Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)

Hamilton wants Alonso to quit McLaren
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton says he does not want Fernando Alonso to remain his teammate next year.

The British rookie, who shares the front row with his McLaren colleague and championship rival in Japan, capped off a weekend of verbal assaults against the Spaniard by telling British newspapers that his bosses should only keep loyal drivers on board.

Asked directly if he would like Alonso, who is under contract also for 2008, to occupy the sister McLaren next year, 22-year-old Hamilton said at Fuji Speedway: "No, I don't.

"I mean, if the team wants to keep him they keep him, but I'm here to stay as long as they want me.

"This season has helped reconfirm in my mind where I want to be, where I want to live out my career, and that is here.  I'm really happy and comfortable here.

Read more & Comment...

Earnhardt Jr. expected to test new No. 88 car at AMS
NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected to test the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet during a two-day Car Of Tomorrow test at Atlanta Motor Speedway and track officials will give fans the opportunity to be the first to see him on the track in his new ride.

Earnhardt Jr. and his new No. 88 crew are one of up to 50 teams expected to participate in the full two-day test on Oct. 29 and 30 following the Pep Boys Auto 500 NEXTEL Cup race. Fans who present a ticket stub from the Oct. 28 event will be granted free admission to both days of the test. Gate 14 in the Earnhardt Grandstand will open with the start of testing at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m.

Fans in attendance will also have an opportunity to register to win guided garage tours and other prizes each day of the test.


Busch nips Kenseth in thrilling Kansas finish
Kyle Busch survived a pit road speeding penalty and a 13-lap shootout with polesitter Matt Kenseth to win Saturday's Yellow Transportation 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway.
In a race that saw 27 green flag passes for the lead, Busch and Kenseth dueled side-by-side through the closing laps at the 1.5-mile speedway, but Kenseth's bid to pass Busch to the inside on the final circuit fell just short, and Busch's No. 5 Chevrolet crossed the finish line .085 seconds ahead of Kenseth's No. 17 Ford.
Casey Mears came home third, followed by Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray. Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Jeff Burton, Brian Vickers and Greg Biffle completed the top 10.
It was a bittersweet third victory in the series this season for Busch, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports for Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the season.
"It's a testament to this team," said Busch, who was penalized for speeding on pit road under caution and restarted from the rear on Lap 96. "It's going to be sad here at the end, but I'm enjoying it right now."

Read more & Comment...

Pickett pleased with Road Atlanta changes
Greg Pickett’s first laps around Road Atlanta in more than a decade weren’t quite what he had remembered. And that’s a good thing as the team owner and driver of Team Cytosport’s AER-powered Lola is preparing for the 10th running of Petit Le Mans.

“I think it was about 12 years ago, before Don Panoz bought the track and certainly before the improvements,” said Pickett, who has competed in both Trans-Am and IMSA in his distinguished career. “I had heard a lot of things about the track but to see it first-hand is fantastic. My hat’s off to Don and what he has done. It’s a true world-class facility.”

Pickett will team with Klaus Graf and 2006 podium finisher Memo Gidley in the Cytosport Lola. The team has finished in the top three in each of its starts this year in the American Le Mans Series.

The Lola was down into the 1:11.5 range in testing at the track, which continues to be lightning fast following a winter repaving. Times were quick throughout the field with B-K Motorsports’ Lola P2 entry just 0.5 seconds off last year’s class qualifying mark. Four GT2 cars were under last year’s class pole time of 1:22.422, set by Ralf Kelleners in a Risi Competizione Ferrari.

“The backstretch is a bit different,” Pickett said of the changes in the track since his last race. “It adds an entirely new dimension with a couple of new passing zones. The run down the hill and into Turn 12 is flat in sixth gear in this car. Turn 1 is amazing too. We picked up a lot of time there.”

The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta, is set for 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 6. SPEED will provide live coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 10 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.


First GP2 win for Russian
Russian Vitaly Petrov scored his first victory in the GP2 Series at Valencia on Saturday. It the biggest international motorsport win for a Russian driver. In the championship race, Timo Glock (iSport) is virtually assured of the title after finishing seventh, while rival Lucas di Grassi (ART) crashed out. They are now separated by four points with a maximum of seven possible points to win tomorrow.



Pos  Driver           Team                       Time/Behind
 1.  V. Petrov        Campos Grand Prix          1h05:20.497
 2.  G. Pantano       Campos Grand Prix               +2.495
 3.  K. Nakajima      DAMS                            +2.541
 4.  M. Martinez      Racing Engineering             +51.658
 5.  B. Garcia        Durango                      +1:20.832
 6.  A. Soucek        DPR                             +1 lap
 7.  T. Glock         iSport International            +1 lap
 8.  J. Villa         Racing Engineering              +1 lap
 9.  M. Aleshin       ART Grand Prix                  +1 lap
10.  F. Albuquerque   Arden International             +1 lap
11.  H. Tung          BCN Competicion                 +1 lap
12.  A. Zuber         iSport International            +1 lap
13.  J. Tahinci       FMS International               +1 lap
14.  M. Niemela       BCN Competicion                 +1 lap
15.  A. Negrao        Minardi Piquet Sports           +1 lap
16.  M. Conway        Super Nova International       +2 laps
17.  K. Chandhok      Durango                        +2 laps
18.  L. Filippi       Super Nova International       +5 laps


     B. Senna         Arden International            23 laps
     S. Hernandez     Trident Racing                 16 laps
     A. Carroll       FMS International               8 laps
     K. Hirate        Trident Racing                  7 laps
     L. Di Grassi     ART Grand Prix                  5 laps
     R. Rodriguez     Minardi Piquet Sports           4 laps
     C. Bakkerud      DPR                             3 laps
     N. Lapierre      DAMS                            0 laps

Fastest lap: Chandok, 1:22.336


Johnson chokes, crashes pole car
Jimmie Johnson bobbled, spun and tapped the wall between turns 3 and 4 during final practice for the Nextel Cup Series LifeLock 400 on Saturday, requiring his team to pull out a backup car at Kansas Speedway.

As a result, the polesitter for Sunday's race will now start from the rear of the field. 

"I just lost it getting into Turn 3," Johnson said. "The car was kind of loose. I thought it was coming to me and so I started opening up my entry into the corners and it just got out from underneath me getting into Turn 3.

"We definitely didn't need that. The car we've got [as the backup] is the car we won California with. I'll have to start in the back but this track is wide and good. And we can race anywhere. I really don't have any big concerns besides getting run over [from] behind us."

Though the damage to his primary car was not major, the team deemed it necessary to use a backup and immediately went into action after the wreck occurred. Johnson, who was uninjured, was in the seat and the engine was fired with 35 minutes left in practice.

"The damage ... is more significant than it may look from a cosmetic standpoint," Hendrick Motorsports Vice President Doug Duchardt said. "The entire left side of the car is caved in, so basically it is wrecked. We asked NASCAR and they said we could pull out the backup car.

"Aero here at Kansas is very important and given the option to use a backup car that we know is 100 percent, even to start in the back, is the best option in the Chase."


Spyker shareholders approve sale
Dutch sports car maker Spyker Cars NV said on Saturday its shareholders had approved the sale of its Formula One team as part of its refinancing operations.

But it did not say whether the sale would go ahead. Earlier this month Spyker announced it would sell its loss-making Formula One team to a group which includes Indian businessman Vijay Mallya for 88 million euros (61 million pounds).

Read more & Comment...

South Africa takes double pole
The Netherlands - A1 Team South Africa dominated qualifying at Circuit Park Zandvoort this afternoon to take pole position for tomorrow's Sprint and Feature races at the AquaSP A1GP Zandvoort, The Netherlands.

The weather conditions remained wet and windy at Zandvoort as the thrilling new qualifying format got underway this afternoon. South Africa's Adrian Zaugg set the fastest lap time overall during the first two 15-minute sessions which put him on pole for the Sprint race for the second consecutive year. Zaugg snatched the top spot from A1 Team France in the closing stages of Q2 and Loic Duval was unable to fight back as he spun off during his final flying lap.

The Frenchman will start the Sprint race from second position on the grid, followed by A1 Team Mexico and Switzerland in third and fourth place respectively on row two. Duval, who will start the Feature race from fifth place, said: 'I pushed a bit too hard at turn five and the track was getting drier and the car was set up for the wet so I don't know if I could have been faster than him (Zaugg) in Q2 anyway, but it's not a bad result to be on the first row for the first race and I will try to win it. Our car was really good in the rain but not so good in the dry conditions. We're starting the Feature race from fifth and we have two compulsory pit stops this year so anything can happen.'

Read more & Comment...

Panoz: Petit has grown up
When Don Panoz steps on the grounds of Road Atlanta for the first time at this year’s Petit Le Mans, he will do so with the same pride and joy that a father feels looking at his grown-up child. The annual 1,000-mile/10-hour sports car race in Braselton, Ga., has matured into one of the world’s most prestigious sports car races, one of only two in the world where winners earn automatic entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It has been that way since the first Petit Le Mans on October 10, 1998. And if Dr. Panoz has anything to say about it, that will continue far in to the future. Oh, and the other race that grants automatic berths to the 24 Hours? None other than Le Mans itself.

But how did a Georgia entrepreneur who had never been to Le Mans before 1997 broker such a historic agreement with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organizing body of Le Mans? Panoz says it wasn’t easy – far from it.

“That came together in Suzuka, Japan when our cars were racing there with Jean-Paul Driot in the FIA GT race,” Dr. Panoz explains. “I was doing one of the things that everyone talks about theoretically in sports car racing; it all sounds good but never works. People had so many agendas with their own series and their own little niches in the market that makes it almost impossible.”

Read more & Comment...

Dennis advises drivers to focus on racing
(GMM) Ron Dennis has advised his drivers to stop bickering in the press and focus "all their energy" on winning the world championship.

McLaren is out of contention for the constructors' title, but Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are the leading contenders to wear the drivers' crown.

But, particularly at the Fuji Speedway this weekend, Hamilton seems to have taken a leaf out of his Spanish colleague's book by turning their battle into a psychological one as he meets daily with reporters in the paddock.

Near the end of an incredibly controversial season for his Woking based outfit, however, team boss Dennis advised them both to now re-focus on the circuit.

"My view to both drivers is that all their energy should be focused on doing their jobs and competing fairly against each other," the Briton said in Japan.

Read more & Comment...

IRL purse payout less now than in 1996
The IRL's Brian Barnhart said earlier this week that what the league paid for this year's season-ending race "is basically" what was handed out for the inaugural race in 1996.   
Actually, it's less.

At that first Walt Disney World Speedway race in Orlando, Fla., the IRL distributed $1,078,500, with Buzz Calkins' winning team receiving $122,500. Dario Franchitti won this year's season-ending race at Chicagoland Speedway and received a check of $111,400, part of a $1,026,000 purse.

The league's revamped 2008 earnings distribution plan will be officially announced Tuesday.


Champ Car’s Jani sets pace in Saturday practice
The Netherlands - A1 Team Switzerland stormed to the top of the time sheets in free practice for the AquaSP A1GP Zandvoort, The Netherlands today, as the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season finally got underway in wet and overcast conditions.

Neel Jani, on his first outing at Circuit Park Zandvoort, recorded the fastest lap of the day around the 2.6 mile circuit with a time of 1m45.090s. The Swiss driver - who has won two A1GP races to date - set the impressive lap time half way through the second session and held off A1 Team France, who have been on fine form all day, for the remainder of the one hour 10 minute session.

Jani is pleased with the team's performance so far and is looking forward to a challenging qualifying session this afternoon: 'It was a good session, we tried a lot of things and obviously it's my first time running at Zandvoort so I'm still learning the track a bit. The car is not running bad but I think it will be very hard to get it together for this one lap if it's wet in qualifying, so a lot of it will come down to luck today.'

Having snatched the top spot from A1 Team Mexico in the closing seconds of practice one, France's Loic Duval finished the second session just over three tenths off Jani's session-topping time. The Frenchman said: 'It's going well for the moment, but we will see this afternoon if the track conditions are different. I did the rookie session here last year and I've done some Formula 3 races here too - it's a nice track but I would have preferred dry conditions obviously.'

Read more & Comment...

McDonalds dumps Team Rensi
Team Rensi Motorsports, which challenged for the Busch Series title in 2003 with Bobby Hamilton Jr., is looking for sponsors for both of its cars for 2008.
Team president Ronnie Russell confirmed Friday that the team will lose McDonald's and FreeCreditReport.com as sponsors of its cars.

Russell said the team is actively looking for sponsorship for the No. 35 car and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and also looking for sponsorship and a driver for the No. 25 car (driven this year by David Gilliland and Richard Johns).

"We need sponsors for both cars," Russell said. "At this point, we don't have anything signed. We do have some activity. ... We've been in Busch racing since 1999, and this is the closest we've come to not knowing whether we're going to be around or not."


Carmakers send engine deal letter to Bernie
(GMM) The car manufacturers in formula one have unanimously informed Bernie Ecclestone of their agreement to new engine regulations for 2010.

It was reported recently that a deal had been struck between the FIA president and the six engine manufacturers to introduce an energy recovery system that reuses energy stored under braking in the form of an 80 horse power 'boost button'.

Auto Motor und Sport said on Saturday that BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Toyota wrote up their agreement in a letter and sent it to F1's chief executive.

Their agreed new formula involves 675 horse power V8 engines that, from 2010, will have to last for four races without being changed, rather than the current two.

The small teams will benefit by receiving guaranteed customer engine supplies for no more than 10m euros a year.

Honda's desire that the 'engine freeze' regulations be freed to allow for one significant development step per season, however, was reportedly rejected and not included in the letter to Ecclestone.


Wally Parks dead at 94
Wally Parks, the driving force behind the formation of NHRA, has died at the age of 94. It was Parks' vision, goals and unconditional commitment to the need for speed and side-by-side racing in a safer, more controlled environment that created what is today the world's largest motorsports governing body.

"Today is a sad day in the world of NHRA and the sport of drag racing," said Tom Compton, president of NHRA. "Words simply can't describe the immeasurable impact Wally has had on the sport he created and the millions of people's lives he touched along the way. The name Wally Parks is synonymous with drag racing, and his vision and direction will guide NHRA for years to come. 

Everyone in drag racing, and the industries formed to service the sport, will forever be indebted to Wally, his vision, his focus and his desire to create, build and grow NHRA."

Read more & Comment...
Industry News

GM Diesel-Electric Concept Vehicle
General Motors (GM) revealed its latest electric concept vehicle, the Opel Flextreme, at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Sept. 2007. The diesel-electric car was initially conceived at the GM Russelsheim Design Center. The show also highlights GM’s E-Flex system and provide information on the design cues that influenced the trademarked FlexDoors, as well as other vehicle features. Video: Opel Flextreme


Nakajima claims first pole in Valencia
Kazuki Nakajima has taken his first ever GP2 pole position in qualifying today at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, just pipping Timo Glock and Luca Filippi in a session which saw the top three separated by just a tenth of a second.

The Japanese driver's lap of 1:19.312 claimed the top spot in a torrid session which saw the timesheets ticking over constantly in the early part of the session, with the drivers mostly unable to match the early intensity in the closing stages of the session.

Title contender Lucas di Grassi set the early running despite a scare when Mike Conway ran wide in front of the Brazilian, and held onto the top spot when the red flags were brought out as a result of Andi Zuber stopping on the front straight as the marshals swarmed on track to retrieve the stricken car.

Read more & Comment...

Star Mazda Championship prize money approaches $1.5M
Over the past seventeen years, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has grown into one of the most prolific, successful and richest driver development series in all of auto racing.

Many top drivers began, or accelerated, their careers in the Star Mazda Championship. Recent alumni include such top open-wheel racers as Champ Car star Graham Rahal, IRL standout Marco Andretti and American F1 driver Scott Speed. Also on the list is Michael McDowell, the 2004 Star Mazda champion who has raced Champ Cars, Daytona Prototypes and is now battling to become the ARCA stock car champion in his rookie year. And the 2005 Star Mazda Champion, Raphael Matos, graduated via the Mazda Motorsports Ladder to the Champ Car Atlantic series, won the 2007 championship and will move up to Champ Car in 2008.

Read more & Comment...

Fellows pink helmet to be auctioned off
October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" and no one is more aware of the travails of breast cancer than Ron and Lynda Fellows who recently lost a close friend to the dreaded disease. As a result, Fellows who will race October 6 at Petit Le Mans with Corvette teammates Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnusson and attempt to win his second Petit Le Mans, is making a special contribution.

"It's something Lynda and I have talked about. It hits close to home with some close friends of ours," said Fellows. "When I saw what Nancy and Don were doing, I talked to my helmet painter and the people at Bell and we got it done in a hurry. This is simply a small contribution that Lynda and I are making, hopefully to help raise awareness." 

Read more & Comment...

Tung will give demo in a BMW-Sauber F1 car
Ho-Pin Tung (24) will soon be sitting again behind the steering wheel of a Formula One car as the BMW Sauber F1 Team invited the Chinese driver to give the racing fans a F1 demo in Shanghai in Pit Lane Park. The BMW Sauber F1 team will have the Pit Lane Park in tow for the last time this season as it heads for the Formula One weekend in China. This high-tech event park will be set up at the Shanghai International Circuit complex between 5th and 7th October to welcome all racing fans for a close-up experience of motor sport’s crowning discipline. Local hero Ho-Pin Tung (CHN) will be propelling a BMW Sauber F1 Team race car along a 90-metre section of track. In 2003 Tung was the first Chinese to be given the opportunity of an F1 test as a prize for winning the Formula BMW Asia championship.

“I can hardly wait to get back behind the wheel of a Formula One car,” says 24-year-old Tung. “When BMW granted me my first test drive four years ago, I had absolutely no doubt that I wanted to get into Formula One. I’m working very hard to achieve that goal, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to giving my compatriots an experience of the BMW Sauber F1 Team car right up close. I’m sure the Pit Lane Park will be a unique event not just for me but for all those who visit it.”

Read more & Comment...

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Qualifying goes ahead at murky Mt. Fuji
  • News in brief from Fuji: Saturday
  • Ralf says Yamamoto crash a normal incident
  • Weather could worsen at gloomy Fuji

Qualifying goes ahead at murky Mt. Fuji
(GMM)  A murky Fuji Speedway hosted qualifying on Saturday, but only after plenty of uncertainty about whether the conditions would allow it.

Morning practice had been called off because the medical helicopter could not fly in the low cloud, and the weather had not substantially improved at 2pm.

The cars did exit the pits as scheduled, but only after stewards had busily devised contingency plans -- including the possibility of Sunday morning qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton narrowly captured pole from his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, and said he wouldn't mind if Japan stays wet for the race.

"I hope it is, but I'm not bothered either way," said the Briton.

News in brief from Fuji: Saturday
(GMM)  After running with a McLaren-esque 'bridge' innovation on the front wings on Friday, Honda reverted to a more conventional bodywork setup for qualifying at Fuji Speedway.

Reports suggested that a special aerodynamic package, tested at Jerez last week and devised for the Japanese grand prix, had failed.

"Unfortunately most of the parts did not work well," the Japanese marque's Yasuhiro Wada confirmed.

Read more & Comment...
tv news

Bourdais to be on Wind Tunnel UPDATE #2 A reminder that Sebastien Bourdais will be the featured interview on Wind Tunnel on Sunday night, September 30.  Steve Matchett, Formula One expert analyst, will also be a guest.

09/26/07 Bourdais currently leads the point standings by 58 over second place Justin Wilson (301-243) with two events remaining in Australia and Mexico City.  No Champ Car driver has ever won four straight titles. Four in a row is very rare in professional sports.  In fact it has never been done in either NASCAR or the NFL and it hasn’t been accomplished in the last twenty years in the NBA, NHL or MLB.

09/23/07 Sebastien Bourdais, the reigning 3-times Champ Car World Series champion, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, will be the featured interview on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain next Sunday night, September 30, 2007.  With two races remaining in the Champ Car World Series, Sebastien is looking forward to wrapping up his fourth consecutive championship in Australia next month.  Bourdais will move to the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team next season.  Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs live on the SPEED channel Sunday night at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET.


Alonso not surprised after Hamilton outburst
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has refused to rise to the bait of his teammate Lewis Hamilton's provocative comments at the scene of the Japanese grand prix.

McLaren rookie and championship leader Hamilton launched two separate verbal attacks on his Spanish colleague and rival at the Fuji Speedway; one on Thursday and again in conversation with British reporters on Friday.

In the second, 22-year-old Hamilton answered "no" when asked if Alonso had been loyal enough to his team in 2007.

"Obviously I have an opinion, but I prefer not to say it," Alonso told the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

He suggested, however, that he was not surprised to read Lewis' comments in the press.

"Perhaps not after Hungary, when there were the discussions with the stewards," he said, presumably referring to rumors at the time that Hamilton had personally asked the FIA to penalize Alonso for a qualifying pitstop incident.

Pointing out McLaren's constant references to equality, Alonso said he would not hesitate to speak out if he detects any deeper ructions within his ranks.

"By all means, by all means," he said simply.

"On the sporting side I am more comfortable than ever. I know the tires better, the car, and I feel very good."

Alonso's former Renault colleague Denis Chevrier, meanwhile, said in Japan that he doesn't think the new teammates' row at McLaren is going to affect the outcome of the title chase.

"I believe that Fernando will win the title," he said, "because he is better in the sense than he can win with a car that is not necessarily the best one.

"Lewis wins, but only when the car is at its most competitive."


IndyCar Series teams to test at Barber
The IndyCar® Series has scheduled a one-day Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on Oct. 12.

The Open Test will mark the series' first visit to the 2.38-mile, 16-turn road course, which plays host annually to the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the AMA Superbike Championship.

The IndyCar Series will use the test as an opportunity for teams and drivers to have additional post-season track time as well as allow league technical officials to evaluate potential road-course modifications to cars for 2008. 

Read more & Comment...

Practice called off at Fuji
(GMM)  The final pre-qualifying practice session at Fuji Speedway on Saturday was abandoned by race control due to bad weather.

After four minutes of running following a half-hour delay due to low-lying cloud, the FIA officials issued two further five-minute delays before calling off the session at 11.53.

The problem was that the cloud, in the shadow of the famous Mount Fuji, made it dangerous for the medical helicopter to fly.

"Going straight into qualifying like this is not ideal," Williams' Nico Rosberg told the German broadcaster Premiere.  "You don't know where the rivers of water are and so on, but it is the same for everyone."

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh suggested that his team's weatherman thinks the conditions are unlikely to be very different for qualifying.

"Yesterday we were pretty strong, so we are not all that concerned," he said.  "Who is competitive now will stay competitive."


Ecclestone hoping for controversial end to 2007
It appears that Bernie Ecclestone is hoping for even more controversy to finish off the incident riddled, publicity generating 2007 Formula one championship season after stating that an on track coming together of the two McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who are currently leading the world championship, would generate a lot of publicity.

Speaking to the Times, Ecclestone admitted that he would love to see more on track battles such as the ones between classic McLaren teammates, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna back in the '80s and that what we were witnessing right now between the two drivers from Woking could be a very similar situation.

“Imagine if that happened on the last lap of the last race, then the guy that was leading at the time, points-wise, would be the winner. So it would be a controversial end to the championship.”

The scene has already been set for a major battle after the first lap bantering between the duo at the recent Belgian Grand Prix. While Alonso denied that he deliberately pushed his teammate onto the grass, even Ecclestone agreed with Hamilton’s version…..

“I think he [Alonso] tried to take him off – well, it looked like it, didn’t it?” he said.


Bad weather delays Fuji practice
(GMM)  The final pre-qualifying practice session at Fuji Speedway has been reduced by at least half an hour due to bad weather.

After the formula one fraternity arrived to a sodden paddock and fog on Saturday morning, the 60-minute session at 11am (local) was initially delayed by race control for fifteen minutes because it was unsafe for the medical helicopter to fly.

Race control then extended the delay for a further quarter-hour when visibility had not improved by 11.15.

The session is now due to start at 11.30, meaning that practice will only take place for half of the originally scheduled hour.


Heidfeld wants practice in bad weather
(GMM)  Saturday practice finally got underway at a wet Fuji Speedway at 11.30am, but after three drivers completed flying laps in four minutes of running, the red flags were waved.

Race control said the conditions, specifically the low-lying clouds, had again grounded the medical helicopter.

Every car except Kimi Raikkonen had exited the pits for installation laps, but only Alex Wurz, Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli set lap times.

With midday approaching, it is now feared that the conditions might remain the same for the entire day, including qualifying at 2pm.

The pit lane is due to be reopened at 11.45, giving runners a maximum of just 15 minutes of practice.

"It's really unfortunate but we would gladly drive," BMW's Nick Heidfeld told the German broadcaster Premiere, "because the conditions this afternoon and tomorrow could be exactly the same."


Ralf under fire
Ralf Schumacher is having a miserable time at the moment. Things are not going well with Toyota. There does not seem to much interest for his future - even in DTM - and now Ralf has People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is after him for hunting deer in Serbia. Ralf was sent a letter by the world's largest animal rights group telling him that he should have more respect for animals.

"We hope that, in the future, you will follow the fine example of your brother, Michael," the organization wrote, "not only with regard to winning races but also with regard to being kind to animals."

The organization added that "we ask that if you do badly in this upcoming race, as you did in Italy, you use a punching bag or another inanimate object to take out any frustration you may feel and be decent enough to leave animals out of it." Grandprix.com


Walker Racing tests new talent for 2008
Preparations have begun for the upcoming 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda as Walker Racing completed the second day of many tests to come this off-season.  The Indianapolis based squad tested Atlantic hopefuls from the Star Mazda Series, Alex Ardoin and Ron White, at Putnam Park Road Course in Mount Meridian, Indiana yesterday and today.

“We started our test program for the 2008 season with our colleagues, Performance Friction Brakes, in an effort to test Star Mazda talent who are looking to get into Champ Car Atlantic for next year.  Our main objective was to have a test that gives these drivers an introduction not only to the car and the series, but to the team as well, and we fulfilled that goal,” stated Derrick Walker, Walker Racing Owner.

Walker Racing and Performance Friction Brakes announced at the beginning of September that they formed a strategic partnership to help talented youth reach the pinnacle of the sport in an attempt to give back to the open wheel community.  This week’s test was the first of several to come as the two parties began their search for a hopeful driver.  

Read more & Comment...

Dover TV ratings down UPDATE #2 The final TV rating for last weekend's Nextel Cup race on ABC was a 3.5/7 share, down 8% from last year's 3.8 final rating on cable channel TNT.

09/24/07 ABC earned a 3.5 fast national overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday’s NASCAR Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover Int’l Speedway, the second race in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.  The rating, which translates into 5.5 million viewers, is up 12.9% from a 3.1 U.S. overnight rating for the race last year on TNT.  Viewership was also up 16.7% from 4.7 million viewers last year.  So they got more viewers on a network channel than a cable channel.  Does NASCAR think this is progress?  They need to compare apples to apples, not network to cable.  Again the final last year was a 3.8.

09/24/07 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge Dealers 400 on ABC Sunday was a 3.3.  Last year we had no overnight 'cable' ratings to compare it with, but the final last year on TNT was a 3.8. 


Tickets still available for Talladega races
Talladega Superspeedway officials announced that tickets are still available for the Oct. 5-7 UAW-Ford 500 Event Weekend, including $60 two-day tickets that feature admission to the Mountain Dew 250 Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday and the UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup Series race on Sunday. The entire weekend feature's 1,000 miles of racing at NASCAR's Most Competitive Track and has quickly grown into one of the most exciting weekends on the NASCAR circuit. To order tickets, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA (1-877-462-3342). TSS PR


Nominated drivers for A1GP opener
A1 Team Driver 1 Driver 2
Australia  Ian Dyk 
Brazil  Sergio Jimenez 
Canada  James Hinchcliffe 
China  Congfu Cheng 
Czech Republic  Erik Janis 
France  Loic Duval 
Germany  Christian Vietoris 
Great Britain  Oliver Jarvis 
India  Narain Karthikeyan 
Indonesia  Satrio Hermanto 
Ireland  Ralph Firman 
Italy  Enrico Toccacelo 
Lebanon  Chris Alajajian Khalil Beschir
Malaysia  Alex Yoong 
Mexico  Salvador Duran 
Netherlands  Jeroen Bleekemolen Arie Luyendyk Jr
New Zealand  Jonny Reid 
Pakistan  Adam Khan 
Portugal  Joao Urbano 
South Africa  Adrian Zaugg Wesleigh Orr
Switzerland  Neel Jani 
USA  Buddy Rice 


A1GP Bio-Fuel Announcement
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport remains committed to switching to a 30 per cent bio-ethanol fuel mix despite technical issues which have delayed its introduction to the 22 A1GP race cars.

While the E30 fuel mix has been successfully tested over a total of 4,600 kilometers at Silverstone and Snetterton in the UK, the project's technical team, consisting of experts from A1GP, engine suppliers Zytek and fuel provider PetroChem Carless remain unconvinced that the fuel blend will continue to give the required engine performance over a more sustained period of time.

A1GP has therefore reluctantly reverted to its regular race 102 octane fuel while further development and testing work continues to rectify the situation with the intention of introducing bio-fuels to all A1GP race cars as quickly as possible.

Read more & Comment...

Alonso calls Dennis a liar
(GMM)  Having already denied a code of silence with Ron Dennis, Fernando Alonso has now accused his McLaren boss of lying.

As the reigning world champion's relationship with the Woking based team continues to disintegrate at the scene of the Japanese grand prix, Alonso suggested at Fuji Speedway that Dennis was not telling the truth recently at the World Motor Sport Council.

Dennis had told the Paris hearing that he had not spoken with Alonso since a falling out in Hungary.

"That was not true," Alonso told reporters.

"I will not comment every day about what is correct and what is not, but in this case it was not.

"I was surprised about that because in Spa we were talking together in the hotel and I read in the press that we were not talking.  I don't know.  If Ron said that it is because he wanted."

The Spaniard also clarified that he spoke to Dennis "the day after" their infamous argument in Budapest.


ACO makes rules change to help non-diesels
The ACO as the guarantor of this climate of trust and spirit of openness that is crucial for endurance racing has taken the time to consult all the entrants. It appears that now is the right moment to close the gap between the performances of the LM P1 petrol-engines prototypes and those of the diesel-powered cars over a lap, so as to maintain a constant and visible level of suspense throughout the race.

As a result, two technical adjustments will be made for the 2008 season:

  • The minimum weight of the LM P1 cars is fixed at 900 kgs.
  • The surface of the air restrictors fitted to petrol-engined cars will benefit from a 3% increase.

These adjustments intervene before the announcement in November of the modifications to the regulations affecting the prototype categories (LM P1 and LM P2), which will remain valid for several years.


A1GP in partnership with AquaSP
A1GP has announced a partnership with Multi Pro Natural Ltd – a major new water purification company.

Multi Pro Natural will use its new AquaSP brand as part of a three-year agreement to become a major event partner of the series.

In addition, AquaSP will also become a sponsor of eight of the A1GP Teams: A1 Teams Switzerland, South Africa, Portugal, Great Britain, Netherlands, China, Germany and India.

AquaSP is an innovative, non-toxic and environmentally friendly water treatment formula with more than 40 known applications. It is an enzyme-based product which acts as a catalyst to the natural oxidization process of water.

AquaSP speeds up the natural destruction process of bacteria in water killing things such as bacteria, viruses without using toxins like Chlorine. This revolutionary product has wide variety of applications with the end result being clean drinkable water.

Read more & Comment...

Honda boss admits they have failed
Hopelessly lost Honda Racing chairman Yoshihiro Wada has admitted that the new components the team tried in testing before Fuji did not improve their lemon RA107 chassis.

A large number of aerodynamic modifications were evaluated at Jerez as Honda looked for answers that would help it get back on the pace in 2008.

But in the press conference at Fuji today, Wada conceded that the upgrades had not produced the desired results.

"As you know we are struggling to find good balance with the car this season, and at last week's Jerez test we tried some of next year's design ideas and parts," he said.

"Unfortunately most of the parts did not work well, so we'll see."

[Editor's Note:  When is Honda going to stop spending over $100M per year in F1 only to embarrass themselves?]


McLaren alone must face FIA fine - Mercedes
(GMM)  Mercedes-Benz will not contribute to formula one partner McLaren's $100m espionage fine.

That was the revelation of the German manufacturer's competition director Norbert Haug on Friday, even though Mercedes owns 40 per cent - and is therefore the largest single shareholder - of the Ron Dennis-led outfit.

"They are a separate company," Haug told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst in Japan.

"The punishment is for McLaren."

Earlier this month, McLaren Group chairman Dennis insisted that the record motor sport fine - to be offset by lost income for being kicked out of the constructors' championship - would not cripple his team.

"As you can see if you read our accounts, we turn over roughly (US) $450m-$500m a year, and we are debt-free, so obviously we are a very strong company with phenomenal growth," he said.

After the World Motor Sport Council imposed the penalty on September 13, the 60-year-old jokingly said he would ask Haug to "chip in half" of the fine.

racing news

Franchitti wins 3rd Qtr Driver of the Year Award
Winning the Indy 500, and the IndyCar title are two very difficult tasks yet Dario Franchitti went beyond those feats as he won the voting for the 3rd Quarter, Driver of the Year - 2007. It was his second-straight honor. Although the IndyCar title went down to the last lap of the last race, Franchitti, a native of Scotland who now makes Tennessee his home, never faltered. That was reflected in the media balloting. In the third quarter he won two races, including the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, four poles, and had only one finish below eighth. Franchitti, who drives the Canadian Club Dallara/Honda for Andretti Green Racing, said "It is quite an honor to receive the Driver of the Year award for the second-consecutive quarter. I am especially honored when you consider all of the very talented drivers throughout every series." Tony Stewart, a previous Driver of the Year winner, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series was second and last year's Driver of the Year and Nextel Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports was third. In the voting Franchitti garnered seven first-place ballots and totaled 100. points. Stewart, who drives the Home Depot Chevrolet, had three NASCAR Nextel Cup wins which netted two first-place votes and a total of 65 points. Johnson, driving the Lowes Chevrolet, had two wins in the Cup series, resulting in three first-place votes, and finished third with 51 points. Fourth place went to IndyCar's Scott Dixon of New Zealand. Drag Racing's Tony Schumacher and NASCAR's Kurt Busch were other drivers to a first-place vote. A total of 16 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting. In its' 41st year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. A panel of 17 leading journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Franchitti will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date. DOTY PR


In-Principle Approval for F1 Singapore GP Circuit
The Formula One (F1) Singapore Grand Prix street circuit has received in-principle approval by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), via the Singapore Motor Sports Council.

The in-principle approval will now allow construction works to begin. In the coming months, the FIA will conduct a series of inspections on the ongoing progress. The full circuit license will be granted during the final inspection, which will be in the week of the race itself.

The 5.067km long street circuit, consisting of 14 left hand turns and 10 right hand turns offers a number of overtaking opportunities, challenging corners and grueling sections that will test the true capabilities of the F1 drivers. Slated to debut on 28 September 2008, the F1 Singapore Grand Prix is the first Formula One street race in Asia and is one of three races in the 2008 F1 calendar to run anticlockwise.

Deputy Chairman of Singapore GP, Mr. Colin Syn, commented, “After months of poring over the drawing board, we are now one step closer to our dream. However, there is no time to celebrate – it is now full speed ahead for us to get this race on the road.”

The only outstanding decision is whether the race will be held at night. Regardless, the circuit has already been billed by many as one of the most dramatic and atmospheric races on the calendar.

Read more & Comment...
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com

12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
Formula 1 Practice Japan
1:00am-2:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Kansas
12:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Practice Kansas
2:00pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
Go or Go Home Kansas
3:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Kansas
4:00pm-6:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Final Practice Kansas
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
7:00pm-7:30pm ESPN2
Trackside Kansas
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED

Read more & Comment...

Villeneuve to make NASCAR Nextel Cup debut
Jacques Villeneuve will make his NASCAR Nextel Cup race debut next weekend, five weeks earlier than originally planned, in the ‘UAW-Ford 500’, at the famous Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Villeneuve, who sat in a ‘Cup’ car for the first time just 24 days ago, was initially scheduled to race the ARCA and NASCAR Craftsman Truck races at Talladega – steps one and two on the NASCAR ladder – whilst watching the main ‘Cup’ event on Sunday, along with over 143,000 trackside spectators.

Villeneuve’s fast-track to ‘Cup’, the top step of the NASCAR ladder, has been made possible only with the approval of NASCAR. His recent performance in his debut ‘Car of Tomorrow’ test, also at Talladega, where he ran more laps than any other driver, and successfully ‘bump-drafted’ his way through the pack, without making enemies of the more experienced drivers, is seen to have eased that same process of approval.

Having made his NASCAR race debut in the Craftsman Truck event at Las Vegas just last weekend, Villeneuve now faces a new challenge, where he will again be focused initially on qualifying his number 27 car (43 cars will start the race, of which 36 are guaranteed a place based on pre-earned team points – Villeneuve does not have the benefit of such team points, either earned or inherited).

In addition to Sunday’s 500-miler, Villeneuve will contest Saturday afternoon’s Craftsman Truck event, the 94-lap ‘Mountain Dew 250’, which is exactly half the length of Sunday’s flagship ‘Cup’ race. Earlier this week, the 36-year-old Canadian tested an ARCA car at Talladega, for the first time, and found cockpit temperatures soaring to over 150˚F/65˚C. If everything goes to plan for Villeneuve, by the time Sunday night’s ‘Cup’ race ends, he’ll have spent more than 10 hours in the cockpit over four days, but he’s certainly not complaining.

Read more & Comment...

Japanese GP: Friday Press Conference
Participating: Aguri Suzuki (Super Aguri), Yasuhiro Wada (Honda), Tadashi Yamashina (Toyota), Hiroshi Yasukawa (Bridgestone).

Q. My first question to you all is simply your general reaction to being here in Fuji this weekend?

Hiroshi Yasukawa: Being here in Fuji is beautiful and fantastic. Yesterday we walked the whole course. One reason is that it's good exercise, and we were surprised. With the safety issues, they're very, very good I believe, and the whole facility is fantastic. Also I remember 1976, the first time Formula One was held here in Fuji. That time also, Bridgestone supplied the tires for Mr. Hoshino-san.

That time I remember we had very heavy rain. (Kazuyoshi) Hoshino's driving was fantastic, so without question, this race had a very strong impact. Since that time, everybody remembers Hoshino and also our Bridgestone super-wet tires. So it had a very strong impact. Also that was the first time we in Japan had Formula One - it was a big surprise, a big shock, to experience Formula One.

Q. So was that the start of the Bridgestone Formula One story?

HY: Yes, that's right. It has a very strong impact for us.

Q. Of course, you would have still been at school then?

HY: No, I'm a very old guy. (laughter)

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR hot place to be unless you're Sam Hornish
NASCAR is the hot place to be if you're a driver, but it's not an easy sport in which to shine, as three-time Indy champ Sam Hornish Jr., last year’s Indy 500 winner, is finding out.

Hornish, 28, is still debating the possibility of running a third Roger Penske car in NASCAR next season, and he spent this week testing at Kentucky Speedway, with plans to run at Charlotte and Miami this fall.

He failed to make the Cup field at New Hampshire and Dover the past two weeks, in his first Cup attempts.

“We knew it was going to be tough to qualify at two tracks I’d never been to before. You (only) get a 1-1/2 hour practice, and you go out to qualify. But that’s part of the challenge.”

As for next season, Hornish says, “We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet.

“The big thing for me is to get to the point where I feel I have a good head on my shoulders as far as making the decision. It’s all about getting more seat time and getting more comfortable in the car. Stock cars have a lot more travel and a softer suspension.” Winston Salem Journal


Japanese GP: McLaren 1-2 in Practice 2
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time to lead a McLaren 1-2 in Friday afternoon practice at Fuji.  Hamilton's fast lap of 1:18.734 was slightly faster than his teammate Fernando Alonso who finished the session with a 1:18.948.

After running 1-2 in the morning, Ferrari were not quite on McLaren's pace during this session, and both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen were trying hard. Massa took third, 0.749 seconds behind Hamilton and 0.231 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.

They were split by the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, who brought smiles to circuit owners Toyota to end the day in fourth place.

Team Quotes


Pos  Driver        Team               Time      Behind   Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:18.734            38
 2.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:18.948  + 0.214   34
 3.  Massa         Ferrari            1:19.483  + 0.749   36
 4.  Trulli        Toyota             1:19.711  + 0.977   35
 5.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:19.714  + 0.980   29
 6.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:19.789  + 1.055   40
 7.  Fisichella    Renault            1:19.926  + 1.192   39
 8.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:19.949  + 1.215   33
 9.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:19.969  + 1.235   40
10.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:20.069  + 1.335   45
11.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:20.069  + 1.335   35
12.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:20.233  + 1.499   37
13.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:20.270  + 1.536   43
14.  Button        Honda              1:20.336  + 1.602   44
15.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:20.462  + 1.728   36
16.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:20.736  + 2.002   37
17.  Barrichello   Honda              1:20.889  + 2.155   33
18.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.985  + 2.251   44
19.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.997  + 2.263   38
20.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:21.007  + 2.273   34
21.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:21.305  + 2.571   38
22.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:21.352  + 2.618   34


Webber laments lack of progress in 2007
(GMM)  Mark Webber says Red Bull has not only underperformed in 2007 but failed to adequately improve its single seater throughout the season.

"I don't think we've progressed enough, no," the 31-year-old, in Japan for the first race at Fuji Speedway, said.

"We need to develop the car harder and faster and that's always the way in this business."

Hopes were high earlier this year for the first Red Bull that was fully penned by championship winning designer Adrian Newey.

So although the Milton Keynes based outfit is higher placed than big-spenders Toyota and Japan, Webber said the real goal is more adventurous than that.

He also said all of Red Bull's rivals will be looking ahead to better seasons next year.

"Everyone's learnt from what they've stuffed up with this year," said the Australian, who has retired from races five times in 2007.

"Honda, Toyota, a lot of teams will be in better shape next year so we've got to make a massive step."

Webber suggested that he was also facing a difficult task when the pitlane opened at refurbished Fuji Speedway, which last hosted a grand prix around the time he was born.

"I would prepare on a simulator but Red Bull don't have one, so it might take a little bit longer," he said, prior to going eleventh quickest in afternoon practice.

"We would do a lot of car set up in the simulator.  We've got a rough idea but no corner's ever straightforward and we need to work that out."


Engine change penalty for Rosberg
(GMM) Williams' Nico Rosberg drove to the fifth quickest practice lap time on Friday morning in the knowledge that he is facing a ten-position grid penalty here in Japan.

It emerged at the Fuji Speedway that the Grove based team would install a new 2.4 liter V8 unit in his FW29 for the beginning on Saturday practice after a fault was discovered following the recent Belgian grand prix at Spa.

All drivers are allowed to use a fresh engine in the three hours of official Friday practice at events without fear of penalty.

Meanwhile, Super Aguri's SA07 single seater hit the circuit on Friday morning complete with new sponsor stickers.

The Japanese team announced formally at Fuji that new backers Four Leaf and Carrozzeria had joined the roster to replace defaulting sponsor SS United.

Virgin Atlantic has also upped its support to on-car branding, with "discussions continuing for a full-calendar partnership in 2008", according to a statement.

Interestingly, however, Aguri Suzuki's team has replaced the prominent SS United branding on the rear wing not with one of its new sponsors, but with the name of its engine and chassis partner Honda.


Japanese GP: Ferrari 1-2 in opening practice
Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were 1-2 in opening practice Friday morning for the Japanese GP at the reworked Mt. Fuji circuit.  McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were 3rd and 4th some 1/2 second in arrears. 


Pos  Driver        Team               Time     Behind   Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:19.119           26
 2.  Massa         Ferrari            1:19.498 + 0.379   27
 3.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:19.667 + 0.548   27
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:19.807 + 0.688   24
 5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:20.058 + 0.939   26
 6.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:20.297 + 1.178   26
 7.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:20.411 + 1.292   24
 8.  Trulli        Toyota             1:20.483 + 1.364   32
 9.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:20.516 + 1.397   29
10.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:20.601 + 1.482   22
11.  Barrichello   Honda              1:20.686 + 1.567   24
12.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:20.718 + 1.599   27
13.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:20.728 + 1.609   26
14.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.808 + 1.689   29
15.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:20.828 + 1.709   28
16.  Fisichella    Renault            1:20.851 + 1.732   23
17.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:21.186 + 2.067   15
18.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:21.437 + 2.318   18
19.  Button        Honda              1:21.541 + 2.422   22
20.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.854 + 2.735   18
21.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:22.436 + 3.317   18
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:22.902 + 3.783   17


Spy row over, driver row reignites in Japan
(GMM) Fernando Alonso says he does not intend to constantly respond to every media report about him.

The latest headline doing the rounds is that his teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton thinks McLaren respects him more near the end of a tumultuous season in which loyalties were tested and exposed.

"Eventually I earned more respect from the team," the Briton told reporters on the scene of the Japanese grand prix at Fuji.

"I think they just know where their money lies."

Hamilton said he cannot understand why Alonso, a double world champion, would ask McLaren for favorable treatment over him, but vowed to fight psychological fire with fire.

"It is just not something I have done at any team: asking for better equipment.

"I've got to do the job starting on Friday morning -- be faster than him in free practice because the mental effect starts then," he added.

"If I am ahead of him everything starts churning up in his mind."

Hamilton had to admit, however, that the "stress" of his debut season had come as a surprise.

Sensing that Alonso may now have the upper hand, most betting agencies - such as Ladbrokes - are tipping that the Spaniard (2-1) is twice more likely than Hamilton (4-1) to win in Japan.

"All the politics -- just stress, so much stress. It was not what I expected," Hamilton told reporters in the McLaren motor home.

"It would be gutting to lose it now, so close to the end."

Alonso, meanwhile, told Spanish reporters that much of what has been written about him is either "wrong" or "lies".

"I will not answer every day what they have been saying about me," he said. "Maybe I do not have as much free time, but no matter what I say, people make up their own minds."

He did not, however, want to specifically address Hamilton's comments, including the rookie's warning that he might be more aggressive at turn one on Sunday.

"Whether I like it or not, so much is written about me," the 26-year-old told the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

"It is not necessary to always talk. I think it is incredible what has been said about me in the last fifteen days. I prefer to do my talking on the track."


Doctors rule out Pedrosa fracture
Further tests on Dani Pedrosa’s right foot have confirmed that the Repsol Honda rider has not, as first thought, suffered any fractures in the spectacular highside at Motegi last Sunday.

Instead, the Spaniard has been diagnosed with post-traumatic arthritis stemming from the incident, which also involves inflammation of the big toe. A physiotherapy program, combined with anti-inflammatory medicine and a full week of rest, should be enough to secure Pedrosa’s presence at the GMC Australian Grand Prix in two week’s time.

 “The most important thing was to be sure that there was nothing broken. I really thought there was because of the pain,” explains Pedrosa. “Now we just have to wait for the treatment to take its course; I will be able to return to physical training next week and get back in good shape for the next race in Australia.”

 The former 125cc and 250cc World Champion is currently battling for second place in the standings, although he also faces stiff competition for his current third place from Rizla Suzuki’s John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen. As his rehabilitation begins Pedrosa will celebrate his 22nd birthday this Saturday.


Audi targets another Petit win
The winning streak of AUDI AG in the 1000 mile race at Road Atlanta – better known as "Petit Le Mans" – could not be more impressive: Audi has contested the American long-distance classic seven times to date and has taken the checkered flag on each occasion as winner.
The Audi R8 was triumphant six times, the powerful 650 hp Audi R10 TDI won for the first time last year. As a result, the diesel engined sportscar took overall victory in its debut season at the three most important long-distance races of the year: Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans.
AUDI AG aims to repeat this prestigious "triple" on the first weekend in October: Team Audi Sport North America is putting everything into winning the race at Road Atlanta (US state of Georgia) as the R10 TDI has already won the 12-hour race at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.
However, this is no simple task for Dindo Capello/Allan McNish and Emanuele Pirro/Marco Werner since the 150 kilogram lighter LM P2 sportscars still have an advantage due to the regulations. The large weight difference between the LM P1 and LM P2 sportscars is likely to be adjusted for the 2008 season.
In spite of this handicap, which also includes a ten per cent smaller tank stipulated for diesel cars, Audi targets an eighth consecutive Petit Le Mans victory. The newly resurfaced track at Road Atlanta should suit the powerful Audi R10 TDI. The longer distance of 1000 miles, or a maximum of ten hours, also suits Audi since reliability has always been a strength of Audi race cars.

Read more & Comment...

Super Aguri announces sponsors
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce Pioneer Electronic Corporation as a new team sponsor for Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2007 Formula One World Championship. The sponsorship agreement will see the company’s ‘Carrozzeria’ product line logo on the team’s SA07 cars and Driver race suits at the Japanese Grand Prix and the Pioneer logo at the Chinese Grand Prix.

SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce its sponsorship agreement with Four Leaf Corporation, Japan, commencing from the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix.

Four Leaf Corporation, Japan, is a company in the field of health, welfare, education and the protection of the environment. The company is also using its sponsorship of the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM as a vehicle to promote its involvement in the ‘Team Dreams Cubes’ project. Both company logos will be seen on the team’s SA07 cars and in the garage environment.

Tadamasa Shimamura, President, FOUR LEAF CORPORATION
“SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is a young and small team in the world of Formula One, but they have unlimited amount of energy and passion. We have always watched, with much respect, the team conquering the many challenges presented to it with its cars that are painted in our national colors. It is so inspirational and it reaches our ‘heart and soul’. Our company slogan ‘power to care for the people - Human Energy’ is our dream. We are hoping to accelerate toward our dream, hand-in-hand with SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM.”

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Four Leaf and to be able to help with the promotion of their association with the ‘Team Dream Cubes’ charitable project. You will also see this concept logo on our racing cars. We consider this partnership not as just a sponsorship, but the first step for both of us to develop our projects into the future.”

SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce its continued partnership with Virgin Atlantic for the 2007 Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix.

Virgin Atlantic (Japan) and SAF1 Team driver Takuma Sato have already enjoyed a four-year personal partnership and, following a successful partnership with the Team during the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, Virgin Atlantic has decided to increase its support for the 2007 season with inclusion of the next race in Shanghai via its Chinese division.

The two-race agreement sees Virgin Atlantic branding on the team’s SA07 cars and garage environment for Rounds 15 and 16 of the FIA Formula One™ World Championship, with discussions continuing for a full-calendar partnership in 2008.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, SUPER AGURI F1 Team
“I am very happy that the team is able to receive support from Virgin Atlantic. Having one of the world’s most renowned airline companies as a Team partner gives us great confidence. We are at our home race in Japan this week and then we travel directly to Shanghai, so we hope that we will be able to show our partners performances that are worthy of their support during the closing stages of the 2007 Championship.”


Worst crowds of 2007 in Champ Car and IRL
Gordon Kirby's Informal Survey of the worst crowds of 2007 in Champ Car & IRL:

Robin Miller: "On the Champ Car side, truth be told, there couldn't have been 25,000 at Vegas on race day (they announced some ridiculous 3-day number) because David Phillips & I counted the seats on the straightaway and they weren't even close to being sold out. Portland was pathetic, just hard to gauge how pathetic. Less than 20,000 though. As for the IRL, Milwaukee was bad (I think I guessed 15,000) and The Glen looked pretty empty as well, although I wasn't there. Michigan had day-long rain and was awful by the green flag, maybe 10,000."

John Oreovicz: "I'd say Portland, which was definitely not helped by a Saturday rainout, was Champ Car's worst. Zolder and Mont-Tremblant were probably next. In the IRL, Milwaukee and Homestead were the worst, probably 20K at best. I should mention Michigan on the IRL side as well. Given one last chance to show their support for open-wheel racing, an estimated 250 fans turned out for Saturday quals. Of course it rained on Sunday."

David Phillips: "Outside of the Denver, Zhuhai and Phoenix Champ Car races -- which attracted 0 spectators -- I would have to agree that Portland was the worst, although it was hard to get a handle on Vegas. As for the IRL, can't say I attended anything other than the Indy 500. I had planned to go to Mid-Ohio and Belle Isle, but other things got in the way."

David Malsher: "I only know the Champ Car side of course, but I'd agree Portland was the worst. It was one of those days, as our friend Nigel Roebuck put it when describing Jerez some 20 years ago, 'when the track commentator announced crowd changes to the drivers'. I think a more pertinent question would perhaps be 'Which race has shown the sharpest decline year on year', and I fear that is yet to come for Champ Car - namely, Mexico City. Hope I'm wrong."


Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach news
The Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach will  present 20 local charities with $164,000 in donations at a reception Wednesday night, Oct. 3, in the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Café Scuba at 6:30 p.m.

The Grand Prix Foundation annually raises the money through its “Charity Days” events during the week of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Since its inception in 1991, the Foundation has contributed over $2 million to organizations representing a cross-section of the city’s charitable and civic community. Thanks to low administrative costs, 90 cents of each dollar go directly to the organizations selected by the Foundation’s 11-member Board of Directors.

"The Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach is proud to play a significant role in bettering the quality of life for so many people in our area through these donations," said Rick DuRee, Foundation President.  "It is proof that the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is, and always has been, so much more than just the nation's premier street race.  It and the Foundation are, indeed, important parts of the fabric of the Long Beach community."

Read more & Comment...

Nick Fornoro 1920 - 2007
Nick Fornoro passed away early this morning from a hemorrhagic stroke (a massive bleed to the brain). He’d been comatose for just over a week.

Nicky was known to many of you through his duties as a starter (flagman)—either in grassroots open wheel racing or as the CART Indy Car Series first official chief starter. Others knew him through sons Drew (my husband) or Nick, Jr. “Nokie” who race midgets in the northeast and Midwest. The old timers remembered Nicky from his own racing exploits (midgets, sprints and the occasional stock car) back in the 40’s and 50’s.

The official info on Nicky follows, but my own personal experience dates back to my childhood when he flagged the ARDC midget races that my dad Russ Klar competed in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s (Nicky had raced against him in the 40’s and 50’s too). Nicky was always a very sweet and kind man, and as a starter, he worried about the drivers, all of whom he considered personal friends. In later years, the race car engine noise took its toll on his hearing which made for some interesting conversations at our holiday dinner table.

When I first started working for US Tobacco (Copenhagen/Skoal) and traveled the Indy car circuit in 1984, it was comforting to know that Nicky was at all the same races. We’d compare notes on travel delays flying out of the Newark airport (he had more horror stories than I ever did). I always appreciated all who asked about him in the later years after his retirement. He was always glad to hear about it and would usually recall a little story about the person mentioned. He might not remember what he had for breakfast (or even if he had breakfast) but he always remembered his friends in racing.

On behalf of the Fornoro family, I’d like to thank all for the kindness you’ve shown our family over the years. It is a difficult time but we are comforted by the fact that Nicky had a wonderful life and his racing family was a large part of the reason why.
Best, Anne Fornoro
Born in Madison, N.J., Nicky raced cars from 1946 to 1956, earning the ARDC Midget Racing championship title in 1950 and becoming the first NASCAR Midget champion in 1953. He retired from driving in 1956 at the request of his wife Bette and started flagging the next day at Victory Speedway in Middletown, NY as a way to stay involved in racing.

Read more & Comment...
racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 9-27-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)                     Pts
1. (2) Dario Franchitti (IRL)                  7.632
2. (1) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                   7.625
3. (7) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                     7.420
4. (4) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)                     7.376
5. (15) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                  7.348
6. (6) Scott Dixon (IRL)                       7.272
7. (9) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)               7.162
8. (5) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                    7.128
9. (8) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                 7.032
10. (10) Fernando Alonso (F1)                  6.997
11. (24) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)           6.899
12. (3) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                  6.868
13. (12) Justin Wilson (CCWS)                  6.837
14. (21) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                  6.822
15. (14) Tony Kanaan (IRL)                     6.693
16. (NR) Greg Biffle (NASCAR)                  6.677
17. (11) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)             6.621
18. (18) Casey Mears (NASCAR)                  6.528
19. (17) Lewis Hamilton (F1)                   6.266
20. (20) Felipe Massa (F1)                     6.118

Dropped out: Matt Kenseth (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASCAR), Ryan Newman (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.


US RaceTronics Confirms Skerlong for 2008
US RaceTronics is delighted to confirm that Seattle’s Carl Skerlong will return to the team in 2008 for a second season of competition in the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. 

Skerlong enjoyed a solid rookie season in 2007 with the California-based team, piloting the 300bhp #24 King Taco-backed Swift Mazda-Cosworth to 10th overall in the Driver Standings and a pair of podium finishes in Houston and Elkhart Lake respectively.  The 18-year-old American, who arrived in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship this season as the reigning Formula TR Pro Series Champion, impressed many paddock observers with his character and style, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by US RaceTronics team boss, Shane Seneviratne.

“I’m obviously delighted to have secured Carl’s talents for US RaceTronics and the PCM Junior Team for 2008,” Seneviratne commented.  “He did a great job for us this year and I know there was considerable interest shown in him by other teams based on his performances with us.  I’m extremely pleased that he’s staying with US RaceTronics and our collective goal is to put together a bid to win the 2008 Champ Car Atlantic Championship.”

Carl Skerlong is equally pleased with his continued association with US RaceTronics and the PCM Junior Team.

“I can’t wait for the 2008 season to start,” Skerlong stated enthusiastically.  “We finished this year’s campaign with another podium and I stated afterwards that I wanted to use that as a springboard into next season.  There’s no doubt that continuity can play a big factor in being successful in motorsport and I believe that with US RaceTronics we’ve got everything in place to push for the title in my sophomore season.  Things didn’t always go our way this season but armed with everything I’ve learned and my circuit knowledge I’m looking forward to being back with the team in 2008 and turning the potential we showcased into results.”

2007 marked US RaceTronics third season in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, the team running Skerlong and Mexico’s David Garza throughout the season.  In June the squad became part of the PCM Junior Team, the driver and team development program created by Champ Car World Series outfit Pacific Coast Motorsports (PCM).

The association between US RaceTronics and Pacific Coast Motorsports has continued to develop with Seneviratne going on to add, “We’re actively seeking to strengthen our partnership with Pacific Coast Motorsports ahead of next season and as part of that deal we’re also looking to confirm a test date for Carl to sample one of their Champ Cars.  While we don’t have anything further to announce at this stage we are negotiating with Pacific Coast with regards to further developing our relationship and we hope to make the outcome of these discussions public shortly.”


Blaney re-signs with BDR
Today on ESPN2's NASCAR Now, Marty Smith said Bill Davis Racing has picked up an option to keep Dave Blaney, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Toyota to drive the car in 2008 and there are provisions to keep Blaney longer.


Alonso expects to stay at McLaren
Fernando Alonso sees “no problem” staying at McLaren next season, despite not being on speaking terms with Ron Dennis, the team principal.

Dennis revealed at a recent hearing into Ferrari Formula One’s spy saga that he and the world champion had not exchanged words since rowing at last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

But the Spaniard, who is in the first year of a three-year contract, still feels he has a future with the Woking-based team.

“For next year, I have a contract with this team and I don’t see any problem," Alonso said. "I have won four races and I’m fighting for the championship so everything is going quite well and I’m happy.”  More at London Times


Nokia to sell $25, 000 Ferrari phone
The luxury unit of Nokia has started selling a phone designed jointly with Ferrari for about 18,000 euros ($25,400) at its stores in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore, it said on Thursday. The Vertu unit produced the Ascent Ferrari 60 phone to celebrate Ferrari's 60th anniversary.

"We worked very closely to develop this limited edition of 60 phones. Detailing on the phone is inspired by detailing on a number of Ferrari cars," said Vertu spokeswoman Elizabeth Maragh.

Luxury goods segments are benefiting from fast economic growth in countries such as China, India and Russia, while Middle East markets have strengthened as a boom in commodity prices has increased incomes.

Nokia and other cell phone manufacturers are increasingly teaming up with designers. Earlier this week Italian designer Giorgio Armani joined forces with Samsung Electronics to design a television and a mobile phone.

Designers Dolce & Gabbana have teamed up with Motorola for a gold-colored version of the RAZR mobile phone model and Prada has developed a phone with South Korea's LG Electronics. NY Times


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Confidante 'worried' about Alonso intrigue
  • Dennis 'praying' for no road rage - Fittipaldi
  • Alonso walks Fuji as third title beckons
  • Hamilton to seek out Alonso after Spa anger
  • Honda, Toyota drivers play down Fuji specials New
  • Code of silence with boss now over - Alonso New
  • Rosberg happy to pair with Hamilton New
  • Heidfeld plays down 2007 victory for BMW New

Confidante 'worried' about Alonso intrigue
(GMM) One of Fernando Alonso's closest confidantes says he is "worried" about how off-track pressures might affect the Spaniard's late-season charge for a third consecutive title.

Fabrizio Borra, the 26-year-old's long time physiotherapist who also shows Alonso his pit board during official sessions, said it is easy to assume that a double world champion is mentally strong enough to deal with the events of 2007.

"Nobody should forget that he is only 26 and is having to fight on every front," Borra, who was central to the famous pit-delay incident in Hungary last month, told the Italian magazine Autosprint.

Alonso has been the subject of intense media attention of late, including suggestions that he tried to blackmail his McLaren boss.

"I have worked with many elite sportsmen," Borra continued, "so I know how even great champions can react when they are besieged.

"I am worried about Alonso; not because of what happens on the circuit, but what is written in the newspapers about him."

Italian Borra has known and worked with Alonso since he debuted in formula one with Minardi in 2001.

Dennis 'praying' for no road rage - Fittipaldi
(GMM) Former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi said he can imagine the 2007 title race ending in an eerily-reminiscent bout of formula one road rage.

The 60-year-old Brazilian, who once held the record as the youngest world champion, recalls the Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost era, where crucial championship finales were decided only after collisions.

Fittipaldi said McLaren team boss Ron Dennis will also be anxiously remembering the turbulent Senna-Prost era when he talks over the situation with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the coming days.

"He can talk to them but he will be doing a lot of praying that they do not take each other off," Fittipaldi told the Daily Express.

With three races to go in 2007 and two points separating the battling duo, Fittipaldi is not willing to waste money betting on the eventual winner.

Read more & Comment...

New funding round for ‘Superleague Formula’
Superleague Formula, the motor racing championship featuring football club brands, has announced a new round of financing.
New investors in the championship include Spanish venture capital company Clave Mayor as well as additional private investors from the Asian region.
"The money raised is being spent on the production of the cars and execution of the operational plan for delivery of the championship will debut in August next year with an initial series of six races staged in Europe,” said Superleague Formula CEO and president, Alex Andreu .
"We are now in the final phase of fund raising that will be closed by the end of November. Interest in the Superleague Formula concept has been extremely strong by investors, football clubs, motor racing teams, circuits, television networks and the media.
"The initial response from our recent club launches has shown outstanding enthusiasm for the concept from football fans."
Leading international football clubs AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto, Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund, RSC Anderlecht and Flamengo have already licensed their brand to the Barcelona-based organizers. Planning is already underway to launch a further five clubs in the next two months.
The championship expects feature at least 20 leading clubs in the new series that will use single-seater racing cars built by US manufacturer, Elan Motorsports Technologies. The new engine has been purpose-built for the championship by UK manufacturer, Menard Competition Technologies.


Japan: Bridgestone press conference
Takuma Sato and boss Aguri Suzuki – Super Aguri F1 Team, Hirohide Hamashima – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development,  Felipe Massa – Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Lewis Hamilton – Vodafone McLaren Mercedes took part in a press conference for tyre supplier Bridgestone at their home grand prix. The following is a transcript from the session….

Aguri, your performance has been extraordinary this season. It’s your second year and you’ve earned four points. How do you think you were able to achieve this?
Aguri SUZUKI: Last year I was also invited to this press meeting. We were very busy and we came back to Japan in a very fussy situation, but we now have had one year of experience. Maybe it was like the winter test for other teams – it was the real races, but it was like a test. So we were able to make full preparations for this season. We were able to test and enter this season just like other teams, in the same way, as well prepared as the other teams. We were able to become a fully grown F1 team this year. Our staff, Takuma and everybody involved are looking in the same direction. It’s a small team but we were able to gather our efforts in a concerted way for one goal. So when we were able to earn points in Canada and Spain, Takuma did excellently. The car’s reliability has been enhanced, and there were no mistakes made by the team’s staff. Everything went well leading up to us taking those results in Spain and Canada.

Takuma, do you have anything to add?
Takuma SATO: Last year, before the season opened, there were less than 100 days of preparation for the cars before they were raced. But the same staff that were there then are with us today, so the bond within the team has been enhanced and strengthened since then. We had a car, whose base was four and a half years old, and now we have a very modern state-of-the-art car, and from the very opening race, it was a very strong package that we had. In Barcelona and in Canada, as Aguri mentioned, there were various good conditions that emerged to give us results. Of course, the performance of the Bridgestone tyres has also maximised our performance. For me as a driver, I was given this environment to exert my full capabilities at the races. This is the second season for our team, but I think this is the best that we could ever have done.

This year, in accordance with the tyre regulations, there were two different specifications that needed to be used. As a driver, was this something that was difficult for you?
Takuma SATO: Well, until last year in the tyre tests we had to try different compounds and constructions of tyres so Bridgestone were fully prepared. Once we started the race, the tyre was already very well suited to that track. This year, we had to use four specifications throughout the season. So there was a wider range of tyres, in terms of specification. We had to adapt to these tyres. There was more work involved with tyres. Also, the same tyres have to be used on different tracks, so we had to adapt as drivers as well. That was a challenge. During the races two different specifications had to be used, so in terms of strategy, there was a lot of impact. Throughout the weekend the performance of the tyres improved as we drove on the tracks. We had to anticipate these results in the practices on Friday – that was another challenge. I think that the capability of the team also had to be exhibited more. I think that we were able to have very good races and we had very good performances, in spite of this challenge.

What do you think of the support structure of Bridgestone this season, now that they are an exclusive supplier?
Aguri SUZUKI: Mr Hamashima supported us very well and gave us some good advice. The quality of the tyres is very good. As Takuma mentioned, the situation last year was quite different because the tyres were adapted to the team or the circuit. But now all the teams have to use the same tyres, and have to use two specifications of tyre. The conditions of the circuits change every time, so we really had to anticipate what would happen with the grip, for example, during the Grand Prix. So there were some challenges.

So it was more difficult for you then?
Aguri SUZUKI: Yes, for tyres it was very difficult. But the tyre itself is very stable and reliable, so we’re very grateful.

Mr Hamashima, from an engineer’s perspective, you have four types of tyre. What were the considerations that you had to give to the teams? Hirohide HAMASHIMA: In terms of supply there are four types of tyre, and we had to choose two. The layout of the circuit and the road surface were considered when choosing the two specifications. And there were simulations that had to be done. So we were quite responsible, as suppliers of tyres. Also, because all the teams are using our tyres, we have to provide a stable supply of tyres. We use maritime transport and because we have to transport under the equator we use low temperature containers for our tyres, like those used for wine, so the quality will be stable. So we had to give due consideration for these different aspects.

You used to transport the tyres by air freight?
Hirohide HAMASHIMA: Until last year after testing we made the tyres and we air freighted them, but this year they were shipped via surface [sea freight].

This year the Japanese GP will be at Fuji. How do you feel about coming back to Japan every year?
Takuma SATO: It’s a renewed Fuji Speedway, so nobody has ever been there. The cars have just gone through simulations. So there are many opportunities. As for me, it is a Grand Prix in my home country. Regardless of which circuit, it is taking place in Japan, so I’m very excited. I’d like to really show what we can do in Japan.

Read more & Comment...

Brief news from Fuji paddock
(GMM) David Coulthard is not the only driver racing with a revised helmet design in Japan this weekend.

It emerged at Fuji Speedway on Thursday that while Coulthard will use a special dark livery in honor of his late countryman Colin McRae, Toyota's Jarno Trulli's normal chrome lid now features splashes of flower-shaped colors.

Less color, meanwhile, filled the Japanese skies, amid paddock chatter of likely rain for both qualifying and the race.

In pitlane, it emerged that Toyota - racing for the first time on the circuit it owns this weekend - has added Ferrari-style front wheel covers to its package for the first time this year.

Initially, it appeared that Ferrari may have removed the innovation in recent races, but in fact the Italian team had simply cleverly painted its own black carbon-fiber covers to mimic a normal set of BBS wheel-rims.

Another change at Fuji this weekend is that the stickers of Super Aguri's defaulting major sponsor SS United have now been removed.

It follows the signing of new sponsors for the rest of the 2007 season, including new main sponsor Four Leaf, a Japanese health food company.


Japanese GP: Thursday Press Conference

Q: A question for you all, first of all. Have you raced here at Fuji before? What have been your initial feelings seeing the circuit? And what preparations have you made before coming to this new circuit?
Ralf SCHUMACHER: I’ve kind of been here before. I actually lived not so far away from here. What they have done with the pits is great. The place has changed a bit. The track itself… OK, the last few chicanes have really changed and a few bits on the outside, but yeah, they’ve done a good job.

Q: What sort of preparations have you personally made for this circuit? Have you looked at it on Playstation or anything?
RS: No, no. I was here last year for the 50th anniversary of Toyota, so I had the chance to see the track then and even before as well, at the beginning of the year. We did some filming, so I knew the circuit.

Q: So your feelings about it, particularly that last sector?
RS: The last sector is very tiny but it’s quite good to be able to follow cars, so I guess we will see a lot of overtaking down the main straight.

Q: Rubens, your feelings. You have raced here before, haven’t you?
Rubens BARRICHELLO: Yeah, a long time ago, though: ’91 and it was the other layout. I haven’t prepared much. I have walked the circuit now, it’s an easy circuit to learn and now we have to see what the car can do.

Read more & Comment...

More on Penske test track UPDATE #2 A public hearing for a proposed racing test track near Mooresville, NC has been postponed until Nov. 6. The hearing, before the Iredell County Board of Commissioners, was originally scheduled for Oct. 2. Commissioners decided Tuesday to move the date after a request from Penske Racing. County Planning and Development Director Ron Smith said attorneys for Penske emailed him asking to move the date because the company wanted time to address neighbors’ concerns about the test-track plans. Penske is proposing to build the half-mile facility at its racing shops in the Mooresville Business Park. Mooresville Tribune

09/06/07 Iredell County commissioners should deny Penske Racing permission to build a test track off Mazeppa Road near Mooresville, the Iredell County Planning Board voted late Wednesday.  Fueled by about 200 opponents in the audience who were concerned primarily about noise, the board voted 9-0 against the $21 million track.  The Planning Board is a citizen advisory board and the final say rests with the commissioners, who will consider Penske's plans on Oct. 2.

08/31/07 Penske Racing plans to build a test track in Mooresville similar in size and layout to the track at Richmond International Raceway. The 54-acre site on Mazeppa Road would include 1/4- and 1/2-mile ovals within the 3/4-mile oval track, and a 1.8-mile road course, documents filed with the Iredell County Planning Department show. At its neighboring race shop, Mooresville-based Penske already designs, makes and tests high-performance vehicles for competition in the Nextel Cup and Busch series, Indy Racing League, and Automobile Racing Club of America and American LeMans series. The test track also would accommodate law-enforcement training and recreational motorsports, but is not for spectators paying admission, Penske says in its filing with the county. Testing would be between 8am and 6pm/et, according to the filing. The acreage now includes two ball fields and a vacant lot. The land is zoned for heavy industrial uses, including race tracks, Iredell County Planner Rebecca Harper said. Penske proposes putting in landscaping along the track property's railroad boundary to obscure the track's view from Mazeppa Road, and adding landscaping along Penske Way, which leads off Mazeppa. The company would leave the woods on the west side of the property as a noise buffer. Industry border the other three sides. Penske Racing South president Don Miller could not be reached Thursday. The Iredell County Planning Board will consider the plan at 7pm Wednesday. The planning staff is recommending approval. County commissioners are expected to consider the board's recommendation in October. Charlotte Observer


AGR gets in way of Franchitti's early move to NASCAR
Dario Franchitti's plans to kick off his stock car career with Chip Ganassi Racing in two weeks' have been put on hold because of the Scotsman's contractual commitments with Andretti Green Racing. Chip Ganassi has been working on a deal to try to get Franchitti some stock car experience as soon as possible, with the aim of having him well-prepared to drive for his team in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. However, negotiations have apparently hit a stumbling block as Franchitti is still under contract with AGR, has further commitments to the team, and an early release from his obligations has not been reached. He is scheduled to race for AGR in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 6, driving an Acura in the LMP2 class, alongside his brother Marino and Bryan Herta. He raced the car earlier this year at Long Beach and Sebring, and has already tested it at Road Atlanta. Chip Ganassi said last Sunday at Dover that he was trying to get Franchitti in an ARCA race at Talladega on October 5, which is one day before the American Le Mans event. Despite both venues being just 150 miles from each other, there are conflicting schedules that would make it very difficult for the Scot to compete in both. Autosport.com understands that the bottom-line is that Franchitti, the current IRL and Indy 500 champion, won't be able to race for Ganassi until he is out of his current deal with AGR, the team for which he has raced since 1998, when it was still owned by Barry Green in Champ Car. ARCA teams expected to compete on October 5 at Talladega had their only scheduled day of testing on Tuesday, and although Ganassi's team was testing at the track with the #40 car driven by Bryan Clauson, Franchitti was not in attendance. Autosport.com


Dennis stunned by Lewis
McLaren boss Ron Dennis concedes to being stunned by protege Lewis Hamilton's startling impact on F1 this season. Even Mercedes Motorsport chief Norbert Haug feels Hamilton's rise could be turned into a movie as the story is almost straight from a Hollywood script.

The pressure is mounting on Hamilton as he leads the championship by just two points from McLaren rival Fernando Alonso with three grands prix remaining, starting in Japan on Sunday at the new Fuji Speedway circuit.

A fitting finale would surely see Hamilton become the first rookie in the sport's history to win the World title.

Yet despite that, the 22-year-old Hamilton has even amazed Dennis, who said: "In his first year in Formula One, Lewis has delivered a great deal more than was expected by the vast majority of people.

"I personally always had faith in him, but I didn't think anyone could climb up the staircase of Formula One so quickly.

"That's surprised everybody, not least myself."

Echoing Dennis' sentiments, Haug added: "Lewis is the perfect example for a movie. He approached Ron 10 years ago, and you all know the story by now.

"He has a huge talent, he is a good, positive guy and technically goes very deep into details.

"Nobody could have expected a newcomer in Formula One to have performed like Lewis has."  More at Sky Sports

[Editor's Note: Rumors have it that Hamilton was getting the better car from McLaren until Alonso put his foot down and blew wide open the fact that the team all of a sudden were winning races because they had received all the Ferrari secrets in the Stepneygate affair.  Since Alonso put his foot down and demanded equal treatment he has smoked Hamilton consistently.]


Strong Showing for Martinez at Champ Car Test
David Martinez completed a successful two day test with Forsythe Championship Racing at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the last two rounds of the Champ Car World Series.  The Mexican driver surprised everybody with his pace as he was able to lap the 1.669 circuit within only a tenth of his teammate Paul Tracy despite not driving a Champ Car in almost a year, his quickest laptime was a 51.92s.

The Forsythe Team and Martinez used the track time to carry on an extensive test plan as they continue developing the setup of their cars for the street circuit at Surfers Paradise and the Mexico City permanent road course.  Rain was a factor during both days interrupting their sessions but the Monterrey native and his team still managed to complete 300 trouble free miles at the historic track.

Martinez returns to the track on October 19 – 21 for the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia.

David Martínez
“The second day was even more productive than the first, the weather helped us a bit more, there were a few raindrops in the afternoon but we still managed to get all our miles in.  We were able to go through our whole test program, we tried a lot of different things and at the end I put in a really good time.  I am really happy with how I adapted to the car, I haven’t had a lot of seat time but I prepared myself all year and the hard work and dedication is definitely paying off now.  I’m very happy that I kept working hard all year and never gave up; it’s all coming together now.  I think this first test was excellent, now it’s time to concentrate on the next two races.”

Brandon Fry, Chief Engineer
“David had a really good test; he did everything we needed from him. We learned a lot of things that will help us in Surfers and Mexico City, he definitely contributed to our understanding of this new DP01.  We did 300 miles and that’s not easy at Sebring, especially for a guy who’s been out of the car the whole year and he set his fastest lap on his second to last run, he really did a good job today.”

Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003

Search Hot News
Search Help
AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review