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DATE News (chronologically)
02/10/11
f1

Wing problems for Williams
Technical problems were responsible for halting much of the progress Williams had hoped to make during the opening day of testing at Jerez on Thursday. Newly-signed Pastor Maldonado was only able to complete 14 laps at the Spanish circuit, after an early-morning issue with the rear wing on the team’s new FW33 caused problems throughout the day.

"It has not been a productive day for us I'm afraid," Technical Director Sam Michael said. "After the installation lap we had a problem with a bleed screw for the rear wing hydraulic actuator. It is straightforward to correct, however during the day it caused a lot of downtime as we shuffled parts around to get the car out on the track."

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02/10/11
gp2a

Grid penalties for Aleshin and Fauzy
Mikhail Aleshin and Fairuz Fauzy have both been given grid penalties for Friday's season-opening round of the GP2 Asia Series in Abu Dhabi. The pair were involved in separate incidents, with Aleshin's occurring in practice, and Fauzy's during this afternoon's qualifying session.

Aleshin received a three-place drop on the grid, after completing an extra lap when the checkered flag had fallen during practice. Ex-Lotus tester and current Lotus Renault GP young-driver Fauzy was awarded with a 10-place penalty after colliding with Super Nova team-mate Johnny Cecotto.

The penalties mean that Aleshin will start the first race of this year's GP2 Asia campaign from 23rd place, with Fauzy moved to the final position on the grid in 26th.

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02/10/11
alms

Day 2: Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing fastest again
Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing ended the annual Sebring Winter Test with the fastest time of the week during Thursday’s final session – a 1:49.997 (121.094 mph) lap by Lucas Luhr at Sebring International Raceway. The two-day session served as a preview for the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida and the opening round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.

Luhr will drive at the 12 Hours with Klaus Graf and team owner Greg Pickett in Muscle Milk’s new Aston Martin-powered Lola coupe for LMP1. The squad won in P2 last year at Sebring with a Porsche RS Spyder, and went quickest during each of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s two sessions in its new Lola-Aston Martin. Thursday’s final session began with a brief rain shower, but the track dried midway during the afternoon.

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02/10/11
NASCAR

NASCAR shrine continues to bleed red ink
The NASCAR Hall of Fame lost $327,041 in December, the largest monthly deficit since the hall opened in May. The losses were somewhat expected, as December was originally projected to be a slow month for the $200 million racing museum. In the original budget, the hall was expected to lose $118,171 for the month. Attendance for December was 14,636. For the first six months of the fiscal year, which began July 1, the hall has lost $836,745. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which operates the city-owned hall, has scrapped its original budget. It has slashed expenses and now projects the hall will lose $1.288 million for the fiscal year. The CRVA has said that it will cover the hall's loss this year from its own reserves. It's unclear how the CRVA would handle future losses, but it would likely ask the Charlotte City Council to use reserves from hospitality taxes to pay for any shortfall. The city and the CRVA have said that general fund tax dollars won't be used. From the hall's opening May 11 through the end of December  a period of just under eight months  total attendance has been 197,737. The first-year projection was for 800,000 people, but it appears the hall will attract between 250,000 and 275,000 people. Hall officials have said they need to attract 350,000 people to break even. In January, the hall held a free open house for one week, for two hours a day in the afternoon. The open house attracted nearly 12,000 visitors but it's unclear if the hall has been able to make money off the visitors from food or merchandise sales. Charlotte Observer

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02/10/11
automotive

Corn supply shrinks to 16-year low ethanol to blame
Demand for corn for ethanol and other uses has shrunk surplus stocks in elevators and farmers' bins to the lowest levels since 1995, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

That surplus amounts to an 18-day supply of corn ready for immediate use, compared with more than 40 days a year ago.

As a result, corn prices have doubled from $3.50 last June. Food makers, meatpackers and restaurants have already warned that consumers will pay higher prices as a result.

For Iowa's economy, the surge in prices for corn and soybeans has added an extra $7 billion in cash above the $13 billion farmers received for their corn and soybeans a year ago.

The USDA's monthly supply and demand report issued Wednesday morning increased its demand forecast for corn for ethanol by 50 million bushels, to 4.95 billion bushels this year.

The use of corn for ethanol has risen about 33 percent since 2008 and will consume almost 40 percent of the 12.4 billion bushels of corn produced in the United States last year.

In Iowa, ethanol is expected to consume an even higher percentage of the state's corn - up to 60 percent - because of the 41 plants in the nation's leading ethanol-producing state.

The surge in demand for corn as an ethanol feedstock and higher commodity and supermarket prices are likely to revive the food vs. fuel debate that began in 2008 when corn prices briefly exceeded $7 per bushel before falling back.

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02/10/11
automotive

Ford plans to cut debt by $3B
Ford Motor Co. today announced plans to reduce debt by another $3 billion with an offer for investors to convert some debt to equity by March 15.

The move is part of Ford's continuing efforts to reduce debt and the action lowers its debt level to $16.1 billion from $19.1 billion at the end of 2010.

The automaker would not say whether further efforts to reduce debt would be taken this quarter. Cleaning up its balance sheet, however, remains a priority for the year in efforts to return to investment grade status.

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02/10/11
IRL
NASSPRINT

Ganassi honored at Pittsburgh's Dapper Dan Dinner
IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi received the first sports leadership award at the 75th Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh on Feb. 9.

In 2010, Ganassi became the first car owner to win the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year and only the second owner to win both in a lifetime. He added a Brickyard 400 win later in the year.

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02/10/11
nassprint

Robby Gordon teams with Dodge in 2011
Robby Gordon will be driving a Dodge Charger during the 2011 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In response to the partnership with Robby Gordon Motorsports, Dodge President & CEO Ralph Gilles issued the following statement: "We're excited Robby will be joining the Dodge Motorsports program in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2011. We like the competitive flair and skill he brings to the track. Robby's driving style mirrors the performance attitude of the rejuvenated Dodge brand, so he's a welcome addition to our team. We believe you don't need a certain number of cars to be successful in racing. The key is having the right combination of teams, drivers and technology. We already have a strong foundation with Penske Racing and the Dodge engineering team can easily support another Sprint Cup Series team. Our technical support will be a valuable asset for Robby Gordon Motorsports."

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02/10/11
f1

Jerez Day 1: Massa finishes on top
Felipe Massa finished the opening day of testing at Jerez on the top of the pile, after his best time of 1:20.709 remained unbeaten in the afternoon session.

The teams were met by clear blue skies for the second pre-season test of the year and even enjoyed track temperatures upwards of 28C as the morning chill eased. Massa, who was focusing on the Ferrari's aerodynamic performance and its effect on the Pirelli tires, had a relatively trouble-free day and notched up just over 100 laps in total.

Sauber rookie Sergio Perez got closest to the Ferrari's benchmark time with a 1:21.483, but, as always with testing, the times should not be seen as a true indicator of performance. However, one car that continues to look impressive is the Red Bull RB7 and Mark Webber completed 94 laps at the wheel with the third fastest time. After a morning in the Toro Rosso STR6, reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo set the fourth fastest time which race driver Jaime Alguersuari was not able to match in the afternoon.

Three new cars hit the track for the first time, with the McLaren MP4-26, the Force India VJM-04 and the Virgin MVR-02 all emerging from the garages in the morning. Lewis Hamilton was at the wheel of the McLaren and notched up a healthy 58 laps as well as the fifth fastest time. The MP4-26 was the centre of attention as spies from other teams tried to clarify if McLaren was running a forward-exiting exhaust similar to Renault's. The car was definitely running a different layout to the one it had at its launch, but the mechanics did a good job at hiding its secrets from the prying lenses of photographers.

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02/10/11
gp2a

Romain Grosjean leads French Connection
First GP2 Asia Series Champion Romain Grosjean put his Dams GP2/11 car on pole position for tomorrow’s feature race at Yas Marina Circuit. He set a best lap time of 1:36.041 - a clear four tenths ahead of Jules Bianchi at Lotus ART, and making it an all French front row. Reigning Champion Davide Valsecchi qualified third at the wheel of the new Team AirAsia car.

A couple of hours following today’s first practice session of the fourth GP2 Asia Series, the twenty-six cars were back in action in Abu Dhabi for the qualifying session. After only three laps, Grosjean set the pace in 1:36.568 with Valsecchi a shy tenth slower. Also on his third lap, Bianchi went top, but it was only temporarily as Grosjean improved even further and went two tenths quicker than his fellow countryman.

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02/10/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE #2 2nd Updates shown blue below.

02/10/11 Updates shown in Red below.

02/10/11
  • Ferrari thinks its F1 car is a Ford truck
    Chandhok still waiting on Team Lotus deal for 2011
  • Ford sues Ferrari over F150 name
  • Haug happy to see Heidfeld push for race seat
  • Founders to pocket EUR 70m in Williams float
  • Kubica feared he was paralyzed in crash - manager
  • Pirelli takes all Slick compounds to Jerez
  • F1 world salutes injured Kubica at Jerez New
  • 2011 Ferrari now called 'F150th Italia' New
  • McLaren testing forward exhausts at Jerez New
  • Hulkenberg denies Mercedes contact over 2011 New

    Read more & Comment...
02/10/11
f1

Kubica out of Intensive Care
Injured Renault driver Robert Kubica has left intensive care and has been transferred to the trauma ward. The Polish driver crashed while competing in a rally on Sunday and underwent surgery on a broken right hand at the Santa Corona hospital in Pietra Ligure, a small coastal town about 60 kilometers (35 miles) southwest of Genoa.

ASNA news agency reported that his condition was considered good enough that he can undergo a double operation on his leg and shoulder on Friday.

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02/10/11
f1

Early test times from Jerez
Full lap times as of 11am local time, on the opening day of the three-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain.

1. Felipe Massa Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 20.709s
2. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m 21.483s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 21.755s
4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m 22.257s
5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m 22.283s
6. Vitaly Petrov Lotus Renault GP-Renault 1m 24.453s
7. Jarno Trulli Team Lotus-Renault 1m 24.792s
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 24.805s
all times unofficial

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02/10/11
Track News

F3 organizer threatens to scrap contract with S. Korea
A LEGAL dispute has erupted after the scrapping of an F3 race at the Yeongam circuit which staged South Korea's first Formula One grand prix won by Fernando Alonso last season.

Barry Bland, director of British race management and insurance firm Motor Race Consultants, said his reputation was 'ruined' by the cancellation of the F3 GP in November.

Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO), a joint venture between a private company and South Jeolla province, held the country's first F1 Grand Prix at its brand-new track in Yeongam county last October.

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02/10/11
f1

Bernie endorses Williams float
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has thrown his support behind the Williams team’s plans to float on the stock market.

Williams F1 announced on Wednesday that it had launched an initial public offering (IPO) of almost 30% of its shares on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company is offering the majority of co-founder Patrick Head's stake at a price of between £20 and £24 per share, valuing Williams Grand Prix Holdings at approximately £225 million.

Williams F1 is the first Formula One team to list on a stock exchange, but co-founder Sir Frank Williams will retain his position as majority shareholder and team principal.

“I have known Frank Williams for more than 40 years,” Ecclestone told Autosport. “He has always run a very efficient organisation. He has never wanted to be taken over by either a car manufacturer or a large company.”

Ecclestone added: “He has supported Formula One in many ways most of his life, as has Patrick Head. We want more Franks and Patricks. If I could buy shares in the company I would.”

Team chairman Adam Parr said: “We have spent the past few years working to ensure a long-term future for the sport. Having accomplished this, the time is now right to assure Williams' own future as an independent constructor, in this rapidly evolving industry.”

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02/10/11
racing news

Motorsports Sponsorship Spending To Increase To $3.51 Billion in 2011
Signaling a slight resurgence of corporate interest in motorsports marketing, North American-based companies will spend an estimated $3.51 billion to sponsor teams, tracks and sanctioning bodies this year, up 4.2 percent from $3.37 billion spent in 2010, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world's leading authority on sponsorship.

While the increase lags IEG SR's 5.9 percent increase in overall sponsorship spending and 6.1 percent growth for all sports properties, it is good news following motorsports' 2.1 percent rise last year and six percent decline from 2009 to 2010.

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02/10/11
lmes

Julien Jousse joins Pescarolo Team
Following today’s official announcement of the selected team participating to the next 24 hours of Le Mans from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), Pescarolo Team Autovision is proud to reveal it’s third driver for the forthcoming Le Mans Series championship and the world’s most famous 24 hours race. Young French driver Julien Jousse who did most of his career in single seater championships and entered the last two 24 hours of Le Mans editions on the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette will join Emmanuel Collard and Christophe Tinseau on the official Pescarolo Judd N° 16 for the whole LMS championship and the next 24 hours of Le Mans.

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02/10/11
lmes

2011 LeMans entries
Le Mans is famous for its duels. In the history of the event starting from 1923, direct confrontations between two teams battling for outright victory have always led to races of mind-boggling intensity. It will be the same – and maybe even more so in 2011!

More than a duel!
Since 2007 Peugeot has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by Audi. The Ingolstadt manufacturer, six-time winner between 2000 and 2006, beaten only in 2003 by its sister company, Bentley (both are part of the VAG Car Group), found itself up against a major rival as both teams opted for LM P1 cars powered by diesel engines. After two races that served as an apprenticeship, Peugeot achieved its first objective in 2009 with outright victory. In 2010 the Sochaux make was determined to impose itself on a long-term basis, but tripped up and Audi scored its ninth victory allied to a triple. This year with the two rivals entering three new cars, the competition between them will be all the more exciting as a third team is determined to take the fight to the French and German cars in the battle for victory. Aston Martin has entered two cars designed and built in-house, and has given itself the necessary resources to score an overall win for the first time since 1959 - with a petrol engine what’s more! The quality of the British engineers’ work allied to the adjustments to the regulations designed to balance performances between the different types of engines, should allow these open prototypes – unlike Peugeot and Audi, which have opted for coupes – to battle with the diesel-powered cars.

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02/10/11
lmes

2011 Le Mans 24 Hours and ILMC: A new era dawns!
The 79th Le Mans 24-Hours race has attracted a fabulous field. The most prestigious makes and the most talented drivers will all gather on the 24-Hours circuit to do battle. Thanks to their presence, the ACO will organize the blue riband motor race of the 2011 season.

Motor car manufacturers love Le Mans and vice versa! Audi, the reigning winner, Peugeot, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Corvette and the prestigious Lotus name, back with works cars, without forgetting the return and considerable backing from Japanese engineers from Honda, Nissan and Toyota for some of the best teams, will give enthusiasts the opportunity to experience an event quite unlike any other because of its diversity and the overall quality of its field.

These entries from works teams or privateers confirm the exceptional character of the Sarthe classic, which, since 1923, has always epitomized the values of endurance - sporting and technological fair play - thanks to the unceasing efforts and on-going passion of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.

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02/10/11
lmes

Flying Lizard enters two cars for Le Mans
Flying Lizard announced today that the team will field two Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries at the 2011 24 Heures du Mans, to be held June 11-12 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The full entry list was unveiled today by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) in a press conference in Paris. The Flying Lizard entries are the No. 80, which will compete in the GT Endurance Pro class and the No. 81, which will compete in the GT Endurance Am class. (Beginning in 2011, the newly named GT Endurance category comprises two classes: GTE Pro and GTE Am. For details, see www.lemans.org.) The team received one automatic entry for winning the 2010 American Le Mans Series GT drivers' championship (Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in the No. 45 Porsche); the ACO also awarded the team a second entry for 2011.

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02/10/11
alms

Magnus Racing announces limited American Le Mans Series campaign
Now in its second season of top-level professional sports car racing, Magnus Racing is proud to announce its expansion into the American Le Mans Series for the 2011 season.

In addition to competing full time in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, Magnus Racing will field an entry in four American Le Mans Series race in the GT-C class for drivers John Potter and Craig Stanton.  Beginning with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring the team will then compete in the ALMS’ second round at the Long Beach Grand Prix in Long Beach, California – Stanton’s hometown. The no.77 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will appear again at the series’ new event at the Baltimore Grand Prix before going to the season finale – the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

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02/10/11
nassprint

American Ethanol to partially sponsor No. 33
Clint Bowyer
Today American Ethanol announced it has entered into a sponsor partnership with Richard Childress Racing and its No. 33 Chevrolet for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet, will serve as an official spokesman for American Ethanol on behalf of America's green, clean alternative fuel component. American Ethanol will be the primary sponsor of the No. 33 Chevrolet car at the June 5th Kansas Speedway 400 and an associate sponsor of the car for the rest of the season.

"Richard Childress Racing and Clint Bowyer are great additions to the American Ethanol team," said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. "Clint's from Kansas, and he knows first-hand the opportunities that American farming and American ethanol offer our country - opportunities to create jobs here, clean our air, and strengthen national security by making our nation more energy independent."

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02/09/11
nnw

Danica Patrick Unveils NASCAR 2011 Schedule
IndyCar driver Danica Patrick confirmed her 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule Wednesday and will compete in four markets that she didn't visit last season in her stock car debut.

Patrick, who races full-time for Andretti Autosport in the IZOD IndyCar Series, will again run 13 Nationwide Series races -- the bulk of the schedule coming before and after her open-wheel commitments.

As expected Patrick will open the year in the Feb. 19 Nationwide 300-mile race at Daytona International Speedway, and will compete in the next three races on the schedule in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Bristol, Tenn.

After running the opening races of the IndyCar Series, Patrick then returns to the seat of the JR Motorsports' No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for summer races at Chicago and Daytona, then, for the first time, at the road course in Montreal, and the ovals in Richmond, Va., and Kansas.

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02/09/11
usf2000

Finland's Suvanto joins USF2000 National Championship
Finnish karting standout and 2010 Formula BMW scholarship winner Petri Suvanto will join Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing for the 2011 Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda.

In signing the talented 18 year-old Finn, the Florida-based team believes it has taken the first step towards reaching its goal of taking home the USF2000 National Championship title in 2011.

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02/09/11
starmazda

Star Mazda's top rookie De Phillippi returns with Team Pelfrey
De Phillippi
Star Mazda Championship newcomers Team Pelfrey have signed Connor De Phillippi for the 2011 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear season.

The Californian joins the Florida-based team, having captured the Rookie of the Year award in 2010, continuing his streak of winning championship titles in every series he has contested, with four karting titles, a Legend Silver State Championship crown; Skip Barber National title and Walter Hayes Trophy win already on his resume.

"I'm so glad to be a part of Team Pelfrey," said De Phillippi, who also qualified for the A-Main at the Turkey Night Grand Prix USAC event. "This off-season has been a lot of hard work, and we really had to make sure every piece of the puzzle was perfectly in place. I feel that here at Team Pelfrey they have the best of the best, and will give me the greatest opportunity to win this year's Star Mazda Championship title. We as a team are going into this season with the same goal, and that is to win the championship. The resources are there for both myself and the team, and now it is time for us to work hard and do our best to accomplish our goals. I'd like to thank everyone at Team Pelfrey for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to begin pre-season testing!"

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02/09/11
nassprint

Dover moves Sprint Cup qualifying to Saturday
With a goal of adding more value to a Saturday race ticket, Dover International Speedway will move NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying to Saturdays for the 2011 season. The new qualifying session will split NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Saturday morning and a 200-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the afternoon during both May 13-15 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2011 race weekends. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying will be begin at 12:10 pm/et on Saturday, May 14 and at 1:40 pm/et on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Fans at the track on Fridays will get to see nearly five hours of practice between the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. A Friday ticket will also include admission to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying and the "Lucas Oil 200" race on May 13, or NASCAR K&N Pro Series East qualifying and the season finale race on Sept. 30.

New for 2011, Dover has increased the age and reduced the price of junior tickets for those 14 years old and under to just $8 for Friday and Saturday events. The $8 ticket applies to both general admission and reserved seating sections for NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events. Special youth and family ticket packages are available for Sunday as well. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 1-800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.

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02/09/11
f1

Jerez Testing Lineup
Thursday sees the resumption of pre-season testing, albeit sadly without the inclusion of injured Robert Kubica. As plans dramatically change for Lotus Renault GP, the field moves south from Valencia to the Andalusian surroundings of Jerez.

Testing timetable is as follows:

Tuesday: 9am - 5pm 
Wednesday: 9am - 5pm 
Thursday: 9am - 5pm 

Note: All times shown are local (GMT +1)

The Jerez testing line-up is as follows:

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02/09/11
starmazda

McKenna Signs With Team GDT for 2011 Star Mazda
Texas-based Team GDT announced today it has signed Irish racer Patrick McKenna to compete in the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  McKenna, 23, runner-up in the 2010 USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda and voted Dunlop Motorsport Ireland 'Young Racing Driver of the Year' for the second consecutive year by the Irish Motorsports Council and Motorsport Ireland, will join drivers J.W. Roberts and Carlos Conde as the team aims to repeat – and expand on – its championship-winning effort in 2010.  Team owner/driver Roberts won the Star Mazda Expert Series championship for drivers aged 30-44 and Conde won the Master Series championship for drivers 45 and older.  McKenna will race with support from Team GDT, Willsborough Transport, Motorsport Ireland and Irish Sports Council.

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02/09/11
track news

Phoenix repave to add a little more banking
The dogleg - Phoenix International Raceway's signature backstretch bend - soon will have a stronger bite. The tighter and more-challenging turn will be the most-visible change in a $10 million repaving and reconfiguration of PIR. Other modifications - all designed to facilitate more entertaining side-by-side racing - will include a wider front straightaway and a slight variable banking in the corners. Track length will remain 1 mile. The six-month project, expected to be officially announced today, will start soon after the Feb. 27 NASCAR Subway Fresh Fit 500. It will be the Avondale oval's first major repaving since 1990 and the most-significant overhaul in the track's almost 50-year history. Speeds, according to computer models, will increase by 2-3 mph. Carl Edwards set the PIR Sprint Cup one-lap qualifying record of 136.389 mph last November. Computer modeling has been successfully used to redesign other speedways. Several hundred man-hours of modeling, plus consultation with drivers and NASCAR officials, resulted in:

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02/09/11
racing news

Hendrick Building Training Facility
Hendrick Motorsports is building an outdoor pit-crew training facility that will include a six-lane, 60-yard track where crew members can work out doing sprints and shuttle runs. The facility will include a 75-yard AstroTurf field and a 40-by-40 foot sand pit for outdoor strength and conditioning training for explosiveness and endurance.  SceneDaily

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02/09/11
nnw

NASCAR driver was drunk 4 times over UPDATE #2 State DMV records show a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver charged with DWI, texting while driving and resisting police was involved in a crash seven months ago and used a similar excuse.

NASCAR driver Michael Annett has been charged with driving while impaired, texting while driving and resisting an officer after he ran into another car in Mooresville early Sunday.

According to a police report, Annett - who drives for Rusty Wallace Inc. in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series - rear-ended a car stopped at a red light at the intersection of N.C. 150 and Williamson Road about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. No injuries were reported.

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02/09/11
f1

Kubica moves hand as Renault seeks 'experienced driver'
(GMM)  Good news emerged from Italy on Wednesday afternoon: Robert Kubica can move all five fingers on his injured right hand.

The limb was partially severed in a rally crash last Sunday, raising a question mark about the Pole's future in motor racing.

But his hand surgeon Igor Rossello is quoted by SID news agency: "The operation went perfectly.

"It is a great result that Kubica can now move his hand, because the surgery was long and complicated."

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02/09/11
automotive

Nissan quarterly profit jumps 78 percent, Toyota drops
Nissan reported a 78 percent jump in quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecasts today as vehicle sales grew in North America, Europe and Asia, offsetting a weak performance in Japan.

Nissan's October-December net profit totaled 80.07 billion yen ($976.4 million), up from 44.97 billion yen a year earlier. Helping the Japanese automaker's bottom line was a better performance at Renault, in which Nissan owns a 15 percent stake. Cost cuts and improved model offerings were additional pluses.

Sales for Nissan's fiscal third quarter rose 5.3 percent to 2.103 trillion yen ($25.6 billion).
Nissan Motor Co., which became Japan's No. 2 automaker last year, overtaking Honda Motor Co., was upbeat after the better-than-expected performance.

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02/09/11
wc

SCCA World Challenge unveils final two venues, completes 2011 sched
The 12-race schedule for the 2011 SCCA World Challenge series is now complete after the series on Tuesday announced the addition of events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and at Road Atlanta.

The Laguna Seca event will be held Sept. 16-18. The season’s final race will be held at Road Atlanta, Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

2011 SCCA World Challenge Schedule

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02/09/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

02/09/11
  • Citroen says Raikkonen free to make F1 return
  • Kubica 'suffering' with lost opportunity of 2011 - manager
  • Virgin crew gives d'Ambrosio a tasty nickname
  • Klien's manager considers Kubica seat 'option'
  • Williams F1 IPO information
  • Williams Float timely as sponsors depart New
  • Renault needs a driver with experience, says Lopez New

    Read more & Comment...
02/09/11
irl

Honda's Japan IndyCar race is history UPDATE The IZOD IndyCar Series announced today that it will not return to Twin Ring Motegi in 2012.

The series will hold its final event at the 1.5-mile egg-shaped oval located north of Tokyo on Sept. 18, 2011. 

"We've enjoyed a great run at Twin Ring Motegi and thank our friends at Mobilityland and Honda Japan for hosting a great event over the past eight years," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series.  "While our businesses move in different directions, we will keep the door open for future events at the track.

"As INDYCAR and the IZOD IndyCar Series continue to evaluate their long term plans, we must look to build the sport and its viewership.  We believe it is important that the final few events on our schedule give us the opportunity to be broadcast live during times that maximize our viewing audience as we build up to the championship. We will continue to meet with promoters domestically and internationally that want to pursue an IZOD IndyCar Series event.

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02/09/11
nassprint

Odyssey Battery Renews Partnership Agreement with RCR
Odyssey battery by EnerSys and Richard Childress Racing have renewed and expanded their multi-year partnership agreement for Odyssey battery to continue as a Technical Partner of Richard Childress Racing. Odyssey will also become an associate sponsor of the #29 Budweiser Chevys driven by Kevin Harvick. The expanded technical partnership continues a relationship that began in 2009. ODYSSEY batteries are manufactured by EnerSys Energy Products, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of EnerSys.

Comment
02/09/11
nassprint

Mayfield retracts lies
Suspended NASCAR driver, the loser Jeremy Mayfield, issued a public written apology to his stepmother, Lisa Mayfield, on Tuesday, part of a settlement to a 2009 slander lawsuit she filed in Iredell County.

"I have previously made statements to the press in which I accused Lisa Mayfield of either murdering my father, Terry Mayfield, or being involved in a conspiracy to murder him," the signed and notarized statement from Mayfield reads.

"Those statements were made in the heat of my emotional state at the time. I now retract those statements and apologize to Lisa for having made them."

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02/09/11
irl

Tagliani Applauds New Edmonton Layout
In a SPEEDTV.com interview Alex Tagliani was quick to compliment the work by NZR and the Octane group for putting Canadian fans first with the Edmonton circuit redesign.

“I think it’s really good. The track needed to be revamped a little bit so we can out on a better show, he said. “In the past, one thing that I was suggesting was to take away or straighten the chicane so we can get more speed and be less affected by the high-speed chicane so we could more easily pass into Turn 1. And now you look at the new track and it has the long, long straights and some slow corners leading onto them, so it basically covers what we’ve always needed for the Edmonton track. We need a long straight in front of the grandstands, some hard braking, and that’s what it looks like from the drawings. They did a good job. I appreciate their desire to make this race a classic race for the fans.”

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02/09/11
starmazda

Miller joins JDC for Star Mazda opener
Chris Miller will return to JDC Racing for the 2011 Star Mazda Championship season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of a limited campaign for the talented young American.

The 21-year-old native of Edina, Minn. rejoins the Minneapolis-based team after competing as full-time competitor in 2010. He chose to cut back on his racing schedule to focus on his education.

"I'm excited to be back with JDC to build on what we did last year," said Miller, who plans on attending law school after graduating from the University of Minnesota. "Although I'm not running the full season, I am confident we can achieve some good results. JDC is the premier team in the Star Mazda Championship and I am glad we could put something together."

Miller will join a planned multi-car effort by JDC Motorsports and hopes to build on a solid rookie campaign in the highly-competitive Mazda Road to Indy series. The 2009 F2000 series titlist scored five top-10s en route to fifth in the rookie standings. JDC MotorSports earned a podium finish in the inaugural race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., last season.

"We are very privileged to continue our long association with Chris Miller and the Miller Milling Company," said JDC MotorSports Team Principal John Church. "Chris is a class act and always brings a positive attitude. We look forward to building on Chris's rookie season and bringing him his first win in Star Mazda."

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02/09/11
f1

Austin F1 project to spend $145 million this year
Don Hoyte said some Austinites may be having trouble comprehending the scope of the U.S. Grand Prix, the Formula One event that is slated to begin here in 2012.

“It sounds like just another car race,” said Hoyte. “It’s not.”

Hoyte has attended only one F1 race, the 1972 U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. But for 20 years, through 2008, he worked at the Texas Comptroller’s office where he was an expert on the impacts of the Texas Major Events Trust Fund, which will be tapped to the tune of $25 million annually to bring Formula One racing to Austin.

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02/09/11
irl

New circuit, grandstands highlight changes at Edmonton Indy UPDATE
New Edmonton track layout
A new 2.256-mile, 13-turn race course, a reduction in some prime ticket prices and grandstands that will be closer to the action on the track were details for the Edmonton Indy unveiled at a news conference Feb. 8 in Edmonton, Alberta, for the fourth annual event at City Centre Airport on July 22-24 that features the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

A twist is the change in the circuit location at the downtown airport following the closure of one of the two runways two weeks after the 2010 event. But, according to Tony Cotman - president of NZR Consulting Inc. - the move was welcome.

The circuit, which incorporates the closed East runway, will present challenges to drivers and action all around for spectators. There's a 90-degree first turn, hairpin turns in the northwestern (Turn 5) and southwestern (Turn 13) corners and two long straights.

"The other (1.96-mile, 14-turn) course one was good and fast initially but it was too hard to pass on," Cotman said. "One of the big things we needed to focus on with this course was how to make the show better, and I think we've achieved that. There were restrictions relating to the airport but I think we can create a much better actual racetrack for racing on and obviously that's what people come to see. It will be better."

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02/08/11
irl

Penske to be honored by RRDC in Long Beach
Roger Penske
The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) will honor racing icon Roger Penske at its third annual West Coast banquet prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, on Thursday, April 14. The RRDC Evening with Roger Penske will be presented by Firestone.

The "Captain" has been racing and winning in the United States since 1958 and has scored victories in every series in which he has competed. With 23 national championships, including 12 in IndyCar racing, Penske Racing has been referred to as the "New York Yankees of motorsports."

Penske's formative years in the sport, which include the 1960-1972 period, will form the primary focus of the dinner's program.

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02/08/11
automotive

Kia Motors Posts 19.3% Global Sales Growth in January
Kia Motors Corporation announced today its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for January 2011, recording a total of 179,409 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 19.3%. In January, Kia posted year-on-year sales increases in all regions of the world – 31.4% in general markets (40,374 units sold), 25.7% in North America (30,838 units sold), 19.1% in Korea (40,502 units sold), 13.6% in China (40,776 units sold), and 6.8% in Europe (26,919 units sold).

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02/08/11
automotive

Video: VW factory in Germany
Watch and learn how VW makes cars in the middle of downtown Dresden, known for its historic buildings.

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02/08/11
f1

Force India launches 2011 car online
(GMM)  Force India on Tuesday brought up by the rear by becoming the last formula one team to reveal its 2011 car.

After some website glitches, the VJM04 was launched online by the Silverstone based team.

"Everything is different, but visually a lot of it is subtle," insisted the team's new technical director Andy Green.

The most obvious change to the car compared with its predecessor is the switch from a conventional roll-hoop to a Team Lotus-style 'blade' solution.

"But there are a lot of (other) differences under the skin that people won't necessarily notice," added Green.

The Mercedes-powered car will debut at Jerez on Thursday.  More to follow on Home Page.....

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02/08/11
f1

HRT to skip Jerez test this week
(GMM)  HRT is sitting out this week's second group test of 2011 at Jerez.

Instead, the Spanish team announced that it will take part in a filming session for F1's new tire supplier Pirelli at Monza.

That test will take place over three days early next week, before Hispania joins the final Spanish group test at Barcelona.

"We are happy to support Pirelli in Monza," said team boss Colin Kolles.

HRT has said that its 2011 car, dubbed F111 and revealed in computer-generated photographs earlier on Tuesday, will not be ready until the Bahrain test in early March.

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02/08/11
f1

Petrov names three contenders as new teammate
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov on Tuesday named three leading contenders to become his new teammate for 2011.

After visiting his injured teammate Robert Kubica in an Italian hospital, the Russian named "(Bruno) Senna, (Tonio) Liuzzi and (Nick) Heidfeld".

Petrov was speaking at the Santa Corona hospital, quoted by ivg.it.

"We were with him for about a quarter of an hour.  We joked and found him very well," said Petrov, who was with their Renault team boss Eric Boullier.

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02/08/11
f1

Head selling Williams shares for floatation
(GMM)  The bulk of the shares for Williams' stock market floatation have been freed by co-founder Patrick Head, it has emerged.

Reuters reports that while the Grove based team's long time engineering director holds 27 per cent now, his ownership will dwindle to just 5 per cent after the floatation on the stock market on March 2.

The news agency also said Head, 65, is set to retire "in the near future".

"That will take me out of a day-to-day role within the team," said the Briton.

"Even after the listing I will be a significant shareholder, around five per cent, and I plan to retain that until I do retire," he added.

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02/08/11
nnw

Speed TV will broadcast spring Richmond Nationwide race
“The Richmond race presented extraordinary scheduling challenges for us due to the NFL Draft and the NBA Playoffs," said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. "We are happy that NASCAR fans will be well-served with the race airing on Speed, and we appreciate the cooperation of NASCAR and Speed in making this change.”

Speed has long supported the Nationwide Series, having aired 44 practice and qualifying sessions just last season.

“An exclusive NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Speed is a stout addition to our lineup,” said network president Hunter Nickell. “There is a real sense that the 2011 NASCAR season is building early momentum, so adding a Nationwide Series race to our full complement of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and all that we do from each track all season long adds to the excitement.”

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02/08/11
f1

Davidson says no to Kubica replacement drive
(GMM)  Anthony Davidson has reportedly ruled himself out of contention to replace injured Robert Kubica in 2011.

The 31-year-old Briton was a well-respected Honda test driver who raced full-time for Super Aguri in 2007 and 2008.

He has recently been working with Mercedes GP in the Brackley based team's simulator, but his main job is with Peugeot's Le Mans team, and he has re-committed for this year.

According to Mirror correspondent Byron Young on Twitter, Davidson said Kubica's replacement this year has "big shoes to fill and must be a title contender".

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02/08/11
nnw

Travis Pastrana could do what Danica Patrick couldn’t for NASCAR - win
One year ago this week Danica Patrick made her NASCAR debut.  The buildup to her first race began the previous year when the announcement was made amidst great fanfare at JR Motorsports.

Patrick’s arrival into NASCAR’s Nationwide Series was controversial for some, but generally welcomed by those whose jobs centered on advancing the sport to the masses.  The feeling was that the attention brought by one of the world’s most beautiful female athletes would help draw people to the sport and grow its fan base.

The reality was much different.

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02/08/11
f1

Cosworth happy with start to season
The three-day test session at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia last week marked the first outing of Cosworth's CA2011k engine that the Williams team will be running throughout 2011, while both Marussia Virgin Racing and HRT continued with the units they employed in 2010.

Cosworth CEO Tim Routsis and general manager Mark Gallagher were both present at Monday's Marussia Virgin launch, with the latter commenting on the satisfactory start to the 2011 campaign. Although neither Rubens Barrichello or rookie Pastor Maldonado were able to break into the top ten times when combined across the four days of running in Spain, Virgin's Timo Glock did so, and there was also encouragement for HRT from F1 returnee Narain Karthikeyan.

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02/08/11
automotive

2012 Regal to Offer New eAssist™ Fuel-Saving Technology
2012 Buick Regal
Buick announced the 2012 Regal with eAssist™ fuel-saving technology, which improves overall fuel economy by 25 percent over the 2011 four-cylinder/six-speed powertrain. Estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway (pending EPA certification).

Regal with eAssist joins the 2012 LaCrosse as the second Buick to feature the efficiency-enhancing technology. The system uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery system, electric induction motor-generator and regenerative braking capability to improve fuel economy. Its fuel economy tops competitors such as the Acura TSX, rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Regal’s estimated 37 mpg on the highway is 20 percent greater and the TSX doesn’t offer a six-speed automatic transmission, which is standard on the Buick.

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02/08/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Heidfeld to replace Kubica
    Liuzzi, Hulkenberg admit interest in Kubica seat
  • Visitors bullish after seeing injured Kubica
  • Kubica crash raises F1 danger dilemma
  • Virgin defends decision to snub KERS
  • No Laureus awards for Vettel and Red Bull
  • F1's German flavor hurting Hulkenberg - Weber
  • F1 rights sale saga worsens for Ecclestone
  • HRT reveals pictures of 2011 car, livery

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