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DATE News (chronologically)
01/25/07
nascar
Automakers’ struggles affecting NASCAR  This AP article talks about the rising costs in NASCAR, partially brought on by Toyota's entry, and partially brought on by the introduction of the COT, and the fact that Ford and Dodge are doing their best to help their teams despite huge losses in the showroom. Toyota on the other hand is making such huge profits that they will eventually steamroll right over the American backed teams unless NASCAR stops them, which they could through their history of managed competition.
01/25/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Fry rejects criticism after new Honda fault
Massa stops, Kimi spins at Vallelunga
Hamilton not hurt in major test shunt
Ferrari sponsor has back-up for Marlboro ploy
Swiss to scrap F1 television coverage
Renault run new car, livery, at Zandvoort
No confirmation of 'Lenovo' deal
01/25/07
irl
Ethanol’s fallacy further exposed  UPDATE In this article energy experts expose Ethanol for the fallacy that it is, calling it costly and energy inefficient.

01/05/07 If ethanol gets too popular you may not be able to afford food to eat because at some point farmers will sell their crops to ethanol plants rather than grocery stores where they will make less money. And to make matters worse, the drop in fuel economy ethanol brings is making many consumers shy away from it. This Milwaukee Journal article further exposes the pitfalls (fallacies) of ethanol as a fuel for the future. There are better ways....
01/25/07
irl
ga
IRL well represented in Rolex 24 Hour race  UPDATE We have been informed that none of the Andretti Green drivers on the list below were permitted to race in the Rolex 24 due to their ALMS/Acura commitments.

01/25/07
Car Driver Hometown C/E/T Entrant
2 Tomas Scheckter Cape Town, South Africa D/H/F Vision Racing
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil D/H/F Team Penske
4 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil D/H/F Panther Racing
5 TBA TBA D/H/F Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
6 Sam Hornish Jr. Defiance, Ohio D/H/F Team Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. D/H/F Andretti Green Racing
8 Scott Sharp Norwalk, Conn. D/H/F Rahal Letterman Racing
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand D/H/F Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England D/H/F Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Bahia, Brazil D/H/F Andretti Green Racing
14 Darren Manning North Yorkshire, England D/H/F A.J. Foyt Enterprises
17 Jeff Simmons Hartford, Conn. D/H/F Rahal Letterman Racing
20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis D/H/F Vision Racing
22 A.J. Foyt IV Hockley, Texas D/H/F Vision Racing
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. D/H/F Andretti Green Racing
27 Dario Franchitti Edinburgh, Scotland D/H/F Andretti Green Racing
55 Kosuke Matsuura Aichi, Japan D/H/F Super Aguri Panther Racing
01/25/07
ga
Gurney demolishes Grand-Am record  The fabled Gurney name was driven into the Daytona International Speedway record books again this afternoon, as Alex Gurney won the pole Saturday’s Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 24 At Daytona behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley. [Editor's Note:  He broke the Grand-Am record which is not even close to the lap record set years ago by the IMSA, now ALMS cars.]

On the way to his fourth career Rolex Sports Car Series pole, Gurney shattered the existing Daytona Prototype track record by more than half a second, lapping the 3.56-mile speedway road course in 1 minute, 43.475 seconds at an average speed of 123.856 mph during the 15-minute qualifying session. With the pole in hand, Gurney and his GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing co-drivers Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser will now turn their focus to surviving 24 straight hours of racing, from 1:30 p.m. Saturday to 1:30 p.m. Sunday — one of the most demanding challenges in all of motorsports.
 
“This is a big thrill for me personally and for the GAINSCO team,” Gurney said. “I feel like I’ve come a long way as a driver to be standing here today. But qualifying is really just for bragging rights. The first thirteen or fourteen hours of this race are unimportant. It’s such a long, long time that you have to just absolutely survive it. We’ve got to run clean to be at the front at the end of the race — when it really counts.” More ...

01/25/07
cc
Servia tops all drivers in Sebring  At 8 a.m. this morning, Sebring was a fairly colorless place with gray clouds pouring down transparent sheets of rain which gathered in nondescript puddles. Black-jacketed Champ Car team personnel hurried through the morning rain with purposeful strides, heads bowed against the watery onslaught.

The lone splash of color was found in the Red Bull PKV Racing pit where Oriol Servia was bouncing up and down in his red-and-white driver’s suit, waiting for his first chance to test the new DP01 Champ Car. Having watched Jimmy Vasser test the car over the first two days at Sebring, Servia wasn’t about to let a little rain get in the way of his opportunity to drive the new Champ Car.

“I woke up at 6 a.m. and I saw the guys downstairs and I’m telling them ‘let’s go’ and they were telling me not to hurry because it was raining. I didn’t even know it had been raining yet,” Servia smiled. “I was upset but I just wanted to get out there, so we got it together and ran in the rain.” More ...

01/25/07
cc
Bourdais 2nd quick at Sebring  Inclement weather delayed the beginning of Newman/Haas Racing’s third and final day of testing at the 1.669 mile Sebring International Raceway today but the team got back to work after the lunch break at 1 p.m. ET.  McDonald’s driver Bourdais set the second fastest time, behind Oriol Servia over the three days and Graham Rahal set the ninth fastest time during the test.

“We lost the first half of the day due to rain but were able to go out in the second part,” said Bourdais who set the fourth fastest lap of the day with a 51.056 lap time over a total of 83 laps but his lap of 50.888, set on Wednesday stood as the second fastest overall.  “We spent the first hour of the afternoon session drying the race track then we had to bed brakes because the old ones were shot.  That took 25 minutes.  The track was really green to start with so it was hard to set a fast time.  The first run wasn’t too good.  We started to try to work on the setup and a lot of red flags came out so we had to juggle.  We were able to test couple of things which were interesting.  Unfortunately we encountered an engine issue which lost us the last 30 minutes.  It would have been better if we could have had full day to finally get going on the test plan but it was better than nothing.” More ...

01/25/07
track news
Texas Motor Speedway fixing ’the bump’  UPDATE Texas Motor Speedway will conclude a special track renovation process today that is expected to help alleviate a dip that has formed between Turns 1 and 2 on the 1.5-mile superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced today.

The delicate process, known as “Concrete Lifting By Structure Urethane,” will in essence “pump” up the surface below the track and ultimately raise targeted areas in the affected 200-foot stretch over the South Tunnel that is situated in the middle of the two turns. The depth of the dip varies throughout, but it is at a maximum of two inches at any given point. More ...

01/25/07
cca
Buschemeyer joins Serra Sierra  Minden, Nevada – David Buschemeyer will round out the Sierra Sierra Enterprises engineering team in the upcoming 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.  Buschemeyer brings with him a broad base of racing experience.  His background in Champ Car, Champ Car Atlantic, Formula Ford, Indy Lights as well as the LeMans 24 is certain to help the team’s results.
 
Buschemeyer’s attention to detail and passion for the nuances of racing are two of his self-described attributes.  “The level of attention to detail required to compete at the front can never be underestimated!   I really enjoyed getting the best results possible for my drivers and teaching them how to approach driving cars professionally,” said Buschemeyer.
 
“We are pleased to have someone with his [Buschemeyer’s] talent and experience on the engineering team.  The field is so competitive that every aspect of the set up must be perfect to see the results that we expect next season,” said Richard Raeder, Sierra Sierra Enterprises Team Manager.  More ...
01/25/07
ga
Rolex 24 by the numbers  On January 27, 2007 GAINSCO #99 drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser will begin one of racing’s most challenging tests the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Raceway.  This all-American line-up will be assisted by a group of experienced professionals in the pits who have spent the better part of the last three months preparing for the win and the unexpected.

DISTANCE:  2470 miles or 700 laps in a 24 hour period.  Equivalent to driving from Los Angeles to New York City in 24 hours driving at an average speed of 120 mph.

PITSTOPS: 30
The Bob Stallings Racing crew will remain in the pit box for 24 hours, prepared to change tires, fuel or make repairs at a moments notice. Our engineers will remain on the timing stand strategizing and calling the race for 24 hours straight.  This is an endurance race for the crew as much as it is for the drivers. More ...

01/25/07
racing news
Help Wanted: Trainer  PitFit Training, the leader in motorsports human performance, is seeking an energetic and ambitious personal trainer to assist with the numerous aspects of our company.

With increases growth in the numerous series PitFit is involved in, we need assistance from a very proactive person. 

• Working with professional racecar drivers and pit crews to improve fitness
• Development of wellness-based programs
• Fitness testing
• Overseeing the PitFit Driver Scholarship program
• Learning the various aspects of PitFit Training
• Working with drivers via E PitFit
• Travel to races may be part of the responsibilities.

Here are some requirements:

• Degree or near-completion of a degree in exercise physiology or related field
• Training certification from NSCA, ACSM, NASM.
• Ability to take a project and see it through to completion
• Basic computer skills in Word/Excel
• Experience working with athletes, especially in the areas of endurance training, agility, speed, etc
• Some experience with fitness assessments

This position is hourly and part time but has potential for full time employment with benefits. Pay rate is $15/hour and 12-20 hours per week of work is needed.

Send resume or responses to jleo@pitfit.com and type in Seeking Employment in the subject line.  For more information about us, visit www.pitfit.com.

01/25/07
wsr
Danielsson finally awarded 2006 crown  Comtec Racing's Alx Danielsson has finally been awarded the 2006 World Series by Renault drivers' title some three months after the championship finished unresolved, after Draco Multiracing's appeal against a disqualification was upheld.
01/25/07
nascar
Said to run 12 NASCAR races in 2007  Boris Said says he will run at least seven Nextel Cup races for his No Fear Racing team and plans to drive five Busch Series events for Evernham Motorsports.

"The Bud Shootout will just be for practice for the 150s," Said said Thursday while preparing for the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race. "We're hoping and keeping our fingers crossed that we're in the top three of the scrubs - as I call it, the non-top-35 guys. Then you know you're locked in.  If you're in the top three, then your week is an easy week. If you're fifth or sixth, it's going to be a nerve-wracking week."

01/25/07
f1
Massa tops Ferrari testing again  Felipe Massa set the pace for the third day in a row as rain again hit Ferrari’s opening test of 2007 at Vallelunga in Italy.  The 25-year-old Brazilian managed 86 laps in Ferrari’s new 248 on what was a mainly dry circuit during the morning, and continued his running despite the onset of rain, lapping in a best time of 1:13.029, his best of the three days.  His new teammate Kimi Raikkonen continues to rack up the laps in a 2006 car, ending up just 0.558 seconds off Massa's pace.
01/25/07
cc
Wet testing at Sebring  Showers slowed testing at Sebring Thursday morning with only 8 cars setting time.  Neel Jani was fastest, 0.177s ahead of Justin Wilson.

Pos Driver # Team Lap Time Leader
1 N. Jani 21 PKV Racing 1:02.432 
2 J. Wilson 9 RuSPORT 1:02.609 0.177
3 N. Philippe 4 Minardi Team USA 1:03.465 1.033
4 W. Power 5 Team Australia 1:03.764 1.332
5 O. Servia 22 PKV Racing 1:04.207 1.775
6 R. Dalziel 28 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:05.655 3.223
7 A. Figge 29 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:06.090 3.658
8 A. Tagliani 8 Rocketsports Racing 1:06.712 4.280

01/25/07
f1
Rookie Hamilton writes-off new McLaren  British Formula One rookie Lewis Hamilton escaped unhurt after a high-speed crash in the new McLaren in testing at the Valencia circuit on Thursday. "Lewis is uninjured. However the MP4-22 he was driving is badly damaged and will not be repairable in Valencia for Lewis to continue his test program tomorrow," the Mercedes-powered team said. "The cause of the accident is being investigated."
01/25/07
cc
Seen in Sebring VII  We had the chance to meet long-time Nicky Pastorelli supporter Meindert van Buuren (pictured right) from Holland. Besides backing Nicky, van Buuren drives race cars in series like the V8 Stars in Europe which is a step down from the German DTM series. Currently he races in the Dutch Supercar Challenge series with his Team Papagayo Racing. Van Buuren will be the race promoter for the Zolder Champ Car race. Whereas Bart Rietbergen signed the contract with Champ Car for both European races, van Buuren signed a subcontract with Rietbergen to promote the Zolder race.

Van Buuren has been organizing races and events at Zolder for five years. "I think both races will be a success and we are looking to get 100,000 people over three days at Zolder. I hope Jan Heylen (Belgium) gets a ride this year in Champ Car because that will help us. Rumors about safety issues have been blown way out of proportion. Zolder is much safer than a place like here at Sebring so we could not understand these stories. Champ Car will be the premier event for Zolder and someday we hope to make it as big as F1." Mark C.

01/25/07
f1
New Honda fails on Button debut  (GMM)  Jenson Button's first taste of the newly revealed Honda RA107 was very brief.

The Briton, returning to the test circuit on Thursday after a spell recovering from fractured ribs, was giving photographers at the Circuit de Catalunya one of their first glimpses of the striking black machine when it ground to a halt.

His Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello conducted the car's actual debut on Wednesday.

Covered in a sheet following Button's failure today, the RA107 was ignominiously hauled back to the pits on the back of a flat-bed truck.

Button, 27, said: "Although I have been out of the car for a while, I am very pleased with my return to the cockpit and also my fitness level, which I have been working hard on since Christmas."

01/25/07
cc
Stoddart happy with Doornbos debut  Former Minardi F1 Team driver, Robert Doornbos, today successfully completed his first test with Minardi Team USA, and pronounced himself very pleased with both the team and the Champ Car World Series’ new Panoz DP01 chassis. Starting on Tuesday morning, the Dutch driver quickly adapted to the new surroundings, and during the course of the first three practice sessions at Sebring International Raceway, steadily improved his times. By the conclusion of today’s morning session, he had accumulated a total of 80 laps of Sebring’s 1.669-mile short course and achieved a best lap time of 52.575 secs (114.282 mph). More ...
01/25/07
nascar
New Chevy engine approved  Chevrolet's new R07 NASCAR engine is now legal, but Pat Suhy, GM's NASCAR field director, said he doesn't expect to see any large changeover among stock car teams until March. Winston Salem Journal
01/25/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
New Honda, Red Bull, hit test tracks
Heikki was Renault's second choice - Flavio
Alonso must adjust to McLaren - Fisichella
Renault "most likeable" in F1 - Briatore
Renault might use 'Friday' runners in '07
Ralf tips Nick to shine for Germany
Renault staff turned down offers to defect
Renault open to more sponsors
New Aguri passed most FIA tests
Briatore mocks lavish McLaren launch
Ferrari to get '07 head-start - Heikki
Van der Garde to test Aguri next week
Coulthard pans pay-drivers, famous sons
Newey says new Red Bull to resemble McLaren
01/25/07
cc
Seen in Sebring - VI  Wally Dallenbach, Gordon Johncock, Nigel Mansell (and sons Greg and Leo) and Robert Clarke all were spotted in the Champ Car paddock Wednesday checking out the new Champ Cars.

Mansell said, “It’s been more than a dozen years since I raced here but it only takes an instant for all the old feelings to come back,” said Mansell. “It was so good to see the boys at Newman/Haas again and talk with Paul Newman.”

“I talked with Paul and he’s promised to let us (him and his two sons) have a go with one of the cars after the season,” said Mansell.” Photos courtesy of Champ Car

01/24/07
alms
Wallace and Dyson fastest on Wednesday  Andy Wallace really, really likes the Porsche RS Spyder. After Wednesday's third and final session of the third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway, who could blame him? The Englishman's time of 1:46.983 in Dyson Racing's new prototype was the fastest of the day and the best of the week.

Wallace was just good enough to beat out Luis Diaz of Lowe's Fernandez Racing and its Acura-powered Lola B05/40. The first-year American Le Mans Series competitor also set his best time in the day's final session at 1:47.006, just 0.23 seconds behind the veteran Wallace.

"Porsche builds a fantastic car and they have been terrific to work with, as have the people from Penske (Motorsports)," Wallace said. "There has been a tremendous amount of sharing back and forth, and we are very appreciative. We have quite a good repertoire of what the car likes for setup. The track will change of course in March but we can deal with that." More ...

01/24/07
irl
Andretti Green Announces Executive Assignments  Andretti Green announced today it has made additional changes to the commercial side of its Indianapolis-based racing operation.

John Lopes, who joined Andretti Green in 2005 as vice president, has been named chief marketing officer. Lopes, a 17-year veteran of the motorsports industry and native of New Fairfield, Ct., will have an expanded role in all sales, marketing and promotion at Andretti Green Racing and Andretti Green Promotions, which owns the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Lopes' primary focus is business development, including new sponsor acquisition and special projects.

Lopes is a 1985 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and is a 1993 graduate of the Duke University School of Law. Lopes donates much of his personal time to charitable interests, including Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis and Big Brothers Big Sisters. More ...

01/24/07
f1
Renault aims for five F1 street events in 2007  Renault F1 will be sending its road show to five cities in the course of the year ahead with provisional plans for events in Warsaw, Poland; Bucharest, Romania; Dubai, Cape Town, South Africa and Mexico City. The events have been a big success in recent years and help Renault take its F1 success to the people. The car company has much bigger signage on the F1 cars this year but Renault F1 chairman Alain Dassas admits that "some of it is available" if more sponsorship comes along. At the moment Renault has the rear wing and the bargeboards and the front wing endplates are devoid of any signage.
01/24/07
ga
Drivers looking forward to lapping Tony George  Target Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull and Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira were the guests on today's IndyCar Series teleconference. Both discussed the upcoming Open Test at Daytona International Speedway. Meira discussed his preseason preparations, while Hull discussed how his team has prepared to fight for the IndyCar Series title.

Hull was also asked the following question concerning his team's entry in this weekend's Rolex 24 sports car race:

Q. Are you going to give any special handling instructions to Dixon, Wheldon and Mr. Montoya when it comes to passing or overtaking IRL Founder and CEO Tony George?

MIKE HULL: "Oh, boy. (Laughing) Well, I hope we're lucky enough to be able to pass him on the racetrack, as well as lots of other race cars besides his. You know, the whole thing with the 24 hour race is being able to keep track of who is actually in that car when you're coming up in that car. I know in their case they have four drivers and we have three, so it's either three or four for most teams for Daytona.

You know, Mr. George wants to drive in this race. Had a conversation with him about it not too long ago, and he's excited about driving here. So I think Scott and Dan and Juan and everybody else on the track will be excited about racing with him."
01/24/07
TV News
Paul Newman documentary on Biography Channel  The Biography Channel will show a documentary on Paul Newman Thursday night, January 25, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm ET.  Check your local listings for your time zone.
01/24/07
cc
Times come tumbling down in Sebring  As they have done for much of their four years waging war in the Champ Car World Series, Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy led the way in today's second round of Champ Car preseason testing in Sebring.

Bourdais moved to within a second of the unofficial record for the 1.8-mile Sebring International Raceway short course, stopping the clocks at 50.888 seconds (118.071 mph). Bourdais was followed closely by Tracy, who carved out a best time of 50.960 seconds (117.904 mph). The two were the only members of the 15-driver field to break the 51-second barrier on a cloudy Wednesday, although 11 drivers got their new Panoz DP01 chassis under 52 seconds.

Bourdais, who has led each of the first two Sebring test days, suffered problems that held him to 55 laps and forced the Newman/Haas team to go back to Ground Zero this afternoon. More ...

01/24/07
cca
Atlantic Championship Ready for First Open Test of 2007  After a flurry of off-season testing activity, the competitors of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda are anxious to hit the track en masse this weekend at the first of three series open test sessions.

Sebring International Raceway will be the site of the first series-sanctioned open test of 2007 as the challenging bumpy road circuit will host the 300hp Mazda-Cosworth-powered Swift racing machines riding on the new Cooper Atlantic tires this weekend. More than 20 of the Atlantic rockets-in-training are expected to take to the track January 27-28 as the teams prepare for the 34th season of Atlantic racing.

The two-day test session to drop the green flag on 2007 comes after a fall and winter team testing period that brought an all-time high in Atlantic action. Series officials reported that more than 40 drivers tested among 14 different teams in the four-month period between the end of the 2006 season on September 24 and the January 15 cut-off date for teams to conduct individual testing. More ...

01/24/07
cc
Bourdais nips Dominguez in Sebring test  Sebastien Bourdais turned a lap of 51.307s to just nip RuSPORT driver Mario Dominguez (51.318s) and Justin Wilson in Wednesday morning testing at Sebring.  Paul Tracy was 4th. 

Pos Driver Team Lap Time Leader
1 S. Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing 51.307 
2 M. Dominguez RuSPORT 51.318 0.011
3 J. Wilson RuSPORT 51.485 0.178
4 P. Tracy Forsythe Championship Racing 51.517 0.210
5 J. Vasser PKV Racing 51.520 0.213
6 N. Jani PKV Racing 51.533 0.226
7 K. Legge Dale Coyne Racing 51.610 0.303
8 G. Rahal Newman/Haas Racing 51.973 0.666
9 W. Power Team Australia 52.238 0.931
10 A. Tagliani Rocketsports Racing 52.448 1.141
11 R. Doornbos Minardi Team USA 52.575 1.268
12 R. Dalziel Pacific Coast Motorsports 53.217 1.910
13 A. Figge Pacific Coast Motorsports 53.796 2.489
14 B. Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing 53.927 2.620

01/24/07
cc
Seen in Sebring - V  We spoke briefly with both Guy Cosmo and Tonis Kasemets who both desperately want to get into Champ Car but lack the money. Cosmo is still doing some sportscar stuff and Kasemets tells us he will do some SCCA and IMSA Lite racing this year. Both Sperafico brothers are here looking to see if there are any opportunities. Bruno Junqueira was a bit down after being slowest in the morning session. He told us he had downshift problems with the gearbox. Fixes are being made.
01/24/07
cc
f1
Can’t just throw paint at a car  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Renault appears to have suffered an explosion in the paint shop when coming up with their new livery. And to think I was about to suggest that some of the new Champ Car liveries (Forsythe in particular) could do with taking a leaf out of the F1 book and having some proper thought put into them, rather than throwing colors at the chassis and seeing what sticks...Neil Tipton, Hereford, England
01/24/07
cc
Bourdais nips Dominguez in Sebring test  Sebastien Bourdais turned a lap of 51.307s to just nip RuSPORT driver Mario Dominguez (51.318s) and Justin Wilson in Wednesday morning testing at Sebring.  Paul Tracy was 4th.  More to follow....
01/24/07
cc
alms
Seen in Sebring - IV  UPDATE Some photos from Wednesday morning in Sebring:


(L to R) Nicky Pastorelli is fairly confident of landing a Champ Car ride in 2007, he will meet with Paul Gentilozzi today. Bruno Junqueira waits anxiously to get into Dale Coyne's 2nd car. The new external starter assembly used when the car is in the pits. The unit is much smaller than the previous version.



01/24/07 Wednesday morning has dawned overcast but dry so far in Sebring, Florida where the Champ Car and ALMS teams have gathered for preseason testing. There is a slightly greater chance for showers today. Depending on who you talk to the new Panoz Champ Car is 10 pounds lighter or 7 pounds heavier than the overweight Lola it replaces. The goal of making the new car lighter was dealt a setback when the starter, starter battery, and paddle shift system were added. However, everyone feels having theses systems is more important than the car being lighter.

As heavy as it is, the new car should prove to be faster on street circuits where corners are tight because the wheelbase of the new car is some 7 inches less than the Lola. However, on high speed corners like we see on ovals a longer wheelbase is better. Of course Champ Car no longer has ovals on its schedule so a shorter car is good.
01/24/07
TV News
SPEED to air Mario Andretti special  SPEED will air a 30-minute special Feb. 8 at 10 p.m. ET entitled “Mario Andretti – Conversation with a Legend.” The special will air immediately following the inaugural SPEED Performance Awards (9 p.m. ET), where the SPEED Performer of the Year will be presented with the Mario Andretti Trophy, a bronze sculpture by noted artist Elie Hazak.

“What I would like to see as a characteristic of the (SPEED) Performer of the Year is a driver that showed courage … passion … you know, total dedication to what he or she is doing … and performance,” Andretti said. “We’re not talking about luck, because luck is something that you cannot control. But a driver that has shown his or her winning ways … and whether a championship was part of that doesn’t matter … it’s just ultimate performance.”

01/24/07
f1
Renault unveil multicolored livery  (GMM) Renault unveiled a new multi-colored orange, yellow white and dark blue livery on Wednesday as the 'R27' was officially launched in Amsterdam.

Although without Fernando Alonso at the wheel for 2007, the back to back champions insist that - with an evolutionary car - they again aim to be a front runner.

"This is no year of transition for the team," said team principal Flavio Briatore, who has re-signed Alonso's former teammate Giancarlo Fisichella to race alongside rookie Heikki Kovalainen.

Briatore said: "We believe in our choices."
01/24/07
cc
Junqueira to test  Dale Coyne told AutoRacing1.com this morning that he will test Bruno Junqueira in his second Panoz DP01 today in Sebring. "It's just a test for both Katherine Legge and Bruno for now," said Coyne. As for how the new car was Coyne said, "it has been good but Katherine lost almost the entire afternoon session yesterday due to a Hewland electronics problem," that has since been resolved.
01/24/07
f1
Hamilton accepts number-two status  (GMM)  While other teammates tussle for top status, McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton says he accepts that he is Woking's number two.

The 22-year-old is a long tie protégé of team boss Ron Dennis and the reigning GP2 title winner, but he must in 2007 share the silver team with world champion Fernando Alonso.

Briton Hamilton vowed to "learn" from his Spanish stable-mate, who in 2005 and 2006 beat Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher to the crown, rather than put himself under pressure to lead the way.

"I'm just very realistic," he said, explaining that Alonso has an obvious edge due to his age, experience and success.

"It's better to sit back and say okay, he's going to be number one -- he's my benchmark, that's where I have to work to and I have to close that gap.

"Who knows, we might get to the first race and it might be a lot closer than people expect," he added.

Hamilton said he agreed with observers who are giving him only a few months to prove he has winning potential.

"I need to be quick and I need to be on the pace," he acknowledged.  "You can't be in a top team and not produce the goods."

01/24/07
motogp
Rossi on top in Malaysia  MotoGP times from the third and final day of the opening test of 2007, held at Sepang.

1. Valentino Rossi ITA Factory Yamaha Team (M) 2min 0.936 secs
2. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 2min 1.026 secs
3. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 2min 1.274 secs
4. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 2min 1.664 secs
5. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 2min 1.691 secs
6. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 2min 1.878 secs
7. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 2min 1.884 secs
8. Colin Edwards USA Factory Yamaha Team (M) 2min 2.266 secs
9. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 2min 2.407 secs
10. Marco Melandri ITA Gresini Honda (B) 2min 2.489 secs
11. Carlos Checa SPA Honda LCR (M) 2min 2.583 secs
12. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d'Antin MotoG (B) 2min 2.630 secs
13. Toni Elias SPA Gresini Honda (B) 2min 2.927 secs
14. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 2min 3.040 secs
15. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda (M) 2min 3.077 secs
16. Makoto Tamada JPN Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 2min 3.308 secs
17. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 2min 3.330 secs
18. Olivier Jacque FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 2min 3.572 secs
19. Shinichi Ito JPN Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 2min 3.973 secs

01/24/07
nascar
Gibbs struggles with grandson's Leukemia  A 2-year-old grandson of Washington Redskins head coach and Nextel Cup team owner Joe Gibbs has been diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, a development that has been "devastating" to the Hall of Fame coach. According to Gibbs' personal Web site, Zachary Taylor Gibbs -- the son of NASCAR [team] executive J.D. Gibbs -- was ruled to have leukemia two weeks ago. Zachary Taylor has already undergone surgery. "We got the news on Taylor, and it was really devastating to our whole family," Gibbs said on his Web site. "So I've kind of been going through a process here the last two weeks, and I'm probably like a lot of you, this is much more important than winning football games. And winning football games is important. That's the third most important thing in my life. God's first, family and loved ones second and then my occupation third. "So as we struggle with this news with Taylor, we did get a good report this week, and he's had a number of surgeries that he's been through, he's in chemo now, and so we sure appreciate your prayers," Gibbs said. The coach is about to enter the fourth year of a five-year contract, a deal he has vowed to complete, assuming his health holds up. He turned 66 last season and often talked about spending off-season time with his "grandbabies." J.D. Gibbs, his oldest son, serves as president of Joe Gibbs Racing in North Carolina, and Gibbs' other son, Coy, is an offensive quality control coach for the Redskins. Between them, they have six sons and one daughter. On his Web site, Joe Gibbs said that Zachary Taylor's leukemia "kind of threw us all for a loop" and added it "way overshadows anything like our occupation and me winning football games." ESPN.com
01/24/07
nascar
Yeley, Busch lead Busch testing  J.J. Yeley posted the fastest speed in the final Busch Series test session at Daytona International Speedway, drafting to the top of the speed chart Tuesday afternoon with a lap of 187.130 mph.  Yeley, driving the No. 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, and Erik Darnell were the only drivers to top 187 mph Tuesday. Darnell, testing the No. 06 Roush Racing Ford for Mark Martin, had a fast lap of 187.099.

Cale Gale (Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet) was third at 186.924, Carl Edwards (Roush Racing Ford) was fourth at 186.858, with Bill Elliott (Evernham Motorsports Dodge) fifth at 186.749.

Kyle Busch ended the five-day test session with the fastest speed, going 187.919 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. More ...

01/24/07
f1
McLaren to test alone  As Renault prepares to unveil their new car later today, the McLaren Formula One team will be putting their newly launched MP4-22 through its paces at the Valencia circuit in Spain where they will run solo in an exclusive three day session.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso shook down the new car after its official launch last week, and now it’s time to really put the new car through its paces. Together with new teammate Lewis Hamilton, Fernando will be on track for the entire three days, today, tomorrow and Friday, and the Spaniard can’t wait to get to work to ensure that his first year with his new team is all he expects it to be…

"I feel like a little boy with a new toy and it’s a big team. I just need to play with my new toy,” Alonso said. “It' a new era for McLaren team.  To have such a big sponsors for the team, two new drivers, new rules; everything is new we are starting from zero so I am very proud to be part of this new project."

01/24/07
nascar
Harvick calls Theresa Earnhardt a deadbeat  Kevin Harvick knows the odds of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaving the company his father built for the company his father raced for are very long. But Harvick would understand if NASCAR's most popular driver left Dale Earnhardt Inc. for Richard Childress Racing after the 2007 season if contract negotiations broke down. He can't imagine how difficult it is for Earnhardt Jr. to work in a company where the owner, stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, seldom comes to the track. "It's hard when you have what I call a deadbeat owner that doesn't come to the racetrack," Harvick said during Tuesday's visit to RCR on the second day of NASCAR's 2007 media tour. "Richard Childress is one of the best owners in the garage. You always see Richard Childress. You always see Chip Ganassi. All these owners, they all come to the racetrack. It's not just a money pit that somebody says, 'Well, I can make money off of Dale Jr. I can make money off of Dale Earnhardt.' " Harvick, who owns a Busch Series team, said race teams can't be run from home. "You have to be at the racetrack and you have to play the politics of the sport and you have to be a part of your team and you have to understand what's going on," he said. "To me, from the outside looking in, it doesn't look like that's happening."

Earnhardt Jr., at a dinner Monday night in Concord, said, "You're killing me. That's ridiculous," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I don't think there is a comment for that remark." Earnhardt Jr. said with everything his stepmother has dealt with since the death of his father in 2001 on the last lap of the Daytona 500, "she had a full plate. We're successful on the racetrack, the people are in the right place." Earnhardt Jr. said negotiations are ongoing for a contract beyond 2007, and he expects to settle in the next couple of months. ESPN.com

01/24/07
alms
Positives and challenges for ALMS  ALMS President Scott Atherton and Chief Operating Officer Tim Mayer met some of us media in Sebring on Tuesday to talk about the status of the series. Atherton expressed enthusiasm for the new markets ALMS will be entering in 2007 in conjunction with Champ Car and IRL - St. Pete, Long Beach, Detroit and Mid-Ohio. He also pointed out all the new sponsors who have entered the series such as Lowe's, DHL, Hyatt Hotels and XM Satellite Radio.

Their support series like Formula BMW (over 30 cars), Star Mazda (45 cars) and IMSA Lites (as many as 30 cars) are all in very good shape.

There are new teams in the LMP2 and GT2 classes, both of which are flush with cars. However, the LMP1 and GT1 classes remain a struggle with just one manufacturer team in each - Audi in LMP1 and Corvette in GT1. While they are hopeful Aston Martin will be back to take on Corvette, the distinct possibility exists that Audi and Corvette will race themselves for the class wins, not a desirable situation.

The consensus among some is that the factory teams are too strong and that makes privateer teams shy away. We asked Atherton if the ACO rules preclude the ALMS from making a rule banning "Factory Teams" and he responded no there was not, and that they could someday do that, but he underlined that for right now ALMS just wants to stay the course because they feel it is on the right track. They are having dialog with the ACO to address some of these issues.

Another issue was raised about whether ALMS would be viewed as a support series because its race with Champ Car and the IRL run on Saturday, and are not the feature race on Sunday. Tim Mayer went to great lengths to explain why being in those markets are so important and how race promoters want their Saturday event to be as big as their Sunday event. Mark C.
01/24/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Lenovo confirm major Williams deal
Newey admits to pre-launch 'tension'
Shell to set record with F1 advert
Raikkonen to drive 'F2007' next week
Red Bull confirm Oerlikon deal
Monteiro tests Seat touring car
Doornbos to combine F1 with Champ Car in 2007
Aguri not custom team for Sato - manager
Eight teams confirmed for Abu Dhabi event
01/24/07
tv news
ESPN NASCAR coverage to be most technologically advanced in history  NASCAR fans are welcoming back an old friend this year with ESPN’s return to coverage of the sport, but the old friend is going to have a sophisticated new look when live NASCAR coverage resumes next month.

ESPN and ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series will be the most technologically advanced programming in the history of televised motorsports, according to Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer for ESPN.

"ESPN's presentation of NASCAR will be state of the art at every level of production,” said Drake. ”We have built a production plan that will provide a truly exceptional presentation to our viewers." More ...

01/24/07
f1
Lenovo replaces HP at Williams  Chinese computer giant Lenovo Group has announced a sponsorship deal with the Williams F1 team.  The Lenovo name features strongly in Williams' 2007 livery, with logos on the side pods and rear wing.

As the major sponsor of Williams, Lenovo effectively replaces Hewlett Packard.

Having started their backing of Williams in 2000, HP's position changed after Mark Hurd assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer and president. He declared the end of cooperation with Williams in 2005. HP was contributing an annual budget of around 30 million Euros.

01/24/07
cc
New Car, New Colors and a New Attitude for Forsythe  Sebring, Florida - Forsythe Championship Racing and Paul Tracy officially began their hunt for the 2007 Champ Car World Series Championship today by taking part in the first of three days of official testing at Sebring International Raceway.  It was a historic day for the Champ Car World Series as the teams came together for the competitive debut of the brand new Panoz DP01 chassis, designed from the ground up to provide close racing with special aerodynamics intended to reduce downforce disruptions for cars running close together.

For the Forsythe Team the new chassis is not the only change since last year.  Today the team showed off its new colors; a slick blue, white, red and silver livery laid out in premium quality Sherwin-Williams paint that is certain to capture the eye of race attendees and TV viewers around the world. 

The 2006 season proved to be a difficult one for Tracy and the Forsythe Team, but both have worked harder than ever over the winter preparing for this year’s attack.  Tracy has spent his entire off-season training and preparing himself for the 2007 Season, continuing with his strict physical training routine and keeping his driving skills sharp by testing Daytona Prototype cars. Although today was the first time that the Forsythe #3 hit the track this year, the Forsythe Team engineers have already been working on the development on the car for months - a crucial factor due to the limited amount of testing permitted during the pre-season.  Tracy and the Forsythe Team have begun the 2007 season with only one goal in mind, to win the 2007 Vanderbilt Cup. More ...

01/23/07
dakar
2nd bike rider dies in Dakar Rally  UPDATE French motorbike rider Eric Aubijoux was probably the victim of a crash and not a heart attack, organizers of the Dakar Rally have suggested. The 42-year-old died near the end of the 14th stage between Tambacounda and Dakar in Senegal on Saturday. A race spokesman initially said the death was caused by heart failure but it is now thought he died in a crash. "New elements make us think that Eric was a crash victim," race organizer Gilbert Ysern told Sud Ouest newspaper. "The first medical examinations revealed fractures and the local police have already gathered some evidence backing the premise of an accident."

01/20/07 French motorbike rider Eric Aubijoux became the second fatality in this year's Dakar Rally.  The 42-year-old died near the end of the 14th stage between Tambacounda and Dakar in Senegal on Saturday.

A race spokesman said Aubijoux died of heart failure after appearing to faint during the 576km penultimate leg.

"At 15km from the end, he came to a stop after feeling unwell. He then had a seizure and was not able to be revived," said a statement.

"He was a motorcross fanatic who was participating in his sixth Dakar rally in which he had finished in 16th place in 2001."

01/23/07
nascar
Changes Announced for Pit Crew Challenge and All-Star Challenge  CONCORD, N.C. -  Sprint Nextel and NASCAR unveiled several enhancements to the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman and NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge today during the annual media tour.

“We anticipate the excitement will carry through the entire NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge week,” said Dean Kessel, director of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series™ marketing for Sprint Nextel. “We have worked with each of our partners, including NASCAR, SPEED and Lowe’s Motor Speedway, to develop a format that honors the spirit of what the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge activities should be about.”

The NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, slated for May 16 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, will be directly linked to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, as the finishing order in the pit-crew competition will decide the selection order of pit stalls for the May 19 race. The NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, now in its third season, will feature several new competitive elements. More ...

01/23/07
cc
Rocketsports/Tagliani Sebring Testing News  Despite only running 27 laps around the 1.8-mile short course at Sebring International Raceway today in Sebring, Florida, driver Alex Tagliani and the Rocketsports Racing team were able have a good first impression of the new Champ Car DP01 and find exactly what they needed in order for continued success during their three-day run.

"It was a good shakedown with the new DP01 Champ Car for me and the Rocketsports team," said driver Alex Tagliani.  "We did not do many laps today, but we learned a lot and are ready to move forward during the next two days of testing.  What today did show was that the Rocketsports team was well prepared for this test because we went out on track and had no problems.  Overall I feel confident and comfortable because I feel that the team has put together a reliable car.  The DP01 worked perfect and it was a pleasure to drive. More ...

01/23/07
alms
Penske team leads Wednesday times at Sebring  UPDATE #1 Ryan Briscoe hasn't wasted any time acquainting himself with the Porsche RS Spyder. The Australian factory driver set the fastest time in each of Tuesday's two sessions of the American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway.

Announced as a Porsche factory driver two days ago, Briscoe put in the fastest lap of Tuesday's morning session at 1:47.280 in Penske Motorsports' No. 6 LMP2 entry. He lowered that to 1:47.219 in the afternoon period and found himself 0.228 seconds ahead of defending class champion and teammate Sascha Maassen. The two will be sharing the No. 6 prototype for the full season.

"It really is amazing to drive," Briscoe said of the RS Spyder. "I thought it was going to be dramatically different than what I've driven before. It's like an open-wheel car with covers on. It's so quick in the corners."

Porsche actually held the top three positions at the end of the day Tuesday. Dyson Racing's new Porsche RS Spyder, which hit the track for the first time Monday, was just 0.42 seconds off Tuesday's pace with Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson. Wallace posted the team's best lap in each both sessions, and his quickest came in the morning. The three Acura-powered entries were next with the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Lola B05/40 of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz at 1:48.207. More ...
01/23/07
ips
New team joins Indy Pro Series  SpeedWorks LLC, an Indianapolis-based race team, today announced the formation of a new Indy Pro Series team with the intent to compete in the 2007 season that starts March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In launching the team, SpeedWorks acquired the assets of Duesenberg Racing and Dave McMillan Racing, including chassis, equipment and transport vehicles. SpeedWorks LLC is co-owned by two-time Indianapolis 500 championship crew chief Peter Parrott and retired Michigan venture capitalist Hayden Harris.

SpeedWorks' entry in the Indy Pro Series program will bring Parrott and four-time Indy 500 champion Rick Mears together again. Mears serves as the Indy Pro Series' driver coach and Parrott was his crew chief for nine years, which included two "500" victories, two national championships and 23 victories. The Indy Pro Series was founded in 2002 by the Indy Racing League in order to provide young, open-wheel drivers with an established career path to the IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500. More ...
01/23/07
cca
Sherwin-Williams Returns  While the on-track battles were fast and furious in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship last season, some of the most heated competition in the series came among teams vying for the top car design in the Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes “It’s All In the Finish” award. The race to determine which car has the most colorful and creative design in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda is expected to be even more intense in 2007 with a new host of competitors looking to win the individual race and season-long prize.

Continuing to provide service and finishes to all Atlantic teams, Sherwin-Williams – the Official Automotive Finish for both Atlantics and the Champ Car World Series – has refined the “It’s All In the Finish” race and season-ending awards for 2007, upping the cash bonuses that teams can earn for producing top car designs. More ...

01/23/07
lmes
New LMP1 Lola for full 2007 sportscar campaign  Lola Cars International today announce the beginning of a partnership with the Czech Republic based Charouz Racing Systems team for plans to race a B07/10 LMP1 sportscar in this seasons Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 hours in June. The all-new project is scheduled to make its debut at the Paul Ricard test days on March 25. Charouz Racing Systems are one of Europe’s most prolific teams with programs in A1 GP, DTM, and Formula 3000.

Team principal and founder Antonin Charouz has also expressed the teams desire to compete in the final two American Le Mans Series races at Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans event and also at Laguna Seca for the season finale. The Charouz Racing Systems Lola B07/10 will feature new developments on the aerodynamic package and will be powered by a 5.5 liter Judd V10 engine made by Rugby based Engine Developments Ltd.

The car will run with Michelin tires. Jan Charouz, son of Antonin, has been selected as one of the team’s drivers. The 19 year old is the reigning F3000 Masters champion and brings with him good endurance experience already after impressing in last years Spa 24 Hours in a Saleen S7. Partnering Jan could be ex Prost F1 driver Tomas Enge and rising FIA GT star Jarek Janis, both of whom are managed by Antonin Charouz. Lola Cars have been busy over the last six months planning the evolution of the B06/10 that debuted at the Sebring 12 Hours last March. More ...
01/23/07
cc
Bourdais leads practice 2 at Sebring  Katherine Legge ushered in the Panoz DP01 era in Champ Car on a warm day in Sebring, Florida, becoming the first driver to turn a testing lap for a team in a new Panoz DP01 Champ Car.

She was soon joined by 12 other drivers in the first full day of 2007 preseason testing for the Champ Car World Series, but despite all the new drivers, teams, cars and sponsors in the series, the man at the top of the time charts remained the same.

Reigning series champion Sebastien Bourdais took his McDonald’s-sponsored Newman/Haas Racing machine to the top of the charts in the first day of testing, posting a best lap of 51.024 seconds (117.756 mph). His time was more impressive given the fact that it was just one second off the unofficial Champ Car record for the 1.8-mile Sebring short course in what was the first time that any Champ Car team had put their cars on the track since receiving them on December 20. More ...

01/23/07
cc
New Champ Car relatively reliable  So far on the first day of testing of the new Panoz Champ Car the teams have been generally pleased with its reliability. There were a couple of small gearbox leaks, Neel Jani had downshifting issues with the gearbox, and Vasser's car had a front wing problem, but all in all, for a new car the first day has met just about everyone's expectations.
01/23/07
cc
Legge fastest in first Champ Car practice  Katherine Legge emerged as the fastest driver in the first practice session of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car driving for Dale Coyne Racing.  With a new car as the equalizer Legge topped the charts at 51.166s, comfortably ahead of Justin Wilson at 51.426s and Simon Pagenaud at 51.528s.
01/23/07
cc
Champ Car drops Ford and Bridgestone from logo  The Champ Car World Series enters a new era in 2007 with six new venues, a number of new drivers and the brand-new Panoz DP01 chassis. To go along with the new-look series, Champ Car today unveiled its new logo that will be featured prominently on the cars, the driver and official uniforms as well as the new-look television package.

The logo is a sleeker, racier design than that of the past, and features the new DP01 on the right side of the layout. The traditional Champ Car colors of orange, silver and black are featured, and the style of the logo includes a chicane-like quality that stylizes the road and street courses that make up the 2007 Champ Car schedule. More ...

01/23/07
wtcc
Tiago Monteiro to try SEAT WTCC car  While his management team is focused on securing his future in Formula 1 the Portuguese driver accepted this nice invitation from Seat Sport and will try, on Tuesday, a Seat Leon from the WTCC championship at the Spanish track of Valencia.

The idea came from Paulo Ferreira (co-promoter of the WTCC race of Oporto) and Jaime Puig (Seat Sport Team Manager).

"As a professional driver, I am always interested in trying new cars and different factory teams competing in world championships. It's a new experience for me, but I heard a lot of good things about the car and championship, and because I still don't have any contractual restrictions I thought it was a good timing."

Paulo Ferreira is the co-promoter of the Portuguese event of the championship and is obviously very interested in possibly having a Portuguese driver in the world championship.

01/23/07
nascar
Kyle Petty lands sponsorship  Marathon Oil Corp. today announced a two-year contract with Petty Enterprises to sponsor the team's No. 45 Dodge for owner/driver Kyle Petty.  The deal calls for primary sponsorship in 14 NASCAR Nextel Cup races for what the company is calling the Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge.  "Continuing to partner with the legendary Richard Petty and his race team brings a great deal of added value to Marathon's NASCAR sponsorship," said Mary Ellen Peters, MPC senior vice president, marketing. "During the 2006 season, Kyle Petty had a series of top-25 finishes. He ended the season solidly in the top 35 in owner's points. We are really excited about the sponsorship, and we are looking forward to the upcoming season."
01/23/07
f1
Kimi completes first day with Ferrari  First day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working as from today at Vallelunga's "Piero Taruffi" circuit. Today Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa took to the track and for the Finn this marked his debut at the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car, as he drove the 248 F1, while his Brazilian team-mate was entrusted with the F2007.

The day's technical program comprised of Kimi getting to know the car, while Felipe concentrated on development of the new car. The day in figures is as follows: 74 laps for Felipe (best time 1'14''493) and 39 for Kimi (1'15''226.) Massa and Raikkonen continue testing at this circuit tomorrow.

01/23/07
f1
Red Bull Announce Oerlikon  Red Bull Racing announced a new partnership agreement with Swiss technology company, Oerlikon.  At their "Hangar-7" facility next to Salzburg Airport, Red Bull Racing today announced a new partnership with Swiss technology company Oerlikon.

Oerlikon is a globally leading company in the field of thin film, vacuum and precision technology. Based on these core competencies, Oerlikon develops production systems, components, and services for high-technology products. The company's commercial activities center on protective coatings for precision tools and components, production equipment and coating processes for solar modules, as well as production systems for data storage devices, systems for producing vacuums and conveying process gases, optical components, aerospace technology and outsourcing. Oerlikon also applies its core competencies as a major provider of semiconductor technology.

The company has over 6,000 employees and operates from 32 locations worldwide.

01/23/07
tv news
SPEED to Air New Zealand A1GP Action  Round 6 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted last Sunday at the brand-new Taupo Motorsports Park in New Zealand, will be broadcast on SPEED on Wednesday 24th January at 4pm EST.

The 3.5km North Island track suited A1 Team Canada's James Hinchcliffe (20) as the Toronto rookie heralded his return to competition, following a two race absence while Vancouver's Sean McIntosh raced for the team, by picking up a pair of top-six finishes on Sunday. More ...

01/23/07
cc
First photos from Sebring  UPDATE Our photo page has been updated with our second batch of photos from Sebring testing.

01/23/07 We have assembled our first batch of photos from the Champ Car paddock Tuesday morning as the teams prepare the new Panoz DP01 for its first on-track test.  We will update our Sebring photo page throughout the day.
01/23/07
alms
Rahal team inks deal with Bell Micro  HILLIARD, Ohio – Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) announced today a partnership with Bell Microproducts, a value-added distributor of a wide range of high-tech products, solutions and services, as the principal sponsor of its 2007 American Le Mans Series GT2 entry.  RLR’s Bell Microproducts Porsche GT2 entry will make its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, and will be piloted by veteran sports car drivers Ralf Kelleners and Tom Milner.

Bell Microproducts, of San Jose, California was founded in 1988 and has forged a position as one of the world’s largest value-added distributors of storage and computing technology. Recognized world wide as an industry leader, Bell Microproducts celebrated a significant corporate milestone when it sold its 50 millionth hard disk drive last month. More ...

01/23/07
cc
Tracy happy with new Champ Car  Paul Tracy told AutoRacing1.com that his initial impressions of the new Champ Car are good after his first hot laps at Sebring Tuesday morning.

"We only ran four fast laps so far and we are already down into the 52 second bracket. The car feels like a Champ Car but the steering is a bit lighter than the Lola was. A really good lap here at Sebring is in the 49 second bracket. We still do not know what this car likes yet - the springs, shocks, wing angles - so we do not know yet how fast we can go with it."
01/23/07
cc
Seen in Sebring - III  Still looking for rides in the Sebring Champ Car paddock today are Bruno Junqueira, Jan Heylen, Ronnie Bremer and Oriol Servia - we will have photos soon. With a race in Belgium this year Jan Heylen appears the most optimistic of finding a ride and we spotted him in deep discussions with Dale Coyne. Oriol Servia is hanging around PKV who have set up an impressive array of computers and engineers to learn all they can about the new car before the season opener.
01/23/07
cca
Carrio to drive for Genoa Racing  Genoa Racing announced today that 2006 Star Mazda Champion, Adrian Carrio, will pilot the #17 entry in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

While most people spend their 18th birthday with friends, enjoying the moment, for Adrian “Ace” Carrio it was a chance to show his commitment to racing. He spent his birthday at the Genoa Racing shop in Indianapolis, touring the facility and meeting team personnel. He signed an agreement that will see him run his rookie Champ Car Atlantic campaign with the newly re-formed team. Carrio comes to Genoa Racing hot on the heels of an impressive sophomore season in the hotly-contested Star Mazda Championship. Driving the Rockford Fosgate Mazda for World Speed Motorsports, “Ace” won two races, claimed six poles, as well as eight podium finishes en route to winning the title. More ...

01/23/07
cc
Seen in Sebring - II  UPDATE Correction: Robert Doornbos will drive the Minardi car today and tomorrow and Philippe will be in the car on Thursday.

01/23/07 So far this morning the Champ Car test driver lineup is:

PCM: Dalziel and Figge
Minardi: Philippe today and Doornbos tomorrow
PKV: Vasser and Jani
Team Australia: Pagenaud today then Power next two days
RuSPORT: Wilson and Dominguez
Newman/Haas: Bourdais and Rahal
Rocketsports: Tagliani
Coyne: Legge
Forsythe: Tracy

01/23/07
motogp
Repsol Honda Team - Sepang Test Day 2  Repsol riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa both improved their lap times at Sepang today as the first of the year’s three-day MotoGP test sessions continued at the 5.548 km (3.447 miles) Malaysian venue. The factory Honda riders worked through an extensive programme of tests aimed at further developing the prototype RC212V that will campaign the 2007 season.

World Champion Nicky Hayden tried various combinations of front tire constructions and fork settings today, honing the feel from the new 800cc machine. His team also worked through some fuel injection options as they tailored the power delivery for the demanding Sepang lap. The 25-year-old American set a best lap of 2m.02.948s today, the first time the new RC212V has dipped below the 2m 03s mark here, and an improvement of 0.465s over Hayden’s best yesterday. More ...

01/23/07
motogp
Tuesday test times from Sepang  MotoGP times from day two of the opening test of 2007, held at Sepang and attended by Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki and Kawasaki teams.  Testing concludes on Wednesday...

1. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 2min 1.806 secs
2. Colin Edwards USA Factory Yamaha Team (M) 2min 1.930 secs
3. Chris Vermulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 2min 2.275 secs
4. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 2min 2.538 secs
5. Valentino Rossi ITA Factory Yamaha Team (M) 2min 2.619 secs
6. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 2min 2.793 secs
7. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 2min 2.806 secs
8. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 2min 2.948 secs
9. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 2min 3.098 secs
10. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 2min 3.190 secs
11. Marco Melandri ITA Gresini Honda (B) 2min 3.253 secs
12. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda (M) 2min 3.633 secs
13. Carlos Checa SPA Honda LCR (M) 2min 3.681 secs
14. Shinichi Ito JPN Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 2min 3.700 secs
15. Kenny Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 2min 3.800 secs
16. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 2min 3.895 secs
17. Toni Elias SPA Gresini Honda (B) 2min 4.124 secs
18. Olivier Jacque FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 2min 4.171 secs
19. Makoto Tamada JBR Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 2min 4.350 secs
20. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 2min 4.892 secs

01/23/07
cc
Conquest Racing sits out first test  As we first reported days ago, the Conquest Racing Champ Car Team announced this morning that it will not be making the trip to Sebring, Florida to take part in the first Open-Test of the season that gets underway today. Despite the team’s newly acquired Panoz DP01 being ready to take to the track and the crew members eager to see it run its first laps, the team is still negotiating with corporate sponsors. Team Owner Eric Bachelart says everything should hopefully be finalized in time for the next Open-Test which takes place at MSR Houston February 12-13. Further announcements regarding the Conquest Champ Car team will be made within the next couple of weeks. Conquest Racing PR [Editor's Note: Note the absence of Mi-Jack in the team name. Recall our rumor last year that Mi-Jack may be getting involved with Newman/Haas and they are with their NASCAR Busch deal. It remains to be seen whether they are also involved with Graham Rahal as we rumored last year.]
01/23/07
track news
Gulf Air increases BIC involvement  Gulf Air, the title sponsor of the Bahrain Grand Prix, has also become one of the full-time commercial partners of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).  Both the BIC and Gulf Air are controlled by government-owned companies.
01/23/07
nascar
Police nail drunken NASCAR star  Two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. was charged with disorderly intoxication after an officer saw him urinating in a parking garage, authorities said.
A Volusia County Beach Patrol officer observed Truex, 26, urinating on his own car Saturday morning, according to a police report. Capt. Rich Gardner approached Truex and said, "I hope that's worth 100 bucks," the report said.

According to Gardner, Truex responded with, "It is worth 100 bucks," and he held out a $100 bill.

"I got a ticket for doing something stupid," Truex told The Daytona Beach News-Journal on Monday.

"It was a stupid mistake and I'll never do it again."

Gardner repeatedly asked Truex to place his hands behind his back so he could handcuff him before Truex agreed, according to the report. Gardner smelled alcohol on Truex's breath and charged him with disorderly intoxication.  Sportsline.com

01/23/07
cc
alms
Seen in Sebring - 1  After overnight showers Tuesday morning has dawned with heavy overcast skies and temperature in the 60s.  The forecast is for a mostly cloudy day with a 10% chance of rain as the Champ Car and ALMS teams get ready to take to the track.  For the Champ Car teams it means the debut of their new Panoz DP01 and everyone is here to see if there are any technical problems before really turning some fast times as the week progresses.  ALMS is off first at 8:00 AM followed by Champ Car at 10:45 AM to 1:45 PM and again from 4:15 PM to 5:30 PM.  AutoRacing1.com will have all the news for you throughout the day.
01/23/07
f1
Raikkonen makes Ferrari debut near Rome  (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen on Tuesday made his debut at the wheel of a Ferrari.

The 27-year-old Finn, who has replaced the retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, exited a slightly damp pitlane at Vallelunga in last year's '248' single seater.

His 2006-liveried car was fitted with intermediate tires for the installation laps, after the planned Mugello test was called off due to the forecast of likely snow.

At the circuit near Rome, Raikkonen also debuted a new helmet livery following his five year tenure at McLaren. With its strong predominance of white, the paint job invoked memories of Schumacher before the German changed to a red livery.

Felipe Massa also circulated the Vallelunga layout, in the new F2007. Raikkonen will drive the year-old car for the entire three day test.

01/23/07
Racing News
USA sponsorship spending to rise  US companies plan to spend $14.9 billion on sponsorships this year, up 11.7 per cent from $13.4 billion in 2006, according to the IEG Sponsorship Report.

This follows a 10.5 per cent increase in sponsorship spend from 2005 to 2006. The predicted 2007 increase is expected to outpace traditional media growth and IEG expects sports sponsorships to hit $9.9 billion in 2007, up 10.8 per cent from $8.64 billion in 2006.

IEG says that global sponsorship spend is also on the increase, predicting it will reach $37.7 billion in 2007, up 11.9 percent from $33.7 billion in 2006. European companies are expected to increase sponsorship spending by 11.6 percent to $10.6 billion in 2007, up from $9.5 billion in 2006.

Asia Pacific companies are expected to spend 15.6 percent more, from $6.4 billion in 2006 to $7.4 billion in 2007. Central and South American companies combined are expected to spend 11.1 percent more, from $2.7 billion in 2006 to $3 billion in 2007. All other regions are predicted to increase sponsorship spending by 5.9 percent, from $1.7 billion in 2006 to $1.8 billion in 2007.

01/23/07
Industry News
Cosworth announces special Nissan blocks  
Nissan VQ35DE (350Z-G35) High Performance Short Block 3.5L
The Cosworth VQ35DE high performance short block is the perfect foundation for your high performance application. Each High Performance Short Block is hand assembled by one of Cosworth’s skilled engine builders to exact specifications utilizing all new components and is available in either high compression 11:1 or low compression 8.8:1 for turbo or supercharged applications. To ensure smooth operation throughout the entire RPM range, each rotating assembly is carefully balanced, an essential requirement for high performance VQ35s. Additionally, comprehensive build sheet listing all critical dimensions is included. Use with our CNC ported Big Valve Cylinder Heads for maximum reliable performance.

Each short block features:
• Cosworth Forged Pistons (95.5mm)
• Cosworth Forged H Beam Connecting Rods
• New Nissan Forged Crankshaft (81.4mm)
• Cosworth High performance Rod and Main Bearings
• Cosworth High Performance Main Bearing studs
• New Nissan VQ35 Alloy Block
• Complete balancing of rotating assembly
• Cosworth serial number

Part #20000067 Nissan VQ35 Short Block (3.5L) Lo comp 8.8:1
Part #CI8019 Nissan VQ35 Short Block (3.5L) Hi comp 11:1 Cosworth

01/23/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
Manager vows to improve Ralf's image
Jani, Briscoe, ink non-F1 deals for 2007
GP driver de Graffenried dies at 92
New Barcelona layout, GP sponsor, revealed
Williams retain sponsors for 2007
F1's Prodrive names commercial director
FIA bans driver for cocaine use
'07 Aguri fails crash test
Spyker to run new car on 6 February
Webber surprised by Red Bull call-up
01/22/07
alms
Penske Porsches lead first day at Sebring test  Penske Motorsports and Porsche finished atop the timing sheets after the first day of the American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway on Monday, besting last year’s qualifying pace by more than a half second.

The team’s No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder put in 39 laps during the afternoon’s four-hour session, the best time a 1:47.228 effort. Penske driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves got most of the work following the announcement that he will join Porsche factory drivers Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard for the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.

“It’s a great car and a great team,” Castroneves said. “This really is a tremendous experience for me. This type of racing is not just about being fast; you have to be consistent as well. When Penske decided to give me this opportunity, I was very excited.” More ...

01/22/07
f1
Super Aguri fails test, delays launch  The Super Aguri team met their latest embarrassment having failed their first crash test with the new car and being forced to delay the launch of their 2007 challenger.
01/22/07
nascar
Wood tops rain shortened testing  Jon Wood topped the rain-shortened Busch Series test session at Daytona International Speedway Monday afternoon.  Wood, in his Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, turned a lap of 185.866 mph to lead the session. Rain cancelled the afternoon run after about an hour.  Carl Edwards was second-fastest in his Roush Racing Ford, posting a lap of 185.670.
01/22/07
nascar
Yeley to drive Busch for Phoenix  J.J. Yeley wanted a shot at the Busch Series championship this year, so he has undertaken an audacious task for the 2007 season. Yeley, who is best known as the Nextel Cup driver of Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 car, will also race a full Busch Series schedule as a driver for Phoenix Racing.

Yeley, who raced a partial schedule last season for Gibbs' No. 18 Busch team, is one of only a handful of drivers planning on running a full schedule for both racing series.

"I'm really excited about it because it gives me another op to run for the Busch championship," Yeley said Friday from Phoenix Racing's Spartanburg garage. "The way I look at it, if you're going to take that much time and dedication to run two-thirds of the races, it's not that much more to try to do all of them." More ...

01/22/07
cc
ga
Tagliani looking forward to Mustang GT debut  Champ Car pilot Alex Tagliani is looking forward to a busy 2007 season, which he will kick off with his debut run in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 27-8. Tagliani has signed with Blackforest Motorsports to run a select 2007 schedule co-driving with Tom Nastasi in the new Ford Mustang Cobra GT in the GT class of Rolex Sports Car Series competition.
 
The 45th running of the Rolex 24 has once again brought out a roster of all-stars and champions from across the sport, and with the Fox Channel carrying the opening ninety minutes of live coverage into over 111 million homes, the race is expected to reach the largest audience in its history.
 
Tagliani will have his work cut out for him, as the sole Mustang Cobra GT entry will carry the flag for Ford against 40 other GT-class entries while also sharing the track with nearly 30 Daytona Prototypes. The new Mustang Cobra GT has shown well in early pre-season testing, consistently posting times in the top five of the ultra-competitive class, and even though the 2007 24 will be his first, Tagliani knows that outright speed rarely wins this race. More ...
01/22/07
irl
IRL announces rules changes for 2007  The 2007 Drive for Diversity class was unveiled Monday, a seven-driver group that will compete in both the NASCAR Grand National Division and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

In addition to its switch to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol, a motorsports first, IndyCar Series officials announced several technical and administrative changes to the rules that will govern the 2007 IndyCar Series season.

“Though they are not dramatic, the changes made for 2007 are necessary as our drivers and teams face the most diverse schedule in racing,” said Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series. “The changes will enhance an already extremely competitive race product.”

Several technical changes have been made in an effort to further contain costs and increase the safety of IndyCar Series cars. More ...

01/22/07
nascar
2007 Drive For Diversity lineup  This marks the first year the Drive for Diversity program will advance multiple drivers to the Grand National level.

“We are thrilled not only with the driver lineup for 2007, but for the advancements the program has made in its three years,” said Greg Calhoun, chief executive officer of Access Marketing & Communications, which runs the Drive for Diversity program. “The program’s expansion into the NASCAR Grand National Division will give these talented young drivers an excellent platform in which to develop their skills and display their talents.”

The Drive for Diversity program is entering its fourth season as NASCAR’s leading on-track initiative. The program is designed to give minority and female drivers an opportunity to compete with established teams in NASCAR’s grassroots series. In each of the first three years of the program, the drivers selected raced in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, formerly the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. In 2007 four drivers will compete in the NASCAR Grand National Division – two in the Busch East Series and two in the West Series – and three drivers will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. More ...

01/22/07
nascar
NASCAR provides COT update  The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) provided the latest round of updates Monday on its heralded Car of Tomorrow project, which is slated for a March debut at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., the Car of Tomorrow was built primarily with safety in mind. During the development process, NASCAR also discovered ways in which the Car of Tomorrow could improve competition and enable teams to be more cost-efficient.

“The Car of Tomorrow will alter the competitive landscape of NASCAR in a very positive way,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “We believe the drivers will be safer than ever; we believe the racing will be better than ever; and we believe the Car of Tomorrow will help control costs over the long haul.” More ...

01/22/07
nascar
NASCAR makes changes to Chase  Race victories will become more important than ever in 2007 as a result of adjustments to the points system and the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup format announced today by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).

The adjustments are designed to establish more balance between winning and consistency, but there is a new emphasis on the former.

“The adjustments taken today put a greater emphasis on winning races,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Winning is what this sport is all about. Nobody likes to see drivers content to finish in the top 10. We want our sport – especially during the Chase – to be more about winning.” More ...

01/22/07
cc
Dominguez to drive RuSPORT car  RuSPORT is pleased to welcome Mario Dominguez to the team for the first test of the 2007 season at Sebring, Florida, where both Dominguez and the Panoz DP01 will debut with the team.  2007 will be the sixth year behind the wheel of a Champ Car for the Mexico City native and RuSPORT is excited to get a close up look at Mario’s skills.

“I’m pleased that it worked out for me to drive the 10 car for the initial Panoz DP01 test,” said Dominguez.  “I had spoken with RuSPORT late in 2006 and this chance to work with the team is a great opportunity for me.  I am looking forward to getting to know the Panoz and helping the team develop this great new package that has been designed exclusively for Champ Car.”

“Mario’s expertise and understanding of Champ Car is a great asset to RuSPORT at a time when we are starting fresh with the DP01,” said Dan Pettit, RuSPORT team owner. “I have watched Mario drive for many years now and he is always a good competitor and offers the fans a great show. More ...

01/22/07
alms
Fernandez tops morning test times  The day’s second four-hour session of the American Le Mans Series Winter Test is underway at Sebring. The morning session ended under cloudy skies and winds that eventually led to a brief shower. Cars are on the track and will continue into the afternoon to close out the first day.

Only nine of the 16 cars on track recorded times. The Acura-powered Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Lola B05/40 led the cars that posted times at 1:50.156. The No. 15 car of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz turned 18 laps, most of the recorded cars. Next quickest was Intersport Racing’s AER-powered Lola of Clint and Jon Field and Richard Berry.

Defending GT2 race winner Panoz was quickest in class. The Yokohama-liveried Panoz Esperante GTLM is being fielded this year by Panoz Team PTG. Team drivers Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand were in the No. 21 entry, which turned in a time of 2:04.423. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ two Porsche Type 997 RSRs were second and third with the No. 45 entry driven by Johannes van Overbeek less than 0.2 seconds behind the lead Panoz. More ...

01/22/07
cc
Next marketing expands into Charlotte  Next Marketing announced that Brian Barr has joined the agency as Vice President of Business Development and in doing so will establish a presence in Charlotte, NC.  Barr, who most recently served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Robby Gordon Motorsports, will be based in Mooresville, NC which is a first for Atlanta-based Next Marketing.

A veteran motorsports marketing executive with experience on the team, agency, sponsor and sanctioning body levels, Barr has a track record of developing successful new business partnerships.  Barr’s professional career includes positions with NASCAR’s New York-based Partnership Marketing Group, national sales and marketing positions with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons as well as executive positions with agencies Gravity Television and Marketing and Keystone Marketing Company.

“Brian’s diverse marketing experience gives him a unique perspective that will immediately benefit Next Marketing and our client partners,” said Next Marketing’s president, Henry Rischitelli.  “The addition of an executive of Brian’s caliber is the further validation of Next Marketing’s leadership position in the sports, mobile and event marketing sectors.”   

The addition of Barr caps the most successful 12-month period in Next Marketing’s 13 year history during which the agency grew its staff by more than 30%, was ranked as one of the Top 20 Sports Marketing Agencies by Sports Business Journal, named exclusive worldwide sales agent for the Champ Car World Series and gained a number of new client accounts including The Principal Financial Group, LoJack, National Beverage and Plantronics.

01/22/07
cc
Macau surpasses Las Vegas  With Champ Car now racing in both Las Vegas and Zhuhai (which is a 10 min. ride to adjacent Macau) this story has some significance in that it underscores just how important, and potentially big, the Chinese market is. Vegas is big, but Macau takes in more money. We're sure that the Zhuhai promoter will be tapping into the casino industry with its race just like the Las Vegas race promoter is doing.

What happens in Vegas now happens in Macau. The former Portuguese colony, once a seedy sideshow to nearby Hong Kong, has overtaken Las Vegas as the world's No. 1 gambling market. From January through November, Macau casinos took in $6.485 billion from slots and table games, beating the Vegas' $6.079 billion, according to Macau's Statistics and Census Service and the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Full 2006 numbers won't be out for weeks, but Kareem Jalal, editor of Inside Asian Gaming, says Macau probably widened its lead in December.

Macau draws millions of visitors from mainland China, a booming economy with a population of 1.3 billion people, who can't legally bet at home. "Anything that's prohibited is interesting," says factory manager Loh Jian-ping, visiting from the Chinese city of Guangzhou, before heading into a casino. More at USA Today

Related Article: The biggest gamblers in Macau aren't the guys lining up at the blackjack tables and slot machines. They're the casino and hotel owners betting billions that they can transform this backwater on the edge of the Chinese mainland into the Las Vegas of the East.

Already, Macau is overtaking the Vegas strip as the world's top gambling market. But such casino impresarios as Sheldon Adelson of Sands Las Vegas and Stephen Wynn of Las Vegas' Wynn Resorts have grander ideas: They're working on a makeover that will turn the former Portuguese colony and city of 450,000 into Asia's premier tourist destination and erase memories of the city's tawdry and sleepy past.

"If Macau wants to change its international image — which has been a small, sleazy gambling place — you have to offer more than baccarat," says Paulo Azevedo, executive director of Macau Business magazine. "You need shopping centers, you need big shows, you need big retailing, you need a variety of restaurants." More at USA Today

01/22/07
motogp
MotoGP Malaysia: Suzuki team 1-2, Honda report  The Repsol Honda Team began their 2007 world championship campaign today at the Sepang circuit as almost the entire MotoGP field reassembled following the winter testing ban. Bidding to repeat their spectacular successes of 2006 the new World Champion Nicky Hayden and his team-mate Dani Pedrosa resumed testing of the RC212V at the challenging 5.548 km (3.447 miles) Malaysian track.

This was Hayden's first outing on a MotoGP bike since his successful shoulder operation on November 30 and the 25-year-old American immediately set an impressive pace. With an early lap time of 2m 03.413s, Hayden was almost able to match his best lap of 2m 03.300s recorded at the last three-day test here in November. It proved to be the fastest time of the morning and enabled Hayden to finish the day as the fastest Honda rider.

Though a little frustrated not to improve in the 30-degree heat of the afternoon, Hayden remained upbeat about the likelihood of further progress tomorrow.

21-year-old Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was riding the RC212V for the first time at Sepang, having missed the November test here, and so methodically eased himself back onto the pace. The 2006 MotoGP Rookie of the Year finished the day just over 0.2s behind Hayden with a lap time of 2m 03.620s as he adapted to the different techniques required to get the best out of the 800cc RC212V. More ...

01/22/07
f1
Telefonica moves sponsorship to Spanish GP  Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica has not extended its sponsorship with the Renault F1 team. A spokesperson at Telefonica confirmed they will not continue their sponsorship but instead become the Spanish Grand Prix main sponsor.

A Telefonica spokesperson told F1Racing.net: "It is indeed correct that we will not carry on our sponsorship with the Renault F1 team. We will however remain linked with Formula 1 as we will for example be the main sponsor of the Spanish Grand Prix this season."

01/22/07
cc
cca
Champ Car teams prepare for Sebring test  UPDATE #3 This week marks the beginning of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season as the first of three Champ Car Open-Tests gets underway and Rocketsports Racing heads down to Sebring, Florida to participate in the three-day test with the new Champ Car Panoz DP01.

While the team took delivery just days before Christmas, the team had just about three weeks to get ready for the test with their new DP01 racecar.  The truck left the East Lansing-based shop on Saturday, in preparations for running one car on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at Sebring International Roadway.  After being in the shop for seat fittings, Champ Car veteran Alex Tagliani will be climbing into the cockpit as the driver for the three-day test with Rocketsports.

On track activities begin on Tuesday morning at 10:45 a.m. CST, with a session lasting until 1:45 p.m.  The Champ Cars, who will be sharing testing time with the ALMS series, will return out on track for another session from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.  Wednesday schedule will see the Champ Car's on track from 9:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.  The ALMS cars will not be running on Thursday, giving the Champ Car's the entire day to run from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Rocketsports PR

01/21/07 Eric Bachelart's Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team will not test in Sebring with the Panoz this coming week. The car is finished and ready to go but they have not finalized their commercial partners yet.  They are hoping to be in Houston in February.  And Dale Coyne did confirm to us today that they will test Legge at Sebring this week and hope to add a 2nd driver before the end of the third day.

01/20/07 We hear Katherine Legge will test for Dale Coyne at Sebring, but it's more of a favor to get her seat time in the new car and it does not mean she will drive for Coyne. More ...
01/22/07
Miscellaneous
Detroit Auto show attendance drops again  Attendance was down for the fourth consecutive year at the North American International Auto Show, which concluded Sunday.

By Sunday, 705,226 people had attended the 2007 show during the time the show was open to the press, industry and public. Sunday's attendance of 88,647 was not enough to push the overall figure over last year's show, which drew 759,310 visitors. In 2003, the show broke records with 838,000 people.

Even though attendance was down slightly, the number of people who came to the auto show suggested that people still believe in Detroit's auto industry, said John Bonapace of Grosse Pointe Woods.

"People still have hope," said Bonapace, who works at Sun Microsystems. "People are always going to maintain hope. That's what Michigan is all about. As bleak as it is, tomorrow is another day."  More at Detroit News

01/22/07
miscellaneous
800-horsepower Shelby Cobra sells for $5.5M  An 800-horsepower Shelby Cobra, once the personal car of the racing veteran who developed the iconic sports car, has sold for $5.5 million at auction, a record for an American car.

The sale of the 1966 Shelby Cobra “Super Snake” brought a packed house to its feet Saturday at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction after a pair of bidders drove the price up. Carroll Shelby, 84, who created the Cobra in the ’60s using Ford engines and a British sport car chassis, said he built the Super Snake — with twin superchargers on a 427 cubic inch V-8 — and drove it for years.

“It’s a special car. It would do just over three seconds to 60 (mph), 40 years ago,” Shelby told the crowd before the sale.

“I killed a buzzard with it,” he said. “Nasty, nasty.”

01/22/07
cc
CDW gets it  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, As you say, CDW "gets it" when it comes to making their Champ Car sponsorship work.  I ordered one PC from CDW several months ago.  Along with the PC, I got a follow-up phone call from an actual person making sure that the computer was received and was working, plus a brochure that described CDW and their services.  Guess what was on the front cover and the inside front cover?  The CDW Champ Car and Justin Wilson!  Way to go, CDW!
 
By the way, I've found CDW to be a great company to deal with.  Of course, I let them know that I bought from them because they sponsor a Champ Car.  Beyond that, their shipping is extremely fast (if I order by 4:00 PM CST, they ship the same day), and their follow-up customer care is the best I've seen.  Alan Saliwanchik

01/22/07
cc
Wilson re-signs with RuSPORT  UPDATE Loveland, CO, – RuSPORT is delighted to welcome back Justin Wilson and title sponsor, CDW, as they look to take the No. 9 car to a championship finish in 2007.  RuSPORT has signed Wilson to a multi year contract and is looking forward to a very competitive future with CDW and other team sponsors.  With the introduction of the new Panoz DP01 chassis and new team owner, Dan Pettit, Wilson is excited about his opportunity to compete for the Champ Car World Series Championship. 

"I'm delighted to continue my relationship with RuSPORT and CDW,” said Justin. “CDW and their partners are fantastic sponsors and the RuSPORT team is hugely talented.  It's been a great combination and we have big ambitions for the future.  Continuity counts for a lot in motorsport and this extension will allow me to focus 100 percent on getting the most out of the new DP01 and come out fighting for the 2007 championship."

“We are absolutely delighted to have Justin driving the No. 9 CDW/RuSPORT car for us this year,” said Dan Pettit, RuSPORT team owner.  “He is a valuable asset and as a team, we look forward to taking him to the top of the podium. Justin is a unifying presence here at RuSPORT and his dedication and work ethic make him a true champion.”

“The CDW family is excited that Justin will remain behind the wheel of the No. 9 CDW/RuSPORT car for the 2007 Champ Car World Series,” said Mark J. Gambill, Vice President, Marketing, CDW. “Justin has shown himself to be a fierce competitor and true gentleman both on and off the track. Together RuSPORT and CDW make a winning team of racing and technology.”

In 2006, Wilson placed second in the Vanderbilt Cup standings and is aiming to capture the coveted trophy in 2007.  He completed the season with eleven top-ten finishes, seven podium finishes, two pole awards, a win in Edmonton and was awarded the Greg Moore Legacy award that honors a driver’s success and sportsmanship both on and off the track. 

RuSPORT looks forward to the first Champ Car series test of the new Panoz DP01 chassis in Sebring, Florida on January 23 – 25, 2007, leading to the first race of the Champ Car World Series 2007 season on the Streets of Las Vegas, Sunday, April 8th, 2007.  Las Vegas kicks off an exciting 17 race season of the Champ Car World Series.  RuSPORT PR

01/22/07 Justin Wilson has re-signed with the RuSPORT Champ Car team and will be announced today according to a report on autosport.com.  We had this as 'fact' on our Champ Car Silly Season page a month ago. 

New RuSPORT team owner Dan Pettit commented to autosport.com: "We are absolutely delighted to have Justin driving the No. 9 CDW/RuSPORT car for us this year. He is a valuable asset and as a team, we look forward to taking him to the top of the podium.  Justin is a unifying presence here at RuSPORT and his dedication and work ethic make him a true champion."

01/22/07
nascar
NASCAR.COM Relaunches with New Look  Turner Sports New Media and NASCAR announced plans today for two innovative online initiatives designed to enhance the interactive experience for one of the top sports league Web sites on the Internet.  On Thursday, February 1, NASCAR.COM will relaunch with a new look and cutting-edge features.  The redesign marks the first since 2002.  Exclusive features will include TrackPass RaceView, a 3-D application that features animation similar to that of popular sports video games, which is the ultimate way for fans to follow their favorite NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver during a race.  The redesign also marks the launch of the Infield Community on NASCAR.COM, a unique online social gathering space for NASCAR fans to interact.

“NASCAR.COM has broadened offerings and services, as well as enhanced consumer applications to add a new dimension of interactivity that brings fans closer to the race action on the track.  In addition, the TrackPass Scanner product has been significantly improved to include access to more in-car audio feeds so every fan can experience a greater number of live in-car communications,” said Lenny Daniels, senior vice president of production and new media, Turner Sports.  “We're proud to continue to lead the charge in providing cutting-edge technology products, such as TrackPass RaceView, to race fans and give them better access to all things NASCAR.  NASCAR.COM prides itself on being innovative, and as a partner in the sport we will continue to lead the way in providing the most ground-breaking and technologically advanced products and services.”  More ...

01/22/07
alms
ALMS cars on track in Sebring  The American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring has officially started. The first few cars are on the track to start the three-day session. The action will pick up as the day goes on. Here are a couple of pre-test notes until the first times come in.
  • Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace have their names on the No. 16 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder. The full lineup will be at Sebring though. Butch Leitzinger is expected in later today with Guy Smith scheduled to arrive tomorrow. “Everyone wants to see the new toy,” team manager Randall Kelsey said. “We can’t keep them away.”
  • Intersport Racing will be using this week for a second round of tire tests with new partner Kumho. The team made the switch about a month ago and noticed immediate improvements. “We’ve only had the one test day at Mid-Ohio,” said team manager Brian Alder. “We’ll know a lot more after today and this week.” After taking the fight to Penske Motorsports last year, Intersport is ready to renew that battle along with fighting first-year Acura entries from Andretti Green Racing, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing.
  • Monday morning marked a bit of a homecoming for Bill Auberlen. He’s back behind the wheel of a Panoz Esperante GTLM, this time under the banner of Panoz Team PTG. The California resident was part of the factory Panoz Motor Sports effort in 2005 and recorded a race win. The PTG-run entries have retained the familiar black and red livery of the BMW efforts. The Esperantes also have been fitted with Yokohama tires and have retained the Performance Friction Brake sponsorship is back as well.
01/22/07
f1
Schulp joins Prodrive as commercial head  Haymarket Worldwide chief executive, Tony Schulp, is joining Prodrive as group commercial director. This is a new role within Prodrive which will see him overseeing the company’s commercial strategy for its global $250 million motorsport and automotive technology businesses. As part of this, Schulp will be responsible for the commercial activities for Prodrive’s new Formula One program.

Schulp will report directly to Prodrive chairman and chief executive, David Richards. Richards said: “I have known Tony for many years and have always admired his energy and enthusiasm, which has shown in the products that he and his colleagues at Haymarket have created. I believe he is just what Prodrive needs at this important stage in our development, when we are about to embark on perhaps our greatest venture yet, Formula One.”

Schulp has been with Haymarket for 29 years, having joined initially as a sales executive on Autosport magazine in 1978. He said: “It had to be a very special job to tempt me to leave Haymarket after all this time. This is a great opportunity to work in the motorsport world at the highest level with a company that I have known and respected for many years.”

Schulp will join Prodrive at the end of March. Prodrive PR

01/22/07
industry news
Phony parts cost Ford $1B  Counterfeit auto parts cost Ford Motor Co. a staggering $1 billion annually, which has spurred the Dearborn automaker to mount an aggressive campaign worldwide to attack the problem.  The auto parts industry estimates counterfeit parts have become a $12 billion problem worldwide, with $3 billion in phony auto parts sold in the United States alone.

Ford's disclosure of the extent of its counterfeiting problems -- part of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that will be released Wednesday -- is the first by an automaker to give a specific figure on losses due to counterfeit and pirated parts.

"That figure is probably light," Joe Wiegand, Ford's global brand protection manager, said in an interview Friday.

The chamber is officially releasing the 23-page study Wednesday and distributing it to more than 1 million businesses to help them crack down on counterfeit parts.

"Many businesses, particularly small and medium-sized companies, do not fully appreciate the bottom-line cost of lax supply chain security," according to the report. "The growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy threatens businesses and consumers in nearly every region of the world."  More at Detroit News

01/22/07
irl
IRL partnerships will help Belle Isle race  IndyCar Series cars navigate the twisting 2.096-mile Belle Isle course with speed and precision, pass a restored Scott Memorial Foundation ringed with flowers and spectators 90 times, and race side-by-side to the finish to cheers from the overflowing crowd.

Bud Denker’s mental video of the Labor Day weekend IndyCar Series race is on a continuous loop. The Penske Corp. senior vice president, who is chairman of the event that will mark the return to major open-wheel racing to Detroit, doesn’t believe his mental images will have to be edited. He’s confident the underpinnings of the public-private venture will reap rewards for the city and its host site just northeast of downtown.

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is being organized and promoted by the Downtown Detroit Partnership, whose chairman is Roger Penske. A special charitable organization has been established that enables the net proceeds to fund measures to improve the 982-acre island in the Detroit River. More ...

01/22/07
nascar
Panasonic Joins Ginn Racing as a Primary Sponsor  Ginn Racing announced today that Panasonic Broadcast will be a primary sponsor on Sterling Marlin's No. 14 Chevrolet for 12 races during the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

The agreement also calls for Panasonic to be a major associate sponsor on the No. 14 for the other 24 point races that will comprise the 36-event Nextel Cup schedule.

"To finalize a sponsorship package is always an accomplishment, but to finalize it with an outstanding and high-profiled company such as Panasonic makes it even better," said team owner Bobby Ginn. "As part of the Ginn Racing commitment, we not only want to lead on the track, but we also want to be a leader with our sponsors and make sure they are getting a valuable return on their investment. We look forward to our new partnership with Panasonic and welcome them to the Ginn family of sponsors."  More ...

01/22/07
nascar
Past Champ Provisional rules to stay the same  NASCAR sources indicated that the sanctioning body would not alter its past championship provisional rule for the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. For two decades, NASCAR has allotted a spot in the race -- if needed -- for Cup champions that otherwise failed to qualify for the field. NASCAR's decision to leave the rule alone is significant for Dale Jarrett, who is the only full-time former champion without a guaranteed starting spot in 2007. Jarrett is driving for Michael Waltrip Racing's brand-new #44 Toyota, which enters the season without any owner points. NASCAR awards guaranteed starting spots to the top-35 teams in the owner standings from 2006. Because every former champion from 2000 to 2006 finished in the top 35, the past championship provisional will be available to Jarrett, who won the Cup title in 1999. There is a good possibility Jarrett will not need to use his past championship provisional in many races. Because he is essentially guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races, his chances of remaining in the top 35 in 2007 owner standings are high. If Jarrett is in the top 35 in owner points after the season's fifth race, the past championship provisional is available to Bill Elliott, who won the title in 1988. Elliott is the only active former champion -- besides Jarrett -- without a guaranteed starting spot. Beginning with the sixth race of the season, NASCAR awards guaranteed starting spots to the teams in the top 35 in points. NASCAR considered altering the rule for 2007 but opted to leave it alone. The past championship provisional rule is different in the Busch Series -- a past championship provisional can only be used once every eight races. NASCAR.com
01/22/07
cc
PKV Racing finally makes Jani official  PKV Racing announced today that Neel Jani will campaign a Red Bull-branded car for the team during the 2007 Champ Car World Series season.

Jani, 23, a native of Jens, Switzerland, spent the 2006 season as a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team and competed in four GP2 races plus four A1 GP events taking the win and finishing fourth in Malaysia.  A member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005, Jani will pilot the #21 Red Bull PKV Racing Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone machine this year.

“We are very excited to have a driver of Neel’s caliber join PKV Racing,” said PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser.  “Neel has been competitive at every level during his racing career and I am looking forward to helping him through the learning curve during his inaugural Champ Car season.”  More ...

01/22/07
f1
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