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DATE News (chronologically)
03/11/08
skip barber

Conor Daly sets Skip Barber Lap record in Sebring
Conor Daly
INDECK-Cytomax driver, Conor Daly, adapted quickly to a new BF Goodrich tire setting a new lap record for Skip Barber cars at Sebring International Raceway during the first day of practice for the opening rounds of the Skip Barber National championship. Conor set his time on the final lap of the morning session and it stood as the fastest time of the day. Wednesday will see another practice session with qualifying and the first race taking place on Thursday, March 13th.

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03/11/08
nassprint

Addington named “Crew Chief of the Race” in Atlanta
Steve Addington, crew chief of the #18 Snickers Toyota driven by Kyle Busch, was named the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” for his team’s first place finish in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Addington helped his team’s assault to the front of the field in Sunday’s race by leading 173 of the 325 laps, giving Toyota its first official victory in NASCAR’s top series.

Addington will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and spirited effort during the race. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team.

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03/11/08
alms

Observations from Sebring
Some early observations from Sebring where the ALMS teams have gathered in preparation for Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring race.

Peugeot has been on top so far
The Peugeot is just incredible through the bumps; they seem to be learning well.  Audi takes them pretty seriously, too.  IMSA's tech guys tell us that under all that obfuscating black paint, the front aero of a 2008 R10 looks a lot more like a 2007 Peugeot than it does a 2007 R10.  You know what they say about imitation and flattery.

Apparently Audi has also taken the modular approach well beyond the now-famous gearbox swap in the R8; the entire tub can now be swapped out without disconnecting a single oil or water line.  They had to do so after one of them had an incident on Monday.

This is shaping up to be a whale of a race.

We also show a Mechanical Diversity Report.  In a field of thirty-five cars we have seventeen different models, with fifteen different models of engine in nine configurations.  THIS is the real heritage of racing!  Paul Bell reporting from Sebring

Mechanical Diversity of the 12-Hours of Sebring grid

Comment
03/11/08
cc

Dismayed at how merger was handled
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  As a longtime Champ Car fan from Europe, I honestly can say that it's a real shame the way the merger with the IRL was handled. First of all, why did it all happen THIS late?!  There were rumors all winter long, as usual (isn't it sad to say this about a series anyway, that it's "usual" to be in doubt each winter?!), then they say "no no no, everything is going as planned" - then drivers walk away, even the race director walks away - then at the very latest it was more than clear for everyone to see that something was going more than wrong.

And as many others I'm disappointed that it's not even close to a merger, but simply a takeover - something we had been dreading for so many years. The new car, the new races, the loyal fan base (I'm more than sure that many will turn their backs), it's all just washed down the drain.  The owners sold out and in the process screwed the fans, the teams, the drivers and the personnel who worked for the teams.

I wasn't surprised though when Forsythe announced they're not making the switch (for now) - however,  I thought he should have made his reasons clearer, as I don't think it was for the lack of money but more a matter of principle.

Yesterday Walker announced they're shutting the doors - just a couple of weeks ago Walker was one who was all for the so-called "merger," and now his employees, including the drivers are out of work a couple weeks from the start of the season because Kalkhoven took his Team Australia sponsorship (rumor).

Probably, only about 3-4 teams are going to be left over in the end. I really feel sorry for all the team personnel and also for the drivers, especially those who thought they had a contract and a drive and now have to start looking again, at a time when most seats for the season are already taken anyway.

Looking at all these developments from Europe, i.e. outside the US, the first reaction is bewilderment, as we over here have so many different racing series, all existing happily alongside each other.

Of course, F1 is dominant here, but we have different touring car series, sportscars, other formulas (e.g. the World Series has lots of spectators, too), the variety is much bigger on a smaller piece of land and smaller budgets, too.

That's probably why we don't understand that in the US NASCAR is just so dominant; no, they are not dominant, they are the only thing existing, the rest hardly worth talking about in most people's views. Jutta Stoeppel, Germany

Dear Jutta, You are correct, the merger turned out very bad for the Champ Car camp, and it could have been handled much better.  However, 3 or 4 years from now hopefully the IRL will be stronger and much of this will be forgotten.  As far as NASCAR being so dominant, that may be more a testament to the 'split' and the complete mismanagement by the other series than to the credit of NASCAR.  Mark C.

Comment
03/11/08
alms
cc

PENNYWISE to perform at Long Beach GP
PENNYWISE - one of punk's most credible and influential bands who have sold over three million albums worldwide - will help wrap up action on "Super Saturday," April 19, at the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The hugely popular Southern California-based band will be featured at 6 p.m. Saturday night at the Tecate Light Rock-N-Roar Concert Presented by KROQ, to be held on the concert stage in front of the Long Beach Convention Center.

PENNYWISE, who also played to a standing room-only crowd at the Grand Prix's 2005 Rock-N-Roar Concert, will be followed on the stage by the Tecate Light Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pageant, the final event of the day. In the past, the Rock-N-Roar Concert series has featured such artists as Taking Back Sunday, Bad Religion and the Goo Goo Dolls.

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03/11/08
alms

Sebring Day 2: Peugeot again fastest
Pedro Lamy
Pedro Lamy kept Peugeot at the top of the timing sheets at Sebring International Raceway on Tuesday in the final test session for the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Lamy’s time of 1:43.710 (128.435 mph) was the best in the field by 0.725 seconds with official practice sessions starting Wednesday.

The Peugeot 908 is racing in North America for the first time with Lamy, Nic Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin doing the honors. Saturday’s 12-hour season opener for the American Le Mans Series will serve as a diesel duel between Peugeot and Audi, which has won at Sebring every year since 2000 including the last two seasons with its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI.

Marco Andretti
But it’s not just a two-car race. Marco Andretti made sure of that with a best lap of 1:44.435 (127.543 mph) that was fastest in LMP2 and second overall. Andretti will make his Series debut in the Acura ARX-01b for Andretti Green Racing, which won in class last year in its maiden American Le Mans Series race. Andretti, the grandson of three-time Sebring overall winner Mario Andretti, was 0.279 seconds better than the first Audi of Marco Werner. He will drive the No. 2 R10 TDI with Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller.

Read more & Comment...
03/11/08
alms

ALMS broadcast package one of best
With one of the world's most viewed and listened to motorsports packages, the American Le Mans Series broadcasts will be seen and heard around the globe. Each Series event has the potential to reach more than 500 million people.

The widespread distribution is the product of the Series' partnerships with SPEED, NBC Sports, ABC, MotorsTV, Greenlight Television, Armed Forces Radio & Television and American Le Mans Radio.  The 2008 season includes four network broadcasts with the remaining seven races to air on SPEED and all 11 events covered by MotorsTV, Greenlight Television, Armed Forces Radio & Television and American Le Mans Radio.

SPEED's coverage of the American Le Mans Series begins with a first-ever, one-hour special from Sebring International Raceway from 7 to 8 p.m ET on Thursday. The crew of Leigh Diffey, Calvin Fish, Dorsey Schroeder, Brian Till and Chris Neville will preview the 2008 Series season with interviews and guests from the Series paddock during the 7:15 p.m. night practice.

The American Le Mans Series coverage package on Pan-European broadcaster MotorsTV has expanded for 2008. Again, MotorsTV plans to air the large majority of Series events "live" to its audience of more than 45 million viewers in 31 European countries and in four languages (English, French, German, Greek).

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03/11/08
nassprint

Gordon says Stewart went too far
Jeff Gordon said Monday that while he agreed with Tony Stewart’s post race comments at Atlanta blasting Goodyear Sunday, he was concerned about the way Stewart went about it.

“I think Tony went a little overboard, but I had talked to him before the race, and I could tell he was pretty wound up about the tires,” Gordon said while testing at Darlington Monday. “It was a very uncomfortable situation for 500 miles, but ... Goodyear was in a tough situation. They overreacted and went a little too far.”

Greg Biffle continued the criticism Monday, although in a much less harsh tone than Stewart did on Sunday.

“I’m sure they will go back and look for a way to soften the tire,” Biffle said. “It was probably the least amount of grip of any tire I have driven on. We know you have to have safety built in, but we have to have a tire we can be aggressive with and compete on. We did not have that Sunday.”

Newman pointed out that it’s hard to get the correct tire compound for each track and Goodyear missed this time in terms of grip. He was quick to note however that cars had no safety problems Sunday.

“What Tony said is true,” Newman said. “Did the cars handle good? No. Did the tires stick good? No. Did we anticipate that much less grip? No.

“But you learn by experience. We learn to put ourselves on the edge, at the max, and we couldn’t do that. But there is some give and take we have to deal with, and they will go back to the drawing board.” Cup Scene Daily

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03/11/08
nassprint

Jarrett Making Last Points Race Start at Bristol
When Dale Jarrett starts the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway March 16 it will be the 668th start in a successful 24-year career. It also will be the former Sprint Cup champion’s last points race as the North Carolina native hangs up his helmet this year.

The 51-year-old Jarrett opted to return this year, but only to run the first five races of the season. His last race actually will be the All-Star event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, but BMS will be the last place he races for points.

As a former BMS winner – he captured the Goody’s 500 (Aug. 23, 1997) – Jarrett says it is fitting that the World’s Fastest Half-Mile, where he made his first start in 1986, will cap what has been a very successful career.

“I was pleased whenever I saw the number (the fifth race) and as I started counting down to see exactly where it was going to be,” he said. “When I realized it was Bristol, I was pleased about that and it worked out too because I think it’s very fitting. It’s a place that I enjoy racing and there’s going to be so many fans there – and I know there’s 160,000 people there – but it seems like so many more than that. So it will be a fitting way for me to finish my racing as far as points racing goes.” 

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03/11/08
nassprint

Goodyear to use last year's tires at Texas
Texas Motor Speedway officials were informed by Goodyear that the tire manufacturer will utilize the same tire compound that produced dramatic racing in both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races last season for the upcoming Samsung 500 on April 6.

Following several driver complaints at Sunday’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway where the new Sprint Cup car (formerly the Car of Tomorrow) competed for the first time, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage reached out to Goodyear because that Speedway Motorsports, Inc. sister track is nearly identical to TMS. Both are 1.5-mile ovals with 24-degree banking in the corners, among the fastest tracks on the circuit and play host to the new car for the first time in competition.

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03/11/08
automotive

Avis to rent Corvettes
Avis Rent A Car is adding the Corvette convertible to its selection of specialty vehicles. The 430-horsepower Corvette will rent for $164.99 per day, placing it among Avis' more expensive offerings. It will be available in four warm-weather markets: Arizona, California, Florida and Las Vegas.  Avis joins rival Hertz in offering to rent Corvettes.

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03/11/08
irl

Howard graduates to IndyCars with Roth Racing
Jay Howard
New teams, drivers, tracks and excitement surrounds the sport of open wheel racing today, for what can only be described as a new beginning for the entire sport. A young driver from Basildon, England has begun a new chapter in his racing career by fulfilling his dream to become a top level professional race car driver. Jay Howard has joined Roth Racing to compete in the pinnacle of open wheel racing in North America with the Indy Racing League.

In what could be the beginning of a renaissance in open wheel racing in North America, the sport has taken a new turn in the right direction. The recent announcement of the merger of the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series will insure growth of the sport and unite fans to a single series. Roth Racing is poised to become the up-and-coming team as they compete in their first full season of racing in the Indy Racing League. Owner driver Marty Roth has committed to a full season in the IRL and has hired 2006 Indy Pro Series Champion Jay Howard to drive his second car.

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03/11/08
irl

Conquest Racing Enters Technical Partnership with Forsythe
Conquest Racing took another step today in its quest to become a contender in the new IndyCar® Series after it was announced that it had signed a technical partnership with Forsythe Performance Research, a wholly owned subsidiary of Forsythe Racing Inc., one of open-wheel racing’s top organizations.

The new alliance with Forsythe Performance Research will provide the team with technical and engineering resources for the 2008 season.

“We are working very hard on our transition from Champ Car to the IndyCar Series and we are excited about this partnership with Forsythe Performance Research,” said Eric Bachelart, owner of Conquest Racing. “Their knowledge and experience will accelerate our efforts of becoming a front-running team in the IndyCar Series.”

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03/11/08
nassprint

The Hartford & Ganassi Racing to Launch Partnership at BMS
With its iconic stag logo taking its place on the hood of an 800-horsepower racing machine, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., announced that it will sponsor #40 Dodge Charger on March 16 at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with driver Dario Franchitti. "For a company like The Hartford, with a nationwide network of independent agents, we know how important it is to be associated with an outstanding team," said Michael Concannon, senior vice president, personal lines. "That's why a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) is a great fit." Bearing The Hartford's distinctive colors, the maroon and yellow race car will feature The Hartford's branding on the hood, tv and quarter panels. Franchitti will wear a maroon and yellow firesuit featuring The Hartford and the stag logo. In addition to the primary paint scheme in Bristol, The Hartford will continue to be featured on the #40 Dodge as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2008 season. Furthermore, Franchitti and Ganassi's IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon will both carry The Hartford's iconic stag logo on their fire suits throughout the Sprint Cup and IRL IndyCar Series seasons, respectively. More info about The Hartford at thehartford.com.  Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR

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03/11/08
f1

Williams partners with Cranfield
A unique partnership has been announced between the Centre for Customized Executive Development at Cranfield School of Management and the Formula One team, Williams F1.

The partnership brings together Cranfield’s expertise in management development with Williams F1’s experience of delivering sustained performance in the most competitive of environments, Formula One motorsport. Organizations seeking innovative development for their executives can access a range of customized workshops that harness the combined expertise of both partners.

Mark Jenkins is Professor of Business Strategy at Cranfield School of Management, co-author of Performance at the Limit – Business Lessons from Formula 1 Motor Racing and has been instrumental in developing the partnership with Williams. Mark, who has researched performance in Formula One for several years, said, “Formula One provides a powerful example where performance is achieved by unique combinations of people, finance and technologies. It encapsulates many of the challenges faced by today’s organizations and their executives: challenges such as delivering high performance through team-work, accelerating speed to market, sustaining competitive advantage and enhancing innovation and creativity.”

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03/11/08
alms
irl

St. Pete GP Pit Notes
Michael Andretti Named Grand Marshal for the Festival of States Parade
Racing legend Michael Andretti will be the Grand Marshal for the 2008 Festival of States Night Parade when the annual parade rolls through the streets of St. Petersburg on Thursday, April 3.

Through an association with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Andretti will be joined by drivers representing both the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series to lead the Thursday evening parade.  Some of the drivers expected to attend include Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, Christian Fittipaldi, Hideki Mutoh and Bryan Herta. Other drivers will be announced closer to the event.

American Le Mans Series Ushers in New Era of Green Racing
The American Le Mans Series unleashes a new era for this season when it becomes the first major racing series in the world to have every race car on its grid racing one of three alternative "street legal" fuels. Widely acclaimed as the global leader in green racing, every car in the Series will race a clean diesel, an E10 or an E85 ethanol blend that is virtually identical to what consumers put in their cars at the fuel station.

The 2008 Acura Sports Car Challenge, which will be run Saturday, April 5 in St. Petersburg, is the second event on the 2008 ALMS schedule. The Series season opens this week with the 56th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

"We have always been about relevancy and authenticity," says Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "What is more relevant than working with our many automobile manufacturers to find tomorrow's fuel solutions?"

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03/11/08
racing news

It's 'The Fast & The Famous' in 2008 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
LONG BEACH, Calif.-- An eclectic roster of stars of film, television and sports will strap into brand new race-ready Scion tCs to vie for the checkered flag in the world's longest-running, most successful celebrity racing event:  the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race on Saturday, April 19, part of the 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The field of 18 is revved up for competition in this historic, 10-lap race for charity on a 1.97-mile street circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach in Southern California.  The Pro/Celebrity race, one of six featured events during race weekend, gives fans a chance to see their favorite stars duke it out on the track during exciting action-packed competition.

This year's field includes the following group of fiercely competitive entertainment personalities, sports stars and media: 

Read more & Comment...
03/11/08
alms

ALMS Yearbook announced
TPP Publishing, Inc. announces the publication of the 2007 American Le Mans Series Yearbook. The American Le Mans Series, the pinnacle of sports car and GT endurance racing, is detailed in words and photographs in a yearbook for the first time in many seasons. With146 text pages and more than 450 spectacular images, the publication brings the Series' dramatic ninth season to life.

The 12x9 large format book is beautifully laid out – an invaluable keepsake and reference for any fan.

From Sebring, where Andretti Green Racing astonished the world by racing an Acura prototype to second place behind Audi's all-conquering R10 diesel; where the classic decades-old battle for GT supremacy between Porsche and Ferrari was renewed; to the riveting race between Porsche and Audi to the checkered flag in the dusk of the Monterey Peninsula – it's all there in scores of pages of text, tables and photographs.

The American Le Mans Series' exciting 2007 season in a limited printing, making the book an immediate collectors item. You can preview this remarkable book and place your order at the TPP Publishing web site http://www.tpppublishing.com/.

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03/11/08
nascarsprint

Chevy shut out
Did you know that it has been 32 years since Chevrolet has been shut out of the first four races of the season and a Chevy driver went on to win the title in the same year? In 1976, Cale Yarborough won his first of three straight Championships. But the Chevy camp was held winless through the first four races of the season. Once the ball started rolling for Cale, he would win race #5 at Bristol and eight more races that season. This year, Dodge, Ford and Toyota have all posted wins, keeping the powerful Chevy contingency out of victory lane. This is only the sixth time in the modern era (since 1972) that Chevy has been winless after four races. This other years this occurred were:
2002 – Tony Stewart won the title in a Pontiac
1992 – Alan Kulwicki won the title in a Ford
1976 – Cale Yarborough won the title in a Chevy
1973 – Benny Parsons won the title in a Chevy
1972 – Richard Petty won the title in a Plymouth & Dodge.
The last time Chevrolet went winless for an entire season was in 1970. LTPicks.com

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03/11/08
f1

Head makes radical F1 proposal
Patrick Head
Williams co-owner Patrick Head has proposed reversing the start grid in Formula One to improve the spectacle of the sport.

Head wants to see more overtaking in F1 and has proposed the fastest cars starting from the back of the grid and the slowest from the front.

Head believes that if the championship's leading cars were made to start from the back it would lead to more interesting racing.

"I would like to see the grids in reverse order of championship position," Head told BBC Sport.

"It's the same for everybody, and over a whole season the right guy would still win the championship."

Head believes the current system, with the quickest cars in qualifying starting from the front of the grid, means there is less chance of overtaking.

He said: "I still have to ask the question that if you allow the guys to do all this practice and testing and then you line them up with the fastest at the front and the slowest at the back, why should there be any overtaking?

"Maybe overtaking will be less difficult, but if a guy is back there because by virtue of his own or his car speed he is 0.3 seconds slower than the car in front, why should he overtake [it]?"  Sporting Life

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03/11/08
f1

Rosberg: Aero key to Williams' gains
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg believes aerodynamic improvements have been the key to Williams' impressive progress during the winter development. The Grove-based squad is tipped to take a big step forward in 2008, having led the best of the rest pack during several tests. Rosberg paid tribute to the whole team's effort, but particularly highlighted the aerodynamicists' efforts.

"The aero department has done a really fantastic job with the FW30," he said.

"That's not to disregard everyone else within the team that has been working hard on it, but the aero on the car is a real step forward.

"We also already have a lot of developments which are scheduled for deployment over the year."

Comment
03/11/08
Automotive

US Navy Commissions Cosworth Heavy Fuel UAV Engine Development
Cosworth has been selected by the US Navy as one of three companies to enter Phase 1 of the Ultra Endurance Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UE-UAV) heavy fuel engine technology development program. Deliverables of the program include extensive ground and flight test evaluation of a heavy fuel engine against demanding performance criteria. The ultimate objective of the 2 year duration 3 phase multi-million dollar UE-UAV program being to prove technology readiness for transition to the STUAS/Tier II UAV programs.

"This contract represents another key milestone for Cosworth's Aerospace & Defense division and is a testament to Cosworth's engineering capabilities." said Tim Routsis, CEO of Cosworth.

Cosworth has established a significant presence in heavy fuel engine technology. The existing AE-1 engine is a compact and lightweight 3 horsepower engine that has already successfully completed flight trials and is close to achieving the US Navy's requirements. The performance of the AE-1 helped Cosworth win Phase 1 of the UE-UAV contract against stiff global competition. During this initial four month phase Cosworth will now further develop the AE-1 to increase power output, improve fuel efficiency and reduce noise.

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03/11/08
Automotive

Ford offers dealers buyouts
Ford Motor Co. is offering to buy out 81 dealerships, most of them minority-owned, but some dealers say the company is not giving them enough time to decide.

The move is part of Ford's decision to curtail part of its dealer development program, which is designed to support novice dealers. It comes as the automaker works to shrink its dealer base in the United States, where Ford says it has more stores than it needs to meet the declining demand for its cars and trucks.

But the automaker says this is not part of that consolidation effort.

Ford's dealer development program, which has been part of its efforts to promote minority ownership of its dealerships, helps first-time franchisees by covering a portion of the often substantial costs of opening a store. The idea is that the new dealers can use their profits to pay Ford back over time until they own their dealerships outright.

As a further incentive, Ford often offered these dealers a guarantee that their initial capital investment would be returned if their stores failed.

"We're ending this policy of returning capital to our dealers," said Ford spokesman Jim Cain. "To be fair to everyone in the program, we're offering one last opportunity to take advantage of it before it goes away forever." More at Detroit News

Comment
03/11/08
track news

Free Thursday Long Beach schedule announced
Get set to call in sick on Thursday, April 17!

That's when the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach adds yet another day of action - on and off the track - with Thursday "Free-View."

No race ticket required.

For the first time ever on the city streets, cars and drivers from the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race will be turning hot practice laps on a Thursday at 3 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., sandwiched around EZ Lube Formula Drift/Super Lap Battle practice at 4 p.m. At the same time, the Lifestyle and Alternative Energy Expo in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

At 11 a.m., racing greats Mario Andretti and Parnelli Jones will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame (Pine Ave. at the Convention Center), joining past inductees Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Paul Newman, Carl Haas, Chris Pook and Brian Redman. Former land speed record holder Gary Gabelich will also be inducted posthumously.

But all of that is just the beginning.

Read more & Comment...
03/11/08
f1

F1- stunt team axed over cost
High-flying stunt team The Blades have been axed from the Formula One entertainment because of massive financial losses sustained last year, it was revealed yesterday. The team of aerial acrobats was brought to Bahrain from London for a three-month tour of the Gulf ahead of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix last year. Their visit was organized by Magnum Holdings, an affiliate of the Unitag Group, but company chairman Jamil Wafa said a lack of interest from the private sector cost the firm thousands of dinars.

"Their three-month stay in the Gulf cost about BD400,000, which was shared equally by our company and The Blades," he told the GDN. "As we did not get any support from advertisers and sponsors, we suffered a huge loss."

Besides a performance at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), The Blades also demonstrated a series of spectacular flying maneuvers in their specially designed planes at Amwaj Islands and above the waterfront of the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.

"The seven-member team included five pilots and two engineers," he added. "The four planes' charges for hangar and storage, and crew members' accommodation and other expenses cost us a lot. "The daredevil display by one of the world's leading formation aerobatics teams was the first of its kind in Bahrain. We expected genuine support from the business community for such a super entertainment."

Mr. Wafa said his team had sent out hundreds of letters to prospective sponsors and advertisers.

"However, the response was very poor," he added.

Comment
03/11/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • STR to be in '08 midfield - Vettel
  • Head wouldn't respond to night race pressure
  • Bernie refuses to back McLaren over 2007
  • Ralf marvels at Hamilton attention
  • Boss Dennis set to arrive in Australia
  • Hamilton let 'ego' sour title tilt - Briatore
  • 5pm race won't appease Bernie - Stoddart
  • Montoya predicts tough 2008 for rookie Piquet
  • No spy story effects, McLaren tester says

STR to be in '08 midfield - Vettel
(GMM)  Toro Rosso will be among the midfield fight in formula one this year, German driver Sebastian Vettel says.

The Red Bull sister team, to commence the 2008 season with its older car before receiving the new single seater in a few races' time, logged lap times among teams including Williams and even Renault in the winter period.

"It looks as though we have closed the gap," Vettel, 20, confirmed to Eurosport.

"We are in the big midfield group," he added.  "And when you consider where we started from, it is almost sensational when you think about it -- no matter how the actual balance of power turns out to be."

Vettel, however, is also keen to get his hands on Red Bull's Adrian Newey-penned RB4 - to be called the STR3 in Toro Rosso's hands - later this season.

He said the development and potential of the current STR2-B has been "exhausted".

Head wouldn't respond to night race pressure
(GMM)  Patrick Head, the veteran co-owner of the Williams team, has indicated that he would not be willing to compromise with F1 officials over the night racing debate.

Amid Bernie Ecclestone's threat to scrap the Melbourne race, Australian grand prix chiefs this week proposed to delay the start time from 2009 for the benefit of television viewers in Europe.

But to the BBC, Head indicated that he would not be willing to similarly back down, let alone give in completely to the push for expensive floodlit races.

F1's first ever night race will be held on the streets of Singapore later this year, and Malaysia is tipped to follow suit for 2009.

"If I was Singapore, I'd be saying, 'well, we're putting up all this money, why don't we have a grand prix at the time that suits us?'," Head said.

"I'd be rather 'nose out of joint' if I was told the only reason you're having the race on at that time is to suit Europe, or someone else," he added.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
Track News

Drivers like new Darlington surface
The roar of racing engines could once again be heard at Darlington Raceway on Monday as three of NASCAR’s top teams participated in a Goodyear tire test at the track "Too Tough to Tame."

Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman took to the track shortly after 12:30 p.m., and it did not take long for them to get acclimated to the new surface.

"The basic transitions, the banking and the walls haven't changed," said seven-time Darlington winner Jeff Gordon. "The bumps are gone, the grip level is high and it's awesome, they did a great job."

"I'm happy with the new surface, they have done a nice job, said two-time Darlington winner Greg Biffle. "There are no bumps or dips anywhere that we have noticed; I was pretty impressed with how smooth it was. The car was really stable and I was happy with the first few laps."

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03/10/08
a1gp

Australia team recruits new rookie
A1 Team Australia has announced its rookie driver for the last two meetings of the season.

Current lead driver John Martin will participate in his final rookie session next week in Mexico City before he becomes ineligible. The team has now confirmed that Nathan Antunes will drive Jackaroo in the rookie sessions in Shanghai and at the season finale at Brands Hatch.

Antunes, 19, impressed seat holder Alan Jones while racing in the supporting Toyota Racing Series in Taupo, New Zealand back in January.

‘Nathan was on track when we were at Taupo and this was good for the entire team to evaluate their impression of his talent,’ Jones said. ‘We continued to watch his progress and made the decision to invite Nathan to the team to assist John with the car over the remaining rounds.

Nathan has knowledge of the circuits we have left to race on, with Mexico his role will be to observe the team strategies and communications as well as watching the other drivers and cars on track with specific regard to the rules and regulations of A1GP.

Antunes is overjoyed at the news.

He said: ‘This is a great opportunity to move into an international formula that is regarded as a premium sport.

‘I have been watching A1 Team Australia since the series started three years ago and believe right now the team are at the victory stage and I want to be there for the first of many. Representing my country is what dreams are made of for any sportsperson.’

Comment
03/10/08
atlantic

Cameron Clocks Quick Lap To Lead Opening Day
Dane Cameron dives down the corkscrew
Bob Heathcote
It didn’t take long for rookie Dane Cameron to adjust to his new surroundings with Genoa Racing, as the rookie racer from nearby Sonoma, Calif. posted the quickest lap in the first day of Spring Training at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

In the second of the day’s two test sessions, Cameron posted a lap at 1:16.465 (105.366 mph) in the No. 17 Genoa Racing machine to top the time chart. It was Cameron’s first test day with the Genoa Racing operation, as the 2007 Star Mazda champion joined the team for Spring Training after the original Atlantic team with which he signed for 2008, Sierra Sierra Enterprises, elected to discontinue its Atlantic program. Cameron was quick to point out that the impressive team couldn’t necessarily be attributed to the fact that he makes his home just a few hours up the road from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“For a guy being from Northern California, I don’t have as much experience here as you would think,” Cameron explained. “The first time I was here was actually this Atlantic series test here last year. I did the two days here with Polestar and then didn’t come back until the end of the year and did the (Star) Mazda race here, the season finale. We qualified on pole and finished second in that race. That’s not a ton of time, but I’ve been here once before and that was definitely an Advantage in making the adjustment to a different team. I had a good idea where the track went. I had to obviously refresh myself on the differences between the two cars, which are pretty great. It allowed me to focus more just working with the team. I think it’s going really well. All the guys are working really, really hard. Everyone seems to be working really well together. It’s been really positive and really good so far.”

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
track news

Monster Monument Coming Together
The Monster Monument is coming together — one limb at a time

Dover's big addition for the 2008 season — The Monster Monument — is coming together on schedule at ACI Composites in Lancaster, Pa. The 46-foot structure is much too large to be housed indoors, so Miles' current home is just outside the front door at the factory.

The Monster Monument coming to life.
The ACI team has completed welding together the inner support beams of the monster including the head and face, torso and shoulders. Within the next few weeks, the crew will begin assembling the arms and hands of the monster along with putting the finishing touches on the full-size Dodge ‘Car of Tomorrow’ stock car that will be mounted in his right hand. Once those pieces are finished, they will be temporarily mounted on the monster before the entire structure is carved out of sprayed foam and then wrapped in fiberglass.

The large shards of broken concrete have been built, assembled and sprayed with fiberglass. These pieces will be mounted on top of the base of the structure and will give the appearance of the monster breaking through the ground.

In late-April, the entire structure will be disassembled and shipped in several large pieces, to be erected again on-site in its permanent location outside of Turn 4 at Dover International Speedway. The monster will be placed atop a 7-foot-tall, 60-foot-round base, which will include a chronological listing of all past Dover winners by race and series.

A grand unveiling of the Monster Monument, Victory Plaza, the expanded FanZone and more is scheduled for May 14, 2008 with special guest Jeff Gordon.

The Monster Monument will be complete when NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile for the May 30 – June 1 and Sept. 19 – 21, 2008 race weekends. Dover continues to offer event ticket insurance for all events, along with an array of ticket options including special 3-day ticket packages, all-inclusive hospitality packages, early buy discounts, and a variety of payment plans. To purchase tickets or for more information visit www.DoverSpeedway.com or call 800-441-RACE.

Comment
03/10/08
racing news

Corvette Racing Takes on New Challenge in 2008
Team Continues to Develop New Technology for Transition to E85 Ethanol

From the early days of the marque when mechanical fuel injection and disc brakes were novelties to the advanced carbon fiber construction and sophisticated CFD aerodynamics of the 21st century, Corvette has long been a leader in developing and refining new technology. That process is continuing in 2008 as Chevrolet's factory road racing team develops new components and materials for its transition to E85 ethanol racing fuel.

"We're willing to take on the challenge," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "We know this is the future of racing. Someone has to be the first, and when you're the first, you're inevitably going to encounter new challenges."

Corvette Racing first track-tested the renewable alternative fuel in late February. A post-test inspection revealed that the initial formulation of the E85R fuel specified by IMSA, the ALMS sanctioning body, was adversely affecting the adhesive used to construct the race cars' twin fuel cells. Consequently the team will compete in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with the E10 ethanol/gasoline blend that was used in 2007 while new fuel cell adhesives and assembly techniques are developed.

"The performance of E85 ethanol racing fuel was firmly established in our initial track test," said Fehan. "Now the team is working with the fuel cell manufacturers, IMSA, and our technical partners at the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council to develop an advanced ethanol fuel cell. As a manufacturer team, safety is paramount at Corvette Racing, and we will always err on the side of caution. Just as every new component in a production GM vehicle must be exhaustively tested, every new part that goes into the Corvette C6.R race cars must be tested and validated. It wasn't feasible to do this in the weeks since the program was announced, but I am confident that we will resolve the situation in a short period of time.

"Corvette Racing has long been considered a leader in safety," Fehan noted. "We introduced HANS devices before they were required, the right-side driver safety net, energy-absorbing side impact boxes, long-reach fuel and vent nozzles, and other safety innovations. Along with Corvette's leadership in safety technology, we also want to be a leader in alternative fuel technology. We're totally convinced that racing is eventually going green. Somebody has got to be first, and we're willing to do that, just as we have on other issues.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Hamilton's ego got better of him - Briatore
Briatore says Hamilton, who often wears a smug smile, let his ego get the better of him
With the opening race of a new formula one season only days away Flavio Briatore has reignited last year's acrimonious battle between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton by suggesting the British driver allowed his "ego" to get the better of him during their intense but ultimately futile pursuit of the world championship.

The two drivers were team-mates in their first season at McLaren, with Alonso having moved from Renault as world champion while Hamilton made his formula one debut in a team that had nurtured him for years. Briatore, who manages Alonso and leads the Renault team which will again feature the Spanish driver this season, told the Guardian: "Hamilton had a very good possibility to learn. When you are a rookie you need to take that opportunity. He had the chance to drive with somebody very special in Fernando. “Hamilton is very young and the talent is there but he lost this opportunity. As a rookie you should work for the team. Your team consists of 1,000 people working together to put two cars on the grid. You need to respect these people behind you - and not only your ego. This is something the driver needs to learn. It's not just about him. You hear drivers saying 'my car'. But it is not their car - it is the team car." The Guardian

Comment
03/10/08
f1

Slower Malaysian F1 ticket sales
Sepang International Circuit will stage the 10th Malaysian Grand Prix on March 23, and organizers are targeting a record 50,000 foreign visitors.  But, with excitement building up to Formula One's first night race here in September, some Singaporeans who have been regulars at the Kuala Lumpur circuit have decided to give it a miss this time round.

Local travel agents who market tour packages for the Sepang race have noticed a slight drop in enquiries and bookings.

'It has been slower compared to past years,' noted Magdalene Ma, operations manager at Fascinating Holidays.

The firm, which has been selling Malaysian F1 packages the past few years, is seeing a 10 to 20 per cent decline compared to previous years.

It usually sees about 150 people snapping up its packages. A three-day, two-night package, including coach transfers and hotel stay, starts from $315. Another established player, Luxury Tours & Travel, reported a similar decline in sales.

Comment
03/10/08
alms

Peugeot edges Audi in Monday practice at Sebring
Sarrazin's Peugeot
Peugeot picked up where it left off at the American Le Mans Series Winter Test by turning in the fastest time in Monday’s first test session for the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Stephane Sarrazin’s unofficial time of 1:43.302 was the quickest in the two sessions at the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit.

Sarrazin’s time was 1.672 seconds better than Marco Werner’s qualifying record from 2007 in Audi’s R10 TDI. Coincidentally, Werner was second quickest Monday at 1:43.784 that turned out to be Audi’s best time on the day. Allan McNish had posted the fastest lap of the morning session at 1:44.093.

Sarrazin led all entries at the January Winter Test with a 1:42.801.

Audi has won Sebring’s 12-hour classic every year since 2000 including the last two seasons with its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. The task grew tougher in February when Peugeot announced its entry into the race with its factory 908, the car that finished second to Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Additional grandstand seats released for Singapore
Singapore GP is releasing additional seats in the coming weeks for the 2008 FORMULA 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. This follows strong demand for tickets since sales opened in February.

First to be released are places in a 10,000-seat grandstand situated on the Padang. Tickets will cost S$498 (Euro 240) for a three-day pass. Tickets will be available from Monday 10 March. The Padang Grandstand will offer great views of the St. Andrew's Road straight set against the backdrop of the historic City Hall and Old Supreme Court building.

An additional grandstand located on the City Hall Steps will be released later this month once the configurations and placement are confirmed. This grandstand will seat approximately 1000 people and tickets will cost S$498 (Euro 240) for a three-day pass. The exact launch date will be announced shortly.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
alms

Audi out front early at Sebring
Audi Sport North America fired the first shot at Sebring International Raceway this week with the unofficial fastest time in Monday morning's first test session for the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Allan McNish's time of 1:44.093 was just 0.244 seconds better than diesel rival Peugeot.

Audi has won Sebring's 12-hour classic every year since 2000 including the last two seasons with its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. The task grew tougher in February when Peugeot announced its entry into the race with its factory 908, the car that finished second to Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007.

Audi's second R10 was third at 1:44.459 as the first three LMP1s were within 0.366 seconds of each other.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
nassprint

Goodyear Statement on Atlanta Race Tires
Based on Goodyear’s tire testing at Atlanta last August, October and December, we provided what we believed were the best possible products for the races this past weekend. We had no tire failures and no problems with heat or wear. We supplied the same tires for both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, and received zero complaints about our tires after the Nationwide race on Saturday.

We believe that our engineering, research and tire development is second to none. We accept that drivers will have their own opinions about our tires. NASCAR president Mike Helton told us Monday that "NASCAR is very grateful for the commitment Goodyear has made on behalf of building a good and safe product for our competitors, including this past weekend at Atlanta. NASCAR stands by our relationship and is proud to have Goodyear as a partner."

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
irl

College for Creative Studies project reaches mid-terms
On March 6, College for Creative Studies Transportation Design students received feedback from Indy Racing League and American Honda officials that will guide the direction of their projects.

Their goal, as set forth by the Indy Racing League and American Honda in mid-January: Create the IndyCar Series car of the future.

The challenge, as directed by Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the IndyCar Series' sanctioning body: The chassis should be iconic, the car should meet safety standards and function as well as the current iteration on the IndyCar Series' diverse schedule of ovals and street/road courses.

Over the past six weeks, 13 seniors have worked with Transportation Design chairman Mark West, who designed a curriculum encompassing research of the IndyCar Series, through a process of ideation, refinement of ideas and final direction. Students in late January visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and toured the Target Chip Ganassi Racing shop to see how Indycar racing cars have evolved and why the current ground-effects car is the standard.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
irl

Year Two of IndyCar Series' Historic Commitment to Renewable Fuel
In 2007, the IndyCar Series, long known for its motorsports innovations, became the first major motorsports series in the world to run exclusively on a renewable fuel by using 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in all of its cars. This switch to a greener fuel made racing history and supported the broader goal of making IndyCar Series racing more environmentally friendly.

Both on-track and off-track the transition was a success. From the first lap of preseason testing to the checkered flag at the season finale, ethanol performed flawlessly in its inaugural year. Without losing any horsepower or speed on the track, IndyCar Series cars burned 20,000 fewer gallons of fuel using ethanol than previous seasons using methanol.

2008 will mark the second year of IndyCar Series competition fueled exclusively by ethanol. LifeLine Foods, based in St. Joseph, Mo., will be the official provider of ethanol for the series in 2008. LifeLine Foods is a unique company that uses corn to produce food and fuel. One portion of the kernel is processed and marketed to the food industry while the remainder of the corn kernel is used for, among other things, cattle feed and energy needs. Utilizing a bran energy recovery system, total plant energy needs will be reduced by approximately 50 percent. This method insures that the company is getting the most value out of corn, benefiting the agriculture, food and ethanol industries.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Renault Melbourne tech file
Melbourne’s Albert Park is a stop-start mixture of temporary street course and a purpose-built track. This means the circuit includes an interesting variety of corners with unusual geometry and constantly evolving track surface. A relatively featureless circuit, it is often described as having a ‘point and squirt’ layout that provides a difficult technical challenge with a number of heavy braking zones and range of tricky low-speed corners.

Aerodynamics
Melbourne is on a par with the aerodynamic demands of Silverstone or Sepang and therefore requires a medium to high downforce set-up. There are a few critical high-speed corners but nothing especially demanding. The high downforce set-up helps the drivers get good traction out of the slower corners, which is important for carrying good exit speed onto the straights.

Suspension
Melbourne has a number of chicanes where a responsive car with a good change of direction is critical, nowhere more so than in the high-speed challenge of turns 11 and 12. The suspension therefore has to be relatively stiff to achieve this, but at the same time the car needs to be soft enough to use the curbs and have good stability under braking. An optimum set-up therefore demands a compromise, dovetailing hard and soft settings accordingly.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
cc

Champ Car bankruptcy court papers
For those of you who have not seen it, here is the document that was filed in the Indianapolis courts for the bankruptcy of Champ Car (PDF format).

Comment
03/10/08
track news

Road America adds Speed World Challenge in place of Champ Car
Road America has released a revised line-up for its Road Race Showcase, scheduled for August 7-10, 2008. Because of scheduling conflicts caused by the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series unification, it appears that Champ Car is unable to hold its Champ Car Grand Prix at Road America that weekend. The showcase continues to highlight the American Le Mans Series in Saturday's Generac 500. This four-hour race will again culminate in a stunning sunset finale. Sunday's tentative line-up will feature the SPEED Pro Racing World Challenge GT & Touring Championships. According to George Bruggenthies, Road America president and general manager, "The SPEED World Challenge is always a big hit at Road America. We're pleased that we could pair them with the American Le Mans Series and further enhance the experience for our sports car fans." 

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
nassprint

Dismal attendance in Atlanta
The weather was good, bright and sunny, if a bit cool, but the action on the track was generally dismal, and the real hot stuff didn't get going until drivers crawled out of their cars and began talking about their 31/2 hours of frustrations yesterday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  And the crowd was dismal as well.  NASCAR announced the attendance at 100,000, but that was generous. Maybe 50,000 watched.

Comment
03/10/08
nassprint

NASCAR team suspends operations
Slugger Labbe, crew chief of the #27 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing told Mike Bagley and David Poole on The Morning Drive (Sirius NASCAR Radio) that the team has suspended operations due to lack of funding.

Comment
03/10/08
f1

Scale model of 2009 Ferrari car already in the wind tunnel
Ferrari Sporting Director, Stefano Domenicali, declared in the Italian newspaper 'Gazzetta dello Sport' that his team is already working hard on their 2009 car and this in order to make the most of the major overhaul of technical regulations for next year.

In 2009, a set of new aerodynamic rules will be introduced. It's also likely that the slick tires will be reintroduced. The teams will test with slicks during the next test session at Barcelona in April.

"The regulations will allow for some sensational developments that will greatly differentiate the cars, while today the possibilities of changing are curbed by regulations we've had for many years," Stefano Domenicali said.

"For over a month now there's been a scale model of the 2009 car in the wind tunnel. We are making experiments full-time, and once again we'll need to get on track very early.

"We'll have to work in parallel on the evolutions of the car that is about to go racing. But the team size is the same, we haven't doubled it."

Comment
03/10/08
nassprint

Toyota officials thrilled with initial Cup win
Jim Aust
Toyota Racing Development President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Aust announced his retirement last week. And what happens at Atlanta Motor Speedway? A Toyota wins its first Sprint Cup Series race.

“A great retirement present,” Aust said Sunday after Kyle Busch won the Kobalt Tools 500. “I should have announced earlier.”

“We had some thought that last year might come through for one victory if everything turned out just right, and we almost did [win] if you look back at Talladega,” Aust said. “The fact that [Dave] Blaney came in third and was within a couple of car lengths of that win, the possibility was there.

“We had forecast the second year as a breakout year for us and it’s starting to look that way. ... We knew that it was in the near term as opposed to later on in the year. It was great to see the Gibbs guys finish 1-2.”

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Bernie hopes Korean carmaker joins F1
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone says he is hopeful that the next manufacturer to enter formula one is Korean.

Six European and Japanese carmakers are currently competing on the grid, but the F1 chief executive is hopeful that the Korean automobile industry - the fifth largest in the world - also gets involved.

"I would like to see one of the Korean manufacturers with us," the 77-year-old told the German news agency SID.

The Korean car industry is headed by manufacturers including Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo.

Comment
03/10/08
f1

A lap of Albert Park with Wurz
Honda test driver Alex Wurz describes a lap of the Albert Park circuit, home of the Australian GP.

"I love the Aussies. They are very friendly and open-minded, and they just love it when the grand prix comes to town. The racetrack is in a park, so it's a mix of public roads and permanent racetrack," said Wurz.

It's only used once a year, which creates an extra challenge for the teams because the grip level is always changing. The track is usually four or five seconds quicker in the race than it is in free practice, which means you're always reacting to it with the set-up. It's quite difficult to stay on top of it.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
nassprint

Hornish, Franchitti  drop out of top 35 in NASCAR points
Despite being the highest finishing rookie in the race, Sam Hornish Jr.’s team has slipped out of the top 35 in points with Bristol coming up next. That’s not good news for the Indy 500 winner who is trying his best to make it as a stock car driver.  Also out of the top 35: Dave Blaney, Dario Franchitti, Carpentier, Regan Smith, Kyle Petty and Joe Nemechek.  They will all now have a hard time making the race each weekend.

Comment
03/10/08
eurof3

Philippe joins Carlin F3 Euro Series team
Richard Philippe
18 year old French born racer Richard Philippe will join Carlin Motorsport for the team’s first season of Formula 3 Euro Series this season.

The 2005 Formula BMW USA champion, who has previously competed in Champ Car Atlantics and Renault World Series, is the first Euro Series driver to be announced by the British F3 championship winning squad. Having started karting in Argentina at the tender age of eight, the Miami based driver moved into formula racing in 2005 when he competed in the Formula BMW championship.

Having impressed the experts at BMW, the Frenchman was awarded a Formula BMW USA scholarship.

Philippe lived up to expectations, recording five pole positions, seven podiums and three race wins to not only become Formula BMW USA Rookie of the Year, but overall champion as well. In 2006, Philippe moved up to Champ Car Atlantic and became the youngest ever driver to take a podium in the championship when he finished second at Cleveland.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Williams sports youngest, Red Bull oldest, driver lineup
Looking at cumulative ages, the Williams team has the youngest driver lineup and ironically the Red Bull team, which tries to sell product to a younger age group, has the oldest.

Team Cumulative Age Drivers

Williams

45 Nico Rosberg 22 & Kazuki Nakajima 23
Renault 48 Fernando Alonso 26 & Nelson Piquet 22
McLaren 49 Lewis Hamilton 23 & Heikki Kovalainen 26
Toro Rosso 49 Sebastien Bourdais 29 & Sebastian Vettel 20
BMW 53 Nick Heidfeld 30 & Robert Kubica 23
Ferrari 54 Kimi Raikkonen 28 & Felipe Massa 26
Toyota 58 Jarno Trulli 33 & Timo Glock 25
Super Aguri 59 Takuma Sato 31 & Anthony Davidson 28
Force India 60 Adrian Sutil 25 & Giancarlo Fisichella 35
Honda 63 Jenson Button 28 & Rubens Barrichello 35
Red Bull 67 David Coulthard 36 & Mark Webber 31

Comment
03/10/08
motogp

Qatar gets long-term MotoGP contract
Qatar will stay on the GP calendar until 2016 after a new eight year deal with Dorna was struck in the week before the GP.

Comment
03/10/08
f1

New partnership saves Super Aguri
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce that in the light of recent media speculation, we have reached agreement with Magma Group regarding the acquisition of the Super Aguri F1 Team. Magma has also reached agreement with Honda Motor Co., Ltd regarding technical cooperation and engine supply to Super Aguri F1 Team. It is expected that the acquisition process will be completed over the next few weeks. We will not be making any further comment or announcement until that time.

We are looking forward to a positive future for the team in conjunction with Honda Motor Company and Magma.

Additionally, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is delighted to confirm Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson as racing team mates once again and for the 2008 Formula One season.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal
“I am pleased to announce our new partner and drivers finally at this late stage.
I am looking forward to a successful and long lasting collaboration with Magma Group.
About Drivers, as I have wanted them to continue their work in our team, I was not worried at all about our drivers for 2008. It will be a big advantage for us that we can continue working with them this year. For Anthony, as this season will be his second as a racing driver, I am expecting him to achieve some points. For Takuma, I would like him to repeat the excellent work he did last season. It will be an interesting season and we will try our best to help them achieve these goals.”

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Button happy that slow 2008 car is improving
  • Briatore expects decent opener for Renault
  • Bernie blames Toyota for Ralf's demise
  • Glock expects Trulli to shine brighter
  • Kubica talks down BMW's victory target
  • Toyota CEO sets sights on race win
  • Michelin exit still hurts Alonso - Kubica

Button happy that slow 2008 car is improving
(GMM)  Jenson Button is confident that, despite fielding a slow car in winter testing, Honda can move forwards in 2008.

Although the Japanese team did not appear to have turned around its disastrous 2007 form with the RA108 in the recently concluded pre-season period, Button says the big difference compared to last year is that the new car is showing signs of improving.

"The basic car was not very fast when we first drove it, but it's improving," he told the British broadcaster ITV.

Button admits that the RA108 is "definitely not" going to be challenging the front-runners this year.

"But we're improving and that's the main thing," said the 28-year-old.

"It's nice to see progress in testing -- it's been a while," the Briton smiled.

Briatore expects decent opener for Renault
(GMM)  Team boss Flavio Briatore has counted Renault out of the running for at least the opening three races of 2008.

To France's Journal du Dimanche newspaper, however, the Italian chief suggests that the new R28 single seater is not as bad as it seemed at some of the recent winter tests.

Briatore said he is "confident that in Melbourne, things will look better", before the car gets a substantial upgrade for April's Spanish grand prix.

What he is really happy about is that Fernando Alonso, after an uncomfortable season with McLaren, is now back to top form.

"He is more mature, very concentrated, very happy.  Actually, we feel like we have already won because Fernando is smiling again.

"Last year I didn't recognize him.  Now he knows where he is and that everything is clear," he said.

Briatore said the Spaniard is not necessarily being paid more in 2008, but confirmed that Alonso did ask for "sporting guarantees".

He also points out that Alonso's rookie teammate, Nelson Piquet, is "intelligent" enough not to create problems for the double world champion.

"He knows that, at his age, he is extraordinarily lucky to already be with a top team.

"There is no competition between them," Briatore added.  "That would be suicide for Nelsinho; instead, he is there to learn."

Briatore also defended his decision to part with 2007 rookie Heikki Kovalainen after just a single season.

The Italian said that, "to get Fernando, we had to let (Heikki) go.

"Anyway, he went to McLaren, and I thought we had to improve our team relations," Briatore joked.

Read more & Comment...
03/10/08
f1

Ecclestone tells Aussies: Night race or you’re out UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Organizers of the endangered Australian grand prix have offered to run the Melbourne race at 5pm from next year.

The proposed compromise, announced at a news conference on Monday, comes after F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone warned that the only way Albert Park will be featured on the 2010 calendar is if the circuit is fitted with floodlights for a night race.

With a 3.30pm start, Sunday's race is already later than usual, as Ecclestone tries to bolster European television ratings.

A 5pm local start for 2009 will mean a 7am start in Europe, 6am in Britain, and an afternoon start in Asia.

"All this can be achieved without any additional infrastructure costs," said AGPC chairman Ron Walker, already under pressure from the Victorian state government to get the costs of the race under control.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for new Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has denied Ecclestone's claim that the pair recently discussed the future of the grand prix.

"The grand prix is a matter for the Victorian government," he said, as local media speculate that Ecclestone mistook Rudd for Victorian premier John Brumby.

03/09/08 (GMM)  Australia's new prime minister has personally told Bernie Ecclestone that the country will not be funding a night F1 race.

"I've spoken to Kevin Rudd and he's told me it would cost too much to re-stage the race, so I guess that's it.  We won't be going to Australia for too much longer," the F1 chief executive is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

Ecclestone, 77, had already been told by the Melbourne race's promoters, the AGPC and the Victorian state government, that they will not be ceding to his pressure to floodlight the Albert Park circuit at their own expense.

"The only way the race could stay in Melbourne, or anywhere else in Australia, is if it is staged during the night so that the public in Europe can watch it," Ecclestone says.

He says staging the race at night will mean that F1's key audience - television viewers in Europe - no longer need to be up in the dead of the night to watch the first grand prix of the season.

"At the moment, it is ridiculous that people are asked not to sleep in order to see it live.  That can't carry on.  The alternative is to pull the race completely from Australia," Bernie added.

Bernie lays down the law with Australian officials
03/08/08 The Australian Grand Prix was last night threatened with expulsion from the Formula One circuit by Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire boss of the sport, just seven days before the 2008 season gets under way in Melbourne.

Ecclestone, 78, raised the specter of Australia losing its traditional opening race of the F1 season following a clash with the new Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, over transforming Melbourne's big event into a night race to satisfy demands for media coverage from the European market.

"The only way the race could stay in Melbourne, or anywhere else in Australia, is if it is staged during the night so that the public in Europe can watch it," said Ecclestone.

"At the moment, it is ridiculous that people are asked not to sleep in order to see it live. That can't carry on. The alternative is to pull the race completely from Australia. I've spoken to Kevin Rudd and he's told me it would cost too much to re-stage the race, so I guess that's it. We won't be going to Australia for too much longer."

Comment
03/09/08
NASCARSprint

Stewart, Earnhardt blister Goodyear in remarks after Atlanta race
Toyota got its first Sprint Cup victory Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but much of the postrace talk was about another company – Goodyear.

"That was the most pathetic racing tire I've ever been on in my professional career," Tony Stewart said. "They (Goodyear) exited out of Formula 1 ... IRL ... CART ... World of Outlaws ... and there is a reason for that. Goodyear can't built a tire that is worth a crap.

" ... It was ridiculous to have to race on a tire like this. Not at this level of racing. If they can't do anything better than that, they should just pull out of this sport and save us a bunch of headaches. I guarantee you Hoosier or Firestone or somebody can come in and do a better job that what they are doing right now."

Goodyear is the sole supplier of tires for NASCAR's top three series.

"We do the best job that we can with the data set that we have and we bring the safest tires we know how to build," Justin Fantozzi, marketing manager for Goodyear motorsports, said in response to the pos-trace criticism. He declined to respond directly to Stewart's comments.

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03/09/08
motogp

Stoner dominates Qatar night race
Valentino Rossi tries in vain to catch Casey Stoner's Ducati
2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner began his title defense in style with victory in the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar –the first ever MotoGP night race- ahead of Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

“That was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it - it was like being back in 125s!” said the Australian. “The first few laps were really hectic, there were guys bashing fairings and I just tried to stay out of the way. When I got my chance to get through I took it and from there I just focused on setting my pace.”

“Jorge rode brilliantly - it wasn’t an easy race by any means, especially at the start. Over the first few laps I was struggling a bit for grip but then the tires got up to temperature and improved. We knew we had a pretty good package for the race but obviously we couldn’t be sure that things would go as well as that.”

The Ducati Marlboro rider started the race off the front row for the first time in his MotoGP career, chasing a repeat of his debut premier class victory from last year. Stoner didn’t have things all his way in the early going, but held off challenges from some of the favorites for the 2008 crown to win by over five seconds from Lorenzo.

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03/09/08
skip barber
karting

Conor Daly - 2008 season starts with Double/Double
Conor Daly will be busy in 2008. He will compete in the Snap-On Stars of Karting championship in two classes, TaG and the new TaG shifter class. He will also compete in the 14 rounds of the Skip Barber National championship presented by Mazda. Conor is the reigning Stars TaG East champion and won three Skip Barber regional races in 2007. He will again race for the Grand Products Top Kart team .

In addition, he will also take part in an F2000 testing program throughout the season to accelerate his learning of the technical side of race cars. It is anticipated that he will do a minimum of two European car races later in the season.

His season will start off with a Double/Double on the weekend of March 13th – 16th, where he will compete at the Sebring International Raceway in the first two rounds of the Barber National championship on Thursday/Friday. The Skip Barber races will be support events to the 12 hour endurance activities,  a race that Conor’s Dad, Derek Daly, won twice in 1990 and 1991.

On Friday evening he will drive north to Ocala where he will compete in the last two rounds of the Florida Winter Tour on Saturday/Sunday.

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03/09/08
nassprint

No surprise - Goodyear tires causing trouble at Atlanta UPDATE Another Cup race, another Goodyear tire controversy.

Why?

You'd think that after 54 years of partnership with NASCAR, the engineers at Goodyear could go through an entire season without a controversy. Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 is expected to be another long afternoon filled with failed tires and torn up race cars.

The chorus of displeasure about the tires Goodyear has brought to Atlanta for this weekend's race has been loud enough to be heard all the way back to Ohio, home to Goodyear's corporate offices.

"There's no grip and no tires," said points leader Kyle Busch, who was dominating Saturday's Nationwide race, until he fell victim to a failed tire that sent him into the wall.

Cup teams tested with the new car at Atlanta last fall, and even though teams liked the tires and the grip they afforded on the rough Atlanta surface, Goodyear engineers apparently didn't like the way the tires performed.

"I was not pleased at our open house test last fall, and that's why we came back in December," said Justin Fantozzi, a marketing manager for the tire company.

"Now what we have is a right-side tire that's harder for better durability and a left side that has better grip in it." More at Yahoo! Sports

03/09/08 While some Sprint Cup drivers complained about the tires, as is typical at Atlanta Motor Speedway, their concerns were compounded in the Nationwide Series race Saturday afternoon.  Race leader Kyle Busch blew a tire while leading the Nicorette 300. He had led 153 of the first 171 laps. The tires are the same for both Cup and Nationwide.
       
“It does bother me,” Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton said. “Short of slowing down, there is nothing that we can do to keep from having a tire problem unless you are over-cambered. … You can hardly slow down.

“Tires have been an issue at Atlanta for a long time. It continues to be an issue. It’s a real tough challenge for Goodyear. These tires don’t make a lot of grip. I know they brought what they believe to be a really, really tough tire, but there’s so much pressure on it that it’s hard to keep it from breaking. It’s not a good feeling.”

Although nearly all the Cup teams tested at the track in October, Goodyear opted to test different combinations in December. The tires they have this weekend are the result of the December test. The left-side tires are a new construction that Goodyear officials believe will help add grip and will be run at all intermediate tracks. The right-side tires are a tougher tread compound designed for better wear than in the past.
       
“I was not pleased at our open house test last fall, and that’s why we came back in December,” said Goodyear marketing manager Justin Fantozzi prior to the race. “Now what we have is a right-side tire that’s harder for better durability and a left side that has better grip in it. … At the end of the day, we always err on safety.”

Tony Stewart, a Goodyear critic, said Friday he wasn’t pleased with the choice.

“After 10 years of being in the Cup Series, you learn to be highly disappointed with everything that Goodyear does,” Stewart said. More at Scene Daily

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03/09/08
irl

Roger Yasukawa lands ride for Motegi
Roger Yasukawa
Roger Yasukawa will race with Greg Beck Motorsports at Motegi this year via an agreement with Wellman Racing.

The official story at IndyCar.com does not mention Indy, but we hear it may be added.

"Roger and I are excited to partner with Interush and Beck Motorsports for the Indy Japan 300," Wellman Racing owner Derek Wellman said. "With the unification of the IRL and Champ Car World Series, we feel the popularity of the series will only grow stronger and provide sponsors with a greater value proposition."

This team has been added to our 2008 IndyCar Silly Season page.

"When the opportunity presented itself to work with Roger, we jumped at the chance," team owner Greg Beck said. "Roger has proven himself to be a very capable driver and we look forward to giving him the best results possible. Roger and Derek have been working to put a solid program together for several years. Now, with the help of Interush and Phytter, their hard work is paying off."

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03/09/08
automotive

India's Tata interested in Ferrari stake
Indian businessman Ratan Tata would like to buy a stake in Fiat's luxury sports car unit Ferrari, he was quoted as saying in an interview with Italy's L'Espresso weekly news magazine.

Tata has an alliance with Fiat for his India auto operations. He is also a Fiat board member and chairman of automaker Tata Motors .

"I have two passions in my life, cars and aircraft. I have always dreamed of being able to be a fighter pilot. And I confirm the wish to participate in Ferrari's shareholding," Tata told L'Espresso in its latest issue.

"Luca di Montezemolo (both Fiat and Ferrari chairman) has invited me to look around in Italy because his country offers a lot of opportunities in the design and luxury sectors," he said.

Tata said such companies as furniture makers Capellini and Poltrona Frau "offer the possibility of working together, in India and in Italy."

In 2006, Fiat hiked its stake in Ferrari to 85 percent, buying back stakes sold to banks.

As Tata Motors readies itself to buy Ford Motor's luxury British brands Jaguar and Land Rover in the next two weeks, it is preparing the launch of the Nano, a cheap car on the other end of the spectrum for poor Indian families.  EarthTimes.org

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03/09/08
irl
cc

A vote for turbo engine for Indy Car
The turbocharged Panoz Champ Car
I hope Tony George would seriously consider using a V8 turbocharger after looking at the depressing times that Tony Kanaan displayed at Sebring in which he was six mph slower than Alex Figge.  In your article on Jan. 22, 2000, titled "Turbo vs. N/A engines" turbos create more power on road courses plus you can play with the engine HP on a high speed oval track via turbo boost. As you said going to either 1.8L or 1.5L displacement is a good idea since it could make speeds safer on ovals and cutting cost long term, and a small turbo engine is in line with what manufacturers build in passenger cars.

Hopefully this article that you wrote 8 years ago is something that Tony George would consider in making Indy Car an attractive series for the world to see on American soil once again. Because next year A1 Grand Prix and the new Superleague Formula series (which kicks off in August) will have cars that will be faster than the current Indy Car package, which is depressing. Plus after hearing the sound of a Superleague Formula V12 engine, as a former Champ Car fan that's going to miss the sound of the turbocharge engines, I just might tune in to the Superleague Formula after I get sick and tired in listening to the terrible sound of the IRL engines riding around like a slug on road courses.  Alistair Fannell

Indeed, Alistair, if there was one thing positive the IRL could take for the now defunct Champ Car series is the Panoz chassis (beefed up for ovals) and the turbo engine.  From the feedback we have had from fans, they overwhelmingly prefer the Champ Car formula over the current Indy Car formula. One would hope that in 2010, when the IRL comes out with its new car, that it benefits from the excellent car/engine formula that Champ Car had, be it the current 2.65L or a new smaller 1.5L formula.  Let's not forget that the Champ Car broke the Toyota F1 car lap record at Laguna Seca, so the formula has potential to excite the American fans both in terms of speed, looks and sound. Mark C.

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03/09/08
automotive

Chrysler to close California design studio
Chrysler LLC is closing its Pacifica Advance Product Design Center, the studio near San Diego where several key vehicles -- such as the 300 sedan, Dodge Challenger and Pacifica crossover -- took shape in recent years.

All of Chrysler's future design work will take place at Chrysler's headquarters in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit.

"Increasingly, we are leveraging resources worldwide, forming new joint ventures and alliances and consolidating operations in order to better achieve global balance and manage fixed costs. These moves are designed to help Chrysler become a more globally focused manufacturer, with design, engineering, sourcing and a local presence to serve local customers," Chrysler said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many employees would be affected by the closure of the Carlsbad, Calif., studio. More at AutoWeek

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03/09/08
f1

Fifth garage for McLaren
Walking along the main straightaway of the Albert Park circuit here in Melbourne there are certain things that catch your eye, especially as you make your way past the pit garages.

Apart from the equipment present in the Super Aguri garage as previously reported, and the drivers names posted boldly above their respective pits, there is action going on a little further up pitlane as other teams are preparing for the arrival of their cars.

One such flurry of activity is taking place in the fifth slot, that, if going by last year’s championship results, should be housing the Red Bull Racing team.

However, instead it is very obvious that the McLaren team, who finished last in the 2007 championship due to losing all points for their role in the spy affair, will use this position instead, slotting in between the Toyota powered Williams team in P4 and Red Bull, now relegated to P6.

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03/09/08
pf2000

Podlesni Converts Pole into Win in Round 1 at Fontana
Podlesni pulls away
Fontana, Calif. – Robert Podlesni completed the sweep, Pole, Win and Fastest Race Lap to earn maximum points in his return to the Pacific F2000 Series today. The start was somewhat confused when Jeff Westphal’s PR1 Motorsports, TNT Demolition/Cacci Construction Van Diemen refused to fire on the grid and by the time it did, he was more than half a lap behind. This should have left a gap in the outside of the front row. Instead Scott Rarick in his Piper/Fast ward/Red Line Oil Piper DF5 lagged behind Max Hyatt in the PR1 Motorsports, Performance Drink, Van Diemen, creating a single line start with the outside row having a clear run at the green allowing Shaun Modisette, PR1 Motorsports, Carson Trailer’s, Van Diemen to move from fifth to third. The order at the end of the first lap was Podlesni in his Terminal Velocity/Alpinestars Van Diemen for Dave Freitas Racing leading from Hyatt, Modisette, Rarick, Nick Freytag, PR1 Motorsports, G Factory/Sodi Kart Van Diemen, Chuck Hulse, Silicon Salvage Van Diemen, Peter Hansel, Comar Performance Inc., GS610 Maximum Performance Brake Fluid Van Diemen, Ira Fierberg, Dave Freitas Racing, Personal Injury Law/Sparco USA an Diemen, Dave Freitas Racing Teammate Peter Hastrup, Western Building Materials Van Diemen and James Hakewill, Van Diemen in the first ten positions.

Hyatt passed Podlesni for the lead on lap two and Fierberg spun and dropped to fifteenth with only the unlucky Westphal behind him and he began a spirited drive passing five cars to finish in tenth place.

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03/09/08
f1

Hamilton rivals say luck powered F1 rise
(GMM)  Two of Lewis Hamilton's contemporaries and rivals have credited the young Briton's meteoric rise to 2008 title contention to talent and a healthy dose of luck.

22-year-old Nico Rosberg is a highly rated driver for Williams, but he will commence his third formula one season next Sunday without having scored a single podium place.

The German says Briton Hamilton is very talented but admits that his instant success as a McLaren rookie last year was "definitely frustrating".

"He's a bastard!  He sneaked in from behind and jumped ahead of me," Rosberg told the Daily Telegraph.

"But F1 involves luck and chance -- it's a matter of being with the right team at the right moment."

Toyota newcomer Timo Glock, meanwhile, succeeds Hamilton as the reigning GP2 champion, and similarly thinks "timing" played a role in the McLaren driver's highly lauded campaign last year.

"Lewis was just there in the right moment, in the right car," he said in an interview with Reuters.

"He did a good job but in the end it's not one hero doing everything.  It's a team sport.  You have to have the right package and the right timing.

"That's what Lewis had last year," Glock added.

Comment
03/09/08
f1

Super Aguri gear arrives in Australia
(GMM)  Struggling F1 team Super Aguri looks set to take to the grid when the 2008 season gets racing in Australia next weekend.

Some of the formula one freight touched down near Melbourne on Sunday evening and Monday morning and was transported to the Albert Park circuit.

Among the equipment were crates bearing the logo of the Honda-powered team.

Moreover, the newspaper Evening Standard said Anthony Davidson, despite not being officially confirmed as the team's continuing racer, is en route to the southern continent, albeit on an economy flight.

His wife and manager Carrie said: "It's been a difficult winter.  Ant is still awaiting certain assurances from the team."

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03/09/08
f1

Piquet - I don't have to beat Alonso
Nelson Piquet Jr.
(GMM)  Nelson Piquet Jr has denied that his objective for the 2008 season is to beat his teammate.

The Brazilian rookie is paired at Renault with double world champion Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard who last season as a McLaren driver clashed memorably with another newcomer, Lewis Hamilton.

But Piquet plays down the comparison, and also that his situation is similar to Heikki Kovalainen's in 2007, when the Finn was pitted at Renault against the veteran Giancarlo Fisichella.

"With Fernando, this is not a teammate I need to beat -- so there is a bit less pressure than Heikki had last season, when he had a teammate at near the end of his career, Giancarlo Fisichella," Piquet told the Sunday Express.

Piquet, Renault's test driver last year, revealed that Kovalainen was tasked specifically last year to beat Fisichella.

"Flavio wanted him to beat Giancarlo because he thought Heikki was much better than him, and he is, but it just doesn't always happen like that," he said.

Piquet says that, with Alonso in the sister car this year, he is not under similar instructions by team boss Flavio Briatore.

"If I try to fight, push, be in front, wheel-to-wheel for the championship I will get myself lost and make him against me and make everything crazy," he said.

Piquet also blames Alonso's falling out with Hamilton last year on beleaguered McLaren chief, Ron Dennis.

"Fernando had a crazy team boss last year who made crazy decisions, and we have a much more settled guy," he said.

Comment
03/09/08
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE #2 The final TV reminders for Sunday have been added to the schedule below.

03/08/08 The final TV reminders for Saturday have been added to the schedule below.

03/07/08

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Friday
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Practice Atlanta
 
11:00am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
These times don’t correspond with Atlanta Motor Speedway's
site schedule, but they are listed most other places
NASCAR Nationwide Final Practice Atlanta 
1:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice Atlanta 
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
Movie: Born To Run (1993)
4:00pm-6:00pm FOX Movie Channel
NASCAR Live! Atlanta 
4:30pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Atlanta 
5:00pm-6:00pm SPEED
Go or Go Home Atlanta 
6:00pm-6:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Now 
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying Atlanta 
6:30pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
Modern Marvels -Racetrack Tech 
7:00pm-8:00pm (R) History Channel
NASCAR Live! Atlanta 
8:00pm-8:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck American Commercial Lines 200 Atlanta
8:30pm-9:00pm (L) -Pre-race
9:00pm-11:30pm (L) -Race SPEED

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