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Plowman to run Indy on foot  Firestone Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman will run a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before he has a chance to drive his race car around the 2.5-mile oval.

The AFS Racing Andretti Autosport driver, along with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Vitor Meira and Mike Conway, is expected to be among of the 35,000 runners competing in the 34th OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon on May 8. The 13.1-mile course includes a lap around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I've run a mini-marathon before, but I won't be competing in this race to go for my personal best time," Plowman said. "I'm running this with (girlfriend and current Miss Indiana) Nicole (Pollard) and will be helping her get to the finish line in her first Mini Marathon."

Will Wheldon win Indy 500 with lucky number?  Dan Wheldon may be the beneficiary of Super Saver's win in the 136th Kentucky Derby. Super Saver carried No. 4 when he won the May 1 horse race, the same number as Wheldon's National Guard Panther Racing Honda-powered Dallara will carry at the end of the month in the Indianapolis 500.

Wheldon, who is one of the most superstitious drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series, doesn't see that as a karmic sign, but since 1911 the Derby and Indianapolis 500 winners have shared the same number eight times:


Derby winner Indianapolis 500 winner Number
1915 Regret Ralph De Palma 2
1940 Gallahadion Wilbur Shaw 1
1970 Dust Commander Al Unser 2
1976 Bold Forbes Johnny Rutherford 2
1978 Affirmed Al Unser 2
1997 Silver Charm Arie Luyendyk 5
2003 Funny Cide Gil de Ferran 6
2004 Smarty Jones Buddy Rice 15

GOil to give away product to all teams  
Green Earth Team Gunnar has announced today that they will share some of their speed secrets with the competition.

Team owner Kevin Jeannette has always known that the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) has the newest and most competitive class in sports prototype racing in America with the introduction of the new LMPC class. The class is made up of seven (and more to come) identical prototype racers that have restricted engines to keep the parity between each of the cars. Jeannette says, "To find an edge in performance is almost impossible!"

Most of the teams have figured that the winning combination has to be in their decisions about driver lineup and how the drivers will perform as a duo or trio, because of the regulations regarding how long a driver must be in a car during any of the timed races. "We thought we would be the team to beat at Long Beach because of our driver lineup," Jeannette said. Car owner Christian Zugel (the team’s ‘C’ driver) opted to sit out and let ‘A’ class driver Gunnar Jeannette and ‘B’ driver Elton Julian take care of the driving because the race was only 100 minutes long and only needed two drivers to get the job done. The combination worked and they were fortunate to win their first race of the season.

Jeannette also said he thinks his team has an unfair advantage and he wants to come clean and share it with the other six competitors in the LMPC class. "G-Oil has given us an unfair advantage, and whatever happens with the rules, we will race at Monterey with all of our drivers: Gunnar, Christian, and Elton," says Jeannette.

Green Earth Team Gunnar and Green Earth Technologies will offer their unfair advantage to all other LMPC competitors for the rest of the season. Jeannette said, "This not only gives the other teams a chance to help save our Mother Earth but I think it’s the right thing to do because we want to beat the others without any unfair advantages.”

"We want to outdrive, outthink, and outlast our competition and if we have any advantage on them, it wouldn’t be the same! Winning against such a great field of teams and drivers is such an honor and we know we will have to fight for every finishing position in the seven remaining races!"

"The bottom line is, a G-Oil raced car will always be a winner because if all the teams use it, our Earth will be better for it. If our competition beats us with G-Oil, we will be sad that we were beaten but happy that our competition is trying to help save our Environment too!"

Kevin Jeannette of GETG and Jeff Loch of Green Earth Technologies will offer all LMPC teams G-Oil for the remainder for the season at no cost. Kevin's address to the teams: "If we beat ya and you don't have G-Oil... you can't say we didn't offer at least one of our speed secrets!"

F1 drivers propose Q1 session 'split' for Monaco  (GMM)  Formula one drivers will propose that the 'Q1' qualifying session for next weekend's Monaco grand prix be split into parts.

A group of drivers from both ends of the grid fear the traffic implications of 24 cars being on the short and twisty street layout at the same time, particularly with three teams vastly off the pace.

"I don't think it's a bad idea (to split Q1)," said reigning world champion and current championship Jenson Button. More ...

Klien's relationship with HRT teammates not strained  (GMM)  Christian Klien on Thursday moved to dispel any claims that he has walked into a stormy relationship with his new HRT teammates.

The Spanish team's new test and reserve driver will take over Karun Chandhok's F110 car on Friday morning, and fellow rookie Bruno Senna admitted in Barcelona that he is not keen to sit out sessions this year.

But Klien, 27, told Germany's Motorsport-Magazin.com that the pair have not complained to him.

"No, not at all," said the Austrian.  "We walked the track together and it was a good relationship."

Klien however admitted that it is "understandable" that the two race drivers "want to sit in the car as much as possible" during the race weekends.

He said he is not sure if and when he will return to the Friday cockpit later in 2010.

"So far Barcelona is the first one planned, then the team will decide whether it will be the same for other grands prix," explained Klien.

Davey Hamilton returns to Texas  
Davey Hamilton
The last time Davey Hamilton was at Texas Motor Speedway as a competitive driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series he was being airlifted to Parkland Hospital after a high-speed crash coming off turn two nearly severed both his feet - that was June of 2001.

Now nine years later, Hamilton returns to Texas Motor Speedway using a Friday test session to prepare for the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500. The 47-year-old Hamilton underwent nearly two-dozen surgeries to repair his damaged feet and now shows no outward signs of his injuries.

Hamilton will be driving a car fielded by Luczo Dragon / de Ferran Motorsports in partnership with Houston-based Kingdom Racing as he looks to earn a starting spot in the Indianapolis 500 for the 10th time in his career. He will make three starts for the team in 2010, including the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 5.

Prior to his breath taking crash on June 9, 2001, Hamilton had posted four top 10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway, including a career-best second place run in the 1999 season finale.

Davey Hamilton's comeback story would make a great feature for a sports, medical,
religion or positive-attitude segments.

"I'm feeling a little anxious I guess," said IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton about his upcoming test at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. "My last memories of racing here are trying to survive."

"I always did like Texas and had some good finishes there'" said Hamilton.  "The track didn't cause my accident.  It could have happened anywhere. I may be nervous the first couple of laps, but then it will be back to business and off we go."

Friday Schedule:
Davey Hamilton will be on track from 2:00 – 10:00 p.m. and will visit the media center from 12:45 – 1:00 p.m.

Wind Tunnel this Sunday 5/9  Wind Tunnel

Sunday 5/9/2010

Guest Co-Host              Danny Sullivan (1985 Indy 500 Winner)

            Former Indy 500 winner and CART champ, Danny Sullivan, will join Dave Despain LIVE in the studio as our guest co-host this Sunday May 9th.

Featured Interview      Ashley Force Hood (NHRA Funny Car Title Contender)

            NHRA Funny Car title contender, Ashley Force Hood, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. Last season, she had a career year in the series...winning 2 races, including the famed U.S. Nationals, and she finished 2nd in the championship behind her teammate, Robert Hight.

            This year, she’s hoping to build on that success, chasing her dream of being a Funny Car champion like her father. If she accomplishes that goal, she would become the first woman in NHRA history to claim the Funny Car crown.

This Week’s Races:

CUP and Nationwide under the lights in Darlington
Formula 1 in Spain
World Superbike in Monza, Italy
AMA Supercross season finale in Las Vegas

Klien does not have F1 super license  (GMM)  Christian Klien does not possess a current F1 super license.

The Austrian 27-year-old joined the new HRT team earlier this week as a test and reserve driver, and is scheduled to drive Karun Chandhok's F110 car in Friday morning practice in Spain.

But with less than 14 hours before that practice session kicks off, it emerges that Klien - a veteran of 48 grands prix and years as a test driver - does not possess the mandatory FIA document that would allow him to exit the Barcelona pitlane.

To the APA news agency, team boss Colin Kolles explained the apparent oversight.

"As long as the contract was not signed, we could not even ask for a super license," he said.  "It was all very last minute."

Kolles said he was hopeful the situation will be resolved by Friday morning.

Ferrari removes 'barcode' from F1 car livery  (GMM)  Ferrari's 2010 car no longer features a controversial 'barcode' livery on its engine cover.

The Italian team last week angrily rejected reports the signage was subliminal advertising for its tobacco sponsor Philip Morris.

Even Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo slammed the suggestion, insisting the claims were "ridiculous".

But in the team's Barcelona pit garage on Thursday, the barcode was gone, replaced by a white rectangle with a red background. More ...

No airbox on Mercedes' revised 2010 car  UPDATE (GMM)  After Mercedes surprised the F1 world with its airbox abolishment on Thursday, Nico Rosberg crowned the innovation "cool" and "futuristic".

"That's cool if you can do something new that nobody else has on their car," said the German, after the updated W01 car was seen in the Barcelona paddock without a traditional airbox above the drivers' head.

Instead, the rollover structure is now knife-sharp, with air now being fed into the normally-aspirated V8 engine via two inlets further back in the engine cover.

"I think it looks really futuristic," Rosberg told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. More ...

Michelin will not supply entire 2011 F1 grid  UPDATE Michelin is close to agreeing a deal to return to Formula One in 2011 as a tire supplier.

Even though Avon and Pirelli have also expressed interest in replacing Bridgestone when it leaves at the end of the season, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Michelin is the favorite after watering down some of its earlier demands. The publication said a three-year deal through 2013 is likely, with every team paying the French marque â‚©3 million per season. More ...

Spanish GP Press conference, Senna, Alonso and more  
Fernando Alonso
Jaime Alguersuari, Pedro de la Rosa, Bruno Senna, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel attended the opening press conf in Spain...

Q: A question to you all about the modifications you are getting here on your cars and what you are expecting they might do for the performance. Jaime, would you like to start.

Jaime ALGUERSUARI: We have some upgrades for this race and hopefully we can see a big improvement for Barcelona. Hopefully we will have dry weather, so we can really see it and we need to see with the upgrades where the other teams are.

Q: Will it take you ahead of the next team ahead of you?

JA: If you analyze the last races and you see our qualifying we were two or three tenths off Q3, so I think with two or three tenths off Q3 it is quite nice to have a nice development. To arrive in Q3 would be a nice objective for us.  More ...

Barrichello's car to have more new parts than teammate  (GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg's Williams will not initially be in the same specification as his teammate Rubens Barrichello in Barcelona.

The German rookie confirmed to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that while his Cosworth-powered FW32 will be essentially the same as it was in China, veteran Barrichello's is fitted with a range of updates.

The most notable differences between the cars will be the front wing and the floor, even though a new floor for Hulkenberg's car could arrive ahead of Saturday's running.

"The engineers have been testing (the new parts) until the last minute in the wind tunnel," said the 22-year-old.  "That's why there is a shortage."

Hulkenberg insists he is not upset. More ...

Pagenaud for Peugot in 1000KM Spa race  
Simon Pagenaud
Last year's visit of the LMS to the celebrated circuit nestling in the Belgian Ardennes saw Simon Pagenaud celebrate the start of his association with Peugeot Sport by claiming pole position, the fastest race lap and victory in the Peugeot908 HDI FAP. The Poitiers-born driver turned his trial into a masterful performance which played a significant part in his being recruited by the French carmaker for its 2010 program. Following his second consecutive win through the streets of Long Beach a few weeks ago in the Highcroft-run Acura, which is contesting the 2010 American Le Mans Series, Simon Pagenaud will be looking for similar success in this weekend's1,000km de Spa-Francorchamps. More ...
Maybe split qualifying for Monaco  Drivers propose split qualifying for Monaco | Planet F1 | Formula One News
The F1 drivers are set to ask the FIA to split next weekend's Monaco qualifying in a bid to avoid traffic ruining drivers' laps.

The tight and twisty Monte Carlo street circuit has always been a nightmare during qualifying as the drivers try to get track position and a gap between themselves and those ahead, in order to get the best possible lap time.

However, this year there are 26 cars taking part in qualifying as opposed to last year's 20 and already this season there have been a few traffic problems during qualifying - and at wider tracks.

The drivers, though, are hoping that FIA race director Charlie Whiting listens to their solution and agrees to implement it for Monaco. More ...

Kolles denies HRT funding rumors, opposed to KERS  (GMM)  Colin Kolles on Thursday moved to dispel persistent rumors that HRT might not see the end of its debut season.

After struggling to survive in the winter before even turning a wheel, the new Spanish team is currently the least competitive of F1's new outfits including Lotus and Virgin.

HRT, standing for Hispania Racing Team but founded as Campos Meta 1, even changed ownership before the season opening Bahrain grand prix, and the Dallara-built F110 car is not heavily sponsored.

Asked in Barcelona to dispel rumors that the team could fold before this year's 19-race schedule is complete, team boss Kolles answered: "I don't anticipate that the season is not guaranteed. More ...

Q and A with Renault’s Alan Permane  Renault’s Alan Permane is very happy with the French based team’s performance during the opening four fly events of the season stating that in his opinion they have maximized every opportunity that has come their way. Now as we head into round five in Barcelona, Alan has reflected on the teams positive start and looked briefly into the coming weekend...

Alan, after four flyaway races the team has scored 46 points. Did you expect such a positive start to the season?
I think it’s been a very encouraging start to the year and we’ve definitely maximised all the opportunities that have come our way, which is very important. We know that our outright pace is still behind the four fastest teams, but with our strategy from the pit wall and the performances of Robert and Vitaly, we have come away with more points than we might have expected. More ...
Chrysler announces incentives  Chrysler is offering interest-free loans or rebates ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 on 2010 model Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles to clear out inventories before 2011 models arrive later this year.

The 0% interest or cash rebates are available for up to 60 months on most models, or 1.9% up to 72 months. Dodge is offering 0% for 72 months on the Dodge Charger. To qualify, a buyer must finance through GMAC Financial Services. More ...

BMW posts $424M profit  German luxury automaker BMW AG reported a $424 million first-quarter profit on Wednesday, reflecting a recovery in demand for premium cars from last year's deep slump.  BMW said it expected the launch of its key 5 Series sedan during the second quarter to help it gain further momentum.

"We expect that earnings will grow dynamically over the course of the year," said Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer.  "We intend to remain the world's leading provider of premium cars in 2010," he said in a statement. The Munich-based company sells premium cars under the BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini brands.

Schu struggle affecting merchandising, sponsorship  
After winning over 90 F1 races and 7 world titles, is Schumacher now too old to win in F1 or will he rebound?
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's long time manager has admitted the hype of the German's return to formula one this year has not matched his expectations.

Sabine Kehm has taken over as the Mercedes driver's general manager, but Willi Weber is still in charge of Schumacher's personal sponsorship and merchandising.

But the 68-year-old admitted that, just as Schumacher has not performed to the level of his initial career, the sale of official merchandise has also been slow.

"Sales are not how I expected them to be," Weber told Germany's Bild-Zeitung daily.  "There is a certain Schumi-tiredness.  The people are saying: my god, where is he driving?  You only know him as a winner. More ...

24 GP2 drivers ready for season opener  The sixth season of the GP2 Series opens this weekend in Barcelona alongside Formula One. After five thrilling seasons, the GP2 Series is now generally seen as the strongest feeder category for Formula One and 2010 is not one to contradict that fact: with eleven GP2 graduates on the F1 starting grid, the GP2 Series has clearly become the category to go through when one ambitions to reach the pinnacle of motorsport.

This season also marks the last run of the second generation car which has already proven to be extremely reliable, safe and powerful. Therefore, no change has been made to the 2009 kit. Once again, the drivers’ talent and skills will decide who gets to take the crown home. More ...
McLaren in favor of return of KERS  
Button in his McLaren
McLaren have added their voice to the growing support for the return of KERS, confident they can keep the costs down and the "power up."

KERS, Kinetic Energy Recovery System, was introduced into Formula One in 2009, however, only McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and BMW used the system with mixed results.

Although KERS gives a power boost, the added weight can counteract that while the cost of developing it ran in to the millions.

As such KERS was dropped ahead of this year's Championship, although there is now talk of it returning in 2011. More ...

Bridgestone reveals tire specs up to Silverstone  Formula 1 tire supplier Bridgestone has revealed the tire compounds which have been selected for up to Round 10 of the championship, the British Grand Prix. Under normal dry circumstances, two types of Slick must be used over the course of a race distance.

Since the start of 2007, each driver has been forced to make use of two types of dry weather tire compound in order to spice up the action in races. The softer of the two available (known as Option) is recognizable from the harder (Prime) courtesy of a green-painted sidewall.

"The Canadian and European Grands Prix take place on street courses where it is important to have good grip due to the slippery nature of the track surfaces," explains Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone's Head of Motorsport Tire Development. More ...

Modena Group Team withdraws from LeMans  The ASA ACO des 24 Heures du Mans did not receive confirmation of the Modena Racing Group team's entry within the deadlines. The Modena Group Racing Team was to enter a Ferrari F430 GT.

The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the Felbermayr-Proton team, first reserve on the GT list, is invited to come to scrutineering for the 78th Le Mans 24 Hours (6th and 7th June 2010) and will become part of the official entry list for the event.

The N°88 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the Felbermayr-Proton team will be driven among others by Marc LIEB who has been nominated as the no.1 driver in the car. The German team will have two Porsche GT3 RSRs at the start (N°77 and N°88). More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • De la Rosa doubts new Ferrari engines ready for Sauber
  • Huge motor homes absent in Barcelona paddock
  • Alonso hopes for dry weekend in Barcelona
  • HRT to build own car for 2011 - Kolles
  • Schu admits 'more relaxed' but still 'serious' about F1
  • HRT is 'small step' back into F1 - Klien
  • Icelandic ash cloud threatens European skies again
  • FIR-TEX (Far Infrared Rays TEXtile) joins Red Bull Racing
  • Mercedes team extends deal with STL

Pedro de la Rosa
De la Rosa doubts new Ferrari engines ready for Sauber
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa does not think Ferrari's engine modifications will feature in the rear of the Sauber cars in Spain this weekend.

In the wake of several reliability problems at the first four races of 2010, Ferrari got clearance from the FIA to implement a design fix for Barcelona and beyond.

The Italian team said the "modifications will be fitted to the engines to be used in Spain".

But when asked if Sauber will also benefit at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend, de la Rosa said: "I very much doubt it."

The 39-year-old, however, said he did think the revised engines will be available for Sauber at subsequent grands prix.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that he and Michael Schumacher have had a questionable relationship in past years, de la Rosa thinks recent criticism of the German's F1 comeback this year has been unfair.

"I wouldn't so quickly judge someone who has won seven world championships.  I know him well and how good he is and I expect him to react," said de la Rosa, who returned to the grid in 2010 after a long stint as test driver. More ...

Racing news
Johnson is first quarter driver of the year  On the track and in the media's opinion, Jimmie Johnson was simply the best as he was voted the winner of the Driver of the Year for the first quarter of the 2010 racing season. Johnson, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and three-time Driver of the Year, led his series' points standing and garnered the most first-place votes in the balloting by leading broadcasters and journalists in the United States. Johnson, 34, had a streak of three wins in four races, and six top-nine finishes in the first quarter, which ended on April 19th. In the voting, Johnson took 11 first-place ballots and totaled 129 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Australia's Will Power, the Penske Racing driver of the IZOD IndyCar Series #12 Verizon car was second with two first-place votes and 101 points. Power won two of the four races, three poles and no finish worse than fourth. John Force the 1996 Driver of the Year, racing in the NHRA's POWERade Funny Car division was tied with NASCAR's Sprint Cup driver, Denny Hamlin for third in the voting with 48 points. Force had three first-place votes and Hamlin had two. A total of 18 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Jason Meyers, from the World of Outlaws, who had one first-place vote. Racin' Today
Tony George finally speaks  UPDATE #2 The second part of this interview was posted today. Credit to Holly Cain for asking the tough and direct question.

HC: Given all that you know now -- all that you have been through -- was it all worth it to form the Indy Racing League? And why?
TG: That is a very broad, open question and the only thing I can do is reiterate what I said earlier, but perhaps say it another way.

There is great value in the Indy Racing League; it exists to support the institutions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 Mile race; and I am proud of its contributions to the sport.

05/04/10 Former Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George apparently supports the substantial cost-cutting initiatives the Speedway and the IRL implemented during the past year, though he admits “several loyal people” have left the organization his family owns.

Tony George
“We should have addressed the need to restructure sooner,” he said in an interview published on Tuesday by AOL. “We had gotten fat and complacent.”

About 50 people have either been released or have quit since December 2008.

Speculation on how much George spent on the IRL since he launched it in 1996 has reached as high as $25 million in some years. It’s thought that the financial losses have not been as significant in the past two years, but neither George nor his IMS replacement, Jeff Belskus, have confirmed that. George did not tell AOL how much money he’s spent on the IRL. More ...

New bridge enhances Singapore circuit access  Singapore’s newest landmark, the spectacular steel and glass ‘Helix Bridge’ which opened last week will offer both new views and additional pedestrian access to the 2010

The 280 meter-long pedestrian bridge links the track with the equally spectacular triple towers of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. A new entrance gate exclusively for Zone 1 and Premier Walkabout ticket holders gives access tithe track close to Turn 18.

The new bridge features a unique double-helix spiral structure which has been described as a” world’s first in architectural and engineering bridge design.”. The bridge has five viewing platforms which provide stunning views of the Singapore skyline and the bayside areas of the circuit. During the race the bridge will be illuminated by a series of lights that highlight the double-helix structure, creating a new addition to the special night-time visual experience for visitors and TV viewers alike. The new Helix Bridge is also a perfect contrast to the venerable Anderson Bridge which the cars cross before Turn 13. It too will be specially illuminated in celebration of its centenary this year.

The Helix Bridge is one of several additional viewpoints from which visitors can get a new perspective on the 2010 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX. A partnership with the Singapore Flyer allows Pit, Turn 1, Turn 2 and Republic (Turn 3) Grandstand ticketholders, as well as hospitality suite, Formula One Paddock Club and Premier Walkabout spectators unlimited rides (subject to capacity) on the world’s largest observation wheel. To further enhance the spectator experience, live entertainment will be offered in an outdoor amphitheatre at the Singapore Flyer, while ‘bleachers’ at strategic locations along the trackside will allow Premier Walkabout ticketholders to enjoy close-up views of the race’s final corners and the pit lane entrance.

Jersey City shoots down F1 race plans  Barely 24 hours after plans for a Grand Prix in Jersey City were revealed, its Mayor has decided not to go ahead with the idea. Following a protest relating to environmental issues, it now seems as though a Formula 1 race with a New York City backdrop is out of the question.

Tuesday saw Jersey City submit an official plan for Grand Prix ideas, with word being that a possible night time street race could be held by as early as 2012, although - following the protest - Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has voted against the F1 event.

"After a review of the draft proposal prepared by the city's Tourism Office, I have come to the same conclusion that this type of event is not suited for Liberty State Park," he said via a statement.

"While we work to attract national and international events to our city, we must ensure that they are appropriate and will have the least impact upon the quality of life of our residents and our community."

While the news may be seen as a disappointment by race fans, the President of Friends of Liberty State Park is pleased that the surroundings have been taken into consideration.

"Mayor Healy did reach out to me yesterday and we had a very constructive conversation," Sam Pesin commented. "Instead of a negative wasteful controversy, we can all focus on working together on positive efforts to benefit Jersey City and Liberty State Park." GPUpdate.net

Franchitti embraces Mazda Raceway history and challenge  
Marino Franchitti
The 2010 season marks the 53rd year of motorsport at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Always a fan-favorite, the venue has a rich history of sports car competition dating back to its earliest days. So it’s no surprise that Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Marino Franchitti also has a soft spot for the picturesque circuit on the Monterey Peninsula.

Franchitti will drive Patr¢n Highcroft’s HPD ARX-01c in the six-hour enduro on May 22 – a new distance and date for the Series’ annual northern California stop. The Scotsman will partner with David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud, a winner overall last year at Mazda Raceway with Gil de Ferran.

“As a huge fan of the history of motorsport I always look forward to going to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and experiencing the unique atmosphere of the place and the unique challenges that the track provides,” Franchitti said. “With the huge amount of dust that settles on the track you have to be very precise. It’s very satisfying when you get it right and I think the longer race length this year will provide a great spectacle for the California fans.” More ...

Everclear, Eddie Money headline IMS shows  Multi-platinum popular rock powerhouses Everclear and Eddie Money have joined the music lineup during 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Everclear will play the Coca-Cola Stage in the Speedway's Pagoda Plaza on Indianapolis Star Opening Day, Saturday, May 15, while Eddie Money will play one week later - Pole Day, Saturday, May 22.

All musical performances are free with admission to the IMS grounds for the day. More ...

Flying Lizard to take on LeMans  Flying Lizard Motorsports announced today the details of their sixth 24 Heures du Mans program. Drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Darren Law (USA), and Seth Neiman (USA) will return in the No. 80 Porsche GT3 RSR for the 24-hour endurance classic, June 12-13 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The No. 80 will be sponsored by ShoreTel and Openwave, both sponsors of the team's 2010 ALMS season.

Flying Lizard has competed in GT2 in the 24 Heures du Mans from 2005 through 2009, finishing third in 2005, fourth in 2006, and sixth in 2008. "Le Mans is such a great and unpredictable race," said Flying Lizard principal and No. 80 driver Seth Neiman. "We are honored to have the opportunity to participate again in 2010. We've run the gamut of experiences here; each year we learn more about how to compete in this incredible event." More ...

ISC Chitwoood talks about Kansas and IRL  Chitwood spent seven years with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last five as president and chief operating officer, before becoming VP of Business Operations for ISC in August 2009.

Chitwood on ISC's take on IndyCar:
" It’s a business where everybody needs to have a win-win. And everybody has to feel good about stuff. IRL has some good stuff going on with the addition of IZOD (among other developments), but business is not easy right now. We’re still in the grips of whatever we are calling this thing – recession, depression, you name it -- and sports in general, whether it be baseball, basketball, racing, is a tough business." More ...

City Green Lights Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar race  The city's Board of Estimates has approved a 5-year agreement with Baltimore Racing Development for races around the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards. The first would be in August 2011.

City officials said the events could generate $11 million in tax revenue during the five-year period. It could also create nearly 2,000 jobs, and generate $250 million in spending.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the street race will "change the way the world sees Baltimore," as a result of global exposure to millions of Indy Racing League fans.

As part of the agreement, Baltimore Racing Development (BRD) will share event revenues with the city and pay an annual event fee, along with spending $12 to $14 million on race preparations. More ...

Grand-Am gears up for first race at Lime Rock  The Daytona Prototypes will make their first visit to historic Lime Rock Park in the Monday, May 31 running of the Memorial Day classic.

GRAND-AM held a successful test at the Lakeville, Conn., circuit on April 27, with 11 Daytona Prototypes and seven GT cars participating. Following the session, it was determined that the Rolex Series will use a 1.5-mile layout using the optional approach to the Uphill with the classic Downhill Turn, combining both classes in a two-hour, 45-minute race. More ...

It's official - Rahal to drive for Father's team  One of the things that gives the Indianapolis 500 its mystique and honored standing with sports fans around the world, is that the young stars of the racing world can annually test their mettle on the same 2.5-mile oval where legends once plied their trade.

At this year’s 500-mile classic, Rahal Letterman Racing will provide the unique opportunity for open-wheel fans to see one of the sport’s young stars chase his racing dream – directly under the tutelage of one of the Brickyard’s former conquerors.

1986 Indianapolis 500 champion Bobby Rahal and his Rahal Letterman Racing team announced today that its entry in the 2010 Indy 500 would be piloted by his son Graham. More ...

Unser Jr. Joins ZAP Alias Electric Car Team  
Al Unser Jr.
Racing legend Al Unser Jr. will be behind the wheel as the ZAP Alias team competes in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-PRIZE.  Unser has agreed to drive the Alias electric car from industry pioneer ZAP (OTC Bulletin Board: ZAAP) for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE (PIAXP), a competition for $10 million in prizes set up to foster the development of clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon or energy equivalent.

Unser has agreed to drive for ZAP in the upcoming PIAXP stages of the competition over the next five months.  Unser plans to split his time between his other racing commitments and the PIAXP competition now underway at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).  His first appearance behind the wheel of the all-electric sports vehicle from ZAP will be this week during ZAP's participation in the Shakedown Stage of the competition taking place May 2-8 at MIS, a track where Unser has a track record and won several races. The team blog is http://zapalias.wordpress.com. More ...

FIA confirms Warwick latest F1 steward  (GMM)  Former F1 driver Derek Warwick will be the driver representative in the stewards room this weekend in Barcelona, it has been confirmed.

After Alain Prost, Tom Kristensen, Johnny Herbert and Alex Wurz fulfilled the FIA duties at the first four races of 2010, it is now the turn of Briton Warwick, a veteran of 162 grands prix between 1981 and 1993.

Another notable F1 steward in Spain this weekend is Nicolas Deschaux, the president of France's motor racing federation FFSA.

Webber hits reverse after 'nanny state' controversy  (GMM)  Mark Webber has shifted into reverse gear after slamming F1 host state Victoria as a "bloody nanny state".

The Australian, irritated at local overregulation such as the prevalence of speeding and parking fines, made the comment in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's famous run-in with Melbourne police in March.

Then, when the formula one circus had moved on to Malaysia, Webber's father Alan and manager/partner Ann Neal posed with a group of fans wearing T-shirts bearing the words 'Victoria The Nanny State!' More ...

Baltimore's spending board to vote on Indy race contract  UPDATE A plan to bring an IndyCar Series race to the streets around Baltimore's Inner Harbor is "expected to win city approval" today. Baltimore "will be poised to become a stop" on the series in August '11 "and for as many as four years after that." A loop of streets around the harbor "would be transformed into a race course for a three-day event," with a pit stop area to be located at Camden Yards Baltimore SUN

05/04/10 The city’s spending board will vote Wednesday to approve a contract with organizers behind a proposed Baltimore Grand Prix, potentially clearing a major hurdle for the group in its quest to host a large-scale race downtown for five years beginning August 2011.

Under the proposal, Baltimore Racing Development will pay the city $1.25 million over five years in an annual race fee. The city will also share in a percentage of revenue generated by the Baltimore Grand Prix beginning in the second year of the event.

The proposal also calls for $7.5 million in road upgrades to the 2.4-mile route spanning from Lombard to Russell streets. The federal government would contribute $5 million toward those improvements under a surface transportation program, according to the Board of Estimates’ agenda. More ...

Johnson at GM for 75th anniversary of Suburban  The Chevrolet Suburban, now made only at General Motors' Arlington assembly plant, had its 75th anniversary celebrated Monday as the longest continuously produced vehicle in the U.S. Unveiled as the Suburban Carryall, it could seat eight people comfortably and offered whitewall tires, a radio and a heater as options. Unlike other 1930s cars that had wooden sides and canvas tops, the early Suburban was designed as a more durable truck-type vehicle with an all-steel body. GM officials at the Arlington plant showcased one of the first Suburbans ever produced -- a yellow 1936 model with large round headlights and a spare tire on each side. The interior featured a big steering wheel and spacious tan and dark brown vinyl seats that could be removed for extra space. GM on Monday also debuted the 75th anniversary Diamond Edition Suburban, which will be available this summer. Only 2,750 will be made. NASCAR's #48-Jimmie Johnson, who races in Chevy cars, drove one of the limited-edition Suburbans on Monday and later signed some autographs for several plant employees. Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Mercedes team announces addition of small sponsor  MERCEDES GP PETRONAS is pleased to confirm the team’s new partnership with Autonomy Corporation plc, a global leader in infrastructure software for the enterprise and the second largest software company in Europe.

Established in 1996, Autonomy was founded on the vision of dramatically changing the way that we interact with information, enabling computers to map to the human world rather than the other way around. Autonomy’s unique meaning-based technology derives understanding from all content and enables organizations to eliminate the traditionally manual and costly operations of analyzing and processing information by performing these functions automatically and in real time. Today, Autonomy is a FTSE 100 company and the second largest software company in Europe with over 20,000 blue-chip organizations across seven continents relying on Autonomy’s technologies for true business gain and risk mitigation. More ...

HRT F1 signs Christian Klien as test driver  
Christian Klien - did he buy his ride to be a Friday track cleaner?
The HRT F1 Team is pleased to announce that it has signed Austrian Christian Klien to the role of Reserve and Test Driver in addition to Japan’s Sakon Yamamoto.

Dr. Colin Kolles, Team Principal of HRT F1 Team, commented: “We are very proud to welcome Christian Klien to HRT F1 Team. He is a young and fast driver. I have been keeping a close eye on him since his first races in the ADAC series as I believe he has great potential. We look forward to having Christian alongside us in Barcelona later this week so he can spend some valuable familiarization time with the team. As a young team we are looking for drivers who can grow with us.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Bad weather spoils Todt's Epsilon Euskadi visit
  • FIA allows engine reliability fix for Ferrari
  • Button becomes first freeman of hometown Frome
  • Todt backs more cost cuts so new teams can 'survive'
  • Rosberg insists car changes also good for him
  • F1 should 'wait' before assessing Schu comeback - Todt
    Todt plays down Hamilton behavior in 2010
  • 'Matured' Sutil now feels ready for success
  • Schumacher drives 2010 Mercedes at Rockingham

Bad weather spoils Todt's Epsilon Euskadi visit
(GMM)  Bad weather on Tuesday prevented Jean Todt from visiting the headquarters of hopeful 2011 formula one team Epsilon Euskadi.

The FIA president was in Spain for meetings with government and motor racing officials, and had been due to fly to Azkoitia in the Basque Country to inspect the team's facilities after it expressed interest in racing next year.

But local reports said strong winds at Madrid's Torrejon de Ardoz airport halted the flight, and the Frenchman's itinerary was too tight for a rescheduling.

However, Spain's Diario Sport newspaper insists that Todt already supports Epsilon Euskadi's F1 project, after many years of knowing its principal and F1 veteran Joan Villadelprat.

"Todt knows very well that Epsilon has first class facilities," read the report.

The newspaper added that Todt will attempt to inspect the facility at a later date.

"First of all I want to thank Mr. Todt and Mr. (Carlos) Gracia ... for their interest and their willingness to organize this visit and the efforts until the last minute that the meeting take place," said Villadelprat.

"It was important to present the project to the president of the FIA, both as regards to the possibility of entering formula one and for other projects in the automotive field we are working on," he added. More ...

Former NASCAR champ pleads guilty to tax evasion  Tommy Ellis, who won the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 1988, pleaded guilty to a tax-evasion charge on Monday in a Richmond, Va., federal court. His wife, Brenda Ellis, also pleaded guilty. The two will be sentenced on July 30. Federal sentencing guidelines likely will call for a lesser punishment than the maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine.

Reports say the Ellises maintained two sets of books for their automated car-wash business, according to court documents, and paid taxes on only part of their income. The discrepancy was discovered, documents said, when the couple put the business up for sale in 2008 and--to justify the asking price--showed the second set of books to an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent posing as a potential buyer. More ...

Panoz reveals teaser of new Abruzzi  
Panoz, the Georgia-based firm, revealed a teaser of its upcoming sports car, the Abruzzi "Spirit of Le Mans".

Set to debut at Le Mans next month on the Circuit de la Sarthe, the Abruzzi's design "is inspired from a classic era when racers would literally drive their own cars to Le Mans to compete and then drive back home. However, the technology of the Panoz Abruzzi 'Spirit of Le Mans' is absolutely leading-edge." More ...

Feds investigate 2007 Dodge Caliber for sticky pedal problem  The 2007 Dodge Caliber is being investigated for a sticky pedal problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

The agency has received complaints from five consumers about the accelerator issue. The problem: The pedal does not return to the idle position when released, a NHTSA document said. Four consumers reported they found one or two bushings from the pedal assembly on the driver's-side floor. No crashes or injuries have been reported.

The pedal assemblies were made by CTS Corp., which made the parts associated some of Toyota's massive recalls. More ...

FIA approves Ferrari engine changes  Ferrari has been given the green light by the FIA to make modifications to its engine on reliability grounds following the problems it has had in the early stages of the season.

A statement by Ferrari said: "A lot of work was carried out on the test bench, completing several long runs and this work produced some solutions which it is felt will solve the reliability problems experienced in Bahrain and Malaysia. The team therefore requested and received authorization from the FIA to make some changes within the framework of the current engine regulations and these modifications will be fitted to the engines to be used in Spain.

"While since China, everyone in the Gestione Sportiva has been working hard as always on their various areas of activity, it is fair to say that over the past weeks, the staff in the engine department really produced a major effort, working night and day to analyze, evaluate and solve issues that have affected engine performance in past races."

FedEx plans to continue sponsorship of JGR  FedEx, which announced Monday it has dropped its 20-year sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, does not have plans to do the same with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin, according to a FedEx executive. Although no formal announcement has been made of an extension with JGR beyond 2010, FedEx Sports Marketing Manager Katherine Flee indicated Monday night that Hamlin and JGR are in good shape for next year and beyond. "While we have recently decided to end our relationship with the Bowl Championship Series and the Orange Bowl, FedEx remains committed to its long-term relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and our sponsorship of Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car," Flee said in an e-mail. "We are looking forward to running for our fifth-consecutive Chase for the championship this year." Joe Gibbs Racing is planning on FedEx continuing as the Hamlin sponsor. Scenedaily.com
FedEx to continue with JGR  FedEx, which announced Monday it has dropped its 20-year sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, does not have plans to do the same with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin, according to a FedEx executive. Although no formal announcement has been made of an extension with JGR beyond 2010, FedEx Sports Marketing Manager Katherine Flee indicated Monday night that Hamlin and JGR are in good shape for next year and beyond. "While we have recently decided to end our relationship with the Bowl Championship Series and the Orange Bowl, FedEx remains committed to its long-term relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and our sponsorship of Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car," Flee said in an e-mail. "We are looking forward to running for our fifth-consecutive Chase for the championship [this year]." Joe Gibbs Racing is planning on FedEx continuing as the Hamlin sponsor. Scene Daily
Dixon closes in on another record  Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti combined to lead more laps (169) in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 than they had in the first four races (Dixon 23 and Franchitti 32). Dixon, who led a field-high 167 laps, is 223 laps behind Sam Hornish Jr. (3,428) to become the series' all-time lap leader.

"Having a 'perfect car' doesn't happen too often, and it's a great feeling," Dixon said. "For 150 laps or so I was just waiting for something to go wrong with the car. I had to hand it to my crew they made the right calls all day and the pit stops were impeccable. All I can hope is that we keep this momentum rolling through the month of May. I can't wait for the 500."

Kentucky Open Test washed out by weepers  Competition is so close in the IZOD IndyCar Series through five races - five drivers representing four teams separated by 38 points in the top five of the standings -- that 14 drivers assembled at Kentucky Speedway May 4 to get a jump on the five remaining 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule (including Kentucky on Sept. 4) even though the next race on the 2010 schedule is the Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Most importantly for all of us it's track time," said Scott Dixon, who extended his IZOD IndyCar Series record to 22 victories May 1 in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. "We get so little of it so any time you get a free session on a track that is very useful."

Persistent weepers, however, at Kentucky Speedway, caused in part by more than 6 inches of rain over the weekend and overnight May 4, forced cancellation of the IZOD IndyCar Series test the 1.5-mile oval. More ...

GT Open
ART Welcomes Nelson Piquet in a test session  Last Friday Nelson Piquet Jr. jointed Álvaro Parente on their first contact with the Ferrari 430 GT2, which they are going to co-drive in GT Open in Barcelona, by performing a long training session in AIA circuit in Portugal.

After ART’s team complete domination on the first stage of the Spanish GT championship, Nelson Piquet Jr.’s presence was also able to gather new data for the car’s division in the Open GT stage, as well as to proceed with some improvements, characteristic from this kind of sessions. More ...

Barry Green joins KV Racing  KV Racing Technology announced today that former Indianapolis 500-winning car owner Barry Green has joined the team to assist on Paul Tracy’s No. 15 GEICO – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry in this year’s Indianapolis 500 Mile Race set for Sunday, May 30.

Green, whose team won the 1995 Indy 500 with Jacques Villeneuve driving, returns to the famed Brickyard to work with Tracy as the race strategist for the GEICO – KVRT operation.

Green and Tracy come back together at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time since the controversial 2002 Indy 500 finish when Tracy was awarded second place in the No 26 Team Kool Green car.  In the 2002 event, Green and Tracy protested the finish as they felt Tracy had passed leader Helio Castroneves in turn three on lap 198 before the caution lights were lit for a turn two crash.  Green’s organization filed a written protest that was heard by a special committee.  On July 2, the committee announced the protest was disallowed with Castroneves retaining the win. More ...

Yet another wet F1 weekend possible in Spain  (GMM)  After the processional season opener in Bahrain, assessments about the success or failure of F1's new format have taken a back seat to the weather.

Rain either shook up the grid order or spiced up the grands prix in Australia, Malaysia and China, meaning that the question of whether the rules should be adjusted has been muted by arguably artificially-exiting races.

And the wait for clarity about the success of the 2010 formula, including the new ban on in-race refueling, could now be extended into yet another race.

It is currently cold and wet in Barcelona, where about a half-hour north in the suburb of Montmelo round five of the world championship will be staged at the Circuit de Catalunya later this week. More ...

Dyson partner with Monticello race track  
Monticello Motor Club
Dyson Racing, competing in the American Le Mans Series with its Mazda MZR-R Lola LMP Coupe, has announced a new partnership with Monticello Motor Club, the automotive lifestyle resort and track located ninety minutes from Manhattan, for track testing, technical development and team driver practice. Co-designed by racing legend Brian Redman, the private race resort features a 4.1‐mile road course including 1.5 miles of straights, 22 unique turns, 12 different configurations, including a 3.5-mile long course with over 450 feet of total elevation change.

“The Monticello Motor Club is more than a just country club for its private driving enthusiasts,” commented Chris Dyson, who runs Dyson Racing and drives the #16 BP‐sponsored Mazda Lola Coupe. “It is also the perfect place for sorting cars and developing and evaluating drivers.” Most recently, Dyson Racing's Chris Dyson and Guy Smith took a 4th place finish at the Long Beach Grand Prix following their podium finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring, one of American’s greatest sports car races. In 2009, Dyson Racing scored two ALMS wins including the Petit Le Mans, the biggest victory in Mazda’s ALMS history. More ...
ART signs Piquet for Ferrari drive  
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Last Friday Nelson Piquet Jr. jointed Álvaro Parente on their first contact with the Ferrari 430 GT2, which they are going to co-drive in GT Open in Barcelona, by performing a long training session in AIA circuit in Portugal.

After ART’s team complete domination on the first stage of the Spanish GT championship, Nelson Piquet Jr.’s presence was also able to gather new data for the car’s division in the Open GT stage, as well as to proceed with some improvements, characteristic from this kind of sessions. More ...
FIA 'serious' about KERS return for 2011 - Todt  (GMM) Jean Todt on Tuesday said the FIA is pushing for the energy-recovery technology KERS to be redeployed in formula one next year.

While the regenerative braking energy systems will surely be part of the sport's new engine formula for 2013, it has been reported that some teams want KERS back on the grid as soon as next season.

Currently allowed by the technical regulations, the F1 teams group FOTA agreed to voluntarily ban KERS this year after only some teams ran the systems in 2009 with mixed results. More ...
Lime Rock Park Memorial Day event car corrals  Lime Rock Park hasn’t been very good at telling our fans about the various upcoming Car Corrals. They usually sell out, so to be fair, we want to tell people who don’t already know about them what they are and what fun they can be!

So if you’re asking, ‘‘What is a Lime Rock Park Car Corral?,’’ here’s the short answer: A bunch of cool people who own the same make or model of a car pay a tiny bit more than everyone else in order to all park together in special zones. You get to hang out with other people who are as passionate about their cars as you are. More ...
Berger backs Schumacher amid comeback negativity  
Gerhard Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has backed Michael Schumacher amid a climate of continuing criticism of the seven time world champion's performance so far in 2010.

Four races into 41-year-old Schumacher's F1 comeback at the wheel of a Mercedes, the critique of pundits has ranged from a verdict of disappointment to a harsh denigration of his skills after three years of retirement.

"I find all the talk about Michael a bit tedious, because it is always with a negative slant," 10-time GP winner Berger, who raced in Schumacher's era until retiring in 1997, said on Austrian TV 'Sport und Talk aus dem Hangar 7'.

"Michael has come back and is doing what he wants.  I think you cannot change the status of someone who is a seven time world champion," added the 50-year-old former Ferrari and McLaren driver.

Austrian Berger backs Schumacher to improve his pace in the forthcoming races.

"We know his ambition.  We know that if he does something, he does it right.  I think we must take him seriously again in the future," he said. More ...

Renault admits Mercedes may move ahead in Spain  (GMM)  Barcelona could be a turning point in Renault's 2010 season.  Despite the tumult of the crashgate scandal and the pre-season period, the Enstone based team - and particularly Robert Kubica - has had a surprisingly strong start, trailing Mercedes by just 14 points after four races.

But some teams - notably Mercedes - will use vastly upgraded cars at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.

Pole Kubica admits Spain could be a "big test for us" because the R30 will not be fundamentally different to the car raced in China two weeks ago.

"We are not planning to bring any huge updates, but we will keep gradually improving the car, just like we did during the first four races," he said.

"We have to wait and see how we compare with the others; maybe the order of the teams will be quite different compared to the start of the year," added Kubica. More ...

A.J. Foyt Racing and Continental Airlines Offer Indy 500 VIP weekend contest  Back by popular demand! Once again, A.J. Foyt Racing is offering an Indy 500 VIP Weekend to the highest bidder in the Continental Airlines Frequent Flyer Program’s Onepass Online Auction. It is the sixth straight year for the frequent flyer friendly program.

The winner and a guest will receive two Race Tickets and two Bronze Badges for the race weekend. They will meet A.J. Foyt and race driver Vitor Meira in the team’s garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday, May 29th. They will see up close the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda as it is being prepared for the next day’s Indianapolis 500. More ...

Red Bull to be 'three tenths faster' in Spain - Marko  (GMM)  Christian Horner thinks Mercedes could be in a winning position in Barcelona -- but his Red Bull colleague Helmut Marko doesn't agree.

While Horner is awaiting the success of Mercedes' much-vaunted big technical step for the Spanish grand prix, Marko warns that F1's fastest car is about to get even faster.

"Based on our data - and it is very reliable - I am working on the assumption that in Barcelona we will be at least three tenths faster," Red Bull's motor sport consultant said on Austrian TV 'Sport und Talk aus dem Hangar 7'.

Former F1 driver Dr Marko insisted it is therefore unlikely that Mercedes' W01 is set to take over as the 2010 pacesetter. More ...

Musical production about the History of Stock Car Racing starts May 6th  Heaven on Wheels, an uproarious musical about the history of stock car racing, will make its World Premiere at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte on Thursday May 6, 2010, and run through May 29-coinciding with three prominent NASCAR races and the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Heaven on Wheels is a co-production of Actor's Theatre of Charlotte and Once Upon a Blue Ridge Production Company of Meadows of Dan, VA. Actor's Theatre of Charlotte is supported in part by a Basic Operating Grant from the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc., a General Support Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, and an Operating Grant from the Shubert Foundation. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased through the Box Office at (704) 342-2251 and online at actorstheatrecharlotte.org. Heaven on Wheels is recommended for those aged 13 and older.
Why Philip Morris still sponsors Ferrari  UPDATE Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has slammed claims his team's cars carry subliminal tobacco advertising as "ridiculous".

A report last week suggested the use of the barcode displayed on the Ferraris driven this year by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa was a link to long-time sponsor Philip Morris.

John Britton, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and director of its tobacco advisory group, suggested the barcode resembled the bottom half of a packet of Marlboro cigarettes, and that it was "creeping branding".

Tobacco advertising has been banned in Formula One since 2005, yet the British and Spanish Governments have been urged to ascertain whether Ferrari and Philip Morris are in breach of EU laws. More ...

Barcelona weather update  Much of the Formula 1 fraternity expect the customary bright weather conditions to signal the start of the European season although the Spanish Grand Prix could be affected by rain this weekend. Should this week's heavy showers continue on Sunday, 2010 would mark the first wet Barcelona race since 1996.

As if by a miracle, the Spanish Grand Prix weekend has avoided several wet May weekends in recent years although the race at the Circuit de Catalunya could be affected by downpours this weekend, with the region currently being hit by constant rain and gusts of wind. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Todt to visit 2011 hopeful Epsilon Euskadi on Tuesday
  • Mercedes not yet ready to win - Rosberg
  • Mercedes 'could be in front' in Spain - Horner
  • Schu will not 'revive' old form - Briatore
  • Button not among F1's fastest five - Briatore
  • Heidfeld to welcome third child to family

Todt to visit 2011 hopeful Epsilon Euskadi on Tuesday
(GMM)  Epsilon Euskadi could be set to take another step towards becoming F1's thirteenth and final team for the 2011 season.

We reported in March that the Spanish outfit would apply for the berth following the FIA's invitation for expressions of interest.

The initial process ended on 15 April, with interested teams to lodge full applications by the end of June followed by "due diligence leading to a decision in July".

It emerged on Monday that FIA president Jean Todt was set to travel to Spain on Tuesday for a meeting with the Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetsky and the head of Spain's motor racing federation Carlos Gracia.

A press conference is then scheduled for the afternoon.

Spain's El Pais newspaper reports that Todt will visit Epsilon Euskadi's Azkoitia headquarters in view of the team making its formula one debut in 2011.

Epsilon Euskadi, involved in junior single seater categories as well as Le Mans with a prototype car, applied to make its F1 debut this year but was beaten to the places by USF1, HRT, Lotus, Virgin and Sauber.

Its boss is Joan Villadelprat, who for decades worked in F1 with McLaren, Ferrari, Benetton, Tyrrell and Prost. More ...

Kansas IndyCar musings  Most were not impressed with the attendance at Kansas Saturday for the IndyCar race.  From the press box on top of the grandstands the stands were only 1/3 full.  Our estimation was about 25,000 of the 80,000 plus capacity.  We did not see any promotional indications (ISC's way of ensuring only NASCAR succeeds?) about the race being there whereas Barber really promoted their race with signs and posters up at restaurants around the city. Barber did a similar job to Edmonton for the first Champ Car race where every business had a poster up as advertising.

Maybe the fans are reacting to the poor racing at the ovals from the first half of last season.  After seeing photo finishes on a regular basis from the IRL for years, all of a sudden it stopped.  Ticket sales were independent for the IRL race Saturday rather than be part of the season package where you have to buy the whole season package to get the ticket to the NASCAR Cup race. More ...

Pedrosa tops Jerez post-race test  The MotoGP teams returned to the scene of yesterday’s dramatic Grand Prix of Spain for a testing session Monday, and Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time of the day with Valentino Rossi not far behind.

After his valiant second place in the race on Sunday, Pedrosa was immediately fast again Monday and set his quickest time - a benchmark of 1m 39.425s - on only his fifth lap out of the pits. The time was three tenths of a second inside the new race lap record the Spaniard set yesterday. Pedrosa emerged unscathed from a fall towards the end of the session and ended the day in an upbeat mood. More ...

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