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Audi Pikes Peak Autonomous TT-S to take on Pike Peak  Audi announced their plans for an Autonomous TT-S this week, together with a team from Stanford University they aim to enter it in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The car will be named ‘Shelley’ and will be based on the floor-plan of the TT-S. The car will use a drive-by-wire system.

To the best of our knowledge, the TT-S should be able to complete the course under it’s own steam. No drivers and no remote controls.

Audi have stated their goals as being, “to collaborate with Stanford to build an autonomous vehicle capable of completing the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a reasonable time using rally driving techniques”. We’ll keep you informed on the teams progress. In the mean time take a look at the video, pictures and specifications below! More ...

Video: Chevy Volt goes Hollywood  
Video: Adam Carolla describes driving the Chevy Volt  

Recharging the Chevy Volt

Schumacher wins Brazilian karting event  The greatest racer of all-time, and 7-time F1 champion, Michael Schumacher continued his preparation for his F1 return in the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions at Florianopolis in Brazil today.  A combination of a win and a second place made him the outright champion of the annual event, ahead of Felipe Massa, who was having his first competitive race since his Hungaroring accident in July.

Felipe Massa took a popular victory in the second leg of his charity karting event by beating his former Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher to victory by just 0.087 seconds - the pair having fought through the field from the reversed grid.

IndyCar driver Vitor Meira was third ahead of Rubens Barrichello who had led the early laps of today's heat.

Hamilton insists Mercedes split 'doesn't concern' McLaren  Lewis Hamilton has rubbished fears that McLaren’s performance will drop off as a result of Mercedes-Benz rescinding its 40 per cent share in the team in order to purchase a majority stake in rivals Brawn GP – stressing that with ‘the best engine in F1’ still behind him, he and the Woking-based outfit will remain leading contenders in 2010 and beyond.

The Stuttgart manufacturer’s 75 per cent takeover of F1 2009 World Champions Brawn – in a move that will see the Brackley-based operation re-baptized Mercedes Grand Prix from next season onwards – means that whilst the three-pointed star will still be involved with McLaren, it will henceforth be merely as an engine-supplier, as part of an ongoing agreement until the end of 2015. More ...

NASCAR's biggest turkeys of 2009  As the NASCAR season ends and the holiday season commences let us give thanks to a few drivers who stoked our outrage or just plain gave us something to laugh about -- a veritable feast of folly:

Kyle Busch -- His poor imitation of Pete Townshend left spectators at Nashville Superspeedway and TV viewers at home stunned as he grabbed the hand-painted Gibson guitar trophy and smashed it on the pavement. He thought it would be a cool celebration. It wasn’t. Sam Bass, who spent many hours creating the design on the instrument only to watch Busch smash it in about 10 seconds, wasn’t laughing. On the plus side, at least Kyle didn’t set the guitar on fire and kick over the amps.

Jeremy Mayfield -- The case of Jeremy Mayfield v. NASCAR is starting to deteriorate faster than a meth addict’s dental work. A change of venue should be granted moving this case from federal court to the Jerry Springer Show. Mayfield’s ex-stepmother would have to be on the show, but there would need to be extra security guards on hand when the chairs start to fly. More ...
Toyota shopping some of its best  When Toyota recently closed its Formula 1 program, speculation that it would unleash a stream of the Japanese automakers' best engineering and mechanical minds toward its NASCAR arm was quickly dispelled. The economy's rendered that impossible, according to TRD president and general manager Lee White.

"We're head count frozen and don't have the ability to hire anyone right now," White said. "We are currently in the last stage of hiring a new chief engineer for our chassis deal in North Carolina, and it took me about six months to get approval. And that was one position, so it's unlikely TRD would take advantage of the available personnel even though we'd like to."

At Phoenix, White said TRD was shopping its displaced open-wheel personnel to any team in the garage area that might need their expertise.

"That's Toyota's way of operating," White said. "These are good people, and we want them to have jobs, even if there's no place for them right now with Toyota." More at NASCAR.com

Barrichello: Brawn should have fought to keep his drivers  Despite the fact that Mercedes now owns controlling interest in the team and wants two German drivers in their cars, Rubens Barrichello has suggested that Ross Brawn should have ‘fought’ to retain the drivers who helped to lead the ex-Honda F1 operation to double world championship glory in 2009.

Between them, Barrichello and teammate Jenson Button triumphed eight times over the course of 2009 – and on only six occasions did neither of them make the podium. However, Button was not offered a good contract because Brawn wanted him to jump ship to make room for 7-time world driving champion, Michael Schumacher (rumored) and has elected to jump ship to join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes next year where he will get eaten alive. Barrichello was also forced out and will extend his own record-breaking F1 career into an incredible 18th consecutive season at Williams. More ...

Video: Worlds fastest street legal electric car  
Nissan betting zero emission electric cars are the future  Japan's Nissan Motor Co. is working on a lithium-ion battery that can power an electric vehicle for 300 kilometers (190 miles) on a single charge, the business daily Nikkei said Sunday.

The distance is nearly double the 160-kilometre range of the Leaf, Nissan's first all-electric car set to go on sale in late 2010 in Japan, the United States and Europe.

Nissan, Japan's third largest automaker, aims to produce electric cars incorporating the new battery by 2015, according to Nikkei.

Nissan plans to boost the capacity of the lithium-ion battery's positive electrode by adding nickel and cobalt to its main material, manganese, it said. More ...

Lola did not join N.Technology/FIA action  UPDATE When asked about the current state of Lola's F1 project Birrane told Racecar Engineering: "We remain in a state of readiness to re-enter Formula One. During 2010 it can be re-activated very quickly indeed. We have the model and base data, production and project plans, a completed chassis bonding jig. We have also kept on some key personnel that were hired for the original plan. Should the opening arise, then Lola is the only company who can fill a space on the grid very quickly with a well designed and competitive F1 car.

"For 2011, the F1 team personnel cap of 280 will come in to force. We certainly welcome that as it fits almost perfectly with the current operation we have in Huntingdon. A Lola Formula One Team would welcome the opportunity to compete in the 2011 World Championship. It could be ready, able and willing to re-activate the program at any time."

And as the team was refused to enter Formula 1 Lola does not wish to sell its F1 project to an other competitor. "At present we are not looking at this option because we believe that another opportunity will arise for Lola F1," Birrane said.

11/19/09 (GMM)  Fellow rejected 2010 F1 team entrant Lola has revealed it did not support N.Technology's legal action against the governing FIA.

Italian entrant N.Technology recently lost its court action against the FIA's selection processes, amid wider suggestions the FIA improperly pressured hopeful teams to sign engine supply contracts with Cosworth.

"Well, Lola had an invitation to join this action but refused," Lola's executive chairman Martin Birrane said.

Birrane said Lola signed with Cosworth for 2010 and paid a deposit, but played down the suggestions about the FIA exerting inappropriate pressure. More ...

Edmonton Indy loses $3.8M  UPDATE Indy A pro-Indy car race group hopes to give the city and Northlands a proposal early in 2010 on ways to restructure the event so it can keep running in Edmonton. The changes could involve putting the race in the hands of a private company or setting up a public board with a chief executive to oversee the operation, says Ian MacGillivray, owner of Oomph! Events Inc. Four or five people who, like MacGillivray, have businesses linked to the race are holding an initial meeting today to discuss their initial steps, he said. "It costs(Northlands)money and it makes them look bad. Strategically, do they even want it?"

The city announced this week it will cover a $3.9-million loss on last July's race, more than double the $1.5-million shortfall expected and following a$5.3-million deficit from the first event in 2008. Northlands, asked by the city to take on the Indy after the former Champ Car circuit folded, blamed the red ink on a drop in ticket sales, sponsorship and corporate hospitality spurred by the recession, as well as low government grants.

Earlier this month, MacGillivray's firm helped set up a website(www. ontosomething.ca)and a Facebook group that now has about 100 members to rally support for the race. The three-year contract with the Indy Racing League expires after 2010. But MacGillivray said a decision about whether to seek an extension must be made before next April to allow enough time for planning. More ...
F1 hopefuls scheduled to test at Jerez next week  
December 1

Bertrand Baguette (B) - Renault
Jules Bianchi (F) - Ferrari
Mike Conway (GB) - Mercedes GP (morning)
Marcus Ericsson (S) - Mercedes GP (afternoon)
Paul Di Resta (GB) - Force India (afternoon)
JR Hildebrand (USA) - Force India (morning)
Brendon Hartley (NZ) - Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) - Red Bull
Alexander Rossi (USA) - BMW
Andy Soucek (E) - Williams
Oliver Turvey (GB) - McLaren More ...

F1 return to Montreal for 2010 confirmed  Formula One will return to Montreal for at least the next five years, government officials announced Friday.

The Quebec race was removed from the Formula One circuit in October 2008 over a contractual dispute, to the dismay of civic leaders and merchants.

But government officials said they have reached a new agreement with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to bring the Grand Prix back to North America.

The agreement includes $15 million in annual contributions from the three levels of government.

"This agreement is a win-win situation for the Quebec taxpayer, and for the Canadian taxpayer," said Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand.

The race has an economic impact on the city of about $89 million a year, officials said.

The next race is June 13 at the Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit.

Ferrari issues an unusual recall  Last week, Ferrari issued a recall on about 2,400 1995–99 355 and 355F1s in the United States. The reason? A non-factory mechanic improperly installed “certain screw clamps that are located in close proximity to the fuel lines and that fasten the water sleeve to the thermostat connection.”

Ferrari said it feared the error could damage the fuel-supply pipes and possibly allow fuel to leak into the engine compartment.

The recall is unusual because the typical safety recall involves a design flaw, manufacturing error or the failure to meet motor vehicle safety standards.

In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Ferrari says it learned of the problem when it was sued over a fire involving an injury to the driver. Ferrari says the suit has been settled, but during discovery it uncovered the mechanic’s snafu.

Ferrari says the mistake was “extremely unusual and should have been obvious to, and readily avoidable by, any reasonably skilled technician.” But to prevent this from happening again, Ferrari told the agency it was now recommending that owners have a “fuel divider block” installed by dealers.

A spokesman for Ferrari North America agreed this was not the classic safety recall, but he said Ferrari felt it was important to make sure our cars were “always at their best condition.” He said Ferrari had seen this same repair done improperly by non-factory mechanics in other countries, too. NYTimes.com

As AR1.com reported for weeks, Schu not bound by Ferrari  (GMM)  The latest twist in the rumors linking Michael Schumacher to Mercedes GP for 2010 is that the German may already be contractually free to sign.

The former seven time world champion's new three-year consultancy agreement with Ferrari was announced in September.

Reports that Ferrari had not received any requests from either the 40-year-old German's camp or Mercedes GP were therefore seen as evidence that the rumors lacked substance.

But it emerged this week that Schumacher's new contract with Ferrari may not have actually been signed.

"I can only confirm that the agreement between Michael and Ferrari was announced in September at Monza," Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni told Germany's Express.

"I don't know whether the agreement was signed in the physical sense.  But as in a family, does the word of the people involved have any value, or not?" he added.

Renault to test Chinese driver  
Ho-Pin Tung sits while resin for seat fitting hardens
China's Ho-Pin Tung will join Belgian Bertrand Baguette and Brazilian Lucas di Grassi in testing for Renault in Spain next week, the Formula One team said on Friday. 

The Dutch-born 26-year-old became the first Chinese to drive a grand prix car when he tested for Williams in December 2003. Since then he has competed in the GP2 and A1 Grand Prix series.

Baguette, 23, will be driving a Formula One car for the first time as a prize for winning the World Series by Renault title while Di Grassi was the team's official reserve last season. More ...

Wurz pulls out of running for USF1 seat  (GMM)  Alex Wurz on Friday announced that he will not be making a return to formula one in 2010 with a USF1 race seat.

Earlier this year, the Austrian driver as well as USF1's sporting director Peter Windsor confirmed they were in contact about a possible collaboration for the new American team's debut season.

"There were discussions with USF1, but now I draw a line under the matter," Wurz, 35, said in an interview with motorline.cc.

"My one hundred per cent priority is the Peugeot factory team -- I'm going to contest the 24 hours of Le Mans and other (sports car) races," said the veteran of 69 grands prix, most recently with Williams in 2007.

Wurz denies that his pulling out of the running with USF1 has anything to do with the intense rumors suggesting the Charlotte based team is ill-equipped to see through its F1 foray.

"No, it is a decision of the heart," said Wurz.

"I could earn more money in formula one, and I am convinced that USF1 will succeed in bringing American technology and American thinking into formula one.  Even people like Chip Ganassi are convinced that USF1 will be there," he added.

Force India confirms 2010 driver lineup  The Force India Formula One Team is pleased to confirm Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi will remain with the team for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, thus giving complete consistency in its driver line-up.

2010 will be Adrian's fourth season in Formula 1. The 26-year-old German started his F1 career with Force India's predecessors, Midland, as a test and reserve driver in 2006 before graduating to a race seat with Spyker in 2007. In 2009 he recorded his best-ever F1 finish of fourth at the Italian Grand Prix, also securing his first front row start.

Tonio retains his race seat following his move up from the team's test and reserve driver role at Monza this year. The 28-year-old Italian made his race debut in 2005 with Red Bull Racing and moved to Toro Rosso for 2006 and 2007. In 2008 he became Force India's third driver. More ...

Qadbak deal collapses, BMW sells team to Peter Sauber  (GMM)  The Qadbak deal has collapsed but BMW has instead agreed to sell its Hinwil based formula one team back to founder Peter Sauber.

"The contract is subject to the condition that the team has a starting place for the 2010 formula one season," a statement issued on Friday by the German car manufacturer read.

BMW confirmed reports that the Qadbak sale "will not be completed", and revealed that as part of the newly announced buyout, Sauber's workforce will be cut from 388 to around 250 employees.

"Notices of redundancy have therefore been issued today," said the statement, adding that "further redundancies" may also be necessary in the near future. More ...

Donington can still host 2010 British GP - Gillett  UPDATE (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has ruled out rumors he is prepared to revive Donington's collapsed formula one bid if Silverstone does not imminently agree a deal to host the British grand prix.

After Donington boss Simon Gillett's company went into administration after failing to secure the funding for his project, F1 chief executive Ecclestone left open the door to the bid being resurrected by investors.

It was then rumored that the 79-year-old billionaire had taken over the nearby Donington Hall and might also be interested in buying the Leicestershire circuit itself.

But Ecclestone told the Daily Express: "I have not the slightest interest in buying Donington or running the British grand prix there.  What is Donington Hall?"

Donington's administrators are reportedly in talks with interested parties and insist organizing a 2010 formula one race is possible, but at the same time figures for the rival Silverstone circuit insist a deal is close.

Silverstone owner the BRDC's president Damon Hill said he is "quietly confident" a deal will be done, but told the Evening Standard: "The hurdle is making sure the deal is mutually beneficial.

"That's got to be part of it, so we don't end up with another false start," the 1996 world champion added. More ...

Around the 'net: F1 on Friday Nov. 27th  
Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes reveals on Twitter that he is selecting between "4 drivers for 2 seats":


German publication shows image of Mercedes-Benz's hypothetical "blank contract" offer to Michael Schumacher (German):


Legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker appears on children's TV show Roary the Racing Car:


Former F1 drivers Alex Zanardi and Nicola Larini call it a day in World Touring Car Championship (German):


All 2010 formula one teams now represented as Lotus and Manor memberships accepted by FOTA (French):

Alonso works hard to win Ferrari 'confidence'  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso has revealed he is working hard to "gain the confidence" of his new formula one employer Ferrari.

The Spaniard made his second recent visit to Maranello on Thursday, meeting with technicians and driving some laps of the Fiorano test track in road cars.

"I have to gain the confidence of the team and begin a good relationship with the engineers and mechanics," said the 28-year-old, who switches from Renault, where in 2005 and 2006 he won the drivers' world championships.

"That is what I am trying to do in these months, in order to arrive at the first race with a good understanding with the team so that we all feel comfortable together," Alonso is quoted as saying by Spain's Marca.

He also confirmed that he is not taking with him to the Maranello based team any engineers he has worked with over the course of his eight-year grand prix career.

"I must say I get along very well with many of them and they are very good, but I assume that the ones with Ferrari are the best in the world," said Alonso, who was speaking at a PR event in Madrid and wearing an official Renault team shirt.

British F3
Carlin confirm Vergne for British F3  
Jean-Eric Vergne
Red Bull Junior driver Jean-Eric Vergne will race for British F3 champions Carlin in 2010.  The Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup runner-up will join the most successful team in British F3 history as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of fellow Red Bull drivers and F3 champions Jaime Alguersuari and Daniel Ricciardo. The 19 year-old Frenchman raced in the competitive Formula Renault Eurocup championship this year, taking nine podiums, including four race wins, four pole positions and two fastest laps.

Vergne has already tested with his new team at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park and impressed the team with his ability to adapt to the F3 car and two of Britain’s most challenging circuits. 

Speaking about his new team, Vergne said, “I'm lucky to be driving for Carlin; a very competitive team which doesn't need any further introduction! There will be a lot to learn next year, I will have to get to grips with a new category, learn new circuits and also learn a new way of working. I think that all these factors will make me a more complete driver.  Having said that, I feel that with good preparation - which has already begun – and a competitive car, I'll be able to take the fight to the best right from the start.”

Lauda again doubts new F1 teams  Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda admits he has concerns over the viability of some of the new teams due to join the grid for the 2010 season.

While manufacturers Toyota and BMW will join Honda on the sidelines, a raft of independent teams are set to join the fray, with Campos Meta, Manor, Lotus F1 and Manor GP all being awarded slots on the grid by the FIA.

The BMW Sauber team is also hoping to secure a place on the grid after the Qadbak group purchased the outfit from BMW – although rumors have suggested that the deal with the investment group could be at risk. Currently the Hinwil-based team holds the position of first reserve, although the departure of Toyota following the conclusion of the 2009 campaign has freed up a position on the grid.

Of the new teams, Campos Meta has already signed Bruno Senna for 2010 and has had its Dallara-designed chassis homologated by the FIA, while Manor GP has signed ex-Toyota man Timo Glock to spearhead its challenge and is widely expected to reveal a sponsorship deal with Virgin for its debut season. USF1 is reported to be in talks with ex-GP2 racer Jose Maria Lopez while Lotus F1 has announced it has signed its first driver but has yet to reveal who that driver is. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Around the 'net: F1 on Thursday
  • De la Rosa eyes F1 return and McLaren test seat
  • Hamilton not worried by McLaren-Mercedes split
  • Kimi may struggle to return from sabbatical - Prost
  • Wolff reveals rejected Williams investors

Around the 'net: F1 on Thursday
Anthony Davidson hoping for 2010 race seat


Niki Lauda thinks Ross Brawn "not completely satisfied" with Jenson Button's 2009 season


Brawn aerodynamicist Loic Bigois wins award


Jean Alesi plays down expectations ahead of Jules Bianchi's Ferrari test


Watch the BBC's award-winning F1 coverage film


Gerhard Berger donates personal photos for Wings for Life charity auction (German)


Giancarlo Fisichella attends opening of Athens' first official Ferrari shop


Fernando Alonso hands out university scholarships with Santander boss Emilio Botin (Spanish)


Flavio Briatore's wife Elisabetta says baby boy will continue the "Briatore dynasty" (Italian)


Sebastiens Bourdais and Loeb testing Peugeot 908 sports car (French)


Nelson Piquet Jr joins Felipe Massa's Florianopolis kart race (Portuguese)

De la Rosa eyes F1 return and McLaren test seat
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has indicated he might want to combine a return to the F1 grid next year with an ongoing role as McLaren test driver.

The 38-year-old Spaniard, who has not had a regular race seat since 2002, has been linked with the new teams Campos and USF1.

De la Rosa said he is currently in talks "with everyone who has a free space" for next season including USF1.  USF1's European base will be at Aragon, a Spanish facility whose design enjoyed de la Rosa's technical and sporting input.

"It's still early," he insisted.  "There is no hurry to make a decision.  It is true that USF1 and the Motorland (Aragon) have reached an agreement, but personally I do not know what is going to happen.

"I would be very happy to be at McLaren-Mercedes as the reserve driver and arrange my work to race in another team as well, or simply go to another team to race.  I don't know; that is the answer," de la Rosa told the Spanish news agency EFE.

Adrian Campos said recently that de la Rosa's lack of sponsors made a 2010 deal unlikely, but de la Rosa said he has more to offer a team than money.

"With sponsors everything would be infinitely easier," he said, "but I believe that my experience in F1 is very important.  My experience is my sponsor." More ...

Jeremy Mayfield sued by former attorney  The law firm formerly representing suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield in his lawsuit against NASCAR has filed a lawsuit against Mayfield for $371,973 in legal fees.

The Charlotte firm of James, McElroy and Diehl filed the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina Superior Court. The firm was replaced by nationally known Mark Geragos in October.

According to the complaint, Mayfield and the firm had an oral agreement for the firm to represent Mayfield, who then failed to make the promised monthly payments in full. When payments were made, they were less than the promised amount, according to the complaint.

This is the fourth lawsuit that Mayfield faces over unpaid bills. Mayfield and his Mayfield Motorsports Inc. have been sued by chassis and body shop Triad Racing Technologies, racing safety equipment company Impact Racing and engine builder Arrington Manufacturing.

Wilson and Carpenter to compete in PRI All-Stars kart race  The Championship Karting International Series is pleased to announce Corsa Racing Kart America’s driver lineup for the fourth annual PRI/CKI Karting All-Stars Classic. Competing with the Florida based company will be IndyCar drivers Justin Wilson and Ed Carpenter as they will look to do battle with a host of today’s motorsports stars.

Wilson, who is currently teamed with Dale Coyne Motorsports, scored one victory and two podiums in the 2009 IndyCar Series. Taking the victory on one of the most challenging road courses, Watkins Glen, Wilson will look to get back to his roots of karting and score the win at the PRI/CKI All-Star Classic. Wilson has been a big name in the world of motorsports as he competed in the Formula One World Championship back in the early 2000’s and claimed the Greg Moore Legacy Award in both 2006 and 2007. More ...
Newgarden wins Gorsline Scholarship  Josef Newgarden, of Hendersonville, Tenn., has been awarded the 17th annual Gorsline Company scholarship, presented by John Gorsline.

The Gorsline Scholarship is given to a young up-and-coming driver each year who displays the attributes of a future champion. This award has been sponsored by John Gorsline of The Gorsline Company to recognize and help aspiring drivers to develop both on and off the track to attain their professional goals. 

Eighteen-year-old Newgarden has established himself as one of the leading up-and-coming drivers in junior formula car racing. A championship-winning driver in the karting ranks, the Tennessee native has continued his winning ways behind the wheel of a race car. He concluded his 2009 MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain finishing second overall. The talented American junior open-wheel driver finished the season with a series-high nine race wins, and as the leading rookie competitor.

In 2008, Newgarden won three times and started from the pole position a series-high six times in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda series, en route to narrowly finishing second in the championship fight. Newgarden made history a few months later by becoming the first American to win the historic Formula Ford Festival in England, when he took home top honors in the Kent class as a member of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship program. In 2009, Newgarden competed full-time in Europe as driver for Joe Tandy Racing in the 25-race MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Formula Ford Championship. Newgarden is sponsored by Racer of Tomorrow Ltd. and Newgy/Donic Robo-Pong ping pong robots.

“Josef represents the spirit of this award extremely well,” said Gorsline. “His youthful exuberance and talent on the track, whether in a kart or a race car, will take him a long way in his career. We are proud of his efforts.”

Newgarden will be presented this award at the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) annual awards dinner held in Indianapolis in January and at the Autosport Awards banquet in London at a presentation by Sir Stirling Moss. 

In earning the Gorsline scholarship, Newgarden will work with Dr. Jacques Dallaire, co-founder of the Human Performance Institute, in an individually designed Performance Enhancement program. Dallaire, Director of Performance Prime, has personally worked with more than 600 drivers in 35 countries from all forms of motorsport. 

The Gorsline Company, headquartered in Rochester New York, pioneered the business of providing insurance for high risk professionals. The company specializes in providing racing drivers and owners creative, custom designed insurance packages and estate planning strategies.

Previous winners of this honor have been:

2009 Joel Miller
2008 Dane Cameron
2007 JR Hildebrand
2006 Katherine Legge
2005 Colin Braun
2004 Ryan Lewis
2003 Rocky Moran Jr.
2002 Danica Patrick
2001 Patrick Long
2000 Bryan Sellers
1999 David Besnard
1998 Buddy Rice
1997 Butch Leitzinger
1996 Jerry Nadeau
1995 Anthony Lazzaro
1994 Bryan Herta
(Gorsline PR)

RRDC joins PRI Young Drivers Symposium  Members of the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) will join the panel of industry experts at the RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium at the 22nd annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show (PRI) in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 11.

Lending their expertise and advice alongside Townsend Bell (sponsorship/branding), Jacques Dallaire, Ph.D. (mental preparation), Jim Leo, C.S.C.S. (physical fitness), Stephen Olvey, M.D. (safety), and Michael Zimicki (integrated driving), will be the following accomplished drivers/owners:

BOBBY RAHAL (moderator): Current president of the RRDC. Competed in Formula Atlantic early in his career, was the 1975 winner of the SCCA’s President’s Cup and Runoffs champion in Formula B. Became CART’s 1982 Rookie of the Year, driving for Jim Trueman. Won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and was CART Champion in 1986, ’87 and ’92, and the series’ Driver of the Year in ’86 and ’92. Only owner/driver to win a CART title. Owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, which fields cars in the American Le Mans Series.

BRIAN REDMAN: Began racing in 1959, collecting 27 overall wins worldwide, ranging from the Nurburgring 1000km to the 24 Hours of Daytona. Has raced Formula One and factory prototypes, and was a three-time USAC/SCCA Formula 5000 champion. The 1981 IMSA Camel GTP champion currently competes in Vintage/Historic races and is a contributing editor to Road & Track magazine. Past president of the RRDC, life member of the British Racing Drivers Club, and 2002 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee.

JIM DOWNING: One of the most successful IMSA racers in history, with 41 race wins and five season championships since 1974, all in Mazda cars built by the Downing/Atlanta team. Continues to race in SCCA and Formula Atlantic. Led the manufacturing and distribution of the Head and Neck Support device (HANS) - along with its inventor Dr. Robert Hubbard - which has revolutionized racing safety. The 2008 recipient of the RRDC Bob Akin Award.

DEREK DALY: Former Formula One driver and two-time Sebring 12 Hour winner. Author of "Race To Win: How to Become a Complete Champion." A former champion in Formula Ford and British F3, he also raced six times in the Indy 500. Since his retirement from driving, he’s been a TV racing commentator. In 1996 he opened the Derek  Daly Performance Driving Academy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Founder and CEO of MotorVation, which equips companies with tailored performance strategies to reach their goals through the development of their employees.

DON KNOWLES: Five-time SCCA Runoffs champion. Set world record 14 24-hour race victories in IMSA Firehawk and SCCA Escort series. Also competed in and won in VW Rabbit Cup, Renault Cup and IMSA Camel GT. Part of 1990 Corvette team which set three world land speed endurance records and nine international speed records.

DUNCAN DAYTON:  As a driver, has more than 100 historic victories including eight wins in the Monaco Historic GP races (a record for the historic F1 circuit). His five ALMS class victories include one win at the 12 Hours of Sebring and two at Petit Le Mans. He also has one third-place overall finish at Petit Le Mans. As a team owner, his Patron Highcroft squad has been the top performing Acura team for the past three years (scoring podium finishes in 70 percent of its race starts) and earned the ALMS LMP1 Championship in 2009.

JIM MULLEN: Began racing in 1975 in Formula Ford and progressed to IMSA Camel GT series, winning the 1982 GTU class in Riverside, Calif. Overall winner at 1983 12 Hours of Sebring. Also raced IMSA GTO and GTP. Now drives HSR in Chevrolet-Spice GTP car. Principal of Mullen Communications, a successful advertising/marketing firm, and Mullen Management, both located in the Boston area.

The panel will also include 2009 IndyCar Series race winner Justin Wilson. The Englishman was a four-time victor in the Champ Car series from 2004-2007, competed in Formula One in 2003, and earned the International Formula 3000 championship in 2001.

The goal of this first of a series of free RRDC/FIA workshops, supported by a grant from the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund, is to help young drivers raise their awareness of safety by teaching them to effectively manage their racing vehicles and themselves in all aspects of their careers.

The workshop is open to drivers from all motorsports disciplines and participants MUST REGISTER for the symposium on www.rrdc.org . Registrations received after Dec. 1 will not include PRI show credentials. PRI credentials are not required to access the meeting rooms, so late registrations for the symposium will be accepted.

"I am delighted to lend my support to the RRDC/FIA Symposium and to see that the young driver of today has the unique opportunity to gain knowledge and  encouragement from RRDC members who are experienced in every aspect of this great sport," said Redman. 

"Patr¢n Highcroft Racing is a proud supporter of the RRDC's initiatives for young drivers and I believe the program scheduled for the RRDC/FIA Symposium is exceptional," said Dayton. "Natural ability will only get drivers so far. Professional drivers today require an ever expanding skill set and the advice on offer for these stars of the future at the symposium will be invaluable."

Added Wilson, "This is a great opportunity for young drivers to learn from some of the leaders in their respective fields of expertise. There are a great many potential pitfalls in racing, so it's always good to learn from the best, and even if you already know some of the information, it's always useful to get some reminders of things that are important."

Two additional symposiums are planned: in April, in conjunction with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and in May, around the Indianapolis 500.

The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club now has more than 150 active members, including leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

President Bobby Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner, with David Letterman, of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winning Rahal Letterman Racing team. Six-time SCCA National Champion John Fergus is the Club's Vice President/Treasurer, and five-time Formula Super Vee champion Tom Davey is the Secretary. In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the Club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for rendering outstanding service to road racing; the Mark Donohue Award for personal spirit and performance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs; and the Bob Akin Award for speed with style, passion, sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.

The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990. (RRDC PR)

Dempsey Racing has successful inaugural GT season  Dempsey Racing and lead drivers Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster gave Mazda another top challenger in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2009 with career-best performances for both the team and its drivers in the GT class of Grand-Am Road Racing’s top division this season.  The Dempsey Racing team, Dempsey, Foster and frequent stand-in driver Charles Espenlaub combined to post career-high race, qualifying and championship results in the No. 40 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT this year and the goal is to carry that momentum into the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Series season.

Dempsey Racing contested the full Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule for the first time in 2009 after debuting the now familiar No. 40 Mazda RX-8 GT late in 2007 at Miller Motorsports Park.  A solid record of seven top-10 finishes in this year’s 12 races produced a team-best eighth-place showing in the final Grand-Am Rolex Series GT season championship standings and over a half-dozen other career milestones for the team and its drivers along the way.

The team’s most significant development of the year was the emergence of Dempsey who put in the best season of his driving career.  The popular star of the hit ABC television show Grey’s Anatomy once again had to juggle his race schedule with the demands of his Hollywood “day job,” but that didn’t prevent the fifth-year driver from reaching new heights on the track in 2009 with a string of competitive performances, including strong stints in treacherous wet conditions at New Jersey and Mid Ohio.

“First of all, just being able to race with what is going on in the economy is a blessing,” said Dempsey after last month’s season-ending race at the Grand Prix of Miami. “The way the team has come along has been incredible.  When we looked at our goals in the first part of the year, we just wanted to be competitive and I think we showed that day in and day out.  I was out of the car for a number of races and when I got back in it was very competitive. The team never quit working and we will continue that focus and build for next year.”

Dempsey teamed with Foster in more than half of this year’s races and joined his co-driver in giving Dempsey Racing a then season-best sixth-place finish at Mid-Ohio in June.  The result is Dempsey’s career-best Grand-Am Rolex Series finish to date and he was also behind the wheel of the Mazda for three more of the team’s top-10 showings this year.

Foster, the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series GS Champion, also recorded career-best GT results this year as the team’s anchor driver at all 12 events. Just two races after the strong run with Dempsey at Mid-Ohio, Foster joined Espenlaub for a breakout weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in July. Foster started on the GT front row after a personal and team-best second-place qualifying effort and then co-drove to a fourth-place finish in the race with Espenlaub, the best finish ever for Dempsey Racing.  Foster and Espenlaub duplicated the top race result just two races later at Montreal while closing fast on the leaders as the checkered flag flew. Foster also put the No. 40 Mazda on the outside front row for the second time in 2009 when he qualified second fastest for the next-to-last race of the season at Miller in September.

“This season was very rewarding, which is nice, because all of your hard work doesn’t necessarily pay off all of the time with positive results in racing,” Foster said.  “But we proved this year that if you put the right mix of equipment and people together with a solid and non-stop effort, you have a much better chance at coming out on top.  Mazda and SpeedSource gave us great equipment, Patrick has never driven better and Charles is as good as any driver in the business.  Most importantly the Dempsey Racing team raised its game in terms of engineering, pit stops and all the details required to run near the front each week.  We were knocking on a top-three finish more than once this year and finishing on the podium – and even a race win – is the goal in 2010.” 

Dempsey Racing’s great season also included a top-10 finish in June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans where Dempsey and Foster combined to drive more than 20 hours. Along with teammate Don Kitch Jr., they finished ninth in the GT2 class in the No. 81 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Ferrari F430 GT. The team hopes to return to Le Mans this June where Dempsey and his teammates will be looking to improve on the strong rookie result.

On the Grand-Am Rolex Series front, Dempsey Racing will be back for its third season and fourth consecutive year with Mazda.  Dempsey and Foster will be the primary co-drivers of the No. 40 Mazda RX-8 GT and the team hopes to field a second RX-8 GT for the entire 2010 season. 

“Joe and the team have done a great job to push the 40 towards the front, Mazda has been very supportive and it’s great to be racing in the Grand-Am Rolex Series,” Dempsey said.  “It is really like a family here in this series and I just had a blast all year.  It has been a great time and I just can’t thank everybody enough to just have the chance to participate in this great series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We went to work on our 2010 plans while we were still in Miami right after the race and the hard work will continue in the short off season.”

Support for Dempsey Racing comes from Mazda, El Grado Spirits and Specialized Bicycles.

Check out Patrick Dempsey talking about racing in this special In Your Own Words video at http://www.grand-am.com/multimedia/video_pop.cfm?mid=316.


Patrick Dempsey and last month’s Dempsey Challenge will be featured this Thanksgiving weekend on ABC's hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The episode will air this Sunday, November 29, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on ABC.  Dempsey, Foster and other members of the Dempsey Racing team – competing under the name “The Dempsey Racers ZOOM ZOOM” – rode bicycles in the Dempsey Challenge in support of the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, in Lewiston, Maine. During the event, Dempsey and his teammates were paid a visit by the Marshalls, a New Hampshire family whose 10-year-old son Cam is battling leukemia.  In response to his illness, Cam used his blood type and outlook on life to create "B Positive," an initiative for Children's Hospital at Dartmouth.  During the family’s surprise visit, Dempsey met the members of the Marshall family and spoke with Cam about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. Specialized Bicycles, a proud Dempsey Challenge partner and sponsor of Dempsey Racing, provided each of the Marshall children with a brand new bicycle. The entire Dempsey Challenge event generated almost $1 million for the Dempsey Center. (Dempsey Racing PR)
Almirola drops lawsuit against DEI  Aric Almirola has dropped his breach-of-contract lawsuit against Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Almirola, who drove in seven Sprint Cup races this year for the team before his car was parked because of a lack of sponsorship, filed the complaint earlier this month in North Carolina Superior Court. He had it dismissed last Thursday, according to court records.

Almirola has 26 career Sprint Cup starts, with a career-best finish of eighth at Bristol in March 2008. He drove in 17 races in 2007 and 2008 as he shared the ride with Mark Martin in the No. 8 car at DEI.

He drove in 16 Camping World Truck Series races this year for Billy Ballew Motorsports with seven top-five finishes. Scenedaily.com

Toyota to Replace 4 Million Gas Pedals After Crashes  Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it will replace accelerator pedals on about 4 million recalled vehicles in the United States because the pedals can get stuck in the floor mats, another blow to the reputation of the world's largest automaker.
ppp Toyota said dealers will offer to shorten the length of the gas pedals by about 3/4 inch beginning in January, as a stopgap measure while the company develops replacement pedals for their vehicles.
ppp New pedals will be installed by dealers on a rolling basis beginning in April, and some vehicles will have brake override systems installed as a precaution.
ppp Toyota announced the massive recall in late September and told owners to remove the driver's side floor mats to keep the gas pedal from becoming jammed.Popular vehicles such as the Toyota Camry, the top-selling passenger car in America, and the Toyota Prius, the best-selling gas-electric hybrid, are among those getting fixed.
ppp The recall also included the luxury Lexus ES350, the vehicle in a fiery fatal accident in California that focused public attention on the danger.
Lauda says Brawn may be sorry to lose Button  “Button being worthy or unworthy is the wrong approach,” the Nicky Lauda stated in an interview with the official F1 website. “A world champion is a world champion. You might argue about the manner in which he won, but history has shown that in some years you have guys who win everything, and then you have guys – and I count myself among these – who win with a half point lead in the last race. There are many ways to win a championship.

“He put in a good season – starting very strong at the beginning to forge ahead and then keeping the lead through difficult times of constantly losing points, but still staying in front. He was 'nail-biting' himself to the title – at least from the outside. It is hard to say why he was losing out to Rubens – someone running on the same equipment – in the second half of the season.

“In the end it's a pointless discussion, because he was not the only one running on a bumpy performance curve; Sebastian Vettel also had his share of poor results. In that scenario of ups-and-downs, Jenson was able to keep enough points to maintain his lead – that's why he ended up as champion and not somebody else. Yes, the 60th Formula 1 World Champion is a worthy champion. More ...

Hendrick to focus on Dale Jr.'s team and car  Rick Hendrick not only won his fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 team. Three of his four cars finished first, second and third in the points standings.

The fourth car -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 -- finished 25th, right behind AJ Allmendinger.

So Hendrick says his mission in 2010 is clear -- get the No. 88 up to par with the rest of the Hendrick juggernaut.

"I think my priority right now is the 88 team," Hendrick said Tuesday. "We're working on them to try to make that team stronger.  The goal going into next year now will be win races and get all four teams in the Chase."

So Hendrick was asked during a teleconference with reporters what exactly the problem is with the 88 team.

"Well, you know, you see this happen," he said. "I've seen it happen with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie had a slump back around last year about the time we were in Vegas.  You just go through these.  We know we can make the team better, and it's frustrating, and it's, you know, the driver begins to think that no matter what he does, that something's going to happen, because we just had – we've had failures.  We've had wrecks.  We've just had a – if it could happen, it happened to that team.

"It's been really frustrating because about the start of the chase, the team was running better," he said. "It was probably the best car in Loudon, and it got swept up in a wreck.  And we've had all the motors and all the transmissions and gears done in the same place.  We had transmission failure, and we had a motor failure.  The other guys didn't experience that in the Chase.

"So when he's running good, something happened.  And we just got to be better all the way around.  I think when we do that, when Dale sees that we've stepped up in a lot of areas, it will give him the confidence he needs.  So we're all over it, and we've been all over it.  But it's really one of my focuses here.  My priority – my primary focus here starting this week, starting Monday, really."    Blog of Tomorrow

Earnhardt, Bickford and Reid to speak at driver marketing summit  “If only I had sponsorship or could get involved in a driver development program,” are words often muttered by race drivers who have found success at the lower levels of auto racing but are now looking to make their way up through the ranks.

Performance PR Plus’s third annual Driver Advancement Marketing Summit set to take place in Charlotte, N.C., on January 30 – 31, 2010, is designed to provide valuable information and insight from industry professionals on topics that include obtaining sponsorship, driver development programs, stepping-stone racing series and how to use public relations, websites and social media to promote yourself and sponsors. Speakers will offer valuable information and answer any questions that attendees have about marketing themselves and the many off-track components necessary to have a realistic chance to advance, and what needs to be considered before making life-changing decisions around a career in motorsports. Kelley Earnhardt, vice president and general manager of JR Motorsports and business manager for brother Dale Earnhardt Jr., will discuss how JR Motorsports selected some of the young drivers such as Brad Keselowski who have competed for their organization, and how even she has had to become more creative in this difficult economic time to secure sponsorship for the most popular driver’s race team. Having started out as a late model stock car driver herself and now considered one of the most powerful people in motorsports, Earnhardt’s experience in nearly every aspect of the sport will provide valuable information to drivers at any level of competition. John Bickford, vice president of Jeff Gordon, Inc., is the stepfather who had the wherewithal to make many strategic decisions and coach a young Jeff Gordon on and off the track from the age of four. Bickford has mentored other young drivers along the -2- way, including Boston Reid who competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as part of Hendrick Motorsports’ driver development program. More ...
Johnson on Leno  Hot off of making history by clinching his fourth Cup Series title in a row NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson signs on for Leno's "Ten @ Ten" segment on NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" (Monday-Friday, 10:00-11:00pm/et) on Wednesday, November 25. "Ten @ Ten" connects Leno via satellite with celebrities and newsmakers from around the world. Johnson will be signing on from Charlotte, NC. "The Jay Leno Show" is from Big Dog Productions in association with Universal Media Studios. Debbie Vickers is the executive producer. For artwork from "The Jay Leno Show," please visit the NBC press website at www.nbcumv.com
FIA confirms victory in N.Technology legal case  (GMM)  F1's governing body on Wednesday confirmed reports that unsuccessful 2010 team applicant N.Technology lost a round of recent court action against the FIA.

The Italian entry, whose UK parent MSC filed the legal action, claimed the team selection process earlier this year was "highly questionable", and a court hearing took place last month in Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance.

The FIA on Wednesday said the French court "rejected all points raised by MSC" and ordered the company to pay legal costs.

Santander to back Massa in kart races in Brazil  Felipe Massa has unveiled Santander as his main sponsor in the two major kart races organized in Brazil. The Spanish giant bank will back Massa at the "International Challenge of Go-Kart Champions” on Saturday and Sunday (November 28-29) in Florian¢polis and the following week at Granja Viana 500 Mile in Cotia near São Paulo. Santander, one of the partners of the Scuderia as of 2010 and whose logos will appear on Ferrari’s car and driver’s overall from next season, has been increasing his participation on Brazilian market and is currently the 4th biggest bank in the country.

Massa is looking forward to starting a relationship previously supposed to begin only in 2010. "I’m glad to get this support from Santander. Lately I met President Emilio Botin twice and he is absolutely excited about the potential of the Brazilian market. I’m sure we are setting up a strong partnership”, Massa commented. More ...

Penske magic failed  Somebody got cold feet" at French carmaker Renault, said Tom LaSorda.

And just like that, the Saturn automobile brand was toast, because Renault suddenly nixed a deal Sept. 30 to supply Saturn dealers with vehicles after General Motors stopped.

Even Roger Penske couldn't save the brand GM launched in 1990 to fight imports.

Penske magic fails

When Roger Penske and GM announced that the Saturn talks had collapsed and that 350 Saturn dealers would be closed, many in the auto industry who regard Roger Penske as a miracle worker assumed he would have a Plan B when the Renault option fizzled.

They assumed wrong. More ...

Piquet to compete in Massa’s International Challenge of the Stars  Hot on the heels of Sunday’s SKUSA SuperNats kart event in Las Vegas, Nelson Piquet will be racing again this weekend (28-29 November). Felipe Massa has invited him to compete in his International Challenge of the Stars charity kart race, which will be held at a brand new circuit in Florianopolis in Brazil. 

In Las Vegas, Piquet finished eighth overall from 43 entrants in the SuperPro category, one position behind Michael Schumacher, and is now gearing up for another action-packed weekend of competitive karting.

This year marks the fifth International Challenge of the Stars, the event having been launched in 2005 by Felipe Massa, who won the event himself in 2006, with Piquet finishing in the runner-up spot. Michael Schumacher won in 2007, with Piquet retiring from mechanical problems after starting on pole. Rubens Barrichello won in 2008.

The race will see Felipe Massa returning to competitive action for the first time since his accident in July in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Other drivers confirmed for the event include Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Antonio Pizzonia, Tony Kanaan and Christian Fittipaldi.

The race will be broadcast on Globo TV in Brazil, and viewers of Eurosport will also be able to watch. British Eurosport 2 will be showing the event live at 1800hrs on Saturday 28 November and 1300hrs on Sunday 29 November.

Nelson Piquet: “I have never had so much fun as racing in Las Vegas and I was really pleased finishing eighth against the best karters in the world. Now I’m happy that I can be back in Brazil to do Felipe’s race this weekend. It’s going to be very competitive as usual, there are some great drivers confirmed and I want to try to win it this year!”
track news
Gillett feels letdown by British government  Simon Gillett, leaseholder of Donington Park, feels let down over the British government's refusal to assist more when it comes to supporting the county's Formula 1 race. With his Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL) currently struggling financially, Silverstone looks to be the most likely venue.

With only two weeks remaining before the December 9 deadline set by F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, the British event's future continues to hang in the balance although, with Silverstone bosses saying that a deal is 'close', Gillett stresses the importance of the Grand Prix as a whole. More ...

Kellogg's moves from Martin to Edwards  Kellogg's will sponsor Carl Edwards next season following a 16-season stint with Hendrick Motorsports. Kellogg's will be the primary sponsor for two races on the #99 Ford and an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. FoxSports
Sarah Fischer Racing triples space  Sarah Fisher Racing has begun moving into a facility -- a few doors down from its current Indianapolis shop -- that will triple its space to 15,000 square feet.

The news comes on the heels of the announcement that the team would expand Sarah Fisher's Dollar General program to nine races and add 2006 Firestone Indy Lights Champion Jay Howard for four events in 2010 with backing from Tire Kingdom. More ...

Aero package for restrictor-plate races being evaluated  NASCAR hasn't ruled out the possibility of making aerodynamic changes to the Sprint Cup cars for Daytona that could require a test at the track prior to Speedweeks in February, NASCAR President Mike Helton said Monday. Helton talked about changes to the Cup car during a luncheon prior to the NNS/NCWTS Awards Banquet tonight. One piece of the Cup car that could get changed is the aero package for Daytona and Talladega. Cars went airborne in each of the Talladega races this year. NASCAR has wind-tunnel tests scheduled in a couple of weeks for the Cup car focused on restrictor-plate tracks. "We're specifically looking at the chemistry of the roof flaps because we have the ability through the camera angles and data collection to learn more about the incidents [at Talladega], particularly the 39 [of Ryan Newman] at Talladega this past October. We can learn more," Helton said. "We will do things over the off-season and if it is a major change for Daytona, we may have to do something [test] there to take a look at it. We'll have to wait and see what we find out from the wind tunnel and a complete evaluation." As far as any rule changes for the car for races not at Daytona and Talladega, Helton said only to anticipate subtle changes. "I don't see anything glaring that has to be fixed, and there is not an overwhelming consensus of anything major [to change]," Helton said. "I still won't sit here and tell you there won't be something. & We always put out a rule book and then we put out a lot of [technical] bulletins along the way."

"I couldn't sit here and tell you today that the wing is there forever on the Cup side," Helton said. "I couldn't tell you that the [front] splitter as we know it on the Cup car will exist forever. I can tell you we are going to learn a lot with the Nationwide car that has a different configuration to it aerodynamically and we'll learn from that and we'll see what happens." Helton said since the first introduction of the Cup car in 2007 there have been at least 25 subtle changes in the rules. More at SceneDaily
Yates shop to be painted Petty Blue  The building used by Yates Racing in Concord, N.C., soon will be gutted and prepared to expand into a four-car Sprint Cup garage when the merger with Richard Petty Motorsports is completed. The building was used to field two cars owned by Yates/Hall of Fame Racing in 2009. With the merger it will expand to the #9 of Kasey Kahne, #19 of Elliott Sadler, #43 of AJ Allmendinger and #98 of Paul Menard. The building is expected to be painted the famous Petty Blue since the organization will take on the RPM name. ESPN Insider
NASCAR finale TV rating  UPDATE ABC's live coverage of the Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22 earned a final national household rating of 3.6, averaging 5,606,608 viewers. The rating was down 10% from a 4.0 for last year's event that also aired on ABC.

ESPN2's live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford 300 at Homestead earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.3, down from a 1.6 rating for last year's race that also aired on ESPN2. The telecast averaged 1,685,543 viewers. ESPN PR

11/23/09 The overnight TV rating on ABC for the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of 2009 at Homestead-Miami was a 3.2, down 11.2% from the 3.6 overnight in 2008, and down 16% from the 3.8 overnight TV rating in 2007.
US F2000 announces 2010 schedule  Officials of the USF2000 National Championship presented by Cooper Tire are pleased to announce the series' 2010 schedule, which consists of 12 races from March to October. 

All but two of the races will be staged as doubleheaders to minimize travel expenses for teams participating in the Indy Racing League-sanctioned series.

The season opener is a doubleheader March 27-28 on the street circuit in St. Petersburg, Fla. in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series' Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. More ...

F1 on Wednesday: around the 'net  
Flavio Briatore made millions last year from his control of F1's Spanish television rights


BMW committed to young driver test despite pulling out of formula one


Robert Kubica tests ahead of contesting the Rallye du Var


Another manufacturer out of premier motor sport, as Aprilia says no to 250cc replacement Moto2


Ferrari test drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Luca Badoer pull out of Brazilian kart race due to "professional commitments"

Briatore blasts FIA hearings as a sham  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  The outcome of Flavio Briatore's legal action against his lifetime FIA ban should be declared on 5 January, Paris' Tribune de Grande Instance said on Tuesday following a hearing.

The 59-year-old Italian, nor his former Renault colleague Pat Symonds who was banned for five years and is appealing his own penalty, attended the proceedings.

The outcome will have implications for Briatore's role as a co-owner and director of the London club Queens Park Rangers, due to the governing Football League's "fit and proper persons" rule.

As well as the annulment of the ban, he is seeking 1 million euros in damages.

Briton Symonds' lawyer Dominique Dumas indicated that the 56-year-old was under pressure when he earlier accepted some responsibility for Nelson Piquet's Singapore 2008 crash.

"Symonds' responsibility shouldn't be taken for granted," Dumas is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

11/24/09 Former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore has revealed that he has ‘every confidence’ that the effective lifetime ban he received from the top flight for his role in the ‘Singapore-gate’ race-fixing scandal will be overturned by the French High Court today (Tuesday).

The Italian was barred indefinitely from all aspects of the sport – including driver management – by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) two months ago, for being deemed guilty as charged of having instructed Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, thereby inducing a safety car period that enabled team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in F1’s inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid position following an engine failure in qualifying. More ...

Chandhok not disappointed by Force India snub  (GMM)  Indian hopeful Karun Chandhok insists he is "not disappointed" after being left out of Force India's plans for the forthcoming young driver test at Jerez.

Amid speculation that Chandhok and the part-Indian Swiss national Neel Jani might be lined up to drive in early December, team boss Vijay Mallya on Tuesday said "nationality isn't the primary selection criteria" while confirming Jerez testers Paul di Resta, a Mercedes-contracted Scot, and American rookie JR Hildebrand.

Either di Resta or 21-year-old Hildebrand are expected to be named as Force India's test and reserve driver for 2010.

But Chandhok, 25, and Jani were recently commissioned by Force India for tests in McLaren's driver simulator, and Chandhok's father Vicky is close to Mallya due to their roles in the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).

But Karun Chandhok insists he is not disappointed to have missed out on the Force India test.

"We talked about it and I expressed my ambitions to do something with Force India.  But they opted to go with other drivers.  That's their decision but I'm not disappointed," he is quoted as saying by DNA India.

Andretti IRL team restructured and renamed  

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The former shareholders of Andretti Green Racing have completed a transaction that has resulted in the restructuring and rebranding of the Indianapolis-based company, effective immediately.

The racing team, which boasts three IZOD IndyCar Series championships, two Firestone Indy Lights titles and two wins in the Indianapolis 500, is now solely owned by racing legend Michael Andretti and has been rebranded Andretti Autosport.

Andretti and his former business partners announced on Aug. 20 their decision to split off their racing and promotions businesses into two separate companies.

Andretti Autosport, which began competing in the Indy Racing League in 2003 as Andretti Green, fielded four full-time teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series this past season and ran a two-car effort this year with AFS Racing in Firestone Indy Lights. More ...

Grand-Am announces 2010 TV schedule  All 12 races on the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 schedule will be televised live on SPEED, GRAND-AM officials announced today.

America's premier road racing sanctioning body looks to continue momentum from the 2009 season, when SPEED viewership increased 42 percent and the number of households watching the races increased 39 percent over the 2008 season.

In addition, eight of the 10 GRAND-AM KONI Sports Car Challenge races will be televised on SPEED next season.

The 2010 Rolex Series campaign opens with the 48th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 30. SPEED coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET, prior to the 3:25 p.m. ET green flag, and lasts until 11 p.m. ET. Coverage resumes at 7 a.m. ET and will run to the finish at 4 p.m. ET. More ...

Wingo named crew chief  Roush Fenway Racing announced today that Donnie Wingo has been named crew chief of the No. 6 UPS team with driver David Ragan.  Wingo joined Roush Fenway at the beginning of the 2009 season as crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 team.  The duo most recently captured a win earlier this month at Talladega and Wingo is looking to build on that momentum with Ragan heading into the 2010 season. 

"It's an honor to have the opportunity to work with David Ragan next season as well as our sponsor UPS,” said Wingo.  “UPS has been a great sponsor in NASCAR for years and I'm truly looking forward to the chance to get the No. 6 Ford the finishes it deserves.  I'm glad to remain with Roush Fenway Racing because I believe in the success we'll be able to achieve in 2010." More ...

tv news
Miniscule NASCAR truck TV ratings rise.  The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on SPEED enjoyed its highest-rated television season ever in 2009, averaging a Nielsen Household Rating of 0.81 (597,000 households), up one percent from last year’s 0.80 and 35 percent from the 0.60 the series averaged in 2003, its first year on SPEED.

“It’s just great racing … and more and more fans are watching,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the highest rated racing series on the network and, like all the race teams, the SPEED crew will get some rest and go back to Daytona ready to keep that momentum going.”

Summerton Seeking funding for F1 or IndyCar  The following is a Press Release: Today, rumored American Formula 1 driver Jonathan Summerton launched his campaign to find funding for 2010  "If I am to run in Formula 1 I need sponsorship for $10,000,000 which makes life very difficult. Alternatively, I can run the INDY CAR series for $4,000,000 which gives a sponsor major coverage in the USA and 140 countries with nearly a billion viewers, plus, to be featured in the INDY 500 races will be awesome as it is the largest spectator event in the world with more spectators than the Super Bowl, the NBA finals and the NCCA final four combined."

Involvement by a leading company will allow its principals and guests to walk down pit row and enjoy the thrills of motorsport while promoting their company.

Jonathan's career, although short, has been one of success.  In Europe's Formula 3 series he won the final race in his rookie year, plus several podiums racing against 6 of today's F1 drivers. He then went on to be the only American driver to ever win in the world wide A1GP series. Jonathan is the all around package. He has a great attitude and motivates his team. He is confident and yet humble. He is very photogenic and he is very fast. An all around personality!

Further details can be obtained at www.jonathansummerton.com

Several Cup drivers looking for 2010 rides  While the 2009 NASCAR season is over, several Sprint Cup drivers and teams still face uncertain futures.

Among the drivers who were in Cup cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway who haven’t announced what they’ll be doing in 2010 are Richard Childress Racing’s Casey Mears, Joe Gibbs Racing’s David Gilliland, Richard Petty Motorsports’ Reed Sorenson, Phoenix Racing’s David Stremme and Front Row Motorsports’ Travis Kvapil.

Mears could return to RCR if sponsorship is found for the No. 07 car, which Jack Daniel’s is leaving as a sponsor. No sponsor has been announced.

Gilliland could possibly return in a fourth JGR car if it runs select races next year, team President J.D. Gibbs said. Gilliland also has driven for Phoenix Racing this year and is a candidate for that ride, one of the few open rides with sponsorship for next season.

Stremme, who drove most of 2009 for Penske Racing, wrecked during qualifying Friday, which could have hurt his chances to get in the Phoenix Racing car full time. More ...

NASCAR claims Jeremy Mayfield has no case  UPDATE #2 NASCAR is attempting to keep information from a  lawsuit Brian France filed against his ex-wife from getting into the hands of suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield and his legal team.
NASCAR filed motions Monday in U.S. District Court asking that Megan France be prohibited from producing documents from Brian France’s lawsuit against her.

Brian and Megan France were separated in fall 2007 and divorced in Florida on April 29, 2008, according to NASCAR’s brief filed Tuesday. Brian France later sued Megan in North Carolina Superior Court in September 2008, and those pleadings were sealed in December 2008. The Charlotte Observer has recently asked the court to open those documents. More ...

DEI, JR Motorsports, Daytona, ACS sue General Motors  Two race teams and two race tracks have filed claims with the former General Motors, which was restructured through bankruptcy proceedings this summer.

The deadline for filing claims is Nov. 30, and according to an online claims register for the company (now known as Motorsports Liquidation Co.), 27,141 claims have been filed as of Nov. 16. SceneDaily.com

Among those:

• Dale Earnhardt Inc. is asking for $3,252,706.89 based on a contract it had with General Motors. What the contract was for was not specified.

• Daytona International Speedway is asking for $651,018.75 for a hospitality contract.

• JR Motorsports is asking for $198,000 for a sponsorship contract.

• Auto Club Speedway is asking for $45,500 for a hospitality contract.

No decisions on whether the race teams or tracks will get the money they believe they are owed have been made.

Koenigsegg Group AB Terminates Agreement For Purchase of Saab  General Motors confirmed today that the proposed sale of its Saab subsidiary to Koenigsegg Group AB was terminated at the discretion of the buyer.

"We're obviously very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase," said GM President and CEO, Fritz Henderson.  "Many have worked tirelessly over the past several months to create a sustainable plan for the future of Saab by selling the brand and its manufacturing interests to Koenigsegg Group AB. Given the sudden change in direction, we will take the next several days to assess the situation and will advise on the next steps next week."

Formula BMW
Rossi and Gutiérrez to test BMW F1 car  
Alexander Rossi
Despite pulling out of Formula One, BMW is staying true to its promise of giving two talented young Formula BMW drivers their first taste of an F1 car. Alexander Rossi and Esteban Gutiérrez will take part in the official Formula One test for young drivers at Jerez from 1st - 3rd December 2009. 

"Depriving these junior drivers of the test we had promised them was not an option for us, even after the withdrawal of BMW from Formula One," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "BMW remains committed to motor sport and is keen to continue making a contribution to well-structured talent development."

Rossi, from Nevada City in California, earned his opportunity to test an F1 car by taking victory in the 2008 Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City. The 18-year-old qualified for the international showdown by winning the Formula BMW Americas series earlier that year.  More ...

Massa announces team line up for Granja Viana 500 assault  SÃO PAULO – Felipe Massa has announced on Monday night the official line up of the Santander sponsored two-kart team for this year’s edition of Granja Viana 500 Mile. Right after his arrival in the circuit, the Ferrari ace has confirmed that will fight for his third victory in the outstanding Brazilian endurance race along with Lucas di Grassi, Felipes Apezzato, Felipe Lapenna, Victor Guerin, J£lio Campos and his younger brother Dudu. Stock Car local Pop¢ Bueno, who appeared in the provisional entry list besides Massa and Di Grassi, has decided not to race due to personal reasons.

Massa got to the kart track joined by his brother early in the evening, when the heavy showers that hit the track seemed to calm down. He saw the action from the pitwall before dressing his reds overall to start practicing around 8 p.m. "I think we set up a very strong group of racers, capable of facing Rubens Barrichello’s favorite team”, commented Massa. Eight-times winner and Granja Viana 500 record holder alongside his old friend Tony Kanaan, Barrichello elected not attend the second general test session because of the rain. His partners Felipe Giaffone, Renato Russo and Indy Lights star Bia Figueiredo carried out the set up duties behind the wheel of the legendary kart number 72. More ...

Q and A with Frank Williams  Frank Williams and Patrick Head recently announced that they have sold a minority interest in Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited (Williams F1) to an investment company led by Austrian investor Toto Wolff. Following the announcement, Sir Frank spoke on the teams official website about what this new development actually means....

How much equity does Mr. Wolff receive in this sale?
Williams has never disclosed details concerning any of its contractual agreements and that has not changed. Toto will be a minority shareholder of Williams.

Why now?
I’m not getting any younger, I’m 67. I have no intention of losing control of this company or ceasing any of my Formula One activities, but I would prefer to be prepare for when Patrick and I are not here and not to leave it until the last minute. This situation means that the future of this company is assured for our partners and our workforce, who are all very loyal. More ...

Johnson to light up the Empire State Building  On Tuesday, Nov. 24th, #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion is scheduled to flip the switch to light the Empire State Building's world-famous tower lights blue, white and yellow to celebrate "Jimmie Johnson Day" in New York City. New York Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon will introduce Johnson at the lighting ceremony, which is scheduled to start around 2:30pm/et. The Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets in New York City. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.esbnyc.com
Force India to test di Resta and Hildebrand  The Force India Formula One Team is delighted to confirm a dynamic, exciting driver line-up for the young driver test from 1 - 3 December 2009. Upcoming British driver Paul di Resta and current Indy Lights champion American JR Hildebrand will share driving duties of the VJM02 for the test in Jerez, Spain next week.

Twenty-three year old Paul and 21-year old JR were selected after outstanding performances in the team's simulator last month.

Paul, from West Lothian, Scotland, is a Mercedes works driver in the German touring car series, the DTM, and finished third overall with one win in the 2009 championship. He also has an impressive record in the junior formulae, winning the 2006 Formula 3 Euroseries against a field including current F1 race winner Sebastian Vettel. In 2004 Paul was awarded the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award for upcoming, stand-out young British racing talent. More ...

Formula BMW
Video: Huge Formula BMW Pacific Pileup at Macau  

First Lap Accident

formula bmw
Rio Haryanto takes 2009 Formula BMW Pacific title  
Rio Haryanto
Though it was his father and older brother who first introduced Rio Haryanto (16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) to motorsport at the age of five, the young Indonesian has since fully come in to his own, securing the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Drivers’ Classification title and becoming the first Indonesian driver to do so. Haryanto also celebrates as his team, Questnet Team Qi-Mertius, wins the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Team Title.

Consistency, in addition to no small measure of natural talent, played a large part in Haryanto’s success this season as he earned first-place points in ten races, a winning streak that began in Round 6 in Kuala Lumpur and then followed him to Sentul, Indonesia, Singapore, as the series raced in support of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, on the program at the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Okayama, Japan and then at the season finale at the Macau Grand Prix. In total, Haryanto reached the podium 12 times in 15 races in his debut Formula BMW Pacific season, including six outright wins. More ...
Le Mans TV rights: new organization  The Automobile Club de Ouest, owners and organizers of the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours event has decided to manage all media rights internally. 
Following a period spanning more than 20 years of representation by IMG MEDIA, the ACO has decided to centralize its marketing operations including television distribution, Internet and mobile rights.

Jean-Claude Plassart, President of the ACO and Remy Brouard, CEO of the ACO have acknowledged the help and support of IMG MEDIA over many years but felt that the time was right to take a greater responsibility of its assets. More ...
GM sues over millions spent on steering repairs  General Motors says it's costing tens of millions of dollars to repair shaky steering columns in its best-selling small car and other models, so it is suing JTEKT North America, which supplied the steering assemblies in the Cobalt, Pursuit, G5, HHR and other vehicles.

In the lawsuit, GM says customers have complained about unusual rattles, "clunks" and other noises. The automaker says it found excessive gear backlash, which causes problems under certain driving conditions.

GM says it has cost more than $30 million to deal with customer warranty claims, and the price is rising. A message seeking comment Monday was left with JTEKT, based in Plymouth, Mich.

The case was filed in Macomb County Circuit Court but moved to federal court in Detroit last week.

track news
IMS consolidates all online information under new CIO  Rhonda Winter was named as chief information officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a new position that will guide the direction of all information technology and related business units of the company.

Experienced information technology executive Winter will oversee the existing Information Technology department and the newly created New Media & Consumer Strategies department.

"I'm very excited to join the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this new role," Winter said. "Technology is a key tool that can be leveraged to enable strategies and grow core businesses, and I'm looking forward to ensuring that IMS continues as a worldwide motorsports leader in this area."

Winter comes to IMS with vast, successful experience in information technology. She established and developed high-performance technology infrastructure as the chief information officer at CIK Enterprises in Indianapolis from 2006-09 and as CIO for the Indianapolis Museum of Art from 2003-06. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Silverstone 'very close' to British GP deal
  • Rosberg deal done before Merc takeover - Fry
  • F1 on Tuesday: around the 'net
  • Brawn again plays down Schumacher rumors
  • Brawn not backing Ferrari's three-car push
  • Paris court to hear Briatore appeal on Tuesday
  • Renault's Ghosn admits 'concerns' about F1
  • Jani not confirming Force India test
  • Campos reports progress with 2010 car
  • No Indian drivers for India's Jerez test

Silverstone 'very close' to British GP deal
(GMM)  Silverstone is close to securing a long-term deal to keep hosting the British grand prix, according to the circuit's managing director.

Bernie Ecclestone has imposed a December 9 deadline for a deal to be reached, and left the door open to Donington resurrecting its failed race plans.

But Silverstone's Richard Phillips, who earlier this week welcomed a government delegation to the circuit, told BBC Radio Northampton that the track is close to securing the future of the British GP.

"I don't think there are any real stumbling blocks, we're going through the last details of the deal," he said.

"I'm pretty convinced that it will be run at Silverstone next year."

Phillips said the delay is explained by the need to tread carefully when reaching long term and "high level" agreements.

"There is a lot of detail to go through, so if you make a mistake, there's a long time to repent," he said.

"You can come to high level agreements quickly, but the devil is in the detail.  We're very, very close.

"We certainly would like the contract to be for more than 10 years -- that's the minimum," added Phillips, indicating that a new pit and paddock complex will be ready for the 2011 race. More ...

VW rejects NASCAR  Volkswagen Motorsport exec Hans-Joachim Stuck said that there have been "no formal talks regarding entry into the sport." Following reports that the German carmaker may enter the sport, Stuck said, "I can tell you very honestly that's not going to happen." Stuck added that VW subsidiary Audi Sport Head of Engine Technology Ulrich Baretzky "has talked to both IndyCar and the Grand-Am Road Racing series" FOXSPORTS.com
FAZZT Racing hires AGR engineer  FAZZT Race Team has added open-wheel racing veterans Don Oldenburg as its crew chief and Allen MacDonald as chief race engineer for the No. 77 entry to be driven by Alex Tagliani during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

MacDonald most recently was chief engineer for eight seasons at Andretti Green Racing. The team, which recently completed the purchase of cars and equipment from Roth Racing, is moving in to its shop on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

"We have been very fortunate to be able to finalize a number of our key personnel over the last few weeks," team general manager Rob Edwards said.  "We have tried to be patient enough to get the right people, but to also be ready to roll by our first test in early January." indycar.com

IRL media manager resigns  Indy Racing League Vice President of Public Relations John Griffin has submitted his resignation, effective Dec. 18.

"John has been a valued part of our organization and he will be missed," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League. "His creativity and passion for the sport brought publicity for the IZOD IndyCar Series to a whole new level. We wish him the best of luck."

Griffin joined the Indy Racing League as vice president in 2002, overseeing all aspects of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights public and media relations program as well as strategic communication. During his tenure, Griffin developed and implemented public relations strategies for several historic events including the unification of open-wheel racing, Danica Patrick's first win and the series IZOD entitlement announcement earlier this month.  More ...

Star Mazda announces 2010 Schedule  The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear today takes on a more prominent and influential role in the training and career development of young open-wheel racers with the announcement of a 2010 schedule that includes events on American Le Mans Series and Indy Racing League weekends as well as the high-profile "Night Before the 500." 

Series President Gary Rodrigues stated, “As the Star Mazda Championship heads into its 20th season of competition, we remain obsessed with providing our racers with the most useful variety of venues to showcase their talent and advance their careers.”

The 11-weekend, 13-race Star Mazda Championship schedule retains its traditional season-opener at the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19.  On the following weekend, March 26, the Mazda Renesis rotary-powered open-wheelers will join the Indy Racing League for the first time ever on track in the Streets of St. Petersburg. More ...

Benjamin Bailly signs up for Valencia test  
Benjamin Bailly
Promising Belgian racer Benjamin Bailly has joined the list of drivers who will contest the two day F2 winter test in Valencia on 3/4 December.

The 19-year-old has been signed up by the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium (RACB) National Team, who have also pledged their support to current Formula Renault 3.5 champion Bertrand Baguette, who will be testing for the Renault F1 Team in Jerez next month.

Bailly, winner of the Formul'Academy Euro Series in 2009, is looking to move to F2 in 2010 and thanks to the RACB, the talented teenager will climb into the cockpit of an F2 car for the first time during the Spanish test.

"The RACB is delighted to be extending its support for Benjamin," said Secretary General of Sport Geoffroy Theunis. "His results in Formul'Academy Euro Series this season have shown that the winner of the 'Volant RACB National Team 2008' prize has the qualities to become a real hopeful of Belgian motorsport. Our approach involves finding him a championship in which he can continue to progress in 2010. This is why Marc Duez, Benjamin and I recently visited the FIA Formula Two Championship's headquarters at Bedford Autodrome in England." More ...

Schu speculation races ahead on Monday  (GMM)  Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo on Monday said he "cannot imagine" Michael Schumacher deciding to re-launch a full time formula one race career.

Schumacher, the only seven time world champion in the sport's history, is strongly linked with the second cockpit at Mercedes GP.

The 40-year-old German is under contract to Ferrari, so he would have to be given clearance by Montezemolo to race elsewhere.

Schumacher's teammate would be his 24-year-old compatriot Nico Rosberg, but he told reporters on Monday that "I don't want to comment on that".

Also facing the media, Mercedes' Norbert Haug and team chief executive Nick Fry similarly stirred the speculation by refusing to issue clear denials.

Asked to categorically rule out Schumacher, Fry said: "When will you ever say categorically anything in F1?"

Fry, who said he wants the identity of Rosberg's teammate to be known by Christmas, added: "We are here today to talk about Nico Rosberg and we should stick with that subject." (See related rumor)

Highcroft team to continue with Acuras in 2010  
Duncan Dayton
Duncan Dayton’s Patr¢n Highcroft Racing and Honda Performance Development will again team up in the American Le Mans Series with the 2009 LMP1 championship-winning outfit fielding a factory-backed Acura ARX-01c prototype for 2010. The highest-scoring Acura team for each of the past three seasons - and last year’s LMP1 champion - will race an iteration of the original Acura American Le Mans Series entry.

Patr¢n Highcroft Racing will be the exclusively designated test team for HPD. It is charged with evaluation of the new ARX-01c platform and the testing of a new HPD engine under consideration for the 2011 season.

“We are delighted to continue our relationship with Honda Performance Development,” Dayton said. “We will have the No. 1 on our car for 2010 and firmly believe the ARX-01c will give us the best opportunity to defend that championship. We are very much looking forward to continuing our working relationship with the team at HPD - they have played an integral role in our championship success.”

After making its debut in the championship in 2006, Patr¢n Highcroft has recorded key milestones on its way to championship success. The team scored factory Acura backing in 2007, secured the Patr¢n Spirits Company as a naming rights sponsor in 2008 and then collected the American Le Mans Series LMP1 championship this year. More ...

Mercedes names Rosberg as 2010 driver  (GMM)  Mercedes on Monday revealed Nico Rosberg as the team's first driver for 2010.

In the wake of the Stuttgart marque's majority buyout of the former Brawn GP team, 24-year-old Rosberg is Mercedes' first German driver since Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann in 1955.

Despite intense speculation linking Michael Schumacher with the other cockpit, compatriot Nick Heidfeld is regarded as the more realistic choice.

tv news
NASCAR surveys fans on broadcasts  NASCAR is surveying Fan Council members about TV broadcasts, asking fans if they watch the races on TV with the sound turned down to hear the radio broadcast and how often they do so.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the survey is part of typical research series officials do throughout the year with the 12,000-member Fan Council. The survey features about 20 questions and not all are related to the TV broadcasts.

NASCAR has become outspoken on what chairman Brian France has labeled excessive criticism from broadcasters. Poston wrote a blog after the Talladega race earlier this month questioning how ABC's broadcasters portrayed that race. More ...

Evernham looking to be involved with race team again  Former car owner and crew chief, Ray Evernham, said prior to Sunday's season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway that he hopes to get a series of legal issues resolved in the coming weeks that may pave the way for a return in some capacity with a race team. "Unfortunately for me, there are a lot of legal things going on right now. And there will be more legal things to come," said Evernham, who remains a minority stockholder in what is now known as Richard Petty Motorsports and also serves as a color analyst on ESPN television race broadcasts. "I'm not 100 percent sure [what I'll be doing next year]. Right now I have a contract on the table from ESPN -- and I love working for ESPN. I have a blast with what I do there. We'll have to see. I'm not going to say that I'll never be back over here. I just don't know in what capacity."

Evernham has made no secret of his desire to rid himself of his minority stake in RPM, which previously was known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports -- and before that was simply Evernham Motorsports, in which he was founder and majority owner. "I've got some meetings next week. There is a lot going on where we've got to get some clear communication on -- things that are going on and where I fit in all that," Evernham said. "I own a percentage of everything as a stockholder. I am a stockholder in that business today." He also has a non-compete deal with Gillett-Evernham that he would like clarified -- if not severed altogether. That could clear the way for him to return to the garage in some capacity with another race team beginning as early as next season. Evernham added that he has not spoken with majority owner George Gillett on any consulting issues since last May. NASCAR.com
Logano named 2009 Rookie of the Year  Joey Logano scored a 24th-place finish and was the top rookie in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors 26 times in 36 races this season. Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished the season with one win, three top-fives and seven top-10 finishes. At 19 years of age, Logano is the youngest driver to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Logano is the third driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year, joining Tony Stewart (1999) and Denny Hamlin (2006). YOU OFICIALLY CLINCHED RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR TONIGHT. "All right, cool. That's cool. That was one of our big goals this year. It's pretty neat to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. I appreciate that," said Logano. Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR
Edwards gets shut out in 2009 after winning 9 races in 2008  Carl Edwards, who won a Sprint Cup Series-high nine races in 2008, did not win any Sprint Cup Series races in 2009 after finishing 7th at Homestead. Only once in series history has a driver won more races one season and been shut out the next. Ned Jarrett won 13 times in 1965, but was winless in 1966. He ran only half the season in 1966 and still finished 13th in the points.  Roanoke Times
Montoya retaliates on Stewart  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I’m an F1 guy but I figured I’d watch the last “Cup” race of the year and DIRTY racing is what I see.  How NASCAR is the most popular series in the US boggles my ideas of sportsmanship and intelligence.  Too much to ask I guess, for them or me, I’m not sure.

What Tony Stewart did to Juan Pablo Montoya (JPM) shows how emotionally immature Tony is (referring to Stewart spinning out Montoya, after Montoya nudged him)!  First, JPM gave Stewart a ton of room on the prior corner, when he could have pinched him down a TON!!

The bump draft that JPM gave Stewart had no negative impact to him and was clearly accidental.  Then... for Stewart to intentionally hit JPM and take him out of the race, makes Tony look incredibly immature.  Worst yet, the announcers all said Tony hit JPM intentionally and my eyes told me the same thing.  NASCAR should be ashamed of itself for allowing intentional contact.

As I write....., JPM retaliated and got a two lap penalty, as he should get for retaliating.  Where is Stewarts penalty.  This is why I just switched to watch the NFL.  NASCAR is a circus. Bruce Guthrie

tv news
ESPN Classic Paying Tribute to NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson  On the day after winning his history-making fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson will be the subject of a tribute on ESPN Classic on Monday, Nov. 23.

ESPN Classic will replay highlights of the four races in which Johnson won his championships, starting with the 2009 event from Homestead-Miami Speedway at 1 p.m. ET. The 2008 race airs at 4 p.m., followed by the 2007 race at 7 p.m. The race from 2006, in which Johnson won his first title, airs at 10 p.m.

Tony Stewart Racing to sack Kinser  Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) has sacked Kraig Kinser, driver of the No. 20 Bass Pro Shops World of Outlaws Sprint car.

Kinser, who replaced Paul McMahan prior to the 2008 season, recorded two wins with TSR at Grays Harbor Raceway and North Central Speedway.

"The hard part was we waited to a part of the season that's kind of hard for him, helping him get a ride for next year, which we're doing everything we can to help with that," Stewart said. "It was kind of hard for both of us. We saw some improvement early fall that we thought was going to continue and it fell back off at the end of the year."

Kinser and teammate Donny Schatz both raced separate engine and chassis packages at TSR. Schatz won his fourth consecutive championship running the J&J chassis while Kinser raced the Maxim.

"We're trying to figure out how to bring that together where both guys are running the same chassis and same engine package," Stewart said. "So we're trying to find a driver that likes the J&J car like Donny does and somebody that we feel will be an asset to Donny as a teammate and be able to work together with him. So that's what we're working toward."

"At Kraig's age Donny Schatz wasn't winning very many races," 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser said. "There's a lot of potential there. I just hope the race team wants to make something out of it."

Unfortunately for Kraig, Stewart decided to fire him anyway.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • No Bulgarian GP, FIA's Todt insists
  • Merc GP structure not a recipe for tension - Haug
  • Le Mans on hold as Klien eyes F1 return
  • F1 journalist to reprise naked jog
  • F1 on Monday: around the 'net
  • Sauber's Qadbak takeover to collapse - report
  • Donington administrators welcome Ecclestone comments

No Bulgarian GP, FIA's Todt insists
(GMM)  Bulgaria was never close to organizing a round of the F1 world championship, FIA president Jean Todt insists.

It was reported that, before scrapping the plans on financial grounds, the Bulgarian Motorcycling Federation held meetings with Bernie Ecclestone and even received a race contract for 2011-2015.

But while in Bulgaria to discuss the southeastern European republic's world rally round for 2010, Todt revealed that the FIA never received a formal request to sanction a Belgian grand prix, according to the news agency Sofia.

Merc GP structure not a recipe for tension - Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug has played down fears that Mercedes GP's new management structure is top heavy.

The German marque has retained Brawn's bosses Ross Brawn and chief executive Nick Fry, while competition director Norbert Haug switches from the McLaren garage.

Haug insists the new structure will not lead to tension.

"On the contrary," he told Germany's Bild am Sonntag.  "Ross is the team boss, I am the sporting boss responsible for all of Mercedes-Benz's motor racing activities.  We will complement each other." More ...

Mercedes set to announce Rosberg for 2010  (GMM)  Mercedes GP is expected to confirm Nico Rosberg as a race driver for the 2010 season in just over one hour (See related rumor).

It is regarded as an open secret that the 24-year-old German, who made his debut for Williams in 2006, inked a contract to race with the Brackley based team some time ago.

"After four years in formula one, I would count Nico Rosberg as an experienced driver," team boss Ross Brawn told Germany's Bild.

It is also believed that, over the weekend, Rosberg gave an interview in which he hinted strongly that his 2010 employer will be Brawn/Mercedes.

Briton Brawn, 55, said he is not in a rush to complete the team's lineup, following Jenson Button's defection to McLaren.

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