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Hamilton: You are always looking at dashboard now  Lewis Hamilton has shared his early-season views on how drivers are expected to cope when using both KERS and the new adjustable rear wing this year. As he is testing with an interim version of McLaren’s 2010 car in Valencia, the 2008 World Champion will not be using the new downforce-increasing system until the second test session in Jerez next week.

“Straight away when I went out, my third lap was my quickest of the day, so it’s very easy to get back into it and I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I was going to be, so it’s good,” Hamilton laughed when in discussion with GPUpdate.net following his sole day of Valencia running on Wednesday.

He then explained McLaren’s in-car arrangements with regards to KERS, which makes a return after being out of action last year due to a gentleman’s agreement amongst the teams.  More ...

Barrichello: Driving not enjoyable with new rear wings  Rubens Barrichello has hit out at the workload drivers are forced to cope with as KERS and adjustable rear wings – two components which can only be operated manually by the driver, via his steering wheel – are both present in Formula 1 this year.

Driving the brand-new Williams FW33 in Valencia on Tuesday but with an interim livery, Barrichello was pleased with his general performance but was noticeably vocal when expressing his opinions over the new features. More ...

racing news
JMI opens offices in NASCAR land  Indianapolis-based JMI (Just Marketing International) has expanded its nationwide presence by opening new offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and Daytona Beach, Florida. The motorsports marketer says the it moved its Charlotte office to the NASCAR Plaza to accommodate an expanding workforce, while the Daytona Beach location near the Daytona International Speedway was selected to better serve its growing client list.
racing news
Lotus Cup USA to Bring Lotus Racing and Track Events Nationwide in 2011  A new chapter in Lotus racing in the United States will be written in March of this year when the green flag drops on the first round of the Lotus Cup USA.

Lotus Cup USA is the newest component of Lotus’ worldwide involvement in motorsports, and is the foundation of a racing program that will involve GT-3, GT-4, LeMans GT-2 and LMP2, as well as open-wheel programs in GP2, GP3, IZOD IndyCar Series, and Formula 1. Lotus’ 360-degree race program involves multiple race series, grassroots driver development and Exos – the ultimate in exclusive driving experiences. More ...

Mayfield emerges, planning new business venture  Jeremy Mayfield made an appearance on Speed Channel's "Race Hub'' show Tuesday night. It was the first time Mayfield has spoken publicly in a while. With an appeal against NASCAR in the courts, there wasn't much Mayfield could say about his battle with the sanctioning body over his failed drug test in May 2009. Mayfield did say he's looking to start a metal recycling business and talked about maybe doing some dirt racing in the South. To view what Mayfield said on the show in his interview with Steve Byrnes, who noted afterward that there were more questions that Mayfield could not answer because of pending litigation against NASCAR, see the article at the Virginian Pilot.
Valencia Day 2: Alonso finishes on top for Ferrari  
Pos No. Name Best Gap Diff
1 5 ALONSO 1:13.307 - -
2 1 VETTEL 1:13.614 0.307 0.307
3 15 DI RESTA 1:13.844 0.537 0.230
4 37 HULKENBERG 1:13.938 0.631 0.094
5 32 PAFFETT 1:14.292 0.985 0.354
6 3 HAMILTON 1:14.353 1.046 0.061
7 9 KUBICA 1:14.412 1.105 0.059
8 22 KARTHIKEYAN 1:14.472 1.165 0.060
9 8 ROSBERG 1:14.645 1.338 0.173
10 24 GLOCK 1:15.408 2.101 0.763
11 16 KOBAYASHI 1:15.621 2.314 0.213
12 25 D'AMBROSIO 1:16.003 2.696 0.382
13 11 BARRICHELLO 1:16.023 2.716 0.020
14 17 PEREZ 1:16.198 2.891 0.175
15 12 MALDONADO 1:16.266 2.959 0.068
16 10 PETROV 1:16.351 3.044 0.085
17 18 BUEMI 1:16.359 3.052 0.008
18 7 SCHUMACHER 1:16.450 3.143 0.091
19 19 ALGUERSUARI 1:16.474 3.167 0.024
20 2 WEBBER 1:17.365 4.058 0.891
21 21 KOVALAINEN 1:20.649 7.342 3.284
Vettel and Alonso on top at mid-day in Valencia  UPDATE Fernando Alonso staved off the challenger of Sebastian Vettel to finish the morning session of day two of pre-season testing with the fastest time.

Having started strongly on Tuesday, Alonso finished behind Vettel at the close of day one, but the Spaniard was again out in front at the second time of asking.

Unofficial Times:
01. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.469 56 laps
02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:13.614 + 0.145 43 laps
03. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:13.844 + 0.375 43 laps
04. Robert Kubica Renault 1:14.412 + 0.943 44 laps
05. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.701 + 1.232 35 laps
06. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.383 + 1.914 36 laps
07. Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.474 + 3.005 64 laps
08. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:17.019 + 3.550 39 laps
09. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.288 + 3.819 32 laps
10. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:17.344 + 3.875 48 laps
11. Narain Karthikeyan Hispania-Cosworth 1:17.823 + 4.354 50 laps

02/02/11 Sebastian Vettel continued to occupy the position at the top of the times in Valencia as the second day of pre-season testing hit its half-way mark on Wednesday.

Renault’s Robert Kubica and Force India’s Paul di Resta had both had spells at the top of the times on an initially very chilly morning in eastern Spain, before Vettel – spending his second day in the new Red Bull RB7 – went fastest in the day’s second hour on his eighth hot lap.

His best time of 1m13.614s was already just over a tenth of a second faster than his benchmark time from the first day, and by 1pm the world champion had chalked up 40 laps to add to the 93 trouble-free ones he completed on Tuesday.

Fernando Alonso was up in second in the new Ferrari, five tenths of a second back after 38 laps, with di Resta third in the 2010 Force India and Kubica ending his first morning in the innovative Renault R31 fourth, with 40 laps.

Lewis Hamilton is making his sole appearance of the week on Wednesday to get his first taste of the Pirelli tires to be used this year, after McLaren decided not to use its race drivers in the post-season Abu Dhabi tire test last November.

After a lengthy gap after a early installation lap, the 2008 champion eased himself back into driving duties and by lunchtime had completed 26 laps and occupied fifth place.

Mercedes opening day program for the W02 had been restricted by a hydraulics problem during Nico Rosberg’s morning run on Tuesday so the German team and driver would have been pleased to have racked up 34 laps by 1pm on day two.

The team was also trying out the German manufacturer's renowned KERS system for the first time, having not used it on the opening day while it carried out other checks.

Team Lotus, meanwhile, was debuting its new T128 and, while Heikki Kovalainen had failed to post a lap time by lunchtime, the team’s Twitter updates suggested early work was going well, the Finn having done five exploratory laps during a program of system checks and car alterations.

There had been two red flags by 1pm, the first of which was caused after half an hour by Rubens Barrichello, whose new Williams FW33 stopped out on track with an electrical problem.

Valencia test day two times @ 13.30

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m13.614s (40)
2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m14.111s (38)
3 DI RESTA Force India* 1m14.199s (33)
4 KUBICA Renault 1m14.412s (40)
5 HAMILTON McLaren* 1m14.701s (26)
6 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m15.383s (34)
7 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m16.474s (60)
8 PEREZ Sauber 1m17.019s (25)
9 GLOCK Virgin* 1m17.228s (15)
10 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m17.344s (36)
11 KARTHIKEYAN HRT* 1m17.823s (29)
12 KOVALAINEN Lotus no times (5)

laps completed in brackets
* 2010 car

Guidepoint Systems to Sponsor Team Penske IndyCars in 2011  
Guidepoint livery on Briscoe's car
Guidepoint will sponsor the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Dallara/Honda driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves at five races this season and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Guidepoint Systems machine at two events in 2011.

Based in Madison Heights, Mich., Guidepoint Systems deliver a variety of services to vehicle owners and fleet managers. GuidePoint is available through more than 2,500 new and pre-owned dealerships, including Penske Automotive Group dealerships, nationwide.

“We look forward to building this relationship with Guidepoint Systems and we are excited to welcome another new sponsor to the IZOD IndyCar Series,” said Roger Penske. “Guidepoint is a key partner for us in our automotive business and we will continue to grow with them both on and off the race track with Team Penske.” More ...

PPG Builds on Longtime Partnership with Penske Racing  
PPG livery on Briscoe's car
Beginning its 32nd season working with the team in 2011, PPG returns as an associate sponsor on all of Penske Racing’s NASCAR entries this season. This includes the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski in the Sprint Cup Series. In addition, PPG will be an associate sponsor on the defending champion No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge piloted by Keselowski and the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge with driver Sam Hornish Jr. in the Nationwide Series.

The world’s leading coatings and specialty products company will also enhance its relationship with Team Penske’s winning IZOD IndyCar Series program. In addition to serving as an associate sponsor on all three Team Penske IndyCars this season, PPG will be the primary sponsor on the No. 6 Dallara/Honda driven by Ryan Briscoe at the Milwaukee (June 19), Iowa (June 25) and Kentucky (October 2) IndyCar events this season. More ...

Josef Newgarden Called up by Andretti Autosport for Indy Lights Test In Phoenix  Last Thursday morning while packing for a trip to Melk, Austria to compete in a three-day shootout to advance to the inaugural FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy, Josef Newgarden received a call from J-F Thormann, EVP and COO of Andretti Autosport. Thormann invited Newgarden to Indianapolis for a seat fitting the next day at the Andretti Autosport shop in preparation for important Firestone Indy Lights pre-season testing at Phoenix International Raceway this week. Thrilled to get the call to test with Andretti, Newgarden was regretful at having to forego the opportunity to compete with 18 other top young international race drivers for one of 10 spots in the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy. More ...
Valencia F1 testing: Vettel still on top  Times as of 11:00 AM local time:
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m 13.614s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m 14.701s*
3. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m 15.314s*
4. Robert Kubica Lotus Renault GP-Renault 1m 15.361s
5. Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 16.591s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 17.627s
7. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m 17.652s
8. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m 18.565s
9. Narain Karthikeyan Hispania-Cosworth 1m 18.974s*
10. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m 19.533s*
11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 24.706s
Brawn eyes long Mercedes future for Rosberg  (GMM)  Ross Brawn has admitted he would like Nico Rosberg to play a long-term role at Mercedes GP.  The 25-year-old son of 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg joined the team last year and scored 70 more points than Michael Schumacher as the sport's most successful driver made his return to F1.

It is believed Rosberg signed a three-year contract, meaning he is set to stay at least until the end of next season. But team boss Brawn told Sport Bild that Rosberg is "extremely talented" and would be welcome at Mercedes for much longer.

"It is very important that we have drivers like Nico Rosberg with us in the long term," said the Briton.  "I would be very happy if our relationship with Nico continues for a long time.  He has all the qualities needed by a world champion," added Brawn.

Sepang Day 2: Honda riders 1-2  After Casey Stoner led the way on his first day for Honda on Tuesday, Dani Pedrosa has topped the timesheets as MotoGP testing continues in Malaysia. The Spaniard finished Wednesday’s session with a best effort of 2:00.770, some six tenths of a second ahead of his Australian team-mate as Yamaha’s Ben Spies competed the top three. 

The Australian set his best lap of the day on his penultimate turn of the circuit, posting a 2:01.434 which meant that Pedrosa remained the first and so far only rider to break under the 2:01.000 barrier in this Test. Both he and Stoner rode on old front forks whilst third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso tried a new option.  More ...

Hartford not returning to sponsor the #33  After 2 exciting and successful seasons, The Hartford has decided not to pursue a 2011 sponsorship with Richard Childress Racing and the #33 car driven by Clint Bowyer. Over the past 2 years, Richard Childress Racing has been a valued partner of The Hartford and we wish the entire Richard Childress Racing team continued success for years to come. The Hartford
REBELLION Racing confirms their driver line-up for the 2011 season  
REBELLION Racing announced last December that the team had renewed the contracts of its regular 2010 drivers. Neel Jani / Nicolas Prost and Andrea Belicchi / Jean-Christophe Boullion will again spearhead the REBELLION Racing campaign in 2011. For the Le Mans Series, Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost will drive the #12 Lola- Toyota, Andrea Belicchi and Jean-Christophe Boullion will be in the #13 sister car.

Subject to being invited to participate by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Selection Committee, Guy Smith and Jeroen Bleekemolen will join the REBELLION Racing regular drivers for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours. Guy Smith, 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours winner, was part of REBELLION Racing’s Le Mans effort in 2010, partnering Andrea Belicchi and Jean-Christophe Boullion. Guy also helped the team score a podium finish in the Le Mans Series at the 8 Hours of Le Castellet. More ...

Pirelli keeps Pedro de la Rosa on board  Pedro de la Rosa, who was dropped by Sauber towards the end of last season, will remain as Pirelli's official test driver in 2011.

Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery told Autosport the company would keep de la Rosa, who turns 40 later this month, on board.

"[He'll] stay unless he gets a drive somewhere else," Hembery said. "That's not looking likely in F1 at the moment, so we are very happy for Pedro to continue with us, and maybe he will get involved in some of our other race programs. He's a great tester and we are absolutely delighted with the work he is doing."

Pirelli will continue to test and develop its tires during the season, but has yet to decide if it will do that during Friday practice or in a post-race test on Mondays.

Virgin appoints Ian Phillips as COO  As the Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One team prepares for the launch of its 2011 race car in London next week, and the start of its second season of competition, the Board of Directors has made a number of key appointments designed to strengthen the existing management team.

A number of new roles have been introduced, ensuring the team is equipped with the strength in depth required to pursue its target of competing at the highest level in Formula One.

Nikolay Fomenko, President of Marussia Motors, becomes Engineering Director and will provide overall leadership for the team’s technology programs, covering race car development, engineering and collaboration with Marussia’s road car program. More ...

2011 GP3 Series calendar drops Monaco  The 2011 GP3 Series calendar will unfortunately not comprise Monaco in 2011 due to a lack of space to fit the thirty-car paddock in an already crowded environment. The 2011 season will be now made of  eight rounds, from Istanbul to Monza, alongside Formula One and GP2 Series.

An additional two-day test session has been added to this calendar in June (date and venue to be confirmed shortly) bringing the number of testing days up to twelve in total – increasing valuable mileage for our young drivers.

GP3 Series CEO Bruno Michel said: “It is an unfortunate situation: we were really hoping to bring GP3 to Monaco this season and we all tried our hardest to make this happen, but the lack of space this year meant that we have to postpone. However, we are very eager to make it happen sooner or later.”
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Buemi not fazed by Ricciardo pressure
  • Two grands prix in Spain 'a problem' - Ecclestone
  • Mercedes opposes three cars per team - Haug
  • Innovation and caution as test season starts
  • Alonso criticizes Pirelli tires
  • Vettel 'will drive for Ferrari one day' - Ecclestone
  • Government 'committed' to F1 in Melbourne
  • 'All teams' eye competitors' staff - Haug
  • Vettel yet to name 2011 car
  • Razia admits bringing sponsor to Team Lotus
  • Red Bull confirms sponsorship deal with Geox
  • Sponsor renews with McLaren team  More ...
Ostella fast in first Indy Lights test  
David Ostella testing at Sebring Sunday
Jensen MotorSport driver David Ostella kicked-off his 2011 Firestone Indy Lights season with a strong test at Sebring Raceway on Sunday January 30th.

Ostella drove a total of 180 miles on the Sebring short-course, clocking a best time of 58.4 seconds on a new tire run late in the afternoon.

Jensen MotorSport Chief Technical Officer Remi Lanteigne stated, “It was a really productive test for David and for our team. This was David’s first time driving the Indy Lights car on a road course, and he did a very professional job to achieve all of our objectives at our first test of the year.”

David Ostella stated, “My first test went really well. There is a big increase in power and weight with the Indy Lights car as compared to the Star Mazda race car that I have been driving the past 2 seasons. But with knowledgeable guidance from my engineer Remi Lanteigne, we were quickly able to set competitive times with the other teams testing.”

BMW Documentary Film Series, “Wherever You Want to Go”.  Premiering online today is “The New City”, which is Chapter One of a new BMW Documentary Film Series, “Wherever You Want to Go”.  “The New City” makes a bold attempt to understand the ways in which we will live in the future and how it will significantly impact the way we move.

Currently 50 percent of the world lives in cities and by 2030 nearly 5 billion people will live in sprawling “Megacities” (cities with more than 10 million people).  As a result, personal space and modes of transportation will be among the biggest issues impacting our future quality of life.  Will the automobile—as we currently know it—be compatible with these Megacities of the future?  BMW will address these questions and more in Chapter One.  See the video in the videos section of our iPhone app.

Mayor puts IndyCars over snow plows  When the mayor summons her best and brightest transportation officials, it isn't for an update on snow removal in the neighborhoods, to discuss technology and workflows that would enable more efficient service delivery, or even to check the status of the backlog of projects citywide. Rather, it's to find out if her $8 million race track is on schedule for Labor Day.

Baltimore is spending the bulk of its transportation stimulus funds on Pratt and Light streets — not to make them more attractive gateways to the Inner Harbor but to create a race course so Baltimore Racing Development can hold an IndyCar race. The state is helping with a loan and another $1.5 million project to create a "pit area" at Camden Yards. Top engineers at the Maryland Transit Administration are working feverishly to fix the Light Rail on Howard Street to smooth out the tracks to a profile that works better for race cars, and dozens of trees have been cut down to make way for the expected crush of race fans. This not only robs neighborhoods and commuters of funding that should have gone to long overdue capital projects, but it also has city leadership so preoccupied that they're not able to focus on other things — like the needs of residents.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake insists that IndyCar racing will "put Baltimore in the national spotlight," and I certainly hope so because in the mean time, downtown has been gripped by months of construction related frustration, and the rest of the city can't get City Hall to return our calls. Baltimore Sun

Service Central sponsoring strong 4-driver lineup  TBC Retail Group, which operates the popular tire and automotive service centers, Tire Kingdom, NTB - National Tire and Battery, Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers and Big O Tires, today announced that it has its primary-sponsored, four-driver Service Central Racing team roster in place and ready to contend for victories in 2011.

The Service Central Racing lineup for the upcoming motorsports season includes Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing star Graham Rahal in the IZOD IndyCar Series and three drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Series (NHRA)-- Johnny Gray (Funny Car, Don Schumacher Racing), Shane Gray (Pro Stock Car, Gray Motorsports) and Dom Lagana (Top Fuel Dragster, Paul Richards Racing). More ...

Conquest Racing completes productive test with Vernay  
JK Vernay
JK Vernay had a productive first IndyCar Series test with Conquest Racing at Sebring International Raceway on Monday.

With the current Indy Lights champion strapping himself behind the wheel of an Indy car for the first time, the test was mainly aimed at getting the Frenchman comfortable behind the wheel of the most powerful car he has driven so far in his career. More ...

JaguarRSR set driver lineup  
Bruno Junqueira
It is with great pleasure and excitement that JaguarRSR announces its plans to run two full-season JaguarRSR XKR GTs in the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron with what is turning out to be a star-studded driver lineup. One of the entries will see open-wheel stars Bruno Junqueira and Cristiano Da Matta kick off their GT racing careers on the JaguarRSR full season roster and P.J. Jones has been signed to pilot the second entry and awaits confirmation of his teammate.

The duo of Junqueira and da Matta is truly unique; not only are they both from Brazil but were born in the same town and have raced against each other throughout their entire careers. They have had a love-hate relationship; off track they are close friends (Editors Note: da Matta was the best man for Junqueira when he married), on track they are fierce competitors. However, this year brings a new depth to their relationship – teammates.

Cristiano da Matta
Both of them come from the open-wheel scene and individually hold extensive racing résumés. Junqueira won the F3000 championship (2000), was a test driver for the Williams Formula One team (1999/2000), finished as the runner up in the Champ Car World Series championship three years in a row (2002 – 2004) and qualified six times in the Indy 500 earning the pole in 2002. Da Matta was the Brazilian Formula Ford champion (1993), the Brazilian Formula 3 champion (1994), Indy Lights champion (1998), the Champ Car World Series champion (2002), and went to make a name for himself in Formula One driving for Toyota. More ...
Rosberg happy with new Mercedes but Vettel fastest  UPDATE Following its launch this morning at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Red Bull Racing’s RB7 completed 93 laps today, on its first day of testing. The team used the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the car and it was the first chance the team had had to use the Pirelli tires since the Abu Dhabi test at the end of the 2010 season.

Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan said: “We had a very good shakedown with the RB7 today and completed everything we aimed to on day one. It’s an encouraging start to what we hope will be a successful season for the RB7.”

Sebastian Vettel said: “It was good today and I felt comfortable in the car, I enjoyed it. It was day one for most of us and there’s a long way to go with testing ahead of the season and a very long racing season after that – with 20 races – so things can change! We’ve only made the first step today, but we had a reliable day and can be very proud of what we have achieved so far.”

Rosberg on track with new Mercedes was slow compared to World Champion Vettel's new Red Bull.  An ominous sign for all the wannabees.
02/01/11 Nico Rosberg was happy with Mercedes' new 2011 car on the first day of testing at Valencia despite being slightly faster than a turtle.

The German and his famous teammate Michael Schumacher put the first miles on the W02 at the Spanish track but were not close to the top of the times.

Rosberg also had a technical problem and stoppage on the front straight, but declared himself happy anyway even though he was dead last.

"I felt at home straight away," he said, "and that's important."

Tuesday's fastest runner was world champion Sebastian Vettel in the new Red Bull, nearly a second faster than the next best runner in a 2011 car, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. More ...

Detroit 3 report big January sales gains  Trucks and crossovers helped propel Detroit's carmakers into double digit sales increases for January.

Meanwhile, foreign carmakers also noted a strong sales month with Hyundai Motor America reporting a 58 percent increase in retail sales and a 22 percent jump in overall sales.

All three of Detroit's carmakers reported sales increases in January, compared to the same month last year.

With its 23 percent jump, Chrysler Group LLC reported its 10th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases. More ...

Honda reports 40 percent drop in profit  Honda Motor Co. on Monday reported a drop in quarterly profit because of the strong Japanese yen, but it raised its full-year profit forecast in anticipation of further growth in U.S. auto sales.

Honda, Japan's third-largest automaker, predicted net income for the fiscal year ending March 31 would nearly double to 530 billion yen, or $6.2 billion, from last year's weak levels.

But for the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, Honda's income slid 40 percent to 81.1 billion yen, or $995 million, despite its cost-reduction efforts. More ...

Austin F1 Facility Construction to Have Substantial Economic Impact on the Region  A recent study conducted by Dr. Don Hoyte, principal of TexasEconomicImpact.com, determined that construction of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ track will have an enormously positive economic impact on the local Austin area, as well as on the state-wide economy. The proposed facility is expected to significantly increase direct and indirect sales activity, consumption-based tax gains and construction related jobs.

Through rigorous, objective economic analysis, Dr. Hoyte determined that the Formula 1 track facility construction is expected to increase sales activity in Texas from approximately $11.4 million in 2010 to a peak of $255 million in 2011 before leveling off to $132 million as construction activity winds down in 2012. Overall, state-wide economic activity is expected to increase by approximately $400 million during construction. More ...

Keselowski's/Turner Motorsports shops broken in to  The Rowan County, NC Sheriff's Department is investigating a break-in at the race shop of #2-Brad Keselowski. Keselowski owns a race shop at 380 Performance Drive in western Rowan near the Iredell line. According to the report someone broke into a 1999 Featherlite race car hauler by prying open the doors and removing tie down straps. Deputies noted that though were several other items in the trailer, only the $20 tie downs were taken. Damage to the trailer was estimated at $400. The break-in was reported on Thursday morning. The Rowan County shop is home to Keselowski's #29 Camping World Truck Series team. The sheriff's report also indicates another break-in at the location next to Keselowski's. Turner Motorsports reported a break-in to a car trailer on the property at 306 Performance Drive. There are several race shops in the industrial park on Performance Drive. WBTV.com
BMW sales up 21.1% in January  The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported January sales of 18,656 vehicles, an increase of 21.1 percent from the 15,410 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago.
Conway Surprise: Fulltime IndyCar drive in 2011 with Andretti  
Mike Conway
Andretti Autosport announced today that it is has signed Englishman Mike Conway to a full-season drive in one of the team's IZOD IndyCar Series entries for 2011. 

Conway, who launched his IZOD IndyCar Series career in 2009, is returning to competition after sustaining serious and season-ending injuries in last year's Indianapolis 500. 

Specific details on the entry and the sponsorship package in support of Conway's effort will be announced at a later date. 

The 27-year old Conway is a veteran of 23 IZOD IndyCar Series events - all with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing -- including the full 2009 schedule and the first six races of 2010. Conway scored a career-best third-place finish at Infineon Raceway as a rookie in 2009 and then posted three top-10s in 2010 before being sidelined at Indianapolis. More ...

Moveable rear wing can be made to work - Newey  UPDATE Here is a video of how the movable rear wing can work:

02/01/11 Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey is confident the new moveable rear wing concept can be made to improve racing in Formula One, but has warned it might require some fine tuning.

There have been some concerns that the device, which cuts drag on the straight and boosts top speed, will make overtaking too easy. If true, that could result in drivers opting to be in second place at the start of the final lap in order to overtake and not be challenged again.

However, Newey is confident that even if that is the case, the FIA will be able to tweak the regulations by limiting the zone in which the wing can be deployed. More ...

50th  Anniversary-edition Shelby Cobra sells out in 48 hours  All 50 copies of the 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra Street Car sold out within 48 hours of its official introduction, Shelby American said on Monday.

The car was unveiled during the Barrett-Jackson Auction on Jan. 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"The strong demand for these cars proves that the Shelby Cobra is still as desirable and sought-after today as it was 50 years ago," said John Luft, president of Shelby American. More ...

Stoner tops opening MotoGP test day  Casey Stoner set the fastest time during the opening day of the official pre-season test in Malaysia, topping the timesheets with a 2:01.574. The Australian was four tenths faster than reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who is now running with the number one on his bike following his title-glory last season.

Stoner’s late effort dropped the Spaniard to second place, with the newly-signed Honda driver getting off to a positive start with his new RC212V machine. Dani Pedrosa finished the day just behind the Lorenzo in third place, with Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies rounding out the top five with their efforts.

Valentino Rossi, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury, finished the day in twelfth place on his Desmosedici GP11. The test will continue at the Sepang International Circuit for two more days, with riders continuing to prepare their new bikes for the season ahead. More ...

General Motors January Sales Rise 23 Percent  General Motors dealers in the United States reported 178,896 total sales in January, a 23-percent increase from a year ago for the company’s four brands. The gain was driven by solid retail sales which were 36 percent higher than a strong January a year ago.

For the month, overall GM fleet sales were down 7 percent with sales to rental fleets declining 11 percent, while sales to commercial customers rose 7 percent.

Retail sales of GM’s cars, trucks and crossovers all rose 34 percent or more during the month, up 39 percent, 34 percent and 35 percent, respectively. More ...

Hendrick bars Johnson from running Indy 500  My first 2011 blog, posted January 13, included direct quotes from five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson about his desire to race in the Indianapolis 500. (Nice the Indianapolis Star last Friday finally got around to using some JJ quotes about this from last week's media tour.) There was an obvious follow-up to that, and that was to talk with Rick Hendrick, owner of Jimmie's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. I saw Mr. H at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction. As circumstances would have it, his time was limited, as he was on his way to the bidder's area. So arrangements were made for a telephone conversation. That happened last Wednesday.

Here's the complete transcript of Hendrick's answers to my questions if he'd give Johnson permission to give it a go in the I500, keeping in mind Johnson said he couldn't race a Honda-powered car, but Chevy is returning to Indy in 2012: More ...

Early F1 times from Valencia  New Force India test driver Nico Hulkenberg was the first out on track followed by McLaren's Gary Paffett. Both drivers, though, were using last year's cars as their team's new challengers won't be launched until later in the morning.

Fernando Alonso therefore had the honor of being the first to display his team's new car as he took the track in Ferrari's F150.

His run was, according to reports, short-lived as the Spaniard suffered an apparent technical problem within the first hour. Alonso, though, was able to get his car, which had the rear covered in flow-paint, back to the garage. More ...

Newey: You must have a working KERS to be competitive  Red Bull's technical chief Adrian Newey says his team cannot afford to not get KERS working properly, as he believes the system will be a big advantage during race starts.

"The RB5 was actually packaged to take KERS and we did run it briefly pre-season," said Newey during the launch of the new car at Valencia. "We took the view at the start that there were other things we wanted to concentrate on in 2009 so we chose not to race with it through the season.

"Packaging is a challenge with KERS and the big challenge is to try and come up with a solution that doesn't compromise the aerodynamics too much, otherwise you drop the performance benefit that you get from putting KERS on. More ...

Haug rules out Hulkenberg for another reserve job  (GMM)  Another reported contender for Mercedes' vacant reserve driver slot has been ruled out.

The German marque's head of marketing Joachim Schmidt this week said Mercedes is talking to potential candidates but seemed to rule out a third German to join Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.

"We already have two German drivers," he said when asked if 2010 reserve driver Nick Heidfeld - who later switched to Sauber but was not retained for this year - was in the running.

As Mercedes began testing its 2011 car the W01 at Valencia on Tuesday, motor sport vice-president Norbert Haug confirmed that the Brackley based team is looking for a reserve driver. More ...

Allianz signs on with Mercedes F1 team  On the day of the launch of the new Silver Arrow for the 2011 Formula One World Championship, the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS Formula One Team is pleased to confirm its partnership with world leading car insurer, Allianz. 

The new partnership further underlines the ongoing commitment of Allianz to road safety, Formula One and the automotive industry with the two partners, MERCEDES GP PETRONAS and Allianz, planning to work together to promote safety within Formula One with a global road safety information program.  More ...

Guidepoint to Sponsor Team Penske IndyCars  Penske Racing announced today that Guidepoint Systems has joined Team Penske beginning with the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Guidepoint Systems, a stolen vehicle tracking service, will serve as both a primary and associate sponsor of the team’s No. 3 and No. 6 IndyCar entries.

Guidepoint will sponsor the No. 3 Guidepoint Systems Dallara/Honda driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves at five races this season and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Guidepoint Systems machine at two events in 2011.

Based in Madison Heights, Mich., Guidepoint Systems deliver a variety of services to vehicle owners and fleet managers. GuidePoint is available through more than 2,500 new and pre-owned dealerships, including Penske Automotive Group dealerships, nationwide. More ...

Will Lottery winner lose it all in NASCAR?  One year ago, Joe Denette was at the lowest of lows. He had been unceremoniously laid off from the home building company that he had worked for. But four months later, Denette won Virginia Lottery Mega Millions jackpot of over $75 million. After opting for a lump-sum payout of $47.8 million, Denette started to put the wheels in motion, with assistance from fellow Virginian Hermie Sadler, to form Joe Denette Motorsports and ideally compete in the Camping World Truck Series in the 2011 NASCAR season. The biggest hurdle for Denette was hiring a driver that, not only was a capable driver, but brought sponsorship money as well.

Denette needed to look no further than his own state as he found fellow Virginian Jason White, who in the last couple of seasons has established himself from a journeyman driver to a driver right on the cusp of breaking through into the NASCAR winner’s column with many strong runs with the SS-Greenlight Racing organization over the last couple of years. A native of Richmond, White has been racing in NASCAR since 1999 and prior to his start in NASCAR, he dominated the Virginia go-karting ranks and in a five-year span, won six titles in Virginia and was in the top 10 in three different World Karting Association classes over that period of time. More ...

racing news
SPEED presents Mario Andretti Trophy  Fresh off a 10-day goodwill tour of Europe and the Middle East to visit U.S. service members with a contingent of IndyCar drivers, racing legend Mario Andretti traveled to Red Bull Racing's Formula One headquarters in Milton Keynes, Great Britain to present 2010 FIA Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel with the Mario Andretti Trophy as the 2010 SPEED Performer of the Year. The award, now in its fifth season, is presented annually by SPEED to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on motor sports' biggest stages and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class. In 2010, at 23, Vettel became the youngest driver ever to win the FIA Formula One World Championship, besting Lewis Hamilton's 2008 effort by six months. The young German racer finished the season with five wins, 10 poles and 10 podiums, claiming the title in the final race of the season -- a finale that marked the first time in the series' 60-year history that four drivers had a shot at the title. More ...
Mayfield on Race Hub tonight  Jeremy Mayfield, suspended by NASCAR for failing a drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines and involved with a lawsuit over the suspension and drug tests, is scheduled to appear on SPEED's NASCAR Race Hub, Tuesday, Feb. 1st. The show is scheduled to air at 7:00pm/et with a 2:00am/et re-air.
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • McLaren return 'difficult' admits de la Rosa
  • Renault stuns F1 with 'invisible' exhausts
  • Ecclestone no longer talking about bribe affair
  • Minor spat emerges between Kubica and Petrov
  • No tobacco link with new Renault livery - Lopez
  • Three more 2011 cars break cover as testing starts More ...
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