Andretti to be guest on Daly show IndyCar driver and longtime media personality Derek Daly will join the RaceFanRadio weekly line-up with his new show debuting Wednesday night, February 17th at 9pm EST / 6pm PST.
"Derek Daly's Complete Champion" will discuss what it takes to become a top level driver from every aspect and what better way to get the best advice from someone who has done it all...Mario Andretti! The former ChampCar, F1 World Champion and 1969 Indy 500 winner will be Derek's first guest when the show premiers next week.
NASCAR changes green-white-checker rulesUPDATE Eddie Gossage, of Texas Motor Speedway had this to say about the rule change: "The one attempt has been a loophole in the green/white checkered rule and now the loophole has been closed after seeing a great Budweiser Shootout finish in that fashion. From a promoter's perspective, we want our fans to leave our race weekend talking about a dramatic ending to a great race and NASCAR should be applauded for providing the opportunity more than once should the circumstances dictate. NASCAR is listening to the fans on another issue and that benefits all of us in the sport."
02/11/10 NASCAR is extending its overtime period, and will now make up to three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.
The move was announced to competitors in the driver's meeting preceding Thursday's twin 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. The change will affect all three national series, and follows a Budweiser Shootout last weekend that went to the green-white-checkered finish, but ended under caution nonetheless.
Patrick fast in final Nationwide practice Patrick posted the fifth-fastest speed in Thursday's final session, a marked improvement from her 26th-place effort in opening practice a day earlier. But she knows that more drivers made qualifying runs Thursday, and that there was less pack racing, and that everything changes once the engines fire for real on Saturday afternoon.
"It's nice to go up the speed chart," said Patrick, driving a No. 7 car for JR Motorsports. "They told me not to look at the speed chart [Wednesday] when I was 26th, because it doesn't really matter. I'm not going to look at it [Thursday] when I'm fifth, because it doesn't really matter."
Patrick made the decision to enter the Nationwide event after a promising stock-car debut in this past weekend's ARCA race, where she finished sixth despite a spin through the infield grass that left her in the back late in the event. Saturday, though, will feature a vastly more competitive field, with eight Sprint Cup regulars -- including Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Patrick's car owner -- participating. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Radical IndyCar Delta Wing Car unveiled, probably won't get approved.UPDATE #4 Front tires are 4" wide on 15" rims, rears are 12.5" x 15" rims. The low polar moment of inertia, rearwards center of gravity and rearward roll stiffness distribution means the car is in fact very responsive. It has a stable (easy to catch) neutral to oversteer characteristic unlike the current cars where a prevalent understeer characteristic is combated by destabilize the rear to make it turn- giving a small operating window. The sims surprised us all - but we have corroborated across sims to be sure and all is good. Ben Bowlby, designer of the DeltaWing concept car
02/11/10 We are told the front wheels will steer 23 degrees, but given that the wheels are close together like a top-fuel dragster, and narrow as well, and we all know how well a top fuel dragster steers, this car may not allow a driver to take fast evasive action resulting in more severe accidents. But let them test it and see how it goes. Based on our poll (Home Page), the Honda concept car is the clear winner with the fans, so the question is, what does the customer want?
02/10/10 A reader asks, Dear AR1.com, Where did you get the idea that the car is rear-steer? That is not in the specs anywhere. Arthur Murray
Dear Arthur, That is how it was presented initially. As you can see, the front tires are very narrow, so initially the concept was to be a "torque steer" from the rear, but again that was the initial go around in September. We don't know the most recent version since we are not part of the Delta Wing group. Just so you know, there are many teams that did not sign up for this: Coyne, Team 3G, Fisher, Foyt, Luczo-Dragon, and Newman Haas. The company was trying to get R&D money from the State of Indiana to build, test, and develop the car to see if the concept is viable from a performance standpoint. The state has not committed, so we don't know where they are getting the money to build the prototype to run. From the fan feedback on the forums, the overwhelming majority do not like it. The IRL needs to have a product that the fans will buy tickets to come and see, and this is obviously not it, but we do like the out of the box thinking. Mark C.
Radical Delta Wing IndyCar
02/10/10 Here you have it folks, the official unveiling of the Delta Wing IndyCar.
The Delta Wing car has long been anticipated and has the backing of a number of leading teams, having been designed by Chip Ganassi Racing's Ben Bowlby, formerly Lola's chief designer.
The proposal was officially unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show today. Its needle nose shape features an extremely narrow front end and wide rear, and tires largely enclosed by bodywork. It has been designed specifically to encourage close racing and to minimize aerodynamic disturbance in the car's wake.
We like some of the innovative thinking, but knowing Brian Barnhart, here is why we think he won't approve it:
Road to Indy expands program The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and Performance Friction Company today announced an expansion of the Indy Racing League's 'Road to Indy' program with the Series champion guaranteed a test with a top Firestone Indy Lights team.
2009 Star Mazda champion Adam Christodoulou will test with Andersen Racing's Indy Lights team later this month, and the champion of the upcoming 2010 season will also get a test as part of his or her prize package. Those prizes now include, in addition to the Indy Lights test, $100,000 in cash and a scholarship from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder. Drivers will also be competing for the VISIT FLORIDA Cup, a 7-race championship-within-a-championship; the grand prize for the top-finishing driver in those events is a custom-designed dream vacation in Florida courtesy of VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation and sponsor of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship television package. In total, drivers in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship will be competing for prizes valued in excess of $1.5 million.
"Our goal has always been to provide our drivers with the most competitive, cost-effective and comprehensive opportunity to advance their career," says Star Mazda Championship founder and CEO Gary Rodrigues. "This is another step forward in creating a clearly-defined path for Road to Indy drivers whose goal is the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indy 500. We'd like to thank Performance Friction Company and Andersen Racing for their support in making this possible."
Performance Friction is the exclusive brake pad and disc supplier to both the Star Mazda Championship and the newly-announced Cooper Tires Presents USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda, and is the overwhelming brake component choice for teams competing in the Firestone Indy Lights. All three series are part of the Indy Racing League's 'Road to Indy' program. PFC also supplies a variety of open-wheel series in Europe, Japan, Australia as well as NASCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, ALMS, FIA, ACO, JGTC, V8 Supercar and Grand-Am just to name a few.
"The Star Mazda Championship is a terrific series that produces some of the top racing talent in the sport today," says Don Burgoon, President of Performance Friction. "Open-wheel racing is in our company DNA and we're doing all we can to support these rising stars as they climb the motorsports ladder. It is our goal to support the Road to Indy program at every level and provide these drivers with the very best equipment on the way up."
The Indy Racing League 'Road to Indy' program is designed to bridge the gap between the premier open-wheel racing divisions and the entry level open-wheel series by creating a clear career path for aspiring racing drivers; it includes Firestone Indy Lights, The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda.
“With Andersen Racing’s involvement in all steps on the Road to Indy ladder, we are delighted to work with PFC and Star Mazda in making this exciting test program a reality," says Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "My long term relationship with the folks at PFC, coupled with our involvement in and support of the Star Mazda Championship for the past six years, makes this an easy decision. So many Star Mazda drivers in recent years have successfully transitioned into Indy Lights, and now with the support of PFC, more drivers can sample the next step properly. We look forward to testing Adam in the next few weeks.”
Firestone Indy Lights is the premier ladder series for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Run in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Firestone Indy Lights’ 13-race schedule features eight races on road courses/street circuits and five races on ovals, including the famed 2.5-mile circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Teams compete for nearly $4 million in prize money in cars that are second only in speed to the IZOD IndyCar Series at most tracks they visits.
"The Star Mazda race car is just the right vehicle, with the right horsepower and driving characteristics, to produce drivers ready to hit the ground running in Firestone Indy Lights," says Roger Bailey, Executive Director of Firestone Indy Lights. "And this test for the Star Mazda Champion is just the sort of opportunity that the Road to Indy was designed to create, both for the driver in the car and the company sponsoring the test. This is the first of many more such things to come for the Road to Indy program."
The first Star Mazda Championship winner to take advantage of the Road to Indy/Performance Friction/Andersen Racing Indy Lights test will be 2009 champion Adam Christodoulou, the English racer who also won the 2008 Formula Renault U.K. championship. He has already tested in the Team Stargate Worlds Atlantic Championship car and is looking forward to experiencing the additional power and speed of the Indy Lights car.
"I've already had a taste of testing the Indy lights car towards the end of last year, but it’s a great car to drive and I'm eager to get behind the wheel again," says Christodoulou. "I've been in quite a variety of cars recently and each car I get in adds to my racing knowledge… and to the level of experience I can bring to my next team. The opportunities that arise from being part of the Star Mazda Championship, the Road to Indy and the MAZDASPEED Ladder are much greater than anything that exists in Europe. These programs have provided a huge boost to my career and I would recommend them to any driver who is serious about advancing their ambitions in open-wheel racing."
Daytona 500 sponsor TV exposure history Matt Kenseth’s victory at last year’s rain-shortened Daytona 500 saw the driver lead only one lap under green, but the television time he earned for his primary sponsor DeWalt Tools ranked 8th all time for winning brands at the Great American Race.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast since the mid-1980s — the DeWalt logos carried by Kenseth and crew last February appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 12 minutes, 20 seconds (12:20) during the live Fox telecast of the 2009 Daytona 500, the most watched race of the year.
While impressive, the highly sought after camera time accumulated by Kenseth and DeWalt was actually surpassed on that day by Kyle Busch’s M&Ms (17:09), Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s AMP Energy (15:18) and Jeff Gordon’s DuPont (14:44).
Despite Kenseth’s limited time in the lead, the bulk of DeWalt’s exposure stemmed from hood identity, which accounted for 44.1% of the brand’s total exposure time. Not surprisingly, Kenseth benefited from the longest interview segments of the broadcast, lasting a cumulative 1:25. The logos on Kenseth’s uniform, monitored during the extended interview segments, generated 18.2% of DeWalt’s on-screen time.
Historically, Jimmie Johnson’s victory in 2006 set the standard for Daytona 500 sponsor exposure when Lowe’s was monitored by Joyce Julius and Associates for 27:30 during NBC’s telecast. Dale Earnhardt’s legendary lone Daytona 500 win in 1998 saw the logo of his main sponsor, GM Goodwrench, appear on the CBS telecast for 25:46. Meanwhile, Ryan Newman’s 2008 victory helped rank ALLTEL third on the all-time Daytona list with 17:38.
Fischer Racing continues its program in the FIA GT3 European championship after a successful first season last year. The team from Paderborn / Germany will return with it’s two Ford GT into the European championship, which starts in the beginning of May at Silverstone (UK). One of the legendary US-Supercars of Fischer Racing will be driven by Finn Mikko Eskelinen (37) and „Young Driver“ Christoffer Nygaard (23) from Denmark. The second driver pairing will be announced at a later date.
„The FIA GT3 European championship is the perfect addition to the program of our sister-team “Young Driver AMR“, which will enter two Aston Martin in the inaugural season of the GT1-World championship. Five of the seven rounds of the European championship will be in conjunction with the World Championship, so this is a perfect fit for our team“, Fischer Racing team principal Hardy Fischer says.
Christoffer Nygaard, who is part of the „Young Driver“ program of Fischer Racing, has already one successful season with the Fischer Racing-Ford GT under his belt. Last season, the young Dane scored one victory and another two podiums in FIA GT3 and finished his first season in European competition fifth in the drivers ranking. Nygaard is also part of the „Young Driver AMR” Team and will be on double duty on five race weekends as he will drive also one Aston Martin in the GT1-World Championship.
Mikko Eskelinen joins Fischer Racing as the reigning Finnish GT-champion and successfully completed a test race with Fischer Racing and Christoffer Nygaard last autumn. In a race in South-France Nygaard/Eskelinen won the GT-class outright and laid the cornerstone for a successful driver paring in the European championship. „Christoffer (Nygaard) and Mikko (Eskelinen) will be a quick and serious driver paring in this years European championship,“ Hardy Fischer convinced
Fischer Racing and both drivers are now preparing for the first official test of the 2010 FIA GT3 European championship season, which will take place on 21./22. February in Le Castellet / France.
The FIA GT3-European championship will start into its fifth season this year. At the first round at Silverstone in May more than 40 cars of the likes of Audi, Corvette Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and also new addition BMW are expected in this very competitive championship.
Kobayashi tops day two in Jerez Kamui Kobayashi put Sauber at the top of the timesheets with a last-minute flying lap as Formula 1 teams enjoyed plenty of dry running on the second day of this week's Jerez test. Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi had topped the times for most of the session, which began with a slightly damp track but soon improved and allowed the pit lane to make up for the mileage lost during yesterday's incessant rain.
The Swiss driver looked set to hold his position until Kobayashi threw in a 1m19.950s just after the session was restarted for a few minutes after a late red flag.
Jenson Button was third, despite his McLaren stopping on track in the final ten minutes and causing the late stoppage.
Nico Hulkenberg also prompted a stoppage early on when his Williams was halted by a hydraulic leak. It was swiftly repaired and the German ended the day fourth, ahead of an impressive performance from Force India's Tonio Liuzzi.
Renault team looking for funding Ed Note: With Renault rumored to be losing their buy-a-ride Russian driver, they need to find money somewhere fast. Will they also be dead in the water along with the new teams that are not going to make it? We never thought we would see the Renault name and team turned into a new Minardi.
Gerard Lopez, the new major shareholder of Renault's Formula One team, has revealed talks with three unnamed Polish companies.
Lopez, head of the Luxembourg based Genii Capital investment company, said the talks are about sponsorship of the Enstone based team, whose lead driver this year is the 25-year-old Pole Robert Kubica.
Last week it emerged that Kubica is Poland's richest sportsman, with earnings above EUR4 million in 2009.
But the country's economic daily Puls Biznesu said it will be difficult for Renault to find sponsors in Poland.
"(The) Polish market has not been properly explored yet. We're holding talks with three Polish companies," Lopez said.
He did not reveal the identity of the companies, but the major firms PKN Orlen, an oil company, Telekomunikacja Polska, insurance company PZU Group, the PKO Bank Polski bank and Kulczyk Holding all said they did not receive offers from Lopez.
NASCAR reacts to recession The so-called "Great Recession" has swept into NASCAR stock-car racing and brought dramatic changes within the industry. With money tight for race fans, NASCAR and member racetracks, such as Daytona International Speedway, are trying to make racing affordable for those tightening their household budgets.
The Speedway saw this storm forming years ago.
"We do surveys after every one of our races," Speedway President Robin Braig said.
The racing industry is battling other sports and entertainment outlets for the consumers' dwindling discretionary money supply.
"The industry in general has reacted to that (bad economy)," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "We are trying to be responsive to the fact that there's a lot on everybody's plate. We certainly want to keep NASCAR on the plates."
Here are a few measures NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway have taken to ease the race fans' financial burden:
· TICKETS: After shuttering the backstretch grandstands for last summer's Coke Zero 400, the Speedway has aggressively advertised a $55 grandstand ticket for Sunday's Daytona 500. Braig said the 500 will have a "full house" for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series opener.
For the most part, the Speedway has dropped its two-day race ticket requirement. Until recently, fans who bought a ticket for the Daytona 500 also had to pay for Saturday's Nationwide Series race. That policy, for the most part, has been rescinded.
"We have de-coupled tickets in many sections," Braig said. "We made available 65,000 single-event, front stretch grandstand tickets for the Daytona 500."
· CONCESSIONS: Daytona has reduced the price of almost everything it sells on racetrack grounds, from soft drinks to T-shirts to collectibles.
· PARKING: Race fans who park their cars or RVs in the Speedway infield pay a parking fee, but on big race days, the track has auxiliary parking areas at no cost. Spectators park for free and ride a shuttle to the track.
· HOTELS: The Speedway worked with area motels and hotels to trim the cost of staying in Daytona Beach during Speed Weeks. The effort was championed by Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey and Braig. A large group of area lodgings dropped minimum night stays and lowered the cost of a room for one night to $99.
· DO IT YOURSELF: Unlike other professional and college sports venues, the Speedway allows spectators to take their own food and drinks into the grandstands and infield, a long-standing tradition in stock-car racing. The Speedway is promoting and marketing the bring-your-own-stuff concept.
· CLOSING COMMENT: "We think the whole industry is looking and reacting very sincerely to this as an issue and trying to figure out how to make it all work," Helton said. newsjournalonline.com
Level 5 Motorsports is the latest championship-winning team to confirm its entry into the American Le Mans Series’ Le Mans Prototype Challenge class for 2010. Based in Madison, Wis., Level 5 will compete in the full nine-round championship with ORECA’s FLM09 prototype.
Team owner Scott Tucker and former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Christophe Bouchut will compete for the full season . The pairing also is entered for the Series’ annual Winter Test on February 22-23 at Sebring International Raceway. Level 5 expects to take delivery of its FLM09 today and is the sixth team to purchase an ORECA-built racer.
“We are excited to be racing at Sebring this year in the new Le Mans Prototype Challenge class,” said team manager David Stone, who has an extensive history of competing in the International Motor Sports Association, which sanctions the American Le Mans Series. “The new LMPC class has certainly been intriguing since it was announced last year. The number of cars continues to increase each week, which should make for some great competition.”
New for 2010, the FLM09 has a minimum weight of 900 kilograms and produces approximately 430 hp. The FLM09 features a full carbon fiber chassis, carbon brakes, and an Xtrac sequential gearbox with paddle shifting. All LMPC cars will race on single-supply Michelin tires.
Already, Tucker has spent considerable time behind the wheel of an FLM09. He posted two second-place finishes at Paul Ricard in the Le Mans Winter Racing Series despite never having set foot inside the car.
“The car is an impressive proven racing package,” Tucker said. “Carbon brakes, paddle shift Xtrac gearboxes … all the boxes are checked. Everyone on the team has been pleasantly surprised at the growing field of car and the job the American Le Mans Series’ management has done. We are looking forward to the strong competition at Sebring and throughout the year.”
Level 5 brings an impressive pedigree of motorsports championships on a number of levels. Most recently, the team placed third overall at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Its Wisconsin headquarters houses a 60,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art racing, engineering and fabrication facility with a full time dedicated staff of over 20 professionals. In short, it is well-equipped to handle the start of its LMPC program.
“The aims of this season are to be as competitive as we can,” Bouchut said. “With Scott, we make a very homogenous and solid team, which will be a vital factor.”
The American Le Mans Series will open its 12th season with America’s greatest sports car race, the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida from March 17-20. The green flag will fall at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 with live coverage on SPEED.
The annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test is scheduled for February 22-23, also at Sebring International Raceway. American Le Mans Series cars will be on track from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. both days. Tickets are $10 per day with no public paddock access or overnight camping. Live Timing & Scoring will be available on americanlemans.com.
You can follow the Series on Twitter (almsnotes) and on our Facebook page and the official YouTube channel.
Renault seeks F1 team sponsors in Poland (GMM) Gerard Lopez, the new major shareholder of Renault's formula one team, has revealed talks with three unnamed Polish companies.
Lopez, head of the Luxembourg based Genii Capital investment company, said the talks are about sponsorship of the Enstone based team, whose lead driver this year is the 25-year-old Pole Robert Kubica.
Last week it emerged that Kubica is Poland's richest sportsman, with earnings above EUR4 million in 2009.
But the country's economic daily Puls Biznesu said it will be difficult for Renault to find sponsors in Poland.
"(The) Polish market has not been properly explored yet. We're holding talks with three Polish companies," Lopez said.
He did not reveal the identity of the companies, but the major firms PKN Orlen, an oil company, Telekomunikacja Polska, insurance company PZU Group, the PKO Bank Polski bank and Kulczyk Holding all said they did not receive offers from Lopez.
Magny-Cours Names Serge Saulnier as chairman During a meeting held today, the Supervisory Board of the Nevers Magny-Cours circuit, chaired by Georges Eymery, has named Serge Saulnier as Chairman and Gilles Alegoet as a member of the board of the circuit’s management company, with a renewable mandate until 2013.
The 57-year-old Saulnier is originally from Nevers and a resident of Magny-Cours where, between 1980 and 2006 he owned the Promatecme and Saulnier Racing teams before becoming the Sporting Director and Team Manager of Peugeot Sport in September 2006.
Buemi fastest Thur. morning in Jerez Sebastien Buemi dominated Thursday morning's running at Jerez, easily outpacing his closest rival, Jenson Button, by more than a half a second.
Unofficial Times 1.S. BuemiToro RossoSTR51:20.026 52 laps 2.J. ButtonMcLarenMP4-251:20.618+0.59229 laps 3.N. HülkenbergWilliamsFW321:21.565+1.53918 laps 4.M. SchumacherMercedes GPW011:21.907+1.88160 laps 5.F. AlonsoFerrariF101:21.928+1.90279 laps 6.R. KubicaRenaultR301:22.129+2.10343 laps 7.V. LiuzziForce IndiaVJM-031:23.004+2.97833 laps 8.M. WebberRed Bull RacingRB61:23.164+3.13860 laps 9.K. KobayashiSauberC291:23.190+3.16439 laps 10.T. GlockVirgin RacingVR-011:29.964+9.93811 laps
Williams' KERS fitted to new Porsche road car (GMM) The flywheel-based KERS system developed by Williams for formula one will instead be fitted to Porsche's new 911 GT3 R Hybrid road car.
The Grove based team told the media on Thursday that its energy recovery system, developed throughout 2009 but disallowed as part of a FOTA agreement this year, will be unveiled in the Porsche at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
"We hope that this will be just the start of the evolution of hybrid systems developed for formula one moving across to applications where they can contribute to cleaner and more powerful vehicles," said Williams' chief operating officer Alex Burns.
Williams said the technology will also be available to buses, trains, ships and wind power generation.
Aboard the Porsche 911, however, Williams' KERS will see some racing action, with the German carmaker announcing it will contest May's Nurburgring 24 hour race.
New Indy Racing League car could put NASCAR on notice The Indy Racing League put NASCAR on notice Wednesday.
The top open-wheel series in the U.S. is tired of being dominated by stock car racing, and they are fighting back, possibly with a stunning all-new car for the 2012 season called the DeltaWing that debuted at the Chicago Auto Show.
The IRL has said it wants a new, less expensive car for the 2012 season, and several manufacturers, including Swift and current car builder Dallara are submitting proposals, but none are remotely as radical as the DeltaWing.
Also Horner admits Raikkonen to Red Bull 'interesting'
Points system will not increase will to win - de la Rosa
Vettel's helmet resembles Red Bull drink can
Manager concerned about 'Schumacher' website
Concerns about Bridgestone's new inter tire
Ralf Schumacher had shoulder surgery after ski fall
Also Horner admits Raikkonen to Red Bull 'interesting' (GMM) Another leading Red Bull figure has admitted that the idea of Kimi Raikkonen returning to F1 in 2011 with the energy drinks marque is "interesting".
The first to make the admission this week was Dr Helmut Marko, the motor racing advisor to team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
With a Red Bull contract, 30-year-old Raikkonen is driving a works Citroen in this year's full world rally championship.
At Red Bull Racing, Mark Webber's contract expires at the end of this year.
Asked about the prospect of welcoming 2007 world champion Raikkonen to Red Bull Racing next year, team principal Christian Horner said: "I think it is an interesting idea."
"Inevitably people will write and speculate about it," he is quoted as saying by Press Association at the Jerez test on Wednesday.
"But what I can tell you is that Kimi's focus is very much on rallying. There has been no discussion about F1.
"We are very happy with our current driver lineup," added Horner, who has Sebastian Vettel under contract until the end of 2011.
"Next year is a long way away, but we will focus on our current drivers," he said.
Accident forces Johnson and Logano to backup cars Jimmie Johnson will go to a backup car after contact with Denny Hamlin during Wednesday’s second practice session for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.
The incident occurred after Mike Bliss (Tommy Baldwin Racing) spun into Joey Logano (Joe Gibbs Racing) at Daytona International Speedway.
Johnson, Logano and Bliss will have to use backups in the Daytona 500 qualifying races Thursday, and start those at the rear of the field. They will be allowed to keep their starting position for the Daytona 500 that they earn Thursday.
The damage didn’t look too severe on the Hendrick Motorsports car of Johnson.
Earnhardt Jr. Wins Inaugural NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship Race A late race crash gave fuel-short race-leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just the breathing room he needed to win the first-ever NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship race at Daytona International Speedway. The yellow flag flew with just two laps remaining in the 100-lap race just as Earnhardt was about to pit for a quick splash of fuel. Instead, with his virtual Chevy Impala SS running low, Earnhardt swept under the checkered flag for the victory.
“Coming through turns 3-4 with two laps left I had to prepare for a pit stop for a little gas,” Earnhardt said following the race. “I looked in the mirror and saw an accident and the yellow came out. At this point I had exactly three-tenths of a gallon left and sputtered across the line to take the yellow. After two more laps of sputtering I took the checkered and that was that. You can’t get any luckier than that.”
Better weather likely at Jerez on Thursday (GMM) Better weather looks set to dawn at Jerez on Thursday, where near constant rain yesterday marred one of the rare winter test days at the Spanish circuit.
"Fortunately the weather forecast looks a lot better," Renault's chief engineer Alan Permane confirmed.
It is particularly good news for Red Bull and Force India, whose 2010 cars made their debuts at the drizzly venue on Wednesday.
The new Virgin is also testing for the first time at Jerez, and on Wednesday lapped just 5 times in the hands of Timo Glock.
Record number of entries for ALMS Sebring winter testUPDATE News came today that Krohn Racing will run a McLaren Mercedes in the GT class of the ALMS this season. The brings the total manufacturers to 8. Chevrolet, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Panoz, and McLaren Mercedes. That is really amazing in this tough automotive market. Note the total absence of any Japanese makes however...could we see a Nissan GT-R or a Lexus Hybrid in there soon?
ALMS GT2 will be the hottest contested championship in North America this year, with 7 manufacturers duking it out for the title
The 2010 American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway will feature a number of historic moments as the countdown continues to the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. A total of 27 cars – a record for the annual test – are on the initial entry with additions likely prior to the February 22-23 session. In all, 10 different manufacturers will have their wares on display for the two-day test on Sebring’s historic 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit.
Honda IndyCar concept car is still the best A reader writes, The Delta Wing car is even uglier than the current Dallara chassis. It looks like a drag racer more than an open-wheel formula racer! Likewise, most of the concepts I have seen from Swift and Dallara aren't much better.
I think the IRL should go with a design like the Honda one you posted a while back with the canard wings in the front. That seems like the perfect progression for the league and would differentiate the racing style from all others but still would be Indy-style to me.
I have become so bored with the lack of technology in IndyCar racing, especially since the demise of Champ Car, and if they don't do something soon, I am going to give up and just watch F1 and Sportscars.
Brian Barnhart is so out of touch and if he chooses the wrong chassis it will be game over for my favorite racing style (CART/Champ Car/IndyCar). The powers that be at the IRL/IMS should have sent Barnhart out the door with Tony George.
Hopefully the right choice is made so that the teams stay, manufacturers return and then ultimately, the fan base will regrow. Matt Fetherman
[Editor's Note: We added the Honda choice to our new Home Page poll.]
Another reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, Wow....I thought the new Lola/Swift/Dallara concepts were ugly. For the first time I have to agree with Brian Barnhart! The Delta wing makes the current Indy Car Dallara, the Grand Am Prototype and even NASCAR's COT look GREAT!!!!. With all the hype surrounding this Delta project I thought this would be a much better design. This is NOT an Indy Car/Champ Car nor any evolution of the two. Thinking outside of the box is great but a great design should at least stay in the same universe!!! Where is Panoz when you need them!!!!!!! Peter M. Romero, Esq.
First Venezuelan Star Mazda team announced Linares Racing today announced that it will become the first-ever Venezuelan team to enter the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. The team, owned by Gustavo Linares (brother of famed Venezuelan karting champion Carlos Linares), takes delivery of its first brand-new Star Mazda single-seater today and will begin the 2010 season fielding a car for the 2009 Venezuelan national FF1600 champion Carlos Linares with backing from IND, Venezuela's National Institute of Sport.
Linares, born on June 20, 1992, has been karting since age 7 and competed two seasons in the Venezuelan FF1600 series before winning the championship last season with a record of two victories and seven podium finishes. He has also tested with the Campos Racing F3 team in Spain.
"The United States offers a lot of opportunities for a young driver like me and I'm really happy to be running in a high-profile series like the Star Mazda Championship," says Linares. "With the MAZDASPEED Ladder and the Indy Racing League's 'Road to Indy' program both working to help Star Mazda drivers, I feel that I am heading toward my goal of competing in the Indy 500."
Bringing an additional dimension of top-level expertise to the team will be Rob Ridgely, who engineered Venezuelan driver E.J. Viso's car on the HVM Indy Car team during the 2009 season. The widely-experienced Crew Chief will be Claudio Novoa, a veteran of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, Indy Lights with Andersen Racing and several Indy Car teams, including Team Minardi, Roth Racing and Team Rahal. The new Linares Racing team, headquartered near the heart of the Indy Car racing community at a facility in Brownsburg, Indiana, will have its first test of car, driver and personnel at Sebring on March 3.
"The Star Mazda Championship is a professional, intensely competitive series that attracts rising stars from around the world like Carlos Linares," says Ridgely. "This is a new team, but they are going about it in a very professional way and I believe that the two-year program we have planned to develop Carlos into a top driver is very realistic. And the plans they have for the future are very exciting. I'm delighted to be part of Linares Racing."
Linares Racing will expand to a two-car effort later in the season when Carlos' Linares brother, Gustavo, joins the team. Currently in his first year of college in Indiana, Gustavo Linares drove several Star Mazda Championship races during the 2009 season.
"We looked at entering many different series for our team, but the Star Mazda Championship made the most sense now and for the future of our team, our drivers and our sponsors," says Linares Racing team owner Gustavo Linares. "We have a two-year plan to compete in the Star Mazda Championship before expanding our team to include the Firestone Indy Lights series. We hope to be able to help other young Venezuelan and South American drivers advance their careers in this country, and we've also had interest from American and European drivers, so we are confident that Linares Racing is on the right track."
The first race of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear takes place on March 19, during the 12 Hours of Sebring weekend. Round 2 is the following weekend, March 26-28, in the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida with the Indy Racing League.
The Force India Formula One Team's 2010 challenger, the VJM03, made its official testing debut today at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tonio Liuzzi was on driving duties and, despite the mainly wet conditions, covered more than 300km in a largely trouble-free run.
The program today focused on system familiarization in the morning and then balance runs in the afternoon. The team was able to finish the plan and create a solid platform for the rest of the test.
Tonio will continue in the VJM03 tomorrow before Adrian Sutil takes over on Friday and Saturday. Paul di Resta will get his hands on the VJM03 on 17 February.
Tonio Liuzzi Today was definitely a good beginning to our testing program. It was mainly about getting comfortable in the car, running through the systems. We did more than 70 laps and the car was reliable with no big issues, which is a very good starting point. Unfortunately we did just three laps in the dry in the morning before it started to rain. We are however pretty happy with how the day ended and now are looking forward to tomorrow where hopefully the weather will be better.
Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer We are pleased to have completed just over 300km today in what turned out to be mostly wet conditions. The work consisted of general characterization of the new car's systems. Tomorrow we will continue this process and start to find out more about the balance and the 2010 tires. It's really good to be back at the track and to see the team working together again in earnest for the first time in 2010.
Testing data Driver: Tonio Liuzzi Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain Best lap time: 1:24.968 (dry) / 1:30.403 (wet) Laps completed: 71 Kilometers completed: 314km Air temperature: High of 12 C Track temperature: High of 12 C Weather: Mainly wet and windy
FOX Sports radio coverage of Daytona 500 FOX Sports Radio’s annual coverage of “The Great American Race” begins today as the network broadcasts from the 52nd annual Daytona 500. Myers & Hartman, which airs weekdays from 3 - 7 p.m. ET on nearly 150 stations across the U.S., will air live February 10 - 12 from Old Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway. Hosts Chris Myers and Steve Hartman will provide listeners with breaking news, as well as interviews and updates with drivers, crew chiefs and others as the “Race to the Chase” begins. Scheduled guests include four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, 2008 Daytona 500 Champion Ryan Newman, NASCAR drivers Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick, among many others. Live audio, video and photos can be found at www.FOXSportsRadio.com
Jerez Testing Day 1: Rosberg fastest in the wet Formula One's second pre-season test got underway in Jerez today for the first of eight days of testing at the Spanish circuit in the next eleven days. Nico Rosberg began the test for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team and will alternate the driving responsibilities with team-mate Michael Schumacher.
With rain showers predicted throughout the test, the first downpour arrived after only an hour of running this morning and the conditions remained wet throughout the day. Nico had time to complete a couple of short runs in the dry before the rain arrived and the test program was changed accordingly.
Using the Bridgestone Potenza wet and intermediate tires, Nico gave the MGP W01 car its first run-out in wet conditions, completing 57 laps over the day. Nico's fastest time of 01:20.927 which was top of the timesheets was set in the dry this morning.
WRC to use F1 points system The FIA World Rally Championship has voted to mirror Formula One in adopting a top-10 scoring system with a bigger difference between the winner and second place to encourage drivers to go for victory.
After a fax vote by members of the FIA's world motor sport council and competitors, FIA World Rally Championship scoring will now follow the same formula: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1.
The change from a top-eight method with the winner gaining 10 points comes into effect immediately, just in time for this weekend's season-opening Swedish rally.
You don’t buy a Ferrari expecting the latest in green technology, but there are signs of environmentally friendly evolution in Maranello.
Not only did Ferrari’s chief executive, Amedeo Felisa, tell the British press that V-6 cars could be in the company’s future, but Luca di Montezemolo, the company’s chairman, announced recently that it is bringing a hybrid version of the 599 GTB to the Geneva Motor Show in March. He described the hybrid as “a great path towards the future.”
Hold on, though. The Sierra Club isn’t likely to bestow awards on the supercar manufacturer anytime soon. The V-12 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti (with nine miles per gallon in the city and 16 on the highway as an automatic) still makes the Greenercars.org list of “10 Meanest Cars for the Environment.”
But asked about the possibility of V-6-powered Ferraris by Autocar, Mr. Felisa said, “If I had to answer the question a year ago I would have said no, but attitudes are changing and we build cars for customers.”
He added, “If you look at global warming, the right solution is not fully electric.”
Sound, in the form of a rich exhaust roar, is important to Ferrari, he said, and the company “will not make engine sounds with speakers.”
The V-6 car, anathema to purists, is probably not imminent — Mr. Felisa said, “In 20 years, who can say?” — but a Ferrari hybrid is definitely coming, though there’s no assurance it will ever see production.
“It is going to be a prototype, and it will appear in Geneva,” said Matteo Sardi, a Ferrari North America spokesman. “We absolutely think ahead of everybody in technology research, and a hybrid is in line with that.”
The hybrid has long been rumored, especially since the company patented a “Four-Wheel-Drive System with Hybrid Propulsion” a year ago. In that concept, the gas engine and electric motor drive the front or rear wheels separately. In practice, according to Motor Authority, that could enable the driver to switch between rear- and four-wheel-drive, and enable brief spurts of battery-only power. And that, the site said, “will vastly improve Ferrari’s carbon footprint and position in the eyes of environmentalists.” NY Times
Red Bull flattered by F1 rivals' car copies (GMM) Red Bull figures on Wednesday said they were flattered that so many rival cars now resemble the Milton Keynes-designed single seater.
After the RB5 finished the 2009 season as the dominant car, many new contenders have hit the test tracks this winter resembling features of the Red Bull.
For instance, the new Mercedes, Virgin and Ferrari racers feature the distinctive raised nose edges ahead of the cockpit, while the front of the Williams is high and wide, like the so-called Red Bull 'duck's beak'.
Rosberg tops the early running as Red Bull debuts Nico Rosberg was the early pace-setter at Jerez on Wednesday morning. Debuting Red Bull's 2010 challenger at the Spanish circuit, Mark Webber put the new RB6 through its paces, completing just five laps in the opening hour.
The Aussie was slowest of the nine drivers in action although given that it's the car's first run, that's to be expected.
Early Unofficial Times 1. N. Rosberg Mercedes GP W01 1:20.927 11 laps 2. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:21.031 +0.104 9 Laps 3. N. Hülkenberg Williams FW32 1:22.243 +1.316 17 laps 4. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1:22.895 +1.968 11 laps 5. K. Kobayashi Sauber C29 1:23.787 +2.860 7 laps 6. J. Button McLaren MP4-25 1:24.947 +4.020 5 laps 7. V. Liuzzi Force India VJM-03 1:24.968 +4.041 6 laps 8. V. Petrov Renault R30 1:25.440 +4.513 9 laps 9. M. Webber Red Bull Racing RB6 1:26.502 +5.575 5 laps
Red Bull team announces new sponsors On the day that Red Bull Racing begins testing with the RB6, it is pleased to announce that FXDD, an on-line leader in foreign exchange, has joined the team as an official Team Partner. The agreement means FXDD’s logo is displayed on the nose of the new car, which was unveiled at the Jerez Circuit in Spain this morning.
Already an official partner of the New York Rangers, FXDD chose to join Red Bull Racing in order to reach Formula One’s significant global audience and raise awareness of its growing global brand. In addition to being visible on the nose of the RB6, the company’s logo will appear on the drivers overalls, worn by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, as well as on team wear and across Red Bull Racing’s other partner branding areas.
V8 Supercar team eyes Hamilton for 2010 race (GMM) Lewis Hamilton could be at the wheel of an Australian V8 Supercar for a race next year.
Team Vodafone boss Roland Dane said this week that the McLaren driver and 2008 world champion would have raced in 2009 if the newly launched Gold Coast SuperCarnivale did not clash with the Korean grand prix.
"I'd get Lewis next year if the timing is right and I can get Vodafone to come up with the dollars," he is quoted as saying by the Adelaide newspaper The Advertiser.
The rules of the Surfers Paradise endurance street race are that 18 drivers must be "international".
New Red Bull RB6 'an evolution' - Vettel (GMM) The new car to be unveiled and debuted at Jerez on Wednesday morning is an "evolution" of its successful 2009 predecessor, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has revealed.
The launch of the RB6, because it is the last of the main contenders to be revealed in 2010, and also because the team finished the 2009 season as the pacesetter, is highly anticipated.
"The RB6 will be more of an evolution," Vettel said. "Therefore, we decided to not be there at the first (Valencia) test."
Vettel, still just 22 but tipped by Bernie Ecclestone and others as the 2010 championship favorite, will take over the car from his Australian teammate Mark Webber on Friday.
Surfers becomes a V8 Supercar only event THE V8 Supercars have been given two years to turn themselves and the Gold Coast's motor racing festival into an international attraction that will rebuild the annual event's damaged reputation.
The three-day 'Supercarnivale' to be held for the first time this October will feature the V8 Supercars in a 600km competition over two days, international music acts each night and a radical new endurance race using world renowned drivers.
The Bligh Government, under pressure from two damning reports into last year's failed GP to be released today, has decided to stop chasing risky minor international racing series and will instead put its faith in the rapidly expanding home-grown race to rebrand and rebirth the 19-year-old event.
The Gold Coast-based V8 Supercars organization, widely considered the best events team in Australia, has already begun work on a campaign to take their sport to a worldwide audience with three races to be held overseas this year.
Red Bull set to launch RB6 Wednesday morning will see Red Bull Racing officially unveil the car with which it hopes to challenge for the world title once again. The covers will be taken off the Renault-powered RB6 by drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber before the Australian debuts the contender on-track at Jerez.
With Jerez having been the scene of last year's Red Bull launch as well, the team elected to miss last week's opening pre-season test of the year as Adrian Newey's design team concentrated on development work in the wind tunnel, back at base in Milton Keynes.
Webber will pilot the car for Wednesday and Thursday for what is the first of two 4-day Jerez tests, before handing over to 2009 championship runner-up Vettel for Friday and Saturday.
Kia Motors Posts 62.9% Increase in January Global Sales Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales, and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs), and commercial vehicles for January 2010, recording a total of 150,392 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 62.9%. By region, Kia posted year-on-year sales increases in China (35,904 units sold, a 235.2% year-on-year increase), general markets (30,727 units, a 61.1% year-on-year increase), Korea (34,007 units sold, a 54.2% year-on-year increase), Europe (25,216 units sold, a 52.4% year-on-year increase), , and North America (24,538 units, a 2.6% year-on-year increase).
2.3 million more Toyotas recalledUPDATE The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reviewing about 80 complaints from owners of Toyota Corollas who say they had problems with the steering system.
But NHTSA isn't ready to open a formal investigation and is treating these complaints like the 30,000 or more it receives annually.
"We are reviewing steering complaints with the Corolla to determine if a safety defect investigation is warranted, as is standard procedure with all complaints," NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldana said.
The complaints are for 2009 and 2010 model Corollas; many said the vehicle unexpectedly veered sharply at highway speeds of 40 miles per hour and above.
Automotive News reported that the complaints site 10 injuries and six accidents. Detroit News
01/22/10 Toyota said today it was recalling 2.3 million vehicles to fix accelerator pedals that could fail to spring back, raising the total number of Toyota models called back for possible uncontrolled acceleration to 4.8 million. The move reignites questions surrounding sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles which have been linked to a dozen deaths and more than 100 complaints to federal regulators.
The Japanese automaker last year recalled 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus models over problems with floor mats causing stuck accelerator pedals.
Toyota said the new problem could occur without any floor mat in place. The automaker does not have a fix for the problem at the moment, and warns customers to hold down the brakes if their accelerator pedals become stuck.
Nemechek picks up Daytona sponsor NEMCO Motorsports today announced D.A.B. Constructors, Inc. as primary sponsor of driver Joe Nemechek’s No. 87 NASCAR Nationwide Series entry for this Saturday’s Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
D.A.B. Constructors, Inc. located in central Florida, is a service-oriented construction company with high standards for excellency. In 2009, D.A.B. supported Nemechek in an associate sponsor role and felt compelled to step up their sponsorship to help the Lakeland, FL native again this season.
“It’s a pleasure to help a fellow Floridian and we’re looking forward to seeing our D.A.B. Chevy go for the win on Saturday,” said Bill Bachschmidt, vice president of D.A.B.
“I can’t emphasize how critical the support of D.A.B. Constructors is for our team’s effort in Daytona,” Nemechek said. “We’ve been racing on very little budget for over a year now and to have D.A.B. step up with full sponsorship means that we can concentrate on our performance rather than how we’re going to fund the program.”
Velox Motorsport along with Principal Driver Jerry Vento and Shane Lewis, have announced they will compete in the ALMS GTC Class for a full season in 2010. The Tequila Patron, Velox Motorsport entry, successfully debuted the No. 88 Porsche 997 in the last seasons ALMS Mid-Ohio event and continued their success at the Laguna Seca finale.
Shane and Jerry will kick off the season with the 58th Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring, in which Lewis makes his return after several years, and Vento will compete in his first 12 hour endurance race. Lewis, a veteran of world class endurance racing, will mark his eighth start in this historic event bringing years of racing experience and knowledge to Velox Motorsport. Lewis and crew chief Jeff Bye at Velox Motorsports have worked extensively together throughout the off season, developing a team that will give them the competitive advantage necessary to have a successful 2010 season.
SPEED Scores Big with Danica ARCA Debut SPEED coverage of the ARCA Racing Series season opener from Daytona scored a Nielsen Household Rating of 2.30 (1,723,000 households), a 59-percent increase over last year’s 1.45 (1,062,000 households). Highlighted by the stock car debut of Danica Patrick, race coverage peaked at 2.66 (1,997,000 households), up a stunning 72 percent from last year’s peak of 1.55 (1,137,000 households).
According to Nielsen Media Research, 2.4 million viewers tuned in to see the Saturday afternoon race, an 87-percent increase over last year’s audience of 1.3 million.
“The Daytona ARCA race always has been a strong performer for SPEED,” said network President Hunter Nickell. “We expected a ratings bump from the ‘Danica factor,’ but this is much more than a bump. There is no question that her strong debut performance is great news for her, her team and everyone involved in the sport. She handled an intense amount of attention and drove an excellent race.”
The Nielsen ratings, which positioned SPEED as the No. 1 network in basic cable during the time slot, were the highest ever for an ARCA race and rank only behind SPEED’s exclusive coverage of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race as the highest ratings ever for the network.
Motor sports veteran journalist and SPEEDtv.com reporter Robin Miller agrees Patrick’s debut was a ringing success.
"For somebody who's been a Danica ‘tub-thumper’ the last decade, I was proud of how she handled everything and learned on the fly, but I wasn't surprised,” said Miller, a long-time coverer of Patrick’s open-wheel career. “It might have surprised some people who think she's just a pretty face or a PR gimmick, but I hope they understand she's a good little racer. And people should keep things in perspective -- this was an ARCA race and Nationwide will be 10 times tougher. I think she needs to run the whole ARCA season and maybe a couple Nationwide races at the end of the season, but that's just me. I just know that for somebody who had never raced a stock car before, she did a damn fine job."
SPEEDtv.com complemented the on-air coverage with exclusive streaming in-car cameras, a dedicated roof camera, as well as pit-to-car radio communications. Nearly 20,000 unique visitors accessed the offerings, staying on the site for an average of 26 minutes.
SPEED™, anchored by its popular and wide-ranging coverage of NASCAR, is the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Now available in more than 79 million homes in North America, SPEED is among the industry leaders in interactive TV, video on demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services. For more information, please visit SPEEDtv.com, the online motor sports authority.
Hight looking to get even at Winternationals 2009 Funny Car Full Throttle world champion Robert Hight will be looking to establish a personal trend at the 50th annual Kragen-O’Reilly Winternationals as well as possibly extend a John Force Racing team trend. Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang are two-time Winternationals winners grabbing the title in 2006 and 2008. A win this year would continue the even-year winning streak for the Alturas, Calif., native.
“Our goal for this year is to have a better team and better race car throughout the season. I am looking forward to it. Last year I didn’t even pull the chutes in testing. We went to Pomona and ended up qualifying no. 1 there but that was the highlight in the beginning for us but after that it turned really bad,” said Hight a 14-time national event winner. “This year testing went really well. We were on a tricky track (Firebird International Raceway) but when it went, it went good. I think we will have a real decent shot at it this year with our new 2010 Mustang body that we are debuting. I am looking forward to it everyone always says defending it is harder than getting the first one and we are going to have to see how that plays out.”
Courtney Force ready to accelerate winning ways Courtney Force capped her most successful racing season last year by reaching the finals round at the Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway making a run at her second Lucas Oil event win. She came up just short but that just gave the 21 year-old Cal State-Fullerton student more motivation for the 2010 season.
Heading into the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals Force will be eager to get behind the wheel of her BrandSource/Ford Drive One A Fuel Dragster. Her first qualifying lap on Thursday, February 11 at 1:30 p.m. will get the season underway for John Force Racing. Once again Courtney will be sharing the Top Alcohol Dragster category with her older sister Brittany Force who drives the BrandSource A Fuel Dragster.
The annual Sebring 12 Hour race event poster is always a work of art, and has become collectors items for many sports car racing fans over the years.
Today, Sebring International Raceway unveiled the poster for the 58th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. America’s greatest sports car race runs on Saturday, March 20th, kicking-off the 2010 American Le Mans Series season.
Corvette Racing readies for tough GT2 season Corvette Racing will take on its most formidable challenge to date when it competes in the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Le Mans, France, on June 12-13. The twin Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars are among the 17 entries in the GT2 class invited by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizers of the classic endurance race.
Corvette Racing has scored six wins in the GTS/GT1 class at Le Mans since 2001, including a victory in last year's race. The GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R, which is based on the production Corvette ZR1, made its competition debut in August 2009, competing in five American Le Mans Series events and scoring the team's first GT2 win at Mosport International Raceway. The list of invitees in the GT2 class for Le Mans includes two Corvettes C6.Rs, five Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, two BMW M3s, a Jaguar XKRS, five Ferrari 430 GTs, an Aston Martin Vantage, and a Spyker C8.
Lotus wants a little more credit The CEO of F1 2010 newcomer Lotus has called for the team to be given ‘a bit more credit’ and has brushed off accusations of insufficient funding – as the Anglo/Malaysian-run outfit prepares to take the wraps off its maiden grand prix challenger later this week.
For some time, there has been rabid speculation that fellow 2010 new boys USF1 and Campos Meta 1 are struggling on the budget front and as a consequence may not make the starting grid for the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir five-and-a-half weeks away. Now, similar fears are beginning to be expressed in some quarters – particularly in Malaysia, it would seem – about Lotus.
Scott Wimmer signs with P1 Groupe P1 Groupe, one of the premier motor sports management companies has been retained Scott Wimmer. Under the agreement, P1 Groupe will provide full management services for one of NASCAR’s most dynamic and hottest racers. Wimmer, began his NASCAR racing career in 2000 and has 6 nationwide wins and 71 top 10 finishes in NASCAR. Scott Wimmer Racing’s partnership with various teams and owners in NASCAR has resulted in over $14 million in winnings. P1 Groupe will put a special emphasis in branding Wimmer that when people think NASCAR they think Scott Wimmer.
FIA considering team manager licensing Formula 1 governing body the FIA is pondering the thought of introducing licenses for team bosses in the aftermath of the 'Crashgate' race-fixing scandal of last year. The proposed plan would prevent situations such as the one which saw ex Renault Team Manager Flavio Briatore's ban from the sport lifted by a French court. Although Briatore was found guilty of race-fixing in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, the Italian's barring from all FIA motorsport championships was overturned by Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance, which ruled against the manner in which the federation had proscribed the 61-year-old.
"Proof? There were facts so obvious that someone has actually apologized," FIA President Jean Todt explained to Gazzetta dello Sport, "and there was only one vote against the penalty applied by the World Council.
"I will put forward the idea that team managers should also have to hold licenses." The idea, if agreed by the teams, will prevent such situations as courts being able to intervene in F1 cases, as team managers would then be following standard sporting rules in the same manner as entrants and drivers. GPUpdate.net
Piquet to race NASCAR #1 truck at DaytonaUPDATE Nelson Piquet is pleased to announce he will make his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on 12 February.
Nelson will compete the NextEra Energy Resources 250 in the #1 truck with Red Horse Racing. He has previously tested for the team at the Motor Mile in October 2009 and at New Smyrna Speedway earlier this month. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series features modified pickup trucks. It is one of the three national divisions of NASCAR, together with the Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup.
Talking of the forthcoming race Nelson said: “I’m very excited! The size of the Daytona track is amazing and it’s going to be fantastic racing side-by-side in a tight drafting pack of trucks. I learned a lot racing in the ARCA event last weekend and now I can’t wait to start my NASCAR career.”
F1 return idea for Raikkonen 'interesting' - Red Bull
Hollywood to make F1 feature documentary
Lotus insists F1 team on track (GMM) Another new team has moved to reject speculation that a lack of funding could thwart its formula one foray.
Rumors questioning the health of the USF1 and Campos entrants have been widespread, but especially within Malaysia, the new Lotus team is also subject to those who wonder if it has the money to compete throughout 2010.
UK based Lotus, owned and financed by a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs, was hoping to secure the sponsorship of the oil company Petronas, who instead elected to back Mercedes GP.
Despite the links with the carmaker Proton and the Sepang circuit, the Malaysian government has clarified that it is not funding Lotus, and the sports car marque Lotus Cars has also distanced itself from the F1 team.
The 2010 livery is not likely to feature the sponsorship logos of third party backers, but the car is due to be debuted at Silverstone on Tuesday, before it joins the third group test at Jerez next week.
Responding to the negative speculation about Lotus, chief executive Riad Asmat said: "I think we're due a little bit more credit.
"So far, of the new teams, only Virgin and us have our cars ready and we will be on the grid in Bahrain," he told the New Straits Times.
The 2010 Lotus car will be launched publicly in London on Friday.
Golf adopts Formula One Technology in Unique Williams License Agreement Williams F1 announced today that is has entered into a unique license agreement with Williams Sports, a US golf equipment company. Williams Sports has a very successful background in the golf business, building one of the most successful golf club companies in the industry during the mid to late 2000's, while producing golf equipment that was used to win 44 times on PGA Tours worldwide. Combining Williams F1's engineering capability with the established golf club design and production experience of the team at Williams Sports, will create a partnership that will advance golf club designs to a new level in 2010 and beyond.
The purpose of the partnership is to inject Williams F1's Formula One technology into the design and manufacture of Williams Sports' golfing equipment. The initial areas of technical partnership are in the aerodynamic profiling of golf club shafts, ferrules and heads, and the application of composites and alloys materials science in club design. With current limitations on modern golf club design, aerodynamics and materials are now the most important aspect of research and development for advance golf products. In addition, the rapid 'concept to delivery' lead times typical of Formula One will allow these progressions to reach the golf market sooner than via traditional R&D routes.
Atherton to speak American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton will be the keynote luncheon speaker Wednesday, February 10 at the SAE 2010 Hybrid Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego.
The symposium, which is to be held at San Diego Mission Valley’s Doubletree Hotel, addresses the latest technical innovations in electric drives, motors, energy storage and system engineering from the innovators of hybrid technology. The event includes presentations from leading experts around the globe as well as participation in specialized panel discussions on topics pertinent within the hybrid vehicle industry.
Wind Tunnel returns Sunday This will be the season debut of Wind Tunnel...starting their 8th year on-air.
Guest Co-Host Darrell Waltrip (FOX Sports and SPEED NASCAR Analyst)
It seems like it’s becoming a bit of a tradition with FOX Sports and SPEED NASCAR analyst, Darrell Waltrip, joining Wind Tunnel LIVE from Daytona on the night of the Sprint CUP season opener, the Daytona 500.
As our guest Co-Host, DW will share his post-race opinions and insight into this year’s big race as well as preview the 2010 NASCAR season. Who knows, he might even make a bold prediction or two!
Featured Interview TBA
Featured Interview Robin Miller (SPEED Open Wheel Racing Reporter)
SPEED’s Robin Miller will also make an appearance on Wind Tunnel this Sunday, but not to talk about NASCAR, he’ll join us to talk about the next generation IndyCar...an idea that has sparked several designs from a variety of manufacturers and one from a group of car owners. So which design(s) will actually make it to the track in the years to come? Robin will shed some light on that process.
This Week’s Races Sprint CUP season opener...the 52nd Annual Daytona 500 Nationwide and Camping World Trucks season openers at Daytona NHRA season opener in Pomona, CA World Rally Championship season opener in Sweden AMA Supercross in Anaheim, CA
ESPN going ga-ga over Danica ESPN has expanded its schedule from Daytona International Speedway this week and will now televise live the two-hour opening practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Wednesday, Feb. 10, from 3-5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 so it can cover Danica Patrick’s every move. The practice session will mark the NASCAR debut of open-wheel racing star Danica Patrick and don't be surprised if they even cover her rest room breaks.
ESPN2 will televise live the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2010 season opener at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 13. ESPN2 also airs NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m., as well as NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice Thursday, Feb. 11, at 11:30 a.m.
NASCAR Countdown starts ESPN2’s race day at noon ET, with the green flag at 1:34 p.m. Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer with analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. NASCAR Countdown will be hosted by Allen Bestwick from the ESPN Pit Studio with analysts Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty.
Ask.com leaves NASCAR This time a year ago, Ask.com was preparing to make the splash of the season at Daytona. It had a custom-made motor coach, pretty girls dressed in red and white to act as Ask Ambassadors throughout the speedway, and up to 30 new 15-second ad spots. The eager search engine had seemingly thought of everything for its first year of an official partnership with NASCAR and a team sponsorship at Hall of Fame Racing. But as the industry rolls into Daytona this week for the start of the 2010 season, the major question will be: What happened to Ask.com? Despite trumpeting successful results from its sponsorships and advertising in NASCAR last year, the Barry Diller-owned company opted not to return this year, allowing its NASCAR partnership and team deal to expire after one year. A change in leadership -- CEO Jim Safka did the NASCAR deals last year but was replaced by president Doug Leeds in October -- led to changes in marketing. Ask.com spent about $15 million on its NASCAR sponsorships and activation last year, industry insiders said. Its official deal with NASCAR was in the low seven figures, while the team sponsorship cost Ask.com $4 million. The majority of NASCAR sponsors whose deals were up last year renewed, including Dodge, Unilever, DuPont, DirecTV, Kraft, and Procter & Gamble brands Gillette, Old Spice and Prilosec OTC. NASCAR also added Screenvision and Drive4COPD as new partners, with Screenvision being the official cinema ad agency and Drive4COPD, a group that drives awareness and screening for lung disease, serving as the official health initiative. Among the sponsors that didn't renew for this year: P&G brand Duracell, Best Western, Yardman/Cub Cadet, and Kellogg's, along with Ask. Sporting News/NASCAR.com
Swift and Lola step into the IndyCar chassis soap opera
The Swift concept 33 It should be called the Indy Mach 5 because it looks like a single-seater version of the classic cartoon Speed Racer Mach 5.
Lola and Swift today announced their own respective bids to secure the 2012 IndyCar chassis deal. They each issued a release that aims to address the issues and requirements for the new car, in an effort to be considered for the contract. As we talked about the Lola proposal in an earlier news post we will discuss the Swift proposal and design here. In this detailed PDF file, Swift details several concepts, from a design that is rather conservative and looks a lot like the current Atlantic car, to a completely radical design.
Swift certainly has a long and successful history of making top notch formula cars. Their design does incorporate some different approaches to these problems, such as air delivery to a trailing car and other factors.
Danica and NASCAR already taking IRL sponsors/partners Hot Wheels will sponsor JR Motorsports' No. 7 Chevy driven by Patrick in the Nationwide Series this season, including primary sponsor placement for the August 14 Carfax 250 at Michigan Int'l Speedway. Hot Wheels and Patrick also are working together on other promotional initiatives, including a special Hot Wheels vehicle designed by Patrick herself (Hot Wheels). In Orlando, Ganguli & Smith noted Hot Wheels will be a "secondary sponsor" of Patrick's car excluding the Carfax 250. When asked if she "played with Hot Wheels as a child, Patrick replied that she had Barbies." Patrick: "I'm a girl!"ORLANDO SENTINEL
PR1 and Mathiasen to campaign LMPC entry PR1 Motorsports and Mathiasen Motorsports are proud to announce that they have joined forces and will be campaigning a brand-new Oreca-Courage FLM09 in the 2010 American Le Mans Series LMPC class. Formed from two former Formula Atlantic Championship top-tier competitors, the team will be known as PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and will take possession of the car in early March. The team will promptly begin preparing the car in anticipation for a full 2010 season.
ESPN programming for SpeedWeeks The NASCAR Nationwide Series kicks off its 2010 season this weekend at Daytona International Speedway and ESPN2 will have live coverage as the series races for 300 miles on the famous Daytona high banks. The much-anticipated NASCAR debut of open wheel racing star Danica Patrick will be one of many intriguing storylines in the event.
NASCAR Countdown starts ESPN2’s race day coverage on Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon ET. The race telecast starts at 1:15 p.m. with the green flag at 1:34 p.m. Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN2’s race coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.
Jaguar has been named the Official Car of Sebring International Raceway, home of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. The 58th edition of America’s premier endurance race runs on Saturday, March 20th, kicking-off the 2010 American Le Mans Series season. A legend of motorsports, Jaguar has a long and successful history in sports car racing. Jaguar first won Le Mans in 1951 with the debut of the C-TYPE, and captured four more wins during the 1950s as well as in 1988 and 1990 at the famous French endurance classic. Jaguar scored its first major victory in North America by winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1955.
Ed Note: This vehicle was a jointly produced model in partnership with Toyota, but it seems that the same supplier has been used by more than one manufacturer, which means that this problem is not necessarily unique to Toyota.
Repair parts for the sticking accelerator pedal condition in the Pontiac Vibe will begin being shipped to General Motors dealers this week (Feb. 8). Letters to Vibe customers will be mailed Feb. 16 with instructions to contact their Pontiac dealer after Feb. 22 to have a precision-cut steel reinforcement bar inserted into the accelerator pedal assembly. The installation will take about 30 minutes but customers may need to leave their vehicles with dealers for a longer period of time.
Customers will receive a second letter when a remedy is available for the recall covering floor mat interference with the accelerator pedal. For now, customers are urged to take out any removable floor mat and place it in the trunk of the Vibe and not replace it with any other mat. Customers who choose against taking out the removable floor mat are encouraged to check the operation of the accelerator, brake and, if applicable, the clutch pedals to assure the floor mat does not interfere with them
Comic Book Heroes’ (CBH) new single “Move Out of the Way” off their “Take A Seat” EP has been chosen by ESPN as the featured song for the network’s coverage of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. The season opens at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon ET on ESPN2.
To kick off their new relationship with ESPN, CBH filmed a video for “Move Out of the Way,” portions of which will be used throughout the season during ESPN’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecasts. A new music video for the teen rock band’s first single, “Catch Me If You Can,” and six original songs from CBH also will be included in promotions for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage. Throughout the 10-month NASCAR Nationwide Series season, CBH’s music, videos and promotions will be featured in 35 races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.
Alex Job racing to field multiple cars in ALMS classes
Alex Job #81 Porsche
UPDATE Here is a rendering of the car that Butch Leitzinger will driver with Mission Foods sponsorship.
Alex Job Racing (AJR) is coming back to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) to compete in the full 2010 nine race GTC championship. The team will field two 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars with a strong driver lineup.
Prior to running in other forms of sports car racing, AJR held the distinction of running every ALMS race, except the Australian event in 2000. "We are looking forward to returning to the ALMS series and running the full schedule," Alex Job, team owner said. "In the time that we were in the series we were very successful with the Porsche factory, as well as on our own."
Game Stop signs with Logano and JGR GameStop Corporation (NYSE: GME), the world’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer, has extended its sponsorship with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) through the 2010 NASCAR season. Talented young phenom Joey Logano will pilot the No. 20 GameStop Toyota in 21 Nationwide Series events, beginning with the season-opening race at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 13, 2010.
“When we decided to enter NASCAR three years ago, we knew we had to find the right driver/team combination,” said Paul Raines, Chief Operating Officer for GameStop. “Joey has proven to be the perfect fit for GameStop with his passion for gaming and his fierce competitive spirit behind the wheel. Riding on the success Joey and the No. 20 team had in 2009, we look forward to seeing Joey in victory lane multiple times this year.”
Danica officially enters Daytona Nationwide race Hot off the heels of a decent drive in the Daytona ARCA race, Danica Patrick today officially made her entry for the Nationwide race as well, and will be running with many of the Sprint Cup big boys.
"To be the one driving that Go Daddy car at Daytona means a lot to me,” Patrick said. “Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do. The ARCA race was a blast, and I’m not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet. I want more racing.”
Patrick will not have to worry about qualifying position, as she is guaranteed a spot in the field through the purchase of the CRM team by JR Motorsrports.
Team owner and sister to the team's namesake Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt said “I think Danica proved to everyone that she can compete in stock cars at a high level, and right now seat time is extremely important. She has worked extremely hard during the past two months for this opportunity. Her dedication and work ethic is infectious.”
Episode #3, 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race To Daytona HBO Sports’ all-access show 24/7 JIMMIE JOHNSON: RACE TO DAYTONA continues with its third episode, debuting TUESDAY, FEB. 9 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT). The four-week series spotlights one of racing’s biggest stars, reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has warned the excited tifosi that the Scuderia still has ‘lots of problems to resolve’ and that ‘Mercedes will be the team to beat’ in F1 2010 – despite the highly encouraging and pace-setting low-fuel form demonstrated by both Felipe Massa and new recruit Fernando Alonso during the opening pre-season test at Valencia last week.
After Massa had led the way on the first two days – definitively banishing any fears that he might have lost some of his edge as a result of his life-threatening Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying accident last summer – Alonso took over for the third and final day around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and similarly topped the timesheets, leaving the two scarlet machines sitting pretty at the head of the order at the close of proceedings, comfortably clear of rivals Sauber, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Mercedes Grand Prix, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Williams.
Video: Dreyer & Reinbold driver announcement Justin Wilson, who presented Dale Coyne with his first open-wheel racing victory last July at Watkins Glen International and finished ninth in the championship standings, has moved to the No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry with primary backing from Z-Line Designs.
"I looked around and met the people. I was really impressed," Wilson said. "Speaking with (general manager and competition director) Larry Curry and (co-owners) Dennis (Reinbold) and Robbie (Buhl), I liked what I saw and the progress they'd made over the off‑season. That's when it really started to come together.
'Schu factor' drives higher Aus GP ticket sales (GMM) Michael Schumacher's return to F1 has boosted ticket sales for the 2010 Australian grand prix.
The Melbourne race has lost its coveted opening calendar slot to Bahrain, but Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief Drew Ward revealed on Monday that ticket sales are higher than at the same point last year.
The Herald Sun newspaper said the increased figure is 20 per cent compared with 2009.
"The Schumacher factor has made a big difference," said Ward at the media launch of the event at Albert Park.
Thursday's Gatorade Duel lineups The Daytona 500 field will be determined by the 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying races on Thursday.
The top two drivers from each duel that are not already guaranteed starting spots from owner points will qualify for the Daytona 500.
The final spots in the field go to the three drivers who had the best time-trial speeds Saturday. The final spot goes to a past champion, and Bobby Labonte could use that spot, if needed. If Labonte doesn’t need it, the final spot goes to another driver based on time trials.
Alex Brundle, son of former Grand Prix star and BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle, is to step up to the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series this season. The 19-year-old will race a Volkswagen-powered Dallara prepared by the race-winning T-Sport team.
Alex says he has taken the decision to race in Formula 3 as it is one of the best series for young drivers, providing large amounts of vital track time. Alex is raring to get started: "I am very motivated by the opportunity to race in British F3," said Alex. "I love the car and this will be the first time in my motorsport career I have had the benefit of a team around me. I am going to work hard to use that new-found support to turn in some strong results for T-Sport. Thank you to my long term sponsors GAC logistics, the Space Exploration Network and to Volkswagen Motorsport."
Taking its place at the top of the Porsche 911 line-up, the new 911 Turbo S will deliver exclusivity along with 530 hp, 516 lb ft of torque and an impressive 24 miles per gallon highway. It will be available in both Coupe and Cabriolet form, with the range-topping 911 to feature a remarkable list of standard equipment including the seven-speed PDK, PCCB brakes, Sport Chrono Package Turbo and more.
The new Porsche 911 Turbo S is powered by a six-cylinder boxer boosted by two exhaust gas turbochargers with variable turbine geometry, with an increase in power over the 911 Turbo by 30 to 530 bhp (390 kW). Despite its increase in power, the new 911 Turbo S, at 11.4 litres/100 kilometers (equal to 24.8 mpg), does not consume any more fuel than the Porsche 911 Turbo. The new car comes exclusively with seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) conveying drive power to Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive.
The 2011 911 Turbo S Coupe and Cabriolet will be available in May, 2010 with a MSRP of $159,100 and $170,200 respectively.
Interview with BMW Sauber Technical Director Willy Rampf
BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi racked up exactly 1,001 kilometers in the first test of the 2010 season in Valencia. Technical Director Willy Rampf gives his initial verdict.
Question: How happy are you with the reliability of the BMW Sauber C29 after the first test?
Willy Rampf: "All in all we can be satisfied with the reliability of the car. We completed 1,000 kilometers over the three days without encountering any major problems. Of course, we have to make some adjustments and modifications, but that's what tests are there for."
Question: Are these all things that can be rectified ahead of the first race of the season in Bahrain or even before the next test?
Rampf: "We will have worked through most of the points before the next test in Jerez. There's nothing that we need to be seriously concerned about. For example, the rear of the engine cover was singed by the exhaust gases, so we'll be using a different material for that."
Sutil not worried about Force India saga (GMM) Adrian Sutil insists he is not worried about reports Force India may soon be forced to close its doors.
In a saga played down by team owner and boss Vijay Mallya, the UK's Companies House is threatening to dissolve the Silverstone based company for failing to file its 2008 financial accounts.
"No, it doesn't," answered the team's German driver Sutil when asked by the DPA press agency if the news makes him fear for his job.
"My manager has asked the team about the situation," the 27-year-old explained.
"We are assuming that they (the team) will meet all the requirements in time," Sutil added.
New Toro Rosso not off the pace - Buemi (GMM) The opening test of the 2010 pre-season last week showed that Toro Rosso is not lagging behind, according to Sebastien Buemi.
At Valencia, the team's continuing Swiss driver gave the first fully Faenza-designed Toro Rosso its track debut.
"While real comparisons are still difficult, we know that we are currently able to compete with Mercedes, Renault and Williams," the 21-year-old told the Swiss newspaper Blick.
"Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber are ahead," Buemi added. "Yes, the Swiss car (Sauber's C29) surprised me. Now only the Red Bull car missing."
After winning the drivers' and constructors' titles (as Brawn) last year, and with Michael Schumacher now at the wheel, some observers expressed surprise that Mercedes GP was off the pace with its new W01 at Valencia.
Team boss Ross Brawn told Bild newspaper: "We are in a reasonable position, and have identified the areas where we can improve."
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