Strangers on my flight OK, so it's not racing related, but with no racing going on this Sunday night we thought you might enjoy this modified rendition of Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the Night. Listen
AR1.com photos from the Autosport International show Our Gary Parravani was at the annual Autosport International show in England and filed these photographs for your viewing pleasure. And no sooner did Gary return home from the show, his wife gave birth to their first child, a 9 lb. boy named Oscar. Congratulations to the two proud parents.
McLaren to launch MP4-25 on January 29UPDATE McLaren's 2010 car will make its first outing on Wednesday 3 February, World Champion Jenson Button revealed at the Autosport International Show on Sunday. The challenger, to be driven by himself and Lewis Hamilton, will be official launched five days earlier. With the show at Birmingham's NEC running over the course of the weekend, Button made his first Sunday appearance on the main stage during the morning. McLaren's new car, the MP4-25, will be the first since the team's management partnership with Mercedes-Benz ended.
Button's revealing of the February date confirms that the McLaren roll-out will see the car lapping in Valencia for the final of three days as pre-season testing begins. The circus will then move on to Jerez for two tests before proceedings come to a close in Barcelona on Sunday 28 February.
01/14/10 (GMM) McLaren on Thursday announced that its 2010 car will be launched on 29 January.
Initially on its official Twitter page TheFifthDriver, the Woking based team said the event will take place somewhere in the UK on the Friday morning.
It will be called the MP4-25. Incidentally, the 'MP4' designation dates back to 1980, when Ron Dennis merged his own company Project 4 with the team.
Moss says Schumacher will struggle Sir Stirling Moss believes that Michael Schumacher will be facing a far tougher time than expected as the German makes his Formula 1 comeback this year. Englishman Moss, generally regarded as the greatest driver never to win a World Championship title, is also expecting a stiff challenge from within the Mercedes team. With Nico Rosberg making the switch from Williams to Mercedes, he and Schumacher will make up an all-German line-up as the silver arrows - for whom Moss drove in the mid-1950s - return to the sport as a factory team.
Yas Marina Circuit, the spectacular motor racing circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, has partnered with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), winner of eight NHRA championships and 136 races, to provide two complete Top Fuel dragster teams to be based in Abu Dhabi. The cars will first compete during the inaugural International Drag Racing Festival on March 18th – 20th at Yas Marina Circuit’s impressive new drag racing facility. In a separate agreement, Yas Marina Circuit becomes the first NHRA member facility outside of North America.
“Yas Marina Circuit is extremely proud to be associated with Don Schumacher Racing, the current and eight-times NHRA World Champions,” said Richard Cregan, CEO, Yas Marina Circuit. “Drag racing will be a significant and exciting cornerstone of establishing Yas Marina Circuit as a world class motor racing venue. Our partnership with Don Schumacher Racing, the world’s best drag racing team, will help us establish the Yas Drag Racing Centre and our Yas Drag Racing Team as serious contenders on the world drag racing stage.”
Will NASCAR's biggest star continue as the worst Hendrick driver and again win no races in 2010?
Anything less than three wins this season would be a disappointment for Dale Earnhardt Jr., the Hendrick Motorsports driver said Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
“Our goal is to win as many races as we can, win a championship, challenge for the championship,” Earnhardt Jr. told Scene Daily during the preseason Fan Fest. “I’d like to win – I think anything less than three races this year, I’d be a little bit disappointed.
“Depending on what tracks those are – it’d be great to win at some tracks we haven’t necessarily been great on in the past. … We’re just going to go out there and try our hardest and be ruthless from the first lap to the last.”
Alex Tagliani is in the best shape of his life, but most noticeable is the absence of the anxiety he's endured during the last couple of years while trying to pursue his car racing career.
It's amazing how becoming the owner of his team, which is set to make its debut in the 2010 IndyCar Series, has changed things.
"I'm very pleased and at the same time I feel very emotional, because this is a dream that's finally become reality," Tagliani, 36, said yesterday. "Stability. Longevity. Having a team where you can go race and win.
Focus on driving. For a long time, I had forgotten what racing was really all about.
Dakar 2010 - Sainz wins first Dakar Rally Spain's former world rally champion Carlos Sainz won the Dakar Rally for the first time after holding off a late challenge from Volkswagen team-mate Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar.
Al-Attiyah had cut Sainz's lead to two minutes and 48 seconds after a penultimate stage that saw the two, free to race each other, collide in the heat of battle and exchange angry words.
The Qatari was again fastest in the final 206-km stage from San Rafael to Buenos Aires but could not overhaul the double rally world champion, who had accused him on Friday of not playing fair.
Sainz, who had led from stage five, won with a lead of 2:12 - equal to a mere 3.73km over 4,806km of racing.
Enthusiasts have taken a quick shine to the Tesla Roadster, but the nifty two-seater is not truly a harbinger of things to come from the California electric carmaker.
Tesla's goal is to make more mainstream cars, though it admits that's far from reality. The company's future product plans include two more models that could build volume and expand it beyond its current status as a producer of niche sports cars.
The Model S, an eye-catching sedan, is due in about two and a half years. A third car, which would perhaps be the most affordable, could arrive about five years.
Roush Yates Engines Launches Partnership Roush Yates Engines continues their dedication to lead in power and performance in announcing a newly-formed partnership to build race engines for NHRA Pro Stock drag racer Justin Humphreys and RaceRedi Motorsports.
Roush Yates Engines, renowned for providing winning engines in the NASCAR circuit, is once again expanding their program to encompass another form of motorsports. This partnership with Humphreys takes Roush Yates Engines into the powerful and competitive realm of NHRA Drag Racing. They already have a history of success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, as well as ARCA, Grand-Am and FIA GT3 competition.
Alonso debuts new Schuberth helmet designUPDATE (GMM) Fernando Alonso has tweaked the design of his helmet livery for his 2010 switch to Ferrari.
Last season, which was the Spaniard's last with the Renault team, the 28-year-old fielded a mainly yellow design, including a red top and flashes and the traditional light blue of his home region Asturias.
Alonso's new Schuberth helmet sports a new design and a unique neck restraint strap mount
But the helmet design worn by Alonso at this week's Madonna di Campiglio winter media event is slightly different, even though it retains the familiar 'arrows' on the top.
Worn when he was slalom ski-racing, and go-karting, with his teammates Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella in the Italian Dolomites, the new helmet has a light blue top.
The yellow and red of the Spanish flag remains, and in fact the helmet is a near reversion to his title-winning design of 2006.
In 2007, Alonso fielded an entirely different black, red and silver livery for his ill-fated McLaren outing in 2007.
01/15/10 It looks like Alonso has a new helmet design, along with his new Schuberth helmet.
We also notice a unique head and neck restraint strap system in the helmet design, that does not look like any HANS device we have seen before. The strap seems to be integrated into the helmet construction itself and wrap around the back of the head inside the helmet shell, instead of the detachable mount we have seen on the widely used HANS device. We will look into this and report back.
Alonso now has the benefit and protection of the same helmet brand that saved Felipe Massa's life last year when he was struck by a suspension spring, at the weakest point of any helmet, right at the visor opening near the brow. The spring struck with the helmet with the force of an AK-47 round. It has been widely stated that Felipe would likely not have survived if he we wearing any other helmet.
Former Mile promoter, NASCAR settle suit NASCAR and Wisconsin Motorsports, the group that put on two NASCAR races last summer at the Milwaukee Mile, quietly settled a lawsuit Friday in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
NASCAR had sued Wisconsin Motorsports and its principal, Claude Napier, accusing Napier of not paying approximately $1.9 million for staging a Camping World Truck Series race and a Nationwide Series race last June. In the suit, a NASCAR attorney accused Napier of committing fraud by inducement.
The settlement was confidential. But in a terse statement by NASCAR, it is clear there are still hard feelings.
Radical SRZero Electric Supercar Unveiled in Birmingham
Radical SRZero electric race car. Any race series not planning an electric element in their new car designs in the next 5 years have their head stuck in the sand
The Autosport International 2010 Show in Birmingham would have passed virtually unnoticed by the automotive passenger car world if it weren't for the Radical SRZero electric supercar, a vehicle built by Radical with the help of Imperial College London's Racing Green Endurance team.
The impressive green machine provides supercar-like performance figures: a top speed of 190 km/h with capability to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. Unfortunately, not many details about what lies underneath the body of the SRZero have been released, apart from the fact that the motors for the car have been supplied by EVO Electric.
Dakar Stage 14 route From the first to the last, staying focused is key on this final special where the statistics are formal: there are always withdrawals just a few lengths away from the finish. The 206 kilometers of special, covered on very fast tracks therefore have to be negotiated extremely carefully. At the finish, the heroes of this 32nd edition will at first be celebrated in the village of San Carlos de Bolivar. The aficionados, aware that the most intense moments of joy occur on the line, will certainly have come in numbers. After the avalanche of emotions, the competitors will drive to Buenos Aires where a huge crowd will be expecting them for more glorious moments.
USF2000 Names Cosworth's Pi Research Its Official ECU Provider The cars competing in the USF2000 National Championship presented by Cooper Racing Tires and powered by Mazda will be Mazdas or Fords, but all of them will also have a Cosworth on board.
That's because today Cosworth Electronics was named the official Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and wiring harness provider for the series, under its Pi Research brand.
"All cars must use either the current T2 model or the new, updated CD4 model, which has many convenience features," said Dan Andersen, president and chief executive officer of Andersen Promotions, which administers the Indy Racing League's newest series.
Lola are refusing to give up on their dream of competing in F1, especially as rumors continue suggesting that not all of the new 2010 teams will make the starting grid. Because two of those teams, USF1 and Campos Meta, could reportedly not make the grid with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone skeptical about their chances. Should either team fall by the wayside, Lola's managing director Robin Brundle says his outfit is hopeful of taking their slot next year.
"I think they're going to have trouble actually getting to the first race, so now we have to wait and see," the 79-year-old said.
"We're still very excited about the opportunity of Formula 1 and remain in a state of readiness," he told Autosport. "Clearly 2010 would be a challenge - we simply wouldn't be ready for the start of 2010.
"The rules at the present time indicate that you have to be there at the start of the year. If there is a change in that, we remain in a state of readiness."
Risi Competizione expects to return to action in its Ferrari 430 GT
Risi Competizione prepares to return to action in its Ferrari 430 GT in 2010. After extending its run of victories in the endurance classics to five - starting with the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans and including the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans - and finishing second in the GT2 team and driver championships in the American Le Mans Series, Team Manager Dave Sims reports on the team’s progress during the offseason.
Competition for Risi Competizione in the GT class remains strong. Are you expecting this season to more competitive than 2009? Who do you consider your toughest opponents?
“It’s going to be tougher than ever, for sure, because teams like Corvette Racing and BMW- who were new to the GT class in 2009 - are now fully up to speed and will be even stronger. Plus, of course, Flying Lizard who are always right there in terms of competitiveness, so I think our main opposition are those teams…like us, they all have a strong degree of continuity in their team and driver line ups which makes a big difference at the outset of a season. The new Ferrari team, Extreme Speed Motorsports, will I think need time to gel with the F430 but we know the car is good so it won’t take too long before they’re in the mix too. As part of the Ferrari family, we wish them all the best.”
Medical scare won't stop Rossi's Ferrari test (GMM) Valentino Rossi's forthcoming test in a 2008-spec Ferrari appears on track, despite the reigning MotoGP champion's visit to hospital on Thursday with an inflamed appendix.
The 30-year-old is scheduled to drive the 2008 Ferrari at Barcelona next week as a reward for his latest title, and Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said he visited the team's Maranello headquarters on Friday.
Rossi reportedly drove a 458 Italia road car on the Fiorano test track and "organized the final details" of his Barcelona test, the sports newspaper added.
La Gazzetta said the nine-time world motorcycle champion "seems to have fully recovered" from Thursday's appendix scare.
IndyCar and ABC announce broadcast host lineup Marty Reid and former Indianapolis 500 driver Scott Goodyear will return to the television booth this year to host ABC’s five Izod IndyCar Series races, including the 500.
Eddie Cheever, who won the 500 in 1998, will join them in hosting the 500.ESPN Sports, which produces broadcasts for ABC, confirmed its pit reporters will be Jerry Punch, Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Rick DeBruhl.
DeBruhl is new to the IndyCar Series, having worked in various forms of the sport, including Champ Car. Punch, who worked the 500 for 17 consecutive years, will return for the first time since 2006.
In addition to the 500, ABC will broadcast the series races in St. Petersburg, Fla., Kansas City, Kan., Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Toronto. The other events will air on Versus. Indianapolis Star
Racing community steps up for Haitian reliefUPDATE Hendrick Motorsports has loaned an airplane and two flight crews to an organization that is participating in the Haitian earthquake relief efforts. The NASCAR team loaned a 45-passenger plane to Missionary Flights International, which will send support teams in and out of Port-au-Prince. The first flight is scheduled to leave Fort Pierce, Fla., on Saturday morning and will take 30 passengers and medical supplies into Haiti. The HMS aviation team is planning to fly at least one roundtrip per day, with no timeline set on how long the plane and personnel will be on loan. The eight-team crew consists of HMS aviation director Dave Dudley, four captain-level pilots, one mechanic and one flight attendant. All volunteered to participate. HMS officials have a second plane on standby, and team owner Rick Hendrick is covering all costs associated with the flights. Hendrick officials said Friday they received a special exemption from the FAA to fly the plane into Port-au-Prince. The international Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in the earthquake, which devastated the Caribbean nation on Tuesday Associated Press
01/15/10 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is teaming with the American Red Cross through an online auction and Brickyard Authentics retail store price reduction to encourage race fans to contribute to relief efforts for Haitian earthquake victims.
Force India joins Red Bull in skipping first F1 test Force India driver Adrian Sutil told the official Formula 1 website that the team had decided to delay the introduction of its car so it could have more time to develop the car further.
"The whole team is hard at work developing the best car possible and it looks very, very promising right now," explained Sutil.
"For sure the new rules are a big challenge for everybody, so to make a clear statement about how good we have been in interpreting those new regulations we will have to wait until the first test in Jerez, where I will drive the VJM3 for the first time."
Patrick to appear on episode of CSI: New York Andretti Autosport driver Danica Patrick will appear in an episode of "CSI: NY" on CBS with a scheduled air date of Feb. 10.
The series is a crime drama inspired by "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and is about forensic investigators who use high-tech science to follow the evidence and solve crimes in the Big Apple. "CSI: Miami, "NCIS" and "NCIS: LA" also are CBS shows of a similar vein.
A few days earlier, Patrick will be featured in GoDaddy.com commercials to be aired during the Super Bowl. One ad will feature Patrick replicating scenes from movies such as "Flashdance," "Weird Science" and "The Seven Year Itch."
Petraeus to serve as Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg grand marshal Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of U. S. Central Command, will be the grand marshal of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28.
Gen. Petraeus will give the traditional command to start the race and will participate in pre-race ceremonies and the awards presentation. Event organizers also are planning a broader program with McDill Air Force Base and area military and their families. Special tickets programs are being developed for active military and their families and the traditional Honda Grand Prix Kick-Off Luncheon, which will be held March 25, will include a special salute to wounded veterans.
"Gen. Petraeus is one of the most respected leaders in the world and it is an honor to have him as the Grand Marshal of the Honda Grand Prix," said Tim Ramsberger, general manager of the event. "There is no one better to give the traditional drivers' command on Sunday of race weekend than Gen. Petraeus."
Force India has advantage in new limited budget F1 Adrian Sutil believes Formula One's cost-cutting drive in 2010 will put his Force India team at an advantage.
It is rumored that budgets may be as low as US$70million (excluding engine development and salary costs) this year under the new resource restriction agreement drawn up by the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association. Sutil thinks this will put Force India at an inherent advantage as its low operating costs mean it won't have to make cutbacks to the same extent as the bigger teams.
"What probably was a shortfall in the past is now turning into a big advantage for us right now, as we are used to working within a small budget and with less people," he told F1's official website. "We can fully concentrate on our development, as we used to do over the last few years, without having to shift energy into various downgrades. Other teams need to learn - probably painfully - how to work efficiently with less people and a reduced budget. That could take a little while and so 2010 could be a big opportunity for us."
He also revealed that Force India will skip the first group test at Valencia on February 1 in order to concentrate on developing the car for its debut at the second test in Jerez.
"The whole team is hard at work developing the best car possible and it looks very, very promising right now," he said. "For sure the new rules are a big challenge for everybody, so to make a clear statement about how good we have been in interpreting those new regulations we will have to wait until the test in Jerez, where I will drive the VJM3 for the first time."
Force India made impressive progress throughout its 2009 campaign, literally going from the back of the grid to the front when Giancarlo Fisichella secured pole at the Belgian Grand Prix. One of the reasons attributed to its success was the ban on in-season testing, which meant progress was dependant on work in the factory rather than racking up expensive mileage on track. ESPN F1
NASCAR to switch from rear wing to rear spoiler NASCAR informed teams Friday that it has scheduled an open test at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of an upcoming transition from a rear wing to a rear spoiler.
The change had been discussed individually with teams, but nothing had been formally announced before the Friday memo to crew chiefs from Cup Series director John Darby. To help put some of the rumor mills to rest, I am sending you the following facts as they relate to changes for 2010," Darby wrote in the memo. "We will be transitioning from the usage of the current wing to an aluminum spoiler."
2010 Force India car to miss opening test (GMM) Force India will not take its 2010 car to the first test of the pre-season.
German driver Adrian Sutil said on Friday that the Mercedes-powered VJM3 will instead make its debut the week after the first Valencia action begins in early February.
"For sure the new rules are a big challenge for everybody, so to make a clear statement about how good we have been in interpreting those new regulations we will have to wait until the first test in Jerez, where I will drive the VJM3 for the first time," he told F1's official website.
The first Jerez test is a four-day schedule running from February 10-13. It will be followed by another test at Jerez, and then a final group test in Barcelona prior to March's season opener in Bahrain.
Rossi to drive Ferrari againUPDATE (GMM) Valentino Rossi's forthcoming test in a 2008-spec Ferrari single seater is in doubt.
The reigning MotoGP champion was reportedly admitted to San Salvatore hospital in Pesaro, Italy on Thursday, with severe abdominal pain.
He was diagnosed with an inflamed appendix but not operated on, instead checking out of hospital with antibiotics.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed earlier this week that the 30-year-old is scheduled to test a F2008 for two days at Barcelona beginning next Wednesday.
The Italian is being linked with Ferrari's plans to enter a third car in the world championship, possibly with a small team.
"It's not sure that the third car will be allowed, but if it is, Valentino will be welcome," Felipe Massa said on Friday at the Madonna di Campiglio media event, according to Corriere dello Sport.
Domenicali added: "For us the third machine would represent a good move for F1, and especially if a driver like Valentino would be interested."
Valentino Rossi tested a Ferrari F1 car several times already
It has been a rumor for quite a while and today Stefano Domenicali officially confirmed that Valentino Rossi will be back behind the wheel of a red Formula 1 single-seater. "Chairman Montezemolo had promised it to him after he won the World Championship again,” the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Team Principal said during the news conference in Madonna di Campiglio. "Valentino will drive in Barcelona on 20 and 21 January behind the wheel of a F2008. After that we’ll concentrate on our respective goals: Moto GP for Vale and Formula 1 for Ferrari. If I’m his fan? Our relationship regarding esteem and friendship says it all.”
Asked about a possible future for Valentino behind the wheel of a third Ferrari in Formula 1 Domenicali said: "Never say never. There has been discussed a lot about a third car and this could be a hypothesis of an interesting improvement for the whole world of Formula 1, even more if as a result Rossi had the possibility to race in our sport. This is not true only for Ferrari, but also for the other teams: when we’re talking about a third car we don’t necessarily mean that it has to be three cars in our team, but we might also give our single-seater to be run by a small team.”
Radical SRZero electric racer unveiled The Autosport International 2010 Show in Birmingham, not exactly the equivalent of the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), would have passed virtually unnoticed by the automotive world if it weren't for the Radical SRZero electric supercar, a vehicle built by Radical with the help of Imperial College London's Racing Green Endurance team.
The impressive green machine provides supercar-like performance figures: a top speed of 190 km/h with capability to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. Unfortunately, not many details about what lies underneath the body of the SRZero have been released, apart from the fact that the motors for the car have been supplied by EVO Electric.
"Motorsports and luxury boating are a great way of demonstrating the capabilities of EVO technology", David Latimer, EVO Electric CEO said. "Many technologies are first implemented in motorsports and other niches before migrating to the larger but more cost-sensitive mainstream vehicle market segments."
"We believe the same will happen with hybrid and electric vehicle technologies including EVO's advanced electric motors and generators, which are also being implemented in other near-term applications such as commercial and military vehicles."
The SRZero will be an active presence on the automotive scene this year, as it will be featured in a number of events. The first one worth mentioning will also be SRZero's biggest test, as it will take on the 26,000km (16,000 mile) endurance trip from Argentina to Alaska later this year. autoevolution
Michelin closing Japanese plant Michelin has decided to close its plant in Ota Japan, which currently employees 380 people, as just-auto.com reports.
The factory will be closed in July after several measures destined to increase productivity and cut production costs failed to offer a satisfying result. Since 2007, the plant has been dedicated to the production of “complex products” but this did not improve its efficiency either. To be more specific, production costs at the Ota factory are about twice as high as those of other sites producing similar tires, as just-auto writes.
The production will be relocated to other sites in Asia, Europe and North America.
The company said that it will "continue to develop its operations and expand its presence in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, notably through its research and development programs in Ota, its sales operations throughout the country and its activities at Nihon Michelin Tire Co Ltd. headquarters in Tokyo."
Michelin also stated for the aforementioned source that the financial effort necessary to shut down the plant will bring the group’s 2009 restructuring charges to a figure of 410 million Euros.
The company added that it is currently negotiating with representatives of the employees to find an immediate solution to the unemployment problem, such as supporting the involved workers in finding a job in one of the Michelin Group production sites.
Other automotive component manufacturers have closed some of their production sites in an effort to reduce costs, such as the Swedish airbag and seatbelt manufacturer Autoliv (the company is the segment's world leader), which has planned to shut down 4 of its factories, cutting over 800 jobs. autoevolution
Newey disagrees with double diffuser ban Red Bull designer and top F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey believes the proposed ban on double diffusers in 2011 won’t make it easier for F1 cars to overtake. Speaking at the Watkins Lecture at Autosport International he said:
"I don’t think [double diffusers] affected the overtaking. It gave us more downforce and made the cars about a second a lap quicker. That doesn’t change whether the car’s going to overtake or not, there’s no difference in the aerodynamic wake which is what affects the ability of the car behind to overtake.
"The regulations we had for 2009 were the subject of a lot of research by the Overtaking Working Group. It’s questionable whether they worked or not, but the process, I think, was correct.
Virgin F1 announces junior team (GMM) Manor will field a team in this year's new GP3 category.
Albeit branded Virgin Racing, Manor is also contesting its first season in formula one in 2010.
Team boss John Booth is "eager to maintain close links with grassroots racing", read a media statement, referring to his earlier years fielding future stars including Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in his F3 team.
"A driver development program was always part of the master plan in the formation of Virgin Racing," the statement added.
GP3 kicks off as a 280 horse power support series for GP2 at this year's Spanish grand prix.
Booth said: "The icing on the cake is the fantastic prize of an F1 test with Virgin Racing for the most successful Manor GP3 driver."
Adrian Newey claims Red Bull evaluated a switch to Mercedes power for 2010 but were prevented from using the engines by rival teams.
The designer claimed Mercedes users McLaren and Brawn blocked a Red Bull-Mercedes deal.
Speaking at the Motorsport Safety Fund’s Watkins Lecture at Autosport International, Newey said the team considered the switch because of Mercedes teams’ performance advantage in 2009.
"The Mercedes engine enjoyed a good advantage over the rest of the field last year. The lap time difference was significant – several tenths of a second. And when you have to find that kind of performance from the chassis, that’s quite a big ask.
"But in the end Brawn and McLaren blocked us from having the Mercedes engine."
Q&A with Marino Franchitti Patr¢n Highcroft Racing's newest signing Marino Franchitti will hit the track at Autosport International in the UK today, doing battle in teammate David Brabham's Celebrity Karting Challenge.
Franchitti will also appear on the Autosport Stage at 10:30am this morning alongside team boss Duncan Dayton. David Brabham will follow on stage at 11:00am.
While they will be rivals in today's event benefiting Malaria No More, Franchitti and Brabham will team up at Sebring, Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta for Patr¢n Highcroft Racing in 2010. The Scottish star looks forward to season ahead in this Q&A.....
Kia Motors Posts 20.1% Increase in 2009 Global Sales Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for 2009 which reached an all-time high of 1,651,920 units sold, cementing Kia's position as one of the world's fasting growing automakers.
This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 20.1%. By region, Kia posted year-on-year sales increases in China (256,732 units sold, a 69.9% year-on-year increase), Korea (412,752 units sold, a 30.4% year-on-year increase), general markets (304,522 units, a 16.2% year-on-year increase), North America (346,181 units, a 11.3% year-on-year increase) and Western Europe (242,288 units, a 7.7% year-on-year increase).
In 2009 Sebastian Vettel suffered from several engine problems. The German Red Bull Racing driver was forced to change his engine several times last year but in 2010 the Formula 1 driver expects less problems with his F1 engine. "It's correct that we had some engine problems during last season and there is no way to get around that," Vettel told the official F1 site. "But I know Renault looked into them, and towards the end of the season we didn't have any more issues. Please don't forget that, even though everybody predicted us to have an additional engine change and to receive a penalty, we did not. So while there was nobody in a worse position, we didn't lose ground because of it and could continue to fight for the championship.
"We have all worked hard over the winter, not only at Renault and Viry, and have analyzed what went wrong during the season, so that it doesn't happen again."
Schumacher on the pace as GP2 test concludes (GMM) Michael Schumacher was right on the pace during his test in a GP2 car at Jerez this week.
Billed as a development test for the feeder series but in fact a 'warm-up' for his return to F1 this year, the seven time world champion managed more than 100 laps on slick tires on Thursday as the weather cleared for the final day.
A media statement revealed that 41-year-old Schumacher's best lap was a 1m24.6, which is four tenths slower than the GP2 lap record at the Spanish circuit set by Kamui Kobayashi in 2008.
"I feel fit, I felt comfortable immediately back in the car –- hey, let's go for it!" the German was quoted as saying.
The best time of the recent F1 test held at Jerez was a 1m17, set by Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull, but some of the slower runners were in the low 1m20s.
Schumacher's 1m24, meanwhile, would have seen him comfortably qualify for the last grand prix held at Jerez. In a Ferrari, Schumacher qualified second for that 1997 championship decider with a 1m21.
New Toro Rosso car to debut at first test (GMM) Toro Rosso has confirmed that its 2010 car will be given its track debut as soon as the current testing ban lifts at the end of the month.
The first group test of the pre-season kicks off at Valencia on 1 February, and a spokeswoman for the Toro Rosso team told ITV that the STR5 is scheduled to be there.
The Ferrari-powered car is the first single seater that has been fully designed and built by Toro Rosso at its Faenza factory, having in the past used the basic design of the Adrian Newey-led Red Bull Technology.
"Toro Rosso will start the winter testing in Valencia on 1 February and we are planning to do it with the STR5," the spokeswoman said.
Superleague champion to win F1 test (GMM) The next champion of the football-meets-racing Superleague Formula series can expect to win a F1 test.
The category, in which drivers race for teams bearing the colors of prominent football clubs, said on Thursday it is "in negotiations to offer the 2010 champion a prize test drive with a top formula one team".
The series' 2009 champion is Spaniard Adrian Valles, who raced in Liverpool FC colors for Hitech Racing.
Alonso shrugs and says Hamilton is blowing hot air
(GMM) Fernando Alonso spent little time reacting to a provocative comment made recently by his former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Contemplating their explosive single season together at the Woking team in 2007, Briton Hamilton recalled that "I blew him away".
In fact, the pair won four races apiece and ended the season with identical tallies of 109 points, but 28-year-old Alonso did not get upset when asked about Hamilton's comment at Ferrari's winter media event this week.
"If I have to answer to all that he says I would use up too much time," he shrugged, according to the Daily Telegraph.
"McLaren, though, are a good team and when I went there it was a nice moment for me," the Spaniard added.
Dakar Video Summary: Stage 12 Pending validation by the race stewards, Spaniard Carlos Sainz (VW) was victorious for a second time on a special in the 32nd Dakar, making it the 17th stage triumph of his career on the event. More importantly, with a time of de 3.30:29, “El Matador” beat his main rival for outright victory, his Qatari team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah (VW), by 52" and his American team-mate Mark Miller (VW) by 4’22.
As a result, in the general standings, only 2 stages from the finish in Buenos Aires, Carlos Sainz has a little more breathing space out in front with a lead that now stands at 5’20 over Al-Attiyah. The position is more comfortable for American Mark Miller (VW), who is 3rd at 28’12 behind the race leader and who continues to ensure (for the moment!) a 1-2-3 for the Wolfsburg-based constructor.
New VW Compact Coupe supercharged and turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder
Volkswagen NCC has the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine VW wanted to us in the IRL, but Honda was pushing for a V6. End result? IndyCar lost VW.
Volkswagen has gone public on plans for a coupe variant of the next-generation Jetta with the unveiling of a near-to-production-ready concept on Monday at the Detroit auto show.
Dubbed the New Compact Coupe (NCC), the new two-door presages the look and mechanical layout Volkswagen plans to adopt on a new front-wheel-drive model to be built at its Puebla plant in Mexico as part of ongoing plans to further penetrate the U.S. market.
Conceived primarily for North America--which does not receive the Volkswagen Scirocco, owing to the high cost of importing it from Palmela, Portugal, where it is assembled alongside the Eos--Volkswagen says a production version of the NCC could also be sold in other key markets as part of the sixth-generation Jetta lineup, which will also include a similarly styled sedan and wagon.
Today at the Montreal International Auto Show the FAZZT Race Team has announced a partnership with Bowers & Wilkins (B & W), the worlds leading producers of reference quality hi-fi and home theater speakers, and unveiled their livery for the inaugural race of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition to the car livery; the team firesuits, pit equipment, and uniforms will also carry the B & W branding.
"Our partnership with FAZZT is a great opportunity for Bowers and Wilkins to promote our expanding range of multi-media products to the Brazilian consumer and the global IZOD IndyCar audience," said owner and Chairman Joe Atkins. "We feel strongly that the profile of this event and the entire Series fit very well with the demographics of the new digital consumer and provides us with a unique opportunity to showcase our new products and to support this exciting new team."
Inside NASCAR moves to Showtime channel John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported the new line-up for the Inside NASCAR series that will debut on Showtime in February. Fox's Chris Myers will host. On the panel are TNT's Kyle Petty, SPEED's Randy Pemberton and ESPN's Brad Daugherty. Petty and Pemberton are NASCAR TV veterans who have extensive family backgrounds in the sport. Myers departs the NASCAR scene after the Fox races and moves to other assignments. Daugherty is an active Sprint Cup Series owner and has fought that issue in his day job with ESPN. Inside NASCAR debuts on Showtime February 10 and will run for 38 weeks. It will be bundled with Showtimes's Inside the NFL as a sports TV block. Press information sent to the media recently lists Michael Waltrip's TV background. "In addition to his role as co-owner, Waltrip has been a popular television personality on SPEED since 1996. He's an analyst for its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcasts and was an original member of one of the longest running shows on the cable network, "This Week in NASCAR" 1996-2009." That would seem to put an unofficial end to rumors that TWIN was returning for 2010. There has still been no comment from SPEED.(Daly Planet)
Menard to run full Nationwide schedule Roush Fenway will field four full-time teams in the 2010 Nationwide Series -- including a #98 Ford for Paul Menard, who races for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Cup Series -- and RFR president Geoff Smith said Wednesday that the stable sold has more than 75% of the sponsorship of its eight-car fleet in NASCAR's two top national series. Menard will run his first complete schedule since 2006, when he finished sixth in the championship for the second consecutive season before stepping into the Cup Series full time. That car is fully sponsored by the Menards home improvement store chain and a variety of partners. Smith said RFR's other three Nationwide programs had varying sponsorship gaps. Former series champion Carl Edwards will again compete full time in both Cup and Nationwide, running a #60 Ford sponsored by Fastenal and Copart in the secondary series. Smith said Edwards' car has "four open races." Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will run full schedules as rookie of the year candidates in the #16 and #6 cars. Braun's car has 18 races with Con-way Freight and two more with 3M, leaving 15 of the series' 35 races unsponsored. Stenhouse has 18 races with CitiFinancial backing, leaving "the remainder for sale," Smith said. Biffle is part of a previously announced deal to run a partial Nationwide schedule for Baker Curb Racing, but "at this point in time David Ragan, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are not doing Nationwide races with us."(NASCAR.com)
SPEED announces comprehensive Rolex 24 Coverage The Rolex 24 at Daytona, one of the crown jewel endurance races in the world, will unfold with 16 hours of live coverage on SPEED starting at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 30. The network will start with seven-consecutive hours, rejoining the race at 7 a.m. ET on that Sunday with nine hours to its conclusion.
Familiar personality Bob Varsha, Voice of Formula One on SPEED, and Grand American play-by-play announcer Leigh Diffey, will anchor SPEED’s broadcast booth. Former sports car racing veterans David Hobbs and Calvin Fish – both with extensive endurance racing experience – will provide color commentary. Pit road will be navigated by Brian Till, Chris Neville, Kelli Stavast and Justin Bell, each gathering the latest throughout pit road and the paddock.
Ford exec wants to get Ford back winning in NASCAR As the new director of Ford motorsports in North America, Jamie Allison’s first priority might appear to be to get Ford’s new NASCAR engine on the track, but he says that's just one of several priorities this season.
Allison will attempt to lead Ford from a three-win 2009 campaign back into the Sprint Cup elite. He oversees a revamped program for 2010 that includes Richard Petty Motorsports, which joins the fold as part of a merger with Yates Racing. Front Row Motorsports joins the blue oval as well to go along with staples Roush Fenway Racing and Wood Brothers Racing.
The engine is just one piece of the puzzle as Ford tries to catch Hendrick Motorsports, which has given Chevrolet four consecutive Cup titles (five if you include non-Hendrick driver Tony Stewart while he was at Joe Gibbs Racing). Chevrolet teams won 18 of the 36 points races last year.
Borg Warner is not just a famous trophy... [Ed Note: Borg Warner is the same Borg Warner as that on the Indy 500 Trophy. If they are all about the turbocharged engine's relevance and efficiency, then why isn’t IndyCar sitting there with a normally aspirated V8 in the back of its antiquated cars?]
BorgWarner will supply turbochargers for rear-wheel drive trucks featuring Ford's 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine. Ford expects up to 90% of its nameplates sold in North America will be available with downsized direct-injected turbocharged engines by 2013.
"Pairing BorgWarner's advanced turbocharging technology with Ford's gasoline direct injection on the EcoBoost engines allows drivers to experience the benefits of up to 20% better fuel economy without sacrificing performance or comfort," said Roger Wood, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Turbo & Emissions Systems. "We are pleased to work with Ford to optimize these benefits so that millions of consumers will enjoy exceptional engine responsiveness with more miles to the gallon."
Renault to launch R30 day before Valencia test (GMM) Renault will launch its 2010 car on the day before it is tested for the first time at Valencia.
With the first group test of the winter set to kick off on 1 February, the Genii Capital-controlled team announced on Thursday that the wraps will come off the R30 at the same Ricardo Tormo circuit one day earlier.
The unveiling will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 31 January, by which time a teammate for Robert Kubica will have been decided.
Skip Barber offers unlimited racing deal Skip Barber today announced an unlimited racing program, where a racer can pay an annual fee, and learn, race, and test as much as they want. They have announced tiers for regional and national levels, as well as a top package that gives the racer access to any SBRS program for a full year, plus bonus racing schools for friends and family.
At just $150,000 for the full-blown national program, this is one huge deal. We think it will be a huge attraction for parents of young funded drivers, giving them more seat time than anywhere else they could ever drive.
We think they should be wary however. A couple of years back, Darden corporation offered all-you-can-eat King Crab at Red Lobster, and lost their tail...so to speak. In this case SBRS needs to be careful not to lose their tail-pipe.
Dale Jr. Talent-wise he is ruining the good family name his father established
The 2010 season will be the defining season of Dale Jr's career. He will either be a winner or a also-ran with a famous name.
This will be his third year at Hendrick, with noticeably poor finishes, musical crew chief chairs, and other drama producing only two top 5 finishes. We all thought that Dale Jr, though surely not the level of Hendrick's other drivers, would show well and be a contender for the Cup.
"Sure we were frustrated about the results," Earnhardt said. "But I think we were on top of things more often than not as we went along and tried some new things that hopefully will work out as we move forward."
Trulli scoffs at Ecclestone's 'shortcuts' proposal (GMM) [Ed Note: We agree with Trulli. This is probably the stupidest thing we have ever heard of in racing]
Jarno Trulli on Thursday scoffed at Bernie Ecclestone's proposal to insert "shortcuts" into grand prix circuits.
Although many observers wondered if the F1 chief executive was being serious, he told reporters at Madonna di Campiglio that giving drivers five chances per race to take a shortcut route would solve F1's perceived lack of overtaking and spice up the TV spectacle.
But while visiting Lotus' British headquarters for a seat fitting, F1 veteran Trulli told Reuters: "I think Bernie sometimes has very clear ideas but this (proposal) is just not possible in formula one.
Danica Patrick was a guest Tuesday night on the Speed Channel’s NASCAR Race Hub show and handled the questions put to her by co-hosts John Roberts and Adam Alexander pretty well, I thought.
What was particularly surprising to me was not her media-trained I-really-like-NASCAR stuff but her backhanded slap at Indy Car (formerly the IRL) in which she said, in so many words, that she didn’t like all the road and street courses now on the schedule [Editor's Note: Let's be quite frank about this and stop giving Danica the white glove treatment. Because road courses take more talent to excel at she runs as a backmarker. Because ovals are 99% car she is usually better at 100% throttle oval racing].
Danica has had her greatest success in the Indy cars on the ovals – at Indianapolis, in particular, and her one win came on an oval in Japan – so it’s natural for her to like ovals. But she was forthright that she didn’t like the direction Indy Car is going and that’s significant. [Editor's Note: She realizes her shortcomings and is using this as an excuse to get out before her image deteriorates further.]
Sponsorship woes bench #07 A team spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the organization's #07 Chevy, driven last season by Casey Mears, would not make the trip to Daytona for the Sprint Cup Series' season opener on Feb. 14. As recently as last month, the team had indicated that the vehicle would appear at Daytona, where it has a guaranteed starting spot by virtue of Mears' 21st-place finish in owners' points last year. Wednesday, though, the team said that was no longer the case, and that RCR would field only the cars of #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, and #33-Clint Bowyer. Jack Daniel's, the primary sponsor of the #07 last season, left NASCAR after 2009 and a full-time replacement has yet to be found. Mears also has yet to announce any definitive plans for the 2010 campaign. As for whether the No. 07 would hit the race track at some point beyond Daytona, the spokesman said there were currently no plans for the vehicle at this time. NASCAR.com
So you want to be a NASCAR or IndyCar oval track driver? Well we have got just the practice simulator for you. It comes in red, yellow, or any color you want. You can practice to be an oval track driver in your own backyard. In fact even in the cold winter months you can practice going round and round until you are dizzy. If you get too dizzy you can make a pitstop, but it's 100% safe because no matter what you do the simulator won't fall over.......unless of course you fall asleep at the wheel and fall off it.
Roush to Be Inducted Into NMPA Hall of Fame "Jack Roush's induction to the NMPA Hall of Fame is a well deserved honor for a man who has impacted not only NASCAR but racing with his innovations and ingenuity throughout his career,” remarked Dustin Long, President, National Motorsports Press Association.
The National Motorsports Press Association is an organization that features about 350 journalists, public relations officials, track personnel and series officials. Until NASCAR's Hall of Fame, this has been the only Hall of Fame dedicated to those with ties to stock-car racing including drivers, crew chiefs, owners, journalists and track officials. The NMPA Hall of Fame features 86 individuals, including this year's class of four. Among those in the Hall, which inducted its first member in 1965, are Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Ralph Earnhardt, David Pearson, Richie Evans, John Holman, Harry Hyde, Junior Johnson, Ralph Moody, Bud Moore, Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Lee Petty, Tim Richmond, Fireball Roberts, Wendell Scott, Curtis Turner, Glen Wood, Leonard Wood, Cale Yarborough and Smokey Yunick, among others.
Update on Lola’s LMP offering for 2010 Lola is pleased to release details of its much anticipated development upgrades to the successful LMP1 and LMP2 designs.
The newly titled B10/60 LMP1 Coupe sees significant upgrades in both mechanical and aerodynamic areas. The Lola LMP cars are set to race on both sides of the Atlantic in 2010, as well as at the 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
After winning both LMP1 and LMP2 Le Mans Series constructors titles in 2009, Lola has continued to invest in and further develop its capabilities to ensure that the LMP designs have a major advancement in pace for the new racing season.
Yas Marina Circuit will host five major motorsport events in 2010 as part of a year round calendar of world-class entertainment. GP2 Asia, V8 Supercars Australia and the new FIA GT1 international series will all take place in the first half of 2010.
The circuit will again host the final race of the Formula 1 FIA World Championship, with the Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix taking place from November 12-14.
In March a major international Drag Racing Festival will launch Yas Marina Circuit’s Drag Racing Centre. The Drag Racing Festival will feature the best of drag racing from the United States of America. After the festival, the Drag Racing Centre will host regular events where the public can race their own vehicles.
Superleague Formula by Sonangol will offer the biggest prize fund in European motor sport next season with the league champions set to pocket a hefty €1 million. On top of that, runners-up will receive a cool €500,000 with third place taking home €250,000.
But that’s not all. In total, over €5 million will be dished out throughout 2010 as the football-themed championship continues to offer fans and teams alike a unique take on motor sport. Moreover, Superleague Formula by Sonangol is also in negotiations to offer the 2010 champion a prize test drive with a top Formula 1 team.
The popular Super Final concept, a five lap dash for cash at the end of race two on Sundays, returns for a second season with €100,000 again going to the winners at each of the 12 rounds. Unlike in 2009 however, prize money will be awarded to all half-dozen finalists meaning that for the first time, fourth to sixth stand to win a share of €55,000, with second and third receiving €75,000 and €50,000 respectively, as they did in ‘09. It’s therefore possible for one driver to amass a staggering €2.2 million should they win all 12 Super Finals throughout the season!
iRacing announce virtual version of the AT&T Williams FW31 iRacing.com will build a virtual version of the 2009 AT&T Williams FW31 and make it available to members of its internet-based global motorsport simulation service. The announcement at the Autosport International show was made jointly by Williams F1 and iRacing.com Motorsport Simulation, LLC.
“Our members range from full-time professional racing drivers to fans who may never sit in a racing car in the physical world,” said Divina Galica, MBE, iRacing’s director of client relations. Galica, a former world-class racer in cars and on skis, where she represented Britain in the Olympics on four occasions, noted that “for $12.95 (US) and less than $8.00 per month, anyone virtually anywhere in the world will be able to take the controls of a contemporary grand prix car, test its performance and race against other drivers. We’re excited by the prospect of producing an exact digital duplicate of the AT&T Williams FW31 and very pleased to be able to make the announcement here in the UK, the home of Williams F1 and to the second largest national contingent of iRacers.”
Patr¢n Highcroft Racing has locked in another American Le Mans Series race winner for its 2010 driver line-up with Marino Franchitti joining forces with David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud.
Franchitti took two LMP2 class victories for Dyson Racing in 2009, but will now line-up aboard the Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c Patr¢n Highcroft Racing entry for the 2010 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Monterey Sports Car Championship at Laguna Seca and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Marino will have a significantly enhanced scope of responsibilities to those given to his brother, Dario, by the team last season. Alongside his three confirmed race outings, the popular Scotsman will be behind the wheel for additional test duties as well as attending each round of the ALMS championship.
Toyota will install brake override systems for its runaway vehicles Toyota will install brake override systems on all Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles by year end as a way to prevent unintended acceleration.
The new system will be put in all vehicles globally, said Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota North America Inc., in an interview at the Detroit auto show on Monday. The initiative follows a recall last fall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States to correct the problem.
Inaba said installation began this month on the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES 350 models, which account for the largest number of models included in the recall.
(GMM) Michael Schumacher late Wednesday admitted to having slightly sore neck muscles after his second consecutive day of testing at the wheel of a GP2 car.
While the three-day Jerez session is billed as a development test for the feeder series, a more accurate depiction of the event is as a "warm-up" for the seven time world champion's 1 February run in the 2010 Mercedes GP car.
Despite more bad weather, the German - who has not raced in F1 since his championship challenge of 2006 - on Wednesday lapped Jerez another 53 times on slick tires.
"There is some minor muscular strain," 41-year-old Schumacher is quoted as saying by Express, "but it's completely normal."
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen this week shifted preparations for his first full season of world rallying into a higher gear.
The Finn, who has switched after a career spanning nine seasons and 18 wins in formula one, made his debut at the wheel of the Red Bull-branded Citroen C4 he will drive in next month's Swedish Rally opener.
Before Sweden, he will contest the Arctic Lapland rally later this month.
2007 world champion Raikkonen, 30, conducted a short shakedown on a test track at Satory in France, according to the Auto Hebdo and Marca publications.
Bahrain loses F1 track boss to Australian V8 series (GMM) The boss of Bahrain's formula one track is moving to Australia. Martin Whitaker, who before running the Sakhir circuit was a motor racing director at Ford, will become chief executive of the Gold Coast-based Australian touring car series V8 Supercars in April -- after Bahrain's F1 season opener.
Briton Whitaker was initially a motor racing reporter, before holding press-related roles with the FIA, FOCA Television and McLaren. Bahrain International Circuit appointed Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa as his successor.
Bernie Ecclestone (R) greets Ferrari driver Felipe Massa at annual Ferrari media event
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated his view that at least two of F1's new teams are not likely to make their debuts as scheduled in March.
In the wake of the F1 chief executive's last round of uncertainty about the health of new teams, the USF1 and Campos entries insisted their campaigns are on track to join the action at the Bahrain opener.
"Obviously when you speak to these people they say: It's fine, there is no drama. But I think there is drama," Ecclestone said after arriving at the Madonna di Campiglio winter media event wearing a Ferrari ski jacket.
The 79-year-old said the issue is not a major concern for his sport, however, as "all we need is 10 solid teams".
Ecclestone made bigger headlines late Wednesday with his controversial proposal to install "shortcuts" at each circuit that each driver can use five times a race.
"Then you wouldn't get stuck behind a slower car," he explained. "It would be great for TV. I've tried to push the teams on this because I don't think the efforts to increase overtaking are working, but they haven't gone for it."
Williams to honor no-KERS agreement in 2010 Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) boss Ian Foley revealed today that Williams will not be using KERS in 2010. WHP stopped its program to concentrate on non motorsport programs. "Since we stopped the F1 program we have doubled the number of staff we have" explained Ian Foley at the MIA Cleaner Racing. " To do F1 again we would need to increase staffing levels."
Foley also took a dig at some of the anti-KERS faction in F1, "those who pushed KERS out were those who had fallen behind."
KERS is not banned in F1, though there is an agreement amongst FOTA teams not to use the systems this year.
Townsend Bell, who finished fourth in last year’s Indianapolis 500, has landed a ride for this year’s event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Bell will drive the No. 99 car fielded by Sam Schmidt Motorsports through a co-entry with Ganassi Racing. Chip Ganassi’s team fields the cars of the past two Izod IndyCar Series champions, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon. Dixon won the 500 in a Ganassi car in 2008.
Bell drove for KV Racing Technology last year, posting the team’s best finish in the race. He finished 10th for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2008.
As it relates to the IndyCar Series, Sam Schmidt’s team has been in Indy-only competitor in recent years. The Indianapolis-based team has won 30 Firestone Indy Lights races and three series championships. Indy Star
ABC downgrades NASCAR races to ESPN ESPN will air 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecasts in 2010, including nine of the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. ABC will air three prime time Saturday night races. For the past three seasons, ESPN has aired six races, with 11 on ABC.
“Last year’s performance showed us that ESPN provides the best home for NASCAR,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content.
“This is exciting news for NASCAR and our fans,” said NASCAR Media Group President Paul Brooks. “The ESPN subscriber base is larger than ever at nearly 100 million, and the network has the proven ability to attract younger viewers. As the premier network during the most competitive time of the year for sports, having more NASCAR races on ESPN will create more exposure.”
Dempsey Racing Ready for Rolex 24 The recently-expanded Mazda RX-8 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT program from Dempsey Racing got its 2010 campaign off to an outstanding start with an impressive performance throughout the three-day “Roar Before the Rolex 24” test session at a cold and blustery Daytona International Speedway this past weekend.
Defending Rolex Series GT Champion Leh Keen posted the quickest GT lap of the weekend with a time of 1:49.214 (117.348 mph) in the No. 41 Team Seattle/Global Diving & Salvage Mazda RX-8 GT. This weekend marked Keen’s first time in the Mazda RX-8 GT, which was recently built and delivered to the team by SpeedSource, Inc. Keen is sharing the car with co-drivers Don Kitch Jr. and Dave Lacey for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in three weeks, as well as his full-time 2010 co-driver James Gué.
Magnus Racing boosts driver lineup for Rolex 24 The No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car raised some eyebrows with its form during the Rolex Sportscar Series’ December test at Daytona International Speedway, leading to much speculation about the team’s driver lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. With help from Porsche Motorsports North America, Magnus Racing is proud to announce their driver lineup for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Magnus Racing’s full-season drivers John Potter, from Salt Lake City, Utah and Craig Stanton, from Long Beach, California, will be joined by drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Richard Lietz. Bleekemolen, twenty-eight years old from the Netherlands, is the reigning two-time series champion in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The Supercup utilizes a similar Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, giving Bleekemolen vast experience in the same kind of car he will drive in the Rolex 24. Endurance racing is also a specialty of Bleekemolen, as he co-drove the winning Porsche RS Spyder at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2008. Bleekemolen was also at one time the driver for Team Netherlands in the A1GP.
Lotus to miss first two testing dates Lotus recruit Heikki Kovalainen has revealed that they will miss the first two group tests ahead of the new Formula One season.
The Finn said that the team, one of four new outfits to join the grid this season, have elected not to run at both Valencia and Jerez next month owing to a shortage of spare parts.
However, he did say the team would be able to test properly at Jerez for the third session, later in February.
"We are preparing as well as we can at this time," Kovalainen told the official Formula One website. "One thing is that we could possibly join an earlier test. The car would probably be able to run but we wouldn't have spare parts and we wouldn't be able to test properly.
"If we had any problems, the test would be over. So at the third test we know we'll be able to push the car hard. I can push it to the limit, get a feel for the car and hopefully we can do a lot of mileage.
"I expect the car to be pretty reliable straight out of the box because (Lotus chief technical officer)Mike (Gascoyne) and the design team are all experienced people who know how to build a race car. Then the question mark will be how much performance we have.
"When the factory's all set up and running we'll be able to get decent upgrades relatively quickly, and that's when we'll see the real performance."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has already confirmed that his team will not head to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo as their RB6 will not be ready in time. Sky Sports
Lowe's Motor Speedway changes name back Lowe’s Motor Speedway is now, as expected, Charlotte Motor Speedway once again. The process of changing signs at the track has begun, track spokesman Scott Cooper said Monday.
Lowe’s naming rights, which were worth $35 million over 10 years, ran out after the 2008 season and then were extended a year through 2009. Lowe’s, which announced in August that it would not extend the deal, will remain a corporate partner with the track and parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc., Cooper said.
“We are now Charlotte Motor Speedway,” Cooper said. “We are moving forward in our 51st year, just as we began our first. Our focus is to continuing to be the most fan-friendly speedway in the world.”
The track naming-rights deal was the first for a major NASCAR speedway. Other tracks that have followed in selling their naming rights were Sears Point Raceway to Infineon Technologies and California Speedway to the AAA Automobile Club of Southern California. SceneDaily
IZOD IndyCars to test at Barber IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights teams will have two Open Test dates, beginning with a preseason session at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
The Feb. 24-26 will be the only Open Test before the season opens March 14 for the IZOD IndyCar Series and March 28 for Firestone Indy Lights. Both series will be on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway for testing before the first oval race of the season.
Click it: Get tickets and info for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
"The way the 2010 schedule falls allowed for the opportunity for our teams to focus their preseason plans on the road and street course events to open the season," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League. "By shifting the oval testing portion to in-season Open Test dates, teams have the option of keeping their equipment in road-course trim until they are ready to focus on the oval portion of the schedule, including the month of May at Indianapolis."
Photos: Schu begins GP2 test, Cosworth ready to ship enginesUPDATE Michael Schumacher was pleased to have driven in fully dry conditions on Wednesday as the second of three GP2 test days commenced. With a wet track having hampered progress on Tuesday, the 7-time World Champion was able to set up the development car of the F1 feeder series to a more precise level.
"That was a big step forward today because we could drive, around 90 percent of the time, in dry conditions. We could even do two long runs, which went nice and constant."
"These days here in Jerez are definitely worth it because even if I was not driving I would spend the time speaking and discussing with the engineers, working on setups and preparing for the season," he added. gpupdate.net
(GMM) F1's 2010 season shifted into a higher gear on Tuesday.
On a cold and cloudy morning at Jerez, Michael Schumacher began his three-day test in the GP2 series' development car.
He was wearing plain white overalls and his customary bright red helmet, which for the first time was adorned with Mercedes' three-pointed star at the front.
2,000 kilometers north, at Northampton in the UK, returning engine supplier Cosworth was putting the final touches on the shipping boxes of its first completed batch of 2010-spec engines.
Ferrari wants to give third car to small team (GMM) Ferrari has changed tack as it continues to push for clearance to enter a third car in the world championship.
Originally, the idea was to field an additional Maranello-built single seater in order to accommodate Michael Schumacher, who instead is making his return this season with Mercedes GP.
Ferrari's three-car ambition did not get the go-ahead, but at the Madonna di Campiglio media event on Wednesday, team boss Stefano Domenicali raised the prospect of Valentino Rossi switching from MotoGP.
"When we're talking about a third car we don't necessarily mean that it has to be three cars in our team, but we might also give our single seater to be run by a small team," he explained.
Steve Mathews Preparing to enter NASCAR Canadian Tire Series After two very successful outings last year and getting a taste of the competition, Nineteen year old racer Steven Mathews of New Liskeard, Ontario is now set to savor the flavour of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) full-time in 2010 beginning with the season opener at Delaware Speedway on June 5th.
“Speedy Steve” as he is known to his fans and Late Model competitors showed his quickness at both NCATS events he participated in last year qualifying in the top-ten at two challenging tracks; Mosport Speedway and Kawartha Speedway. Mathews would also lead the race at Kawartha Speedway for sixteen laps and overall was reasonably satisfied with his showing at both races. “The competition is so strong in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series that I thought to finish in the top-ten at our first race was pretty good” said Mathews. “While I was leading at Kawartha I got bumped by another car and ended up at the back of the field. I think we passed the most cars that day but ultimately didn’t get the finish we anticipated, again though we showed how competitive this team can be” he added.
John Force Racing launches fan site After nearly a year of planning and development Castrol launched the official John Force Racing 25th anniversary fan site located at www.castrolforce.com this week. At the end of the 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series fans were asked to sign up to be a part of the most comprehensive and interactive website to celebrate John Force Racing’s upcoming 25th year with Castrol. Almost 10,000 fans got in the ground floor and they got the first opportunity to join the celebration and begin a year-long interactive experience with the winningest driver and team in all of motorsports.
“Having the official website www.castrolforce.com up and running is a major accomplishment for Castrol and our marketing team. This celebration of the first twenty-five years with John Force and John Force Racing will be a season long adventure for Castrol, the entire JFR team and our tens of thousands of fans. The site will boast all sorts of interactive zones as well as pages where fans can upload photos and videos. There will be contests throughout the year and castrolforce.com will become one of the hottest destinations on the web for exclusive John Force Racing 25th anniversary information and news,” said Lori Anne Gola, Assistant Sponsorship Manager.
F1 teams to meet with Ecclestone at Valencia test (GMM) F1 teams will meet with Bernie Ecclestone on 1 February to discuss making more rule changes.
The F1 Commission meeting will take place on the day of the opening test of the pre-season at Valencia, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali revealed on Wednesday at the Madonna di Campiglio press event.
On the agenda will be KERS, the points system, double diffusers and qualifying, the Italian said.
"KERS is too expensive and it is important that the conditions are the same for all," German reports quote him as saying.
Doru Sechelariu together with Tech 1 Racing Tech 1 Racing kicks off 2010 by announcing its first driver in the GP3 Series. The Toulouse-based team will enter three cars one of which will be driven by Rumanian, Doru Sechelariu, a young gun from Formula BMW.
The first official GP3 test session will take place on the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit at the beginning of March, by which time Tech 1 Racing will have announced the names of its three drivers for its first season in the championship. One name is already on the list – Doru Sechelariu. The 17-year-old Rumanian did a year in Formula Renault 1.6 Belgium followed by a couple of seasons in Formula BMW. He will move up a notch to GP3 with the Tech 1 Racing team.
“Doru Sechelariu is the first driver we’ve announced officially for our GP3 program,” explains Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. “He’s very young and this season his aim will be to fight at the front at this new level. He’s proved his speed and his capacity to work, and we’re delighted to welcome him to Tech 1 Racing. The real aim of this formula is to train young drivers and that’s what we’re going to do with Doru.”
ART Grand Prix announces complete GP3 lineup The ART Grand Prix team would like to announce their driver line up for the inaugural 2010 GP3 Championship season. The French based squad will boast three drivers, Esteban Gutierrez, Alexander Rossi and Pedro Enrique to compete in what will be a strong championship that will run parallel to its sister series, the GP2 championship.
The new GP3 series is a promising new championship designed at helping young talented drivers move up through the ranks until finally making the transition across into the pinnacle of Motorsports, Formula One.
After clinching the Formula BMW title in 2008, Mexican racer Esteban Gutierrez performed superbly during his maiden season in the F3 Euro Series where he secured two podiums for the ART Grand Prix team and delivered some first class performances. Meanwhile, new teammate Alexander Rossi won the Formula BMW America championship and Formula BMW World in 2008, something he followed up by becoming the best rookie in Formula Masters last season.
Wilson a father again Justin and Julia Wilson have announced the birth of their second daughter, Jessica Lynne Wilson. Jessica was born on Tuesday 12th January at 7.12 p.m. MT at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, Colorado. She weighed 5.13 pounds and measured 18 inches long. Both mother and daughter are doing well.
Fontana race gets sponsor, shortened According to the Sports Business Journal, NASCAR and Auto Club Speedway owner ISC today will announce that the October 10 Sprint Cup Series race at the California track "will be renamed and shortened from 500 miles." The event, which Pepsi has sponsored since '08, will now be known as the Pepsi Max 400.
New ultra-light seat belts for Renault The Renault team will be making use of a highly-developed, super-light seatbelt this season after confirming a 3-year partnership with OMP Racing. The Genoa-based firm is also developing other technical equipment for the Enstone team, including driver and mechanic clothing such as race suits, boots, gloves and underwear.
With the pact between the two parties announced on Wednesday morning, OMP signs its latest contract with 35 years of experience already amassed in motorsport. The seatbelts to be used by Robert Kubica and his yet-to-be-named team-mate have undergone no less than two years of research. The belts are made by incorporating materials such as titanium allow, aluminum and vanadium plus a mix of steel, magnesium and ergal, with the component's light weight resulting in greater performance as well as improving safety.
'Indeed, OMP suits were chosen and worn for years by seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher and have also been used by Rubens Barrichello, Eddie Irvine, Mika Häkkinen, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Tommi Mäkinen, Carlos Sainz and Petter Solberg,' the statement reads of the Italian company's products.
"We are delighted to join forces with OMP Racing as a technical partner of the team," commented Renault Team Principal Eric Boullier. "Their expertise in providing high-end technical equipment is well-suited to our requirements and the demands of Formula 1. I'm confident that we will enjoy a productive and successful working relationship together in the years ahead."
Jaguar GT makes European debut The new JaguarRSR racing car makes its European debut this week at the 2010 Autosport International at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. It is the first and only chance for the public to see the stunning new XKR GT in the metal before it heads back to the US to compete in the entire 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in North America.
GT racing legend Paul Gentilozzi is taking a break from a grueling development program to feature the XKR in the largest dedicated trade motorsport exhibition in Europe. The racecar will be on display at the Jaguar stand alongside a production model XKR, XFR, and the fastest Jaguar ever - the Bonneville XFR prototype, which Paul drove to 225.675 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2008.
GM studying Saab bids General Motors Co. said it’s still reviewing bids for Saab Automobile as Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone and partner Genii Capital prepared to submit a revised offer today for the Swedish carmaker. Nick Reilly, GM’s European president, told reporters in Detroit yesterday that talks with Saab’s bidders continue even after the Swedish government approved GM’s appointed liquidator to wind down the Trollhaettan-based brand.
“We are working hard and we think we’ll have a nice surprise for GM when they wake up in the morning in Detroit,” Lars Carlstroem, the Swedish investor working with Luxembourg- based Genii, said today in a telephone interview. “We’re sure we’ll have a competitive bid for them to look at soon.”
GM to sell more cars in China than USA A top GM excutive said today that GM will soon sell more cars per year in China than the USA. This is not a suprise to long-time AutoRacing1.com readers, who read many of our articles predicting that China was the future.
Artificial Life Launches Red Bull Racing iPhone Game Artificial Life, Inc. today announced the launch of Red Bull Racing Challenge, the official game for the prominent Formula One team Red Bull Racing on the iPhone and iPod touch platform, retailing at USD 2.99.
To celebrate their recent successful seasons, the Red Bull Racing team, collaborating with Artificial Life, is dedicating this exciting racing game to fans and supporters worldwide in order to quench their thirst for Red Bull Formula One racing during the offseason.
In the game, players steer the speedy RB5 through the 2009 season's calendar. Racing down realistic 3D courses across the globe, players will experience the thrill of the world's top racing tournament. The game allows players to compete for the championship and share their records on the Online Leaderboards or race against the clock and record their best lap times. In between races, players can visit the Red Bull Energy Station to test their Red Bull Racing knowledge in a Trivia Quiz or enjoy official behind-the-scenes videos and photos that capture exciting moments from the season.
Quote of the Week “In my view, the future is all electric. It’s only a matter of time. Battery improvements combined with some adjustments in habits will quickly convince many consumers to choose electric vehicles” Elon Musk, President of Tesla showed off the prototype of the Model S all-electric sedan, and marked the production of the 1,000th Tesla roadster at the Detroit Auto show. Tesla drove a roadster from California to Detroit, charging at homes and RV parks along the way to show how such a trip could take place.
The last time Schumacher raced in Bahrain it was in his red Ferrari
Bahrain yesterday began its official 60-day countdown to the 2010 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. The race weekend, which takes place from March 12 to 14 at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), is set to be an historic occasion for the sport as it celebrates its Diamond Jubilee (60th anniversary).
The Bahrain Grand Prix will be the opening round of the 2010 F1 World Championship, and it will be highlighted by the much anticipated return to racing of seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher's comeback already has the kingdom abuzz with F1 fever, and this was evident yesterday as BIC launched its promotional campaign for the kingdom's F1 weekend.
"Michael Schumacher is the biggest name in F1," said BIC chief executive Martin Whitaker at a Press conference at the circuit's Paddock Club. "He's a superstar, and he's going to be making his comeback here in Bahrain. All eyes around the world will be on us."
Virgin replaces team boss Alex Tai (GMM) The formula one career of Alex Tai has proved short lived, with Virgin announcing he is being replaced as team principal.
Before the new British team has turned a single wheel, Manor founder's John Booth has taken over the helm, it was confirmed in a media statement.
Virgin said the move is "part of the planned evolution of the team and continued development of the business", with Tai returning to Sir Richard Branson's well known company and his "passion for new ventures".
Another Manor veteran, Graeme Lowdon, becomes the CEO of Virgin Racing.
"We knew this day was coming but we are still sorry to see Alex move on from his executive duties," said chairman Etienne de Villiers.
He explained that the new appointments recognize "the complexity and challenges of the new business", while Virgin seeks to create "a team with the appropriate skills and experience to ensure its sustainable success".
All living champions to attend 2010 opener (GMM) All living F1 world champions will come together at March's 2010 season opener in Bahrain.
"This will be a truly special occasion, especially for all those who love F1 and who have been following the sport for many years," said circuit boss Martin Whitaker.
There are 20 living world champions and "they will all be here" as part of F1's 60th anniversary celebrations, he confirmed.
Among the 20 living champions are Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Alan Jones, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jack Brabham and John Surtees.
Shift from trucks to cars at Detroit Auto Show Small cars played a big role at this year's 2010 NAIAS in Detroit. In fact, even the finalists for the "Truck of the Year" award were not trucks in the traditional sense. Already doing well in Asia and Europe, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has been refined and re-introduced stateside. The next-generation Aveo RS show car, a major player in the global market, was also unveiled. And Ford rolled out a 40 MPG global Focus, which will look the same in the U.S. as it does in Asia and Europe.
After years of IndyCar stagnation and the 2nd ugliest cars (behind Grand-Am) in all of racing, fans feel it is time for Brian Barnhart to be removed
Many positive steps have taken place in open wheel racing, starting with the reunification of CART and IRL. Recently, more positive news has been forthcoming concerning leadership changes, a significant new title sponsor, organizational streamlining, a radical new car design proposal, and new auto manufacturers expressing interest in joining Indy Car. The fan petition goes on to say - One MAJOR barrier remains for Indy Car's return to glory: Brian Barnhart! Please sign the petition below, which will be forwarded to IMS Corp. President & CEO Jeff Belskus. Help save Indy Car before it’s too late. Petition
Monzoni new Ferrari Design Director Flavio Manzoni, 45, has been appointed Ferrari’s new Design Director. In his new role, Manzoni will report directly to the CEO and will be responsible for creating and defining the styling of Ferrari’s new cars.
Manzoni, who holds a degree in architecture with a specialization in industrial design, began his career with Lancia in 1993. After spending three years with Seat in Barcelona, he returned to Lancia as chief of its Styling Centre before moving on to head the Fiat, Lancia and Fiat LCV Styling Centers.
Detroit Auto Show Flips the Switch on Electric Avenue This year's theme at the 2010 NAIAS in Detroit was electric. As hybrids, electric cars and hybrid plug-ins continue to gain popularity and momentum, the show announced the debut of Electric Avenue. The 37,000-square-foot feature, on the main floor of the show, highlights nearly 20 high-tech cars from several automakers. Hyundai announced the gas-electric hybrid Blue-Will, while Toyota introduced the FT-CH hybrid. And Cadillac unveiled its XTS Platinum concept, which comes with a plug-in hybrid system that boosts the car's electric-only driving capability. Some all-electric vehicles included the BMW ActiveE Concept, the MINI E, and Audi's e-tron.
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