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Arena Jamm at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
The roar of cars speeding around the race circuit will have some sound level competition April 16-18 at the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach: the rockin' music of Arena Jamm!

New to race weekend, Arena Jamm will feature a virtual "who's who" of the best local rock bands performing almost non-stop all weekend in the Long Beach Convention Center Arena as part of the race's Lifestyle Expo.

The Arena Jamm bands will each perform half-hour sets according to the current following schedule (subject to change): 

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GM to make 2nd big loan payment
In keeping with our commitments to the U.S. and Canadian and Ontario taxpayers, GM plans to make its second quarterly loan payment of approximately $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $192 million (USD) to Export Development Canada on March 31.

While we have more work to do, GM is building high-quality, award-winning vehicles, our direction is clear and our plan is working.  Given the progress the company is making, GM has every confidence that the remainder of the loans will be paid in full by June 2010; five years ahead of schedule.


Honda to sponsor Edmonton IndyCar race
Northlands is pleased to welcome Honda Canada on board as the title sponsor for the 2010 Honda Indy Edmonton, July 23-25. The announcement was made earlier today at a media conference attended by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, Northlands President Ken Knowles, and Honda Canada Inc. Executive Vice-President Jerry Chenkin.

“Northlands is very pleased to welcome a national sponsorship partner like Honda Canada as the title sponsor for the 2010 Honda Indy Edmonton,” said Ken Knowles, Northlands President. “Honda Canada is a national leader in supporting innovation and community involvement in motor sports across Canada. As one of Edmonton’s leading international sporting events and tourism destinations, the 2010 Honda Indy Edmonton will provide an incredible international platform to showcase this new sponsor partnership.”

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Jan Heylen to run Indy Lights
Jan Heylen
willing to drive anything to advance his career....TDI Cup, karts, A1GP, Superleague, and now Indy Lights.
This Sunday, Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup chief driving instructor, Jan Heylen, will be hitting the streets of St. Petersburg in order to compete in the season-opening event for the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Heylen has completed a single-race deal with Team E Racing, 2008 Indy Lights “New Team of the Year,” to make his Series debut as he pilots the No. 17 machine around the

1.8-mile temporary street course in south Florida.

“Team E Racing is thrilled to have a veteran driver like Jan Heylen in the car this weekend at the St Petersburg Grand Prix,” said Neil Enerson, Owner of Team E Racing.  “Jan is a true professional.  Should Team E acquire the sponsorship to run the entire season, Jan is a definite contender for the Championship title.  We are very short on time but hope to find a partner to allow us to compete the entire 2010 season.”

Heylen tested with Team E Racing this past February in an Indy Lights Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., where he recorded the fifth quickest lap in just his first time behind the wheel of an Indy Lights car. Prior to that test, the 2007 season marks the last time Heylen competed in an open-wheel car, when he fulfilled driving duties for Conquest Racing in two events in the Champ Car World Series.  That year, Heylen would earn a second-place finish at Assen, Holland, which was Conquest Racing’s best-ever result.  In 2006, Heylon drove for Dale Coyne Racing and earned a season-best fifth-place finish in Cleveland.

“This is a great opportunity that Neil Enerson and Team E Racing has extended to me and I am looking forward to getting back in the cockpit of an open-wheel racecar,” said Heylen.  “It has been almost three years since my last open-wheel race, so I am expecting that it will take me a few laps to get my footing again.  I certainly wouldn’t have been able to make this happen without people behind the scenes pushing me.  I have to thank in advance Volkswagen Motorsport USA, Oakley and PHR and I look forward to bringing home a victory for everyone.”

When not pursuing his own racing career, which has included Championship wins in the former Renault Eurocup and British Formula Ford Festival and a stint in the Champ Car World Series, Heylen serves as the chief driving instructor for the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series. He is also the lead testing and development driver for the Series. The Series’ 2010 season-opener will be held at VIRginia International Raceway on April 24th.


Record ALMS LBGP entry list
One of the largest fields for any event in the 36-year history of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take to the famed southern California street circuit for the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. Thirty-five cars will compete in the second round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n championship.

The field for Long Beach is the largest for a standard-length race in the Series since 2003 and is also the biggest at the circuit for the Series since its first race there in 2007.

“We were blessed with a fantastic field of world-class competitors at Sebring, and they certainly did not disappoint,” said Scott Atherton, Series President and CEO. “As we move on to the biggest and most strategic market for our series – southern California – we have been overwhelmed by entries, both the quantity and quality. There is no question we will have a record-breaking field for our fourth-annual event through the streets of Long Beach. I am confident that the tens of thousands of spectators in attendance at America’s premier street race will witness a great race among the world’s best sports cars, teams and drivers.”

The Series’ fourth consecutive visit to the 11-turn, 1.968-mile historic Long Beach track will boast a number of new features. First and foremost is the debut of the Series’ combined LMP class. Five separate marques will fight for overall victory – Aston Martin, Lola, Mazda and Porsche. Adding to the mix is the inclusion of two exotic closed-top prototypes: Drayson Racing’s E85-powered Lola-Judd and Aston Martin Racing’s Lola-Aston Martin with its screaming V12 production-based engine.

Another new addition to Long Beach is the first-year LMP Challenge class featuring ORECA’s FLM09 prototype. Seven FLM09s are entered after a successful opening race last weekend at the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, where the ORECA-built racers passed their debut with flying colors.

Among the highlights on the entry list are two cars for Level 5 Motorsports, the class winner at Sebring, and G-Oli’s Green Earth Team Gunnar. There is one new entry – PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports for prototype expert Johnny Mowlem and Tom Papdopoulos.

The GT class is its usual spectacular self – double-digit entries representing six manufacturers (BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar and Porsche). Risi Competizione’s duo of Jaime Melo and Gimmi Bruni enter as the championship leaders after another Sebring victory for the Ferrari F430 GT. Of course the list of challengers is extensive including Corvette Racing’s two Corvette C6.Rs (making their first Long Beach start in the class), JaguarRSR’s Jaguar XKRS and two cars each for BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team (second and third in class at Sebring) and defending Series and race champion Flying Lizard Motorsports.

A nine-car field for the GT Challenge class will be part of the Long Beach grid with new additions from 911 Design (Loren Beggs/Doug Baron) and Black Swan Racing (Tim Pappas/Jeroen Bleekemolen). Sebring class-winner Alex Job Racing leads the GTC contingent with three cars – one ounder the Car Amigo-Alex Job Racing banner.

The Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach is the second round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The race, set at the historic Long Beach street circuit, is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 15 with coverage on SPEED set for 8 to 10 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche – a production of Radio Show Limited – as well as Sirius and XM. Visit the Series’ schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at www.americanlemans.com.

tv news

NASCAR 50-Win Club Members on SPEED
Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jimmie Johnson will be joined by fellow members of the “50-win” club for a special two-part discussion on NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET) hosted by veteran broadcaster Ken Squier. Johnson, who won the 50th Cup Series race of his career last week at Bristol, will be joined by two-time champion Ned Jarrett (1961, ’65) and legendary driver/owner Junior Johnson, a member of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

At 50 wins, the three drivers are tied for 10th on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win list.

(Jimmie) is a great race driver,” said Junior Johnson earlier this week in an interview for SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub. “He’s putting down incredible records and I think he’ll go a lot farther than he is at right now … I wouldn’t right this day rank him with guys like Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt or David Pearson, but I am sure if he keeps on going, he’ll be there.

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Colombian Chavez impresses in F3
Gabby Chavez
Young Colombian Gabby Chaves made a strong first impression in the Italian Formula 3 Championship this week (March 22-23) with a standout performance in testing at the Autodromo di Vallelunga, located just outside Rome. The Eurointernational rookie was among the leaders in both days of action, posting times on par with series veterans despite having never previously seen the track or having run the new Mygale    M-10 chassis in race trim.

In preparation for his inaugural season European junior formula car competition, Chaves and the Eurointernational team traveled to the Autodromo di Vallelunga to take part in a collective private test, which featured the leading teams in the Italian Formula 3 Championship. The highly-rated American teenager, going head-to-head against drivers with a great deal more experience, immediately made his presence felt. Chaves quickly came to grips with his EuroInternational prepared Mygale M-10 chassis and the spec Kumho racing slicks, which were being utilized by all the teams for the first time during the two-day test. Chaves impressive first run in full race trim resulted in the second fastest time of the day (1:30.315), less than four tenths of a second off the quickest time.

Returning to the 2.538-mile road course one day later – the track which will host Rounds 11 and 12 of the series, Chaves continued his impressive run of form. Despite being a single-car effort, the reigning Formula BMW Americas champion was regularly able to match or better those racers with previous series experience driving for leading multi-car squads. Showcasing his intentions to challenge for not only race wins in his rookie season, but also the championship title, Chaves ended the morning session P1 and finished the afternoon session with the fifth best overall time, only five tenths behind the leader.

“I am feeling more and more comfortable with the car and the developing of this new Mygale- M10,” stated Chaves. “Everything is going great so far. I have adjusted to these new tracks well and we will keep improving.”

Chaves and the Eurointernational now returns to its San Pietro Mosezzo base of operations – just outside of Milan – to continue preparations for the 2010 Italian Formula 3 Championship. The American standout is scheduled to take part in official series testing at the Misano World Circuit on April 13-14, prior to the season getting underway at the same facility on April 24-25.

Additional information on Gabby Chaves can be obtained from his website @ www.GabbyChaves.com . For direct contact, please contact Gabriel Chaves at goschaves@yahoo.com

About Gabby Chaves:

Widely considered one the premier up-and-coming drivers in the junior formula car ranks, Chaves has made a name for himself by winning races and challenging for championship titles. The American first got behind the wheel of a race car at the age of 13, winning a Skip Barber Racing Shoot-out scholarship. In his first full-season of competition, the former Easy Kart, Stars of Karting and Florida Winter Tour champion captured the Colombian Grand Prix Formula Renault 2000 title and finished as the series runner-up in the Skip Barber Eastern Regional Series. Building on this success, Chaves went undefeated in the 2006-07 Skip Barber Regional Southern Series, winning all 10 races. The teenager continued his winning ways one year later, extending his Skip Barber Racing victory streak to 17 consecutive victories, leading the Skip Barber National Series before making the switch to Formula BMW Pacific competition. Last year, Chaves returned to the top of the championship charts, winning the final Formula BMW Americas title with five wins and podium finishes in every race. In 2010, Chaves will race full-time in Europe, competing in the Italian F3 Championship. The young American is also a candidate for the USF1 junior program.


Office Depot and Tony Stewart fight against cancer
Office Depot and NASCAR star Tony Stewart have joined in the race to beat cancer and you can, too!

Now through April 11, the Office Depot Foundation will match every donation made to City of Hope – one of the nation’s leading cancer research and treatment centers – dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.

Please visit www.cityofhope.org/fightcancer to learn more or donate today.


Buemi's bad lunch, and thirsty F1 engines
(GMM)  Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi's preparation for the Australian grand prix was less than ideal.  The Swiss youngster travelled to Milton Keynes to use the Red Bull simulator last week, but after eating a hamburger instead spent the afternoon vomiting.


Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel on Thursday played down paddock rumors about the fuel efficiency of their respective title-contending engines.  With some believing Red Bull driver Vettel's Renault needs to consume 6-10kg less fuel per race than Alonso's Ferrari, the latter Spaniard dismissed it as a mere "rumor".  When also asked about the rumor by reporters, German Vettel answered: "Are we lighter than Ferrari?  No idea."


Force India also close to McLaren-style concept
(GMM)  Like Sauber, it is believed Force India is also close to finishing an 'f-duct' air inlet system similar to the controversial one cleared to race this year on McLaren's 2010 car.

"I hope that they don't see quite as much lap time performance as we believe we get from it," said McLaren's chief engineer Phil Prew, ahead of Friday practice in Melbourne, during which Sauber is expected to test its prototype system.

"It was inevitable," he added when asked about the copies.

"Hopefully we will be able to continue developing it and further exploit it one step ahead of the rest."


New parc ferme process to stay in 2010
(GMM)  After a successful trial in Bahrain, the FIA will go ahead with a new parc ferme routine for the whole of the 2010 season.

Because the field is now bigger than in 2009, the governing body decided to cease the practice of locking all the cars away in a single location between qualifying on Saturday until race-day morning.

Instead, teams can now leave their cars in their own garages, albeit still under strict 'parc ferme' conditions.

It now involves placing a flyscreen-style cover featuring special locks over the cars, which are then monitored by sophisticated overhead cameras.

In the dead of night, the cameras trigger alarms when movement is detected in the garages, and higher resolution is then activated for the FIA video inspectors.


Vettel scoffs at Dennis' 'low fuel' theory
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel on Thursday scoffed at Ron Dennis' suggestion that Red Bull did not tell the truth about its problem in the Bahrain season opener two weeks ago.

Having initially said a failed exhaust was the reason for the German's slowed pace, the team later clarified that it was in fact a spark plug problem.

But Dennis, the former McLaren team boss and ongoing chairman of the Woking based group, speculated last week that Vettel may actually have been running low on fuel.

"Maybe Ron Dennis wanted to attract attention with his theory, because otherwise no one asks for his opinion anymore," Vettel, 22, is quoted as saying from Melbourne by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

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Hendrick team, most valuable team in sports at $350Mil
Forbe's reports that the average NASCXAR Sprint Cup team generated $92 million in revenue last year, a drop of 4%. Teams were hurt by a 19% decline in Nascar licensing revenue. Total retail sales of licensed merchandise were $1.63 billion in 2009 compared to $2 billion the prior year, according to License Global magazine.

The economic downturn and a saturated licensing market helped spur the decline. Another factor was the near bankruptcy of leading Nascar merchandise company Motorsports Authentics. Despite the revenue drop, the average operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the top teams was flat at $7 million. Teams have trimmed budgets by reducing head count, tracking inventory more closely and cutting travel budgets. One area that has not yet been affected is driver salaries--but those cuts will come once contracts start to expire.

NASCAR's top team remains Hendrick Motorsports worth $350 million, the same as last year. They are the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and Manchester United rolled into one. They dominate on and off the track with the best drivers (home to the top three finishers in the 2009 Sprint Cup) and the most popular racers (three of the four best-selling drivers for licensed merchandise). Hendrick Motorsports is worth 47% more than the second most valuable team, Roush Fenway Racing. The gap in value between the two top teams is similar to baseball with the Yankees (64% more valuable than the Mets) and ManU in soccer (38% more than Real Madrid).

Hendrick is the sports leader when it comes to sponsorship revenues, thanks to the success and popularity of its drivers. Its four cars generate an estimated $115 million in sponsorship revenue annually from the likes of DuPont, Go Daddy, Lowe's, the National Guard and PepsiCo. Hendrick cars have the highest budgets in Nascar, but the huge sponsorship haul allowed Hendrick to turn an operating profit of $20 million last year, the highest in the sport. The value of Stewart-Haas has risen 23% to $98 million, which ranks seventh overall. It is one of only three teams to see an increase in value over last year.

Top NASCAR Teams:

No. 1: Hendrick Motorsports, Current value: $350 million, One-year value change: none
No. 2: Roush Fenway Racing, Current value: $238 million, One-year value change: -12%
No. 3: Richard Childress Racing, Current value: $153 million, One-year value change: -8%
No. 4: Joe Gibbs Racing, Current value: $144 million, One-year value change: none
No. 5: Richard Petty Motorsports, Current value: $124 million, One-year value change: -6%
No. 6: Penske Racing, Current value: $110 million, One-year value change: -1%
No. 7: Stewart-Haas Racing, Current value: $98 million, One-year value change: 23%
No. 8: Michael Waltrip Racing, Current value: $88 million, One-year value change: -12%
No. 9: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Current value: $71 million, One-year value change: 1%
No. 10: Red Bull Racing Team, Current value: $59 million, One-year value change: 7%


Fuel tank not big enough for Virgin to finish races
(GMM)  Virgin has been given a green light by the FIA to make a substantial change to its 2010 chassis.

Although the chassis is homologated for cost reasons and therefore not able to be modified, it has emerged that the new British team discovered that the fuel tank in the VR-01 car is not big enough.

In fact, with normal engine settings, the Cosworth-powered car - if sufficiently reliable - currently would not make it to the end of a race, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

It is believed Virgin has been permitted to make the change, which will not be ready for a few more events, on the grounds of the 'cost or reliability' test.

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Australian GP: Thursday Press Conference

DRIVERS: Vitaly Petrov (Renault), Bruno SENNA (HRT), Jarno TRULLI (Lotus), Mark Webber (Red Bull)


Q: Bruno, how tough was Bahrain?

Bruno SENNA: It was a pretty big challenge. The team arrived there with no previous preparation and everything had to be done there and we struggled a little bit. We couldn't learn from previous experience, so we had to do everything on the few laps we had and it didn't make our lives easy but the team still did a pretty amazing job to be there and get both cars on the grid.

Q: What has been happening since then to the team?

Senna: Obviously there is a big check list of things that need to be changed. With no testing and no time to test between the first two races there are no big changes, a few changes but not enough. But we hope that by Europe we can have some updates, some new things on the car, which will improve performance and reliability.

Q: It is a massive learning curve for you and the team. Lotus at least have experienced drivers.

Senna: I think both for the new teams and the new drivers it is very important to get some miles of testing. It would be great for us if we could test a little bit when we get to Europe after the first races as we could take many of the kinks, the very basic things that we could have been able to sort out with a few miles of testing, get them sorted out, and I believe that it would make everyone's live much better, both the new teams and the current teams considering that these guys have to overtake us a few more times than necessary if we were a bit quicker and more prepared.

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Boy Scouts of America U.S. Indy Car Launch
With the IZOD Indy Car® Series returning from Brazil for the first domestic race of the season, Dale Coyne Racing and the Boy Scouts of America begin their year long trail of engagement with America’s youth.

This weekend, March 26- 28, the Boy Scouts of America #19 Indy Car will debut on American soil at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. 

“This marks the beginning of an exciting series of planned activities both on and off the track for our nearly 3 million Scouts,” commented Chief Scouting Executive Robert Mazzuca.  “It’s great to see the local councils get involved with this exciting and technologically advanced marketing venture for the Boy Scouts of America.”

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Schuey and Bridgestone talk about green cars
Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher has helped underline Bridgestone’s commitment to the FIA’s Make Cars Green program at an event held in collaboration with the Australian Automobile Association at the RACV City Club in Melbourne today (Thursday March 25th 2010).

Bridgestone is a strong supporter of the FIA's global initiative, which educates and encourages motorists to think green before they drive to reduce the impact of cars on the environment.

Schumacher, who is making his Formula One comeback in 2010 with the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team, used today’s Bridgestone media event to speak about some of the practical applications of Make Cars Green.

“We are delighted to have had Michael with us in Melbourne today to help promote the Make Cars Green program,” said Andrew Moffatt, Bridgestone Australia Ltd Senior Executive Director.

“Evidence of our global support of the Make Cars Green program can be seen on our Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tires, every one of which has a bright green band to symbolize our support.

“Here in Australia, we recently launched Bridgestone Ecopia which utilizes our low-rolling resistance tire technology to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

“This product has been an important milestone in our ongoing campaign to educate Australian motorists about the important role tires play in the impact their vehicle has on the environment.”

The Make Cars Green program educates motorists about 10 key actions,
1. Buy Green
2. Plan Your Journey
3. Check Tire Pressures Frequently
4. Reduce Loads and Avoid The Need for Roof Racks
5. Don't warm up your engine before starting off
6. Use air conditioning only when necessary
7. Accelerate gently and keep your speed constant
8. Use engine braking
9. Don't idle your engine
10. Offset your CO2 emissions

“Driving on tires with air pressure at just 50kPA (0.5kg/cm²) lower than it should be decreases fuel efficiency by two per cent in urban areas and four per cent in suburban driving,” Mr. Moffatt said.

“Additionally, a correctly inflated tire increases the grip on the road and is therefore not only a greener but also a safer tire.” F1technical.net


Tweaked diffuser on McLaren
(GMM)  McLaren's two drivers on Thursday confirmed that the diffuser fitted to the rear of their MP4-25 cars has been altered since the 2010 season opener in Bahrain two weeks ago.

It is believed that Mercedes, Renault and Force India have also had to make the entry hole for the external starter smaller, following a clarification issued by the FIA.

It is potentially bad news for those teams, given that Ferrari and Red Bull were already leading the pace in Bahrain, and with the long distance to Europe meaning that improvements to the cars have been few.

"They (the engineers) said it doesn't make any difference," Lewis Hamilton said when asked in Melbourne about the altered diffuser.

Jenson Button, meanwhile, insisted that McLaren was not alone in having to make the change, and estimated the loss of performance at just "one or two hundredths".

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Australia does not want to relocate Aussie GP
(GMM)  The local Victorian state government on Thursday threw a spanner in the works of plans to relocate the Australian grand prix from Albert Park after the current contract expires in 2015.

The FIA had approved a study into private sector plans to host the race at a $200m permanent circuit in Avalon, about a 40-minute drive from Melbourne.

But amid suggestions the new track could accommodate night racing and be cheaper to run, major events minister Tim Holding said the government wants the event to remain being held in the late afternoon in the city.

"We like it here, it's right in the heart of the city, you get the aerial shots of Melbourne, it's got the lake, the bay, the CBD in it.

"If you went 20, 30, 40 kilometers out of Melbourne you lose all that," he told the Herald Sun newspaper.


Robin Roberts to drive Indy 500 pace car
Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, will drive the Indianapolis 500's pace car on May 30.

The former college basketball player who made her broadcasting mark on ESPN will be only the second woman to have the ceremonial position. The first was Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp in 2001. Morgan Freeman was the first black to drive the pace car, in 2004.

The official pace car is driven by three-time 500 winner Johnny Rutherford.

Roberts was confirmed as the pace car driver today on the morning news program. Reigning 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who won Dancing with the Stars on ABC in 2007, was on hand when the news was given. Castroneves' former dance partner, Julianne Hough, was also there.

GMA has won three consecutive Emmys for best morning program during Roberts' time as co-anchor.

The 500 will air on ABC for the 46th consecutive year. Indianapolis Star


Johnny Cocker Sebring diary
Drayson Lola LMP1
His year got off to a spectacular start at Sebring last weekend as the Drayson Racing Lola LMP1 stunned the diesel powered Peugeots in the first hour by running in 2nd place. Jonny gives his overview on a strong start to the 2010 season.

How did Sebring week start for you, Jonny?

“Well we had a few teething issues on the Saturday when we arrived at the circuit, but we got enough done to have a bit of a head-start and to feel a little bit more confident about the weekend ahead. We could tell pretty early on that the car was on the pace after all the shake down work and the development we had done at the Lola factory, particularly on the 7-post test rig there.”

Was there a noticeable difference from the 2009 spec car? Were there certain things that you could feel straight away?

“Yes, initially the car felt very stable and it was also noticeable that there was more steering input needed because of the revised suspension geometry adjustments that were made as part of the 2010 updates.

“The car felt very solid in all types of corners and all the differences from a driving point of view were all positive.”

What was the strategic thinking for qualifying?

“We had been running throughout the week and obviously it was always in the back of our minds who would do qualifying and who would do the race. But the decision to have Emanuele do qualifying and start the race was made purely from the point of view that I am going to have lots of opportunities to do both this year.

“Our pace was pretty comparable up to the qualifying session and we had a solid qualifying. Emanuele did a really good job at the start of the race and set us up very nicely indeed.”

That was a pretty spectacular move by Emanuele on Bourdais to get second. What was your reaction?

“I was out on the pitwall and I saw it on the onboard with the GT2 Ferrari and it looked fairly dramatic. But actually when you watched it from the helicopter camera, it was a measured and well thought out move and I think he caught Bourdais completely by surprise. It was really nice to see the Drayson Lola-Judd right at the front, splitting the Peugeots. I don’t think any petrol-powered car has ever managed to do that on merit.”

In terms of being so quick, is it more than the team expected, more than you expected? How do you feel about it a couple of days on?

“Well, I think we were quick from Japan last autumn, so I was going to Sebring expecting to be the fastest petrol car and we were. I feel really confident about our pace for the season ahead. It must be remembered that we are still a new team really to LMP and we have quite a few new guys that have recently joined us. I think for this first weekend of the season everybody performed fantastically well and it certainly bodes well for the future.

You can’t get more of a different track to Sebring than Long Beach I guess, there is no margin for error there. Is that something you enjoy, a street circuit?

“I really enjoyed street circuits in GT cars and actually after speaking to a few of the guys who have driven both they say that the LMP1 car is quite nimble, it’s actually real good fun to drive around a street circuit and we have massive advantage over a lot of the other P1 cars because with the Lola we have great maneuverability and it feels a lot more like an LMP2 car in the slow corners.

“So, I think that’s really going to help us at Long Beach because we have less of a disadvantage in the slow corners and we have the power on the straights, so it’s going to be interesting. I can’t really call where we are going to be against the Highcroft HPD but I think we are going to have a good shot at being fastest so yes, I am certainly looking forward to it.

And finally, in terms of your own development as a driver, working with the likes of Emanuele must be very valuable?

“I really enjoy driving with all the drivers that push me and drive me forward. Emanuele certainly helped over the weekend and it is nice as well that it builds my confidence to perform with him, so that experience is vital and I make sure that I soak it all up.”


Werner signs with Highcroft for LeMans
Highcroft Racing has finalized its driver line-up for its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with three-time race winner Marco Werner joining Marino Franchitti and last year's victor David Brabham.

The reigning American Le Mans Series LMP1 champions will campaign the Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c chassis for its Le Mans debut in the LMP2 class.

With three Le Mans victories in a row in 2005, 06 and 07, three Sebring wins, a 24 Hour of Daytona title and an American Le Mans Series LMP1 driver's title to his credit, selecting Werner to fill the available third-driver role was an easy decision for Highcroft boss, Duncan Dayton.

Following Highcroft's second place in LMP2 in Saturday's Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Danbury, CT-based squad stayed on at the historic Florida venue for two days of testing on Monday and Tuesday - taking advantage of the opportunity to provide Werner with some valuable seat-time alongside his new teammates.

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PBR thanks Randy Bernard
This was an ad that was placed by Professional Bull Riders (PBR) / Ford Trucks and Spire Capital in the March 1 - 7, Sports Business Journal thanking Randy Bernard for his efforts at PBR. Courtesy of Sports Business Journal.


Video: A lap around Long Beach with Nigel Mansell in '93
Click photo to watch video:


Walker Racing Signs Jonathan Summerton for St. Petersburg UPDATE Walker Racing is excited to announce that they have signed American driver, Jonathan Summerton to compete this weekend.  The Florida resident will drive the No. 40 Walker Racing entry for the first Firestone Indy Lights Series event, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28, 2010.

Jonathan Summerton
Summerton now turns his sites on the Firestone Indy Lights Series after coming off of two back-to-back seasons in the Atlantic Series.  Previous to that, Jonathan also competed competitively in A1GP and in 2006 was in the F3 Euro Series.  Jonathan has excelled in all the formulas that he has competed in.  The Firestone Indy Lights Series is the final step before IZOD IndyCar and one that he is up to the challenge.

“I am fortunate to have secured Jonathan’s services to drive for me again.  We have worked together before back in 2004 in the BMW Series so it’s good to be joining forces again to race at St. Petersburg.  Our program came together later than I would have liked, so having Jonathan available to us was a bonus,” says Walker Racing team owner, Derrick Walker.

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Schu: I am not a magician
Although Michael Schumacher says he understands why some were disappointed with his P6 in Bahrain, the German has reminded them that he is not "a magician."

After three years away from Formula One racing, Schumacher made his comeback with Mercedes GP in Bahrain two weeks ago to mixed reactions.

While some celebrated his sixth-placed finish, a decent achievement after a three-year layoff, Schumacher concedes that there were others who wanted better from him.

"I know that people have a lot of trust in me and I'm proud of that, but then I'm not a magician either," said the seven-time World Champ is quoted by ITV.

"I'm just human.

"I've been around long enough to know what it takes, how much attention to details and how important little fine-tuning is, and you can't expect me to just be there straightaway.

"In general I was quite happy - I had a good start, a clean race, and no mistakes.

"The lap times were competitive for the standard of the car.

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Q and A with Bruno Senna
Rookie racer Bruno Senna joined veteran drivers Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli at the Albert Park circuit in Australia this afternoon where he was quizzed on several topics including his debut race in Bahrain, his new HRT team and last but not least, his heritage....

Bruno, how tough was Bahrain?
It was a pretty big challenge. The team arrived there with no previous preparation and everything had to be done there and we struggled a little bit. We couldn’t learn from previous experience, so we had to do everything on the few laps we had and it didn’t make our lives easy but the team still did a pretty amazing job to be there and get both cars on the grid.

What has been happening since then to the team?
Obviously there is a big check list of things that need to be changed. With no testing and no time to test between the first two races there are no big changes, a few changes but not enough.  But we hope that by Europe we can have some updates, some new things on the car, which will improve performance and reliability.

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Sir Stirling Moss preparing to leave hospital
After making a steady recovery from his accident at his London home earlier this month, Sir Stirling Moss is preparing to leave hospital this weekend.

He fell three stories down an open lift shaft, breaking both ankles as well as a number of bones in his feet. However, after successful surgery he has had both legs put in plaster and is now looking forward to regaining some mobility.

"It's been frustrating because I've been stuck in one place," he told ESPNF1 in an exclusive interview. "I've been keeping abreast of things [including the Bahrain Grand Prix] on the television but I'm looking forward to getting out of here, hopefully this weekend, and getting back home. But I won't be able to walk, unfortunately, for a couple of months, although at least in the wheelchair I will be partly mobile." ESPN


Barrichello blames narrow front tires
Williams driver Rubens Barrichello blames this year's narrower front tires as the main reason behind the lack of overtaking at the first F1 race in Bahrain.

The front tires were made narrower this year at Bridgestone's request. But Barrichello thinks the decision was misjudged.

"The fact that we had better racing last year was because we dropped the ugly grooved tires for slicks," he said. "That's what we need - we need more mechanical grip on the car and to lose the aerodynamics. We're losing aerodynamics all the time, but if you follow another car you just understeer off the track. Unless you have a second advantage, which is not the normal thing, you just can't pass. I overtook [Sebastien] Buemi on the track but I was doing 2:01s, he was doing 2:04s, and it wasn't easy overtaking. You cannot follow, the front of the car washes out. When you put the throttle back on with lots of lock, you lose the back end so the car in front just goes away.

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Genoa Indy Lights team folds
With deep disappointment, Genoa Lights announces the suspension of operations in its Firestone® Indy Lights™ (FIL) program on the eve of the opening round of the series at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Sparing no lack of effort, Genoa Lights was unable to secure the corporate partnerships and/or other funding necessary to run a competitive program for 2010. Unwilling to merely participate while funding an effort out-of-pocket, Genoa Lights has made the decision to place all of its FIL assets up for sale and to leave the series.

Genoa Lights Team Owner, Mark Olson states:

“This sport is really expensive, and the team owners don’t want to pay to participate any more than the drivers do. It’s not just a hobby; it’s a serious business. Genoa Lights is in the promotional business, but without a corporate partner to promote and without funded drivers to promote, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

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Ferrari extends with Shell
The Ferrari team has announced that it has renewed its technical and commercial agreement with Shell for five years, through 2015.

"The extension of our relationship with Shell up to the end of 2015 is yet another step in the Scuderia's plan to strengthen its long term future and is also a clear sign of continuity and the confidence placed in Ferrari by a company that is a world leader in its field," said team boss Stefano Domenicali.

"Shell has been with the Scuderia from the year it was established in 1929 and has played a significant role in many of our successes.

"Striving for excellence, a passion for competition, team work, technology transfer from track to street: these are the values we share with Shell and which characterize what is a unique partnership in the history of motor sport."


Fans vote Schumacher #1
In an international survey of motor racing fans on behalf of F1 Racing magazine, LG Electronics and FOTA (the Formula One Teams Association), Michael Schumacher came out top of the favorite Formula One driver category.

The seven-time Formula One World Champion received 19.5% of the votes, with Fernando Alonso (9.7%) and Kimi Räikkönen (7.2%) in second and third places.

Around 90,000 Formula One fans from over 180 countries took part in the survey.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Webber not angry about Hamilton's quit comments
  • Ferrari not ready with McLaren-type air system
  • Coulthard expects to agree 2010 DTM race deal
  • Tom Kristensen to be F1 driver steward in Australia
  • FIA asks Bridgestone to tweak tire offerings
  • Hamilton 'simply faster' than Button - Ecclestone
  • Di Resta paddles with shark before F1 debut
  • Kubica, Alonso, Schumacher defend F1 'show'

Webber not angry about Hamilton's quit comments
(GMM)  Red Bull's Mark Webber on Thursday said he was not angry despite Lewis Hamilton telling the media in Melbourne that he might retire at the end of 2010.

2008 world champion Hamilton, who drives for the rival McLaren team, said 24 hours earlier that he gets "the sense" that Webber, 33, would quit if successful at the wheel of the highly-competitive RB6 car.

"He has the best chance to end on that high this year and I wouldn't be surprised if he is considering it," said Briton Hamilton, 25.

Webber on Thursday denied he is thinking about retiring, and contrary to expectations he was not upset about Hamilton's comments.

"I have no intention of retiring whatever kind of season I have," he said at Albert Park.

"It's Lewis' opinion and he's free to have that.  I've not got a big problem with what he said.  I'm very happy at the moment.  It's a good situation for me."

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Eye concept - a glimpse of Tesla's future?
The all-electric Tesla Roadster is indeed a fine-looking, high-performance automobile, but its $109,000 price tag will likely put it out of reach of the much sought-after Generation Y demographic. Tesla’s less-pricey Model S four-door sedan is more of a refined, subtly-classy car – again, not something the fun-loving twenty-somethings will be flocking to. So, how does an electric car company come up a vehicle that the young folks will like? Easy, they get some of those kids to design the car for them. In Tesla’s case, the result is a stunning concept vehicle called the Eye.

The Eye was created by 11 students in the Transportation Design masters program at Turin’s Instituto Europeo di Design (IED). Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen was their mentor for the semester, and supervised the entire process. The intent was to design a C-segment (compact) affordable car for young, cosmopolitan buyers.

The 2+2-seater electric car is 4250mm long (2650mm wheelbase), 1800mmm wide, and stands 1360mm high. One of its innovative features is a roof structure that allows the Eye to become a semi-open car, with a pickup truck-like loading bay. It also sports rather bizarre flared-nostril-like openings on the front, that might or might not serve some practical aerodynamic purpose.

Will this ever become a production automobile? Hard to say.


Pastor Maldonado still leads the way
Pastor  Maldonado  was  again  quickest  for  the  second  day  of  GP2  Series  collective  tests  in  le Castellet.

On a 2A configuration track, the Venezuelan clocked in a best lap time of 1:09.769, one tenth quicker than Dani Clos who led the field most of the day.

The trouble-free morning session started under clear blue skies and saw sophomore Dani Clos at Racing Engineering shine and top the timesheets in a 1:10.288 ahead of yesterday’s quicker man Maldonado  while  rookies  Jules  Bianchi  and  Sam  Bird  confirmed  ART’s  good  form  finishing respectively  third  and  fourth.

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Castroneves to make special 2010 Indy 500 announcement
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will be in Times Square in New York on Thursday, March 25 to make a special announcement about the 2010 Indianapolis 500 on the Emmy-winning morning news program "Good Morning America" on ABC.

The announcement will take place live at approximately 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Castroneves earned his third victory in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in 2009 for Team Penske and will try to become just the fourth four-time winner of the "500" on Sunday, May 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live on ABC.

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Winslow signs with Sam Schmidt for Lights
James Winslow, who has won three international titles in as many years and four in total, has signed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and will contest the opening round of the Firestone Indy Lights season this weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Winslow already has had seat time in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports car in the off-season.

"The multiple years that James has had in various levels of European open-wheel racing should make him an instant contender in this series," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "He's proven to be quick across the pond, and he's showed us he's quick here in our cars. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do on the track."

As a charitable effort, Winslow's car will be displaying the Bright Side of the Road Foundation logo, a non-profit organization that raises funds for ALS research (www.brightsideoftheroad.org).

Winslow followed up his 2006 Asian F3 crown with similar success in Renault V6 in 2007 before adding another title in the close-fought Australian F3 series. He became a vital member of Team Great Britain in the A1 Grand Prix series and raced impressively in his debut in Australia's V8 Supercar category.

"I'm very happy to be joining with Sam Schmidt Motorsports to race," Winslow said. "We were very quick together in testing, and that's no surprise given the professionalism that the team displays. I had a little taste of American racing last year, and I'm ready to get back into it for this year."


Q&A with Will Power
Will Power
Will Power, who won the season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series race on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 14, will challenge 23 other drivers for the winner's trophy in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend.

Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, was a guest on the Indy Racing League teleconference March 24. Select questions and answers:

Q: You've had emotional victories before, obviously your first win in Champ Car, and last year winning for Penske in Edmonton. But this was different. This was different at Sao Paulo because of the injury that you recovered from that you suffered at Infineon. Explain the emotion of your victory in Brazil and how it differed from other wins.
A: It was quite emotional to be honest because when you have an injury like that and you have a lot of downtime during the recovery period. You can become a little bit uncertain whether you'll come back as strong as you were and whether you'd be as quick as you were, and that was just confirmation that everything is back as it was and just helped with my confidence to be honest.

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Hight eager to take on 4-wide race
Six months ago Robert Hight was just happy to be in the Countdown to 1 as his Auto Club Ford Mustang team rolled to the starting line at zMax Dragway, the Bellagio of Drag Strips, in Concord, North Carolina. At the end of the race weekend Hight had his 12th career win and momentum that carried him to his first Full Throttle Funny Car World Championship. In that one weekend Hight moved from 10th to 3rd place in the Full Throttle point standings.

As Hight and his team get comfortable at zMax Dragway this weekend they are feeling confident, excited and ready for a new racing format that has the entire drag racing and motorsports community talking. The Inaugural Four-Wide NHRA Nationals will get underway on Friday afternoon and for the first time at an NHRA official national event competition four professional drivers will power their Motorcycles, Pro Stock cars, Top Fuel dragsters or Funny Cars down the all-concrete race track simultaneously.

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Rahal back on track with NHL
With the news that Graham Rahal has found sponsorship to put him in the Izod IndyCar Series full-time this season, the open-wheel series is running out of excuses not to succeed.

Rahal is young, American and good-looking. After piloting Sarah Fisher’s Dollar General mobile for two races early this season, Rahal will be reunited with his posse at Chicago-based Newman/Haas/Lanigan for the rest of 2010.

The 21-year-old Rahal has been without a ride since McDonald’s pulled the plug on its sponsorship of his car following last season. That deal was largely due to McD’s relationship with the late Paul Newman and his line of salad dressings.

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Cottonelle to sponsor Dario's car for 200th start
Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that Cottonelle brand will serve as the primary sponsor of its No.10 Honda Dallara for reigning IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti in Round 2 of the series at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 28 at 3:30 PM ET, ABC). Kimberly-Clark joined the Target racing program in 2010, and its brands will be featured on both the team’s IZOD IndyCar and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars this season.


Cottonelle Brand Part of Auto Racing History: When Franchitti hits the Streets of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 28, he’ll make his 200th start in Indy car racing (CART, IZOD IndyCar Series). In four starts on the 1.8-mile street circuit, he has claimed three top-five finishes – including a third place finish at the 2005 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

King of the Streets: In making his 200th start, Franchitti will also be making his 45th start on a street course (35 starts in CART and 10 starts in the IZOD IndyCar Series). Franchitti grabbed his second open wheel win in the 1998 Molson Indy Vancouver street race and has won eight of his 23 open wheel races on street courses.

Dario by the Numbers: St. Petersburg marks Franchitti’s 86th start in the IZOD IndyCar Series and his 19th Indy car start with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Franchitti has claimed two IndyCar championships (2009/2007), the 2007 Indianapolis 500, 23 victories and 24 poles in his U.S. Indy car career (CART, IRL) with 120 top-10 finishes.


Brian Goldstine: Brand Director, Cottonelle Brand

"We are enthusiastic to be a part of the IZOD IndyCar Series, along with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. We’re also extremely excited to have Dario Franchitti behind the wheel of the Cottonelle car this weekend at the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.”

Dario Franchitti:  Driver, No. 10 Cottonelle Honda Dallara

“St. Petersburg is always a great weekend for Indy car racing, and this race is particularly important as I’m due to make my 200th start. I’m not sure if that makes me old or not! The Target cars are always competitive and I’ll do my best to make sure we keep our streak of qualifying in the Firestone Fast Six going in the Cottonelle car.”


Renault signs deal with DIAC
The Renault team has confirmed a sponsorship deal with DIAC which will result in the company's logos appearing on the sidepods of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov's cars from the Australian to Monaco Grands Prix.

With Renault F1 having been bought out by Gerard Lopez's Genii Capital prior to this season, the Enstone-based squad has now confirmed the sponsorship connection with the subsidiary of RCI Banque, a French market leader in automotive financing.

"We are delighted to offer DIAC and the RCI Banque group the opportunity to partner with Renault F1 Team during the opening rounds of the 2010 season," Lopez commented.

"This is an excellent opportunity for a member company of the Renault group to enjoy a significant short-term boost in brand awareness. We are pleased to welcome RCI Banque on-board for what we hope will be a successful association." GPUpdate.net


Di Montezemolo: Important to be realistic
'Humility' is the word at Ferrari prior to the second of nineteen race weekends for the 2010 season. After enjoying a fantastic return to form in the shape of a one-two result in Bahrain last time out, company Chairman Luca di Montezemolo advices his employees to keep all feet on the ground.

With the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of last year, having seen Ferrari suffer a miserable race in which it scored no points, the contrast could not have been greater at Sakhir ten days ago although di Montezemolo refuses to become over-ambitious.

We need some great humility in this race," the 62-year-old Italian said ahead of Melbourne. "We know that we have to work and there is still lots to be improved, such as performance and reliability - it's important to stay realistic.

"In Melbourne it will be fundamental to have a good qualifying on Saturday because, as usual on city circuits, to start from the front will determine the final outcome." GPUpdate.net


Q&A with William Looney
Air Force Gen. (Ret.) William R. Looney sees the correlation to a jury foreman, though he’s not tasked with delivering a verdict respective to the IZOD IndyCar Series' next generation of chassis and engine.

Looney equates the role more as unbiased facilitator, which is why Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard sought him out to chair the committee that will be comprised of a league representative, a team owner elected by vote of all owners, an engine expert, a marketer/promoter and a racing engineer.

Bernard will get the process moving in earnest as he addresses team owners during the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend. A recommendation is expected within 90 days.

Read more & Comment...

BMW entering US Police vehicle market
BMW AG will provide diesel engines and powertrain systems to Carbon Motors Corp. -- an Indiana startup automaker that plans to start assembling police vehicles in 2013.

Carbon Motors, a privately held company based in Connersville, Ind., said it will begin production three years after it gets a low-interest government loan.

Carbon needs $310 million from the Energy Department's $25 billion advanced technology vehicle to begin production and hopes to win approval this summer.

Financial terms of the deal to provide more than 240,000 inline, six-cylinder engines over a multiyear period were not disclosed. BMW retrofits cars and motorcycles for police in Germany, but not in the United States.

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Mustang creator dies
Donald Frey, a senior product planning manager at Ford Motor Co. in the 1960s who along with Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca developed the iconic Ford Mustang, died on March 5 in Evanston, Ill., from a stroke. He was 87 years old.

Frey led the team at Ford that set out to develop an affordable, sporty car in the early 1960s. But with Ford reeling from the Edsel flop, Frey couldn't get a standard budget for the project. So he piggybacked on other programs--borrowing the platform and instrument panel from the Ford Falcon--to create the Mustang. The program was created in just 18 months.

The original Mustang debuted on April 17, 1964, at the New York World's Fair. Managers expected to sell a bit less than 90,000 units the first year, but sales topped the 400,000 mark.

Frey was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1923 and grew up in Iowa. He joined Ford in 1950. In addition to the Mustang, Frey was a key figure in Ford Motorsports. He succeeded Iacocca has head of the Ford Division and kept up Ford's participation in NASCAR and international racing at Le Mans. He is also credited with working on the original Ford Bronco.

He left Ford in 1968 to head General Cable Co., then became chairman and CEO of Bell & Howell in 1971. During his tenure he helped engineer the first CD-ROM. He also became a key player in getting Hollywood to release its films on videotape, thus creating the home-video entertainment industry.

Frey retired from Bell & Howell in 1988, and later worked as a research and professor at Northwestern University. Autoweek


Sauber set to run McLaren-type air system
(GMM)  According to rumors from the Melbourne pitlane on Wednesday, Sauber is ready to test an initial version of the controversial McLaren-style knee-activated air inlet system.

The innovation, where air is allowed to pass through the car and onto the rear wing by the movement of the drivers' knee, was declared legal on McLaren's MP4-25 in Bahrain two weeks ago.

Basically, the system works by 'stalling' the efficiency of the downforce-producing rear wing, thereby producing more straight-line speed when the car is not cornering.

McLaren had spent some time pioneering the system, so it is a surprise that Sauber has so quickly readied a version for its Ferrari-powered C29.

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Renault adds branding to blank sidepods
(GMM)  Renault's previously blank yellow sidepods will feature prominent 'DIAC' branding as from this weekend's Australian grand prix and "forthcoming rounds".

DIAC is a French automotive financing subsidiary of RCI Banque, which is part of the Renault Group.

The branding will appear on the sidepods until Monaco in mid May.


'A lot' of interest to be manager - Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has revealed he received "a lot" of applications to become his new manager.

It emerged before the 2010 season opener that the McLaren driver will no longer be handled professionally by his father Anthony.

Martin Brundle and Mika Hakkinen were both touted as potential replacements.

"Honestly, I have received a lot of applications but I'm not in a hurry to decide," the 25-year-old Briton said on Wednesday in a joint interview with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"I am with a fantastic team, with many competent people, so at the moment I have no need for a manager," Hamilton told F1's official website.

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Q&A with Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton discusses last year's controversial Aussie GP, his team-mate Jenson Button and the Bahrain GP among other things.

Q. Welcome to Sydney. How are you enjoying it so far?
LH: "It's great to be here. I arrived at 6 o'clock this morning from the States. It's my first time in Sydney so I'm really happy to be here. Unfortunately, I'm only here for a few hours but I've been out on the harbor already so I feel I've seen a lot already."

Q. How does it rate being behind the wheel of a yacht compared to a Formula 1 car?
LH: "I've had a little bit of experience before sailing. In 2008 with Hugo Boss I sailed around the Isle of Wight in a yachting event for four hours and we won. But we got disqualified at the end because we crashed at the beginning. But that wasn't when I was driving. It was great to be on the harbor today and back on one of those boats again. I have an understanding how to steer them so I had some fun. But it is nothing like a Formula 1 car. Nothing is like that."

Q. What better place, than Sydney Harbor on a yacht, than to spend your first few hours in this city?
LH: "Absolutely. When I was flying over this morning I was wondering if I was arriving in the right place. I only know Australia to have clear blue skies and there was a lot of cloud as we were coming in to land. But it's cleared up and it's beautiful, and a beautiful day on the harbor."

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Bridgestone announces more tire compounds
Bridgestone, Formula 1's sole tire provider, has revealed which of its compounds will be used for the races up to and including the Turkish Grand Prix. Two types, a softer and harder, must be used by each driver at least once over the course of a race. Since 2007, F1 regulations have stated that a harder compound tire (as known as 'Prime') must be used during a race as well as the softer which is on offer on any given Grand Prix weekend (labeled as 'Option' and indicated by a green-painted sidewall).

There are four dry weather, slick Bridgestone Potenza compounds in all: Hard, Medium, Soft and Super Soft. Only in the event of an officially declared Wet Race will the usage of two types of slick not be mandatory.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Friday role not yet certain for Lotus' Fauzy
  • Lotus works to replace problematic Xtrac hydraulics
  • Rosberg wants to stay 'at eye-level' with Schu
  • Webber not expecting Schu to beat Rosberg
  • Button predicts 'same as Bahrain' in Wednesday drizzle
  • Brain surgery for Aus GP boss Ron Walker
  • Chandhok says Indian GP not funding HRT seat
  • Hamilton senses Webber close to retirement
  • Petrov the 'key' to Russia for Renault - manager

Friday role not yet certain for Lotus' Fauzy
(GMM)  It is still yet to be confirmed that Fairuz Fauzy will be at the wheel of a Lotus on Friday morning practice for next week's Malaysian grand prix, or in Melbourne later this week.

Team boss Tony Fernandes said before the 2010 season opener two weeks ago that the Malaysian test driver will be in action in Bahrain practice.

But the 27-year-old did not appear in the green Cosworth-powered car, perhaps so that racers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli could concentrate on learning the new track layout.

Fernandes said earlier this month that Fauzy will also drive in Melbourne and then a week later at Sepang.

A Lotus spokesman did not return an email requesting confirmation of the Malaysian-backed team's immediate plans for Fauzy.

But a report in Finland's Turun Sanomat, a publication with sources close to Lotus driver Kovalainen, said it is "probable" that Fauzy will be in action in Malaysia next Friday morning.

"I don't know anything and I have not asked about it," said Kovalainen, explaining that the decision would not overly disrupt either his of teammate Trulli's race weekend preparations.

"If it is important to the team to give him some kilometers, it should definitely be done," he continued.  "This is a Malaysian team and Fauzy is a Malaysian driver."

Read more & Comment...

Allgaier testing for Penske at Charlotte
Justin Allgaier participated in his first official Sprint Cup Series test and hoped Tuesday's session will lead to an upcoming race at NASCAR's top level. Penske Racing brought four cars to the two-day test at Charlotte Motor Speedway to give Allgaier seat time. The 23-year-old is coming off his first NASCAR victory, a win in the Nationwide Series last weekend at Bristol. Drivers are permitted to participate in two NASCAR-approved test sessions before committing to entering a Cup race. “Obviously when I started at Penske Racing my goal was to reach the Cup level, so for me, this is a good way to come out and get some laps and see what these cars drive like," said the second-year Penske driver. "Hopefully we can help out the other guys. I think that's the biggest thing -- how do we benefit all three of our Cup teams and get me some experience at the same time? This is the easiest way to do it.".  Associated Press


Chrysler Group to develop Fiat plug-in electric
Fiat 500 EV
Chrysler Group LLC today announced its plans to engineer and produce a pure electric vehicle using the Fiat 500 platform. Shown earlier this year at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, the Fiat 500EV demonstrates the immediate benefits of the alliance between Chrysler Group and the Fiat Group as well as the speed at which the two companies can work together on advanced vehicle programs. (See related Feature article).

“The alliance with Fiat presented new opportunities to merge Chrysler Group engineering knowledge with new platforms and the Fiat 500EV is an outstanding example of our efforts,” said Scott Kunselman, Senior Vice President Engineering—Chrysler Group LLC. “The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology.”

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The quest to improve overtaking in F1 (and elsewhere) UPDATE Another Great article! Comprehensive and thought provoking. While all the points discussed have merit and are feasible in the long term I believe the author has focused on one issue that could be enacted immediately and to great effect.

Pit to car communications.

This always overlooked issue has taken so much control out of the drivers hands and brain. Just watch the broadcasts to see the army of engineers and strategists pouring over the most minute details in an effort to give the driver an upper hand.  This is not motor racing as I understand it or believe it should be.  It should be up to the pilot to determine what conditions are and the best way in which to deal with them.  I think if we returned to pit boards only we would see a dramatic change in both running order and driver abilities.

This one item would in my opinion return F1 to the unpredictable sport it should be. All talk of phony pit stops and stupid tire choices would be completely unnecessary. This is the way to shake things up and deal each driver a joker in his hand.

While I agree that cars and tracks need to be redesigned to increase overtaking, removing all pit to car communications would mix things up in the most surprising and entertaining way with absolutely no money or effort being spent.

In fact it would save each team hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and personnel. Amid all the knee jerk cries for a return to refueling, extra pit stops and the like it is amazing that no one other than the author has come up with this simple and elegant solution.  Simply brilliant! Ray Masters Hawaii

03/23/10 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, With regard to your recent article titled "The quest to improve overtaking in F1" This has to be the best single article I have read on the subject of overtaking in F1 (and elsewhere for that matter)!

What a comprehensive piece of writing! GOOD JOB! And I hope some F1 people with the power to do something about it will listen! Randy Buck


KYMCO sweepstakes kicks off at St Pete
KYMCO USA, in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series, Andretti Autosport Team IZOD driver Ryan Hunter-Reay and Team IZOD sponsor AirTran Airways, is launching the "Live Like an IZOD IndyCar Series Driver" sweepstakes, giving fans the opportunity to win a trip to the IZOD IndyCar Series season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

The sweepstakes launch will coincide with the IZOD IndyCar Series race on the streets of St. Petersburg on March 28. During the six month sweepstakes period, fans will have the opportunity to pick up a free entry coupon at IZOD IndyCar Series events by visiting the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Zone and at participating KYMCO dealerships. After entering their information and code on the sweepstakes Web site, the winners will be notified by Sept. 15.

The grand prize is a weekend trip for two to the season finale race, including airfare provided by AirTran Airways, hotel and race tickets along with VIP credentials so they can truly "Live Like an IZOD IndyCar Series Driver." First prize is a KYMCO UXV 500 Side X Side Off Road Vehicle and there are two second prizes: KYMCO Driver Autographed Super 8 49cc Scooters.

"We are so happy to be able to work with the IZOD IndyCar Series on this promotion and further integrate our fan bases," said Rick Pawelka, KYMCO USA Marketing Director. "The IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have been very enthusiastic about our product and really enjoyed signing the two scooters we're giving away."

KYMCO USA is the official scooter and off-road utility vehicle of the Indy Racing League.


Helio on Versus' "Sports Soup"
Helio Castroneves
Team Penske's Helio Castroneves will be doing his best John Wall impersonation in a March Madness sketch while promoting the IZOD IndyCar Series season during an appearance on "Sports Soup" March 23 on VERSUS. Check local listings.

Castroneves, a former "Dancing with the Stars" champion, also appeared on the season premiere of the hit ABC show March 22. He's in Southern California to promote the April 16-18 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have fanned out across the country to participate in media activities in support of upcoming races at Barber Motorsports Park (Will Power), Kansas Speedway (Raphael Matos) and St. Petersburg (Ryan Hunter-Reay).


Dario's 200th start
Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti has numerous memories and personal/team accomplishments during his motorsports career. Another will be marked this weekend in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg when Franchitti joins Tony Kanaan (210) and Helio Castroneves (211) as active IZOD IndyCar Series drivers with 200 open-wheel racing starts.

"It's definitely a milestone," says Franchitti, who has 13 IZOD IndyCar Series victories in 84 races. "There are a lot of good memories, a lot of fun. I'd say it's a milestone but hopefully there will be more along the way."

Franchitti, who is tied for 15th on the all-time Indy car victory list, wants to add to the memories.

"The first 200 have been a lot of fun and let's hope we can reach another couple of big milestones and be as competitive and have as much doing it," he says.

Franchitti by the numbers

• Has covered 41,792.15 miles in open-wheel racing career.
• Of 23 victories, nine have been on a street course, three on a road course and 10 on an oval.
• Has raced with four different teams in 12 years: Hogan Racing, 1997; Team Green, 1998-2002; Andretti Green Racing, 2003-07; Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2009-present.
• In four starts at St. Petersburg, has claimed three top-five finishes with a high of third in the inaugural event in 2005.
• Will make his 45th start on a street course (35 in CART and 10 in IZOD IndyCar Series).
• Of 199 races, has been running at the end of 140.
• Has finished on the podium 60 times in open-wheel racing career.
• In past two seasons (2007, '09), has only finished outside the top 10 in only three races: 2007 - Michigan, 13th; 2009 - Kansas, 18th, Watkins Glen, 15th.


New IRL car decision shortly after the 500
William Looney, the retired Air Force general who has been asked to lead the car search for the Izod IndyCar Series, expects a decision on the new equipment shortly after the Indianapolis 500.

Looney said today his mission is to bring together people from different open-wheel constituencies in an advisory board, hear and study five chassis proposals and make a recommendation to Indy Racing League officials.

“This is not something that will drag on,” Looney said during a two-day visit to the IRL’s Indianapolis headquarters. “We need to replace a car (in 2012) and time is of the essence. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a (final) decision sometime in early June.”

Dallara, Panoz, DeltaWing, Swift and BAT Engineering have submitted written requests to build cars. Picking an engine platform is a separate, although related, decision. Indianapolis Star


St. Pete GP schedule
Who: IRL IndyCar series and support races
What: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend
Where: Downtown St. Petersburg
When: Friday through Sunday
Tickets: www.gpstpete.com or 1-877-283-5385.


8-8:40 a.m. World Challenge practice
9-9:40 a.m. Star Mazda practice
10-10:20 a.m. USF2000 practice
10:40-11:40 a.m. IndyCar practice
11:55 a.m.-12:55 Indy Lights practice
1:15-1:50 World Challenge practice
2:10-3:10 IndyCar practice
3:25-3:45 USF2000 practice
4-4:40 Star Mazda practice
5-6 World Challenge qualifying
6:30 5K with Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
7-9 Foundation Gala

8-8:30 a.m. USF2000 qualifying
8:50-9:35 a.m. Star Mazda qualifying
9:55-10:55 a.m. IndyCar practice
11:15 a.m.-noon Indy Lights practice
11:30 a.m. World Challenge autograph session
12:20-1 USF2000 race No. 1
1:20-2:50 IndyCar qualifying
3:10-4:10 Indy Lights qualifying
4-5 Indy Racing League autograph session
5:15-6 World Challenge race No. 1

8-8:40 a.m. USF2000 race No. 2
8:55-9:15 a.m. Indy Lights warm-up
9:30-10 a.m. IndyCar warm-up
10:45-11:35 a.m. World Challenge race No. 2
11:50-12:35 Star Mazda race
12:45-2 Indy Lights race
2:45 IndyCar pre-race ceremonies
3:45-6 IndyCar race
6-6:30 IndyCar Series post-race ceremony


Waltrip talks about Dale Jr.
Q: At Bristol, Dale Jr. was quite upset on his radio after his crew chief, Lance McGrew, told him not to lay down after being caught for speeding. To hear someone even mention the noting of laying down, how tough is that for a driver?
WALTRIP: "Leading the race by a lap and you slowed down a little bit, Junior Johnson would say, "Boy, you ain't laying down on me are you?' Now that was motivation to me. It didn't require me coming back (on the radio) and saying, "What are you talking about or don't ever say that.' Every mule is different. Some of them you've got to hit with a stick and kick and others you pat them on the back. I guess Junior didn't take kindly to that.''

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Ford's Mulally made nearly $13 Million in 2009
Ford disclosed today that it paid Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally $12.87 million in total compensation in 2009 compared with $7.54 million in 2008 as the company fought through the worst automotive downturn in decades and reported a profit for the first time since 2005.
Ford also said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. continues to voluntarily forgo any compensation.

In 2009, Mulally received a salary of $1.4 million, stock awards worth $10.97 million and $491,869 in other compensation that includes benefits such as air travel, country club memberships, security and housing, Ford said in a regulatory filing today.

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Bruton Smith owns 69% of SMI
Bruton Smith smiling all the way to the bank
Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith owns 68.8 percent of voting stock in the track-operating company, according to a report filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Smith’s shares include those in his Sonic Financial Corporation, which owns 56.2 percent of the stock. About 17 percent of Smith’s shares are pledged as collateral for certain loans to Sonic Automotive, which the 83-year-old Smith also owns.

The document also showed that Bruton Smith’s compensation package increased from $1.7 million to $1.9 million while SMI President Marcus Smith, whose first full year as president was 2009, saw his compensation package increase from $1.456 million to $1.705 million. The compensation package includes salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on pay set aside for later and the value of stock options and restricted stock granted during the year.

The annual meeting for SMI is scheduled for April 20. Bruton Smith and former Ford executive Robert Rewey are up for re-election to the board and are expected to be re-elected.

SMI owns and operates eight NASCAR tracks: Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Infineon, Kentucky, Las Vegas, New Hampshire and Texas. The tracks, with the exception of Kentucky, host 12 of this year's 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races. SceneDaily.com


House of Commons concerned for UK motorsport
A committee in the House of Commons has expressed its worries for Britain's motorsport industry, claiming that it may lose its attractiveness and market if ministers continue to refuse support. At present, the British Grand Prix is funded entirely by private company the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) and runs without a contribution from the national government, which has already caused large upsets - especially when considering that costs continue to rise for the billion-pound London 2012 Olympic Games project.

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Silverstone offers pit wall access
Organizers of the British Grand Prix have been granted permission to offer elite access-all-area tickets to this year's race at Silverstone. The special entrances to the pit wall will be offered to all who have purchased tickets to this year's event before midday on Friday 30 April. Having come to an agreement with F1 commercial rights holders Formula One Management (FOM), two individuals will now be enjoying this year's British Grand Prix at a highly modified Silverstone on the pit wall as another ten fans will win passes to the paddock area behind the garages on Saturday.

The prize draw will also allow five of those ten fans to enjoy upgraded tickets for the Paddock Club hospitality area on race day.

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Alonso on the Melbourne track
Fernando Alonso
I've been in Australia for a couple of days already. I came directly here from Bahrain to relax a bit before the two consecutive races in Melbourne and Malaysia and now I'm ready for the season's second race. I stayed in contact with the team these days and I know that they worked hard in Maranello to get ready for the race. The one-two win in Sakhir gave us confidence and was a great result for the hard work during the winter on the track and at the works, but we can't take anything for granted. We have to stay with our feet on the ground, keeping calm and staying concentrated: in Melbourne we're starting from square one. Nothing has changed for me: there are four teams and eight drivers who can fight for victory and we have to give it our all to stay ahead of everybody else.

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Keselowski's crew takes Tissot pit crew award
Brad Kesolowski
Brad Keselowski’s over-the-wall crew captured the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (March 21) Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

The No. 12 over-the-wall crew, which became the fourth winner of the weekly competition, helped Keselowski reach a 13th-place finish--his best of the 2010 season.

Keselowski’s Penske Dodge Charger spent the least amount of time on pit road – 259.305 seconds – during the first short-track race of the season. Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 Ford was second (294.979) and Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford was third (295.830).

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De Phillippi Earns Valuable Points and Experience in Star Mazda Debut
Conor De Phillippi

American Connor De Phillippi officially commenced his Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear campaign this past week (March 19) at the opening round of the series, which was held at Sebring International Raceway as part of the famed Sebring 12-Hour event. The highly regarded junior formula car racer enjoyed his series debut and exited the Florida season-opener with valuable points and experience thanks to a solid seventh place result.

A little over a month after an impressive debut with JDC MotorSports during official pre-season testing, De Phillippi was back behind the wheel at the historic Sebring International Raceway for the Star Mazda Championship season-opener. The Californian immediately displayed his intentions to challenge for top honors in pre-event testing, turning a fast time under the current lap record en route to fourth overall in the session. Focusing on finding the ideal race setup for the fast and bumpy road course, the afternoon session saw De Phillippi continuing to post quick times, although he was not able to better his morning effort.

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Philipp Eng returns for F2 title attack
Philipp Eng
20-year-old Austrian driver Philipp Eng has confirmed he will return to Formula Two for a second season, after an impressive debut campaign in 2009 which included two podiums and a dominant win at Brands Hatch.

Eng scored a third place finish during the inaugural weekend in Valencia and repeated the feat at the second event in Brno, Czech Republic. He claimed his first F2 pole position at Brands Hatch in July, which he converted into a lights-to-flag victory at the legendary Kent venue – resisting the challenge of eventual 2009 champion Andy Soucek. He suffered a run of bad luck in the latter part of the season but scored further points finishes at Donington Park, Imola and Barcelona, and finished the year eighth in the overall standings.

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More F1 fan survey results released
(GMM)  More results of the latest formula one fan survey have now emerged.

The survey was launched in early February with the backing of Formula One Management and the teams association FOTA, and nearly 90,000 fans from 174 countries took part.

The organizers said the results will be "used by FOTA to help it decide what changes need to be made to make F1 better for fans".

Earlier this week we reported that although full results have not yet been published, Michael Schumacher had been named the best-known F1 driver with 19.5 per cent of the vote.

Behind the famous German was Fernando Alonso (9.7pc), with his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa (6.1pc) curiously trailing the rally-departed Finn Kimi Raikkonen (7.2pc).

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ABC's IndyCar Series Coverage Kicks Off Sunday at St. Petersburg
ABC televises its first IZOD IndyCar Series race of the season this weekend from St. Petersburg, Fla., and ESPN on ABC analyst Scott Goodyear predicts that changes made to the series schedule could enhance competition and bring more teams and drivers into the battles for race wins and the series title.

ABC’s live, flag-to-flag telecast of the race from the St. Petersburg street circuit airs Sunday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The event is the first of five races this season that will be produced by ESPN and air on ABC. The schedule also includes the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, marking the 46th consecutive year that the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air on ABC, as well as events at Kansas Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Toronto.

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Schu's car adapted, Vettel sure car problem resolved
(GMM)  Mercedes team members at the team's Brackley base have been working hard since Bahrain to adapt the W01 car more to Michael Schumacher's liking, according to Bild.

The German newspaper said seven time world champion Schumacher, who followed his teammate to sixth place on his return to F1 two weeks ago in Bahrain, does not enjoy the silver car's tendency to understeer.

"We cannot build a new car, but we can work on it in the wind tunnel," the 41-year-old is quoted as saying.

Swiss commentator Marc Surer said the former Ferrari driver will be doing "everything" to have the car adapted to "his wishes" as soon as possible.

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William Rast Signs on as Primary Sponsor
William Rast, the ‘New America’ denim culture brand founded by Trace Ayala and Justin Timberlake, has partnered with Bryan Herta Autosport for the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights Series. Signing on as the primary sponsor of the #29 entry, piloted by 2009 Indy Lights Rookie of the Year Sebastian Saavedra, William Rast continues its involvement from previous years in one of the country’s most tradition-rich racing series.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., William Rast was launched in 2005, and has evolved from a denim-only line, into a complete lifestyle collection sold worldwide at upscale department stores, specialty boutiques and in its own William Rast branded retail stores. The expanding brand most recently announced in January a multi-year licensing agreement with Viva International Group to design, produce and globally distribute William Rast Eyewear and William Rast Racing Eyewear, focusing on styles for both the premium and sportswear categories for men and women.

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Ralf Schumacher renews Mercedes DTM contract
It has been confirmed that Ralf Schumacher will remain in German touring car championship the DTM for the 2010 season. Having joined Mercedes for the start of 2008, the brother of Michael had been linked to a Formula 1 return for this year. Although Schumacher Jr, a 6-time Grand Prix winner, had been rumored to desire an F1 comeback in 2010, the 34-year-old German has now confirmed that he will remain in touring cars, with the DTM season set to begin at Hockenheim on 25 April.

"It gives me great pleasure to drive in the DTM, which is partially due to the optimal cooperation with Mercedes-Benz and the HWA team," said Ralf, who last raced in F1 with Toyota at the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix. "I'm looking forward to a third year in this great championship.

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Albert Park names grandstand after Webber
The Mark Webber grandstand will welcome race fans for the first time on Friday after Melbourne's Albert Park circuit named a new seating area after its latest Grand Prix winner. The Red Bull driver has also been honored in hometown Queanbeyan on the run-up to this year's Australian Grand Prix. With former triple World Champion Sir Brabham having been the first Australian to win a Formula 1 race, having done so in Monaco in 1959, 1980 Champion Alan Jones' victory in the 1981 USA Las Vegas Grand Prix was the last F1 winner's celebration for Australia before Webber won in Germany and Brazil last season.

After arriving in his home nation, Webber travelled in a motorcade through the streets of Queanbeyan on Monday on his way to a civic reception at the Council Chambers. "Queanbeyan is proud of all of its sporting stars and is honored to have such high-quality sports people representing it," said city Mayor Tim Overall.

"The people of Queanbeyan have followed Mark's career closely and the town celebrated as one when he crossed the finish line in Germany to record his first Grand Prix victory. Such an amazing performance deserves to be honored."

Back in Melbourne, the brand-new Webber stand is located between the Fangio and Senna stands and offers views of the final corner, Turn 16, as well as the start/finish straight.


News roundup as F1 rolls into Melbourne
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg tried to check into his room at Melbourne's Crown Casino this week only to find that it wasn't ready.

So he took about $100 to the casino and won $800 playing poker.

Earlier, the Mercedes driver had expressed reservations about Sunday's 5pm 'twilight' race start time, after the 2009 event finished with the low sun in drivers' eyes.

Reigning world champion Jenson Button agreed that the situation, also with long and dark shadows across the track, is potentially "dangerous".

But Force India's Tonio Liuzzi, who was in Melbourne last year but not actually racing, said on Tuesday: "It wasn't a real problem -- there was just one corner where the sun was very low and it was maybe a bit harder to see but everywhere else it was ok."

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track news

Video: True state of Donington Park track revealed
This video shows the sorry state this once great circuit is in now after its failed attempt at landing the British GP F1 race ... very, very sad to see this.

racing news

Reeves, Hawk Headline Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Field
2009 Pro Winner Al Unser Jr. (L) and Celebrity Winner Keanu Reeves (R) celebrate their wins in the 2009 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
Tom Loeser/Grand Prix Association of Long Beach
An eclectic group of Hollywood's stars from film, television, music and sports will put their freshly honed racing skills to the test all in the name of charity on Saturday, April 17 in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, part of the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.  The field of drivers will compete in identically-prepared race-ready Scion tCs in what has become the world's longest-running, most prestigious celebrity racing event. 

The historic, 10-lap race for charity on a 1.97-mile street circuit through the downtown streets of Long Beach in Southern California is one of six featured events during race weekend.  This year's anticipated field of 18 drivers includes the following diverse entertainment and media personalities:

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Button swaps McLaren for V8 Supercar in Melbourne
(l-r) Jenson Button and Jamie Whincup experienced life on the other side today when they swapped cars at Albert Park
EDGE Photographics
Australia got a taste of what it can expect at the Gold Coast SuperCarnivale in October when Formula One star and reigning world champion Jenson Button hopped aboard a V8 Supercar at Albert Park in Melbourne today.

The 2010 Gold Coast SuperCarnivale will see 18 international drivers join the 29 regular V8 Supercar stars on the streets of the Gold Coast for the third endurance event on the series calendar, from October 22-24.

While the SuperCarnivale is still more than 200 days away, today’s activity gave fans and media a chance to see an international star steering a V8 Supercar around the Albert Park street circuit ahead of this weekend’s Qantas Australian Grand Prix.

As part of a Vodafone car swap, TeamVodafone driver and reigning V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup swapped one of his team’s cars for the 2008-spec McLaren Mercedes F1 car which Lewis Hamilton steered to victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on his way to his world championship.

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