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DATE News (chronologically)
11/28/07
f1

$7,500 for a F1 ticket
Lobster to whet the appetite, milk-fed veal for dinner and free flow of Mumm champagne - sprayed by drivers on the podium after Formula 1 Grands Prix - to quench the thirst.  For the main course, the choicest view of the history-making SingTel Singapore Grand Prix - the sport's first night race.

All for $7,500 a person.  That is how much a three-day admission to the exclusive Paddock Club will cost, according to Singapore GP, which yesterday put on sale corporate hospitality packages for the Sept 28 race.

It hopes to sell some 15,000 tickets for the hospitality suites. The event will allow for 80,000 spectators, and general ticket sales will begin late next month.  While the prices for the other hospitality packages range from $3,500 to $6,500 a person, the Paddock Club - located above the teams' garages - is the best on offer.  It is the only one that allows guests to visit the pit area on scheduled tours to get a close-up experience of F1 racing.

However, only 4,000 people will get to enjoy this luxury and maybe a chance to mix with drivers, and even celebrities from around the world.  With teams and sponsors getting first bite, Singapore GP media and communications director Jonathan Hallett warned that tickets were very limited.

'There is very strong worldwide interest, given that this will be the first night race,' he stressed.  Paddock Club prices for last season's races hovered around the $6,200 mark.  More at StraitTimes.com

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11/28/07
industry news

Toyota recall
Toyota Motors Sales and the National Highway Safety Administration are recalling around 34,400 2006 Lexus GS 300, IS 250 and IS 350 models. Over time, a crack may form in fuel pipes located in the engine compartment, the company said today in a statement.The problem is blamed on high-stress areas that may have been created during the manufacturing process that when combined with corrosive agents, such as fuel, can form a crack, leading to fuel leakage.

The company said that one case has been reported with no related accidents.

Affected owners will be notified by mail early next month and they will not be charged for the newly designed fuel pipes.

Customers with questions or concerns should contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 800-255-3987.

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11/28/07
nascar

Hendrick names new car chief for Gordon
Jason Burdett has left Michael Waltrip Racing, where he served as crew chief for driver Dale Jarrett, to become the car chief for Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon, a Hendrick spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

Burdett worked on the Gordon and Jimmie Johnson teams at Hendrick from 2000-2002 before joining Robert Yates Racing as the car chief for Jarrett. He joined MWR in May 2007 to replace Matt Borland as Jarrett's crew chief for the first-year Nextel Cup team.

Burdett replaces Jeff Meendering, who has taken over as crew chief for Petty Enterprises' Bobby Labonte.

A replacement for Burdett at MWR has not been named.

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11/28/07
irl
ips

Howard joins Roth Racing for 2008 season
2006 Indy Pro Series champion Jay Howard will join veteran owner/driver Marty Roth to form a two-car IndyCar Series team for the 16-race schedule. Roth Racing is the first to capitalize on the TEAM (Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix) program instituted for IndyCar Series teams. Each full-time participant is guaranteed $1.2 million, and major sponsorship for Roth Racing will be announced soon.

"To say I'm happy is an understatement," said Howard, who had two victories and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 Indy Pro Series starts in 2006-07. "Since the age of 7 when I got in a go-kart all I ever wanted to do was be a professional race car driver. It's come true, so it's pretty special for me."

Read more & Comment...
11/28/07
motogp

Jerez MotoGP Test – Day 2
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa finished the second day of testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain by setting the fastest time of the test so far with a lap on Michelin qualifying tires. The 22-year-old confirmed the continuing progress of the new prototype Honda RC212V by setting a mark of 1m 39.993s with his final lap of the day. Considering it was the Spaniard’s first run on qualifying rubber at the Jerez circuit on the new 2008 machine, this compares well with Pedrosa’s pole position time of 1m 39.402s, set here at the Spanish Grand Prix in March. Pedrosa was also topping the timesheets on race rubber today before the top five riders had used qualifiers late this afternoon.

Dani Pedrosa  Fastest lap: 1m 39.993s – 53 laps
“We ended up with the fastest time of the day which is nice, and the day’s testing was pretty productive. We started quite late again this morning after waiting for the track conditions to warm up and we also spent quite a lot of time stopped in the garage making machine setting changes, but this is normal for testing. In the afternoon we did more laps, making further set-up adjustments and continuing the work from yesterday. We’ve been doing short runs of not many laps because it’s a new bike and there are many small things to adjust. When we have done this base work we will begin to do longer runs. My fastest lap today was on qualifying tires because it’s important to see how the bike reacts with the extra grip. It was not a bad lap time, especially since it’s the first time with this bike on qualifiers at Jerez, though we’re not at the level that we were at the end of the season when I took the four pole positions in a row. We didn’t have time to test the other Michelin tire options here today so there’s plenty of work still to do tomorrow.”

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11/28/07
racing news

Street & Smith’s Motorsports Marketing Forum continues In N.Y.
Street & Smith’s Conference Group’s 8th Annual Motorsports Marketing Forum continues today at The InterContinental in N.Y.  The opening panel, “NASCAR Branding Strategies: Corporate Marketers Speak Out,” includes Chevron Motorsports & Marketing Manager Ann Barker, AAA Dir of Membership and Brand Marketing Darlene Entringer, Sprint Nextel Dir of NASCAR Marketing Dean Kessel, UPS Motorsports Marketing Manager Laura Kouns and Coca-Cola North America Dir of Motorsports Marketing Ben Reiling. 

Yesterday’s panels included “The Media Landscape – Deals and Innovations That Are Broadening and Strengthening the Fan Base,” which featured NASCAR Images President & CEO Jay Abraham, Turner Sports Senior VP & Exec Producer Jeff Behnke, ESPN Motorsports Coordinating Producer Jill Frederickson and Speed President Hunter Nickell.

The Issue: How concerned are you with NASCAR’s recent ratings decline?

Behnke: “The way viewers and fans consume their NASCAR with phones and Blackberries and on the Internet shows me that people are still getting their NASCAR, even if it’s not on TV.”

Read more & Comment...
11/28/07
a1gp

Q and A with Robert Wickens


Wickens spins out last weekend in Sepang

Montréal, Canada – Round 3 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted in Malaysia last weekend, saw Toronto’s Robert Wickens take the reigns of A1 Team Canada’s entry for the first time. 

Living up to his billing as one of the country’s most promising open-wheel racing talents, the 18-year-old delivered Canada’s first points of the campaign with a third place podium finish in the Sprint race before an early retirement in the Feature cut short the team’s hopes of a second points scoring finish. 

An eventful A1GP race debut saw Wickens initially finish fourth in the Sprint but Germany’s exclusion from third, following a late stewards decision, awarded the final podium placing to the Canadian.  It was a richly deserved result for the rookie having qualified fifth and held third on merit for most of the race.  The afternoon’s Feature race proved no-less dramatic with Wickens spun at the first turn before retiring seven laps later having been fortunate to avoid a massive collision with South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg.

Back from Malaysia, Robert took time out to reflect on an impressive and dramatic A1GP debut:

Read more & Comment...

11/28/07
tv news
irl

Helio and Julianne will be guests on The View UPDATE Correction: Helio and Julianne will be guests on "The View" on Wednesday, November 28.

11/28/07 Indy Racing's incredible "Dancing with the Stars" champion, Helio Castroneves, and his extraordinary professional dance partner, Julianne Hough, will be guests on "The View" on Thursday, November 29.  "The View" airs at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm ET on ABC.  Please check your local listings for your location and time zone.

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11/28/07
a1gp

A1GP driver backs Taupo track changes
A1 Team New Zealand driver Jonny Reid, who has his country perched in third place in the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport championship after a thrilling third round at Sepang, Malaysia last weekend, believes next January’s A1GP Taupo will be a more exciting affair following rule modifications and a significant change to the corners at the end of the main straight.

The previous fast left-right-left sequence of corners at Taupo Motorsport Park has been reconfigured into a tight left hander, followed by an even tighter right hander.

‘You can see the strategy immediately,’ Reid said. ‘Cars will now be subjected to heavier braking, which opens up more opportunities to pass. If drivers are prepared to push hard, and they’re good enough, they should be rewarded. It’s wicked that we’ll be hitting that sort of corner more often than usual given the Taupo track is three and a half kilometers long, compared to the five kilometer monsters you can get in Asia.’

The most pleasing aspect of the track change for A1GP Taupo CEO Gary Dawson was the proximity to 85% of the seated audience.

Read more & Comment...
11/28/07
f1

Bernie advises Ralf, Fisi, to quit F1
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has advised veterans Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella to quit formula one rather than push for an uncompetitive seat at the Force India team in 2008.

Silverstone based Force India, bought and renamed recently by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, announced on Wednesday that the beleaguered duo are set to drive at the upcoming Jerez test.

Also pushing for the vacant seat for next year are Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Franck Montagny, Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde, who will all also drive at the last test of 2007 in Spain.

But Ecclestone, F1's 77-year-old chief executive, advises Schumacher and Fisichella to now leave the sport to up and coming racers.

"Both were at decent teams for some time when they should have been doing better jobs," the Briton told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

"They should think about whether it is intelligent to change to small teams," he added.

Ecclestone made it particularly clear that he does not rate Fisichella, 34, who revealed on Wednesday that he has been given "permission" by Renault to explore other options for the 2008 season.

"Look at Renault," Bernie continued.  "If in 2005 and 2006 they would have had only Fisichella in the team, they would not have known that they had a car good enough to win the championship."

Schumacher, meanwhile - and also Frenchman Montagny - know Force India owner Mallya through the Indian's sponsorship of the Toyota team this year with his Kingfisher brand.

"For any driver, driving for a young dynamic team with high ambitions is a good opportunity, but at the moment it is just one test to see how we get on working together, and whether this is possible," the German, 32, said on Wednesday.

"I think I can help the team with its development program but we will see," he added.

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11/28/07
f1

Bernie suggests McLaren affair worse than new spy scandal
(GMM)  In an interview published on Wednesday, Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that the 'Stepneygate' affair was more serious than the new allegations involving Renault.

Details leaked by McLaren last week of the affair involving engineer Phil Mackereth indicated that the scandal could be on the same scale as the one that led to the Woking based team's $100m fine and championship exclusion.

But Ecclestone, who is F1's 77-year-old chief executive, told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport: "I think the difference is that, in the McLaren case, information flowed to someone on nearly an hourly basis.

"The Renault case is only about a mountain of drawings, and that's it," he added.

It should be noted that Ecclestone recently bought the London football club Queens Park Rangers with Flavio Briatore, Renault's formula one boss.

Comment
11/28/07
Industry News

Video: Jay Leno on Hydrogen clean energy car

Click Image to watch video

Jay Leno, Bob Geldof and Anna Netrebko are supporting BMW’s alternative fuel vehicle, the BMW Hydrogen 7, as the car combines both luxury and environmental protection. BMW Hydrogen 7, the first hydrogen-powered luxury car, comes equipped with an internal combustion dual power 260hp 12-cylinder engine, which can switch from running conventional petrol to liquid hydrogen (emitting nothing more than water vapor). The development of hydrogen technology is part of the BMW Group's CleanEnergy strategy, which serves to fulfill current and future demand for individual mobility without the use of fossil fuels.

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11/28/07
track news

Daly designing new Riverside track
Derek Daly, a regular Formula 1 driver in the early 1980s, has worked in recent years as a TV pundit and racing school owner, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He decided last year to launch a new business called Derek Daly Design, to design race tracks for customers across the United States, in partnership with Paxton Waters Architecture. Daly is already involved in two projects: the Riverside Motorsports Park which is planned in Merced, about 100 miles to the south-east of San Francisco, in California. Daly will work on the design of a 3.2-mile road course, which will be based on the layout of the original Riverside International Raceway, a track near Los Angeles which closed in 1988. Work is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2008 and will include an oval speedway for stock car and open wheel racing, a drag strip, kart course, motocross course, dirt oval, two high-banked short-track ovals and an off-road course, in addition there will be a motorsport business park. Daly is also working on the development of a track at the Bluegrass Motorsports Club, which is to be built on 500-acres of land in northern Kentucky, one of a number of motorsport country clubs that are being built in the United States at the moment.  Grandprix.com

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11/28/07
cc

Philippe and Legge drive the Champ Car F1x2

Champ Car F1x2

The Champ Car F1x2 Team wrapped up its busiest and most successful season ever today with a private program for Bridgestone Firestone North America and Champ Car World Series guests at the MSR-Houston track.  The big surprise of the day, however, wasn’t the excited reaction of the 40 passengers who experienced the 2.4-mile permanent road course first hand – that was almost guaranteed - but the drivers.

With the team’s regular high-speed “chauffeurs”, Zsolt Baumgartner, Patrick Friesacher and Mario Dominguez, unable to be present for the Texas event, it was Champ Car drivers, Katherine Legge (Dale Coyne Racing) and Nelson Philippe (Conquest Racing), who were strapped into the cockpits of the two-seater chassis in Houston.  Katherine is no stranger to F1, having tested for the Minardi team at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome, in November 2005, but this marked Nelson’s first taste of F1 performance.  Both drivers quickly got to grips with their new machines, and by the end of the day, seemed as impressed with the experience as their passengers.

Read more & Comment...

11/28/07
nascar

Drug addict NASCAR driver trying to come back
NASCAR driver Aaron Fike understands where he was headed when he was arrested while shooting up heroin in an amusement park parking lot this summer. 
 
"After four months of intense rehabilitation, I know that if it were not for my arrest, I would be dead,'' he said. "At one point during my addiction, I stopped breathing and nearly died. Sooner or later, my luck would have run out.''

Fike's remarks came in a rehab plan he wrote for a Warren County, Ohio, judge. The judge accepted Fike's proposal to avoid jail by going to schools and racetracks to deliver an anti-drug message. Fike may find it harder to persuade NASCAR to let him race again.

Fike was eighth in the point standings and in the running for Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year when he was arrested with his fiancée in the Kings Island parking lot outside Cincinnati in July.

Read more & Comment...
11/28/07
nascar

Spade to be featured performer at NASCAR banquet
Comedian/actor David Spade will be the featured performer for Friday night’s awards ceremony, which will air on ESPN Classic at 9:00pm/et. Spade, a longtime fan of NASCAR, served as Grand Marshal for the March 19, 2006, race at Atlanta. He is currently starring in the CBS comedy Rules of Engagement, and was nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and an American Comedy Award in 1999 for his role on the series Just Shoot Me. NASCAR PR

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11/28/07
f1

Formula One turns to Kitbag
Formula One Administration Ltd has signed a multi-year deal for Kitbag Ltd to operate the Formula One merchandising operation at Formula1.com. The company will launch a new Formula One Store in the spring of 2008, hoping that Kitbag's e-commerce experience will enable it to sell more of the official products of the sport. Kitbag is a subsidiary of Findel plc, a leading general merchandise supplier to the home, education and healthcare sectors. The company offers a diverse range of products for the consumer. Grandprix.com

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11/28/07
f1

Mercedes has always been fair says Coulthard
There was a lot of talk coming from Fernando Alonso and the Spanish media during the 2007 Formula One season suggesting that McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, favored British rookie Lewis Hamilton over the double world champion and as such were giving him preferential treatment in his quest to become the first rookie champion in the history of the sport.

David Coulthard

While Ron Dennis denied any such favoritism, he was not believed by the legion of Alonso fans but now, former driver for the Woking based squad, David Coulthard, has confirmed that in the nine years he raced for the team, they always treated both drivers fairly, even down to the engines used in their cars.

“As for McLaren-Mercedes' handling of their drivers this year, I can only speak from my own experiences. In my autobiography 'It is what it is', I talk at length about some of the ups and downs I had with Ron Dennis and how he communicated with his drivers,” he said in his column on ITV.

“But one thing I didn't mention is that Mercedes' way of going racing has always been fair. They would always take the two best engines they could get to the race and then make the race engineers pull a number out of hat to see which went in which car. There was never any preference irrespective of which driver was in the running for the world championship.”

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11/28/07
f1

Auction bidder pays $24,000 for F1 hotel room
A hotel room with a view of Singapore's first Formula One race fetched a top bid of 30,000 Singapore dollars ($24,000 Australian) in a charity auction, organizers said today.  The unidentified bidder will be able to stay at the Pan Pacific Hotel September 26-28 during next year's race.

Motorsports fever has been on the rise in Singapore since the May announcement that the city-state would host its first race on a street circuit in 2008. Approval has been granted to hold the event at night under lights.

Trackside hotels will be slapped by the government with a 30 per cent levy during the event.

Industry observer Noel Hawkes noted that rooms cost triple the normal rate during F1 races in other cities. "It's not that exorbitant by any means," he was quoted as saying.

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11/28/07
f1

Force India team shootout begins
The Force India F1 Team will be back in action at the Circuit de Jerez, southern Spain, for the second test of its winter development program. Over the four day test from 4 - 7 December, the team will again run two former Spyker B-spec F8-VII cars in its interim livery of burgundy and white.

As part of its ongoing program, Giancarlo Fisichella, Franck Montagny and Ralf Schumacher will join the team for a full day's testing. Following their outstanding performance and feedback at the team's previous test in Barcelona, Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi will also participate for one day. Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde will finish the test for the team as part of their development program.

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11/28/07
industry news

Ethanol issue clogs fuel bill
Ethanol mileage credits have become a key sticking point as negotiators from the House and Senate work to craft a 35-mpg energy bill acceptable to both houses of Congress, the White House and U.S. automakers.  U.S. Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said late Tuesday that negotiators are making progress, but that a deal remains elusive.

"It's like pushing a wheelbarrow up a hill, but we persist," said Dingell, D-Dearborn.

Dingell wants to make a deal to dramatically raise fuel economy standards as part of a broader energy bill that Democratic leaders want to send to President Bush before the end of the year.

He is trying to hammer out a compromise to the Senate energy bill passed in June that called for raising fuel economy standards to 35 mpg by 2020 for cars and trucks combined. A House bill passed in August did not address fuel economy.

Last week, Dingell's aides made a proposal to the Senate Commerce Committee that went further than a bill in the House, backed by automakers, that would hike fuel economy to between 32 and 35 mpg by 2022.

It was rejected by the Senate staffers, who responded with a proposal Monday that Dingell rejected.  More at Detroit News

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11/28/07
eurof3

ASM will become ART in F3 Euro Series
With the merger of the F3 Euroseries championship winning team ASM, with two time champions in the GP2 series, ART back in February of 2007, it can now be confirmed that both teams will race under the ART banner effective immediately. With ART Grand prix winning the GP2 crown in the first two years in the sports history and ASM having an extraordinary record in F3, including multiple championships in the Euroseries and International events, the culmination of these two great entities will make a stronger force and adopting just one name was a necessary progression.

Frédéric Vasseur: “To use two different names, ASM and ART, for the same company, with the same people working under the same roof did not make sense anymore, ART which is involved in the GP2 Series since its creation and ASM which won F3 Euro Series drivers and team titles the last four years, have merged at the beginning of the year. It’s a success and we go forward by using just one name from now on: ART.”

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11/28/07
f1

Fans claim de la Rosa deserves McLaren seat

Pedro de la Rosa

(GMM)  Nearly 8,000 Pedro de la Rosa supporters think the Spanish veteran should be selected to race alongside McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in 2008.

An online petition, which can be found here (http://www.petitiononline.com/Q1Q2Q3/petition.html), claims that the Woking based team's 36-year-old tester "deserves the second McLaren car more than any other driver".

De la Rosa's countryman and double world champion Fernando Alonso has left the team after a turbulent 2007 season.

De la Rosa made his grand prix debut in 1999, and raced most recently for McLaren last year when he finished second in the Hungarian grand prix while substituting for departed regular Juan Pablo Montoya.

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11/28/07
f1

No Kimi-Schu duel at Jerez
(GMM)  The program for Michael Schumacher's Jerez test has been modified so that the retired champion does not go head-to-head with his successor Kimi Raikkonen.

Although Ferrari's head of track activities Luca Baldisserri revealed last week that Schumacher, 38, "will be driving at Jerez on 4 December", it now emerges that the German will not exit the Spanish circuit's pitlane until two days later.

Instead, the opening two days of the final test of 2007 will be reserved for Ferrari's new world champion, with the other side of the Italian team's garage to be occupied by test driver Marc Gene.

"Kimi will test on 4 and 5 December (and) Michael on 6 and 7 December," a Ferrari spokesman told the German newspaper Bild.

After more than a year on the sidelines, Schumacher set the pace when he tested for two days earlier this month in Barcelona.

"The comparison (between Raikkonen and Schumacher) will not take place," the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport mourned.

Bild, meanwhile, reasoned that separating the two famous drivers will "enable Ferrari to make its excuses if Schumi is faster than Kimi".

Like Raikkonen, 2007 runner-up Lewis Hamilton will also return from a post-season break to test at Jerez.

Comment
11/28/07
lmes

Rob Bell to drive for Virgo Motorsport
Le Mans Series champion, Rob Bell, has signed to drive for Virgo Motorsport in 2008, contesting this Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the team and with the support of Dunlop.

Bell, 26, from Newcastle, has enjoyed an outstanding season of sportscar racing with the distinction of being on the podium in every Le Mans Series race on the calendar. Three wins, two runner up places and a third position from six races secured Bell the Drivers Championship in his second year of competition in the Series.

Bell says, “I have had a great season of racing with Virgo Motorsport and I am delighted to have been offered the chance to continue with the team in 2008. We’ve built up a strong relationship which has brought us both success and I’m pleased to be returning to the Le Mans Series with the team next year. I’m ready to defend my title with the team driving the Ferrari 430 GT2 racer, and I’m looking forward to expanding this to include the Le Mans 24 hour race.”

Read more & Comment...
11/28/07
tv news
nascar

NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers on Good Morning America
Join ten of the twelve NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers for a lap around Times Square on Good Morning America Wednesday morning, November 28.  Good Morning America airs at 7:00 am - 9:00 am ET on ABC.

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11/27/07
tv news
irl

Dancing with the Stars champion Castroneves on Good Morning America
IRL's amazing Dancing with the Stars champion, Helio Castroneves, and his sensational professional dance partner, Julianne Hough, will be guests on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, November 28.  Good Morning America airs at 7:00 am - 9:00 am ET on ABC.  Helio and Julianne will appear during the 8:00 am - 9:00 am ET segment.

Comment
11/27/07
cc

Kalkhoven wins court case UPDATE After an unusually short deliberation, the jury in the matter of JDS Uniphase Securities Litigation today has found in favor of Kevin Kalkhoven and all other defendants.

Jerry Forsythe and his Champ Car Series partner Kevin Kalkhoven

Today’s verdict completely exonerates four senior officers of JDS Uniphase, including Kalkhoven, who is a co-owner of the Champ Car World Series, PKV Racing, Cosworth Engineering, the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Toronto Grand Prix, of any wrong doing in the class action civil lawsuit for monetary damages.  The suit, which was filed in March of 2002, went to trial on October 23, 2007 in U.S. District Court in Oakland.  Proceedings lasted just over four weeks.  Shareholder class-action suits are usually settled out of court, however, Kalkhoven and the other three officers chose to defend against the action, which they, correctly, believed had no merit. 

"After five years of examining every email and employee at JDS Uniphase, plaintiffs could not lay a glove on Kevin Kalkhoven," said Kalkhoven’s attorney Michael Shepard, who works for the firm Heller Ehrman in San Francisco.  “As I predicted in my opening statement, all the plaintiffs could prove was that Mr. Kalkhoven is rich.  We thank the jury for fairly reviewing the facts and appreciating the complete lack of evidence in the case.  The trial proved that JDS Uniphase did great while Mr. Kalkhoven was in charge and for a long time after.  Today’s verdict completing vindicates Mr. Kalkhoven and proves that he always acted honestly and in good faith.”

JDS Uniphase, a fiber optics parts provider, was created by the June 1999 merger between JDS Fitel, a Canadian telecommunications equipment maker, and Silicon Valley-based Uniphase. It quickly became a favorite on Wall Street and expanded through a string of purchases before business began slowing in calendar 2001 when business spending on telecommunications products stalled.  Kalkhoven, who was a part of the company for just three and a half weeks during the period of time the alleged conduct that formed the basis of suit occurred, stepped down as CEO in May 2000 when JDSU was still growing.

11/27/07 AutoRacing1.com has learned that the court has dismissed all charges against Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven and all the other defendants in the JDS Uniphase class action lawsuit. In addition the plaintiffs have to pay all legal costs and court fees. More to follow....

Comment
11/27/07
f1

Massa does not think they need Schu
Felipe Massa reckons Ferrari's World Championship double this season is proof that the team can cope in the face of adversity.

The Scuderia began this year's Championship with the likes of Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn, who both played integral roles in the team's past success.

However, even without their key players, the Italian stable returned to the front of the grid claiming both the Constructors' and Drivers' Championship titles.

But even though it was his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who claimed the Drivers' crown this season, Massa was nonetheless happy with his own performances, which included three grand prix victories.

"2007 was a very good year and a very exciting one. I fought almost to the very last race for the world title and the only reason I wasn't in the running for the title by the time we got to Interlagos is because we had too many reliability problems during the year," he told the official F1 website.

"Kimi and I brought both titles back to Maranello at the end of a really tough confrontation with very strong opponents.

"For my part, I won three races and took six pole positions and the same number of race fastest laps, improving on my points score from last year.

Read more & Comment...
11/27/07
nascar

NASCAR season finale TV rating
The Nov. 18 Ford 400 season finale of the Nextel Cup Series in Homestead, Fla., received a 4.2 national rating on ABC, down 11 percent from the same race one year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research. Last season's race on NBC received a 4.7 national rating. All 10 races in this season's Chase for the Nextel Cup produced lower TV ratings - many significantly so - than last season.

The Cup season finale was the seventh-highest-rated sports program of the weekend, coming in behind four NFL games and two college football games.

The Nov. 17 Busch Series finale received a 1.2 rating on ESPN, down from a 1.9 a year ago on TNT. The Nov. 16 Craftsman Truck Series finale received a 0.4 rating on Speed, down from a 0.6 on the same network a year ago.

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11/27/07
nascar

Labonte to Run Part-Time Nationwide Series Schedule for RCR

Bobby Labonte

Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed two-time NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte to a part-time schedule driving its No. 21 Chevrolet in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series.

The 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion, 1991 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and 2001 IROC champion will compete in 15 races next season for the 11-time NASCAR championship-winning organization. The Corpus Christi, Texas, native made his Nationwide Series debut in September 1982 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where he qualified 15th and finished 26th driving a car owned by his father, Bob Labonte. He has 197 starts in NASCAR’s junior series, including three full seasons from 1990 to 1992, and has earned 10 wins, 10 poles, 49 top-five and 98 top-10 finishes.

Labonte started ninth and finished 11th in April 2004 when he drove RCR’s Nationwide Series No. 29 ESGR/Army National Guard/Army Reserve Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway. He competed in 19 series races in 2007 for Kevin Harvick Incorporated, earned one win (Talladega Superspeedway in April) and three top-10 finishes.

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11/27/07
f1

New gearbox challenge in 2008
After having developed gearboxes that are as accurate as Swiss watches the engineers are taking on a new challenge in 2008: to make them last four grands prix! The Renault team members at Enstone will take the challenge this winter.

The images transmitted by the on-board cameras during grand prix no longer even raise an eyebrow. Twenty years ago they would have had engineers hopping around like demented rabbits! On the screen the cars can be seen lined up on the grid waiting for the lights to go out. When the start is given, the 22 drivers let in the clutch on the steering wheel and press the paddle with their right hand at regular intervals. Each pressure and the car changes up a gear. The driver’s foot mashes the accelerator to the floor. His hands do not leave the steering wheel. In the first corner his left hand is busy; the pressure is accompanied by a quick jab on the accelerator as he downshifts. The scenario is replayed several times per lap, up to 53 times in Monaco which is the highest value of the season. The semi-automatic gearbox caused a major shift in the technological landscape when it appeared in the paddock a little over fifteen years ago.

Read more & Comment...
11/27/07
nascar

Wrangler to launch Earnhardt Jr. line
Wrangler this week at Wal-Mart stores will launch the Dale Earnhardt Collection by Wrangler, a line of limited edition jeans, T-shirts and hats.  Wrangler sponsored late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt’s car from ’81-87 and the company’s logo began appearing on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car in ’04. The items, which will be available for a limited time, will all be priced under $20.  The jeans will be offered in “Intimidator Black” and “#3 Indigo.”  Wrangler PR

Comment
11/27/07
racing news

Highlights From Street & Smith’s Motorsports Marketing Forum
Street & Smith’s Conference Group’s 8th Annual Motorsports Marketing Forum kicked off today at The InterContinental in N.Y.  Canadiens Owner and Gillett Evernham Motorsports co-Owner George Gillett in a one-on-one interview said of what surprises him about the business of NASCAR, “The amount of investment it takes to be competitive – both in people and facilities.”  Asked if he can be more patient as an NHL owner or a NASCAR owner, Gillett said, “We don’t think of either as a business investment. We honestly think we hold these in trust for the fans.”  Gillett also listed two things as the biggest threats to the business of sports, the “disposable dollar” and the “behavior of athletes.”

Also today, a morning panel titled “The Next Wave in the Business of Motorsports: New Investment and Ownership Models” featured NHRA President Tom Compton, McLaren Capital Advisors Founder, President & CEO Matthew Doherty and Fenway Sports Group Exec VP/New Business Development Jay Monahan.

The issue: Will NASCAR ever move into a franchise model for race teams?

Monahan: “The entrepreneurial nature of the sport by virtue of its business model is and always will be a differentiator.  I think anything that takes away from (that) is something that will be carefully considered, and I have to believe it’s a long way off.”

Doherty: “I think you would eliminate people like Bobby Ginn who fly in and out of the sport.  If I was [NASCAR Chair & CEO] Brian France or [NASCAR President] Mike Helton I would be more pushing for a new level of control so you don’t have situations (frequently changing ownership).  I don’t see how that’s good for the sport.”

Greatest hit:

Doherty: “I think, looking at the valuation around these teams today, that franchising will have the effect a lot of people think it will have on the values.”

Comment
11/27/07
motogp

Jerez MotoGP Test – Day 1
The MotoGP teams embarked on their final three days of testing in 2007 at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain today.  Taking advantage of cool, sunny conditions at the famous Andalucian circuit, Ducati's Casey Stoner led the day ahead of Honda's Dani Pedrosa.  Valentino Rossi, back in action for the first time since breaking his hand in Valencia, tested his Yamaha M1 on Bridgestone tires for the first time and was third fastest.

Official lap times

Pos

Rider Team Time Laps
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 40.221s 35
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 40.355s 60
3 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 40.514s 56
4 Colin Edwards Yamaha Tech 3 1m 40.790s 47
5 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 40.923s 63
6 Alex de Angelis Honda Gresini 1m 41.111s 58
7 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 41.230s 90
8 Shinya Nakano Honda Gresini 1m 41.277s 65
9 Randy de Puniet Honda LCR 1m 41.313s 79
10 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 41.414s 49
11 James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 41.776s 69
12 Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 41.889s 62
13 Andrea Dovizioso JiR Scot Honda 1m 42.033s 60
14 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 43.576s 73

Comment
11/27/07
alms

Autocon commits to LeMans entry
Ten teams from the American Le Mans Series already have received invitations to the next running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. None may be as ecstatic at the prospect of running in the world's most prestigious auto race as Mike Lewis" Autocon Motorsports."

We will be making the trip to Le Mans," Lewis confirmed this week. The California-based independent team finished second in the American Le Mans Series" LMP1 championship and was granted an automatic berth. "It's the pinnacle of sports car racing. What more can you say. For a guy who grew up on racing, idolizing drivers and tracks, Le Mans is the ultimate cathedral of speed. It's practically holy ground! I will cherish every moment of the experience."

Audi Sport North America gained two invitations for winning Le Mans last year and also the Series' P1 championship and Petit Le Mans. Penske Racing earned a pair of invites for winning the LMP2 championship and the class win at Petit. Corvette Racing (first at Petit Le Mans and second at Le Mans in GT1), Risi Competizione (Series GT2 champion and second in class at Le Mans) and Flying Lizard Motorsports (Petit Le Mans GT2 winner) also gained automatic invitations.

Lewis has never been to Le Mans although Autocon teammates Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman drove a Pilbeam with Jeff Bucknum in the 2003 race. The trio retired a little more than six hours into the race with an engine failure. What the team enters at Le Mans "and in the American Le Mans Series " remains up in the air."

We may end up using a Creation chassis that is already compliant and leave ours as is," Lewis said. "Or we may upgrade ours. It all comes down to timing and economics.
We do intend to run the majority of the American Le Mans Series schedule as well," he added. "We will be testing this offseason with our first run on December 10-11 on the West Coast, and probably one other run prior to Sebring Winter Test (January 28-30)."

Comment
11/27/07
f1

Toyota  Motorsport Races Forward with Dassault Systèmes
Dassault Systèmes, a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, announced today the extension of its Toyota Motorsport GmbH partnership to include realistic simulation for virtual car testing and a 3D real-time development hub with DS's end-to-end PLM solutions. Toyota Motorsport's Formula 1 team practices Toyota's Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement by always pushing the limits of technical innovation.

This is where Dassault Systèmes plays a major role. Toyota Motorsport's mission is to provide its Formula 1 racing team, "Panasonic Toyota Racing", with the fastest car possible, respecting the tight, two-week race schedule. One of its biggest challenges is to quickly adapt car design to upcoming racing conditions, such as circuit configurations, driver racing style, and weather conditions, as well as to comply with FIA[1] regulations.

"We view all partnerships, and in particular the one we have with Dassault Systèmes, as a win-win opportunity. Dassault Systèmes offers us car development solutions that give us the cutting-edge performance that is required in Formula 1," says John Howett, president of Toyota Motorsport. "At the same time, we like to think we're pushing Dassault Systèmes' technology to new limits because of the ultimate challenge of material and performance that Formula 1 demands."

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11/27/07
racing news

Street & Smith's Motorsports Marketing Forum Begins
Street & Smith’s Conference Group’s 8th Annual Motorsports Marketing Forum begins today at The InterContinental in N.Y.  The opening panel, “The State of Motorsports: Charting the Course of an Industry in Flux,” will include IRL Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt, NHRA Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Gary Darcy, Champ Car Exec VP/Strategic Development & Communications David Higdon, Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta, NASCAR Managing Dir of Brand & Consumer Marketing Jim Obermeyer, DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel and ISC Senior VP/Marketing & Business Operations Roger VanDerSnick.

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11/27/07
cc

Rocketsports to test Brazilian
Rocketsports Racing will be testing Brazilian Alexandre “Xandi” Negrão this week at the Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land Road Course in Houston, Texas as part of a driver evaluation. The team will take this opportunity to check out future race talent, while exploring their possibilities for the 2008 Champ Car World Series season. 

It has only been a few weeks since the 2007 Champ Car season finale in Mexico City, but Rocketsports Racing will not let the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone sit motionless in the East Lansing, Michigan-based race shop for long. The team has rolled the car back into the race hauler and transported it to the Lone Star State for a two-day test on November 28 and 29. Negrão will meet the team in Houston on Tuesday for introductions and a seat fitting, before taking the challenge behind the 750-hp Champ Car on the 2.38-mile permanent road course at MSR Houston on Wednesday and Thursday. 

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11/27/07
f1

France vows to save grand prix
(GMM) France's sports minister says he is working hard to ensure that the country does not lose its grand prix after 2008.

Magny-Cours, one of the least popular destinations among F1's travelling regulars due to its isolated location and lack of accommodation, nearly dropped off the 2008 calendar as Bernie Ecclestone slammed the government for doing "nothing" to save the race.

But Bernard Laporte, a renowned sports fan and recently coach of the French national rugby union team, has told the sports daily L'Equipe that formula one is as important to France as the famous Tour de France and the tennis tournament at Roland Garros.

Reports earlier this year said Ecclestone was in favour of moving the French grand prix to a street circuit in central Paris.

"We do not know yet what is the best option," Laporte said.

"Let's just do what it takes to save the French grand prix."

He acknowledged the risk that another host could take France's place on the calendar, despite the fact that the country has hosted a grand prix every season since 1955.

"Ecclestone is free to do what he wants," Laporte said. "If he says tomorrow that we do not have what is necessary, tears will flow."

Comment
11/27/07
nascar

With the COT, technology replaces driver
If you're familiar with the 1980s Steely Dan song "Glamor Profession," you might recall the lyric, "We'll make some calls from my car."

If you listen to Roush Fenway Racing team owner Jack Roush, however, that's something his NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers won't be doing next year.

With the car of tomorrow being the only race car available for use in NASCAR's top series next year, technology will take on an even bigger role in determining race set-ups. Driver feedback about the handling of the cars remains important, but Roush says the days of taking a driver's suggestions on how to fix a problem are gone.

"They can't make calls from the car," Roush said last week.

In the past, with the car that is now obsolete, Roush Fenway drivers Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards or Jamie McMurray might make recommendations for adjustments based on what they felt the car doing on the track. Now, Biffle concedes, computer simulations and the seven-post shaker rig (a machine that simulates suspension dynamics) are far more reliable in determining what a race car needs.

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11/27/07
f1

FIA plays down latest espionage scandal
Carlos Garcia, the President of the Spanish motor sport federation and Vice-President of the FIA, hopes that the new espionage scandal, that involves Renault, will not affect the future of Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. In an interview with the newspaper 'AS', Garcia also played down the new spy allegations.

On 6 December, Renault will face the World Motor Sport Council in the new espionage case that has hit F1. McLaren accuses Renault of possessing over thirty confidential files of data. These files would contain more than 780 technical drawings of the 2006 and 2007 McLaren cars according to the Woking-based team.

Carlos Garcia has played down the accusations as he declares that the exchange of documents has always been a part of the sport: "I can not say anything about this matter. The only thing is that this sort of thing has always happened in formula one. I don't know whether you can call it espionage or not. It used to be called exchanging documents and now it is spying, but historically it has always existed in the sport."

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11/27/07
alms

Herta hopes consistency leads to title


Bryan Herta

Consistency may be the biggest key to the 2008 American Le Mans Series, at least in Bryan Herta’s eyes. He and the rest of the Andretti Green Racing squad will have a double dose of it when the season opens with the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida in March.

For one, the 2008 schedule is a mirror of the 2007 slate. Don’t discount how important that can be for a second-year operation like AGR and Acura, which will debut its new version of its ARX chassis at Sebring. One would expect that with the lessons learned from this past season, Acura and its three teams will improve exponentially in ’08. How much they gain on Porsche, of course, won’t be known for some time.

“From a competitive standpoint it’s good for us,” said Herta, who finished seventh in this year’s LMP2 championship with a historic class win at Sebring. “We know the venues and what the challenges are for each. Consistency and equity are key attributes. It takes a couple of years to build that, and from a Series standpoint it couldn’t have worked out much better.”

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11/27/07
f1

Sato: F1 more exciting without TC


Takuma Sato

Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato is looking forward to continue his Formula 1 career with the Super Aguri team he said last week. The Japanese pilot hopes he can continue in F1 as he expects the sport to become more exciting next season when traction control is completely banned.

"The races will be much more exciting," Sato told GPUpdate.net. "The car will spin much easier now and it will be important to be gentle on the throttle every time you come out of a corner. Without the help of computers the driver is completely in control again. The conditions of the car such as the tires, more or less fuel and rain will affect the car more than it did last year.

"I also expect team strategies to be different and especially races in the rain can become very exciting. The teams that can improve the drivability of the car the most this winter will come out strong next season."

Comment
11/27/07
nascar

No. 15 DEI team testing
The #15 DEI team is scheduled to be testing at Kentucky Speedway this Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for next year's intermediate track events. Paul Menard will be on hand for the test and to assist in the preparation for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing PR

Comment
11/27/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Tester Karthikeyan to leave Williams
  • No room at Ferrari for Alonso, says Gene
  • Rossi says more Ferrari tests 'unlikely'
  • ING happy with F1 sponsorship in 2007

Tester Karthikeyan to leave Williams
(GMM)  Narain Karthikeyan will not stay at Williams in 2008 as a test driver despite again being offered the position, according to his manager.

The 30-year-old Indian, who debuted for Jordan in 2005 but has since tested only part time for Sir Frank Williams' Grove based team, is also not in the running to race for countryman Vijay Mallya's Force India outfit next year.

Karthikeyan started testing for Williams in 2006 but would have been given even less cockpit time next season, manager Mark Perkins told the Asian Age.

"We have decided not to extend the partnership even if they are ready to renew the contract," he said, citing the traction control ban as one of the main reasons for the split.

"All the prime drivers will be looking to do more testing on the off season, so the test drivers will hardly get a chance next year," Perkins explained.

Several contenders are currently being considered for the vacant Force India seat for 2008, but Karthikeyan and countryman Karun Chandhok have both been ruled out.

Perkins said he did not know why Mallya, a prominent Indian businessman who earlier backed Karthikeyan's career, was not now considering Indian drivers.

Karthikeyan explained: "I am not in the fray and I am not even expecting a final minute call from Mallya for the Jerez test.  I would have got the call a month ago if they really wanted me."

He added that his manager is in talks with "a few big teams".

Karthikeyan's Williams contract expires on December 31.

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11/26/07
Industry News

Nissan Recalls 686,500 Vehicles
Nissan is recalling 686,500 Altima and Sentra passenger cars to fix problems with a sensor that could lead to engine stalling.

Nissan Motor Co. spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said Monday there have been no reports of crashes or injuries tied to the issue. More than 650,000 of the recalled vehicles are in the United States, with the remainder in Mexico and Canada.

The Japanese automaker said in a Nov. 16 letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the recall affects Altima and Sentra vehicles from the 2002 and 2005-2006 model years equipped with a 2.5 liter engine.

Nissan said the crankshaft position sensor could overheat, causing an interruption in the sensor's signal. Under the condition, the engine could stop running without warning while the car is being driven at low speeds.

Dealers will reprogram the electronic control module to address the problem. AOL Money and Finance

Comment
11/26/07
cc

Forsythe and RuSPORT combine forces UPDATE A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Will Justin Wilson move to the Forsythe/Pettit Racing team?  There was no word on this in today's announcement, but that is what your original rumor said.  Peter Dunn

Dear Peter, We think the Newman/Haas/Lanigan team may still be trying to get Wilson (to replace Bourdais) but apparently that deal isn't done yet.  It requires adequate sponsorship, so we predict Wilson will either end up there or with Forsythe/Pettit Racing.  Mark C.

11/26/07 Two of the most competitive teams in the Champ Car World Series will combine operations for the 2008 season. 

Forsythe Championship Racing owner Jerry Forsythe and RuSPORT owner Dan Pettit announced today that they will combine operations and run under the banner of Forsythe/Pettit Racing beginning with the 2008 season. 

Forsythe, a co-owner of the Champ Car World Series, said: “I am pleased to announce the combination of Forsythe Championship Racing and RuSPORT Racing.  I know that Dan (Pettit) and I share the same goal and that is to compete for a championship.  This partnership will enable us to do that and I look forward to a successful season for Forsythe/Pettit Racing in 2008 and for many years to come.”

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11/26/07
track news

Bruton Smith to Concord: 'We're here forever'
A news conference Monday touting billionaire Bruton Smith's decision to keep Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., was long on congratulations and short on details about $80 million in incentives given to Smith by the city of Concord. But after nearly two months of anxiety over the track's fate - which Smith disclosed last week - Smith turned to Concord Mayor Scott Padgett at the news conference and said, "Mayor, I'll tell you, we're here forever."

Smith stressed that he had been seriously considering moving his track out of Concord.

He first threatened to move elsewhere in the Charlotte region last month, after the Concord City Council initially thwarted his plans to build a $60 million drag strip. Council members said they had little information about the project and heard of neighbors' concerns about noise.

But city leaders quickly backpedaled from their opposition in the face of Smith's assertions.

"We took it very seriously," said John Cox, head of the Cabarrus County Economic Development Corp.

Cabarrus leaders quietly put together the incentive proposals this month, based in part on a "wish list" from Smith. ThatsRacin

Comment
11/26/07
alms

Peugeot eyes Sebring
Peugeot could take on Audi in the 2008 12 Hours of Sebring. The French manufacturer is considering taking part in the American Le Mans Series opener in March if Audi--its rival for the overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans--opts out of racing against its 908 HDi turbodiesels full time in the European-based Le Mans Series.

Peugeot admitted that it was surprised by Audi's race pace at Le Mans this year and conceded that it needs to race against the R10 TDIs before it returns to Le Mans.

"We need some reference point before Le Mans. That means racing against Audi," said Peugeot Sport team manager Serge Saulnier. "If they do not come to the LMS, we expect to race at Sebring."

Read more & Comment...
11/26/07
tv news
irl

Helio and Julianne nearing the finish line
While corresponding recently via text message with Jeff Gordon, "Dancing with the Stars" finalist Helio Castroneves requested that the four-time NASCAR Nextel Cup champion help mobilize his fan base to vote.  "Keep dancing and I'll do all I can to spread the word," Gordon told Castroneves.

We'll all discover Nov. 27 (9 p.m. ET on ABC) if the growing fan base that has helped Castroneves to the brink of the championship will be enough to get the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion across the finish line first. Viewer/voters account for half of the scoring, with the total score of the three-judge panel comprising the other half.

The couple received a 25 (of 30) and an elongated standing ovation from the studio audience that included Indy Racing League CEO Tony George and family for their spirited Jive performance. Another long ovation and 29 was their reward for a freestyle routine that included multiple lifts and tumbling.  More at IndyCar.com

Comment
11/26/07
irl
track news

Infineon to attempt to break Twist record
Infineon Raceway will attempt to make history in 2008, much the same way IndyCar® Series driver Helio Castroneves is making history on the popular hit series “Dancing With The Stars” on ABC.

Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, has entered the finals of the show, which airs tonight (8 p.m.), and is attempting to become the first racecar driver to win the coveted title. 

Infineon Raceway hopes to follow in his footsteps, literally, by attempting to break the record for the largest Twist dance at its 2008 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County race weekend (Aug. 22-24).

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11/26/07
cca

Muniz to make guest appearance
Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda driver Frankie Muniz will be returning to television on Wednesday night with a guest starring role on CBS' "Criminal Minds". Muniz, who is best known for his role of Malcolm on "Malcolm in the Middle", will be playing a famous comic book artist who becomes involved in the search for a serial killer in Los Angeles. Champ Car Atlantic PR

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11/26/07
irl

Briscoe to be honored at Autosport Awards
Ryan Briscoe, recently named to drive the No. 6 Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara in the 2008 IndyCar Series season, will receive the Bruce McLaren Trophy at the annual Autosport Awards on Dec. 4 in London.

The award recognizes meritorious performance by a Commonwealth driver during the year. Briscoe finished fifth in the 91st Indianapolis 500 in May and was the rookie of the year in the American Le Mans Series for Penske Racing.

Briscoe, 26, is the ninth Australian to win the award. The McLaren Trophy is named in honor of the New Zealander who founded the McLaren team that had success in Formula One and American open-wheel and sports car racing in the 1970s and '80s.

Comment
11/26/07
irl

Castroneves ready for last dance(s)
One night of dancing and a plethora of votes from his fans is all that separates two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves from the 'Dancing with the Stars' championship.

The hit ABC show enters its final week Nov. 26. Castroneves and his professional dance partner Julianne Hough will perform the Quickstep, Jive and a freestyle piece on hopes of securing their place in American pop culture history. Other finalists on the show are Marie Osmond and Melanie Brown.

"I've had a great run this fall and the experience has been one of the best things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do," Castroneves said. "I truly have the greatest fans in the world and I know that it's because of them, and what Julianne has taught me of course, that we have made it this far in the competition. Please, please vote for me one more time."

The judges' total scores plus viewer voting via phone, text message and online will determine the winner of the mirror ball trophy. The champion will be announced live on Nov. 27.

Comment
11/26/07
roc

Rally brothers to take on ROC elite
World Rally Championship (WRC) brothers Petter and Henning Solberg have laid down the gauntlet to The Race of Champions competition after being announced as the newest team for the Wembley extravaganza next month.

Just eight points separate the ultra-competitive siblings, who are currently running fifth and sixth in the WRC respectively, but for The ROC Nations Cup they will be working together for national pride as Wembley Stadium is transformed into a tarmac circuit for a champion of champions decider.

The world’s best drivers, including seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, four-time Champ Car Champion Sébastien Bourdais and triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, will be battling it out in identical machinery, competing individually and also for their countries in The ROC Nations Cup.

Read more & Comment...
11/26/07
f2000

Hoosier tires for F2000 series

F2000 Series at Watkins Glen

The F2000 Championship Series is pleased today to announce a three year partnership with the Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. The largest race tire manufacturer in the world now joins the ever popular F2000 Championship Series that boasts the largest formula car fields in the country. “We are very pleased to welcome Hoosier Tires as our partner and presenting sponsor,” stated Michael Rand, F2000 Managing Director. “As our series has developed, it is obvious we have created an environment where drivers, engineers, mechanics and team owners can enjoy their racing in a competitive arena. This relationship with Hoosier Tire will do nothing but add to that. The long term stability of this agreement offers a plus to everyone from the entrants and competitors to Hoosier Tire and the series organizers.” 

Read more & Comment...
11/26/07
f1

Karthikeyan hopes to be on F1 grid in 2008

Narain Karthikeyan

Narain Karthikeyan has not given up yet to return on the Formula 1 grid. The 30-year-old from India has been Williams F1 test driver for the past two years and is looking for a new team to return in F1 as a race driver.

According to his manager Karthikeyan will not extend his contract at Williams even though the team offered him a new deal for 2008. Karthikeyan's manager Mark Perkins told The Asian Age: "We have decided not to extend the partnership even if they are ready to renew the contract. The FIA has banned driver aids like traction control and electronics. All the prime drivers will be looking to do more testing on the off season, so the test drivers will hardly get a chance next year."

Perkins doesn't understand why F1's latest team Force India did not consider Karthikeyan to become the team's driver. Perkins said: "He is the best available racer in the country and Mallya helped him when Narain began his career. But I don't know why he is not considering his countryman now,"

Read more & Comment...

11/26/07
tv news
nascar

TNT revises 'Wide Open Coverage' for Daytona in July
Turner Sports and TNT have greenlit a reprise of this past NASCAR season’s July 7 Wide Open Coverage race, a television first that featured no commercial interruptions but used branded content for 10 advertisers that appeared sporadically via a small on-screen window. Trish Frohman, executive vp of Turner Sports sales, said Sprint will definitely return for next year’s July 5 telecast, while talks are underway with the other marketers including Auto Zone, DirecTV, Ford, Goodyear, Miller Brewing Co., Principal Financial Group, Subway and Toyota. Coca-Cola has replaced Pepsi as the on-track sponsor of next year’s race, which will be known as the Coke 400. Turner is also talking with Coke about becoming TV sponsor of the race and buying branded spots in the telecast. All the branded spots, as in this year’s telecast, will be produced by Turner Sports Creative Sports Services, in partnership with the clients. Each will run between 30 seconds and two minutes apiece. The Wide Open Coverage concept was a hit with viewers because without national commercial breaks, racing fans got to see more than an hour of additional live coverage during the three-hour telecast. This year’s Pepsi 400 was not only ad-supported cable’s highest-rated program of that week among adults 18-49 and 25-54, but also the top-rated show on July 7 in those demos in all of television, including broadcast. The telecast drew 3 million adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall. Frohman said the number of advertisers will remain at 10, with the format basically remaining the same. Mediaweek

Comment
11/26/07
f1

Webber urges countrymen to back Oz GP
Mark Webber has warned his countrymen they need to give more support to the Australian Grand Prix or risk losing the event from its sporting calendar.

The future of Formula 1's traditional season-opening race in Melbourne beyond the end of its contract in 2010 has been thrown into doubt in recent weeks, with the Victorian state government’s support for the event appearing to waver in the face of increasing costs.

The growing uncertainty over the race at Albert Park has led to a number of other venues in the country touted as possible replacements should Melbourne not decide to renew its deal with Bernie Ecclestone.

Red Bull ace Webber – the only Australian currently on the grid – recently made an impassioned plea for the race to stay in Melbourne and has now called on his countrymen to make the most of the race to ensure it remains. 

"It's an absolutely brilliant event and it's one of few international events we have here in Australia,” he was quoted as saying in the Australian press.

"If you want to watch the best guys in the world, you need to embrace it and continue to support the event.

"People need to understand Formula 1 a bit more." ITV-F1

Comment
11/26/07
nascar

Meendering Petty Crew Chief
Petty Enterprises, the winningest organization in NASCAR history, announces Jeff Meendering as the new crew chief of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger driven by 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion  Bobby Labonte. 

Meendering, 30, will take over crew chief duties of the 43 team immediately and will see his first on track action with Labonte during a Goodyear tire test at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, December 11-12.  He joins Petty Enterprises after a 13-year stint with Hendrick Motorsports where for the past 2 ½ seasons he held the position of car chief on the #24 team of Jeff Gordon. 

In addition, Meendering assumed the role of interim crew chief of the #24 car for six races during the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.  Under his guidance the team scored top-10 finishes in each of the six races, with a high finish of second at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. 

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11/26/07
nascar

Waltrip proposes changes in qualifying draws
Michael Waltrip, along with all the other 2007 teams that failed to begin the season with “starting-field protection,” experienced tremendous difficulty, and the veteran driver has made a proposal governing the qualifying process.

Waltrip won a pole but made the field for only 14 races and finished in the top 10 only twice.

“I have been politicking since the start of the year for NASCAR to put the ‘star’ cars together in the qualifying draw,” he said. “I still don’t understand NASCAR’s hesitation in (not) doing so. It would be very fair, certainly a lot fairer than it is now. At Phoenix, I went out (by random draw) in the heat of the day. The cars I was racing against to get in the show got to go in the evening. I wish NASCAR would have listened because I think we would have been fine.”

None of Michael Waltrip Racing’s three Toyotas — Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and David Reutimann — made the starting field for the next-to-last race at Phoenix.

“It came at a time when we were seeing a lot of progress and a lot of gains within our teams,” noted Waltrip. Gaston Gazette

Comment
11/26/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 too soon for Nakajima - Coulthard
  • Williams hopes for long Toyota association
  • Teenage Austrian wins F1 test
  • Schumacher - 'I miss racing'
  • Official hopes Renault path clear for Alonso
  • Piquet must beat Alonso in '08 - father

F1 too soon for Nakajima - Coulthard
(GMM)  Kazuki Nakajima may have entered formula one with Williams too soon, according to David Coulthard.

Coulthard, the Scottish veteran of 229 grands prix, also made his grand prix debut for the Grove based team, in 1994, but he is critical of the Japanese rookie following his maiden outing in Brazil last month.

Nakajima, who is 22, will graduate full time from GP2 to the pinnacle of motor sport in 2008.

"He passed me on the outside into turn one (at Interlagos), which was fair enough, but there was no need for him to cut across the front of me afterwards," Coulthard wrote in his column for ITV.

The 36-year-old spun as a result of the clash and reported damaged suspension for the rest of the race.

Nakajima, who also hospitalized some of his pit crew after hitting them in Brazil, said of the Coulthard clash: "I was ahead, so I think it wasn't my fault."

Coulthard insists that his criticism of the rookie is not sour grapes about the "old boy getting overtaken by the new guy".

"Driving standards in GP2 are generally pretty wild.  My teammate Mark Webber said recently, 'F1 is not a finishing school' and I totally agree," he added.

Williams hopes for long Toyota association
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams says he is hoping for a long-term collaboration with his Grove based team's current engine partner, Toyota.

The Japanese manufacturer has struggled for success since it entered formula one in 2002, but Williams said: "I would be pleased if Toyota reached its goals.

"Hopefully they can be a long term partner for us," the Briton told the German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Williams insists that finishing a full ten points ahead of its works partner in 2007 did not damage his relationship with Toyota, whose formula one team is based in Cologne.

"Whether or not we are in front or behind Toyota is irrelevant, as long as we are not right at the front," he said.

Meanwhile, Williams' stance against 'customer cars' was last week cited as a principal reason for Prodrive calling off its planned 2008 debut.

The 65-year-old seems unapologetic.

"I do not want to be suddenly fighting against four rather than two McLarens," he said.

"That could ruin me.  So even Bernie Ecclestone's proposal that these (customer) teams get paid less does not interest me," Williams added.

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
irl

Ex-Indy driver Walther sentenced
Former Indianapolis 500 driver David D. "Salt" Walther was sentenced to three years in prison for leading police on a chase at speeds of up 100 mph.  Greene County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen Wolaver sentenced the 59-year-old Walther on Wednesday after a jury convicted him of failing to comply with an order or signal of a police officer after a two-day trial.

Assistant Greene County Prosecutor David Hayes said Walther led police departments in the Dayton suburbs of Beavercreek and Centerville on a chase in July. A message seeking comment was left for defense attorney Charles Bursey.

Walther, who raced in the Indianapolis 500 seven times, was injured in a fiery 1973 crash at the 500.

In August, Walther was sentenced to two years and two months in prison for nonsupport of dependents and violating terms of an earlier sentence.  ESPN.com

Comment
11/25/07
starmazda

JDC MotorSports re-signs Rick Cameron
Giving strong notice that they will be back to defend their titles next year, reigning Star Mazda Championship Driver and Team Champions JDC MotorSports have announced that race engineer Rick Cameron will return to the team in 2008, keeping the powerhouse squad together for the upcoming campaign.

Less than a month after the completion of the 2007 season, Cameron has come to an agreement with JDC MotorSports for the 2008 season, rejoining the team as a Race Engineer. Part of a talented crew behind the pit wall, the New Zealand-born Cameron will be seeking continued success with team co-owner John Church’s organization. Joining the Minnesota-based squad last year, Cameron helped guide his son Dane to the Star Mazda driver’s title and aided JDC in capturing the Team Championship as well.

A native of Sonoma, Calif., Cameron has been involved in motorsports for over two decades, achieving a great deal of success as crew chief and race engineer. Involved in open-wheel racing the majority of his career, Cameron has won multiple championships and honors and is widely regarded as one of the premier engineers in junior formula car racing. Working with multiple teams in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship teams in the 1980’s and 90’s, he was part of a championship winning effort in 1987, scored numerous race wins and was named the Crew Chief of the Year in 1996 and 1997. Most recently, Cameron has participated in the Star Mazda Championship, winning three series titles. In 2007, Cameron was part of JDC MotorSports’ three-win championship season. Over the years, the renowned engineer has worked with many of the best up-and-coming drivers, helping develop and nurture their talent.

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
f1

BMW-Sauber gets New Sponsor
Swiss company Sika will be supporting the BMW Sauber F1 Team as a Promotional Supplier from 2008. Based in Baar, Switzerland, Sika is a specialty chemicals company well known to BMW and already involved in other motor sport projects run by the group. The cooperation began in the 1980s.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: “We are very pleased that this longstanding cooperation is now to be taken up by Formula One. Sika, like ourselves and the other partners of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, has the same aspiration towards perfection in its own products. Beyond that, it also means we will have another Swiss element in our team.”

Sika will be appearing as the Official Partner of the Formula BMW World Final 2007, which takes place this weekend in Valencia, Spain. Their involvement in the event provides the ideal context in which to announce their role as Promotional Supplier to the BMW Sauber F1 Team as of January 2008.

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
racing news

Quotes of the week

Ecclestone

BERNIE ECCLESTONE, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
"Britain is supposed to be the heart of Formula One racing and our circuit is bottom of the list," Ecclestone said.  "With a tiny percentage of what the government are wasting on the Olympics, they could support Silverstone.  They know exactly what they have to do. They've known for at least five years.  It's not for us to say where the money comes from but it's strange because most of the events we have now are supported by governments."  (Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has described Silverstone as the sport's worst circuit and called on the government to invest in improvements. Ecclestone has repeatedly warned that the historic venue is in danger of losing the British Grand Prix.)

Luca di Montezemolo

LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLA, President, Ferrari

"This season has been more about treachery than sportsmanship, which I saw little of," Montezemolo said after the Court of Appeal found McLaren's appeal inadmissible.  "For the first time the lawyers worked harder than the technicians, but our successes prove that we are a true team," said Montezemolo.  (Four weeks have passed since Kimi Raikkonen mathematically clinched the drivers' title in Brazil, but the 'cool fuel' appeal lodged by McLaren could potentially have handed the crown to Lewis Hamilton late last week.)

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
track news

Some question millions in incentives to keep Smith's speedway
While some of the incentives approved to keep Bruton Smith from moving Lowe's Motor Speedway from Concord could benefit the larger community, the deal is another case of government aid to a company that threatened to leave North Carolina.

Smith agreed Wednesday to invest $100 million to $200 million in renovations and upgrades at the 47-year-old speedway. In return for the billionaire not building another speedway elsewhere in the Charlotte region, officials with Concord, Cabarrus County and the state of North Carolina agreed to provide about $80 million in incentives.

Most of that would come through road improvements, with a half-cent increase in the county sales tax as one possible source of money for the projects.

Details about the incentives and speedway improvements are to be released Monday. Smith couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Depending on how much Smith spends on construction, the speedway could see as much as $12 million in local tax breaks, based on a reduction of local property taxes by 85 percent over five years, as other companies have received. Once the tax credits expire, Concord and Cabarrus County could receive $2 million to $3 million a year in new tax revenue.

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
cc

Race Car Driver being shown in the UK
'The Champ Car related TV series called 'Race Car Driver' is being shown on the new UK TV channel 'Dave.'  It has never been on UK TV before

Comment
11/25/07
Formula BMW

Eng wins Formula BMW World Final

Philipp Eng

Valencia -. Philipp Eng (AUT) of Team Mücke Motorsport is the winner of the third Formula BMW World Final. At Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat", the 17-year-old celebrated a dominant start to finish victory. His team- mate, Josef Král (CZE), crossed the line in second, but was later disqualified due to a technical infringement. Because of this Marco Wittmann (GER/Josef Kaufmann Racing) was awarded the runner-up spot. The reward for Jens Klingmann's (GER/Eifelland Racing) progress through the field from 11th on the grid was a third- place finish. However, the ultimate reward of the drive in a BMW Sauber F1 Team car went to overall winner, Eng.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented: "Congratulations to Philipp Eng for winning the Formula BMW World Final. After a long Formula BMW season this was another very important event for all the competitors. To take victory in such a competitive field is a great achievement."

"I cannot believe that I really won it," said Eng following the 22-lap contest. "From the very first practice session I felt really comfortable on this track, and thought about the possibility of making it onto the podium. That I managed to take victory, however, is just unbelievable. Many thanks to my team, who worked exceptionally hard for this success. To drive a Formula 1 car has always been one of my biggest dreams."

From pole position, Eng made an excellent start and stayed in front. Behind him, Daniel Morad (CAN/Eurointernational) and Král also defended second and third places respectively. On lap three, however, Morad - who had won two out of six intermediate heats - saw his hopes of winning the World Final come to an early end, when he was forced to retire due to a technical problem. Král took over second place, Jonathan Legris (GBR/Motaworld Racing) improved to third. Some great duels unfolded in the lead group, as well as down the entire field of the 34 drivers. Wittmann came under pressure from Formula BMW Germany's series winner, Klingmann, who had quickly moved up the field over the first few laps. Wittmann, however, opted for an aggressive strategy and overtook Legris for third place on lap 13. Klingmann also launched a successful attack on Legris one lap later. Eng finally took the checkered flag 3.7 seconds ahead of Král.

"I'm really satisfied with second place," said Wittmann. "Prior to the final race we had to do an engine change and were not 100 percent sure that everything would work fine. But it did perfectly, in the end." Klingmann was also satisfied, saying: ""Obviously this result comes as a surprise. I'm happy with it, as we have shown over the course of the weekend how quick we are. I won two heats. If I hadn't been forced to retire in heat 1, I could have scored an even better result."

Read more & Comment...

11/25/07
f1

F1 drivers as role models
When Robert Kubica lost control of his BMW Sauber car at 280 kilometers an hour and ran into a concrete wall before rolling across the track and hitting another wall at the Canadian Grand Prix last month, it was one of the largest impacts ever measured on a Formula One car.

That he suffered nothing more than a slight concussion was, according to a report released this week by the International Automobile Federation, the sport's governing body, thanks to a perfect functioning of all of the safety measures developed in recent years.

Drivers and other Formula One officials also said the crash showed just how much better road car safety could be with further research and development.

"I hope what Formula One achieves in terms of safety standards will be one day translated to the street," said the Williams driver, Alexander Wurz, immediately after the accident. "I think an accident like Robert's today shows how much safer cars can be and what you can get away with."

Yet many people question how it is possible to reconcile motor racing and its virtues of speed, daring and finishing first, with the 1.2 million annual highway deaths worldwide. And road accidents are the No. 1 killer worldwide of people aged 10 to 24.

Lewis Hamilton, 22, as a popular national figure and championship leader, said he realized he was becoming a role model for that age group.

"I'm starting to notice it and starting to see the importance of my actions, the way people perceive me and the image that I portray," Hamilton said in an interview last week. "I have to make sure I stay on the right route and try to do what is best. Not only for me, but what's best for the youngsters."

That is why Cynthia Ranyak is on a personal campaign to demand help to promote safe driving from the motor racing community. Ranyak's 18-year-old daughter, Emily, died in a car accident in Florida in 2005. The car was driven by William Riehl, also 18, a friend of Marco Andretti, a racer and grandson of the Formula One champion Mario Andretti.

Ranyak blames the racing mentality for the death of her daughter. She says that not enough is being done to warn teenagers of the dangers of racing.

"We have warnings on cigarettes and alcohol, and you have to be 21 to go to an 'adult' club; so why should race cars go unregulated?" said Ranyak in an e-mail.

In fact, the relationship between road safety and car racing has never been more closely tied and mutually supportive as it is today. Formula One is directly responsible for the creation and funding of the FIA Foundation, which works with the United Nations and the World Bank to improve highway safety.  More at International Herald Tribune  [Also: Champ Car is sponsoring the Hands On The Wheel Program to help make drivers aware of better road safety.]

Comment
11/25/07
f1
karting

Schu wins Massa’s kart race in Brazil

Race winner Michael Schumacher gets ready to pounce on Tony Kanaan

(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has won a karting event hosted in Brazil by his former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.

In the southern city of Florianopolis, the retired seven time world champion started race one of the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs - in front of a crowd of 10,000 - just fourth, but quickly moved up into second place before overtaking the leader Lucas di Grassi.

In the second race, transmitted live by the Brazilian TV station O Globo, the 38-year-old German had a few touches but fought up to sixth place after the top-eight from race one was reversed.

Renault test driver Nelson Piquet Jr had secured pole, ahead of names including Luciano Burti, Rubens Barrichello, Antonio Pizzonia, Ricardo Zonta, Luca Badoer, Tarso Marques and former Honda sporting director Gil de Ferran.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, meanwhile, had pulled out of the event amid his search for a formula one seat for 2008.

Comment
11/25/07
f1

Coulthard scolds Tost for Alonso remarks
(GMM)  David Coulthard has scolded a Red Bull stable-mate for firing speculation that his spot on the 2008 grid might not be secure.

Franz Tost, boss of the Red Bull co-owned team Toro Rosso, seemed recently to confirm rumors that talks are going on between the energy drink marque and double world champion Fernando Alonso.

"As far as I know, there are talks between Red Bull and Alonso," the Austrian had said, amid speculation that Coulthard could be slotted into a Toro Rosso seat next year to make room for the Spaniard.

Coulthard, who describes his Red Bull Racing contract for next year as "binding" and specific, said he was surprised by Tost's remarks.

"I cannot understand why he would feel it's appropriate to make a comment about another team, owned by the same parent company, without any authority to do so and no understanding of the contractual situation," the Scot wrote in his column for ITV.

"STR had the same car as us this year but nowhere near the same performance so shouldn't he be concentrating on his own business rather than ours?" Coulthard quipped.

The 36-year-old revealed that his contract for 2008 is watertight, but he is also confident in the integrity of Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz.

"He is a man of his word," Coulthard explained.

Comment
11/25/07
f1

Montoya backs Alonso's McLaren exit
(GMM)  Fellow McLaren exile Juan Pablo Montoya has backed Fernando Alonso's split with the British team after just one season.

The Colombian winner of seven grands prix, scored mostly for Williams, was considered one of formula one's very best drivers until a less than two year stint at McLaren sent him running for cover in NASCAR.

To the Spanish news agency EFE, Montoya described Alonso's star-crossed tenure in 2007 as "a similar situation" to the one he faced at McLaren a couple of years ago.

"I understand where Fernando is coming from.  I felt the same," he said.

"He never felt comfortable in the team and the arrival of Lewis Hamilton made it worse," he added.

Montoya said it is right that the pairing has split after a single acrimonious season.

"You can not be where you feel simply bad," he explained.  "What he should look for now is a team that can give him back his confidence to be fully competitive again," he advised.

Comment
11/25/07
a1gp

Penalties change A1GP race results
Sprint race
As a result of Germany being demoted to 16th place due to causing an avoidable collision during this morning's Sprint race, Canadian rookie Robert Wickens has scored the team's first podium finish since Brno last season and notched up a valuable 10 points for his country, moving Canada into 12th place in the championship.
Home nation Malaysia scored its first two points by default this morning after Germany's demotion and A1 Team Netherlands' 25-second penalty for a false start in the Sprint race. The penalty dropped them from eighth to 18th in the final Sprint race classification, stripping the team of the three points it had scored. The penalty also meant that Ireland and Italy received an additional two points each.

Feature race
A1 Teams Brazil and Great Britain have both been hit with a two second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage in the pit lane during the first mandatory stop in this afternoon's Feature race, promoting France to second place, USA to tenth and Mexico to 11th.

Germany was penalized with the equivalent time of a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Great Britain on lap 19 and following a further avoidable collision with the Czech Republic on lap 28, Germany was excluded from the final Feature race results.

Switzerland now leads the championship on 61 points, eight ahead of second-placed France on 53, followed by New Zealand in third on 46.

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
tv news
irl

Castroneves shines on ’Dancing with the Stars’ UPDATE #9 The tenth and final round of competition of "Dancing with the Stars" will be shown Monday night, November 26, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm ET on ABC.  The results show announcing this season's winner will air Tuesday night, November 27, 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET on ABC.  Don't miss this exciting final round of competition where Helio Castroneves and his professional dance partner, Julianne Hough, are one of the three couples competing for the mirror ball trophy.  Helio and Julianne will be dancing the Quickstep, Jive and freestyle in the finale. 

11/18/07 The ninth-round competition of "Dancing with the Stars" will be shown on Monday night, November 19, 8:00 pm - 9:32 pm ET on ABC.  This is the semifinal round of competition.  The results show will air on Tuesday, November 20, 9:00 pm - 10:02 pm ET on ABC.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.  There are now four couples remaining in the competition.

11/11/07 The eighth-round competition of "Dancing with the Stars" will be shown on Monday night, November 12, 8:00 pm - 9:32 pm ET on ABC.  The results show will air on Tuesday, November 13, 9:00 pm - 10:02 pm ET on ABC. Please check local listings for your location and time zone.  There are now five couples remaining in the competition to continue with another Latin and ballroom double dance challenge. 

Helio Castroneves' dancing partner, Julianne Hough, and her brother, (Nico Rosberg look-alike) Derek, also competing on "Dancing with the Stars," were featured in a segment on ABC's 20/20 program Friday night.  Julianne is sensational when she cha-chas and he's magic with the mambo. She can tame the tango and the man. And he can turn a clumsy misstep into a grace note. Julianne, 19, and her brother Derek, 22, are quite simply among the very best dancers on the planet. The Houghs have been dancing for nearly a decade, having left their home in Utah as children for a new life of professional training and competition in England. This season, the normally loving brother and sister will dance into some good old-fashioned sibling rivalry as they compete to win the title and the hearts of American viewers on "Dancing with the Stars."  Read more, including videos and photos, in the transcript of 20/20.

Read more & Comment...
11/25/07
a1gp

Jani dominates in Sepang
Malaysia - Pole sitter and Sprint race winner A1 Team Switzerland took its second win of the day in this afternoon's incident-packed Feature race at Sepang in scorching weather conditions, moving the team into the championship lead by 10 points. Jani was joined on the podium by Brazilian rookie Sergio Jimenez, who started the race sixth and led for 15 laps, in second position and French driver Loic Duval in third. More on Home page....

Comment
11/25/07
a1gp

Jani wins Sprint race
Malaysia - Pole sitter A1 Team Switerzland's Neel Jani took his second consecutive Sepang Sprint race victory this morning at the third round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season in Malaysia. He dominated from start to finish to cross the line almost four seconds ahead of second-placed A1 Team France driver Loic Duval. The pair were joined on the podium by Germany's Michael Ammermüller, who put in a superb performance to secure a top-three finish in his maiden A1GP race. As the ten-lap Sprint race got underway in hot and humid weather conditions (air 29 degrees C, humidity 78 per cent), Jani stormed off the grid to take the lead as Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis made contact with France into turn one. The British car sustained damage to the front wing and fell back to sixth place, letting Canada, Germany and Brazil through into third, fourth and fifth position respectively. By the end of lap two, Switzerland had romped into the distance and pulled out a two-second lead from France. The excitement continued just behind the leading pair as German new boy Ammermüller piled the pressure onto third-placed Canadian driver, Robert Wickens, also making his A1GP race debut.

Comment
11/25/07
tv news
nascar

Jimmie Johnson on Live with Regis and Kelly
2007 and 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson, will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Monday, November 26.  The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones.  The network varies.  Please check your local listings for your location and time zone.

Comment
11/24/07
f1

Jordan says no more excuses for Honda
Former Formula 1 team principal Eddie Jordan says Honda has no more excuses not to be successful as a grand prix constructor now that it has taken on Ross Brawn as team principal.

Jordan, whose team used Honda power to win four of its five grand prix victories, is a self-confessed fan of the Japanese manufacturer and has backed the hiring of the former Ferrari strategic genius as a 'dream come true' for the team and its British star Jenson Button.

"Button has style, speed and experience: a class act who, without a doubt, will be a major threat if he ever gets the car," said Jordan, who he describes Button in his column for the January edition of F1 Racing (out Tuesday) as having world champion potential.

Jordan believes that Honda is now poised to capitalise on Brawn's experience, and after its worst season as a constructor, could be on the verge of becoming a major force again in F1.

"Brawn wouldn't go there without knowing that the funding, people, commitment and drivers are in place, and I think he'll put an astounding package together in a team that has mainly lacked guidance," he said. "Brawn has been around the block and has the respect of everyone in F1. "He may not be the world's greatest designer but he is the best at putting a team together and managing it. He also has great forsight and knowledge – and the ear of Max [Mosley] and Bernie [Ecclestone]." Honda slipped out of competitiveness in 2007 as the disappoininting RA107 chassis proved unpredictable and unrewarding for its drivers.

But while this set-back for the team - which scored its first victory at Hungary the previous season - was a massive blow, Jordan claims that Brawn is unlikely to fail in his quest to bring the team back to the front. "Proof that Brawn still has a racer's blood is this move to a team languishing at the back," said Jordan. "He did it with Benetton and Ferrari, but this challenge is even greater. "Ross has the stature to hold his own with Tokyo and UK Honda bosses. And when he re-emerges with a winning car it will be his greatest feat."

Comment
11/24/07
f1

Piquet Jr. backs TC ban
The ING Renault F1 Team’s third driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, reckons that the abolition of traction control is good news. The 2008 cars will put a real emphasis on driving skills. The ban of traction control is one of the new regulations for the 2008 F1 season. Nelson, what was your reaction when you drove a car fitted with traction control for the first time?

"I was surprised how easy it was with this driver aid. The car was less twitchy and it was possible to tackle the kerbs without hesitating. I stayed on line and I could really nail the accelerator. The ECU took over and dosed the power according to the grip. It was very good for the times, but didn’t really require a very special talent."

And when you got into a car in 2008 set-up? "I thought it would be very difficult and I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I come from the GP2 category in which the car’s got fairly heavy downforce and slick tyres without driver aids. It keeps you very busy behind the wheel, I can tell you! In a certain sense mastering an F1 car without traction control is easier than taming a GP2. It’s also true that the change to the V8 engine eased the transition for the F1 drivers. A V10 without traction control would have been a lot more brutal and more difficult to drive."

Have you had to adjust your driving style? "For sure you don’t drive a 2008 car like a 2007 one! You have to be much more careful where you place it, which was much easier before. You have to really control the way it slides and pay attention to your right foot. It’s much more fun for the drivers. Of course, lap times won’t be quite as quick for a while, but I’m sure that that they’ll gradually come back to those of last season. You’ll just have to get used to the new set-up and find your marks."

Will you have to change some of the set-up parameters as well? "Of course! You will have to adapt the car to this new way of driving. It’ll be necessary to have softer rear suspension to maximise traction. Tyre wear will also have to be watched very carefully when you follow another car and you try to overtake. One thing that has to be said is that a good car with traction control will still be a good car without it!"

Comment
11/24/07
formula bmw

Clean sweep for Morad so far
After four of six intermediate heats, Daniel Morad (CAN) holds the lead in the interim standings that will determine the starting grid for the 2007 Formula BMW World Final. The reigning Formula BMW USA champion won both the second and the third heats at Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat".

His biggest rival on his quest for pole at the Formula BMW season highlight is Philipp Eng (AUT). The 17-year-old crossed the line first in the opening race of the day. In heat 4, it was Formula BMW Germany's season winner Jens Klingmann (GER) who took the win, but in his first race at the 3.1-kilometre track he was forced into early retirement.

Read more & Comment...
11/24/07
superleague

Superleague signs up yet another team
The passionate supporters of leading Brazilian football club Flamengo today got their first chance to see their colors adorn the V-12 powered, 750 horsepower single seater racing car that will represent them in the new Superleague Formula championship.

The new series will feature the world's leading football clubs doing battle on track – 20 high-tech racing cars fighting it out from August, 2008.

In a country renowned for its football and motor sport prowess, it seemed only natural that a Brazilian club would be represented in the championship. With an estimated 33 million supporters, 29 Rio de Janeiro State Championships, five Brazilian national titles and a World Club Championship victory to its credit – Flamengo was the obvious choice.

Flamengo's star line-up including captain Fabio Luciano plus leading players Ibson, Obina and Bruno saw the car for the first time today – the Superleague Formula car unveiled inside the club's official trophy room.

Read more & Comment...
11/24/07
a1gp

Jani leads Practice 3 in Malaysia
Malaysia - A1 Team Switzerland dominated the third and final official practice session at Sepang International circuit this morning, setting the scene for an incredibly close and exciting qualifying session this afternoon.

Champ Car driver Neel Jani, who masterfully converted his pole position to a win in last year's Sepang Sprint race, set the pace early on and went on to record a blisteringly quick lap of 1m49.176s on used tires, 40 minutes into the hour long session.

The Swiss racer was closely followed by France's Loic Duval, who clocked the second fastest time ahead of India's Narain Karthikeyan, with just over half a second separating the top three.

Despite spinning off the track into the gravel at the start of the session, GBR's Oliver Jarvis finished fourth fastest while USA's Jonathan Summerton and A1GP debutante Germany's Michael Ammermüller impressed the crowd by setting the fifth and sixth fastest times respectively.

Read more & Comment...
11/24/07
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Sunday
NASCAR Nextel Cup - Replays
1:00pm-2:30pm Atlanta (R)
2:30pm-4:00pm Texas (R)
4:00pm-6:00pm Phoenix (R)
6:00pm-8:00pm Homestead-Miami (R) ESPN Classic

2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series - Season Review   
1:30pm-2:00pm ESPN2
2007 NASCAR Busch Series - Season Review   
2:00pm-2:30pm  ESPN2

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


Comment
11/23/07
f1

Klien: Bring on the shootout
Christian Klien has said he would welcome a shoot-out session between a number of drivers to see who is the best driver for the Force India F1 team. Earlier this month Colin Kolles already revealed to GPUpdate.net that the test session in Jerez next month would decide who would race with the team in 2008. Speaking about a possible shoot-out between drivers Klien told F1.com: "If Force India chooses to develop a shoot-out I will do whatever I am asked to do, give it my best and not worry about the other drivers. When I was winning in karting, Formula Renault and Formula Three - against other current F1 drivers - I never worried about them, just the challenge of making the car work properly and racing well. So much in racing is about the equipment you have and the people in the team supporting you, so when you have an equal chance it's easier to show what you can do."

All Klien targets at the moment is a race seat in Formula 1, there are no other options he admits. "I am not thinking about a plan B, just a plan A - to race in F1," said Klien. "There are drivers in F1 at the end of their careers, other drivers at the start, others in the middle. Times have changed. Teams need young quick drivers with a future in the sport, and preferably with good experience too. I have raced drivers like Lewis (Hamilton) and Nico (Rosberg) and I feel we represent the new generation of F1 - so that's my plan!"

Comment
11/23/07
formula bmw

Philipp Eng takes Super Pole at Formula BMW World Final
Philipp Eng (AUT) set the fastest time of 1:18.418 minutes in the "Super Pole" competition at the Formula BMW World Final. His Mücke Motorsport teammate Josef Král (CZE) was second at Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat", just 0.509 seconds slower than Eng. Third went to Sam Abay (AUS) from the Double R Racing team.

In a thrilling single-lap contest, the eight drivers involved were not just looking to secure a good starting position for the six intermediate races (the "heats"), which start on Saturday and will determine the grid positions for the Formula BMW World Final. They were also included in one of two qualifying groups, with both groups hoping to set the fastest lap times in two earlier 30-minute sessions. Group two, in which Eng set the best time of the afternoon, proved to be the quicker of the two groups.

"It was great to finish at the top in qualifying," said Eng. "The Super Pole is a nice bonus. The key in the single-lap qualifying was to get the tyres and brakes up to the perfect temperature. Luckily I managed this, and now am in the best possible position for the heats. This is a good starting point."

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11/23/07
motogp

Michelin baffled by Rossi switch

Valentino Rossi

In an interview with Motosprint magazine, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing Jean-Philippe Weber says he cannot understand why Valentino Rossi wants to race on Bridgestone tires in 2008.

"There were many changes in 2007, so many that it was almost a revolution," Weber said in an interview with Motosprint magazine. "At the beginning Ducati looked unmatchable in their performance, while Honda and Yamaha had problems. "As far as we are concerned, I think we lost a lot in the wet races, while in the dry we had problems on two tracks: Laguna Seca and Brno. So, there were problems on the bike as well as with the tires.

"In my opinion things changed at the end of the season, as far as we are concerned, but Valentino felt that the problem was just the tire, not something else. Maybe this is a good analysis, or maybe it isn't.

"For me this decision of his is difficult to understand, but that's what he's decided. It could be a good or a bad choice, we'll see in a while. For sure there are things, also psychological ones, that influence greatly a rider's performance. "But we look ahead, we must get a good performance with the riders we have." Weber also admitted Michelin feared they would have to leave the sport after Dorna proposed the introduction of control tires from 2008. The proposal was later withdrawn.

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11/23/07
f1

Prodrive confirms F1 no-go for 2008
(GMM)  David Richards on Friday confirmed in a statement that Prodrive will not make its formula one debut as planned in 2008.

The Briton had told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday that threatened legal challenges and the stalled Concorde Agreement had ruined his company's plans to become the twelfth and final team next year.

"The team still hopes to enter the championship at some future date," the statement provided by Banbury-based Prodrive said on Friday.

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11/23/07
f1

Williams rules out selling Rosberg
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams on Friday diminished the prospect of a move to McLaren for Nico Rosberg even further.

The eponymous Oxfordshire based team's boss and co-owner vehemently told the German publication Sport Auto that he is not interested in selling the 22-year-old's 2008 contract to Ron Dennis -- even for an impressive multi-million dollar price tag.

Alongside names including Heikki Kovalainen, Adrian Sutil and Pedro de la Rosa, German-born Rosberg had been touted as a frontrunner to replace Fernando Alonso at Mercedes-powered McLaren for 2008 and beyond.

But Williams, 65, insisted: "How am I going to go with that to the people in the factory, and to the sponsors?

"I tell them that we want to be back up there, and that I sold our best driver as well?  I might as well sell the team," the Briton said.

Williams plummeted to eighth in the constructors' championship last year, but had a
stronger season on all fronts in 2007.

Still referring to his contractual hold on Rosberg, Williams explained: "A year ago
I might have weakened because we really needed the money.  But this is no longer the case."

Comment
11/23/07
f1

Prodrive blames others for failed F1 entry
Prodrive would like to take the opportunity to clarify the position regarding its plans to enter the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Prodrive has always been committed to competing in Formula One with what has become known as a ‘customer car’. It has been well known that our entry was made on this basis and that our entire business model was built upon this premise.

Over the past 18 months we have put considerable effort into securing an agreement for the supply of cars and engines from McLaren and Mercedes, as well as financial backing from a partner new to the sport.  It was therefore particularly disappointing to face a last minute legal challenge to our entry, when our plans have been public knowledge for over a year. 

This legal challenge and continuing delays to the new ‘Concorde Agreement’ represent a fundamental change in circumstances, therefore we must now realistically rule out the possibility of Prodrive being on the grid in 2008.

It is, however, still our ambition to compete in Formula One and we are hopeful that a new ‘Concorde Agreement’ between the FIA, FOA and the teams will provide clarity as to the terms on which this might be possible. 

When this new agreement is reached, we will be in a position to consider the extent to which we can adapt our plans for participation in the future.

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11/23/07
f1

Renaults Tim Densham talks about the TC ban
The ING Renault Formula 1 Team’s chief designer, Tim Densham, runs though the modifications made to the 2008 car to compensate for the loss of traction control. The ban of traction control is one of the many new regulations for the 2008 season.

Tim, before speaking about traction control, let’s talk about the 2008 common ECU. What are your feelings on the subject?
"Let’s just say that for me this ECU has a very strange shape, a triangular one, so it was clearly designed for a specific car last season. It’s the same thing for the power box that goes with it. The position and the angle of the connectors are proof of a bespoke design for another car. It took a month’s work by one of our engineers in the design office to adapt this ECU to the R27 for winter testing. We had to reposition all these components, and their cooling requirements were also different to what we already knew."

So its installation on the R28 will also be modified...
"These units won’t be installed where we put them for our winter testing with the R27. However, some things like the program or the harness will be identical."

Has the loss of traction control forced you to revise certain of the 2008 car’s parameters like the weight distribution or the suspension geometry?
"No, not really. I don’t understand those who say that they’ve modified their cars because of this new factor. If a car is intrinsically good with traction control it’ll be good without it. Adapting to the new grip levels due to the lack of traction control will be done by the set-up more than by the design. On the other hand, it’s true that the loss of traction control could amplify a balance problem whose influence on performance was minimal up to now."

What parameters have to be closely watched?
"Mechanical grip at the rear and tire wear, in particular."

Is sorting out the electronic problem the biggest challenge of the interseason?
"Not at my level. There are some other very important things on my drawing board!"  Source Renault

Comment
11/23/07
nascar

Yates wants NASCAR to go green
"Going green" is auto racing jargon for the start of an event, the ceremonious moment a waving green flag signals to the drivers and fans that the race is on. Recently retired Nextel Cup owner Robert Yates is ready for NASCAR to go a different sort of green -- the environmentally sensitive variety.

"I get very depressed when I look at the future of our country, and I don't think it has to be that way," Yates said. "I think the things we could do can improve it, but we have to change the culture."

Yates is doing his part. He sits at a desk in his office deep within his team's shop, hands folded. He is fidgety, uncertain exactly how to express his feelings. What he is about to share goes against his lifeblood. The office lights are off. So are the hallway lights leading to his office. The break room lights and the bathroom lights are off, and the computer behind him is powered down. The blinds are open to let the sunshine in.

This man who has so greatly prospered, who has achieved financial wealth and personal and professional acclaim beyond his wildest dreams because he produced more power than the next guy, is gravely concerned about that which gave him so much -- energy.

And energy is merely the epicenter of his worries. From his concern for energy springs a wildly cyclical hypothesis that over a two-hour discussion spreads to drugs, education, firecrackers, obesity and war. And how NASCAR, of all things, can be a catalyst for change.

Robert Yates wants to change the world one light bulb at a time. One engine at a time. One race at a time.

"For the past five or six years I've been complaining about energy, especially fossil fuel," Yates said with a steely glare. "And it's my livelihood. It's my business. But that's why I think I could speak on it, because I've lived that life."  ESPN.com

Comment
11/23/07
industry news

Volvo Cars recalls 56,000 vehicles
Volvo Cars said Thursday it was recalling 56,000 vehicles because of two separate problems.  Volvo Cars spokeswoman Maria Bohlin said 38,000 diesel cars of the S60, V 70 XC 70 and XC 90 models made in 2006 were being called back in Europe due to a material fault that could cause the motor catching fire. The second callback, involving 18,000 of the company's latest V 70 and XC 70 models, relates to an air bag problem in the side of the car.

Bohlin said the fuel injector plants or bolts, located on top of the motor cylinder, were faulty, potentially causing diesel to leak out into the motor. Injector plants or bolts would be replaced free-of-charge in a procedure that would take about two hours, she said.

With the air bags "there's a risk they don't launch fast enough," Bohlin said. The cars mainly have been sold in Sweden, Britain and in the U.S.  Bohlin declined to say how much the recalls and maintenance work would cost the company.  Volvo Cars has been owned by Ford Motor Co. since 1999, when it was acquired for $6.45 billion.

Comment
11/23/07
f1

BMW also objects to "McLaren" standard ECU


Nick Heidfeld in his BMW

(GMM)  BMW has added its objection to formula one's imposition of standard electronics in 2008 and beyond.

Renault has so far been the most vocally opposed to the arrival of the McLaren co-developed system that is now the focus of the post-season tests in Spain.

The team's technical director Bob Bell last week said it is "obvious" that McLaren will have an advantage in 2008, after encountering difficulty in the transition from its bespoke cutting-edge Magneti Marelli system.

Similarly, in a document provided to the press this week, BMW congratulated itself as a "leader in the area of electronics" prior to the imposition of a standard ECU for next year.

"We voiced various objections to the introduction of standard electronics," BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen confirmed.

Following up on Renault's complaint, meanwhile, chief designer Tim Densham suggests that McLaren is the only team in the paddock that does not need to commit vast resources to adapting to the new standard ECU.

"Let's just say that for me this ECU has a very strange shape, a triangular one, so it was clearly designed for a specific car last season," he said.

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11/23/07
f1

Two day test for Schu at Jerez


Michael Schumacher was bloody impressive

(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's second test of the 2008 pre-season will be conducted over at least two more days, a Ferrari spokesman has confirmed.

It emerged on Thursday that, hot on the heels of the retired world champion's impressive two-day run this month at Circuit de Catalunya, the German will return to the wheel on December 4 at Jerez.

"We haven't arranged the program yet but he will do a couple of days," the Spanish newspaper Diario AS quotes the spokesman as saying.

To the British broadcaster ITV, meanwhile, Williams' Sam Michael explained that Schumacher's Barcelona return indicates that the 38-year-old could easily return as a highly competitive grand prix racer.

"Bloody hell.  That was impressive what he did at Barcelona.  It was incredible," the Australian said.

"I'm surprised he doesn't come back to be honest.  If he seriously got into a top car for next year he could win the world championship again.

"But I think he has made his decision (to retire) and he wants to stick by it," Michael added.

Comment
11/23/07
f1

McLaren steps up 'Renaultgate' attack
(GMM)  McLaren has stepped up the new so-called 'Renaultgate' scandal by leaking information to the press about the seriousness of the espionage allegations.

Less than two weeks before Renault faces the World Motor Sport Council, British newspapers have quoted from a briefing that appears to have been provided in a clandestine fashion by Ron Dennis' team.

The Times branded McLaren's efforts a "concerted attack" against the Flavio Briatore-led French squad, with the information revealing that up to 18 employees had viewed the McLaren secrets, which were taken to Renault by suspended engineer Phil Mackereth, on 11 separate computers.

The British press was also informed that Renault possessed 33 files of technical information, amounting to more than 780 drawings and the entire blueprints for McLaren's 2006 and 2007 cars, that were seen by seven officials as senior as chief designer Tim Densham.

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11/23/07
a1gp

Great Britain tops Friday practice as lap times tumble
Malaysia - A1 Team Great Britain dominated today's free practice sessions at Sepang circuit in hot and humid conditions, as round three of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season kicked off in Malaysia.

23-year-old Oliver Jarvis set the pace, clocking an outstanding lap of 1m49.459s on worn tires around the 5.54km circuit, slashing New Zealand's lap record of 1m53.343s which was set by Jonny Reid at last year's A1GP Sepang event in November 2006.

Jarvis was pleased with his team's start to the weekend but is adamant there is still work to be done and is targeting a strong qualifying performance tomorrow afternoon:

'It was a reasonable day. I would've liked a bit more pace early on in the session with the new tires but I'm very happy with the lap time set at the end - for the age of the tires it was fairly fantastic. But tomorrow's when it really counts and the guys will sit down tonight and analyze the data and hopefully we'll come back even stronger tomorrow.'

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