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USGP special on SPEED  UPDATE The broadcast time for this special on Thursday has been changed to 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm ET (same day delayed).  It will still be replayed early Friday morning at 12:00 am - 3:00 am ET.

06/13/07 SPEED will broadcast a three hour special, Formula One Live, from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, June 14.  All 22 Formula One drivers entered in the U.S. Grand Prix will be interviewed.  Peter Windsor will be joined by the rest of the SPEED Formula One broadcast team including Bob Varsha, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. Former racers Derek Daly and Sam Posey also will join the program.  The show airs at 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET on Thursday, and will be replayed early Friday morning at 12:00 am - 3:00 am ET.
Peugeot draws first blood  Le Mans week action kicked off this evening with the first official practice session which saw Team Peugeot Total claim the fastest and third fastest times in the dying seconds. The evening’s run was interrupted by two red flag incidents, and was also upset by a brief but heavy thunderstorm that dumped rain over much over the French circuit.

Stéphane Sarrazin (N°8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) and Nicolas Minassian (N°7) profited from drying conditions late in the session, however, to post their quickest times in a particularly thrilling finale. Despite the day’s successful conclusion, however, the drivers and team management are fully aware that Le Mans is a 24-hour race, and not just a question of posting one fast lap, and everything will be thrown wide open again when practice resumes tomorrow evening.

The two four-hour test sessions organised on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings prior to the weekend's celebrated 24-hour classic are, along with the preliminary test day organised earlier in the month, the only chance teams get to put the finishing touches to their race preparations round the full 13.629km track. The job list traditionally involves fine-tuning the set-ups of the cars in race-trim, completing final systems and fuel consumption checks, and ensuring all drivers cover the mandatory minimum number of night-time laps (three). Plus, if conditions and time allow, attempting to secure the best possible position on the grid for the start of Saturday's race (3pm).  More ...

News tidbits from LeMans Wednesday  Although a bulk of his motorsport career has been in GT, Touring and open-wheel cars (including 32 Formula 1 starts), Pedro Lamy came into his new position as a factory Peugeot driver with a tremendous amount of experience.

The Portuguese pilot compiled an extensive prototype experience from 1998-2003 with strong efforts in cars such as Mercedes, ORECA’s Chrysler prototype and BMW’s V12 LMR, which he raced twice in the American Le Mans Series in 1999.

For Le Mans, he is teaming with Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Bourdais as Peugeot tries to end Audi’s dominance at Le Mans with diesel power of its own.

“It is easy to jump in the Peugeot and drive it well,” Lamy said. “But I enjoyed driving the BMW, which was the winning car at Le Mans in 1999. The aerodynamic detail is the biggest difference. The tires also have gotten better since then. If you started comparing them side by side, there would be a large difference.”

LOLA VS. ZYTEK: Adrian Fernandez, can you compare your Lola-powered Acura in the American Le Mans Series to the Zytek prototype at Le Mans?

“This is a different track than anything we race in America so it’s difficult to compare the two,” Fernandez said. “You’re doing speeds here that you don’t do in America. Plus the track is very smooth; there are no bumps. The sight differences and seating positions are nothing that you don’t get used to. There are different spaces to look at. I don’t want to say either is better than the other.”

Fernandez is at Le Mans as preparation for a hopeful entry next year for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Acura.

AROUND THE PADDOCK: With the factory Zytek withdrawn in P1, Stefan Johansson moved into one of the works Courage entry with Jean-Marc Gounon and Guillume Moreau. Johansson of course has experience with Courage as Highcroft Racing’s Acura-powered entry in the American Le Mans Series was originally a Courage before being morphed into an Acura ARX. … Liz Halliday is back in a prototype at Le Mans with Noel Del Bello’s AER-powered Courage LC75. He recorded her first laps in Wednesday’s first session after the car crashed before she could get in it 10 days ago at the Test Day.

Arch rivals now teammates  UPDATE The Hendrick Motorsport car owners are as follows, so technically Gordon would not be Earnhardt's boss.
Rick Hendrick #24 & #5
Jeff Gordon #48
Mary Hendrick #25

06/13/07 Jeff Gordon is now Dale Earnhardt Jr's boss at Hendrick Motorsports (well sort of), which won't sit well with many Earnhardt fans who hate Gordon because the young Gordon was a better driver and he out drove and outraced Dale Earnhardt Sr. and basically tamed the "Intimidator." Gordon has an ownership in Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 and No. 48 cars, a fact many forget. Earnhardt fans have thrown beer cans at Gordon following several of his recent wins, including his 76th victory at Talladega Superspeedway in April, which tied him with Earnhardt Sr. on NASCAR's career victory list. Earnhardt Jr. "condemned the behavior"
Weekly NASCAR cheating report  Kevin "Cowboy" Starland, crew chief for Rick Crawford's Circle Bar Racing Craftsman Truck Series team, for violations at Texas Motor Speedway last year. Starland was fined $1,000 for using added weight in less than five-pound blocks and weight that was improperly attached. The infraction was discovered during prequalifying inspection.
ALMS teams fair well at LeMans Wednesday  Allan McNish and Audi came up just short in the first day of qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans but Adrian Fernandez did not as the American Le Mans Series asserted itself Wednesday at the world’s most famous auto race. McNish qualified his Audi R10 TDI second overall on the grid, a half-second behind the leading Peugeot while Fernandez grabbed the provisional LMP2 pole position in his first visit to Le Mans.

McNish’s lap of 3:26.916 held the pole until the Stephane Sarrazin’s final pass bested the Scot by a 0.572 seconds. It was a thrilling final hour with a drying track and cooling temperatures setting the stage for the late heroics. The session also gave a glimpse of the epic battle between the diesels set to start Saturday.

With the forecast for Thursday uncertain, the strategy from Audi was clear: post a strong time with a dry circuit and don’t chance needing a time Thursday to get on the front row. Audi gained nearly a second on Peugeot since the official Test Day on June 3 although a late red flag then may have skewed the gap between the two diesels. More ...

The 24 Hours of Le Mans  The 24 Hours of Le Mans? It's more like closer to 40 hours or more, says Corvette Racing's Dan Binks. When you factor in the Saturday warm-up, the lead-up to the world's most famous auto race, the 24 Hours itself, post race and tearing down the cars Sunday, it makes for a long two days.

"The preparation is the big key. Any team can run a 24-hour race," said Binks, crew chief for the No. 63 Corvette C6.R. "But you still have to be ready and our team is. We have gearboxes ripped apart and ready to go in, the same with all of our spares. We've done this enough times where we've gotten pretty good at it."

That's safe to say. The Corvette factory squad is going for its sixth class win in seven seasons at Le Mans including the last three by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen. The opposition is both talented and deep with entries from Aston Martin, Saleen and Ferrari, not mention other Corvettes. That puts experience at a premium and no one has more of it than Corvette Racing.

"We go to Le Mans to compete against the world's best, and this year is going to be our most challenging yet," said Johnny O'Connell, who will share the No. 63 Corvette with Ron Fellows and Jan Magnussen. "We've got to be mistake-free and just keep running, running, running. The other teams might have speed on us but about the 18th hour they're going into uncharted territory. We've been there before, and that's our strength. We've got the heart, the experience, and the right people. Corvette Racing just never gives up."

Franchitti leads Mid-Ohio Open Test  Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti topped the speed chart at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during an IndyCar Series Open Test in preparation for the IndyCar Series debut at the facility on July 22.

Franchitti, who won the pole at the facility twice while racing in CART, lapped the 2.258-mile, 13-turn course in 1 minute, 7.6667 seconds, 120.130 mph in the No. 27 Canadian Club car.

Previous experience at the track also paid dividends for Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner at the track. Castroneves was second quick with a lap of 1:07.7671, 119.952 mph in the No. 3 Team Penske machine.

Franchitti's Andretti Green Racing teammate, Marco Andretti, was third quick with a lap of 119.591 mph. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Buddy Rice was fourth and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was fifth.

Sam Hornish Jr., Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick, Dan Wheldon and Darren Manning completed the top 10.

Overall, 18 drivers combined to complete 978 laps. A light rain forced an end to the session approximately 20 minutes early. More ...

First qualifying session tonight at LeMans  The first qualifying sessions for the 75th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours starts tonight at 19H00 on the mythical Sarthe circuit, 13,629 km long.

The variable weather has brought on a flurry of activity in the Michelin paddock especially as rain has been predicted for the two qualifying sessions scheduled between 19H00 -21H00, and then 22H - midnight.

In order to satisfy the demand, whether it is for dry condition tires, drying, or wet, and in conjunction with the fluctuations in temperature, Michelin has prepared various tire configurations on rims ready for any condition on the circuit.


This year for the first time ever, Teams LMP1 will run qualifying tires marked with a silver band on one half of the circumference.

"Prior to this it was impossible to tell the difference between qualifying tires and normal ones. In order to bring more information to race fans and the media, we have marked our tires with a recognizable band. It will now be easier to tell which cars on the circuit are on a qualifying lap» explained Matthieu Bonardel, Michelin 4 Wheels Competition Director.

8000 tires … 80 types of tires

Remember that Michelin has brought 8000 tires to Le Mans offering a choice between 4 types of dry tires, 2 intermediate, and one for the wet. In all there are 80 tire types available to help satisfy the four categories represented here. The choice is dependent on the weather conditions, and in function with the variations in temperatures between the day and night.

Drivers comment on USGP  Quotes from selected Formula One drivers about the United States Grand Prix on June 15-17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

FERNANDO ALONSO (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, 2005, 2006 World Champion): "Canada was a tough and frustrating race for me, but at least I left Montreal with some points and am in a strong second position in the championship, which is not won or lost in one race. I am in a good situation in the table, the car is great, it is definitely capable of winning races, and I am looking forward to getting back out on track in America and hopefully having no Safety Cars. I have not had very good results in this race in the previous years; it was better last year than in 2005, so I am hoping it will improve again this year. It is always great to go racing at Indy. Fans at Indy are fantastic. They are pretty serious about their motor racing, and their passion means there is a great atmosphere. I hope we are able to go out there and put on a good race for them. Indy is another of the tracks that I want to win at. It is so historic and is a very important circuit in this sport - to have a trophy from there in my collection would be fantastic. There are opportunities to overtake at the Motor Speedway. The main one is probably if you slipstream another car on the start-finish straight, but you need to have a very fast straight-line speed to make this work. This is why we have such a low level of downforce." More ...

Technical preview Indianapolis with Pascal Vasselon  
Can you talk through Jarno’s suspension problem in Friday practice in Canada?
"The problem, which was visible, was that we broke the front right upright around the connection of the lower wishbone. The first thing that guided our analysis was that this upright design is almost two years old, introduced with our major kinematic suspension change with the TF105B at the end of 2005. That told us it was not a basic design problem and we had to look for differences compared to other years because we have already raced in Montreal with this design. We came to the conclusion that the combination of set-up parameters we used to work around the huge rear limitation, which all cars have, was generating interference between the lower wishbone fixation and the upright. We had to find some counter-measures and we implemented two. The first was technical, going back to a range of set-up parameters in terms of camber, ride height and suspension travel, that cleared the interference. Secondly, because we didn’t want to take any further risks, we asked the drivers to avoid the extreme part of the curb in Turn 8. I would say it was a unique loading case related to the highest part of that curb."

Was Jarno taking more curb at Turn 8 than Ralf?
"Yes, and it wasn’t just a case of taking more curb, it was also a question of Jarno using a different driving line on the curb." More ...

NJ Officials hold talks on NASCAR track  NASCAR's interest in building a racetrack in the Meadowlands is revving up again.

Executives for International Speedway Corp. -- the leading NASCAR track builder -- held "informal preliminary discussions" recently with New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg, according to three sources familiar with the discussions.

Goldberg and an ISC spokesman would not comment about the talks Tuesday.

But details of the proposal already have begun to emerge: a 1.25-mile oval speedway to be constructed in a concentric ring around The Meadowlands Racetrack, the complex's horse racing facility. The sources said the track would fit into the site, even with the just-started construction of a $1.4 billion Giants/Jets football stadium between Giants Stadium and the racetrack.

Other hurdles, however, mean that the proposal is a long way from becoming a reality.

George Zoffinger, the sports authority president, said a local advisory committee appointed in 2002 to analyze potential development at the sports complex expressed clear opposition to NASCAR, a sport where races can draw 100,000 people on one summer weekend day. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE News updates have been added as noted below in red.

  • Prodrive given deadline for McLaren deal
  • ING confirms Belgian GP sponsor deal
  • McLaren move to deepen Ferrari 'crisis'
  • Alonso not feeling pressure - Kovalainen
  • Hamilton to keep Montreal trophy New
  • Haug 'surprised' by McLaren's Canada form New
  • Piquet Jr ready for F1 - Fittipaldi New
  • Pay-cut awaits for $20m man Ralf - Stewart New

Prodrive given deadline for McLaren deal
(GMM) Ron Dennis says time is running out for new formula one entrant Prodrive to commit to buying cars and engines from McLaren-Mercedes for the 2008 season.

David Richards-led Prodrive has already scheduled a significant announcement for the upcoming British grand prix, but McLaren chairman Dennis says mid-July is actually a rigid deadline for existing talks to be finalized.

"We don't want to do anything if there isn't an official announcement in July," the English language Autoweek quoted Dennis say telling Italy's Autosprint weekly.

Prodrive's Richards has already hinted that McLaren-Mercedes is the frontrunner to supply both customer cars and engines to his team next year, but he also insisted that there are other options.

Dennis continued: "Prodrive is ambitious, and it has a solid historical base. But to take this project forward, we need the documentation to be perfect.

"That means it must not expose us to the risk of dispersing our resources, nor expose us to other financial risks. Time is now really getting short.

"If by, let's say, mid-July, we don't have a binding contract, then it's highly unlikely we'll commit to a program for 2008." More ...

Busch announces plans to leave Hendrick  Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Busch is leaving the team at the end of the 2007 season. He issued a statement regarding that decision this morning.

"We had been working on a contract extension for me to remain at Hendrick Motorsports, but after prolonged negotiations, we mutually agreed that a fresh start was in order. I have been granted a release after the 2007 season.

 "I have tremendous respect for Mr. [Rick] Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It's where I grew up, and I have a lot of great memories.

"I kind of feel like I'm graduating. I'm excited about my future, and I know a lot of opportunities await because of what everyone at Hendrick did for me - on the track and off.

"I still have a job to do this year, and will give it my all - just as I've always done - to make sure we put the No. 5 car in victory lane a few more times before the year is out."

Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick announce 5-year deal  Dale Earnhardt Jr. is joining Hendrick Motorsports, hopefully moving one step closer to a championship that has eluded him while driving for his late father’s company.

Rick Hendrick said Earnhardt Jr. will replace Kyle Busch on his star-studded roster of drivers. The announcement Wednesday ended five weeks of recruiting for NASCAR’s most popular driver, who became a free agent May 10 when he said he would leave DEI at the end of this season.

His criteria for a new team included finding a place he could win championships, and Hendrick is the perfect fit. Hendrick has won six championships, and has 10 wins through 14 points races this season.

“It became apparent to me the man I wanted to drive for,” Earnhardt Jr. said at a news conference.

“He competes with integrity and, most importantly, he wins races. ... So today, it is with great honor to introduce my new boss for 2008, Mr. Rick Hendrick.”

It was not immediately clear what number Earnhardt Jr. will drive, and who will sponsor the car. Since starting in NASCAR, Earnhardt Jr. has driven the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet. It’s possible that Hendrick could trade Busch’s No. 5 to DEI for the No. 8, should he wind up signing with Earnhardt’s old team.

“We haven’t even began to work around that and see what the options are and opportunities are and that’s something we’ll work out down the road,” Earnhardt Jr. said. ThatsRacin.com

racing news
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking   
  • Sebastien Bourdais’ third consecutive CCWS win moves him to top spot in SPEED rankings
  • Lewis Hamilton’s first win in F1 moves him to second in SPEED Top 20 and first in F1 points
  • Jimmie Johnson’s tire problems, 42nd-place finish at Pocono bump him from Top 20 spot

Updated 6-13-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)                     Pts
1. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)               9.160
2. (8) Lewis Hamilton (F1)                     8.554
3. (3) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                    8.434
4. (4) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)                   7.918
5. (20) Will Power (CCWS)                      7.422
6. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)                   7.305
7. (29) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)                  7.129
8. (11) Ryan Newman (NASCAR)                   6.928
9. (7) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)               6.904
10. (NR) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                 6.860
11. (10) Tony Kanaan (IRL)                     6.643
12. (9) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                  6.585
13. (13) Dario Franchitti (IRL)                6.540
14. (32) Justin Wilson (CCWS)                  6.537
15. (15) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                 6.378
16. (19) Mark Martin (NASCAR)                  6.276
17. (23) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                   6.205
18. (NR) Casey Mears (NASCAR)                  6.203
19. (28) Alex Tagliani (CCWS)                  6.201
20. (18) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)                6.195

Dropped out: Fernando Alonso (F1), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Felipe Massa (F1), Dan Wheldon (IRL), Clint Bowyer (NASCAR), Jeff Burton (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Bookies pay out early on Hamilton punts  (GMM) The hype surrounding Lewis Hamilton is now beginning to bear fruit, with the McLaren rookie and championship leader's formula one success even impacting the world of gambling.

Leading bookmakers PartyBets and Paddy Power announced this week that they are already paying out on bets that the 22-year-old will win the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award -- five months before the result has even been decided.

The betting outfits are taking their own gamble that, after Hamilton's breakthrough win in the Canadian grand prix, he has done enough to guarantee the British prize even with the Rugby World Cup and Wimbledon yet to be played.

"However, it is all over in our eyes, there is no way Hamilton will not become the BBC Sports Personality of the Year," a spokesman said.

Hamilton has also moved clear of his world champion teammate Fernando Alonso as the bookmakers' favorite to lift the drivers' crown, despite starting the season 25/1 for the title.

Ferrari's early favorite Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, has blown out odds of 10/1.

Doctors warn - Kubica return could be fatal  (GMM) A renowned sport physician has warned Robert Kubica to skip Sunday's US grand prix.

The Pole, limping only slightly, checked out of hospital on Monday following his frightening high-speed crash in Montreal just 24 hours earlier, vowing to be ready to race at Indianapolis.

But Hamburg-based Dr Bernd Kabelka told Germany's Bild newspaper that Kubica risks death if he sustains another concussion at Indianapolis, which features concrete-lined banking that only a few years ago left Ralf Schumacher unconscious and in hospital.

"Sensory and motor losses are possible, so are memory gaps and visual disturbances," he said.

"In the worst case the brain can swell and the pressure can be fatal.

"I consider it extremely dangerous for Kubica to drive again straight away."

F1's former doctor Professor Sid Watkins, meanwhile, is also quoted as saying that the risk of serious injury with a second concussion is "quite high".

We can reveal, however, that Robert Kubica's name and helmet image is already featured atop the BMW-Sauber garage at Indianapolis, while both Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock have traveled to the American city as possible stand-in pilots.

Team boss Mario Theissen said on Tuesday that F1's chief medical officer "will have the final say" when 22-year-old Kubica is examined at the circuit on Thursday.

He explained: "We are prepared in case Robert will not be able to drive. But, of course, we are all hoping that he will line up in the car at the weekend.

"The ideal scenario for me would be for us all to put the accident behind us quickly with a good performance in the race."

Dennis, Haug, hit back at Alonso protest  (GMM) Mere days after the Monaco 'team order' controversy, McLaren is once again mopping up a media storm.

World champion Fernando Alonso, whose Monte Carlo victory was openly protected by Ron Dennis' team strategy, this week accused McLaren of favouring Lewis Hamilton after the British rookie won Sunday's Canadian grand prix.

The resulting press coverage has forced team boss Dennis, and engine partner Mercedes' competition chief Norbert Haug, to counter the claims in the days before the weekend's US grand prix. More ...
NASCAR TV ratings continue plummet  The overnight TV rating for NASCAR's Pocono 500 on TNT Sunday was a 3.7, down 19% from Fox's coverage last year.
Courage makes 11th hour driver change  In a last-minute change, Courage has hired Stefan Johansson and left Val Hillebrand with no drive for the 24 Hours of LeMans this weekend.
Canadian Grand Prix postscript  Having scored his maiden Grand Prix victory in Canada, rookie Lewis Hamilton has a few days to savor his win before trying to follow up with winning the United States Grand Prix on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I go to Indy with great confidence," Hamilton said. "We have to try and continue with the performance that we have, and I have no doubt we can do that."

Hamilton has never raced on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 13-turn F1 circuit, but he does have some knowledge of the track.

"I actually haven't been on (the Indianapolis track on) the simulator," he said, referring to the sophisticated driving simulator at Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes' base in England, "but I've seen it on computer games. More ...

Fans can catch F1 fever during USGP Pit Walkabout  The United States Grand Prix Pit Walkabout on Thursday, June 14 offers many fan-friendly features to get fans geared up for the eighth annual Formula One race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Pit Walkabout is the official kickoff to the United States Grand Prix weekend at IMS and serves as a preface to practice Friday, June 15, practice and qualifying Saturday, June 16 and the race Sunday, June 17.

Public gates open at 7 a.m. (local time) June 14. The Pit Walkabout is free to all Race Day ticket holders and is scheduled for 8 a.m.-noon on pit lane.

Once on pit lane, fans can stand adjacent to the open garages, providing a clear view of the sleek, high-tech cars, equipment and highly skilled personnel of all 11 Formula One teams, including 2006 Formula One Constructors Championship winners ING Renault F1 Team, fan-favorite Scuderia Ferrari, current Championship leader Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Scuderia Toro Rosso, which fields the car of American F1 driver Scott Speed. More ...

Free ticket giveaways in San Jose  UPDATE Organizers of the San Jose Grand Prix are hoping the lure of a free ticket will attract crowds to the first of three days of race-related activities next month.

With Mayor Chuck Reed — an opponent of the $4 million, two-year subsidy that kept the Champ Car race in downtown San Jose — on hand to endorse this year's event, race organizers outlined a voucher system that will enable anyone to roam the track grounds on July 27 without buying a $25 general-admission ticket.

"There may be some revenue lost because some people who might have bought a ticket are going to come for free," grand prix president Dale Jantzen said Monday. "But I think long term it's a good thing to show people what's going on. Perhaps they'll want to come back on Sunday for the main event." More ...

McNish talks about LeMans chances  If Tom Kristensen is the Great Dane, then why shouldn’t Audi mate Allan McNish be known as the Great Scot? That’s exactly what McNish has been in his American Le Mans Series and sports car racing career with wins at every marquee event in the sport. That, of course, includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he won in only his La Sarthe appearance in 1998 in a works Porsche. After what seems like a lifetime of near misses, McNish is back at Le Mans and hoping to add a second Le Mans crown.

Question: Will the reduction in fuel capacity have a greater effect at Le Mans than races in the American Le Mans Series?

Answer: It has a big effect in the races of the American Le Mans Series and already cost us a least one victory if not two. So I hope the effect will not be even bigger at Le Mans. Eighty-one instead of 90 liters means we will have two or three laps less with one fuel tank. We will definitely lose more time in the pits for refueling than last year.

Q: Does wanting to win the race outright again for the first time since 1998 provide extra motivation, or is the event itself enough motivation?

A: The motivation is the same as every year. Le Mans is the most important sports car race and very difficult to win. I’m looking for my second victory and my first with Audi after so many podiums. I’m preparing exactly the same way as I’ve done before. The team is well prepared. We’ve had a very strong endurance test. Dindo (Capello) and I have great successes in America. At the moment we are just hoping that Tom (Kristensen) will be able to race.  More ...

Fehan hopes Vette can retain LeMans title  Don’t bother to ask Doug Fehan for a 24 Hours of Le Mans prediction. He’ll kindly point you in another direction. After five GT1 victories in six years, Corvette Racing’s Fehan isn’t about to break tradition and go out on a limb.

“This is a place that commands a huge amount of respect,” said the team’s program manager. “You can go home, you can work hard, you can do your homework, you can be prepared and you can set up the car to the best of your ability, then you wait and see what happens. To make a prediction about victory would be foolish. And anyone who does do that is indeed foolish. It’s 25 percent great car, 25 percent great team and 50 percent luck. If you don’t have all those ingredients, you won’t be cooking much.”

The 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 16 from the Circuit de la Sarthe. SPEED will provide 17.5 hours of coverage in North America starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on June 16. MotorsTV will air week-long coverage throughout Europe. Live coverage can be found on Radio Le Mans through americanlemans.com.

Interview with Mario Theissen on Kubica accident  
What went through your mind on the pit wall on Sunday when you saw Robert Kubica's accident?
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "I was unable to judge the severity of the accident by the initial television pictures. Then seeing the first impact in the replay gave us all a huge shock. I was waiting on the pit wall watching the screens until the rescue work was completed and then went over to the Medical Center to see Robert. Having established that he had not suffered any serious injuries, I returned to the team to tell them the good news and followed the remainder of the race from the pit wall."

Just over two days after the event, how proud are you of Nick Heidfeld's second place and the performance of the team?
Theissen: "I'm really proud of this team. Nick certainly did not finish second by default. All the incidents in Sunday's race took place behind him. That second place was his on merit - he was simply faster than one of the McLarens and both Ferraris."

Finishing on the podium on merit was the team's declared aim for this season. Is that something you can now cross off as "job done"?
Theissen: "Our form is very much on an upward curve. Six races into the season we have collected two points more than in the whole of 2006. We achieved our aim for the season for the first time in Montreal in what was the best overall result so far for the team. But this should not be our only podium finish of the season." More ...

Lola releases rendering of LeMans coupe  Lola cars is releasing the first official rendering of their new closed prototype, the Lola B08/60.
Lola engineers have been busy working on the next generation of LMPs, the fabled coupe version, which is scheduled to hit the track this autumn. Lola's senior aerodynamicist Phil Tiller explained the latest developments

"The artist's impression we released last year was just that, but we've been doing a lot of work on the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), and we've got a short list of shapes for the closed car, which we've already put in the wind tunnel. We'll soon narrow it down to a final shape in the wind tunnel." More ...
Waltrip admits he's a horrible driver  Terry Labonte will drive the No. 55 Toyotas in place of Michael Waltrip for the NASCAR Nextel Cup road course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen, the team announced Tuesday morning.

“It’s not an easy decision for me to remove myself from the car, but I know it is for the betterment of our whole program,” said Waltrip, who has failed to qualify for all but two of this season's Cup races. “I know Terry’s experience and road race savvy will breathe a breath of fresh air into my young team.”

track news
Motorola to serve as title sponsor at Infineon event  Infineon Raceway and Motorola, Inc. have established an alliance that will make the wireless and broadband communications company the title sponsor of the raceway’s IndyCar Series event.

The IndyCar Series’ third race at Infineon will be known as the Motorola Indy 300 and will take place Aug. 24-26 in the scenic Sonoma Valley road course. The alliance furthers Motorola’s involvement in the IndyCar Series as the company is also the primary sponsor of the No. 7 car driven by Danica Patrick (Andretti Green Racing).

“The IndyCar Series race at Infineon Raceway has become an important marketing opportunity for Motorola with our key customers over the past several years,” said Kathleen Finato, senior director of North America marketing, Mobile Devices, Motorola, Inc. “The opportunity to serve as title sponsor provides greater opportunities for Motorola to impact our key accounts in a positive way.” More ...

New inversion rule debuts at Liberty Challenge  The Indy Pro Series will introduce a new feature to its already unique procedure for determining the starting lineup on doubleheader race weekends.

Beginning with the Liberty Challenge June 16-17 on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the winner of Race 1 will participate in a blind draw to determine how many cars will be inverted for start of Race 2 – 0, 4, 6 or 8.

The format marks a change from three previous doubleheader race weekends over the past two seasons when the top six finishers in Race 1 were automatically inverted for Race 2.

“This will be an exciting new twist,” Indy Pro Series executive director Roger Bailey said. “The inverted field has led to increased competition on the racetrack. In two of the past three events, we’ve seen the Race 1 winner move up from sixth to win Race 2 as well. That type of passing is exciting for people to watch.

“With more of a random process to determine how many cars are inverted, everyone will be racing as hard as they can to the checkered flag.”  More ...

ING Announces Title Sponsorship of ING Belgian Grand Prix  ING is reinforcing its commitment to F1 with the announcement of the title sponsorship of the Belgian Grand Prix, to be held at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on September 14-16th. Henceforth the race will be known as the ING Belgian Grand Prix. ING is also pleased to confirm that it will continue the title sponsorship of the ING Australian Grand Prix, held in Melbourne, for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

ING's global 'on track' branding campaign is a key element supporting the sponsorship of the ING Renault F1 Team. ING has an active on-track branding presence at 14 of the 17 Grand Prix races, including title sponsorship of the ING Australian Grand Prix, and the ING Belgian Grand Prix.

Together with its global online, print and TV advertising campaign, 'on track' sponsorship, and the title sponsorship of the ING Renault F1 Team, ING is rapidly building awareness as one of the leading global financial institutions providing Banking, Insurance and Asset Management services to over 60 million customers in 50 countries across the world. The combination also reinforces ING's position as the leading F1 sponsor. More ...

Bridgestone announces tire specifications  Bridgestone Motorsport announced the compound choices of Potenza tires for a further three rounds of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The soft and medium compounds will be used at the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, the Hungarian Grand Prix will have the super soft and soft compounds and the Turkish Grand Prix will utilize the medium and hard compounds.

Four compounds of Bridgestone Potenza have been produced to cover the entire FIA Formula One season, all of the same construction. Bridgestone's wet Potenza is the same compound for all circuits bar Monte Carlo and Bridgestone's extreme wet is the same compound for all circuits. The softer of the two specification Potenzas at each round will be signified by a white line in the base of the second from inside groove.

Kees van de Grint, Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations, says: "Now we have experienced all four Bridgestone Potenza compounds in race conditions we can announce the compounds we will use for a further three races in the calendar. These compounds have been chosen using the data collected at the races so far, added with our predictions and our past experience of the circuits. Of particular note will be the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. The change of date to July should mean hotter weather and our tire choice of the soft and medium Potenzas reflects this. Although we expect hotter conditions the micro-climate means that the temperature and conditions can vary tremendously at this location." Bridgestone

NASCAR cars slow as pigs in Montreal  Two-time Nextel Cup Champion Terry Labonte completed the first laps in a stock car at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Tuesday, as part of NASCAR's preparations for their Busch Series race at the same venue in August.

The fastest lap recorded by Labonte in ideal weather conditions was 1:49.86 - around 34 seconds slower than the pole position time set by Lewis Hamilton last Saturday during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Canada.

In other words the F1 car would lap the NASCAR stock car every 3.23 laps.  No wonder they call them Taxi cabs.  We know Montreal fans and they love their F1.  When they see how slow NASCAR is they'll likely to fall asleep.

What do open wheel drivers who can't win in open wheel anymore do?  They go drive in NASCAR (Jourdain, Carpentier, Montoya, Villeneuve, etc) where everything happens real SLOW.

track news
Plans finalized for The Glen Club  Officials at Watkins Glen International have finalized plans for the Glen Club in 2007 which will be in place for the rest of the season beginning with the Watkins Glen Grand Prix weekend July 6-8th. The upscale temporary structure will remain at the track for the NASCAR at The Glen weekend August 9 -12, as well as the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 7-9.  The club is also available for catered event rentals in July and August during non-race weekends.

A fire destroyed the permanent Glen Club late in the evening on March 6. Since then, track officials have been working on a plan to for a temporary facility for the 2007 racing season. The temporary structure will placed where the Glen Club previously stood, inside the track on the famed “Esses”.

“We know our fans expect a great experience when they purchase a ticket to the Glen Club,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. “While we can’t replace the memories that the previous club had, we expect this temporary structure to bridge the gap in 2007, as well as possess the quality and high-end experience that are fans have become accustomed to.” More ...

Champ Car promotion in Montreal  A reader writes, I was at  Montreal this past weekend for the F1 race and was surprised to see the Champ Car race at Mont-Tremblant being promoted.  A spot was put up on the big screens and announcements were made over the PA system. I wasn't expecting to see that since they didn't leave under the best of terms. Jack Frillman

Dear Jack, Normand Legault, who is the Canadian GP race promoter, also has a hand in the Mont-Tremblant event.  Mark C.

Hornish to attempt MIS ARCA race  Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #27 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will attempt to qualify for his first ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday. Hornish has never raced a stock car at Michigan, but he was the fastest during the one-day ARCA test on May 29. He posted a lap time of 30.09 seconds, 184.190 mph, a mere eight-tenths of a second slower than the qualifying record set in 2004. Hornish will return to MIS for the IndyCar and Busch Series races in August. If he qualifies for the NBS event, Hornish will be the first driver to compete in all three events in a single season at his home track. Penske Racing
Earnhardt Jr. future announcement Wednesday  SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming Wednesday morning, June 13 at 10 ET in anticipation of a live press conference from JR Motorsports about the future plans of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. At 11 a.m. ET, John Roberts will host a special live edition of The SPEED Report, with Bob Dillner on site in Mooresville, N.C. The press conference is expected to last one hour.  At 7 p.m. ET, SPEED will present a special half-hour edition of The SPEED Report to summarize the day’s events.
Andretti Returns To Petty Enterprises  This weekend, John Andretti returns to the wheel of a Petty Enterprises Dodge.  Andretti will fill-in for Kyle Petty in the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge for this weekend’s Michigan 400.  Petty will once again be in the TNT booth for Sunday’s event.

Andretti makes his return to Petty Enterprises after making this year’s Indianapolis 500.  He will be the only competitor in Sunday’s race that raced in this year’s event.  Andretti last raced for Petty Enterprises in 2003.  He has 197 career starts with Petty Enterprises. 

Michigan is a familiar track to Andretti.  He has 19 career starts at the track and 11 of them with Petty Enterprises.  Andretti has five top-10 and one top-five finish in Nextel Cup competition at the track.  More ...

Alonso: McLaren favor Hamilton  Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has launched a shocking attack on his McLaren team, insisting English sensation Lewis Hamilton is getting "all of the help".

Hamilton took the first checkered flag of his career at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, leapfrogging Alonso to top the Drivers Championship.

The triumph clearly rankled with the defending champion, who offered congratulations through gritted teeth, hinting the victory had involved a fair share of luck.

Now Alonso has voiced concerns that his own prospects are suffering due to Hamilton, who the Spaniard claims is receiving preferential treatment from McLaren.

"From the first moment I wasn't comfortable with everything," Alonso said on Cadena Ser radio.

"It's an English team, with an English team-mate. You know that all of the help goes his way.

"I've understood that from the first moment and, well, I'm not moaning about it."

Alonso's comments come just a week after he actually benefited from the orders of the McLaren team, who warned Hamilton not to jeopardize a team one-two at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Now it appears Alonso may be worried at having to play second fiddle, although he insists he remains confident despite dropping eight points behind his team-mate.

He said: "I'm relaxed, I'm good, although I know there is some impatience for the way I arrived and how I am expected to dominate.

"I'm where I want to be and I have clear options for winning the title, which is what we want." Sky Sports

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Hamilton mania leads to Silverstone sell-out
  • 'A groundhog, not a beaver, Anthony'
  • McLaren support Hamilton more - Alonso
  • Kubica engineer also in doubt
  • Trulli not to blame for Kubica crash - FIA
  • Ralf says Toyota to blame for '07 struggle New
  • Kovalainen feared third Canada crash New
  • Toyota forgives Trulli for Montreal crash New
  • British press has no 'respect' - Alonso New

Hamilton mania leads to Silverstone sell-out
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's maiden victory sparked an "amazing" rush for tickets to the British grand prix next month, according to organizers.

Silverstone's managing director Richard Phillips said in a statement that, with Hamilton leading the world championship by 8 points in his rookie season, nearly every ticket for the event on July 8 is now sold out.

General admission tickets, for example, sold out completely on Monday, hours after Hamilton's breakthrough in Canada.

Phillips explained: "We haven't seen this level of interest since (Nigel) Mansell-mania in the late 80s and early 90s."

British tabloid The Sun quoted Sir Frank Williams as saying that Hamilton's success "makes you think there is a God", while the Daily Express speculated that the 22-year-old could become F1's first ever billionaire driver.

"Every so often someone comes along who transcends their sport; a George Best, Muhammad Ali or Tiger Woods –- and Lewis could be another," marveled sponsorship expert Tim Crow.

'A groundhog, not a beaver, Anthony'
(GMM) While the rest of the specialist media obsesses about Lewis Hamilton, or Robert Kubica's miraculous Montreal escape, a corner of the Canadian press is concerned with a much more pedantic detail.

Anthony Davidson told reporters after Sunday's race that a now very deceased beaver had damaged the front wing of his Super Aguri and his chance of a podium finish.

A journalist for Canada's National Post, however, says the Briton committed a "wildlife identification error" -- Davidson's road-kill was a groundhog, not a beaver.

"A beaver? Give me a break. I think the last time there was a beaver in Montreal was 1649," said grand prix spokesman Normand Prieur.

"This is all because of (British journalists) who have probably never seen a beaver in their lives."

Prier said officials captured many groundhogs - but clearly not all of them - in the vicinity of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the weeks before the event. More ...

Audi fights for seventh Le Mans victory  On 16/17 June 2007 AUDI AG will again tackle one of motorsport’s biggest challenges of all: With three prototypes, Audi Sport Team Joest will be contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most demanding car race that will be staged for the 75th time this year.
Since 2000, Audi has been the brand to be beaten at Le Mans. Five victories with the Audi R8 that became a legend in its own time were followed by the historic first triumph of a diesel sportscar – the Audi R10 TDI – in its Le Mans début in June 2006.
Despite modified regulations, which prescribe tanks for diesel cars this year that are ten percent smaller than those of prototypes powered by petrol engines, the squad of Audi Head of Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich is banking again on the performance capabilities and the reliability of Audi TDI Power in the French endurance classic. For the first time, the Audi R10 TDI will have to compete against another diesel sportscar: the Peugeot 908. More ...
Kubica given 'all clear' in Canada  (GMM)  Robert Kubica, wearing casual clothes are barely sporting even a limp, checked out of a Montreal hospital on Monday and vowed to be fit for Sunday's US grand prix at Indianapolis before driving away in a BMW road car.

A spokesman for his team said: "The doctors here have given him the all-clear to race."

The mandatory 'black box' aboard his destroyed single seater, however, showed a 28g impact at nearly 90 degrees, and Kubica's mild concussion means that Sebastian Vettel or Timo Glock could still be called up to take his place.

And "the peak value (of the impact) would be clearly higher than 28g, given the damage to the chassis", a BMW engineer added.

"In my day, if you had a crash like that, you would be dead, no doubt about it," Niki Lauda, who nearly died in a similar head-on crash back in 1976, said.

22-year-old Kubica must on Thursday complete a 25-minute examination by the FIA's doctors, where his reaction time, co-ordination and mental capacities will be compared with a 'control' test that all drivers undergo each season.

He said in a press huddle outside the Sacre-Coeur hospital: "I'm in quite good shape and I'm hoping (to be) going to Indianapolis if the doctors say it is ok.

"Mario Theissen and other team members came to visit me and also thanks to Jarno Trulli who came as well."

Poland's Kubica said he had not yet decided if he wanted to watch replays of the crash.

"I saw it when I was in the car," he said with a slight smile.

Stuck doubts Kubica fit to race  (GMM)  Robert Kubica wants to return to the cockpit of his BMW-Sauber at Indianapolis -- but former formula one driver Hans-Joachim Stuck isn't sure it's wise.

"I am not surprised that he wants to drive," Stuck is quoted as saying by Bild newspaper, after Pole Kubica, 22, left hospital at noon on Monday.

"He is extremely ambitious and we all want to drive.  But desire and reality sometimes lie far apart."

Kubica's 230kph impact with an unprotected concrete wall on Sunday left him with mild concussion and a sore ankle.

And given that he briefly lost consciousness as he was being attended by doctors, Stuck said FIA officials are unlikely to agree with physicians in the Montreal hospital who declared Kubica fit to race.

"I can't imagine that they will expose him to the risk -- Indianapolis is not a playground."

BMW-Sauber has until 4pm (local) on Thursday to nominate its drivers for the US grand prix.

industry news
Moulton denies bid for Ford’s luxury car unit  Jon Moulton, the venture capitalist who tried and failed to buy car maker MG Rover, has said he is not preparing a £3bn bid for Ford Motor ’s Land Rover and Jaguar luxury car brands, denying a report in yesterday’s CityAM newspaper. “It’s not on our deal list,” Moulton, the managing partner of Alchemy Partners , said in an interview. “There have been no discussions. I’m interested only at an emotional level.”

CityAM said Moulton was preparing a £3bn bid. Ford has hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to sell the premier car unit, which includes Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, the newspaper said. Business Day

industry news
Vehicle sales in China rise at fastest pace  Vehicle sales rose at the fastest pace in four months as economic growth increased demand in the world's second largest vehicle market.  Sales gained 25.3% to 713,600 cars, buses and trucks in May, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in an e-mailed statement. Total vehicle production rose 22% to 710,200 units. Commercial vehicle sales rose 30% during the month to 225,100. 

China's 11.1% economic growth in the first quarter is fuelling demand for trucks at Foton Motor Co and Dongfeng Motor Group Co to transport goods within the country and move cargo to ports. The growth in May was the 27th straight year-on-year advance. 

In the first five months, vehicle sales rose 22% to 3.65 million units, while production expanded 21% to 3.72 million. Passenger car production, including sport utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles, rose 20% to 2.62 million units.

F1 trumps NASCAR's diversity program  Lewis Hamilton drove home his point to the planet Sunday: He is not just Formula One's first black driver, but its best and most brilliant rookie ever.

Winning the Canadian Grand Prix with ease, the 22-year-old Briton became the first driver of African descent to win a major automobile race, ever, anywhere.

Taking sole possession of the world championship points lead, Hamilton hurtled on, relentlessly, toward becoming a Tiger Woods on wheels.

"This is history," he told international media at Montreal after Sunday's landmark win, simply stating and accepting the fact of his role as the news flashed around the world.

In 1963, when the late Wendell Scott became the only black driver to win a NASCAR race (an obscure one at that on a Jacksonville dirt track), his victory wasn't even announced to the crowd. Buck Baker, who actually finished two laps behind Scott, was declared the winner on the spot.

Only days later, in a news release, did NASCAR reveal the truth.

Hamilton's win was, if anything, overdue. His McLaren-Mercedes team was already in trouble with the FIA, Formula One's governing body, for bridling him in the last race, the May 27 Grand Prix of Monaco. There, he finished second to teammate Fernando Alonso, even after the "slow down" order.

Through six F1 races, his worst finish is third in the season opener in Australia. Since then it is an understatement to say he has finished no worse than second. From Malaysia to Monaco, he has driven more brilliantly than the results indicate.

Sunday at Montreal, it wasn't nearly as close as Hamilton's 4.3-second margin of victory over Germany's Nick Heidfeld indicated. Hamilton led most of the time by more than five seconds.

Nowadays, NASCAR, operating under the mantra, "We want to look more like America," is pushing its Drive for Diversity program. But even its most promising minority drivers are still deep in the pipeline, years away from groundbreaking success.

Formula One has driven onto NASCAR's home continent and won the race to diversity in a runaway. More at Orlando Sentinel

Cup teams test at Milwaukee  Several Nextel Cup Series teams will be testing at The Milwaukee Mile June 12, 13 and 14 testing the COT in preparation for New Hampshire on July 1st. Teams planning on testing: Hendrick Motorsports Mears and Busch on Tues & Wed., Hall of Fame Racing Raines on Tues & Wed.; Evernham Motorsports Riggs and Sadler on Tues & Wed; Joe Gibbs Racing, unknown car#'s/drivers on Tues & Wed; DEI, unknown car#'s/drivers on Wed & Thu.; Ginn Racing Marlin on Thur.; Roush Fenway Racing Biffle and possibly other teams on Thur.; and Ganassi Racing, unknown car#'s/drivers on Wed & Thur. Free admission to grandstands 9:00-5:00pm/et.  More at milwaukeemile.com PR
Jeff Gordon’s plane safe  Rumors that an airplane carrying a NASCAR driver went down in Pennsylvania Monday are not true. The air control tower at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA heard a "Mayday" from an aircraft in trouble at 8:15 this morning. But Federal Aviation Administration officials told the state emergency operations center that there are no airplanes down in Pennsylvania this morning. FAA officials said the search for the downed aircraft has moved to Delaware and Virginia. The Wilmington News Journal reports in an online news item that a search today in Kent County, Del., turned up no downed plane. The rumor, which apparently started in northeastern Pennsylvania, said the aircraft was believed to belong to NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. However, John Edwards, Gordon's press spokesman, said Gordon's airplane is sitting safely in its hanger. Patriot News
Rookie's F1 success prompts ticket rush  Ticket sales for next month's British Grand Prix have rocketed following Lewis Hamilton's maiden Formula One victory in Canada on Sunday.

Hamilton is eight points clear of McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso at the top of the World Drivers' Championship standings after claiming podium finishes in the first six races of his debut season

And Silverstone Circuits managing director Richard Phillips said: "The reaction to his win in Canada has been amazing. We haven't seen this level of interest since Mansell-mania in the late 80s and early 90s.

"Ticket sales have been selling steadily since the start of the season, but demand has gone through the roof in recent weeks."

Montagny admits eye on Ralf's cockpit  (GMM) Franck Montagny is staking a claim for his beleaguered colleague Ralf Schumacher's race seat.

The team's French test driver watched the Canadian grand prix from the pitwall, and has been linked with rumors that Schumacher is currently driving under a two-race deadline to up his game.

Montagny was asked by the Spanish news agency EFE if he could rise into the sister TF107 alongside Jarno Trulli at his home grand prix in Magny Cours next month.

"If Ralf is not there, I will be in the car," he coyly replied.

It is not impossible that Schumacher will be asked to depart the Japanese camp, after Toyota similarly gave Cristiano da Matta his mid-season marching orders in 2004.

RTL, however, quoted the German as saying: "I have a contract and I know that I will finish the season for Toyota."

Ralf, though, admitted that he is also looking around at his options for 2008.

"Exactly the same as Toyota are, because it is the professional thing to do," he insisted. "There are some other options for us."

Schumacher suggested that driver performance should not be the highest priority for Toyota in 2007.

"First we have to build a competitive car that does not break over the curbs and can ride into the top ten," the Cologne newspaper Express quoted him as saying.

"Once we do that, then they can worry about secondary things like how the drivers are going."

Ferrari missing Schu, Brawn - Lauda  (GMM) Ferrari's current performance slump proves that the Italian team is missing Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher.

That is the advice of former Ferrari driver and triple world champion Niki Lauda, who said the Maranello based team enjoyed a good start to 2007 because of its existing relationship with monopoly tire supplier Bridgestone.

"That is my impression," the Austrian legend, who now commentates for German television, told Auto Motor und Sport.

Lauda added: "But now McLaren has caught up with a better car. Honestly, I do not see the factors with which Ferrari can come back now.

"It was always clear that, sooner or later, they would start to really miss the absent guys like Brawn and Schumacher."

tv news
24 Hours of Le Mans, F1, NASCAR Trucks Highlight Huge SPEED Weekend  As part of a huge racing week on SPEED, the definitive motor sports and automotive network will deliver its 12th consecutive year of coverage from the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans and the historic Circuit de la Sarthe, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET on June 16. SPEED will deliver 17.5 hours live, including the final 13.5 hours of the iconic endurance event.

“Synonymous with motor sport is Le Mans,” said Rick Miner, SPEED SVP of Production & Network Operations. “One of the great historic motor sports events in the world teamed with SPEED’s world-class coverage will headline a great weekend of racing on the network.”

The SPEED on-air team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be led by Leigh Diffey and Greg Creamer handling play-by-play, Dorsey Schroeder and Calvin Fish providing color commentary and Brian Till, Chris Neville, Andrew Marriott and Justin Bell reporting from the pits. More ...

Danica does Playboy  IRL Indy Car driver Danica Patrick is in the latest issue of Playboy.  She's in the 20 Questions segment.  She has a nice pose though on top of a stack of Firestones.  Nothing racy or even remotely sexual to the questions. It's pretty much the same old things she has said before.
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