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Brembo Upgrades IndyCar Brake Systems  
The DW12 gets a brake upgrade for 2014.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fl., March 28, 2013 – Fresh from an outstanding 2013 motorsports season that included every major championship on four and two wheels, Brembo begins its third season as the exclusive supplier of brake systems for the Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Last season, Brembo-equipped teams won championships in F1 (19 Drivers’ and 23 Manufacturers’ since 1975), 24 Hours of Le Mans (22 of 25 years), NASCAR Cup (15 of 16), MotoGP (23 of 26) and, obviously, two for two in IndyCar since returning to the series.

Brembo’s original design of the brake system for IndyCar provided a reliably strong, yet lightweight system, which yielded high performance that was used for both ovals and road courses.

Brembo engineered a 6-piston, monobloc aluminum caliper machined from billet with titanium-radiated pistons (28/30/36 mm) weighing a mere 2 kg. This innovative system incorporated lightweight CER200 carbon-carbon discs, similar to rotors used in Formula 1 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and CCR400 carbon pads. More ...

Sato tops Rahal in 2nd St. Petersburg GP practice (Update)  UPDATE More quotes added.

03/28/14 AJ Foyt Japanese ace Takuma Sato turned the fastest lap in the 2nd practice session Friday for the Honda St. Petersburg GP.  Sato topped fellow Honda driver Graham Rahal and Penske Racing's Will Power in a Chevy.

Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top-5 in a session that saw light rain wet the track just enough to make it interesting.  Josef Newgarden and Juan Montoya found the tire barriers. More ...
Bernhard, Porsche Quickest Friday Afternoon at Paul Ricard  Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid jumped to the top of the time sheets Friday afternoon at Paul Ricard, with Timo Bernhard ending up the quickest in the second FIA WEC test session at The Prologue.

The German reeled off a best time of 1:41.788 in his No. 20 Porsche, edging out the morning pace-setting No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer by 0.285 seconds.

The No. 14 Porsche of Romain Dumas was third quickest with a 1:42.126, while both Toyota TS040 Hybrids were nearly two seconds off the pace in the four-hour session. More ...

Saturday IndyCar qualifying groups  
Group 1 Group 2
#15 Graham Rahal #14 Takuma Sato
#3 Helio Castroneves #12 Will Power
#27 James Hinchcliffe #77 Simon Pagenaud
#8 Ryan Briscoe #19 Justin Wilson
#11 Sebastien Bourdais #9 Scott Dixon
#28 Ryan Hunter-Reay #98 Jack Hawksworth
#7 Mikhail Aleshin #34 Carlos Munoz
#10 Tony Kanaan #67 Josef Newgarden
#25 Marco Andretti #83 Charlie Kimball
#20 Mike Conway #2 Juan Pablo Montoya
#18 Carlos Huertas #17 Sebastian Saavedra
Long Beach newspaper backs IndyCar  The following editorial appeared in the Long Beach Register today:

Formula One in Long Beach? No reason to replace current profitable IndyCar platform.

At a Long Beach Century Club meeting last week, Chris Pook, the man who brought Grand Prix racing to our city in the 1970s, made the pitch to replace the current Long Beach Grand Prix IndyCar race with Formula One, according to a Register report.

The present contract held by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which operates the race in association with IndyCar, is up for renewal in 2015, and Mr.

Pook hopes the City Council will open up the bidding process to seek proposals from other racing bodies. More ...

Video: Paul Page back with IndyCar  
Hinchcliffe tops opening practice in St. Petersburg  Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe turned the fastest lap in opening practice Friday for the St. Petersburg GP IndyCar race with a time of 1m02.9326s.

He was followed by Dale Coyne driver Justin Wilson and AJ Foyt driver Takuma Sato.

All three were powered by Hondas new twin turbo V6, the engine AR1.com predicted would be the engine to beat in 2014. First race and it is already showing power. More ...
Volvo very beatable: Whincup  Reigning V8 Supercars Champion Jamie Whincup has declared Volvo may not be an immediate threat to his Red Bull Racing outfit despite the flying start to the season by young Kiwi Scott McLaughlin.

Whincup fought back in practice at the opening day of the Tyrepower Tasmania 400 ahead of the first Super Sprint weekend, then disagreed with many others in the paddock who have said McLaughlin and his Valvoline Racing GRM Volvo are near unbeatable at the Launceston track.

In what has been his worst start to a season in nine years, Whincup enters this weekend still entrenched in the top ten in seventh in the points and far from being out of contention in only the second Championship event of the year. More ...
Red Bull's megabill for new fuel meters  SEPANG, Malaysia - The Times newspaper in the UK has reported that Red Bull, after Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification in Melbourne, spent the equivalent of more than R1.56-million on five regulation sensors for the 2014 Malaysian F1 GP.

A team source told the newspaper: "We are not taking any chances. We have gone out independently and bought sensors so we know that we will have at least one that works properly."

Red Bull has appealed Ricciardo's exclusion and after the race invited International Automobile Federation to inspect the allegedly faulty sensors at the team's plant north of London. More ...
Ferrari building special parts for Raikkonen  Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari is "making some stuff for me" in order to help get the 2014 car more to his liking.

While Fernando Alonso finished fourth in Australia, Raikkonen was less competitive as he eventually came home in seventh place behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg's Force India. With his struggles being linked to the Ferrari brake-by-wire system, Raikkonen denied that to be the case and said he was just struggling to feel comfortable with the car's handling. More ...
High speed corners hurt McLaren - Button  Jenson Button says that Sepang's high speed corners, as well as the extreme heat, is hampering McLaren's progress at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Button was eighth in the second free practice session and believes that McLaren's long run pace isn't giving him too much hope.

"We’re finding it tough out there today – especially in the heat," said Button, who won in Malaysia five years ago. More ...
Brad Daugherty NASCAR team invests $2 million  For years NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty has accepted that his budget — and therefore his team’s results — were not going to be among the Sprint Cup’s Top 10.

Unable to compete financially with big boys like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing has learned to deal with finishing closer to the middle of the pack or the back of the field as opposed to running up front.

No more.

An alliance with Richard Childress Racing and added investment of millions of dollars has left the former basketball player and Black Mountain native confident that bigger and better things are in store for the 47 Busch Beans Chevrolet SS driven by AJ Allmendinger. More ...
Forsythe Defrauded Out Of $3 Million By 29-Year Old Fertilizer Salesman  
Gerald Forsythe
A case appealed from the federal bankruptcy court in Terre Haute to the federal district court in Indianapolis is raising a lot of eyebrows. Multi-millionaire businessman and former CHAMP Car Series owner Gerald Forsythe contested the bankruptcy filing of a 29-year old fertilizer salesman originally from my hometown of Marshall, Illinois based on a claim that the bankrupt salesman defrauded him out of $3 million. Reading the facts from Judge William Lawrence's opinion this past week, it's hard to have any sympathy for Forsythe.

According to the opinion, Forsythe, whose reported net worth was $600 million many years ago, entered into an oral agreement on July 6, 2004 with Yeley, who he came to know when he sold him fertilizer for his vast farming interests in Illinois, to purchase Cabela's stock when its initial public offering was launched. Forsythe agreed to put up $3 million, which he transferred into a brokerage account opened up by Yeley at Pershing, LLC. The funds were to be used solely by Yeley for purchasing Cabela's stock and when the stock was sold the two were to share in any profits realized from the sale of the stock. The two also agreed that Forsythe could demand the return of his money at any time. You can pretty much guess what happened thereafter. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  
  • McLaren running 'Esso' branding at Sepang
  • Kobayashi worried about 'submarining' noses
  • Predicting 2014 winner like 'winning lottery' - Alesi
  • Bianchi sick, Perez sore
  • Ecclestone must pay costs but Constantin appeal rejected
  • Ferrari suffered FIA engine glitch in Melbourne
  • Engine noise could affect Sepang contract talks
  • Ecclestone admits engines louder than he thought
  • Red Bull's fuel flow problems continue in Malaysia More ...
Malaysian GP: Rosberg tops practice 2  
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg topped practice 2 of Malaysian Grand Prix for Mercedes, continuing the team's domination at the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

The Australian Grand Prix winner knocked Felipe Massa's Williams (with Mercedes power of course), which had been the first to top the timesheets on the quicker rubber, off top spot shortly after the 30-minute mark.

Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton went second fastest, a tenth-and-a-half slower than Rosberg.

The Mercedes were then split by the back-on-form Kimi Raikkonen, who was only 0.035s slower than Rosberg as he went second for Ferrari. More ...

Malaysian GP: Hamilton tops practice 1  
Lewis Hamilton
Despite ending up in the gravel trap at the end of the first practice session for the Malaysian GP in Sepang, Lewis Hamilton turned the fastest lap in his superior Mercedes.  Kimi Raikkonen was 2nd for Ferrari ahead of Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg in 3rd.

The Briton recorded his fastest time, a 1m40.691s lap, 0.152 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Jenson Button was 4th for McLaren and his teammate Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top-5.

Sebastian Vettel was a respectable 7th for Red Bull-Renault, 0.832s behind Hamilton as Mercedes powered cars dominated the top-10. More ...
Shawna Robinson diagnosed with breast cancer  Former NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson, the first woman to win a pole in what is now the Nationwide Series, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Robinson, who now works in interior design and is creator and owner of Happy Chair which restores old chairs, announced on her Facebook page this week that she would begin five to six months of chemotherapy and then require surgery. Here is her entire post:

"I'm getting ready to start a new journey that was unexpected but I am prepared to take it on as I would any challenge ..with direction and strength. I have breast cancer...when they tell you you have cancer you don't hear the rest you just see talking and you seem to be there but your not hearing the words. But it is real, start Chemo next week for 5-6 months then surgery....there is such progress in cancer treatment.....still scared but prepared for battle. Thankful for the family and friends....I'm blessed to have....ready to go wide open and get this thing!!!" Charlotte Observer

Toyota launches the 1,000hp TS040  
See video at end
Today, Thursday, at the Le Castellet circuit Toyota launched the car with which the Japanese giant will fight for victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours (14-15 June) and the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. The launch of the TS040 Hybrid came the day before the Prologue, the general rehearsal for the new season.
After Porsche on 4th March at the Geneva Motor Show and then Audi on Tuesday in the streets of Le Mans, it was Toyota’s turn to unveil its new LM P1 challenger on the Le Castellet circuit in the Var department. It’s called the TS040 Hybrid, two of which will be entered in the 2014 endurance season’s seven 6-hour races plus the pinnacle, the Le Mans 24 Hours. More ...
Clueless Button doesn't like sound of Vettel's critique (Update)  UPDATE Button said that if some drivers were unhappy with the rule changes "then they should consider leaving F1." Button: "Go and race something else if you are not happy. As drivers we don't have an opinion of where the cars are in terms of sound and feel. When you cross the finish line first you have won a grand prix. You don't care what it sounds like or what it looks like." 

Clearly Button is clueless.  If F1 cannot satisfy the F1 customer, there won't be any F1 for Button to race in.  He'd have to take up swamp buggy racing.

03/27/14 (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel on Thursday admitted a dubious weather forecast for the Malaysian grand prix is making him excited, not nervous.

"Daniel (Ricciardo) showed in Melbourne that the car is fast on a wet track," the reigning world champion said at hot Sepang.

Recovering Red Bull, he suggested, needs some help from the skies to catch up with the new best team on the grid.

"Mercedes is still a step ahead," admitted the German. More ...

Malaysian Grand Prix To Honor MH370 Passengers  F1 "will pay tribute to the passengers on missing flight MH370 at Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix," according to the BBC. Drivers "are expected to carry messages on cars and helmets and there will be a minute's silence before the race." Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said, "It's devastating to hear about it. All you can do is pray." Fellow Briton and McLaren driver Jenson Button added, "It's good that the whole of the paddock are running tributes." Sepang Int'l Circuit CEO Razlan Razali said, "The world will be on us to see how fragile or how strong we are. So we have a huge responsibility to put on a good show." BBC
Belardi Auto Racing Ready to Start Chase for Indy Lights Supremacy  Belardi Auto Racing is excited to start its chase for additional Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires wins this weekend (March 30), when the 2014 edition of the top rung of the renowned Mazda Road to Indy program gets underway in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Indiana-based team travels to the Florida street circuit with an impressive two-car driver line-up of Alex Baron and Gabby Chaves, positioned to immediately be part of the championship fight.

Challenging for top honors in the junior formula car ranks takes lots of different ingredients, and entering the upcoming Indy Lights opener, Belardi Auto Racing is confident it has what it takes to do just that. A key component in that belief is the drivers who will be behind the wheels when the action gets underway on the 1.8-mile St. Petersburg street circuit, with rising stars Chaves and Baron in the cockpits. More ...

Dario Franchitti on the crash that ended his racing career  
Dario Franchitti
On Monday night, news broke that four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti will drive the pace car at this year's Indianapolis 500 on May 25.

That's a pretty fast turnaround considering that Franchitti was in a gruesome crash just last fall that ended his racing career. The wreck, which happened Oct. 6 at the Houston Grand Prix, left Franchitti with a broken back, broken ankle, and concussion. A month later Franchitti announced that based on the advice of his doctors, he would retire from racing.

Now upright and mobile, but still walking with a limp, Franchitti stopped by the Fortune offices on Tuesday to talk about everything from the crash to his new role in the sport to his thoughts on safety.

Fortune: How are you feeling?

Dario Franchitti: I'm all right. Tired. Right now I get tired more easily, since I had a brain injury. But I'm generally pretty good. More ...

Ecclestone hit with $6m legal bill  
Bernie Ecclestone
Despite winning the legal case involving German media company Constantin Medien, Bernie Ecclestone must pay legal fees in excess of $6m.

The case, which saw the German media group demanding $140.4m in damages, claiming that Ecclestone and others conspired to undervalue F1 when selling the business, ended with Mr. Justice Newey ruling in favor of the F1 supremo but making it quite clear that he was less than impressed with him.

Newey, who had reserved judgment following the trial which ran from October to December, said he found it impossible to rely on Ecclestone as a "reliable" or "truthful" witness, but revealed that Constantin's case failed because it had been "no part" of Mr. Ecclestone's purpose for shares to be sold at an "undervalue". More ...

2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg dates set  Organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg announced that the 2015 event will be held March 27-29.

"Announcing our dates a year in advance will allow our patrons, local businesses, events and the community to plan ahead, and will better facilitate future planning for those interested participating in or around the event," said Tim Ramsberger, President of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

"The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has become an important staple of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule and we're happy to announce our 2015 dates so far in advance of the event," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, parent company of INDYCAR. "INDYCAR is thankful for the support from Firestone, the City of St. Petersburg, the race promoters and their respective staffs for continuing to make this event a success.  We have established a strong history in St. Pete of thrilling racing and entertaining events and we look forward to that continuing into the future."

Tickets for the 2015 event will go on sale in the fall.

Introducing Penske Starch  Team Penske is always looking for new opportunities and they have realize they use a lot of starch for their shirts. Therefore they have developed their own Team Penske Starch.

track news
Franchitti, Forsythe, Kalkhoven To Be Inducted into LB Motorsports Walk of Fame  
Kevin Kalkhoven
Three motorsports legends with a history of checkered flags at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – driver Dario Franchitti and owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven – will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on Thursday, April 10.

The public is invited to the free, ninth annual induction ceremony, which will be held at 11 a.m. on South Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center, along the route of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. More ...

Indy Car can't afford to lose Long Beach to F1  
Q: My overseas friends are curious about Formula 1 possibly returning to Long Beach. I have told them repeatedly that Chris Pook said he would never do business with Bernie Ecclestone. Since the end of Champ Car and rise of the IRL, we all know Chris is no fan of the IRL. However, he is making motions (as reported in the local media) about bringing F1 back to SoCal. I find it hard to believe IndyCar would let F1 take one of its premiere races without a fight. Is Chris really serious about this or is he hedging his bets by playing one rival against another? Does the possibility of F1 at Long Beach rise if Bernie Ecclestone actually retires this year as he has alluded?
Charlie in Texas

Racer's Robin Miller: First off, I've known Pook for 40 years and I've never heard him say he wouldn't do business with Bernard (that's what he calls Ecclestone). They're pals. And IndyCar has no control over the fate of Long Beach. Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe are the co-promoters of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and their contract with the city expires after 2015, so if Ecclestone is allowed to make a bid (that hasn't been decided as yet) he could win back the race he started. Obviously, losing Long Beach would be fatal to IndyCar.

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Laureus award for Vettel: "one of the greatest drivers of all time"
    Schu manager dismisses F1 doctor Hartstein's pessimism
  • Mercedes switch no fluke for Williams - boss
  • No engine to power Stefanovich's F1 bid
  • Panis no fan of 'green' F1
  • Fuel 'arguments' could return in Malaysia - Horner
  • Alonso trying to 'destroy' Raikkonen - Villeneuve
  • 'Great' Vettel finally wins Laureus award
  • Raikkonen: Issues greater than brake-by-wire New More ...
Porsche Completes Endurance Test at Paul Ricard  While the FIA WEC "The Prologue" pre-season test does not get underway until Friday, Porsche arrived at Paul Ricard earlier this week for a three-day private test with its new LMP1 contenders.

All six of the German manufacturer’s drivers: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber were on hand for the endurance test, the first time both of its Porsche 919 Hybrids ran simultaneously.

Nearly 3,000 miles were logged between the two LMP1-H cars, which was interrupted several times due to mechanical issues. More ...

Can't say we didn't tell you...Double File Restarts  The day IndyCar announced double file restarts for all races, including street and road courses, AR1.com denounced the decision as ludicrous.  Now that Derrick Walker is overseeing the competition aspect of IndyCar, more intelligent decisions are being made.

RACER'S MARSHALL PRUETT: There's a big change in restart procedures this year. Why abandon double-file restarts at most tracks? Was that heeding the call from the drivers' union to do away with them?

DERRICK WALKER: Well, a lot of the tracks that we do those at are somewhat limited for space going into the first turn, and the potential for the whole track to be blocked was always there. We consulted a lot of different people, drivers mainly, and came to the consensus that the decision we ought to come to is to change that format because of the space available at some of these tracks. When you put that many cars together and they're all going at it, it might look exciting but the potential is there for more accidents because people are so jammed up. Particularly at street races, it's tough to get enough space there to be able to do it successfully without just crashing into everybody. Baltimore was a prime example of when it goes wrong, and we didn't want to temp that from happening again. That was always my concern was ultimately to get track blockage one of these times that really stops the race and you dig everybody out. More ...

NASCAR Teams complete tires test at Sonoma  Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams completed a rain-dampened two-day Goodyear tire test at Sonoma Raceway on Wednesday. Intermittent rain fell at the raceway both Tuesday and Wednesday, but Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers were able to log approximately nine hours of track time over the two days.

"Goodyear had a pretty stout tire here last year, and they want to improve on it if they can. They came here with some different compounds to try, and a good mix of teams and drivers to get feedback," said Ambrose, who started from the pole in Sonoma in 2012. More ...

NASCAR foam mandate aims to protect drivers' spines  
Denny Hamlin after hitting the wall at Fontana last March
After Denny Hamlin crashed at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., last March, NASCAR decided change was needed.

To better protect drivers from potential injuries to their spines, NASCAR has mandated teams in the Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series to adjust the amount of foam underneath the drivers’ seats.

"The rule requires we had to have three-quarters-of-an-inch of foam right under the drivers’ butt, basically, to protect their spinal column, I guess, in the instance of a [crash like Hamlin’s]," Jeff Hensley, crew chief for the No. 20 Truck Series team, recently said during testing at Martinsville Speedway. "It was kind of a freak crash the way Denny hit the wall. He hit the wall going up and down at the same time … And we’re always privy to those accident reports, which allows us to make our vehicles safer." More ...

INDYCAR Track Laps: St. Petersburg  Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power takes us on a lap of the St. Petersburg circuit.

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