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Andreas Wirth Returns to Racing Realties  Having recently been announced as the 2008 feature driver for "Racing Realities – Diaries of a Race Car Driver," Andreas decided it was time to get his fans involved a little more this season.  With just a few days before the season begins we're happy to declare that "Andreas Wirth's RacingRealities.com Prediction Pool" is open to receive your entries!

Join Andreas' fans from around the world in a little friendly racing competition and you could win an Andreas Wirth Motorsport prize package!  Simply follow his career in the Atlantic Championship as he attempts to take care of some unfinished business in 2008.  Visit RacingRealities.com for complete details and gain a bit of an edge in the competition by reviewing his track history and personal comments on each race venue - then, submit your predictions in and you could win! 

Don't miss a minute of the fun or a single opportunity to accumulate some points - get your Overall Season and Long Beach Race Predictions in by 12-midnight EST on Thursday April 17th to be eligible for the first round of prediction pool competition. 

Finally, don't forget to follow Andreas and the whole Brooks Associates Racing Squad as they hunt down the title in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda - enjoy this unique perspective into the world of motorsport and enter the contest by visiting www.RacingRealities.com.

Singapore Grand Prix slew of events to add buzz to F1  A large array of events will ride shotgun with the Singapore Grand Prix when it motors into town in September. Tourism officials and the private sector have lined up everything from jazz concerts to float parades to capitalize on the influx of visitors expected for the Formula One weekend, which runs from Sept 26 to 28.

To date, eight events have been arranged under the banner of the Singapore Grand Prix Season, which takes place from Sept 20 to Oct 5.

More events are expected to be announced, and the season will be promoted through advertising campaigns in regional markets such as Australia, China and India, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). More ...

Korean Teenager Steers a Course to F1  Mun Sung-hak is the only Korean working in Europe to become a Formula One driver. He's now participating in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, a kind of minor league for car racing. "I went to Europe because I wanted to compete with better drivers," the18-year-old racer said without a hint of fear.

"When I was just five years old, my father put me on his lap and let me drive a car. I remember that moment vividly; I can't forget it," Mun said. He made his debut in Formula Renault last year as the youngest in the class, finishing a respectable ninth out of 30 racers in overall rankings.

Training in Europe for the young Korean was harsh. He spent about 10 grueling hours a day behind the wheel, and if he cried over the pain he was told he could pack his bags and go home. Exhaustion would set in as he put in more than 100 practice laps on the track daily. Eventually he had an accident, with his car skidding and then slamming into a protective wall while attempting to overtake at 180 km/h.

"My mind went totally blank and all I could think was that I was going to die like this," Mun said. "I was able to survive because of the car. I was afraid of driving again for quite a long time after that, but I got my confidence back as time passed and my performance got better."

Mun knows he's chasing a rare dream. "Thousands of people try to be a Formula One driver every year, but only one or two are lucky enough to be selected," he said with his eyes shining. "If you dream of being a Formula One racer, you have to be nothing but the top." Chosun.com

Final Texas TV ratings 3.6 percent lower than 2007  Fox's broadcast of the April 6 Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.4 and a 12 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 3.6 percent lower than the 5.6 the network earned for the race in 2007.
Renger van der Zande wins at Hockenheim  Renger van der Zande (Prema Powerteam) won the second season round of the Formula 3 Euro Series. At the 4.574 kilometers long Hockenheimring, the 22-year old Dutchman was 4.556 seconds faster than second placed Christian Vietoris (Mücke Motorsport). The two Volkswagen drivers Edoardo Mortara and Franck Mailleux (both Signature-Plus) occupied third and fourth place. In the overall classification, Italian Mortara is leading after two rounds, tied with Mika Mäki (Mücke Motorsport). Both have ten points. Finnish driver, Mäki, retired after a collision with Jean-Karl Vernay (Signature-Plus).



Driver Team Car Gap
1 Renger van der Zande Prema D/M 41:20.092
2 Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M +4.556
3 Edoardo Mortara Signature D/V +5.999
4 Franck Mailleux Signature D/V +7.315
5 Yann Clairay SG D/M +10.090
6 Sam Bird Manor D/M +10.649
7 Dani Clos Prema D/M +11.168
8 Maxi Gotz RC D/V +13.286
9 Kodai Tsukakoshi Manor D/M +14.172
10 Erik Janis Mucke D/M +15.334
11 James Jakes ART D/M +17.119
12 Rodolfo Gonzalez Carlin D/M +18.143
13 Jules Bianchi ART D/M +18.752
14 Daniel Campos-Hull HBR D/M +25.045
15 Tom Dillmann SG D/M +26.874
16 Michael Klein Jo Zeller D/M +28.064
17 Richard Philippe Carlin D/M +29.109
18 Basil Shaaban HBR D/M +29.892
19 Niall Breen Manor D/M +36.695
20 Kazuya Oshima Manor D/M +40.422
21 Stefano Coletti Signature D/V +1:26.574
Driver Team Car Laps
Jean-Karl Vernay Signature D/V 21 laps
Mika Maki Mucke D/M 20 laps
Nico Hulkenberg ART D/M 19 laps
Martin Plowman RC D/V 10 laps
Charlie Kimball Prema D/M 0 laps
Jens Klingmann RC D/V 0 laps
Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M 0 laps
Fastest lap: Clos, 1:34.289 on lap 9
(D/M = Dallara Mercedes, D/V = Dallara Volkswagen)

tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  
NASCAR Nationwide Series Live from Mexico City on ESPN

The NASCAR Nationwide Series goes south of the border this weekend for its annual event in Mexico City, and ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage Sunday, April 20, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The high definition telecast is presented by Kawasaki. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC.

Three-time NASCAR champion crew chief Ray Evernham will make his first appearance of the season in the ESPN booth as analyst on the telecast, joined by fellow analyst Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion, and lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch. Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Vince Welch will report from the pits.

ESPN2 will have live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday, April 18, at 4 p.m., and live coverage of qualifying Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

The race will be simulcast on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, and on ESPN Deportes, the domestic Spanish-language network. The event also will be simulcast on ESPN MobileTV.

NASCAR Now To Feature Monday Roundtable Discussion

NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, features news, highlights, opinion, debate and analysis from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track.

On Monday, April 21, host Allen Bestwick leads a discussion of the Mexico City weekend and other NASCAR news in a one-hour episode airing at 5:30 p.m. ET. Joining Bestwick will be a panel of ESPN’s NASCAR analysts and reporters.

Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at 6 p.m. and Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. The one-hour weekend edition airs Sunday at 10 a.m. with a preview of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Texas. More ...

Cameron makes Atlantic debut in Long Beach  
Dane Cameron
There’s not a driver racing at the Long Beach Grand Prix this weekend who has more going for him, or more expected of him, than rising open-wheel star Dane Cameron.

Cameron, winner 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear – and the full-season MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder Atlantic sponsorship that goes with it – will be making his competition debut in the #19 Genoa Racing/MAZDASPEED Swift 016.a in Round One of the 2008 Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda… a race that was won last year by Raphael Matos, the 2005 Star Mazda champion.

Add to that a stellar family racing pedigree and the three championships and three ‘Rookie of the Year’ awards he’s won during his climb up the motorsports ladder, along with the fact that he was fastest in both days of Atlantic series pre-season testing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Pile on the widely-held view among motorsports insiders that he’s the next hot young American racer and the full weight of the expectations resting on the shoulders of this 19 year-old native of Sonoma, California becomes clear. More ...

Hope puts Spoon Sports/Opak Racing Back in Winner Circle  
(L to R) Curt Simmons, Andy Hope and David Bongiovanni
Ryan Cristobali
After almost a season long break from USTCC competition, the 2005 championship car and team returns to the winner circle at this past weekend’s second round of the 2008 NITTO Tire U.S. Touring Car Championship at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.  The very familiar yellow and blue clad JDM right hand drive Acura RSX-R of Spoons Sports/Opak Racing was driven to victory lane by Hope.  Not that kind of Hope, but by the form of Andy Hope of Sports Compact Car Magazine.

Behind the wheel of the #8 Acura RSX, Hope drove a hard charging race to make a last lap pass on the race leader and pole winner 2007 USTCC Champion Curt Simmons in the #49 Cornwell Tools/Sunnyvale Dodge/MBO Racing Dodge SRT-4 who finished in second place. 

Winner Andy Hope's blue and yellow Acura RSX-R on the right
Ryan Cristobali
For the second consecutive race in a row, Simmons qualified his SRT-4 on the pole and got a great launch off the standing start and easily pulled away from the rest of the field, but a race is never over until the fat lady sings and sang she did.  Hope in the RSX-R who started in  third position put his head down and picked his way through the field to get up front to gain ground on Simmons.  Finally when the white flag came out the two crossed the start-finish line neck and neck.  Hope was able to put a move on Simmons to take a small lead through turns four down through the carousel.  Simmons was able to take the lead back and tried to shut the door, but Hope was able to sneak his nose in one last time going into turn seven side by side but was able to squeeze by Simmons and pull away exiting the turn to take the checkered flag. More ...
Toyota GP of Long Beach news  Pre-race ceremonies for the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20, will have a collection of cars that - to put it mildly - are eclectic.

Prior to the 1 p.m. Sunday start of the Champ Car finale, fans will enjoy a parade of some very special "green" pace cars, headed up by the Port of Long Beach's specially wrapped Toyota Prius, the "Official Green Pace Car" of this year's event, followed by a variety of Toyota Hybrids, including the Camry, Highlander, Lexus GS 450 and Lexus LX 450.

The parade also includes the new Ronaele, powered by lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, the E100 ethanol-powered Mazda Furai and SolarWorld No. 1, a solar-powered car from Germany that is capable of hitting speeds of 70 mph.

At noon, fans will get a glimpse of the future in the Robotic Challenge, featuring three robotic cars attempting to complete a full lap of the circuit using nothing but on-board computers and GPS tracking systems. More ...

Toyota testing major aero update  With the first three flyaway races of 2008 completed, Toyota returned to European action today with testing at the Circuit de Catalunya. Timo Glock was in the driving seat for Toyota as the team began preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix here on April 27.

He concentrated on testing the TF108's aerodynamics, which will feature a major update for the first European race, along with work on set-up and other systems. Timo had a solid day's running, putting in 93 laps. He is scheduled to continue testing for Toyota tomorrow at the same track.  More ...

Web traffic spikes at indycar.com  The unification of open-wheel racing under the IndyCar Series banner has already resulted in increased car counts and a renewed interest among sponsors and fans. Another sign of the growing excitement surrounding the unified IndyCar Series is the drastic increase in web traffic at the series’ official Web site, www.indycar.com.  The site, which unveiled a new, improved design in March, has seen tremendous growth since the beginning of the year.
Unique visits, the most accurate statistical measurement of a Web site’s visitation, have increased dramatically in every major section of indycar.com. The home page has seen at least a 90 percent increase in unique visits each month since January. Visits to the 2008 IndyCar Series schedule section have more than doubled each month. IndyCar Nation, a popular feature on the site that allows fans to connect to the series by designing paint schemes, submitting fan photos, and discussing the series in IndyCar Nation Talkback, saw a 243 percent increase in unique visits from February to March alone. More ...
Rahal’s win broke three-team, 37-race streak  Graham Rahal’s victory in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg April 6 for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing was the first by a driver for a team other than Andretti Green Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske since Aug. 14, 2005 – a span of 37 IndyCar Series races. Fernandez Racing’s Scott Sharp won the race at Kentucky Speedway in 2005 before the streak started.
A look back at some key numbers from the streak of race wins by those three teams:
  • 4 – Seasons encompassed by the streak (2005, 5 races; 2006, 14 races; 2007, 17 races; 2008, 1 race)
  • 15 – Victories by Andretti Green Racing, the most of any team during the 37-race streak. Target Chip Ganassi Racing won 12 races, while Team Penske won 10.
  • 7 – Drivers who recorded victories during the 37-race period (Scott Dixon, 8; Tony Kanaan, 7; Dan Wheldon, 6; Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish, Jr., 5; Marco Andretti, 1)
One weekend, two races in two hemispheres  IndyCar Series fans will have their attention divided between two races on two hemispheres April 19-20.
Eighteen IndyCar Series drivers will compete in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on April 19. Thanks to a 13-hour time difference between Japan and the east coast of the United States, that race begins at midnight.
Thirty-six hours later, at 4 p.m. ET on April 20, 20 drivers, including nine who have started the first two IndyCar Series races of the 2008 season, are expected to compete in the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.), the final event of the Champ Car World Series.
“It's going to be a great weekend, and we're going to make the most of ensuring that both events come off in world-class fashion,” said Indy Racing League CEO Tony George.
Drivers from both events will earn points towards the IndyCar Series championship, and both races will be televised in High Definition on ESPN2.
ESPN’s Jack Arute will literally travel the globe to cover both events.
"This actually started as a lark, like 'wouldn't it be funny to do both Motegi and Long Beach,'" said Arute, a regular member of ESPN's IndyCar Series coverage team. "But then we started looking into it and saw that it could be done.
"Fortunately, I can sleep on airplanes with no problem. But I've asked one of the teams to have a cot in their pit at Long Beach, just in case I need it. And lots of coffee."
Massa fastest on slick tires and new Ferrari nose  UPDATE
Ferrari's new innovative nose hole
Added photo of new opening in top of the Ferrari nose.

04/14/08 Felipe Massa with a new radical Ferrari front nose and slick tires set a blistering pace in Formula One's return to testing action in Barcelona Monday. 

Massa's best time of 1:18.339 put him 2.7 seconds ahead of Honda test driver Alex Wurz, who also set his best time on slick tires.

Ferrari finally tested its much anticipated radical nose as an official three day session kicked off at the Circuit de Catalunya on Monday.

It was reported recently that the Italian team called off its plan to debut the development - effectively an opening in the upper part of the F2008 front of the F2008's nose - in Bahrain.

When the innovation finally emerged on Felipe Massa's car at Barcelona, it was positioned closer to the cockpit than was speculated, meaning that it was not easily spotted from frontal views.

Instead, the openings could be seen from overhead positions or photographs.

Another notable development in Spain was a drooping element from the sidepod of Renault's R28, while McLaren used a flat rear wing to simulate 2009 levels of downforce to go with the slick Bridgestone tires that are on offer at Barcelona.

The only team missing in Spain this week is Super Aguri.  Michael Schumacher is expected to test for Ferrari on Tuesday.

Monday times:


Driver Team Type Tire Time Laps
1. Massa Ferrari Slick 1:18.339 77
2. Wurz Honda Slick 1:21.059 75
3. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes Grooved 1:21.566 113
4. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber Grooved 1:21.679 105
5. Piquet Renault Grooved 1:22.125 69
6. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault Grooved 1:22.197 59
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota Grooved 1:22.431 72
8. Glock Toyota Grooved 1:22.590 92
9. Liuzzi Force India-Ferrari Grooved 1:22.846 91

Edmonton Indy to go ahead  Edmonton's popular grand prix car race in July will go ahead, race officials announced Monday.

Edmonton has been part of the Champ Car circuit for the past three years, attracting as many as 200,000 spectators to the three-day event at the temporary track at the city centre airport just north of the downtown.

But the event was put in doubt this year because of a merger between two racing organizations in North America.

The Indy Racing League — the newly merged organization that includes the Indy Racing circuit and the former Champ Car circuit — released its schedule in Florida in late February, but Edmonton was not included.

At the time officials expressed confidence that the city's record of attracting large crowds to racing events would help persuade league officials to include the city on its schedule.

The 2008 race has been renamed the Rexall Edmonton Indy and will have a different look from the old Champ Car event, general manager Jim Haskins said Monday.

"We had 17 cars on the grid last year. We will have at least 27 cars on the grid this year, so that alone makes for way more exciting racing, more opportunities for passing, more opportunities for exciting racing even with attrition," Haskins said.

The event will be held July 24-26, and kick off the city's Capital EX summer festival.

An interview with Chief Engineer Eric Zeto  Throughout the season Conquest Racing will be giving you a more in depth look at the team and their challenges of making the transition to the unified IndyCar Series. In this first installment, through a short Q&A, Conquest’s Chief Engineer Eric Zeto offers further perspective on the differences in the teams competitiveness and expectations on ovals versus street courses.

Q: How can you explain the difference in performance on ovals between the established IndyCar Series Teams and the former Champ Car teams coming in?

A: At Homestead , the ex-Champ Car teams were facing multiple hurdles.  In our case, we had drivers that were seeing an oval track for literally the first time.  As any of the current IndyCar drivers will tell you, learning to adapt to the constantly changing conditions, running in traffic with cars literally inches away at over 200 mph, and getting accustomed to having a car on the ‘knife edge’ in terms of balance is a very tall order.

To compound the issue, the teams were just not fully prepared. Just looking around the paddock during the race weekend, long after the IndyCar regulars had left the track for dinner, the Champ Car teams were grinding on bodywork, fitting backordered parts that had just arrived, and just generally trying to build a racecar.  Rather than running the parts we wanted like specific suspension, bodywork or roll bars. We were running what we had on hand.

The other factor of course was lack of spares.  Graham (Rahal’s crash in testing) was a prime example of what could happen with a misfortunate incident.  With another race the following weekend, we couldn’t afford with our rookies to be overly aggressive in race trim.  We made our car safe (but slower), to ensure that they were brought home with all four wheels intact.  I don’t want this to be misinterpreted, because I’m not implying that after 2 or 3 more events, we’ll be running with the big boys, but I certainly think we can put on a more respectable showing in time.

Q: If there was such a difference on ovals, why were the “transitional” teams so strong on the street course?

A: The biggest misconception I think that the media has about the challenge facing the so-called ‘transition’ teams is that we will have a difficult time ‘learning’ the new Dallara.  In actuality, the car is quite similar to what most of us have been running for years whether it be the Lola or the newer Panoz chassis.  The wheelbase is basically the same, the track widths are in the same ballpark, suspension geometry is easily calculated and configurable, the vehicle weight is similar, we’re using dampers that we’re familiar with and the wheels and tires are effectively identical between the two series.  So at a place like St. Pete, for the ex-Champ Car teams, we’re using ‘tools’ that we’re very familiar with.  With Champ Car in recent years becoming defacto spec with the Lola and then subsequently full spec with the Panoz, teams were focusing on the subtleties and details of road course racing, things that in a more open environment, we quite frankly didn’t have time for.  More ...
Racing news
Villeneuve's uncle seriously injured  UPDATE #4 Not only did Jacques make an amazing recovery from his serious accident in Eagle River, Wisconsin, but he went on to win the last two snowmobile races of the season.  After fierce determination and a rigorous physical therapy program, Jacques returned to the SCM Racing series and finished the season in his legendary style of winning races in the Pro-Champ class at both Haliburton, Ontario and Roberval, Quebec.

02/09/08 Jacques is making a remarkable recovery from the serious accident he had in Eagle River, Wisconsin on January 18.  He is hoping to start racing snowmobiles again very soon, possibly as early as next weekend in Valcourt, Quebec.

01/31/08 Jacques is back home in St. Cuthbert, Quebec recuperating from surgery.  He is resting comfortably and his recovery is going very well.  Screws were put in his pelvis due to his pelvis and acetabular being fractured.  Acetabular fractures are usually the result of major direct trauma to the pelvis and femur.  Fortunately, Jacques does not have any fractures to his spinal column or legs  His doctors expect him to be in recovery for two months, and say he will be able to return to racing.  Jacques is optimistic that he will be able to start racing snowmobiles again in the next few weeks. More ...
Force India happy with 2009 updates  Force India reckons it is making good progress with its preparations for the new-look 2009 technical regulations after approximating next year's rules package in testing today.

The squad was one of several to run the 2009-style groove-less slick Bridgestones at Barcelona, and also used downforce levels equivalent to those that will apply next year, when the aerodynamic rules will be very different.

"In the morning we used the standard 2008 VJM01 with the 2008 grooved tyres to establish a baseline set-up, but in the afternoon we moved to the 2009 downforce level and tyres," said the team's technical boss Mike Gascoyne.

"We obtained some useful information on their respective performance, and after a basic warm-up, the tyres behaved better than we expected. "On longer runs there is some drop off with the 2009 tyres and there is still some work to do."

Test driver Tonio Liuzzi was entrusted with today's programme, and was cautiously optimistic - although he said the car's behaviour changed a lot when running with the 2009 package.

"It was difficult to drive as there is much less downforce, but I think Bridgestone has done a good job with the tyres as they performed very strongly over one lap," Liuzzi said. More ...
Pedrosa tops Monday testing  Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa put in another day’s good work at sunny Estoril today, testing Michelin tires, fine-tuning machine setup and evaluating new chassis parts.

The main focus of the post-Portuguese Grand Prix session was tire testing, was for both Repsol Honda riders trying a variety of different compounds. Joint World Championship leader Pedrosa used qualifying tires to clock the fastest lap of the day while Hayden preferred to concentrate on riding in race trim with race tires, recording the fastest lap of the day on race tires and improving on his best lap during yesterday’s race. The day also gave the RC212V riders the chance to experiment with different settings options, with a view to the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix, and evaluate new chassis parts which offered promising performance.

The Chinese GP, round four of the 18-race 2008 MotoGP series, takes place at Shanghai on May 2/3/4.

Dani Pedrosa, fastest lap: 1m 36.455s ( 68 laps)
“It’s been another positive day of testing. We focused mostly on testing tires with Michelin, both race tires and qualifying tires, because I needed to improve my performance on qualifiers. The day’s work has helped us prepare for the Chinese GP and further improve our base setup. We also did some work on the chassis and suspension to improve front-end feeling during hard braking, because this aspect of performance is particularly important at Shanghai, and we also worked on the electronics.” More ...

GM Brazil Announces New Engine Plant  General Motors Brazil, along with officials from the Santa Catarina State and Joinville City, announced today the company's decision to build a new engine and automotive components plant in that city.
Gil Martin named Crew Chief of the Race in Phoenix  Gil Martin, crew chief of the #07 Jack Daniels Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer, was named Wypall Wipers’ “Crew Chief of the Race” for his team’s second place finish in Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. More ...
Voices of Long Beach  The American Le Mans Series moves across the country for its second street race in a row, this time the famed Long Beach circuit. Last year’s successful debut has raised expectations throughout the paddock for the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The scenery, the history and the prestige of the Long Beach weekend definitely makes it a race every driver wants to capture.

Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing
Corvette C6.R (GT1)
“They’re quite different, the two street circuits are. It seems to me that St. Petersburg is quite wide and open, and you can maybe let the car run a little bit there. At Long Beach it’s a little bit tighter and you have to be more mindful of the walls. There are some very tight parts of the track and technical parts of the track. When you go around the fountain, that’s quite tricky and you have to be careful. And the next corner after that is very tight with tough camber as well as the one after that. So all the time you have to be on your guard. To me, Long Beach is a little bit more of a challenge and you have to drive with a little more caution. You run a little bit wide and it gets dirtier and dustier, and some of the corners you really can’t see that far through. It’s just that there’s more change to the surface at Long Beach and it’s also unusual because it’s a short race; that is going to add into the mix. It’s different but I think that’s what the beauty of going to street circuits is - each one is different and even though you might find that it’s sort of a generic setup that works on a street circuit and you sort of know what you need to do, each one you really have to fine tune to make sure you get the most out of your car, the most out of your tires, the most out of your fuel.” More ...

McLaren to blame for Hamilton mistakes - Raikkonen  (GMM)  World champion and 2008 championship leader Kimi Raikkonen has defended Lewis Hamilton's poor showing at the recent Bahrain grand prix.

Hamilton, who in the Gulf dropped behind the Finn and even BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld in the drivers' standings, came in for extensive criticism following his error-strewn run to thirteenth place.

"Lewis did not make many mistakes last year.  This year, they are not in as strong a position with the car," Ferrari driver Raikkonen, referring to his former team McLaren, said.

The 28-year-old was speaking at Ferrari's Fiorano test circuit last weekend for a Shell sponsor event.

He suggested that McLaren, rather than the 23-year-old Briton, is mostly to blame for Hamilton's form slump. More ...

Montagny happy with A1 debut  
Franck Montagny
Franck Montagny added three points to the French team’s tally after finishing in eighth place in Sunday afternoon’s feature race. As expected, starting from 18th on the grid he did not manage to score in the sprint race, however he did get as high as 12th but lacked the time to move up further.

In the feature race Franck was up to 9th place in the first corner and he got past his closest rival Great Britain during the first round of refueling stops. Although he was much quicker than the cars in front of him passing them on the track proved impossible. The team tried to put back his second stop slightly to help him overtake in the pits. To no avail as he rejoined in 8th place where he stayed till the finish.

“Today’s two races helped me to accumulate experience in the car and it’s now much more to my liking. I did the maximum here but my aero set-up prevented me from overtaking some cars, which were slower than me over a lap,” Franck said. “I spent the whole afternoon glued to a rival’s gearbox, and this meant that I wasn’t able to set competitive times: the car’s at least 0.4s quicker than our fastest lap today. Now, we’re going to concentrate on the next meeting. I don’t know the Brands Hatch circuit, but maybe that’s an advantage, as I won’t arrive with my F1 points of reference. It’ll be much easier to adapt my driving style right from the start to the very special characteristics of the A1GP car.”

Korea joins A1GP  A1 Team Korea will race in A1GP next season, it has been announced.

Korea as a nation has taken its first steps into international motor racing, joining A1GP in an official signing ceremony at the A1GP Shanghai, China yesterday.

Led by seat holder Joshua Kim of Omnibus Investment and supported by entertainment company Good EMG, a Korean KOSDAQ listed company, the creation of A1 Team Korea presents a significant opportunity to develop motorsport in the Asian nation. For the first time, a single-seater race car bearing the white, red and blue flag of Korea will take to the track, competing from the start of next season.

Mr. Kim commented: ‘Korea has the fifth biggest automobile industry in the world but as a nation, we are not familiar with motorsport. This is my main reason for joining A1GP. Korean people love sport but they do not know about motorsport. Through A1GP, motorsport will become more popular and people will know about the sport, learning through A1GP.’ More ...

Cory Mac, Wilkerson end droughts in Vegas  Cory McClenathan claimed his first Top Fuel win in more than a year, and Tim Wilkerson ended a winless drought that extends back to the 2004 Sonoma event during the final rounds of the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. McClenathan, in his first full season as a member of Schumacher Racing, won his 30th career title when he defeated recent Houston winner Antron Brown in the final, 4.65 to 4.70.  Wilkerson, the top qualifier at two of the season’s first five events, relegated Ashley Force to a runner-up for the second-straight event following a close 4.96 to 4.99 final. 

McClenathan and Wilkerson were joined in the winner’s circle by former POWERade world champion and Summit-backed racer Jason Line, who claimed his first win of the season over Greg Stanfield, who was seeking to win his first Pro Stock event.

Despite track temperatures that exceeded 130 degrees, McClenathan never ran slower than 4.78 on race day as he drove his Fram dragster to wins against Top Fuel “brat pack” members J.R. Todd, Morgan Lucas, and Brandon Bernstein, good friends who often socialize away from the track.  A regular on the NHRA tour since 1991, McClenathan was appearing in his 51st career final and scored his first win in Las Vegas. He has now claimed wins at 15 different NHRA venues.  More ...

Kubica likes street circuits  If you ask Robert Kubica what his favorite circuit is his immediate answer, Macau. The BMW Sauber driver is a big fan of street circuits and it is for this reason that he is looking forward to Valencia's Formula One debut.

"I am a big fan of street circuits in general", says Robert. "They are more demanding as they are often bumpy and the street surface changes. If you make a mistake you can easily run into barriers."

"Valencia will not be a complete street circuit", explains the Pole. "There will be lots of run-off areas for safety reasons. The FIA puts a lot of effort into safety - which is a good thing."

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • BRDC boss Hill joins Mosley censure
  • Schumacher in midfield in DTM debut
  • Mallya forges EADS aero link for F1 team
  • Piquet vows to get stronger

BRDC boss Hill joins Mosley censure
(GMM)  Damon Hill, the president of the club that owns British grand prix venue Silverstone, has added his disapproval to the Max Mosley sex scandal.

While the British motor racing body MSA has declined to offer an opinion on the affair, Hill - also F1's 1996 world champion - sides with those who indicate that the shamed FIA president should step down.

The FIA senate will cast a confidence vote relating to 68-year-old Mosley's presidency on June 3.

"None of us wants to be moralizing about individuals, but there has to be an element here to do with the image of the sport, and the ability of the premier representative of the sport in the world to continue to engage with a politic concerned about values," Hill is quoted as saying by The Times.

"It's a practical issue, but it's also a marketing issue," he added.

"Businesses connected with the sport want a positive image, and politicians want to engage with it because they know motorsport people support those values."

Figures from within the inner sanctum of the F1 paddock have been reluctant to comment on the affair, but Mike Gascoyne - the technical boss of Force India - is an exception.

"If he wishes to stay, it will devalue his office down to the level at which it is perceived, which is obviously not good," he said recently.

"It is painting the whole of motorsport in a very bad light and someone in that position, to my mind, has to be honorable and consider their position," Gascoyne added.

Mosley turned 68 on Sunday.

Schumacher in midfield in DTM debut
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher finished fourteenth as he made his debut in the premier German touring car series (DTM) on Sunday.

At Hockenheim, the venue for this year's German grand prix in July, the former grand prix winner, was a midfield competitor in his year-old Mercedes-Benz.

The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag pointed out that the 32-year-old finished narrowly in front of the race's two female competitors, Susie Stoddart and Katherine Legge.

Reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom won the race, ahead of another Audi driven by Timo Scheider.

"It was okay," Schumacher said, "I made no major mistakes and I knew that I would not begin right at the front."

He also confirmed that he would happily return to formula one with a top team, but excluded becoming a test driver. More ...

Theissen happy with Kubica  BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen believes the decision to sign Robert Kubica has paid handsome dividends.

Kubica has 14 points three races into the 2008 season after picking up back-to-back podium finishes in Malaysia and Bahrain. He also scored up his first pole position at the Sakhir circuit.

"This qualifying session was a dream for him and the team," said Theissen.

"It shows that we made the right decision in signing him up. Robert can become one of the stars of Formula One."

Theissen is confident the Pole can win his first grand prix once BMW have provided him with the right car.

"He can be sure now that he can win a race, as soon as his car is good enough."

tv news
Shanghai A1GP race to be televised  The A1 Grand Prix race run in Shanghai on April 13, 2008 will be shown on the Setanta Sports channel on Monday, April 14 at 8:00 am - 10:00 am ET.
New Audi A4 DTM dominates in racing début  
The Audis take the lead at the start from the front row
With a commanding 1-2-3 victory at the Hockenheim DTM season opener Audi, yet again, underpinned the brand’s slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik", not only on the road but on the circuit. 93,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) witnessed an impressive premiere showing of the new Audi A4 DTM, which outperformed the competition in its racing début, clinching positions one, two, three and five.

The fourth-generation Audi A4 DTM features leading-edge technology with numerous innovative details, particularly in the area of aerodynamics. Using advanced CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) calculations, the engineers intensively worked on the airflow around and through the vehicle. In addition, the technology specialists at Audi Sport managed to lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity and achieved a further reduction of the car’s dry weight. With the four-liter V8 engine that delivers approximately 460 hp, the engineers found further development potential as well.

At the season opener at Hockenheim the new Audi A4 DTM was the quickest car straight from the start. In the race the Audi drivers impressively demonstrated that their new "company" car is not only competitive throughout a lap but delivers consistently fast lap times along with immediate reliability. On average, race winner Mattias Ekström beat the best Mercedes by over half a second per lap – a margin of mammoth proportions in the DTM.

At Hockenheim, the race was crucially determined as early as at the start: Mattias Ekström managed to take off a bit quicker than his team colleague Timo Scheider, who had started from the pole position. The Swede had to briefly relinquish his lead only during the two mandatory pit stops. His eleventh victory in the DTM now makes Ekström the most successful Audi DTM driver of all time. More ...
Schumacher to appear on reality show  Michael Schumacher is set to appear in a Swiss reality television show about football.

The former champion, who lives in Switzerland and plays for a local football team, is among several celebrities who have this week begun training to star in 'Der Match' (The Match).

Beginning later this month, the show is about the selection process for a celebrity football team that will take on a Swiss legends side in Lucerne. 

The Lucerne match will be broadcasted on live TV in May, the German newspaper Bild said.

Lorenzo gets first MotoGP win  
Jorge Lorenzo
In the realization of a lifelong dream, Jorge Lorenzo took his maiden MotoGP victory in a thrilling bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal. The Spaniard had an incredible race onboard his Fiat Yamaha M1, and now leads the World Championship after his phenomenal start to 2008.

Lorenzo achieved the `holy trinity´ of pole position, fastest lap and race win at the circuit where he had never previously triumphed in the lower cylinder categories, joining 2005 race winner Alex Barros as the only rider to perform the feat in Estoril.

The rider level on points with Lorenzo in the standings –conceding leadership of the classification by virtue of the most recent result- Dani Pedrosa was again the main thorn in his arch rival’s side. The Repsol Honda rider took the holeshot at a packed first corner, but was swamped by fellow front row starters Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. The trio had a fearsome battle in the opening stages, until Lorenzo passed both he and Rossi definitively and in rapid succession on lap thirteen.

Two laps later, Pedrosa made his push for second place, overtaking Rossi for the final time. He will now have his sights set on China, the scene of his own rookie victory back in 2006.

Five-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi took the second Fiat Yamaha machine to a podium finish, tire manufacturer Bridgestone’s first ever rostrum at Estoril. His second consecutive podium also helps Fiat Yamaha to the lead in the team standings. More ...

Patron joins CARA Charities at Long Beach  Patron Spirits, title sponsor of the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach and Patron Highcroft Racing, and Acura Motorsports will join with CARA Charities as an associate sponsor of the 2008 Raceway Rendezvous Casino Cruise scheduled for Friday, April 18th held in conjunction with the Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

"The American Le Mans Series has long been involved in community and charitable outreach," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "CARA is recognized as a long-time philanthropic leader in the motorsports community for reaching out and meeting a wide cross section of needs, and we look forward to participating with them in this fun and very worthwhile event."

American Le Mans Series drivers David Brabham and Scott Sharp of Patron Highcroft Racing will be on hand along with the Patron girls who will hand out welcome drinks and cheer.

"Our support of American Le Mans Series racing and the Long Beach competition goes well beyond just a presence on the track. We're honored to also have the opportunity to support CARA and sponsor the Casino Cruise, one of the most anticipated events of the weekend," says Ed Brown, President and CEO of the Las Vegas-based Patron Spirits Company. More ...

F1 teams to kick off Barcelona test tomorrow  Tomorrow the Formula One teams will start a three-day test session at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The only outfit that will not participate is Super Aguri. The other teams will prepare themselves for the European season and the Spanish Grand Prix on 27 April at Barcelona.
Mika Mäki wins Formula 3 Euro Series season opener  Finnish driver, Mika Mäki (Mücke Motorsport) is the first winner of the 2008 Formula 3 Euro Series. The Formula 3 novice won the exciting race at the 4.574 kilometers long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg from Charlie Kimball (Prema Powerteam) and Edoardo Mortara (Signature-Plus), the best-placed Volkswagen driver. Thus, the company from Wolfsburg already scored its maiden podium finish in its ninth race in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Volkswagen drivers also claimed fourth, fifth and sixth place.

Mäki, who became the first Finn to win a round of the world’s strongest junior race series, benefited from the retirement of Nico Hülkenberg (ART Grand Prix), who was sidelined with an engine problem while in the lead. After 23 laps, Mäki won with a margin of 1.464 seconds over returnee Kimball.

During the race, British driver, Jon Lancaster (ART Grand Prix) barrel-rolled his car. In the battle for sixth place, the rookie driver hit the rear wheel of the car driven by Jean-Karl Vernay (Signature-Plus) and barrel-rolled. He had no apparent injuries, but was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up. More ...

tv news
Weekend USA TV Reminders  UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday have been added below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NHRA Raceday Las Vegas 
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
MotoGP 250 Portugal 
2:00pm-3:00pm (SD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix of Portugal
3:00pm-4:00pm (SD) SPEED
AMA Supercross Detroit
6:00pm-7:00pm (4/12/08) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Phoenix 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
NHRA SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals Las Vegas
8:00pm-11:00pm (SD) ESPN2
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Michael McDowell (NASCAR) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com

tv news
ESPN Classic to replay Motegi IndyCar and LB Champ Car races  The Motegi IndyCar and Long Beach Champ Car races will be replayed on ESPN Classic on Monday, April 21. 

The Indy Japan 300 race run in Motegi will be replayed on April 21 at 9:00 am - 11:00 am ET on ESPN Classic.  The Motegi race will previously be replayed on Saturday, April 19, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET on ESPN.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Champ Car finale will be replayed on April 21 at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm ET on ESPN Classic.

Kubica to win annual Bandini trophy  
Robert Kubica will receive Lorenzo Bandini trophy
(GMM) Robert Kubica is to become the latest recipient of the annual Lorenzo Bandini trophy.

The award, officially titled the Trofeo Lorenzo Bandini, is an ongoing tribute to the leading Italian driver of his period, who was burned to death in an horror accident at Monaco in 1967.

Last year's winner was Felipe Massa, and before him Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jenson Button, Jarno Trulli, Alex Wurz, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jacques Villeneuve and David Coulthard have also been honoured.

Kubica, the 22-year-old Pole who has been so impressive for BMW-Sauber in the early stages of the 2008 season, will receive the trophy from Bandini's widow in the town square of their home town, Brisighella, near Imola.

The event, dating back to 1992, usually takes place around May.

Kubica has a special relationship with Italy, having lived in the country and fluently learned the native tongue during his young karting days.
All-Audi front row at Hockenheim  
Pole winning Audi A4
Impressive début for the new Audi A4 DTM: Timo Scheider (Germany) and Mattias Ekström (Sweden) set the best lap times by a wide margin in Saturday’s qualifying for the DTM opening race at Hockenheim. This puts two of the new Audi A4 DTM cars on the front row of the grid for the race that is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

As early as in the free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning the Audi drivers had set the pace. In the first segment of the three-part qualifying all four new Audi A4 DTM cars were running in front and easily made it into the last section as well. Audi was the only one of the two manufacturers to see all four new cars finish among the top eight.

The pole position was clinched by Timo Scheider in the GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM, who will thus be starting to a DTM race from the top grid position for the third time in his career. Alongside the German, title defender Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi A4 DTM is on the front row. Scheider and Ekström were the only two drivers to set times below 1m 33s. Bruno Spengler in the quickest Mercedes on position three was almost four tenths of a second slower – an unusually large gap in the DTM. More ...
NASCAR to examine McDowell's car  UPDATE #2 “G-forces overall have been reduced,” Darby said. “But when you look at the big picture, the G-force is the least significant number anyway.”

The significant number is the change in velocity, which Darby said was “substantial” with McDowell’s car.

Huh? In each race every vehicle goes from zero velocity to its maximum velocity, and the majority of the time there are no dangerous consequences from it. Not only did McDowell's car experience its maximum change in velocity, but so did every NASCAR car at TMS.

G-force or acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. The rate of change of velocity (G-force) is what's dangerous, not a simple "change in velocity."

04/12/08 G-force readings from Michael McDowell’s grinding crash at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend were lower than other major wrecks in NASCAR, but Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said the nature of severe crashes in the new car has changed so much that G-force readings don’t mean as much as they once did.

NASCAR has begun the process of thoroughly examining McDowell’s battered Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in its Research & Development Center, Darby said, adding that the G-force numbers were “pretty low.”

But that wasn’t totally unexpected, because the design of the new car and the SAFER barrier has changed crash dynamics.

“G-forces overall have been reduced,” Darby said. “But when you look at the big picture, the G-force is the least significant number anyway.”

The significant number is the change in velocity, which Darby said was “substantial” with McDowell’s car.

“They weren’t the worst we’ve ever seen by any means,” Darby said. “But part of the process of building a safer race car is to reduce all those numbers as best we can. Even when we understand completely the final numbers – which ultimately will be lower than what we’ve seen in the past – that’s what we’re looking for.” Scenedaily.com

04/06/08 Before Michael McDowell's totaled #00 Toyota winds up in the salvage yard, NASCAR's research and development team wants a chance to inspect the damage. McDowell was able to walk away from an accident in Friday's qualifying session that later took Texas Motor Speedway crews three hours to replace a 28-foot section of the SAFER barrier that was severely bowed by the impact. The battered hulk of what remained of McDowell's machine was placed under a tarp and will be on its way to the R&D facility in Concord, N.C., next week. NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said it's standard procedure for NASCAR to evaluate how its safety initiatives hold up in severe crashes, particularly the advancements that have been made in the new car. Pemberton said NASCAR engineers may be particularly interested in this crash, because it should provide some valuable telemetry to show forces and loads on the car when it impacted the SAFER barrier and then tumbled at least eight times. An initial inspection of the car by NASCAR officials following the accident seemed to indicate that all of the safety features on the car performed as expected, according to Pemberton.  NASCAR.com
Tech 3 team extend relationship with Yamaha and Toseland  Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd and Yamaha Motor Racing Srl are delighted to announce that they have signed a two-year extension to their contract with the Tech 3 Team in MotoGP. Yamaha, which has supplied bikes and factory support to the French team since 1999, will continue to do so throughout the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Simultaneously the Tech 3 team and MotoGP debutant James Toseland have already agreed to exercise an option for the 2009 season after the 27-year-old made an instant impact in MotoGP.

The Tech 3 Yamaha Team, which is headed by Team Principal Hervé Poncharal, is currently enjoying a very successful start to the MotoGP season, with American Colin Edwards and Briton James Toseland who has scored top six finishes in his first two races, and claimed a front row start on his debut in Qatar.

"We are delighted that we are going to be continuing our relationship with the Tech 3 Team and with Hervé Poncharal,” said Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. More ...

Max Mosley vs. Julie Myers  The transatlantic shamings this week of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Julie L. Myers and Formula One top man Max Mosley raise interesting questions about class, public responsibility and deference to privacy.

Myers' trouble began with a department Halloween party last year, wherein she gave top honors in a costume contest to an employee wearing prison stripes, blackface and a dreadlocks wig. This week, the House Homeland Security Committee issued a 22-page report detailing the then-acting director's unsuccessful efforts to conceal photographs of the party.

It's possible to feel some sympathy for Myers, who apologized immediately after the party and was subsequently confirmed. And requiring public servants to lead monkish, pleasure-free personal lives is a strategy for attracting bad public servants. This was, however, an event organized by her department on government grounds. It's a shame that Myers was surprised by this test of her judgment, but the cold fact is that she failed the test. The nation's taxpayers have a right to expect that high-ranking government officials -- particularly those whose jobs demand extraordinary cultural and ethnic sensitivity -- behave responsibly at work-related events. Myers should step down.

In Britain, the case of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile President Mosley -- whose fondness for garden-variety bondage and discipline was exposed by the News of the World newspaper -- is rich in cultural lore. Mosley is the son of British Union of Fascists founder Sir Oswald Mosley and the former Diana Mitford Guinness, both of whom publicly supported Nazi Germany during World War II. Given his family history, Mosley's willingness to pay five women for an hours-long session of spankings, B-movie German accents and prisoner/guard role playing is almost too on-the-nose. Though he filed an invasion-of-privacy suit against the paper, Mosley has been admirably forthright, acknowledging the session and asserting that "21st century adults do not worry about private sexual matters as long as they are legal and harmless." Formula One's governing body will decide Mosley's fate in June, but it's hard to see how his sexual predilections disqualify him from running a racing league.  More at LA Times

Herbert wins again to take first Speedcar title  
Johnny Herbert
Johnny Herbert scored his second race victory of the weekend at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday to seal the inaugural Speedcar Series title.

Herbert actually ended the season level on points with David Terrien, but scored more wins than the Frenchman throughout the season. Title rivals Uwe Alzen and Jean Alesi, who both started the event in stronger points positions, both suffered crashes that put them out of the championship reckoning.

Friday race-winner Herbert started eighth as a result of the reverse grid from the first race, but quickly made two places at the start. At the front, Stefan Johansson took the lead from pole, but the former Ferrari and McLaren grand prix star soon came under pressure from China's Marchy Lee, who passed him at Turn 5 on lap 2 with a strong, but fair, move.

Herbert was also on the move, picking up fifth place from fellow ex-Formula 1 star Gianni Morbidelli at Turn 1 on the second lap. Further back, Terrien had suffered a terrible start, and was working his way through the traffic, as was Alesi, who started 14th after his engine failure yesterday.

Alzen was by far in the strongest position of the title rivals, holding a solid fourth place early on and then picking up a place from front row starter Hasher Al Maktoum, who had been passed by Lee at the second corner when he ran wide. More ...

Brawn denies deadline rumors  
Ross Brawn
Ross Brawn has refuted claims he has two years to turn Honda's fortunes around.  With Brawn on board Honda have already begun to show signs of improvement this year, however, they have yet to score a point leading to some suggestions that Honda's senior management have now given the Englishman a two-year deadline.

Asked by Autosport if the rumors were true, Brawn said: "We have actually not talked about it!

"I think the important thing is that we make good progress each year. I don't know if you can say when we will be in a position to win the World Championship, because so much depends on other people.

"If someone does an amazing job then it takes longer to achieve what you want to achieve. If you have a year where some people do a very poor job, then you might achieve that sooner.

"So to me it is very difficult to say. As I said, the important thing is that we make progress each year, and that we take the references of the previous year and do better each season." More ...

Team Pakistan partners with JS Group  Team Pakistan is delighted to announce a partnership with JS Group, one of Pakistan's most diversified and progressive financial services groups. The motor racing team competing in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is displaying JS Group branding on the livery of the team's car as part of the tie-up with the Group.  The JS Group has teamed up with Pakistan's entry in the A1GP Series not only to promote the brand name of this leading financial group, but also to work alongside the team to extend the commercial reach and promote the value and benefits of the team to potential partners. The JS Group logo will feature on the A1 Team Pakistan car at the final two rounds of the 2007/08 A1GP Series in Shanghai, China this weekend and Brands Hatch, UK in the first weekend of May. It is planned for this initial introduction to be developed into a full-season program for 2008/09.
British MSA body has 'no comment' on sex scandal  (GMM)  Britain's motor racing body MSA (Motor Sports Association) has refused to declare a clear stance on the Max Mosley sex scandal.

In a statement issued on Friday, the authority said it will not be following the lead of some other countries' sporting authorities in voicing an opinion prior to the FIA meeting on June 3.

"The issues over the presidency are matters that should, and will, be resolved by member clubs under the Statutes of the FIA," it read.

Indy Lights Friday notebook  
American Spirit backs Naval Squadron: During the 2008 season, the American Spirit Racing car driven by Cyndie Allemann will carry a decal of the Navy's VP-47 Squadron.

The squadron, known as the Golden Swordsmen, flies P3-Orions and is based in Hawaii. In exchange for the logos, the squadron recently received an autographed poster of Allemann.

"American Spirit Racing is proud to support our service men and women around the world in their duty to their country," said American Spirit Racing team owner Jon Lewis. “I recently received a few photos from the VP-47 squadron in Iraq holding Cyndie’s poster. They were extremely excited that they will be on our car and felt that it couldn’t be with a better team than one called American Spirit."

Going the wrong way?: James Davison is new to the famed oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but he is not a stranger to the facility.

Davison, who drives the No. 11 Lifelock car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, raced on the IMS road course in a Formula BMW USA race during the 2005 United States Grand Prix.

"It's different, for sure," Davison said. "It was a really, really incredible experience driving on the oval at Indianapolis." More ...

Grosjean wins first race in Dubai  Romain Grosjean scored another victory after a pit-stop mix-up for Bruno Senna. The battle for 2nd and 3rd place of the championship is now focused on Petrov and Buemi.

Bruno Senna had been dominant from the first lap, when the Brazilian from iSport who started from the front row made a great move on then leader Grosjean after the latter made a mistake in the first hairpin. Senna easily pulled away while the newly crowned champion was overtaken by the two Trust Team Arden cars, Buurman ahead of Buemi who had just made a terrific start.

The fight between the three men intensified with the Swiss overtaking his teammate and Grosjean passing the Dutch as well. Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov who had started 7th on the grid was 5th. When Buemi pitted, Grosjean tried to catch up with the leader, but the Brazilian had already managed to pull a comfortable gap, enough for him to pit and get back on the track in front of his rivals. Unfortunately, the team had changed only one rear tire when the sporting regulations requires that at least two tires be changed on the car during the mandatory pit stop. Senna pitted again on lap 29 to change the second tire, and not only lost the race but was excluded from it. More ...

tv news
TV ratings for Texas Sprint Cup race slip  Ratings for Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas were down 4 percent from a year ago, the first time this season a regularly scheduled Fox race broadcast has declined from last season.

Sunday’s race received a 5.4 rating, down from 5.6 a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research.

By contrast, ESPN’s broadcast of last Saturday’s Nationwide Series race showed a 19 percent improvement over a year ago.

This year’s race received a 1.8 rating, up from last season’s 1.5 also shown on ESPN2

Matos fastest at Indy  Raphael Matos continues to be a quick study on ovals The Brazilian rookie topped the time chart April 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as 23 drivers participated in a Firestone Indy Lights Open Test in preparation for next month's Firestone Freedom 100.

Matos lapped the historic 2.5-mile oval in 47.6587 seconds, 188.843 mph in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. car. "This is a great place with a lot of history, so I'm very happy that I was able to drive here," Matos said. "We were very strong today. Like Homestead, we were very quick in qualifying runs and we made progress on the long runs. I'm looking forward to coming back here for the race."

Matos was followed by RLR/Andersen Racing teammates J.R. Hildebrand and Andrew Prendeville, Sam Schmidt Motorsports' rookie James Davison and American Spirit Racing's Cyndie Allemann. Drivers combined to complete 1,870 laps during a day that began after two-hour rain delay. South African rookie Tschops Sipuka brought out the lone caution when he spun shortly before 3 p.m. Sipuka did not make contact with the SAFER Barrier and was able to continue the test. The sixth Firestone Freedom 100 is scheduled for May 23, two days before the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500. More ...
Walker Racing and Tagliani to bid farewell to fans  Walker Racing is proud to announce its entry in the upcoming Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20.  The Indianapolis based squad will re-join forces with Canadian Alex Tagliani as they pay tribute to the loyal Champ Car fans and say farewell to the Champ Car World Series.

The 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the end of Champ Car’s 29 years of racing.  The Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League signed an agreement on February 22, to unify open-wheel racing and now runs under the IndyCar Series banner.  This will be the final event for Champ Car and for the 750 horsepower, turbocharged, DP01’s.

Walker Racing is excited to have Tagliani back on board for one last race.  “We have many fond memories of our time in Champ Car.  The team is really geared up to have a good weekend.  Long Beach is our last chance to pay tribute to all of the loyal CART/ Champ Car race fans, officials and employees, who served and supported the series over these years.  It’s the end of an era and we are left with some great memories and are left to wonder what it could have been.  We thank our fans and sponsors who gave us the opportunity to be a part of it. I also want to thank Alex for volunteering to race with us this weekend as well,” commented Derrick Walker, Walker Racing owner.

Tagliani competed with Walker Racing, under the Team Australia partnership with Craig Gore, in 2005 and 2006.  He will pilot the #15 Walker Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone entry. During his tenure with the team, the 35 year old Montreal, Quebec, Canada native recorded four podium finishes, (Monterrey, Toronto, Long Beach, Australia), five top-five finishes, and 12 top-10 finishes. More ...
Michaelian is revved up for the Grand Prix  Jim Michaelian is breathless in anticipation of this city's highest profile event in which more than 150,000 patrons are expected to show up next weekend for the carnival of car-racing, beer-guzzling, food-gorging people-watching, expo-enlightening frolic known as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"It's going to be better than ever, I tell you!" beams Michaelian, the Grand Prix boss. "There are just so many story lines! This is Champ Car's last race. What history! And then we have the youngest driver ever to win an IRL race, Graham Rahal, who finished on top at St. Petersburg last Sunday, trying to make it two in a row.

"And in the Speed World Challenge GT, we have a father, Mike Davis, who owns Applied Computer Solutions out in Orange County, racing against his son Brandon. The classic father versus son duel.

And in the Formula Atlantic, we'll have the two sons of one-time Formula One and Champ Car champion, Nigel Mansell, Greg and Leo, competing..."

Jim Michaelian is a spry, 65-year-old dynamo who's always in motion, and he reverts to sort of a stream of consciousness when discussing an affair in which he's been a part of since its inception in 1975. More ...

industry news
ISC profits up  International Speedway Corp. (ISCA, ISCB.OB), a promoter of motor sports entertainment activities, on Wednesday reported a slight rise in its first quarter, reflecting income from joint venture and higher revenues, partly offset by higher one-time charges. On an adjusted basis, profit per share increased 14.3% and topped the Street consensus by seven cents. Further, the Daytona Beach, Florida-based company reiterated its fiscal 2008 earnings and revenue forecast, and said it remains more comfortable at the lower end of the earnings range.

International Speedway, or ISC, posted first-quarter net income of $36.21 million, 1.1% higher than net income of $35.82 million in the prior year. However, earnings per share rose 6% to $0.71 from prior year's $0.67, on lower share count.

The 2008-first quarter results included loss from discontinued operations of $31 thousand, wider than loss of $20 thousand a year ago. Income from continuing operations rose to $36.24 million from last year's $35.84 million. More ...

Goodyear still has rain tires  Rain (tires) won't go away: Fans looking for something different during the Nationwide Series events in Mexico City and Canada should pray for rain. Greg Stucker, Goodyear Racing's director of race tire sales, said the manufacturer has not abandoned its rain-tire program. "We've had it for road-racing since the mid-1990s," Stucker reminded. "It's just never happened that NASCAR wanted to utilize it in a race condition. But we have had it available and conducted race sessions with it. And we'll continue to have it available. If you look at the Nationwide Series now, they go to Mexico City and to Canada. We don't have a lot of versatility in our dates there. If we get rain, we want to make sure we can put on a show for those folks." Fort Worth Star Telegram
39 entries for 2008 Indy 500  Three past winners and a talented group of rookies are among the highlights of the 39 entries received for the 92nd Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The three winners on this year's list are Helio Castroneves (2001-02), Buddy Rice (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

Thirty-two drivers have been named to the 39 entries filed this year for the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race, an increase of seven drivers over last year's initial entry list.

The 92nd Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 25 and will be broadcast live by ABC Sports, the IMS Radio Network and XM Channel 144.

Castroneves will attempt to join an elite club by earning his third Indianapolis 500 victory in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Just eight drivers have won the race three times or more since the inaugural event in 1911. More ...

Highlights of ALMS race to air in Europe  Highlights from the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio will air this weekend on Eurosport2 and Germany’s DSF as the American Le Mans Series continues to expand its worldwide television reach.

DSF will air a 32-minute highlight program, produced by long-time Series partner Greenlight Television, from Round Two of the 2008 American Le Mans Series starting at 18:30 to 19:00. Central European Time on Saturday, April 12. The German audience will have much to watch as Audi Sport North America and Porsche’s Penske Racing went head-to-head with Audi’s Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr winning overall as Luhr passed Romain Dumas for the lead with three minutes left.

Dumas and Bernhard salvaged an LMP2 victory, their eighth in a row to extend their all-time Series record. Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin won in GT1 for Corvette Racing while Tafel Racing scored its first Series victory with a GT2 victory for Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher.

A Greenlight-produced package also will air on Eurosport2 between 18:00 and 24:00 on Sunday, April 13 depending on other network programming. Eurosport2 reaches 28 million pan-European satellite households in 43 countries including England, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Russia, and offers coverage in 11 different languages.

The addition of DSF, Eurosport2 and Sport Italia (which also airs a highlight package from Greenlight) has pushed the Series’ potential global television audience to more than 600 million households.

Pedrosa on provisional pole in Estoril  Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was in impressive form at windswept Estoril today, heading a closely bunched leading group on the first day of practice, team-mate Nicky Hayden just 0.181 seconds down in fourth place.

Strong, blustery winds and a morning rain shower complicated the day’s proceedings, but once the track was mostly dry World Championship leader and Spanish GP winner Pedrosa quickly got into the groove to set the pace, recording the fastest lap of the day and establishing a good rhythm.

2006 MotoGP World Champion Hayden was also happy with his day’s work, making only minor changes to his RC212V’s setup, and is looking forward to further progress tomorrow. Last year Hayden got pole position and the lap record here, while Pedrosa finished the race in second place. More ...

Montagny hoping for rain  
Franck Montagny
A1 Team France’s new driver, Franck Montagny, is hoping for rain this weekend because he reckons it could give him an advantage.

Montagny has been called up by France for the final two races of the season in an effort to bolster the squad’s title push. France presently lies third in the championship, 20 points behind leader Switzerland.

Some are predicting heavy rain over the course of this weekend – and the 30-year-old says he would relish such conditions as he learns the knack of driving an A1GP car quickly.

He finished a creditable seventh in free practice this afternoon, 0.6 seconds off the best lap set by Filipe Albuquerque’s A1 Team Portugal machine. More ...
Honda Racing F1 Team Signs Will Stevens  
Will Stevens
The Honda Racing F1 Team is delighted to announce that it has signed 16 year old British karting star Will Stevens under a long-term driver support agreement.

Will is firmly established as one of the leading young kart racers in the world. For the 2008 season he is racing with the prestigious TonyKart Racing Team in the KF1 class competing in all the major European races, alongside participation in the WSK International Series and the World Cup in Japan.

In 2007, Will won the FIA-CIK KF2 European and Asia-Pacific Championships, along with the International Open Masters KF2 title. He was the 2006 WSK Junior ICA Champion and the 2005 MSA British Junior Champion, in addition to winning five previous national titles.

As Will seeks to progress through the junior motorsport ranks, Honda will assist him in developing to the level of performance that is required to potentially become part of Honda's Formula One program in the future.

Nick Fry, Will Stevens and Ross Brawn
Will visited the Honda Racing F1 Team's headquarters in Brackley today to meet Team Principal Ross Brawn and Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry, and tour the impressive facilities of the team's UK operational base.

Ron Meadows, Sporting Director for the Honda Racing F1 Team with responsibility for Honda's Young Driver Program, commented, "We are delighted to welcome Will to the Honda Racing F1 Team. Will has had a very promising career in karting to date and we very much look forward to assisting his advancement through the ranks of the junior formulae towards achieving his ultimate ambition to race in Formula One. Honda considers the development of emerging motorsport talent to be a key part of our strategy and our commitment to Formula One. We look forward to seeing how Will progresses with our support over the course of the next few years."

Commenting on today's announcement, Will Stevens said, "I am extremely proud to be joining the Honda Racing F1 Team and this provides me with a great opportunity to progress my career towards my goal of reaching Formula One. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me so far in my career and especially Honda for their commitment and support of my future. I intend to do my very best to ensure that their belief in me is rewarded."  Honda Racing PR

Herbert win sets up thrilling decider  Johnny Herbert scored a long overdue win in the first race of the Speedcar Series finale at Dubai Autodrome on Friday.

The three-time Formula 1 grand prix winner, who was dominating the last race in Bahrain until he was forced out with a gear selection issue, came out on top of the 40-minute event after a fantastic battle with fellow ex-Formula 1 stars Jean Alesi and Gianni Morbidelli, as well as former world karting champion David Terrien.

There was excitement before the race as pole sitter Nicolas Navarro failed to take up his position at the head of the field, and was forced to join the race from the pitlane at the back of the pack.

That meant Morbidelli grabbed the lead, ahead of Alesi. Herbert charged past Terrien into the first corner and then attacked Alesi with a huge lunge into a hairpin bend. While Johnny got past Jean, Terrien passed them both!

It took another four laps for Herbert to repass Terrien, with a great move at Turn 1, by which time Morbidelli - who won both demonstration races here in January - had opened up a sizeable lead. More ...

Valencia GP sold out  The Valencia Street Circuit has already sold out the tickets to attend the inaugural edition of the European Grand Prix. The selling of tickets started last April 1st and, in this short period of time, fans responded massively by buying all available seats.

Tickets have been sold around the world, though the Spanish fans will be the largest group in the grandstands of the Valencia Street Circuit. Nearly 40% of the seats have been sold abroad, with fans from Italy, France, the UK and Germany showing the most interest. The remaining 60% have been sold in Spain.

Jorge Martínez Aspar, Chief Executive of Valmor Sports, expressed himself as being "very happy with how tickets have sold."

"We knew that there was lots of expectation but frankly it never crossed my mind that sell-out would be reached in ten days," he said. "From now on we will have to reconsider the demand and give way to the different kinds of products that we have created, such as the Motor Box Experience that will take place in Feria Valencia, which is a great opportunity for the younger fans to enjoy Formula 1 in Valencia, with all the incentives and at a very competitive price." More ...

Double anniversary for Audi in Long Beach  AUDI AG celebrates two anniversaries during the weekend of the "Grand Prix of Long Beach" on 19 / 20 April: Almost 20 years ago to the day, Audi’s unique winning streak on closed circuits started around the famous street circuit near Los Angeles, California. Furthermore, Long Beach is the 25th race for the R10 TDI diesel sportscar.

After having revolutionized rallying with quattro four-wheel drive at the beginning of the 1980s, Audi swapped to circuit racing in 1988. On 16 April 1988, Hurley Haywood and Hans-Joachim Stuck started in a brace of production based Audi 200 quattro cars in the opening race of the North American Trans-Am series. Hurley Haywood’s second place on Audi’s racing début made the competition sit up and take notice. However, it was just a foretaste of what would follow: Audi won eight of the 13 Trans-Am races during the 1988 season and the championship convincingly in the end. The following year the Trans-Am series organizers unceremoniously banned the superior quattro drive. More ...
Fisichella not upset by Renault's poor form  
(GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella is not upset that his former team, Renault, has struggled to shine so far in 2008.

The Roman left the team at the end of a difficult 2007 campaign, following three consecutive seasons at the cockpit of an Enstone built car.

But with Nelson Piquet and Fernando Alonso now struggling for pace with the new R28, Fisichella told F1's official website that he is not regretting his move to the comparatively dwarfed outfit, Force India.

Referring to the fact that he has been fighting among the Renaults at some of the races so far in 2008, the 35-year-old said: "It shows that Force India's project is a very promising one and that I made a good decision to join the team."

Asked if his answer revealed a hint of satisfaction, Fisichella admitted that it did.

"Especially because everyone thought that Fernando was going to save the team and Renault spent a lot of time and money to give him a good car.

"In fact, in the first three races of 2007 I performed better with them than he has done so far this year," he noted.

Gale winds damage Shanghai F1 circuit  A storm, bringing gale force winds, has caused damage at the Chinese grand prix circuit in Shanghai.

As A1GP teams practiced at the track on Friday, it emerged that some of the grandstands - most notably the circular awnings providing cover, but also some rows of the actual seating - had been ripped apart in the storm.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau had issued a 'blue gale alert' storm warning on Thursday evening.

"The storm was caused by a cyclone moving north in the Yangtze and Huaihe river valleys," a forecaster said.

The Chinese grand prix will be held in October.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Villeneuve, Frentzen, not Hamilton fans
  • Force India to use Ferrari KERS system
  • Dino Toso stepped down from Renault role
  • UAE club voices support for embattled Mosley
  • Abu Dhabi GP to be held in October 2009
  • Red Bull lineup better than rivals - Webber
  • Schu not MotoGP test rider - Stoner

Villeneuve, Frentzen, not Hamilton fans
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion, has made it clear that he is not among McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton's legions of fans.

Speaking in Dubai, where he is again racing in the Speedcar stock car series, the French-Canadian singled out his current formula one favorites as Felipe Massa - his 2005 teammate at Sauber - as well as former double world champion Fernando Alonso.

Villeneuve, 37, said the clash between Spaniard Alonso and rookie Hamilton at McLaren last year was "in bad baste".

He thinks Hamilton did not show his experienced and successful teammate enough respect.

"It was just fitting that Hamilton treated Alonso with a little more respect," Villeneuve told the Gulf Times.

"I didn't like that sort of treatment, it was very disappointing to see it in the open," he added.

Villeneuve said Hamilton should have followed his example of 1996, when he entered formula one and was pitted at Williams alongside experienced veteran Damon Hill.

"I was there to learn and I wanted to learn, something that Hamilton did not show last season being in the company of a two-time world champion," he said.

Villeneuve even plays down the comparison between the Hamilton-Alonso spat and his fierce rivalry with Michael Schumacher in 1997.

"I always held him in respect," he insists, referring to Schumacher.

One of Villeneuve's contemporaries, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, similarly spoke out against Hamilton when he made his Speedcar debut in Bahrain last weekend.

The German, a winner of three grands prix, said he would gamble money that BMW-Sauber will get the upper hand on Mercedes-powered McLaren in the near future.

"Why?  Because Nick Heidfeld is better than Lewis Hamilton," Frentzen, Heidfeld's teammate at Sauber in 2003, told Sport Bild.

"When there are three teams that are so close together, drivers that are able to push the development forward are even more important.

"To me, it is very clear that Heidfeld is the better one," he added.

Force India to use Ferrari KERS system
(GMM)  Force India looks set to step up its relationship with Ferrari for 2009.

Not only will the Silverstone based team continue to use a customer engine built by the famous Italian marque next year, Force India is reportedly planning to run a KERS energy-recovery system that is also developed by Maranello based Ferrari.

"We will run a Ferrari engine and the electronics of Magneti Marelli," team co-owner Vijay Mallya, apparently referring to the introduction next year of a system that will store and re-use energy captured under braking, is quoted as saying by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Ferrari confirmed recently that its engine and electronics departments have been merged ahead of the major regulation change for 2009.

Force India, however, will continue to build its own gearbox, and the outfit's first 'quick shift' transmission will be introduced at the Hungarian grand prix in August.

Mallya said he was delighted in Bahrain, where Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella finished ahead of the highly rated McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

"I could not hide my laughter," the Indian billionaire said.  "In Bahrain, our team made one more step forwards." More ...

8 teams have chance at A1GP title  Eight teams can still mathematically take the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport championship – but in reality this season’s title climax will probably involve just four.

The situation going into this weekend’s penultimate rounds in Shanghai is in stark contrast to the first two seasons of A1GP, where the title was all but over at this stage. But in what is the closest season yet, the leading teams have it all to play for with four races remaining.

There is a maximum 16 points up for grabs in every race if a team takes the race win and scores the fastest lap. So that means that any team within 64 points of the leader still has a theoretical shot of taking the title.

A1 Team Points Behind SUI Wins
1 Switzerland 128 3
2 New Zealand 113 -15 4
3 France 108 -20 1
4 Great Britain 95 -33 1
5 South Africa 88 -40 2
6 Netherlands 80 -48 0
7 Germany 77 -51 2
8 Ireland 73 -55 1
More ...
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