previously announced purchase price of $57,900 (before federal and state incentives or tax rebates) could be honored.

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01/11/11
irl

IndyCar to open LA office
INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will open an office in Santa Monica, Calif., to make further inroads into the media and entertainment industries.

"If we want to grow the sport, we need to be fully vested in relationships with the entertainment community that can tell the storylines of our sport," INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said. "This will be a one-stop shop to pursue opportunities and make deals across multiple business lines and entertainment outlets."

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01/11/11
automotive

GM: Tie workers' pay to vehicle quality
General Motors Co. is seeking to tie workers' pay to improvements in vehicle quality — an incentive the Detroit automaker's North American president, Mark Reuss, says will apply to both hourly and salaried employees.

"I want to make sure we pay people for superior results," Reuss told reporters on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show on Monday. "Period."

"When we're not performing, I'm not going to be paid out and neither is anyone else," he added.

The Detroit automakers' contracts with the United Auto Workers union expire in September.

UAW President Bob King, who attended Monday's press preview of the auto show, said his union will consider the proposal.

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01/11/11
f1

Mercedes denies moving to sign Vettel for 2012
(GMM)  Norbert Haug has denied Helmut Marko's claim that Mercedes is making a move to sign Sebastian Vettel for 2012.

After Marko this week admitted that Ferrari is pushing hard to poach Red Bull staff, the Austrian has now told Kleine Zeitung that Mercedes is moving on the energy drink-owned team's reigning world champion Vettel.

Asked by the newspaper who other than Ferrari is interested in the 23-year-old, motor racing consultant Vettel answered: "Mercedes for sure.

"Knowing that Sebastian has a contract with us, Mercedes expresses quite an interest in him."

Marko confirmed that Vettel's contract expires at the end of the year but includes an option for 2012.

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01/11/11
motogp

Rossi: Shoulder still not 100 percent better
Valentino Rossi has admitted that his shoulder is yet to recover as well as he had anticipated, with it remaining injured after last year's Misano crash which also resulted in a broken leg.

The Italian makes a move from Yamaha to Ducati this year, which sees him replace 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner – who switches to Honda – and race alongside 2006 title winner Nicky Hayden.

“The Ducati is different from all the other bikes, it's a proper prototype,” Rossi commented during a press conference at this week's Wrooom skiing event in north-east Italy. “The concept is different from the Japanese factories. You need a bit of a 'dirtier' style to ride the Desmosedici.”

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01/11/11
motogp

Ducati signs sponsorship deal with Diesel
The Ducati team has announced a link-up with Italian fashion company Diesel ahead of the 2011 season, with multiple World Champion Valentino Rossi joining fellow title winner Nicky Hayden this year. The deal means that Diesel's logos will be seen on the bikes and race suits of the pairing throughout the 2011 season.

“I've always been a Ducati fan,” comments Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. “I've been following them over the years and I currently drive a Monster S4R testastretta and a Streetfighter. I am proud of the appreciation that the brand has gained all over the world, both in terms of design and performance.

“This season in particular is extraordinary and with the arrival of Valentino Rossi the association between our brands is perfectly in-line with our 'Only the Brave' Philosophy!”

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01/11/11
f1

Designer Derek Gardner dies aged 79
Tyrell P34 6-wheel F1 car
Formula 1 car designer Derek Gardner, died in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England on Friday at the age of 79 following a long illness. Working with Ken Tyrrell, Gardner pioneered the legendary six-wheeled P34 of 1976 and 1977 as well as the World Championship-winning 003 machine of 1971.

Born in Warwick in 1931, Gardner was a keen designer of boats and microlites as well as cars and transmission systems. His F1 career began as designer for the four-wheel drive system Matra used, supplied by Ferguson Research, before building Jackie Stewart's race-winning Tyrrell 001 chassis of 1970 – which took pole position on its debut in Canada - in his own garage.

The car then evolved into the Tyrrell 003, with which Scotsman Steward clinched the second of his three World Championship titles in 1971.

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01/11/11
f1

Branson injured in skiing accident
Richard Branson
A possible curve ball has been thrown into the works for Sir Richard Branson's AirAsia flight where he will dress up and work as a stewardess, with the Virgin Group Chairman having been injured in a recent skiing accident.

Following up from a pre-Christmas 2009 bet with Tony Fernandes, Branson is currently set to debut as a stewardess on AsiaAsia X's London to Kuala Lumpur flight on Monday 21 February; however, this may no longer be the case.

'Update on Richard Branson flight,' Fernandes posted on his personal Twitter account on Monday morning. 'May be a delay as Richard injured himself skiing. Will call him today. So that's why no announcement yet.'

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01/11/11
f1

Legard confirms BBC F1 exit
BBC commentator Jonathan Legard has confirmed via Twitter the much-rumored talk that he will not be continuing in the television role for the 2011 season, with general speculation being that Martin Brundle will be promoted to the lead commentary position alongside fellow former driver and pundit David Coulthard.

A known voice on BBC Radio 5 live's Formula 1 coverage before leaving and being replaced by David Croft at the start of the 2006 season, Legard joined the BBC's television team as the corporation won back rights to show F1 races from ITV for 2009.

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01/11/11
nassprint

France, teams to meet in coming weeks
NASCAR executives, including chairman Brian France, will meet with team owners, drivers and key team officials over the next several weeks to talk about significant issues facing the sport. The meetings will be done by team organization instead of during one big meeting with all Cup or Nationwide teams, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed. Over the past couple of years, NASCAR has increased its use of "town hall" style meetings to discuss potential changes to the sport. Last year, it opted for smaller team forums by meeting separately with each organization. The meetings are designed to get feedback and help NASCAR officials make decisions. "The old theory was that when you're at the races with them all the time, we had the communication lines wide open," France said about the team forums last January. "That's true, but it's too busy now to assume that we can have all the communications and get all the issues they want to get resolved with us at the track. So we just changed it around where we're having these meetings. & In the town hall meetings, a lot of people didn't want to speak up when there were 12 other drivers or something like that and they didn't feel comfortable." NASCAR typically does not make public what it plans to discuss with the teams. But last summer, executives of several teams met separately from NASCAR to talk about potential solutions to cost containment issues such as the number of people that travel on race weekends and the current ban on testing at tracks that have NASCAR national touring series events. Sporting News

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01/11/11
nassprint

NASCAR Reinstates Paul Chodora
NASCAR has reinstated crew member Paul Chodora upon his successful completion of NASCAR's Road to Recovery Program following his Feb. 19, 2009 suspension for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. NASCAR PR

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01/11/11
nascar

Drivers must choose which series to run for championship
Drivers in NASCAR's three national series will have to elect a single championship to chase in 2011, eliminating the ability of drivers such as Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Paul Menard -- who were full-time double-dippers in 2010 -- to chase two championships at once. NASCAR has scheduled a "competition update" on Jan. 21 with NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president for competition Robin Pemberton as part of the "Preseason Thunder" Sprint Cup test session at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp declined to comment on the change in 2011 license applications Monday except to say, "I'm sure we can answer all your questions at our competition update." But when Kenny Wallace picked up his 2011 NASCAR competition, membership and license application last Saturday while taking a break from a Grand-Am Rolex Series test at Daytona, he knew at least one rumor was true. Wallace stopped on his way to the U.S. Post Office on Monday to tear open his license application and read the news. "The brand-new license forms that are out, there's a box and in it, it states that you have to mark -- put an X -- what championship you're running for," Wallace said, quoting his application. "A driver will only be permitted to earn driver championship points in one (1) of the following three series: NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Please select the series in which you would like to accumulate driver championship points. Choose one." NASCAR.com

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01/11/11
irl

Franchitti claims top honor at AARWBA Awards Dario Franchitti capped his third IZOD IndyCar Series championship on Jan. 9, winning the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's Jerry Titus Award for the third time in four years.

AARWBA President Dusty Brandel announced Franchitti as the organization's Driver of the Year as AARWBA honored its 41st All-America Team at the headquarters of Target Chip Ganassi Racing in Indianapolis.

"Winning this award is like a full stop for the year, and a chance to look back on the year one last time," Franchitti said. "It's great to know the people at AARWBA appreciate what the team and I did last year. It's something I'm very, very proud of."

The Jerry Titus Trophy is awarded to the driver who receives the most All-America Team votes. It is named in memory of the late journalist and racer, who was a member of AARWBA, the country's oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. It is the highest honor AARWBA offers.

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01/11/11
dakar

VW leads Dakar Rally at halfway point
At the halfway point of the Dakar Rally, Volkswagen holds the top two positions overall and all four Race Touareg 3s continue to set the pace over each grueling stage.  The event, which covers more than 9,600 km though South America, is currently led by the 2010 Dakar winning duo of Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk less than three minutes behind.

But the competition is not far behind the two leading Volkswagen factory teams.  A battle between three rivals continues to dominate the action at the front of the field with X-raid BMW driver Stéphane Peterhansel leading part of the sixth leg from Iquique to Arica before suffering several punctures which dropped him down the order.  The two quickest Volkswagen duos subsequently battled for a win on the 456-kilometre stage – the second-longest of the event so far.

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01/11/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • FOTA says HRT did not pay 2010 fees
  • Returning Karthikeyan vows to 'catch up' on F1
  • Trulli not ready to 'suffer' in F1 beyond 2011
  • Barrichello to debut 2011 Williams on February1st
  • Santander ups Ferrari presence with cap deal
  • HRT to race 'upgraded' 2010 car this season
  • BBC set to confirm Coulthard as race commentator
  • Patrick Head: We’ve built an adventurous car
  • Ferrari recruit Martin won't travel to races
  • Ferrari's Vroom meting gets underway

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01/11/11
usac

Dave Brzozowki named USAC Competition Director
Dave Brzozowksi, 50, of Avon, Ind. has been named Competition Director for USAC's three National circle track racing series, Silver Crown, AMSOIL Sprint and Mopar Midget, and will also oversee USAC Technical operations for all of USAC's various racing series.

Dave has an extensive background in racing, most recently in the role of Team Manager for the IZOD IndyCar Series' KV RacingTeam.

"I look forward to leading USAC's National racing series into the new decade," says Brzozowski, whose USAC ties are well-documented. "I've always had an affinity for the USAC brand and I feel fortunate to become part of the administrative team and addressing the challenges that are presented. We have an ambitious schedule ahead of us and my sleeves are already rolled up as we rapidly approach the start of the 2011 campaign."

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01/10/11
f1

Formula 1 link for Johnnie Walker Black Label
The makers of Johnnie Walker Black Label have launched ‘Step Inside the Circuit’ to offer an inside look into the glamorous and jet set life of an F1™ driver. The campaign is a celebration of Johnnie Walker’s partnership with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team and offers an intimate insight into the world of Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the team both on and off the track.

Central to ‘Step Inside the Circuit’ is a series of short films shot during the 2010 season. The films enable fans to travel with the drivers to some of the most famous and exciting race locations in the Grand Prix calendar. Exclusive behind the scenes photographs are also scheduled for release which capture the stylish and sophisticated world of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as Grand Prix drivers.

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01/10/11
dakar

Dakar Stage 8: Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah takes lead from Sainz
Volkswagen Motorsports drivers Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah (Qatar) and Timo Gottschalk (Germany) finished first on the eighth stage in the No. 302 Touareg 3, overtaking teammates Carlos Sainz (Spain) and Lucas Cruz (Spain) in No. 300 for the overall lead in the cars class in the 2011 Dakar Rally.

“We were really careful from the beginning. Carlos caught up with us very quickly. In the last section of dunes, we were pushing at a maximum because that was where we had to take the time from Sainz,” al-Attiyah said. “I’m quite happy to win the stage, quite happy. It was a difficult stage, because I was opening all the way, but the dunes are my favorite terrain, and I was really pushing to the limit. But I’m happy to win the stage and take the lead in the general standings. I can control the race now.”

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01/10/11
fil

Team E preps for 2011 season and beyond
As the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights season approaches, veteran team owner Neil Enerson has opened the doors of operation in hopes of meeting the right driver to build his race team around.

Enerson is the owner of Team E, which won at the Milwaukee Mile in its debut season in 2008 and was named the series' New Team of the Year. The Florida businessman sat out 2009 and ran selected events in 2010, but wants to get back on-track with a full effort.

"We didn't mess around when we formed this team," Enerson told EFormulaCarNews.com. "I have put the right people in place, and we're ready to roll down the road to St. Pete to go for the win. We were second at the Grand Prix last year, so we've got a hot setup."

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01/10/11
ta

Trans-Am Series Finalizes Nine Race Schedule For 2011
SCCA Pro Racing today confirmed three additional races on the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series calendar, completing the nine-race schedule for the upcoming season.

A Labor Day Weekend doubleheader at Brainerd International Raceway, Sept. 2-4, and the season finale at Road Atlanta as part of the Petit LeMans event, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1, cap the schedule and will end the season.

The final events join a full line-up of premier events already announced, including the opener at Sebring International Raceway (March 17 - 19) in Sebring, Fla.; Miller Motorsports Park (April 30-May 1) in Tooele, Utah; VIRginia International Raceway (May 13-15) in Alton, Va.; Mosport International Raceway (May 20 - 22) in Bowmanville, Ontario; the street race in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada (August 5-7); and Road America (August 19 - 21) in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

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01/10/11
nascar

NASCAR promotes Jim O'Connell
As its corporate marketing division continues to set new standards for creativity and client service in a sport with the most active sponsorship, NASCAR announced that Vice President Jim O'Connell has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer. The promotion is effective immediately. Despite the prolonged recessionary environment, in 2010, O'Connell's team renewed 75% of its partner agreements and increased NASCAR official partner revenue 10 percent. Two new partner categories were created: cause-related marketing with DRIVE4COPD becoming the official healthcare initiative of NASCAR, and "Green," highlighted by a landmark sponsorship agreement with American Ethanol led by Growth Energy, the largest NASCAR sponsorship since Sprint entered the sport in 2004. O'Connell joined NASCAR in 2006 as Vice President of Corporate Marketing, overseeing the division of NASCAR that attracts and maintains corporate interest in the sport. His new title will be Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. With the largest events drawing the most loyal, sponsor-conscious fans in sports, NASCAR has relationships with more major corporations than any other sport. NASCAR

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01/10/11
nassprint

Vickers testing in Orlando
Brian Vickers, who was forced to take a medical leave of absence from the Sprint Cup Series last spring, planned to make his first laps in one of his Red Bull Racing Team stock cars Monday at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, FL. Vickers posted on his Twitter feed, "Just got to Walt Disney World Speedway. Going to make the first laps of 2011 this afternoon -- Can't wait!" And just after 12:30 pm, apparently after making his first run, Vickers posted, "Damn that felt good. Everything fits just like I left it." Red Bull officials were not immediately available for comment about the test on the oddly-shaped one-mile oval that was used in the late 1990s for a couple Truck Series races, along with IndyCar Series events.

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01/10/11
F1

Head regrets Hulkenberg loss to pay driver
AT&T Williams director of engineering Patrick Head has expressed his regret that his team was unable to retain German driver Nico Hulkenberg who has been replaced by Venezuela’s Pastor Maldonado.

In an article penned for Motorsport magazine, Head wrote, “On the driver front we are very happy to be continuing with Rubens Barrichello, but unfortunately were not able to retain Nico Hulkenberg, who we think developed well over the year and deserves a seat on merit, his pole position in Brazil showing that he has good command of the car in slippery conditions. We hope to see him in a competing car in 2011.”

Head added, “Alongside Rubens will be Pastor Maldonado who won the 2010 GP2 Championship with more victories than any previous champion. He comes with some financial support, but deserves his opportunity on merit.”

This is in stark contradiction to recent declarations by Williams Chairman Adam Parr who said the description of Maldonado as a pay-driver is “repulsive and irrelevant”.

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01/10/11
arcA
IRL

Milka Duno to run ARCA race at Daytona
Sheltra Motorsports, the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard's Champion, has signed Milka Duno to run the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Duno, a driver in the IndyCar Series, will begin her foray with Sheltra Motorsports piloting the #63 Dodge Charger at the newly-repaved Daytona International Speedway for three days of ARCA Racing Series testing January 11-13. Champion crew chief, Jon Wolfe, will work with Duno throughout the test session to get her comfortable, fast and ready for the ARCA Racing Series season opener at DIS on February 12th. "I'm very excited and grateful for this opportunity to test with the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard's Championship winning team," said Duno. "Patrick, Jon and Brandon head a very skilled and dedicated organization and having met with them and visited their facility it is easy to see why they are the 2010 champions!" Additional information about Milka Duno's 2011 season will also become available in the next several weeks. Sheltra Motorsports

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01/10/11
Racing news

Detroit 2011: Porsche unveils 918 RSR

Porsche 918 RSR
Porsche has stolen the floor at the Detroit motor show with the quite sensational 918 RSR. The RSR is a blend of the 918 Spyder road car and the hybrid tech of the 911 GT3 R hybrid we drove last year.

It looks brilliant - the closed cockpit making it look shorter and more purposeful than the 918 Spyder - and it's got cool orange stripes, and bears the number 22, which was the winning number of the Porsche 917 K that won Le Mans 40 years ago with an average speed of 138mph, not beaten until Audi did it last year. Also, the fan sits over the engine, exactly like the one on the 917's flat-12.

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01/10/11
f1

Horner denies Red Bull broke cost-saving agreement
(GMM)  Team boss Christian Horner has denied claims Red Bull flouted a cost-saving agreement on the way to winning the world championships in 2010.

On Christmas Eve, former FIA president Max Mosley claimed Red Bull spent more than was allowed under the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA); a document agreed as a compromise to a full-blown budget cap.

On Monday, Italian reports claimed Red Bull's over-spend was EUR 60 million, amid rumors Mercedes could be set to break the next agreement with its KERS development costs.

At the same time, F1's smallest budget team HRT quit the FOTA teams association, a spokeswoman explaining that the body is "more for the big teams than the small ones".

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01/10/11
automotive

Chevrolet Volt Wins 2011 North American Car of the Year
The Chevrolet Volt has been named the 2011 North American Car of the Year.

The North American Car of the Year is selected by a jury of 49 automotive journalists from Canada and the United States, representing newspapers, magazines, websites, television and radio shows.

For 2011, the Volt garnered more juror votes than the Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Sonata, which were also finalists.

This is the third time Chevrolet has won the North American Car of the Year, and the fourth time for General Motors. Most recently, the Chevrolet Malibu was the 2008 North American Car of the Year.

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01/10/11
f1

Lotus to launch at Valencia, not leaving FOTA
(GMM)  Team Lotus will have its 2011 car at the opening test in Valencia but is not planning a traditional "launch", a spokesperson said on Monday.

After a visit to the team's Hingham (UK) headquarters last week, owner and boss Tony Fernandes said the new car "is looking great" and "much slicker" than its predecessor but warned that Lotus "won't do (a) conventional launch".

But a spokesman clarified to Dutch website f1today.nl that, as per the plans of many rival teams, Team Lotus will be giving the new car its debut at Valencia early next month.

"We will present the car there," he said, referring to the permanent Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of the Spanish port city.

Meanwhile, after an HRT spokeswoman confirmed that the Spanish team elected to leave FOTA due to "politics", Fernandes said on his Twitter account on Monday that Team Lotus will not be following suit.

"We think Fota is very good and very important," he said.

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01/10/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Lotus name dispute 'embarrassing' - Trulli
  • Renault issue means Kubica to sit out rally
  • Big team spending threatens FOTA unity
  • Rome mayor says Monza more important to F1
  • New Red Bull heading for 1 February debut – Marko
  • Ferrari tried to poach more Red Bull people - Marko
  • Vettel 'stupid' to make Ferrari switch now - Marko

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01/10/11
ga

J.C. France back on track
The Grand-Am Road Racing community welcomed J.C. France back with open arms on the first day of testing for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona. France, out of pro racing for more than a year after charges of drug possession and street racing in 2009 that were later dismissed, is one of five drivers assigned to the #9 Action Express Porsche Riley Daytona Prototype owned by Bob Johnson. France, grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., was suspended from Grand-Am competition only days before the 2009 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 45-year-old driver was arrested by Daytona Beach police that October on a variety of charges ranging from street racing, DUI and possession of crack cocaine. The case was dismissed based on a technicality introduced by France's defense team. Daytona Beach police witnessed France run a red light in Holly Hill, a different municipality. Between his arrest and dismissal of the case, France underwent rehabilitation and drug testing required by Grand-Am, which is owned by NASCAR. Once cleared of charges, he was immediately reinstated by Grand-Am.  Daytona Beach News-Journal

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