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Glock will keep Hamilton behind  Toyota's Timo Glock is looking forward to getting his own back on Lewis Hamilton after failing to hold off the McLaren driver in last year's title-deciding race and incurring the wrath of Ferrari fans.

The German came under fire after the season-ender in Brazil last November when 23-year-old Hamilton passed him for fifth place in the last few hundred metres to become the youngest champion.

Had he not done so, Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa would have taken the title as his country's first champion since the late Ayrton Senna.

"The target is definitely to be in front of Lewis," Glock told reporters when asked about his aims for the March 29 season-opener in Australia after the internet launch of his team's new car. "If we are in front of him and McLaren it means we will have made a good start to the 2009 season." More ...
IRL pushes for sponsors in tough economy  The Indy Racing League is pulling out of the economic pits as it battles for sponsorship. If all goes well, the series could be headed toward a big payoff.

It's a major turnaround for a series that has long been overshadowed by NASCAR and recently cut a handful of jobs from league offices. Even the IRL's premier facility, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has had to cut jobs and close its hotel because of the recession. Suddenly, the IRL's future looks brighter.

"Is it challenging out there? Absolutely, no question about it," said Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division. "But we feel, in motorsports, that we are the value league. We have a lot to offer and we are going to grow in 2009 in the most challenging economic environment in 50 years." Apparently, some companies like the sales pitch.

On Monday, the series hosted officials from APEX-Brasil after recently completing one of the biggest deals in league history. The multiyear contract is expected to pump millions of dollars into the sport as the company provides ethanol for the series and television advertising. On Tuesday, Sarah Fisher announced Dollar General is doubling its commitment to the second-year team, giving one of the IRL's most popular drivers enough cash to attempt to qualify for four races this season. Last year, Dollar General sponsored Fisher's startup team in two races.

The discount store chain has been involved with NASCAR's Nationwide Series the past several years.

"Dollar General is excited about being a part of IndyCar racing for a second season by sponsoring Sarah Fisher in four races," company chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said in a release. "We look forward to cheering for Sarah and SFR as her team continues to grow and succeed." Series officials believe those deals could be a harbinger.

While the more lucrative NASCAR circuit has spent the past several months contending with team mergers and spending cutbacks from struggling automakers, some longtime supporters, like Kyle Petty, worry attendance could drop in 2009. More ...
AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing Add Sebastian Saavedra  AFS Racing and Andretti Green Racing announced today that Sebastian Saavedra has been signed to drive one of the team's two entries during the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season. Saavedra will compete alongside J.R. Hildebrand, who was signed by the team after the conclusion of the 2008 season.  

Saavedra, who is an 18-year old native of Bogota, Columbia, comes to the team after a successful 2008 rookie season in the ATS Formula 3 championship. He finished second overall in the championship standings on the way to winning rookie of the year honors. 2008 also saw him net three wins in the German championship, two wins in the Austrian championship and four pole positions.  

In 2007, Saavedra finished fourth in the Formula BMW World Final. The 2007 season was his first opportunity in America, and in just his third race, he captured a victory. Three more wins followed in the Asian championship that same season.  

Hildebrand and Saavedra will be tasked with defending the Firestone Indy Lights entrant championship, which went to AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing in 2008.  

Sebastian Saavedra: "This is a good opportunity for me. I'm very happy to be with AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing. The team is so professional that it gives you a great sense of confidence and allows you to focus on the championship. Although I need to learn the car and everything that is new, I know we can be fast and run at the front. If we can get off to a good start, then anything is possible."
Leo Mansell to drive for Team Modena  Team Modena has announced the signing of Leo Mansell for the 2009 Le Mans Series season and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Mansell, who tested an LMP1 Ginetta-Zytek late last season alongside father Nigel, will partner Modena regular Antonio Garcia as the team makes the move from GT1 to GT2 with its new Ferrari 430.

It will mark a move away from single-seaters for the 24-year-old after spending the past two years in the Formula Atlantic championship, with his father also lending his experience to the programme.

"I think Leo is a natural for sportscar racing, he really took to the cars we tested last year," the 1992 F1 champion said of his sons deal. "The whole package has come together with the team, the Ferrari, Michelin etc, and we couldn't ask for a better team-mate. It will be a very exciting season, it will be my first visit to Le Mans and I am looking forward to it!"

Team boss Graham Schultz was quick to welcome Mansell into the team and said he was confident that his new driver line-up would be a strong pairing during the 2009 season.

"We are pleased to have Leo joining Team Modena," he said. "We are looking forward to a long relationship with Leo, and his partnership with Antonio Garcia should be a very strong one - Antonio has been a key part of Team Modena's international race success.

"Our link with Nigel is exciting, he will bring his huge experience of motorsport to bear on our programme and help us move to a new level."
Homestead and Barber to host IRL Tests  IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights teams will participate in Open Tests at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park to prepare for the 2009 season.  

The first Spring Training dates are scheduled for Feb. 23-25 on the 1.5-mile, variable-banked oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway. IndyCar Series teams will test under the lights from 4-10 p.m. Feb. 24-25 in preparation for the 17-race schedule that includes 10 ovals. Firestone Indy Lights rookies will practice Feb. 23 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and all Firestone Indy Lights drivers will be allowed to test Feb. 24 from 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m.  

The two series will prepare for the road and street courses on the 2009 schedule with an Open Test March 21-23 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. IndyCar Series teams will test from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 22 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 23 on the 16-turn, 2.38-mile course, while Firestone Indy Lights teams will test from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 21.  

This will mark the second time the IndyCar Series will hold an Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. Seven drivers tested at the facility in October 2007.  

“Everyone is ready to get back to the racetrack, and there are no better places to prepare for the 2009 season than Homestead-Miami Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. “This will be our third consecutive season to test under the lights at Homestead-Miami. It’s a fantastic venue that gives everyone the opportunity to measure the progress they’ve made over the winter and prepare for the season.  

“We’re excited to bring both the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights to Barber Motorsports Park. The facility is first class, and we know the fans in that part of the country are excited to have us there.” More ...
formula BMW
Andersen Racing Adds Formula BMW to Its Offerings  Andersen Racing, one of the top development team in open-wheel racing, has purchased a Formula BMW race car and will add the Formula BMW Americas Series to its program for 2009.

By competing in four different levels of the sport - karting, Formula BMW, Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights - Andersen Racing provides one central home and consistent, step-by-step training for up-and-coming open-wheel drivers.

Andersen Racing won the 2008 team championships in both the F2000 Championship Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tire and the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  One of its Firestone Indy Lights drivers finished fifth in that series last year too.  The team also has a professional karting team, as well as its own 1-mile road course test track at its headquarters in Palmetto, Fla. More ...

Invoice is not paid: A1GP cars still in Malaysia  It is just eight days before the A1GP season opener in New Zealand and the A1GP cars are still in Malaysia.  Is the Race in Taupo, New Zealand at risk?

According to reports, the invoice was not paid by either A1GP or the race promoter to the carrier and hence they will not ship the cars. A spokeswoman for the racing series has confirmed these facts, but A1GP CEO Pete da Silva could not been reached for comment.

Whether the race in Taupo will be held as scheduled, at the moment one can only speculate. At least the cars are in Malaysia and not in completely different ends of the world.
Beyer Racing Announces Driver Line Up for the Rolex 24  Beyer Racing announced today its line up for the 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona where the team will launch off its first full time Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.  As the team prepares for this historic event it has put together one of the youngest and most exciting driver lineups to ever compete at the 3.56 miles speedway road course.

Americans Jared Beyer, Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and Mexican David Martínez will get behind the wheel of the #13 Beyer Racing/Riley/Pontiac Daytona Prototype becoming the youngest team in the field with an average age of only 20.25 years.     

Jared Beyer, 18, got his first taste of Grand-Am competition in 2008 when he made his Rolex Sports Car Series debut at VIR International Raceway narrowly missing a top ten result as a rookie.  The young Texan has quickly moved up the racing ranks and after a full off season testing program is ready to complete the full 2009 season with Beyer Racing.

Returning to Daytona after a successful 5th place finish in 2008 is Ricky Taylor, 19, who will join Beyer as his full time partner for the 2009 season.  Ricky competed in selected Rolex Sports Car Series events in 2008 and also achieved great success in the Skip Barber National Championship finishing second in the 2007 Championship with two victories, five pole positions and five podiums. More ...
Ryan Eversley Signs with Stevenson Motorsports  Atlanta native, Ryan Eversley, has signed to race the #97 Stevenson Motorsports Corvette in the Grand-Am Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.  Ryan is no stranger to the 24 having competed with Farnbacher Loles Racing in 2007.

Last season Ryan competed in the Koni Challenge series with Motorsport Technology Group in a Porsche 997.  Though it was a difficult season, Ryan scored two top ten finishes with a tenth at the season opener in Daytona and a ninth at New Jersey Motorsports Park.  Throughout Ryan’s racing career he has been very fortunate to race with some of his close friends and this will continue as he will be teamed up with James Gue.  Having known the Gue family since his childhood, Ryan is also looking forward to working with Mike Gue of Essex racing for the first time.

“I really have to thank Mr. Stevenson and Mike Johnson for this opportunity,” said Everlsey.  “This is a great opportunity to continue my working relationship with Galen Beiker and return to Daytona and the 24.”

Currently Ryan is working on his plans for the remainder of the Rolex and Koni seasons.

A1GP Launches Exciting New ‘Dashboard’ Feature  
London, Great Britain – A1GP.com is to launch ‘Dashboard’, a new live GPS-style mapping and telemetry system to enhance fans’ viewing of races for the rest of the season. A1GP.com, the only official website for A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, already offers an unparalleled range of live timing and statistical data during races, but the new ‘Dashboard’ feature will take the watching the sport to a whole new interactive level.

While watching the live television coverage of qualifying and races, fans will now be able to access a host of new information including real-time position maps, detailing the exact location of every race car on track, along with a live feed of dashboard information from every A1GP nation’s car.

Thanks to the new technology in the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car, a fan can select to view any of the 22 team’s real-time steering wheel data, including speed, throttle pressure, G-Force, gear and how many applications of the crucial PowerBoost button they have left. This is the same data which teams use to help determine race strategy and their all-important pit stops. More ...

Ecclestone fuels Alonso-Ferrari rumors  (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has fuelled speculation that Fernando Alonso's future is with Ferrari.

The famous Italian team has Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen under contract for two more seasons, but the authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport recently said Alonso, Renault's world champion of 2005 and 2006, has penned an agreement to race a Ferrari in 2010 or 2011.

Massa and Raikkonen played down the rumors at the team's 'Wrooom' media event in the Italian Dolomites this week, but figures including Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali have left the door open to a future collaboration with the Spanish driver.

And Ecclestone, F1's chief executive who is said to have flown into the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort for the Ferrari event, believes the Maranello team and Alonso will link up sooner or later.

"Fernando is probably the best in the world right now, and I would be very pleased if it happened," he told Italy's Sky TV.

"I think he's faster than Lewis (Hamilton), Felipe and everyone else."
tv news
SPEED & FOX Team Up for Rolex 24 at Daytona  SPEED™ & FOX have once again joined together to provide live coverage from the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona from Florida’s Historic Daytona International Speedway. This will be the third-straight year both networks have broadcast from the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series’ most prestigious event.

FOX opens with 90 minutes of coverage beginning Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. ET, two hours later than recent years, switching over to SPEED at 4:30 p.m. ET for an additional five-and-a-half hours. SPEED once again picks up the broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 7 a.m. ET, taking the race to its conclusion. More ...

100-day Bahrain Grand Prix countdown begins  One hundred days remain until the sixth edition of the Gulf Air Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. The kingdom's most highly anticipated annual event takes place between April 24 and 26 at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The BIC yesterday announced the 100-day countdown starting today.

Preparations for the Grand Prix are already underway, and the BIC promises an even bigger and better weekend than those in the past, with high levels of entertainment for all the family both on and off the track.

This year's race will be the fourth round of the F1 World Championship, with events in Australia, Malaysia, and China leading up to the kingdom's showcase. More ...

Porsche finalizes driver lineup  The driver lineup for Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is now complete. A total of ten works drivers will contest various sports car and GT series around the world in the 2009 season, with five factory drivers having season-long assignments in the United States.

As in the past years, the Porsche factory drivers support teams in top class championships as well as long distance races and are also involved in the further development of racing vehicles.  In the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) belong to the favorites in the GT2 class with the Porsche GT3 RSR of the Flying Lizard Motorsports team. Long remains the only American Porsche factory driver. Wolf Henzler (Germany), as well, is keen to wrap up the ALMS title for the Farnbacher-Loles Racing outfit. More ...

ALMS positioned well for 2009?  UPDATE Justin Wilson went to the Rolex 24 hour test earlier this month to see if there were any prospects of a drive in the Grand-Am series. “I talked to a few people there but it’s the same situation,” he commented. “Everyone’s looking for money. It’s quite interesting what’s happened. The Grand-Am paddock has shrunk a little bit, but it’s the most stable of the three series I’ve been looking at. It’s the most cost-effective of the three series and I guess that’s why it’s the most stable right now. IndyCar has shrunk a little bit, but there are still things happening, but with the ALMS it’s hard to get in touch with anyone right now. The ALMS field has shrunk considerably and there’s a lot of uncertainty there.”

01/11/09 When American Le Mans Series CEO and President Scott Atherton arrives at the North American International Auto Show next week in Detroit, he intends to deliver one very succinct message: the American Le Mans Series is coming off its most successful year ever and is well-positioned to weather the economic storm facing the auto industry.

"While there will certainly be challenges," said Atherton, "the American Le Mans Series has developed a world-class product that has generated not only record fan interest, but participation from new teams, auto manufacturers and corporate partners as well."

Worldwide Television Audience Spurs Record Attendance
The American Le Mans Series experienced an attendance increase last year (six percent), averaging nearly 80,000 per event. Coupled with a strong domestic television package that features race coverage on NBC, ABC and SPEED, its worldwide television distribution has produced additional noteworthy growth. More ...
Williams F1 team extends sponsorship  The AT&T Williams team today confirmed that it had entered into an extended and increased sponsorship agreement with Randstad Holding nv, a specialist in the fields of flexible work and human resources services.

Randstad has been a team sponsor since 2006. Following agreement to enter into a three year partnership with Williams F1 in January 2007, Randstad Holding nv has decided to consolidate its sponsorship activities following its merger with Vedior.

This sponsorship offers opportunities in even more territories, like Australia, Singapore and Latin America, where we now have sizeable business interests following the merger with Vedior. Finally we applaud the efforts for the forthcoming season to stimulate the development of energy-recovery technology, as we think that this is of great importance for the future.”

The new, extended agreement with the team will see the partnership lengthened for an additional term and will see Randstad promoted to the status of a senior partner, with cockpit side branding positions on the FW31 and multiple branding positions on the team and driver overalls, reflecting the company’s core interest in the team’s human inputs.

Commenting on this new agreement, the AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams said, “I am delighted that in the past three seasons we have worked successfully with Randstad and as a consequence they have increased their level of engagement with the team for the second time. I hope this reflects the real value the sponsorship can bring to their newly merged business.”

Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Added items shown in red below.

  • Boss leaves Ferrari door open to Alonso
  • No engineer rift in Raikkonen's garage
  • New car tests more crucial than usual
  • Nose changes to take longer in 2009
  • Fight over F1 revenue no closer to ceasefire
  • Schu surveys earthquake damage in Costa Rica
  • Toyota reveals 2009 car online New
  • Changes on way for Singapore layout New
  • Higher number a 'mistake' - Massa New
  • Race win crucial to Toyota's F1 future New

Boss leaves Ferrari door open to Alonso
(GMM)  A Ferrari chief has once again left the door open to Fernando Alonso joining the famous Italian team in the future.

Recent reports claimed the 27-year-old twice world champion had penned some sort of agreement to switch from Renault in either 2010 or 2011.

Both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen remain under contract, but Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said in December that although he is happy with the pair, "maybe in two years I will tell you something different".

At the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in the Italian Dolomites on Wednesday, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali was asked a similar question about the future of the Maranello based team's driver lineup.

"It is difficult to add anything new on this subject.  Our drivers are under contract and we are happy with them.  In the future, who knows?" he said at the media event.

"We must concentrate on the present.  Fernando is a great driver but we are happy with our two."

Domenicali also clarified that Ferrari's current drivers share equal billing, despite the fact that although Brazilian Massa finished just shy of the drivers' title in 2008, he will this year again wear the lower race number.

"We don't favor one driver over the other," the team boss insisted.

"They get the same opportunities and at the end of the season they are judged on their performances."

No engineer rift in Raikkonen's garage
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has not been assigned a new race engineer for 2009 because of a falling out with Australian Chris Dyer, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali insists.

We reported recently that Dyer, although behind the scenes of Michael Schumacher's latter title triumphs and Finn Raikkonen's drivers' crown of 2007, he had moved on to a broader track engineering role for 2009.

28-year-old Raikkonen, who failed to win a race after last April's Spanish grand prix, will now be engineered by the Italian Andrea Stella.

But while there is no doubt that teammate Felipe Massa's pairing with Englishman Rob Smedley is one of the most harmonious in the entire pitlane, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali played down the speculation surrounding Raikkonen's split.

"First of all let me underline that speculation of a negative relationship between Kimi and Chris Dyer is a complete fabrication.

"It was nothing to with technical difficulties or deficiencies," he said, insisting that Raikkonen's problem last year was simply with the F2008 car.

He said the promotion of Stella from a support role on Raikkonen's car is "a natural development" of his Ferrari career.

It also emerged from the 'Wrooom' media event in Italy that, as the result of a more intense training program, Raikkonen has lost a couple of kilograms since the end of his unsuccessful title defense last season. More ...

Marmorini leaves Toyota F1 team  (GMM)  Toyota's F1 engine boss Luca Marmorini has left the team, it emerged on the day of the launch of the new TF109 racer.

"He has chosen to leave the team," the Cologne based squad confirmed on Thursday, thanking him for his contribution to the 2009 machine, and its KERS system.

Interestingly, Toyota does not intend to use the energy-reuse technology at the beginning of the season, despite team driver Jarno Trulli insisting the launch car has a KERS installed.

"Soon we'll run it but we don't know if we will start the season with it or not," the Italian told the UK broadcaster BBC.

Toyota promoted Kazuo Takeuchi from within to replace Marmorini, who had joined Toyota for the beginning of the marque's F1 project from Ferrari at the end of last decade.

On the brighter side, Toyota said title sponsor Panasonic has renewed its contract through 2012.

Panasonic to Continue as Title Sponsor  Panasonic Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation announce today the conclusion of a contract that will see Panasonic continue as the title sponsor for the Toyota Formula 1 team, Panasonic Toyota Racing.

This renewed agreement means that the current title sponsorship contract, which expires at the end of 2009, will be extended by three years to run from 2010 through to 2012 - the 10-year anniversary of Toyota's Formula 1 debut. More ...

Toyota Motorsport GmbH and RE/MAX Europe Confirm Partnership  Toyota Motorsport GmbH is very proud to announce a significant new partnership with RE/MAX Europe, the provider of real estate services in 38 European countries.

The contract designates RE/MAX Europe the "Official Real Estate Services Supplier" of the team and the RE/MAX logo will appear on the overalls of all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers, the pit crew helmets, pit gantry and other team branding platforms.

RE/MAX Europe branding made its first official appearance with Panasonic Toyota Racing during the online launch of the team's new Formula 1 car, the TF109, on www.tf109-premiere.com today.

Today's news is very reassuring as it strengthens Panasonic Toyota Racing's partner profile further following the acquisition of Chiemsee for 2009 and the contract extension of Panasonic. More ...

racing news
Motorsports show set for Friday, Saturday in A.C.  No remote starter will be needed to rev up Motorsports 2009, the 24th annual race car and trade show running Friday and Saturday at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Dave Blaney will sign autographs, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ Johnny Benson will greet fans, and numerous other racing celebrities will appear at the show.

Nearly 200 racing vehicles will be on display and more than 300 exhibitors will offer products and services for racers and fans.

A tribute to Trenton Speedway will include Ray Evernham, who competed in the final event at that track and was crew chief for NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon before becoming a racing analyst for ESPN and recently buying a track in the Carolinas.

At 7:30 p.m. each evening, midget auto racing will take place in nearby Boardwalk Hall for a separate admission. More ...

More bad news for stock car racing  Re/Max International will end its title sponsorship of the Automobile Racing Club of America's racing series at the close of the 2009 season, ending a nine-year affiliation.

"In business, we are all called upon to make difficult decisions, and the decision to reduce our role from series title sponsor to presenting sponsor has been very, very difficult to say the least," said Randy Morse, vice president of Re/Max International.

"Economic conditions continue to present challenges to all segments of the business community, and especially those in the real estate industry," said Ron Drager, ARCA President. "The challenge Re/Max faces led them to inform us of their need to address a change in our relationship."

The ARCA Series is a second-tier league that, while not associated with NASCAR, often runs as companion events to Cup series races.

Big 3 bow out of Tokyo show  Detroit's Big Three are all pulling out of the Tokyo Motor Show to save money.

Their decision is not surprising, given the U.S. automakers' cash constraints and their negligible presence in the Japanese market. But it puts enormous pressure on the organizers of the Tokyo show, which was once the world's premiere automotive technology showcase but has lost some of its relevance.

Even Nissan Motor Co. is questioning whether to take part in the Tokyo show. An official said Nissan was reconsidering its participation at all the major auto shows in light of the worsening economic situation. This year, it skipped the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (See related rumor about the show being cancelled altogether)

Dutchman Strous joins ASR-Nelan for 2009  Dutch driver Junior Strous has signed to race with ASR-Nelan (formerly known as American Spirit Racing) in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season.

The 22-year-old Dutchman, who raced the last two seasons in the Atlantics, will drive the No. 18 car for co-owners Jon Lewis and Rick Nelan as he attempts to move up the racing ladder.

"I am very happy to race in the Firestone Indy Lights Series in 2009," Strous said. "My aim is to race in the (IndyCar Series) in the future. Insiders advised me to compete one year in the (Firestone) Indy Lights to gain experience on the oval tracks.

"I love to race in America. The fans are close and to race on the Indy Brickyard is one of my dreams." More ...

Ganassi Racing Looks to Make History in Rolex 24  
One of Ganassi's Lexus Rileys
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be looking to make history in the January 24-25 Rolex 24 At Daytona, seeking to win America's premier sports car race for the fourth consecutive time.

Ganassi Racing has a pair of Lexus-powered Rileys entered in the 47th running of the classic, which takes the green flag at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, January 24. The race will be covered live on FOX starting at 3 p.m. ET, with coverage continuing on SPEED from 4:30-10 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday.

Last year, Ganassi Racing became the first team to win the Rolex 24 in three consecutive years. For 2009, Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya return in the No. 01 TELMEX/Target entry, seeking to win the event for the third straight time. They will be joined by Memo Rojas, who joined Pruett in winning six races last year – including the Rolex 24 -- en route to sharing the Daytona Prototype championship in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. More ...

Regan Smith Named Driver of No. 78  Furniture Row Racing announced today that Regan Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, will drive the team's No. 78 Hendrick-powered Chevrolet Impala SS in 2009.

The Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team is scheduled to enter 12 Sprint Cup races in 2009, beginning with the Feb. 15th season opener -- the Daytona 500.  (see complete schedule below)

Regan Smith
"Furniture Row Racing is thrilled to obtain the driving services of Regan, who is one of the bright young talents in NASCAR," said team president and general manager Joe Garone. "His competitiveness and enthusiasm on the track speak for itself. In addition, he is a good fit for not only our sponsor but any partners looking for strong corporate representation in the Sprint Cup Series."

Smith, 25, competed in 34 Cup events for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008 and became the first Sprint Cup rookie to finish every race he started. The Cato, N.Y. native (25 miles west of Syracuse) started his Cup career in 2007 as a part-time driver for Ginn Racing. He joined DEI in the middle of 2007 when DEI and Ginn merged their racing operations. More ...
Jolyon Palmer graduates to Formula Two  Formula Palmer Audi frontrunner Jolyon Palmer is the latest addition to the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship line-up.

Jonathan and Jolyon Palmer
Jolyon, son of ex-F1 driver and 1983 F2 champion Jonathan Palmer, finished third in the 2008 Formula Palmer Audi Championship (FPA) in only his second season of single-seater racing. One of the youngest drivers in F2, 17 year old Jolyon took victory at Spa-Francorchamps as well as securing 10 further podium finishes. Palmer graduated from karts in 2005 and spent two seasons racing in T Cars, winning the 2006 Autumn Trophy. He went on to win two races in FPA during 2007 before mounting a championship challenge last season.

Along with Alex Brundle and Henry Surtees, Palmer is the third son of a former Grand Prix driver to confirm his place on the 2009 Formula Two grid, whilst Jack Clarke is also the step-son of ex-F1 driver Julian Bailey.  Palmer, Brundle and Clarke all raced together in Formula Palmer Audi for two seasons, along with champion Jason Moore who has also stepped up to F2. More ...

Schumacher describes near-death experience  In an interview broadcast by German television network ZDF, seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, described his near death experience when he crashed at the high-speed Stowe Corner at Silverstone in 2006 when his Ferrari’s rear brake failed, sending him off the track.  He broke his leg in the crash.

“I suddenly felt my heart beat slowing and then completely stopping. The lights went out,” Schumacher said.  “Then I thought, 'Ah, that’s the way you feel probably when you are on the way up.’ I only know that my heart stopped beating, at least the way I felt.” 

Chevy teams get around testing ban  Working around NASCAR's test ban, fourteen teams will wrap up three days of testing their Chevy Impala's at the General Motors Proving Grounds today in Mesa, Arizona. Richard Childress had all four of his Sprint Cup Series teams out there. #29-Kevin Harvick's crew chief Todd Berrier also told PRN's Garage Pass they will test later this month on the half-mile track built just outside the big track at Rockingham and they'll shake down their road race cars at Virginia International Raceway. PRN's Garage Pass
Dakar Stage 11 cancelled  Heavy fog along the 225km route from Copiapo to Fiambala in Chile has led to the cancellation of Wednesday’s Dakar Rally stage.

Carlos Sainz will therefore head into the final three stages of the Dakar Rally leading by 27 minutes.

The rally organizers had to completely cancel that stage as it involved the crossing of the Andes and the border between Chile and Argentina.

Sainz leads fellow Volkswagen driver Mark Miller in the standings, having won the last four stages. Giniel de Villiers in another Volkswagen is third.

MotoGP to cut costs  MotoGP is set to follow the example of Formula One in introducing radical measures to cut costs following the exit of Kawasaki from the sport.

Ducati team boss Livio Suppo has now revealed that the first objectives for 2009 will be to spend less time on the track and prolong the use of each engine.

"There are some limitations set for 2009, but the bikes have already been built so miracles cannot be performed," he told Motosprint in Italy.

"In practice, as the greatest expense comes from wearing material - in particular the engine - we realized that the only thing to do now is to make the bikes spend less time on the track.

"That means less test days, shorter free practice and qualifying sessions, and engines able to last for at least two grands prix.

"Servicing the engine, and obviously component replacements, are important to the balance sheet: to cut costs you need to start there. An engine is now serviced after each race weekend, after running for about 600km.

"This year, according to our proposal, we should compete in at least two races with the same engine. In 2010, even three. But for 2010 there is time to intervene in a radical way; that's not the case now."

Suppo said Italian outfit Ducati were waiting on the agreement of the Japanese teams regarding engine lifetimes.

"While we all agree on the cancellation of the Monday tests and the reduction of session times, we at Ducati are still waiting for a reply from the Japanese (teams) regarding the issue of the engine having to last two races," he said.

IndyCar Versus announcer lineup  UPDATE VERSUS, the network that celebrates real competition and the exclusive cable television home of the IndyCar Series®, today announced its talent lineup for the 2009 race season. Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis and Robbie Buhl will serve as the in-booth announce team, while Robbie Floyd, Jack Arute and Lindy Thackston will provide trackside updates and reports during each telecast. VERSUS will air 12 races in 2009 and will open the season April 5 live from St. Petersburg, Fla. All race telecasts will be produced and available in HD.

Bob Jenkins
“VERSUS is very excited about the stellar lineup of on-air talent assembled for our IndyCar Series telecasts,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operation for VERSUS. “We feel these individuals, who are great personalities and authorities in the sport, will provide viewers with a unique insider’s perspective along with engaging in-depth analysis during our race-day coverage.”

Jenkins, a veteran motorsports television and radio announcer, will serve as VERSUS’ lead announcer for the network’s IndyCar Series telecasts. Jenkins served as ESPN’s lead motorsports anchor for its stock car and open-wheel racing coverage from 1979-2003 and has worked for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network in various capacities, including chief announcer. For the last two seasons, Jenkins has anchored Firestone Indy Lights broadcasts. More ...

Ferrari scolds BMW for KERS stance  (GMM)  Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has named BMW as the obstacle to deferring KERS technology in formula one.

The Maranello based team has been perhaps the most vocal opponent of the controversial energy-reuse technology, but most teams actually wanted to delay the voluntary deployment for another year.

In the F1 teams' alliance FOTA, however, total unanimity is necessary for measures to be adopted immediately.

"We specified that resolutions must be reached unanimously," Domenicali confirmed at the Madonna di Campiglio ski event in the Italian Dolomites.

"But sometimes you have to compromise as well," he is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.  "Everyone could accept that, except BMW.

"Only if we all work together will the future of F1 be rosy, rather than dark, as we are experiencing now," Domenicali charged.

He insists that the track-debut of Ferrari's KERS system on Monday went well, "however it is the wrong moment to introduce such a complex system".

"It has nothing to do with formula one.  A lot of money has been thrown out of the window," Domenicali added.

British F3
Oakes completes Carlin’s British F3 lineup  British racer Oliver Oakes will complete Carlin Motorsport’s lineup for the 2009 British F3 International Series.  The 21 year-old driver, who raced in 10 British F3 rounds last year, will return to Carlin having competed with the squad in his first season of Formula racing, in the 2006 Formula BMW UK championship.  Joining the reigning British F3 champions for 2009, Oakes completes a four-driver lineup, consisting of Henry Arundel, Max Chilton and Daniel Ricciardo who have already been confirmed at the four-time championship winning squad.  Oakes will take part in his first full season of F3 in 2009, having competed at selected rounds of the 2008 championship.  Despite not having raced for the full season, Oakes impressed onlookers at the 2008 season finale at Donington by securing pole position ahead of eventual champion Jaime Alguersuari.  Oakes also stepped into Carlin’s second F3 Euroseries seat for the final round of the 2008 season at Hockenheim.
track news
Work on Donington revamp begins  (GMM)  Work on a 110m euro upgrade to ready Donington Park for the 2010 British grand prix has now begun.

Last Friday, the circuit was granted council planning permission for the works, including a reprofiled layout, new pit and paddock complex, grandstands and media centre.

The local Derbyshire Evening Telegraph said diggers have now moved in to begin the first work, a 70 foot long access tunnel underneath the track that is scheduled to be completed by late February.

Other changes, including the new pits and the reprofiling of the layout, will be completed by April next year, spokesman Dave Fern said.

"It's a sizeable piece of construction so we can't do this on our own," track boss Simon Gillett said.

"We are going to have a lot of contractors on there, multiple sub-contractors, all drawn from the local area."

Raikkonen 'lives on another planet' - boss  (GMM)  Ferrari's world champion of 2007 Kimi Raikkonen is an "unbelievable" character, team boss Stefano Domenicali said on Wednesday.

At the traditional 'Wrooom' ski and media event in the Italian Dolomites, Domenicali was asked about the famous personality of the team's reticent Finnish driver, who carries the nickname 'Iceman' on his helmet.

"Kimi lives in another world; on another planet," he is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.

Domenicali's point is reinforced by an anecdote of the Italian press following the launch of the new F60 single seater earlier this week.

According to colleagues who attended the Mugello roll-out of the 2009 car, while drivers Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Luca Badoer and Marc Gene conversed in the paddock, 29-year-old Raikkonen was asleep in a car in the carpark.

"Kimi isolates himself," Domenicali confirmed.  "If he feels pressure, then it's only because he has put it on himself.

"Nothing that is coming from the outside affects him at all -- and that is unbelievable," he said.

Domenicali said he would never expect Raikkonen to emerge from the winter break and "has suddenly learned Italian", or is "suddenly smiling".

"That is not the way he is," the Italian explained.  "But he is completely impatient to drive and win races again."

Twits trying for total cell phone ban  The National Safety Council (NSC - we prefer to call them twits because their brain is not able to do more than one thing at once) is pushing state and local governments to enact a new rule banning the use of cell phones, even with hands-free devices, while driving.

The organization has been touting studies that show driving while using a Bluetooth headset is just as dangerous as it is when talking on a traditional handset. NSC spokespeople also point to a recent survey, by Nationwide Insurance, that shows 40 percent of drivers have been hit or almost hit by another driver who was talking on the phone. They liken the push for the new blanket ban to that of the battle for child-safety seats and seat belts. More ...

IndyCar teams to get hard and soft tires  IndyCar teams will choose from two sets of Firestone tire compounds in non-oval races this season. Each entry will be given seven sets of the regular tires and three sets of the softer compound per event.
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Long-life engine rules different in 2009
  • F1's TV audience grew in 2008
  • Broken leg 'no excuse' for 2009 - Webber
  • Mercedes says Honda engine deal possible
  • Ferrari analyze 'difficult' F60 debut
  • Davidson wants Friday third cars back in F1

Long-life engine rules different in 2009
(GMM)  Formula one drivers can use eight engines during the 2009 season, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told the Italian press earlier this week.

It was previously understood that, as part of the new cost-cutting measures for this year, the original one-engine per two races rule had simply been extended to include more races per single 2.4 liter V8 unit.

However, as per the FIA's clarification last month that mandatory engine life in 2009 has been "doubled", Domenicali explained at the launch of the team's F60 racer that drivers will now be allocated eight engines for the whole season.

Unlike in 2008 and before, therefore, this year engines do not need to be used consecutively, meaning that drivers can avoid the risk of using the same engine at arduous power-circuits such as Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.

Also crucially, penalties for 'unscheduled engine changes' will not be allocated until a driver has completely exhausted his season's supply of eight power plants.

It means that a driver could theoretically use one engine in qualifying and another for the race, without attracting a penalty.

F1's TV audience grew in 2008
(GMM)  Formula one's global television audience grew in 2008, a report by the sport's commercial authority has revealed.

The figures for last season jumped to 600m per race, which is 3 million more than in 2007, F1's official Global Broadcast Report said.

Italy, with nearly 38 million viewers in 2008, remains the leading television market in Europe, but the British market jumped 7 per cent to over 29 million viewers per race as Lewis Hamilton drove to the title.

However, Germany's audience continues to slip in the wake of the retirement of Michael Schumacher, despite there still being five race drivers on the grid.

With 29.6 million viewers on average per race, the country slipped behind France to now be Europe's third best television audience.

Outside of Europe, China for the first time eclipsed Brazil as the leading TV audience abroad, with 119 million viewers compared with Brazil's 110m.

Moreover, the five final races of the season saw average live audience figures grow by an impressive 25 per cent.

2008 was the fourth consecutive annual increase for F1's TV audience, moving chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to remark that the figures paint "an overall picture of the rude health" of the sport. More ...

racing news
Jaguar XFR sets land speed record  
In November 2008, Jaguar and Rocketsports undertook a secret speed trial, taking an XFR prototype to the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The prototype achieved a stunning top speed of 225.675 mph – making it the fastest production Jaguar ever. The new XFR – the first XF to carry the ‘R’ badge which defines Jaguar’s most performance-focused models – was unveiled on Sunday at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.

The car – powered by the all-new AJ-V8 Gen III engine – beat Jaguar’s previous speed record of 217.1 mph set in the XJ220 in 1992. Rocketsports owner, Paul Gentilozzi – who successfully led the Jaguar XKR to five Trans-Am Series Championships and a victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona between 2001 and 2006 – drove the car on the record-breaking run. More ...
racing news
All-electric race car to be unveiled at PRI  
We were wondering
when someone would consider taking advantage of the potential for massive torque and wicked acceleration that a modern electric drivetrain can offer and build some race cars that could also boast some environmental credentials. We wonder no more. West Race Cars and KleenSpeed Technologies Inc. have teamed up and will unveil the first all-electric production race car at the Performance Racing Industry trade show this week. Yeah, we've told you about some other folks with electric racer plans in New Zealand and the UK but this is happening here in America and it isn't just a "one-off." According to West CEO Eric Vassian, "We are planning on an initial production run of five West WX10-T electric race cars for 2009, and have already sold the first one."

The new racer should look similar to West's gas-powered WX-10 (above) and be capable of hitting 150 mph. With the help of regenerative braking, the battery is said to be capable of duking it out for 45 minutes, though it is designed to be quickly swapped out so the car can compete in endurance racing events. The International Motorsports Association (IMSA) is also involved with the development of the WX10-T, giving the project some heavy duty bona fides and a good shot at success. Now all they need are some environmentally-minded racecar drivers.
Electric Vehicles Light up Detroit Auto Show  Nearly all the manufacturers at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show this week showed up with either new hybrid or concept electric vehicles, all in an effort to become more fuel-efficient. This has left several automakers feeling vindicated, since for years lithium-ion batteries were not seen as the answer. Cadillac rolled out its concept Converj, which uses the same propulsion technology as the Chevrolet Volt, and Chrysler made a splash in rolling out 5 future electric vehicles.  Click image to watch video.

Recall the many articles AR1.com has published touting the fact that the future of the automobile industry is electric cars recharged with electricity produced by Nuclear Power plants.  It's time the world rids its dependence on pollution producing fossil fuels.  Electric cars are the future and the racing industry had better wake up to this fact or suddenly it will find itself out of touch with the real world.

track news
SMI sacks Kentucky Speedway Executive  [Editor's Note: It looks like Bruton Smith is bringing in his own people]  One of the highest-ranking members of Kentucky Speedway’s management team has resigned and moved to Florida to start a new business.

Mark Cassis was hired before the Gallatin County track opened and worked more than nine years as its executive vice president and general manager. His resignation was effective when his contract expired Dec. 31, the same day Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced the completion of its purchase of Kentucky Speedway.

“It’s been a long trek and Mark’s been with me since Day 1. I hired him,” said the track’s former chairman Jerry Carroll, who now serves as a consultant for SMI. “He did a wonderful job. He saw it through and stuck with us….We wish him the best.”

Cassis has not returned phone messages seeking comment. More ...

Penske Racing confirms Will Power  UPDATE Ryan Briscoe received an opportunity in 2007 with Penske Racing that he says changed his professional life. He's advised fellow Australian and new teammate Will Power to make the most of his most recent motorsports opportunity.

Will Power
Power, 27, a native of Toowoomba, Australia, was introduced during a news conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the driver of the No. 3 Team Penske car for preseason testing sessions. The balance of the year's driving responsibilities for the No. 3 car, including the IndyCar Series season-opening race at St. Petersburg on April 5, will depend on the timing and outcome of Helio Castroneves' pending federal court case.

"The way I look at it, we have three drivers at Team Penske," Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said. "We'll determine who drives which one of those two cars depending on how everything sorts out. We remain hopeful that Helio's situation will have a positive outcome and the team is fully behind him. While Helio prepares for his court case, we're excited to welcome Will Power to the team. More ...

France monopoly continues to gobble up sponsors  [Editor's Note:  How long before McDonald's leaves the IRL?] Doran Racing will provide McDonald's with a new meaning to fast and quality service come the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season, as the world's leading foodservice retailer will sponsor the No. 77 Doran Racing Ford Dallara Daytona Prototype throughout the season.

Starting with this month's Rolex 24 At Daytona, McDonald's will be prominently displayed on the car, which will be piloted by drivers Memo Gidley, Brad Jaeger, Fabrizio Gollin and Matteo Bobbi. McDonald's is expected to be displayed on the car for many races in 2009. More ...
track news
Fontana track discounts seats no one wants  Auto Club Speedway and Pepsi have teamed up to bring race fans a special value ticket price for the Sprint Cup race on Feb. 22.

For only $35 per ticket, fans can get an up close and personal experience to all the on-track action by purchasing a seat in the Pepsi Rock n' Rows -- the first five rows of the main grandstands. The tickets are usually priced at $55.

"With the economy as it is, we continue to work diligently with our partners to find ways to provide our fans with affordable opportunities to enjoy Auto Club Speedway," track president Gillian Zucker said. "In addition to this partnership as well as free parking, allowing fans to bring in their own food and other cost-savings opportunities, we are offering race fans a full day of entertainment and fun at a fantastic family value."

To purchase tickets in the Pepsi Rock n' Rows call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit the Auto Club Speedway Web site for more information.

Rejected by sponsors and billionaires, Cup teams turn to each other  Michael Smith is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.
During better economic times, NASCAR teams found infusions of capital from seemingly everywhere - from billionaires such as George Gillett and John Henry to private-equity firms and sugar daddies attracted to the sport’s growth.

But now that investors are safeguarding their savings and sponsors are not spending, struggling NASCAR teams are looking for help from within their ranks. And for their survival, they’re finding comfort in one another’s arms.

In the two months since the 2008 season closed, many of the teams in NASCAR’s top series have engaged in a flurry of mergers, acquisitions and other assorted alliances that have changed the ownership and team landscape. Most teams now can’t be spelled without a hyphen or said without taking a breath.

“This is a new era for NASCAR,” said Ray Evernham, a minority owner in Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which announced last week it was merging with Petty Holdings. “The things that are happening today have the potential to mold what the sport is going to be 25 years from now.” More ...
racing news
Academy of Motorsports Announces a 2-Day Open House  The Academy of Motorsports (TAM) invites families to visit the first college-preparatory school with curriculum primarily focused on the motorsports industry. "TAM's" goal is to educate and help prepare high school students for a career in the fastest industry in the world; "the auto racing industry". Located in the heart of Motorsports Alley in Virginia, TAM will harness some of the most experienced industry leaders and state of the art equipment and lab facilities in the country. Team that with the unparalleled secondary education at Carlisle School (since 1968) and you have a winning combination. Ted Settle, TAM spokesperson and Director of Virginia Tech's Office of Economic Development refers to the program as "real world comprehensive experience and training in engineering, marketing, business management and driver training. Additionally, TAM is a one-of-a-kind program not offered anywhere else".

On Friday afternoon February 20th prospective students and their parents will tour the campus, academic halls and residence facilities of the prestigious Carlisle School as well as Patrick Henry Community College's facility. On Saturday morning February 21st they will tour VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), have an exclusively private tour of the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER), and visit the Plantation Valley Kart Track. After lunch families are invited to enjoy the races and walk through the pits at their leisure. If you are still around at the end of the day, you can take the family car (or rental car) out for a spin on the historic "Full Course". More ...

Drivers descend on Indianapolis for preseason meetings  The fourth floor of the media center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can accommodate more than 250 journalists. There was hardly an empty seat to be found Jan. 13 as IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers and team officials gathered for the annual preseason meeting with Indy Racing League officials.

Brian Barnhart, the league’s president of competition and operations, kicked off a series of presentations by league and manufacturer representatives regarding continuing safety initiatives and technical packages.

While in Indianapolis, each driver also completed a comprehensive fitness examination, which included eye and audiology testing, bloodwork and a head-to-toe physical. An electrocardiogram and a 30-minute computer test that measures reaction time also were administered to get a baseline. Drivers also provided immunization records.

“The emphasis more is on getting driver physicals and paperwork completed before any preseason testing and Open Tests take place,” Barnhart said. “The physicals used to rotate on an annual basis around the ‘500,’ which made May so busy.

“Secondly, it gives us an opportunity with everyone in the room to explain any rulebook, operational or technical specification changes.” More ...
Dollar General returns as sponsor of Sarah Fisher Racing  Dollar General will extend its sponsorship of Sarah Fisher Racing into 2009 by serving as the primary sponsor of the No. 67 Honda-powered Dallara for four races, one each at Kansas, Indianapolis, Kentucky and Chicago, driven by IndyCar Series owner/driver Sarah Fisher.

"Dollar General is excited about being a part of IndyCar racing for a second season by sponsoring Sarah Fisher in four races," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General's Chairman and CEO. "We look forward to cheering for Sarah and SFR as her team continues to grow and succeed."

Dollar General sponsored SFR for two events in 2008 at Kentucky and Chicagoland Speedway, rounding out Fisher's first year as an owner of an IndyCar Series team.

"It has been a pleasure to work with Dollar General, and they have quickly become a great sponsor, as well as a trusted friend to the SFR team," Fisher said. "I enjoyed racing for them last year and am thrilled that they are back for four more races. With Dollar General behind us, we are planning on a very successful season."

Fisher opens her 2009 season with her fifth start at Kansas Speedway, which will be her first at the speedway as a team owner. Fisher returns to Indianapolis where she will attempt to set a women's record of eight starts in the 93-year-old race. Fisher is still the youngest and fastest female to ever qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Her return to Kentucky Speedway will also be her eighth appearance at the track, where she owns the track qualifying record. It was at Kentucky Speedway in 2002 that Fisher made history by becoming the first woman in the world to win the pole position for a major open-wheel race.

"Kansas Speedway will be a great start for us this year," Fisher said. "We began our 2008 season at Indianapolis, and to have the opportunity to be on track prior to Indy will be a great benchmark for our season."

The team hopes to expand from the team's three-race effort in 2008 to a six-race effort in 2009 and is in the contract stage with additional partners.

Yates and HOF announce alignment  Yates Racing and Hall of Fame Racing (HOF) announced today an alignment of their two teams.  Under the agreement, Yates Racing will operate the No. 96 NASCAR Sprint Cup entry of Hall of Fame Racing for the full 2009 Sprint Cup schedule.  Doug Yates and Max Jones will continue as co-owners of Yates Racing, while Tom Garfinkel and Jeff Moorad will continue as co-owners of Hall of Fame Racing.  With the recent expansion of the Yates Racing facilities, the No. 96 Ford Fusion will operate out of the Yates Racing complex, located in Concord, N.C.

“This partnership with Hall of Fame is a great stepping stone for the Yates organization,” said Max Jones, co-owner and General Manager of Yates Racing.  “Through this partnership, we are able to continue the expansion of our shop and field another Sprint Cup entry.  We, along with Ford Racing, welcome Hall of Fame Racing and look forward to a very successful season.”

“Jeff Moorad and I knew it would take time to construct the right model to improve our competitive position in the sport and we think we’ve come a long way to achieving that through our association with Yates Racing,” said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing.  “We’re proud to be associated with Doug and Max and Ford Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.”

The Hall of Fame Racing entry will make its competitive debut at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, February 12 during the Gatorade 150 qualifying races.

track news
Dixon's Father's Florida Race Track Sued for $3.5 Million  A race track reigning Indy 500 Winner and IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon’s father manages and is a partner in is being sued for $3.5 Million in unpaid bills to contractors.

Palm Beach International Raceway, formerly Moroso Motorsports Park, is the track Ron Dixon manages and is a co-owner of Moroso Investment Partners which operates the race track.

track news
VIR South Paddock Paved for 2009 Season  VIRginia International Raceway’s South Paddock has been paved over the holiday break, putting down a coat of brand new asphalt and adding lights, power and water hookups for motor coaches along the pit wall.

“This is just one of the improvements we have made for the 2009 racing season,” said track General Manager Josh Lief. “With the new pavement and electric power, participants in events using the South Paddock will have a much improved experience.”

New light towers, RV and power hookups are more of the improvements to greet racers. A new kitchen and picnic area in South Paddock will enable VIP service in the South Timing Tower during big events and provide ready access to refreshments.

Toyota says they will not monopolize NASCAR - Sure  Lee White has heard the murmuring. He's heard the muffled talk that his company is poised to jump with both boots upon the neck of a NASCAR series that is perceived to be severely wounded.

White, the president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development, knows that such murmuring comes with being both NASCAR's new kid in class and its most economically successful manufacturer.

And in a recent talk with The Star, he vehemently denied that Toyota would try to profit from the chaos gripping the sport's other manufacturers or that it was even in a position to do so.

White, who succeeded Jim Aust as the head of Toyota Racing Development last season and who, like Aust, is a native of rural Kansas, also discussed many of the other topics that have shifted NASCAR team-owners, drivers, fans and officials into a mode of reflection this offseason.

"It's going to be interesting," White said of 2009. "There is no shortage of story lines." More ...

Loomis to run racing operations at GEM-Petty  Robbie Loomis will serve as the executive director of racing operations for the team that will emerge from the merger of Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Holdings, and Kevin Buskirk and Sammy Johns will join existing GEM crew chiefs Kenny Francis and Mike Shiplett atop the pit boxes. All four crew chiefs will report to former Petty executive Loomis, according to GEM Director of Competition Mark McArdle. McArdle believes the planned merger and the realigned staff will help his team. Just having Richard Petty and longtime wrenchman Dale Inman at the team’s test last Friday in Rockingham, N.C., at the old North Carolina Motor Speedway was a plus, McArdle said. Loomis, who reports to McArdle, will oversee the race teams, pit crews, team management and team transport, and he ran the Rockingham test.

The merger and other departures have resulted in several changes at GEM with only Kahne and Kenny Francis remaining as the same driver-crew chief combination as last year. Kahne’s #9 team has had the fewest changes. Francis remains as crew chief. Keith Rodden returns as the team engineer after a one-season absence from the road, replacing engineer Chad Johnson, who moved to Michael Waltrip Racing. Todd Devinich remains the car chief. More ...

Sacked employee retracts Dennis slurs  (GMM)  A former McLaren employee on Tuesday said he no longer believes that Ron Dennis is either racist or homophobic.

27-year-old Peter Boland, sacked as McLaren Group CEO Dennis' private aircraft steward, had brought the case to a Southampton employment tribunal, claiming he was unfairly dismissed amid false rumors he was gay.

He had also claimed that Dennis once said he needed to wash his hands because he had been "shaking hands with Arabs all day".

Dennis defended the latter charge as a misinterpretation of his mild obsessive-compulsive nature, attending the hearing this week to address "lies that have damaged my reputation".

Discussions between the parties' legal teams subsequently took place, and Dennis announced that Boland had made a "complete and unequivocal withdrawal and unreserved apology".

"Mr. Boland accepts that I have never said or done anything either racist or homophobic," Dennis is quoted as saying by BBC News.

Boland told the tribunal: "I feel great remorse for the upset that I now realize I have needlessly caused to him, to his family and to his colleagues."

Chimp outraces human  
racing news
Brabham appears at Autosport International  

BP Ultimate Celebrity Karting Challenge winners – David Brabham with the winners of the BP Ultimate Celebrity Karting Challenge, Team 11 ‘The Good Mornins’ – Duncan Tappy, Ben Hanley, Paul Rees, PJ Rashidi, Riki Christodoulou, Ian Giles and Nick Lamb.

Sportscar legend David Brabham seized a rare opportunity to meet his British fans at Europe’s biggest motorsport show, Autosport International, held at the NEC Birmingham (UK) 8-11 January. The British-born Australian double Le Mans GT1 class winner and former Formula One driver attended the show to fulfill his various ambassadorial roles, make appearances and raise £45,000 for charity.

A long-term supporter of Autosport International, the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing American Le Mans Series star hosted the first ever Karting Show Workshop on Saturday. The session offered young karters an exclusive insight into the fundamentals a driver must master in order to build a foundation for success in motorsport. Drawing from his Brabham Performance Clinic driver training program concept, Brabham covered essential elements from personal fitness and breathing control to visualization and race preparation.

Karters from across the ranks flocked to hear Brabham’s top tips for success, including 11 year-old Roy Johnson from Solihull. Roy, the 2008 MSA British Cadet and Super One Cadet champion, found the inaugural Karting Show Workshop extremely relevant and commented: “I think the workshop with David Brabham was great and it has given me quite a lot to think about, especially how to prepare for a race. From now on I will concentrate on focusing my attention on my breathing techniques.” More ...

Formula One TV audience reaches 600m  Television coverage of Formula One was watched by 600 million viewers in total in 2008, up from 597 million in 2007, according to the sport’s annual broadcast report.

Italy remained the leading European television market for Formula One, with 37.5 million viewers in total throughout the season.  Lewis Hamilton’s championship winning season helped UK commercial broadcaster ITV gain a 7 per cent increase in total viewers, to 29.1 million.  In Germany, where Formula One audiences have been in decline since the retirement of Michael Schumacher in 2006, the total audience slipped behind that of France, into third place in Europe with 29.6 million.

Outside Europe, China moved ahead of Brazil to become the territory with the biggest total audience – 119 million, compared to Brazil’s 110 million.

Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the findings of the report, which featured eleven markets, covering 80 per cent of the sport’s global audience, saying it showed the sport was in “rude health”.

Domenicali: Crisis will make F1 stronger  With Honda's loss and drastic cost-cutting, F1 may be feeling the pinch from the global economic downturn, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali acknowledges, but it will come out the other side again 'stronger than ever'.

"We're optimistic even in this difficult period for the whole system," the Scuderia's team principal affirmed. "I'm convinced that when we manage to pass this critical situation Formula 1 will be stronger than it ever was.

Stefano Domenicali
"Ferrari stands in the front row to save Formula 1's scope; I think that under Luca di Montezemolo's presidency there has been a strong input as far as the future is concerned. The goals, the structures and the teams' realities are different, but we're all working for the good of all - that is why the teams are very united, which is a new element in this sport, considering that we are in a very particular period.

"Nobody wants to oppose the FIA, but there is a constructive logic, where everybody wants to have a strong and constructive voice, because we live Formula 1. In 2009 we've seen the impulse given by the teams and we could immediately find an agreement, which is very important. We're just at the beginning, and together with the technical development we're working every day on also improving the political aspects of Formula 1. More ...

track news
Donington Park gets go-ahead for £100m work  UPDATE The governing body of UK motor sport, the Motor Sports Association, has welcomed the news that Donington Park has secured planning permission for the first phase of its redevelopment work.

A deadline of April 2010 has been set before the FIA will visit the circuit to carry out an inspection, while F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is also set to travel to Donington later this year to check on the progress being made.

"We are delighted that Donington's plans have been well received and approved by the District Council," MSA chief executive Colin Hilton said. "This is an important milestone in Donington's development for the 2010 British Grand Prix and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the circuit on their preparations."

01/08/09 Donington Park has been given the go-ahead to begin work on a £100 million redevelopment of the circuit which is crucial to Britain keeping its Formula One grand prix next year.

North West Leicestershire District Council tonight agreed unanimously to grant Simon Gillett, the owner, planning permission to turn the venue into a state-of-the-art facility. Gillett now has 17 months to complete phase one of the project prior to Donington staging next year’s British Grand Prix.

Silverstone, which has staged the race since 1987, hosts the event for the last time in the foreseeable future this June after Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights-holder, became frustrated with the Northamptonshire circuit’s ability to implement the significant improvements that he demanded.

Ecclestone subsequently signed a 10-year agreement for Donington to stage the race from 2010, though he has been adamant that if the circuit is not ready there will be no race at all in Britain. More ...

BMW's 2009 strategy 'smart' - Webber  
Mark Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber suspects BMW-Sauber could be set for a competitive season.

The Red Bull driver, who has returned to light training after breaking his leg, thinks the Hinwil based squad's strategy in preparation for 2009 is a positive sign for them with 72 days to go until Melbourne.

"They have put a lot of energy into getting on to the start line earlier than some people.  That has got to benefit them and we could end up looking back and saying that was a smart decision," Webber wrote in his BBC column.

In contrast, he points out that Red Bull is to be "the last of the major teams" to get a 2009 car running, at the beginning of February.

"That probably helps me in the sense that I will be in better shape by the time we run it for the first time but it might not be the best solution overall," the Australian said.

Webber continued: "Come the third or fourth race would we have preferred to have that extra 600-800km on the car?  Some would argue yes."

He insists, however, that designer Adrian Newey's decision to spend more time with the car in the factory might not be such a penalty.

"There is a lot of stuff you can do now to make sure the cars are reliable -- and we had very good mechanical reliability last year," the 32-year-old noted.

"If we can keep that sort of reliability up with this car, then Adrian Newey's decision to delay the launch to give him more development time to get a bit more performance out of the car could be a good one."

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • 2009 entry reserved for Honda F1 team
  • Ferrari still undecided after KERS track debut
  • Ferrari approves of Kimi's rally outing
  • Schu still has Ferrari role to play
  • Silverstone wins MotoGP race from Donington
  • No F1 staff cuts yet says Ferrari
  • Also US doors close for Bourdais

2009 entry reserved for Honda F1 team
(GMM)  F1's governing body has reserved two spaces on the 2009 formula one grid for a team to potentially be bought from Honda.

In the official FIA entry list, cars 18 and 19 are reserved because the Brackley based squad has formally entered the forthcoming world championship.

"The FIA understands the team is now for sale," an addendum to the statement said.

The list featured no surprises, with only Sebastien Buemi's teammate at Toro Rosso the only other unconfirmed space on the grid.

Kimi Raikkonen has been allocated the higher racing number (3) at the Ferrari team, despite Felipe Massa failing to win the drivers' title from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by a single point.

Following the end of its supplier relationship with Ferrari, Force India is to be now known officially as a constructor as Force India-Mercedes.

Ferrari still undecided after KERS track debut
(GMM)  Ferrari has confirmed that a decision about whether to use a KERS system in its newly launched F60 has not yet been taken.

As Felipe Massa on Monday put the first kilometers on the new single seater at Mugello, he also marked the Maranello based outfit's track-debut of the controversial energy-recovery technology.

Ferrari has had a troubled development phase with its KERS system, developed in conjunction with Magneti-Marelli.

"When we realize that the performance guaranteed by KERS is up to expectations, then it is our task to use it," team boss Stefano Domenicali said.

The team was satisfied with the F60 roll-out, but Brazilian Massa acknowledged to the Italian newspaper La Stampa that a few expected "little problems" did crop up.

"We used KERS a little at the beginning, gradually increasing the power and so far it has been positive," he said. More ...

track news
Replica Indy track to be built  A group planning to make a movie about the very first Indianapolis 500, is eyeballing more than 200 acres in Whitestown to build a replica Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Justin Escue, a locally based movie producer, is working to secure financing for the film. He hopes to start constructing the replica track in the spring and begin filming in the fall. Escue’s group also has a deal in the works for a Tennessee company to make 40 replica Indy cars circa 1911. I know, this sounds crazy. But Escue already secured the services of Angelo Pizzo, famed for his work on the movies “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” Pizzo told IBJ last week he recently finished the screenplay, and thinks the movie has a good chance of getting made.

Escue also was smart enough to procure the services of local track builder Paxton Waters, who has worked on many of the tracks that NASCAR and the Indy Racing League utilize. Waters said he is already studying historical photos and other material in preparation for the project. More ...

Toyota set for 2009 preview  Panasonic Toyota Racing's latest Formula 1 car, the TF109, will be given its world premiere in an online exclusive on 15 January.

At 12noon CET, fans will be the first to see the curtain raised on the eagerly-anticipated TF109 with an exclusive screening on www.tf109-premiere.com.

In the past, pre-season events showcased a new car in front of the world's media but Panasonic Toyota Racing is moving with the times, embracing the need to be cost conscious while being increasingly open to Formula 1's millions of fans. More ...

Ford halts plans for rwd cars  With demand uncertain for big cars in the years ahead, Ford Motor Co. has dropped plans for new rear-wheel-drive sedans.

Ford design chief J Mays told Automotive News on Sunday that plans for rwd Ford and Lincoln sedans have been shelved. "It's out of the cycle plan," he said.

Gasoline prices that soared to more than $4 a gallon in mid-2008 undermined the expected industry demand for large rwd cars.

"We've got other priorities at the moment," Mays said. "We're going down a path right now that is all about fuel efficiency, and we've got a lot to do about that. So we're not talking about rear-wheel drive." AutoWeek

Guthrie Meyer Racing adds Ali Jackson  British Formula 3 veteran Ali Jackson will join Guthrie Meyer Racing as driver of the No. 59 GMR entry during the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season.

“Ali is an incredible young talent, and I know he’s going to be a formidable force on the track this season,” said Jim Guthrie, co-owner of GMR. “We are going to give Ali the best possible equipment, surround him with a stellar team and let him do the rest. I’m excited to see him racing in America and that his career goal is the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series.”

The 20-year-old native of Belfast, Northern Ireland joins Sean Guthrie in the Guthrie Meyer Racing lineup. Jackson, who drove for a team co-owned by Formula 1 star Kimi Raikkonen in England, also has competed in Asian F3, scoring four wins and becoming the youngest winner in the series history. More ...

Silverstone confirm five year MotoGP contract  Silverstone will host the British round of the MotoGP championship from 2010.

The Northamptonshire circuit most famous for hosting Formula One has confirmed that it will make wide reaching changes to the Silverstone circuit layout and spectating facilities in time for its first race next year.

The news comes as a major blow to Donington Park owners who have just been granted planning consent for their multi million pound development as part of a ten year deal to run F1.

MCN first reported that Silverstone were bidding for the rights to host the prestigious event back in June 2008 and understands that Silverstone out bid Donington with GP bosses Dorna opting to move the event after 22 years at Donington Park.

Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips said: More ...

Electric cars create buzz at auto show  Automakers are gambling that there's a market for electric-power cars, even as gas prices drop.  At the opening of the North American International Auto Show here on Sunday, General Motors (GM), Ford Motor (F) and Chrysler unveiled concepts and future production vehicles powered primarily by plug-in batteries. And a Toyota executive said it will bring such electric cars to the U.S. in 2012.

But the billions being poured into technology could be for naught if gas stays below $3 a gallon.

"All of that becomes very, very difficult to sell in a world of cheap gasoline," says Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of global product development. "We cannot have the world's most fuel-efficient vehicle park and … the world's cheapest gasoline." More ...

Lutz: Volt alone won't save General Motors  
Weighing over 400 pounds, the Volt battery will be key to its success
General Motors Corp. vice chairman Bob Lutz said the company expected volumes of around 60,000 to 70,000 Chevrolet Volt dual-mode hybrid vehicles -- the battery powered vehicle that will be able to get 40 miles on battery power alone.

"The Volt singlehandedly won't save GM because the volume is way too low for that. It's going to be -- first couple of years you know 60,000, 70,000 out of a total GM production of 8 so 9 million so we better get the rest of the product line sorted out too, which I believe we have done," Lutz said.

Lutz was asked how GM could take on an expensive new "core product" -- assembling batteries. The Treasury Department has agreed to loan GM up to $13.4 billion.

"The answer is right now we can't but we're doing it anyway," Lutz said. More ...

Red Bull-backed Russian driver joins F2  Energy drink giant Red Bull has placed Russian driver and international race winner Mikhail Aleshin in the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship as part of their young driver program.

Aleshin, who has been a part of the Red Bull Junior Team since 2005, joins F2 after finishing fifth in the World Series by Renault last year. The 21 year old competed in the championship for three seasons and became the first Russian driver to win a major international single seater race at Monza in 2007, beating a host of star names including Sebastien Vettel. 

The Russian drove for the Red Bull F1 team during a demonstration in Moscow last summer and has also raced in both GP2 and A1GP.

Aleshin is the second Red Bull Junior driver to be confirmed in F2, alongside Canadian Rob Wickens. A third Red Bull Junior Team driver is also set to join the championship later this month. More ...

FIA published official 2009 entry list  2009 entry list











* The Honda Motor Company announced their withdrawal from Formula One on December 5th, 2008. The Honda Racing team has not withdrawn its entry from the 2009 Formula One World Championship. The FIA understands the team is now for sale.

KV Racing signs Mario Moraes  KV Racing Technology announced today that Mario Moraes will pilot the KV Racing Technology Votorantim Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry during the 2009 Indy Car Series season.

Moraes, a 20-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will be contesting his second IndyCar season.  Last year he drove for Dale Coyne Racing, and despite competing on all 16 IndyCar tracks for the first time, earned three top-10 finishes with a best showing of seventh at Watkins Glen (10th at Nashville and Infineon Raceway) and a best starting position of 10th at Edmonton.  Moraes led his first career IndyCar laps at the Indianapolis 500.

“We are very excited to have Mario join our team,” said KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser.  “Mario is young and extremely talented.  He impressed us with his performances on both ovals and road/street circuits last year.  We look forward to watching him grow and are confident he will be very competitive during the 2009 season.” More ...

GM to manufacture Volt battery packs  
  • GM will establish the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility in the United States operated by a major automaker
  • LG Chem has been selected to supply the lithium-ion battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt
  • Advanced battery strategy strengthens GM's capabilities to develop hybrid and electric vehicles
  • GM will open a new automotive battery lab - the largest of its kind - in the United States to further strengthen design, development and testing capabilities
  • A partnership with the University of Michigan has been established to develop a specialized curriculum for battery engineers

DETROIT - The Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that delivers up to 40 miles of gasoline- and emissions-free electric driving, will use battery packs manufactured in the United States by General Motors, Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced at the North American International Auto Show.

GM will establish the first lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility operated by a major automaker in the United States to produce the Volt's battery pack system. It consists of lithium-ion cells that are grouped into modules, along with other key battery components.

The plant will be located in Michigan, subject to negotiations with state and local government authorities. Facility preparation will begin in early 2009, with production tooling to be installed mid-year and output starting in 2010. More ...

Dennis says racism slur 'ridiculous'  (GMM)  Ron Dennis says "ridiculous" claims by a sacked former employee that he is racist and homophobic have damaged his reputation.

The 61-year-old on Monday travelled to an employment tribunal in Southampton, as his former private airline steward Peter Boland alleges he was improperly dismissed amid untrue rumors he is gay.

Last week, the 27-year-old told the tribunal that Dennis, Group CEO of the Woking based outfit partly owned by Saudi-born Mansour Ojjeh as well as the Kingdom of Bahrain, had been racially insensitive to Arab business colleagues on numerous occasions.

Dennis said he decided to appear personally at the tribunal to address "lies that have damaged my reputation".

"My primary purpose for being here are to ensure these untruths are rectified," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

He called the allegation about him being racist an "absolute lie" and "ridiculous".

"I am here to defend my reputation which has been badly damaged.  I am massively frustrated that things can be said and not challenged until they have been put into print," Dennis added.

Earlier on Monday, former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan said he has known Dennis well since the mid 1970s.  "Ron is no racist; Ron is no homophobe; and Ron is a fantastic employer," the Irishman insisted.

A1GP News Round Up  London, Great Britain – The first New Year action for A1GP World Cup of Motorsport was at the highly acclaimed Portimao Circuit in the Algarve last weekend. The series’ test team was in action with Italian F3 Champion, Mirko Bortolotti, at the wheel of the Powered by Ferrari car for the very first time.

The circuit received rave reviews after several Formula One teams tested there at the end of 2008 and Bortolotti certainly agreed with them when he said: “The track is fantastic but very tricky. We were here to test several new compounds and we have made a very good progress. I am sure that the work that we have done will help the development of the car a lot.”

Commenting on his first taste of the new A1GP car, he continued: “It was the first time I had tested an A1GP car and I loved it. It is absolutely great. We did a lot of laps, despite the rain in the morning and I hope I can get another chance to test the car.”

Bortolotti joined regular A1GP test driver, Andrea Bertolini, at the three day test. More ...

track news
Dover pit road to be fixed  UPDATE
Crews use a crane to pull the existing wall out of the ground to make way for the new concrete barrier.
Phase three of Dover International Speedway’s “Monster Makeover” is currently underway as the focus for improvements has turned to inside the track. Construction crews in Dover have already removed the existing front stretch pit wall and preparations are underway to install a longer, SAFER wall in time for the May 29-31, 2009 NASCAR race weekend. The end result will be a wider, safer pit road, and one additional pit stall.

Construction began in mid-December 2008 as crews removed the existing 1160 ft. inside steel retaining wall that separated pit road from the apron and concrete racing surface. The demolition makes way for a new 1592 ft. concrete wall that will be fully equipped with SAFER barrier. The SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barrier walls consist of rectangular steel tubing backed by foam blocks, and reduces the force of the initial impact of a crash.

The new inside retaining wall will be 432 ft. longer than the previous configuration and will be extended further into Turn 4, allowing the track to add a 43rd pit stall for competitors. The wall will also be set nearly five feet closer to the track apron, eliminating all grass on the frontstretch, while providing more space in the drive lane of pit road. A large plot of grass will also be removed in Turn 4 to make way for the new entrance to pit road. More ...

Only six Formula Two drives still available  With a total of 18 drivers now signed to compete in the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship and with driver announcements rolling out every few days, time is running out for the precious final few drives to be claimed.

Following substantial interest from prospective drivers, last December the number of available cars in Formula Two was increased from 20 drivers to a maximum of 24. Of the many drivers still trying to confirm budgets to join the F2 grid, over 14 say they are determined to be there and are rushing to be in a position to be awarded one of the final places.

Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of championship promoter MotorSport Vision, said: "Of course I am absolutely delighted with the response to the new FIA Formula Two Championship, but not surprised.  Never in the history of motor racing has there been a new FIA championship that has combined such performance, safety and quality with such astonishing cost effectiveness.  In any climate F2 was going to succeed; in the current global economic climate that success is coming even faster than we anticipated. More ...

Massa does first laps in new F60  (GMM)  Felipe Massa on Monday took the wheel for the first track outing of Ferrari's 2009 F1 car.

At a very cold Mugello circuit near Florence, the F60 rolled out of the pitlane shortly after 10.30 for an installation lap, before a second out-lap was completed about twenty minutes later.

The car features a Magneti-Marelli developed KERS system, which is expected to be tested on a Ferrari single seater for the first time later on Monday.

The Maranello based team has not decided if the energy-recovery technology will be used at the Australian grand prix in March.

"I am excited but happy to be testing the car for the first time," Brazilian Massa told La Gazzetta dello Sport prior to the debut.

Ferrari reveals new 'F60' in Italy  
Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen pose with their new 2009 Ferrari called the F60
(GMM)  Ferrari on Monday became the first formula one team to reveal its 2009 car.

The 'F60', named in celebration of the fact the Italian marque is the only to have contested all sixty seasons in the sport's history, was launched with a low-key event at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters.

Explaining the name, team boss Stefano Domenicali said: "It was our desire to combine the history of F1 and the fact that Ferrari has always been present."

The car was originally scheduled to be track debuted at nearby Fiorano, but Felipe Massa will instead take to the cockpit of the F60 for the first time at Ferrari's other circuit, Mugello.

La Gazzetta dello Sport said Fiorano is covered with frost.

Massa said he was pleasantly surprised about the appearance of the F60.  "With all the new regulations I was expecting something else, like ten years ago with huge wings, but I was surprised.

"I find the new F60 to be nice, small like a F3 car but nice looking," the Brazilian said.

For more photos and details - see story on Home page.

Honda exit scuppered F1 talks - Davidson  
Anthony Davidson
(GMM)  Anthony Davidson says that "serious talks" to resurrect his formula one career next year were scuppered by Honda's complete withdrawal from the sport.

The 29-year-old Englishman commenced the 2008 season with Super Aguri, but dropped off the grid when the Honda backed team collapsed.

At the Autosport International show on Sunday, Davidson revealed that he had been in discussions with the Ross Brawn and Nick Fry-led Brackley based team to return to the paddock in 2009 until the bad news struck early last month.

"I was in serious talks of not only trying to get a race drive for the year with the team, but as the bare minimum getting a reserve drive," he said.

"Talks were progressing really well, and the deal was almost done with just a few weeks to spare before the announcement, and it now leaves me in a very similar situation to what Jenson (Button) faces now." More ...

New McLaren, BMW cars 'on schedule'  (GMM)  As the car launch season of 2009 gets set to kick off, McLaren and BMW-Sauber have declared themselves fully happy with their winter progress.

Ferrari on Monday will become the first team to take the wraps of its 2009 single seater in Italy, but the reigning constructors' champions' rivals will shortly follow suit.

McLaren, the team of 2008 drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton, has scheduled a 16 January launch at its Woking base, and team boss Ron Dennis told the German broadcaster RTL: "We are way ahead of our schedule."

BMW's F1.09 will be debuted at Valencia on January 20, and managing director Walter Riedl has similarly declared that the car is fully "on schedule".

"The component production during the winter break went exactly to plan.  Everything is now focused on 20 January, the roll out of our 2009 car," he said.

Following the debut of the 2009 Ferrari, Toyota's will be the next new car to be revealed with an online event on Thursday.

Late RBR debut not a mistake - Coulthard  (GMM)  David Coulthard has played down any suggestion Red Bull's decision to launch its 2009 car later than many of its rivals could impair the team's chances this year.

The RB5 will make its track debut at Jerez in February, when most teams - with the exception of sister squad Toro Rosso and Force India - will already have their cars up and running ahead of the March 29 season-opener in Australia.

But Coulthard, a veteran of nearly 250 grands prix and now an advisor for the Milton Keynes based team, said the late launch is a "conscious decision" by management rather than an unfortunate delay.

"RBR has spent a bit longer in research and wind tunnel time," the Scot told ITV, "but that was a conscious decision to try and maximize the study (of the new rules)."

Coulthard said "time will tell" whether the decision is right, but he noted that the last time car designer Adrian Newey faced sweeping regulation changes, his single seater set the pace.

Comparing the situation to 1998, when he and Newey worked for McLaren, Coulthard said "this could well be one of those opportunities again".

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