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DATE News (chronologically)
03/18/11
irl
Basketball legend Bird presents '500' winner's ring to Franchitti  
Dario gets his 2010 Indy 500 winners ring from basketball great Larry bird
Two of the biggest sporting passions in Indiana - basketball and auto racing - blended for a special ceremony March 18 when NBA legend Larry Bird presented Dario Franchitti with his Herff Jones Champion of Champions ring as the winner of the 2010 Indianapolis 500.

Indiana native Bird made the presentation to two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti at the IMS Pavilion at Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers. Bird is the president of basketball operations for the Pacers.

The ceremony united two great champions in their respective sports. More ...

03/18/11
motogp
1, 2, 3 for Repsol Honda on Friday in Qatar  
Casey Stoner
Repsol Honda
Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa maintained the top two spots of the timing sheets in both Free Practice sessions today in Qatar.

They were the only riders to break into the 1'55's in Free Practice 2, completing 17 and 19 laps respectively, followed closely by Andrea Dovizioso in 4th place with a time of 1'56.116. In Free Practice 3, all three Repsol Honda riders achieved times in the 1'55's and occupied the top positions on the time sheets. Stoner ran his fastest time on lap 15 of 16 with a 1'55.035 - breaking his own circuit record of 1'55.153, Pedrosa was a mere sixteen hundredths behind with a lap time of 1'55.193 and 3rd place Dovizioso found his quickest time on his final lap of 18 with a 1'55.740. More ...

03/18/11
nassprint
Goodyear tires junk at Bristol  NASCAR and Goodyear announced a change in tire plans for this weekend's Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Extreme right side tire wear in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup practice on Friday has forced Goodyear to re-evaluate the rubber compound originally planned for the 0.533-mile track this weekend. Nationwide cars will now run the tires used last year at Bristol and a competition caution will come out on lap 25 of Saturday's race for teams to check tire wear.

Sprint Cup Series teams will now use tires originally designated for Fontana and Michigan with Goodyear expected to bring in 1200-1300 tires from a Charlotte-area warehouse later this evening. CBS More ...
03/18/11
gp2a
Romain Grosjean flies to pole position  
Grosjean (center) on pole
Romain Grosjean grabbed last-gasp pole position in the final round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series today at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. With a best lap time of 1:27.067, the Dams driver set the track record on the new configuration.

The Frenchman stole iSport’s Sam Bird’s thunder in the dying seconds of the qualifying session after the Brit looked set for pole position on the ten minute mark. This morning’s pacesetter had slowly moved his way up the timing sheet, and with a best lap time of 1:27.384 set and just minute to spare, he hoped the job was done. But on his final lap, Grosjean put in his best effort and shattered Bird’s dreams of glory, and repeated his Abu Dhabi performance. More ...
03/18/11
ta
RJ Lopez Wins 2011 Trans-Am Opener at Sebring  RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, made it look easy in the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series season opener at Sebring International Raceway with a flag-to-flag victory.

Driving the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette, Lopez swept the event by taking pole, setting the race’s fastest lap and leading every lap en route to his third career Trans-Am victory. He beat Cliff Ebben, from Appleton, Wis., by 13.484 seconds in the 28-lap (103.6-mile) race. The race was slowed once by a full-course caution to move the No. 77 Rotary X-treme/MAZDASPEED/Goodyear Mazda RX-7 driven by Glen Jung, of Osteen, Fla., to a safe location after he punctured a tire. More ...
03/18/11
alms
Win a trip to LeMans and Corvette  Chevrolet, AutoWeek magazine and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n have announced that pre-registration is open for the annual Le Mans Sweepstakes. 

This year, one lucky pair will win a 2012 Chevrolet Grand Sport plus an expense-paid trip for two to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2012. The grand prize includes travel to Le Mans, accommodations in a classic French chateau near the circuit, VIP access to drivers, paddock and garages, and luxury hospitality at the circuit. In addition, the four-day trip will feature guided tours, VIP access to the Parade of Drivers in downtown Le Mans and other exciting benefits surrounding the 79th running of the world’s most famous auto race. 

Fans can visit any of the following sites to preregister for the contest which opens April 15 – americanlemans.com, racetowincorvette.com or autoweek.com. Those who do will receive a link to the official registration site where they can also find the official contest rules. More ...

03/18/11
f1
Pirelli reveals tire colors  (GMM)  Pirelli has finally confirmed it will use different colors to visibly differentiate its tire compounds this season.

We reported in January that the 'Pirelli P Zero' lettering on the sidewall will have a different color per compound for the benefit of the spectators in 2011.

The Italian marque announced to the media on Friday that the hard tire lettering will be silver, white for the medium, yellow for the softs and red for the super-soft.

The intermediate tire letting is light blue, and orange for the full wet. More ...

03/18/11
f1
Kubica to walk in three weeks - hospital  (GMM)  Robert Kubica will be back on his two feet in a few weeks, doctors at his Italian hospital said on Friday.

After Renault team boss Eric Boullier said the Polish driver is "ahead of schedule" with his recovery from horror rally injuries, the Santa Corona hospital in Italy concurred that Kubica's condition "continues to improve".

26-year-old Kubica recently had further surgery to his elbow to restore functionality, and the hospital said rehabilitation to his hand, shoulder and lower limb is also continuing.

"There will now be another period of waiting while the multiple fractures heal," Italian media reports quoted from an official medical bulletin. More ...

03/18/11
nassprint
Driver agent creates own agency, takes some big names  Longtime NASCAR driver agent Rod Moskowitz is spinning off from Motorsports Management International to create his own agency by acquiring the contracts of top drivers Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray. The new agency, which will be known as Fuel Sports Management Group, will be run by Moskowitz, who worked for MMI for 11 years, and former Ray Evernham Motorsports executives Rick Russell and David Jessey. Evernham, who at one time considered buying MMI, will be an adviser and member of the board along with Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler's partner at Happy Madison Productions. MMI founder Cary Agajanian will continue to represent Tony Stewart and work in NASCAR, as well as drifting and other motorsports. He expects to maintain a close relationship with Fuel Sports Management. Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal
03/18/11
fil
Matos back in IndyCar for St. Pete  
Raphael Matos
IndyCar
AFS Racing announced that driver Raphael Matos will be in the driver’s seat of its Honda powered Dallara for the Streets of St. Petersburg IndyCar Race. Matos, the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights, 2007 Formula Atlantic and 2005 Star Mazda Champion, has repeatedly shown himself to be of world-class ability.

"I would like to thank Gary Peterson for giving me another opportunity to drive for him," said Matos. "We had great success in the past. Winning the Firestone Indy Lights championship was the first championship for AFS Racing, so there's some great memories from that time. To have Gary believing in me now, as he brings his team into Indy Cars, is huge for my career and a fabulous sign of his confidence in me. I lost my ride with De Ferran Dragon Racing and my father on the same day. My father was my biggest supporter and I promised myself that from that day on, I was racing for me and for him. I have to say that was a very emotional time for me and still is. More ...

03/18/11
irl
Sato has mind on his homeland of Japan  
Takuma Sato
IndyCar
Takuma Sato's heart was aching, he said, as he climbed from the cockpit of his race car late Tuesday afternoon near Birmingham, Ala.

The IndyCar Series driver had just finished an open test for the KV Racing Technology-Lotus team, clicking off the sixth-fastest lap of the day on the speed charts at Barber Motorsports Park. A great result for the former Formula One driver, but the run wasn't foremost on his mind.

By week's end, Sato hoped to be back in his homeland of Japan, which is in the grip of an ongoing disaster following last week's massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed thousands and has left nuclear power reactors in the country on the verge of a meltdown. More ...

03/18/11
f1
Kobayashi: Japan situation worse than a movie  
Kobayashi
Finally the opening race of the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship is just around the corner – the Australian Grand Prix will take place in Melbourne from the 25th to 27th of March. The Sauber F1 Team completed 15 days of pre-season testing, covering 5,841 kilometers with the new Sauber C30-Ferrari and drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez at the wheel. While the team is busy with preparation work and Mexico can’t wait to see the F1 debut of Sergio Pérez, the eager and happy expectation is clouded by the events in Japan. More ...
03/18/11
alms
Emotion-filled day for Muscle Milk team  The Muscle Milk team had plenty of reasons to be smiling when they left Sebring International Raceway on Thursday night. 

The first being the remarkable fourth place debut of Mark Bullitt in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and the other the heroic feat accomplished by the Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing crew to get back on track following a morning fire on their LMP1 car.

Bullitt impresses on debut
Mark Bullitt made an impressive first appearance with Muscle Milk Team CytoSport in Thursday's IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway by placing fourth in the Platinum class of the series. More ...
03/18/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  
  • Webber has to wait for 2012 contract
    Red Bull 'happy' with Webber but no 2012 talks yet
  • Heidfeld settled in quickly at Renault - Boullier
  • 'Useless' to criticize 'interesting' tires - Domenicali
  • McLaren launches Specialized pro road bike
  • Haug doubts Bahrain GP rescheduled in 2011
  • Brawn pleased with F1's new exhaust era
  • Virgin 'quite a bit' slower than Lotus - Glock
  • Big teams pay parts suppliers more - Gascoyne More ...
03/18/11
irl
nassprint
Danica Patrick and Michael Andretti have agreed in principle ... to not say much  
Danica Patrick
IndyCar
The now two-sport celebrity has one season remaining on a two-year deal with Andretti Autosport and a mutual option for a third. She's in the final season of a two-year contract to race in the NASCAR Nationwide series for JR Motorsports. Team owner Michael Andretti has said about Patrick's next move, but says he has no deadline for re-signing her. While insisting that she's made no decision and is "just about trying to have the best chance to win and be happy," her business team is at least entertaining multiple options, which figures to include IndyCar possibilities with Andretti and other teams, as well as Nationwide and Sprint Cup.

"We're not bound to do anything. (My representatives) can talk to whoever they want," said Patrick, who finished second in IndyCar races twice despite leading just one lap in 2010. "There's no rules on what we can and cannot do." More ...

03/17/11
alms
Audi continues to lead at Sebring  
Tom Kristensen
ALMS
Audi Sport Team Joest continued to lead practice times for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the opening round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. Early in the hour-long afternoon session, Tom Kristensen entered a 1:50.424 (120.626 mph) in the No. 2 Audi R15 that he will share with Allan McNish and Dindo Capello. Romain Dumas waited until the closing minutes to click off a 1:50.538 (120.502 mph) in the sister R15, co-driven by Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller. Kristensen’s lap was only slightly off the fastest time of the day, a 1:49.254 (121.919 mph), which was set by Dumas in the morning session.

Stephane Sarrazin was quickest of the Peugeot Sport Total team in the afternoon session. The Frenchman, who shares the No. 8 Peugeot 908 with Frank Montagny and Pedro Lamy, was third fastest, turning a 1:51.055 (119.941 mph). More ...

03/17/11
irl
alms
Long Beach offers unique VIP opportunities  
Vista Club seating atop the Hyatt
Fred Larimer
If you’re looking for a truly unique way to enjoy the April 15-17 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, time is running short!

Currently, only two premium hospitality locations – the Vista Club and Pit Lane Club - have reservations available.

The Vista Club, located high atop the roof of the 17-story Hyatt Regency Hotel, has an unparalleled view that encompasses the high-speed front straightaway and the beautiful Long Beach waterfront.  The Vista Club, tickets to which can be purchased for all three race days, Friday/Saturday only or Sunday only, features continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments Saturday and Sunday, IZOD IndyCar Paddock access, HDTV and indoor restrooms. More ...

03/17/11
f1
Mercedes explains new 2011 F1 regulations  It's not just the cars that undergo constant development in Formula One. The rules and regulations governing the sport evolve from year to year and 2011 sees major changes introduced to the Sporting and Technical Regulations. Here's our guide to what's changed and what it means...

Additional powers for the stewards Sporting Regulations, Article 16.3
Previously, the stewards' powers to impose penalties after an incident were limited to three options: a drive-through penalty, a ten-second time penalty or a drop of grid position at the next event. These powers have been boosted for the 2011 season to include four more sanctions. * The new penalties are: a time penalty, to be decided at the stewards' discretion; a reprimand; exclusion from the results; or suspension from the next event. More ...
03/17/11
motogp
2011 Qatar MotoGP Free Practice 1  At 19h55 local time, the first session of the 2011 season started at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. This seemed a continuation from the test that took place earlier this week, with conditions almost identical.

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner retained his position at the top of the timing sheets with a time of 1'55.752. More ...

03/17/11
irl
nassprint
Car Swap: So who did better, Dixon or McMurray  “When I drove for Chip Ganassi from 2002 to 2005, honestly I don't think I even saw an Indy car,” said Jamie McMurray, the 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 winner. “Never had the opportunity. When I came back here, I told Chip that if there was ever a chance, I'd really like to drive one of those somewhere.

"I didn't really expect all the media and everyone else to be here on my adventure. I was more wanting to go spend half a day with the team somewhere and really get to test, and see what it's like. But this is a really cool opportunity for me.”

“The whole sitting-with-a-cover-over-you and the seating position, and all the other things that were different in the car, the way the wheel is and how massive it is, all that was fun,” Scott Dixon said. “This place is massive. I spoke before about how Indy is large as well, but I think the sheer size of this and how it's spread out, when you go out there, you feel really lonely by yourself.

"It would have been nice to maybe have a few other cars out here and maybe take the restrictor plate off and see the full power of these kinds of cars on a track like this. I really enjoyed it. It was definitely an eye-opener. It was something I’d love to have a go at again.” More ...

03/17/11
irl
St. Pete street circuit almost ready  Workers were putting the finishing touches on the downtown street course Thursday for next week's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  The event, which runs March 25 to 27, includes racing in several series, highlighted by Sunday's Honda Indy Grand Prix.

But before drivers can start their engines, workers needed to set up the 1.8-mile, 14-turn course, fencing, tents and seating. The route snakes through the downtown waterfront and includes the runway at Albert Whitted Airport.

"Just the view and going down ... the water in the background and just the challenge of this track.  It's very nice," driver Davey Hamilton said. More ...

03/17/11
ta
RJ Lopez Takes First Trans-Am Series Pole at Sebring  RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, drew first blood in the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series this morning by taking his first career Trans-Am pole position in qualifying for Friday’s season-opening round at Sebring International Raceway.

Driving the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette, Lopez blistered the 3.7-mile Sebring circuit with a lap at 2:00.587 (110.459 mph), well in excess of the previous Trans-Am lap record 2:03.885 (107.519 mph) set by Boris Said in 2001. With the pole, Lopez also scored the first championship point of the season.

“It’s just amazing,” Lopez said. “I’ve got to say thank you so much to my uncle, Carlos Lopez, because he’s the one that really put this all together. We weren’t really all that prepared to come here a couple weeks ago and he worked his butt off to get the car down from Illinois and get a whole crew together and all the tools we need and everything. More ...

03/17/11
nassprint
Mars, Incorporated Sweetens Deal With Joe Gibbs Racing  Mars, Incorporated announced today that it is continuing its partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) through a new multi-year deal.  The deal will extend the winning partnership that has brought the No. 18 Toyota to victory lane 14 times since 2008.  The centerpiece of the partnership will continue to be the popular M&M'S® brand as the primary paint scheme on JGR's No. 18 Toyota.

"From connecting with NASCAR fans to engaging our retail partners, our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing has proved to be tremendously successful," explained Debra A. Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer at Mars Chocolate North America. "We're thrilled to extend this partnership and look forward to celebrating more wins both on and off the track." More ...

03/17/11
alms
Dumas and Audi top opening Sebring practice  
Dumas Audi
Monday and Tuesday were considered 'test' sessions.  Romain Dumas laid down the gauntlet for Audi Sport in the opening practice for the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. The flying Frenchman set a best lap of 1:49.253 in one of Audi Sport Team Joest’s Audi R15 Plus prototypes Thursday morning in the lead-up to the season opener for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.

Dumas, driving with fellow Le Mans 24 Hour winners Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller, was 0.784 seconds quicker than Allan McNish in the second factory Audi. McNish, who will drive with Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, had the quickest time until about the 45-minute mark of the hour-long session. The Audis are back at Sebring for the first time since winning the 2009 race in the debut for the R15. More ...

03/17/11
Miscellaneous
World joining AutoRacing1.com  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, it is interesting to see that all the major publications around the world (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, News Corp, Sky News, etc.) are now moving to a subscription based model like you did years ago, especially with the popularity of the iPad and the internet in general.  I guess they finally figured out that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  If people are willing to pay for a subscription for a print publication, why not an online publication?  It takes money to run a publication that is worth reading (less money if you do not have to print on paper and mail it), and giving it away for free is only going to last so long. I just renewed and wanted to say that AutoRacing1 is one of the publications I am willing to pay for and happy to get the news without any trees being destroyed.  Mike Neuman

Thanks Mike, We like to think that we were ahead of our time on the subscription based model idea, though for awhile there we felt like we were swimming upstream.  We have a big announcement coming out in the next month or two that subscribers will enjoy.  Mark C.

03/17/11
alms
Porsche Panamera Turbo Named ALMS Safety Car  
Porsche Panamera
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n used the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Fresh From Florida to unveil the Porsche Panamera Turbo as the official safety vehicle of the series.

Carrying a 4.8-liter, twin turbocharged V8 with 500 horsepower, the Panamera Turbo will be perfectly suited to handle any track situation, including inclement weather, thanks to PDK and PTM active all-wheel drive. With a 0-60 mph time of just four seconds and a top speed of 188 mph, the Panamera Turbo could blend in seamlessly with the ALMS grid. Producing some of the best economy numbers and lowest CO2 emissions in its class, the Panamera even stays true to the Series’ Global Leader in Green Racing message. More ...

03/17/11
wsr
Rain washes out Rossi  
Alexander Rossi
Following a productive test at Aragon Motorland, Spain last week, Alexander Rossi was once again behind the wheel this week for the 2nd collected FR3.5 test with Fortec Motorsport at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, but only for a few frustrating sessions. Torrid rain and changing conditions over both test days meant that the Fortec Motorsport team was not able to make use of the excellent testing track at Barcelona and made little progress into the planned testing program on either day of the test.

Day one provided wet conditions for the whole day, with the quickest lap times coming just after the mid-day break. Fortec and Alexander were caught out by unpredicted down pours and numerous Red Flag situations that punctuated track time. Unfortunately, for numerous reasons, they were unable to log much running in an afternoon marred by hazardous rain conditions. Alexander put in 14 laps and finished the day 3rd overall with a wet time of 1:55.80 seconds, just 0.48 off the quickest time. More ...

03/17/11
irl
IndyCar on new channel in Australia  SPEED, Australia's only dedicated 24-hour motorsports channel, welcomes the world-renowned IndyCar series to its rapidly-expanding programming stable after announcing a two-year broadcast agreement today.

The American-based open-wheel racing series is staged over eight months across 13 different venues in the US and includes a handful of international events in Canada, Brazil and Japan.

The series is contest by 15 teams and features two prominent Australian drivers, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power. More ...

03/17/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday  
  • Bernie Ecclestone always in some hot water
    Ecclestone to be questioned in bribery probe
  • FIA seeks to solve Chinese F1 visa issue
  • Ecclestone to push for less teams in new F1 deal
  • Pirelli wants de la Rosa for one last test
  • 2011 Pirelli tire development important - Marko
  • Kobayashi cool, Vettel not says Sauber sponsor
  • Toyota gifts Zonta 2004 F1 car
  • McLaren has least reliable car for 2011
  • Mercedes to be 'big surprise' of 2011 - Soucek
  • Soucek rules out third driver role with small team
  • Minister says gov't to be tough in next Aus GP talks
  • Ecclestone to fight Todt over 2013 engines
  • Spa future secure after Shell naming deal  More ...
03/17/11
track news
MIS tunnel project to improve infield access  
MIS tunnel construction
Accessing the infield at Michigan International Speedway with a pre-race pit pass or infield wristband just got easier with the second phase of a construction project to widen the pedestrian tunnel under the racetrack under way.

The tunnel was lengthened in 2009 when MIS built its new Pit Road Suite building, extending the then tunnel to the reserved parking lot behind the $17 million building. The previous tunnel popped up in the middle of the tri-oval (the grass section inside the track), making it impossible for fans to use while race cars were on the track.

To get the tunnel up to code, the extension had to be much wider than the existing tunnel.

Now, crews are widening and reshaping the tunnel so it’s easier for fans to navigate. More ...

03/17/11
irl
Video: 2011 IndyCar Barber Test Interviews  Listen to interviews from IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Helio, Danica, Graham, Dario, Dixon and Will as they discuss the 2011 pre-season open test at Barber Motorsports Park.

03/17/11
f1
Aerial photograph shows Austin Formula 1 construction  
constructionlabeled.jpg
Richard Suttle Jr., an Austin attorney who has been representing the organizers of a planned Formula One circuit being built southeast of Austin, recently took this photo of construction at the site from his personal aircraft.

The shot, taken from the west and looking east, shows where crews have been grading the site along F.M. 812, which is on the right of the photo. North on the photo has been approximated.

The layout for the track has been cleared, Suttle said Tuesday.

Click here to see a conceptual master plan of the site.

Work at the site began in late December but has ramped up in the recent weeks. Organizers say they plan to have the site ready for a Grand Prix by June of 2012, though a date for the Austin race will be announced late this year. The Statesman

03/17/11
f1
Historic F1 Cars Return to the 2011 Canadian GP  
Mario Andretti in the Lotus 79 in Montreal in 1978
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
Due to the tremendous success of the vintage Formula 1 cars with the fans at last year's Canadian Grand Prix, organizers have decided to renew the invitation to the owners-drivers of Historic Grand Prix for the upcoming June 10, 11 & 12 event. The group responded with enthusiasm to the invitation sent by Octane Racing Group, the promoters of the Grand Prix, by announcing that a McLaren M-26 driven in 1977 by James Hunt and the 1978 Championship winning Mario Andretti Lotus 79 will be competing in Montreal for the first time in the Historic Grand Prix race. More than 30 of these iconic cars will compete on track and spectators will also be able to see them up close in the open paddocks located in the east section of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. More ...
03/16/11
ta
Tony Ave Leads Opening Trans-Am Practice at Sebring  Defending SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series champion Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., picked up where he left off last season in today’s opening practice session of the 2011 season at Sebring International Raceway by posting the quickest time in the session.

Ave logged a best lap at 2:03.046 (108.252 mph) in the No. 4 Lamers Racing/McMahon Group/Optech/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette to head a list of 18 competitors who took time in the session. Ave’s lap was quicker than Boris Said’s Trans-Am track record of 2:03.885 (107.519 mph) set in 2001, the last Trans-Am event at the Central Florida road circuit prior to this week. More ...

03/16/11
fil
Sam Schmidt Motorsports makes a strong statement  If Sam Schmidt Motorsports wanted to make a statement entering the season-opening Firestone Indy Lights race next week, it accomplished that goal.

Josef Newgarden, who will drive the No. 11 car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, led the Firestone Indy Lights Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park with a lap of 1:15.6711 on the 2.38-mile road course. Newgarden topped both sessions, while his teammates, Esteban Guerrieri (No. 7 car) and Victor Carbone (No. 3 car) were second and third on the timesheets, respectively in the afternoon session. More ...

03/16/11
alms
New age of ALMS broadcast distribution begins Friday  The 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be a momentous weekend for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n on several fronts. Not only will ALMS welcome a capacity grid for its 2011 season opener and opening round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, but the Series will debut its ground-breaking TV and digital package with ABC and ESPN.

The new package makes its debut this Friday, March 18, at 2:55 p.m. (ET), with qualifying for the 12 Hours of Sebring broadcast live on ESPN3.com. Live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race begins at 10:15 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, March 19, and includes 15-minute pre- and post-race shows. ABC’s coverage of America’s great sports car race will air Sunday, March 20, from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. (ET). ESPN2 will air an encore presentation March 22.

Announced in January, the ALMS’ new partnership with the worldwide leader in sports broadcasting features more than 62 hours of programming in 2011. All nine races, plus qualifying sessions, will be broadcast live and in their entirety on ESPN3.com. Four of those races (Sebring, Road America, Baltimore and Petit Le Mans) will then air on ABC and five (Long Beach, Lime Rock Park, Mosport, Mid-Ohio and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca) will air on ESPN2. All ABC race programs will receive encore presentations on ESPN2 as well. More ...
03/16/11
f1
Interview with Mercedes' Michael Schumacher  
Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher embarks on the second year of his Formula 1 comeback with Mercedes GP this season, with the 42-year-old aiming to improve on his 9th place finish in the championship in 2010. With focus turning to the first race in Australia, Schumacher’s mind is set on fighting for podium finishes and race victories.

What's your verdict on the team’s winter testing program?

My feeling is a good one. The team has been working very hard over the winter to shape our car in all of the areas which had been identified by us as needing improvement. The data I have seen over the winter had been quite encouraging, but then we all know that the realities of data and the race track can be quite different.  More ...
03/16/11
fil
Wilson to compete in Firestone Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport  Andretti Autosport announced today it has signed Stefan Wilson to the team's 2011 Firestone Indy Lights lineup. 

Wilson, a 21-year-old driver from Sheffield, England, previously competed in two Firestone Indy Lights seasons. He most recently earned three top-five finishes, including one podium finish, in 11 starts in 2010. 

Wilson is the younger brother of IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson. Stefan began racing karts at the age of nine and competed nationally and internationally for several years before launching his single-seater career. 2007 brought Wilson much success, finishing second in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship, recording four wins, four poles, six fastest laps and two outright lap records. In 2007 at age 17, he also beat five other competitors to become the youngest recipient of the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award. More ...

03/16/11
alms
BMW Team RLL ready for 2011 season  Saturday, March 19th marks the start of the new campaign for BMW Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL). BMW Team RLL will field two newly constructed BMW M3 GT cars in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) this season.

The 12 Hours of Sebring (US) at "Sebring International Raceway" traditionally provides the stage for the curtain-raiser to this popular endurance championship. The Bobby Rahal (US) led team is focused on continuing last season's success. In 2010, BMW Team RLL won both the Team and Manufacturer titles in the GT class with BMW M3 GT2 cars.

At the same time, Sebring will also see the first points awarded in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), in which BMW Motorsport will once again be competing this year. BMW Team Schnitzer will be responsible for the fielding two BMW M3 GT cars at the European rounds of the ILMC, which include the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours (FR), as well as the season finale in China. More ...
03/16/11
automotive
BMW announces three two-car teams for 2012 DTM series  Touring car racing fans are eagerly anticipating the return of BMW to the DTM series. The Bavarian automaker last competed in DTM (or its progenitors, anyway) a whopping 18 years ago, but late last year announced it would return to the German touring car series in 2012. Now it has revealed the means to that end.

Rather than field its own entries, BMW will be supplying the vehicles and factory support for three independent teams: BMW Team RBM, BMW Team Schnitzer and Reinhold Motorsport GmbH. Both RBM and Schnitzer have a longstanding relationship with BMW Motorsport, while Reinhold is a completely new outfit. Each of the teams will be fielding two of the new M3 DTMs that are currently under development. More ...

03/16/11
automotive
Consumers Moving to Fuel-efficient 4-Cylinder Engines  Consumer demand for fuel efficiency and advancements in engine technology have moved four-cylinder models to the top of consumers’ shopping lists.

In 2007, four-cylinder models represented 23 percent of Chevrolet retail sales in the United States, less than either V-6 or V-8 equipped models. So far this year that number has increased to 46 percent, making fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines the top choice in the Chevrolet lineup.

“Chevrolet’s investment in advanced engine technology is reflected in the increased popularity of our four-cylinder models,” said Rick Scheidt, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet. “These technologies offer the performance and refinement drivers expect from Chevy in smaller engines that deliver the fuel efficiency they want.” More ...

03/16/11
Automotive
Japanese car supply dwindles  Automotive dealers in some parts of the United States are running low on hybrids and other fuel-efficient Japanese cars as rising gas prices and uncertainty about future supplies from factories in quake-shattered Japan have stoked demand.

Concerns already are evident in the biggest U.S. markets for Japanese cars, along the East and West coasts. "I'm getting 30 to 40 requests a day for (Toyota) Priuses," compared with five to 10 a day a month ago, said Dianne Whitmire, fleet director at Carson Toyota in Carson, Calif., near Los Angeles.

She attributes the jump mainly to a spike in fuel prices, to more than $4 a gallon in California, in early March. But since Friday's earthquake, she's hearing from people as far away as northern California and San Diego. "People are scrambling for Priuses." More ...

03/16/11
irl
Rideless Raphael Matos launches new website  IZOD IndyCar driver Raphael Matos is proud to announce the launch of his newly designed website, www.RafaMatos.com.  Working with Autosports Media Group, the 2009 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year’s new site will give fans a streamlined design while also providing up-to-date information on the popular driver in a user-friendly format.  Photo galleries, videos, in-car footage, press announcements and social media integration are featured in the new design.

“I'm excited about this website,” expressed Matos. “It will be a good way for me to explore more of my image and try to give my fans, and racing fans in general, a good view of what I'm doing. Interaction with my fan base was key to the new design.” More ...

03/16/11
irl
Hinchcliffe continues to impress, but can he land ride?  
James Hinchcliffe
While Canadian James Hinchcliffe has yet to conclude a deal to compete in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series, the rookie once again impressed in the final day of pre-season testing on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park.  The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights Runner-up, driving the No.06 Newman/Haas Racing entry, ended the day seventh fastest, comfortably nestled between veteran race winners and IndyCar Champions.

Impressive on Monday, where he set the fifth fastest time of the day, James was again amongst the pacesetters on Tuesday when track action finally commenced after a weather delay.  In the shortened morning session the Toronto-born racer recorded 19 laps around the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park permanent road course.  Fourth fastest, and top rookie, James was only beaten on the lap charts by the Team Penske trio of Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves - Power having been the fastest driver throughout Monday's sessions. More ...
03/16/11
Racing News
Racing For Cancer  

50% of every new 1-year or 2-year subscription or renewal between now and the St. Pete IndyCar race will be donated to Racing for Cancer.  Enter Race4C or R4C in the discount code field when subscribing or renewing and we will donate.
03/16/11
irl
Bernard pans Tracy  UPDATE
Randy Bernard had to clarify on Tuesday
"Why would he (Bernard) say I don't sell tickets?" Tracy said to SPEEDTV.com. "I think I sell a helluva lot more tickets than a lot of his drivers. I know Honda of Canada believes it.  Randy better hope I've got a ride in Toronto or that place will be empty."

"I didn't bring Paul's name up--one of the reporters did, and maybe I didn't say it right and it was my fault," Bernard back stepped to SPEEDTV.com on Tuesday. "But I was simply trying to point out how tough it's been getting people to attend or watch our season finale. We're the best kept secret in sports and it's my job to bring excitement, produce good TV shows that drives up our ratings and fill the seats.

"But I want to clarify that I think PT is a great ambassador for our sport. His out-going personality is exactly what I've been talking about and I've tried to help him find sponsorship and will continue to. I want him in our series."

03/15/11 When asked about the season finale in Las Vegas on Oct. 16th where he's offering any non-Indy car driver $5 million for a victory, IndyCar boss Randy Bernard was told that Tracy and some other drivers didn't like the idea of offering a big pay day when some stars are still without rides for 2011.

"I'd like to say, 'Paul, if you could sell the tickets, I wouldn't have to do this,'" Bernard said to a group of reporters covering INDYCAR sprint training here at Barber Motorsports Park on Monday. "But our drivers have not been able to create the credibility they need. It's not because they don't have the talent, it's because there's been no emotional attachment to our fan base. We have to bring that back." TSN.ca

03/16/11
nassprint
Trevor Bayne talks about what Bristol means to him  
Trevor Bayne with childhood hero Jeff Gordon
Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion, will be making his second Homecoming in three weeks as he heads to Bristol, TN, for this weekend’s Jeff Byrd 500.  Bayne was in his hometown of Knoxville shortly after winning last month’s Daytona 500 and while he’s been going to Bristol since the age of five, this will mark his first time driving a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car.  He spoke to Ford Racing recently about what this weekend means to him.

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion – HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN GOING TO RACES AT BRISTOL?  “I’ve been going there since I was in kindergarten.  I was five years old and I’d get out of school early to go up there and watch and hang out, so that’s definitely a special place for me.  That was actually the first place I ever went to a NASCAR race.” More ...

03/16/11
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Are McLaren's goofy sidepods to blame for it being slow?
    May deadline still in place for now - FIA
  • New McLaren a second too slow - Hamilton
  • Valsecchi to drive Lotus in Australia, Malaysia
  • Australia 'as important as Monaco' - Ecclestone
  • Todt wants changes to improve driver identification
  • Karthikeyan not worried about 2011 qualifying rule
  • Overtaking wing system not confusing - Whiting
  • Mitsubishi Electric becomes Technical Partner of the Sauber F1 More ...
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