Controversy erupts at LeMans between arch rivalsUPDATE #2 As predicted........Following the protest lodged by Team Peugeot Total, the Sporting Stewards of the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours have decided “not to uphold the protest”. The team was notified of this decision at 23.33 on Wednesday, June 10.
After reading the notification (“…the ACO has the discretionary power to deem whether or not the sole function of an element of bodywork is to generate downforce… …it is based on this discretionary power of appreciation, compounded by the exclusive power it has to interpret the technical regulations as laid out in Article 18, that the ACO homologates the cars which take part in the events covered by its regulations”), Team Peugeot Total, in compliance with the regulations, has decided to appeal the decision of the Sporting Stewards within the permitted timeframe of one hour following the publication of the said decision. Le Mans, June 11, 2009.
06/10/09 Audi has responded to Peugeot's protest.
Detail view of front wing design of Audi
"Basically it's an issue between Peugeot and the ACO, as our car was homologated the way it is (today)," said Thomas Voigt, press officer for Audi. "The car was homologated before Sebring, and again about two weeks ago."
"On Monday in scrutineering, the car was verified, and declared to be exactly as homologated before Sebring," Voigt confirmed.
"That's really all we can say," Voigt summed things up. "With the regulations, we can only homologate the car, and that tells us it's within the regulations."
Now the ball is clearly in the ACO's court; and we expect they will deny the Peugeot protest or face a major black eye.
IRL Texas TV Rating The Indy Racing League television ratings continue to smolder. They’re certainly not burning it up, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And in this case, that means there’s some hope for the open-wheel racing series to kindle a bit of interest in TV Land. There’s also some fear within the IRL sales and marketing ranks that a few drops of rain on this season (figuratively, not literally) and the smoke—and any hope of a spark—could vanish.
After seeing its ratings for the Indianapolis 500 drop 17.6 percent to a 4.2 national Nielsen rating, IRL folks had to be at least a little relieved after they reviewed ratings for the last two races. Now we’re not getting these confused with NBA Finals numbers (even without LeBron James), but they’re decent given the IRL’s track record and the switch this year to a new TV partner.
The Texas race Saturday night on Versus earned a 0.36 household rating, with 467,000 households nationwide tuning in. That’s higher than Long Beach (388,864 households), the IRL’s previous top rated race aired on its new cable partner. And it’s better than ratings for Indianapolis 500 pole day (385,000) and bump day (349,000), which also aired on Versus.
In the Indianapolis market, Texas earned a 1.6 rating, which means 17,152 TV households tuned in here.
On Sunday, May 31, the IRL’s Milwaukee race, which aired on ABC, earned a 0.6 Nielsen rating, with 852,000 TV households watching. While the rating stacks up nicely to the IRL’s other races, comparing network to cable programs is hardly fair. I can tell you, IRL officials were hoping for at least a 1.0 for the network-aired race. Locally, the Milwaukee race was a winner, with a 4.1 rating (43,952 TV households). IBJ.com
Four Cup drivers test at Infineon NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, David Reutimann, David Ragan and Max Papis completed a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone their skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course.
The drivers came to the track in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day weekend).
“This will be my first race here in a Cup car, so it’s good to get some track time,” said Logano, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota. “It’s a tough track, but it’s really fun. I think I’m getting the hang of it.”
Deadline for LeMans contest quickly approaching Time is running out to enter the third annual American Le Mans Series/AutoWeek “Win a Free Trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans” Sweepstakes, which ends Monday, June 15. A pair of lucky fans will win the endurance experience of a lifetime - an expense-paid trip for two to Le Mans in 2010.
Entrants may register at either americanlemans.com or autoweek.com for the ultimate in access to the drivers, teams and manufacturers at the world’s most famous and demanding auto race.
AutoWeek and the Series will fly the Grand Prize winners from their nearest U.S. airport to Paris, where they will board the high-speed TGV rail line directly to Le Mans. The winners also will receive insider VIP credentials, world-class hospitality at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe and accommodations in a 15th-century Chateau near the circuit.
ACO calls for meeting of manufacturers At the request of the manufacturers presently involved in the Le Mans Series events, l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest will hold a meeting for technical directors and engineers in charge of the design of the cars in Le Mans at the end of June.
The aim of this meeting is to study together with them the application of the 2010/2011 regulations, listen to their proposals and answer their questions.
Latest F1 news in brief Wednesday - 2 (GMM) Michael Schumacher has once again sided with Ferrari, and other carmakers threatening to quit the sport, in the budget cap dispute. "The solution can only be that it suits those teams that have built up F1 to the state that it is now," the former seven time world champion said on the Italian team's website.
For a third straight year, the 40-year-old German Schumacher will team up with young countryman Sebastian Vettel at the Race of Champions event, which this November is to take place for the first time at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium.
Fernando Alonso will travel to Rotterdam in mid August to drive his Renault across the Willemsbrug bridge for the Bavaria City Racing event.
FIA president Max Mosley's 39-year-old son Alexander died at his London home of cocaine intoxication last month, the Westminster coroner declared at an inquest on Wednesday.
At the Nurburgring F1 race next month, Nick Heidfeld will wear a helmet livery designed by one of his fans in a competition. Afterwards, it will be auctioned for charity.
Niki Lauda admitted during an interview with Germany's 'Zeit' published Wednesday that an advertiser currently pays 1.2m euros for the space on his famous red cap. He said the very first deal for his cap, worn to disguise the scalp damage caused by his fiery 1976 crash, was for 100,000 euros.
Drug named that triggered positive test of Mayfield Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine during a random drug screening May 1 at Richmond International Raceway, ESPN The Magazine has learned from two independent sources. In court documents filed in the past two weeks (Mayfield sought a temporary restraining in order to return to the track; NASCAR countersued), it was revealed that Mayfield had admitted ingesting a double dosage of Claritin-D [note: which contains pseudoephedrine which is used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine], an allergy medication, and the prescription drug Adderall XR immediately prior to the Richmond drug test conducted for NASCAR. More at ESPN the Magazine
Schumacher and Vettel to defend ROC title Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel will head to Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium in November to compete in The Race of Champions, the end of season motorsport event that pitches the best racers from all disciplines of motorsport against each other in identical machinery. Immediately after the final grand prix of the year, the seven-times F1 World Champion and Red Bull racing GP winner will both fly to Beijing, where they will work as a team in the ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday 3 November before fighting for individual glory in The Race of Champions on Wednesday 4 November. They will race on a specially-constructed parallel tarmac circuit built inside the stadium that was made famous by the 2008 Summer Olympics.
“The Race of Champions is always big fun to compete in,” says Schumacher. “It's the perfect combination of fighting on track and at the same time having fun together, and this comes across to the audience. The spectators feel this special atmosphere and ultimately enjoy themselves as much as we do. “I'm really looking forward to joining in again this year, and am curious to see how the Chinese spectators will react to our crazy show on the track in the famous and beautiful Olympic Stadium. I'm sure they will love an event that has been entertaining European motorsport crowds for over 20 years.
More on NASCAR's falling TV Ratings A year of declines has concluded with FOX drawing its lowest average rating for NASCAR since the net began airing races in '01.
Excluding the rain delayed Coca-Cola 600, 12 NASCAR races averaged a 5.1/11 rating and 8.5 million viewers on FOX during the 2009 season, down 11% in ratings and 9% in viewers from a 5.7/12 and 9.3 million last year, and the lowest rated season ever for NASCAR on FOX.
Every single, solitary NASCAR Sprint Cup telecast on FOX -- all twelve races, the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 Qualifying -- saw declining ratings this season. 10 of the 12 races saw double-digit declines, including the last nine.
Schumacher backs his Ferrari team and FOTA In a video interview appearing on the Ferrari website (and our Home Page), seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher fully backed the manufacturer teams opposing FIA President Max Mosley's radical budget-capping regulations imposed for the 2010 season.
"It is not a very exciting situation that we are facing, especially (for) the sport that I have participated most of my life in and that I really love," Schumacher declared. "To see what is going on there, it is not very great."
The former Ferrari driver described the Italian manufacturer's presence as almost necessary to Formula One: "It is so big in this sport. It became big due to the sport but it actually grew the sport at the same time."
"You cannot see F1 without Ferrari or the other manufacturers who have participated for so long. I really believe that somehow they must find a solution, and the solution can only be that it suits those teams that have built up F1 to the state that it is now," Schumacher declared.
"You cannot expect drastic changes to be accepted by such important manufacturers," the famous German added.
"Yes, you have a target; yes, you want to reduce costs; but you have to do it step by step, you cannot turn the world around in one day. That is impossible," stated Schumacher.
Marco Andretti, left, talks with Tony Kanaan during a test session at Watkins Glen International on Tuesday
Jason Cox/The Leader
The red and white cars of Penske and Ganassi keep getting smaller and smaller at Watkins Glen International, so Andretti Green Racing spent Tuesday doing something about it.
Three of AGR’s four teams arrived at The Glen to prep for the July 3-5 Camping World Grand Prix, along with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, KV Racing Technology and Team 3G for an open IndyCar Series test on the 3.4-mile natural terrain road course. Both teams sport red-and-white paint schemes, and for the last two seasons both teams have been running roughshod over all challengers.
“I should take you to our engineer meeting because we’re asking ourselves that question all the time,” said Tony Kanaan, the senior member of AGR’s four-car operation. “It seems like this is one of the tracks where we’ve been very competitive, but we haven’t won here. I think it’s one of the few tracks where AGR hasn’t won. We’re here to try to find out.”
Target Chip Ganassi Racing has won three times at The Glen, and was poised for a fourth straight last season, while Team Penske has taken pole position for all four grands prix since the IndyCar Series returned to Schuyler County in 2005. As for AGR, the super group has four podium finishes, and two of those were by Dario Franchitti, who now drives for Ganassi’s team. More at The Leader (Related Story Star Gazette)
Carmakers should supply engines only - Stuck (GMM) Car manufacturers involved in formula one might be better off withdrawing and serving only as engine suppliers, according to a famous German motor racing figure.
Hans-Joachim Stuck, a former grand prix driver and now representative for Volkswagen, advises marques like BMW and Mercedes-Benz to stop spending millions dabbling in the design of the chassis.
The 58-year-old acknowledges the carmakers' past and likely future successes, but believes the necessary investment of hundreds of millions of euros means the risk of failure is too high.
McLaren, whose biggest shareholder is Mercedes, and BMW's works team BMW-Sauber, are respectively fifth and eighth in the 2009 constructors' championship, while Renault sits in seventh place.
(GMM) It will likely be yet another two races before a 'double diffuser' will be added to the rear of Toro Rosso's 2009 car.
We reported last month that, while parent team Red Bull Racing introduced the aerodynamic concept for its Adrian Newey-designed car at Monaco, a similar piece would not be added to Toro Rosso's Ferrari-powered single seater until after the Turkish grand prix.
Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi said at the time that the modifications necessary for the diffuser were "quite massive", and it now emerges that there will be a delay of at least two more races until the piece might be ready to debut.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the STR4 might have a double diffuser in Hungary late next month, depending on the success of the development on Red Bull's nearly identical chassis.
"I want to see how the diffuser works before we spend that much money," boss Franz Tost is quoted as saying.
FOTA response not all 'negative' - FIA (GMM) As the F1 crisis nears its zenith, Bernie Ecclestone has warned rebel teams that crossing him could cost them "hundreds of millions of pounds".
The eight FOTA teams are openly threatening to leave the FIA-sanctioned championship and set up a breakaway series, and are believed to have told Max Mosley on Tuesday that they are not going to simply take his advice and drop the conditions attached to their 2010 entries.
The formula one teams association's official response to Mosley's letter of this week was not leaked, but the fact the sides are still talking was interpreted by some as a position sign.
An FIA spokesman said: "The FIA has received a letter and various attachments from FOTA, the contents of which are not entirely negative, and we are currently examining the details."
Danica Patrick took advantage of the good weather at The Glen and put in a full day of testing
Seven IndyCar Series drivers tested at Watkins Glen International on Tuesday, June 9, to prepared for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, which will take place over the Fourth of July weekend. With less than a month until race time, teams tried a combination of adjustments on their cars attempting to find speed around the 3.4-mile road course. Drivers participating in the test session included: Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti for Andretti-Green Racing, Milka Duno and Mike Conway for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Mario Moraes for KV Racing, and Richard Antinucci for Team 3G, who will make their IndyCar Series debut in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.
“We’re here because this is one of the tracks that we’ve been very competitive at, but we haven’t won here,” said Tony Kanaan. “I think it’s one of the few tracks that AGR has not won yet. We’re here to find out why. That’s why we came here with three cars.”
Teammate Marco Andretti continued, “We hope to get the cars to right there, to where when we roll off on race weekend, we’ll be competing for the race victory.”
ISC shuffles track leadership International Speedway Corporation today announced it has named Craig Rust, current president of Watkins Glen International, as president of Chicagoland Speedway effective June 15. In addition, the Company announced it has named Michael Printup as president of Watkins Glen to replace Rust. Current Chicagoland President Matt Alexander will leave the Company to pursue other opportunities. Rust has been president of Watkins Glen since April 2002, and helped build the famed road-course into one of ISC’s premier facilities. He has been involved in motorsports since 1996, holding a number of positions including Director of Sales and Marketing for Auto Club Speedway and president of the former Nazareth Speedway. Rust will relocate with his family to the Joliet, IL, area over the next few weeks.
Printup will assume responsibility for all operations of Watkins Glen. He has held various positions within ISC over the last nine years including Vice President of Americrown Services Corp. and 380 Development LLC, wholly-owned subsidiaries of ISC. Most recently, Printup served as the Sr. Director, Facility Development for Michigan International Speedway. He and his family will relocate to New York over the summer.
“We are fortunate to have individuals of such high caliber to transition into key positions within our organization,” said ISC Senior Vice President of Business Operations W. Grant Lynch, Jr. “Craig is a proven leader in the Company and we look forward to his ongoing contributions at Chicagoland Speedway. In addition, Michael has demonstrated a tremendous aptitude for leadership in a number of previous roles within ISC. We congratulate both individuals on their new positions and look forward to their continued success.”
Will FOTA teams be left to pound sand in 2010? On Monday FIA President Max Mosley invited the eight 'rebel' Formula One teams to unconditionally register for the 2010 championship, despite their strong opposition to the budget-capping measures contained in next year's regulations.
After writing to them late on Monday, FIA President Mosley requested a response from the eight FOTA teams "no later than close of business on Tuesday 9 June."
After hinting on Tuesday that a letter was being prepared, a Formula One Teams Association spokesperson told Reuters that a response had indeed been sent to Mosley, but did not reveal its content nor any details.
It is apparent that the FOTA teams have no wish to unconditionally sign up for the 2010 season.
The FIA is scheduled to publish the list of entrants in the 2010 F1 championship this Friday, June 12th. It remains to be seen how things will work out before then. Would it not be funny to see the FOTA teams left off the F1 list for 2010 and they be left on the outside looking in and pounding sand in 2010.
Q&A with Sam Michael Williams technical director Sam Michael shares his thoughts on the team's performance at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Q: Are you pleased with the performance of the FW31 around Istanbul Park? SM: "Yes I am. The FW31's development pace is going well and we are closing the gap to the teams in front. We now need to continue making that kind of progress throughout the rest of this season."
Q: Did the new front wing close the gap to your nearest rivals? SM: "We started set-up work with the new front wing in practice on Friday and it worked as expected straightaway. It will now be the baseline from which we'll keep making developments."
End the FIA Fiasco A fan writes, A letter to FOTA.
Dear Sirs. I would like to add my voice to the general call for you not to submit to the FIA and their new rules package. There is an undeniable public call for you to start your own series and end the embarrassing and negative rule of the FIA and FOM. We want to see the teams showcase their true technical genius in an unrestricted and fair series unhampered by politics and greed. We are fed up with the petty bickering and public airing of dirty laundry. e want to see races at the historically and technically important circuits. Not these cookie cutter race tracks in parts of the world completely devoid of character and spectators.
There is a universal agreement among fans for an end to this fiasco. Pease do not let us down. Please stand up for what you know is right. End this negative chapter in the history of F1 and start anew with a clean sheet of paper and a positive sharing and caring attitude.
I wish you all the strength and courage to do the right thing. A new day is ready to dawn on the most important sporting series in the world.
No driver can appreciate the significance and drama of the 24 Hours of Le Mans more than Allan McNish. The ever-popular Scot and Audi Sport star returned to the top step of the famed podium last year after a decade of heartbreaks and near-misses. Only days before he attempts a repeat in tandem with Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello in the new Audi R15 TDI, McNish talks about the hype preceding this year’s race, going back a decade with Toyota and his lasting images of the 24 Hours.
Question: How can this year’s race top the hype generated from 2008 considering there are four Lola-Aston Martins, four Peugeots, new ORECAs, Ginetta-Zyteks…oh my!
McNish: When you look at last year’s race, most people think it was the best race in the last 20 years. On paper when you add in the depth of competition then it will mean this year’s should be a very hotly contested one all the way through the category. You will have at the end of it battles - not necessarily 10 cars fighting for the win in the final hour - all the way through. That’s quite an interesting part of it that it has real strength in depth.
Wallace, Craven, Said on NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable
NASCAR driver Mike Wallace will join ESPN NASCAR analysts Ricky Craven and Boris Said as panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program on ESPN2 on Monday, June 15, at 5 p.m. ET. Nicole Manske will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.
Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now will air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m. leading into ESPN2’s live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at Kentucky Speedway. Mike Massaro hosts the Tuesday and Wednesday shows while Manske is in the host role Thursday and Friday. Manske also hosts the one-hour weekend edition that airs Sunday, June 14, at the special time of 9 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. Said will join Manske on the set, while Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis will report from the track.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Manske, Massaro and Allen Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, and ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton. The NASCAR on ESPN team event coverage team of Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Spake and Vince Welch also make frequent contributions to NASCAR Now.
ESPN’s Jamie Little Appearing on Food Network’s Iron Chef
Jamie Little, pit reporter for ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR, will step out of her element as a guest judge on the popular Food Network program Iron Chef America.
The program pits a challenging chef against one of the network’s star chefs in a one-hour contest staged in “Kitchen Stadium.” The chefs must make a multi-course meal using a “secret ingredient” that they only learn about moments before the contest begins. Their work is then judged by a three-person panel to determine a winner.
Little taped her appearance in New York City nearly a year ago and was sworn to secrecy. “I even had to sign documentation that I would not reveal what the secret ingredient was,” she said.
The program, which debuted June 7, re-airs Thursday, June 11, at 8 p.m. ET, and again June 13 at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 10 p.m.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing from New Jersey on ESPN2
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series travels to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., this weekend, and ESPN2 will air qualifying and eliminations action on a same-day basis. Qualifying from the United Association NHRA Supernationals airs Saturday, June 13, at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET, with eliminations airing Sunday at 10 p.m. Finals coverage re-airs Monday, June 15, at 1 p.m. on ESPN Classic.
One of NHRA’s original seven national events, this race is steeped in legend: a historic facility, some of the sport’s most knowledgeable (and definitely most boisterous) fans, and a score of dramatic moments. The event, once known as the Summernationals, has shifted on the schedule from its original scorchingly hot and humid July slot to May and June, and upsets have become the norm. This event is the final chance for Pro Stock teams to earn points toward making the field for the K&N Horsepower Challenge.
Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
Other NHRA action on ESPN2 this week includes the Lucas Oil Sportsman Series, with highlights from the recent event at Route 66 Raceway airing Sunday, June 14, at 12:30 p.m.
Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Action Airs Sunday on ESPN2
The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, which features modified trucks, tractors and other vehicles, will be in action on Sunday, June 14, in two half-hour programs beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The programs will feature highlights from events held in Hamburg, N.Y., and Indianapolis The league is sanctioned by the American Tractor Pulling Association.
Johnny Benson's NASCAR truck team folds Red Horse Racing regretfully announces the closure of the #1 Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Benson. The decision is effective immediately. Red Horse Racing worked to secure sponsorship for the #1 team since last December but has been unsuccessful in doing so.
"It hasn't been for a lack of effort," says Team Owner, Tom DeLoach. "We had several people working on finding a sponsor for the #1 and Johnny Benson. I've been working on it myself. We gave it our best shot, and we tried as long as we could, but nothing materialized. I am saddened that we were unsuccessful in accomplishing our goal but this is a tough economic climate and the cost of fielding a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team with essentially no support other than our manufacturer is too much for Red Horse Racing to bear alone."
Thoroughly beaten by shoestring budget Brawn team, big teams admit defeat (GMM) As Brawn run away and even Red Bull's Christian Horner admits catching them will be "very difficult", the time has come for other teams to write off their 2009 campaigns.
"We have some of our technical big guns on next year's program because we need to," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted, according to the Sun newspaper.
A distant fifth in the constructors' standings with the uncompetitive MP4-24, Whitmarsh said the 2009 contender has not been written off but development will now increasingly "taper" in favor of next year's project.
Although BMW's Mario Theissen on Tuesday denied that the team must now "fully focus" on 2010, it is a different story for Toro Rosso as the second Red Bull outfit prepares to build its own single seater for the first time.
Boss Franz Tost said the new design team will have to begin working on the 2010 project as soon as it is set up, and Giorgio Ascanelli is already missing races to that end at Faenza.
"With our structure and our number of employees, we are not in a position to run a double program; designing a car for next year is a tremendous job by itself because regulation changes mean the car will be completely different to this year," he said.
Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali, meanwhile, did not deny that the ideal philosophy might now be to forget 2009 and turn to next year, but explained a dilemma.
Heidfeld launches unique helmet design competition for fans As of today, motorsport and design fans can visit the official Nick Heidfeld website at www.nickheidfeld.com and submit their own design proposals for a helmet to be worn by the BMW Sauber F1 driver in the Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Contestants will have at their disposal a CAD (Computer Assisted Design) tool installed on the website, complete with color palette, brushes and shapes to assist them in their efforts. The design proposals submitted by site users will be displayed in a gallery and then entered for the competition. Manufacturers Schuberth will then incorporate the winning motif into the helmet to be worn by Nick during the weekend of the German Grand Prix (10th - 12th July).
Gordon wins Baja 500 Robby Gordon and his #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires team continued their dominance of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series season by winning the coveted Baja 500 title on Saturday. Gordon continues to lead the 2009 points standing and set the pace for the rest of the competitors this season. In the three races ran this season, Gordon holds two victories and a second place finish. Further, Saturday’s Baja 500 win marks the renowned off-road racer’s fifth class win and fourth overall victory. Gordon started the 432.51-mile race from the sixth position, but quickly moved his way up through the field and set the race pace for most of the day. He was able to finish the grueling course in eight hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds, averaging roughly 50 miles per hour in the #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck. Gordon won by over a four minute margin to second place finisher, B.J. Baldwin. Immediately following his ninth career race win in the SCORE Trophy-Truck division, Gordon, also a NASCAR veteran, headed towards Pocono Raceway for the Sprint Cup Series, where he finished 31st. RGM PR
Double world champion Fernando Alonso will drive the ING Renault F1-car at Bavaria City Racing in Rotterdam. On Sunday the 16th of August 2009, the Spaniard will drive his Formula 1 car across the Willemsbrug, Coolsingel and Hofplein.
The driver is happy about his presence: 'My team mate Nelsinho Piquet, who drove twice in Rotterdam, told me some great stories about the event and the enthusiastic audience. I hope to entertain all the fans along the track with an impressive demonstration’.
Also Herman Vaanholt, of the Bavaria City Racing-organization, is extremely pleased with the arrival of Alonso: "Fernando is one of just three still driving world champions in Formula 1. So it is fantastic and unique that such race hero is part of the program in our anniversary year.’
Pierre Kaffer will make his third career start at Le Mans this weekend.
Two of the best American Le Mans Series drivers will compete in Ferrari F430 GTs at Le Mans this weekend: Dominik Farnbacher and Pierre Kaffer. Farnbacher is back at Le Mans for the first time since a runner-up finish in GT2 with a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR during the 2006 race. Kaffer will drive a Ferrari for the second year in a row and is part of Risi Competizione’s lineup as the Houston-based team shoots for its second straight GT2 championship. They spoke to americanlemans.com on what makes Le Mans special.
Pierre Kaffer, Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT (GT2) “Le Mans is always special. I remember in 2004 when I did it with the Audi guys, it was just amazing. On my first lap I was really surprised about the speed. For me it’s really special because it’s a lot of history and it’s always nice to be a part of it. I am really looking forward to drive with the Ferrari in the GT2 category this year, especially with such a nice team - such a professional team - with such a team atmosphere and nice colleagues such as Jaime and Mika. It’s special because you can only drive it once a year. Here in America many things are different. In Le Mans you have the (public) roads you drive only once a year with a race car and it is amazing. I like the American racetracks but Le Mans is the big race.”
Milwaukee Mile offers special $10 Truck race tickets With great anticipation, Wisconsin’s biggest motorsports weekend is drawing near at The Milwaukee Mile. Top NASCAR teams are preparing to race in the Friday night, June 19 Copart 200 and the Saturday night, June 20 NorthernTool.com 250 at America’s Legendary Oval.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Kyle Busch and defending Milwaukee Mile event winner Carl Edwards will be making the cross-country jaunt to compete in Saturday night’s NorthernTool.com 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race against over three dozen of their closest series rivals.
Wisconsin’s own Johnny Sauter headlines the list of drivers competing in the Friday night, June 19 Copart 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Record 5 Ginetta-Zyteks entered at Le Mans Record Breaking Ginetta-Zyteks at Le Mans British manufacturer represented by five prototypes at 24-hour race
The Ginetta-Zytek teams entered for this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour race will be breaking records in more ways than one. As at last month's Spa 1,000km, no fewer than five Zytek prototypes will be on the grid, the highest number of Repton-built cars ever to start the world's most famous endurance race. Driving one of the two Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S LMP1s will be Nigel Moore who, at 17 years 5 months old, will be the youngest British driver ever to compete here.
FOTA not commenting on Mosley letter (GMM) F1's teams association is yet to comment on a letter from Max Mosley that emerged late on Tuesday.
With the FIA set to publish the 2010 entry list on Friday, the Paris federation's president urged the eight active FOTA members to quickly sign up and then sit down to discuss changing next year's rules.
In the letter, seen by sections of the specialist media, Mosley said article 66 of the International Sporting Code prohibits the FIA from tearing up the 2010 rules, including the plans for a budget cap.
But he said that if the FOTA teams drop the conditional status of their entries, all the confirmed competitors for next year can then unanimously make amendments to the document.
The Briton indicated that most of the alternative FOTA rules will be accepted.
"We have already canvassed the views of some of the likely new entrants regarding the proposed measures and the feedback is broadly positive so a solution should be relatively simple to achieve," Mosley wrote.
He is asking for a response on Tuesday, and Toyota president and FOTA vice-chairman John Howett told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I cannot comment on the letter."
Meanwhile, it is believed that FIA lawyers are concerned that the '$50m pledge' agreement signed by the FOTA manufacturers contravenes anti-competition laws.
The agreement was drawn up so that the major teams could not be tempted to break ranks and individually sign up for the 2010 world championship.
No team orders yet, Ross Brawn confirms (GMM) There are presently no team orders at Brawn GP, but the Brackley team's boss has refused to rule out rethinking the policy later this season.
Ross Brawn confirmed reports that Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button met with him before the Turkish grand prix to request they be free to race at Istanbul.
Button is leading the world championship and is 26 points ahead of his Brazilian teammate, but Brawn agreed that Barrichello would not be asked to hold station behind the sister car.
"There are phases early in the season when you can't favor one driver over the other and you should let the season run," Brawn told the Daily Express.
"Of course, you may reach a phase towards the end where you have to make decisions, and we'll make those decisions if we have to, but at this stage there is no wish to make those decisions," he added.
It is believed that 37-year-old Barrichello's fears about playing second fiddle to Button are stirred by his six years underneath Michael Schumacher at Ferrari.
Throughout his Ferrari career, Brawn was Ferrari's technical director and chief race strategist.
But Brawn said: "I've been lucky enough to win world championships and now perhaps winning in a certain way is more important to me."
Jeff Gordon on Live! with Regis and KellyUPDATE A reminder that Jeff Gordon will be a guest on the "Live! with Regis and Kelly" show on Tuesday, June 9.
06/07/09 Jeff Gordon will be a guest on the "Live! with Regis and Kelly" show on Tuesday, June 9. The network varies. The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones. Please check your local listings for your time zone.
Team 3G today announced that winning Indy Lights driver Richard Antinucci will join Team 3G for the Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen on July 5. Richard is considered one of the best up-and-coming American IndyCar drivers, having finished runner-up in the 2008 Indy Lights Championship.
The team and driver will start preparing for the IndyCar event by testing in Watkins Glen on June 9th and 10th. This will give Richard an opportunity to learn the IndyCar, and also begin to work with Greg Beck, Owen Snyder, and the rest of the Team 3G crew.
“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with such a young and talented driver such as Richard” said Team 3G co-owner Greg Beck. “He has proven that he can be a consistent winner in open wheel racing, and he has won at Watkins Glen in an Indy Lights car”.
“I am really looking forward to moving up to the IndyCar Series” said Richard. “This is what all of the drivers in the Indy Lights Series are working towards, to get an opportunity to drive in the IndyCar Series. I have to thank Team 3G and my supporters for believing in my ability to win races.”
Hamilton, other F1 drivers to take up basket weaving and knitting (GMM) F1's reigning world champion has joined other drivers and eight current formula one teams in threatening to quit the FIA world championship at the end of the season.
Outspoken 2005 and 2006 drivers' title winner Fernando Alonso has been widely quoted as saying he would "prefer to race in any other category" if Max Mosley's budget cap is imposed in 2010.
His comments followed a meeting between the drivers of the FOTA-affiliated teams and officials of the alliance prior to Sunday's Turkish grand prix.
Afterwards, Toyota's Jarno Trulli was nominated the drivers' spokesman on the issue, and experienced competitors including Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber and Felipe Massa similarly fully backed the FOTA stance.
"All the FOTA drivers are with FOTA in the future," said Red Bull's Webber.
Barrichello still concerned about team orders (GMM) Both Brawn drivers clarified before Sunday's Turkish grand prix that team orders would not be in place, Rubens Barrichello has revealed.
The veteran Brazilian, frustrated that teammate Jenson Button's smooth run of form has not translated to the sister car, wondered aloud after the Spanish grand prix whether he was receiving equal treatment in 2009.
Clear-the-air talks were subsequently held, but 37-year-old Barrichello, who has not won a single race this year compared with Button's six, is clearly still anxious to ensure that boss Brawn does not oversee another era of driver disparity.
For six years, Brawn was the chief strategist at Ferrari, where the eventually disillusioned Barrichello was Michael Schumacher's clear 'number two'.
Ecclestone missed Turkey with kidney infection (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone watched the Turkish grand prix from his lounge room in London.
The F1 chief executive, who is the leaseholder of the Istanbul circuit, was forced to miss the weekend's action due to a kidney infection.
He took the opportunity to share his experience of watching a race from home on his 60-inch television with a reporter of the Daily Express newspaper, and revealed that he rarely watches a formula one car greeted by the chequered flag.
"I go on the grid, watch the start and get out. My job is done. I'm better off in the office first thing Monday, to see how we can improve things and make more money," said Ecclestone, 78. "The teams like that."
The British billionaire said he was pleased to see Mark Webber on the podium.
"People tend to overlook him a bit too much," Ecclestone said of the 32-year-old Australian.
Bernie is openly keen on Felipe Massa, but less convinced by the Brazilian's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. "Not sure," he confesses when asked about the Finn.
"If he didn't have a contract for next year, I'm not sure Ferrari would retain him. Right now, Alonso, Lewis, Vettel and Jenson are best," said Ecclestone.
Webber on Turkey - 'It Was a Ghost Town'UPDATE Crowd attendances were down significantly for the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend. Although the inaugural race of 2005 may have caused hour-long traffic jams on local roads, Istanbul Park was filled to just under 28 percent of its full capacity in 2009, with sales for three-day tickets having plummeted dramatically. With a capability of holding 130,000 people, the Istanbul venue sold just 36,000 full weekend tickets in 2009, the lowest of the circuit's five-year F1 history; in fact, the low led organizers to covering a number of the brightly covered grandstands with black fabric in order to mask the low attendances in the background of television pictures.
"There was no one here," Red Bull's Mark Webber, who finished second, said to Reuters after the Grand Prix. "There were a lot of people that tried to come in today but obviously it's not that cheap, and things like that, but we should have let them in for free at the end - it would have been nice for the show to let people in; I'm sure there's a lot of people that would want to come to the Turkish Grand Prix but can't afford to because it's very expensive."
The Spanish Grand Prix also experienced a downfall in attendances this year, not helped by the drop in form of Fernando Alonso and the general economic slump; a three-day main grandstand ticket was the most expensive, coming in at €533 (£467 approx.) if paying on the gate. "We have to make it cheaper," Ferrari's Felipe Massa continued of general prices for F1 tickets. "We prefer to race at a track with cheaper tickets but a lot of people inside, because if they put the prices of the tickets down it would be full.
Server Maintenance Today We will be doing server maintenance today on the AutoRacing1.com servers so news will be spotty at best today until about 8 PM Eastern Time. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Carl Long talks about NASCAR's lack of fairness Part-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Long joined Dave Despain in-studio Sunday night on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain to discuss his recent NASCAR penalty for an oversized Cup engine during NASCAR Sprint All-Star weekend. Long’s appeal was heard but the penalties, including his suspension and $200,000 fine, were upheld.
Dave Despain: You’ve been vocal in criticizing the penalty here. What do you think should have happened? Had you been NASCAR, what would you have done? Carl Long: “Kept the engine. Some infraction but not near what we got from this deal.”
Despain: Less penalty? Long: “Yeah, I’ve been vocal. It was an All-Star Race and in no other All-Star event in any sport does it affect the regular season, so I asked them to change the rules. That didn’t work out too well, either."
Drivers say IRL has turned IndyCar into 'snooze fests'
Visions Racing's Ed Carpenter, the stepson of team and series owner Tony George, laid into IndyCar technical staff (headed by Brian Barnhart) for ruining oval track IndyCar racing at most tracks and specifically at Texas Motor Speedway
"I'm disappointed for the fans in particular because Texas is supposed to be exciting racing and unfortunately the cars are too similar now and it weakened the product."
"I've never seen this race turn into a one groove track before. We want to put on a good show and I'm afraid this was not it."
"You couldn't pass and you couldn't pass guys that were a lap down. It doesn't take much of a block and suddenly you find yourself running behind lapped cars all night long."
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has expressed irritation that, while teammate Jenson Button seemingly strolls to the 2009 world championship, the sister Brawn is not proving such a smooth ride.
After 15 laps of the Istanbul circuit on Sunday, runaway leader Button, before going on to equal Michael Schumacher's record run of six wins from the opening seven races of a season, said he was tempted to radio the pits and hail the BGP001 "outrageous".
That word, however, could also have been used by 38-year-old Barrichello, but more literally, for he had nearly stalled at the start, found himself stranded in the pack with a malfunctioning gearbox, and got involved in wheel-to-wheel clashes.
(GMM) If the Spaniard had not already made it crystal clear, he has stated once again his affection for the famous Italian formula one team Ferrari.
The current Renault driver is so strongly linked with the Maranello outfit that many observers believe he has already penned a document pledging his future, perhaps as soon as next year, to the Scuderia.
In numerous interviews now, the 27-year-old has openly spoken about his affection for Ferrari. The latest is with the Italian broadcaster Sky.
"When we become professional drivers, we all want to have one of those cars," the 2005 and 2006 world champion said in Istanbul.
"Why is it a dream of the drivers? I don't know: it is a strange thing. When you're a child you always play with the red cars ... it is a color, a machine, a brand that means racing, means formula one, means competition," Alonso added.
(GMM) Just before the pitlane opened on Sunday afternoon, wild rumors swept the Istanbul paddock suggesting that the eight FOTA teams were preparing to boycott the Turkish grand prix.
With five days still to go before the FIA's entry list publication on June 12, the action's timing would have been odd, but pre-race fears were nonetheless real that non-members Williams and Force India would be the only cars contesting victory.
Ultimately, the boycott did not happen, but the question remains; from whence did the rumor spring?
The speculation began doing the rounds following the drivers' meeting with FOTA officials in the Toyota motor home, attended also by BMW's Mario Theissen.
The German was asked on Sunday afternoon if the boycott threat was real, and he answered: "I don't think so."
Quotes of the Week "I don't think we should rush anything. It's not like it will make a huge difference, not like we can win back 60 points. We've lost our way with this car. We probably should have scrapped it a long time ago. We need to understand what has gone wrong so we can bounce back next year." Lewis Hamilton, 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, McLaren, commenting after qualifying 16th for the Turkish Grand Prix
"Hamilton can choose to hide his head in the sand and keep on churning out the company line about the next development and the next upgrade. But instead I think he is being fairly honest about the situation and he has already started talking about 2010. I simply do not believe they are going to be able to develop their way out of this problem. I've just never seen anyone upgrade an existing car and turn it into a race winner from the position McLaren are in."David Coulthard, retired Formula 1 driver
"The problem with Formula One is that there are no more warriors. Alonso is one (a warrior), but who else is there? These days no-one says anything unless a PR person has told them they are allowed to. There are no more fights." Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 Formula 1 World Champion
Pocono 500 Recap Starting in the rear but finishing in Victory Lane for the first time as an owner in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race, Tony Stewart talks about how he got there. Carl Edwards looks at the big picture with his runner-up finish. And double-file restarts made for a competitive event on the Tricky Triangle.
Force India not yet expelled from FOTAUPDATE (GMM) Late on Sunday, it was finally confirmed that Force India has joined Williams in being suspended by the formula one teams association FOTA.
We reported earlier that team owner Vijay Mallya broke ranks and lodged an unconditional entry for the 2010 world championship for fear that "bank guarantees" may be jeopardized.
The Indian billionaire told Reuters that he explained the reason to FOTA chiefs, and even provided written supporting evidence, but the body elected to proceed with the suspension.
He hopes FOTA will now reconsider the decision.
"If they appreciate it (the reasons), well and good. If they don't appreciate it, why should I lose sleep over it?" Mallya said.
"I am doing what is good for Force India, first because I have a duty to comply with my legal obligations, I have a duty to my employees, to the team and the company, and at the end of the day if it stops racing there is no business," he added.
Penske has no plans to bring Saturn to NASCAR Team owner Roger Penske has no plans to move Saturn into the Sprint Cup series, saying Sunday he plans to stick with Dodge for at least the remaining three years of his contract with the manufacturer. General Motors Corp. announced on Friday an agreement for Penske to purchase the Saturn brand. Penske said he would like to get Saturn involved in motorsports, perhaps at the Grand-Am level, but not NASCAR's top series. "We have three more years with Dodge, they have not let us down," the owner of Penske Motorsports said before the Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. "We see that continuing. They are current with all the obligations they have. I don't expect anything different." Richard Petty, the co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, said last weekend at Dover that RMP's cash flow from Dodge has ceased since Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. "I don't know what he means by cash [flow]," Penske said. "They paid the bills we submitted to them and they're on time. I don't know what he's talking about." As for Saturn, Penske said the key was saving 13,000 jobs and keeping 350 retailers in business. He said the plan is to provide them with products that will make them stronger going forward. "We'll be sourcing products from General Motors for at least two years," he said. "We will not be a manufacturer. We'll be a distributor." Penske did say the Saturn Aura is "tailor-made for NASCAR," but that any such plans would be 200 miles down the road. ESPN
FOTA votes against KERS for 2010 (GMM) FOTA, the formula one teams association, will push to have controversial KERS technology banned ahead of the 2010 season.
It is not known if the decision, voted for by the majority of the eight remaining member teams on Sunday, will be part of FOTA's demands as per their conditional entry to next year's world championship.
Earlier, it would have been possible for FOTA to simply vote against KERS and not seek an accompanying rule for 2010, as using the energy recovery systems is voluntary.
However, because Williams and Force India have been expelled from the body, it is now more difficult for FOTA to implement an unanimous agreement to keep the legal technology off all F1 cars in 2010.
Only McLaren and Ferrari used KERS in Istanbul this weekend, but even so BMW's Mario Theissen did not vote to ban the systems.
"We have voted in favor of KERS but, as in all the FOTA decisions before, we will go with the majority," the German said.
GP2 Race 2: Di Grassi on top Lucas di Grassi has opened his win account for the season by dominating today's race in Istanbul, leading the field from lights to flag to put himself on top of the podium between Javier Villa and Vitaly Petrov.
The Brazilian led the field away from pole when the lights went out, and that was the closest they got to him all race, while behind him Davide Valsecchi and Luca Filippi resumed their battle from late in yesterday's race: the pair came together at turn one, with the former spinning around and into Andreas Zuber while the latter had his rear tire shredded and had to limp all the way back to the pits for a replacement.
Di Grassi was determined to break his pursuer's spirits, and set a string of fastest laps with Villa the only driver who could stay within sight of the leader, albeit only just, while yesterday's race winner Petrov squeezed in behind them but didn't have the pace to stay with either man.
GP2 Race 1: Petrov powers to victory Vitaly Petrov has continued his Barwa Addax team's outstanding form this season by dominating today's first race in Istanbul, brushing off the scorching conditions to claim victory by 6.5 seconds from Luca Filippi and Davide Valsecchi.
The win was set up on the second lap when Filippi bravely threw his car inside race leader Nico Hülkenberg at the final corner: the pair narrowly avoided touching but both slid wide, giving Petrov a narrow but clear line through and into the lead by the end of the front straight, with the Italian slotting in behind him.
FOTA expulsion not temporary - Williams (GMM) Sir Frank Williams on Sunday firmly nailed his colors to the FIA, backtracking on claims his team has been merely suspended temporarily from the F1 teams' alliance FOTA.
Force India, having also broken ranks and unconditionally signed up to contest the 2010 world championship, is believed to have been similarly expelled from the body, as a five-day countdown to June 12 commences.
On Friday, the FIA will announce next year's entry list, and many see the events leading up to the Turkish grand prix as the declaration of total war.
After a drivers' meeting - not including the Williams and Force India pilots with FOTA on Sunday - Jarno Trulli was nominated spokesman and warned: "In the next week, something should budge.
Walter Grubmüller finally prevails at Hockenheim Walter Grubmüller, the most experienced competitor in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, broke his duck today (Sun) at Hockenheim, leading the championship's eighth round from pole position to checkered flag to record a popular maiden victory.
Despite treacherous damp track conditions, Austrian Grubmüller did not put a wheel wrong in his Dallara-Mercedes and crossed the line a second clear of his team-mate Renger van der Zande to score a Hitech Racing 1-2. Championship debutant Robert Wickens was a close third for the Carlin Motorsport team.
As expected, FOTA backs down (GMM) In the run to Sunday's Turkish grand prix, a rumour swept through the Istanbul paddock that the eight FOTA teams intended to boycott the race over the conflict with the governing body.
If confirmed, the situation would have left just Williams' Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima, and Force India's Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella, on the grid.
The four drivers were the only ones not invited to a meeting with the FOTA teams in the Toyota motor home on Sunday morning, after which it was believed that the 16 drivers would from now on be fully supportive of their teams' political stance.
Sources report that the boycott threat was absolutely real, but predictably it came to nothing when it was time to form up on the dummy grid.
"No, we're racing, there's nothing to it (the rumour)," one official of a FOTA-affiliated team said.
Jamie Little on Food NetworkUPDATE A reminder that this show will air tonight, Sunday, June 7.
Jamie Little, the hot pit reporter for ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR, will step out of her element as a guest judge on the popular Food Network program Iron Chef America. The program airs Sunday, June 7, at 10 p.m. ET.
The program pits a challenging chef against one of the network’s star chefs in a one-hour contest staged in “Kitchen Stadium.” The chefs must make a multi-course meal using a “secret ingredient” that they only learn about moments before the contest begins. Their work is then judged by a three-person panel to determine a winner.
Little taped her appearance in New York City nearly a year ago and was sworn to secrecy. “I even had to sign documentation that I would not reveal what the secret ingredient was,” she said.
The program re-airs June 11 at 8 p.m., June 13 at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 10 p.m.
Richards, Long, Newgarden guests on Wind Tunnel Featured guests on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight, Sunday, June 7, will be Josh Richards, Carl Long and Josef Newgarden.
Josh Richards will discuss his quest for his first World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship and his efforts to become a NASCAR star.
Carl Long, part-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, was handed a substantial penalty from NASCAR for using an over-sized Cup engine during All-Star weekend at Lowe’s in May. This week, Long’s appeal was heard but the penalties were upheld.
Josef Newgarden, rising American open-wheel star, will have a phone conversation with Dave Despain to discuss his success in Britain’s Formula Ford series and his aspirations to use that success to land a seat in Formula 1.
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.
Priaulx prevails over Herbert in all-British ROC Legends Final Three-times FIA World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx defeated F1 and Le Mans winner, Johnny Herbert by two heats to one in a best-of-three heat final of the ROC Legends exhibition event, staged in Porto tonight as part of the inaugural Euromilhoes ROC South Europe.
Andy Priaulx went into the final full of confidence, boosted by an unblemished record, having won all his three qualifying heats against Herbert, Carlos Sainz and Emanuele Pirro, and then his semi-final against five-times MotoGP World Champion, Mick Doohan. Despite losing the first heat of the final in the KTM X-Bows, Priaulx managed to maintain the focus he had previously demonstrated on the night and win the next two heats in ROC Cars and finally the Solution F prototypes. He was quick to pay tribute to his fellow finalist:
‘I’m honored to have raced against Johnny. While he was driving in Formula 1, he just made me dream about one day being a professional driver, and racing with him was a real honor. He is truly one of the British motorsport legends, one of my heroes and it was a big and very special moment for me. I’m very proud to win the first event of its kind here in Porto.’ ‘I have experience of the Race of Champions now having raced at Wembley Stadium for the past couple of years,’ he continued, ‘so I know some tricks. It’s a real advantage because a lot of the drivers are racing in these conditions for the first time here in Porto.’ Having narrowly qualified from the group stages, Herbert overcame the semi-final challenge of his former F1 adversary, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, previously unbeaten on the night, by three tenths of a second.
Formula BMW scholarships up for grabs The Formula BMW series are already planning for the coming season. In the Formula BMW Americas, Formula BMW Europe and Formula BMW Pacific series, the license and scholarship courses for 2010 are just around the corner.
The “Miller Motorsports Park” is the venue for the Formula BMW Americas license courses for the first time this year. From 8th to 10th July and 17th to 19th August, promising youngsters have the chance to acquire an official international FIA C license and to state their claim for a place on the scholarship course. Up to four Formula BMW Junior grants, worth 80,000 US Dollars, are up for grabs for the 2010 season. Candidates must have been born before or on 31st December 1994. Each course has a maximum 15 places, and the registration deadline is 26th June 2009.
Coulthard supports Hamilton excuses (GMM) David Coulthard has defended Lewis Hamilton, after the reigning world champion qualified 16th in Turkey and then wrote off his 2009 campaign and car.
Hamilton, 24, was also outpaced in Istanbul by his teammate Heikki Kovalainen, but then told the press that "it's the car" at fault and advised McLaren to begin turning its focus to 2010.
But retired Coulthard, who raced for McLaren between 1996 and 2004, wrote in his column for the BBC that while Hamilton "just didn't get it right" on Saturday, and also two weeks ago in Monaco, his subsequent attitude is not incorrect.
"Hamilton can choose to hide his head in the sand and keep on churning out the company line about the next development and the next upgrade," said the Scot, who still travels to all the grands prix as a TV pundit.
"But instead I think he is being fairly honest about the situation and he has already started talking about 2010."
FOTA guarantees unity with $50m pledge (GMM) With Williams and Force India on the outer after filing unconditional FIA paperwork, the F1 teams' alliance FOTA has moved to ensure its unity is not further eroded.
Martin Brundle, a former driver and now an expert broadcaster for British TV, wrote in his column for the Sunday Times that the manufacturers face a crippling penalty if they break ranks and pledge to the 2010 world championship before a block compromise is brokered.
"Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Renault and BMW have signed a $50m bond not to jump ship and enter the 2010 championship unconditionally within the next 30 days," Brundle claimed.
In the hours before the Turkish grand prix, a breakaway world championship seems more likely than ever. Max Mosley seems unwilling to back down over budget caps, and now boasts famous names like Williams, March, Brabham and Lotus for his 2010 grid.
Without Fernando Alonso as a teammate Lewis Hamilton has been unable to help the McLaren engineers make the car into a winning one
(GMM) After falling at the first of qualifying's three hurdles in Turkey, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton then dropped his guard with the world's media.
Until recently the McLaren driver, embroiled in the 'lie-gate' saga, was operating under a press gag, but on Saturday the floodgates truly opened as - just two weeks from perhaps his last home grand prix at Silverstone - he contemplated starting the Istanbul race from a lowly 16th.
TV pundit Eddie Jordan had told the BBC that the MP4-24 was "possibly the worst car McLaren has ever designed", and Hamilton did not try hard to disagree.
In fact, he suggested it is perhaps the worst in the current field, telling reporters that through Turkey's long turn eight "we are 10 to 15 kph slower than the Force Indias".
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh is promising to work the Woking factory hard so that an upgrade package scheduled for the German GP is ready for Silverstone.
But Hamilton said: "I don't think we should rush anything. It's not like it will make a huge difference, not like we can win back 60 points."
IndyCar Saturday Notebook Michelle Colvard thought she was coming to the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway to watch the IndyCar Series race, get a pit tour and maybe meet a few drivers.
She ended up with the ride of a lifetime.
Colvard, the reigning Miss Wheelchair America, was invited to the track by Vision Racing as an honorary team member. But before meeting the Vision team, Colvard toured Texas Motor Speedway's 1.5-mile oval with Davey Hamilton in the Indy Experience two-seater.
"It was amazing. I can't even relate the experience," Colvard said. "It left me totally breathless. As we were entering the banking, I could feel the Gs pulling my head down. I can't imagine having to do that for 228 laps."
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