Ricciardo to drive new Toro Rosso first Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that he will be the first to drive Toro Rosso's new car, with the Australian set to debut the STR8 chassis at the opening pre-season test in Jerez. Entering his second full season in the sport alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, the 23-year-old from Perth is eager to make significant strides in 2013.
"I’ll be driving the first day, the fifth of February," Ricciardo explained. "So not long at all, three weeks I think – I can’t wait. It looks good of course; the team say everything is running to plan and on schedule, which is the first thing you want to hear.
Dakar Day 9: Despres dominates, Terranova celebrates! On completion of a superb battle with the title holder, Joan Barreda picked up his 4th stage victory on Day 9 of the 2013 edition, 1'15 ahead of Cyril Despres. In the general standings, the Frenchman took regained command ahead of his teammate Ruben Faria, who finished the day in 8th place. In the car category, Argentinean Orlando Terranova won his 1st stage victory, while Stephane Peterhansel, 3rd today, again increased his lead at the top of the general standings.
As the first to get to grips with the 357 km of the 10th stage, Cyril Despres opened the road all day along the special's tracks, attacking throughout, but avoiding taking major risks on a terrain similar to the type encountered in endurance races, even though it was quick, technically demanding and especially physically tiring. Just behind him on the tracks, Joan Barreda again proved to be the only rider able to compete with the title holder's pace.
IndyCar news bits MAVTV 500 nominated for L.A. Sports Award: The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series' season finale, the MAVTV 500 in which Ryan Hunter-Reay captured the series championship in the exciting 250-lap race, is among the nominees for L.A. Sports Awards. Visit www.lasports.org through the end of the month to vote for the race in the "Individual Sports" category…. Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay and Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Will Power participated in a Chevrolet manufacturer's test at Sebring International Raceway on Jan. 14. The next scheduled test date is Jan. 23 for Sebastien Bourdais and Dragon Racing at Sebring. He will be competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona starting the next day.
Auto Club Speedway To Add Playground Fixture To Pit Box Lounge Auto Club Speedway yesterday announced plans to "install a slide from its new Pit Box Lounge straight to a bar area, where unlimited beer and wine will be served during its March 23-24 race weekend," according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY.
Though the slide's design "hasn't been finalized, track President Gillian Zucker favors a curly q spiral to deliver fans -- who would pay $799 apiece for lounge access -- to the track's new Victory Lane Bar." The lounge was "built in converted suites at the Turn 4 end of an infield building that runs the length of pit road." There also is "roof access for ticketholders, but the alcohol included in the admission price is available in a ground-level area that formerly operated as Victory Lane."
While some might not think a slide would mix well with alcohol, Zucker said that she "doesn't encourage fans to reach the level of intoxication to where it would be a problem." Bartenders at the track "already stop serving guests if they've had too much." USA Today
Cheez-It signs multi-year deal to sponsor Cup Series at the Glen Watkins Glen International is proud to announce that the Cheez-It brand has signed a multi-year agreement to be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race starting in 2013.
“We are excited to welcome the Kellogg Company and Cheez-It to the Watkins Glen International family as our NASCAR event weekend sponsor,” Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup said. “This partnership adds another chapter to our rich racing history and provides an array of opportunities for all involved.
British driver Jack Hawksworth took a big risk with his motor sports career when he decided to move to the US in 2012 at the age of 21, to try his hand in US open wheel racing in the Star Mazda Championship - the first step on the 'Road to Indy' ladder to future stardom.
To say that the decision to move to the States proved a massive success is an understatement. The former Formula Renault UK driver smashed all expectations in his rookie season in America, setting new Star Mazda Championship records for the most wins, poles and fastest laps (eight, ten and ten respectively over the course of the 16 completed rounds of the year with Team Pelfrey) on his way to clinching the 2012 title.
Bondurant Signs New Lease At Firebird The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving – the largest purpose-built driving school in the world – will have a bigger presence in the Phoenix area after signing a new property lease. The school has reached agreement for a direct lease with the Sun Valley Marina Corporation, a corporation owned by the Gila River Indian Community. The Bondurant School is located on the Gila River Indian Community.
The school previously operated through a sub-lease from Firebird International Raceway, but the Firebird lease will not be renewed when it expires in April. The new Bondurant lease includes the school's current 1.6-mile road course plus use of Firebird Raceway's west track for future expansion and track rental.
Big TV Package For Lucas Oil Off Road The Lucas Off-Road Racing Series - the pinnacle of off road short course racing is rapidly climbing up the leader board of televised motor sports and is now ranked second only to NASCAR in cumulative on-air hours. The 15 race series plus the season ending *"Challenge Cup" will air a total of 110 hours of original first run programming. These include 8 one hour shows on CBS; 32 one hour shows on CBS Sport Network, (64 hours with re-airs); 8 one hour shows on NBC Sports Network (16 hours with re-airs); 30 one hour shows on SPEED (60 hours with re-airs) and 32 one hour shows on MAVTV (64 hours with re-airs).
According to Joyce Julius and Associates - the independent sports and special event evaluator of corporate sponsorships, the 2012 Lucas Off Road Racing Series - generated over $65 million in value for series sponsors with an additional $48.4 million in value for team sponsors. Live race attendance was also up a substantial 13% in 2012..
Michael McDowell announced that he will return as driver of the #98 Ford Fusion to run the full 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. McDowell's Ford will be fielded by Phil Parsons Racing with Roush Yates Engines supplying the power plant. Gene Nead will continue to call the shots for the team as crew chief. Sponsorship plans to cover McDowell's car are being pieced together. Positive, Encouraging K-LOVE radio will be back to sponsor the #98 Fusion at Daytona and potentially more races later in the schedule. Curb Records is returning as an associate sponsor for the season and will serve as primary sponsor at a to-be-announced event. The team is currently pursuing partners to fill the rest of the Sprint Cup Series schedule.
NASCAR & Featherlite Trailers Announce 6-year Extension NASCAR and Featherlite Trailers announced that the Iowa-based company has agreed to extend its long-term partnership with NASCAR. The six-year extension ensures that Featherlite Trailers will be the Official Trailer of NASCAR through 2018. Entering its 13th year as an Official Partner, Featherlite Trailers built its first race car transporter for owner Richard Childress 20 years ago, dating its relationship with the sport back to 1993. NASCAR PR
Alex and James Davison Join David Calvert-Jones for Bathurst 12 Hour A 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour field predominantly made up of Australia- and New Zealand-based teams will see one U.S.-based team make the voyage as Tujunga, Calif.-based Competition Motorsports will field a 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Australian cousins Alex and James Davison and Los Angeles-based Australian driver David "CJ" Calvert-Jones, in the "Ultimate Aussie Endurance Race" on February 8-10, 2013.
The once-around-the-clock event will be held on the 6.213-km (3.861-mile) Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales. The Competition Motorsports-prepped racecar left Los Angeles three weeks ago and will run with support from Australia Porsche stalwart, McElrea Racing, in the B class. Competition Motorsports owner Bob Faieta will work alongside the McElrea Racing crew as team manager at Bathurst.
Danica Patrick calls marriage 'irretrievably broken'
A troubled Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick filed for divorce on Jan 3. in the Superior Court of Arizona, citing an “irretrievably broken” marriage with her husband, Paul Hospenthal.
One of NASCAR’s most popular drivers and one of racing’s biggest stars, Patrick filed for divorce in the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County, according to documents obtained by Sporting News.
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, requiring no reason for a divorce. The divorce cannot be finalized for at least 60 days from the time Hospenthal is served with the divorce papers, and Hospenthal will get an opportunity to respond.
Dakar Day 8: An unstoppable Peterhansel and an unfortunate Nasser! Frenchman Cyril Despres produced a stunning performance to take his first stage win in the 2013 Dakar in the Bike category and, most importantly, climb to second overall, 5m23s down, as the defending champion benefitted from his main rivals' bad day at the office. In the car category, today was M-Day, with Mini's Nani Roma taking his second win in 2013 and Stephane Peterhansel opening up a gulf between him and his rivals thanks to Al-Attiyah's misadventures. Finally, the stage saw Eduard Nikolaev take control of the truck category after Gerard de Rooy's dreadful day.
Earnhardt with his WV Team get a Step closer to NASCAR (MMD Newswire) -- Bobby Dale Earnhardt has announced he will be running the complete ARCA Truck Series in 2013 in a Chevy body style truck with Wilson Motorsports of Tyler county WV
ARCA Truck Series is one of the most versatile series in short track racing.
The series has competed on dirt and asphalt from quarter mile tracks up to 1 mile tracks.
Bobby Dale Earnhardt moved to WV in March 2012 and teamed up with Wilson Motorsports and created a three year plan to get to NASCAR.
Camaro tops Mustang in sales again In a revival of those great pony car wars of the 1960s and 1970s, Chevrolet's Camaro narrowly outsold the Ford Mustang last year.
The Chevy's 1,396-unit victory (84,391 to 82,995) was the closest race since 1971, which happened to be the first time U.S. customers bought more Camaros than Mustangs. That year the Camaro's 128,106 sales gave it a 1,044 margin over its rival.
It was the third straight victory for the Camaro since General Motors reintroduced it in April 2009. But some Ford tweaks to the 2012 Mustang made the race tighter, and the Camaro clung to a slim lead all year.
With a November sales edge of 845 units, the Mustang had cut the Chevy's lead to fewer than 1,100 units. But the Camaro was tops in December by 300 units to seal the victory.
Zolder Circuit close to bankruptcy The Zolder Circuit is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but there could be less to celebrate, as funds are drying up for the Belgian Circuit. WTCC, FIA GT and of course ChampCar were the last great events at the Belgian venue in recent years.
Circuit Director Thierry Deflandre has approached Taskforce Limburg, a local government organization for support in keeping the track alive. Investments in the cycling world were not enough to make profits. Also the uncertain situation within the Belgian Motorsportsworld at the beginning of 2012 contributed to this situation. They started their own national championship far too late.(The collapse of Belcar and BTCS created the Belgian Racing Car Championship).
Thierry Deflandre hopes that with government support his track can contribute to the grow of electric vehicles and motorsports. Nowadays circuits cannot survive on motorsports events alone he said.
22 apply for IndyCar Leaders Circle program IndyCar received official Leaders Circle applications from 22 entries, 20 of which were among last season’s top finishers.
Those 20 were eligible to receive the estimated $1 million in sanctioning body assistance this season based on their top-22 finish in 2012. Application deadline was Friday.
The No. 38 car of Ganassi Racing (driven last year by Graham Rahal) and the No. 8 of KV Racing Technology (driven last year by Rubens Barrichello) did not re-apply. Barrichello has taken a job in Brazil’s stock car series; Rahal has moved to his father’s team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
BMW Team RLL Returns to 2013 ALMS with New BMW Z4 GTE BMW of North America and BMW Motorsport today announced that BMW Team RLL will again campaign BMW’s American Le Mans Series entries in 2013. The two car team will do battle with the best of North American GT class sports car racing with the newly designed BMW Z4 GTE starting with the season-opening 12 hours of Sebring on March 16.
“We are really looking forward to this new chapter of BMW racing in North America,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America. “After two Manufacturer’s championships, two Team championships, one Driver championship, and the Michelin Green-X championship for BMW Team RLL with the M3 GT, we now entrust the same strong team to deliver more trophies with our new Z4 GTE. We are absolutely convinced that BMW fans will again see great ALMS GT class racing in 2013.”
NASCAR To Unveil Fan & Media Engagement Center In Charlotte NASCAR today in Charlotte will unveil its Fan & Media Engagement Center, a "technology initiative that collects and aggregates what's being said about the sport in both social and traditional media and disseminates that information to the proper channels." The effort is "believed to be the first of its kind in professional sports." The glass-encased, 500-square foot tech center is "not open to the public." It will be staffed by NASCAR’s integrative marketing communications staff. THATSRACIN.com
Bad News for mediocre drivers: New-car puts emphasis on driving Twelve of 35 cars went home after crashing following three days of testing. Drivers said NASCAR’s new generation race car was difficult to drive. Crews said the new design and a lack of parts will have everyone scrambling to be ready in time for next month’s Daytona 500.
But nobody was complaining at Daytona International Speedway.
The new cars were redesigned to highlight manufacturer identity. At the same time, the sanctioning body made other rules that will put success back in the hands of the drivers.
Cadillac ATS Wins 2013 North American Car of the Year
The 2013 Cadillac ATS luxury sport sedan today was named the winner of the North American Car of the Year award.
A jury of 49 automotive journalists considered every new car released in the past year, and selected ATS as the winner. The award was announced at a press conference opening the 25th annual North American International Auto Show.
"This is a very meaningful honor for the entire Cadillac team, especially the men and women who build the ATS in Lansing, Michigan, and our dedicated and talented designers and engineers,” said Bob Ferguson, GM vice president, global Cadillac. “A car like ATS is the result of incredible commitment and focus. That’s the only method for creating a great performing luxury car."
The new Corvette will only be found at larger Chevy dealerships
The seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, scheduled to be unveiled at the auto show here this week, will be in showrooms by late summer. But some Chevy dealers will be left out.
For the first time, General Motors is requiring Chevrolet dealers to meet a sales-volume threshold to carry the Corvette, dealers say. Dealers who failed to sell at least four Corvettes last year -- likely hundreds of Chevy stores -- won't get the 2014 Corvette, several dealers told Automotive News.
"I don't anticipate getting the new Corvette this year, and many smaller dealers like me won't get it either," says Byron Hansen, a Chevrolet dealer in Brigham City, Utah. Hansen said he sold two Corvettes last year.
Grand Cherokee will get 8-speed, diesel option A re-engineered Jeep Grand Cherokee will get a new eight-speed automatic transmission, a new optional diesel engine and Chrysler Group's latest Uconnect infotainment system for the 2014 model year.
Jeep's flagship SUV will be revealed today at the Detroit auto show.
In addition to the powertrain changes, designers slightly restyled the Grand Cherokee's front fascia and rear taillights. Inside, the SUV will get an 8.4-inch touch screen infotainment system.
A re-engineered and restyled SRT version of the Grand Cherokee, with the eight-speed transmission, will be shown as well.
Videos: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray / Z51 Revealed Also See feature article on our Home Page. Contributing Editor Csaba Csere reveals everything you need to know about the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette on the latest episode of Car and Driver.
Bernie Ecclestone says he is prepared to testify in a trial which will take place at London's High Court in October concerning a $44m (£27.3m) bribe he allegedly paid to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to steer the sale of Formula One to current owner, private equity firm CVC.
The case has been brought by Constantin Medien, a former part owner of F1, which claims that Mr. Ecclestone and Mr. Gribkowsky conspired to undervalue F1 when it was sold to CVC in 2006 for $1.7bn.
"I'm prepared to give evidence in court and there will be a few others [who do so] as well," said Mr. Ecclestone. "I wish they would bring it forward. It's going to be amusing."
It's still too close to call in Tucuman! 139 motorcycles, 26 quads, 106 cars and 64 trucks made it through the first eight stages to the rest day in Tucuman, representing 74.61% of the vehicles which started in Lima. As expected, the Peruvian sequence was as splendid as it was tough, with its fair share of twists and turns. David Casteu, Marcos Patronelli, Stephane Peterhansel and Gerard de Rooy lead their respective categories but, looking at the variety of challenges awaiting them over the next few days, the only thing that's certain is that nothing is certain!
McLaren Will Launch New Development Program To Support, Train Young Drivers McLaren "will launch a new development program for talented, young racecar drivers in February," according to Norman Fischer of Motorsport Total. The program will include workshops, practice meetings and monthly feedback. The Performance Academy of McLaren Applied Technologies "is supposed to support aspiring talents, so they can develop and utilize their full potential."
The two-day academy will take place at McLaren's headquarters in Woking, England, where a selected number of young drivers between the ages of 13-17 "will receive the opportunity to foster their talent through training and support." A requirement for all participants "is the acquisition of a racing license."
The participants will be chosen based on their experiences as well as their chances of future success. McLaren "plans on accepting 20 young drives into the program in the first year." Motorsport Total
Gavin fears quiet cars a fan turn-off Corvette Le Mans racer Oliver Gavin has urged rule makers to ensure that the move toward green technology does not reduce the noise appeal of sports car racing.
The dramatic engine note of the Corvette GT cars has made them a fan favorite, whereas the diesel-powered generation of works LMP1 cars were significantly quieter. Gavin fears sports car racing's appeal will be reduced if loud cars like the Corvette become a thing of the past.
Biffle quickest on final day at Daytona Fastest of the day on single car runs in final day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona in the morning session on Saturday was 2012 Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth topping the speed charts in the No. 20 Toyota from Joe Gibbs Racing with a lap speed of 194.062 mph. Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, was second fastest in the No. 21 Ford from Wood Brothers Racing with a lap of 193.686.
Danica Patrick, who will race the full NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule this year with Stewart Haas Racing, was third fastest with a speed of 193.648.
In the afternoon, Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle was fastest at 194.936 mph followed by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth (194.717) and Kyle Busch (194.578).
NASCAR doesn't foresee major changes after successful Daytona test
Robin Pemberton talks to the media about the test
The search for speed continued Saturday during the third day of Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway -- among NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers with their race cars still intact. After Friday's 12-car accident during drafting practice sent many teams packing, single-car runs were the order of the day among those who stayed for the duration. On NASCAR's part, this year's season-opening test was a sharp contrast to that of 2012, when the sanctioning body spent three days tinkering with the superspeedway rules package in an attempt to break up two-car drafts and to scale down speeds that exceeded 206 mph.
Cup car running down long runway at the Kennedy Space Center
Research and development teams from Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing have discovered the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility just south of Daytona on Merritt Island in Brevard County - part of the Kennedy Space Center. The 15,000-foot concrete runway, built for the Space Shuttle landing in 1984, is ideal for straight-line testing - where teams gather aerodynamic data. It's also more economically feasible than transporting cars from North Carolina to the proving grounds in Arizona.
Hyundai Accelerates WRC Preparations with Team Principal Appointment
Hyundai Motor Co. has bolstered its nascent World Rally Championship (WRC) program with the appointment of WRC veteran Michel Nandan as Team Principal. The Frenchman, who has held key technical positions on the world rally stage since the mid-1990s, joins Hyundai at an exciting time in the manufacturer’s WRC program.
Hyundai announced its intentions to enter the World Rally Championship at the Paris Motor Show in September last year and is now developing a WRC-specification of its new i20 model with the objective of competing in the entire 2014 championship. Hyundai has also established a bespoke motorsport subsidiary, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, under which the company’s WRC program will be run. Gyoo Heon Choi has been named the President of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH.
(GMM) Paul di Resta has admitted he is surprised Force India is taking so long to decide his 2013 teammate.
Already openly disappointed to have missed out on a move to a bigger team, 26-year-old Scot di Resta is yet to learn who will be replacing his 2012 teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who has switched to Sauber.
Asked if he is surprised about the delay, he told Press Association: "I am surprised there has been nothing yet.
Dakar Day 8: Casteu takes over in Bikes, it's sink or swim for the cars
On Day 8 of the Dakar Rally Joan Barreda won the last stage before the rest day in Tucuman, while David Casteu toppled Olivier Pain from the top of the general classification. Cyril Despres bounced back after changing his engine during this mammoth stage. The car race was neutralized due to a flash flood. Stéphane Peterhansel is still in command of the overall, but the size of the gaps, and even the name of today's winner, are still a mystery.
It was just like a game of coconut shy! The eighth stage of the Dakar was expected to be tricky and, above all, long. Even the amputation of the first part of the special due to torrential rain didn't blunt the edge of this stage. Navigational skills proved to be the decisive factor today. Especially at kilometer point 122, where a group of wayward riders lost almost half an hour, including yesterday's winner Kurt Caselli and, most importantly, overall leader Olivier Pain, whose mistake ended up costing him the lead, as well as "Chaleco" Lopez, who also lost his second place.
Brundle tips Hamilton to win race in 2013 (GMM) Former F1 driver Martin Brundle expects Lewis Hamilton to win a race for Mercedes this year.
But the 53-year-old, who like Hamilton is a former McLaren driver, admitted he would have advised the 2008 world champion to make a different decision as he picked a team for 2013.
"Had I been his manager then I think I would have said 'let's do a short-term deal at McLaren, for one or two years, and let's see what is out there and see who is moving'," Brundle, who used to be David Coulthard's manager, said.
Dakar Day 7: Peterhansel wins another stage, pads lead in Dakar
Stephane Peterhansel leads
Stephane Peterhansel won the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally on Friday to increase his overall lead in the cars competition, and a French motorcyclist became the third person killed in connection with this year's race.
Peterhansel now leads by 3 minutes, 14 seconds in his Mini, ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar as the car category shapes up to be a two-man race. Third-place Giniel de Villier is 44 minutes behind the leader.
In bikes, Kurt Caselli of the United States won the high-altitude stage across the Andes with Olivier Pain of France keeping the overall lead.
Guido Forti, the former team boss of mid-1990s Formula One outfit Forti Corse, has died. He was 72.
The Italian originally co-founded his outfit with businessman Paolo Guerci in the late 1970s, racing in Italian Formula Ford before gaining respect by taking Franco Forino to an Italian Formula 3 title.
The squad followed that success with a hat-trick of titles for Enrico Bertaggia, Emanuele Naspetti and Gianni Morbidelli.
Dale Jr. wrecks Ambrose, wipes out 12 cars Drivers wanted to see how their new Sprint Cup cars handled in the draft at Daytona International Speedway.
The answer? Stay away from Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It was a costly lesson for many Friday as a 12-car crash resulted in eight teams having their three-day test end in the middle of the second day because of damage to their cars. At least four other teams decided to go home to avoid wrecking.
Honda has revealed that Casey Stoner decided 2012 would be his MotoGP farewell as soon he won the '11 title.
HRC chief Shuhei Nakamoto said he spent several months trying to persuade the double world champion to reconsider before Stoner revealed in France last May that he would retire at the end of the year.
"Casey told us [in 2011] that he was thinking to retire at the end of 2012. It was after he won the Australian GP to secure the championship," Nakamoto said.
"He still had one more year to run on his contract with us, so he said he would ride for Honda in 2012, but it was quite a shock to hear he wanted to retire.
"Ever since the season began, he kept saying he wanted to make his decision public. Naturally, we really wanted him to continue with us and repeatedly tried to persuade him to reconsider, but Casey's mind was made up.
Pro Mazda driver lineup beginning to take shape With the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule announced this week, drivers are following suit.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion Matthew Brabham announced his deal with Andretti Autosport in December, continuing the pattern of the champion graduating to the second step of the Mazda Road to Indy since the formation of the ladder in 2010 (Sage Karam, 2010; Petri Suvanto, 2011).
Joining him is USF2000 standout Spencer Pigot and series sophomore Juan Piedrahita.
Honda dealers add support to Houston event The Greater Houston Honda Dealers Association, a group of 14 local dealers, will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston through 2016.
The Oct. 4-6 event on a 1.7-mile, 10-turn street circuit at Reliant Park will be the third doubleheader race weekend of the season for the IZOD IndyCar Series and serve as the lead-in to the championship finale Oct. 19.
"We are delighted to welcome the Greater Houston Honda Dealers as the presenting sponsor of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston," GP general manager Chuck Kosich said. "Renaming the event the 'Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers' has so much significance for us — not only because of Honda's rich history with IndyCar, but because of the enthusiasm the local dealers have for the Grand Prix."
Toyota Camry to Pace Field at NASCAR's Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 As part of a new partnership between Auto Club Speedway and Toyota, officials announced today that the Toyota Camry will lead the field to the start of the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Royal Purple 300 NNS race at Southern California's premier motorsports facility, March 23 - 24, 2013. The announcement is part of a marketing agreement between the two which makes the 2013 vehicle "The Official Pace Car of Auto Club Speedway".
"Toyota is excited to extend its longstanding relationship with Auto Club Speedway when the Camry serves as the official pace car during the NASCAR race weekend," said Les Unger, national motorsports marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. "Being based in southern California, Toyota has previously enjoyed a partnership with the track from a promotion and sponsorship perspective at various times throughout the years. This opportunity is a perfect fit for Toyota to showcase the 2013 Camry given the company's historical popularity in the southern California market."
Kanaan Says IndyCar Needs To Face UpUPDATE Tony Kanaan is 100% correct in suggesting IndyCar needs a face during these difficult times. As outlets like AR1 publish exposes about awful TV ratings, and gross mismanagement, 16th and Georgetown remains silent, totally devoid of leadership, doing little to silence the critics.
Of course, TK could be making the mistake so many of us have before: Assuming the Hulman-George family actually cares about IndyCar; that they actually care about anything other than "not losing too much money" with regard to our beloved sport.
While the statement may seem strong, I'm beginning to believe it may have merit. And if someone believes it to be inaccurate, we encourage them to contact us, as we will publish compelling evidence to the contrary. AR1.com columnist Brian Carroccio
NASCAR returns to traditional format to set the Daytona 500 field With the elimination of the top-35 rule in 2013, NASCAR will revert to its traditional format for setting the field for the Daytona 500.
NASCAR will return to traditional qualifying in 2013, with the fastest 36 drivers making the field and the remaining seven spots being filled based on owner points. For the past several years, the top 35 teams in owner points were guaranteed starting spots. That means a similar format will once again apply to the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby explained the Daytona 500 qualifying procedure Thursday following testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Austin Dillon to run Cup race for Phoenix Racing at Las Vegas
Austin Dillon will drive Phoenix Racing’s No. 51 car in the Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas March 10 with sponsorship from Tag Heuer Eyewear.
While Regan Smith and AJ Allmendinger are expected to share driving duties in the car this season, the sponsorship allows Dillon to drive the car at Las Vegas as he prepares for a possible full-time Cup ride for Richard Childress Racing in 2014. Dillon and his younger brother, Ty, both have Tag Heuer personal services contracts. Initially, Tag Heuer was talking to Phoenix Racing about sponsoring Ty in the Nationwide race at Daytona, but when Spartanburg, S.C., company Guy Roofing wanted to sponsor both the Nationwide and Cup races at Daytona, the sponsorship moved to the Cup race at Vegas, Austin Dillon said.
Panther Bolsters Engineering Program With Tino Belli After losing technical director Allen McDonald to Sam Schmidt Motorsports last week, SPEED.com reports that Tino Belli, race engineer for James Hinchcliffe, has left to join Panther Racing. Belli is expected to work alongside David Cripps as a two-pronged engineering package in support of driver JR Hildebrand. Belli could also play an over-arching technical role that covers Hildebrand and Panther DRR's entry for Oriol Servia.
Belli departs Andretti after an impressive 14-year stint with the renowned team, and the respected Welshman’s resume also includes stints at Pagan Racing, Forsythe Racing and with the former Indy car constructor March.
A close battle in the opening stages of the Dunlop 24H Dubai
Start of the 24 Hours of Dubai
Just after 14.00 h local time, His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum waved the flag of the United Arab Emirates to send off the field for the eighth running of the Dunlop 24H DUBAI. Other dignitaries to watch the start of the event included Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of ACTUAE, the Emirates motorsport authority, and vice-president of the FIA, and Ali Fardan Al Fardan, chairman of the Dubai Autodrome. The numerous spectators at the Dubai Autodrome and watching the live footage on the internet and various TV channels all over the world got to see plenty of action in the opening hour.
Third person dies in 2013 Dakar Rally Motorcycle rider no. 106 Thomas Bourgin (FRA) was the victim of a fatal traffic accident on the link route as he made his way to the start of the day’s special stage.
The accident took place at 08.23 hours local time on the link route on the way up to the Chilean side of the mountain range. The 25-year-old rider collided with a Chilean police car that was travelling in the opposite direction. The exact circumstances of the accident are being subjected to an inquiry.
The rally’s medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider’s death, probably instant.
Morgan LMP2 heads for Asian Le Mans Series with KCMG
Morgan LMP2 car
OAK Racing’s manufacturer department Onroak Automotive has sold its first Morgan LMP2 chassis in Asia to Chinese outfit KCMG. The car will be entered in the Asian Le Mans Series, a new championship comprising six events organized by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. It’s a deal that has also prompted OAK Racing to set-up an Asian office in order to provide full technical assistance.
Established by Hong Kong national Paul Ip in 2007, KCMG has contested a number of high profile championships throughout Asia including Japan’s Formula Nippon, Super GT300 and Formula 3 categories, as well as Formula Masters China and the Chinese Touring Car Championship (CTCC). Indeed, almost ten cars sport the team’s colors across the continent.
Danica - NASCAR Star or Sex Kitten? She is a cool, sexy alternative on the NASCAR circuit, a talented driver who has the potential to set herself apart from the good-old boy network of stars.
Or, she is an over-hyped and under-performing stock-car driver who should go back to open-wheel racing, or maybe just stick to making those suggestive Go Daddy commercials.
Truthfully, it's still impossible to figure out which label to stick on her permanently. But we're about to find out.
Patrick will run a full-time Sprint Cup schedule for Stewart-Haas Racing this season – a 36-race grind that will offer a truer measure of her driving skills than the 10-race smorgasbord in 2012. She also will opt out of the Indianapolis 500 again to focus on her NASCAR responsibilities.
Settlement reached in disabled access to Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1, It is unbelievably shameful for the Hulman George family to have allowed the ADA violations to fester since 1999.
Tony George spent tens of millions to upgrade the Brickyard for Formula One and a reported $0.5 billion of family money to destroy the sport of IndyCar racing, but and he couldn't have been bothered to minimally upgrade the rest of the facility so there wasn't a single ADA violation?
But, hey, when the local new yahoo U.S. Attorney takes two years to cite IMS for 360 ADA violations and, then, grants them two years to fix them, I guess when the government is as clueless as TG, it's a wonder that a disabled fan was able to even get through the front gate..... Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA
INDIANAPOLIS – “Today's announcement serves as a reminder that the march toward equality continues, and this Office remains dedicated to defending the civil rights of all Indiana residents,” said United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett. “For more than a century, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a treasured symbol for all Hoosiers, and this agreement ensures that it will now be accessible to all Hoosiers.”
Hondo to build new 2014 Accord Hybrid in USA Honda of America Mfg., Inc. announced today that it will invest $23 million and hire approximately 50 new associates at its Marysville, Ohio auto plant to add production of the new two-motor Accord Hybrid Sedan, scheduled to go on sale nationwide this fall.
In another step toward bringing hybrid production to the U.S., this will be the third hybrid model built by Honda in America1 and the first in Ohio. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC in Greensburg, Ind. was the first Honda plant in North America to build a hybrid vehicle, and currently produces both the Civic Hybrid and Acura ILX Hybrid models.
Shank (L) and Ambrose (R) listen while Allmendinger speaks
Even with the best laid plans, sometimes you have to call an audible. Fortunately for the defending Rolex 24 At Daytona Champions Michael Shank Racing, the audible is an excellent play as the team has confirmed that NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose will join Michael Shank Racing for the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona to drive the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley.
Ambrose, who impressed in testing with the team during the "Roar Before the 24" over the weekend, will supplement the driving line up of AJ Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, John Pew, and Ozz Negri as Negri continues to heal from an off-season testing injury. The Roar testing proved productive for the Shank organization, as the team led five of eight practice sessions during the weekend between the two team Daytona Prototype entries.
Foyt signs SatoUPDATE So this mean that the Great All American team owner is running a Japanese driver with a Japanese engine. Foyt was once said to have said, "Gawd damn furriners with there freakin' engine leases." The irony of it all.
"Where's that laptop at? I feel like slamming something....Arie get over here, you'll do!"
01/10/13 Ending several months of speculation about their plans for 2013, AJ Foyt Racing has signed Takuma Sato to drive the ABC Supply No. 14 Honda in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
“There were a lot of question marks when the season ended but I’m happy to put an end to all that now. We chose to go with Takuma Sato because he brings a lot of experience to our team but he has the hunger of a rookie – and he’s certainly proven he has the desire to win,” said A.J. Foyt.
“I like the fact that he is competitive on both road courses and ovals and that he is a charger,” said Foyt. “I think he has learned quite a bit in the short time he’s been over here and I look forward to working with him this year.”
David Berlin (left), U.S. Marketing Director for Castrol, joined Brittany Force (center) and John Force for Thursday’s announcement that Brittany Force would enter the NHRA Top Fuel ranks in 2013
John Force Racing
John Force Racing has long been synonymous with NHRA Funny Cars, the home of 17 championships including 15 belonging to team patriarch John Force. In 2013, JFR ventures into new territory: the Top Fuel division.
Brittany Force, the third of four Force daughters, will make her debut in the Top Fuel division in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. She’ll compete for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award as Rookie of the Year, an award previously won by her brother-in-law Robert Hight, older sister Ashley Force Hood and younger sister Courtney Force, who won the award in 2012.
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