It's still anyone's race six hours into the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona.
At the one-quarter mark of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Series opener, Oliver Gavin held the lead, with his No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette Daytona Prototype, one of eight cars to hold the lead. Alex Gurney was running second in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, with Joey Hand third in the defending race-winning No. 01 TELMEX/Target BMW/Riley. Ten cars were still running on the lead lap.
Rolex 24 Hour 2: Gidley on top in Gainsco Corvette
The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP now at the hands of Memo Gidley leads while under the third safety car of the race, this time for the No. 4 Magnus Racing Porsche of SPEED's Justin Bell, who spun and stalled on circuit. As the sun sets, Gidley leads the field to the restart, ahead of the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa in second. The No. 42 Team Sahlen's Mazda RX-8 of Will Nonnamaker currently leads the GT class.
Hour 9 came and went at Daytona Speedway with the Chip Ganassi BMW No. 02 currently driven by Juan Montoya, leading the sister No.01 car of Scott Pruett in the 50th running of the Rolex 24. Darren Law was over 50 seconds behind in the Action Express Corvette DP. Also on the lead lap was Jan Magnussen in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP with Jorge Goncalvez in the Michael Shank Ford rounding out the top-5.
In GT the #23 Alex Job WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Emmanuel Collard/Cooper MacNeil/Marco Holzer/Butch Leitzinger aboard took the lead from the Stevenson Camero on lap 265 after the Camaro was penalized for speeding on pit lane. Rene Rast (Germany), sharing the #44 Magnus Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with John Potter/Andy Lally/Richard Lietz is now second, with the #59 Brumos Porsche (Keen/Haywood/Davis/Lieb) now third.
Video: Porsche at the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona More than 100 race drivers in 24 Porsche 911 models are gathered at Daytona International Speedway to contest the Rolex GT crown for the 50th anniversary race of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Models like the Honda Fit (left) and Mazda 2 (right) will participate in 2012 B-Spec races
GRAND-AM Road Racing announced today an exciting complement to its two existing sports car series, in the form of a new "B-Spec" level featuring sub-compact cars in six races this season.
Currently, the six sprint races - planned for between 30 and 45 minutes in length - will run in conjunction with GRAND-AM weekends at Homestead-Miami Speedway (April 27-29), New Jersey Motorsports Park (May 11-13), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (June 8-9), Watkins Glen International (June 29-July 1), Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Sept. 7-9) and Lime Rock Park (Sept. 28-29). Each of those weekends will also feature North America's most popular forms of sports car competition - the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Force India signs Bianchi, Rigon steps up at FerrariUPDATE
Davide Rigon has renewed his contract that ties him to Ferrari F1. Busy in the simulator, Davide will be available to the Maranello team for all F1 race-meetings as well as commercial activities in 2012 and 2013. Currently Davide Rigon is in the Canary Islands together with Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi in physical training.
"To have renewed the contract with the team most important to F1 is a great satisfaction and an extra boost for my future, besides making me forget 2011 as suffered a lot. All the time Ferrari was very close in these difficult times and for this I thank them heartily. I will work to the maximum possible to give more guidance and help in the development of the new car. I am honored to be part of the great Ferrari family" said Davide Rigon.
(GMM) Force India has confirmed reports it has chosen Ferrari reserve driver Jules Bianchi to replace Nico Hulkenberg in 2012.
German Hulkenberg, the official reserve and 'Friday' practice driver last year, has moved into a race seat with the Silverstone based team.
Frenchman Bianchi, a GP2 driver last year, will now sit on the sidelines at Force India in 2012.
Like Sergio Perez, the 22-year-old is a Ferrari development driver, handled by Felipe Massa's manager Nicolas Todt.
Gene rockets down the Doha sea front A crowd of 20,000 watched Marc Gene do a demonstration run in a Ferrari F2008 on the Doha corniche this afternoon. The event, organized by Shell in collaboration with the Qatar Motor Show, which gets underway for the second time on Monday, was a thrilling spectacle: seeing a Formula 1 car rocket at over 300 km/h down a three kilometer course set up as a temporary venue along the Qatar capital’s sea front drew an enthusiastic response from the spectators, as did the pit stops, run by Scuderia Ferrari’s F1 Clienti department.
NASCAR to hold Open testing for repaved tracks NASCAR said there will be open tests at Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Kansas Speedway, all of which are being repaved this year. The sessions will occur a few weeks before the event or on the Thursday before the race. USA Today
Roush Fenway to Commemorate "25 Winning Years" in 2012 Coming off one of the strongest seasons in its quarter-decade history, Roush Fenway Racing will commemorate 2012 by celebrating its 25th Anniversary of racing at NASCAR's highest levels. Roush Fenway kicked off its "25 Winning Years" program this week on Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour, where they asked media to name what it considers the top moment of the organization's celebrated 24-year racing history.
WIX Filters announced plans to be the primary sponsor for Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing for four races during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. WIX Filters will debut its primary sponsorship of Newman and his #39 Chevy at the season kick-off Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18. WIX will be Newman's primary sponsor for three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this year - at Phoenix on March 4, Darlington on May 12 and Michigan on Aug. 19. "Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing and their fans bring tremendous enthusiasm and excitement to the racing season," said Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters.
"We can't wait to be onboard with them again in 2012. Our partnerships with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ryan have been some of our most successful in racing thanks to the support offered by the team and the way Ryan's fans have embraced our brand." WIX has been the Official Filter for Stewart-Haas Racing since the team's creation in 2009. In three starts with WIX Filters on the hood of the #39, Newman has three top-10 finishes - a sixth-place effort at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2010, a third-place finish in last season's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway and a fifth-place effort at Michigan International Speedway in August 2011.
"I'm excited to have WIX Filters back as a partner in 2012," said Newman. "They have a great support program, find cool ways to get fans involved and most importantly provide us with superior filters to protect our engines." WIX Fix Filters
It looks like the start of the Indy 500 as 33 IZOD IndyCars line up in Downtown Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.
It's part of a promotion by IndyCar and IZOD to use the popularity of the Super Bowl being in town this year to increase awareness of IndyCar racing to football fans coming into town this week and next for the big game.
NASCAR CEO Brian France said Thursday the sanctioning body still would fine its members for disparaging the sport in the wake of abolishing its policy of private punishments. "If you challenge the integrity of the sport, we're going to deal with that," France said. "What's really interesting is I can't tell you how many owners or drivers come up to me and say, 'Thanks for doing that because some of these comments were irresponsible and unhelpful to growing the sport.' Now, having said that, you can be critical of things you don't think we're doing well, in particular a race call. You can say, 'I don't think I was speeding; I disagree with that.' We understand that. It's when you go after the integrity of the sport is where we will step in, and they will be public."
In the past two years, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman were punished for making comments (or in Hamlin's case, posting on Twitter) that NASCAR deemed detrimental to its brand. Keselowski privately was fined $25,000 for criticizing the switch to fuel injection during a fan forum at the NASCAR Hall of Fame last November. When news of the penalty leaked, it drew plenty of derision from fans and news media.
"In terms of going public with it, we didn't have a real strong position on that," France said. "It seemed to bother some people in November when we talked about this. So we didn't feel strongly (about the fines being private). If (making them public) is something that people think is a good thing, we were happy to do it." USA Today
01/25/12 NASCAR said Wednesday it will stop issuing undisclosed fines going forward, a practice that made fans distrust the sanctioning body.
"While there are always sensitivities related to sponsor relationships and other leagues may continue issuing disclosed and undisclosed fines, NASCAR has decided that all fines moving forward will be made public after the competitor or organization that has been penalized has been informed," NASCAR said in a statement.
"When you cross a line that denigrates the direction of the sport or the quality of the racing, we're not going to accept that. Not going to accept it," NASCAR CEO Brian France said. "Happy to have any other criticism, any other complaint, happy to hear them all. If I own a restaurant and I say you know what, the food in my restaurant is not very good, we're not going to accept it. It's as simple as that."
"What would be the benefit (of announcing fines)?" he continued. "The drivers know exactly what we're after. They know exactly what we expect out of them and when they don't handle that, the only way we can control that is, obviously, a fining system."
Today's 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona will see a surprise last-minute addition to the grid, as Starworks Motorsport team principal Peter Baron confirmed to SPEED.com late Friday that IndyCar star Marco Andretti will join his Daytona Prototype effort for the around-the-clock endurance classic. (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Live! SPEED).
The third-generation driver will make his Rolex 24 and DP debut at the wheel of the team's No. 2 Riley-Ford, originally planned for Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso before sponsorship fell through early this week.
Hunter-Reay was brought back on-board Thursday, while Rolex Series ace Michael Valiante was added to the lineup earlier today. News of Andretti's signing broke late Friday.
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has signed up a new trainer. Last month, it emerged that the reigning back-to-back world champion was parting with Tommi Parmakoski, who is returning to Finland to coach a women's hockey team. German Vettel, the Red Bull driver, worked with Parmakoski since 2009.
The Sport Bild magazine said the 24-year-old has replaced him for 2012 with another Finn, 28-year-old Heikki Huovinen.
The German report said Huovinen - recommended to Vettel by Parmakoski - has a masters in sports science and has worked at a well-known Finnish fitness centre. He has also reportedly been a personal trainer and group instructor, and is a former player in Mestis, Finland's second highest ice hockey league.
Sport Bild said Huovinen, to be trackside at Jerez early next month, is relocating to Switzerland in order to live close to Vettel.
Tagliani on the handling characteristics of the new IndyCar Alex Tagliani tells Racer.com about the ill handling of the poorly designed tail-happy 2012 Dallara IndyCar:
R: Let's talk about the car itself. There have been some mixed messages regarding how it handles. How hard did you feel able to push to the limit at Homestead, or were you just engine-focused?
AT: On a road and street course, I don't think the car is going to be too evil. It's drivable, it has a lot of potential and there's probably 50 percent more performance to get out of it just from understanding what it needs and working around this whole new philosophy of weight distribution. When we have it dialed in and have the engines running to their full potential, and Firestone bring the same tires as last year, I'm sure it will outperform the old car.
On the ovals…it's another situation. The drag factor needs to be resolved and the mechanical stability, too. I was testing on the Homestead road course, but even there, what you notice is how light it seems on the front end, yet the car also has a tendency to rotate mechanically because of the weight distribution. You don't feel the front end too well because it is light, and you think you don't have a lot of front-end grip, but then the car still rotates quite well because of all that weight at the rear.
Engineer Don Halliday Joins AJ Foyt Racing One of the most respected engineers/designers/inventors in the racing business, Don Halliday has joined AJ Foyt Racing as chief engineer of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone IZOD Indy car driven by Briton Mike Conway.
The alliance came about with Foyt's premier former driver Kenny Brack, who won the Indy car championship in 1998 and followed through with the Indianapolis 500 title in 1999. "Kenny and I were talking about AJ's situation," Halliday explained. "Kenny and AJ have remained in touch ever since he drove for him and Kenny is a very good friend of mine, so there was a connection."
Former SCCA Pro Racing President Bob Anderson Passes Away Former SCCA Pro Racing President Robert D. (Bob) Anderson died Friday after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer. He was 76.
Anderson joined the Sports Car Club of America staff in 1984 as General Manager of the SCCA Pro Racing division. A year later, Anderson was promoted to Vice President, at which time he assume the day-to-day management of the department.
Under his guidance, the Trans-Am Championship enjoyed a resounding resurgence that saw national television exposure, prize money postings and fan attendance reach record levels.
During his tenure, SCCA Pro Racing enjoyed record profits and the division was spun off as a wholly owned subsidiary, SCCA Pro Racing, Ltd., and Anderson was the company’s first-ever President.
Hornish to run full-season in Nationwide Series After only running a handful of events in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year, former IndyCar champ Sam Hornish Jr. will run the entire schedule in 2012 thanks to increased support from Alliance Truck Parts and a new partnership with Wurth Group.
Alliance Truck Parts will increase its primary sponsorship role on the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Challenger from six to 26 events in 2012. Wurth Group, a German-based automotive and industrial supply company, will be the primary sponsor of the car in seven events and an associate sponsor in the other 26.
“I'm really excited about this season. Last year was a little difficult to say the least,” Hornish said Thursday during NASCAR's Media Tour stop at Penske Racing's headquarters in Mooresville, N.C. “I was able to learn a lot last year. I just feel like we've got a lot of things going for us in 2012.” More at Racer.com
IndyCar drivers push for safety changes in wake of Dan Wheldon's death The angst manifests itself in their hands, in the way Will Power gestures downward with his fist as if pounding on a lectern, in the way Marco Andretti draws his thumb and index finger together to visually punctuate the end of a pointed statement.
Three months after former IndyCar champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon died in a 15-car crash in the final race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and just more than two months before they begin their 2012 schedule, drivers remain frustrated with the circumstances that led to their friend and colleague's death at 33.
Much of the frustration stems from their belief that the ability to steer away from the Oct. 16 maelstrom has been taken out of their hands.
Judge rules against France family in NH A judge has thrown out a verdict that would have required New Hampshire Motor Speedway to pay nearly $1 million to cancel its contract with Motor Racing Network, which is owned by ISC and controlled by the powerful France family.
A jury awarded MRN $993,724 last September because New Hampshire did not meet a three-year notice of termination when Speedway Motorsports Inc. bought the track in 2008. SMI wanted its radio network — the Performance Racing Network — to broadcast NASCAR events at the track.
New Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara presided over the trial, but threw out the verdict in a Wednesday ruling.
McNamara wrote the jury based its award on MRN’s projected lost profits, and that can’t be a basis for damages. International Speedway Corp. said in a statement it will appeal the ruling.
Roush Yates Engines Begins Season with Poles at Daytona Rolex 24 Ryan Dalziel of Starworks Motorsports, powered by a Ford Roush Yates-built engine, turned the fastest lap at the Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying session yesterday in the Daytona Prototype series. Fellow Ford Roush Yates Engines drivers Shelby Blackstock and Jack Roush Jr. captured the front row in the Continental Tire Sports Car Series also at Daytona.
Roush Yates' engineers have been working hard during the off-season to make sure 2012 is a successful year for all of their racing engines and the dedication has already paid off in two of the most prestigious Sports Car racing series in America.
In a special series of articles running up to the new season, GPUpdate.net has assembled an exclusive panel of guests. We hear the good, the bad, the expectations and predictions ahead of the sport’s most eagerly-anticipated year. Let us begin with Mario Andretti: Indy 500 winner, Daytona 500 winner and F1 World Champion of 1978.
Mario, 2012 promises to be fantastic! Just how thoroughly will you be watching and do you expect more dramas than in 2011?
I follow Formula 1 very closely and look forward to every event, for sure. It is always going to be the height of my interests in motorsport and I thought it was another very interesting season last year, no question. Like everyone else, I think when it is dominated by one driver it seems to be a little bit too predictable, but there were some revelations. For instance, I assessed that Jenson Button would probably have a tough time with Lewis Hamilton and it turned out to be the other way round this time. The way I put it was that it was going to be tough for number twos such as Mark Webber, which it was, but I also picked Jenson and that was totally wrong! But I like the surprises, it’s good for the sport.
Michelin Delivers First Tires to DeltaWing Michelin today unveiled the first set of specially designed race tires for the 24 Hours of Le Mans-bound Project 56 DeltaWing team. One look at the unique sizes of the tires makes the radical nature of the DeltaWing prototype design obvious.
The Delta Wing front tires are just 10/58-15, or less than 23 inches tall, and with a tread just four inches wide. By contrast, the 2011 Le Mans-winning Audi R18 TDI turbocharged-diesel prototype utilized taller and wider front 36/71-18 MICHELIN® tires, approximately 28 inches tall with nearly 14 inches of tread width.
It's been a busy week for you with QPR winning their last game and now Caterham F1 Team launching the CT01 - the first team to take the wraps off a 2012 car. What are your thoughts on it? "Yes, it's been a pretty good week. I am thrilled that we broke cover first and that the CT01 is the first example anyone has seen of a 2012 car. I think I am riding on some very good energy at the moment!"
"I am pleased that we were able to release pictures of our new car so soon. Riad, Mike, Mark and the whole team did a fantastic job getting all the homologation and crash tests out of the way early, and keeping on track with the car's build schedule. I am very proud that we are able to take the covers off first and I think it looks fantastic.
The Glen piggybacks on Danica, Danica, Danica As the 2012 race season approaches, an abundance of changes are on tap in the various series that compete at Watkins Glen International.
Most notably for Glen fans will be the return of Danica Patrick to the Schuyler County facility. The popular 29-year-old driver is making a full-time transition from the open wheel ranks to stock cars.
The former IZOD IndyCar driver, whose last appearance at the Glen came in the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix in 2010, will compete in the Zippo 200 Nationwide Series event on Aug. 11.
Mike Conway laughs at the mention that his first major test won't necessarily be in the Honda-powered Dallara DW chassis on the Sebring International Raceway short course Jan. 31, but how he interacts with A.J. Foyt.
Conway, who joined the Foyt organization Dec. 20, isn't concerned as much with either. He's looking forward to the opportunity to get started again.
“It’s been a shorter offseason than last year when I didn’t really know if I would be driving until the end of February,” said Conway, who’s made 39 IZOD IndyCar Series starts with two teams. “This year it was nice to know before Christmas what I was doing and focus on it. I’m excited to just get in the car now.
Video: Up close and personal with Conor Daly American, Conor Daly sat down recently to discuss his past and future racing plans. He is very candid about the direction he intends to go and also reveals more of his personal side.
George Follmer receives his award from Bobby Rahal
George Follmer, who has competed in virtually every form of auto racing and is considered one of the sport's living legends, was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club with the 2012 Phil Hill Award. RRDC president Bobby Rahal presented Follmer with the award at a dinner prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
The Phil Hill Award has been presented annually since 1993 to the person who the RRDC feels has rendered outstanding service to road racing. The recipient may be a driver, entrant or outstanding member of a sanctioning body.
Richard Petty Motorsports Forms Nationwide Team for Michael Annett Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced today the formation of a new NASCAR Nationwide Series team with driver Michael Annett and his long-time partner Pilot Flying J. The team will be run out of RPM’s Concord, N.C. race shop and will vie for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.
Annett, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, comes to Richard Petty Motorsports after spending last season at Rusty Wallace, Inc. He has posted 13 top-10 finishes in 105 Nationwide Series starts and drove to a ninth-place finish in the championship points standings last season.
Hunter-Reay competing at Daytona after all Ryan Hunter-Reay is competing in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona after all. The third-year Andretti Autosport driver was scheduled to team with fellow IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso, in addition to Maurizio Scala, in the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Daytona Prototype this weekend. But funding for the entry fell through earlier this week, disappointing everyone associated with the team that tested in early January on the 2.56-mile, 12-turn course.
Hunter-Reay then received a call from team principal Peter Baron, asking if he would continue with the program for the weekend. Baron’s SAMAX Motorsport team ran a partial IZOD IndyCar Series season in 2007 with Milka Duno.
Lotus impressed by Raikkonen’s laptimes After two days of private testing with a 2010-spec Renault R30 at Valencia, Lotus is convinced that Kimi Raikkonen will be ready for the start of the official pre-season testing in Jerez on February 7. The Finn was back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car on Monday for the first time since he last drove for Ferrari in 2009.
Despite completing a total of 666 km over two days, or the equivalent of more than two Grands Prix race distances, Raikkonen did not show any signs of physical fatigue during the test in Valencia.
Speaking to Autosport magazine after the test, Lotus track operations director Alan Permane said, “F1 cars are reasonably intense to drive and although he’s a ﬁt guy, I suspect his neck muscles won’t have been used in a rally car to the extent they are in an F1 car. But he did 50 laps on the ﬁrst morning and didn’t have to stop for any ﬁtness breaks or anything like that.”
Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono patriarch, dies at age 86
Dr. Joe Mattiolli
Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Founder and Chairman of the Board, passed away today at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Center, surrounded by his loving family, following a lengthy illness. He was 86. “Doc” as he was known to friends and associates, was one of the most respected and admired men in automobile racing. He founded Pocono Raceway in the early 1960’s and has been at the helm of Pocono ever since. Under his leadership, the track grew in stature and has hosted 68 very successful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Events. His passion and drive helped Pocono Raceway succeed when other tracks fell by the wayside. Pocono Raceway is the only remaining family owned and run track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. He was always concerned that race fans and race car drivers and their families were treated with the upmost respect and constantly upgraded procedures and Raceway facilities to meet that goal.
MillerCoors, NASCAR and Penske Racing Announce Major Partnership Extensions MillerCoors, NASCAR and Penske Racing today jointly announced multi-year partnership extensions for the brewer's two biggest brands. For MillerCoors, the deals with the sanctioning body and one of the sport's most respected teams solidify its status among the most committed sponsors in NASCAR. In addition, MillerCoors has alliances with seven tracks that host NASCAR races.
Coors Light, the World's Most Refreshing Beer, is extending its sponsorship as the Official Beer of NASCAR. Coors Light started its official sponsorship with NASCAR in 2008, after a 14-year run as the primary sponsor of the #40 car.
The GP3 Series confirms Monaco to its 2012 Calendar For the first time since the inception in 2010, the GP3 series will take place during the Monaco Grand Prix, the most prestigious and most watched event of the motorsport calendar. After an opening round in Barcelona, two weeks later the GP3 paddock will move to Monaco to race alongside the GP2 Series and Formula One (May 24-27 2012). This season’s calendar will thus consist of eight rounds and will include all European F1 Grands Prix.
GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel said: “I am delighted to announce that Monaco has been confirmed on the 2012 GP3 Series calendar. It was quite a task to study all logistic options to fit our paddock in an already busy environment. Thanks to Automobile Club de Monaco and Formula One Management it’s all come together fine. This is a fantastic exposure opportunity for the Series and for the drivers to showcase their talent around the challenging streets of Monaco and to provide, as usual, a great show.'
2012 marks the third Formula 1 season for newly-branded Caterham F1. Formerly known as Team Lotus, the squad’s main base will now be in Oxfordshire as the team aims to improve on its Constructors’ Championship position of tenth. We hear the latest from Chief Technical Officer and team founder Mike Gascoyne.
Can you give a technical overview of what the team has been up to during the winter and where you are on the creation of the CT01? Well, in short, we've been designing and building our new racing car! Throughout the off-season we've been focusing on a number of key elements of the development of this year's car, including a lot of work on optimizing the wind tunnel. We have taken into consideration the changes in the technical regulations this year, most noticeably around the nose box and the push-off tests we had to pass. The rules around crash testing now mean that the cars have to be homologated before the first test, which meant bringing forward all the homologation tests by a month to six weeks before T1. From that point of view, we had a very successful development program, we fully homologated the chassis before Christmas and, actually, I believe we were the first team to pass all the tests.
Caterham have become the first team to unveil their 2012 car after issuing a picture of the CT01 via their official twitter account on Wednesday. The team had originally intended to unveil their new challenger on Thursday, on the cover of February’s F1 Racing magazine, but with some subscribers receiving their copies a day earlier, Caterham decided to release a sneak preview.
The green and yellow-liveried CT01 is the third Formula One car to be built by the Norfolk-based team, and the first since their winter name change from Team Lotus to Caterham. It will be raced by the unchanged line-up of Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen and Italy’s Jarno Trulli, which took the team to tenth in the 2011 constructors’ standings.
Newly established Sprint Cup team Robinson-Blakeney Racing has tabbed J.J. Yeley to drive its #49 Toyota for the 2012 season. In addition, Yeley will be reunited with crew chief Tony Furr, who has been hired to coordinate and direct the upstart endeavor. "I am energized and looking forward to working with [owner and manager] Jay Robinson and our team beginning at Daytona in the Duel 150 race and building success all the way to Homestead," said Yeley, who has 11 top-10 finishes in his Cup career.
"I have enjoyed a good working relationship in the past with Tony Furr as my crew chief and am happy to be partnered with him again on this team." Furr brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and has the tools available to formulate a competitive effort at Robinson-Blakeney Racing. "I am excited to again be working with a talented driver like J.J., as well as the rest of the team and owners at Robinson-Blakeney Racing," Furr said.
In addition to its first year in Cup, Robinson-Blakeney Racing returns for its 12th season of competition in the Nationwide Series in the #28 car.
"We are preparing the team for a very successful 2012 season and we are very pleased to announce our partnerships with Tony and J.J.", Robinson said. NASCAR.com
Rick Hendrick said Wednesday he got a call in the off-season from driver Kurt Busch, who asked Hendrick if he had discouraged owner James Finch from hiring him. Hendrick said he quickly doused the rumor and called Finch to reiterate. Busch, a former Cup champion, had abruptly left Penske Racing several days after NASCAR's post-season awards ceremonies in Las Vegas.
“I told Kurt I had no problem at all with James hiring him. I told Kurt I would tell James that, and I did,” Hendrick said.
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