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Corvette to Offer Customer C7.Rs  
No. 3 Corvette C7.R
While having yet to run its first race, the new Corvette C7.R could soon be seen in the hands of customers competing in various championships this year.

Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan confirmed to Sportscar365 Thursday that the Pratt & Miller-built GTE-spec machine is now available for sale to customers worldwide, with discussions currently underway with Larbre Competition.

The French squad, which has campaigned Corvette C6.Rs in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and FIA World Endurance Championship since 2011, has yet to confirm its program. The Jack Leconte-led squad had been waiting on clarification on the FIA WEC GTE-Am rules for this year. More ...

Reser's Food & GameStop Return To JGR  Joe Gibbs Racing announced Reser’s Fine Foods and GameStop will return to sponsor Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota.

Reser’s Fine Foods will appear on JGR’s No. 20 Toyota seven times during the 2014 season starting with the season opening race at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 22. Meanwhile, GameStop will return for their seventh season with JGR in the Nationwide Series with 10 races that start in Las Vegas on March 8 and conclude with the season finale at Homestead on Nov. 15. More ...

Viso, Saavedra late additions to Rolex 24 field  E.J. Viso and Sebastian Saavedra, who competed in the 2013 IndyCar Series season, were late additions to the Starworks Motorsports (Prototype class) team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

It gives the race 32 drivers who have started at least one Indy car event.

Saavedra, 23, of Colombia, who had a best finish of eighth for Dragon Racing last season, said he's hopeful of announcing plans soon for the 2014 IndyCar Series season.

"Anything that has wheels, I'm ready to do it," said Saavedra, who is making his debut in the race. "This was a late-minute situation, but it's an opportunity that I was going to let go by. My goal is IndyCar and we're working to make that happen."

Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, is competing in one of the sports car classes.

Rahal keeping eye on clock at Rolex 24  
Rahal will share driving duties in the No. 56 BMW Z4 with Dirk Mueller, John Edwards and Dirk Werneer
A second victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend would give Graham Rahal, among other things, permission to wear the timepiece presented to the winning co-drivers in each category.

His signature steel watch, secured in 2011 for winning the overall title, has been undisturbed in its presentation case - "perfect the way it sits," Rahal said. 

"It's signed by my team owners and co-drivers," he said. "That will never leave its box, but maybe if I get a second I'll wear it."

Rahal, 25, will join Dirk Mueller, John Edwards and Dirk Werneer in co-driving the No. 56 BMW Team RLL Z4 GT entry in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Raceway circuit. More ...
Double Points For Last Formula One Race Gets Green Light For 2014  F1 "will go ahead with its controversial plan to award double points at the last race of the season," according to Andrew Benson of the BBC. The proposal -- the idea of F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone -- "was raised at a meeting of the sport's bosses but no attempt was made to overturn it."

Prior to Wednesday's meeting in Geneva, one leading team boss, who asked to remain anonymous, said "most participants would agree to ditch" the points proposal if they were given the chance. He claimed that Ecclestone and governing body FIA had "completely misjudged the predictable negative response from the public."

However, none of the teams "chose to make a major issue of the plan at the meeting, probably because they felt it was not worth falling out with Ecclestone over." BBC

Tesla to Sell Model S Sedan in China From $121,000  
Tesla Model S
Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) will sell its battery-powered Model S sedan in China from 734,000 Yuan ($121,280), as billionaire founder Elon Musk prepares to test demand for electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market.

The price for the imported Model S in China, equipped with a premium 85 kilowatt hour battery pack, puts the car in the same bracket there as Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi S5 sedan and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s 5-series GT sedan, according to Autohome, a car-pricing website. It’s also 50 percent more expensive than in the U.S., where the equivalent model sells for $81,070, according to Tesla’s statement.

“The price of a Model S in China is the same as the price of a Model S in the U.S., adding only unavoidable taxes, customs duties and transportation costs,” the carmaker said in a statement on its website. “If we were to follow standard industry practice, we could get away with charging twice as much for the Model S in China as we do in the U.S.” More ...

NASCAR reinstates Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris  NASCAR announced on Thursday that it has reinstated Ty Norris, the general manager at Michael Waltrip Racing. Norris was suspended indefinitely after the finish-fixing scandal in the Sprint Cup race at Richmond on Sept. 7.

At Richmond, Clint Bowyer was deemed to have spun in the final laps of the race, and teammate Brian Vickers made a late unscheduled pit stop to help MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr. gain enough to earn a spot in NASCAR's Chase for the Championship playoffs. More ...

FIA announces 2014 rule changes  There have been some updates to the F1 rules for both this year and beyond, although they have yet to be fully ratified:

Amendments to the 2014 Sporting Regulations were also approved, but are subject to ratification by the F1 Commission and teams. These include:

-- The Stewards may now impose a five-second time penalty which can be taken before work is carried out on the car in a pit stop

-- Team personnel must also wear helmets during qualifying, as well as the race

-- Drivers may not stop on the slowing down lap to save fuel for sampling and subsequent analysis; this will not be considered justifiable reason for stopping More ...

FIA confirms cost-cutting measures for 2015 F1 season  The FIA has confirmed its earlier plan to introduce cost control and cost reduction regulations for 2015 following a meeting yesterday.

The regulations will be presented to the World Motor Sport Council in June and will come into force for the start of next season.

An FIA statement said, “The FIA president reaffirmed to members of the WMSC the FIA’s intention to assure a healthy, affordable and spectacular FIA Formula One World Championship for the long-term future. At a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group yesterday, chaired by the FIA president, and attended by Bernie Ecclestone and the teams, it was unanimously agreed that cost reduction and cost control regulations will be presented to the WMSC in June 2014 for introduction in January 2015.”

Simona speaks: Pursuing sponsorship  Simona De Silvestro said she has remained in her home country of Switzerland longer than anticipated -- she missed last week's IndyCar driver meetings in Indianapolis -- to continue pursuit of sponsorship for the 2014 season.

"There are companies here that are kind of interested (in IndyCar)," she said. "At the end of the day, I want to be in IndyCar, so that took a little bit of priority (over meetings)."

De Silvestro, who has spent four seasons in IndyCar, finished 13th in 2013 as Tony Kanaan's teammate at KV Racing Technology. It is believed to be one of the IndyCar teams her management team has been talking to for the upcoming season, but there aren't a lot of seats left to fill, which has her fans concerned. More ...

Gurney Wins Pole  Moved to home page as feature article.
Viso and Saavedra added to Starworks Motorsports Lineup for Rolex 24  
Saavedra gets last-minute opportunity to compete in Rolex 24
E.J. Viso and Sebastian Saavedra have joined Starworks Motorsports for this weekend's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. As part of the Starworks Motorsport #78 Riley Dinan, the two IndyCar veterans will Scott Mayer, Brendon Hartley and Alex Popow in a five-driver assault for the famous enduro.

E.J. Viso, Starworks #78 DP: “I am very excited to start my second Daytona 24, and for a second time with Starworks. I believe that the line-up we have for it is great and it’s probably one of my favorite races so far in my career. It is definitely one that challenges everyone; the teams, drivers and even the spectators. I am ready and really looking forward to it and hopefully many more races with Starworks.” More ...

Road to Indy
Andersen Promotions Forges Partnership with Motegi Racing  
Dan Andersen at this year's Toronto race.
(Editor's Note: We at AutoRacig1.com continue to be impressed by the progress and direction of the Mazda Road to Indy since Dan Andersen and his company took full control of all three ladder series. Maybe, Andersen is the guy to not only oversee the ladder program, but as we suggest in last week's AR1 editorial, take over the promotion of the top-level IndyCar Series, as well.)

The forged blanks will be produced in the United States and will be engineered, manufactured and finished in Italy at Wheel Pros’ racing division. Each wheel will be supplied with a standard aluminum valve, and specification for the product will follow ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization) recommendations and TÜV test rules and certification. Offset and spoke profiles (caliper space) will be machined to custom fit the Dallara chassis configuration (front 10” x 15”, rear 14” x 15”).

The Technomesh design features an ergonomic spoke shape to facilitate the grip of mechanics on the wheels during tire changes.

“This technical partnership underscores our commitment to the ladder system in U.S. open-wheel racing and the young future stars on their way to the IndyCar Series,” said Jody Groce, President of Wheel Pros LLC.  “We are delighted to have the opportunity to introduce our forged aluminum wheel technology to the top level of the ladder after being already proven at the highest levels of sportscar GT racing with the Ferrari AF Corse GT factory team in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the factory Viper SRT in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Ford factory OMSE team in Global Rallycross.”

Testing of the new Dallara IL-15 featuring Cooper Tires and the Advanced Engine Research LTD. AER-P63 engine will begin in July. Long-term partnerships with industry leaders Performance Friction (PFC) on a brake package and Cosworth for electronics (looms, steering wheel and data system) were announced in November.

ABOUT MOTEGI RACING: Through technical partnerships with leading professional racing teams, Motegi Racing competition and high performance tuning wheels are designed and engineered for performance. Motegi Racing is a Wheel Pros brand. Wheel Pros products are sold worldwide in more than 20 countries on four continents and through a U.S. Network of more than 10,000 active dealers. It is one of the world’s largest suppliers of branded custom wheels, performance tires and related accessories for cars, SUVs and light trucks. For more details visit www.motegiracing.com.
- See more here.

McLaren names Vandoorne as reserve driver  Stoffel Vandoorne has been named as McLaren's Formula One reserve driver for 2014. The team's Belgian protege will also run a season of GP2 with ART.

Vandoorne lost out to colleague Kevin Magnussen in the fight for the Renault 3.5 title last year. He's clearly being lined up for a promotion to a race seat should an opportunity arise, and his presence will keep the pressure on both Magnussen and his veteran teammate Jenson Button.

“I’ve been a member of the McLaren Young Driver Program for almost a year now, and I’ve learned an enormous amount in that time,” said Vandoorne. “I visit the McLaren Technology Centre at least once a week, sometimes more often than that, and I’ve done a lot of work in the MTC simulator to assist McLaren’s Formula One engineers develop the MP4-29. More ...
Westbrook Stays on top in P2  
Westbrook keeps the #90 Corvette at the top of the time sheets
Richard Westbrook was fastest in Thursday’s second TUDOR United SportsCar Challenge practice at Daytona. Quickest in the one-hour morning practice, Westbrook led the 30-minute early afternoon session with a lap of 1:39.564 in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP.

Jonathan Bomarito was quickest in GTLM with a lap of 1:45.016 in the No. 93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R, followed by teammate Marc Goossens, 1:45.233 in the No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R.

Colin Braun led PC competitors with a lap of 1:42.724 in the No. 54 CORE Autosport ORECA FLM09, while Daniel Serra led the GTD class with a lap of 1:47.542 in the No. 65 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia.

Qualifying to set the 67-car grid for Saturday’s 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona will begin at 3:45 p.m. ET, beginning with GTD in 15-minute sessions.
Westbrook Leads Opening Practice for Rolex 24  
Richard Westbrook leads opening practice for the Rolex 24 in the #90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP

Richard Westbrook turned the fastest lap in Thursday morning’s opening TUDOR United SportsCar Championship practice for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The session was run under sunny skies with chilly 43-degree temperatures.

Westbrook turned a lap of 1:39.462 in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP.

Christian Fittipaldi, driving the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, was second, 1:39.764, followed by defending winner Scott Pruett, running 1:40.147 in the No. 01 Telcel/Target Ford EcoBoost/Riley. More ...

McLaren extends Santander partnership  McLaren Mercedes today announced that Santander, the largest bank in the eurozone and one of the biggest banks in the world, has renewed its long term corporate partnership with the team.

Since 2007, Santander and McLaren Mercedes have formed an ongoing partnership.

For the past four years Jenson Button has also been a key ambassador for the company, fronting major marketing campaigns, staff engagement initiatives and playing a central role in Santander’s global University’s Scholarship Program. The Briton will continue to play a significant role in Santander campaigns as the partnership progresses. More ...

MSR Announces Another Partnership  
Michael Valiante piloting a Shank entry during 2012 Rolex 24
Daytona Beach, Fla.  (23 January 2014) –  Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is dedicated to performance, and the team is pleased to announce new partnership with a like-minded organization as Advanced Arch Grilles (www.aagrilles.com) has joined the team as an associate partner for the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is set to open the 2014 season this weekend at Daytona International Speedway with the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. More ...

tv news
As FS1 Approaches 6-Month Mark, Where the Network Stands  
FS1 has already surpassed NBC Sports Network in ratings.  Above - IndyCar series is dying, hanging from the NBCSN noose around its neck. Quiet, you can hear the gurgling.
Network Is Averaging More Viewers Than NBCSN (IndyCar's noose around their neck), MLB Network and NBA TV

Fox Sports 1 is approaching its six-month mark and while it's had plenty of growing pains, the channel has already managed to usurp more established rivals.

In its first few months, FS1 has been trying to make a name for itself with little live sports outside of college football, college basketball and the UFC.

Still, the network averaged 287,000 total viewers and 140,000 in the all-important 18-to-49 demo in prime time from its August launch through December. This is a marked improvement from its predecessor, Speed, which averaged just 151,000 total viewers and 60,000 in the demo in the time slot the year prior. More ...

Audi names driver teams for the DTM  
Scheider and Rockenfeller
In 101 days, the new DTM season will start at the Hockenheimring and the Audi driver teams have now been confirmed: Mike Rockenfeller will be running in the Audi RS 5 DTM as the title defender and, in Timo Scheider, receiving a new team-mate. All three Audi teams were realigned for the title defense project.

From the hunter to the hunted: For the first time in his career, Mike Rockenfeller (D/30) will be starting from the DTM grid in car number '1' of the reigning Champion. And his new team-mate in Audi Sport Team Phoenix knows how to win the most coveted crown in international touring car sport as well: Timo Scheider (D/35), the 2008 and 2009 DTM Champion, after seven years in Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, will be switching to the team of Ernst Moser.

"I had a great time with Abt and am leaving the squad with a tear in my eye," says Scheider. "On the other hand, I'm looking forward to driving for the outfit that has provided the DTM Champion twice in the past three years. Besides that, I know the team really well from my days before Audi." More ...
Formula E to build new headquarters at Donington Park  
Formula E, the FIA's new global electric racing series, has today announced that its new headquarters and team facilities will be based within the grounds of the Donington Park Racing Circuit in the UK.

Construction work on the 44,000ft² bespoke premises began on 2nd January and when complete will provide state-of-the-art facilities for each of the 10 Formula E teams, together with offices, stores and workshops for Formula E’s own operational staff – totaling more than 150 people.

In addition, the Formula E teams - all of which have now been announced - will use the Donington Park circuit for their testing and development work on the fully-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car.

The new facilities, located in Donington's Western Paddock, just 100 meters from the circuit itself at the Melbourne Hairpin entry, will also comply with the "Very Good" BREEAM sustainable construction standards and with the UK Government’s Low Carbon Economy and the National Planning Policy Framework requirements. This will ensure teams benefit from high environmental standards, effective energy management systems and the reduction of carbon emissions wherever possible – in-line with Formula E’s sustainability ethos. More ...
Petrov tests DTM car  
Petrov at Mercedes DTM test
(GMM)  Former Renault and Caterham driver Vitaly Petrov looks to be following Force India refugee Paul di Resta into the German touring car series DTM.

Mercedes announced on Thursday that the Russian is currently making his DTM test debut at the Portimao track.

Boss Toto Wolff explained: "Russia is a highly significant market for the DTM and for Mercedes-Benz.

"Vitaly ... expressed a desire to test drive our DTM (car and) we were only too happy to make his wish possible."

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Jenson Button says goodbye to Papa Smurf
    Button says goodbye at father's funeral
  • Tougher Pirellis means heavier cars in 2014
  • Frijns considered for Caterham race seat
  • Ericsson, Brack bringing millions to Caterham
  • Smedley won't be Massa's race engineer at Williams
  • Sirotkin still Sauber test driver
  • Hungaroring Spokesperson Says Track Needs Renovations
  • Bahrain F1 Grand Prix Confirmed As Second Night Race
  • Kobayashi reveals Ferrari wanted him to stay New
  • Williams reveals 'anteater' nose for 2014 New More ...
James Hunt to join Hall of Fame  
James Hunt
James Hunt will be one of four racing legends to be inducted into the coveted Motor Sport Hall of Fame later this month.

While breaking with tradition, the announcement in advance whets the appetite for a star-studded evening at the Royal Opera House on Wednesday 29 January.

Hunt, who sadly passed away in 1993, will always be remembered as one of the sport’s biggest personalities – more so now that his ultimately successful title duel with arch-rival Niki Lauda in 1976 has been immortalized in the Hollywood blockbuster Rush. The Austrian legend, though, did beat his British nemesis into the Hall of Fame – he is one of motor sport’s 25 greatest names already inducted. More ...

DOE chief: Fisker's Chinese buyer must keep work in U.S  The winner between two Chinese-backed bidders for assets of bankrupt electric-car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. will have to keep manufacturing and research in the U.S., Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.

Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC and Wanxiang America Corp. are competing in U.S. bankruptcy court for the remains of Fisker, an Energy Department loan recipient that stopped making its luxury plug-in hybrid cars in 2012.

"I'm not going to pick a winner of the auction," Moniz said today at the Washington Auto Show after giving a speech. More ...

Dempsey Racing Partners With Simmons Beautyrest  
Dempsey Racing and Simmons Bedding Company announced today that the leading mattress producer and the maker of Beautyrest have entered into a multi-year partnership that will see the Beautyrest Black line of premium mattresses join the sports car racing team as an official supplier and sponsor of the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche GT America driven by actor and professional race car driver Patrick Dempsey and his full-season teammate Andrew Davis.

The announcement was made on the eve of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 23 – 26, the internationally recognized day-long endurance race at Daytona International Speedway that this year serves as the inaugural event of the debuting IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.  Dempsey and Davis will be joined by longtime teammate Joe Foster and standout German factory Porsche driver Marc Lieb in the race that is scheduled to start Saturday at 2:10 p.m. EST with live coverage on FOX commencing at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST. More ...
NASCAR moves to knockout qualifying format  In a move aimed toward enhancing the fan experience watching at the track and at home, NASCAR has announced a new group qualifying format for its three national series that is more compelling, more closely emulates actual on-track competition and underlines the sport's on-going commitment to innovation.

At tracks measuring 1.25 miles in length or larger, qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of three rounds:

• The first qualifying elimination round will be 25 minutes in duration and includes all cars/trucks. The 24 cars/trucks that post the fastest single lap from the first qualifying round will advance to the second round.

• The remaining cars/trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order. More ...

Crew chief Rob Wendland released by Don Schumacher Racing  Rob Wendland, a Don Schumacher Racing crew chief since mid-2011, has been released b y the team, effective immediately. Wendland tuned the Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driven by Johnny Gray through the 2013 season and had been slated to be the crew chief of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driven by Tommy Johnson Jr. in 2014.

"I wish Rob nothing but the best," said Schumacher. "We're very grateful for his time with us." 

Wendland was the crew chief in each of Gray's seven Funny Car victories. A new crew chief for the Terry Chandler-sponsored Make-A-Wish Dodge has yet to be named. In the interim, Director of Racing Todd Okuhara, a veteran crew chief, will take the lead with support from the venerable pool of DSR Funny Car crew chiefs that will oversee the Johnson-driven entry.

New IMSA sports car era ready to rock around the clock -- twice -- with Rolex 24  A concept at one time dismissed as an improbable cause is now an impressive reality. Professional sports car racing in North America is again under one sanctioning organization, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), opening the season this weekend with a daunting endurance test at Daytona International Speedway, the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

By no means, however, should this be considered an "everything old is new again" scenario.

The merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, achieved after more than a decade of separate operations, has created the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, utilizing a "best of both worlds" mantra that is perhaps most noticeable in the intriguing car class lineups. More ...

racing news
Motorsports Hall of Fame to unveil Class of 2014 on January 24  
Finalists for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2014 class have been determined.  The Hall will unveil its seven new members on Friday, January 24 at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  The racing legends will join the Hall of Fame during the 26th Annual Induction Ceremony on August 6, 2014 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.

In the Open Wheel category, the nominees are veteran driver and official Wally Dallenbach, nine-time IndyCar Series winning owner Chip Ganassi, championship owner Carl Haas, innovative designer and safety pioneer Ted Halibrand, two-time Indy 500 winner “The Flying Dutchman” Arie Luyendyk and three-time Indy winning owner Pat Patrick.

Quarter-milers on the ballot are "Blue Max" owner/driver Raymond Beadle, Mercury's racing boss Fran Hernandez, six-time NHRA Pro Stock Champion Warren Johnson, golden-voiced announcer Dave McClelland, pioneer Paula Murphy and one of the first Funny Car drivers Gene Snow.

The ballot for the Stock Car inductee features the youngest member of the "Alabama Gang," Davey Allison and championship owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush.  NASCAR Cup champions Terry Labonte and Rusty Wallace are also up for consideration.

In the Historic category, voters will decide between NASCAR's first champion Red Byron, land speed record holder John Cobb, Brickyard's first president Carl G. Fisher, 1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund, mechanic and builder Ray Nichels, midget and sprint car king Bob Sweikert and stock car champ Marshall Teague.
Montoya and Kimball to appear in Detroit Friday  
Juan Montoya
This Friday January 24, Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet-powered car for Team Penske this season, will join No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball in greeting fans Jan. 24 at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The drivers will participate in a panel discussion, hosted on the main stage in the Cobo Center Atrium, followed by an autograph session.

Visitors to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix display in Cobo Center's Michigan Hall will have the opportunity to take a picture on a podium with a race trophy and a bottle of champagne. Fans can download their podium image for free from the Grand Prix Facebook page.

BMW Announces 2014 Sports Car Awards  
BMW of North America, LLC announced its contingency program for BMW teams competing in the 2014 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Both CTSCC classes are eligible for per-event payments for first, second and third finishing positions as well as a year-end payout for team or driver titles. The season takes the green flag on Friday, January 24th with the BMW Performance 200 as drivers from all over the world assemble at the Daytona International Speedway for the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.TUSCC BMW teams in the GTD class are eligible for the program. More ...

Audi R8 V10 to be Official Safety Car of Rolex 24  
Audi R8 V10
For the second year in a row, the Audi R8 V10 will lead the field of cars at the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

"We are excited to be the Official Safety Car of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona," said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. "Watching the R8 V10 make its way around the track on the banked turns of Daytona as the safety car will further prove its ability to offer incredible balance as a car for the track and on the road."

The Audi R8 V10 and the R8 LMS share more than 50% of their parts and components including the V10 naturally aspirated engine and the fully aluminum ASF that provides a very stiff and lightweight chassis that weighs less than 500 pounds. The 13,000 mile engine service interval under race conditions is a testament to the durability of the R8 LMS. Where other race engines require servicing after a twenty-four hour race, the 5.2 liter V10 FSI engine in the R8 LMS can race a whole season without a major overhaul. More ...

Team Penske Welcomes Wurth as a Primary Sponsor of No. 2 Ford in 2014  
Brad Keselowski
Wurth will serve as a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford Fusion for four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2014. Team Penske announced that the No. 2 Wurth Ford, with former series champion Brad Keselowski behind the wheel, will make its debut on March 23 at the Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, Calif. Wurth will also be an associate sponsor on the No. 2 Team Penske Ford for the balance of the 2014 season.

The Wurth Group first partnered with Team Penske in 2012 and the leading automotive, industrial and woodworking supply company has served as a primary sponsor for the team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and an associate partner on the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion over the last two seasons. More ...

Wilson Back to Coyne  In a move that was all but official, IndyCar PR has announced that Justin Wilson will be back with Dale Coyne Racing in 2014.
Snider and Stavast join NBC Sports  NBC Sports Group has reached agreements with motorsports reporters Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast, who will contribute to NBC Sports' upcoming NASCAR studio and live race coverage on NBC and NBCSN. Snider and Stavast, each of whom have years of motorsports experience, will operate out of Charlotte, N.C., home to many of the sport's race teams and drivers. The appointments of Snider and Stavast follow previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements pertaining to new lead race announcer Rick Allen and analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte. There are no further broadcaster-related announcements expected in the near term. More ...
Tire makers outline 2014 motorsports efforts  With the first major U.S. racing events just around the corner, tire makers large and small are gearing up their efforts for the coming season. The efforts include some completely new initiatives and many longtime relationships being renewed.

The following is a look at companies' motorsports programs, based on interviews with Tire Business.


Bridgestone Americas' primary motorsports focus in the Americas in 2014 will be continuing to supply Firestone Firehawk racing tires for the IZOD IndyCar Series. The tire maker's supply agreement for the series, which began in 1996, is contracted to continue through the 2018 race season.

Firestone exited the IndyCar Indy Lights open-wheel racing series after last season and was replaced by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. as the series tire supplier. More ...

Di Resta: DTM more interesting choice than spec series IndyCar  
Paul di Resta
There are several factors working in favor of the DTM over IndyCar for di Resta. Having not raced in a spec-chassis category since Formula Renault in 2004, the appeal of being part of a fierce development race between Mercedes, Audi and BMW was a big draw.

While IndyCar is desperately trying to open up areas of its technical regs to allow for variety in machinery, it hasn't made much progress beyond the engine side yet, and any technical freedom that is coming in the next few years is still not going to match the DTM package - even if that series does now have some common parts across all three manufacturers.

McLaren will have their 'biggest' budget ever  McLaren won't announce their new title sponsor when they launch their new car, but fans shouldn't be concerned as they will have their biggest ever budget this year.

The Woking squad are coming off a disastrous 2013 campaign during which they finished a distant fifth in the Constructors' Championship as they not only failed to win a race, but also didn't claim a single podium finish.

Telecommunications group Vodafone also announced early last year that they would end their title sponsorship, but McLaren's bosses said they had an "exciting announcement" lined up for the last month of the year. More ...

James Foyle joins Trans Am Series as Chief Steward  The Trans Am Series has announced the return of James Foyle to the Trans Am staff, where he will serve as Chief Steward for the Trans Am Series.

The appointment marks Foyle’s return to the Trans Am Series, having previously served as operating steward in 2001 and 2002 as well as assistant operating steward in 1995.

“We’re pleased to welcome James back to the Trans Am Series,”  said John Clagett, President of the Trans Am Race Company.  “James has a stellar background in race operations that gives us great confidence moving forward, just as his experience will be a valuable asset as the Trans Am Series continues to grow. In turn, Trans Am wants to thank John Martinson, who has served as our Chief Steward for the past two years.  It’s fair to say that Trans Am would not be where it is today without John’s hard work, dedication and willingness to assist the Series.” More ...

Lotus only team to miss Jerez test  (GMM)  Lotus has been left standing as the only team that will sit out the first test of the crucial 2014 pre-season next week.

That is because Marussia on Wednesday announced that it will be at Jerez, despite some earlier uncertainty.

"If it (the new car) is there and you can use it, you want to use it," team president Graeme Lowdon had said last week, sparking the uncertainty.

But Marussia told its 170,000 Twitter followers on Wednesday that its 2014 car will be at Jerez. More ...

First look: 2014 Force India F1 car (Update)  UPDATE (GMM)  Force India on Wednesday gave the F1 world a sneak view of its 2014 car.

Although the VJM07 will only be seen in detail next week at Jerez, the side-view digital image did reveal a noticeably low nose, and a striking new livery prominently featuring black for the first time.

New sponsors are also obvious, including the Sergio Perez-linked Claro, the Mexican lubricant brand Roshfrans, and the Kazakhstan capital Astana.

"Adding black as a main color gives us a fierce new look," said team chief Vijay Mallya. More ...

Allgaier named driver of #51 for Phoenix Racing  Phoenix Racing announced that Justin Allgaier will be the driver of the #51 BRANDT Chevy SS during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Allgaier, who finished fifth in the 2013 Nationwide Series championship points, will be a candidate for the NASCAR Rookie of the Year award.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I intend to make the most of it," said Allgaier. "I am very grateful to Harry Scott and BRANDT for having faith in me to compete against the best drivers in the world." More ...

Alliance Truck Parts to sponsor Keselowski  Team Penske announced that Alliance Truck Parts will join the #2 Ford Fusion team for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series. After successfully partnering with Team Penske in the Nationwide Series for the last several seasons, Alliance Truck Parts will transition to become a primary sponsor for the #2 Ford Fusion, driven by 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski. The distinctive bright yellow Alliance Truck Parts colors will adorn the Team Penske Ford for eight races in 2014 beginning with the race at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2. An industry-leading provider of heavy duty truck parts for the commercial transportation industry, Alliance Truck Parts will also be a prominent associate sponsor on the #2 Ford throughout the 2014 season. Team Penske
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Kobayashi turned down a paid driver position for the Ferrari GT team to drive for free with a back of the grid F1 team
    McLaren 'in good shape' despite no title sponsor
  • 'Role model' Zanardi returns to racing
  • Sirotkin's place at Sauber now in doubt
  • Hulkenberg hopes 2014 cars not too slow
  • Kobayashi racing for free in F1 return
  • Van der Garde says he turned down Caterham
  • Di Resta admits Mercedes F1 role possible
  • Jan Magnussen could quit racing to support son
  • New York judge dismisses Ecclestone case
  • It is too early to diagnose Schumacher as being in a permanent vegetative state
  • Tamara Ecclestone loses High Court battle with ex-boyfriend More ...
ESPN & NHRA Together Again For 2014  The ESPN family of networks will once again deliver NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series to fans this season.
ESPN and ESPN2 are set to bring the sights and sounds of the NHRA to fans across the country for the coming season.

The airdates and times have been announced for the first three events of the season, including the opening event, the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Feb. 6-9. ESPN will air the conclusion of the event in a three-hour broadcast, Feb. 9 from 8-11 p.m. ET.

Each telecast with offer insight into the racers of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and bring the viewers behind the scenes footage from the races. Head-to-head matchups, technical segments and in-depth statistics will dominate event coverage. with ESPN and the NHRA also making  use of social media platforms during the telecasts. More ...

Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Announces 2014 Schedule  International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials Jan. 21 announced plans for a seven-event Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season in 2014. The ninth season for the series will feature doubleheader events at each venue to produce a total of 14 rounds.

New to a challenging Cooper Tires Prototype Lites schedule are visits to Kansas Speedway and Watkins Glen International. The IMSA Development Series also will return to the rolling hills of Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for the first time since 2012. The Kansas and VIR events will feature another series first, with the Prototype Lites category racing alongside the Prototype Challenge (PC) class from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. More ...

Racing News
Alex Zanardi to make racing return  Alessandro Zanardi will be back in the cockpit on a regular basis in 2014, and will once again do battle for BMW Motorsport out on the racetrack. Zanardi will race in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series behind the wheel of a BMW Z4 GT3, which has been specially modified to meet his unique requirements and will be run by the ROAL Motorsport team.

Alex Zanardi to make racing return with BMW

The 47-year-old lost both legs in a serious crash while racing in 2001, but overcame his disability to return to motorsport. Among other things, Zanardi drove for BMW in the FIA World Touring Car Championship WTCC, where he stood on the top step of the podium on four occasions. Having won two gold medals on his handbike at the 2012 Paralympics in London and completed a test in the BMW M3 DTM in the same year, he is now set to contest a full season for BMW for the first time since 2009. More ...

Flood hits the base of Tech3  
The base in Bormes-les-Mimosas, home of the Tech 3 MotoGP outfit which is to run Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro as well as the Moto2 team of Marcel Schrotter and Alex Marinelarena, was affected on Sunday as the immense levels of rainfall resulted in rivers bursting their banks. This has occurred shortly before the squad was to pack up for the opening pre-season premier class test in Malaysia.

An anticyclone over northern Europe later resulted in heavy rain over France, resulting in much damage to crates in the Tech3 premises - whose watertight door failed - which on Tuesday were planned to have been shipped to Malaysia. The entire region has been majorly affected by the weather, with two people having lost their lives and a further individual injured as the storms left many without electricity and running water as well as much damage to buildings.

The majority of damage was sustained between 10 and 11am on Sunday, with the flood water coating the workshop floor in mud and damaging equipment. "This is a major natural occurrence, but we are fortunate this has not happened at a busier time of year," Team Manager Herve Poncharal explains. "Although we have many things to prepare, it shouldn’t affect us too badly."

Since the damage was incurred on Sunday, Tech3 personnel have been busily attempting to clean up the property with the assistance of neighbors.

IndyCar Driver Justin Wilson Makes Racing Return at Rolex 24  Longmont, Colorado  (21 January 2014) –  Justin Wilson will return to racing action this weekend at Daytona International Speedway as the IndyCar pilot is set to rejoin Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian for the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The Rolex 24 outing is a regular one for Wilson, as the versatile driver has raced in the event frequently since first debuting with a run to the podium with Michael Shank Racing in 2006.

The relationship with Shank’s team yielded a huge Rolex 24 win in 2012 as Wilson and co-drivers John Pew, Ozz Negri, and AJ Allmendinger broke through for a victory. 2013 once again saw Wilson on the podium at Daytona International Speedway as the team rallied from a nine lap deficit to finish 3rd. More ...

2014 McLaren passes all crash tests  (GMM)  McLaren's 2014 car is now clear to make its track debut at Jerez in one week.

Earlier, reports suggested the new MP4-29 had failed one of the FIA's crash tests, which all must be passed before a wheel can be turned even in winter testing.

Spain's El Mundo Deportivo had said the new McLaren would undergo a new round of crash tests this week, so that it could be launched online this Friday in the knowledge it would then be clear to test a few days later at Jerez.

"Confirmed," McLaren told its almost half million Twitter followers on Tuesday.  "MP4-29 has passed all its FIA crash tests."

Video: Chevrolet Corvette C7.R - Build and Development  See what it takes to build and develop the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in time for its inaugural race at the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, in the newly formed, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series.

Caterham's Fernandes: "I don't want to be coming last all the time"  (GMM)  After a period of intense speculation, Caterham on Tuesday finally announced its all-new race lineup, thereby completing F1's field of 2014.

As expected, the Tony Fernandes-led team said returning Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi will be joined by Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson.

Also as reported earlier, Dutchman Robin Frijns, who worked in a similar role at Sauber last year, will be a new Caterham reserve driver [along with American Alexander Rossi]. More ...

America Rossi announced as Caterham Reserve and GP2 driver, Frijns also a reserve  
Alexander Rossi expects to fight for GP2 title. Above, celebrating his GP2 race win in Abu Dhabi to end the 2013 season as the top rookie.
Caterham also announced that American Alexander Rossi will be a reserve F1 driver (on non-GP2 weekends) as will Robin Frijns (on the weekends Rossi is racing in GP2).

Alexander Rossi: "I am pleased to be back with Caterham Racing for 2014 fighting for a GP2 Championship. My 2013 program had some changes which meant I missed the pre-season tests and a couple of the early GP2 races, however, throughout the season the team and I made some big progress and by Abu Dhabi we were definitely one of the cars to beat. This continued in the post-season tests and I’m quite confident about the pace in 2014.

"As returning Caterham F1 Team Reserve Driver my duties will continue with F1 outings, my role as simulator driver and on track Reserve for non-GP2 weekends. This is the perfect development for my future F1 race drive as I play an important role in assisting the team develop its 2014 car, something that will be particularly important this year with the current technical changes. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Toro Rosso crash test
    Williams to run at Jerez, Toro Rosso passes crash tests
  • Pic working with Craig Pollock, loses Caterham seat
  • Schumacher 'will not give up' - family
  • Ferrari had fastest pitstops in 2013 - report
  • Quantum chief says Lotus buy-in deal not dead
  • Van der Garde becomes Sauber reserve
  • It's Official: Markus Ericsson joins Caterham
  • It's Official: Kobayashi joins Caterham
  • Full Caterham Press release 
  • Final 2014 F1 driver line-up More ...
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