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IRL adds even bigger mufflers for awful engine noise
A more fan-friendly IndyCar Series car is projected to be on racetracks in 2009 thanks to an exhaust system that reduces the noise level by about 9 decibels.

The system, which costs about the same as the '08 exhaust and already has been ordered by some teams, has been tested on road courses and ovals "so we could get an idea of the projected improvements," according to Les Mactaggart, senior technical director for the IndyCar Series.

"Honda has been the prime mover in trying to get a more acceptable level of exhaust noise from the current car, and embarked on a fairly extensive R&D program in 2008," Mactaggart said. "It sounded favorable and a big improvement over what we currently have, and hopefully it will give us the opportunity to make the cars more fan-friendly at the areas where the spectators are in fairly close proximity to the track (such as St. Petersburg, Edmonton and Toronto)."

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Guthrie Signs to Drive for Guthrie Meyer Racing
Guthrie Meyer Racing (GMR) announced today that it has signed Sean Guthrie to drive one of its cars during the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season.

Guthrie finished tenth in the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights championship, earning one top five and six top ten finishes.  Guthrie's open wheel career includes thirty-seven Firestone Indy Lights starts with a best finish of fourth at the Milwaukee Mile event in 2007.  Guthrie has also competed with great success in Karting, SCCA Formula Ford, and the Star Mazda Pro Series.  For his accomplishments, Sean garnered the Star Mazda Pro Series Motec Most Improved Driver Award in 2005 and the Firestone Indy Lights Ethos for Earth Hard Charger Award in 2008.

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Brumos Posts First Entries for 2009 Rolex 24
Brumos Racing filed the first entries Monday for the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona, entering a pair of Brumos Porsche and Kendall sponsored Porsche Rileys for the 47th running of the endurance classic.

Hurley Haywood, seeking to extend his record with a sixth overall victory in the opening race of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 event, will join regular drivers JC France and Joao Barbosa in the No. 59 entry. Completing the lineup will be Terry Borcheller, the 2003 Daytona Prototype champion.

Returning to the No. 58 entry are regulars David Donohue and Darren Law, plus 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice. 

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GM's Wagoner won't fly to Washington via company plane
Under withering criticism from Congress, General Motors Corp. chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will not fly to Washington for a new round of congressional hearings next month on a proposed $25 billion auto bailout, the company said Monday.

"As for our mode of transport, it can be safely assumed it will not be by company plane. We don't normally comment on transportation of our senior executives for security reasons," GM spokesman Greg Martin said Monday.

Martin said it wasn't clear if Wagoner would join a caravan of supporters from Michigan.

"There has been a genuine outreach of support from various places, and we deeply appreciate it. If a grassroots effort forms to support the loans, it will because people on their own want to support the American companies, and this idea seems to have a life of its own," Martin said. "We're not involved in organizing the effort."


AT&T unsure of plans
Rather than finishing with a bang, AT&T decided to go quietly without any special activation at the end of the season. AT&T executives watched their final Sprint Cup race as sponsor of Jeff Burton’s #31 car from a speedway suite over the garages. Tim McGhee, AT&T’s director of national sponsorships, said the scene was sad, “knowing that we won’t be back in the Cup series in the foreseeable future.” With Cingular’s rebranding to AT&T, the Richard Childress Racing sponsor was bumped out of the Sprint Cup Series by NASCAR and its series title sponsor, Sprint. McGhee said it remains to be seen whether AT&T will continue its substantial advertising on NASCAR broadcasts. Sports Business Journal


Max Lefevre Joins Condor Motorsports
Following a strong test at Buttonwillow Raceway last week, French driver Max Lefevre has joined Condor Motorsports for the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

The French driver logged approximately 650 miles during his three-day test at Buttonwillow. The team took the opportunity to expose the Lefevre to numerous changes to the car with the idea of familiarizing him with different car setups and, more importantly, to evaluate his feedback. He was able to relate the behavior of the car with precise detail and worked well with the team’s engineers.

“It was pleasure to work with Max,” said Team Owner Carlos Bobeda. “I was not only impressed by his driving ability but also his professional approach. He never put a wheel wrong in all the laps he turned. Max has achieved good results in the European lower formulas so there was no doubt in my mind that he would do well in the test. However, his performance in the more powerful Atlantic car was far superior to the expectations I placed on him.

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Villeneuve sets fastest lap at Speedcar Series test session
Jacques Villeneuve set the pace on the first day of the Speedcar Series test session at the Dubai Autodrome. This 2-day test is the final one before the start of Season 2 on 5-6 December, 2008.

Nine drivers attended the test session today. Former F1 drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Stefan Johansson as well as Mathias Lauda were all part of Speedcar Series' debut season. Today was the first opportunity they have had to test the Speedcars newly evolved with 6.2 liter engines and composite paneled bodies.

Fresh drivers to the Series included locally based Khalid Al Zarooni, Eric Charles and Christopher Zoechling who have tested the Speedcars at previous sessions held at the Dubai Autodrome. For Italians Massimo Cioci and Beppe Perazzini as well as Briton Nigel Greensall, today was their first time in the custom built stockcars.

Test Times


Jacques Villeneuve 1:43.56
Christopher Zoechling 1:43.76
Mathias Lauda 1:43.83
Stefan Johansson 1:45.00
Massimo Cioci 1:45.07
Khalid Al Zarooni 1:46.07
Beppe Perazzini 1:47.07
Nigel Greensall 1:48.00
Eric Charles 1:49.28


David Clare leaves A1GP
David Clare has resigned as chief executive officer (Asia Pacific) for A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport, his intention being to pursue automobile manufacturing, PR and marketing projects in Asia.

Clare is an experienced motorsport veteran having worked with FOCA from 1987-1996 before moving on to become chief operating officer of Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc. and subsequently chairman of ChampCar before taking up his position at A1GP.


SunTrust Racing dumps Pontiac for Ford
The No. 10 SunTrust Dallara Daytona Prototype of Wayne Taylor Racing will enter its sixth season of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series competition in 2009 with a new engine manufacturer for the very first time.

The team announced it will run Ford power built by Roush Yates Engines of Mooresville, N.C., which is a leading engine builder in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series, as well as the Rolex Series and FIA GT. The SunTrust Racing program had been powered by Pontiac since joining the Rolex Series in 2004, and in 66 races over the past five seasons had scored 12 wins, 33 podium finishes, 43 top-fives and 10 pole positions, highlighted by the 2005 Rolex Series championship run co-driven by Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor.

Angelelli, whose 12 victories ranks second on the all-time Rolex Series win list to Scott Pruett, will be joined in 2009 by new co-driver Brian Frisselle, the 24-year-old American from Aspen, Colo., who scored his first two career Rolex Series victories on back-to-back weekends this past August at Montreal and Watkins Glen with the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford-powered team.

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BBC confirms Coulthard, Jordan for 2009
(GMM)  David Coulthard will turn to television punditry for his first year of formula one race retirement in 2009.

The British broadcaster BBC on Monday confirmed that the Scot, who drove in F1 for Williams, McLaren, and most recently Red Bull, will support the presentation of the sport next year as an expert pundit.

"My passion for the sport is still very much alive, and therefore I was delighted to be given the opportunity to share my views and experiences through the BBC's coverage of F1," he said.

Also in a punditry role will be the former grand prix team owner Eddie Jordan, as F1's British television rights switch for the first time in more than a decade from ITV.

Veteran of 158 grands prix, and more than 180 more as a commentator, Martin Brundle, will call the races alongside Jonathan Legard.

In a statement, the BBC also said legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker will have a "regular presence" on the BBC website.

The BBC's rights deal is for five years.

tv news

NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards will be televised on ESPN Classic
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City will be televised live on Friday, December 5 at 9:00 pm – 12:00 am ET on ESPN Classic.  This article highlights some of the memorable moments from previous NASCAR Cup Awards celebrations.


McLaren Team meeting transcript reveals '09 key factors
With this week’s three-day Barcelona kicking off preparations for the 2009 season, the celebrations of Brazil already seem a distant memory for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. Indeed, everybody at Woking and Brixworth is fully focused on preparations for the new season and the introduction of some of the biggest and most comprehensive rule-changes in Formula 1 history. In order to provide a clear idea of the scope and extent of the regulation changes, and just what Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be doing over the winter in preparation for the new season, McLaren.com sat down with our top engineers, aerodynamicists, engine expert, test team manager and test driver to prepare an exhaustive analysis of the changes:

The Panel

Pedro de la Rosa Test Driver
Pat Fry Chief Engineer MP4-24
Ola Kallenius Managing Director Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines
Indy Lall Test Team Manager
Paddy Lowe Director of Engineering
Doug McKiernan Principal Aerodynamicist


In terms of scale, just how different is the package of technical changes for next year?

Paddy Lowe: It’s probably the biggest set of aerodynamic regulation changes in Formula 1’s history. Almost everything – the front and rear wings, the diffuser, floor and bodywork – is affected. I don’t think there’s ever been that level of change.

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British F3

Huertas stays with Räikkönen Robertson Racing
Carlos Huertas will stay with the Räikkönen Robertson Racing team for the 2009 British F3 International Series.  17 year-old Huertas has completed the last two seasons with the British squad in Formula BMW and will stay with the 2006 British F3 champions as he makes the move up to Formula 3.  The 17 year-old Colombian completed his first season with the Double R team in 2007, racing in the Formula BMW UK championship.  When Formula BMW UK was replaced with a European championship in 2008, Double R were one of only three British teams granted entry, and Huertas moved with the team to race on some of the world’s most prestigious tracks in the Formula BMW Europe championship.


Drivers want former driver to be Race Steward
World champion Kimi Raikkonen called for one of the F1 race stewards to be a former race car driver.

"It would keep people happier also, that every time you get the same decision," Ferrari's Raikkonen told reporters ahead of the Chinese grand prix.

"Maybe if there would be an older driver there would be more respect and people wouldn't complain as much. It's only that people want to have the same thing happening every time, the same penalties and same rules."

BMW's Nick Heidfeld, who said the issue would be discussed in the drivers' briefing on Friday, believes there was more consistency in stewards decisions last year, when Tony Scott-Andrews had a permanent role.

"Until the last race, I wasn't worried, but in the last race I think penalties were not justified," the German driver, Heidfeld, said.

Former double world champion Fernando Alonso agrees that an ex-driver, would be a good idea.

"The decisions they take are difficult to know from the outside if you never drove a formula one car. For the drivers, what will help is to have consistency in the penalties," said the Spaniard.

"I think we ask for a little bit more consistency, even if (the penalties) are very harsh," Alonso said.


Muller joins ROC field
Touring Car Champion, Yvan Muller, will complete the lineup for Team France at The Race of Champions on Sunday 14 December, at Wembley Stadium, joining Sébastien Loeb, the most successful WRC driver of all time. Former British Touring Car Championship favourite Muller clinched the world title at Macau in China earlier this month, with SEAT. He will be making his fourth attempt at The Race of Champions. Muller will join a list of star drivers in the end-of-season spectacular to find out who is the champion of champions.

They include seven times Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, British F1 stars Jenson Button and David Coulthard, and Muller's fellow WTCC racer, three times world champion Andy Priaulx.

With his first WTCC title under his belt, Muller is now looking forward to racing without the pressure of a championship, and wowing the UK fans who know him well from his days in the BTCC.


Few lament loss of F1 race in Montreal
Will Montreal recover from the loss of the Formula One Grand Prix? Montreal certainly will, but some pub and bar owners will not. They say that the June weekend of the Grand Prix, when huge crowds of hard-drinking revellers descended on the city's downtown, represented 15 to 20 per cent of their yearly gross income.

"We'll have to return our bottles of Cristal champagne at $500 each and replace them with beer cases," lamented Ziggy Eichenbaum, owner of the popular Ziggy's Pub on Crescent Street. (The unassuming pub, a couple of steps down from sidewalk level, was Mordecai Richler's favorite haunt.)

Some say the Grand Prix brought up to $100-million a year to the city's coffers - a figure that has never been substantiated but was liberally used by various lobbies that wanted the federal, provincial and city governments to give in to the outrageous demands of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Mr. Ecclestone insisted on annual fees of $31-million that would rise to $38-million by 2013, plus a government guarantee. Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand, former federal minister Michael Fortier and Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay worked hard to negotiate a better deal, but the talks broke down last week. Istanbul has replaced Montreal for the next June F1 show.

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Indian driver within five years - Mallya
(GMM)  Installing an Indian driver at the wheel of one of Force India's formula one cars is in the team's five year plan.

That is the revelation of team boss and co-owner, and Indian billionaire, Vijay Mallya.

It was previously stated that Mallya, who took over the former Spyker team at the end of last year, wanted to fast-track an Indian national to a race cockpit.

But despite the candidacy of the former Jordan racer Narain Karthikeyan, and GP2's Karun Chandhok, who finished the series' 2008 season in tenth place, Mallya has vowed to take a meticulous approach.

"I have committed that Force India will identify and groom an Indian driver to eventually participate in F1 through national and international karting and GP2.

"I hope to achieve this over a period of five years," he is quoted as saying by CNN.


Grosjean 'too young' for F1 debut - Briatore
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean, the first GP2 Asia Series champion and fourth in this year's main GP2 series, looks likely to return to the support category in 2009.

The Swiss-born 22-year-old Frenchman was closely linked with a graduation to formula one with Renault next year, as team boss Flavio Briatore toyed with the concept of dropping Nelson Piquet.

But Briatore ultimately concluded that Grosjean, a Renault test driver this year, was "too young" to make his F1 debut in 2009, and "made too many mistakes" in his GP2 single seater.

That was despite the fact that, with Fernando Alonso staying in 2009, it is feasible for a team like Renault to "experiment with new drivers" such as Grosjean, Briatore is quoted as saying by Marca.

The team's Italian boss, however, remains convinced by his policy of grooming his own stars of the future, as he did with Alonso, and subsequently Heikki Kovalainen, Piquet, and now Grosjean and Lucas di Grassi.

"If you want to win with somebody really good, you need to bring up your own drivers in-house, like we did with Fernando, and McLaren with Hamilton," Briatore said.

Baja 1000

41st Tecate Score Baja 1000 Results
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico (631.35 miles)

TOTAL STARTERS: 347  TOTAL FINISHERS: 227 (65.4 Percent)

T O T A L  O F F I C I A L  F I N I S H E R S


    SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK (Unlimited Production Trucks)—1. Roger Norman, Reno, Nev./Larry Roeseler, Irvine, Calif., Ford F-150, 12 hours, 40 minutes, 33 seconds (49.81 miles per hour); 2. B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado, 12:45:26; 3. Chad Ragland, Vista, Calif./Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz., Toyota Tundra, 13:26:19; 4. Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 13:31:11; 5. Dan Friedkin, Houston, Danny Sullivan, Vista, Calif./Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., Toyota Tundra, 14:34:55; 6. Justin Lofton/Bob Lofton, Westmorland, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 14:51:08; 7. Robbie Pierce/Mike Julson, Santee, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 15:30:45; 8. Ron Whitton, Mesa, Ariz./Garron Cadiente, Mesa, Ariz./Todd LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif., Ford F-150, 15:48:30; 9. Bobby Baldwin/Larry Job, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado, 16:32:15; 10. Damen Jefferies, Apple Valley, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 16:42:47; 11. Jason McNeil, El Cajon, Calif., Ford F-150, 17:08:34; 12. Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Rick Geiser, Phoenix, Cadillac Escalade, 17:19:15; 13. Mark Miller, Cave Creek, Ariz./Ryan Arciero, Foothill Ranch, Calif., Volkswagen Baja Race Touareg TDI, 18:58:12; 14. Greg Nunley, Tulare, Calif./Don Daniels, Visalia, Calif./Bob Shepard, Phoenix, Chevy Silverado, 20:01:38; 15. Scott Steinberger, Cypress, Calif./Mike Childress, Wrightwood, Calif./Jimmy Knuckles, Brawley, Calif., Ford F-150, 23:53:56

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Q&A with Ed Wood, Williams Chief Designer
With the 2009 technical regulations being so different to those from 2008, the design department at each team is more crucial than in recent years past. An interview with the team's own Chief Designer, Ed Wood, discovers how the dramatic changes have affected the normal design schedule, what the team is doing in preparation for the upcoming season and most importantly how the team is actually doing with development of the 2009 package.

So, Ed, when does the design process on one car end and another start?
“It’s dependent on whether there are significant regulation changes from one season to the next and, to a lesser extent, your position in the championship. In the latter half of the season, the teams are always reviewing how much resource to put into developing the existing car as opposed to moving ahead with the new design.

In the last couple of years, in which regulation change was minimal, we tended to start work in earnest on the following year’s car in either April or May and we brought our last developments to the existing car late August/early September for the flyaways at the end of the year.”

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Hylton to attempt Daytona 500
EM Motorsports announced that legendary NASCAR competitor James Hylton [2 wins, 1966 rookie of the year. 2nd in points 3 times) has teamed up with team owner John Carter to compete in the 51st annual Daytona 500 on February 15, 2009. The 74 year old Hylton made a well publicized comeback run at Daytona in 2007 which was thwarted by a faulty clutch in the Gatorade 150 qualifying event. During the race, Hylton ran as high as second, which put aside any doubts about the 1966 Rookie of the Years driving abilities. Hylton has competed in 16 Daytona 500s, with his best finish being third. In 2008, Hylton competed full-time in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as well as running in the Winn-Dixie 250 Nationwide Series race at Daytona. At age 73, Hylton set the record as the oldest driver to start a Nationwide Series event and also hopes to set the record as the oldest driver to compete in a Sprint Cup series event in February 2009. EM Motorsports PR

[Editor's Note: This is how low NASCAR has fallen to allow such a publicity stunt]


Brian France’s fate hangs on boneheads
Right now Brian France might be the least-envied man in America who’s not Pacman Jones’ bodyguard. He runs a sports empire entirely dependent on boneheads.

Tone-deaf and dumber than posts, the heads of America’s Big Three automakers winged into Washington the other day in their private jets, pleading poverty. They were drowning in red ink, they said. Teetering on the verge of collapse. If Congress didn’t fork over bundles of cash in large denominations, the consequences were likely to be dire.

Why, shoot. They all might have to fly commercial or something.

Little wonder that Congress told these nitwits to shut up and go away. Little wonder that France and everyone else in NASCAR is quaking in their boots, because without the Big Three pumping money, machinery and subsidiary capital into the sport, it’s just Toyota and a whole pile of tumbleweeds.

These are grim times for NASCAR, and not just because the dopes in their Lears and Gulfstream Fives have driven the American auto industry off a cliff. As Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying third straight Sprint Cup title last weekend in Homestead, Fla., breadlines were all but queuing up in the garage area. Once-elite teams (DEI, Chip Ganassi) were merging because they couldn’t drum up enough sponsorship to survive on their own. Even mighty Hendrick Motorsports was laying people off.

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Coulthard's a dad!
(GMM)  The recently-retired formula one veteran David Coulthard is a father.

The 37-year-old Scot's fiancée Karen Minier, a Belgian who was formerly a F1 reporter for the French broadcaster TF1, gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Friday.

The name and weight of the child is not known.

Coulthard, who contested 247 grands prix, most recently for Red Bull, joked earlier this year: "He'll be signed up for Ferrari in 2028!"


Webber seriously hurt in bicycle crash, to miss testing UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Mark Webber will likely miss the winter testing period, but should be back in action when the formula one race action resumes in Melbourne for the start of the 2009 season.

That was the reaction of the Australian driver's team Red Bull Racing, after 32-year-old Webber broke his right leg in two places in a mountain bike crash during his own outdoor adventure race in Tasmania at the weekend.

Webber had a rod inserted in his damaged leg during surgery in the hours after the incident, and he is set to remain in a Hobart hospital for a few days before returning to the UK.

"While it looks like he's out of the winter testing program, we fully expect Mark to make the starting grid in Melbourne next March," Red Bull said in a statement.

His supporters were invited to send personal messages to feedback@redbullf1.com, "and we'll make sure he gets all your mail", Red Bull added.

11/22/08 (GMM)  Mark Webber on Saturday underwent surgery, after he broke his right leg in a cycling crash during his own outdoor adventure event in Tasmania.

"The surgery is complete, a pin inserted and the recovery begins," Geoff Donohue, event director, confirmed.

Despite reports of more serious injuries, including possible multiple bone fractures, Donohue said the broken leg is the Red Bull driver's only problem.

"He has a little bit of a graze on his left forearm, but he has had full scans and everything else is clear," he said of Webber, 32.

"He'll be in hospital for at least three days, for sure under a week."

Webber was airlifted from the scene near Port Arthur to the Royal Hobart Hospital, and later transferred to Hobart Private Hospital.

It is understood he will be out of action for at least six weeks, with Donohue confirming that Webber will surely miss Red Bull's scheduled test at Jerez next month.

"He might miss out on a little bit of testing but at this stage that's about all," he said.

Mark Webber won't be doing any off-season F1 testing for awhile
11/22/08 (GMM)  Mark Webber has sustained serious injuries while competing in his outdoor adventure race in Tasmania.

The Australian, who drives in formula one for Red Bull, is believed to have collided with an oncoming four-wheel drive car on an open road near Port Arthur, in the south east of the island state, as he was riding a mountain bike on Saturday.

"As a result of the collision, (Webber) suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries," a police spokesman said.

"He was attended at the scene by paramedics attached to the event before being airlifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital."

Some reports, backed by a source with the Tasmanian Ambulance Service, suggest the 31-year-old suffered multiple arm and leg fractures.

"It would appear he's suffered a fractured leg but until doctors confirm the extent of Mark's injuries, we won't know for sure -- it's still early days," said event director Geoff Donohue.


Singapore track widened for 2009 race
(GMM)  Parts of the layout of Singapore's formula one street circuit will be altered ahead of the 2009 race.

The Asian city-state this year staged the sport's first ever floodlit night race, which will be reprised with a late September date on the 2009 calendar.

But despite the debut event's widely lauded success, the news source Channel NewsAsia reports that at least three corners - 1, 2 and 3 - will be widened ahead of next year's race to inspire more overtaking.

"Perhaps Stamford corner could (also) be extended so that there is a little bit more access for overtaking," race promoter Singapore Grand Prix chairman Teo Hock Seng confirmed.

Run-off areas at St Andrews road, and also at turn 22 just behind the pit building, could also be extended.

TV News

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are listed below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
A1 Grand Prix Malaysia 
12:45am-3:45am (L) Setanta Sports
Double-check the times. A number of listings are different.
Chasing Baja -40th Anniversary, 2007 Baja 1000 
3:00am-4:00am (R) SPEED
NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series Pomona 
12:00pm-1:00pm (11/2008) ESPN2
Formula Drift Series
12:00pm-1:00pm (R) Long Beach
1:00pm-2:00pm (R) Road Atlanta
2:00pm-3:00pm (R) Englishtown
3:00pm-4:00pm (R) Las Vegas
4:00pm-5:00pm Evergreen SPEED
2008 NASCAR Season Review   
1:00pm-1:30pm -NASCAR Sprint Cup
1:30pm-2:00pm -Nationwide Series ESPN2
Chasing Baja -40th Anniversary, 2007 Baja 1000
5:00pm-6:00pm (R) SPEED
The SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com


Sprint Car ace Tony Jones retires
Tony Jones
Southern California Sprint Car racing superstar Tony Jones has announced that he will be retiring from racing.  The popular star's last race will be the 1st  Annual Glenn Howard Memorial featuring the Lucas Oil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars at Perris Auto Speedway on Saturday, November 29th. 

Jones, a Norco, California resident who will turn 39 in January, won the 2007 USAC/CRA championship.  This season, despite not contesting the entire series and confining most of his racing to The PAS, he is fourth in Lucas Oil USAC/CRA points and he leads the series with five main event wins.  His latest victory came at the opening night of this year's Budweiser Oval Nationals when he beat the best traditional Sprint Car drivers in the nation to the checkered flag.

The son of National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Bubby Jones, Tony's main reason for hanging up his helmet is his family.  "I have been racing for 16 years and I want to spend more time with my wife and kids," he said over the phone last week.  "When I left to race at Manzanita (in Phoenix, Arizona) a couple of weeks ago, I looked over and my neighbor and his family were getting ready to go camping.  I was leaving and my wife was staying home with the kids.  I just want to spend more time with them."

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Liverpool keeps title hopes alive at Jerez
(L to R) Tristan Gommendy (3rd), Adrian Valles (pole), Franck Perera (2nd) and Andy Soucek (4th)
Pieter Slinger/AR1.com
Liverpool FC Superleague Formula driver Adrian Valles has kept the Reds in the championship hunt after scoring the pole position for the final round of the championship in Jerez, Spain today.

Valles and the Liverpool squad are 62 points behind championship leader Beijing Guoan but their driver Davide Rigon spun early in the qualifying session and will now start from the back row of the grid in tomorrow's

To get the chance to taste championship glory, Liverpool must win both races and hope that Beijing finished worse than 9th in both events. 

With the second race staged as a complete reverse grid event, Beijing's poor qualifying performance may not be as big a problem.  Valles has his sights set on scoring 50 points from each of the two races – the second event a tougher challenge as the race one winner will start from the back of the grid in race two.

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team usa

Daly, Newgarden Test Andersen Racing Star Mazda Cars
As part of their prizes for being awarded Team USA Scholarships, Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden were treated to a one-day test at Sebring International Raceway earlier this week aboard a pair of Star Mazda cars fielded by the Palmetto, Fla.-based Andersen Racing Team.

The test came just a couple of weeks after the teenagers returned from an extraordinarily successful foray to England, where Newgarden, 17, from Hendersonville, Tenn., became the first American ever to post a victory in the Formula Ford Festival Final at Brands Hatch and Daly, 16, from Noblesville, Ind., followed up by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford event at Silverstone.

For both youngsters the test provided their first experience of a modern carbon fiber chassis, six-speed sequential gearbox and 240-horsepower Mazda "Renesis" rotary engine. To no one’s surprise, they acquitted themselves well.

"We knew Conor as he has tested [an F2000 car] with us in the past, and the team all love him, but it was also great getting to know Josef," said Andersen Racing Team Manager Michelle Kish. "The test went very well, and both drivers showed why they had such great results in the UK."

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Perera tops final free Superleague practice in Jerez
Adrian Valles at speed in the Liverpool car at Jerez. In the background is the Tio Pepe hospitality tower which is situated in the centre of the circuit and oversees the whole of the circuit.
Pieter Slinger/AR1.com
Frenchman Frank Perera topped practice Saturday in Jerez for this weekend's Superleague race driving for the AS Roma team.

Full story to follow......
Pos Driver Team Time Behind
1. Franck Perera AS Roma 1:28.032 + 0.000
2. Davide Rigon Beijing Guoan 1:28.251 + 0.219
3. Andy Soucek Atletico Madrid 1:29.405 + 1.373
4. Adrian Valles Liverpool 1:29.800 + 1.768
5. Bertrand Baguette Al Ain 1:29.831 + 1.799
6. Robert Doornbos AC Milan 1:30.040 + 2.008
7. Antonio Pizzonia Corinthians 1:30.105 + 2.073
8. Tristan Gommendy FC Porto 1:30.415 + 2.383
9. Alessandro Pier Guidi Galatasaray 1:30.683 + 2.651
10. Borja Garcia Sevilla FC 1:30.824 + 2.792
11. Duncan Tappy Tottenham Hotspur 1:30.882 + 2.850
12. Maximilian Wissel FC Basel 1:30.992 + 2.960
13. Tuka Rocha Flamengo 1:31.080 + 3.048
14. Craig Dolby Anderlecht 1:31.100 + 3.068
15. Yelmer Buurman PSV Eindhoven 1:31.208 + 3.176
16. Stamatis Katsimis Olympiacos 1:31.297 + 3.265
17. Ryan Dalziel Rangers 1:31.775 + 3.743


Barnhart: Smaller IndyCar fields in '09
Brian Barnhart failed to address how much the decision to sign with Versus for TV is hurting the league.  Sponsors have little interest if they are invisible on TV.
"With all of those events creating positive momentum, it's just amazing the bad timing that we have to be facing the world economic situation that we're facing," Brian Barnhart told Indianapolis radio station 1070 The Fan.

"That's going to affect not just the smaller teams, but the bigger teams. While we're getting a sense from KV, Newman/Haas, and everyone who contested this season, of how badly they want to continue in 2009, we have a full understanding that everyone is facing some significant economic challenges."

"I don't know that we could come back and run 26 full-time, just based on the economics we're seeing worldwide," said Barnhart.

"I would expect some sort of reduction, we're certainly hoping for a minimal one. I think something in the 22-24 range, I'd be tickled with."

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USAC driver badly hurt in highway accident UPDATE Injured USAC driver Cameron Dodson remained in critical condition Friday at Methodist Hospital. Dodson, a 20-year-old from Greenfield, was injured when he was ejected from his passenger car as it veered into a ditch Tuesday in Hancock County.  Cards may be sent to the driver in care of Rising Star Management Group, 6199 SW Leland Ave., Des Moines, Iowa, 50321.

11/19/08 U.S. Auto Club driver Cameron Dodson has been critically injured in a crash along a rural Hancock County road. The 20-year-old Dodson drives for NASCAR driver Carl Edwards' team and was the USAC Silver Crown series rookie of the year in 2007. He won one race in four starts this year.

Methodist Hospital spokesman Gene Ford said Dodson was in critical condition Wednesday evening but did not disclose the nature of the injuries.

The Daily Reporter in Greenfield reported that authorities said Dodson was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from his car when it went off a county road into a ditch about 20 miles east of Indianapolis early Wednesday.


Battistini again fastest
In 2008 Battistini did well on ovals but was a backmarker on road courses
Dillon Battistini ended the second day of Indy Lights testing for Sam Schmidt Motorsport quickest again, this time on the Homestead Miami Oval. Battistini continued the form that enabled him to win four times during the 2008 season including the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Superspeedway. Battistini, who is evaluating options for 2009, also topped the time sheets on the first day when running the Road Course at Homestead on Wednesday.

Dillon said “I am very impressed with Sam Schmidt Motorsport, I certainly enjoyed working with Tim on the engineering side, we tried a number of things on the chassis to dial the car to suit the conditions. We did not even try new tires at the end of the day like everyone else and still ended up quickest, so that tell you something doesn’t it. I would like to thank Sam and the whole team for their hard work and professional approach”  Dillon Battistini Publicity Department


A1GP and Surfers make it official
• Gold Coast Event to stay, with new name, and new open-wheel series
• Five year deal signed this week between Event organizers and the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport
• A1GP will replace the IndyCar Series at the Event from 2009
• A1GP will share co-headline act status with the Australian V8 Supercar Series, who along with the Queensland Government have deals with the Event up to and including the 2013 Event.
• Comment from Gold Coast 300 General Manager Greg Hooton, Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Sport Ms Judy Spence, as well as A1GP Chairman Tony Teixeira, V8 Supercar Australia Chairman Tony Cochrane and A1 Team Australia driver John Martin included below
• Details of a Mid-week Media Opportunity with the key representatives of the Event, V8 Supercars, A1GP and the QLD Government will be released in the coming days

The tradition of world class open-wheel motor racing alongside homegrown V8 Supercars on the streets of Surfers Paradise will continue.

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will join as a co-headline act of the Gold Coast 300 alongside the V8 Supercar Championship Series from 2009 in a five year deal which has now been finalized.

Gold Coast 300 General Manager Greg Hooton said he was excited by the announcement, as would be many thousands of motor racing fans around Australia,” said Hooton.

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Beltoise says Disneyland F1 demise 'good'
(GMM)  Former grand prix driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise has welcomed news that Disneyland Paris is no longer bidding to host the French grand prix.

The 71-year-old, who raced both motorcycle and four-wheeled grand prix machinery, is closely involved with the alternate plans to bring formula one to the Sarcelles commune in Paris' northern suburbs.

Referring to the end of Disneyland's bid, he told L'Equipe: "It's a good thing for French motor sport.

"Why?  Because in Paris we lack a circuit for automobile racing and testing.  The Disneyland project was for a temporary track that would be active for only 3 or 4 days of the year.

"So from this point of view, the abandonment of the project is good news because the investment can now be used for a true automotive stage that can be used all the year," said Beltoise.

He said organizers of the Sarcelles project are "in contact" with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who is interested in their plans.

"Now we are waiting.  We will have an answer in a few weeks," he said.


From F2 to F1
It has been confirmed that the F2 points system will mirror that of Formula One - the top eight drivers will score points in each race (10pts-8-6-5-4-3-2-1). The 2009 FIA Formula Two champion will receive a full test with the AT&T Williams F1 team: "The test will be run in such a way as to seriously evaluate the driver with regard to their potential as a Formula One driver," said MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer. The championship top three will also gain an FIA Superlicense.

FIA reveals Superlicense criteria for Formula Two Championship

The FIA has announced that the top three finishers in the Formula Two Championship will qualify for an FIA Superlicense.

The decision means that three drivers per season will become eligible to compete in Formula One Grands Prix, providing a greater opportunity for aspiring F1 drivers than many other championships - such as World Series by Renault, the F3 Euro Series and the British, Italian and Japanese Formula 3 championships - in which only the champion receives qualification for a Superlicense.

In addition to being awarded a Superlicense, the winner will also receive a test drive with the AT&T Williams Formula 1 team as part of their prize.


Hewland Engineering F2 transmission in production
Since the F2 championship launch at the Williams F1 Conference Centre last month, work continues apace behind the scenes - with the gearbox design and production being the latest development.

The all-new gearbox for the F2 car is now in production having been specifically designed by renowned motorsport transmission manufacturer, Hewland Engineering.

Named the TMT, its narrow gear cluster is similar to that used in Formula One cars just a few years ago. This promotes well-balanced handling characteristics for the chassis and the two-shaft longitudinal layout provides fast access for ratio changes and ease of maintenance.

The TMT is a major component in the F2 car as its casing also carries the suspension mountings, wing mounting and rear crash structure. The compact semi-automatic gear shift system is designed to ensure longevity, low running costs and high reliability – all of which are vital to the F2 car.

The car continues to take shape as news of the gearbox production follows the first ‘dyno’ test of the 1.8-litre turbo-charged Audi engine. Full production of the TMT is due for completion by January 2009, as per the original Formula Two schedule.


Imola and Barcelona added to F2 calendar
Following a change in the World Touring Car Calendar and subject to final FIA approval, the 2009 Italian F2 round will now take place at Imola on 20 September, replacing Magny Cours in France. Imola has a rich history with Formula One, hosting a race as recently as 2006, and the track has undergone a series of major renovations to the circuit and pit complex. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari boasts some of the finest facilities in the world.

The Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, has also been added to the provisional 2009 F2 calendar. The home of the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991 will hold the final round of the inaugural FIA Formula Two Championship on 25 October, with F2 running alongside the International GT Open series.

The German round at Oschersleben has been moved back by one week and will now take place on 6 September.

2009 Provisional FIA Formula Two Championship Calendar
(subject to final approval by the FIA):

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BMW to do overtaking tests at Jerez
(GMM)  It is possible the aerodynamic rule changes for 2009 will make overtaking in formula one easier, BMW-Sauber test driver Christian Klien has said.

During tests with the German team's heavily modified interim car at Barcelona this week, the Austrian revealed that he noticed the 2009-specification wings make it easier "to drive closer to the rear" of the cars in front.

"Even more important is the air turbulence made by the car in front," he is quoted as saying by motorline.cc.

"This should be clearly less (in 2009) because of the smaller rear wing.  But since most teams were still using 2008 aerodynamics (in Barcelona), it is still hard to say," he said.

Klien, 25, revealed that at next month's Jerez test, BMW plans to further investigate the effects of the new bodywork on overtaking by staging a mock race between the occupants of two modified F1.08 cars.

He also played down his widely reported comments this week that the interim car is the ugliest he has ever seen in formula one.

"I should probably explain that a racing car does not need to be beautiful," Klien said.  "If it works and it's fast, it doesn't matter at all how it looks and the driver will love it.

"Beauty and elegance are pretty important for a road car.  In racing, only speed counts."


Sarcelles renews bid for Paris grand prix
(GMM)  Another potential site for a future French grand prix near Paris has reiterated its bid for the formula one race.

It emerged this week that the prospective organizers of an event on the grounds of Disneyland Paris, about a half hour drive from the capital, had scrapped their plans.

But a site at Sarcelles, a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, had earlier this year been put forward as an alternate potential venue for the French grand prix, given the demise of the Magny-Cours race.

In an official statement, the team behind the Sarcelles project said the plans can still be enacted.

It is believed a more likely start-date, however, would be 2011, meaning that France could be unrepresented on the F1 calendar for at least the next two years.

The Sarcelles statement also encouraged Lagardere, the potential promoter of the failed Disneyland bid, to "join in" the alternate efforts to bring formula one to Paris.


KERS to be 'very helpful' - Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld says he is looking forward to the deployment of KERS technology in formula one races next year.

The German sampled BMW-Sauber's early running version of the system in the famously aesthetically-challenged interim car this week.

"There are still many things to sort out," Heidfeld is quoted as saying by the Cologne newspaper Express, "but when I press the (boost) button, I can already notice a difference.

"It should be very helpful," he added.

It is believed that BMW's KERS system is already delivering bursts of additional 80 horse power.

It is clear, however, that development of the new technology still has some way to go, given the 'high voltage' warnings on the bodywork of many of the teams' test cars this week.

Mechanics, meanwhile, can frequently be seen wearing elbow-length insulated gloves in the pits, ostensibly because of the ongoing risk of electric shock.


Ousted Kolles returns to F3
(GMM)  Ousted Force India team boss Colin Kolles has set up a team to compete in next year's Formula 3 Euroseries.

The outfit, called Kolles and Heinz Union, is a collaboration with Nick Heidfeld's outgoing driver manager, Werner Heinz.

Kolles and Heinz Union will field two cars in 2009.

41-year-old Kolles, a trained dentist, entered formula one when Midland bought out Jordan at the end of 2004.  He remained with the team during its subsequent guises as Spyker and Force India.

He has concurrently been involved in Germany's touring car series DTM.

Kolles has also previously owned and run teams in the F3 Euroseries, a junior single seater category.

Baja 1000

369 Total entries from 39 U.S. States, 24 countries for Baja
Below is the final pre-race entry list for the 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race, which starts Friday morning and is being held in Ensenada, Mexico.  A total of 369 entries from 39 U.S. States and 24 countries will be competing in 28 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs.

Motorcycles and ATVs will start the technically challenging 631.35-mile course first at 6:30 a.m. (PST). The cars and trucks will start three hours after the last Sportsman Motorcycle sidecar, at approximately 10:45 a.m. (PST).

With vehicles starting one every 30 seconds in the elapsed-time race, the fastest vehicles are expected to cover the course in approximately 13 hours.  The course will officially remain open for 31 hours, closing in the early evening on Saturday.

With as many as 300,000 spectators expected to be spread along the course throughout the northern part of the Baja California peninsula, the start/finish line area will be on Boulevard Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada.

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AMA seeks parts approval for 2009
Following the announcement of its new road racing class structure last month, AMA Pro Racing confirmed today that it is now accepting applications for the approval of all key parts and components for the 2009 Eligible Equipment List in each of the four major divisions of AMA Pro Road Racing.

Aftermarket parts and equipment in up to 12 different primary categories are eligible for submission in each of AMA Pro Racing's road racing championships which includes American Superbike, Daytona SportBike, SuperSport and MOTO-GT. Applications for air filters, bodywork, controls, crash protection, drive systems, electronics, exhaust, frame and suspension components are being accepted in all four divisions. Brake system parts are available for submission in all but the SuperSport division, specific engine components are being accepted in American Superbike and Daytona SportBike and wheels are a category in American Superbike. A complete list of the parts and equipment eligible for submission within each category, in addition to the required applications and guidelines, are now available at http://www.amaproracing.com/prorace/forms.asp.

"After the announcement of the class structure in the new AMA Pro Road Racing Series, the process of approving parts and equipment for each division is the next important piece of business that needs to be completed in order to go racing next year," said AMA Pro Racing President Roger Edmondson. "The opportunity now exists for the top aftermarket parts and equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the motorcycle industry to become part of the AMA Pro Road Racing Series and we welcome and encourage all of them to join us."

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Trio get extra Sepang testing A1GP
Three teams got an early taste of  how the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car would feel at the Sepang International circuit today.
India, Great Britain and Mexico were all permitted to take part in a special afternoon test session, to help bring them up to the level of the other teams in terms of track time.

Because the trio only joined the season in Chengdu, all three were still significantly behind the level of mileage completed by the other 17 teams.

Held in mostly wet conditions, none approached the lap record of 1m 49.221s set by Switzerland’s Neel Jani last season in the first generation car. The best time was set by India’s Narain Karthikeyan with a 1m 52.433-second lap, ahead of Great Britain’s Danny Watts recording a lap 0.4 seconds off.

Mexico’s Davide Garza was third, with a lap 2.6 seconds behind Karthikeyan.


Layoffs in NASCAR mount UPDATE The day after the announcement that #78 Furniture Row Racing was running a partial schedule for 2009, Team Owner Barney Visser released driver Joe Nemechek from his ride. Visser said that the team may not even race at all for 2009 and how money was tight. So Nemechek is looking for a ride in 2009. joenemechek.net

11/20/08 CupScene tallies the following job losses in NASCAR so far.

Current NASCAR Job Losses

Team Estimated Job Losses
DEI-Ganassi 116
Stewart-Hass Racing 16
Wood Brothers Racing 25
Petty Enterprises 30
Roush-Fenway Less than 10 (one truck team eliminated)
Joe Gibbs Racing Less than 10
Hendrick Motorsports Less than 10
Bill Davis Racing More than 10
Hall Of Fame Racing (Unknown)*
Richard Childress Racing (Unknown)*
Yates Racing (Unknown)*
International Speedway Corporation 50
Total (as of November 19) 277 (est.)

*(Unknown, jobs have been cut but the number hasn't been made available)


NASCAR TV rating for Homestead UPDATE ABC’s telecast of the Ford 400 Sprint Cup race from Homestead-Miami Speedway earned a final national rating of 4.0, down from the 4.2 earned for last year’s race that also aired on ABC. The race averaged 6,598,877 viewers. ESPN PR

11/17/08 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale Ford 400 on ABC Sunday was a 3.6, down 5.3% from last year's 3.8 overnight rating, also on ABC, and down 16.3% from the 4.3 overnight in 2006 on NBC.


Roush re-signs Kenseth
Roush Fenway Racing announced today that it has re-signed 2003 Sprint Cup Champion Matt Kenseth to a multi-year contract.  Kenseth has been with Roush Fenway since 1998 and has claimed 16 Sprint Cup Series wins and 24 Nationwide Series wins in addition to Roush Fenway’s first Sprint Cup championship.

“It’s been a great 11 years at Roush Fenway Racing,” said Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Ford.  “I appreciate everything Jack and DEWALT have done for me over the years.  We’ve had a lot of success together including a championship and I’m really proud of that.  I’m looking forward to the next few years and winning another championship with Roush Fenway.”

Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush was elated with the news stating, “Matt Kenseth is a champion in every sense of the word and John Henry and I are proud to have him in our stable of drivers.  Over the last 11 years Matt has been a leader in our organization and a voracious competitor on track, and to know that he will continue on in that role with Roush Fenway is gratifying.”


I could become top F1 driver, says MotoGP champ Rossi
Valentino Rossi
Motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi said he believed he could become a top Formula One driver after impressing while testing a Ferrari on Thursday.

The Italian has previously tested a Ferrari F1 car amid speculation that he may one day switch from racing motorbikes to cars.

He has already proved more than capable on four wheels, finishing second at the invitational Rally of Monza last week behind three-time Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello.

On Thursday morning he completed 30 laps of the famous Mugello circuit at Scarperia, just outside Florence, clocking a fastest time of 1min 23.930sec in the Ferrari F2008.

He got that time down to 1:22.5 in the afternoon session before bad weather cut the outing short.

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A new era for Bridgestone
Bridgestone this week completed its first post-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya where two compounds of 2009 specification slick tires were used as well as 2008 specification grooved tires.

Nine teams were present over three days of testing and they made use of hard and soft compound slick tires as well as grooved tires. Dry conditions meant that there was no use made of Bridgestone’s wet, extreme wet or development single wet tire.

Although the weather was dry, it was cold, meaning that attaining and maintaining tire temperature was a challenge for teams, particularly with the hard compound slick. A significant amount of data was gained with 22 different drivers over the course of the three days. Teams used visibly different packages, with development 2009 aerodynamic packages, interim and 2008 specification cars all in use. There was also some use of KERS systems by certain teams. Grooved tires are a different concept of tire from slicks and their introduction brought many challenges such as graining and a change of tire construction. The return to slick tires in some ways makes things simpler, and the drivers in particular have welcomed their return. Our current slicks are very different from those we last used in Formula One in the 1997 season, and we have applied the lessons learnt from eleven seasons of working with grooved tires and from our long experience of other categories of slick tire.”

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Battistini Completes First Day’s Test with Sam Schmidt
Dillon Battistini today, completed the first day of a two day test with Sam Schmidt Motorsport after Sam invited Dillon to drive and take the opportunity of working together, Sam would very much like Dillon to drive for the Team in 2009.

The first day saw the Team test Dillon and Charlie Kimball on the Homestead Road Course along with a number of other teams, Dillon finished the day fastest overall, putting the usual cheeky smile on his face.

The teams take a break today to change the cars from Road Course configuration to Oval configuration and will be testing on the Homestead Oval tomorrow (Friday).

Dillon said last night “It was great to be back behind the wheel, it is 2 months since the last race, and it always feels good to be on top of the time sheets. I am really enjoying working with Sam Schmidt Motorsport and I thank Sam for the opportunity. Chris and Tim are great guys to work with on the engineering side and I am looking forward to the Oval on Friday”


2009 seats in demand
The positions on the grid of the most successful international education series for future Formula 1 and DTM drivers are in demand like never before. A total of 49 potential competitors were interested in securing one of the 32 grid positions available in 2009. For the first time in the history of Formula 3 racing, there were that many concrete entries. Such a massive interest despite the economically difficult times the world has to cope with, today, underlines the significance of this championship that also features two premium manufactures as engine suppliers on its grid: Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.

In the end, the entries of all those teams that supported the championship in 2008 also were accepted for 2009. And the final four grid positions were assigned - strictly according to the date of entry receipt - to the team of the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben and the new Kolles & Heinz Union team. The list of the teams that are going to contest the 2009 season is headed by French squad ART Grand Prix - the team Nico Hülkenberg secured the 2008 title for, at the wheel of a Dallara F308 / Mercedes.

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racing news

Brabham family statement on illegal use of family name
The Brabham family would like to absolutely and categorically state that the range of cars and accessories being publicized under the Brabham name at the Essen Motor Show 2008 and on global websites, has nothing to do with the Brabham family, or its long and respected motor racing heritage, in any way. It is clear to us, as it must be to the whole world, what these people are trying to do. In our opinion, it is a clear case of using our name, our history and our success, without the backing of the Brabham family.  More


Money can buy STR seat out from under him - Bourdais
(GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais has confirmed that securing a seat at Toro Rosso in 2009 is a race against talent versus money.

The Frenchman had a strong finish to a difficult rookie season with the Red Bull sister team in 2008, but is anxious to hear whether he will be retained next year.

Bourdais, 29, denies that this week's Barcelona test was a 'shootout' for the seat against Japan's Takuma Sato, but rather a "purely financial" consideration for a cash-strapped team.

"As long as they don't have the money to run the team in a proper way they won't be able to say (who will drive in 2009), because it doesn't matter whether you have talented drivers at the wheel of the car if you can't run the car," he said.

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A1GP Malaysia Preview
The third round of this season's A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place at the Sepang circuit, near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia this weekend. Sepang is the widest circuit on the A1GP calendar, giving room for drivers to overtake. See preview video on Home Page


Brawn praises Senna and Di Grassi
Honda F1 team boss Ross Brawn has said he was pleased with Brazilians Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi during this week's test at Circuit de Catalunya. While it was Bruno Senna's debut in Formula 1 it was also the first time for Lucas di Grassi he enjoyed a test for the Honda Formula 1 team.

"In Barcelona we took the opportunity to evaluate the emerging talents of Lucas Di Grassi and Bruno Senna," Brawn said. "Both drivers spent one and a half days in our car which has enabled the team to assess their performance and level of technical skill. Lucas and Bruno have both performed admirably over the course of the week and their evident enthusiasm and commitment has made them a pleasure to work with. We will now take some time to carefully consider our findings from this test before reaching any further conclusions."

Jenson Button joined the duo all three days in Barcelona. The Briton seems to have secured his seat for 2009.


Planning setback for Donington GP bid
(GMM)  A decision about planning permission for Donington's formula one upgrade has been delayed until next year.

The local council governing the North West Leicestershire site has received the venue's application to enact $175m in renovations ahead of its hosting of the British grand prix from 2010.

Recent reports said the plans could be given the go-ahead by the end of 2008, but the British newspaper Daily Telegraph reports that the decision now faces a delay.

The North West Leicestershire council confirmed that the decision will now be taken only at the end of January, following the necessity for a full environmental impact study.

Should Donington receive the green light on January 27, organizers will have little more than a year to complete the work.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has said that if Donington is not ready for 2010, he will hand Britain's place on the formula one calendar to another country.

A circuit spokesman, however, insisted that the plans are still on track.

"There is no question that Donington's ability to stage the race will be jeopardized by this delay to the planning procedure.

"As soon as permission is granted construction work will begin," he said.


2009 wings to cause GP-start chaos - Kubica
(GMM)  Robert Kubica is concerned that the new front wing regulations for 2009 may result in plenty of broken carbon-fiber at the start of grands prix.

2009 wings on the F1 cars
The dubious aesthetics of the BMW-Sauber team's 2009-modified interim car at Barcelona this week have raised eyebrows, but the Polish driver seems more concerned about the functionality of the ultra-wide front wings.

"It is too wide," he is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport, explaining that it will be all too easy to break the wings against the wheels of competitors in the frantic opening moments of a race.

"I am curious to see how many (wings) will be flying at the first race in Australia," Kubica added.

He is less concerned about what the spectators and paddock residents think of the awkward-looking single seaters.

"It looks better from inside the cockpit," the 23-year-old joked.


F1 teams should save GP says Montreal alliance
(GMM)  F1's six manufacturer-backed teams have the ability to reinstate the axed 2009 Canadian grand prix.

That is the appeal of Alain Creton, a Montreal restaurateur and also president of a local Merchants Association, who is dismayed at the breakdown in talks between race and formula one officials.

Creton joined organizers of local street festivals and other concerned parties at a press conference, billed as "one final effort to help save the Canadian grand prix".

Referring to the European and Japanese carmakers involved in formula one, he said: "For these people, North America is an enormous market."

Creton explained that just $3 million apiece, pledged to the organization of the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, could be deducted from their marketing budgets and save the formula one event.

The proposal has been put in a letter jointly addressed to the F1 teams.

"It is a little disturbing that not one of the manufacturers have expressed their support for the grand prix when so much of their sales are done here," Creton said.

He added: "When they buy a Honda, for example, Montrealers should wonder why Honda does not offer all the necessary support to the grand prix."

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