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Trio of Champ Car drivers nominated Trio of Champ Car drivers nominatedHaving scored an elusive three-peat in 2006 by winning the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title for the third consecutive time, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) found himself in position for another triple when the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-American nominations were announced over the holiday weekend.

The Frenchman, who has been named as a first-team AARWBA All-American for each of the past two seasons, headed a trio of Champ Car drivers nominated for All-American honors in the Open Wheel category. Bourdais, who won seven races on his way to the championship this year, was joined on the ballot by series runner-up Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and five-time Champ Car race winner A.J. Allmendinger.

The AARWBA organization, whose 300-plus members have honored the top drivers of the year since 1970, will award first-team All-American status to the two top vote getters in each of seven categories with the next two drivers in the voting being named to the second team. Any driver that receives five percent of the vote from the membership will earn honorable mention status. In addition, the driver that receives the highest number of votes regardless of category wins the Jerry Titus Award, signifying the Driver of the Year as chosen by AARWBA.

Bourdais led the series in wins, poles, laps led and fastest laps this year on his way to the championship and also ended the season on top of the SPEED Driver Rankings, which rates drivers from Champ Car, NASCAR, Formula 1 and the IRL. Wilson is seeking his first AARWBA award after finishing second to Bourdais in this year’s point standings while Allmendinger was named as a first-team All-American in 2003 after winning the Champ Car Atlantic title.

The voting wraps up on December 3, with the All-Americans to be announced in the following days. The Titus Award winner will be announced at the AARWBA Awards Banquet, which will be held January 13 in Indianapolis.

Rossi to compete in Rally Rossi to compete in RallyValentino Rossi has announced he will take part in next year’s Rally GB as he continues to debate his future after bikes.  The former MotoGP champion competed in last weekend’s Rally of New Zealand finishing an impressive 11th.  Earlier this year he considered a move into Formula One after testing on a number of occasions with Ferrari.

The 27 year old told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello sport, “Yes, rallying could be my future after bikes.  Formula One, as well, could have been within my reach, but I had my chance and made a different choice.  Rallying could be a good solution.”

formula bmw
Vietoris wins, teammate disqualified in Formula BMW World final Vietoris wins, teammate disqualified in Formula BMW World finalUPDATE Christian Vietoris of Josef Kaufmann Racing is the winner of the DELL Formula BMW World Final. At Valencia’s “Circuit de la Comunitat”, the 17-year-old beat 35 competitors from across the globe.
His teammate, Josef Král, finished second, but was disqualified. Therefore, Mika Mäki (Eifelland Racing) took second place with Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational) coming third. For Vietoris, this start-finish-victory is the highlight of a sensational season which saw the young gun also celebrate title glory in the Formula BMW Germany. As a reward for his extraordinary performance during the World Final weekend, Vietoris will have the chance to conduct a Formula One test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team in 2007.

11/26/06 Christian Vietoris (GER) of Josef Kaufmann Racing is the winner of the DELL Formula BMW World Final. At Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat", the 17-year-old beat 35 competitors from across the globe. His team-mate, Josef Král (CZE), finished second, but was disqualified. Therefore, Mika Mäki (FIN/Eifelland Racing) took second place with Stefano Coletti (MON/EuroInternational) coming third. For Vietoris, this start-finish-victory is the highlight of a sensational season which saw the young gun also celebrate title glory in the Formula BMW Germany. As a reward for his extraordinary performance during the World Final weekend, Vietoris will have the chance to conduct a Formula One test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team in 2007.

"This is a brilliant finish to a perfect weekend," said Vietoris, who had started the race from pole position. "From the first free practice, my car was fantastic. I therefore had the chance to top the qualifying session and win all three heats. In the race, I managed to continue in the same fashion. Quite obviously, I'm now looking forward to the Formula One test. I'm a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel. He has shown what a great career former Formula BMW champions can achieve." zzzz

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said, "I'm very proud of this weekend. We have seen exciting racing action on the track. Despite 36 cars taking part in the final race, there were just a few accidents and off-track moments. All the drivers were able to give a great account of what they have learned in Formula BMW. That is especially true for the winner, Christian Vietoris. He has now joined the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, who started their successful careers in single-seater racing in Formula BMW. I'm convinced that he also has the talent to take the next step."

Vietoris got off to a great start and never lost his lead. His performance was flawless for the entire 18-lap race, and he had soon clinched the most important Formula BMW race of the season. The top three drivers - Vietoris, Král and Coletti - had all competed in the Formula BMW Germany this season. Daniel Morad (CAN/AIM Autosport) was the most successful Formula BMW USA driver in fourth. Crossing the line in fifth position, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Fortec Motorsport) was the best- placed driver from the Formula BMW Asia. Oliver Turvey (GBR/Team Loctite) took the checkered flag in sixth place, leading the group of drivers from the Formula BMW UK Championship.

Prior to the exciting final race, Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) had made motor racing history once again in the support program of the DELL Formula World Final. He became the first leg-amputee driver to take to the track at the wheel of a BMW Sauber F1 Team Formula One car. Zanardi thrilled the fans with several spectacular show drives - and set some impressively quick lap times. The technical modifications on the car worked well from the word go, enabling the 41-time Formula One driver to make a great comeback in the pinnacle of motorsports. On Thursday, the winner of last year's World Final, Marco Holzer (GER), enjoyed his opportunity to test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. 

 Pos. Driver Team Time
 1 Christian VIETORIS Josef Kaufmann Racing 30:07.362
 2 Josef KRAL Josef Kaufmann Racing +0:00.7
 3 Mika MAKI Eifelland Racing +0:04.6
 4 Stefano COLETTI Eurointernational +0:13.2
 5 Daniel MORAD AIM Autosport +0:13.9
 6 Daniel RICCIARDO Fortec Motorsport +0:14.7
 7 Oliver TURVEY Team Loctite +0:17.8
 8 Jens KLINGMANN Eifelland Racing +0:19.5
 9 Robert WICKENS Eurointernational +0:20.1
 10 Martin RAGGINGER Eifelland Racing +0:21.9
 11 Euan HANKEY Fortec Motorsport +0:24.9
 12 Nick de BRUIJN ASL-Team Muecke-motorsport +0:27.7
 13 Niall QUINN AM-Holzer Rennsport GmbH +0:30,0
 14 Niall BREEN Fortec Motorsport +0:30.4
 15 Matthew LEE Team Autotecnica +0:31,2
 16 Jonathan LEGRIS Motaworld Racing +0:31,2
 17 Matt HAMILTON Motaworld Racing +0:35.5
 18 Henry ARUNDEL Fortec Motorsport +0:36,9
 19 Ross CURNOW Gelles Racing +0:40,8
 20 Jens HOING GU-Racing Motorsport Team +0:41.6 
 21 Fabio LEIMER Matson Motorsport +0:42.1
 22 Daniel McKENZIE Fortec Motorsport +0:42.2
 23 Maximilian WISSEL GU-Racing Motorsport Team +0:43.0
 24 Christian ENGELHART ASL-Team Muecke-motorsport +0:43.1
 25 Ryan PHINNY Gelles Racing +0:47,9
 26 Maxime PELLETIER Gelles Racing +0:48,8
 27 Jack CLARKE Fortec Motorsport +0:55,2
 28 Tom DUNSTAN Team Loctite +0:56.3
 29 Philip MAJOR AIM Autosport +0:57.9
 30 Frankie MUNIZ Jensen Motorsport +1:02.8
 31 Andrei HARNAGEA GU-Racing Motorsport Team +15 laps
 32 Daniel CAMPOS HULL Josef Kaufmann Racing NCF
 33 Sebastian SAAVEDRA Gelles Racing NCF
 34 Tobias HEGEWALD AM-Holzer Rennsport GmbH NCF
 35 Adrien HERBERTS Gelles Racing NCF
 36 Daniel MURRAY Filsell Motorsport DNF

Podlesni set for PR1 Motorsports Atlantic Test Podlesni set for PR1 Motorsports Atlantic Test2006 Pacific F2000 Champion and Team USA Scholarship winner Robert Podlesni will be testing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park with PR1 Motorsports in preparation for a possible 2007 Champ Car Atlantic campaign.

Podlesni, 19 from Thousand Oaks, Calif., won six of the 12 Pacific F2000 races on his way to taking home the Championship, along with the Spring and Summer Cups in his Alpinestars sponsored Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen.  As a result of his success, the young Podlesni was honored by being awarded a Team USA Scholarship.  The program was founded in 1990 by motorsports journalist/broadcaster Jeremy Shaw, and provided Podlesni with an opportunity to display his talents overseas for the first time. 

Podlesni will start off his extensive PR1 test with the previous generation Swift 014.a Atlantic car in order to establish a solid baseline, and help ease the transition to the newer chassis.  After the baseline is set, Podlesni will graduate to the latest Swift 016.a Atlantic car, introduced at the start of the 2006 season, for the following two days.  zzzz

“I want to run the older car first, as I feel it is important to acclimate myself to the much more capable Atlantic cars,” Podlesni said.  “With the introduction of the new Cooper Tire on the Atlantics in 2007, I think it is important to establish a baseline in what is already known, and then move to the new car and tire package.”

As an award for the Pacific F2000 Championship, Podlesni was given a one day test with PR1 Motorsports.  This test has been extended from one to three days due to the contributions from a variety of supporters.  

“I can’t thank Bobby Oergel and Les Phillips enough for their help and generosity, “Podlesni continued. “This is a tremendous opportunity and would not be possible without their efforts.”

After a storybook 2006 racing season, Podlesni has also announced his continued partnership with Alpinestars for the 2007 season.  This leading racing apparel company started its relationship with the young Californian in June of this past season. 

“Alpinestars continues to refine and tune their racing apparel in order to satisfy the driver,” Podlesni said. “The new line of suits and gloves are beyond a driver’s wildest expectations.  I am very fortunate to be supported by a company whose products I would use regardless of sponsorship”

Dalziel rated #6 eligible bachelor Dalziel rated #6 eligible bachelorThe Scotland on Sunday, a very large newspaper in Scotland, has rated incoming Champ Car rookie Ryan Dalziel as #6 on their 50 most eligible bachelors for the country.
formula bmw
Vietoris starts from pole at the World Final Vietoris starts from pole at the World FinalValencia (Spain) Christian Vietoris (GER) of Josef Kaufmann Racing has secured pole position for the DELL Formula BMW World Final. The 17- year-old won the last of six qualifying heats at Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat" on Sunday morning, which put him first in the overall classification. This points list determines the grid positions for the final race. The winner of the 2006 Formula BMW Germany already won two races yesterday.

Besides Vietoris in the first row for the World Final will be 16-year-old team-mate Josef Král (CZE), who won the fifth heat. Mika Mäki (FIN/Eifelland Racing) starts arguably the most important Formula BMW race of the year in third position. All top four drivers competed in the Formula BMW Germany during the 2006 season; Euan Hankey (GBR/Fortec Motorsport), who starts in fifth place, is the best-placed Formula BMW UK Championship driver. Formula BMW USA's Daniel Morad (CAN/AIM Autosport) has claimed sixth position on the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Fortec Motorsport) - the fastest Formula BMW Asia driver - ninth on the grid. From 14:30hrs (13:30hrs GMT), 36 drivers from the four Formula BMW series in Germany, Great Britain, Asia and North America, will be battling it out for a Formula One test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. zzzz

Result Heat 5 - Group A vs Group D.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Josef Král Josef Kaufmann Racing 19:58.140 minutes
2 Mika Mäki Eifelland Racing +2.1 seconds
3 Euan Hankey Fortec Motorsport +3.7 seconds
4 Nick de Bruijn ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport +9.9 seconds
5 Jonathan Legris Motaworld Racing +11.0 seconds

Result Heat 6 - Group B vs Group C.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Christian Vietoris Josef Kaufmann Racing 19:56.727 minutes
2 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational +6.1 seconds
3 Daniel Morad AIM Autosport +7.0 seconds
4 Oliver Turvey Team Loctite +7.5 seconds
5 Niall Quinn AM-Holzer Rennsport GmbH +10.6 seconds

Starting Grid:
1st Christian Vietoris
2nd Josef Král
3rd Mika Mäki
4th Stefano Coletti
5th Euan Hankey
6th Daniel Morad
7th Oliver Turvey
8th Jonathan Legris
9th Daniel Ricciardo,
10th Jens Klingmann.

racing news
Quotes of the Week Quotes of the Week
ALEX ZANARDI, Formula One driver, WTCC driver, and two time CART Champion
"To put a guy with no legs, a handicapped athlete, into an F1 car, it's a good thing," Zanardi said after being the first double amputee to test a Formula One car.  "This is why I'm so proud to be the one who is doing this, because for me I don't look at it from this point of view, but inevitably there will be a lot of people who will say, 'Sometimes I play in life, but look at that guy — he's driving an F1 car.'  "I'm really, really happy," Zanardi said. "I feel like somebody who has been cast away on an island for many years and suddenly he gets joined by a top model.  It's a fantastic feeling to see all the faces smiling when I brought it in. That was probably the highlight of the day.  At the end of the day, I've never driven the car with these types of controls, so I'm quite proud of the fact that they misjudged that I couldn't go out with dry tires and nobody was expecting me to push more than what the tires could take," said Zanardi.  

"When I'm driving, I'm not thinking I'm a handicapped athlete ... otherwise, I could not do what I'm doing. If I'm one-tenth behind pole position, I stop and I scream to my engineer 'We can do something to this car' and I try to get that one-tenth on this car and not think 'Wow, I got no legs so therefore I have to be happy if I'm one-tenth behind.'  I always try," he said.   "I think I could have done much better in F1 and this was not because the team never gave me a reliable, fast car but for the fact I didn't push myself as hard as I could have," he said. "Not just to drive the car faster but to create a situation around me that would allow me to go faster on Sunday afternoon. But you can't change the past, only learn from it, and without it I would not have had the success I did in the United States of which I am very proud," he said.  (Alex Zanardi commented after testing a modified BMW-Sauber C24-B Formula 1 car in Valencia, Spain)

DAVID COULTHARD,  Red Bull Ferrari F1 driver, former Chairman of the GPDA
"Michael [Schumacher] has taken a lot (from F1), but he's given a lot too," he told the British monthly F1 Racing. "I've taken less, and given less, but I've certainly given.  There are others who just take. An example is Rubens. I've raced against him for years and years, and he's a nice guy, and talented, but he just turns up, does his race and buggers off."  Coulthard said he also approached 21-year-old Rosberg about the directorship, but he revealed that the German rookie simply answered: 'No way!'  "(The GPDA) is the only route via which they can influence their sport and yet they don't seem to want to know.  I just can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be active in the only forum via which he can increase the likelihood of his going home safe and sound at the end of a day spent caning one of the 22 fastest cars in the world around a race track.  So when someone like Nico says he isn't ready, well, that's bollocks," Coulthard said. zzzz

“Lewis Hamilton's career could be destroyed before it has a chance to develop.  There is no doubting his potential…[But] the first person you are compared to is your teammate and if Lewis struggles alongside Alonso it could destroy his confidence.”  Coulthard, who raced for McLaren between 1996 and 2004, says that although Hamilton was desperate to be in the seat, he has plenty of time.  “He is still only 21 and has plenty of racing years ahead of him."  (The 35 year Coulthard old said that at 21 years of age Hamilton is too young. He believes instead McLaren boss Ron Dennis should have given him a test role to build his confidence in the car)

NELSON PIQUET, Jr., RENAULT F1 test driver
"Of course I want to take Giancarlo Fisichella’s place," Piquet, Jr. declared. "Everybody knows that he is in the last few years of his career and that he hasn’t been as quick as Alonso these last two years.  The only thing I'm interested in is my on-track performance," he said.  "I know I have the hardest year of my life ahead of me because I have to prove to the team that I am ready. They've already seen that I have the talent, but now I have to prove to them that I am ready to race.  I haven't got here because of who my father is," he said. "I've got here because in every category that I've contested I've proved that I'm fast. My father hasn't been all that interested in my racing career; we've never really talked about it."  (Renault test driver Nelson Piquet Jr. says his target is to take Giancarlo Fisichella's seat at Renault)

JACK ROUSH, Owner, Roush Racing, NASCAR team
"I would have a rule book that said you come to the race track at the assigned time, you have four tires and you burn gasoline,” said Roush. “That would be about all I would require.  I would pretty much `Run What You Brung,’ but  NASCAR is determined to have this thing where it’s convenient for them to regulate it and officiate it even-handedly and fairly. To that end, they make every effort to take the racing out of all but just a few things.  If you look at a handful of drivers like the Roush organization has, one guy is really nervous when the car is loose…while other guys say, ‘I don’t care if it’s loose, just get me all the downforce that you can,’” said Roush. “The Car of Tomorrow is going to have an aero variance that’s much, much less than it is today, and there’s going to be a lot of people that won’t be able to drive those cars. Today, they can compensate or adjust the aero-match on the car to suit the preference of the driver.”

Instead of lowering the cost of racing, Roush said the COT will actually increase the cost of competition, since money-is-no-object owners like himself will spend whatever is necessary to get an advantage. “It’s forcing us to spend money on technology that we would rather not have to spend, in order to find an edge and suit the needs of the driver,” he said.  (At Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jack Roush again took the opportunity to slam NASCAR’s new Car Of Tomorrow, saying it is far too restrictive.)

Button and Davidson will have their own rivalry Button and Davidson will have their own rivalry"The more Brits on the grid, the better. It's been a long time since we had a new British face on the circuit and it's good for the whole nation," said the 27-year-old Anthony Davidson (right) to the Mirror.

The rivalry between Jenson Button and Davidson is almost twenty years in the making and while the two have not been in direct competition in the last nine years Davidson is obviously excited to see his old mate in action up close.

"The last time I raced against Jenson was back in 1997, but we grew up together as kids doing go-karts from the age of eight.

"I've been fighting him all through my career, so to be fighting against him - and the team I used to drive for - next season will be a strange experience, but an exciting one."

"I've done a lot of mileage and now I've got my dream chance. Up until now I've only had the odd opportunity. It's unfair to be judged on those."

Kerr’s Malaysian podium lifts GB team to 2nd Kerr’s Malaysian podium lifts GB team to 2ndRobbie Kerr celebrated A1 Team Great Britain’s second straight Feature race podium as he finished second behind Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg today in Round 4 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Kerr, who earlier scored points for a fifth place finish in the Sprint race, enjoyed a successful return to the team having watched rookie racer, Oliver Jarvis, take Britain’s first podium of the season at the previous A1GP round in China. More significantly, the team’s points scoring consistency and recent podium flurry has elevated Great Britain to a clear second overall in the A1GP Nations Standings, trailing Germany, winner’s of a wet Malaysian Feature race, by just six points after four rounds (37-31) while leading the Malaysian entry in third place by seven.

Sunday morning’s 10-lap Sprint round the 3.44-mile Sepang track saw Robbie take the rolling-start from fourth but the former British F3 Champion found himself boxed in as the 22-strong field of nations sprinted towards the first turn. Home favorite and ex-Minardi F1 driver Alex Yoong capitalized on Kerr’s misfortune and slipped past to take the Malaysian entry up into fourth. zzzz

While the Brit looked to regain the spot he had neither the opportunity nor the pace to make anything stick. Taking a couple of points for fifth place at the checkered, more important to Kerr was the top-five start he secured for the Feature race. Neel Jani scored A1 Team Switzerland’s first win of the season in the Sprint followed home by Hülkenberg for Germany and New Zealand’s Jonny Reid.

The start to the afternoon’s 70-minute Feature race was delayed thanks to one of Malaysia’s famed monsoon’s, the torrential downpour arriving in the hour before on-track proceedings were due to take place. When the race finally started it did so under the safety car in an attempt to clear some of the standing water. Robbie Kerr proved himself to be a master of the treacherous conditions and when racing began in earnest he wasted little time on building his podium charge picking off his Sprint race nemesis, Alex Yoong, for fourth.

A wheel-to-wheel battle for third followed with New Zealand’s Jonny Reid, the duo defying the slippery conditions to put on a show with Kerr eventually emerging victorious. With his confidence high Kerr then pushed for second and on lap 20 the opportunity presented itself as Neel Jani spun the Swiss entry at the second to last turn. Kerr, who had been making his mandatory pit-stop, successfully exited the pits and charged to the first turn ahead of the recovering Swiss car. With Hülkenberg too far ahead to catch for a shot of the win Robbie’s sterling efforts, in tricky conditions, were rewarded with a fine second place finish, Nicolas Lapierre completing the podium for A1 Team France.

“I’m pleased for the team as second place in light of what we faced today is a good result,” commented Kerr. “The guys did a great job in the pit stop to get me out ahead of Switzerland, we knew we had a shot at the second podium spot and they kept telling me to push. It’s great to return to A1GP action with a podium and from the championship perspective I’m pleased we’re up into second place heading to Indonesia. We led much of that race last season and I’m confident we’ll be stronger on our return!”

Round 5 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place in two weeks time, Friday 8th – Sunday 10th December, at the Sentul International Circuit, Indonesia – www.a1gp.com

A1GP Nations Standings after Round 4/12: 1st Germany (37), 2nd Great Britain (31), 3rd Malaysia (24), 4th Mexico (24), 5th France (24), 6th Canada (22), 7th Italy (19), 8th Netherlands (17), 9th Switzerland (17), 10th Czech Republic (16) British A1GP team

Champ Car execs off to China Champ Car execs off to ChinaA number of top-level Champ Car executives are flying to China this week for the official press conference announcing next year's first Champ Car race at Zhuhai. A small press release was put out after the contract was signed but this is the first real kickoff with the Chinese media in the build-up to the May 20, 2007 event.

Because of this trip, don't expect to see the detailed 2007 Champ Car TV schedule until the week after we are told. To some extent, the holdup to releasing the TV schedule remains the rumored two European races. Assen is ready to be announced but the 2nd event at last report still had some issues surrounding it.

racing news
Blewett and Reed split the Turkey Derby XXXIII twin 100-lap Blewett and Reed split the Turkey Derby XXXIII twin 100-lapJimmy Blewett, of Howell, ousted Donnie Lia with five laps to go and held off Les Hinckley's last-lap pass by 1.527 sec. to win the open modified main. "Showtime," came from 13th starting spot to shadow front row starter Ken Wooley, Jr., and inherited the lead when the pair banged wheels on lap 71, breaking the latter's steering rack.

"I'm here to win," said Blewett after exiting the United Crane Rental Troyer-Chevrolet No. 12 he uses on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. "I enjoy running in the Turkey Derby before the fans." Hinckley, Lia, John Blewett III and Rowan Pinnick rounded out the top five of 12 finishers. Lia set a 12.036 sec., 99.601 mph fast time among 33 Whelen and Race of Champions tour modified men Saturday afternoon. Red and Jamie Tomaino split the twin 12-lap B-mains.

Reed, of Freehold, was the only one of the 27 starters who did not pit, let alone change tires, in the 100-lap race for WTS/True Value/B mods. The RTS Transmission Repair RTS-Chevy No. 55 driver held off John Blewett III by .696 sec. for his third WTS feature victory of the season. zzzz

"There are three drivers who are favorites to win the Turkey Derby and I wanted to know if I was one of the three," said Reed "I took it easy the first 30 laps but I knew that it was between John and I to win by making the restarts first. Having Ken Schrader as a teammate this weekend was great - he took things easy and his only advice was 'Go fast and turn left.' " Reed was referring to the versatile NASCAR and open wheel veteran from Fenton, Mo. Schrader started 13th and rebounded from a lap 74 collision with 2004 WTS track champion Kevin Flockhart to bring the Harry Reed No. 14 home fourth. This weekend was Schrader’s first visit to WTS, which he likened to Slinger Super Speedway in Wis.

Tim Arre took third and Mike Carpenter rounded out the top five of 11 finishers. Frank Polimeda and Chas Okerson split the 10-lap B-mains.

Paul Hartwig, Jr., of Brick, and Joe Constandi, of Flemington, won their first respective career INEX Bandolero and Value Towing Factory Stock features. Frank "The Ft. Lee Flyer" Polimeda came from behind to win the INEX Legends main while John McCormick, of Farmingdale, led the entire street stock feature. Shannon Mongeau, of Brick, added a PMP Modified Affordable Division feature to his win in street stocks and modifieds before Ron Mullin, of Brick, held off Friday winner Kevin Eyres in the sportsman main.

World champion ties the knot World champion ties the knot(GMM)  World champion Fernando Alonso on Saturday married his fiancée, Spanish singer Raquel del Rosario, at a secret ceremony in the Maldives.

The pair, who met about a year ago, selected the island location in the Indian Ocean after a recent holiday.  About fifty guests attended their wedding, reports said.

In the German newspaper 'Suddeutsche Zeitung', meanwhile, Alonso's now retired rival Michael Schumacher said the Spaniard deserves his 2006 title.

"He didn't win it because of luck," the German said.  "Not for a long time had a season taken so long to conclude.

"Was he the best?  I believe that, at the very least, he deserves his title."

Neel Jani wins Malaysia Sprint race Neel Jani wins Malaysia Sprint raceChamp Car bound A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani has converted pole position to a win in the Sprint race at the Astro A1GP Sepang, Malaysia. The Swiss driver led from start to finish to win by over a second from Germany's Nico Hülkenberg and New Zealand's Jonny Reid. A1 Team Malaysia's Alex Yoong was a popular fourth position in his home race, with Great Britain and France completing the top six.

Jani's victory makes amends for his last lap defeat by France's Alexandre Premat in last season's Sepang race. There were no such problems for the Swiss this year however as he pulled away cleanly from the start and steadily extended his advantage over the 10-lap race. Second on the grid Jonny Reid pulled level with Jani going into the first corner, but with the Swiss held his line to stay in front.

Hülkenberg however used the battle in front to his advantage, driving round the outside of Reid into second position. There was light contact between the New Zealand and German cars and Reid's machine sustained suspension damage, which affected the car's handling in the later stages of the race. Reid was distinctly unimpressed by Hülkenberg's actions - a repeat of their clash into the first corner at Brno, which led to both their retirements. With the German and New Zealand teams run by the same outfit, Super Nova Racing, the atmosphere in the post-race conference was frosty; zzzz

"I am not smiling as I was run into in the first corner by my team-mate," said Reid, "I am not happy about that. We will have to sit down and talk about it again as it is the second time it has happened. We are lucky that we both didn't go off. He was right onto my rear tire and I think for the remainder of the race the rear suspension was a bit damaged. I am a bit annoyed about it but third place is still third place and it is still good points and we have just got to get down and fine tune the car a bit more and get it right for the main race. We will change things for the next race as I was not too happy with the car as we didn't quite have the pace of the other cars and I was pushing quite hard too and working hard to keep up. We have a lot of work to do and we will see what happens in the main race."

Hülkenberg added, "My start was pretty good and then into the first corner. I just know what happened in the first corner from my view, so I want to watch the TV footage to see what happened. I can't really tell you about this. I am confident but as we saw Neel is really quick on a long distance too, but I think it is a long race and everything can happen."

With a clear track ahead and Hülkenberg and Reid ensconced in their own battle, Jani built on his lead to become the sixth different winner in seven races. "That was clean and constant and I was not trying to push too hard and it worked out," Jani commented. "I hope to do more, but Beijing was not really a race weekend as I guess it could have worked a lot better, but now at the first real race weekend to be back like that is fantastic.

There were clashes off the start further down the field too with Italy, Brazil and Czech Republic picking up damage and returning to the pits. The left-rear suspension of the Italian car was smashed in the impact and driver Enrico Toccacelo fought to bring the car to the garage as the steering slewed it off to the side. While the Brazilian team made repairs and sent Raphael Matos out again, the right-rear suspension and right wing of Tomas Enge's Czech car was too badly damaged and Enge retired in the pits. With the gearbox undamaged, Enge fully expected to be back on the pace for the Feature race. Indonesia's Ananda Mikola also came into the pits and straight into the garage with suspension damage.

The wide, flowing Sepang track provided many overtaking opportunities for the closely matched competition, with South Africa and Australia enjoying a race-long battle for 12th position. After three laps Australian Ryan Briscoe squeezed ahead, but Adrian Zaugg pushed him hard throughout the remaining laps. Singapore and India similarly raced side-by-side over the race with Christian Murchison almost running into the back of Armaan Ebrahim as he outbraked himself on lap seven. Murchison's sustained pressure eventually paid off on the penultimate lap when he pushed through into 15th position.

Switzerland will now start the Feature race on pole, ahead of Germany and New Zealand. The 35 lap race is due to kick off at 15.00 local time.

 A1 Team Driver No. Laps Gap first
1 Switzerland Neel Jani 10
2 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 10 +1.203
3 New Zealand Jonny Reid 10 +3.601
4 Malaysia Alex Yoong 10 +11.826
5 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 10 +12.858
6 France Nicolas Lapierre 10 +13.731
7 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 10 +16.097
8 Canada Sean McIntosh 10 +17.358
9 USA Philip Giebler 10 +18.292
10 China Congfu Cheng 10 +21.207
11 Mexico Salvador Duran 10 +22.572
12 Australia Ryan Briscoe 10 +23.628
13 South Africa Adrian Zaugg 10 +24.686
14 Ireland Michael Devaney 10 +25.433
15 Singapore Christian Murchison 10 +33.516
16 India Armaan Ebrahim 10 +35.184
17 Lebanon Khalil Beschir 10 +45.218
18 Pakistan Nur Ali 10 +1:35.573
19 Brazil Raphael Matos 10 +1:39.417
20 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 9 laps
21 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 9 laps
22 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 9 laps

A1GP Sepang qualifying update A1GP Sepang qualifying updateFollowing Stewards’ enquiries, it has been decided to disallow A1 Team Germany’s time in Qualifying session one. After studying video footage, the Stewards found Nico Hülkenberg had caused an avoidable collision with A1 Team Ireland’s Michael Devaney. Hülkenberg however retains third position on the Sprint race grid despite the penalty.
The Stewards also disallowed A1 Team South Africa’s time from Qualifying session two after deciding driver Adrian Zaugg had blocked a fellow competitor on track. The decision drops South Africa from eighth on the grid to 11th.
A1 Team Indonesia received an identical penalty for blocking a fellow competitor in Qualifying session two and dropped one place from 18th to 19th on the grid.
Amended Qualifying results
  A1 Team Driver  Aggregate time
1 Switzerland Neel Jani 3:43.014
2 New Zealand Jonny Reid 3:43.305
3 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 3:43.381
4 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 3:43.941
5 China Congfu Cheng 3:44.884
6 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 3:44.932
7 Malaysia Alex Yoong 3:45.068
8 Canada Sean McIntosh 3:45.352
9 France Nicolas Lapierre 3:45.410
10 USA Philip Giebler 3:45.843
11 South Africa Adrian Zaugg 3:45.868
12 Mexico Salvador Duran 3:46.155
13 Ireland Michael Devaney 3:46.220
14 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 3:46.407
15 Brazil Raphael Matos 3:46.745
16 Singapore Christian Murchison 3:47.194
17 Australia Ryan Briscoe 3:47.711
18 India Armaan Ebrahim 3:48.388
19 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 3:48.667
20 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 3:49.175
21 Lebanon Khalil Beschir 3:50.137
22 Pakistan Nur Ali 3:57.893
formula bmw
Vietoris on course for pole position at BMW World Final Vietoris on course for pole position at BMW World FinalValencia (Spain)... Christian Vietoris (GER, right)) of Josef Kaufmann Racing is on his way to securing an excellent starting position for Sunday's DELL Formula BMW World Final. At Valencia's "Circuit de Catalunya" on Saturday, the 17- year-old won two qualifying heats. After four out of six intermediate rounds, he holds the lead in the overall standings, which will determine the grid positions for the final race. The victor will win a Formula One test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

The fight for pole position is far from over, however. Josef Král (CZE), who is also racing for team boss Josef Kaufmann, won the second heat and finished runner-up behind Vietoris in round four. In the intermediate rankings, the 16-year-old also is the nearest rival to his team-mate. Mika Mäki (FIN/Eifelland Racing) claimed the fourth victory of the day after winning the Super Pole Competition in the morning. In the race meeting between heat groups B and D, he proved his fine form with another victory at the 4.005-kilometre track.

"In this morning's Super Pole contest I was a few tenths of a second behind Mika Mäki," said Vietoris, "but then it worked out perfectly for me in the two qualifying heats. I had very good starts, which enabled me to open up a lead over the following cars quite quickly. I'm the only driver who has zero points on my tally. So I'm confident about achieving a promising starting position for the final." zzzz

While Vietoris was able to control the pace from the front for his two race wins, Král had to fight hard for his finishes. He said: "In my first race I was trailing Stefano Coletti after the start. He is a great driver, so it was difficult to pass him. But I finally managed it, and now I'm just happy that I was able to win this round. In race two, Christian Vietoris was clearly faster than the rest of us. My goal was therefore to defend second place. And I succeeded in doing just that."

Mäki had been determined to win the first heat, but in the end he had to make do with third place. "In my first race I had some problems with the clutch at the start and lost some positions," explained the young gun. "In the second heat, however, it went a lot better. But we have to keep working on our pace if we want to have a chance tomorrow. It would be great to start from the first row." The two final heats are scheduled for 9:00hrs local time (8:00hrs GMT). The driver with the lowest points tally in the overall rankings will start the DELL Formula World Final from pole at 14:30hrs (13:30hrs GMT).

Result Super Pole Competition.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Mika Mäki Eifelland Racing 1:39.695 minutes
2 Christian Vietoris Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:40.059 minutes
3 Martin Ragginer Eifelland Racing 1:40.471 minutes
4 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational 1:40.790 minutes
5 Josef Král Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:41.062 minutes
6 Robert Wickens EuroInternational 1:41.106 minutes
7 Daniel Morad AIM Autosport 1:41.533 minutes
8 Nick de Bruijn ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport 1:42.180 minutes

Result Heat 1 - Group A vs Group B.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Christian Vietoris Josef Kaufmann Racing 20:05.177 minutes
2 Martin Ragginger Eifelland Racing +4.1 seconds
3 Mika Mäki Eifelland Racing +7.2 seconds
4 Daniel Morad AIM Autosport +7.9 seconds
5 Jens Klingmann Eifelland Racing +8.2 seconds

Result Heat 2 - Group C vs Group D.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Josef Král Josef Kaufmann Racing 20:07.295 minutes
2 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational +3.3 seconds
3 Robert Wickens EuroInternational +3.7 seconds
4 Daniel Murray Filsell Motorsport +8.6 seconds
5 Euan Hankey Fortec Motorsport +9.1 seconds

Result Heat 3 - Group A vs Group C.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Mika Mäki Eifelland Racing 20:12.031 minutes
2 Robert Wickens EuroInternational +7.9 seconds
3 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational +7.9 seconds
4 Jens Klingmann Eifelland Racing +8.5 seconds
5 Daniel Ricciardo Fortec Motorsport +11.9 seconds

Result Heat 4 - Group B vs Group D.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Christian Vietoris Josef Kaufmann Racing 20:09.251 minutes
2 Josef Král Josef Kaufmann Racing +3.3 seconds
3 Nick de Bruijn ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport +5.7 seconds
4 Euan Hankey Fortec Motorsport +7.1 seconds
5 Oliver Turvey Team Loctite +7.6 seconds

Piquet Sr. warns Fisi to watch out for son Piquet Sr. warns Fisi to watch out for sonUPDATE Renault test driver Nelson Piquet Jr says his target is to take Giancarlo Fisichella's seat at Renault.

"Of course I want to take Giancarlo Fisichella’s place," he declared. "Everybody knows that he is in the last few years of his career and that he hasn’t been as quick as Alonso these last two years."

"The only thing I'm interested in is my on-track performance," he said.

"I know I have the hardest year of my life ahead of me because I have to prove to the team that I am ready. They've already seen that I have the talent, but now I have to prove to them that I am ready to race."

"I haven't got here because of who my father is," he said. "I've got here because in every category that I've contested I've proved that I'm fast. My father hasn't been all that interested in my racing career; we've never really talked about it."

11/24/06 (GMM) Triple world champion of the 1980s, Nelson Piquet, has warned Giancarlo Fisichella that his place in the Renault team could be called into question next year.

The 54-year-old Brazilian, whose namesake and son will be Renault's official third and reserve driver in 2007, told Italian press that team chiefs are likely to keep a close eye on Fisichella as the F1 veteran shapes up alongside Heikki Kovalainen.

"Nelsinho is going to have an apprenticeship year," Piquet Senior told the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, "but in his first test he was already quicker than Kovalainen.

"This is really the issue. If Kovalainen is faster than Fisichella, then the possibility of Nelsinho racing for Renault is much bigger -- even for 2007, even during next season."

Piquet - who won drivers' titles in 1981, 1983, and 1987 - insisted that Renault's chances of retaining the championship in 2007 without Fernando Alonso at the wheel depends on having two ultra-quick race drivers.

21-year-old Nelson Piquet Junior's father continued: "It will not be good enough to have just one good driver or one good car."

Zanardi celebrates impressive Formula One comeback with BMW Zanardi celebrates impressive Formula One comeback with BMWValencia (Spain). Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) has made motor racing history once again: At the DELL Formula BMW World Final, the leg- amputee successfully returned to the cockpit of a Formula One car. On Saturday morning, he completed a total of 12 laps at Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat".

The 40-year-old's fastest lap was clocked at 1:21.63 minutes. The 1999 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji had been the last of his 41 races at the pinnacle of motorsport. In 2001, Zanardi lost both legs in an accident, but made a spectacular racing comeback with BMW only two years later. Since then, he has managed to win two rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship for BMW Team Italy- Spain, thereby making a name for himself once again as a touring car driver.

"This is a special opportunity for me," said Zanardi. "I saw some very happy faces; everybody was surprised that everything was working so smoothly. BMW always gave me maximum support, especially in the WTCC. Driving the Formula One car is another step. I am very proud that I am doing this. The car was fantastic. Everything is so precise; I was really amazed - because usually you need more time to work on all the details of the car. I expected the car to be much rougher. But it feels rather like a beautiful BMW 7 Series, not like a Formula One car." zzzz

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "After just a few installation laps on Thursday, Alessandro Zanardi had far more time today to enjoy his Formula One comeback. I was impressed with how well the modifications on the car are working. Alessandro felt comfortable from the word go, which has also been proved by his lap times. It's obvious that he is no Formula One newcomer. He has not forgot how to drive a race car like this at the limit."

Because Zanardi can generate more force with his right limb, the engineers had moved the car's braking pedal from the left to the right side of the cockpit. The right prosthesis is fixed to the brake pedal via Velcro tape. In order to make the most effective use of the narrow space in the cockpit, Zanardi uses specially made prostheses. They are considerably smaller than the ones he uses normally. He shifts gears with a paddle on the right rear side of the steering wheel. On the left side there is another paddle, which is used to accelerate the car.

On Sunday, Zanardi will complete more laps on the 4.005-kilometre track. The highlight of the weekend, the DELL Formula BMW World Final, will get underway at 14:30hrs (13:30hrs GMT). In total, 37 talented drivers will be fighting for title glory and an attractive winner's prize: a Formula One test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. BMW

Roush slams NASCAR and COT Roush slams NASCAR and COTLast weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jack Roush again took the opportunity to slam NASCAR’s new Car Of Tomorrow, saying it is far too restrictive.

“I would have a rule book that said you come to the race track at the assigned time, you have four tires and you burn gasoline,” said Roush. “That would be about all I would require.”

 “I would pretty much `Run What You Brung,’ but  NASCAR is determined to have this thing where it’s convenient for them to regulate it and officiate it even-handedly and fairly. To that end, they make every effort to take the racing out of all but just a few things.

“If you look at a handful of drivers like the Roush organization has, one guy is really nervous when the car is loose…while other guys say, ‘I don’t care if it’s loose, just get me all the downforce that you can,’” said Roush. “The Car of Tomorrow is going to have an aero variance that’s much, much less than it is today, and there’s going to be a lot of people that won’t be able to drive those cars. Today, they can compensate or adjust the aero-match on the car to suit the preference of the driver.”

Instead of lowering the cost of racing, Roush said the COT will actually increase the cost of competition, since money-is-no-object owners like himself will spend whatever is necessary to get an advantage. “It’s forcing us to spend money on technology that we would rather not have to spend, in order to find an edge and suit the needs of the driver,” he said.

V8 Supercars
Bright makes history in the desert Bright makes history in the desertFord Performance Racing’s Jason Bright only just held off a ferocious attack from Holden rival Garth Tander in the closing laps to make history in being the very first winner of a V8 Supercar Championship Series race in the Middle East.

Bright had to pull in all of his reserves to hold back Toll HSV’s Tander in the last five laps of the inaugural Desert 400 at the Bahrain International Circuit in what become a slugfest to the very end.

The pair were the runaway leaders in the race. Holden Racing Team’s Todd Kelly came in a distant third with Tander’s team-mate Rick Kelly in fourth and Jeld Wen Racing’s James Courtney fifth.

“He was catching while he was behind and part of that was because I was making a few mistakes,” Bright said of the dogfight with Tander. “But if he was going to have a go it would have had to have been a good one because our car was still pretty strong.” zzzz

In terms of the Championship Rick Kelly’s fourth in contrast to the ninth place of Team Betta Electrical’s Craig Lowndes furthered his lead by 17 points to 90. Third-placed Mark Winterbottom made no ground on Kelly but four points on Lowndes.

An accident at the back of the field on the fourth lap led to a safety car that re-bunched the field, allowing them to catch the runaway Tander.

But Tander lost first place through the pits. A fraction of a second made the difference between the Toll HSV Commodore and the FPR Falcon, with Bright managing to slip ahead of Tander on lap 13 based on their pit stops.

“I expected to see Garth coming out of the pits as we were coming down pit straight and we would be battling into turn one but he was nowhere to be seen,” Bright said.

Tander put the error down to his own mistake after he stalled the car.

“I spoke to Rick quickly and he stalled as well,” Tander said.

“We are both going to get into trouble but so be it. It was a silly mistake and a shame because once I got to Brighty the tires were shot and I was going to risk a suicide move.

“I was seeing if I could make Jason make a mistake and I thought I might have been half a chance but one of my brake ducts was blocked so for me to have a big go under brakes wasn’t going to work.

Holden Racing Team’s Todd Kelly was the form runner of the field as he worked his way forward and passed his younger brother Rick early in the race. But he couldn’t catch Bright or Tander who clearly had superior cars.

V8 Supercars
Bright wins first ever Desert 400 race Bright wins first ever Desert 400 raceCAT Ford Performance Racing's Jason Bright has won the opening race of the inaugural Desert 400 V8 Supercar race in Bahrain. Starting second on the grid, Bright chased pole-setter Garth Tander for the first 12 laps, remaining in close pursuit of his rival until he pitted for his compulsory pit stop on lap 13.

In what was the fastest race pit stop of the season so far for the FPR pit crew, Bright was back in the race after just 2.95 seconds. This ensured that the 33 year old driver took the lead of the race when Tander stalled as he exited from his pit stop shortly after.

Bright and Tander's high speed battle on the Bahrain International Circuit saw the duo blast away from the field by some seven seconds ahead of third placed Todd Kelly. It was not an easy race by any means for Bright, who was chased relentlessly by Tander during the closing stages. However, superb driving and strong car pace on the tricky track surface saw the FPR driver take the inaugural Desert 400 V8 Supercar race victory and the lap record honor in the process.

"We had a great car today and our pit stop was exceptional," said Bright. zzzz

"I initially thought that we may have lost time on our exit, but Garth had his problems in the pits on the next lap so when I came around he was nowhere to be seen. He chased me hard and I made some mistakes that brought him closer as well as our tire grip deteriorated.

"I knew that our car was very strong under brakes and if he was going to make a move to pass me, it was going to have to be a very good one as I wasn't having too much trouble keeping him behind.

"The first race was a bit of an unknown for us so it is very satisfying to win the first V8 Supercar race and to also take the inaugural V8 Supercar lap record in Bahrain.

"We have a very strong car for the next two races in Bahrain. These races will be a bit of an unknown as they will be ten laps longer. The drivers who can preserve their tires the best will be ones battling for the round victory this weekend."

Bright was followed to the checkered flag by Tander, Todd Kelly, Rick Kelly, James Courtney (Jeld-Wen Motorsport), Steven Richards, Mark Skaife, Mark Winterbottom (Ford Credit / FPV Ford Performance Racing), and Team Betta Electrical duo Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup rounding out the opening race top ten.

In terms of the championship standings, Rick Kelly now leads Lowndes by 90-points.

Team return to the track tonight Australian time for the final two races to decide the 12th round of the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series at 11:00am (7:00pm Australian / EDST) and 3:00pm (12:00am Australian / EDST).

If any Ford team wins the round, the Blue Oval will wrap-up the Manufacturer's title.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

NHRA 2006 Awards Show
12:00pm-1:00pm ESPN2
LG World Championship of Freestyle Motocross Pomona
5:00pm-6:00pm (9/30/06) CBS
Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame NASCAR Fans For Hating Jeff Gordon
7:30pm-8:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Movie: Days of Thunder (1990)
8:00pm-10:00pm ESPN Classic
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Guest: Chris Economaki (Racing writer and broadcaster)
9:00pm-10:00pm (R) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Hamilton hits big time but no millions yet Hamilton hits big time but no millions yet(GMM)  British rookie Lewis Hamilton will race for one of F1's top teams next year and have a world champion for a teammate, but he will not become an instant millionaire.

London based newspaper 'The Times' says the 21-year-old McLaren racer, to be one of four Britons on the grid next year, will earn about $675,000 in 2007.

However, while the terms of his contract with the Woking based team are basically unknown, it is expected that Hamilton could add up to $250,000 per race to his income with performance bonuses.

"Hamilton's salary could then rise to about $1.3m and then up to $3.8m in year three.  From then, a successful career could net him up to $13.5m a year or more," the newspaper wrote. zzzz

Hamilton, 21, explained on Friday that he was told by Ron Dennis that he had secured the coveted drive on September 30 -- before the 2006 Formula One season had finished and in the midst of speculation that Pedro de la Rosa or Gary Paffett might get the job.

Another British newspaper, The Guardian, quoted Dennis as saying that he thinks Hamilton is already as good as any driver in F1 with the exception of Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen.

He said: "I am distinctly unimpressed with the majority of drivers currently involved in Formula One."

Klien gets to know the Honda Racing F1 Team Klien gets to know the Honda Racing F1 TeamThe Honda Racing F1 Team’s newly signed Test and Reserve Driver Christian Klien has spent the past few days at the team’s factory in Brackley getting used to his new environment.

Christian came over to the UK from his home in Switzerland last Thursday for his first days with the team. As well as having a tour of the Brackley facilities, including the new full-scale Wind Tunnel, Christian spent time meeting the team and getting to know his engineers for the forthcoming winter testing program. Christian also had his all-important seat fitting in the RA106 car.

On Monday, Christian returned to the factory to join Jenson Button in greeting the President and CEO of Honda Motor Company Ltd., Mr. Takeo Fukui, at the Brackley factory. Christian and Jenson accompanied Mr. Fukui on a tour of the Honda Racing F1 Team’s two Wind Tunnel facilities and spent some time discussing the imminent start of winter testing as well as the development of the new RA107 car. zzzz

Mr. Fukui was in the UK to take part in the New Honda Circle Convention event which took place at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London on Monday evening. Over 800 Honda associates from around the globe joined the Honda board members to attend the evening event which featured a parade of Honda motor sport heroes including Jenson Button, Nicky Hayden and John Surtees.

Christian will now be looking forward to his first run in the RA106 when winter testing starts in the next couple of weeks. To ensure that he is fully prepared physically for the intensive testing program, Christian will be spending this week training in the Austrian Alps doing some hiking in the mountains and working in the gym.

Commenting on his first few days with the Honda Racing F1 Team, Christian said, “I have very much enjoyed my first days working with the Honda team over the last week. It was really interesting to visit the factory and learn how the developments for next year are coming along. It was also a great pleasure to meet Mr. Fukui so early in my time with Honda. It’s been a lot of fun so far but now I’m looking forward to actually getting on with testing and driving the car.”

racing news
Reed wins pole for Turkey Derby feature Reed wins pole for Turkey Derby featureSteven Reed, of Freehold, N.J., by setting fastest modified stock car time at Wall Township Speedway Friday, will sit on his division's Turkey Derby feature pole Saturday.

Reed set an average 12.701 sec., 94.386 mph over two qualifying laps on the banked paved one-third-mile oval Friday afternoon. The RTS-Chevrolet No. 55 driver was .099 sec. faster than WTS NASCAR Dodge Weekly racing Series track champion John Blewett III.

Reed and his 31 colleagues are to run a 100-lap feature 1 p.m. Saturday. The field includes versatile NASCAR Nextel Cup racer Ken Schrader. Schrader in Reed's backup No. 14, ran 13.071 sec., 91.714 mph and qualified 13th. zzzz

Reed shared the spotlight with seven divisional feature winners. Royersford, Pa., micro sprint maven Steve Buckwalter, in a rare pavement race, won the three-quarter midget main. Third Generation driver Danny Bohn, of Freehold, annexed his fifth RMP Modified Affordable Division race.

Chrus Bakaj made his trip from Lebanon, Conn., pay off by winning the INEX Legends Cars main.

Ron Frees, of Brick, won the street stock feature when a long-time leader John McCormick collided with a backmarker with two laps to go. John Condit, of W. Caldwell, won his second truck race of the year.

Mark Tischler, of Martinsville, won his third Value Towing Factory Stock feature. Kevin Eyres led flag- to-flag in the sportsman run.

The Race of Champion modifieds, who will have a separate 100-lap race, and the INEX Bandoleros, who replace the TQs, will join Saturday's program. Grandstands are to open for practice and qualifying races at 8 p.m. Features are to start at 1 p.m. Visit wallspeedway.com or call (732) 681- 6400 for details.

Sepang Practice 3: Hulkenberg again fastest Sepang Practice 3: Hulkenberg again fastestNico Hulkenberg (right) once again turned the fastest practice lap in session three for Sunday's Malaysian A1 Grand Prix race. Christian Murchison, driving for the Singapore team was 2nd followed by Tomas Enge in the Czech Republic entry. Next up is qualifying.

Pos Team Driver Time Gap First
1 GERMANY Nico HÜLKENBERG 1:54.074 -
2 SINGAPORE Christian MURCHISON 1:54.133 +0.059
3 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas ENGE 1:54.157 +0.083
4 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 1:54.183 +0.109
5 CHINA Congfu CHENG 1:54.239 +0.165
6 FRANCE Nicolas LAPIERRE 1:54.392 +0.318
7 MALAYSIA Alex YOONG 1:54.519 +0.445
8 USA Philip GIEBLER 1:54.707 +0.633
9 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 1:54.766 +0.692
10 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 1:54.960 +0.886
11 CANADA Sean McINTOSH 1:55.070 +0.996
12 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 1:55.239 +1.165
13 BRAZIL Raphael MATOS 1:55.511 +1.437
14 MEXICO Salvador DURAN 1:55.636 +1.562
15 IRELAND Michael DEVANEY 1:55.820 +1.746
16 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 1:55.903 +1.829
17 INDONESIA Ananda MIKOLA 1:56.195 +2.121
18 AUSTRALIA Ryan BRISCOE 1:56.229 +2.155
19 INDIA Armaan EBRAHIM 1:56.817 +2.743
20 ITALY Enrico TOCCACELO 1:56.857 +2.783
21 LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 1:57.026 +2.952
22 PAKISTAN Nur ALI 2:00.652 +6.578

Hornish Jr. not living up to billing Hornish Jr. not living up to billingOn road courses he's quite mediocre (at best) and in stocks cars downright diabolical. He's the IRL's star driver, but outside his element (open wheel cars on oval tracks) he has yet to live up to his billing. His name? Sam Hornish Jr.

After passing nearly a dozen opponents in the first four laps in last weekend's Busch Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Hornish Jr. spun his Penske Dodge and crashed. It was only the fifth lap. "I got a little overconfident, and I made a mistake," Hornish said. "Part of learning about that kind of racing is learning what to do differently. You have to learn what you can do and what you can't do. I learned you can't do that."

Schumacher and Dennis talked, but.... Schumacher and Dennis talked, but...."I actually had several discussions and meetings with McLaren-Mercedes, for example at Monte Carlo in 1995," said Schumacher in an interview with German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung on Friday. "But I noticed that we really did not fit each other."

McLaren, or speaking honestly, McLaren boss Ron Dennis. With Mercedes everything ran very well and we would surely have found a way...Ron Dennis had another view of how an F1 team was to function."

"I never demanded it, neither contractually nor verbally, in my entire career, to be the No. 1 driver" he said. "My view is: at the season start both drivers receive the same material and are equal in every regard.

"But as soon as it becomes clear that one driver is faster than the other then the team must support him."

Full details of 2007 ALMS schedule Full details of 2007 ALMS scheduleFull details regarding the 2007 American Le Mans Series season has been released.  Exact race lengths and North American TV airing times have been finalized. Seven of the twelve events will be televised in North America on a tape-delay.  However, the most significant events including the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans will feature live coverage.  During the ALMS “State of the Series” address in September, Motors TV committed to bring live coverage of all twelve events to European viewers for 2007. Here’s a link to the detailed 2007 schedule.
formula bmw
German team leads opening qualifying at Valencia German team leads opening qualifying at ValenciaValencia (Spain)... Arguably the most important race weekend of the year is underway for the 37 participants of the DELL Formula BMW World Final. At Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat" on Friday, the young drivers - divided into two different groups - competed in two exciting qualifying sessions. The fastest driver from group 1 was Christian Vietoris (GER pictured right) of Josef Kaufmann Racing. The 17- year old, who won the 2006 Formula BMW Germany title, lapped the 4.005- kilometer circuit in 1:38.556 minutes. His team-mate Josef Král (CZE pictured left) finished second; Daniel Morad (USA/AIM Autosport) came third.

In group 2, Mika Mäki (FIN/Eifelland Racing) secured first place after recording a 1:39.061-minute lap. Trailing the Scandinavian by just 0.060 seconds, Stefano Coletti (MON/EuroInternational) took second position, with Mäki's team-mate Martin Ragginger (AUT) in third place. Besides the top-three drivers, the fourth-placed youngsters from each group will also take in part in the Super Pole Competition, which will take place on Saturday at 9:00hrs. In group1, Nick de Bruijn (NLD/ASL- Team Mücke-Motorsport) will enter the single-lap qualifying, Robert Wickens (CAN/EuroInternational) will represent group 2 alongside Mäki, Ragginger and Coletti. zzzz

"I clearly cannot ask for more," said Vietoris, who had already finished first in two out of three free practice sessions in his group. "I hope that it will prove to be an advantage to start as the penultimate driver in the Super Pole contest; the track should offer a lot more grip later on. I'm satisfied with how things have gone so far this weekend and watched Marco Holzer's Formula One test very closely. Now, I'm even more fired up to win here." Mäki, who finished runner-up in the Formula BMW Germany behind Vietoris, said, "I knew that I would be strong in qualifying. We only used a new set of tires in the third free practice session - and topped the timesheets. It is interesting to see that the fight I had with Christian in the Formula BMW Germany will apparently carry on here as well. I'm sure that will also be the case on Saturday and Sunday." Conditions for the two 30-minute qualifying sessions were ideal. While dark clouds gradually moved in over the circuit, the rain held off. While Vietoris took the lead in group 1 quite early and managed to defend it right until the end, group 2 proved to be a closer fought contest. Wickens was the leader for much of the session, but Mäki eventually passed the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion nine minutes before the checkered flag. Coletti and Ragginger also moved ahead of the Canadian.

Saturday's Super Pole Competition will determine the grid positions for the six intermediate heats, which will decide the starting grid for the DELL Formula BMW World Final. The fastest of the two groups of competitors in the fight for super pole will produce the pole-sitter for the first heat. The final race, in which a test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team is up for grabs, will start on Sunday at 14:30hrs local time (13:30hrs GMT).

Result Qualifying Group 1.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Christian Vietoris Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:38.556
2 Josef Král Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:38.991
3 Daniel Morad AIM Autosport 1:39.416
4 Nick de Bruijn ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport 1:39.744
5 Oliver Turvey Team Loctite 1:39.767
6 Euan Hankey Fortec Motorsport 1:39.789
7 Tobias Hegewald AM-Holzer Rennsport GmbH 1:40.036
8 Daniel Campos Hull Josef Kaufmann Racing 1:40.254
9 Niall Quinn AM-Holzer Rennsport GmbH 1:40.297
10 Fabio Leimer Matson Motorsport 1:40.330
11 Henry Arundel Fortec Motorsport 1:40.385
12 Matthew Lee Team Autotecnica 1:40.549
13 Daniel McKenzie Fortec Motorsport 1:40.880
14 Maxime Pelletier Gelles Racing 1:40.904
15 Frankie Muniz Jensen Motorsport 1:41.328
16 Philip Major AIM Autosport 1:41.403
17 Sebastian Saavedra Gelles Racing 1:41.500
18 Tom Dunstan Team Loctite 1:42.153

Result Qualifying Group 2.

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Mika Mäki Eifelland Racing 1:39.061
2 Stefano Coletti EuroInternational 1:39.121
3 Martin Ragginger Eifelland Racing 1:39.136
4 Robert Wickens EuroInternational 1:39.202
5 Jens Klingmann Eifelland Racing 1:39.287
6 Daniel Murray Filsell Motorsport 1:39.342
7 Daniel Ricciardo Fortec Motorsport 1:39.450
8 Christian Engelhart ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport 1:39.573
9 Jonathan Legris Motaworld Racing 1:39.907
10 Ryan Phinny Gelles Racing 1:39.993
11 Matt Hamilton Motaworld Racing 1:40.089
12 Maximilian Wissel GU-Racing Motorsport Team 1:40.126
13 Jens Höing GU-Racing Motorsport Team 1:40.246
14 Niall Breen Fortec Motorsport 1:40.268
15 Jack Clarke Fortec Motorsport 1:40.314
16 Ross Curnow Gelles Racing 1:40.343
17 Adrien Herberts Gelles Racing 1:40.813
18 Andrei Harnagea GU-Racing Motorsport Team 1:47.849

Ferrari Village unveiled Ferrari Village unveiled"Maranello Village", the world's first residential complex featuring over 120 apartments available for Ferrari personnel exclusively, is unveiled today in the presence of Ferrari CEO Jean Todt, Ferrari Vice Presidente Piero Ferrari and local representatives.

The residence, located in Pozza di Maranello, just four kilometres from the Ferrari plant - connected by a bicycle lane, offers a structure in harmony with the surroundings, respecting the rural tradition of the area, while offering some original features, such as the lively red color, the huge signboards with images from historical races by Ferrari: Daytona 1967 (the famous triple-win for Ferrari at the 24 Hour race), Monza 1975 (the Drivers Championship won with one race ahead), Suzuka 2004 (the celebrating team at the pitwall) and Le Mans 1966 (the drivers running to their cars after the 24 hour race has been started).

The residential buildings were built out of the highest available quality standard; the four buildings are surrounded by lawns and trees forming the "Maranello Village"; the apartments range from 30 to 70 sqm; there are 22 studios, 42 two-bedroom and 58 three-bedroom apartments which are completely furnished and equipped. The apartments are rented for a flexible time. zzzz

There are not only advantages regarding the cost of housing and a series of advantageous tariffs, but also a complementary service package: fitness centre with a surface of 770 sqm completely equipped with Technogym equipment, reception, restaurant, bar, self-service with the possibility of home-delivery, equipped relaxing areas outside, external parking and a covered car park for up to 150 cars.

As Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo underlined: "the basic idea of the 'Formula Uomo' is the improvement of the quality of the housing and the production facilities but also a maximum of attention to the working conditions - the factors contributing to the excellence of the final product."

"Maranello Village" directs this attention to the employee beyond the working area; and as such it becomes a natural part of this project. Ferrari PR

Track News
More changes for Cleveland GP More changes for Cleveland GPMore improvements are planned for the 2007 Cleveland GP:
  • A bridge has been added over pit lane by the turn 1 club seats to allow access to the paddock and pits when the track is hot.
  • Free paddock pass for ticket holders of the Champions Tent.
  • A shuttle service has been added that will run from the paddock to all the grandstands.
Button breaks ribs Button breaks ribsThe Honda Racing F1 Team will commence its preparations for the 2007 Formula One season next week when the winter testing program gets underway at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Tuesday 28 November. 

Running on Bridgestone tires for the first time since their sole supply came into effect, the main focus for the Honda team will be the evaluation of the tire characteristics as well as developing an in-depth understanding of how the RA106, last season's race car, performs on the new tires. In addition, the team will be running development items in preparation for the debut of the 2007 car early next year. 

Rubens Barrichello, newly appointed Test and Reserve Driver Christian Klien and test driver James Rossiter will conduct the driving duties. 

Jenson Button is currently en route from Japan where he attended the Honda Racing Thank You Day at the Motegi circuit on Thursday. There he met some of the 26,000 Honda customers invited to a special celebration of Honda's motorsport participation. He recently sustained two hairline cracks to his ribs whilst participating in a karting test scheduled as part of his winter preparation. As a result, Jenson will not take part in next week's test to ensure that the condition is not further aggravated.  

Following the three-day test in Barcelona next week, the Honda Racing F1 Team will be conducting a further six days of testing before the Christmas break at the Circuito de Jerez from 6-8 and 13-15 December.

McLaren Lewis Hamilton Press Release McLaren Lewis Hamilton Press ReleaseLong-term McLaren and Mercedes-Benz protégé Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racing driver and will make his debut at the opening round of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship in Australia. 21-year-old Lewis will join World Champion Fernando Alonso racing the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 during the 2007 season with both Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett continuing as test drivers.

The 2006 GP2 Champion, who also dominated the 2005 F3 Euro Series in a Dallara Mercedes winning 15 out of 20 races, will recommence his testing program and the team’s preparations for the 2007 season next week at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.

"It's a dream come true," said Lewis. "To be racing in Formula 1 with McLaren has been the ultimate goal for me since I was very young and this opportunity is a fantastic way to end what has been the best year for me. I have grown up with McLaren and Mercedes and wouldn't be where I am today without their continued support and guidance. However I'm aware that this will be a challenge and I know that there will be a lot of attention on me. However the team has told me just to relax, do the best I can and enjoy the opportunity. I will work hard to get good results." zzzz

Pedro de la Rosa will revert to his role as test driver for the team. Pedro has been racing for Team McLaren Mercedes since the 2006 French Grand Prix in July and achieved a number of points-scoring performances as well as a podium finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"I have really enjoyed the opportunity to race for Team McLaren Mercedes for the last eight races of the 2006 season," commented Pedro. "However I have always been aware that the team might decide to give another driver the same opportunity, so the fact that Lewis will be in the car comes as no surprise. Obviously I would have preferred to race myself but also understand why the team has decided to put Lewis in the car. I wish him all the best and look forward to continue working with him."

Gary Paffett will continue in his role with the team working on the test and engineering program alongside Lewis, Fernando and Pedro.   “I am delighted to be remaining with the team, it is a fantastic racing organization and I am looking forward to working with my fellow teammates on our 2007 Championship challenge," said Gary Paffett. "As with any driver, there is always a desire to be racing in Formula 1, however this was not possible. We had a number of other opportunities available and have decided that this was the strongest option. I would like to congratulate Lewis on today’s announcement.”

"Since 1998 Lewis has formed an important part of our long-term strategy and we are pleased that we are able to help him take another step and achieve his dream of becoming a Formula 1 racing driver," said Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO, McLaren Group. "Pedro has done an outstanding job for us this season but we felt it was the right time to provide Lewis with this opportunity. It's obviously going to be the biggest challenge of Lewis's career so far but it's one that we are sure he will be able to meet. He is coming into the paddock for the first time as a Formula 1 racing driver and will have to familiarize himself with the pressures of a Grand Prix weekend. However the confidence we have in Lewis's abilities and talent is clear from our decision to give him the chance." Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport commented how "Lewis is a gifted driver who proved his talent with two consecutive title wins - 2005 in the Formula 3 Euro Series in a Dallara Mercedes and this year in the GP2 Series. McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have supported Lewis already for nine years. He was half as tall as he is today when he started in karting. It's clear that Lewis has less experience in comparison to the other 21 Formula 1 drivers in Grand Prix cars. However extensive tests during the coming months will prepare him for his first season - I am very glad that a guy like him gets his deserved chance."

Lewis has been involved with the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Program since its inception in 1998. He moved through the ranks of karting winning various Championships including the 'McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future' karting series in 1998. Lewis dominated the 2003 British Formula Renault Championship winning 10 out of the Championship's 15 races. In 2004 Lewis competed in the prominent Formula 3 Euro series with Manor Motorsport, powered by Mercedes-Benz engines. In 2005, Lewis dominated the F3 Euro Series Championship, in a car powered by Mercedes- Benz. On 8th September 2006 Lewis won the GP2 Series Championship with the ART team at Monza in Italy, winning five out of 22 rounds, and on Wednesday 13th September Lewis tested the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car for the first time at the Silverstone circuit in the UK.

Team USA pleased with Friday’s practice result Team USA pleased with Friday’s practice resultSEPANG, Malaysia—In a day hampered by rain, A1 TEAM USA emerged from Friday’s practice at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with the fifth fastest time and very encouraged.  

Despite it being his first run on the circuit, veteran driver Phil Giebler finished with the 5th fastest time.  Positions 1, 2, and 3 were taken by drivers who had been in the rookie session, and Giebler was still able to outpace three others who had participated in the rookie practice as well.

“We played to our strengths today,” said Giebler, following the practice.  “We had changeable weather and a couple of hiccups with the car, but we all stayed focused. I ended up right in there at the top of the times, with the guys who had an extra practice session and new tires.  It’s great because we are showing good potential every time we take to the track.” Giebler’s best lap came after the track had dried following a rainstorm which interrupted the session approximately 20 minutes in. zzzz

A1 TEAM USA Owner Rick Weidinger commented, “We had gear selection problems in our first and only practice session on Friday. We got stuck in first gear at one point and Phil had difficulty downshifting. There are some pointers in the data, which indicate some sort of mechanical issue. We must begin to reduce these mechanical demons and become consistent with our race car. However, Phil stayed very focused and got better and better. He was still matching his best lap at the end of the session, even though his tires were getting worse, and his fuel pressure was spiking. Fifth is a good place to improve from for Saturday’s qualifying round.”

Ralf promises ’full motivation’ for 2007 Ralf promises ’full motivation’ for 2007(GMM) Ralf Schumacher has emerged from his post-season holiday to promise 'full motivation' for 2007.

To be the only member of his family on the Formula One grid next year, 31-year-old Schumacher holidayed in Dubai after the season-ending Brazilian grand prix but is now on his way to Fuji for a public relations event for Toyota.

"Apart from Dubai, I spent most of the time (since Brazil) with (wife) Cora and (son) David at home in Salzburg," Ralf said on Friday before boarding a flight to Japan.

He added: "Of course, off-season doesn't always mean off-season as there were some PR obligations I had to fulfill. But I truly enjoy leaving all the Formula One stress behind to relax, as this means I'll be fully motivated when I'm back at the wheel next year."

Ralf revealed that he also appeared on the German version of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' last week, winning 125,000 EUR for a children's charity.

Champ Car not getting it done Champ Car not getting it doneA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I compare your 2007 Champ Car Silly Season page to your 2007 F1 Silly Season page and it's clear to me that Champ Car does not have its act together yet again. While the F1 page is all green and shows that all but one race seat is locked up for next year, the Champ Car page is all yellow (speculation) once again. So in reality Champ Car is in no better shape than it was one, two or even three years ago. It seems that seats in Champ Car won't get locked down until the ride-buyers write their checks. What a joke. Steve Halbright, England

Dear Steve, Can't argue with you there. The Champ Car Silly Season page indicates a lot of uncertainty still exists in Champ Car. Is this the end of the world? No. The series definitely is in better shape than it was when it went bankrupt. However, Rome was not built in a day, and the series is making small, but important steps in rebuilding itself. The ABC/ESPN TV deal was the latest key step. We would expect all the teams to lock down their drivers by early January so they can start testing the new Panoz. There are only three tests slated, one each in January, February and March before the '07 season starts. Any team or driver that misses even one of those tests will be behind the 8-ball the rest of the season. Mark C.

track news
Houston Motorsport Park aligns with ASA Houston Motorsport Park aligns with ASADAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Citing a need to join a national sanctioning body to help maintain their momentum in the short track world, Houston Motorsports Park has joined as a Level I participant in the ASA Member Track program. This is the first racetrack in Texas to become part of the ASA Member Track family.

“I think that we have found a big plus with the ASA Member Track program,” said Graham Baker who is co-owner of Houston Motorsports Park (HMS) with his brother David. “We are finding that Dennis Huth and the national organization of ASA have been really helpful in working with the short tracks in the United States. Our drivers and fans are very enthusiastic.”

HMS is conveniently located 20 minutes from downtown Houston and only 15 minutes from Bush Intercontinental Airport. This puts more than 4.5 million people within a short drive to one of the finest short tracks in the southern United States. zzzz

“We are working hard to build up our spectator base and have a tremendous number of people in very close proximity since we are close to downtown,” said Baker. “Our location is a big plus and the association with ASA will help get our name out there even more.”

Further adding to the potential fan base are 15,000 new homes and seven schools which are being built within a five-mile radius of HMS over the next five years. The entire area is developing rapidly and HMS is poised to capitalize on the area’s growth.

The track itself is one of the jewels in the short track world. The HMS facility consists of a 3/8-mile paved oval and a 1/8-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip. The oval has high-banked concrete turns and asphalt straights, “just like Martinsville (Speedway)”, according to Baker. During the season, the regular program runs every second Saturday night and has eight divisions, including ASA Late Models, Modifieds, Legends, Hobby Stocks, Thunder Roadsters, Allison Legacys and Texas Trucks.

The 2007 season will open March 15-17 with the inaugural SpeedFest ’07 presented by Pepsi, an event not unlike the famous Snowball Derby which the Bakers hope to grow in stature and prize money each year. Special events include visits by the Texas Super Racing Series, a regional Super Late Model tour. A complete schedule and news from the oval and drag strip can be found online at www.HoustonMotorsportsPark.com.

No Schedule Yet For Canadian Tire Series No Schedule Yet For Canadian Tire SeriesThe newly formed NASCAR-Canadian Tire Series has been a source of frustration and puzzlement since it was announced. With the Christmas season fast approaching, a race schedule has yet to be announced, leaving the former CASCAR series teams scrambling for sponsorship.

The running of a stock-car team at this level is not cheap and most competitors must rely on sponsorship. But the teams going into the boardrooms of prospective backers cannot even provide details of where and when the races will be held in 2007.

This must be especially frustrating for the series teams. They have not had a title sponsor for the past several years and they thought, with two such well-known names as NASCAR and CTC, they'd have an easier time getting sponsorship.

This is also a frustrating time for the auto racing media who thought at the time this two-month-old announcement was one of the most positive in Canadian stock-car racing.

But other than a couple of official NASCAR Canada releases stating where NASCAR-related merchandise can be bought, there's been nothing official to report on. hamiltonspectator.com

"Dale: The True Story" Due Before Daytona 500 "Dale: The True Story" Due Before Daytona 500The latest movie about the late Dale Earnhardt is scheduled for release early next year. "Dale: The True Story" was produced by NASCAR Images and CMT films. Unlike an earlier ESPN movie, this one has the approval of Earnhardt's family. The 90-minute film is narrated by Paul Newman.

There is some debate whether the film is actually a movie or more of a documentary. The production company has issued no information other than that the film has been completed and scheduled for release prior to the February Daytona 500.

Earnhardt's widow, Teresa, cooperated with the project, as did Richard Childress Racing. Members of Earnhardt's family have viewed the movie.

"It's very good," Earnhardt's grandson, Jeremy Earnhardt, said during a recent practice session at Nashville Superspeedway. "I think fans of my grandfather will like it." Tennessean

Q and A with Renault's Pat Symonds Q and A with Renault's Pat SymondsAfter a five week break since the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, the world champion Renault F1 Team will be back on track next week in Barcelona, for the first of three test sessions before Christmas.

These sessions will have two primary objectives: accumulating reliability mileage on components destined for the 2007 car, but first and foremost learning the characteristics of the Bridgestone tires that the team will be using throughout next season.

We caught up with the team's Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds to discuss the objectives for the nine days of testing between now and Christmas:

Pat, the team will be running for nine days between now and Christmas, weather permitting. What will be the objectives for these test sessions?

Pat Symonds: The team's goals are two-fold. To a very large extent, our running will deal with learning and adapting to the true characteristics of the Bridgestone tires. However, the fact we will be using the same engine architecture next year means it is also cost-effective to run components from next year's car during these sessions, for reliability testing. We will be taking full advantage of that opportunity. zzzz

How much do you already know about the Bridgestone tires?

PS: We have received a lot of data from Bridgestone, which has been applied to our computer modeling in order to understand the basics of how the car set-up need to be altered to get the best out of the tires. Factors such as weight distribution and the aerodynamic characteristics of the car need to be re-assessed to determine how to best use the Bridgestone tires.

Presumably, though, computer modeling can only take you so far in that process...

PS: Exactly. No amount of mathematical data can explain the subtleties of the tires, and especially of the tire compounds. We need to run on track in order to understand how to best use the tires over a stint, what driving style they require, and their general strengths and weaknesses. The majority of our nine days will be spent trying to get a handle on these characteristics.

So will the priority be long runs, or performance evaluation?

PS: Initially, the engineers will be working with the drivers to get the basic balance of the car comfortable. That will involve relatively short runs. Subsequently, we will look to being working on how the tires react over the length of a race stint. It will be important to do plenty of mileage.

A change of tire supplier is a major transition for an F1 team. How big an impact will it have on the team over the winter?

PS: I don't think the move to Bridgestone can be understated, but it is also important not to overstate its importance. The last time we changed tire supplier was between 2000 and 2001. Since then, we have become a lot more knowledgeable about the tires, and we can apply a lot more intelligence to the problem. On a technical level, the transition is one of the normal engineering challenges an F1 team faces. The other important factor is building strong working relationships with our new partner, and establishing good communications. That plays an important role in any partnership, and it is something we will be working hard on.

Bridgestone have stated that the tires used for testing in Barcelona next week, will be the ones you are using at the first race in Melbourne. Is that a help?

PS: It is a massive help. Had we been switching suppliers in the middle of a tire war, it would have been an order of magnitude more difficult. The fact we are working with a stable product will assist us greatly in understanding the tires. Our aim will be to get to Australia on an equal footing with the teams that have been using them for a while already. That will not be easy, but it is achievable.

How easy do you think it will be for the drivers to make the transition?

PS: I am very confident in the drivers' ability to adapt. Giancarlo already has experience of the Bridgestone tires from 2004; equally, when he changed tire supplier at the start of 2005, he had no problem adapting. I am sure he can do the same again. As for Heikki, we already know that he has the versatility and intelligence to make the change without any difficulties. I am sure both drivers will feel at ease quite quickly.

Finally, you mentioned the team will also be conducting reliability testing on components for the 2007 car...

PS: It is something we do every winter, according to which parts can be fitted to the car in a cost-effective way. In recent seasons, we have negotiated major changes in engine architecture that limited our scope for running major mechanical items. However, the regulations for next season are stable and this means that we will begin running the 2007 gearbox in Barcelona, in order to make the unit fully reliable before the start of next season. It has already completed several race distances on the dyno, and we are confident that this program will run smoothly alongside our tire work.

The team's current testing plans are as follows:


Raikkonen enjoying time off at home Raikkonen enjoying time off at home(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen, to switch from McLaren to Ferrari, has revealed that he also had 'different possibilities' for 2007.

"If I had not decided to go to Ferrari," the 27-year-old told '20Minuten.ch' from his home in Switzerland, "then I would have had different possibilities.

"I know Ferrari a little of course, but you never know what is going to happen in the future.  I haven't done anything yet."

Raikkonen added that he would 'gladly' make his test debut for the Maranello based team before Christmas, but at present he has not secured a release from his McLaren-Mercedes contract.

At home near Zurich, meanwhile, he said he was enjoying the 'peace' in some picturesque surroundings of some time off.

Raikkonen said: "Here, it is easy to relax."

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

IHRA Drag Racing Budds Creek
2:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
Movie: Grand Prix (1966)
3:00pm-7:30pm SPEED
Biography -Paul Newman
8:00pm-10:00pm Biography Channel
Movie: Grand Prix (1966)
10:00pm-2:30am SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

Sepang: Hulkenberg leads opening practice Sepang: Hulkenberg leads opening practiceA1 Team Germany's Nico Hülkenberg has set the benchmark for this weekend's Astro A1GP Sepang, Malaysia races, setting the fastest times in today's two practice sessions. The 19-year-old set a stunning lap time of 1:51.789secs on his first flying lap, over three seconds quicker than last season's Sepang pole time.

In a session interrupted by rain, Hülkenberg was over one second faster than China's Congfu Cheng and New Zealand's Jonny Reid.

Hülkenberg's lack of experience of the 5.5km track clearly did not hamper his speed as he also posted the fastest time in the morning's session to pip South Africa's Adrian Zaugg to the top by just 0.025secs. He repeated the impressive performance in the afternoon's one hour free practice session, clearly stating his determination to repeat his Zandvoort race win in October. "I think it was a good lap, but I have a car that is good not only for one lap but it is consistent," Hülkenberg commented, "As a driver you have to look after your tires for a long race, and I am looking forward to that, but practice is always something different and qualifying as well. However, today we looked pretty good. The heat is the big theme and I think it will be getting tough for the driver at the end of the races. I am looking forward to it and think we have a great car. zzzz

Speaking at a press conference after the final session, Hülkenberg looked forward to racing on the fast, flowing Sepang after the tricky, tight Beijing circuit., "This is a big difference to Beijing and another challenge. I liked Beijing a lot. I heard people who didn't like it but I liked the walls as it was like being in a cage, man against man and I liked the track a lot as you could push. However, here there is just one line and if you go off it mistakes are easy to make."

A1 Team China's Congfu Cheng, sixth fastest in the morning's session, posted the second quickest time in the second practice, but his preparations were shortened after just a handful of laps when he ran wide into a gravel trap and became stuck. Cheng's early speed however proved key when the heavy rain fell midway through the hour and lap times dropped. New Zealand's Jonny Reid, back in the car for the first time since Brno, had a successful day's running, setting the fourth fastest time in the earlier practice and third in the afternoon.

Home team Malaysia also had a strong showing, with Fairuz Fauzy third in the morning's classification, just 0.060secs slower than Hülkenberg. Team-mate Alex Yoong completed limited running before the rain fell to set the sixth quickest time, "It is a disadvantage at the moment not being in the practice session but I hope as the weekend goes on it will prove not to be a disadvantage. Certainly for today it will be a disadvantage as for those who do not do the earlier session we do not get the best out of the tires. In Nico's case he had a morning session and he came out and was strong, " Yoong credited the young German on his stunning performance, "There is nothing to take away from Nico's lap. It was really a stunning lap and I don't think anyone could imagine beating that even if we had done the session. From driving we will find more time so I am sitting here thinking of that more than anything at the moment."

Yoong admitted the rain had interrupted his running, "When the rain came it started on this side of the circuit so I got it in the middle of turns five and six and there was a big moment because the rain comes down here very fast, but you just have to expect it really. I think you just can't plan for the rain as it happens so fast here and stops so quickly as well. You have just got to plan to be as flexible as you can and try to react to every change that happens." Qualifying could be a lottery, he suggested, "I think the people may be watching the cars go round but I can assure you the team members will be watching the sky.

The action resumes tomorrow with a further free practice session and four 15 minute qualifying segments between 14.15 and 15.30 that will determine the grid for Sunday's Sprint race. With a high chance of rain, results will be unpredictable and strategy will be even more important than ever.

Pos Team Driver Time
2 CHN CHINA Congfu CHENG 1:52.986
3 NZL NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 1:52.998
5 USA USA Philip GIEBLER 1:53.779
6 MAL MALAYSIA Alex YOONG 1:53.884
7 BRA BRAZIL Raphael MATOS 1:53.947
8 GBR GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 1:54.075
9 RSA SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 1:54.361
10 FRA FRANCE Nicolas LAPIERRE 1:54.373
12 MEX MEXICO Salvador DURAN 1:54.899
13 CAN CANADA Sean McINTOSH 1:54.923
15 IRL IRELAND Michael DEVANEY 1:55.018
17 INA INDONESIA Ananda MIKOLA 1:55.654
18 SIN SINGAPORE Christian MURCHISON 1:55.735
19 ITA ITALY Enrico TOCCACELO 1:56.164
20 LEB LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 1:57.051
21 IND INDIA Armaan EBRAHIM 1:57.312

Rosberg to contest kart race on ice Rosberg to contest kart race on ice(GMM) Williams driver Nico Rosberg will on Friday compete in a go-kart race -- on ice.

The Philips Ice Race, named after the Grove based F1 team's continuing sponsor for 2007 and to take place in the German city of Krefeld, will also feature Red Bull test driver Michael Ammermuller.

Eight teams, in identical 11bhp karts, will fight for grip at more than 110kmh with the help of spiked tires.

Bridgestone to supply one tire-spec in winter Bridgestone to supply one tire-spec in winter(GMM) In a radical change of approach following six years of competition with Michelin, Bridgestone intend to supply only a single specification of tire for the entire winter period.

With its French former rival withdrawing in protest of the control-tire rule for 2008, Bridgestone's inherited monopoly next year means that the design of tire supplied to teams in Barcelona next week will probably be identical to the specification that will kick off the new season in Australia next March.

The only possible spanner in the works would be a major complaint about the proposed compound from teams, but former Michelin-shod Renault's Pat Symonds this week said that the Bridgestone approach is actually a 'massive help' in catching up with the Japanese supplier's existing teams.

"Had we been switching suppliers in the middle of a tire war, it would have been an order of magnitude more difficult," the Briton said.

Symonds continued: "The fact we are working with a stable product will assist us greatly in understanding the tires.

"It will not be easy to get to Australia on an equal footing with the teams that have been using (Bridgestone tires) for a while already, but it is achievable."

Alonso’s R26 to retire in Paris Alonso’s R26 to retire in Paris(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's championship-winning 2006 race car will get a well-earned retirement at Renault's 'Histoire et Collection' in Paris, France.

The Enstone based team revealed this week that, rarely for a single car, chassis number 'R26-03' was driven by Spaniard Alonso at every grand prix in 2006.

A team document said the car emerged from the race shop on 7 February, tested later that month in Barcelona, and then scored 7 wins, 6 poles, 5 fastest laps and 14 podiums.

Renault also revealed late on Thursday that 2007 race driver Heikki Kovalainen and team demo driver Jonathan Cochet will do demonstration laps with a R26 chassis at Paris' 'Race of Champions' next month.

Red Bull Racing, meanwhile, said that since the season ending Brazilian grand prix, it conducted similar F1 demos in Vienna (Austria) and Santiago (Chile).

Alex Zanardi makes heroic return to F1 Alex Zanardi makes heroic return to F1For the first time since 1999, former grand prix driver Alex Zanardi returned to the wheel of a formula one car this week.

At the formula BMW 'World Finals' event at Valencia in Spain, the 40-year-old Italian completed a handful of laps on Thursday ahead of a more comprehensive test schedule for the weekend, becoming the first amputee to tame a grand prix single seater.

His two walking sticks apart, the only obvious sign of Zanardi's horrific injuries sustained in a Champ Car crash in 2001 was that a crew had to help him climb into the C24 racer.

BMW-Sauber engineers also decided to send the former Jordan, Lotus and Williams driver out on rain tires, underestimating that even with a hand-controlled throttle and prosthetic leg to produce the 80kg of braking pressure, Zanardi would quickly destroy the ultra-soft compound.

"Nobody was expecting me to push more than what the tires could take," the American news agency Associated Press quoted him as saying.

In 41 grands prix between 1991 and 1999, Zanardi's best finish was a sixth, and he lamented at Valencia that he should have achieved more in motor racing's highest category.

"Not because the team never gave me a reliable, fast car," he insisted, "but for the fact I didn't push myself as hard as I could have.

"But you can't change the past, (you can) only learn from it."

formula bmw
Holzer tests 65 laps with the BMW Sauber F1 Team Holzer tests 65 laps with the BMW Sauber F1 TeamValencia (Spain).. For Marco Holzer (GER), a dream has come true at the "Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo": On Thursday, he completed 65 laps at the wheel of a BMW Sauber F1 Team Formula One car. Last year, the 18-year-old won the maiden Formula BMW World Final, thereby securing a chance to make his debut in an F1 racer. Holzer took to the track in front of the 37 drivers competing in the 2006 DELL Formula BMW World Final. From November 24 to 26, the talented young guns, representing the four international Formula BMW series in Germany, Great Britain, Asia and North America, will be battling it out on the same track to become Holzer's successor.

"This has been a unique experience," said Holzer. "The cornering speeds are amazing, just like the braking forces. From one lap to the next it became more fun, and I felt more comfortable. The team gave me a warm welcome, and I got all my questions answered. I say only this to the competitors of this year's World Final: Push hard to win the race, because a Formula One test drive is just an unforgettable adventure." zzzz

Holzer, who took third place in the 2006 Formula BMW Germany season, was praised for his test performance by BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Marco made a solid impression during his debut at the wheel of a Formula One car. This test has shown him where his racing career may lead him. Marco had a taste of the technological limits and the driving physique, as well of the enormous forces exerted on the drivers in Formula One."

Holzer was not the only driver who was happy about his maiden outing in a BMW Sauber F1 Team car. Alessandro Zanardi (ITA), who normally competes for BMW Team Italy-Spain in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, made his first system check in a specially modified car. To enable the leg-amputee to return to the cockpit of an F1 car, the BMW Sauber F1 Team engineers modified the clutch paddle - among other things - on the left rear side of the steering wheel. This can now be used to accelerate the car. On Saturday and Sunday, Zanardi will complete two longer test runs in the support program of the World Final.

The official DELL Formula BMW World Final program will get underway on Friday at 9:00hrs with the first free practice of competitors' group 1. The final race will be started on Sunday at 14:30hrs.

Earnhardt's Driver Suit stolen from TMS Earnhardt's Driver Suit stolen from TMSThe Fort Worth, Texas Police Department is investigating the theft of a vintage racing suit once worn by Dale Earnhardt Sr., according to a department news release. Earnhardt’s racing suit, along with a helmet, racing gloves and a pair of racing shoes turned up missing from a locked storage closet earlier this month at the Texas Motor Speedway, the release read. The racing suit was part of a promotional display that was taken down on Nov. 5, according to the release, and the items were then boxed up and placed in storage. A week later, staffers discovered that the items, which are valued at up to $100,000, were missing, the release read. The suit was housed at the TMS because it was donated to its president, Eddie Gossage. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible. nbc5i.com
Renault F1 to demo at ROC Renault F1 to demo at ROCRenault's rookie Heikki Kovalainen will demonstrate the team's world championship-winning R26 at this year's Race of Champions event at the Stade de France in Paris on December 16.

Kovalainen and Renault driver Jonathan Cochet will run the car round the temporary track built to pitch drivers of various disciplines against each other in the gala annual event.

Renault will also provide a fleet of spectacular Megane Trophy cars for the race and rally stars to use. The racing stars also have to come to terms with Citroen WRC cars, Porsche 911 GT3s and Aston Martin rally cars.

Kovalainen, who is set to take part in the event for Finland, came to prominence by beating Michael Schumacher to the overall ROC title in 2004.

Industry News
Volvo, Chrysler, Ford cars recalled Volvo, Chrysler, Ford cars recalledThe government announced four auto recalls Wednesday affecting about 300,600 vehicles.

More than half of the vehicles being recalled -- 170,099 -- are Volvo passenger cars, station wagons and SUVs from the 1999-2002 model years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Volvo Cars of North America, a unit of Ford Motor Co., is recalling vehicle speed controls on some C70, C70 convertible, S60, S70, S80, V70, V70XC and XC70 models. A malfunctioning electronic throttle module may cause the vehicles to unnecessarily go into "limp home" mode, in which the vehicle's speed is limited to 10 to 30 m.p.h., NHTSA said.

Dealers will install upgraded software on the affected vehicles' electronic throttles. zzzz

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group is recalling 127,928 Chrysler Pacificas from the 2005-06 model years. The crossover vehicles have fuel pump modules and powertrain control module software that may allow the engine to stall under certain conditions, causing a crash to occur without warning.

Dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module and replace the fuel pump module on Pacificas built from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2004, NHTSA said.

Chrysler also is recalling 2,258 Sebring sedans from the 2007 model year with a hood latch part that may break and allow the hood to open while driving. Dealers will replace the hood latches at no cost to owners.

Ford is recalling 422 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans from the 2007 model year to properly secure the windshield to the body, NHTSA said. Dealers will replace the windshields at no cost to owners.

In another action, DaimlerChrysler has begun mailing an owner's manual addendum to owners of 18,245 Jeep Compass SUVs from the 2007 model year. The original manuals do not contain required warning information about the higher risk of rollover in an SUV, NHTSA said. Detroit Free Press

Industry News
Bricklin, Chery end deal to import Chinese autos Bricklin, Chery end deal to import Chinese autosMalcolm Bricklin's plan to be the first U.S. importer of Chinese autos hit a snag as his Visionary Vehicles LLC said it ended a joint venture with the company that was to build the vehicles.

Bricklin, 67, began meeting other Chinese automakers during last week's Beijing Auto Show after deciding against an exclusive relationship with Chery Automobile Co., Visionary spokeswoman Wendi Tush said Wednesday. Chery may still assemble some cars for New York-based Visionary on a contract basis, she said.

Bricklin, who brought Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Subaru brand to the U.S. in the 1960s, announced plans in 2005 to import Cherys by as early as 2007. Delays preparing a line of low-cost autos with luxury-vehicle content for the U.S. pushed back Visionary's plan to at least 2008.

"Chery was not moving fast enough to do all of these cars," Tush said. "The situation was compounded by Chery's talks with other automakers."

Chery is in negotiations to build a car in China with DaimlerChrysler AG, Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda said at a press conference Saturday in Beijing. Detroit News

2007 Bud Shootout lineup 2007 Bud Shootout lineupAt least 21 drivers will be eligible for the Feb. 10 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. The lineup was finalized with the season-ending Nextel Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Those eligible include Bud Pole Award winners from 2006 and past Budweiser Shootout winners.
Drivers eligible for the 2007 competition are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers, David Gilliland, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Elliott Sadler, Scott Riggs, Ryan Newman and Boris Said. Past shootout champions eligible for the 2007 event are Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Ken Schrader and Bill Elliott. Scenedaily.com
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Glock, Paffett, eye seats out of F1
Williams sponsor increases backing
Schu feared death at Stowe '99

Schu rules out F1 return
Ex-Montoya trainer to work with Alonso
Hakk inks deal with McLaren F1 sponsor
Albers' '07 teammate to be named 'soon'
Spyker to skip pre-Christmas tests
Maranello make Schu honorary citizen
Schu spotted in secret kart test
Aston Martin wins in Dubai Aston Martin wins in DubaiPhoenix Racing finally took their first victory of the season in the final race, with a fantastic performance from Jean-Denis Deletraz and Andrea Piccini at the Dubai Autodrome.  Their nr 5 Aston Martin DBR9 behaved perfectly throughout the race, and the two drivers crossed the line 49 seconds ahead of the nr 4 GLPK Carsport Corvette of Longin, Kumpen and Hezemans, with the nr 2 Vitaphone Maserati MC 12 of Davies, Biagi and Vosse third. 

The GT2 victory went to Mullen and Niarchos, in the nr 63 Ferrari 430 GT2 of Scuderia Ecosse.  However, the ten points were not enough to promote Mullen to third in the Classification, as he was followed by the two AF Corse cars.  Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander finished second, giving Melo the GT2 title.  Aguas and Salo were third today, struggling with a problem in their car, but it was enough to guarantee their third place and the AF Corse domination in the GT2 drivers top three.  The Spyker and Ebimotors Porsche both led the category, but finished further down in the points.  zzzz

The Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello, running in G2, was awarded 10 kg penalty weight by the GT Burean, and also placed behind the GT1 cars on the grid.  However, it drove a good race and finished 7th overall for Gardel, Zacchia and Makowiecki.

The G3 category was won by Toni Seiler and Luca Pirri, in the nr 133 BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9.  Both drivers were pleased with the performance of their car, and saw it as a good preparation for next year's FIA GT3 European Championship, which should finish the season in Dubai.

Four Aston Martins in top-6

Dubai, which so nearly saw the first non-manufacturer win for the Aston Martin DBR9 last year, proved to be good for the Aston cars this weekend, with not only victory for Phoenix, but the three other cars finishing in fourth to sixth positions.  Fourth place went to the Aston Martin Racing BMS DBR9, after a fine start from Babini, leading the race until lap eight.  The team’s second car, driven by Gollin and Ramos, finished sixth. In the Manufacturers Cup, Aston Martin scored a total of 173 points this season, finishing ahead of Maserati, Corvette and Saleen.The Race Alliance Aston Martin was delayed by an early puncture, but recovered to finish fifth for Karl Wendlinger, Philipp Peter and Jarek Janis. This was despite a problem for new Aston driver Janis, whose seat-belt came partially undone during his stint, giving him great problems.  The points for fifth assured Jarek Janis of third position in the GT1 Drivers Classification, ahead of his former Zakspeed Racing team-mate Sascha Bert.  The nr 9 Saleen had an unfortunate puncture in the early stages, causing damage which took a number of laps to mend. The car rejoined the race on lap 16, finishing 22nd overall and 8th in GT1.

Melo takes GT2 title

The GT2 victory went to Mullen and Niarchos, in the nr 63 Ferrari 430 GT2 of Scuderia Ecosse.  The new British GT Champions put in an excellent performance, and have really dominated the category all weekend.   However, the ten points were not enough to promote Mullen to third in the Classification, as he was followed across the line by the two AF Corse cars.  Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander finished second, giving Melo the GT2 title.   Aguas and Salo were third today, struggling with a problem in their car, but it was enough to guarantee their third place and the AF Corse domination in the GT2 driver’s top three.  The nr 79 Spyker Squadron C8 Spyder of Bleekemolen and Kane led the GT2 race, but eventually finished fourth.  The nr 55 JMB Ferrari finished fifth, despite a collision with the nr 23 BMS DBR9, for which it received a drive-through penalty.  The nr 75 Ebimotors Porsche put in an excellent performance despite starting on the penultimate row further to an engine change; it led the category for much of the middle hour of the race, but finally dropped back to sixth after developing power-steering problems.The second Ebimotors car was seventh, ensuring Ebimotors third place in the GT2 Teams Classification behind AF Corse and Scuderia Ecosse. Eighth and final point went to Christian Ried and Horst Felbermayr Jr in the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 996 GT3 RSR.


Pos Car Class Drivers Car Behind
1 5 GT1 Deletraz/Piccini Aston Martin DBR9
2 4 GT1 Longin/Kumpen/Hezemans Corvette C6R 49.964
3 2 GT1 Davies/Biagi/Vosse Maserati MC12 GT1 1:13.571
4 23 GT1 Malucelli/Babini Aston Martin DBR9 1:48.301
5 33 GT1 Wendlinger/Peter/Janis Aston Martin DBR9 1 LAP
6 24 GT1 Gollin/Ramos Aston Martin DBR9 1 LAP
7 3 G2 Gardel/Zacchia/Makowiecki Ferrari 550 Maranello Evo 3 LAPS
8 63 GT2 Niarchos/Mullen Ferrari 430 GT2 4 LAPS
9 58 GT2 Vilander/Melo Ferrari 430 GT2 4 LAPS
10 59 GT2 Salo/Aguas Ferrari 430 GT2 4 LAPS
11 1 GT1 Bartels/Bertolini/Van De Poele Maserati MC12 GT1 4 LAPS
12 79 GT2 Bleekemolen/Kane Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4 LAPS
13 55 GT2 Sugden/Alexander Ferrari 430 GT2 4 LAPS
14 75 GT2 Collard/Rockenfeller Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 4 LAPS
15 74 GT2 Moccia/Busnelli Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 5 LAPS
16 66 GT2 Ried/Felbermayr Jr Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 5 LAPS
17 133 G3 Pirri/Seiler Aston Martin DBRS9 8 LAPS
18 62 GT2 Kinch/Franchitti Ferrari 430 GT2 8 LAPS
19 56 GT2 Garbagnati/Kutemann Ferrari 430 GT2 8 LAPS
20 99 GT2 Lichtner-Hoyer/Gruber Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 8 LAPS
21 122 G3 Comar/Rambeaud/Mhitarian Ferrari 430 Challenge GT3 12 LAPS
22 9 GT1 Bert/Montermini/Menten Saleen S7R 15 LAPS
23 69 GT2 Felbermayr/Ried Porsche 996 GT3 RS 18 LAPS
-- 80 GT2 Kox/Dumbreck Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R D.N.F.
-- 77 GT2 Konopka/Rosina Porsche 996 GT3 RS D.N.F.
-- 101 G2 Leinders/Kuppens Gillet Vertigo D.N.F.
-- 115 G3 Zlobin/Zani/Benucci Aston Martin DBRS9 D.N.F.

New Judd engine for LMP1 class New Judd engine for LMP1 classJudd Engine Developments' new 5.5 liter V10 LMP1 engine has successfully run on the dyno ahead of schedule. The GV5.5 S2 engine fired up for the first time on October 27th, and very quickly achieved the performance targets set.

Having completed its routine power testing and tuning program, the engine is now being prepared for its final test program prior to being shipped to Pescarolo Sport for on track testing in a couple of weeks.

"The 5.5 has gone very well so far, in fact it has met every target we set for it. We look forward to the first in-car test next month and are confident that it can carry on in the 2007 LMES Championship where the 5 liter left off this year", says John Judd.

Rice to stay in IRL Rice to stay in IRLAfter mediocre results in a Forsythe Champ Car that AJ Allmendinger won with right out of the box, rumor has it that Buddy Rice will stay in the IRL in 2007, and to make it look good that they are retaining an ex-Indy 500 champ, Tony George may expand his Vision racing team to three cars to accommodate Rice.  Ed Carpenter will get one Vision seat and Tomas Scheckter or Townsend Bell the third.  With the low car count in the IRL, a third Vision car, fully funded by Tony George, will be necessary.
Industry News
GM shares plummet GM shares plummetGM's share price has dropped 15% in just a week or so since rumors began that billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian was selling. Kerkorian has sold off 14m shares in General Motors, following the company's decision not to ally with Renault, which he strongly pushed for when he bought into the company. The sale drops Kerkorian's holding in the Detroit firm to 7.4% from the previous 9.9%. Look for further drops.
iSport announces Glock’s return iSport announces Glock’s returnFollowing the announcement of Andi Zuber, iSport are pleased to announce their second signing for their 2007 Driver Lineup. We are delighted to be renewing our relationship with Timo Glock, his record during 2006 speaks for itself. We think we have found two excellent drivers who will be compatible and be able to fight for the Championship.

We have got to know these two guys very well and they fit in so well with the team, we are confident they will make an extremely strong pairing. Timo's proven track record and Andi's great potential sees the team heading into 2007 with a good deal of optimism. zzzz

Timo Glock
"My half season with iSport in 2006 was so good, I always wanted to continue, I have just been waiting for everything to fall into place. For sure, my target is to win the Championship, but we also understand that there is some very strong opposition. I will be testing in Valencia and as far as I am concerned, next year starts there".

Andreas Zuber
"This is great news for me also. I have been hoping that my teammate would be someone very strong like Timo. It helps the team make better progress and it gives me a good benchmark, if I can beat him, I know I am doing well. I look forward to working with Timo and I am sure we can achieve good results".

iSport International Ltd. operates a world class international motor racing team offering the highest levels of race engineering and driver development expertise available in motor sport today. The iSport Team was created in 2004 to specifically race in the GP2 series.

Q and A with Spyker’s Colin Kolles Q and A with Spyker’s Colin Kolles
Philips increases Williams F1 sponsorship Philips increases Williams F1 sponsorshipPhilips Shavers signed an agreement to increase its 2007 sponsorship commitment with Formula One’s WilliamsF1 Team to cover on-car branding.

Following a successful trial year in 2006, Philips Shavers saw a global turnover increase for its shaving line of business since the sponsorship became active.

Under the expanded deal it will increase its team sponsorship by over 50 per cent and become an on-car sponsor. In addition to Official Sponsor branding, Philips will be given increased advertising rights including Official Sponsor Designation, use of logo and team imagery, and endorsement rights via both team drivers, Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz.

Star lineup for ’real’ Race of Champions Star lineup for ’real’ Race of ChampionsReigning 'Champion of Champions' Sébastien Loeb has been cleared to make his competition comeback after injury and will defend his 2005 ROC crown against a host of stars* from F1, ChampCar, Rallying, NASCAR, Rally-Raids, WTCC, Endurance and DTM.

Teams from England, Finland, France, Germany, Scotland, Spain and the USA will be looking to wrestle the honor of being the world's fastest motor sport country from the outgoing ROC-Nations Cup winners Scandinavia.

In the most exciting lineup of machinery ever seen in The Race of Champions at the Stade de France, the Aston Martin V8 GT Rally will star alongside the Citroën Xsara WRC, the Porsche RSR GT3, the Renault Mégane Trophy and the ever popular ROC-Cars. Plus demonstration runs by other show-stopping cars (Renault F1, etc.).

A longer, faster, even more spectacular track layout for the Stade de France has been set up.

No fewer than 18 household names from all the world's major motor sport race and rally disciplines are poised to cross swords for the third successive year at the Stade de France in Paris in a bid to become the 2006 'Champion of Champions'.

Once again, only The Race of Champions organizer IMP can claim to be capable of bringing together such a star-studded billing of top proponents from the worlds of F1, WRC, DTM, WTCC, NASCAR, ChampCar, Rally-Raids and Endurance in an annual, end-of-season showdown. zzzz

And it was confirmed today that rally hero Sébastien Loeb – who was forced to sit out the recent rounds of the 2006 World Rally Championship owing to injury – has been cleared by medical experts to make his much-awaited return to competitive action and will be present in Paris on December 16. In front of home fans, he will be eager to celebrate his recently-secured 2006 WRC Drivers' title by repeating his victory in The 2005 Race of Champions.

For French fans, it will be a unique opportunity to show their appreciation for the Citroën driver's third world crown, especially since he will be teaming up with another three-time champion – ChampCar racer Sébastien Bourdais – in an attempt to retrieve the ROC-Nations Cup for France after it was clinched twelve months ago by Team Scandinavia.

The list of other national teams looking to topple the outgoing ROC-Nations Cup winners Tom Kristensen and Mattias Ekström, who will be present at the Stade de France to defend their trophy, features equally well-qualified line-ups from England (Jenson Button/Andy Priaulx), Finland (Heikki Kovalainen/Marcus Grönholm), France 2 (Yvan Muller/Stéphane Peterhansel), Germany (Bernd Schneider/Armin Schwarz), Scotland (David Coulthard/Colin McRae), Spain (Nani Roma/Dani Sordo) and the USA (Jimmie Johnson/Travis Pastrana).

All these drivers will have the honor of inaugurating a new circuit design that has seen IMP's Michèle Mouton optimize the full length of the stadium and infield space to produce an even faster, more spectacular figure-of-eight layout. Not only does the new track promise to be quicker – with tops speeds expected to exceed 140kph – but drivers will also spend more time side-by-side to give spectators even more to cheer about.

"The concept of The Race of Champions," reaffirms IMP President Fredrik Johnsson, "is to bring together the top names from motor sport's most prestigious disciplines in identical cars to determine who is the fastest of them all. And with all the action centered in a single arena, it gives spectators not only an opportunity to see a unique show but also a chance to watch some of the world's top drivers from closer quarters than they could do at a conventional circuit or rally stage."

Competitors in The 2006 Race of Champions and The ROC-Nations Cup will get to sample a number of exciting cars, from the three-time WRC Manufacturers' WRC-winning Citroën WRC and the powerful Porsche 911 GT3 Road Challenge, to the spectacular Renault Mégane Trophy and the celebrated ROC Car buggies. For the first time, a stunning new addition to this year's list will be the Aston Martin V8 GT Rally.

And the entertainment doesn't stop there, since the show will be further spiced up with demonstration runs by a long list of competition cars, including the Formula 1 World Championship-winning Renault F1, the 2006 WTCC-winning BMW, Citroën's 2007 WRC challenger the C4 WRC and the 2006 FIA Dakar-winning Mitsubishi Pajero.

(*) The provisional 2006 entry list is:
ENGLAND: Jenson Button (F1) + Andy Priaulx (WTCC).
FINLAND: Heikki Kovalainen (GP2) + Marcus Grönholm (WRC).
FRANCE: Sébastien Bourdais (ChampCar) + Sébastien Loeb (WRC).
FRANCE 2: Yvan Muller (WTCC) + Stéphane Peterhansel (Rally-Raid).
GERMANY: Bernd Schneider (DTM) + Armin Schwarz (WRC).
SCOTLAND: David Coulthard (F1) + Colin McRae (WRC).
SCANDINAVIA: Tom Kristensen (Endurance) + Mattias Ekström (DTM/WRC).
SPAIN: Nani Roma (Rally-Raid) + Dani Sordo (WRC).
UNITED STATES: Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) + Travis Pastrana (X-GAMES).
Sébastien Bourdais (France/ChampCar),
Jenson Button (England/F1),
David Coulthard (Scotland/F1),
Mattias Ekström (Sweden/DTM & WRC),
Marcus Grönholm (Finland/WRC),
Jimmie Johnson (USA/NASCAR),
Heikki Kovalainen (Finland/F1),
Tom Kristensen (Denmark/Endurance & DTM),
Sébastien Loeb (France/WRC),
Colin McRae (Scotland/WRC),
Yvan Muller (France/WTCC),
Travis Pastrana (USA/X-Games),
Stéphane Peterhansel (France/Rally-Raid),
Andy Priaulx (England/WTCC),
Nani Roma (Spain/Rally-Raid),
Bernd Schneider (Germany/DTM),
Armin Schwarz (Germany/WRC)
Dani Sordo (Spain/WRC).

Schumacher rules out F1 return Schumacher rules out F1 returnGermany's seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher has, for the first time, ruled out a return to Formula One saying the sport is so fast-moving that it is impossible to suddenly jump back into the cockpit.

"The Formula One rules are constantly changing. The technical side of things, the motors. Once you are out once you are out for good," Schumacher said in an interview with SZ magazine, a supplement of the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

2007 IMSA GT3 schedule 2007 IMSA GT3 scheduleBraselton, Ga. – Adding to an already solid foundation developed during its first two seasons, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin has announced its 2007 season schedule that features a mixed format of 10 races at seven separate venues across North America. Among the highlights include three weekends with two races and a one-hour and 45-minute endurance contest at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to close the season.

The 2007 slate will continue to give top semi-professional and gentlemen drivers from the United States and North America the opportunity to compete with such prestigious organizations as the American Le Mans Series in the world’s most successful GT3 car – the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer. IMSA and Porsche Motorsport North America already have received full-season commitments for a maximum of 50 entries. As well as the six event weekends listed, there will be one event, probably in June, which will be announced shortly. zzzz

“The 2006 season soared beyond the expectations we had for our second year of competition,” said Tim Mayer, COO of IMSA – the sanctioning body for the series. “We have seen fantastic racing at the top venues in North America, and 2007 will provide much more.

“We heard strong messages from our competitors that they would like to see the series expand to multiple race weekends, new venues and longer events,” Mayer added. “With this schedule, we have accomplished all of those. This is a schedule with which our competitors, IMSA, Porsche Motorsport North America and Michelin can be justifiably proud.

“While I would have liked to have announced the full schedule, our competitors have been anxiously waiting for news, and we felt we had to release this interim schedule. The final event will be announced shortly. The organization of the final event is challenging, but I am sure that it will round out what will be a great season,” finished Mayer.

Porsche has been a strong supporter of sports car racing – particularly in North America with Porsche Motorsport North America – and its support of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin is strong evidence to that point.

For 2007, all competitors will field the new Type 997 cars from Porsche. After seeing fields in excess of 45 entries in 2006, it is expected that series stops easily will see 50 cars per event as the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin continues its phenomenal growth in its third year as the largest single-make championship in North America.

The purpose-built race cars, based on the Porsche 997 body style, will have sealed engines and transmissions, providing for close racing where the driver’s talents are exemplified. PMNA will provide technical support for the series with personnel, parts and expertise both away from and at the track.

“Porsche customers are known worldwide for their loyalty and passion for sports car racing,” said Uwe Brettel, President of Porsche Motorsport North America. “We are very pleased with the growth of this series and the response from current and potential competitors. Our partnership with IMSA and Michelin already is paying significant dividends, and we fully expect that to continue in the years to come.”


Date Event Location
March 16 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Sebring, Sebring, Fla.
May 18-19* Utah Grand Prix Miller Motorsports Park Tooele, Utah
July 21 American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, Lexington, Ohio
Aug. 25-26* Grand Prix of Mosport, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Oct. 5 Petit Le Mans Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.
Oct. 21** Monterey Sports Car Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, Calif.
*Signifies two 30-minute-races.
**Signifies one-hour, 45-minute endurance race.

2007 IMSA Lites schedule 2007 IMSA Lites scheduleBraselton, Ga. – Coming off an inaugural season that included full fields of cars and competitors at the most recognized circuits in North America, IMSA today announced the 2007 schedule for IMSA Lites that sees new venues and additional races for its teams and competitors.

IMSA, the Georgia-based sanctioning body also will take on responsibility for all facets of competition starting next season. IMSA’s long list of at-track services will be made available for all teams and competitors including technical inspections, timing and scoring and registration.

Like 2006, IMSA Lites will conduct two races per event weekend as it partners exclusively with the American Le Mans Series. As is the case with North America’s premier brand of motorsport, IMSA Lites will feature multi-class racing. It presents a dimension of competition as drivers must be aware of the class’ distinctly different speeds as they navigate the race tracks. It is the same challenge American Le Mans Series drivers face. zzzz

“In its first year, IMSA Lites demonstrated that it is the right product at the right time,” said Tim Mayer, COO of IMSA. “The 2007 series schedule and complete oversight by IMSA will continue to add value to the IMSA Lites package. We appreciate the cooperation and support of our partners with Elan Motorsport Technologies and West Race Cars, and we all have great expectations for 2007 and beyond for IMSA Lites.”

“Our goal is to differentiate IMSA Lites from other styles of sportscar racing,” continued Mayer. “Along with premier events, we have focused on creating great clarity for the customers. Three homologated cars, one for each class, makes sure that competitors will be focused on the racing, not on who can create the next best tweak. IMSA’s technical staff are highly capable and are focused on keeping the competition on the race track, not in the garage. So with great cars, great racing, great venues and clear organization, we think that this will be the defining series at this level of sportscar racing.”

New for 2007 is an updated class structure, designed to keep the simplicity of the original structure, money saving stability for the competitors, eliminating the need for constant updates, which has been a feature of this style of racing. IMSA Lites features three separate classes of open-top sports racer prototypes – Lites1 , Lites2 and Lites3. The series offers a step up to those racers who would like to advance beyond the club racing level and run at some of the most prestigious sportscar events in North America.

Lites1 is exclusively for the DP02 chassis designed and produced by Elan Motorsport Technologies. It features a carbon-fiber monocoque, race-designed suspension and uprights, a six-speed sequential gearbox, and a full aerodynamic package that features a front splitter, diffuser and rear wing. It will be powered by 2.3-liter, inline four engines prepared and sealed by Elan Power Products, along with a full ECU, racing dash and data logger.

“These cars are designed and prepared by the same team that has designed and prepared the new DP01 Champ Car,” said Elan Motorsports Technologies CEO, David Bowes. “An affordable race car with this level of technology built in creates great value for our customers, and we are delighted to be a founding partner in the IMSA Lites category, where we are sure that the close racing and great venues will provide enormous excitement in the series.”

West Race Cars is the exclusive provider for chassis in Lites2. The WR1000 racer is powered by a 1,000-cc Kawasaki powerplant prepared and sealed by Muzzys. Featuring exciting styling and performance, along with excellent customer service, the West has rapidly become one of the most desirable products in the “D-Sport” category of race cars.

“West Race Cars is pleased to continue our association with IMSA and the rapidly growing IMSA Lites Series," said Ted Spooner, CEO of West Race Cars. “Providing chassis on an exclusive basis for the Lites 2 class gives us the opportunity to increase our brand awareness and retain our growing relationship with IMSA. This also allows us to maintain and grow our customer base, many of which have future aspirations of continuing to climb the IMSA ladder onto the American Le Mans Series.”

Lites 3 will be made up of Formula SCCA cars designed by Elan/VanDiemen and sold by SCCA Enterprises. This forms an easily accessible, low cost entry level into the series and racing in front of professional crowds, in a car that is readily available.

Entry forms for IMSA Lites will be available shortly on the sanctioning body’s Web site, www.imsaracing.net.


Dates Event Location
March 16-17 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring, Sebring, Fla.
May 18-19 Utah Grand Prix Miller Motorsports Park Tooele, Utah
July 6-7 New England Grand Prix Lime Rock Park Lakeville, Conn.
Aug. 25-26 Grand Prix of Mosport Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Oct. 4-5 Petit Le Mans Road Atlanta Braselton, Ga.
Oct. 20-21* Monterey Sports Car Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, Calif.
*Subject to final confirmation by promoter.

Pacific Coast Motorsports completes 1st Champ Car test Pacific Coast Motorsports completes 1st Champ Car testOxnard, CA – Champ Car’s newest team, Pacific Coast Motorsports and their drivers, American Alex Figge and Scot Ryan Dalziel completed their first Champ Car test Tuesday at the Motorsports Ranch in Houston.

PCM, the 2004 Atlantic Champions competed in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in 2005 and the Rolex Grand American Series in 2006 scoring podiums in each discipline with drivers Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel. In preparation for their return to open wheel racing, PCM contracted Rocketsports, an existing team in the Champ Car World Series to provide the cars and crew for the test. 

“Alex and Ryan have been driving much heavier prototype cars the past two years.  We will take delivery of the new Panoz early next month, but until then, we wanted to give both drivers the opportunity to get used to the horsepower and the differences of the Champ Car prior to our limited testing with the 2007 Panoz,” commented PCM President, Tyler Tadevic.  “This will allow us to get right to work developing the new car.  Rocketsports did a good job tutoring us on Monday and on Tuesday, our engineers, Burke Harrison (Figge) and Tim Lewis (Dalziel), took over.  Both drivers completed well over 350 miles and their fastest laps were within two-tenths of a second of one another.  There were a few spins and a couple of offs, but no damage to either car and we all learned a lot.  As a new team, it is great for us to go into the Thanksgiving holiday already having completed our first Champ Car test, with both drivers confident and encouraged by their performance.” zzzz

While it was only his second Champ Car test, American Rookie Alex Figge has a diverse racing resume.  He is a Toyota Atlantic race winner with experience in Pro Mazda and US Formula Ford 2000, in addition to his most recent sports car efforts. “It was a great couple of days, I had a blast.  These tests are so important for us because we need to be able to get straight to work when we get the new car.  This gives both Ryan and I the opportunity to familiarize ourselves and get comfortable with the Champ Car as they are quite different to what we have been competing in most recently,” said Alex Figge. “The horsepower will be the biggest thing to get used to, it is like sensory overload the first few laps, there is so much to get used to and it all comes at you so fast.  The track at MSR is extremely fast, perhaps faster than anywhere else we go as there is just no braking, you’re always doing something and it is always high-speed.”

Scotsman Ryan Dalziel is entering his third season with Pacific Coast Motorsports.  Prior to coming to America in 2002, Dalziel competed in the British Formula Vauxhall Championship and British Formula Renault.  Since his arrival, he has earned six victories, 15 podiums and back-to-back runner-up finishes in the 2003-4 Atlantic Championships.  Dalziel competed in the 2005 Champ Car race at Toronto, finishing 10th for Dale Coyne race and has completed numerous Champ Car tests, but holds on to his Rookie status for his 2007 Champ Car campaign.

Dalziel commented, “Pacific Coast Motorsports is a fantastic team, Alex and I have achieved a lot as teammates in sports cars the last few years, but I am incredibly excited to get back to open wheel racing and I am so thankful PCM has given me the chance to go Champ Car racing full-time.  This team always takes the wise approach, and I think the test we just completed is an example of that.  It was a good couple of days and great to get back in the Champ Car.  I had to shake a bit of rust off the first day, but by the second day, my engineer and I were hard at it.  We made some great changes to the car and it all felt like home.  Houston is a very physical track so it was a bit daunting but at the same time that is a great way to break it all in.  I couldn’t be more excited!”

Hakkinen appointed spokesman for McLaren sponsor Hakkinen appointed spokesman for McLaren sponsorDiageo plc has announced the appointment of Mika Hakkinen as the Responsible Drinking Ambassador for its Johnnie Walker Formula One sponsorship program. The role of the two-time Formula One champion will involve raising awareness on issues of responsible drinking, particularly in relation to driving.

The issues of responsibility and choice are at the heart of debates on alcohol and through this appointment, Mika’s work will focus on the importance of designated drivers, and direct engagement activities to promote anti-drink drive messages amongst Formula One race audiences.

“I am extremely proud to represent such a prestigious company as Diageo in this very important role,” Mika said. “My years on the racetrack have shown the vital role responsibility and control play in motor sport, these principles are just as important for drivers on the road around the world. This is a role that I truly believe in.” zzzz

The appointment builds on the association of Johnnie Walker with Team McLaren Mercedes since 2005. The unique partnership has seen over £2 million invested each year to promote responsible drinking messages in Grand Prix markets. The responsible drinking program, integral to Johnnie Walker’s sponsorship, forms part of parent company, Diageo’s, broader global commitment to be at the forefront of promoting responsible attitudes to alcohol.

“The association with Johnnie Walker and Team McLaren Mercedes has seen us successfully deliver the responsible drinking and safe driving message to millions of people around the world. Our belief is that delivering these messages through Formula One and its role models will raise responsible drinking awareness,” said Global Brand Director for Johnnie Walker, Ben Anderson. “Our ongoing commitment to the advancement of our responsible drinking program is demonstrated through the creation of this ambassadorial role. Mika’s close association with McLaren and Mercedes, and his status as a role model for professionalism, precision and control to race fans around the world make him perfect for this job.”

The announcement of Mika’s appointment as Responsible Drinking Ambassador for Johnnie Walker’s Formula One sponsorship program coincides with Diageo’s new partnership with the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). The ETSC has announced a two-year pan-European partnership with Diageo to identify best practices for reducing alcohol-related road fatalities and injuries among repeat drunk drivers and young and novice drivers.

Johnson urges NASCAR to expand outside USA Johnson urges NASCAR to expand outside USAJimmie Johnson is urging NASCAR to take Nextel Cup into Mexico and Canada.

"I'm excited for our sport to be expanding into Canada, and we have a very successful race down in Mexico," said the 2006 Nextel Cup champion.

"I'm hopeful that these experiences in the Busch Series will move over into the Cup series, so we can take our premiere series into different markets."

Rolex series ratings, attendance up Rolex series ratings, attendance upDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – New racing venues, close on-track action and championships that came down to the final laps of the season all contributed to record numbers in television viewership, attendance and media placements for the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

Beginning with the 44th Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and ending with the Discount Tire Sunchaser nine-hour finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Labor Day Weekend, the 2006 Rolex Series season was full of door-to-door racing in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. Fans both at the track and watching at home took notice.

“Clearly, many road racing fans enjoy watching the star drivers and incredibly close racing in the Rolex Series, as evident by our steady growth in television numbers,” said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. “I’m a firm believer that if the product on the track is compelling, fans will take notice. I do not believe there is another road racing series on the planet that delivers the kind of excitement we see on a regular basis in the Rolex Series.” zzzz

With a four percent increase in ratings on SPEED, and eight percent jumps in households and viewership, Rolex Series races attracted nearly a quarter million viewers per race. SPEED has been the home of the Rolex Series since its inception in 2000, and television ratings for Rolex Series races regularly rank among the top-tier of road racing series on the motorsports network.

The rise in television viewership goes hand-in-hand with attendance at the races, as overall race attendance saw an increase of 25 percent over 2006, with the largest gains coming at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami and the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park, among others.

Homestead-Miami Speedway saw a 75 percent increase in attendance and corporate sales were up 300 percent, while Barber Motorsports Park had its largest Rolex Series crowd to date in 2006. Strong crowds for the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach, the Mexico City 250, the Brumos Porsche 250, the Sonoma 250 and the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course also contributed to the record attendance figures.

Rolex Series media placements are also at an all-time high. With more than 5,000 unique print placements in 2006, the series saw a 42 percent increase in placements versus the same point a year ago. Placements in consumer magazines are also up, nearly 15 percent better than 2005. In total, media placements reached a total circulation of more than 500 million this year.

Traffic to the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com, has also seen an uptick in 2006. Total visits increased by 31.9 percent and the site received more than one million unique visitors through November. The web site also recorded more than 150,000,000 hits, up 12.6 percent from its previous best.

With more than a month remaining in 2006, media placements and web traffic could soar to even greater heights, as four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon and three-time Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. are slated to make their first Daytona Prototype appearances early next month. The two-day test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway, scheduled for December 5-6, is expected to include Hornish, Gordon and potentially other household names from the world of motorsports.

On the race track, a Rolex Series record-tying seven different teams won at least once, while the races averaged eight lead changes among five cars per event. In addition, the Rolex Series averaged 80 percent of its cars running at the finish and 10 cars on the lead lap.

With a race event calendar that sees a return to major markets throughout North American and the addition of new and exciting venues in 2007, the Rolex Series will undoubtedly continue to grow next season. SPEED will continue to be the home to all Rolex Series races in 2007, beginning with the 45th Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 27-28.

Change to Las Vegas course Change to Las Vegas courseUPDATE #2 The phone number to reserve your tickets for the Vegas Grand Prix is now available to those residing in Canada as well.  Please call 866-774-0052 to place your order.

11/21/06 If you reside in Canada and would like to purchase tickets for the Vegas Grand Prix, please call 866-775-9422, until the other ticket line is available to everyone Monday November 27th.

11/20/06 As shown on the image to the right, the pitlane and paddock for Champ Car's Las Vegas Grand Prix have been moved from the inside of the track to now on the outside. The final grandstand seating layout is also shown.

Tickets to the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix will go on sale to the public December 11, 2006. However, if you signed up for their mailing list on their website, you have the opportunity to purchase tickets to the grand prix weekend before they go on sale to the general public and as an added bonus, the Vegas Grand Prix will pay ticketing and handling fees if you purchase before December 10.

The Vegas Grand Prix will come to the streets of downtown Las Vegas April 6 -8, 2007 for an unforgettable weekend of high-speed excitement. The three day festival of speed will feature the season-opening race in the Champ Car World Series, a Historic Grand Prix race, along with support racing events, boxing matches, concerts, expos and a celebrity poker tournament. The event will also host a charity gala with a celebrity lineup to be announced soon. zzzz

All grandstand seats on the Fremont Street Experience side of downtown are general admission and the seats on Grand Central Parkway, by the World Market Center, are reserved seats with pit and paddock access. General admission seats when purchased in advance are priced at $12 for Friday, $29 for Saturday and $44 for Sunday. A three-day general admission advance purchase ticket price has been set at $70. Three-day reserved grandstand advance purchase tickets are priced from $140- $175 and include pit and paddock access.

Paddock passes when purchased in advance are $20 per day or $40 for three days. The paddock area is a separate area where all teams prepare their racecars and house their equipment, race transporters and spare racecars. Pit walk-through passes are priced at $10 per day and $20 for three days.

Admission to the VIP Hospitality Club is available for $1,350 for all three days and includes all food and beverages catered by Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant group, premium view suite seating on the front straight, paddock and pit access along with concierge services and a fashion show. You can place your ticket order by calling 1-866-774-0052.

Racing News
Final SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking Final SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingMcDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais held the top spot in SPEED TV's driver ranking five different times before earning the final Number One ranking in this pole compiled by STATS Inc. and done in conjunction with the motorsports cable network. 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. NASCAR champion Johnson is second with a score of 7.779, 7/10ths of a point behind the Champ Car title winner.

Updated 11-22-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.452
2. (2) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.779
3. (6) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.604
4. (4) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.438
5. (5) Fernando Alonso (F1) 7.375
6. (10) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.367
7. (3) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.350
8. (8) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.109
9. (9) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 7.045
10. (15) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.785
11. (12) Michael Schumacher (F1) 6.588
12. (13) Felipe Massa (F1) 6.570
13. (14) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.553
14. (11) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.549
15. (NR) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.472
16. (16) Sam Hornish (IRL) 6.426
17. (NR) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR) 6.350
18. (7) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.308
19. (18) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.269
20. (19) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.250
Note: All seasons complete
Dropped out: Mark Martin (NASCAR), Jeff Burton (NASCAR)
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.
Upcoming Automotive testing shows Upcoming Automotive testing shows 
Waltrip to run half-marathon Waltrip to run half-marathonRANDLEMAN, N.C. - NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip is set to run the inaugural Victory Junction Run and will be taking part in the half marathon.  This will be the second time Waltrip has used his legs to help raise awareness for the camp.  He previously ran the Las Vegas Marathon and raised $1 million for Victory Junction in the process. 

“Running makes me feel disciplined and committed; just like running, I am committed to the children of the Victory Junction Gang Camp” Waltrip said.  “Michael Waltrip Racing and I will do anything we can to enhance the experience for these kids.  I hope the racing community, the running community and the entire Triad will step up and support this effort by participating in either the half marathon or the 4.5K walk.”

The Victory Junction Gang Camp has teamed up with John "The Penguin" Bingham, Runner's World Columnist and John Bingham Racing founder, for the inaugural Victory Junction Run Half Marathon and 4.5k Victory Lap on Sunday, December 3, 2006.  The run will start in the heart of Randleman (N.C.) and finish up inside the Victory Junction Gang Camp with all proceeds going to the camp. zzzz

Seven-time Nextel Cup champion Richard Petty and his wife Lynda, will serve as Grand Marshals.  You may sign-up and get more information about the run at www.victoryjunctionrun.com

“We wanted to do something a little different,” said Kyle Petty.  “We think that this is going to be a pretty fun event.  We’re hoping to get a lot of different people involved.  We’re going to do this in a world class way, but you don’t have to be a world class runner to participate. We have a tremendous amount of support already.  We’re hoping to make this an annual event.”

Like Victory Junction, John Bingham Racing creates an atmosphere that has something for everyone.

“We are an ‘experience’ company,” said David Babner, President of John Bingham Racing.  “We produce running and walking events that celebrate the effort of all participants. John is the leader of this generation of runners and walkers.  We think that by combining the personality of John Bingham and the Petty family the event can attract participants from the running, walking and NASCAR community in a unique and original fashion.”

ESPN to treat IRL and Champ Car equally ESPN to treat IRL and Champ Car equallyESPN will be in the middle of everything related to North American motor sports in 2007, but its officials want no part of choosing sides in open-wheel racing.
In fact, a company spokesman said programmers will make sure the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series are treated fairly.

ESPN will try not to simultaneously air events from the rival series.

"We will look to avoid that at all costs," said George McNeilly, ESPN's senior director of communications. "We don't see that as serving the viewers well. It's not going to happen."

Details have not been finalized, McNeilly said, but the family of networks -- ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 -- are committed to showing all 17 of the IRL races along with at least 11 of Champ Car's 15. The other four Champ Car races are committed to CBS and NBC.

In addition to open-wheel racing, ESPN has 52 NASCAR races -- 17 in the Nextel Cup Series and all 35 in the Busch Series -- along with 23 NHRA and eight World of Outlaws events. Understandably, race weekends will be busy, which the IRL's president accepts.

"If it's good for motor sports as a whole, then maybe that will be good for all of us (individually)," Brian Barnhart said. "If the networks can be more of a race destination, then as a race fan I'm happy about that." zzzz

Barnhart said the IRL, which has a contract with ESPN through 2009, was informed of Champ Car's negotiations with the networks about six weeks ago. He said the IRL does not have an exclusivity clause.

"I don't think anybody in our position can tell a television partner who they can or cannot do business with," he said. "NASCAR certainly can't tell them not to do our races."

ESPN is paying the IRL a rights fee to air and produce its events. Champ Car is buying its time and paying production costs. But a Champ Car spokesman said that doesn't diminish the benefits of being on the networks, including cross-promotion with other series and on-screen mentions such as the score line at the bottom of the screen.

"All of those things lead to a lot more eyeballs for Champ Car," series spokesman Steve Shunck said. Like the IRL, Champ Car has a multiyear contract with ESPN. Three of its races next season will be on ABC with at least four on ESPN. IndyStar

track news
Pikes Peak to be made into private race club Pikes Peak to be made into private race clubPikes Peak International Raceway is under contract to be sold, and the buyer is expected to turn the 1,200-acre site into a private, membership-based track for racing enthusiasts.

Amenities could include multiple road courses, garages for race cars, a golf course and a residential development.

Real estate broker Stew Mosko, the listing agent on the property, declined to disclose specifics about the deal, including the name of the buyer, until it closes. Mosko did confirm that the buyer has plans to turn the parcel, near Fountain, into a country-club-style racetrack.

Such private racetracks are not new, but the projects have gained more interest in recent years as the popularity of motorsports continues to surge.

The Aspen Sports Car Club, 7 miles outside Aspen, has been in operation since 1963.

The club, which sits on a 50-acre site and features a 1.1-mile track, charges a $60,000 one-time membership fee and $10,000 in annual dues.

Typical annual fees at country-club racetracks across the country range from $1,000 to $3,500.  More at Denver Post

Goodyear strike not expected to affect NASCAR Goodyear strike not expected to affect NASCARUPDATE #5 While there has been little progress made between tire manufacturer Goodyear and United Steelworkers union members, rumors that NASCAR is looking to Hoosier for tires in 2007 aren't true, officials with both Goodyear and NASCAR said. Approximately 15,000 USW members went on strike at 16 Goodyear plants in the U.S. and Canada, sparking rumors that Goodyear would not be able to provide race tires for NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series next season. Talk that Hoosier officials were having meetings with NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., as well as NASCAR's Daytona Beach headquarters did little to quell the rumors. "We talk to someone from Hoosier probably every week," Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, said Nov. 17. "Hoosier supplies tires for a number of NASCAR's regional series. They supply tires for Grand Am, for ARCA as well." But, he said, such talks have not dealt with Hoosier providing tires for either Cup, Busch or Craftsman truck series teams. SceneDaily.com

11/18/06 With more than $150 million in strike funds, the United Steelworkers claims it has enough resources for its 15,000 striking members to "easily" support a two-year strike at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. "Goodyear has been vocal in its belief that it can withstand the effects of having 15 of its North American facilities on strike," the bulletin states. The union cites strikes against Bridgestone/Firestone in the mid-1990s and Titan International in the late '90s as examples of its ability to withstand long disputes. ModernTireDealer.com [Editor's Note: Two years - that should be enough time for Goodyear to open manufacturing plants in Asia and shut its USA plants down for good. With the much cheaper labor in Asia it will return Goodyear to profitability and also allow them to plow the savings back into engineering better tires.]

11/18/06 Goodyear and NASCAR officials on Friday denied a report this week that a strike of Goodyear employees had forced the tire manufacturer to outsource some of its work to prepare for the 2007 season.  “Goodyear race tire production has continued uninterrupted at our Tech Center Manufacturing facility with our work force of salaried employees and temporary workers,” said Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager for global race tires.  “We are making race tires for all of the races in NASCAR's top three series for 2007, not just select events as rumored.”  Added NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter: “Goodyear provides the tires and when the strike occurred, they told us it’s not a problem and it hasn’t been.” ThatsRacin.com

11/15/06 Now hearing that NASCAR officials have met with Hoosier Tires about supplying tires in 2007.  It appears likely that Goodyear will not give into the striking workers anytime soon.  Goodyear is poised to do the right thing and put the striking American workers out of a job for good and make tires overseas where workers are paid 1/10th the wages.  Hopefully then Goodyear will stop making junk tires and with the salary money saved, plow it back into R&D and making quality tires.

10/15/06 Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said Friday it borrowed nearly $1 billion to build its cash position, in case of a prolonged strike by thousands of its Steelworkers employees.

"Before the start of the United Steelworkers strike in North America, Goodyear had about $1.3 billion in cash and cash equivalents and approximately $1.6 billion in available credit lines," Chief Financial Officer Richard J. Kramer said in a statement. "This action provides additional cash in the unlikely event of a prolonged strike."

10/07/06 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's supply of racing tires -- including tires for NASCAR's three main series -- is unaffected by the recently announced strike by the United Steelworkers. “There is no issue whatsoever with our supply of tires to NASCAR, NHRA, and for the SCCA Runoffs,” said Stu Grant, general manager of global race tires. On Thursday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., the United Steelworkers declared a strike against Goodyear. It involves production at 12 U.S. plants, including the Akron Technical Center Manufacturing facility, where all of Goodyear’s Eagle race tires are produced. However, with current inventories and contingency production plans in place, race tire supply will not be impacted as the race season winds down. Goodyear PR
Spyker team adds another Dutch sponsor Spyker team adds another Dutch sponsorThe Spyker F1 Team is pleased to announce the arrival of Dutch shoe and apparel manufacturer Ferrini B.V., a licensee of Quick Sports International B.V., as an Official Sponsor to the team for the 2007 Formula One World Championship.

The close co-operation between the two organizations will lead to the development of a stylish 'Spyker by Quick' merchandise range as well as race boots and team shoes under the Q-Label. As part of this working partnership, Quick Sports International BV will also hold strategic Q-branding on the Spyker F1 Team race car and race overalls during the 2007 Formula One World Championship.

Rini van Trigt, Director - Quick Sports International BV
Quote: "Another milestone achieved, subsequent to acquiring the trademarks six years ago and revitalizing the old brand. We are exceptionally pleased to team up with Spyker in the Formula One World Championship. With our Dutch heritage and international ambitions, Spyker and Quick Sports International BV share roots and aspirations to let this co-operation accelerate our internationalization. It enables a stretched product offering and provides us with a global platform, hence new opportunities and new markets not yet explored. It underwrites our mutual dedication to challenge the establishment, perform by innovation and being rebelliously surprising whilst ensuring quality, durability and reliability". zzzz

Colin Kolles, Team Principal and Managing Director - Spyker F1 Team
Quote: "Ensuring the team have the best equipment and materials is central to Spyker F1 Team's vision. This partnership will allow the team to develop footwear to suit the vast range of activities undertaken by our staff. I am extremely happy to partner an organization with so much experience and heritage as Quick Sports International BV. Spyker F1 Team will arrive on the 2007 grid with a fresh, dynamic and cutting-edge image so it is important for the team to partner organizations that share these characteristics."

Christijan Albers, Race Driver - Spyker F1 Team:
Quote: "I am very happy that the famous and very hip brand, Quick has become an Official Sponsor of the team for next season. Even better is that I am involved in the development and design of the new Q-Spyker F1 race shoe and my own race shoe. I look forward to the results and I am convinced that it will make us Quicker. Quick will launch during the 2007 World Championship my personal shoe, the Q Maximum Attack, on the market. This race shoe will be very special with high-tech materials and I am really proud that they will carry my personal signature. Now every fan can be in my shoes. I am also thrilled at how many Dutch companies want to support Spyker F1. This is very encouraging to me and the team and I cannot wait to start racing again."

The sponsorship between Quick Sports International BV and the Spyker F1 Team was facilitated by Gr8industries.com, brand and marketing agency in the Benelux and China regions.

Copper World Classic Moves To November Copper World Classic Moves To NovemberBeginning in 2007, the Copper World Classic will be moved to November. Next year's event is slated for Nov. 8 and will run under the lights for the first time at Phoenix Int'l Raceway.  The November date will allow USAC drivers and teams to showcase their talent in front of NASCAR fans and teams as the event coincides with the NASCAR Nextel Cup activities at the track.  The event will be held on Thursday as a lead in to the weekend's NASCAR competition.  For ticket information, visit www.phoenixraceway.com.
India team signs up new rookie India team signs up new rookieTeam India has strengthened its driver lineup for this weekend's A1GP event in Malaysia, with regular driver Armaan Ebrahim joined by new A1GP rookie driver,  Parthiva Sureshwaren.

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads to Sepang circuit close to the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur for the fourth event in the 12 round Series. In its second season of competition, A1GP has visited three new circuits so far, with Sepang being the first venue of the first season to be revisited.

Ebrahim has contested each of the three rounds so far and notched up the team's best finish of the Series to date in the previous event, with an 11th place finish at Beijing in China. In pursuit of more strong results, the team has added Sureshwaren to the team, to take advantage of the rookie session and contribute to the performance of the team. Ebrahim is not eligible to participate in this session, having competed in more than six races, the criteria laid down by A1GP. zzzz

Sureshwan, 26, was born in Chennai in India and has over seven years of racing experience. He began in karting taking victory in the Indian National Championship in 1998, as well as winning the Indian Saloon Car Championship and graduating from Silverstone Race school in the same year. In the following five years he took the Indian national Formula Maruti Championship title, raced in British Formula Ford, finished second in the Formula Asia Championship, competed in British Formula 3 National Class, Barber Dodge Pro Series in the USA and last year contested the World Series by Renault championship.

At this weekend's Malaysian event Ebrahim is hoping that the addition of a team mate will assist in the race preparations, saying, "I think we've been at a disadvantage by being one of the few teams without a rookie driver, so I'm pleased that Parthiva is joining us in Sepang. I think the team will be able to gain valuable feedback and additional data from running in this extra session, and we'll be able to be a step further ahead in our plans for the race."

Parthiva is looking forward to his first A1GP experience and adds, "I'm very proud to be selected to be part of A1 Team India and it's very special for me to be representing my country in this racing series. I'll be driving primarily to provide the team with feedback, track evaluation and mechanical set up work ahead of Armaan's sessions. However, this is also a unique opportunity for me to gain international racing experience at a very high level, to race the most powerful car that I'll have ever driven, and to learn from this, to help me to improve and progress in my racing career."

Seat holder, Yohann Setna, comments, "We welcome Parthiva to the team. I'm sure that he'll be able to contribute with his feedback and analysis which will help to accelerate our learning curve and assist us with our race plans. We're united as a team in our goal of representing our nation to the best of our ability and by adding a rookie driver to the team, we're demonstrating our commitment to this goal. We're looking forward to an exciting weekend of racing.

Massa named Brazil's top racer of 2006 Massa named Brazil's top racer of 2006(GMM)  In Sao Paulo this week, Felipe Massa won the prestigious 'Golden Helmet' award for being Brazil's top racing driver.

The Ferrari racer, who last month became the first Brazilian since Ayrton Senna in 1993 to win his home grand prix, reportedly fended off rival nominees including Rubens Barrichello, Senna's nephew Bruno, and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Sponsored by the magazine 'Revista Racing' and voted by more than 70 journalists of the Brazilian specialist media, 25-year-old Massa - Michael Schumacher's teammate in 2006 - accepted the award at a ceremony on Monday.

Massa, to next year be joined at the Maranello based team by new partner Kimi Raikkonen, won two grands prix in 2006, including his debut victory from pole in Turkey.

In eighteen races, he was on the podium six times.

Vettel retains Red Bull link for 2007 Vettel retains Red Bull link for 2007(GMM)  The announcement that 2007 BMW-Sauber 'reserve driver' Sebastian Vettel is to also race in the 'World Series by Renault' next year cements his links with the energy drink Red Bull.

Complicatedly contracted to both formula one team owners, the German teenager will therefore race for Trevor Carlin's Red Bull-sponsored junior team and also drive BMW's grand prix car on F1 weekends.

"Together with Red Bull and BMW, I'm sure we can help to develop Sebastian as a driver and challenge for the (World Series) championship next season," Briton Carlin said.

It is understood that BMW team principal Mario Theissen supports Vettel's plans for next year, because - at just nineteen - further developing his race skills would be useful for a more extensive role in Formula One in the future.

But the German chief said: "For us it was important that Sebastian does not have to compete in two different racing series over a Formula One weekend.  This finally led to the decision against a drive in the GP2 series."

When the World Series and F1 calendars clash next year, a BMW-Sauber statement quoting Vettel as explaining that 'Formula One has priority, that much is clear'.

BMW-Sauber race driver Robert Kubica won the Renault junior series in 2005.

Barrichello baulks at Coulthard criticism Barrichello baulks at Coulthard criticism(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello responded with frustration to David Coulthard's attack on his supposed tendency to only 'take' from the sport, according to reports.

In Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, the 34-year-old Honda driver 'refused to make comments' after fellow racer Coulthard accused him of 'doing his race and buggering off' rather than contributing positively via the drivers' union 'GPDA', according to the Chinese agency Xinhua.

The report also read: "Barrichello said that he does not plan to retire following the Formula One championship in 2007.

"(He said) that he will continue in his team and will only stop competing when he feels he is not fast any longer."

With the retirement of Michael Schumacher, 35-year-old Coulthard, and Barrichello, will be the oldest drivers on the 2007 grid.  Barrichello is the most experienced, however, having debuted in 1993.

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