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Porsche announces strong factory lineup  Stuttgart, Germany - With a strong lineup of nine factory drivers, who will perform worldwide in the American Le Man Series, the Rolex Grand-Am series, the FIA-GT championship, and the European-based Le Mans Series, Porsche is well prepared to compete for the 2007 season.

For the first time since the beginning of the American Le Mans Series, a single manufacturer claimed two class drivers titles last season, and the two reigning class champions are two of the 2007 Porsche factory drivers.  Sascha Maassen earned the LMP2 drivers championship in the Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder, while Jorg Bergmeister won his second consecutive ALMS GT2 title in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. More ...

Hornish tops Sunday testing at Daytona  Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. was the fastest driver in the draft Sunday afternoon, turning a lap of 187.833 mph in Penske Racing's No. 12 Dodge. Another driver with open-wheel connections, Casey Mears, was second at 187.309 in Hendrick Motorsports' No. 24 Chevrolet.
Teams in the even-numbered point positions from 2006 test through Tuesday.

The odd-numbered teams' test ended Sunday.

Busch Series testing results from Sunday afternoon's session:

1. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge, 187.833
2. Casey Mears, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 187.309
3. Denny Hamlin, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet, 187.017
3. David Gilliland, No. 25 Team Rensi Motorsports Ford, 187.017
5. Kyle Busch, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 186.962
6. Ward Burton, No. 27 Brewco Motorsports Ford, 186.912
7. Steve Wallace, No. 66 Rusty Wallace Inc. Dodge, 186.788
8. Jamie McMurray, No. 37 Brewco Motorsports Ford, 186.386
9. Carl Edwards, No. 60 Roush Racing Ford, 186.127
10. Bobby Hamilton Jr., No. 35 Team Rensi Motorsports Ford, 186.027 More ...

Team USA Battles Hard All Day  TAUPO, New Zealand— On a hot, sunny day by beautiful Lake Taupo in New Zealand, Ryan Hunter-Reay strove hard for every one of the day’s 65 laps, taking the We The People car from its 16th place starting position in the Sprint, to a points-paying 10th place by the end of the feature. 

In Sunday morning’s 15-lap sprint, Hunter-Reay began with a spectacular move to the outside, then fought nose-to-tail in a tightly packed group of five cars from the green light to the checkered flag, eventually finishing the sprint race in eleventh position.

There was no let-up in the Feature Race. Hunter-Reay battled first with Mexico and China, then fought off strong challenges from Ireland and Malaysia. Problems with oversteer in the middle of the race, then fading brakes towards the finish could not keep A1 Team USA out of the points today, with 10th place as the eventual reward. More ...

Bobby Hamilton Racing responds to Hamilton Jr. comments  “We at Bobby Hamilton Racing are continuing operations with a team of people hand-selected by Bobby Hamilton Sr.  This is the same team of people who helped Bobby Sr. win his NCTS championship title in 2004.  The teams and our sponsors, Fastenal and Dodge, continued commitment is evident by the recent successful performance during testing in Daytona.  During the past season, we have had the full support from Fastenal and Dodge who were supportive during Bobby’s battle with cancer as well as his plan for continuing operations at BHR in his absence.  We have so many members of the NASCAR, Fastenal and Dodge family, as well as personal friends and family members who have confidence in Bobby Hamilton Racing’s success in 2007 and beyond.  We wish that same success to Bobby Jr.”   Bobby Hamilton Racing

In his first public comments since the death of his father, an emotional Bobby Hamilton Jr. lashed out at some of the people leading Bobby Hamilton Racing, saying he has "washed my hands and dried them" of the team.  Hamilton Jr. rejoined his father's truck team in 2006 after Bobby Hamilton Sr. announced he had cancer. Hamilton Sr. died of cancer Jan. 7.
The younger Hamilton says he knew after joining the team that things weren't quite right at BHR, and he soon began to wonder if he should stay there.

"Our leader at BHR wasn't around, he was sick, he wasn't up to par," Hamilton Jr. said. "It was almost like the Titanic. I was looking for a lifeboat."

Hamilton Jr. says he talked to his father about their future and about his own career, knowing many expected Hamilton Jr. to be part of BHR. But that doesn't appear likely now.

"I washed my hands and dried them," Hamilton Jr. said Sunday after stopping to collect his thoughts. "I'm done."

Bobby Hamilton Sr. told his son that his legacy wasn't BHR, Hamilton Jr. said.

"He patted me on the back and said, 'Your name is my legacy. Winning races is what I need you to do,'" Hamilton Jr. said before pausing again. "That's what I'm trying to do. With everything going on down there, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

"When I informed him that I wasn't really happy with the way things were going, he said it's not that important. He said, 'I won my championship. I did what I wanted to do. I built it from the ground up, won the championship. At the end of the rainbow, it's your deal. You do what you want with it.'"

Raikkonen is no Michael Schumacher  Kimi Raikkonen is no Michael Schumacher when it comes to technical things according to the Finn's former team boss Peter Sauber.

"I think after Michael Schumacher's (departure), it will be a difficult year for Ferrari.

"He was an excellent driver - not only fast, but especially on the technical side (of things).

"But on the other hand I'm sure Jean Todt knows exactly how good Kimi is, and what his strong points and weak points are," he continued.

"Kimi's weak spot is on the technical side. He's not so interested in technical things and these days that's a very important role in the development of the car."

Almirola uninjured in violent wreck  Aric Almirola had just gotten up to speed at the end of a short drafting line Sunday afternoon in Busch Series testing at Daytona International Speedway when he felt a vibration in the right-rear tire.  The tire started to shred, causing Almirola to lose control of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet. The car spun and slid down the backstretch. Once the car hit the infield grass, it flipped an unknown number of times before coming to rest on its roof.

After a few moments, track workers flipped Almirola's car on its wheels, and Almirola crawled out and walked back to the ambulance.

"Those things don't ride real good on the inner liner," Almirola said after coming out of the infield care center. "It got loose and got sideways. I don't know what happened after that. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them again, all I saw was sparks and the race track. More ...

racing news
Media picks Johnson as ROY  NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was named the 2006 Richard Petty Driver of the Year by the National Motorsports Press Association today.

Johnson, who also won the award in 2004, was named on 28 of 72 ballots cast. The Hendrick Motorsports driver edged Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, who received 22 first-place votes. Others receiving votes were Evernham Motorsports' Kasey Kahne, Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, Roush Racing's Mark Martin and RCR's Jeff Burton.

Johnson, 31, earned five wins, 13 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. He won both the Daytona 500 and the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It's truly amazing," Johnson said of the award. "The way this last year went, the credentials of each victory and the championship speak for the year, I think. We really won all the big events. We did all you could do in a year in that respect. Honestly, I think our credentials were really high from 2006."

Goody's signs Petty to lifetime contract  For 30 years, the “King” Richard Petty has been synonymous with Goody’s® Headache Powders and its fast pain relief.  Now through a landmark agreement, Petty’s status as spokesperson for the fast pain relieving headache powders will be guaranteed for life.  This announcement marks the first time a current or former NASCAR driver and a sponsor have agreed to lifetime terms. (Pictured right with his Ford Torino at Daytona in 1969)

“Goody’s is honored to announce that we have signed Richard Petty to a lifetime contract as our spokesperson,” announced Goody’s Vice President of Marketing Darren Singer.  “We can think of nothing more fitting than to announce this lifetime contract with ‘The King’ as we embark on Goody’s celebration of 30 years in motorsports.”

“We are proud that Goody’s is celebrating our 30 years in the sport by announcing this lifetime contract with the person who has helped best define the sport of NASCAR and helped Goody’s to become the favorite pain reliever of race fans,” added Singer. More ...

TV News
2007 Speedweeks TV schedule  
Date Day Event Name 2007 Network 2007 TV Window Start
2/1 Thurs NASCAR Beyond the Wheel SPEED 2:00 PM
2/1 Thurs 7 Days SPEED 2:30 PM
2/1 Thurs NASCAR Preseason Thunder SPEED 7:00 PM
2/2/Fri Unique Whips: Blazing a Trail to NASCAR SPEED 11:00 PM
2/2/Fri NASCAR Preseason Thunder SPEED 7:00 PM
2/3 Sat NASCAR Beyond the Wheel SPEED 9:00 AM
2/3 Sat 7 Days SPEED 9:30 AM
2/4 Sun NASCAR Beyond the Wheel SPEED 9:00 AM
2/4 Sun 7 Days SPEED 9:30 AM
2/5 Mon NASCAR Beyond the Wheel SPEED 2:00 PM
2/5 Mon 7 Days SPEED 2:30 PM
2/5 Mon NASCAR Preseason Thunder SPEED 7:00 PM
2/6 Tues NASCAR Beyond the Wheel SPEED 2:00 PM
2/6 Tues 7 Days SPEED 2:30 PM
2/6 Tues NASCAR Preseason Thunder SPEED 7:00 PM
2/7 Wed NASCAR Beyond the Wheel SPEED 2:00 PM
2/7 Wed 7 Days SPEED 2:30 PM
2/7 Wed NASCAR Preseason Thunder SPEED 7:00 PM More ...
Mears picks up National Guard backing  The Army National Guard announced it will expand its new partnership with Hendrick Motorsports by supporting driver Casey Mears in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series.  Mears is scheduled to make 22 starts in Chevrolets branded with the 24 number, which has not been campaigned by Hendrick Motorsports in the Busch Series since 2002. All races will be companion events with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 300 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
DeHart Poised to 'Make a Difference' at Ginn Racing  Last year, Ginn Racing nearly doubled the size of its race team, which created a bit of a dilemma for Jay Frye, Ginn Racing’s Chief Executive Officer and General Manager.

As Frye formulated his plans for the future he knew something was missing.  That eventually led to the hiring of Gary DeHart, a former championship crew chief and veteran with more than 25 years of experience in NASCAR.

Immediately, Dehart looked to be the right fit for the organization, at just the right time.

DeHart, who had spent the past 20 years working in a variety of capacities at Hendrick Motorsports, was hired earlier this month by Ginn Racing as Director of Shop Operations. Frye was convinced that DeHart’s experience in managing growth would serve Ginn Racing’s up and coming team well. More ...

Brittany Force hospitalized after NHRA accident  Brittany Force, daughter of 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force, was being observed at a Las Vegas hospital Saturday after hitting the wall during preseason testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 20-year-old was making her second test run in a Super Comp dragster when she shook the tires after leaving the starting line and brushed the left-lane retaining wall. She managed to shut the car off as she stopped down the quarter-mile strip.

Force was alert and responsive and was taken to University Medical Center for observation. She is the second of Force's three daughters competing in the NHRA: the oldest, Ashley, 24, announced Tuesday that she will move up from the Top Alcohol class to drive a fourth Funny Car for her father in the Powerade pro series. USA Today

Victory (again) for Peterhansel  41-year-old Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel cruised to victory in the Dakar Rally on Sunday. He beat his Mitsubishi teammate Luc Alphand by 7m:26s. This race was a tortoise and hare fairytale as neither Mitsubishi driver won even a single stage yet they were 1-2 overall at the finish.

The final stage was won by Volkswagen driver Giniel de Villiers, who was two seconds faster than his teammate Carlos Sainz. Although VW won 10 stages they lost the race due to mechanical issues.

Peterhansel's victory was his third in the last four years in the car section and his ninth overall, as he has also taken six wins in the bike category. More to follow....

Overall Results

Driver  Car Time

  1.  S. Peterhansel  Mitsubishi 45:42.45,0 
  2.  L. Alphand  Mitsubishi + 7.16,0 
  3.  J. Schlesser  Schlesser-Ford + 1:36.24,0 
  4.  N. Al-Attiyah  BMW + 2: 3.16,0 
  5.  M. Miller  Volkswagen + 2:11.28,0 
  6.  H. Masuoka  Mitsubishi + 2:45.31,0 
  7.  C. Sousa  Volkswagen + 5:13.22,0 
  8.  R. Gordon  Hummer + 6:53.51,0 
  9.  C. Sainz  Volkswagen + 7:28.53,0 
  10.  S. Henrard  Buggy VW + 8:29.27,0 
  11.  G. de Villiers  Volkswagen + 8:47.44,0 
  12.  B. Errandonea  Buggy + 9:24.9,0 
  13.  N. Roma  Mitsubishi + 9:38.22,0 
  14.  S. Shmakov  Buggy + 10:12.1,0 
  15.  J. Kleinschmidt  BMW + 10:30.53,0 
  16.  J. Monterde  BMW + 11:36.48,0 
  17.  N. Gibon  Bowler + 11:47.50,0 
  18.  E. Orioli  Isuzu + 11:48.29,0 
  19.  D. Housieaux  Mitsubishi + 12: 6.36,0 
  20.  L. Novitskiy  Mitsubishi + 12:24.30,
Loeb leads all the way in Monte Carlo  Sebastien Loeb (pictured right) sealed his fourth Rally Monte Carlo victory as he took a debut win for the Citroen C4 on Sunday morning 38.2 seconds ahead of his Citroen teammate Daniel Sordo.

The Frenchman Loeb lead from start to finish, stamping his authority on proceedings from the start on Thursday, when he won both the night stages that made up the very short leg 1.

"This is a great moment," he said. "I like to start the season like this with 10 points, the feeling is good in the team with this result."

Top 10 - After Final Stage:

Pos Driver Make Time
 1. Loeb Citroen 3:10:27.4
 2. Sordo Citroen + 38.2
 3. Gronholm Ford + 1:22.8
 4. Atkinson Subaru + 2:28.1
 5. Hirvonen Ford + 2:28.3
 6. Solberg Subaru + 3:12.0
 7. Gardemeister Mitsubishi + 3:38.1
 8. Kopecky Skoda + 4:39.4
 9. Cuoq Peugeot + 5:59.7
10. Stohl Citroen + 6:37.3

DEI signs development driver  Dale Earnhardt Inc. didn't have to look very far to find its soon-to-be newest driver. He shares a last name with organization's founder. Jeffrey Earnhardt, the 17-year-old grandson of Dale Earnhardt, will compete in the NASCAR Busch East Series next season in a Chevrolet prepared by DEI, said Tam Topham, who fielded cars for Earnhardt last year at Motor Mile Speedway. An official announcement about the fourth-generation driver's future should come next week at the NASCAR preseason media tour in Charlotte, N.C, his stepmother, Rene, confirmed. The son of Kerry Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will share time between Busch East, the UARA Late Model touring series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (formerly the Dodge Weekly Series). A handful of Late Model dirt track starts could also be in the cards. "This week or next week, they're going to try to have everything finalized," Topham said. "His mom and dad and DEI and himself -- they're all working out the particulars." DEI will field the Busch East entry exclusively; Topham will be under contract with Kerry Earnhardt to oversee the Late Model and UARA operations out of his Wytheville-based TAMCO Motorsports shop. Jeffrey Earnhardt's 2007 schedule will include up to eight races in a Late Model at Motor Mile as well as the Bailey's 300 at Martinsville Speedway in late September. Busch East, along with the NASCAR AutoZone West Series, is a regional feeder division for NASCAR's three national series -- Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck. Jeffrey Earnhardt's Late Model Stock car will have #01. The news of Earnhardt's deal with DEI comes just days after Kerry Earnhardt took a full-time position with the company. The elder Earnhardt will serve as a liaison between the organization's Cup and Busch programs and make cameo driving appearances. Roanoke Times
Carl Haas returns to NASCAR  Carl A. Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing and former partner with Travis Carter in Haas-Carter Motorsports is looking forward to returning to NASCAR in the Busch Series in 2007. Haas and Carter had a very successful partnership in NASCAR Winston Cup racing with drivers Darrell Waltrip, Jimmy Spencer, Joe Nemechek and Todd Bodine. This new program would reunite Haas and Carter but also bring in some other well known names in racing such as Mari Hulman George, chairman of the board of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway corporation and Chicago businessman, Michael T. Lanigan, President of The Mi-Jack Companies.

"We have put together a foundation for a very exciting program in the NASCAR Busch Series," stated Carl Haas. "I have always had a great amount of respect for Mari Hulman George and all the contributions that the Hulman-George family have made to motorsports in the United States and it is a privilege to have her as one of our partners in this new venture. Although we are getting a late start we are committed to running the #14 Ford Fusion in the 2007 Busch Series, as we assemble our team and acquire our sponsors." More ...

Team Germany wins Sprint race  Taupo - A1 Team Germany has taken its first Sprint race win, putting the car on pole for this afternoon's Feature race. While the German car led from start to finish and was never under serious pressure, the rest of the field did not have this luxury as there were fierce battles for position being fought down the field to the final lap.

The first start was aborted after A1 Team France failed to take its correct grid position for the rolling start but after a second formation lap, the race got underway. As the teams fought hard to improve on their grid positions into turn one the first incident of the race occurred with a collision between Great Britain and Malaysia which broke the red white and blue car's front wing and caused the more seriously damaged right yellow car into the pits and to retirement at the end of the lap. More ...
New prototypes take center stage at Sebring test  Leading up to this year's American Le Mans Series Winter Test, the prototype talk revolves around six high-tech sports that will turn their first laps in the public eye. The three-day session, starting Monday at Sebring International Raceway, will serve as a springboard to the 2007season.

The most prominent new entries into the Series are three Acura-powered LMP2s that comprise the first factory motorsports program for the American Honda Motor Company's luxury brand in its 20-year history. Andretti Green Racing and Highcroft Racing each will field Courage LC75s and Lowe's Fernandez Racing will enter a Lola B05/40, all of which are full-season entries with the new Acura powerplant.

All three teams have conducted private testing leading up to the 2007 American Le Mans Series, which starts with the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17. The driver roster for each team is ripe with household names. Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick have been entered for Andretti Green Racing, as have Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz for Lowe's Fernandez Racing. The Highcroft Courage will see David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and team owner Duncan Dayton taking turns behind the wheel. More ...

VW nets 9th stage win but Mitsubishi poised to take crown  Volkswagen managed another top performance on the 14th and penultimate leg of the Dakar Rally: For the ninth time, a Race Touareg clinched a stage victory, for the third consecutive time, and fifth altogether, Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Pictured right, Spain/France) achieved such a result.

To top it off, Volkswagen claimed a triple exploit on the 576-kilometre stage from Tambacounda to Dakar: Sainz won ahead of his team-mates Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany) and the Race Touareg from Team Lagos, piloted by Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (Portugal/Germany). Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) in another Race Touareg completed the Volkswagen foursome at the front of the field by finishing in sixth place. In addition, Volkswagen on the penultimate day of the 2007 Dakar Rally celebrated the Race Touareg’s 50th stage victory.
In the overall classification which, before the 93-kilometre final stage on Sunday, is being led by the French Mitsubishi driver Stéphane Peterhansel, Mark Miller – as the best Volkswagen driver – is ranking in fifth place. Carlos Sousa is seventh, Carlos Sainz ninth and Giniel de Villiers eleventh.

racing news
Quotes of the Week  
MIKE GASCOYNE, Chief Technology Officer, Spyker F1
Gascoyne said Toyota's six podiums in 88 grands prix, considering the $400m a year budget, makes it arguably "the least effective operation" on the grid.  "If they continue to follow their corporate philosophy I don't think they've got a hope in hell of winning the championship.  The style of the place comes from Cologne.  It's (the) senior management who have made all the mistakes. I'm amazed they're still there."
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, Retired 7-Times F1 World Champion
Commenting on Juan Montoya's move to the NASCAR series, Schumacher said, "Personally, I wouldn't do it.  What do you do in NASCAR? What is exciting there? I can't see that, running around on ovals. ... I don't know how heavy the cars are, but they are heavy, very low-developed cars compared to Formula One. I don't see the challenge." More ...
Forbes-Robinson added to Rolex 24 lineup  Veteran sports car driver Elliott Forbes-Robinson will join the driver lineup for Southard Motorsports at the next weekend's 45th running of the endurance classic, the Rolex 24 At Daytona.  Forbes-Robinson will be part of the four driver team for the Saturday, January 27th premier test of endurance that includes Shane Lewis, Randy Ruhlman and top newcomer Graham Rahal in the #3 Southard Motorsports/Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley.

Completing the lineup for the 2007 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Forbes-Robinson brings a wealth of talent and experience to an already exciting driver lineup.  Two of the drivers, Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman, each have almost twenty years in sports car racing, as well as diverse sprint and endurance series experience, while Graham Rahal has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments for a driver who just celebrated his eighteenth birthday.

Besides two overall wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona (in 1997 and again in 1999) and a class win in 2000, highlights of Forbes-Robinson's long career include: an overall Championship in American LeMans, a co-championship in Can-Am, the 1982 Trans-Am Championship, and four wins in the Rolex Sports Car Series.  During his thirty-year tenure in racing, Forbes-Robinson has won races in five different decades and completed in IMSA GTU, SuperVee, Pikes Peak Hill Climb and World Challenge. In 2006, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

F1 teams to meet Friday  F1's eleven team principals will meet on Friday. On the agenda is the 'fan-friendly' future of the sport, but also likely to be discussed is the continuing threat of arbitration due to Toro Rosso and Super Aguri's apparent plans for 2007.

Both squads have angered Spyker team principal Colin Kolles, whose argument is supported by other teams, because using a 'customer car' will not legitimately be permitted until the Concorde Agreement expires at the end of the year.

Kolles told the Silverstone based team's continuing sponsor F1Racing.net in a column: "We just want to make certain people aware now that if they're going to try to get away with this and bend the rules, we're ready to go into arbitration."

No. 78 to unveil 2007 car and plans  On Wednesday, January 24, No. 78 Furniture Row Racing and driver Kenny Wallace will unveil their 2007 Nextel Cup car and Wallace and Team Mgr Joe Garone will discuss issues regarding enhancements to the program, team goals, Daytona 500, and field questions from the media. at Furniture Row Marketing in Denver, CO businesswire.com
Fat Sadler and Hamlin slim down  Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler both have new looks for the upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup season, but it has nothing to do with paint schemes. Hamlin hired a physical trainer in the off-season, and Sadler is hoping to lose weight and return to the size he was in his rookie season. Hamlin, who sported a slight bulge in the midsection of his racing uniform last year, said he already notices a difference. "I feel better than I have ever in just the short amount of time I've been doing it," Hamlin said of his workouts. "To me, it's more about working on those last 100 laps of the race when you need to dig down and get the most out of yourself. I felt like I was kind of slack on it last year." Sadler said he weighed 211 pounds in 1999 and had not been below that until now. Sadler weighs 210 pounds. He says he's lost 10 pounds since last year's season finale at Homestead and wants to lose another 10 pounds before this season begins. "I just want to be prepared mentally and physically the best I can to make sure I pull my weight," Sadler said. He says he is not on a particular workout program other than watching what he eats. "I can eat as much as anybody I think that you've ever met in your life," said the 31-year-old, who finished fourth in last year's Daytona 500. "I ordered two or three Big Macs at a time. I'd eat two or three steaks at a time when I go to a steakhouse." Roanoke Times
Monte Carlo: Citroen team continues to dominate  Thanks to a score of six one-two stage times from Friday's six stages, the Citroën C4 WRCs of Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí put themselves in a good position to win the 2007 Monte Carlo Rally.  On Saturday morning Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo maintained Citroen's dominance at the front of Rally Monte Carlo.

The teammates are still comfortably ahead of Marcus Gronholm in third place, although the new Citroen C4's 100 per cent record of stage wins this weekend did come to an end.

Top 10 leaderboard after SS11:

Pos Driver Make Time
 1. Loeb Citroen 2:33:14.3
 2. Sordo Citroen + 29.6
 3. Gronholm Ford + 1:18.8
 4. Atkinson Subaru + 2:46.0
 5. Hirvonen Ford + 2:54.9
 6. Solberg Subaru + 3:20.5
 7. Gardemeister Mitsubishi + 3:23.7
 8. Kopecky Skoda + 4:19.9
 9. Latvala Ford + 4:33.1
10. Cuoq Peugeot + 5:14.2

Man claims Allah told him to destroy Ferrari  A Dublin businessman awoke last Wednesday morning to find that his brand new e200,000 Ferrari had been destroyed by a man claiming to have been instructed by Allah.

According to the gardai , Safet Bukoshi from Kosovo, who is in his mid-30s, began his rampage early last Wednesday morning when he set the Ferrari and a Honda Civic on fire.

Two fire brigades arrived at the scene in Clonskeagh, south Dublin, after two loud explosions were heard by local residents. Both cars were destroyed in the blasts.

As garda forensic experts examined the scene later that morning, Bukoshi, who lives in Clonskeagh, returned with petrol cans and began to douse petrol on more vehicles, including his own wife's car. He was apprehended after the forensics team called local gardai. Bukoshi claimed Allah had told him to set the cars on fire. He was detained by gardai, who have recommended that he be charged with criminal damage at the Circuit Court. The Business Post - Dublin Ireland

Film planned on Bruce McLaren  UPDATE A big budget film of the life of New Zealand motor-racing icon Bruce McLaren was announced on Saturday and his wife, Patty McLaren-Brickett thinks Hollywood star Tom Cruise would be the best choice to play the part of her late husband.

Race driver and engineer, McLaren, died on June 2, 1970 in a testing accident at the Goodwood circuit in England at the age of 33. He had by then laid the foundation for a dominant team in world motorsport.

"I was talking about who could play the part this morning with my daughter, Amanda, and I thought Tom Cruise would be a good choice," Mrs McLaren-Brickett said.

"He looks very similar to Bruce -- he is dark, he is the same height and has a similar build -- he is the only person I thought of at the moment -- but he would be too expensive."

The announcement was made at a press conference on Saturday in Taupo where the sixth round of the A1 grand prix World Cup of Motorsport is being held.

(Left, Emerson Fittipaldi drives a M23 McLaren F1 car that he drove back in the 70s for Bruce McLaren around the Taupo track in New Zealand during the A1GP weekend where the Bruce McLaren film was announced.)

It is being co-produced by New Zealander Michael Garlick, a life-long fan of McLaren, and American Barrie Osborne, producer of blockbusters such as Apocalypse Now, the Matrix series and Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Osborne said that he was drawn into the project because McLaren's story was one worth telling. More at New Zealand News

01/19/07 Plans have been announced for a big-budget New Zealand film on the life of 1960s motor racing driver Bruce McLaren. Auckland-born McLaren died in an accident 36 years ago after forming his own international motorsport team, which has gone on to be the most successful in the history of the sports top league - Formula One.

The film will be made by many of those involved with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, including co-producer Barrie Osborne, and the Wellington-based Weta studio.

Sauber being phased out by BMW  Peter Sauber has confessed he no longer has any part to play in the day to day running of the BMW-Sauber Petronas Formula One team. The Swiss team owner cut a forlorn figure as the new car was presented to the world’s media on Tuesday in Valencia, Spain. As the new car was unveiled with the principal characters on stage, Peter Sauber sat in the wings watching silently among the invited guests, his role appears to be all but in name. Asked what his involvement was within the running of the BMW-Sauber team, he replied “absolutely nothing”.

With the sole function of providing facilities at Hinwil, Peter Sauber looks to have been marginalized even further as BMW strengthen their position and it can only be a matter of time before the Sauber name disappears altogether.

What golf can learn from NASCAR  Hitting high draws is hard, but driving race cars is harder. Here's what happened to J.J. Yeley, a NASCAR driver, during a practice session at a sprint-car race in 2000, when he was 23: As he was trying to pass another car, his left front tire clipped the other car's right rear wheel. "That sent my car up into the air," Yeley told me during a round of golf at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, part of which is enclosed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "My car started doing a series of somersaults and barrel rolls, and, unfortunately, at that racetrack there was a junkyard on the other side of the wall."

Yeley's first couple of impacts were like scenes from a "Road Runner" cartoon: He landed on top of a huge pile of old tires, which flipped him over a second fence and into a second junkyard, and then he crashed into the side of a trailer before flipping onto a heap of old car parts and rusting scrap metal. Race drivers are taught to shut their eyes tight as soon as they go airborne, because the force of an impact can cause traumatic globe luxation; that is, it can cause their eyeballs to pop out of their sockets. Yeley did so many revolutions in the air that his eyes swelled shut from the centrifugal rush of blood, and the muscles in his neck became so stretched that he couldn't hold his head up, and his right arm got knocked loose from the steering wheel, which he was trying to hold onto, and he broke his forearm. "My uniform was soaked with hot fluids, and I could smell stuff burning," he continued, "but I couldn't see anything, so I didn't know what was on fire. I popped my belt as soon as I stopped flipping and stood up in the car, and some of my friends pulled me out, and then the ambulance got there." Two weeks later, with his right arm in a cast, he was racing again. "You've got to get back on the horse," he says.  More at Golf Digest

McLaren impose alcohol ban  (GMM)  Ron Dennis has banned McLaren's 2007 driver lineup from drinking alcohol.

Despite Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen's supposed alcoholic indiscretions during his tenure in 2002-2006, the Woking based team's chairman suggested that the only sips taken by Lewis Hamilton or world champion Fernando Alonso this year should be champagne on the podium.

After his drivers trained with Olympic athletes in Finland, Dennis told the Mirror: "We don't see why drivers need to have even one drink in the course of a season."

The irony of Dennis' stance, however, is that whiskey sponsor Johnnie Walker's McLaren-associated slogan for this year is: "Be a champion.  Drink responsibly."

Meanwhile, a film will be made about the life of the team's late founder, Bruce McLaren.

It will be co-produced by Barrie Osborne, who worked on the highly successful films The Matrix and Lord of the Rings.

Filming is tipped to begin in 2008.

Ferrari scrap Mugello test  (GMM)  Ferrari has amended its upcoming test plans due to a prediction of snowfall near Mugello next week.

Instead, with Felipe Massa at the wheel, the Italian squad will run the new 'F2007' at Vallelunga, near Rome.

In an older '248' model, Kimi Raikkonen will make his Ferrari debut at the circuit and then get his hands on the 2007 car at a subsequent test session.

At Silverstone, meanwhile, Honda is scheduled to run its new 'RA107' for the very first time on Monday.

It will then be launched at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, one day ahead of Red Bull's 'RB3' rollout.

Premier Racing Assoc. 2007 schedule  Judging by their rather short 2007 schedule, the Premier Racing Association (PRA) is also struggling to stay afloat. Some say the France family pulled another one of their divide and conquer moves by forcing USAC to move to hideous looking front engine superspeedway cars that most of the owners could not afford. Those owners are now running their existing equipment in the PRA while the USAC Silver Crown division continues to struggle with small grids because the majority of team owners are in the PRA. In summary, the USAC Silver Crown division has money and the PRA has most of the teams. Those same critics claim that the France family used a similar strategy with great success on Indy Car Racing (supporting Anton George's split from CART and the destruction of that sport) and Sports Car Racing (the formation of the Grand-Am series to keep ALMS at bay) to ensure those forms of racing never get too strong to threaten NASCAR.

Press Release

Following a highly successful first season of operation, the Premier Racing Association has announced a 9-race schedule for 2007. The Big Car Series will make return visits to South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel , Georgia , O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and USA International Speedway in Lakeland , Florida . New venues for 2007 include Berlin Raceway in Marne , Michigan and Oswego Speedway in New York . Two other dates are nearly finalized and will be announced soon. More ...

Benny Parsons remembered  TNT NASCAR announcer Bill Weber wrote and narrated a tribute to former NASCAR Champion and TNT analyst Benny Parsons who passed away earlier this week after battling lung cancer.  The tribute aired Thurs., January 18 during the pre and post game show of TNT’s NBA coverage and will be posted on NASCAR.COM.

Bill Weber’s tribute to Benny Parsons:

“Benny Parsons was big, and so was everything about him.  He made it that way.  He was a true champion, a winner on the track and off. BP saw life differently than most; his days were always a little sunnier, the gloomy days always a little brighter, the setbacks simply another challenge.  More ...

Chevy teams dominate Busch practice  Denny Hamlin swept to the top of the Busch Series testing chart Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, using the draft for a 186.293 mph lap in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Chevrolet.  Most of the 24 teams used the afternoon session to test their cars in the draft, and speeds rose significantly.

Day 1 - AM Practice
Pos Team Time Speed Lap # # Laps -Fastest -NextCar Driver
1 5B Kyle Busch Chevrolet 49.165 183.057 8 14 ---.--- ---.---
2 5A Kyle Busch Chevrolet 49.191 182.960 15 15 -0.026 -0.026
3 87B Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 49.221 182.849 8 11 -0.056 -0.030
4 90A Stephen Leicht Ford 49.332 182.437 5 8 -0.167 -0.111
5 87A Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 49.334 182.430 5 17 -0.169 -0.002
6 32A Dave Blaney Toyota 49.348 182.378 3 3 -0.183 -0.014
7 6A David Ragan Ford 49.349 182.375 6 9 -0.184 -0.001
8 11A Martin Truex Chevrolet 49.420 182.113 5 8 -0.255 -0.071
9 16B Todd Kluever Ford 49.470 181.928 9 12 -0.305 -0.050
10 37B Jamie McMurray Ford 49.487 181.866 6 9 -0.322 -0.017
11 6B David Ragan Ford 49.512 181.774 6 9 -0.347 -0.025
12 37A Jamie McMurray Ford 49.512 181.774 6 6 -0.347 -0.000
13 20A Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 49.522 181.737 5 11 -0.357 -0.010
14 90B Stephen Leicht Ford 49.530 181.708 5 8 -0.365 -0.008
15 20B Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 49.538 181.679 2 2 -0.373 -0.008 More ...
New Zealand team fastest in final practice  Taupo - It was all change at the top of the timing sheets for the final practice session of the SuperPoints A1GP Taupo, New Zealand with the home team topping the table ahead of Germany and Ireland.

New Zealand (pictured right) moved up from eighth place in the first two official practice sessions, shaving over two seconds off yesterday's overall fastest lap, clearly showing the effect that home crowd support can have on a team. The addition of new engineer, Gary Anderson, appears to be paying off so far for A1 Team Ireland who is now looking set to add to its one championship point scored in Malaysia, with a strong start to this weekend's campaign.

While the likes of Ireland and India are no doubt delighted with their performance here this weekend, earlier championship leader, A1 Team Mexico and Brno race winners Malaysia have found themselves towards the bottom of the table, over one and a half seconds off the pace.

Official Practice Session 3

  A1 Team Driver  Time
1 New Zealand Jonny Reid 1.14.166
2 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 1.14.258
3 Ireland Richard Lyons 1.14.546
4 India Narain Karthikeyan 1.14.627
5 France Loic Duval 1.14.658  More ...

Stellar GT2 field for Sebring race  The GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series provided fantastic competition during the 2006 season. Believe it or not, 2007 is shaping up to be even better. The first taste of this year's field comes Monday on the first day of the third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway. Porsche, Panoz and Ferrari all will be represented January 22-24 at the site of the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

It is a reunion of sorts as each marque finished on the same lap a year ago after 12 hours of intense racing. Next week's three-day test is ripe with significant "firsts" for each:

  • Porsche is debuting its new 997 RSR racer in North America, the next generation of the highly successful 911 GT3 RSR. Six GT2 Porsches will be present for the Winter Test.
  • Panoz Team PTG is taking over the factory effort for the Panoz Esperante GTLM, a winner in class at Sebring and Le Mans in 2006. Multimatic will continue to provide technical support. In addition, Robertson Racing will continue preparing for its Series debut with its own Esperante GTLM.
  • Risi Competizione is at the Winter Test for the first time with the same Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta that led the Houston-based organization to the class championship in 2006.

Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Series with 70 class wins, 60 in GT2. Those numbers are likely to grow in 2007 with a collection of world-class teams fielding Porsches. Flying Lizard Motorsports is bringing both of its new 911 GT3 RSRs (and factory support) to the Winter Test, as is Series newcomer Tafel Racing. New entry Team Trans Sport and Farnbacher Loles will both have one car present at the Test.

Two new chapters for Panoz begin at Sebring with Tom Milner's Prototype Technology Group assuming command of the two-car factory program with the Esperante GTLM. Team PTG has five class wins and the 1999 GT championship to its credit with BMW. The other Esperante GTLM is the customer entry of Robertson Racing. Team owners and drivers Dave and Andrea Robertson each have driven a Panoz Esperante GTS in SCCA competition and have frequented Sebring in preparation for the team's first American Le Mans Series campaign.

Defending class champion Risi Competizione isn't resting on its 2006 achievements. After winning a class-leading four races last season, Risi will field two Ferrari 430 GT Berlinettas for the full 2007 season. One will be at the Winter Test as the Ferrari returns to the track where it debuted with a third-place GT2 result in the most thrilling and competitive class finish in the race's 54-year history.

The third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test is January 22-24 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, FL. Continuous updates, timing reports, photos and podcasts will be available at americanlemans.com.

Sainz wins yet another stage in Dakar  Another stage victory for Volkswagen in the Dakar Rally: After yesterday’s exploit Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Spain/France) also won the 13th of 15 legs of the desert classic, a 458-kilometre section from Kayes in Mali to Tambacounda in Senegal. For Sainz, it marked as much as his fourth stage victory, for Volkswagen the eighth in the 29th Dakar Rally.

The Spanish-French driver pairing in the Race Touareg was 26 seconds quicker than the French Mitsubishi driver Stéphane Peterhansel, who leads in the overall classification.
Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) in another Race Touareg set the day’s third-best time with a 2.18-minute gap on the quick and dusty laterite tracks, defending their place as Volkswagen’s best team in the field in fifth position overall. Two positions behind them is the Portuguese-German duo of Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz in a Race Touareg from Team Lagos who achieved the fourth-best time of the day.
Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany) with a 10.37-minute gap finished the special stage on Friday in tenth place. They contested the special stage as the 22nd car out and in the dust kicked up by the cars starting in front of them almost had no opportunities for overtaking. Despite this, the duo improved by one position to eleventh place overall. More ...

Sharpie to sponsor Earnhardt Jr.  Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials announced today that Sharpie brand markers will serve as an associate sponsor of DEI's No. 8 Chevrolet and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.  The No. 8 Chevy will feature Sharpie for the Sharpie 300 Nextel Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in March.  Sharpie also announced that it will begin selling a No. 8 line of markers in stores nationwide in April.
Montoya not anxious to run Indy 500 again  New NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya is back with Chip Ganassi's organization, for whom he won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, but that doesn't mean he is likely to return for this year's race. "I want to really focus myself at the moment on stock cars," Montoya said. "If Chip would come and say, 'I want you to do it (Indy 500)' . . . I don't know. Been there, done that."  Indy Star [Editor's Note:  What was once the greatest race in the world, the Indy 500, is now considered by guys like Juan Montoya as  a no big deal event.]
Hunter-Reay keeping busy before move to NASCAR  DANA POINT, Calif.  — Over the next three weeks Ryan Hunter-Reay may be the busiest man in motorsports. Hunter-Reay will fly over 15,000 miles to compete in three entirely different disciplines of race cars and race formats. Starting this Friday, January 19, Hunter-Reay will compete in the New Zealand Grand Prix, five days later he starts his duties for the legendary Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona and finally he will get behind the wheel for tests in the NASCAR Busch Series.

Hunter-Reay joins TEAM USA in the A1GP Series, ‘The World Cup of Motorsports’ in Taupo, New Zealand. Hunter-Reay, who has never driven an A1GP car, will pilot the “We the People” car in the sixth race of the 2006-07 season and the first-ever A1GP round to be held in New Zealand.

“I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the A1TeamUSA car,” said Hunter-Reay. “It's going to be a blast. A1GP runs in the normal racing off-season and attracts many established top ranked open-wheel drivers from F1, ChampCar, IRL, GP2, etc.” Hunter-Reay continues, “I want to thank Rick Weidinger for the opportunity to represent the United States and I will do everything possible to reward that confidence in me with some great finishes for Team USA in New Zealand. This will be my first time to turn a wheel in an A1GP car, and that coupled with it being a race weekend will make things interesting. I'll have to adapt quickly, but I’m up for the challenge.” More ...

Kyle Busch fastest in morning Busch Series test  Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Busch was fastest in today's first Busch Series test session at Daytona International Speedway.  Busch posted a fastest speed of 183.057 mph, lapping the 2.5-mile track in 49.165 seconds. Joe Nemechek was second fastest, followed by Steven Leicht, Dave Blaney and David Ragan. Martin Truex Jr., Todd Kluever, Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.
Teresa Earnhardt stands by criticism of Dale Jr.  Teresa Earnhardt said Thursday she doesn’t worry much about what people think of her these days.

“I care,” Earnhardt said when asked if she has been treated fairly since Dale Earnhardt’s death. “But I don’t think life is fair. I think it’s what you make it.”

In her first substantive interview with the Observer since her husband’s death in 2001, Teresa Earnhardt commented only briefly about the current situation at Dale Earnhardt Inc., the race team she and her husband established and for which her stepson now drives.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who after his father’s death has assumed the role as the sport’s most popular star, has a DEI contract that ends after the 2007 season.

Talks on a new contract have been under way for several months, but recent developments have fueled speculation he might consider not re-signing to drive the No. 8 Chevrolets owned by the Mooresville-based team.

In December, Teresa Earnhardt told the Wall Street Journal that “right now the ball is in his (Earnhardt Jr.’s) court to decide whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver or a public personality.”

When asked Thursday if that quote was accurate, Teresa Earnhardt said, “Probably.”

Earnhardt Jr. said on Jan. 8 that he had not talked to his stepmother about the comment, but said he “really didn’t appreciate it.”

“Mine and Teresa’s relationship…is what it is,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It ain’t a bed of roses. The relationship we have today is the same relationship we had when I was 6 years old when I moved into that house with Dad and her. It has always been the same.”

Teresa Earnhardt brushed aside a question about any family squabbling.

“We’re just a typical family with normal relations and we’re moving ahead,” she said. “And we’re fine. As far as DEI goes, we’re growing and just trying to make it as big and as good as we can. We’re full speed ahead.” More at Charlotte Observer

Kovalainen fastest in Jerez on Friday  Heikki Kovalainen finishing on top of the times at the Jerez circuit Friday, covering a total of 112 laps and posting the quickest time of the week by half a second over Anthony Davidson yesterday.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:19.185 112
 2. Fisichella Renault (B) 1:20.467 68
 3. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:20.688 115

tv news
SPEED Sets NCTS Broadcast Team  SPEED today revealed its broadcast plans for the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season – including the permanent addition of the popular pre-race show hosted by series insider and FOX NASCAR pit reporter Krista Voda.

The pre-race show will get ‘behind-the-scenes’ with the drivers, crews and race teams prior to each LIVE NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on SPEED, beginning with the 2007 season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

"We have had great success since we expanded our NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pre-race show last year,” said Frank Wilson, SPEED VP of Studio Productions. “It is our objective to bring out the personalities and stories in the Truck Series, and having an extended pre-race allows us to tell those stories."

Long-time SPEED play-by-play announcer Rick Allen will once again lead each NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series broadcast, as former NASCAR standout Phil Parsons and current NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip will provide color commentary. Every angle on pit road will also be covered as Truck Series expert Ray Dunlap and veteran Motor Racing Network (MRN) NASCAR voice Adam Alexander will offer their unique insights. More ...

NASCAR and Clarkson announce unprecedented partnership  LOS ANGELES, Calif. – In a landmark collaboration bringing together two touchstones of American culture, superstar singer Kelly Clarkson has partnered with NASCAR for the 2007 season.

With the deal, the largest and most comprehensive NASCAR has ever forged with an artist, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning Clarkson will be integrated into all aspects of NASCAR, including an at-track concert, TV spot, charitable endeavors and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony.

The relationship will kick off on Sunday, Feb. 18 prior to the Daytona 500, where Clarkson will headline the Nextel Tribute To America live on FOX. The event salutes music as the fabric of America and will feature thousands of cast members on the Daytona International Speedway’s historic five-acre tri-oval area. More ...

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday and Sunday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

1:30pm-2:00pm ABC
* Check local listings for your time zone
Barrett-Jackson Auction
2:00pm-12:00am (L) SPEED
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 13 Versus 

Indy Motor Speedway -Design & Construction Indianapolis
3:00am-4:00am (R)
* Check local listings for your time zone National Geographic
Barrett-Jackson Auction
12:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
AMA Supercross Anaheim
1:00pm-2:00pm (1/20/07) CBS
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 14 Versus
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era
11:00pm-12:00am ESPN2

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

Teresa wants Junior at DEI  Teresa Earnhardt is willing to discuss a larger role at Dale Earnhardt Inc. with stepson #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as part of the ongoing contract negotiations to keep him at his late father's company. "We are moving full speed ahead with negotiations, moving ahead as we normally would," Teresa Earnhardt said Thursday night in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where she was promoting the documentary "Dale." Asked if she was committed to keeping Junior behind the wheel of the #8 Chevrolet, she didn't waver: "Absolutely." Junior's contract expires at the end of this season, and his status with the company has been in question since Teresa Earnhardt seemingly questioned his commitment in a December article in The Wall Street Journal. Teresa Earnhardt indicated the two have since spoken but seemed fuzzy on when the conversation occurred. "I don't know, it has just been a short while ago," she said. "We talk." Teresa Earnhardt said Thursday there's been nothing unusual about these extension talks. "It's all been very typical," she said. "We're moving forward, discussing everything and trying to get this done." Moe at the Associated Press
Penske may skip LeMans  Entrants that were automatically selected for the 2007 le Mans 24 Hours had until 8th January 2007 to confirm their participation.

Out of the 20 entries for a total of 28 cars 18 have officially confirmed their participation bringing down the number to 24.

Entrants who have not confirmed their participation are:

- Penske Racing, despite the two official entries allocated to the Porsche RS Spyders in the American Le Mans Series,
- Vitaphone Racing Team, with one place awarded following the Maserati MC 12’s victory in the 2006 FIA GT Championship.

The RML team that had the right to two entries has confirmed one car in the LM P2 category.

This low withdrawal rate is ample proof of the pull already exercised by the 75th Le Mans 24 Hours on 16/17th June 2007. This interest is further highlighted by the confirmation of all 3 automatic Audi entries showing that the German manufacturer is fully conscious of the threat posed by its numerous, increasingly determined and ambitious rivals.

The next deadline for the entrants for the 55 places for the 75th Le Mans 24 Hours is on Wednesday 24th January 2007, which is the last day for the deposing of entries by other teams.

After examining all the entries the Selection Committee will publish an initial selection at the end of February. The list will become final after the Sebring 12-Hour race (17th March, the opening round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series) and official practice for the Le Mans Series on 25th/26th March on the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit.

F1 water sparks Melbourne controversy  (GMM) A controversy is brewing over formula one race organizers' plans to drain water from the Albert Park lake in Melbourne. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) revealed this week that it intends to lower the depth of the lake, which is surrounded by the F1 layout south of Melbourne, by about 1.5cm.

Australia is presently suffering its worst drought in 100 years, but local sailing groups said the lack of rain has already left Albert Park lake too empty.

AGPC chief executive Tim Bamford, however, argued that turning to Albert Park's storm-water will greatly reduce the amount of drinking water needed to ready the circuit.

The newspaper 'Herald Sun' said the organizers intend to use the lake water "to soften the racetrack edges" ahead of the 2007 season opener in March.

Bamford said: "Healthy grass on the verges is an essential requirement for safe racing, minimizing dust and debris on the track surface, as well as providing a smooth, safe surface for cars which come off the track."

Team USA adjusting to change in New Zealand  TAUPO, New Zealand—On a hot, dry, and sunny day in Taupo, New Zealand, A1 TEAM USA took an opportunity to fine tune their car and break in their new driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay. The twisting turns of the new Taupo race track tempt every driver to push too hard. As car after car slid off the circuit, Team USA adopted a “slow and steady” approach which helped them in accomplishing the day’s goals.

A new engine was mounted in A1 TEAM USA’s “We The People” car prior to the week’s action, so Friday’s practice began with slow laps to allow Zytek to check the installation and performance. Hunter-Ready was then free to push the car, logging consistent laps with steady improvement.  A1 Team USA finished 15th in the first practice and 18th in the second.

“All-in-all, this was a day for me to get re-acquainted with the A1 TEAM USA car,” said Hunter-Reay, following the practice.  “We got through a lot of testing – tried several different adjustments - and I think we learned a lot.  Unfortunately, I flat-spotted my tires late in the session. When you do that, the wheel keeps locking up in the same spot every time you brake, so you just can’t brake as hard as you’d like. We’re only a couple of tenths off of several race winning cars, so we’re not miles off. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do tomorrow.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
Hakk won't race for Toro Rosso - Berger
Berger critical of STR's Liuzzi, Speed
Bernie gives hope to Valencia's GP bid
Two new Renaults struggle in early tests
No 'red tire rule' - Bridgestone
Abu Dhabi requests F1 cars for February event
GPDA backs FIA safety summit
Red Bull "fire up" RB3 in factory - Webber
Early races damaged career - Davidson
F1 bosses to meet on Friday
Alonso style a McLaren 'match' - Dennis
Bourdais to test Toro Rosso again - Berger
Enge leads opening practice in NZ  A1 Team Czech Republic snatched the top spot on the timing sheet in the closing minutes of this afternoon's second practice session for the A1GP Taupo, New Zealand, setting the fastest time of the day, despite driver Tomas Enge (right) stepping in at the last minute for injured team mate, Jarek Janis.

'I should be in Daytona, preparing for the 24 hour race next weekend but Janis is injured so I got a late call to come to New Zealand but I'm very happy to step in. I love the country, I've never been in such a nice place before, said Czech driver Tomas Enge. Commenting on the track conditions, Enge continued: 'I didn't expect the track to be so dirty and you really had to push the car round the corners but I hope I can continue like this for the weekend. I will be concentrating on myself, not looking at the others.'

Knocking A1 Team India off the top spot, a position that new driver Narain Karthikeyan (pictured right) had held on to for nearly half the session, the Czech Republic demonstrated just how close this weekend's race is likely to be. Having only joined the team last week, the morning practice session was Karthikeyan's first time in an A1GP car and marked a significant improvement in India's performance. Commenting on the gains made, Karthikeyan said: 'It's a big big difference and I'm happy with the way things are going. I'm not getting carried away by today, there is still lots to be done on the car. The team have had some less experienced drivers so we need a lot of work to be done on the car set up wise'. More ...
racing news
A.J. Foyt celebrates his 72nd Birthday  Plans are taking shape to make A.J. Foyt’s 50th Anniversary Season in Indy Car competition one of his most memorable ever. Foyt, who celebrates his 72nd birthday January 16th, is overseeing his ABC Supply Racing team’s preparations for the first IndyCar Series Open Test on the road course at Daytona International Speedway at the end of the month.

“It’s hard for me to believe that I’m that old but there are days when I feel even older,” said Foyt who will spend his birthday working at the race shop located northwest of Houston.

“I’ve been lucky through the years even though some of my racing scars seem to say otherwise. All in all, I’ve been able to do what I love and make a decent living at it, so I think racing has given me more than I ever hoped for as a kid growing up. I worked hard but it paid off for me.”

Foyt is looking forward to working with his new driver Darren Manning, who also worked hard in his quest to become a professional race driver.

Industry News
Toyota recalling Sequoia, Tundra models  Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it was recalling 533,000 Tundra pickup trucks and Sequoia sport utility vehicles because of potential steering problems.  Toyota said the recall involved 2004-2006 Tundra trucks and 2004-2007 Sequoia full-size SUVs. The automaker has received reports of 11 accidents and six injuries connected to the recall, said Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong.

The automaker said there was a possibility of excessive wear to a front suspension lower ball joint that could make it difficult to steer the vehicle and stay in the center of the lane. Drivers may also notice more noise coming from the front suspension, Kwong said.

Toyota recalled about 775,000 pickups and SUVs in May 2005 _ one of its largest recalls ever _ because of similar problems with the front suspension. The recall included 2002-2004 model years of the Tundra and Sequoia. More at Houston Chronicle

BMW-Sauber back Singapore street race  BMW-Sauber team chief Mario Theissen has welcomed proposals for Formula One to be taken to the streets of Singapore. Last week F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone was said to have discussed the idea with a number of Singaporean-based groups prepared to host a Grand Prix as early as next year. According to the Today newspaper, architect Hermann Tilke - responsible for the circuits at Sepang in Malaysia, Manama in Bahrain, Istanbul and Shanghai - is thought to have already designed a street layout for Singapore.

"I don't know how likely it is to happen, but we would certainly welcome it, absolutely," Theissen told espnstar.com. "Asia is the fastest growing and developing area in the world. We would always support at least one more race in Asia."

Ecclestone was quoted as confirming that he is in talks with several interested parties but nothing had been finalized. Reports suggest that staging a Formula One Grand Prix race through the streets of Singapore would cost upwards of US$35 million.

FIA president Max Mosley, has also endorsed the notion of Singapore staging a race. "Singapore is a vibrant business region with a huge motorsport fan base and it would be a welcome addition to the sport," he said last year.

Jilted Hunter-Reay slams Champ Car  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, I am a long time subscriber to your site, I love the new format, and read the article you linked to about Ryan Hunter-Reay. I don’t see where he slams Champ Car at all in that article unless you think calling a spade a spade is a slam. In fact he specifically said he wasn’t bitter and that if Champ Car wanted to run a U.S. based series without any competitive Americans or race winners ‘more power to them’. It simply sounds like he has been forced to accept the reality of Champ Car as it is, not as he, and many of us, wishes it were.

Hunter-Reay exhibited every trait a series could hope to have in a driver to attract fans and sponsors. He came up through the official Champ Car ladder system all the way from karting, through 2 Liter, the Barber Dodge Pro Series, Formula Atlantic and to the top level of open wheel racing in this country and not only immediately won and set records at every level he had the looks, attitude and charisma to attract new fans and sponsors. What everyone in the racing world says they are looking for ‘The Total Package’. For a while Hunter-Reay was virtually ‘the face of Champ Car’ they sent him on so many public appearances to represent the series.

Here was a proven American race winner that showed his loyalty to Champ Car by turning down a top team in the IRL, not to mention undoubtedly a fat pay check, for very specific promises from Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe for a competitive seat with a top team in Champ Car. I read the press releases at the time and it was clear from his statements then ‘I don’t know which team I will be driving for but Mr. Kalkhoven and Mr. Forsythe have assured me it will be with a top team capable of racing for wins every weekend so I am really looking forward to challenging for the Championship’ that he believed they would live up to their promises to him. And what did they reward that talent, repay those years of work and steadfast loyalty with? A swift kick in the teeth in my opinion. By placing him in the second seat at financially struggling backmarker team that has never remotely been of ‘Championship’ caliber they severely tarnished a real Champ Car asset as failure there was inevitable. More ...

Loeb takes early lead in Monaco  
Pos Driver Make Time
 1. Loeb Citroen 23m29.9
 2. Sordo Citroen + 23.9
 3. Gronholm Ford + 29.1
 4. Hirvonen Ford + 51.7
 5. Solberg Subaru + 57.6
 6. Atkinson Subaru +1:00.1
 7. Stohl Citroen +1:01.7
 8. Gardemeister Mitsubishi +1:06.1
 9. Kopecky Skoda +1:13.2
10. Cuoq Peugeot +1:29.1
Paul Rodgers to perform at the Grand Prix of Houston  When the Grand Prix of Houston roars back to town on April 20-22, it will kick off in grand fashion when rock legend Paul Rodgers performs a concert on opening night of the three-day festival of speed and entertainment. Rodgers and his band will take the stage on Friday, April 20 after the day's racing action for a performance that will be free for all Grand Prix ticket holders.

Rodgers is best known as the lead singer and front man for platinum-selling rock groups Bad Company, Free, and The Firm, and his Grammy Award winning career has included hits such as All Right Now, Feel like Makin' Love, Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love), Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy, Bad Company, and Shooting Star. Rodgers is also fresh off of a year-long tour with Queen where he performed songs made famous by the late Freddie Mercury along with original members of Queen. For more information on Paul Rodgers, please visit www.paulrodgers.com. More ...

Forsythe Red Bull Atlantic Squad sharpens focus  With two young drivers and a revamped team structure, the Forsythe Red Bull Atlantic squad journeyed south last week from their base in Indianapolis to the fast and demanding MSR Houston road course in Texas for a two-day private test.  For 17-year old Robert Wickens of Toronto, Ontario and 15-year old John Edwards of Little Rock, Arkansas it was a chance to experience increased cornering loads and magnified downforce on the physically draining 2.38-mile 17-turn high-speed road course.

For the crew, it was a chance to build the relationship with their two young guns while seeking the always-elusive team chemistry that defines a championship contender.  For engineers Lou D’Agostino and Nick Harvey the test served as a time to evaluate the progress of their teenage prodigies, both of whom are already seasoned products of the Red Bull Junior Team global driver development program.  For Team Manager John Brunner, the final private test of the preseason was a critical benchmark for the upcoming 33rd edition of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, which gets underway with the much-anticipated Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa, April 6-8 on the downtown streets of Las Vegas, Nevada. More ...

Vision Racing launches website  Vision Racing launches website: Vision Racing has launched its official website at www.visionracing.com.   Created by racersites.com, the site boasts a sleek design that features team news, photos, biographies, stats and other information.  "The internet is the medium of both today and the future, so creating a website for the team was essential," said team principal Tony George. "It will allow us to better communicate with our fans, media, sponsors and the general public."
Braun Racing partners with Biagi  Braun Racing has announced an alliance with two long-standing Busch Series teams, Biagi Bros. Racing and ppc Racing.

As a result of the partnership, Braun Racing will field three Toyota Camrys for the 2007 Busch season.

Jason Leffler (No. 38) and Dave Blaney (No. 32) will be joined by John Andretti, who will drive the No. 10. The No. 10 will once again carry sponsorship from Camping World and its vendors.

"I'm very excited about this opportunity for Braun Racing to align itself with two very strong Busch Series teams," Braun Racing owner Todd Braun said. "With the knowledge of these two previous owners, Braun Racing will be even stronger in the 2007 season.  In 2006 Braun Racing merged with Akins Motorsports and that partnership proved beneficial for both teams so we have high expectations for this alliance. We have created one team with the combined experience of four seasoned owners allowing us to compete on a level playing field in a series dominated by Nextel Cup team owners." NASCAR.com

Teething problems for Kubica  BMW SauberF1 drivers Robert Kubica and Sebastien Vettel continued the Hinwil based squad’s planned testing program at the Valencia circuit today where once again they were the only team on the Spanish track. Both men spent the day concentrating on set-up work in order to understand how to make best use of the Bridgestone tires.

Unfortunately, Robert was hindered by some teething problems on the new car and while they were all minor issues, they were time consuming to fix. In addition to this, during the course of the afternoon both drivers were also busy doing some Marketing activities.

Tomorrow the BMW Sauber F1 Team will again be exclusively running in Valencia where Robert will continue working on the set-up of the F1.07 while Timo Glock will take over the F1.06B from Sebastian.

Robert Kubica - 1:12.310 - 39 laps
Sebastian Vettel - 1:13.490 - 88 laps

Montoya laughs at F1 offer  Juan Pablo Montoya has revealed he received an offer to return to Formula 1, but has ruled out ever making a comeback to the sport.  The 31-year-old Colombian’s six-year F1 career came to an abrupt end following the US Grand Prix last June, when he crashed in to his McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race at Indianapolis.

He has since started to resurrect his career in the American NASCAR series and despite admitting that someone showed interest in securing his services in F1, he says his long-term future remains in US stock cars.

“I received a message on my mobile from somebody (Toro Rosso) in Europe; I’m not going to say from whom,” he was quoted as saying by Autosport magazine.

“The message said that if I found NASCAR boring, they had the doors open for me to return to F1.   I laughed so much at it.  Honestly, I was going to be in F1 for three or four years more,” he added.

“Here in NASCAR I can race until I’m 45 and I’m still young.”

Dakar: Sainz wins leg 12  One-two for Volkswagen on the twelfth stage of the Dakar Rally: Factory driver Carlos Sainz (Spain) and co-driver Michel Périn (France) won the 484 kilometer stage from Ayoun-el-Atrous (Mauritania) to Kayes (Mali) in their Race Touareg by 3:53 minutes from their Volkswagen comrades Carlos Sousa/Andy Schulz (Portugal/Deutschland) from the Lagos-Team.

It was Volkswagen’s seventh stage win and the third for double Rally World Champion Carlos Sainz during the 29th running of the "Dakar”. Third position went to the French Mitsubishi driver and last year’s overall winner Luc Alphand.
The Volkswagen factor pairing of Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) moved up the leader board after finishing eighth on today’s stage. The duo overhauled two-time "Dakar” winner and Mitsubishi factory driver Hiroshi Masuoka from Japan in the overall standings, and are now best placed Volkswagen team in fifth position. Sousa/Schulz are still seventh, Sainz/Périn moved up to ninth. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa) finished the day in twentieth position in their Race Touareg 25:47 minutes behind Sainz and are twelfth overall.

Jerez testing: Davidson nips Fisichella  Anthony Davidson surprised a lot of people today by driving his Super Aguri to fast time of the day in testing at the Jerez circuit.  He finished ahead of Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella.

"We had another good day with the R27 as we started looking at some set-up changes, and understanding the handling," said Fisichella. "We made improvements through the day, and the progress confirmed the potential I could feel in the package during our reliability work yesterday.

"I think we have had a very encouraging week so far, although there are still some problems to fix, like with any new car. But that is what winter testing is all about: every problem we find here, is one that we don't have to worry about in Melbourne in two months' time."

On Friday the team's will continue testing in Jerez. Takuma Sato will replace Anthony Davidson.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:19.628 145
 2. Fisichella Renault (B) 1:19.766 61
 3. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.059 75
 4. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:21.029 52

Dyson gets first customer Spyder RS  The first Porsche RS Spyder has been delivered to customer team Dyson Racing in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Dyson Racing team, with Porsche support, will field two of the Weissach-developed and built high-tech sports prototypes against strong competition in the 2007 American Le Mans Series. Last season Porsche swept the class with the RS Spyder, claiming all championship titles in the LMP2 category. Undergoing further improvements over the winter, the RS Spyder, now boasting a good 500 horsepower, was prepared for the challenges of the new season with tests in Le Castellet and Sebring. More ...
Circuit City to sponsor Richmond race  Richmond International Raceway officials report that its May 4th Busch Series race will be titled the Circuit City 250.
Track News
Pocono has $363 Million Impact  Pocono Raceway generated a total of more than $363 million dollars into the economy of Pennsylvania in 2005, according to the results of a recent Pennsylvania House of Representatives economic impact study.  The study was based on the Raceway's two NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events in 2005 (the June 12th Pocono 500 and the July 24th Pennsylvania 500), along with Pocono's extensive annual track lease program.
COT blows away current Cup cars  UPDATE Added photo of Busch's Dodge COT car courtesy of Dodge. One reason the COT car was faster by a wide margin is the fact that it does not use the same restrictor plate engine the current Cup cars use at Daytona. That plus the fact the new rear wing provides globs of downforce.

01/17/07 Wednesday test times from Daytona before rains cut the session short.

Rank Car# Driver Manu Time (seconds) speed (mph) laps run
1 2C Kurt Busch Dodge Avenger 47.074 191.188 9
2 24A Jeff Gordon Chevy 48.755 184.596 2
3 40 David Stremme Dodge 48.842 184.268 18
4 38A David Gilliland Ford 48.901 184.045 8
5 42 Juan Montoya Dodge 48.966 183.801 14
6 5A Kyle Busch Chevy 48.984 183.733 5
7 11A Denny Hamlin Chevy 48.989 183.715 8
8 55A Michael Waltrip Toyota 48.998 183.681 13
9 00A David Reutimann Toyota 49.020 183.599 11
10 36A Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 49.055 183.468 11
11 4A Ward Burton Chevy 49.094 183.322 14
12 6B David Ragan Ford 49.135 183.169 12
13 23A Dave Blaney Toyota 49.148 183.120 18
14 92 Kevin Lepage Dodge 49.180 183.001 11
15 18A J.J. Yeley Chevy 49.184 182.986 21 More ...

TV News
USA TV reminders for Thursday and Friday  
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 11 Versus
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 12 Versus

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Monte Carlo a tough season opener  Reigning world rally champion BP-Ford will launch the defense of its 2006 title on the legendary Rallye Monte Carlo (18 - 21 January) in France next week with a proven winning squad. The team which lifted the FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers' title will begin 2007 with the same core structure firmly in place.

The driver line-up of Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen and team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, who spurred the team to its most successful season ever with eight victories en route to the title, remains unchanged. The Focus RS WRC will also begin the new campaign in the same specification that it ended the 2006 season. However, development of the car continues and upgrades are expected as the season unfolds. More ...

tv news
A special tribute to Benny Parsons to air  TNT NBA Thursday continues this Thurs., January 18 at 7pm/et with the NBA Tip-off Show presented by AutoTrader.com, where Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley will tip-off the evening's doubleheader coverage. During the pre-game show, the network will air a special tribute to TNT NASCAR colleague Benny Parsons who passed away this week after battling lung cancer. The tribute was written and will be voiced by TNT NASCAR announcer Bill Weber, a long-time friend and colleague of Parsons. NBA doubleheader coverage will begin at 7pm/et with the Indiana Pacers facing Miami Heat. TNT NBA announcers Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins and Craig Sager will be courtside announcing the action. TNT PR
Toyota Over Spending to destroy USA auto giants?  One fear is that Toyota will spend its way to domination in the sport of NASCAR, raising costs for everybody and perhaps eventually running off an ailing domestic manufacturer. Officials at Ford, which has struggled financially while sales of Toyota’s have gained greater share in the United States, have been most vocal in their criticism. Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, said his manufacturer’s NASCAR operation is financially sound. But he said Toyota’s spending spree in acquiring crew chiefs, drivers, engineers, tire changers and other support personnel has affected his teams. That includes Robert Yates Racing, which lost Jarrett and his UPS sponsorship. “I think they have been predators, and people would say that might be extremely negative,” Davis said. “I would say that in the business world, people are predators. That’s how you get things done. When anything new comes in with a lot of resources, then those entities are going to try to acquire the best people, the best equipment, the best that they can get. That’s a bit predatory to me. And if you pay people more money than they were getting and you entice them other ways, in a way that’s more than normal, then it’s a bit predatory.” Team Red Bull has been accused of paying 200 to 300% more to hire John Probst, a top Ford engineer. Davis said he heard that Michael Waltrip Racing came up with more than $20 million to lure Jarrett, the 1999 Cup points champion and a favorite among longtime Southern race fans, away from the Yates team. Salaries are a closely held secret throughout NASCAR, and Michael Waltrip Racing officials have denied those figures. Davis said he voiced his concerns privately with NASCAR. So far, NASCAR officials say they see this as business as usual in a sport in which teams openly raid competitors. Earlier this month, for instance, Roush Racing hired the crew chief Larry Carter away from Michael Waltrip Racing. New York Times
Wood to make Cup debut at Las Vegas  Jon Wood, third-generation driver for one of NASCAR’s most respected teams, will make his Nextel Cup debut for Team Ford Racing in March. He’ll get 10 starts in the famous No. 21 Ford Fusion of Wood Brothers Racing and drive the team’s No. 47 Ford in another. He’ll drive for team veteran Ken Schrader in 10 races and be Schrader’s teammate in the other, at Las Vegas. Wood will debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the second Sunday in March, then race at Texas Motor Speedway a month later. He’ll run the Coca-Cola 600 near Charlotte in May, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona Beach in July, the second race (in July) at Pocono International Raceway and the Saturday night race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The fall portion of his schedule includes dates at Richmond and Dover in September, back to Charlotte in October, then to Texas and Phoenix in November. Except for the spring race in Texas, (where he’ll carry No. 47), he’ll be in the team’s familiar No. 21. He didn’t come to Daytona Beach for Cup testing, choosing, instead, to fly in Thursday for the three-day Busch Series test in his No. 47 Ford Fusion. (He’ll continue to run the full Busch schedule in cars fielded by JTG/Wood Brothers Racing). Ford Racing
Industry News
Sales of foreign auto giants soar in China  Foreign auto giants enjoyed booming sales in China last year while markets remained sluggish in the United States, Europe and Japan.
The world's second largest automaker, Toyota, said on Wednesday its sales on the Chinese mainland surged 68 percent year-on-year to 308,000 vehicles in 2006.

Toyota's market performance was certainly better in China than in any other country last year though global figures were still unavailable, said Yang Hongjian, public relations manager with Toyota China.

The world's largest manufacturer, General Motors, sold 876,700 vehicles on the mainland last year, up 31.8 percent over the previous year, raising its market share by 0.6 percentage points to 11.8 percent, larger than that of any other foreign producer. More ...

Jourdain, Servia, Gollin and Gidley team for Rolex 24  Doran Racing, the Lebanon, Ohio-based team that is always a favorite at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, has assembled a star-studded driver roster for the 45th edition of the famed race that opens Speedweeks at the Florida track on Jan. 27-28.

This year team owner Kevin Doran's DORAN JE4 Ford will be driven in the twice-around-the-clock classic by Michel Jourdain Jr. of Huixguilucan, Mexico; Oriol Servia of Pals, Catalonia, Spain and Miami; Fabrizio Gollin of Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and Memo Gidley, who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now lives in Novato, Calif. and Sherrills Ford, N.C. The yellow car will carry the colors of the Kodak EasyShare System and the number 77.

Mark Martin Daytona Testing Q and A  Mark Martin enters his first year with Ginn Racing at the helm of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. Daytona testing provided Martin with his first opportunity to work with Ginn Racing and get acclimated to the No. 01 U.S. Army Team.

We've just had a couple of days to get used to everything and remember where the switches are and where the gauges are and figuring out how to read the gauges. It's a lot different territory. Driving the car is not that different. I spent yesterday getting familiar with that and getting familiar with the guys and we had a blast this afternoon drafting. I really look forward to working with Ryan Pemberton and I'm excited about being a part of the U.S. Army Team. I can't wait to go to Vegas in a couple of weeks and test." More ...
A Lap of Daytona with Max Angelelli  Max Angelelli turned the quickest time earlier this month at Daytona International Speedway, during testing in preparation for the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona. Angelelli who will share the driving duties with Wayne Taylor, Jan Magnussen and NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley are favorites for the win. The rapid Italian takes us for a lap of the historic 3.56, 14-turn circuit, pointing out the main features of the track.

Start-Finish Line to Turn 1 - "As you cross the start-finish line, you are in top (fifth) gear and bending slightly to the left as part of the NASCAR tri-oval. As you approach Turn 1, which takes you off of the banking on the front straight and into the infield part of the circuit, you are shifting down to second. It's a very long brake, and the whole time you are bumping the throttle. At one point, you have to lift off the brake just before you get to the corner, and then you have to brake again to make sure the car is entering the corner properly. It's very easy to go straight through that corner because you want to brake really, really late and it's easy to make a mistake there. The only problem you'll have there - provided there isn't another car on your outside - is that you knocked over some of the orange cones that mark the turn. That, of course, and the time it takes to get back on track." More ...

Luyendyk Jr joins Robertson Racing for Rolex 24  Arie Luyendyk Jr. Joins Robertson Racing, LLC for the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring  Arie Luyendyk Jr. will be testing over the next 8 days in preparation for his first taste of the 12 Hours of Sebring with a newly formed team, Roberson Racing, LLC. Luyendyk will be piloting the #53 Panoz GTLM in the GT2 class with Dave and Andrea Robertson, who both will make their professional driving debut at the famed 12 Hour classic. Luyendyk will use the 8 days of testing (3 of which are official American Le Mans test days) to get acclimated with his first experience in a front engine race car.

Michigan-based Robertson Racing will campaign a Panoz GT-LM Esperante for three rounds of the 2007 season with plans for full-season competition in 2008 and beyond. The Robertson Racing Panoz GTLM will debut at the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17. More ...

Yamamoto will also drive in GP2  Super Aguri's Sakon Yamamoto will also drive in the GP2 Series to keep his racing skills sharp during the season, having signed to race for BCN Competicion.

The Spanish team made Yamamoto its first signing of 2007, and team boss Enrique Scalabroni is hopeful that the Japanese driver can help turn around the squad's fortunes after a couple of disappointing campaigns.

"Myself, Jaime Pintanel and the whole team are looking forward for a very successful GP2 Series and all our efforts are spent along this way," team boss Enrique Scalabroni admitted, "This is why we chose Sakon as our driver." More ...

Randstad expands partnership with AT&T Williams  Randstad Holding nv is pleased to announce that it has entered into a three year sponsorship agreement with the AT&T Williams team.

Following a successful partnership year in 2006, notably in Germany, Spain, Turkey and Asia, Randstad will increase its sponsorship of the team and become an on-car sponsor. Starting from 2007, the Randstad logo will be clearly visible on the nose of the new FW29 racecar. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
Kimi needs a Ferrari 'tank' - Illien
Alonso plays down new car engine glitch
Schu can race for Merc - F1's Haug
Alonso vows bald head for title glory
BMW 'ready' to supply customer engine
Off-track, Schu still quick - Massa
Williams, Spyker, to skip Bahrain tests
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