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Dominguez to test F1 car then...... Dominguez to test F1 car then......Mexican driver Mario Dominguez will test for Jordan at Silverstone Wednesday and then fly back to Mexico for the announcement that he will drive for HVM in 2005.  We expect the HVM sponsor package to be announced at that time - probably this weekend or early next week. Hector Serrano reporting from Mexico
Bear Creek Soups To Step Up Sponsorship Bear Creek Soups To Step Up Sponsorshipppc Racing officials announced associate sponsor Bear Creek Soups will return with an expanded 2005 motorsports marketing program. Under the sponsorship agreement, Bear Creek Soups will be the "Official Soup Product" at ppc Racing and have a strong presence on all four race teams with drivers John Andretti, Kenny Wallace, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Terry Cook. Bear Creek Soups has sponsored ppc Racing since 2001 and was a primary sponsor with the team's NASCAR Busch Series efforts last year at select events. The Bear Creek Soups logos will be displayed in various locations on all four of ppc Racing's race vehicles; the #14 VB / APlus at Sunoco Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with driver John Andretti; the #22 Stacker 2 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Busch Series with driver Kenny Wallace; the #10 ppc Racing Ford Taurus with driver Michel Jourdain Jr.; and the #10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with driver Terry Cook. For more information, please visit www.bearcreekfoods.com ppc Racing PR
Brazilian tops IPS test times in Phoenix Brazilian tops IPS test times in PhoenixJaime Camara recorded the fastest lap of the day to lead the first Open Test of the 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season on Feb. 8 at Phoenix International Raceway.  The Brazilian rookie lapped the 1-mile oval in 23.2496 seconds, 154.841 mph in the No. 1 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Jeff Simmons was second-fastest with a lap of 23.3017 seconds, 154.495 mph in the No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.  In all, eight cars recorded 1,363 laps during the testing session.
Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed
1. 1 Jaime Camara D/I/F 154.841 mph
2. 24 Jeff Simmons D/I/F 154.495 mph
3. 19 Chris Festa     D/I/F 153.660 mph
4. 11 Travis Gregg D/I/F 153.474 mph
5. 6 Jon Herb D/I/F 152.697 mph
GP2 series gets live TV GP2 series gets live TVGP2 is to get live TV coverage across Europe, thanks to a deal with pan-continental broadcaster Eurosport.  Eurosport, which showed F3000 live until 2001, and sister channel Eurosport 2, will offer live coverage of every round of the new championship, which starts at Imola on April 23rd.
Imola Race 1 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Imola Race 2 LIVE 11:30 (CET) Eurosport
Barcelona Race 1 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Barcelona Race 2 LIVE 11:30 (CET) Eurosport
Monaco LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Nürburgring Race 1 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport
Nürburgring Race 2 LIVE 11:30 (CET) Eurosport
Magny-Cours Race 1 LIVE 15:00 (CET) Eurosport 2
Magny-Cours Race 2 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport
Silverstone Race 1 LIVE 15:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Silverstone Race 2 LIVE 12:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Hockenheim Race 1 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Hockenheim Race 2 LIVE 11:30 (CET) Eurosport
Hungaroring Race 1 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Hungaroring Race 2 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Istanbul Race 1 LIVE 13:30 (CET) Eurosport
Istanbul Race 2 LIVE 10:30 (CET) Eurosport
Monza Race 1 LIVE 14:30 (CET) Eurosport 2
Industry News
New Corvette Engine Shatters Previous OHV RPM Limits New Corvette Engine Shatters Previous OHV RPM LimitsGM engineers have achieved a feat many speculated was not possible. The new LS7 7.0-liter OHV (overhead valve) V-8 engine for the 2006 ZO6 Corvette will not only achieve 500 horsepower but will be capable of running up to 7100 rpm. The previous limit was 6600 rpm in the 6.0-liter LS2.

With this new engine GM is showing multi-valve overhead cam performance is achievable with a two-valve cam-in-block engine. For the new ZO6, higher rpm allows the driver to remain in first gear to just over 60 mph, contributes to higher top speed and improves overall vehicle performance. The LS7 is one of the first automotive OHV production engines in the industry capable of over 7000 rpm.

The new ZO6's sub four-second 0-60 mph time is achieved in part by the extended rpm range and the ability to remain in first gear past 60 mph. The over-190 top speed of the ZO6 is partially due to the speed capability of the engine. As aerodynamic drag becomes a factor at higher speeds, the capability to run higher rpm allows the transmission to be run in a lower gear generating more effective torque at the rear wheels. Also, having the ability to shift all gears at higher speeds improves elapsed times whether on a road course or drag strip.

"For a production engine to run at this high of an rpm blurs the lines even more between OHV and OHC (overhead cam) design," said Dave Muscaro, assistant chief engineer for small block engines. "We took a complete systems approach to achieve the high rpm. We have a tight valvetrain design along with some race-inspired materials for the reciprocating components like titanium intake valves and connecting rods."

OHV engines use pushrods to activate the valves via rocker arms, whereas with OHC engines the valves are typically actuated directly via finger followers. The extra mechanical movement and weight of the components of an OHV valvetrain present challenges to higher rpm. The LS7 design and use of lightweight, stiff components, along with GM's economy of scale, make higher rpm obtainable in a production OHV engine.

"The new LS7 cylinder head gave us the opportunity to design a new high-revving valvetrain," said Jim Hicks, LS7 valvetrain design engineer. "The new valvetrain had to be as stiff and light as possible to assist meeting the engine's aggressive performance targets without compromising idle quality and low emissions. Stiffness is increased with larger diameter pushrods and rocker arms optimized through extensive finite element analysis."

The LS7's 1.8:1 rocker arm ratio and titanium intake valves contribute to a lower effective mass (compared to the LS2 base Corvette engine) in spite of larger and stiffer valvetrain hardware. Idle quality and emissions performance is achieved with the help of a more aggressive cam that provides more lift and duration while still keeping overlap area to a minimum.

"We consulted with our Motorsports group on numerous design aspects of the cylinder head design, said Hicks. "We adopted some of the latest ideas that have been successful in the Nextel Cup and the American Le Mans Series including valve centerline positions, valve angles, valve sizes and rocker arm ratio."

Due to the relatively large bore and stroke (104.8 x 101.6mm) of the LS7, light weight pistons, piston pins, titanium rods and a steel crankshaft are also used to achieve extended rpm. The flat top pistons with race-ready valve reliefs are 482 grams each and use a shortened lightweight piston pin. Each forged titanium rod weighs only 464 grams which is almost 30 percent less than each rod in the LS2. The forged steel crankshaft is stronger, stiffer and designed to handle high-speed loads. GM

Hendrick signs Ore-Ida deal Hendrick signs Ore-Ida dealHendrick Motorsports today signed a deal with Ore-Ida to serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 57 Chevrolet, driven by Brian Vickers, in four Busch Series races this season. Additionally, Ore-Ida will be an associate sponsor of Hendricks No. 25 Nextel Cup Chevrolet, driven by Vickers, throughout the season.
Elizabeth Arden launches Jeff Gordon campaign Elizabeth Arden launches Jeff Gordon campaignFragrance manufacturer Elizabeth Arden this week launches a campaign for its Halston Z-14 cologne, with NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as its spokesperson. Gordon will appear on packaging and in radio and print ads. The fragrance will be available for sampling and purchasing at select NASCAR events this year. Additionally, Elizabeth Arden will give away a trip to the ’06 Daytona 500 to meet Gordon as part of its “Season of Speed Sweepstakes.” The cologne sells for $14.99 Elizabeth Arden
ISC inks XM Satellite deal ISC inks XM Satellite dealISC today announced a multiyear sponsorship deal with XM Satellite Radio, which becomes the title sponsor of the IRL IndyCar Series race at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. Additionally, XM receives signage at 25 IRL and NASCAR events at ten ISC tracks, including Daytona Int’l Speedway and California Speedway XM Satellite Radio
Larry Foyt gets sponsor Larry Foyt gets sponsorFulltiltpoker.com, an interactive poker gaming Web site, has signed with Foyt Racing as the primary sponsor of the #16 Dodge. The car will be driven by Larry Foyt in the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday, Feb. 12th. The ARCA race will be the first foray into motorsports for Fulltiltpoker.com which sees a great opportunity to bring its online poker experience to racing fans. "I'm excited to be back behind the wheel at Daytona," said Foyt. "I've only driven in one ARCA race and that was over four years ago. I've learned a lot since then so I'm really looking forward to competing next weekend." Foyt put together the one-time race package for his father A.J. Foyt's team with support from BAM Racing team owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau. The Morgenthaus are trying to secure sponsorship to field a car for Foyt in one of NASCAR's divisions this year. Foyt has also signed two associate sponsors for this event: Demons Cycles (www.demonscycles.com), builder of custom motorcycles, and Victory Sportswear (www.victorysportswear.com a full line apparel company that offers screen printing, embroidery and ad specialty items to local race teams across the country. A.J. Foyt Racing PR
McMurray to run Mexico McMurray to run MexicoJamie McMurray will be driving a #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge entry owned by Chip Ganassi in the Mexico City Busch race.
Mosley threatens to abandon cost-cutting efforts Mosley threatens to abandon cost-cutting effortsMax Mosley has warned that Formula One's governing body may abandon cost-cutting moves in the sport because he says most teams no longer seem concerned about saving money. The International Automobile Federation president, in a letter to Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart, suggests the nine teams who shunned a meeting with him last month did so to avoid discussing future cost reductions with the FIA.

"That is perhaps understandable," he wrote. "The two teams whose future appeared most under threat at the end of last season have fortunately both been taken over by organizations which are reputed to have available very significant financial resources. This may be the reason why most of the teams seem unconcerned either by current costs or even probable future costs. There are now those in the FIA who question whether further time and effort should be expended in seeking cost reduction in Formula One. "The matter will be discussed by the World Motor Sport Council next month and may well result in the abandonment of these efforts unless or until there is a financial crisis in Formula One of the kind which appeared imminent last (northern) autumn.

"If we do nothing, we will lose the independent teams and end up with a money-spending contest between an ever-smaller number of major manufacturers," he said in an agenda sent to all teams for the January 28 meeting that only Ferrari attended. "As with all unstable financial systems, if action is delayed, the final crisis will be all the greater."

"We'll cut the costs ourselves, we're serious enough to do it," Paul Stoddart said of the nine teams which have already signed a voluntary agreement to limit testing during the season. "I don't think we'd hear any argument if the FIA decided not to get involved. I'm sure the thought process behind it all was a good intention, but nobody asked me what they could do to help me save money. It would not have been any of the things they have done."

Daytona Grand Marshal Daytona Grand MarshalMatthew McConaughey was selected the Grand Marshal for the Daytona 500. The actor will give the command "Drivers, start your engines" at the Feb. 20 race in Florida, NASCAR announced Monday.  "I'm honored and excited to be the Grand Marshal of this year's race," McConaughey said in a statement. "There is nothing more American than NASCAR and the Daytona 500.  McConaughey, who has starred in films including "Dazed and Confused" and "The Wedding Planner," will star in the upcoming thriller "Sahara." FOX Sports
Checkers Joins ISC Checkers Joins ISCCheckers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (Nasdaq: CHKR), the nation's largest double drive-thru chain, today announced that it has signed on as the Official Drive-Thru and Official Burger of NASCAR®. The double drive-thru chain also announced today that it is the Official Drive-Thru and Official Burger of several International Speedway Corporation (Nasdaq: ISCA)("ISC") facilities, including Daytona International Speedway, home to the Daytona 500, and other motor sports venues that host the most popular NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. ..."Checkers Drive-In Restaurants is proud to announce our partnerships with NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation," said Mr. Sirois. "We expect NASCAR and our overall motor sports relationship to elevate the brand in such a way as to promote unit growth, sales growth and interest with other critical stakeholders in our business. It is clear to us that NASCAR, along with our many track sponsorships, will provide the platform we need to grow our brand, as it deserves to be grown, in the years ahead." He continued: "Our current franchise community overwhelmingly supported and approved the funding for this exciting initiative. We value this support and look forward to expanding our community over the next several years." ISC PR
The New 6th Generation Corvette Paces Daytona 500 The New 6th Generation Corvette Paces Daytona 500Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, unveiled the all-new 2005 Corvette that will pace the 47th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season opener during the national broadcast of Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning.  Earnhardt Jr., who drives the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., revealed the Corvette coupe that will pace the 43-car field in "The Great American Race" on Sunday, Feb. 20 - NASCAR's richest, biggest and most prestigious event at historic Daytona International Speedway.  "The all-new 2005 Corvette brings more power, more precision and more passion to drivers than any Corvette in history making it a natural fit to pace this historic race," said Brent Dewar, Chevrolet general manger. DIS PR
Road America and Champ Car still talking Road America and Champ Car still talkingAutoRacing1.com spoke to Road America President George Bruggenthies today about the possibility of Champ Car returning to the beautiful Wisconsin track in '05. "In December Dick Eidswick met with our Board of Directors and ironed out what we believe is a good business plan for both sides," said Bruggenthies. "I am really encouraged for the first time in a long time with Champ Car. The new management took the time to understand our issues. The deal is predicated on one of us finding a sponsor for the event. That is what it really comes down to at this point. It is really too late for a race in May but if we find a sponsor I am sure we can find another date later in the year, but in reality I think it makes a lot of sense to plan for '06 and do it right. We looked at Mother's Day and we also looked at having a Saturday race the day before Mother's Day. I think a Saturday could work here. We sometimes get a marginally bigger crowd on Saturday than Sunday for our Bike week.  There are a lot of people in Champ Car who understand the importance of this track to the drivers and the fans, we just need to make it work financially for both sides." [Editor's Note: Champ Car should get NBC to air a Saturday race at Road America since they won't be airing the Monterrey race that is moving back to a Sunday. If the race is shown on network TV, finding a sponsor might be a lot easier because of the increased exposure they would get.]
Massa fastest, Sato crashes Massa fastest, Sato crashesSauber Petronas topped the time sheets today at Jerez with Felipe Massa leading the way in his C24. Massa completed 60 laps with a best time of 1:17.501s. BAR Honda driver Takuma Sato suffered a massive accident following a suspected rear wing failure approaching the first turn. Driving the new 007 chassis, Sato went backwards into the retaining wall at high speed resulting in a great deal of damage to the rear end of the car. Sato was believed to be traveling at over 180 mph in seventh gear when the failure occurred.
1. Felipe Massa – Sauber Petronas – 1:17.501 - 60 laps
2. Jarno Trulli - Toyota TF105 – 1:17.700 - 59 laps
3. Ricardo Zonta - Toyota TF105 – 1:18.170 – 47 laps
4. Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren Mercedes – 1:18.233 – 30 laps
5. Pedro de la Rosa – McLaren Mercedes – 1:18.557 – 60 laps
6. Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1:18.765 – 119 laps
7. Nick Heidfeld – BMW Williams – 1:18.803 – 89 laps
8. Mark Webber - BMW Williams – 1:18.985 – 77 laps
9. Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari – 1:19.220 – 42 laps
10. Luca Badoer – Ferrari – 1:19.725 – 54 laps
11. Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault – 1:19.854 – 83 laps
12. David Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1:19.969 – 38 laps
13. Christian Klien – Red Bull Racing – 1:19.979 – 50 laps
14. Anthony Davidson – BAR Honda – 1:20.303 – 19 laps
15. Takuma Sato – BAR Honda – 1:20.548 – 27 laps
16. Nelson Piquet Jr – BAR Honda – 1:20.847 – 39 laps
17. Jacques Villeneuve – Sauber Petronas – 1:21.051 – 59 laps.
Coulthard rejected Ferrari test role Coulthard rejected Ferrari test roleDavid Coulthard considered a testing role with Formula One champions Ferrari before signing a deal to drive for Red Bull Racing.  "I had the feeling that, if I had had the chance to work with that team, I would have felt at home," the Scot told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.   We talked about the possibility of becoming a test driver. But, in the end, I had the chance to race.  Ferrari are certainly a different team," said Coulthard, who finished runner-up to Michael Schumacher in the 2001 season with McLaren.  "Once I was at Maranello, I really felt the weight of history of that factory - of a team that has made and continues to make Formula One history."
SKF signs multi-year deal with RCR SKF signs multi-year deal with RCRSKF has expanded its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series involvement by signing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Richard Childress Racing (RCR).   With the start of the 2005 NASCAR season, SKF will hold sponsorship positions on the No. 07 of Dave Blaney, the No. 29 of Kevin Harvick and the No. 31 of Jeff Burton.  Additionally, the agreement includes a technical partnership between RCR and SKF engineers.  Both parties will communicate worldwide to develop new technologies focused toward building on RCR’s racing performance, as well as new products intended to increase the safety and performance of consumer vehicles.

"It's great for RCR to sign on a technical partner with all of the knowledge and expertise that SKF has," added Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "I know SKF will help carry RCR to the next level on the technical side of the business. We think there are many things that SKF will bring to the table that will put us back in victory lane."

SKF is the leading global supplier of products, customer solutions and services in the business of rolling bearings and seals.  Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, SKF has technology centers in the Netherlands, Italy and the United States. SKF is a worldwide supplier of roller bearings, radial shaft seals, precision-engineered elastomeric products, and related products and services to the automotive, aerospace, heavy-duty/off-highway, industrial and marine industries.

Montoya’s McLaren sprouts horns Montoya’s McLaren sprouts hornsThe McLaren Mercedes team tested a horn-like appendage sticking out both sides of the roll-hoop area behind the head of Juan Montoya today in Spain.   The teams are trying novel ideas to try and gain back lost downforce caused by the new aero rules for 2005.  Recall Ferrari's strange looking front wing last week.

In recent weeks we have seen the following strange aero devices/wings:


Allmendinger turns fastest lap Allmendinger turns fastest lapRuSPORT owner Carl Russo is tired of watching other teams win races in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, but if this past weekend’s testing is any indication, his team may be in place to wear the competition out when the 2005 season gets underway.

With a full preseason to set itself for 2005 – as opposed to last year when the last-minute addition of Michel Jourdain Jr. rewrote the team’s game plan – RuSPORT showed Sunday that it will be a force to be reckoned when the green flag flies on Champ Car season April 10 in Long Beach.

Reigning Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger vaulted to the top of the speed charts on the last day of a three-day Champ Car testing session in Sebring, stopping the clocks at 50.64 seconds on a cloudy Sunday in Central Florida. Allmendinger’s time was nearly three-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else was able to manage over the three days.

His new RuSPORT teammate Justin Wilson was equally quick in his first session since officially joining the Colorado-based squad, hanging a best time of 50.90 seconds on the board, matching the best effort of three-time series runner-up Bruno Junqueira. The three times were the best of the weekend, topping the 50.97 clocking posted by Newman/Haas Racing’s Junqueira on Saturday. Times were unofficial but were reported to Champ Car by Cosworth Racing engineers.

Former Champ Car title winner Jimmy Vasser picked up the pace on Sunday, breaking into the 50-second range with a 50.99 run on Sunday in his PKV Racing machine, while Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing overcame the mechanical troubles that slowed them on Saturday, and got full days of testing in with the newly-signed Nelson Philippe as well as Toyota Atlantic race winner Alex Figge. Philippe turned a best time of 51.6 seconds while Figge was a tenth behind at the end of the day. The former Atlantic standout showed marked improvement on Sunday, lopping more than a half-second off of his best time from the previous day.

Preseason testing continues for many of the teams next week as Forsythe Racing will roll out with 2003 series champion Paul Tracy at Homestead, February 17-18. More teams are expected to join the session, which will take place on the infield road course of the South Florida track. The 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season officially gets underway April 8-10 with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of the longest-running races on the Champ Car calendar.

Sebring Test Summary

Pos Driver Team Best Time Day
1 AJ Allmendinger RuSPORT 50.64 sec. Sunday
2 Justin Wilson RuSPORT 50.90 Sunday
3 Bruno Junqueira Newman/Haas 50.97 Saturday
4 Jimmy Vasser PKV Racing 50.99 Sunday
5 Nelson Philippe Mi-Jack Conquest 51.60 Sunday
6 Alex Figge Mi-Jack Conquest 51.70 Sunday
7 Timo Glock Rocketsports 51.75 Friday*
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay Rocketsports 51.76 Saturday
  Cristiano da Matta PHK Racing No Time Given Friday*
  Matthew Halliday Mi-Jack Conquest No Time Given Friday*
  Bruce Jouanny Mi-Jack Conquest No Time Given Friday*
*Extreme Cold Conditions
Monteiro shakesdown new Jordan Monteiro shakesdown new JordanUPDATE Some photos of Tiago Monteiro shaking down the new Jordan at Silverstone yesterday.


02/07/05 “It was a foggy start to the day here in Northamptonshire so we had to wait all morning before we could get started," explained Jordan Sporting Director Trevor Carlin. "However once the weather cleared slightly, the afternoon went well and Tiago Monteiro was able to complete almost 100km, making good progress with checking the various systems on the car. We’re looking forward to getting our teeth into the full test program in two days time.”

The new chassis is essentially a development of the EJ14 with a Toyota RVX-05 engine installation adapted to the 2005 technical regulations but hope that significant gains can be made with the package early in the race season.

"Today was really cool and from my point of view it went great," said Monteiro. "We started late because of fog in the morning so we didn’t achieve everything we wanted to. But we did 35 laps in the afternoon and had no major issues at all. We carried out some of the tests we wanted to do and I feel comfortable in the car. So far so good. I’m really happy and looking forward to continuing the work this week."

Monteiro will complete the shakedown program Tuesday. The first full test session of 2005 will take place at Silverstone on Wednesday with Narain Karthikeyan and Monteiro sharing the driving duties.

Long Beach scheduled released Long Beach scheduled releasedSUNDAY, APRIL 3
(a.m. tba) Long Beach Marathon Warm-up 5K/10K on the race circuit for runners, walkers, in-line skaters, etc.
5:30 p.m. Tecate “Thunder on Pine” Car Show & pit stop exhibition (Pine Ave. between Broadway & Fourth)
9 p.m. Tecate “Thunder on Pine” Concert (at Vault 350; admission charge)
7 a.m. Gates open
9:30 a.m. Toyota Atlantic practice
10:15 a.m. Champ Car practice
11:45 a.m. Toyota Pro/Celebrity practice
12:30 p.m. Trans-Am practice
1:15 p.m. Toyota Atlantic qualifying
2 p.m. Champ Car qualifying
3:15 p.m. Toyota Pro/Celebrity practice
4 p.m. Champ Car Driver Autograph session, Champ Car paddock
4:15 p.m. Trans-Am practice
4:55 p.m. ”Long Beach Drifting Challenge”
5:30 p.m. Tecate Fiesta Friday Concert (concert stage)
9 p.m. Concert (admission charge), Vault 350
7 a.m. Gates open
9 a.m. Toyota Atlantic practice
9:45 a.m. Trans-Am qualifying
10:30 a.m. Champ Car practice
1:15 p.m. Toyota Atlantic qualifying
2 p.m. Champ Car qualifying
3:15 p.m. “Long Beach Drifting Challenge”
4 p.m. Trans-Am final practice
5 p.m. “Rock-N-Roar” Concert (concert stage)
Following concert Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pageant
9 p.m. Concert (admission charge), Vault 350
SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2005
7 a.m. Gates open
8 a.m. Toyota Atlantic warm-up
9 a.m. Champ Car warm-up
12:15 p.m. Champ Car Pre-Race Ceremonies Begin
3:15 p.m. TRANS-AM RACE
(All listed weekend in-circuit events are FREE, unless otherwise noted, to race ticket holders)
Schedule subject to change
A Royal visitor at McLaren A Royal visitor at McLarenHis Royal Highness the Duke of York visited the McLaren Technology Centre on Monday following a day of official engagements in Surrey.   The Duke arrived at the facility late afternoon and was personally welcomed by Ron Dennis. He was then given a tour around McLaren Racing in which he saw one of the team’s 2005 cars, MP4-20 which begins testing in Jerez today. The Duke then visited the production line of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

The Duke visited the facility in his capacity of UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment and returns to the McLaren Group headquarters this evening for a Charity Dinner hosted by Surrey County Council.  Pedro de la Rosa is in action today for McLaren in the new chassis, handing over to Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday. Juan Pablo Montoya is present for all four days of running while Alex Wurz is forced to the sidelines as he does not fit in the MP4-20.  McLaren Mercedes

Tagliani is excited about coming to race in Edmonton Tagliani is excited about coming to race in EdmontonOf course Alex Tagliani is excited about the Champ Car World Series maintaining a third race in Canada. But really, Tagliani is excited about racing, period. That's racing, not necessarily driving.   "I've driven many supercars," said the Quebec native as he stepped out of a 2005 Lamborghini at the AgriCom yesterday as workers were adding the finishing touches for this weekend's auto show.   "I had the chance to drive the Ford GT40 at the Montreal auto show. Obviously all the supercars are amazing to drive, unfortunately the roads in Montreal are not that nice to ride on." But Tags - as many of his co-drivers call him - welcomes the opportunity to race the bumpy surface of City Centre Airport, designated Finning International Speedway for the July race.  "I would really like to go see the track while I am here in Edmonton, and spend some time with our engineer looking over some data that we have from Cleveland (Burke-Lakefront Airport).  "We haven't even started testing yet," he said of Year 3 for the Rocketsports team owned by racer Paul Gentilozzi, one of the principals of Champ Car. "So (it's about) trying to bring the team to a level that we can come here and be Top 3." Canoe.ca
Kids NASCAR Furniture Kids NASCAR FurnitureLexington Home Brands and O’Sullivan have teamed up to create a ready-to-assemble NASCAR youth furniture group, with a big-box retailer now testing three pieces at select stores. If the test goes well, more of the chain’s stores will carry the group and other retailers will have a chance to stock it, said Jim Myers, Lexington’s vice president of product development. Myers is a friend of stock car driver Bobby Labonte, who called one day to talk about a possible Labonte youth group. They pursued the necessary licenses. Labonte’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Tony Stewart, joined the effort, as did Labonte’s brother, Terry, also a racer. Drivers Jeff Gordon and Elliot Sadler were added later. Lexington contacted O’Sullivan, which had been doing suite-in-a-box furniture. Lexington provided the licensing and design and O’Sullivan handled the manufacturing of a twin bed, nightstand and five-drawer chest to retail for $189. Decals for all five NASCAR drivers are included in the box. Lexington and O’Sullivan are working to add a small bench to the group, to go at the footboard or elsewhere in the room. kidstodayonline.com
Jeff Gordon watch deal Jeff Gordon watch dealThe TAG Heuer watch company says it will use four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon as its new "brand ambassador" in a campaign that will include product development, advertising and public relations. He joins actress Uma Thurman, golfer Tiger Woods, Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova and Formula 1 driver Juan-Pablo Montoya as company representatives. The company says Gordon will work with its designers on the development of new watch collections specifically engineered for race car drivers and their fans. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Renault World Series
Kovalainen tests at Ricard Kovalainen tests at RicardReigning World Series champion and Race of Champions Champion Heikki Kovalainen has been busy testing the new Formula Renault 3.5 car at Paul Ricard. Kovalainen, who is part of Renault's driver development program tested alongside Jonathan Cochet. Kovalainen was able to complete more than 58 laps without any major problems as he focused on the new definitive version of the engine and some tire testing, as well as the cooling system. "The car has improved a lot with the new aerodynamic shape and it’s got more ground effect, also is even faster in the corners," Kovalainen explained. "The pedal shift system is quite good. I guess you can always improve things but in comparison with the old World Series car I can tell there has been a good evolution." Kovalainen is to race in the GP2 series this year with Arden International alongside French F3 racer Nicholas Lapierre. Renault World Series
Work crews busy in Bahrain Work crews busy in BahrainThe 2005 Formula One season is just a few weeks away and the Bahrain Grand Prix, third in the race calendar, is gearing up to host its second-ever F1 race after winning the FIA accolade as the best- promoted Grand Prix in 2004.

Since last year’s successful race, the circuit has been very busy putting on a number of events across the full range of motor sport. In the Autumn, GT and F3 cars battled it out on the full circuit with great results.

The circuit itself is unique in that it is the only Grand Prix track in the world that uses the system of “bonded” sand and cement. Most others use grass, but in keeping with the desert environment it was decided to use sand while the circuit was under construction prior to the inaugural Grand Prix in 2004.

However, the increased use of the track for racing, track days, testing and corporate events has taken its toll on the stabilized areas, so it was decided to replace it. Now the huge job of removing and replacing all of the stabilized sand which surrounds the circuit is nearly done, ready for the Grand Prix in April. BIC

Williams: No mistakes Williams: No mistakesFrank Williams has won in the past and is desperate to become a regular winner once again as the team that bares his name takes on the might of Maranello once again in 2005.

The team admit that mistakes have been made in the past and with a new driver lineup, it is time for a fresh start. “The mistakes of 2004 must not happen again,” said BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal, Frank Williams. “We must implement the new regulations to our best advantage and be completely 'with it' when it comes down to it.”

Taking on Ferrari will be a massive task and Williams believes that now is not the time to make predictions.   “We will know in the next few months whether we can beat Ferrari,” Williams continued. “The ambition is to win races and to try for the championship.”  WilliamsF1

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 attack is 'over' - Hakk
Piquet Jr to test BAR
Darker Bull debuted
Foggy fire-up for new Jordan
Carmaker vision a 'fairytale'
Jordan win speediest sale
'Mentor' role for Salo
'A lot to do' at Hinwil - JV
Massa to relish JV challenge
New Toyota is 'good' - Ralf
Frenchman and the 'flu
Work at Bahrain F1 track
Bridgestone deny tire drama
Dutchman on to 'plan-B'
Jordan duo add 'stability'
Montagny in race for '06
Grove to lose Pizzonia
Red Bull verdict imminent
Coloni to aim for F1
'Ignore me' - Coulthard
Template Inspection at Vegas to get to California Template Inspection at Vegas to get to CaliforniaCup teams had to roll through template inspection at Las Vegas to receive a voucher to continue testing at California. In the off-season, NASCAR takes its templates to race shops for early comparisons, but in the past teams would go early to Rockingham, previously the second race of the season, to check for accuracy. "We want the crews to know how we're applying the templates and what the procedures are," NASCAR inspector John Drager says. "This gives teams the opportunity to see the entire template package." Changes include Dodge's 14 identity templates, all spoiler templates because spoiler heights have been decreased an inch to 4.5 inches and the Chevrolet taillight template. FoxSports/Sporting News
Daytona 500 Purse at $17 million Daytona 500 Purse at $17 millionThe 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, NASCAR's biggest and most prestigious event of the year, will carry the biggest purse in the history of stock car racing at more than $17 million. The post awards for the "The Great American Race" on Sunday, Feb. 20 will be $17,623,980, an increase of nearly $2 million. The posted awards for the 2004 Daytona 500, which was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was $15,972,313. The winner of this year's Daytona 500 will collect a minimum of $1,430,030. The second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers in the Daytona 500 will receive a minimum of $1,029,425, $736,625, $584,750 and $456,875 respectively. Even the last-place finisher in the Daytona 500 will be rewarded with a minimum of $219,931. "The Daytona 500 is without doubt NASCAR's signature event and the 43-car field in this year's event will be paid handsomely for their efforts," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. Other purses for Speedweeks 2005 events are: * Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race: $305,507 * Budweiser Shootout: $1,087,300 * Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race: $807,103 * Hershey's Take 5 300 NASCAR Busch Series race: $2,409,495 Tickets to any of the Speedweeks 2005 events are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. DIS PR
New Red Bull car breaks cover New Red Bull car breaks coverUPDATE Added a photo of the car from the Red Bull website. We will have more extensive photos after the first official test of the car later this week. 02/07/05 Red Bull Racing's challenger for the 2005 Championship, the RB1, made its debut today in Jerez, Spain. The team will be racing the RB1 in Melbourne on March 6, kicking off its first season in Formula 1. Following the private test today, the RB1's will take part in the official FIA test on February 9, 10 and 11, with David Coulthard, Christian Klien and Tonio Liuzzi sharing testing duties. The official presentation of the new Formula 1 racing stable, drivers, team and car will take place at a Welcome Party on March 3 in Melbourne on the occasion of the opening of the season.


RB1 technical specifications

Chassis: Composite monocoque structure, designed and built in-house, carrying the Cosworth Racing TJ2005 engine as fully stressed member.
Transmission: Seven-speed gearbox, longitudinally mounted high-pressure hydraulic system for power shift and clutch operation. AP Racing triple-plate pull-type clutch.

Wheels: OZ Racing; front: 12.7in x 13in, rear: 13.4in x 13in
Tires: Michelin

Suspension: Front: Cast titanium uprights. Upper and lower carbon wishbones and pushrods. Torsion bar springing and anti roll bar. Koni damper layout.
Rear: Cast titanium uprights. Upper and lower carbon links and pushrods. Coil springs and torsion anti-roll bar. Koni damper layout.

Brakes: AP Racing lithium alloy six-piston calipers. Carbon Industrie or Bremo carbon/carbon discs and pads.
Electronics: Pi 'VCS' System. Integrated engine/chassis electronic control system.
Fuel: Castrol Racing Fuel

Cosworth Racing TJ 2005 engine
Number of cylinders: 10
Number of valves: 40
Vee angle: 90 degrees
Capacity: 2998 cc
Power output: not disclosed
Max engine speed: 18,000 rpm

Engine construction
Aluminum block and heads cast in Cosworth Racing's own foundry
Aluminum alloy pistons
Steel crankshaft

Engine management: Pi Research
Ignition system: Cosworth Racing
Spark plugs: Champion

Free Parking at Martinsville Free Parking at MartinsvilleMartinsville Speedway will open three new parking areas for this spring's Advance Auto Parts 500 weekend, adding about 20 acres of free parking within easy walking distance of the track. "We are constantly looking to expand our free parking areas and were fortunate enough to get these three areas," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. "We've always prided ourselves on having plenty of free parking and we're striving to continue that." The new parking areas will serve west-bound traffic off of the U.S. 58 bypass. Fans who park in the new areas will be able to access the track via pedestrian walkway through the Tom Johnson Campground. Martinsville PR
PKV Sebring test report PKV Sebring test reportPKV Racing came away from its first test in preparation for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series season pleased with the progress they made during three-days of testing, February 4-6, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.

Under the watchful eyes of owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit as well as Team Manager Jim McGee, Jimmy Vasser, pilot of the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine did extensive testing while the recently signed Cristiano da Matta, who will be behind the wheel of the #21 PKV Racing entry, ran what amounted to a “shakedown” session on Friday.

“It was a good test,” PKV Racing General Manager Jim McGee said. “Cristiano only ran part of the day on Friday because of his commitment to the Daytona 24-hour race, but it gave him an opportunity to reacquaint himself with a Champ Car. Jimmy tested the next two days and even though we were made a lot of changes and tried several different configurations, he ran a quick time of 50.99 seconds, which was among the leaders,” noted McGee. “Overall, I am very pleased with the results of the test. We made extensive progress with our aerodynamic and mechanical programs and we feel we improved in a lot of areas that will help us during the upcoming season. The PKV Racing cars ran very well and we are very satisfied with what we accomplished,” concluded McGee.

Da Matta, who officially joined PKV Racing on February 1, drove to Sebring from Daytona were he was preparing to team with Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Newman in the Rolex 24. The 2002 Series Champion, who was driving a Champ Car for the first time in 27 months after spending the last two seasons in Formula One, was limited to 36 miles of testing.

 “I can’t say that I am completely comfortable in the Champ Car because we only ran 30 laps, but I don’t think that it will take much longer,” da Matta said. “We put in some good work on Friday, got a lot of little things done, like adjusting the pedals, so that at the next test, we will be ready to go hard right away, he noted. “I am impressed with this team already and the chance to work with guys like Jimmy Vasser and Jim McGee makes me believe that we can do some good things this year,” concluded da Matta.

Vasser, who won the championship in 1996 and is a part owner of the team, ran 175 miles on Saturday and approximately the same number on Sunday. While focusing on aerodynamic and mechanical development, he was still able to run very competitive times. Unofficially, Vasser was third fastest on Saturday with a quick time of 51.24 seconds and within a few hundredths of a second of second fastest on Sunday with a time of 50.99 seconds.

 “We have a lot of new programs and new people in place at PKV Racing this year,” Vasser began. “Even with the changes I feel that PKV Racing is very competitive right now,” he said. “I’ve been on winning teams in my career and success has never been because of any special parts on the car. The teams that do well are the ones that have great chemistry and handle themselves professionally. That is something that Jim McGee brings to the team,” Vasser explained.

Next up for PKV Racing is a two-day test with da Matta on the Homestead road course February 17-18, followed by a test with both drivers on the Fontana road course tentatively scheduled for March 7-9.

Hendrick Motorsports announces new appointments Hendrick Motorsports announces new appointmentsHendrick Motorsports general manager Marshall Carlson today announced that competition director Ken Howes and longtime General Motors executive Doug Duchardt have been named vice presidents over the organization's racing operations.

"These are two gentlemen that bring an immeasurable amount of experience, creativity and energy," Carlson said.  "Ken and Doug share a vision that will contribute to our success and carry us forward.

"Hendrick Motorsports marked its 20th anniversary in 2004, which was a significant milestone and a tribute to all the people working here.  This sets us up for another two decades of outstanding teamwork and championship racing."

Transitioning from his role of competition director, Howes has been tabbed as vice president of competition.  The Johannesburg, South Africa, native will oversee Hendrick's day-to-day competition-related activities, now encompassing teams, crew chiefs and pit-crew trainers, along with at-track logistics and execution.

"I'm humbled by this opportunity," Howes said.  "Like all of us, I look forward to collaborating with Doug to build upon the principles that got this organization where it is today.  He's a great addition to an already great group of folks."

Duchardt, who most recently managed General Motors' North American motor sports initiatives as director of GM Racing, has been named Hendrick Motorsports' vice president of development, a position in which he will control race-car evolution through design, engineering and production in the chassis and engine areas.

"I've worked closely with Hendrick Motorsports throughout my career at GM Racing," Duchardt said.  "It's truly an honor to join such a great team of people, and I look forward to working with them toward Chevrolet's 29th manufacturer's title."

Construction begins on Toyota GP of Long Beach Construction begins on Toyota GP of Long BeachYour first step is to set a concrete block – the first of more than 14 million tons of concrete blocks! – down at the corner of Linden and Shoreline in downtown Long Beach.  Then – PRESTO! – nine weeks later, 175,000 of your friends show up ready to party at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach!

“I wish it were that easy,” says Dwight Tanaka, now in his 25th year as director of operations for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB).  His staff of 40 will put in more than 30,000 working hours – beginning this morning with the setting of the first concrete block - to get the 1.97-mile, 11-turn circuit ready for the 31st edition of America’s favorite street race on April 8-10.

“During the next two months, we’ll install things like three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires,” Tanaka said, “along with 19 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and eight giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.

“Not to mention porta-johns, hospitality suites, tents and trash containers.  Then, when race weekend is over, we take it all down, inspect it, repair it and get ready for the race in 2006.”

“Through all the years, through all the development in downtown Long Beach, we’ve managed to keep the circuit competitive and safe for the drivers and exciting for our fans,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the GPALB.  “From the race’s beginning in 1975, we’ve owed a real debt of gratitude to the staff of many Long Beach city departments and a host of private entities who have assisted us every year.

“Without their help, we would never have been able to make the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach the best street race in America.”  All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Ave., will remain open during racetrack construction.

Tickets for the 31st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run April 8-10, 2005, are on sale now. The Champ Car World Series will again be the headline racing event. Tickets can be ordered via credit card by using the toll-free ticket hotline,  (888) 82-SPEED. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at longbeachgp.com, in person at the Grand Prix ticket office (3000 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, Calif. 90806). Automobile Club of Southern California members are eligible for special ticket discounts. Call the ticket office for details.

Ticket prices range from $32 for a Friday/Saturday-only general admission ticket to $114 for a three-day ticket, which includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating on upper levels of the grandstands. Limited pre-paid parking packages are available and can be purchased when ordering tickets. Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, hospitality club packages and super photo tickets are also available for purchase.

For up-to-date ticket information, descriptions of the various club ticket packages, or for announcements of special Grand Prix event activities, visit the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site at longbeachgp.com.

Just Ten IPS cars for 'Test in West' Tuesday Just Ten IPS cars for 'Test in West' TuesdayMenards Infiniti Pro Series drivers are approaching the first Open Test of the 2005 season with anticipation for a variety of reasons.  Ten drivers are expected to test on the 1-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 8, the first of three Open Test dates sanctioned by the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in 2005, and the only Open Test slated prior to the season opener on March 6 at Homestead Miami Speedway.

Drivers such as Jeff Simmons and Travis Gregg are returning to teams they raced with last year, but are looking to build relationships with new team members. Drivers such as Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham and Chris Festa are new to the series and need to gain experience in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series car. All drivers value as much track time as possible and the opportunity to take a look at their competition.

"This is the first time we'll be back on the oval since Texas, so I'm really looking forward to it," said Simmons, who competed in four races with Kenn Hardley Racing in 2004. "We're working with some new guys on the team, so it's a chance to gel as a team before the season starts. It's been a while since I've been able to do that. Even in 2003 when I raced with Keith Duesenberg Racing, I didn't sign until late. It's a good chance for us to develop some chemistry together."

Mosley denies deal with Ferrari Mosley denies deal with FerrariMax Mosley, president of motorsport's governing body, FIA, denied in an interview published on Monday that FIA agreed a deal with Ferrari over rule changes at a meeting on January 28th which the other nine Formula One teams decided not to attend.   Mosley described the accusation as "a fairy tale" which was "without logic."  "If I could, I'd slow them (Ferrari) down," said Mosley. "There is nothing worse for Formula One than the same team always winning.  "Those boycotting will earn nothing through their tactics," said Mosley. "At the end of 2005, there will be a new set of rules laid out, which will run until 2008."
NASCAR unveils big promotional campaign NASCAR unveils big promotional campaignNASCAR today unveiled “NASCAR Comes To Wal-Mart,” a promotional partnership to help kick off the ’05 season.  The promotion will roll into 1,100 Wal-Mart stores within 43 race markets and will feature POP displays for select NASCAR sponsors.  Additionally, more than 500 stores will also feature NASCAR-themed “retailtainment” activities that include trivia contests, a race simulator and sponsor show cars NASCAR
Winning Indy 500 owner dies Winning Indy 500 owner diesJohn S. Zink, the Tulsa, Okla., industrialist whose cars won the Indianapolis 500 in 1955 with driver Bob Sweikert and 1956 with driver Pat Flaherty, died Feb. 5 in a Tulsa hospital.  Zink, who was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at a dinner in May 2004 in Indianapolis, was 75.

Only 23 years old when he entered a car in the "500" for the first time, "Jack" Zink had at least one car in the lineup every year between 1952 and 1967. Somewhat following in the footsteps of his father, John S. Zink Sr., who had sponsored a car driven by Cecil Green in 1950 and 1951, Jack Zink arrived with his operation in 1952 and with a driver even younger than himself - 22-year-old Jimmy Reece. They finished seventh.

John Zink Specials won 13 National Championship races between 1955 and 1966, four each with Jud Larson and Jim McElreath, two each with Sweikert and Flaherty, and one with Lloyd Ruby. Zink also partnered with Bob Wilke of Leader Cards, Inc., to field the car with which Jim Rathmann won all three heats of the 1958 500-mile race at Monza, Italy.

The victories by Sweikert, Flaherty, Larson and Rathmann came with A.J. Watson as chief mechanic, while the victories of Ruby and McElreath were wrenched by Denny Moore.

Never satisfied with "status quo," Zink entered a revolutionary car in 1961 for 1952 winner Troy Ruttman. Not only was the car rear-engined, but it was supposed to have been powered by a gas turbine. Built in Tulsa by Moore, it arrived late and without the turbine. After testing briefly during the early part of the summer, and with an Offenhauser engine in place of the turbine, it was decided to start again from scratch.

A second rear-engine car was readied for 1962, this time based on the 1961 Cooper and the Lotus 18. Powered by a Boeing gas turbine, the driver this time was American road racing standout Dan Gurney. Required to take a "rookie" test, Gurney did so with the very front-engine "roadster" that had been driven to victory by Flaherty in 1956. Although the turbine was tested extensively by Gurney, Chuck Hulse and Bill Cheesbourg, it was withdrawn without a qualifying attempt being made.

In 1964, Zink partnered with Jack Brabham, who had already won two of his three Formula One World Championships and who had recently become an F1 car constructor. Although Brabham only lasted for 77 laps in the 1964 "500" with his rear-engine Brabham/Offy, McElreath drove it with great distinction during the next 2 ½ seasons. More importantly, this was the car which was virtually duplicated as the Brawner Hawk series, driven to so many victories in the mid- and late 1960s by Mario Andretti.  Arrangements for Zink are pending.

Industry News
SPEED Channel signs wireless deal SPEED Channel signs wireless dealAirborne Entertainment Inc. has just satisfied its need for speed. The innovative mobile publisher today announced an exclusive wireless partnership with SPEED Channel, North America's leading authority on all things fast. The deal will take millions of racing fans along for the ride as it brings the network's high-octane properties to mobile for the first time ever.

Fans of SPEED Channel will be able to download an ever-expanding array of wallpapers, videos, ring tones, games and applications directly on their phones. Each SPEED Channel-inspired product promises to put fans into overdrive with content that's as fast and furious as the network itself.

"SPEED viewers are a very loyal and passionate group and we are constantly seeking new methods for them to interact with our brand and SPEED Mobile is the next step in that evolution," said Kevin Annison, SPEED Channel VP of Business Development and Operations. "We are very pleased to partner with Airborne Entertainment, the leader in delivering creative and cutting edge content to the wireless world."

"We strive to work with brands that inspire passion among their fans, and there are few fans more passionate than those of motor sports and SPEED Channel," said Airborne Entertainment President Andy Nulman. "To add fuel to their fire, we'll be focusing on the people, places and parts that make cars, bikes and racing such a distinct and wild world."

SPEED Channel will be joining Airborne's impressive roster of recognizable media and consumer brands. Current partners include MAXIM Magazine, Activision Value, Cosmopolitain and CosmoGirl, Buzztime, Snapple, Family Guy, Fox Filmed Entertainment, TV Guide, The NHL and MTV Europe. Airborne takes its partners across all available technologies to develop their optimum mobile entertainment portfolio, developing content that's right for them AND for the marketplace.

An introductory suite of SPEED Channel products will be available on North American carriers shortly. Additional SPEED Channel products will race out of the gates throughout the year and will reflect ongoing trends and events in the auto and motorcycle racing worlds.

Series Managers named for Canada and Mexico Series Managers named for Canada and MexicoNASCAR has selected tour directors for its Canada and Mexico series. Richard Buck, a former team manager in Winston Cup and CART, will oversee the Canadian operation. Former driver and TV commentator Chad Little will manage the Mexico series. FoxSports/Sporting News
Tony George to start team just for stepson Tony George to start team just for stepsonEd Carpenter drove for Eddie Cheever last year during his rookie season in the IRL, crashed out of six races and didn't have his contract renewed for 2005. But Carpenter's new owner figures to be a little more understanding.

SPEEDTV.COM has learned that IRL founder Tony George is becoming an official car owner in the series he started 10 years ago. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway president purchased the cars and equipment from Tom Kelley so his step-son, Carpenter, will have a ride this season.

"Yes, we're in the process of getting everything finalized and I'm happy to have this deal done," said Kelley, who campaigned cars in the IRL since 1998 before closing the doors at the end of 2004.

"Tony is also going to run the team out of our shop in Indianapolis."

It's long been assumed that George has spent millions since 1996 helping keep IRL teams afloat with cars, engines, travel expenses, etc. and his mother, Mari Hulman George, gave Stephan Gregoire financial assistance in the IRL's infancy. But this would be the first official ownership stance, although it's believed the team could run under the banner of Hemelgarn or PDM Racing.

George, who couldn't be reached for comment, is expected to have Toyota power in the Dallara chassis for Carpenter and veteran Tim Wardrop has been hired to engineer the 23-year-old graduate of USAC midgets and sprints. Larry Curry, who worked with Tony Stewart in their 1997 IRL championship, is reportedly the team manager. More at SPEEDTV.com

BAR Honda to test Piquet Jr. BAR Honda to test Piquet Jr.Nelson Piquet Junior will join Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda in Jerez this week where he will have the opportunity to drive a B·A·R Honda 006 car during the first day of the team's test programme. Piquet Junior, 2004 British Formula 3 champion and one of motorsport's rising stars, will join B·A·R Honda at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain on Tuesday 8 February, where the team will continue to focus on its intensive pre-season development programme with all four of its regular drivers.

British based "Nelsinho", the nineteen year old son of three-times Formula One World Champion Nelson Piquet, was extended this opportunity in recognition of his achievements in British Formula 3 last year, in which he became the youngest-ever winner of the series in October 2004.

This opportunity enables Nelsinho to continue the long-standing association between the Piquet name and Honda, as his father won seven of his twenty-three victories with a Honda powered team.
Chevy Presents Corvette Corral at Sebring Chevy Presents Corvette Corral at SebringThe 12 Hours of Sebring is North America’s longest running road race and its most prestigious.  For the first time ever, IMSA/ALMS are facilitating the “Chevy Presents Corvette Corral @ Sebring” with invited co-host, the National Corvette Museum. 

The 53rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring marks the American Le Mans Series inaugural race for 2005.  Along with the exciting and grueling 12 hour endurance road race at the historic Sebring International Raceway, Corvette racing fans and enthusiasts will be treated to unprecedented access to many behind-the-scene elements that make the 12 Hours of Sebring a motor sport spectacle. 

Witness and cheer on the champion Corvette Racing team inaugural C6-R race in the comfort and security of an exclusive preferred area reserved for Corvettes located at Sebring’s Turn 17 (trackside). 

Among the many celebrity guests are Dave Hill, Corvette Chief Engineer and GM Performance Cars Vehicle Line Executive; Tom Peters, C6 Corvette Chief Designer; Jim Campbell, Director – Car Marketing; Doug Duchardt, Director GM Racing; Gary Claudio, Manager, GM Racing; Nate Love, Marketing Manager Corvette and Harlan Charles, Corvette Product Manager. 

An unprecedented array of Chevy pre-production vehicles will be on display including the 2006 Corvette Z06 and rolling chassis; Corvette C6 SEMA show cars; Corvette C6 Convertible and Coupe. 


One of the surviving Sebring Corvettes will also be on display.  This race car was one of six that ushered in Corvette’s long and lustrous racing pedigree with its inaugural Sebring race in March 1956. 

Meet our special guest, legendary Corvette racing icon, Dr. Dick “The Flying Dentist” Thompson; participate in an informative “walk-around” presentation of the 2006 Corvette C6 Z06 with its creator, Dave Hill; listen to Tom Peters talk about how the C6 design came into being and get technical information from Corvette engineer, Harlan Charles. 

There is more in store at the “Chevy Presents Corvette Corral @ Sebring” including a first-ever 100 Corvette Parade Lap sanctioned by IMSA on Thursday evening and opportunities to meet Corvette Racing’s Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Max Papis, Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen.

F1 street parade for Melbourne F1 street parade for MelbourneA parade of Formula One cars through the streets of Melbourne is to mark the city's tenth world championship Grand Prix. The Melbourne 'F1 Street Parade' will hit the streets from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Wednesday, 2 March – the eve of the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park over the following four days. The parade is expected to include several Formula One cars as well as V8 Supercars traveling along a city route.

The ‘circuit’ has been plotted to highlight many of Melbourne’s famous landmarks, including Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, the Arts Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Melbourne Town Hall. The course will take in the block of Swanston, Flinders, Russell and Collins Streets and travel up St Kilda Road to the Arts Centre.

Lord Mayor John So said the Melbourne F1 Street Parade will showcase Melbourne to an extremely large audience and increase Melbourne’s national and international profile. “A street parade like this provides a unique opportunity to showcase our great city to a massive global audience like never before,” Lord Mayor So said. “It will also attract thousands of people to the city. Over half a million people flocked to the centre of London last year to witness a similar display of F1 action. Melbourne’s street parade is expected to attract 200,000 people.”
The Lord Mayor said the parade would ensure that everyone can enjoy the thrill of the Grand Prix in Melbourne. “An exciting, free public event like this gives everyone in Melbourne the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of one of this city’s premier sporting events, even without a ticket to the Grand Prix,” he said.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman Ron Walker said the street parade was a creative and exciting way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

“We have a Formula One Grand Prix that is acknowledged as the world benchmark in presenting a major event,” Walker said. “It’s going to be a very special celebration next month when we hold our tenth Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park. We will have the People’s Day, with free general admission to the track on the Thursday, but this street parade is about bringing the Grand Prix to the very heart of this great city, to celebrate our ten years.” Australian Grand Prix Corporation

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Jordan defend 'green' verdict
Schu can't match top time
Trulli's Toyota like a Jordan
New BAR not Ferrari-beater
Sam Michael underwhelmed
'Ferrari usurper, Renault'
Minardi's 'radical' F1 racer
Boost for Indian grand prix
New Sauber's 'design flaw'
McLaren to challenge
Zsolt chatter at 'stalemate'
Stewart slams scientist
Another girl on road to F1
Austrian eyes 'Friday' job
Red Bull wait on F1 line-up
Russian to test Jordan
Honda falling short
GP demo set for Melbourne
Minardi thaw Misano track
Minardi vow to 'stick around'
BAR trio duke it out
Press the Button for F1 glory
Gelles Racing first to test new PanAm Renault V6 Gelles Racing first to test new PanAm Renault V6Gelles Racing announces officially that test days are now available with the first Renault V6 that was delivered in America a few days ago. Serious and funded drivers should inquire to team owner Bob Gelles about scheduling testing on the dates available in February and March. Gelles Racing and Formula Renault have a solid history of firsts. It was the owner of the first Formula Renault FR2000 to land in America. Then was the first team to enter the championship in 2002. Then the first to order a V6 in 2003 when the series was announced, then 2004 and now finally receiving one in 2005, thanks to the efforts of philanthropic James Jakes. A new Formula Renault V6 was finally flown to America this week, the engineers and crew are prepared for the upcoming test days. Testing is available at Road Atlanta on February 13 & 14, then at Carolina Motorsports Park on February 22 & 23 and again on March 8 & 9, onward to Barber Motorsports Park March 11 & 14.

“I just returned from Florida, we at long last will be testing this fabulous open-wheel car by the end of the week, agreed Bob Gelles. We will have the staff from David Price Racing to assist our crew in the V6 maiden laps. From our team, engineers Rodolfo (Lolo) Perdomo and Cristian Kissling will also be on hand. We will have a second car delivered in a few days. I strongly believe any driver that has the skills to tame such a racing beast will want to enter the whole PanAm Racing V6 series as the prize is just too good to pass. Champion to receive a ride in 2006 World Series by Renault and an exclusive Formula 1 Test. I also believe skeptics will have to change their mind in 2005: with John Jakes as owner and Allen Berg as managing director together with factory support from Renault Sport, the PanAm series will become the next top ladder series everybody is waiting for in America.”

Troubles plague Champ Car drivers in Rolex 24 Troubles plague Champ Car drivers in Rolex 24The day started in a bad way and never got any better for Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy and Cristiano da Matta at the Daytona International Speedway as the three most recent champions of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford settled in for 24 hours of racing in the country’s most prestigious endurance event.

The early troubles that plagued both the #79 car that Bourdais and da Matta piloted as well as the #54 car of Tracy meant that the only joy the title winning trio would get would be from watching Rocky Horror Picture Show on the infield movie screen as they would all find their races over before the event’s halfway point.

Tracy’s Bell Motorsports machine had to give up its 15th starting spot and took the green flag from the rear of the field as a brake bias problem forced Tracy’s teammate Terry Borcheller to pit on the pace lap. Bourdais and da Matta each had problems in the Silverstone Racing machine, bringing out the race’s first caution flag after an off course excursion on Lap 17. The day got worse in rapid fashion for the #79 team, triggering three more caution periods with the last one finally putting paid to the day with a trip into the tire barrier.

Tracy and his Bell team overcame the early problems and were threatening to climb into the top 10 after Tracy drove a spirited stint before handing the car off to his teammate Ralf Kelleners. But their day would end soon after as cooling problems led the team to discover a much deeper problem in the oil system that led to the team’s retirement just before midnight.

The problems weren’t limited to those Champ Car drivers with championship rings at a tough Rolex 24. Guy Smith, who drove with Rocketsports in the Champ Car World Series a year ago, retired before Bourdais and da Matta as his Orbit Racing machine finished 54th, three spots behind the #79 machine. Veteran Champ Car star Roberto Moreno saw his team run 58th of the 62 entries, while the Ten Motorsports team that featured recent Champ Car competitors Memo Gidley and Michael Valiante placed 42nd. Champ Car

Briatore defends new qualifying format Briatore defends new qualifying formatRenault F1 boss, Flavio Briatore has defended the new F1 qualifying format for 2005, whereby, two sessions will take place, one on a Saturday, and the other on a Sunday morning, with the combined times forming the grid.  Speaking to British newspaper, The Sunday Mirror, Briatore noted that with so many people at a race on a Sunday, to have final qualifying to decide the grid, was a good way of giving them 'entertainment.'  "At 9am we have 80,000-90,000 in the stands and nothing happens until 2pm," he said. "We need to entertain people more.
Horner: Jordan made a mistake Horner: Jordan made a mistake"The biggest asset that our Red Bull team has is David Coulthard," said team principal Christian Horner to Reuters. "He has spent 10 years in the sport and throughout that time with top teams in Williams and McLaren. The experience that he brings is invaluable at the end of the day, with regards to development and the way that the team operates, and that is obviously something that rookie drivers simply don’t have."

For that reason, Horner does not agree with Jordan's decision to go with two young drivers in Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro with almost no Formula One background. "I think to go with two such green drivers is a mistake. Formula 1 is a totally different animal to any other formula," concluded Horner.

Race series for sale Race series for saleThe beleaguered IPOWER Dash Series is for sale -- on eBay. IPOWER owner Buck Parker, who lives here, put the sanctioning body on the chopping block Friday night. The starting bid for item No. 3872240288 is $100,000. For those who want to cut to the chase, you can "buy it now" for $650,000. As of Sunday morning [11am/et], there were no bids posted for IPOWER and its assets. Parker purchased the Dash Series from NASCAR at the end of 2003. In its first outing as an independent sanctioning body, one of IPOWER's drivers struck and killed Daytona International Speedway track worker Roy Weaver. IPOWER sanctioned six more races after its tragic Daytona debut, then suspended operations in 2004. Two weeks ago, Parker was forced to cancel IPOWER's premier race at Daytona due to insufficient funding. Among IPOWER's assets are the rulebook, membership list, technical equipment, a Featherlite trailer, two race cars (minus engines), track contacts, Web site, track agreements and historical material. Parker said he doesn't expect to vend his series on the Web site but sees it as the first step toward attracting some interest. Daytona Beach News Journal
BMW withdraws cars due to stud problems BMW withdraws cars due to stud problemsBMW of North America withdrew both its BMW M3s from the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night after both cars' right-rear wheel studs broke.  Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. was behind the wheel of the team's No. 21 when its wheel broke, causing him to spin at about 165 mph. Luckily he didn't hit anything and he was not hurt.

"We have experienced recurring breakages of the right-rear wheel studs on both of our BMW M3s," noted a statement from the team. "This problem poses serious safety issues, and we have made the decision to withdraw from the race."

Gleason's car had been as high as fourth in the GT class at one point earlier in the day.  Although he was disappointed, Gleason was also philosophical about the situation.

"It was just a mechanical failure," he said. "These things happen, and you have to take the good with the bad in racing. At least it happened at the six-or seven-hour mark, and not really close to the finish when we were running in the lead or anything.

"The car felt strange for several laps on the banking before the problem occurred, but I wrote it off to turbulence," he continued. "Since you're flat-out for so much of the time at this track, it favors the Porsches over the BMWs, so you have to try to draft with the Daytona Prototypes as much as you can. I just thought it was turbulence; I didn't know the wheel was getting loose.

"Fortunately it happened in [turns] one and two, at the end of the long straightaway," he said. "I spun at about 165 mph, but luckily I didn't hit anything."

Gleason said that the series changed its specs on the wheels used by the GT class this year, and a lot of teams are pushing that the series goes back to the ones used previously. "It's purely a safety issue," he said.

RuSPORT boss predicts defeat of Newman/Haas RuSPORT boss predicts defeat of Newman/HaasIn this Business Week article, RuSPORT team boss Carl Russo says:
Q: Your race-car team, RuSPORT, competes against a team co-owned by actor Paul Newman.
A: Yes, that's whose ass we're going to go kick.
Q: What do you like about owning a race team?
A: For me, it's the competition. It's the puzzle. It's how do you put the right pieces together in the right order, with the right culture.... I love to compete. It must be some deep-seated insecurity from not being picked for the sixth-grade softball team. [Editor's Note:  Read the rumor item called RuSPORT team to beat in 2005 to understand just how serious Carl Russo is.]

This Business Week article adds - Russo engenders respect around the racetrack, too. In just two years his two-car team, called RuSPORT, has become a top contender in the Champ Car series, which is similar to Formula One racing. That's in part because of Russo's close oversight. In a league in which most owners are weekend hobbyists, Russo has interviewed almost every member of the 45-person team, right down to pit crew. "He put a great deal of thought into what he wanted this team to look like," says team President Jeremy Dale.

Trans-Am series returns to Edmonton Trans-Am series returns to EdmontonThe 2005 Edmonton Grand Prix has finalized its track layout for the Finning International Speedway. The 1.96-mile airport circuit will host the Trans-Am Series during the Champ Car World Series weekend July 15-17. The Toyota Atlantic Championship is also part of the Edmonton racing card. An official track map can be downloaded at edmontonchampcar.com.

The race will mark a return for the Trans-Am Series to Alberta's capital city. The Series previously competed here, at Edmonton International Raceway in 1971 and 1973.

"This event should be fitting return of the Trans-Am Series to Edmonton," said Trans-Am Executive Director John Clagett. "The airport layout is perfect for the door-to-door, nose-to-tail racing for which the Trans-Am Series is famous. Fans will see virtually the entire track during the event, giving them an up-close look at the racing action. The circuit also sports a wide racing surface and plenty of passing opportunities, so it should be a thrilling race."

"The majority of the fans will be able to see 90% of the circuit," said Edmonton Grand Prix Director of Operations Tom Doerksen, "and that will certainly add to their enjoyment of the event. This track is different from the majority of circuits on the Champ Car and Trans-Am calendar. There are very few areas blocked by cement walls, making most of the track wide open for the spectators and the drivers. We're in the process of rebuilding and paving approximately 70% of the circuit to allow for the very best racing surface possible. We believe the fans and drivers alike will have a visual racing experience that very few venues can provide."

Rolex 24 at 18 Hours: We have a race Rolex 24 at 18 Hours: We have a raceUPDATE This rumor is updated to 'fact' today as AutoRacing1.com has learned that McLaren's 2007 lineup will be Alonso and Hamilton.  We await the official announcement in the coming months.

06/11/06 McLaren intend to give young Briton Lewis Hamilton time in a Formula One simulator over the next month to prepare him for a likely grand prix debut in 2007.

"Wherever he ends up next year there is every indication that it should be, and we will try and make it, a Formula One car," team boss Ron Dennis told reporters at the British Grand Prix.

"He's got one GP2 test and maybe we'll give him some mileage in our simulator in preparation for a test towards the end of the year. That is most likely what will happen," said Dennis.

"We don't want to work outside the testing agreement, we don't want to spend time evaluating any driver at the moment," he added.

"It's certainly not the thing to do mid-season, not productive to our car development programme which is the priority at the moment."

McLaren are expected to lose Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari or Renault next year and there is a big question mark over Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya's future.

Dennis said the team was comfortable with its position for 2007 and had taken key decisions already.

"We know exactly where we will go and what we will do according to what unfolds over the next few weeks," he said.

"We are not waiting on anybody. We are waiting for circumstances out of our control to unfold," added Dennis cryptically. "You will completely understand as and when I believe it will fall into place." More at Reuters 
PanAmV6 Test Days PanAmV6 Test DaysPanAmV6 Test Days at Road Atlanta(US), Paul Ricard (France) and Barcelona (Spain)
Road Atlanta Test Days
A Formula Renault V6 will be available for testing at Road Atlanta on February 13 & 14, 2005 which is a Sunday and Monday. Road Atlanta is a 12 turn road course located near Gainesville, Georgia, 45 miles north of downtown Atlanta, just off of I-85. Further information about the track can be found at the official Web site: www.roadatlanta.com
Gelles Racing will supply all the seat building materials.

Paul Ricard Test Days
A Formula Renault V6 will be available for testing at Paul Ricard Circuit on February 19 & 20, 2005 which is a Saturday and Sunday.
Paul Ricard circuit is on the South coast of France and hosted the French Grand Prix for 20 years. Now closed to racing, the circuit has become a high speed test track with 40 different track combinations.
Further information about the track can be found at the official Web site: www.circuitpaulricard.com

Barcelona Test Days
A Formula Renault V6 will be available for testing at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona on February 23 & 24, 2005 which is a Wednesday and Thursday. Circuit de Catalunya is used extensively for Formula One testing and is the undisputed home to the Spanish Grand Prix
Further information about the track can be found at the official Web site: www.circuitcat.com

PanAmerican visits venues in South America PanAmerican visits venues in South AmericaPanAmerican's Allen Berg is spending the next 20 days traveling around South America - taking in Mexico City, San Jose, Caracas, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre, Curitiba. He is visiting all the venues to have meetings with circuit owners, National ASN’s (FIA Reps), promoters, Teams, drivers and media. He is also investigating the possibility of an event in Venezuela for the 2005 PanAm Championship.
Rolex 24 mid-race report Rolex 24 mid-race reportUPDATE Ferrari engine man Paolo Martinelli was seen at the Red Bull Energy Station at Silverstone having meetings with the boss of Scuderia Toro Rosso, Gerhard Berger. The meeting will add fuel to the rumors that Toro Rosso will be using Ferrari engines next year.

06/11/06 (GMM) Toro Rosso could take over sister team Red Bull Racing's engine contract with Ferrari in 2007.

As speculation rises that 'RBR' - spotting a vacancy with Williams' switch to Toyota - is keen to link up again with Cosworth, attention is inevitably turning to the solid two-year Ferrari agreement.

But the contractual tie might simply be handed over to Red Bull's junior team. Toro Rosso is under pressure to end its V10 arrangement with Cosworth, whose own contractual bind would be similarly negated if Red Bull pick up where Williams left off this year.

''If Toro Rosso want to modify that contract and make it different then we will sit down and talk to them and if we can strike a deal then great,'' said Cosworth's Bernard Ferguson at Silverstone.

Red Bull's racing advisor Helmut Marko, meanwhile, explained at the British circuit that Ferrari's contract until 2007 is with Red Bull, 'not Red Bull Racing'.

Such an arrangement, with Red Bull Cosworth powered and Toro Rosso with Ferrari, would neatly take the teams through to the end of 2007, when it is rumored that Volkswagen might be ready to enter formula one.

It is worth mentioning that, at the bottom of Toro Rosso's daily press releases at grands prix, the 'VW' logo appears prominently.
Champ Car welcomes Grand-Am to Mexico City Champ Car welcomes Grand-Am to Mexico CityUPDATE A reader writes, This story was the most disheartening article about Champ Car racing that I have ever read. Ever. At least all of the prior bad news and rumors were reasons to rally around America's best open wheel series -- to attend extra Champ Car races, to explain to friends (and strangers) the evil being waged against racing fans, and to have special T-shirts made. But this article tells about open wheel racing's saviors going over to the Dark Side.

The Grand-Am was solely intended to split sports car racing in the same way that The Weasel was encouraged (and aided) to split open wheel racing. Divide and conquer. The owners of OWRS are only too well aware of the many efforts by ISC to sabotage the Champ Car series. So -- now OWRS is going to help ISC's efforts to sabotage ALMS. CART was badly damaged when their management were duped into trying to reconcile with The Weasel. Paul Gentilozzi told me (face to face) that he had learned -- the hard way -- not to fall into that trap again. It appears that he and his partners didn't learn that lesson as well as he thought.

Grand-Am has very little fan following. After all, the prototypes are no more than "crapwagons with fenders". (If you think that's harsh, compare the lap times of the two series at Mid-Ohio last year.) ISC will use Champ Car to try to establish a fan base. (They certainly can't use the Irrelevant Racing League to do that!) If they manage to fool enough people enough of the time, then they will dump Champ Car, and run their joint ventures at St. Petersburg, Infineon Raceway, etc.

For the last few years, a friend and I have attended three or four Champ Car races per year. I had to swallow hard when my two favorites, Road America and Laguna Seca, were cut. But, I understood why, and hoped that they would be back once Champ Car recovered. For 2005, we only planned on Portland -- probably we will still go -- this year. I have attended 50 Champ Car races since 1984. But now it looks like OWRS has managed to do what none of its enemies could -- convince me to stop caring about open wheel racing in the US. Sincerely and sadly, Roger Wyman Pleasant Hill, CA

02/04/05 In an on-going effort to provide racing fans with first-class events all along its 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, the Champ Car World Series announced today that it has added the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series to the season-ending weekend in Mexico City November 4-6.

The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be joining Champ Cars on a weekend for the first time since August of 2002, and will mark the first time that Champ Car has had sports-car prototypes as a support series since the American LeMans Series ran a part of the 2003 event in Miami.

“We are committed to supporting our Champ Car promoters by working with them to constantly enhance our race weekend, that in turn will improve the overall attraction and value of the Champ Car event experience,” said Champ Car Executive Vice-President Joe Chrnelich. “Adding the Grand American Series in a supporting role to the Champ Car race will provide our loyal Mexican fan base with an end to end, action packed weekend.”

“We are delighted that we have reached an agreement with Champ Car and OCESA to be part of what is sure to be an exciting weekend in Mexico City,” said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. “We are well aware of the intense passion Mexican fans have for motorsports, and we are eager to witness this first hand as we wind down our 2005 season. As the annual Champ Car weekend in Mexico City has proven to be wildly successful, we feel strongly that it will grow even bigger this year and are honored to be a part of it.”

The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series enters its sixth season of competition in 2005 and includes the new Daytona Prototypes as well as the GT class. The series is kicking off its 2005 season this weekend with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a race that features the three most recent Champ Car title winners as Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy and Cristiano da Matta will compete in the twice-around-the-clock endurance event.

“In today’s racing environment our Series has to think outside the box in order to grow our loyal fan base and the Champ Car open wheel product appeal. Chrnelich said. “The Grand American Series is a quality organization with an exciting product and we agree with our promoter OCESA, that this combination is worth a try. We look forward to working with Grand American and to the potential of growing our relationship in the future.” Champ Car

Junqueira fastest on Day 2 at Sebring Junqueira fastest on Day 2 at SebringA.J. Allmendinger ripped out of the pits Saturday afternoon at Sebring with gravel and tire bits spewing from the back of his Champ Car, throwing conventional racing wisdom that calls for a warm-up lap out the window, as Allmendinger immediately jumped on the rev limiter and pounded through the gears on his way to the first turn. Photos

When asked later why he skipped the customary half-speed warm-up lap, he grinned and summed up the feelings of most of the Champ Car drivers that took part in today’s second of a three-day Champ Car test session at Sebring International Raceway.

“It’s been four months since I’ve been in one of these!” he grinned. “No time for warming up.”

Five teams turned up at Sebring on a sunny Saturday to continue preparations for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, and were again chasing the team that most of them pursued in vain all 2004. Newman/Haas Racing’s Bruno Junqueira showed the way, turning the only sub 51-second lap of the day, as he negotiated the 1.2-mile Sebring short course in 50.98 seconds.

Junqueira had a tight bunch behind him, as he should expect to have all year long, with Allmendinger, Jimmy Vasser and Justin Wilson all stopping the clocks within a half-second of the day’s leader. Allmendinger posted a best time of 51.13 seconds in his first day in the RuSPORT car, while his teammate Justin Wilson came in at 51.35 in the second RuSPORT machine.

“Overall it went well for us. The car feels stronger already this year than it did at the end of last season,” Allmendinger said. “The guys did a great job getting the car sorted in the morning after some mechanical problems and we got a lot of work done in the afternoon.”

Vasser scored the third-best time of the day in his PKV Racing mount, turning in a best effort at 51.24 seconds. The test was the first for the 1996 Champ Car title winner with Jim McGee atop the war wagon, as Champ Car’s all-time victory leader among general managers joined PKV Racing for the 2005 campaign.

“We have a lot of new programs and new people in place and I feel that we are close to competitiveness even with the changes,” Vasser said after putting 175 test miles on the board. “I’ve been on winning teams in my career and success has never been because of any special parts on the car. The teams that do well are the ones that have great chemistry and handle themselves professionally and this is something that Jim brings to the team.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay ran his first test day of the 2005 season for Rocketsports, but had to battle an ill-fitting seat that made for an uncomfortable outing. The Milwaukee winner put up a best lap of 51.76 seconds while fighting to get situated in the car while Toyota Atlantic veteran Alex Figge earned a best time of 52.37 seconds in one of the Mi-Jack/Conquest Champ Cars. The newly-signed Nelson Philippe was set to join Figge on the testing trail today but had to settle for a 50-mile day after the team developed engine troubles early in the session.

Four of the teams will be back on the course for the final day of the test session with Vasser, Junqueira, Wilson, Allmendinger, Philippe and Figge expected to put in another day as teams work toward the April 10 season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Saturday Times
1. Bruno Junqueira Newman/Haas 50.98 sec.
2. AJ Allmendinger RuSPORT 51.13
3. Jimmy Vasser PKV Racing 51.24
4. Justin Wilson RuSPORT 51.35
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rocketsports 51.76
6. Alex Figge Mi-Jack Conquest 52.37

Midland F1 to employ Russian tester Midland F1 to employ Russian tester"We're planning to take an existing Russian driver, Roman Rusinov, to be one of Midland F1's test drivers this year," the Russian-born billionaire told the Toronto Star.  "Our car, the chassis, will be ready from Dallara at the end of the summer and he'll start testing that car," he continued. "He might test the Jordan car before then but we haven't determined that yet."

Shnaider also revealed plans to develop other talented Russian youngsters: "We are planning to run a Midland Formula 3 team in the Euro series. We will take some young Russian drivers and develop them through Formula 3 and then, if they're worthy, take them up to Formula One."

"We are going to use Formula One to grow our business," he admitted. "Midland is uniquely positioned in eastern Europe, Russia, Serbia and other satellite Soviet republics. Many companies, the multinationals, want to enter the Russian market because of its growing middle class, its large population and growing economy. We are in a position to help a lot of those companies, to open doors for them.

"Formula One is a global sport," he continued, "and we are a global company and we would like other global companies to join us and go into markets where we are established.

"When we offer our car as a marketing tool, it could be a marketing tool for Western companies that want the Eastern market or for Eastern companies, like Russian companies, that want the Western market.

"We have all the exposure and all the marketing benefits that Formula One offers. We can also offer business-to-business opportunities that other racing teams are just not able to. They are racing teams. We are a business and that, basically, is our model.

"Before we change the name, we want to have our own car ready," he admitted. "The original plan was to start our own team. Bernie Ecclestone explained to me that it would be in our best interests financially to purchase the Jordan team, which we did. But we arranged for Dallara to design a new car, different from the Jordan. When it is ready, it really will be a new operation.

"Also, there is not much time. When you have to change the name, you have to do other things. You have to change the signs, you have to change everything. The season is going to start in March. The team is working flat out already to prepare the cars and get everything ready for international travel. There's not enough time left to do anything else.

"We just took over Jordan, so this will be a learning year for us," he replied. "We have to evaluate everything at Jordan and eliminate the weaknesses. Then, we will take what we have with Jordan, take what we have with Dallara, and try to produce a good car, a Midland car, for 2006.

"Every year, we will aim to make the car better and better. We will invest money. Obviously, we want to do well, we want to win. But we have to be realistic. We have to see what kind of budget we will be operating with.

"I always said the team would operate with an annual budget of approximately $100 million. It would not necessarily all come from Midland. If we take on partners, or sponsors, they will also put up some money to help with the budget.

"But what can we really do with $100 million a year? Some claim that we can do a lot and it's just a question of how you spend it. As long as you don't waste it on unnecessary things; and use the money in a prudent way, it's possible to achieve good results.

"I believe if we are in the midfield (in the beginning), it will be a good result for us. We don't have to be in the top four.

Would he consider building his own engine?  "No. It would be too difficult and too expensive," he replies. "It costs $100 million to $150 million to build an engine, what is the point?   Right now, we have a one-year contract, for 2005. We have been talking to a number of engine manufacturers and we have been getting proposals from them. Toyota is definitely a possibility and we are very happy with the current agreement."

Atherton addresses teams Atherton addresses teamsThe American Le Mans series conducted its inaugural "Wheels Down Winter Test" at Sebring International Raceway as cars from all four classes, including three reigning championship teams began preparation for America's oldest and longest running auto race - the 53rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton hosted media from around the world at a luncheon in which he proclaimed America's fastest growing race series to be in "an unprecedented growth mode".

The following is a Q&A with Atherton based upon remarks to the media during the week, which featured the unveiling of the much anticipated Aston Martin race team and drivers.

Q. By what criteria do you claim that the ALMS is in an unprecedented growth mode?
A. First is spectator counts. Our 2004 season was our best ever, starting with Sebring last year in which attendance eclipsed even that of its 50th year in 2002. We saw a 15-20% growth rate at almost all of our events . Second is our TV ratings. We saw a 25% growth rate in our network TV ratings last year - the best ratings we've ever had. This in addition to our new three-year agreements with our TV partners CBS and SPEED . Third is sponsorships. These are the lifeblood of any series and we are up more than 100% from a year ago. We not only have new sponsors such as Klein Tools, MBQuart and ProSpeed GS610, but we are seeing significant increases with our existing corporate sponsorship renewals.

Q. That's quite a jump in corporate sponsorship investment. To what do you attribute that increase?
A. Because of the high-end demographics that our series attracts, we have been able to take our product beyond those companies endemic to motorsports. The ALMS is building a base with premium brands as evidenced with our recently announced partnerships in the home/car audio and hand tools categories. We're getting the message across that if you want a premium demo, then we can deliver that. There is not a better return on investment than the ALMS in that regard. When you lay our numbers next to those supposed-similar or perceived-comparable race series, there is no question that we offer the best ROI for our sponsors. Simply put, the ALMS is delivering results for our sponsors that is second to none.

Q. What about car counts?
A. While we clearly acknowledge that this is a category everyone wants to talk about, it needs to be put in contest of everything else we have just mentioned. The health and status of any races series is determined by many factors and measurements and not just car counts as much as we wish it was different, the fact is with any truly world class series, there has been and always will be some degree of ebb and flow when it comes to car counts. We are a world-class motorsports series that is solely based on the common world platform that will soon be confirmed by the ACO and the FIA. To that end, we are not for everyone. The pipeline of new cars, both prototypes and GTs is starting to refill. The new Lola LMP car is nearly complete; the new Aston Martin is on the track and there is more to come. If I could tell you everything I know, car counts would not be a compelling story.

Q. So you feel that situation is improving?
A. I, along with IMSA officials, have made recent stops at every conceivable manufacturer in Europe, America and several Japanese who could compete in the ALMS. We are encouraged by that trip although there is much we can't talk about because of confidentialities put in place while we were there, but suffice it to say that involvement in world-class sports car racing is on a lot of manufacturer's agendas.

Q. What are some of the stories to look for then this coming season?
A. Well, one note of significance is that we have in Dave Maraj's Champion Audi team, a team that will be a serious threat to win the overall championship at Le Mans this year. If that occurs, it would be the first American-based team to win a Le Mans since the Ford GT-40 in 1967 and the first American privateer team to ever win at Le Mans. The American Le Mans Series usually has 3 out of 4 class winners at Le Mans so to have Champion Audi bring the trophy back to America would be a big story indeed.

Seen at Sebring Seen at SebringUPDATE All the team owners are here today in Sebring (except Derrick Walker, Keith Wiggins and Gerald Forsythe) and they all just came out of a meeting with Paul Gentilozzi, Dick Eidswick and Kevin Kalkhoven.  Word is that they gave the team owners a progress report on Champ Car, including some major decisions that will be made by OWRS in a Sunday meeting in Indy.  Rumor has it that the AOL deal is on the agenda.  More later...... 02/05/05 It's Saturday at Sebring and the temperatures are a bit warmer than they were on Friday. Turning laps so far are Bruno Junqueira, Justin Wilson, Alex Figge, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Nelson Philippe and Jimmy Vasser. More later......Scott Morris
Brandon Thomas to lead Gelles Racing in Renault FR2000 Brandon Thomas to lead Gelles Racing in Renault FR2000Gelles Racing is proud to announce Brandon Thomas will enter the 2005 FR2000 series in the PanAm Racing championship.  At this point, Thomas will be the highest returning driver with a sixth place overall in the previous championship even without competing in a full season. He admits he will have his sights on the championship this year after a string of good results in the last rounds of the 2004 schedule. Now aged 22, the London, Ontario driver will definitely return as a veteran in the series and the leader of Gelles Racing.  Team owner Bob Gelles is happy to have Thomas back and admits he will be a cornerstone on his FR 2000 team.
Fans reject dumbed down sports cars Fans reject dumbed down sports carsA reader writes, "ISC has validated cost controlled Sports car racing...who could ask for anything more..." intones Bob Varsha on the SPEED Channel broadcast of the Rolex 24.   Uhm...how about an audience?  There is absolutely NOBODY and NO BODIES in the stands.  Shame shame on Jim France and ISC for this bloody horror they have perpetrated on Sports Car racing fans.  Despite a field full of the top name drivers in American motorsports, the fans have rejected the France's NASCARized version of what they think road racing should be.  How much longer are the Frances going to pump millions down this rat hole before they realize they don't understand their audience. Adam Rosenberg, New York, NY  Dear Adam, In all fairness, the infield crowd is not bad, though far from what ALMS gets for the 12 Hours of Sebring.  Mark C.
Ganassi making major assault on Daytona Ganassi making major assault on DaytonaChip Ganassi has brought a mountain of equipment, an army of engineers, nine drivers and three cars with one goal in mind: Win this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Ganassi, who has multiple teams in three major racing series, is pulling resources from his entire racing empire to mount a major attack on America's premier road race at Daytona International Speedway.

"This was the perfect opportunity to build on the Chip Ganassi Racing concept of 'one team' by bringing it all together for an all out assault at the Rolex 24," Ganassi said.

Jamie McMurray said Ganassi wants nothing short of perfection at the finish line come Sunday at noon.  "We had a team meeting even before we came down here," McMurray said. "They sat down and told us, straight-faced, they fully expect us to finish 1-2-3.

F1 could be in India in 4 years F1 could be in India in 4 yearsIndian driver Narain Karthikeyan feels his government must wake up and start working seriously on hosting a Formula One Grand Prix. Narain said with his clinching a drive with the Jordan Formula One team for 2005, F1 arriving into India could become a reality but the government must strike when the iron is hot. "The deal [with Jordan] would definitely add more interest to the sport in India. It [an F1 Grand Prix] could come in the next three-four years," Narain said from Silverstone. "But the government must realize that this is a great business model and take it up seriously," said the 28-year old Coimbatore-based driver.
Cold weather greets drivers Cold weather greets driversTony Stewart and Max Papis chat on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.  Frigid temperatures greeted the teams and drivers as they prepare for the Rolex 24 starting today at noon.  Nearby in Sebring, Florida, the Champ Car teams were greeted by the same cold weather.  Temperatures should warm a bit through the weekend.
New Mustang wins in Grand-Am Cup debut New Mustang wins in Grand-Am Cup debutIn the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Series season-opening Grand-Am Cup 200, co-drivers Ian James and Tom Nastasi drove the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Ford Mustang GT to victory at Daytona International Speedway. It was the debut race for the 2005 Ford Mustang GT (right), and was the first Grand-Am Cup Series overall victory for a Mustang of any generation.
BAR Honda Valencia test round-up BAR Honda Valencia test round-upLucky Strike B·A·R Honda continued its preparations for the 2005 season at the Valencia circuit in Spain this week. The three-day test saw all four B·A·R Honda drivers participating as the intensive pre- season testing program continues. With four weeks until the season- opener at Melbourne, the team are focusing on tire and reliability development in the new B·A·R Honda 007 car.

Takuma spent the first day of the test running through a tire development program and chassis evaluation to complete a total of 91 laps. Anthony also focused on tire testing, completing several long runs. His final lap tally was an impressive 145 laps.

Jenson joined the test for the second day to take over from Anthony. His program for the day involved running through various chassis set-up evaluations, completing 109 laps. Takuma continued his tire development evaluation completing long runs alongside reliability testing. He completed 144 laps for the day.

On the third day of the test, Jenson ran through chassis set-up work alongside a tire evaluation. He completed a total of 122 laps setting the second fastest time of the day - a 01:10.601. Enrique also ran through tire work, although an engine failure in the morning and a lengthy lunchtime stop prevented him from completing the planned program. His final lap tally for the day was 72 laps.
Jenson Button "We have had a positive week in Valencia. We did some tire evaluation but most of the work has been focused on set-up and improving the car. We made some good steps forward over the test although we do still have some work to do. Overall we did a lot of laps which is good for both the tire work and the reliability of the car leading up to the first race in just over a month."

Takuma Sato "We had a good opportunity this week to complete our test program and I am pleased with what we have achieved. We ran a lot of laps which is good for the tires and also for evaluating the different set- ups. The lap times were quick and we could begin to see how the 2005 cars will perform against each other. We have made some satisfying progress and the car was reliable, but we still have to work quite hard before the first race in Melbourne. It will be good to move to Jerez next week and to evaluate the car on a different circuit."

Anthony Davidson "The main focus of my test on Wednesday was continuing the tire development program which we have been evaluating over the past couple of weeks. I did quite a few long runs and covered 145 laps, putting some valuable mileage on the car."

Enrique Bernoldi "It was good to have my first chance to drive the 007 car this week and also to do some evaluation runs on new tires. Today [Friday] we spent time understanding how the car works and find a good balance which was pretty much my program for the day."

Andrew Alsworth, Test Team Manager "Our test in Valencia this week has given the team a much better insight into our performance levels as we have been able to compare ourselves with five other 2005 specification cars. Overall we've been encouraged with the new car and have run almost 3000 kms over the three days. We have a few reliability issues to sort out and are confident that these can be addressed during the next few tests. This was our third week in Valencia giving us plenty of opportunity to tune the car into the characteristics of the circuit. Next week we will move the test program down to Jerez to evaluate the car on a more high speed and demanding circuit."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development "We have made some more progress this week and are looking forward to putting the engine through its paces at a different style of circuit next week in Jerez." BAR Honda

BAR Honda 'young guns' in action again BAR Honda 'young guns' in action againThe Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda Young Driver Program continued in Valencia this week. The trio of James Rossiter, Alan van der Merwe and Adam Carroll joined the team for a three-day event which gave them a further chance to show their ability and progress. Following their first runs in a Formula One car in Jerez at the beginning of December, the three drivers each had a further two half-day sessions in the B·A·R Honda 006 car this week.

Since the start of the program in December, the trio have been working hard on their fitness with B·A·R Honda physio Karl Bickley and in regular contact with project leader Jock Clear to develop their plans for the 2005 season. B·A·R Honda have the three drivers under contract until after the February event when their future involvement with the team will be determined.

First to drive on Wednesday morning was James Rossiter who completed 37 laps in chassis 006-06. Alan van der Merwe took over in the afternoon session completing a total of 46 laps. Adam Carroll had his chance in the car on Thursday morning completing 47 laps.

James had his second run on Thursday afternoon session and acquitted himself well, setting some encouraging lap times over 25 laps. Unfortunately his afternoon was brought to an early conclusion due to a transmission problem. Alan van der Merwe completed his final session on Friday morning completing seven runs for a total of 52 laps. Adam Carroll ran in this afternoon's session. He completed 26 laps in total setting a respectable lap time.

Jock Clear, Young Driver Program Leader "For these young drivers to have a second chance in the car at this busy time for the team shows the level of commitment that B·A·R Honda has made to this program. With that in mind it is especially satisfying to see all three of them doing such a solid job both in and out of the car. They are clearly very committed to making the most of the opportunity and are working well with the engineers and mechanics. Their lap times have shown good progression and the outright pace has been very respectable. The Young Driver Program will now focus on developing their talent as they continue with their 2005 racing season in other formulae."

James Rossiter "The event has been a good experience for all of us and it went very well. It was my first drive at Valencia so I spent much of the first session acclimatizing myself with the car and the circuit. I felt very comfortable in the car and although I lost some running time due to a technical problem in the second session, I am happy with what I achieved this week."

Alan van der Merwe "I'm pretty happy with what I achieved in Valencia this week. I definitely improved over the two sessions in the car and felt much more comfortable in my second session this morning. The brakes are the biggest challenge as it is such a step-up from what we are used to and there is a lot of time to be found there. I would like to have done a better job on the new tires today [Friday] but overall the three days went well and it was great to get another chance in the car."

Adam Carroll "It's been an enjoyable three days out in Valencia and we have benefited from the chance to run the car in dry conditions. It is a totally different experience to Jerez in December which was very wet and the car is so much faster." BAR Honda

Sebring test photos Sebring test photosOn our Home Page you will find Champ Car testing photos from Sebring taken Friday by our Scott Morris.  See Timo Glock, Cristiano da Matta, Bruce Jouanny and Matt Halliday in action while other drivers mill around.
ChevronTexaco sponsors Newman team at Daytona ChevronTexaco sponsors Newman team at DaytonaChevronTexaco today announced it will sponsor the race car driven by Paul Newman and a championship team of drivers in the Rolex 24 at the Daytona International Speedway on February 5-6. Newman will pilot the car, which will sport the Chevron logo, along with Sebastien Bourdais, Cristiano da Matta and Michael Brockman in the grueling 24-hour event. Three of the four drivers have won seven Champ Car World Series championship rings combined with Brockman serving as Newman's co-driver when they won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995.

"ChevronTexaco is proud of our association with an American icon like Paul Newman," said Wayne Klahs, vice president, Global Marketing Solutions with ChevronTexaco. "Paul's legacy in the world of racing complements our long-standing tradition in motorsports and supports Chevron's brand values of reliability and quality."

ChevronTexaco Corp. is one of the world's leading energy companies. With more than 47,000 employees, ChevronTexaco conducts business in approximately 180 countries around the world, producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas, and marketing and distributing fuels and other energy products. ChevronTexaco Global Marketing is a division of ChevronTexaco Global Downstream LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ChevronTexaco Corp. ChevronTexaco is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information on ChevronTexaco is available at www.chevrontexaco.com.

CENTRIX Sponsors Newman in Daytona CENTRIX Sponsors Newman in DaytonaCENTRIX Financial announced today that it will join ChevronTexaco and McDonald’s as an associate sponsor of the No. 79 Pixar-Newman Productions entry for Newman Racing in the Daytona Prototype class at the 43rd Rolex 24 in Daytona, February 5-6, 2005.

Newman Racing owner, Paul Newman will share the driving duties of the No. 79 car with Michael Brockman, Sebastien Bourdais, 2004 Champ Car World Series Champion and Cristiano da Matta, 2002 Champ Car World Series Champion in the in the 24 hour endurance event at Daytona International Speedway.

“We have an incredible partnership with Paul Newman and his team,” said CENTRIX Financial Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert E. Sutton.  “He and I share a passion for the sport of racing that goes beyond driving fast. Racing represents my business philosophy, which is grounded in the idea that planning, teamwork, technology and risk-management will bring us success both on and off the track.”

Newman and Sutton have partnered in past in racing ventures, most recently as co-drivers in the 2004 Tecate Score Baja 1000 where they finished fourth in their class.  Additionally, Sebastien Bourdais came from behind to win the 2004 CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver in thrilling fashion. 

Da Matta takes first laps in PKV car Da Matta takes first laps in PKV carThe last time that Cristiano da Matta unbuckled from a Champ Car, he did it as the series champion after a seven-win 2002 season that saw him wrap up the title with three races to go.

Twenty-seven months later da Matta strapped back into a Champ Car for his first test session since rejoining the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Taking the opportunity to get in a day of testing, da Matta drove from Daytona, where he is teamed with Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Newman in tomorrow's Rolex 24, to Sebring to join his new PKV Racing teammates for the first of a three-day Champ Car test session.

Monday's cold temperatures delayed the start of the morning session, leading to strategy changes that saw Newman/Haas and RuSPORT pocket their test days for future use. The elements would eventually limit da Matta to a 50-mile day as he joined a trio of rookie drivers on the 1.2-mile Sebring circuit during the afternoon. Da Matta put in a short session, thus saving PKV Racing a full testing day, before heading back to Daytona for the start of tomorrow's endurance race.

"I can't say that I am completely comfortable in the Champ Car because we only ran 30 laps, but I don't think that it will take much longer," da Matta said. "We put in some good work today, got a lot of little things like adjusting the pedals done so that at the next test, we will be ready to go hard right away. I am impressed with this team already and the chance to work with guys like Jimmy (Vasser) and (Jim) McGee makes me believe that we can do some good things this year."

German F3 star Timo Glock tested the #8 Rocketsports machine while former Indy Lights driver Matt Halliday and 2004 Nissan World Series competitor Bruce Jouanny joined for a full day with Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing. Halliday ran over six hours today in the Mi-Jack/Conquest Reynard in an effort made more impressive by the fact that he was in the hospital until 5 a.m. before heading to the track.

"I was in the hospital sick as a dog and I finally left about five, and then came here and rested until 10:30," said Halliday. "I felt like death but I didn't want to miss this. I think it went pretty well, we ran a lot of laps, and I felt pretty good in the car. This is a good team. They've got good people. I think they're on the verge of doing something really good here."

The morning chill caused Newman/Haas to reconsider a test day for Bruno Junqueira, while RuSPORT decided the day would be better spent working behind the wall instead of on the track and pulled Justin Wilson's effort before it began.

"These test days are like gold and you can't waste them or fail to get everything you can out of them," said RuSPORT President Jeremy Dale. "We have our test sessions planned down to the lap, so we don't want to spend them on a day that starts late if we can avoid it."

Wilson and new teammate A.J. Allmendinger are both expected to test Saturday and Sunday along with 2004 series runner-up Junqueira. Ryan Hunter-Reay is slated for a day in the Rocketsports machine while Nelson Philippe runs the Mi-Jack/Conquest Lola Saturday along with Toyota Atlantic veteran Alex Figge. Philippe officially re-signed with Mi-Jack on Friday as team co-owner Eric Bachelart announced the return of the 18-year-old Frenchman. The team scored top-10 finishes in Las Vegas and Surfers Paradise last season after Philippe joined Justin Wilson in Mi-Jack/Conquest's two-car lineup in mid-season.

"I'm very pleased that we can keep on working together because we have a very good continuity where we know each other well," Bachelart said. "I think we've developed some good competency with Nelson and the team, and on top of that, we are still very early in the season, and we're going to start testing tomorrow in preparation for the first race in Long Beach." Testing will resume Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at Sebring, with another session following on Sunday. Champ Car
SPEED adds ARCA to lineup SPEED adds ARCA to lineupSPEED Channel, the worldwide leader in motorsports television coverage, will air 14 ARCA RE/MAX Series races in 2005, each scheduled for live broadcast to a national television audience. The 14 live events marks the first time in series history that the entire broadcast schedule will air live.
Rolex renews for 3 years Rolex renews for 3 yearsOn the eve of the 43rd Rolex 24 At Daytona, officials from Rolex Watch USA and the Grand American Road Racing Association announced that the famed watchmaker has renews its title sponsorship of the Rolex Sports Car Series for an additional three years.

"Rolex has played a vital role in the growth of Grand American and the Rolex Sports Car Series," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. "We are delighted that Rolex has decided to extend its relationship with our series, and we will work together to continue building the Rolex Series brand. Rolex is a terrific marketing partner and provides great brand association, and we are proud to continue this partnership."

The sponsorship-which began in 2001-will now run through the end of the 2007 racing season. As part of the agreement, Rolex will continue to support the annual Rolex Series Champions Banquet. Rolex will also provide specially-engraved steel and gold Daytona Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph watches to the driving champions in the Daytona Prototype and GT classes.
Schumacher expects a struggle Schumacher expects a struggleMichael Schumacher feels he will struggle to dominate like he did in 2004. "I keep thinking that a difficult start of the season awaits us," he told Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport. We have to keep in mind that we are using a car which is basically the one we used last year."

Schumacher will get the new car five races into the season at the Spanish Grand Prix but he knows that his rivals' performance levels should be higher from the off. "They will be using completely new cars which they need to learn how to set up properly and they can count on vast margins of improvement," he added. "There's still over a month to go to Melbourne so they can surely improve."

GPF1 reassumes control of Montreal event GPF1 reassumes control of Montreal eventMr. Normand Legault, Chairman and CEO of GPF1 Inc., announced today that his team will take charge of the organization of the next Molson Indy Montreal, a round of the Champ Car World Series, on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal next August 26, 27 and 28. After launching the Montreal event in 2002 and presenting the following edition in 2003, the GPF1 team is reassuming control of the event after a one-year interruption.     Mr. Legault said he was pleased to take over again a motorsport event that has already delighted sports fans here. "Last year, the Champ Car World Series offered a thrilling championship race and no doubt our fans will again want to see drivers at work like Tagliani, Tracy, Bourdais, Junqueira and company on such a demanding track as the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. At GPF1, we are convinced that this prestigious series can provide us with one of the most exciting race weekends of the year."     GPF1 will shortly unveil full details of the weekend's program at the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal, as well as ticket prices for attending the event. The pricing policy will be absolutely economic and geared to suit everyone's wallet. GPF1 also organizes the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada each year which is also held on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.
Michael Shank Racing fastest in final practice Michael Shank Racing fastest in final practiceThe Michael Shank Racing Pontiac-Riley scored the fastest lap in the final practice session for the 43rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a time of 1:48.205 seconds on the 3.65-mile road course at Daytona International Raceway. The Mears Motor Coach-liveried car will start from the twelfth position on Saturday, and the quick run in practice shows that the hard work the MSR crew has put into preparing for the twice-around-the-clock classic has the team well-placed for a good run this weekend.  “It’s a good boost for our confidence heading into the race, and we feel like we have the car where we need it to be set-up wise,” said award-winning team owner Mike Shank. “While obviously practice times don’t matter that much, we were a bit disappointed with where we qualified yesterday, so this is a good sign for us looking toward the race, and knowing we have a good car under us is a good way to get into race mode.”
New Engineer at Rocketsports for Tagliani New Engineer at Rocketsports for TaglianiFrench-Canadian Champ Car driver, Alex Tagliani anticipates the beginning of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season with the addition of David Watson as the engineer on his No. 8 Rocketsports Racing Lola. With a Masters Degree in Aerodynamics and a Bachelors Degree in Aerodynamic Engineering, Watson brings over 16 years of experience to the Rocketsports organization. In the past, Watson has worked for Dale Coyne Racing, Fernandez Racing, Mo Nunn Racing and Team Rahal.

Tagliani enters his sixth season in the premier open-wheel series. His Champ Car career includes a victory at Road America in 2004 and five poles. Tagliani also holds six wins in the Toyota Atlantic Series and four Canadian Karting Championships.

Both Tagliani and Watson expect a successful effort in 2005. Alex and I have been speaking for weeks,” said Watson. “We are both excited and encouraged with the direction we’re headed and look forward to a competitive season.”

Tagliani looks forward to working with Watson in 2005. “I feel that David is a well known and very established engineer in Champ Car and open wheel racing,” said Tagliani. “He appears well organized, with a pre-season testing plan and ideas to move the Rocketsports Racing team in a direction to further improve the car for competition this season.

Our goal at this point is to work continuously, in conjunction with our team’s second car engineering staff, so that we can be confident to fight with stronger teams for a position in the Championship top three.”

The Champ Car World Series kicks off their second year under new ownership on April 10th during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The season opener will be televised on NBC at 4:00pm. Rocketsports

Cold weather hits Minardi at Misano Cold weather hits Minardi at MisanoDifficult weather and track conditions at the Autodromo Santamonica forced Minardi F1 Team personnel to reduce this week's planned two- day test at the Adriatic circuit to just a single day. Ice and snow in the run-off areas had largely dispersed by this morning, allowing the team to run a shortened, but still productive, technical program with a pair of Minardi Cosworth PS04B chassis for drivers Christijan Albers, Chanoch Nissany and Nicolas Kiesa.

The three men were on differing programs, Kiesa’s task being to carry out set-up work on Chassis 03 and assess revised control software, while Nissany, having his first session with the team since being announced as official Minardi test driver for 2005, was scheduled to continue his Formula One acclimatization program.

By comparison, Albers spent much of the day carrying out extended runs in Chassis 04, focusing on set-up and carrying out race simulation work. The team hopes to conduct at least one further test before leaving for Australia and the first Formula One race of 2005.

Nicolas Kiesa, best lap: 1 min 20.400 secs, total laps: 10
“I was first out on track this morning, the plan being to carry out two timed runs in order to clock up a bit of additional mileage and to check some revised chassis software. The track conditions were very poor initially, with a lot of dust and dirt on the surface, but even so, we came up with a configuration for the brakes and the differential that inspired confidence. As a result, I feel I was able to deliver some useful feedback to the engineers, and I’m pleased with that. I hope to be able to test again for the team and to continue the useful work that we’ve been doing.”

Chanoch Nissany, best lap: 1 min 25.380 secs, total laps: 6
“It has not been a normal testing day, as the track surface was very slippery and the conditions were pretty difficult. Even so, you can learn from such challenging circumstances, and I know I have discovered some things today that will be useful in the future.”

Christijan Albers, best lap: 1 min 14.270 secs, total laps: 57
“Clearly, the conditions were not good today, with water running across the track surface in places. Even so, I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done and feel as though, in combination with the engineers, we’ve made some real progress developing a chassis set-up that is effective and with which I feel comfortable. It has not been an easy test, by any means, but we have taken some useful steps towards our goal of being prepared for the first Grand Prix of the season, in Australia, in just over four weeks' time.”

Massimo Rivola, Sporting Director and Team Manager
“It’s difficult to be particularly happy with this test, as we lost the whole of yesterday because of the weather, and although the situation improved and we were able to run today, the conditions were still very tricky. Nicolas was first out, just for a short run, and although he had to contend with a very slippery track, he did his usual mature job. Chanoch didn’t have a particularly good day, experiencing a couple of non-damaging spins and generally struggling with the conditions, but it all adds to his growing bank of F1 experience. Christijan again did a very good job, carrying out some longer runs. His lap times were consistent during the stints, indicating his physical condition is good. He is definitely fully immersed in the job of being an F1 driver, and the team is happy with both his approach and his attitude to the job.” Minardi

Schuey goes fastest in Valencia Schuey goes fastest in ValenciaMichael Schumacher set the fastest lap in this week's final day of testing (although Toyota will be there tomorrow to test on an artificially flooded track).  At the wheel of an F2004, the World Champion finished in front of Jenson Button's BAR 007 and the Ferrari F2004M of Rubens Barrichello.
1. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari F2004 - 1'10"209 - 121 laps
2. Jenson Button - BAR Honda 007 - 1'10"599 - 120 laps
3. Rubens Barrichello - Ferrari F2004 M - 1'10"681 - 100 laps
4. Nick Heidfeld - Williams BMW FW27 - 1'10"748 - 90 laps
5. Jarno Trulli - Toyota TF105 - 1'10"814 - 100 laps
6. Mark Webber - Williams BMW FW27 - 1'11"049 - 89 laps
7. Ralf Schumacher - Toyota TF105 - 1'11"635 - 88 laps
8. Ricardo Zonta - Toyota TF104B - 1'11"841 - 13 laps
9. Enrique Bernoldi - BAR Honda 007 - 1'12"298 - 70 laps
10. Adam Carroll - BAR Honda 006 - 1'12"588 - 24 laps
11. James Rossiter - BAR Honda 006 - 1'13"112 - 53 laps
SunTrust extends with series, team SunTrust extends with series, teamIn a press conference at Daytona International Speedway today, SunTrust Bank announced that it has extended its sponsorship agreement with the Grand American Road Racing Association as the "Official Bank of Grand American Road Racing." The original two-year agreement is now expanded through the 2006 race season.

Additionally, SunTrust announced that it has also extended its agreement with Wayne Taylor for sponsorship of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11 team for another year, through the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season. SunTrust Press Conference Announcement at Daytona included (from L to R):
Roger Edmonson, President, Grand American Road Racing Series; John Mauney, Senior Vice President, Director Marketing Services, SunTrust Bank; George Koehn, Chairman, President and CEO, SunTust Bank, Florida; Craig Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, SunTrust Bank; Wayne Taylor, car owner/driver, SunTrust Racing, Max Angelelli, driver, SunTrust Racing; Emmanuel Collard, driver, SunTrust Racing.

"SunTrust is very pleased following the first year of its relationship with both Grand American and Wayne Taylor," said SunTrust Bank's Chief Marketing Officer, Craig Kelly.  "We wanted to show our commitment to them by stepping up and extending the contracts early, well before the end of the second year. The Grand American racing platform has been hugely successful for us, hence the early renewal."

"Wayne, his co-drivers and the entire Riley Technologies team have proven themselves as winners both on and off the track. We are looking forward to more exciting racing with Wayne and his team. Our customers enjoy the SunTrust Racing program and we get a highly competitive race team, with a leader who understands our goals," added Craig Kelly.

"Expanding our 'Official Bank' status with Grand American through 2006 reinforces our commitment to this growing sport. We, too, are continuing to grow as a bank. Our SunTrust Motorsports Banking Group launched last year and led by Brian Williams, David Pijot and John Hondros, is also another way we are reaching out to the motorsports community and trying to serve its financial needs," said Kelly. "Our commitment extends beyond pure sponsorship, we are placing resources at the events to support the sport and its participants."

"We are pleased and proud to have SunTrust Bank extend its sponsorship with Grand American for an extra year," said Roger Edmondson, Grand American Road Racing Association President. "Their insight into our business platform and commitment to our growth as a sanctioning body is a great compliment. We appreciate their support and look for many more years of having SunTrust as an official partner with Grand American."

"It is always great to have a contract extended early so that you can plan and make better long-term decisions for your team and sponsor," said SunTrust Racing car owner and driver Wayne Taylor. "The fact that SunTrust has stepped up so early to renew our program confirms that our business model is working and it's not just the success we show on the racetrack that matters, but the additional benefits we bring them as a business partner."

Mi-Jack Conquest announces Philippe for ’05 Mi-Jack Conquest announces Philippe for ’05Eric Bachelart, co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Champ Car team announced today that young 18-year old Frenchman Nelson Philippe will be returning as one of their two drivers for 2005. Last year Philippe was the youngest Champ Car driver ever, hence it was a learning year. The team expects better results for 2005, from both him and from the team itself. The team has hired some new personnel, including bringing on board Bruce Ashmore as Technical Director, and they have done research in the off-season to improve the team.

Philippe said, "I came to the track today and said to myself I can't believe I am only 18 and already I am a veteran. I think I can really improve myself this year and with the changes we have made in the off-season with the team I am very hopeful for this year. We are close on some sponsor announcements that we have been working on in the off-season." Full Story

Grand-Am announces Mexico City with Champ Car Grand-Am announces Mexico City with Champ CarOfficials from Champ Car World Series, LLC, the Grand American Road Racing Association and race promoters OCESA jointly announced today that the season-ending Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City will be held on Saturday, November 5.

The race will be run on the same weekend as the 2005 Champ Car World Series season finale scheduled for Sunday, November 6 at the 2.786-mile permanent road course. The Rolex Series event—which will likely be run under the series’ “sprint race” format—will be the first foray into Mexico for the six-year-old sports car racing organization. The inaugural Rolex Series race in Mexico City was previously scheduled for December 2-4, but the date change to November allows the series close the season within the traditional racing calendar.

“We are delighted that we have reached an agreement with Champ Car and OCESA to be part of what is sure to be an exciting weekend in Mexico City,” said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. “We are well aware of the intense passion Mexican fans have for motorsports, and we are eager to witness this first hand as we wind down our 2005 season. As the annual Champ Car weekend in Mexico City has proven to be wildly successful, we feel strongly that it will grow even bigger this year and are honored to be a part of it.”

Since 2002, the Champ Car World Series has played to packed grandstands at the historic Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, drawing well in excess of 250,000 fans during the race weekend. The addition of the Rolex Series on Saturday will offer major league sports car racing to these fans in Mexico for the first time in decades.

“In today’s racing environment, our series has to think outside the box in order to grow our loyal fan base and the Champ Car open wheel product appeal,” said Champ Car Executive Vice President Joe Chrnelich. “Grand American is a quality organization with an exciting product and we agree with our promoter OCESA, that this combination could be a worthy addition to our weekend. We look forward to working with Grand American and to the potential of growing our relationship in the future.”

“We are thrilled,” added Rodrigo Gonzalez, Chairman of OCESA. “This is great for all the Mexican fans that love motorsports, to have on the same weekend the best open-wheel championship along with the best sports car series running their season finale. It will create a spectacular event. In OCESA we are committed to producing the best sports and entertainment events, and this joint venture with Champ Cars and Grand American is a great opportunity for all of us.” Grand-Am

Monterrey has backup plan for Champ Car Monterrey has backup plan for Champ CarThe Governors office of Nuevo Leon,  announced that they would like to renew the contract they have with Champ Car and Gerald Forsythe to host a Champ Car race in Monterrey, Mexico. But in case there is no renewal, they already have a backup plan. If in 2006 there is no Champ Car race in Monterrey, they will substitute it with Superbikes (Superbikes is to MotoGP what Champ Car is to F1). José Arrambide reporting from Mexico
German DTM
Mercedes confirms ’05 DTM driver lineup Mercedes confirms ’05 DTM driver lineupMika Häkkinen, 36, had retired from Formula One at the end of the 2001 season after 162 Grands Prix. During his 10-year career, he had won 20 Grands Prix with West McLaren Mercedes, achieved 26 Pole Positions, 25 fastest race laps and scored 420 World Championship points. After a successful test with the AMG-Mercedes C-Class in October 2004, he decided to make a comeback.

Within the HWA team, Häkkinen drives alongside his former F1 colleague Jean Alesi (40), Bernd Schneider (40), and the young and ambitious talents Gary Paffett (23) and Jamie Green (22). Paffett was the 2002 German Formula 3 Champion, participated in eight races in 2003 with a year-old car and moved up to the HWA team last year. He won three races and ended the Championship runner-up. Green clinched the 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series title after winning seven races in his Dallara Mercedes.

The English driver will race a new C-Class which will be prepared by HWA. During the race weekends, Persson Motorsport will run the car. This team will also enter Bruno Spengler's (21) 2004 model. A second 2004 C-Class will be driven by Stefan Mücke (23) and entered by his father Peter's team Mücke Motorsport, which will start in the DTM as a private team. The project will be financed by sponsors. Car and a spare part kit will be leased from Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

Bruno Spengler (21) will have his DTM debut at Hockenheim on 17 April. The Alsace-born driver participated in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2003 (Team ASM) and 2004 (Mücke Motorsport) scoring his best result with third place at Magny-Cours last year.

The new AMG-Mercedes C-Class has been tested at Estoril, Portugal in the third week of January for the first time. The car has been adjusted to the new aerodynamic DTM rules. A Gurney Flap at the rear wing is now mandatory for every car.

Mika Häkkinen: "The more I drive, the more I learn. I'm already really comfortable with last year's car and I'm sure, I will further improve with the new AMG-Mercedes C-Class. The cooperation within the HWA team is great and I look forward to an exciting season."

Jamie Green: "Although the touring car is considerably heavier than my last year's Formula 3 car, I posted good lap times from the beginning. I'm already looking forward to a lot of good fights this year."

Bruno Spengler: "After my move to the DTM became known, the interest in Canada in the championship and in me has grown. I hope for good results to justify the confidence of my fans and of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The DTM will be even more international in 2005. The new season's field will include drivers from nine nations. In our team alone there are seven drivers from five different countries. With the races at the Grand Prix circuits at Istanbul and Spa, as well as at the street circuit in Avignon, three new, spectacular and crowd-pulling venues will add to the calendar."

"With regards to the sport, the 2005 DTM will certainly be the biggest challenge for drivers and teams since the series exist. I expect about a dozen combinations of drivers and cars capable of winning, and accordingly very close gaps within the field and exciting races."

"Of course, we are all looking forward to our new entry named Mika who is everything but unknown. He is not only two-time World Champion but also still one of the most popular race drivers in the world, and he is an ambassador for our brand as well as for motor sport in general, particularly in Germany. However, his team mates and especially the competing manufacturers' drivers won't care much about it."

"For them, Mika is one of the many rivals on the track. He will not get a bonus for being World Champion from Bernd, Jean, Gary, Jamie, Bruno and Stefan -- for all of them it will be a great pleasure to beat him. The DTM is not an easy task, also not for a two-time World Champion in car racing, but Mika knows what he wants and, more over, he knows what he is capable of." Mercedes

Industry News
Toyota reports profit rise Toyota reports profit riseToyota Motor Corp., Japan's biggest automaker, reported a 3.5-percent rise in profits for the third fiscal quarter Thursday as sales boomed around the world. Toyota also raised its vehicle sales outlook for the full year.  Toyota's net group profit totaled 296.5 billion yen ($2.9 billion) for the three months ending Dec. 31, up from 286.4 billion yen the same period a year ago. Sales totaled 4.6 trillion yen ($44 billion) for the period, up 6 percent from 4.4 trillion yen the previous year.  Toyota exceeded sales targets in every region and offset the negative effects of a lower dollar through cost cuts, the Toyota City-based automaker said in a statement.  Toyota sold 1.84 million vehicles globally during the three-month period, up 8 percent from 1.7 million a year ago.  Toyota's current worldwide market share is 11 percent, according to Credit Suisse First Boston. On Jan. 13, General Motors Corp. estimated its 2004 global market share declined 0.1 percentage point to 14.5 percent.
Industry News
Delphi's credit rating cut Delphi's credit rating cutDelphi Corp.'s debt rating was cut by Moody's Investors Service to the lowest investment grade because of reduced auto production by the auto-parts supplier's largest customer, General Motors Corp.   Moody's cut Delphi's long-term credit rating one level to Baa3, Moody's said in a statement Thursday. The Troy-based company's short-term debt was reduced a level to P-3. The two downgrades affect $2.9 billion worth of debt, Moody's said.
Drivers wrap up testing in Fontana Drivers wrap up testing in FontanaMore than 60 teams participated in the NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing at California Speedway this week.  The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers wrapped up their two-day test at the 2-mile, D-shaped oval on Thursday while the NASCAR Busch Series tested earlier in the week.   With the conclusion of testing, the teams will roll right into Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, including the Gatorade Dual 150's and the season opening Daytona 500.  Then, in less than a month NASCAR will head back to California Speedway for the second race of the season, the Auto Club 500, on February 27.

"After two days here, I think we gained a lot," said Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet and.  "I think when we get home we're going to try some things. We still need to be better. Our cars need to be a little bit faster on the get go, more consistent. But I think we can make that happen."

The Corpus Christi, Texas native knows how to get around at California Speedway.  Not only was he the 2001 pole sitter at the superspeedway, but also has garnered five top 10 finishes.  Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet, is pleased with the West Coast swing of NASCAR's testing.  "I think the testing was good. Our Goodyear tires were exactly what we asked of them, like always. I felt very optimistic about our testing and learned a lot about the car. Now we have to go home and dissect it all."

On the Garage side of testing, Crew Chief Lance McGrew with the No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet piloted by Brian Vickers also had a successful test session even with the new tire for 2005.  "Everything's fine. We're just trying to shake down a couple new cars, get a little idea of what the tire combinations are going to do for us. It seems to be that the tire falls off real quick, a lot like Darlington. You go out and you run a few laps, and the tires fall off a whole bunch of times. You continuously lose grip all over your run," he said.

"The Auto Club 500 is definitely going to be a challenging race," McGrew said.  "After you run 20, 25 laps on the tires, you'll be hanging on for the rest of the time. I think the pit may come into play with people short pitting and getting a lot of track position back. It's kind of hard to tell just yet."  No official speeds were kept during the test sessions on the West Coast. Thursday's activities saw Dale Earnhardt Jr's engine fail during afternoon track action and Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte hit the wall during separate practices

Daytona next for NASCAR teams Daytona next for NASCAR teamsAfter Thursday's testing runs in Fontana, drivers will shove off, and for the majority of them, they will resurface in Daytona at Speedweeks starting on February 10. It is the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup (albeit currently defunct). And it's at the beginning of the season. Starting it off with a bang, as the cliché goes. "I think it's cool," Elliott Sadler said. "It just gets everything started on the right foot. There's no preliminaries. There's no preaseason. There's no practice games. It's just, hey, this is the Super Bowl; let's see what kind of preparation you did during the winter, and let's go from that."
Adrian Fernandez lands Hendrick Chevy drive Adrian Fernandez lands Hendrick Chevy driveAdrian Fernandez doesn't have funding to drive in the IRL, but he will drive Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet in the Busch Series' debut race in Mexico City on March 6.
Industry News
Ferrari and Maserati win Auto Motor und Sport Readers' Poll Ferrari and Maserati win Auto Motor und Sport Readers' PollAt the annual readers’ poll 'Best Cars' held by the renowned automotive journal Auto Motor und Sport, even two models of the Ferrari and Maserati brand gained the first place.  The new Ferrari F430 was voted the Best Imported Sports car at first try. World premiere of the new car was celebrated at Paris Motor Show last year. It signals the arrival of a brand new generation of Ferrari 8-cylinder models.

The Maserati Quattroporte – a vehicle with the soul of a representative luxury sedan and a dynamic Gran Tourismo model at the same time – repeated its victory in the Luxury Imported Sedan category. At 32,3 % of readers polled, the car moved sovereignly to the top in front of its competitors Bentley Continental (18,1%) and Rolls Royce Phantom (11,1%) to claim the coveted trophy.

The Auto Motor und Sport poll (Right: Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari Deputy Managing Director, with Bernd Ostmann, AutoMotorUndSport Chief Editor) was held for the 29th time this year with more 108,000 readers taking part. The awards were received at the award ceremony held in Stuttgart yesterday by Amedeo Felisa, Deputy Managing Director Ferrari S.p.A. and Martin Leach, Chief Executive Officer, Maserati S.p.A. Ferrari

Industry News
Silverstone Motorsport Academy announces '05 plans Silverstone Motorsport Academy announces '05 plansSilverstone Motorsport Academy, the UK's centre of excellence for racing driver tuition and coaching, has today announced plans for the 2005 BRDC Single Seater Championship. As in 2004, the winner of the 14 round Championship will receive one of the most valuable prize funds on offer at this level of motorsport - £30,000 towards career development and a test with British Formula 3 Championship winning team Alan Docking Racing.

The series is widely regarded as the proving ground for aspiring young drivers, providing the ideal apprenticeship for those in the early stages of their careers. Silverstone, in particular, offers drivers the opportunity to follow in the wheel-tracks of F1 champions at the Home of the British Grand Prix. The 2005 calendar includes races on all configurations of the Silverstone circuit, including the world famous Grand Prix track, and also visits Brands Hatch, Rockingham, Croft and Mallory Park.

Participants also benefit from ten exclusive test sessions and comprehensive tuition from Silverstone Motorsport Academy’s professional team of instructors – all of whom have competed and won at either a national or international level. The championship also offers outstanding value for money. The budget required to compete in the full program of 14 races is just £35,000 (+ VAT).
Ken Bowes, manager of Silverstone Motorsport Academy and the 2005 BRDC Single Seater Championship, commented: “Interest in this year’s championship is higher than ever. We have already filled two thirds of the seats available in the series, so anyone interested should contact us sooner rather than later.

“I’m sure the increase in demand has been influenced by the success of drivers who started out in our series. Their success is a clear endorsement of the level and quality of our Championship. As an entry level Championship we offer something unique – highly cost-effective seat time with outstanding levels of driver coaching and a completely level playing field which allows the drivers to show their true ability.”

As a result of the Championship’s success and popularity, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) – committed to supporting motorsport at a grass roots level - has further increased its investment in the Championship. The BRDC is providing funds to increase the size of the Van Diemen single seater fleet, enabling the 2005 Championship to run as a single class series.

Drivers already signed up include 2004 Class B Champion Mike Moyers, T Car frontrunner Ruth Senior, and BRDC Stars of Tomorrow Karting Series Scholarship winner Richard Singleton. Singleton will be one of three drivers on the grid who have won free drives in various scholarship programs. He will be joined by the eventual winners of both the Silverstone Academy and Tim Sugden scholarship competitions.

Bowes continued: “The 2004 Championship was the most competitive and hard-fought season ever, with no fewer than five drivers fighting for the title. The eventual winner, Matt Shawyer, impressed Alan Docking enormously. He even admitted that the series was more competitive than he had thought.

‘We are delighted that our series will, once again, provide the most cost-effective racing available in the UK. It will also offer the biggest prize in the sport at this level - our 2005 Champion will receive a £30,000 driver support fund and a Formula 3 test with the Championship winning Alan Docking Racing F3 team.”

Former BRDC Championship winners include the 2004 Formula Ford Festival winner Dan Clarke, the 2004 Avon Tires Clubman’s Formula Ford Championship winner Ryan Parouty and the 2004 Japanese Formula Toyota Champion Hideto Yasuoka. Clarke and Yasuoka will compete in the British and Japanese F3 Championships respectively in 2005. Silverstone Motorsport Academy

Pizzonia happy to play second fiddle Pizzonia happy to play second fiddleDespite not having been signed as its Grand Prix driver, Antonio Pizzonia is happy to be part of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and gets on well with his teammates.  Naturally Antonio had hoped to get the chance of contesting the 2005 Formula One World Championship season alongside Mark Webber, but, at the end of the day, the team decided to opt for Nick Heidfeld.  According to Frank Williams, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal, the decision was an extremely close call, yet, it has had no negative influence whatsoever on the atmosphere within the team.  "I think the relationship between all three drivers is good," said the 24-year old Brazilian, "and that's important for the team. Obviously we are all trying to beat each other when we are on the track, but that's normal." BMW WilliamsF1 Team
New Dubai Aston Martin team announced New Dubai Aston Martin team announcedMiddle East Aston Martin  has unveiled the new DRB9 GT racing car at the Dubai Autodrome, announcing plans to launch a Dubai-based racing team to compete in GT series across Europe, Asia, the USA and the Middle East. 

The planned Dubai GT Team will consist of two DRB9 cars, a fleet of hand-picked engineers and the best drivers the Middle East has to offer, including HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum.  The Dubai GT Team is due to make its race debut at the Dubai Autodrome during the FIA GT Championship race in November 2005, before racing in earnest in 2006.

"GT Racing is one of the world's fastest growing motorsports, watched annually by millions of viewers," Thomas Kastgen, CEO of Middle East Aston Martin explained.  "Our Dubai GT Team will be seen around the globe, firmly placing Dubai as a motorsports competitor on an international level."

"Our cars are currently in production, so we are using this valuable time to put together a highly skilled team of mechanics, engineers and drivers who will be able to compete with the best in the world and take us where we ultimately want to be - winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans," said Marco Savoizzi, who will lead the Dubai GT TEam.

HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum said : "This is a tremendously exciting time for Aston Martin, Dubai and motor-racing enthusiasts the world over.  The creation of the Dubai GT Team provides Dubai with a fantastic opportunity to promote itself in key markets around the world, continuing the Dubai dream.  We must also give recognition to this superb track, which has allowed us to even have the dream, and has proven yet again that Dubai can provide a world-class venue and attract world competition.  The announcement today of the Dubai GT Team represents the first step that Dubaî is taking in order to advance by performance driving and motorsport in the region."

DENSO announces new F1 altenator DENSO announces new F1 altenatorDENSO Corporation, parent company of Southfield, Mich.-based DENSO International America, Inc., today announced that it has developed a new alternator for Formula 1 (F1) racing. This alternator will be installed in the new "TF105" F1 racecar of the Panasonic Toyota Racing F1 Team this season. The alternator generates alternating currents at the stator coil when the rotor is turned by the engine. "We significantly reduced the size of the rotor as well as the stator by adopting a new magnet structure for the rotor and a new cooling structure for the rotor and stator," said Mineo Hanai, managing officer of DENSO Corporation in charge of the Electric Systems Business Group. "That allowed us to reduce the overall size and weight of the alternator." DENSO is supplying small, light and efficient alternators for a variety of vehicles including passenger cars, motorcars and trucks. In this product field, DENSO has captured the world's number one market share since 1988.
Herta sponsor details announced Herta sponsor details announcedDavid Keaveney, CEO of Motorsports Emporium, Inc. (OTCBB:MSEP) announced today the details of their sponsorship agreement with IRL driver Bryan Herta.  Keaveney comments, "Our sponsorship with Herta provides high visibility for the ScaleCars.com logo. ScaleCars.com will be worn on both sleeves of Herta's driving uniform and on the chin area of his helmet during the 2005 racing series."   The IndyCar Series runs 17 races in 2005 starting March 6 through October 16. Races will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports. Herta is driving car #7 for Andretti Green.   Additionally, Herta will be driving in the Rolex Daytona 24 Hour Race held Saturday February 6th. The ScaleCars.com logo will be featured on car #44 driven by Bryan Herta, Jan Magnussen and NASCAR Cup Champions Terry and Bobby Labonte.   "Our agreement with Bryan Herta provides tremendous exposure opportunities for Scalecars.com which will assist in growing our brand and corporate awareness," concludes Keaveney.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Kimi broke own lap record
BAR's banned 'box
Ecclestone (un)perturbed
Wurz to aim for F1 return
Ferrari reign at end
Sauber tester to GP2
Jordan men at HQ
Ferrari can compete - Schu
'Best of both V10's'
Woman in race for F1 glory
Minardi run cancelled
India expecting TV boost
Nick's 'not no.2' - team
Schu 'pleased' for Heidfeld
Would Sauber sell-up?
BMW and the Heidfeld drive
'Don't look at timesheet'
Dominguez to test Jordan
Bernie's version
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