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Hoosier tire testing at Homestead Hoosier tire testing at HomesteadJust a few weeks after one of the most exciting seasons in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series history, the series and its teams are wasting little time in their preparations for 2005 with this week’s Hoosier Tire Introduction Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Nearly 30 teams will take part in the test sessions which are scheduled to take place from Tuesday, November 30 through Thursday, December 2. More than half of the participants will be Daytona Prototype teams, including several programs that will be making their first public appearance in South Florida.

A handful of teams will debut never-before-seen Daytona Prototype chassis and engine combinations, including the brand new No. 19 Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley—which will be piloted by Michael McDowell and Memo Gidley—as well as the No. 15 Essex Racing Ford Crawford in the hands of drivers who have not yet been named.

Another team that will make its Daytona Prototype debut will be Orbit Racing, which won last season's Rolex 24 At Daytona GT class. The No. 39 Orbit Racing Pontiac Riley will be co-driven in this test by Rolex Series returnee Jim Matthews and series newcomer Joel Camathias of Switzerland, as well as SunTrust Racing regular Max Angelelli.

Michael Baughman and Bob Ward—familiar faces from Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am Cup competition—will co-pilot the No. 47 Michael Baughman Racing Pontiac Crawford for the first time in a public setting. The No. 49 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Multimatic will be driven by Scott Maxwell, while the No. 74 Robinson Racing Lexus Riley will be shared by George Robinson and NBC NASCAR commentator Wally Dallenbach.

After fielding a Lexus-powered Doran in 2004, Michael Shank Racing debuts the No. 6 Pontiac Riley this week with Paul Mears Jr. and Mike Borkowski sharing driving duties. Also returning to the Daytona Prototype ranks will be Gunnar Racing with a No. 45 Ford Multimatic for South Floridian Gunnar Jeannette, of Palm Beach Gardens, at the wheel.

Among the 2004 series regulars participating in the test will be the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Pontiac Crawford of Doug Goad and Stephan Gregorie, the No. 27 Doran Racing Lexus Doran of Didier Theys and Jan Magnussen, the No. 29 Silverstone Racing Services Pontiac Crawford of Chris Hall and the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar of Darren Law and David Donohue.

Andy Wallace—who co-piloted the No. 2 CITGO machine with Milka Duno to two wins at Homestead last season—will be joined by Paul Edwards in the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. The 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran will also be in action this week, with 2003 Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller, car owner Forest Barber, Anthony Lazzaro, C.R. Crews and 2003 Champ Car champion Paul Tracy all expected to spend some time in the cockpit. 

The GT class will also be well represented with GT champion Bill Auberlen sharing the cockpit of the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group with Joey Hand. Flying Lizard Motorsports will field two Porsche GT3 Cups driven by Johannes van Overbeek, Lonnie Pechnik, Seth Neiman and Jon Fogarty, while Scuderia Ferrari of Washington will be on hand with a pair of Maserati Light GTs for drivers to be announced.

TPC Racing – which won the 2004 Super Grand Sport (SGS) title – will test the No. 36 Porsche GT3 Cup in the new 2005 GT configuration with John Littlechild, Michael Levitas, Randy Pobst and Spencer Pumpelly sharing driving duties. South Florida-based JMB Racing USA will test the No. 11 Ferrari 360GT with Matt Plumb and Anthony Pinto, while the No. 98 GT Technologies Porsche GT3 Cup of Marc Feinstein, Brady Refenning, of Stuart, and Carlos DeQuesada, of Miami, will also test.

2004 SGS driver champions Andy Lally and Marc Bunting, who recently signed to drive for The Racer's Group in 2005, will join TRG owner Kevin Buckler, as well as Dave Master and Marc Sluszny at testing, as the team will test three Porsche GT3 Cups during three days of testing. Grand-Am

Sebring: Figge turns fastest lap on Monday Sebring: Figge turns fastest lap on MondayThis SPEEDTV article says (excerpts, see also related article),Today's Champ Car test at Sebring, Florida, saw Atlantic race-winners Alex Figge and Bryan Sellers get a nice taste of 750 turbocharged horsepower, courtesy of Gerald Forsythe and Dale Coyne respectively. Tomorrow, another Atlantic standout and a former multiple winner in the series also test Champ Cars, as Andrew Ranger will drive for Forsythe while Michael Valiante will be strapped to one of Coyne’s cockpits.

“Other than the power gap, it’s not that hard to adapt to the Champ Cars,” revealed Figge, who admitted it didn’t take long to get comfortable and “have a good time” in Forsythe’s car.   Although Figge’s lap times made a good impression on the team - he set the fastest, unofficial time of the day - the American confessed he was being a little “cautious”:  “It’s not like it’s your ride,” he justified.

Sellers’ impressions were similar. The former FF2000 champion said it all went “very well” mostly thanks to the fact “the Atlantic cars prepare you pretty well [for Champ Cars]. Although the Champ Cars obviously have way more horsepower, they relate a lot to Atlantics in terms of braking and downshifting, so you can get up to speed pretty quickly.”

“I just want to specially thank Dale Coyne,” he continued, “who stepped up because he believes in the Atlantic championship and in guys like me. That speaks volumes about the type of person he is.”

The similarities between Figge’s and Sellers’ words weren’t restricted to their feelings about their on-track experiences, nor to their lap times, which were separated by just two tenths. Both drivers are still oscillating about staying in Atlantics another year to fight for top honors or making the move up to the big league.

“My future is totally up in the air right now,” confessed Figge. “But the Champ Car driver market is wide open, and we’ll just have to see what makes more sense - to stay in Atlantics or to take it up a notch.”

“I hope I impressed Dale enough to have a shot [at a full-time ride] next year,” revealed Sellers, who had his fastest lap of the session interrupted by a red flag. “I got along very well with the team, but in the end it all comes down to sponsorship,” he admitted.

Forsythe also tested British F3 race-winner Marcus Marshall of Australia and 2004 Formula BMW champion Andreas Wirth - who, besides one F3 test in the rain, had never driven anything more powerful than the 140hp F-BMW cars. One has to wonder what does an extra 600 or so horses feel like.

“It was an awesome experience; I want to thank Forsythe and BMW so much for this opportunity,” said an ecstatic Wirth, who was so happy, he was even glad about his only, damage-free spin: “You have to find your limits on the car. If you don’t spin once, you might be going too slow,” he grinned.

Trans-Am drivers nominated Trans-Am drivers nominated2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series Drivers’ Champion Paul Gentilozzi and Championship runner-up Tommy Kendall are among 44 drivers on the ballot for the 2004 American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association’s (AARWBA) 2004 Auto Racing All-America Team. Gentilozzi and Kendall are two of six drivers nominated in the Road Racing category. More than 300 members of the motorsports press will vote for the All-America team, and will also determine the Jerry Titus Award, which honors the team's top driver—the one earning the most votes in the balloting regardless of category.

The battle for the Trans-Am title between Gentilozzi and Kendall came down to the wire—the Rocketsports Racing teammates finishing the season tied in final points, a feat not achieved in the Trans-Am Series since 1966. Gentilozzi clinched the title by virtue of his five wins this year to two victories for Kendall. Gentilozzi’s fourth title ties him with Kendall for the most in Trans-Am history. In fact, it was the closest Drivers’ Championship finish in Trans-Am’s 39-year history (the Drivers’ Championship was not officially instituted until the 1971 season). Gentilozzi finished out of the top five just once, at Road America due to two punctured tires, and won after starting last in two races—Portland and Cleveland.

Kendall and Gentilozzi join fellow nominees in the road racing category: Ron Fellows and the team of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner (ALMS); Ian James (ALMS, Grand-Am); and the team of Max Papis and Scott Pruett (Grand-Am).

World Series by Renault
World Series by Renault development begins World Series by Renault development beginsThis weekend saw the Formula Renault 3.5 single seater launch into an intensive development program in its preparation for the 30 drivers set to compete in the 2005 World Series by Renault championship. Jonathan Cochet, the driver in charge of taking the car through its paces throughout this development phase, completed 76 laps of the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit at Le Castellet, without any major incident.

On Saturday November 27, one week after the shakedown at the Vairano circuit in Italy, the FR 3.5 launched into an intensive development program which is to continue throughout the winter. The first day was chiefly devoted to fine-tuning car / driver settings, with Jonathan Cochet trying out multiple combinations out on track to get optimum driving comfort. After the first few laps, Cochet spoke of his first impressions. “This car's got great pedigree. It looks good and its aero efficiency is going to be a great asset. I soon got the feel of things, once behind the wheel. I feel like I'm in a small F1. As far as the chassis is concerned, Dallara have delivered an effective package. So the testing program we have in store should be very exciting."
On Sunday, Development Manager Jérôme Mortal's team reviewed a broad spectrum of settings, in order to locate the set-up ranges to propose to the teams for the future championship. “With over 70 laps notched up this weekend, we're happy with the initial data we've gathered and we're reassured as to how the program will move forward now. The car's got great pedigree and the next development sessions should confirm its potential."

Before the first round of the World Series by Renault championship, which is to kick off on May 1st, 2005, at the Zolder circuit in Belgium, the development team have already mapped out a lengthy schedule of development and reliability testing. The next session is programmed for mid December. Renault

Bayless fastest at wet Valencia Bayless fastest at wet ValenciaTroy Bayliss continued his impressive adaptation to the Honda RC211V with the quickest time on a wet first day of tests at Valencia. With his replacement at Ducati, Carlos Checa, just a couple of doors down pit-lane, Bayliss worked alone in the Camel Honda garage as his team-mate Alex Barros' return from a shoulder injury was postponed until tomorrow. Nicky Hayden also lapped without an injured team-mate, with Max Biaggi still ruled out with a broken ankle, and Makoto Tamada completed his first laps on Michelin's wet tires as the only rider in the Konica Minolta Honda team. In the 250cc class Fortuna Honda pair Jorge Lorenzo and Hector Barberá were joined on track by factory colleague Andrea Dovizioso.
Unofficial lap times:
Troy Bayliss – Camel Honda : 1’47.47 (24 laps)
Carlos Checa – Ducati Marlboro : 1’48.14 (24 laps)
Loris Capirossi – Ducati Marlboro : 1’48.56 (26 laps)
Nicky Hayden – Repsol Honda : 1’48.61 (26 laps)
Régis Laconi – Ducati Marlboro : 1’51.48 (26 laps)
Makoto Tamada – Konica Minolta Honda : no lap time given MotoGP
Costa leading F2005 Ferrari design Costa leading F2005 Ferrari designFerrari chief designer Rory Byrne admits that the F2005 Ferrari F1 car is being designed by Aldo Costa, the man expected to replace him as Chief Designer in 2006.  "The 2005 car is already without my signature. The project is led by engineer Aldo Costa,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “We are exchanging roles: he is taking over lots of my responsibilities, while I supervise. Costa has been my right hand for many years: I trust him very much. Various working teams respond to him now.   When the time comes for my retirement, he will have to be in charge of the entire system.   My contract will end in February 2007, we'll see after that," he explained. "I could remain involved in a different way, but from 2007 I will certainly spend most of my time in Phuket, in Thailand, where my wife is from.  I bought a 7,000 square meters piece of land by the sea: I will build a tourist village with cottages, while keeping the remembrance of the beautiful years at Ferrari for myself."
Industry News
$1 million car stolen $1 million car stolenDaimler Chrysler AG CEO Juergen Schrempp had his special hi-tech armor plated S600 Mercedes-Benz stolen while it was parked on a street in Stuttgart, the German city in which the car maker is based.  The black company car, which is valued at more than 800,000 euros (US 1 Million Dollars), disappeared on the night of 26 October police spokesman Klaus-Peter Arand said in a telephone interview.  The car, which sports a 12-cylinder engine and is equipped with a broadcasting device to help retrieve the car hasn't yet been found, the police said.  The stolen vehicle has bullet-proof windows, "finger-thick" steel plates as part of its chassis as well as tires designed to keep it running even when flat, Bild-Zeitung reported last week. Bloomberg News
More Alex Zanardi Wind Tunnel quotes More Alex Zanardi Wind Tunnel quotesHere are more select quotes from the 2004 season-ending Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. Despain's guest was two-time Champ Car champion Alex Zanardi, who talked about his life before and after a racing accident that took both of his legs.
2005 Brickyard 400 tickets on sale 2005 Brickyard 400 tickets on sale Tickets are on sale to the general public for the 2005 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the ticket renewal and upgrade process for 2004 customers is complete.  All fans - newcomers to the event and previous attendees - can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.  The 12th Brickyard 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 7 for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Jeff Gordon will attempt to become the first driver to win a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway five times, as he earned his record fourth Brickyard 400 victory this year in the DuPont Chevrolet.  All of the top NEXTEL Cup superstars will race on the famed 2.5-mile oval, including 2004 season champion Kurt Busch, 2004 title contenders Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Indiana natives Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart, 2004 NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and past Brickyard 400 winners Kevin Harvick, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte.  This also will be the last time fans can see former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace race at the Brickyard 400 in the Miller Lite Dodge. Wallace is retiring after the 2005 season.
Ferrari fogged out Ferrari fogged outDue to the thick fog that descended on Maranello from early morning, the scheduled test by Ferrari of wet Bridgestone tires at the Fiorano circuit was cancelled. Test driver Luca Badoer made an outing to check the track conditions but returned shortly afterwards to report that poor visibility made it impossible to continue. The sessions will pick up on Wednesday, at Fiorano, with Andrea Bertolini at the wheel.
Champ Car rookies nominated by Autosport Champ Car rookies nominated by AutosportJust when it seemed the battle had ended, A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson find themselves in a shootout again – albeit in a slightly calmer arena than the one that they fought in during their chase for top rookie honors in the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

Allmendinger and Wilson went at it all year in their quest for the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Award, often running side-by-side and nose to tail before Allmendinger pulled away late in the year to win the honor. The off-season saw the two come together as Allmendinger was joined on the RuSPORT team by the lanky Brit, who signed with the Carl Russo-owned team after running his rookie season with Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing.

Now the two drivers have been recognized for their accomplishments by the publishers of Autosport magazine as Allmendinger and Wilson have been nominated for the Autosport Rookie-of-the-Year Award to be given out December 5 in London.

Fans can vote on the award by going to www.autosport.com and logging their choice. Allmendinger and Wilson are joined on the ballot by former open-wheel prodigy and NASCAR rookie Kasey Kahne, former Champ Car driver Darren Manning, Formula 1 rookie Christian Klien and BTCC first-year driver Robb Huff.

Allmendinger scored a pair of podiums in his first year in Champ Car and ended his season with a flourish, scoring top-six finishes in five of the year’s final six races. He ended the year in style, taking the final step on the podium in Mexico City en route to a sixth-place finish in the Champ Car points.

Wilson made it tough on the young Californian, taking the early lead in the rookie points. He scored a sixth-place finish in his Champ Car debut, despite having very limited testing time prior to the start of the season. He qualified third in his very next race and went on to score a front-row start in Cleveland in just his fifth race in the series. He ended the year with eight top-10 finishes and placed fourth in the season finale. Champ Car

Three Champ Car drivers nominated Three Champ Car drivers nominatedThe 2004 season was full of achievements for the stars of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, and with the season behind them, it is the time of year for those achievements to be recognized by motorsports entities throughout the world.

Champ Car aces Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were among the first drivers in the series to receive accolades for their stellar 2004 campaigns Monday as they were selected to appear on the ballot for the prestigious Auto Racing All-American Team.

The All-American Team, which has been selected by the nearly 300 members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) each year since 1970, honors drivers in seven different categories. The top two drivers in each category earn first-team All-American status, the third- and fourth-placed drivers are named to the second team, and any driver getting five percent of the vote earns honorable mention status.

In addition, the driver earning the most overall votes, regardless of category, is recognized with the Jerry Titus Award. Bourdais, Junqueira and Tracy were chosen for this year’s balloting in the open-wheel category, along with Tony Kanaan, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon.

Bourdais heads the list after a record-setting season that saw him win his first Champ Car title. The Newman/Haas Racing driver scored seven wins and eight poles en route to the series championship and set a series record by qualifying in the top three for every race of the 2004 season. He led the series in wins, poles, laps led and qualifying average and also won the Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award for the second consecutive season. He has made the AARWBA ballot in each of his two Champ Car seasons, earning honorable mention status last year.

Junqueira earns his first-ever spot on the AARWBA ballot after finishing second in the Champ Car standings for the third consecutive year. The Newman/Haas driver carried the championship fight all the way to the year’s final race and ended his season with two wins and 10 podium finishes, including six in a row to close out the campaign.

Tracy will be looking for his fourth first-team berth after a year that saw the winningest active driver in all of North American open-wheel racing score two more victories on his way to a fourth-place finish in the points. The Forsythe Championship Racing pilot won three poles and moved into the top 10 on the all-time Champ Car lists in both poles and wins in 2004.

The awards will be given out at the AARWBA banquet to be held in Pomona, California on January 15. The banquet will also serve as the kickoff for the AARWBA 50th Anniversary Celebration, of which the Champ Car World Series is a sponsor. The results of the 2004 AARWBA All-American Team voting will be made public prior to the banquet. Champ Car

BAR Honda announces young driver program BAR Honda announces young driver programLucky Strike B·A·R Honda today announces the first stage results from a Young Driver Program which the team have put into place since the end of the 2004 season. Hopefuls from various junior formulae have been put through their paces by the team in the hope of gaining the opportunity to join B·A·R at this week's test in Jerez.

The two-year program is the first time that B·A·R has developed a structured initiative to evaluate the wealth of young talent currently vying for the attention of the top Formula One teams. Nine drivers took part in a three-day assessment at B·A·R's Operations Centre during mid November. The group took part in a series of activities specifically designed to measure their current physical, mental and driving abilities, as well as their capacity for future development. The results were evaluated by a team of experts to determine those drivers with the most potential to benefit and develop from the two-year program.

The three successful drivers from the initial selection process are British F3 2004 runner-up Adam Carroll, 3rd placed British F3 2004 driver James Rossiter and the 2003 British F3 champion Alan van der Merwe. They have spent the last two weeks working closely with Senior Race Engineer Jock Clear, to prepare them for the Jerez test where they will have the opportunity to drive this year's B·A·R Honda 006.

Jock, who is heading up the team working on the program, commented: "The Young Driver initiative which we are putting into place at B·A·R is the result of a considerable period of careful planning and research. We have been working with the best in the business in terms of sports psychology, fitness and motivation, added to which is the input from B·A·R's engineering experts. The investment from the team has been substantial and so far we are pleased with the results seen and the commitment of all the drivers who have participated.

"We have a wealth of talent at B·A·R already, with race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, plus third driver Anthony Davidson and test driver Enrique Bernoldi. It is important to understand that this initiative is not about finding an immediate understudy to Jenson or Takuma. It is about developing the talent of the future on a structured two-year program which will hopefully prepare them for the unique challenge of Formula One. The jump from the junior formulae is huge, however by guiding and supporting these drivers, we hope the long-term benefit will see them make the grade with B·A·R in the future."

The three drivers will each have two half-day sessions in the car at Jerez. They will be able to experience the workings of a full F1 test as Takuma Sato and Enrique Bernoldi will also be in attendance working on the development of the 2005 car. The team will be looking for the driver who has the most potential to develop over the next 24 months. Whilst raw speed is important, so too is the enthusiasm to listen and learn, the motivation and commitment to improve and the intelligence to make the most of the opportunity that B·A·R will provide. The Young Driver Program is about nurturing talent and giving the drivers the support needed to make it to the very top of motorsport. BAR Honda

GP2 series to make key announcement GP2 series to make key announcementThe GP2 series will announce the teams, calendar, and weekend format for the inaugural championship on Tuesday 30th of November 2004, at 10:00.  The organizers claim that due to the overwhelming number of high quality and credible initial applications received, they have filled the 12 allocated team positions which were made available for the inaugural season, and may extend the field to encompass a 13th squad.
Billy Ballew joins with driver Kerry Earnhardt Billy Ballew joins with driver Kerry EarnhardtNASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner Billy Ballew has joined forces with driver Kerry Earnhardt and plans to double his Earnhardt fun by utilizing Dale Earnhardt Inc. engines in his No. 15 Chevrolet Silverado during the 2005 NCTS season.   

"This one-two Earnhardt punch is just what this team needed," said Ballew. "We were able to get our first series win this past season at Las Vegas, and by adding Kerry and utilizing DEI power for our efforts next year, I feel we can contend week in and week out. We're extremely excited about this opportunity to align ourselves with one of the strongest names and one of the strongest organizations in motorsports."

Kerry Earnhardt, the eldest son of seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, will be running for the first time in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. The 34-year-old NASCAR Busch Series veteran lays claim to four ARCA Re/Max Series victories, as well a pair of top-five and five top-10 Busch Series performances.

"I am excited about joining Billy Ballew Motorsports with Dale Earnhardt Inc. support," Earnhardt said. "Billy Ballew Motorsports has really stepped up their program. They were real strong right out of the box this past year. They have great equipment and that showed over the course of the 2004 season. It is obvious that the Billy Ballew Motorsports team has tremendous potential and I think I have potential as a driver, so hopefully that will be a good combination for us next year."

Even though he has spent most of his time in the Busch Series, Earnhardt has kept his eye on the development of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It is not a challenge he takes lightly.

I have been watching the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for the past several years and it has grown by leaps and bounds," Earnhardt says. "There are a lot of big name drivers and really good, well equipped teams. You have more and more quality drivers like Ron Hornaday Jr. returning to the series. You have guys coming out of the Nextel Cup series like Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray just to run truck series races. The reputation for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is really growing and drivers really want to compete in the series. It is in some ways as big if not bigger than the Busch Series. It is important to me to have the opportunity to get seat time with a good organization like Billy Ballew Motorsports."

Ballew is looking to secure primary sponsorship for the full 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. It is a task that he hopes will be aided by his addition of Earnhardt to the mix.

"Kerry is a great guy to be around," Ballew said. "People immediately respond to him because he is such a likable guy. He does an excellent job representing his sponsors, he is great with the fans and he is a heck of a driver. Having Kerry join our program and having the Earnhardt name behind us is bound to help us in obtaining a quality marketing partner for 2005 and beyond."

Wind Tunnel Zanardi special Wind Tunnel Zanardi specialUPDATE The Wind Tunnel interview with Alex Zanardi on SPEED Channel will re-air Nov. 30 at 10 p.m. ET. Transcripts from the interview to follow later today. 11/18/04 Two-time Champ Car World Series champion Alex Zanardi will be SPEED Channel's special guest Tuesday on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 10 p.m. ET.   "There are a lot of reasons I consider Alex Zanardi to be a true hero," said Despain, who will devote his entire one-hour program to the interview. "I think once the SPEED Channel viewers see this program, they will understand why I feel the way I do."  In the taped interview from his home in Padova, Italy, Zanardi talks of his racing career, his inspirational recovery from a violent accident that took both his legs three years ago, his post-accident racing career, his family and his new book, "My Sweetest Victory."  Select quotes from the SPEED Channel interview:

On his positive attitude: "It is a question of adjusting to your new limits. If you still are connected to the day when you were running 10 kilometers in less than 40 minutes, and that's your target, life is going to be very, very depressing for you. But if you understand that your new limit is trying to walk three kilometers in less than 40 minutes, and one day you come home and see some sweat coming down from your head and you look at the stop watch and (you've hit your goal), well, whether you have legs or not, you are going to look in the mirror and you are going to like what you see."

On what he recalls of his accident: "Right after the accident, I did not have many memories. Then, incredibly enough, when I went back one and a half years later to the same circuit to complete my race -- to do the last 13 laps that I did not in 2001 -- on the first turn I took at a very high speed, which was basically on the second lap, it was like switching the television on and I recollected all the nice memories of the race. I actually recollected the images of me passing all the drivers, especially on lap one, when everyone was going down low for the first turn. ... Forgetting about the best line, I went up high and cut across down to get a group of five drivers in one move.

"And then later on, when I drafted with Max Papis and I finally got alongside Tony Kanaan, who was leading the race -- my teammate and good friend Tony -- it was unbelievable. I remember waving 'bye' at him as we've always been good friends. It was incredible. Like I said, it was like switching the television on. Then, more recently, in this room while watching a movie three months ago ... right in the middle of it, with no reason, I got the memory of what happened immediately before the accident. Me leaving the pit lane and rolling down the pit lane, knowing that everything had gone right in the pit stop. I really felt deep inside that 'That's it -- I've got it.' I thought I had left behind the last danger of losing the race. ... My memories go up to the point when I felt and I heard the noise of the shunt and then from then on, I don't remember anything."

N.J. artist sues NASCAR N.J. artist sues NASCARA freelance designer and artist is gearing up for a battle against auto racing behemoth NASCAR, the Franklin Mint and the Mint's former president.  Matthew T. Scharle of Barrington, N.J., filed a lawsuit last week against all three, seeking credit for the new Nextel Cup Series Championship trophy, which he claims to have designed.   The trophy was unofficially awarded trackside Sunday to Kurt Busch after this year's last Nextel Series race. The trophy will be officially awarded next week at a black-tie NASCAR event in New York.   "It's not my intention to hurt NASCAR," said Matthew T. Scharle, who lives in this small Camden County borough. "I love the sport. I just want recognition for the design work I did."

Scharle's lawyer Neal A. Jacobs said Scharle's suit also seeks compensation for the alleged incorrect identification of the trophy's designer and related copyright issues.  The Franklin Mint, the Aston, Pa.-based collectible marketer, is involved in the matter because, two years ago, NASCAR hired it to design the new trophy. Jeffrey S. Edwards, a lawyer representing Franklin Mint, said the Mint believes it is inappropriate to comment on pending litigation.

On Nov. 9, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. sued Scharle, Franklin Mint and former Franklin Mint President Bruce J. Newman, seeking an injunction to block Scharle from taking any action to interfere with the awarding of the trophy trackside after NASCAR's final race Nov. 21 or at NASCAR's Dec. 3 banquet.

"NASCAR dealt with the Franklin Mint during the design process and is very proud of the trophy and what it symbolizes," the association said in a statement. "NASCAR maintains that it owns all rights, title and interest in the design of the NASCAR Nextel Cup trophy and in the trophy itself, including the right of attribution and all other worldwide copyrights as spelled out in NASCAR's agreements with the Franklin Mint."  In its lawsuit, NASCAR stated any dispute between Scharle, who was paid for his work by Franklin Mint, and Franklin Mint should be handled by those two parties through binding arbitration.

NASCAR said that the week before filing its lawsuit, Scharle's lawyer sent a letter to NASCAR seeking $10,000 in compensation for Scharle's work on the trophy. Scharle also demanded to be photographed with the trophy and the winning driver at the awards banquet and to receive significant other promotional benefits, including that NASCAR issue the picture as part of its press releases, according to the NASCAR lawsuit.  In lieu of such publicity, Scharle's attorney asked for a $2 million payment for Scharle's purported loss of his ability to market himself.

Jacobs did not dispute the contents of the letter, but he said what Scharle wants most is the recognition.  "We're asking the court to give us the ability to tell the world he designed this trophy, a huge and important achievement for any artist," Jacobs said. "That -- and we've been very clear about this -- is our desired result."

Scharle, in his countersuit, alleges the trophy was "designed entirely and independently" by him and that Franklin Mint did not possess his copyright or other ownership rights, and therefore Franklin Mint could not transfer, sell or assign those rights to NASCAR.  He is seeking damages, the total amount of which should be determined at trial, that include $150,000 per each incident of copyright infringement.  More at MSNBC

Fogarty bitter over being dissed by Champ Car Fogarty bitter over being dissed by Champ CarIn this SPEEDTV article Jon Fogarty, arguably one America's two fastest young drivers, expressing his anger over being passed up by Champ Car team owners for foreign ride-buyers. "I don't know. I think it took some prodding by Jon Vannini (then CART's second largest shareholder) to get me that test (with Newman/Haas)," recalled Fogarty. "All I did part of one day was development work so I felt happy with my performance. "Let's say I had a good feeling about what I did and not such a good feeling about their (Newman/Haas) intentions."

Of course Fogarty was given one other test last winter at Phoenix. It was for the injured Kenny Brack's ride with Rahal/Letterman in the Indy Racing League. After all the auditions Jon was offered the ride, which he politely declined. "It was the hardest decision I ever had to make in my life," he admitted. "The Indy 500 kept me entertaining it but, at the end of the day, it wasn't enough. I'm a road racer and that's what I want to do. And I understand why lots of road racers went to the IRL because you've got to make a living. "But I didn't grow up in the Midwest and ovals didn't have a place in my heart like Monaco or LeMans."

Rahal's ride went to Rice, the 2000 Atlantic king who never turned a lap of CART competition, and he got some well-deserved retribution by capturing Indy and contending for the IRL title.

Rice's accomplishments, along with A.J. Allmendinger's impressive rookie year in Champ Car and Ryan Hunter-Reay's dominating win at Milwaukee, gave Formula Atlantic grads and Americans in general a much-needed boost of confidence among the Champ Car owners. At least it should have. "The owners (in Champ Car) are brainwashed," said Fogarty, who won a close battle with Ryan Dalziel for this year's Atlantic crown. "They have this arrogant attitude that these expensive Champ Cars are so hard to drive. That's bullshit. They're overpriced, that's all. Are they challenging? Sure. But to think owners just go for Europeans burns me because we've proved we can kick their ass with a fair chance."

Fogarty figures he's going to get a shot at LeMans and has the potential for a long career in sports cars. He hopes Champ Car makes it, even without him. "It's frustrating and it's maddening but it is what it is," he surmises. "I think open wheel racing in this country needs American drivers. I just won't be one of them." [Editor's Note: And with two Toyota Atlantic championships in his pocket, open wheel racing has just lost another of its bright young stars to another racing series......as its USA TV ratings continue to plummet. A similar thing happened to Jeff Gordon years ago, and look what a star he is now.]

Industry News
Zhuhai Circuit becoming profitable Zhuhai Circuit becoming profitableLBS Bina Group Bhd is confident the Zhuhai International Racing Circuit (ZIC) will turn into an attractive tourist destination for the Chinese, especially folks in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong province, Macau and Hong Kong. Located on 289.8 acres in Zhuhai, the racing circuit is being managed by LBS, which is working towards turning around the ZIC into a profitable entity within the next two to three years. According to LBS managing director Datuk Lim Hock San, the group will consider exercising a call option to take the racing circuit back into the LBS fold once it shows profitability.

“Having achieved break-even in its books, the ZIC is now on the brink of doing better and we expect the company to start turning in profits from 2006,” he told StarBiz in an interview. Currently, a Malaysian investor is holding a 60% stake in ZIC while the Zhuhai city government has the remaining 40%. LBS inherited the property from Instangreen Corp Bhd when it undertook a reverse takeover of Instangreen in 2002. It also inherited a 36-hole golf course and a 266.9 acre-property development land located adjacent to the racing circuit.

To spearhead more positive changes and beef up the operations at the racing circuit, the company had in June engaged a Malaysian who has been working for a multinational corporation in Singapore as its new executive vice-president. That person, Cynthia Lim, said plans were underway to inject more excitement into the racing circuit and turn it into a popular tourist “must-see” destination. These include site tours of the ZIC, a go-kart track, a motoring museum and souvenir shops.

Located in the tourism city of Zhuhai, the ZIC has the potential to become one of the favorite tourist spots once plans to rejuvenate the circuit are put into action next year. Lim, who is also ZIC president, said the initial target was to attract one million visitors yearly. With Guangdong’s 78 million populations, the target is not too farfetched.

The maiden international racing series since LBS took over the management, the FIA GT Championship China Round 2004 held from Nov 12 to 14, was a huge success with over 100,000 spectators turning up. “Having made a mark with the successful hosting of the race this year, we expect the spin-off from tourism to come in a big way. Next year, we are targeting a crowd of 200,000,” he added.

The bigger crowd will spawn better opportunity for the ZIC to attract title sponsors with higher value for future races and enhance the tourism potential of the racing circuit. “The Zhuhai city government is very supportive of the ZIC and has declared the race as a pride project of the city to attract tourists to its shores,” he added.

Zhuhai city mayor Wang Shun Sheng said the race had promoted greater exchanges and cooperation between the Zhuhai motor sports fraternity and their foreign counterparts. “With the growing popularity of the racing circuit and the motor sports sector, we are confident the city will benefit from spin-offs in the various sectors, including commerce, trade and tourism.

The Zhuhai International Racing Circuit is the only such circuit in southern China, more widely known as the Pearl River Delta. The other two racing circuits are in Shanghai and Beijing. The Star

No end in sight for runaway F1 costs No end in sight for runaway F1 costsF1 teams do as much testing in two weeks as Champ Car teams do in an entire season. As an example, after last week's intensive testing at Barcelona, Toyota will be testing for 12 straight days at Jerez, while McLaren will run for 11 days and Ferrari ten. Minardi and Jordan will test for four days while Sauber will run for just three days. At times a team will have cars testing at two circuits simultaneously. If anything, it does keep F1 in the news while Champ Car goes pretty much invisible until March. It's interesting to note that for each and every F1 test all top lap times are published for the fans. Not so for Champ Car where testing is deemed top secret and meant to keep fans in the dark. Mark C.
Turkey ratifies tobacco treaty Turkey ratifies tobacco treaty[Editor's Note: Will Bernie now cancel the Turkey GP? Of course not, but he might threaten to do so. ] The Turkish government last Thursday became the 38th to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the international treaty which is aimed at restricting tobacco advertising of tobacco. The convention will come into force three months after it is ratified by the 40th country. Countries which have ratified the treaty are legally bound by its clauses which include an undertaking to ban all tobacco advertising and sponsorship. The treaty members are also bound to enforce the treaty. Grandprix.com
'05 tires two seconds slower '05 tires two seconds slower(GMM) Bridgestone's 2005-spec tire is about two seconds a lap slower than the 2004 design, technical manager Hisao Suganuma estimated after the Barcelona test.  ''We expected that,'' said the Japanese. ''The cars (also) tend to slide more.''  Next year, a set of fresh F1 rubber will have to last qualifying and the whole grand prix, under a new FIA regulation aimed at reducing speed in a corner.  Suganuma said a full GP distance was not attempted with Ferrari on the development tire in Spain. ''We may start to do (that) in January,'' he revealed.  ''I am very happy with the work that has been done so far.''
Ferrari to make late debut Ferrari to make late debut(GMM) Next season might be five grands prix in before a new Ferrari car makes its debut, chief designer Rory Byrne revealed.  The South African veteran said F2005 will appear on the test track in late February.  He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: ''We want to go deeper into research and design.''  Significant rule changes next year mean that the Melbourne-spec F2004 will be heavily modified. Byrne said the next red car will then be an 'evolutionary' - but major - step of the 2002/2003/2004 mould.
Ferrari spies face trial Ferrari spies face trial(GMM)  Two former Ferrari Formula One employees will face trial for industrial espionage, an Italian magistrate has ruled.  A third Ferrari man was cleared, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported, with the first hearing to be held around April next year.  The two potentially culpable staff are charged with computer and CD-ROM file theft and disclosure of confidential information relating to the design of the Ferrari single-seater.  One staff member, Angelo Santini, worked for Ferrari's aero department before moving to Toyota, who he left in October.  Toyota insisted that 'no file' allegedly stolen by the staff member 'had been used' at Cologne.
Montoya to melt 'iceman' Montoya to melt 'iceman'(GMM)  At McLaren, the mind games have already begun.  It is reported that Woking's new Latin driver Juan Pablo Montoya will unveil a special helmet design to mark the first grand prix with 'iceman' Kimi Raikkonen as team-mate.  The Colombian, in a Williams, beat Raikkonen - a Finn - to the flag last time out in Brazil as a prelude to their formal pairing in 2005.  29-year-old Montoya's new lid will feature a block of ice being melted by a huge blowtorch.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 comes to Swanston Street
Comfy Villeneuve
Trulli's pain in the neck
Alonso's out till '05
More rookies test Minardi
BAR bemused Button
Gearbox to take longer to fix
Panis at wheel of new engine
New Toyota 'nearly ready'
Pizza-man delivered Webber's talent 
Ralf backs sex shops
Coulthard should 'walk away'
Ant may still shoot-it-out
Frank 'apologized' - Webber
Button stirred Richards exit
Green to test McLaren
Kimi to return
McRae to take on Schu
Renault to launch in Monaco
F1 should slow down - Schu
Ferrari and Sauber to split
Costa to replace Rory Byrne
Renault fans in Spain
Formula 3
Three Bahrainis to drive in F3 race Three Bahrainis to drive in F3 raceBahrain's Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Mohammed Al Baharna and Hamad Al Fardan will be the first riders from the Arab region to participate in a Formula Three race, according to Bahrain International Circuit chairman and General Organization for Youth and Sports president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa. The three drivers, who have already competed in the Formula BMW Asia series which concluded earlier this month, will take part in the Super Prix (Formula Three) Grand Prix to be held in Bahrain on December 9 and 10. "We are very happy with the success of the GT Festival and are now looking forward to the Super Prix Grand Prix," said Shaikh Fawaz. "We have had a hugely successful weekend and we are hoping to be on the FIA GT calendar next year," added Shaikh Fawaz. "This part of the world had an opportunity to witness cars that they admire and love to see. We want to have more such events in the near future. Gulf Daily News
Industry News
Cars and sex go hand-in-tire for many men Cars and sex go hand-in-tire for many menThis LA Times article says, Women like men, and men like cars.  "Hmm, it says here that women think George Clooney has more sex appeal than a Ferrari. Maybe that's because women don't know how to drive a Ferrari," said Torsten Kadletz, a used-car dealer unafraid of feminists. He was studying a recent German magazine survey that asked men and women how they'd rather spend a weekend: with a fuel-injected sports car or an air-brushed celebrity.  "The Lamborghini versus Britney Spears," Kadletz said. "The Lamborghini is an interesting car and Britney is way too young. What's a 50-year-old man going to do with Britney Spears for two days? Pamela Anderson against the Ferrari? The Ferrari wins. Anderson's past her prime."

Cars and lust
Few things are more invigorating to the German man than a clear windshield, a palm on the gearshift and miles of open autobahn. In 12 pages of statistics peppered with pictures of half-dressed women draped over expensive upholstery, Men's Car magazine sought to find out where cars and lust intersect. The survey of 2,253 German men and women ages 20 to 50 gauged preference and performance, both on the road and in the bedroom.

"Germans buy cars with passion and love," Kadletz said.  And, perhaps, with a bit of hanky-panky in mind. Men who drive BMWs have more sex per week — 2.2 times — than anyone polled. Guys driving Porsches may have more money, but their cars get more action than their libidos. Porsche drivers have sex an average of 1.4 times a week — lower than everyone else polled.

Speed and power
The study found that people are sometimes like the cars they drive. Take the Volvo. Reliable and stuffed with air bags, the Volvo is marketed as an achievement in perseverance that will always get you there. And so will the Volvo owner. Men with Volvos have longer sex — 7.3 minutes a session — than any other driver, especially those Casanovas with Italian cars who clock a mere 4.9 minutes for each off-road diversion.

French and Italian cars appeal more to female sensitivities. German women driving French cars have the most frequent sex — 2.1 times a week and lasting 6.7 minutes each dalliance, or about the time it takes for an oil change. Like their male counterparts, female Porsche drivers have the least sex — 1.2 times a week.

A woman's fascination for four-wheeled things withers, according to the poll, when her other choice can be a weekend with a two-legged movie star.  Sixty percent of women would rather carouse with Clooney than with a Ferrari, 69 percent chose Brad Pitt over a Porsche and 73 percent prefer a romp with Hugh Grant to downshifting a Lamborghini. It was the opposite with men. Eighty-six percent chose the Ferrari over Anderson, and 74 percent would rather cuddle with a Lamborghini than with Spears.  [Editor's Note:  Two observations can be drawn from this study, 1) Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, 2) If you drive a Porsche, trade it in for a BMW]

Industry News
TV Talks heat up - ABC/ESPN eye NASCAR TV Talks heat up - ABC/ESPN eye NASCARUPDATE #2 When NASCAR holds its award banquet in New York City this week, there will be plenty of behind the scenes deal making. One of the biggest discussions will be over the future of NASCAR's television contract. In 1999 NASCAR inked a $2.4 billion deal with FOX and NBC/Turner, which gobbled up TV rights through the 2006 season. FOX has a two-year option through the 2008 season. So up for grabs is the second half of the Cup season beginning in 2007, a position NBC/Turner has enjoyed since the 2001 season. NASCAR brass will sit down with its current television partners this week to review the 2004 season, look ahead to next year and begin talks about a contract in 2007. NASCAR would prefer to retain its current dance partners. "Clearly, from our perspective, we are very happy with our current partners," Dick Glover, NASCAR's vice president of broadcasting and new media said. "We would love to extend and be in business with them for a long period of time." But as the rights for 2007 and beyond go on the auction block, there are two interesting factors to consider: The NFL's newly inked $11 billion television contract and the ABC Sports/ESPN group waiting in the tall weeds to make a bid. ABC Sports may be saving up to increase the ante on NBC/Turner. ABC pulled out of extending its BCS contract in college football, which would have cost $80 million a year in broadcast rights fees. Back in 1999, ESPN was the big loser in the NASCAR TV wars, after spending nearly two decades broadcasting stock car races and building the sport on a national scale. The starting line for 2007 TV rights is New York this week as the NASCAR community gathers to honor Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch. "During banquet week we sit down with them (broadcast partners) and review the year and look forward to the year coming," Glover said. "We'll start talking to them about opportunities going forward. Our goal is to work with them to find some kind of agreement to go forward for the longer term. When we're ready to announce it, we hope they will have a big smile on their face and we'll have a big smile on our face."  The NFL is undisputed king of network sports. NASCAR has zoomed up the chart as the #2 most-watched sport in the land. The NFL's new contract has completely changed the broadcast rights playing field, which means NASCAR can expect a bigger check for its next TV contract. The bidding is expected to be fierce and finalized in the next 12 months. ABC/ESPN has stayed in the racing game by airing NHRA and IRL events since 2001. Here's another hint about ESPN's interest level in NASCAR. On Dec. 11, ESPN will premier the movie "3," a docudrama about racing legend Dale Earnhardt.  More at the Daytona Beach News Journal 11/10/04 CBS has renewed its contract with the NFL through 2011, meaning NBC won't be getting back into the NFL business anytime soon.  Had they gone back to broadcasting football, it was thought that ABC/ESPN would be poised to step in and pick up the 2nd half of the NASCAR season from NBC/TNT.   Now it looks like there will be a bidding war between NBC and ABC for those NASCAR rights, which has to make NASCAR smile.  Some think ABC is willing to overpay for those rights just to get back into the NASCAR fold.  The FOX portion of the NASCAR contract has two additional years left. 10/28/04 Wishes sometimes do come true, and at the top of ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer's wish list is NASCAR. Participating in a roundtable on the future of sports TV that ESPN/ABC Sports hosted Wednesday for about 1,000 ad buyers, sports TV executives were asked by moderator Robin Roberts what events they would like to have. After Bodenheimer drew laughter for responding, "We want it all," he said, "I would like to get NASCAR." He added he also would be interested in The Masters. With CBS and cable's USA Network entrenched in long-running one-year deals with The Masters, Bodenheimer's second wish might be just wishful thinking. But NASCAR is different. ABC/ESPN were left with NASCAR memories when Fox and NBC/TNT quadrupled the stock car racing circuit's rights fees to $400 million a year starting in 2001— Fox for eight years and NBC/TNT for six. Ratings for NASCAR have soared in the last four years, making the racing circuit the second-highest-rated sport to the NFL. Despite the ratings, the high rights fees have hampered Fox's and NBC/TNT's ability to make a profit. USA Today
Industry News
AARWBA voting begins AARWBA voting beginsVoting has begun among almost 300 members of the motorsports press to select the 2004 Auto Racing All-America team. Among those on the ballot are former Jerry Titus Award winners John Force (1996, 1999, 2000, 2002), Jeff Gordon (1995, 1998, 2001), and Tommy Kendall (1997) -- that is everyone from 1995 to 2002 -- as well as the driver who has been All-American more than any other, Steve Kinser, who seeks his 22nd All-America selection. Also on the ballot seeking selection in one of seven categories -- Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large -- are 16 drivers who could be making their first-ever All-American appearance.

Members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, will vote from among six drivers named in each category. This year a change in the voting method puts 44 drivers on the ballot instead of 42 -- in road racing co-drivers who were teammates with virtually identical records are voted as one.

Two from each category will be named to the first team, to be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet Jan. 15 in Pomona, Calif. The winner of the Jerry Titus Award will also be announced at the banquet. The Titus Award honors the team's top driver - the one earning the most votes in the balloting regardless of category.

The balloting will also determine a second team of the drivers placing third and fourth in each category, and honorable mentions to all other drivers receiving at least 5 percent of the vote. AARWBA members have annually chosen an All-America Auto Racing Team since 1970.

The banquet, which also kicks off AARWBA's 50th anniversary, is open to the public. Ticket information is available from AARWBA, 922 N. Pass Ave., Burbank, Calif. 91505, or call (818) 842-7005, or visit http://www.aarwba.org.

The drivers listed below are on the 2004 All-America ballot. Numbers in parentheses indicate previous times elected to first team/second team/honorable mention; *** indicates first time on ballot.

Sebastien Bourdais (0/0/1) – ChampCar champion, seven victories
Bruno Junqueira (***) – Second in ChampCar, two victories
Tony Kanaan (***) – IRL IndyCar champion, three victories
Buddy Rice (1/0/0) – Indianapolis 500 pole and winner, Third in IndyCars, two other victories
Paul Tracy (3/1/3) – Fourth in ChampCar, two victories
Dan Wheldon (0/1/0) – Second in IndyCar, three victories STOCK CAR
Kurt Busch (0/1/0) – Nextel Cup champion, three victories
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2/1/1) – Fifth in Nextel Cup, six victories include Daytona 500, two Busch series victories
Jeff Gordon (8/1/1) – Third in Nextel Cup, just 16 points behind, five victories including a fourth Brickyard 400
Jimmie Johnson (0/1/1) – Second in Nextel Cup jut 8 points behind, eight victories
Kasey Kahne (0/1/0 – Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year, two Craftsman Truck victories
Mark Martin (4/4/4) – Fourth in Nextel Cup, one victory

Ron Fellows (2/2/2) - American LeMans GTS champion, five victories
Paul Gentilozzi (3/1/0) – SCCA Trans-Am Champion, five victories
Ian James (***) – American LeMans Series P2 champion, three victories; one Sport Touring victory in Grand-Am Cup
Tommy Kendall (6/3/0) – SCCA Trans-Am runner-up, two victories, tied Gentilozzi on points.
JJ Lehto/Marco Werner (*** - 0/0/1) – American Le Mans P1 champions, six victories
Max Papis/Scott Pruett (*** - 5/1/1) – Grand-Am Daytona Prototype champions, four victories

Greg Anderson (0/1/0) – NHRA Pro Stock champion, 15 wins in 19 finals (both all-time NHRA records)John Force (11/1/0) – NHRA Funny Car Champion, five victories, his 13th championship
Jason Line (***) Second in NHRA Pro Stock, four victories, rookie of the year
Clay Millican (0/1/1) – IHRA Top Fuel champ (fourth straight), seven victories
Gary Scelzi (3/1/0) – Third in NHRA Funny Cars, three victories Tony Schumacher (1/0/0) – NHRA Top Fuel champion, 10 victories (Top Fuel record) SHORT TRACK Jay Drake (0/0/1) – USAC Sprint Car Champion, four victories; also three Silver Crown victories
Bobby East (***) – USAC Midget Champion, seven victories; also won in Sprints (5), Silver Crown (1), three other USAC series
Chad Kemenah (0/0/1) – All-Star Sprints champion, six victories
Steve Kinser (16/1/4) – World of Outlaws champion, 17 feature wins, 19th championship
Danny Lasoski (1/0/0) – Second in World of Outlaws, nine victories
Dave Steele (***) – USAC Silver Crown champion, two victories; also won in USAC Sprints (2) and Midgets (3), plus TBARA (3)
Kyle Busch (***) – Second in NASCAR Busch Series, five victories, rookie of the year
Benny Gordon (***) – Leader in USAR Hooters Cup, 2 victories; USAR Northern champion, four victories
Bobby Hamilton (***) – NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion, four victories
Frank Kimmel (1/0/4) – Won sixth ARCA championship, six victories
Andy Santerre (0/1/0) – NASCAR Busch North champion, five victories
Martin Truex Jr (***) – NASCAR Busch Series champion, six victories

Bill Auberlen (0/2/0) – Grand-Am GT champion, eight victories; SCCA World Challenge Touring Car champion, three victories
Jon Fogarty (***) – Formula Atlantic Champion, six victories
Rob MacCachren (1/0/0) – SNORE champion, five victories; won four in BitD, four in SCORE including Baja 1000
Thiago Medeiros (***) – IRL Infiniti Pro Series champion, six victories
Patrick Richard (***) – SCCA Pro Rally champion, three outright victories in a Group N car (not the top class).
Scott Speed (***) – won two European Formula Renault championships, four German Series victories, eight Eurocup victories

Industry News
Jaguar woes continue in UK Jaguar woes continue in UKHundreds of Jaguar workers from across Britain joined union leaders and politicians Saturday to protest plans to end car production at the luxury car maker’s historic home.  A march and rally were held in Coventry, UK to put pressure on the British government and Jaguar’s owners Ford to reverse their decision to scale down the Browns Lane plant because of over-capacity.  Workers and union representatives fear the 1,150 job cuts across the company and the switch in production of the XJ saloon and XK sports car from Coventry to Castle Bromwich in Birmingham could lead to more job losses.  But Jaguar bosses rejected the claims and insisted the cuts were necessary to save about 2,000 other jobs in the city and about 8,000 at their plants elsewhere in the UK.
Button not happy with BAR test Button not happy with BAR testJenson Button wasn't happy with BAR's performances this week at Barcelona as their 2005 Concept car lacked both pace and reliability.   Button, who evaluated a new 2005 aerodynamic configuration, was third slowest driving a revised 006. Thursday's session, which saw Button and Bernoldi trade cars, wasn't any better. The duo were second and third slowest.  And although the gremlins weren't present on BAR's third and final day at the Circuit de Catalunya, they still weren't able to find any pace. Takuma Sato, Button and Bernoldi filled the last three positions on Friday's timesheets.
Bernie's Rocky Road Ahead Bernie's Rocky Road AheadThis Planet-F1 editorial gives a good overview of the Rocky Road ahead for Bernie Ecclestone as he seeks to retain control of Formula 1.
Honda set to blow $290 million on Button Honda set to blow $290 million on ButtonThis people.co.uk article says, Japanese giant Honda are stumping up an astonishing £150MILLION to persuade Jenson Button to stay with BAR and make him an F1 champion. Honda are throwing caution to the wind by investing £26.8m in a new tunnel - and hope the British ace will breeze to victory within two seasons. Race pundits have long recognized that the BAR team suffers from poor aerodynamics compared to the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. And the BAR cars' ability to slice through the air could be the difference needed to hand Button the world crown.

Nigel MacCarthy, who runs the existing Honda wind tunnel at Imperial College in London, is adamant that investment in aerodynamics will definitely improve a car's speed. He told Revved Up it was a case of the bigger, the better. "Wind tunnels are all about blockages - the smaller the blockage, the better and the more accurate the measurements you'll get at the end of the day. If the walls of the tunnel are far enough away they will not affect the readings and the model can be assessed in a 'real' situation. A bigger wind tunnel facility will have one major effect - the cars will go faster!"

The tunnel, to be built at BAR's factory grounds near Brackley, Northants, increases Honda's investment in the team to £150m on top of the £100m the Japanese factory already spends on engine development.

And the ousting of David Richards as team boss will only help to smooth any decision by Button to stay after the couple's acrimonious public spat over the driver's on-off move to Williams. One insider told Revved Up: "With Richards going and the development of the new wind tunnel, this will give Jenson the chance of a new start and can only improve his chances of becoming world champion. During Button's relationship with Richards at BAR, the couple hardly spoke, and Jenson's decision to move to Williams caused even more friction. Honda obviously want to be champs with Button in the car and that's why they felt a change at the top was needed."

World Rally
Gardemeister signs with Ford Gardemeister signs with FordFinland's Toni Gardemeister has signed a one-year contract to drive for Ford Motor Company in next season's FIA World Rally Championship. He will drive a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car on all 16 rounds of the championship with the Blue Oval squad that finished second in the 2004 series.   Twenty-nine-year-old Gardemeister is highly experienced at world championship level, having started 70 rallies since his debut in his native Finland in 1996. He will be co-driven by fellow countryman Jakke Honkanen, who moves up to replace Gardemeister's career-long partner Paavo Lukander, who retired at the end of the 2004 season. Ford
Jamie Green to test Jamie Green to testThe Formula 3 Euroseries champion, Jamie Green, will test for McLaren next week. The 22-year-old British driver is being given a McLaren run having won the 2002 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award. Green is expected to move to GP2 next year with a new team being put together by ASM and Nicolas Todt, the son of Ferrari boss Jean Todt. An offer of a test drive at McLaren might, of course, be something that Green might consider as an alternative although the danger is that McLaren testers have not traditionally gone on to drives in the Formula 1 team. Grandprix.com
Industry News
TAG Heuer to time ROC TAG Heuer to time ROCOn December 4, 2004, TAG Heuer will be the Official Timekeeper of the 17th-annual “The Race of Champions- Nations Cup”, to be held for the first time ever in the 70,000-person capacity Stade de France in Paris.

At the avant-garde of Swiss watch making since its creation in 1860, TAG Heuer is now actively involved in three major motor-racing events: the F1 World Championship with Team West McLaren Mercedes, the Indy Racing League (IRL) with its legendary Indianapolis 500 race, and The Race of Champions- Nations Cup 2004.

When it comes to high-precision timekeeping, TAG Heuer possesses unparalleled expertise, thanks to its active participation in 190 Formula 1 races, as well as its Official Timekeeper responsibilities with Scuderia Ferrari from 1971-1979 and with West McLaren Mercedes since 1985. The first to develop--in 1966--instruments capable of accurately measuring to 1/1,000 of a second, TAG Heuer is today able to guarantee optimum reliability and precision in motorcar timing to 1/10,000 of a second.

"To have been chosen as the official timekeeper of this internationally renowned event is not only an honor for TAG Heuer, it is also a technical and human challenge, the likes of which our brand has met with passion in the world of competitive sports for more than 140 years and through which it has forged its reputation," says Jean-Christophe Babin, President and CEO of TAG Heuer.
"For a year our partnership with Indy Racing League and the Indy 500 has given us the possibility to master time to 1/10,000 of a second. This new collaboration with The Race of Champions will enable us to offer the race's organizers TAG Heuer's latest technological innovations and its experience in the treatment of results," says Jean Campiche, Director of the Timing division at TAG Heuer. "At the Stade de France, twelve TAG Heuer engineers will be responsible for verifying the time trials and race results of the very best racecar drivers in the world."

"When the World's top drivers race head-to-head in identical cars at The Race of Champions most heats are decided by a fraction of a second. On the new track at Stade de France the difference between winning and losing will be even smaller than usual and it is fundamental to have the most precise timekeeping in the world. We are very happy to have TAG Heuer and their experienced staff as our Official Partners," says Fredrik Johnsson, President of event organizers IMP and founder of The Race of Champions - Nations Cup together with Michele Mouton, the world's best female rally driver of all times.

The Race of Champions- Nations CUP 2004 brings together 16 drivers-- from Formula One, the World Rally Championship and NASCAR and the European touring cars championships--that compete head-to-head as individuals (The Race of Champions) and as members of two-driver teams representing their country (The Nations Cup).

The last competition of the racing season, The Race of Champions – Nations Cup is the only race in which drivers from different countries and motorsport disciplines can compete head-to-head in equal machinery (ROC Cars, Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge, Citroën Xsara WRC, and Peugeot 307 WRC) and on two equal tracks (1 km-long asphalt tracks that crossover in the center of the stadium).

The stars of this year's Race of Champions are David Coulthard (TAG Heuer Ambassador and West McLaren Mercedes F1 driver, captain of the English team), Michael Schumacher (7-time F1 World Champion, captain of the German team) and Sébastien Loeb (World Rally Champion in 2004, captain of the French team).

“Having watched the event with interest for many years, I am very much looking forward to competing against the entry of World class contenders,” says David Coulthard, winner of 13 Formula One Grand Prix including the mythic Monaco Grand Prix in 2003.

Other exceptional race car drivers include: Jeff Gordon (4-time NASCAR Champion) and Jimmie Johnson (2nd in NASCAR in 2003) for the USA; Kenny Brack (INDY 500 winner) and Mattias Ekstrom (DTM Champion 2004, Winner of the Swedish Rally in 2004) for Sweden; Marcus Gronholm (World Rally Champion in 2000 & 2002) for Finland; Colin McRae (World Rally Champion in 1995) for UK; Jean Alesi (201 F1 starts and current DTM driver for Mercedes) for France. Press Release ROC

Panis and Toyota testing in France Panis and Toyota testing in FranceWhile the attention was focused on the action in Barcelona, Olivier Panis was busy driving at the Paul Ricard. Unlike the three other Toyota drivers - Ricardo Zonta, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli - testing in Spain, Olivier Panis drove more than 1500 kilometres in four days (Tuesday - Friday) at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track. At the wheel of a TF104, the Frenchman completed almost 300 laps on the long track configuration of the circuit. The Japanese team tested a new engine that is specifically made to last for two Grands Prix, in accordance with the 2005 regulation.

Olivier Panis "We have had a very productive and relatively trouble-free week of testing in Paul Ricard this week. The weather was really nice and permitted us to carry out our entire program and put in almost 300 laps on the long circuit configuration over the four days. We worked on a variety of items, but mainly on the new specification RVX-05 engine for next season. Luca Marmorini and his team have all done a fantastic job on next year's two-race engine. We were able to complete the required distance with no real issues and I am highly encouraged by the efficient operations of the whole team."

"This test marks the start of an exciting new challenge for me at Toyota and I am proud that I can continue to play such a vital role within the team. I am looking forward to my next test in a couple of weeks." Toyota Racing

High-tech companies and F1 High-tech companies and F1As a guest of AMD, I went to Indianapolis to watch the top Ferrari team once again whomp the other nine teams in what remains one of the most expensive sports in the world. This racing team has been winning for so long and is so dominant in this sport that I often wonder why anyone watches these races anymore. The outcome often seems preordained.

There are four major tech companies that back Formula One racing: AMD, HP , Intel and Siemens.  I've studied tech companies for several years and can see parallels between the companies that do well in racing and in the tech industry. I also was able to see how the team relationships with the sponsors make a huge difference when the relationship goes beyond just the name.

Working for a poorly run company -- or a losing team -- can be a waste of your time. If you think of it, time is the one thing you have that you can't get more of. What follows are my observations of the things we can learn from the winners.

The Superstar Problem
On the flight home after the race, I watched a 60 Minutes interview of Oracle's  Larry Ellison. They focused on his competitive nature and used another short interview with Ray Lane, who used to run Oracle for Larry, to showcase the reasons why Larry would likely always strive to be number one but never actually reach that goal. Part of the subtext was that Larry's focus on beating Bill Gates and his lack of respect for 90 percent of his employees was the reason for his failure.

In looking at Formula One, the winning team has mutual respect for all team members, and they seemed to focus more on excellence than on beating the other teams. If there was a problem, the drivers worked with the technicians to identify and correct it. I got the sense that while the drivers were superstars on the track, they were regular people in the pits.

I also observed another team perform in a different way. The drivers clearly treated the technicians as servants and acted like interacting with technicians was beneath them. When off the track, they spent their time posturing against the drivers that were winning. The race seemed to be more about how they fed their egos, and they seemed to take every opportunity to blame their inability to win on their support crew.

If I were a technician, I would want these egotistical drivers to lose the race or get fired. I've worked at several companies where some of the top folks were so full of themselves and so disliked that they were actually set up by their staff for failure. The Gartner  Group's ex-CEO was like this, and you have to believe that had a lot to do with Gartner's long-term problems and the eventual catastrophic departure of that CEO.  More at Tech News World

Saturday test times from Barcelona Saturday test times from BarcelonaBMW WilliamsF1 driver Mark Webber set the pace yesterday [Saturday], during the fifth and final day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The Australian, completed 78 laps in total, his best a 1 minute 25.902 seconds, on a track that was artificially flooded so that Michelin could test their latest wet weather tires.

"Although we encountered some problems at the start of the test, we managed to work through them and resolve them fairly quickly," said Webber. "I'm happy with the car, and the work the guys at BMW do, and I know there's great potential within the team. I'm relieved that this first test is now out the way and we can start working really hard over the next few months." F1 testing continues this coming week, with most teams now moving to Jerez.

Saturday times
1. Mark Webber Williams-BMW 1m 25.902s 78 laps M
2. Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1m 25.948s 92 laps M
3. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 26.122s 103 laps M
4. Takuma Sato BAR-Honda 1m 26.710s 109 laps M
5. Franck Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 27.530s 108 laps M

How do we fix open wheel racing in the USA How do we fix open wheel racing in the USAIt's big cheese time for auto racing in Detroit next week when a bunch of industry heavy-hitters roar into Dearborn.  Formula One VIPs will rub shoulders with NASCAR executives, while drag racing chiefs will break bread with Indy Racing League bosses.  They'll talk about costs, safety and technology. They'll sound mighty impressive as they deliver banquet and keynote speeches to sponsors, team owners, series managers, television hosts and producers.  If just one thing, however, could be agreed upon during the 2004 SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference & Exhibition, it's this: open-wheel racing in America is broken, so when and how do we fix it?

What better forum to address what ails the sport?  Max Mosley, president of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, will be there. He is in charge of the wildly successful world of F1 and knows a bit about what makes it tick.  Also on hand will be NASCAR president Mike Helton, who is coming off a great Nextel Cup season. Most importantly, Indy Racing League president Tony George will be at the conference as a member of a business panel that will discuss, among other things, challenges facing motor sports today.  I'm no rocket scientist, but what a great opportunity for George to pick a few brains, get a few opinions, ask what he can do to save open-wheel racing from going the way of the dinosaur. Perhaps Champ Car team owner and series co-owner Paul Gentilozzi of Lansing might even turn up. 

In 1995, open-wheel racing in this country virtually signed its own death warrant when CART and the IRL decided in their great wisdom to split the sport down the middle. Since then, F1, NASCAR and the NHRA have enjoyed growth, while Champ Car and the IRL have devoured one another.  What's left are two separate series that are struggling to attract fans, TV ratings and new sponsorship. While the racing might still be good, Champ Car and the IRL are doing a lousy job of showcasing their product.  OK, guys, here's a chance to get something right. Check the ego with your overcoats and do something the fans have wanted for years_rebuild the image of open-wheel racing. Dare I say it, bury the hatchet and go racing! San Jose Mercury News

Industry News
Race track lap record comparisons Race track lap record comparisonsUPDATE Dick Pong has provided an additional table showing lap time comparisons for GT cars at the same tracks. The link below has been updated. 11/25/04 Dick Pong has begun to compile a table of race track lap records by race series. It's an interesting comparison of performance levels of the various different types of cars. It is by no means a complete list, but we will update it as time permits. You can find the link in the left-hand column of our Home page. Mark C.
Minardi heads to Uruguay Minardi heads to UruguayGian Carlo Minardi will visit Uruguay November 30th to December 2nd to hold press conferences and meet with large companies for Uruguayan driver Juan Caceres, a Formula BMW champion, with the purpose to find a sponsor to back Caceres in F1. Minardi has given many good young drivers over the years their first F1 start including Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella and Michele Alboreto among others.
Baja 1000
Arciero and Miller use mid-air refueling to win Baja Arciero and Miller use mid-air refueling to win BajaAfter 16 hours and 24 minutes of negotiating through 1,016 miles of challenging off-road terrain down the Baja, Mexico peninsula, teammates Mark Miller and Ryan Arciero won the prestigious Trophy Truck division for the second year in a row in their No. 81 Outdoor Life Network/UMI Racing Chevrolet on November 17-19.

"This year's course turned out to be faster than I expected," claimed Arciero of Orange County, Calif. "There was no room for error. Thankfully, Mark and I ran a clean race, not even a single flat with our BFGoodrich tires. Even though we are down about 200 hp from the other Trophy Truck teams, our No. 81 Outdoor Life Network/UMI Racing truck ran incredibly."

During the race, short segments of the course run on pubic highways as transitions between off-road sections. Posted speed limits of 60 mph are in force by SCORE and the Mexican police while on the highway. The Arciero/Miller team found an innovative approach to utilize this speed-limited section by developing a refueling system similar to what military use to fuel fighter jets in mid-air.

While on the highway, a specially equipped chase vehicle approaches the No. 81 Trophy Truck from the rear while the race truck maintains its speed at 60 mph. A fueling probe in the front of the chase truck is controlled with a joy stick from a crew member sitting in the passenger seat of the chase vehicle. Once the probe is inserted into the refueling receptacle in the race truck, a third crew member in the back seat of the chase vehicle releases the fuel into the race truck. This process takes approximately 20 seconds from start to finish.

"Our refueling system was part of our tactical plan to get an advantage early in the race so we wouldn't have to push the race truck too hard toward the end," explained Miller of Carefree, Ariz. "Our crew chief, Don Tebbe, came up with an excellent race plan for our pace. The difficult part is executing the plan.

"Because we saved time by refueling on the highway, we didn't have to take our first pit stop until 330 miles into the race. This gave us a clear advantage as we were the first vehicle on the road."

The 37th running of the Baja 1000 started in the seaside town of Ensenada, Mexico and finished 1,016 miles later at the bottom of the peninsula at La Paz. The race will air on NBC on December 11. Check your local listings. Arciero Racing

Forsythe transporter on way to Sebring Forsythe transporter on way to SebringSpotted the Indeck transporter headed South on I65 just outside of Louisville around 5PM Eastern Time headed to Sebring where Monday they will begin a shootout between three or four drivers, depending on which rumor you want to believe.
Formula 3000
New Italian F3000 to kick off at auto show New Italian F3000 to kick off at auto showThe organizers of the reborn Italian F3000 Championship have revealed that the series will make its public debut at next month's Bologna Motor Show, with a selection of cars and drivers on hand to showcase the series.

Coloni Motorsport will run F3 Euroseries regular Marco Bonanomi, who contested the Italian F3 series with the team in 2003, and Matteo Meneghello, who experienced F3000 for the first time this season after making his mark in Formula Renault V6. Sister team CMS will also provide two cars, with Toni Vilander, this year's most successful Italian F3 driver, and 2004 team-mate Alex Ciompi. In addition, FIA F3000 rival AEZ has confirmed its participation with 2004 regular Ferdinand Monfardini, while another Italian operation, Durango, will run a car for FRenault V6 champion George Mondini, and Astromega two machines for Luca Filipi and Michele Rugolo.

"We are proud to be part of what is Italy's most important and prestigious motoring event, and it is an opportunity to showcase our championship program for 2005 and into the future," Italian F3000 organizer and promoter Paolo Coloni explained, We are looking forward to the show as it also provides us with a perfect opportunity to present our technical and sporting regulations and championship calendar to interested parties."

The new series, which will make use of F3000 machinery left idle by the birth of the new GP2 Championship that will support Formula One from 2005, has received full factory support from constructor Lola.

"Following the decision made by the CSAI, the Italian governing body of motorsport, and the appointment of Coloni Motorsport as organizers and promoters, Lola Cars is pleased to welcome, and officially recognize, the Italian Formula 3000 series," confirmed MD Rupert Mainwaring, "With both the Lola B99/50 and B2/50 eligible for the series, healthy grids and close racing are expected. Lola would like to express its intention of officially supporting the series and working together with Coloni Motorsport to ensure a dedicated and smooth engineering and logistical future for the series."
Honda riders complete 3-day Jerez test Honda riders complete 3-day Jerez test
Honda MotoGP teams and riders successfully completed the HRC three-day RC211V test program at the Jerez circuit, Spain today. The teams tested a variety of chassis - suspension combinations based on the 2004 RCV, and the latest tires developed for the RCV by GP tire provider Michelin. Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden played catch up today. The American crashed at high speed yesterday, the resulting machine damage restricting his track time. Hayden made up for it today with a 97-lap stint on his 5-cylinder, 990cc RC211V grand prix machine. Working with his new team crew he steadily worked his way through a series of tests with new chassis parts in conjunction with testing the new range of tires Michelin developed for the RCV.

Telefonica MoviStar team leader Sete Gibernau was again the fastest Honda rider at Jerez. The Spaniard circulated the 4.423km circuit at 1m 40.50s, half a second faster than his best time of yesterday. Like Hayden Gibernau concentrated his day on chassis and tire testing. Marco Melandri, new man at Telefonica MoviStar, continued the steady progress he made over the first two days of the test. The young Italian quickly found a good rhythm to set consistent lap times using the base set up established with tried and trusted Michelin tires over the first two days. However, he has yet to find the same feeling with the RCV when fitted with fresh tires.

Makoto Tamada, riding for the newly launched Konica Minolta Honda team, ran race distance simulations on his RCV testing a range of Michelin tires. The Japanese star, a double GP winner in 2004, grows in confidence with each test session. Tamada will race on Michelin rubber for the first time in 2005 and views the Jerez test, and the two day session at Valencia on Monday and Tuesday next, as vital in the build up to the new season. The Honda teams and riders will go to Valencia in confident mood seeking to confirm the valuable data gleaned from three hard days work at Jerez. Valencia offers a different set of challenges. The tight and twisty circuit is more demanding of chassis and tire performance in several areas.

Nicky Hayden: 1m 41.50s - 97 laps. "Was quite a tough test overall. I wasn't able to run the sort of lap times that I had hoped to do but we learned a lot and have got a lot of useful information that we can take with us onto Valencia next week. After a lot of down time yesterday when the guys were rebuilding the bike after the crash we had a lot to pack into today and tried some new Michelins and tried a few different things with the chassis and the electronics. Some things worked pretty well - some not so well. The new team are working real hard and there is a great-spirit there already which is so important to me."

Sete Gibernau: 1m 40.50s - 78 laps. "Today we have carried on testing all the material we have at disposal trying to define the best package. We are working with Michelin that is working us a lot. I'd like to thank Honda and Michelin, we are doing a hard work but it's worth and absolutely necessary."

Marco Melandri: 1m 42.240s - 56 laps. "After having completed 101 laps yesterday, today I started a little bit later. I'm happy because my feeling with the bike is improving and a have a good rhythm. Unfortunately I still cannot use well the new tires and I continue to have a better feeling with used tires.   We need to work on setting and I still have to do a lot of kilometers for getting confidence and I look forward to next test session scheduled at Valencia on the 29th and 30th of November.94."

Fausto Gresini: Telefonica MoviStar team manager "This was an important test session. I'm very happy of Marco Melandri's debut on a Honda, for him everything was new: the bike, the team and also the way of working. I saw Marco happy and motivated and this is very important. At this moment it's important to work with calm, Marco needs to make a lot of laps to understand and know the bike. With Sete we are doing a very important job, we are testing some different particulars such as suspensions, brakes and tires. We are happy because he always lapped with a good rhythm. It's a hard work but necessary."

Makoto Tamada: 1m 41.528s - 60 laps (estimated). "I am really pleased with the results of this test. The Michelin tires have impressed me and my confidence is growing. Today we ran race distance simulations so I could improve my understanding of how the tires work as the race progresses. Even so I set my best ever time here on partly used tires, so I have to be pleased. Honda Racing
Williams team summarizes 4-day Barcelona test Williams team summarizes 4-day Barcelona testThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team completed a four day test session at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, today, the first test following the end of the 2004 season and the start of an extensive winter testing program in preparation for next year.   Australian Mark Webber made his debut with the team driving the FW26 and spent  the first day settling into his new environment before commencing work on set-up options as well as completing brake and tire testing. Over the four days, Mark set  impressively quick lap times and completed a total of 324 laps, 1,497 kilometres.  Antonio Pizzonia was also on duty for the team, carrying out development work on  an interim FW26. Despite initial teething problems, Antonio completed 87 laps, 402 kilometres, over three days.   The team will return to the test track on Tuesday 30th November for a three day test at Jerez.
Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1): "We have just finished a successful first test with Mark Webber. It's great to have him on board the team. I have to say that Mark impressed me with his speed even on his first morning in the car, his consistency throughout the rest of the test, particularly on longer runs, was also impressive. He had some positive comments about the car and quickly got down to brake, set-up and tire testing for us. Mark finished off the test today with a wet test for Michelin.   Antonio was running in the interim car with the new gearbox and rear suspension.  We had some initial teething problems that will take the next week, and into the Jerez test, to resolve."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):  "We've had a good first test this winter. The main focus was on Mark's first run in the car during which time he was able to get used to a new team, car and engine.  The relationship has started well and we look forward to its continual development. From the engine side, we worked on starts, set-up and traction control. We also completed some tire testing."
Mark Webber:  "This week was a really good week. I've enjoyed working with everyone on the team and I think I've fitted in well. Although we encountered some problems at the start of the test, we managed to work through them and resolve them fairly quickly. I'm happy with the car, and the work the guys at BMW do, and I know there's great potential within the team. I'm relieved that this first test is now out the way and we can start working really hard over the next few months."
Times, Day Four:
 Pos.    Driver                Car / Engine             Time           Laps          Tires
 1.      M Webber              WilliamsF1BMW            1:25.902       31 / 78       M
 2.      P de la Rosa          McLaren Mercedes         1:25.948       14 / 92       M
 3.      R Zonta               Toyota                   1:26.122       21 / 103      M
 4.      T Sato                BAR Honda                1:26.710       24 / 109      M
 5.      F Montagny            Renault                  1:27.530       23 / 108      M
Red Bull rejects Coulthard, to sign Klien Red Bull rejects Coulthard, to sign KlienUPDATE #2 Dietrich Mateschitz appears to have changed his mind, giving Coulthard renewed hopes of a race drive. "Among the experienced drivers with 'development know-how', David Coulthard and Nick Heidfeld would be of interest, for example," Mateschitz told Reuters today. It is believed the team would pick Heidfeld first and Coulthard only if Heidfeld went to Williams as a test driver instead.   "I've been offered test driver roles," Coulthard told The Independent newspaper. "But as long as there is still a chance of racing, I must pursue that."  Turned down by McLaren, Williams, Toyota, and Ferrari in spite of publicly declaring his interest in all those teams, where will Coulthard end up?  11/22/04 Mateschitz, who has made a fortune from his Red Bull energy drink, admitted in the same interview that Klien is likely to remain with RBR for 2005, having raced for the team last year when it was known as Jaguar Racing.  "We have offered Christian Klien a contract," said Mateschitz. "He deserves the chance to race for a second year.”  With his Red Bull connections and Jaguar Racing history, Klien is an obvious choice for the revived team, but the young Austrian last week said that did not make him a dead cert for a drive.  “For my personal future it is still too early to say something definite though, since my future has never been, and is not, linked to Red Bull buying Jaguar," he said. "Dietrich Mateschitz did not buy Jaguar so that I have a seat in a Formula One car next year. There will be F1 tests from November 24th in Barcelona and then I hope to know a lot more about my future. My chances are better now, of course, than they were a couple of weeks ago, but still nothing is definite at this stage.”  Klien is expected to be joined in this week's test in Spain by reigning International F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi and his predecessor Bjorn Wirdheim (who was Jaguar's test driver in 2004). 11/22/04 David Coulthard's chances of landing a drive with the Red Bull Racing team seem nonexistent after the team's owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, denied wanting to sign the Scot.  Coulthard was recently given a glimmer of hope by Red Bull Racing's team boss Tony Purnell who claimed that he was considering signing the 33-year-old as one of their two drivers for 2005.  "We intend to talk to an array of drivers and David, with his experience, will be on the list we will consider," Purnell said. However, according to Mateschitz that is not true.  Asked about the Scot's chances of joining the Red Bull Racing team, he told Bild am Sonntag: "Coulthard is not part of our selection."
Kurt Busch final driver to make Budweiser Shootout race Kurt Busch final driver to make Budweiser Shootout raceDuring last weekend's Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch became the final driver to qualify for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night, Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie Ford for Roush Racing, lapped Homestead-Miami Speedway at 179.319 mph to earn the Ford 400 pole and become the 20th driver eligible for the Budweiser Shootout, a non-points race that features previous season's pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout champions. The field of 20 eligible drivers is two shy of the record 22 that competed in the 2002 edition of the Budweiser Shootout. Other drivers that have won pole positions this season and are qualified for next year's Budweiser Shootout are No. 01-Joe Nemechek, No. 16-Greg Biffle, No. 9-Kasey Kahne, No. 25-Brian Vickers, No. 41-Casey Mears, No. 24-Jeff Gordon, No. 12-Ryan Newman, No. 18-Bobby Labonte, No. 21-Ricky Rudd, No. 48-Jimmie Johnson and No. 19-Jeremy Mayfield. Past Budweiser Shootout champions eligible are No. 8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 20-Tony Stewart, No. 88-Dale Jarrett, No. 6-Mark Martin, No. 2-Rusty Wallace, No. 49-Ken Schrader, No. 91-Bill Elliott and No. 44-Terry Labonte [and Geoffrey Bodine who ran in the race in 2004?]. Tickets for Speedweeks 2005 and the 47th annual Daytona 500 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.  DIS PR
2005 Toyota ready by end of year 2005 Toyota ready by end of yearToyota will have their 2005 Formula One car on the test track from the start of the New Year, according to technical director Mike Gascoyne.  "The TF105 is being finished at the moment and it should be ready before Christmas (December 25)," he told the team's Web Site.  "That means that we will be (able) to run it as soon as the Christmas and New Year test ban has been lifted in January," added the Briton.  "We will have a totally new aerodynamic package in Melbourne but we want to run the new car as soon as possible in order to get it reliable for the Australian Grand Prix."   Full interview.
Interview with Toyota's Mike Gascoyne Interview with Toyota's Mike GascoyneWith preparations for the 2005 world championship well underway at various test locations around Europe, Technical Director Chassis of Panasonic Toyota Racing, Mike Gascoyne, talks about what the team hopes to achieve from the winter test program. The Englishman also discusses the 2005 Toyota driver line-up, changes to the technical regulations and the development of the new TF105 race car.  See interview on Home Page.
Irvine tells Coulthard not to beg Irvine tells Coulthard not to begThe ever outspoken Eddie Irvine has told David Coulthard to stop trying to beg for a Formula One drive and retire gracefully. Coulthard is desperate to stay in the sport after being axed by McLaren to make way for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Scot, 33, has had fruitless talks with Sauber, was snubbed by new boys Red Bull, and BMW Williams even turned down Coulthard’s offer to be paid purely on bonuses for points scored. Irvine said: “David never won the world title and never will. He always had a top car but was never quick enough. “I find it staggering he is prepared to hawk himself around. He should realize his time in Formula One is over, walk away and concentrate on getting on with his life." [Editor's Note: Although Champ Car team owners prefer to hire ride-buyers, this is a driver they should pursue and get him in a good ride. Yes, he is going to have to be paid, but he's a known quantity worldwide, has won plenty of F1 races, is not that far off the top drivers in the world (perhaps 1/2 second), and will bring the series some much needed international media coverage. The question is whether the series has enough good drivers and is thought of as making a big comeback such that Coulthard could be persuaded. He certainly doesn't need the money but it does afford him the opportunity to end his career on a high note instead of a low.]
Nextel Cup odds for 2005 Nextel Cup odds for 2005Nextel Cup odds have already been established for the 2005 season. Jimmie Johnson is a 9-2 favorite of one Internet site, with Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon second at 6-1. Kasey Kahne was the No. 5 favorite with the same odds as 2004 champion Kurt Busch -- 8-1 -- and lower odds than former series champions Stewart (10-1), Matt Kenseth (10-1), Bobby Labonte (30-1), Dale Jarrett (40-1) and Rusty Wallace (50-1). Indianapolis Star
American Long wins twice in Bahrain American Long wins twice in BahrainUPDATE David Brabham and Allan Simonsen were victorious in the Bahrain GT Festival final feature event, bringing their Coopers Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello across the line ahead of the Larbre Competition Viper of Dedours and Makowiecki , with the DDO Saleen S7 third.  The GT2 class was won by American Patrick Long and Lars Nielson in the Infineon Team Farnbacher Porsche 996 GT3-RS, with Jack Leconte and Roland Berville victorious in GT3, in their Larbre Competition Porsche 996 GT3-R.  See full story. 11/26/04 The first heat race for the GT Bahrain Festival took place as the sun was setting, and the race was therefore shortened to ten laps.  The nr 8 Coopers Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello, Alan Simonsen at the wheel, led effectively from start to finish.  The Ferrari finished ahead of the nr 12 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper and the nr 1 DDO Saleen S7. Patrick Long, in the Infineon Team Farnbacher Porsche, won GT2, finishing a fine 5th overall after lying second for the opening laps.  He was followed by Sergey Zlobin in the JMB Ferrari and Martin Short's Mosler.  GT3 was won by Christophe Bouchut in the RSG Lamborghini, after a close fight with the US Carworld Viper Coupé,driven by Rene Wijnen.

More to follow on races 2 and 3.  As shown below, Patrick Long's Porsche (shown right) won the GT2 class in both the first and third races.

Winners of Race 1 :
GT1 :  8  (Simonsen - Coopers Racing Ferrari)
 12 (Makowiecki - Larbre Viper)
 1 (Francois Fiat - DDO Saleen)
GT2 :  34 (Long - Team Farnbacher Porsche 996 GT3)
 35 (Zlobin - JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena)
 36 (Short - Mosler 900)
GT3 :  68 (Bouchut - RSG - Lamborghini)
 74 (Wijnen - US Carworld Viper )
 66 (Helias - Pilotage Passion Porsche)
Winners of Race 2 :
GT1 :  1 (Dominique Dupuy - DDO Saleen
 8 (David Brabham - Coopers Racing Ferrari)
 15 (Hubert Haupt - Wieth Racing Ferrari)
GT2 :  35 (Zlobin - JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena)
 36 (Balfe - Mosler 900)
 34 (Nielson - Team Farnbacher Porsche 996 GT3)
GT3 :  58 (Giroix - First Racing Porsche)
 68 (Charriol - RSG - Lamborghini)
 74 (Grouwels - US Carworld Viper )
 66 (Helias - Pilotage Passion Porsche)
Winners of Race 3 :
GT1 :  8 (David Brabham - Coopers Racing Ferrari)
 12 (Frederic Makowiecki - Larbre Competition Viper)
 2 (Antoine Leclerc - Force One Viper)
GT2 :  35 (Belloc - JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena)
 34 (Long - Team Farnbacher Porsche 996 GT3)
 36 (Balfe - Mosler 900)
GT3 :  73 (Keen - Tech 9 Porsche)
 62 (Berville - Larbre Competition Porsche GT3 Cup)
 63 (Mhitarian - Autovitesse Lamborghini Diablo)

BAR concludes first test with ’05 concept car BAR concludes first test with ’05 concept carLucky Strike BAR Honda unveiled its '05 Concept car at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this week as winter testing got underway. Race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, along with test driver Enrique Bernoldi, were in attendance to put the new car through its paces.

Jenson and Enrique shared the driving responsibilities on Day One of the test (Wednesday). First to drive the '05 Concept car was Enrique who spent the morning giving the car an initial shakedown over 17 laps. He completed a further 34 laps in the afternoon session although his running was cut short by a mechanical problem. Jenson ran in chassis 006-06 evaluating a new 2005 aerodynamic configuration. He spent most of the morning finding a good set-up, alongside an engine evaluation for Honda. In the afternoon, he ran through a Michelin tire evaluation, completing a total of 62 laps for the day.

Jenson had his first chance to drive the Concept car on Day Two (Thursday). After a frustrating morning due to engine problems, he spent the afternoon session running through a short tire evaluation alongside chassis set-up work, completing a total of 44 laps for the day. Enrique had a productive day driving chassis 006-06, completing an impressive total of 115 laps. He ran through a tire compound program, alongside an engine evaluation.

Takuma joined the test on Friday to have his first run in the 2005 specification 006-06. He spent the early part of the morning session finding a good balance before running through a comprehensive tire evaluation, completing 51 laps. Enrique took over from Takuma in the afternoon and completed long tire runs on the favored tires from this morning. He completed 45 laps, resulting in a final tally for the day of 98 laps for the 006-06. Jenson drove the Concept car for a second day, running through a short tire evaluation, alongside a gearbox program in the morning. His afternoon running consisted of further tire evaluation and he totaled an impressive 87 laps for the day for the new Concept car.

Ferrari wraps up week-long testing Ferrari wraps up week-long testingFifth and final day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, again working at both Barcelona and Fiorano today. At the Catalunya Circuit, Marc Gene was at the wheel, working on a tire and electronics program. The Spanish driver covered a total of 112 laps, setting a best time of 1'15.659." At Fiorano, Andrea Bertolini continued working on the development of new components. He covered a total of 105 laps, 18 of them on the short version of the track. The best time on the day was 57.861." The Scuderia resumes testing next Monday, 29th November at Fiorano, with Luca Badoer driving. Ferrari
Gearbox problems slow Pizzonia Gearbox problems slow PizzoniaWilliams drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia finished another day of testing today in Barcelona. Mark Webber spent the morning working on chassis development. In the afternoon, the Australian focused on the evaluation of different Michelin tires. Antonio Pizzonia tested brake and traction control solutions but his program was cut short when he encountered gearbox problems.
Tim Newton, Test Team Manager "We've had another productive day today at Barcelona. Mark continued on his learning curve in the FW26, working on chassis set-up and tire testing with Michelin. By the end of the day, he had completed an impressive 101 laps and set the second quickest time of the session behind Zonta. Antonio continued brake work and systems checks on the interim car but was hindered by gearbox problems. Mark will complete the team's program tomorrow with a wet test for Michelin.“ BMW WilliamsF1 Team
Toyota team wraps up testing in Barcelona Toyota team wraps up testing in BarcelonaToyota were back in action this week in Barcelona to prepare for the 2005 season. Ralf Schumacher drove the TF104B for the first time and was pleased by his new environment. Jarno Trulli and Ricardo Zonta were also on duty for the Cologne- based team and in total the drivers completed an impressive amount of work and kilometres on the Catalunya Circuit.

Ralf Schumacher (total laps: 158, best lap time: 1m14.599s)
"My reception from the whole Toyota team has been great, and it feels like I've already been here for a while. The people here have helped me and given me a lot of support so it's been easy to fit in, and I've been particularly impressed by the working method within the team. I spent my two days here learning about the team and getting myself used to the 2004-spec car, and I'm relatively happy with the way it went. I fitted into the car okay, the feeling was good and I put in a reasonable lap time on the first day. I'm pleasantly surprised because the package is a lot better than I expected. The car felt very well balanced and easy to handle. There is certainly some work to do, but I'm more than happy with what I've seen so far. We got through quite a lot of work and it was interesting to try a few things on the car. Thursday was another good day, and we were able to get started on tire testing. We now move to Jerez next week to start properly testing the car in preparation for next season."

Jarno Trulli (total laps: 231, best lap time: 1m14.893s)
"I spent the week working on a variety of small parts in preparation for 2005. We've also put a lot of mileage on the engine in preparation for the new regulations next year - that went well and I put in around 90 laps on two of the days. In addition, we've started preliminary work on the new tires, which will have to last for the entire race distance next season. I've had a slight problem with my seat position, which puts a bit of stress on my neck, but it's something that I'll have to bear as it will only be solved when we start running in the new car. Apart from that we've had no particular problems except for the odd stoppage - but winter testing is meant to be like that. We'll be working on the same kind of programs during the last two weeks of testing at Jerez before the Christmas break."

Ricardo Zonta (total laps: 147, best lap time: 1m14.975s)
"I've just arrived here for the last couple of days of testing, working on tires for next year. On Friday I put in some long runs to see how they perform over long distances. We have to be able to do more than 270km on one set of tires, so that's what we've been looking to achieve today. I haven't noticed too much of a decrease on the performance of this year's tires. From what I've seen, they look strong from the first lap, and they're just more consistent and very stable on the long runs. I am greatly impressed that we have been able to complete almost 150 laps in just one day and of course to set such a competitive lap time. Tomorrow I will be here with the other Michelin teams on a dampened track looking at the 2005 wet tires." Toyota Racing

Zonta on top in Barcelona Friday Zonta on top in Barcelona FridayToyota's Ricardo Zonta achieved the best performance of the day in Barcelona and was the only driver to lap the Spanish track in less than 1'15.  Under a clear sky and a temperature of more than 15 degrees, the drivers had near-perfect track conditions, except for persistent winds. Jacques Villeneuve was one of the few drivers to significantly improve his pace in the afternoon to finish in third place on the time sheets.  
1 - R. Zonta (Toyota) - 1'14.975 - 147 laps
2 - M. Webber (Williams BMW) - 1'15.174 - 98 laps
3 - J. Villeneuve (Sauber Petronas) - 1'15.219 - 97 laps
4 - P. De La Rosa (McLaren Mercedes) - 1'15.419 - 85 laps
5 - JP. Montoya (McLaren Mercedes) - 1'15.502 - 57 laps
6 - A. Pizzonia (Williams BMW) - 1'15.513 - 35 laps
7 - C. Klien (Red Bull Cosworth) - 1'15.532 - 56 laps
8 - M. Gene (Ferrari) - 1'15.652 - 111 laps
9 - V. Liuzzi (Red Bull Cosworth) - 1'15.661 - 86 laps
10 - F. Montagny (Renault) - 1'16.435 - 97 laps
11 - G. Fisichella (Renault) - 1'16.571 - 104 laps
12 - T. Sato (BAR Honda) - 1'16.736 - 54 laps
13 - J. Button (BAR Honda) - 1'16.738 - 86 laps
14 - E. Bernoldi (BAR Honda) - 1'20.066 - 44 laps
Villeneuve happy with first day Villeneuve happy with first dayJacques Villeneuve made his debut for Team Sauber-Petronas today [Friday], as the Swiss outfit completed a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Canadian, who took over from team-mate Felipe Massa, covered 97 laps in chassis C23-02 to set a best time of 1 minute 15.219 seconds, just two tenths slower than Ricardo Zonta, who was fastest overall. The 1997 F1 world champion was pleased with his efforts. "My first day of testing with Sauber Petronas went really well," he commented. "I had spent enough time in the factory for the seat fitting, so I felt immediately comfortable in the car. "I did a lot of laps today and the times were good. In addition, the car ran absolutely reliable, we had no technical problems whatsoever. So it was really a very productive first day. "We worked on the set-up mainly to further adapt the C23 to the Michelin tires. We have a good basis and I am confident that we can continue this work in a positive way during our next test in Jerez." Sauber will test at Jerez from December 1-3. Sauber
Superfund SF01 testing to continue Superfund SF01 testing to continueAs part of the on-going development of the SF01, Formula Superfund will be conducting a three-day test at the Circuito do Estoril, Portugal from 1st to 3rd December. On the first day, 2004 Jordan F1 driver Timo Glock will take to the driver seat for the second time following his successful debut test at the start of last month. Glock will continue to develop the SF01 to maximize performance and work on fine-tuning the car in preparation for the start of the Formula Superfund season next May. Newly-crowned Superfund Euro 3000 Champion Nicky Pastorelli and Austrian driver Mathias Lauda will be in action on day two as they undertake their rescheduled test alongside 2004 EuroBOSS Champion Scott Mansell. Ex-BAR F1 test driver Patrick Le Marie will conclude the three-day test on Friday. This program may see other drivers with the potential to compete in Formula Superfund also joining the test as part of the on-going evaluation and development of the SF01.
A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP completes next phase of testing A1 GP completes next phase of testingThe A1 Grand Prix test program took another huge step forward with the completion of a successful three day test at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy this week. The test focused on final stage development of engines, brakes, tires, wheels and the "push to pass" boost control.  "We tested on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and completed a total of 1,500 kilometres. This was important as we have now completed the A1 engine program, which we started in Jerez. We needed to complete 3,500 kilometres on this engine and it did so without missing a beat", explained Technical Operations Advisor, John Wickham.  The arrival of rain on Monday afternoon and early Tuesday morning has meant that the car has tested in all weather conditions. The wet track offered the perfect opportunity to assess Cooper's rain tires for wet conditions. "We have now been able to define the tire and wheel sizes and the braking package that will be on the final car, which is important for our production cycle," said John Wickham.  Test driver, Ralph Firman, who drove the car, commented: "The A1 car is going to be a very quick car and will surprise a lot of people who drive it. Due to its speed and exceptional cornering grip, it will be very physically demanding to drive - far more than you might imagine. It will be a real challenge for the drivers. It was an added bonus to have rain so we could try the wet weather version of the Cooper tire, which proved ideal".  Following on from the launches of the British and South African A1 Teams, the  official  launch  of  A1  Team  Lebanon  will  take  place  on  1st  December  in Beirut. The Lebanese car in its national livery was given a shakedown run at Silverstone on Wednesday with Robbie Kerr at the wheel.
US Dollar drop plaguing F1 teams US Dollar drop plaguing F1 teamsThe ever-weakening US dollar is hurting the Formula 1 teams more and more as it sinks in value against the Euro. The dollar is now worth only 0.75 compared to almost parity in January 2003. The 30% slide in the value of the dollar has had an enormous effect in sponsorship deals, particularly those of the biggest teams which have huge long-term deals with companies negotiated in US dollars. If one considers that there are some sponsors in the sport putting in as much as $80m a year, the teams involved could have lost as much as $20m in sponsorship value just from the exchange rates. Most of the teams have to pay out in Euros or Sterling. There are fears that the strong Euro will now affect the European economy in 2005 which could affect some of the other F1 sponsorships which could be chopped if companies begin to feel the pinch. The weak dollar makes it more expensive for Asian and European exporters to sell their goods in the US. There are also fears that unless the Bush Government in the United States acts the US dollar will probably continue to fall to $1.40 and perhaps even more. In an effort to avoid problems with currency fluctuations the F1 teams are now doing deals in different currencies so as to spread the risk. Grandprix.com
Sprint Cars
Injured driver improving Injured driver improvingUPDATE #2 Jimmy Weller III has made remarkable progress since his accident at The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 13th during a USAC race. Jimmy has overcome two surgeries and has been moved to physical therapy unit at The Carolina’s Medical Center, where he has been a patient for over two weeks now. Doctors are happy with his progress and they anticipate that he will be released from the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation on Wednesday December 1st at that time Jimmy will be moved to his home near Youngstown, Ohio. After returning home Jimmy will continue to receive physical therapy at a facility near his home until he is completely rehabilitated. Jimmy has been able to read the hundreds of cards and go thru the generous gifts that his friends and race fans from all over the country have sent him. Cards can continue to be sent to Jimmy at the Charlotte facility unit the end of this week. Starting next week all cards can be sent to Jimmy Weller III 299 Warner Road, Hubbard, Ohio 44425. Jimmy and the entire Weller Family would like to “Thank” everyone for all their prayers, cards and support during this difficult time over the past month. We will continue to update you on Jimmy’s progress once we return home. Weller Racing PR 11/10/04 Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, has been moved from Carolinas Medical Center to the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation and has begun physical therapy. Weller, 18, of Liberty, Ohio, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae which required surgery. Weller's father reports his son's condition continues to improve and family members are encouraged by the early results of the physical therapy. After being heavily sedated for several weeks, Weller is now able to sit up and converse. The Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation, part of the Carolinas HealthCare System, is one of the largest and most comprehensive freestanding facilities of its kind in the Southeast. LMS PR 10/29/04 Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but his condition continues to improve. Weller, 18, of Liberty, Ohio, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae. He underwent successful surgery on Thursday, Oct. 28, to repair the damaged vertebrae. The ventilator, which was assisting Weller's breathing, has been removed and he is now breathing on his own. According to family members, Weller is beginning to talk and has been moving his arms and legs. LMS PR
Maldonado and Albers in Day 4 Minardi test Maldonado and Albers in Day 4 Minardi testThe fourth day of the Minardi team’s week-long test at the Autodromo Santamonica saw the Faenza squad continuing with its driver test and evaluation program after the Minardi F1x2 cars were in action on the circuit yesterday. Promising young Venezuelan, Pastor Maldonado, was first on the track on Thursday morning and performed impressively, quickly acclimatizing to the performance of the Minardi Cosworth PS04B and steadily reducing his lap times until he achieved his fastest lap of 1 min 11.330 secs. Dutch DTM star, Christijan Albers was next up, and as expected, was quickly up to speed, producing laps in the 1 min 11 sec bracket before setting the fastest lap of the day, at 1 min 10.800 secs. Tomorrow, it will be the turn of the Minardi F1x2 cars again at Misano, with Jos Verstappen, Nicolas Kiesa and Zsolt Baumgartner among those scheduled to drive.

Pastor Maldonado (best lap: 1 min 11.330 secs, total laps: 22)
“I’m really impressed. This is my first time in a Formula One car, and I just didn’t expect such power. This year, I have been driving a much smaller, less powerful car in Formula Renault 2000, and I have also tested an F3000 car, but the F1 car is something completely different. It’s amazing! Personally, I’m very happy to be here today, because F1 has always been my objective, as it is the dream of all racing drivers. I think I did a good job this morning, and I feel satisfied with my work.”
Christijan Albers (best lap: 1 min 10.800 secs, total laps: 20)
“Firstly, I want to thank Paul Stoddart, for giving me the chance to drive the Minardi. I have become accustomed to Touring Cars in the DTM, and it’s good to be back in a Formula One car, although they remain physically demanding to drive – I can feel it in my neck even now! The team worked really well, but as only eight out of the 20 laps I did were flying laps, there was not a lot of set-up time. My main aim this morning was to show the speed I am capable of and what I can do in the car. I know I could have gone quicker, but considering the number of laps, I think the time wasn’t too bad.”

Gian Carlo Minardi “It has been a very productive day. We have seen a young Venezuelan driver, in Pastor Maldonado, who put in a very good performance, especially considering he has made the considerable jump from Formula Renault to Formula One. Albers also put in a very good performance today. Considering how different from one another the drivers are we have had here at Misano, I think it has been a really interesting week. We are also satisfied that all of the drivers who have driven a Minardi here have produced extremely good laps times at a very high level. This means the car is relatively easy to learn and drive. Now we will work with these drivers, and hopefully, one of them will have a future in Formula One.” Minardi

Villeneuve gets first crack at Sauber Villeneuve gets first crack at SauberJacques Villeneuve had his first outing for Sauber on Friday morning at Barcelona. Villeneuve wasted no time in venturing out on to the track after taking over testing duties from Felipe Massa. 
Times at Midday:
P. Driver Team Times Laps
1 R Zonta Toyota 1:14.975 66
2 A Pizzonia BMW Williams 1:15.174 50
3 P de la Rosa McLaren Mercedes 1:15.419 22
4 J P Montoya McLaren Mercedes 1:15.502 15
5 M Webber BMW Williams 1:15.513 20
6 C Klien Red Bull Racing 1:15.532 41
7 J Villeneuve Sauber Petronas 1:15.551 54
8 M Gene Ferrari 1:15.652 57
9 V Liuzzi Red Bull Racing 1:15.661 40
10 F Montagny Renault 1:16.435 58
11 G Fisichella Renault 1:16.571 60
12 T Sato BAR Honda 1:16.736 54
13 J Button BAR Honda 1:16.738 29
Barcelona Records
2004 Pole Position: M Schumacher 1:15.022
Testing Lap Record: T Sato 1:13.797
The Anthony Davidson Saga The Anthony Davidson SagaWilliams distanced itself from the new inter-team tussle over Anthony Davidson by insisting that BAR applied an 'extensive' list of conditions for the shootout run. Earlier in 2004, the two fought tooth-and-nail over another BAR racer and Englishman, 25-year-old Jenson Button. BAR said it and Honda called off diminutive Ant's scheduled Jerez session because Williams insisted upon 'unconditional arrangements. ''We only asked BAR to consider that should Anthony be awarded a race drive,'' a spokesman told us, ''he be allowed an option to remain (him) as a race driver in 2006 if BAR were unable to offer him a seat.'' Williams said it had no qualm with BAR's 'extensive' list of conditions, just the incorrect claim that it was to blame for the cancellation.

However, Dave Richards has backed his former team BAR's claims that they were forced to cancel Anthony Davidson's Williams test as a result of the Grove team's "unreasonable" demands. According to Richards, who parted ways with BAR last Friday after Honda bought a 45 percent stake in the team, Williams' rebut isn't telling the whole truth. "I must say that Williams have been demanding and perhaps a little unreasonable under the circumstances," he told The Guardian. Richards, though, still hopes the dispute can be resolved. "I sincerely hope we can get over these difficulties and Anthony can do his test," he said.

Wirdheim released from Red Bull contract early Wirdheim released from Red Bull contract earlyThe Red Bull Racing team and Bjorn Wirdheim have reached a mutual agreement releasing Bjorn from his contract with the team thereby allowing him to pursue other opportunities for 2005.  The Swedish driver was the 2004 test and reserve driver for the Jaguar Racing team, now owned by Red Bull.  The contract was due to finish at the end of December, but the decision was taken to release Bjorn early.  Red Bull Racing team Managing Director Dave Pitchforth commented 'I would like to thank Bjorn for all of his help and support for the team over the last year, and wish him the best of luck in the future.' The Red Bull team are currently evaluating driver options for 2005, and are using the test sessions in Spain at Barcelona (24-26  November), and Jerez (1-3 and 8-11  December) as part of this process. Red Bull Racing
German DTM
McNish switches from sportscars to DTM with Audi McNish switches from sportscars to DTM with AudiAllan McNish will race for defending German Touring Car Masters (DTM) champions Audi in next year's series. The Monaco-based Scotsman makes his début in the powerful, ultra-competitive touring car series which will feature fellow ex-Formula One drivers Mika Häkkinen, Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Dumfries-born McNish, 35 next month, has been selected to drive the new generation A4 DTM car along with 2004 DTM champion Mattias Ekström (Sweden), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Martin Tomczyk (Germany). Meanwhile Christian Abt (Germany), Rinaldo Capello (Italy), Pierre Kaffer (Germany) and Frank Stippler (Germany) will race the current 2004 A4 DTM model which was confirmed at the Essen Motor Show in Germany today (25 November).

McNish commented: "The DTM has got a very high pedigree of drivers, some from Formula One like Mika, plus some unfamiliar faces for me like Britain's Gary Paffett but no matter anyone's background, there is not one person racing who wants to finish second. DTM will be new territory for me but having visited the championship finale this year I can confirm the racing is very fast and furious. I will give 100% but being a DTM 'new boy', I am not going to make any predictions."

"I enjoy working with Audi and their clear and decisive mentality suits me," continued McNish. "Additionally, many people from the ultra-successful Audi R8 program are also involved in the DTM project. When I came back from F1 I wanted to return to Le Mans and Audi after driving for them in 2000. There were many reasons but the two important ones were they know how to win and we work well together."

Allan added: "It is not going to be easy for me and I am going to have to learn the tricks of the trade but I watched Tom's [Kristensen] progress this year coming from a similar background and he was competitive. I am really excited about this program and can't wait to start. I still get the same feeling now as when I started karting almost 25 years ago and combining that passion with hard work and effort from myself and the team I know we can be successful." Audi.uk

Tony Stewart named 4th Quarter USG Person Tony Stewart named 4th Quarter USG PersonIt's not often that an event can benefit so many people, but that's exactly what a benefit concert hosted by the Tony Stewart Foundation did this summer, raising over $270,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Easter Seals West Kentucky, the Dream Factory-Paducah Chapter and the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center.   For his efforts, Stewart has been named the 2004 Fourth Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year.   "It's an honor to be selected as the fourth-quarter winner," said Stewart. "This is a special award, because it's not about what you do on the race track, it's about what you do with your heart. I know that the previous winners of this award were some very deserving people, and to join them means a tremendous amount to me." NASCAR
Industry News
Renowned driver Collins dies Renowned driver Collins diesRenowned sports car racer Danny Collins, who trained 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier and 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray, died Tuesday at age 76. He trained thousands of drivers, raced sports cars and single-seat formula cars for 51 years.  The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 4900 Montview Blvd. in Denver, Colorado.   Collins was best known for the Danny Collins Racing School, where he trained nascent racers Lazier, Ray and Indy Racing League champion Buzz Calkins.

Collins was inducted into the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame this year.  "He was a really nice guy and one of the most knowledgeable guys I've ever been around as far as road courses were concerned," said Jerry Van Dyke, chairman of the Hall. "He loved to talk about it, and he was still racing vintage cars. He was one of the true gentlemen of Colorado motorsports."   Collins' cars didn't compare favorably to wealthier competitors'.  "My dad really had to work on a budget most of the time, not being wealthy like a lot of racers," son Kevin Collins said.

"His tires usually weren't in good shape. He'd skid around the corner in a four-wheel drift, meaning that all four wheels are not rolling ahead, but sliding like they're going off the curve. One time, he was in a four-wheel drift and waved on this guy in a faster car behind him. Dad was one of those guys who would insist on not blocking somebody."  Collins is survived by his wife, Carol Collins; sons Kevin, David, Peter and Stephen; daughter Kerry Elizabeth Collins; and one grandchild. Denver Post

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf 'getting used' to car
Quick Nick and a Bull
Williams' qualm with BAR
2-seat action at Misano
'Wet'-tire day
Master Massa
GPWC 'will go ahead'
Dutchman drives Minardi
Mark's right 'attitude'
Bjorn left Red Bull
Renault to gain 50 hp
Schu won't drive 'til '05
Bridgestone to nab Red Bull
Honda reveal title thrust
American F1 team 'on ice'
'McLaren' award
GT in Bahrain 
Jos in a Minardi
'We didn't gag Montoya'
McNish in DTM
Gearbox glitch
Checa tops Thursday testing at Jerez Checa tops Thursday testing at JerezCarlos Checa set a sensational lap time on the final day of Ducati Marlboro’s debut test with Bridgestone tires at Jerez on Thursday, lapping almost two seconds inside Valentino Rossi’ lap record and almost a full second inside the Italian’s pole record with a time of 1’40.065. "I’m obviously really happy with the results over the three days of the test,” said Checa, who moved from Yamaha at the end of the season. “The lap times speak for themselves and there isn’t much else to say except that this is the start of a long winter in which we will have to work hard to make sure our bike is competitive and capable of winning races. Now it’s a case of defining the set-up to work from in January although, obviously, this result is a real confidence boost for everybody.”

For Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden, the fastest Honda on the opening day, today was one to forget. He was fortunate to escape unscathed from a high-speed crash, but his factory RCV was extensively damaged. The team is currently still investigating the cause of the accident. The damage badly disrupted the American's test program and the extensive tire test scheduled for today was postponed until tomorrow.

"This morning didn't really get going like yesterday. I had a pretty big crash that really messed the whole day up," confirmed Nicky, who completed 62 laps today. "HRC are looking into the causes but it was third gear and the bike went straight up and down. We've only got one machine here and the crash really did a number on the bike and the boys had to change nearly everything!

"Physically I was okay in the crash but it shook me up quite a bit. We managed to get out there again towards the end of the day and put in quite a few laps but I never got back in the times that I know I should be doing," he admitted. "I've had better Thanksgiving days in my life before but that's what you get in the sport. Some days are better than others and today wasn't one of the good ones."
Jerez test times – Thursday:
1. Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Marlboro 1min 40.065secs
2. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro 1min 40.926secs
3. Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Honda 1min 41.036secs
4. Tohru Ukawa JPN Honda 1min 41.636secs
5. Troy Bayliss AUS Camel Honda 1min 41.663secs
6. Regis Laconi FRA Ducati Marlboro 1min 41.853secs
7. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 41.9secs
8. Shinya Nakano JPN Fuchs Kawasaki 1min 42.012secs
9. Marco Melandri ITA Telefonica Honda 1min 42.023secs
10. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda 1min 42.029secs

Minardi test went great for Monteiro Minardi test went great for MonteiroIn spite of the biting cold this morning on the Misano circuit, in Italy, the Minardi team’s program of tests suffered no changes from those planned, and Tiago Monteiro made another testing session with the Italian Formula 1 Scuderia.  The team’s test driver’s mission was to prepare the balance of the car for the young men to whom Minardi is offering the chance to drive the PS04 Cosworth.

“It was very cold and the track was still quite wet. I did 22 laps of the circuit and was happy as I managed to get a good set up and in spite of the low temperatures I made good time. Besides being happy with my work, I received good words of encouragement from the team’s engineers and from Giancarlo Minardi who supervised the tests again. Once again I have to thank Giancarlo Minardi, Paul Stoddart and the whole Minardi team for this great opportunity!  It’s always a huge pleasure to be back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car !”

“While this isn’t my first test in the Formula One, the braking power and its acceleration are always very impressive!. These are two things you really do notice at the wheel of the F1 car,” said Tiago Monteiro. Once again the driver from Porto made a good impression on the technicians of a F1 team, repeating the events of 2002 in Barcelona when he tested the Renault R202, and what happened last September in Vallelunga, when he had his début as a test driver for Paul Stoddart’s team. Formula 1 continues to be one of the options for Tiago Monteiro’s career in 2005. And with 95 days to go until the start of the new season anything can happen.

Robby Gordon to drive for VW Robby Gordon to drive for VWNASCAR star Robby Gordon is the latest 'big name' driver to link up with the Volkswagen team for the forthcoming Dakar Rally, joining former world rally champion Juha Kankkunen and fellow Dakar winners Jutta Kleinschmidt and Bruno Saby in an expanded four-car squad.  Our cameras were at the Essen Motor Show today.  See report including quotes from Robby.
Audi to debut R9 at Sebring '06 Audi to debut R9 at Sebring '06The 2005 season will be the sixth, and final, season of competition for the Audi R8 - the most successful Le Mans Prototype racer of all time with 52 victories in 62 races so far. New regulations for the Le Mans 24 Hours, and both ALMS and LMES mean Audi are working on a new prototype sportscar which should replace the R8 in 2006. The first tests are planned for the end of 2005, and the 12-hour race in Sebring held during March 2006 is seen as the first test event. "This extremely hard race has already proven its worth during the R8 project as an excellent dress rehearsal for Le Mans,” Audi motorsport head Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said.

The last season for the Audi R8 will probably be its toughest. After 13 wins in 14 races during 2004, the R8 must probably compete with a higher minimum weight and further reduced engine power. Works supported importer teams will assume responsibility for the race logistic of the Audi R8 during the 2005 season, with Audi USA and Audi France planning campaigns in the American Le Mans Series, at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the Le Mans Endurance Series.

"Already last season we mainly owed our success to the enviable reliability, consistency and low fuel consumption of the Turbo FSI engine,” Ullrich explained. "These advantages can't be snatched from us. The fifth Le Mans victory and the successful title defense in the ALMS and LMES are our targets in spite of the additional handicaps.

“We will adapt the R8 as well as possible to the new demands of the regulations. The importers will announce their programs over the course of the next few weeks as soon as all the details are fixed.”

As usual Audi will supports the involvement of customer and importer teams with its works drivers. During the 2005 season they are the seasoned campaigners Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner. Biela and Pirro won the endurance classic in France three times in succession together with the R8 and each of them won the American Le Mans Series once. Werner is the first driver to have successfully defended his title in the top ALMS prototype category.

Wirdheim cancels F1 test w/Red Bull Wirdheim cancels F1 test w/Red BullBjorn Wirdheim has cancelled his testing session with the Red Bull Racing team, scheduled to take place Friday, because it was made clear to him that they wanted a Red Bull sponsored driver to race alongside Christian Klien in the 2005 season. According to Swedish sources, when Bjorn, who outperformed Christian Klien more often than not in the 2004 season running as Jaguar's third driver, even putting in lap times better than those of Mark Webber at times, discovered that his job this week was simply to make Vitantonio Liuzzi look good, the Swede asked to be let out of the test. Has Red Bull already decided on their team for 2005? It appears so. Wirdheim will now focus on landing a Champ Car ride. Mark C.
Honda targets 2006 to win F1 title Honda targets 2006 to win F1 titleHonda is building a $50 million state-of-the-art wind tunnel and investing over $200 million in addition to the $150 million it already spends in engine development ($350 million total per year) to build the BAR Honda team into championship contenders. The tunnel will be similar in scale to Sauber’s newly commissioned $42m wind tunnel, which is capable of working with 60 per cent scale models or full-size cars. The planning applications states: “The ability for BAR to test full-size cars within the wind tunnel would be a major and essential step forward.”

Otmar Szafnauer, vice-president of Honda Racing Development, said: “We have specifically targeted 2006 as the year in which we want to win the championship. We fully intend to win a number of races next season and the increased investment, together with a closer technical collaboration, is a reflection of that. It’s accepted that aerodynamics is one of the most vital performance areas for F1, which is why we took the decision to commission this project.”

BAR technical director Geoff Willis added: “The refinement in our relationship keeps continuing. There are 20 to 25 Honda engineers working in Brackley full time, and staff from BAR are feeding back information to Japan to inform their thinking from a conceptual stage. It is very much a partnership; in future we will become more tightly packaged. That’s the only way to catch Ferrari.”

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing teams with Brazilian University Gelles Racing teams with Brazilian UniversityGelles Racing will renew in 2005 the agreement it had this year with the engineering school of the University Tuiuti do Parana in Curitiba, Brazil. UTP has an enrollment exceeding 20,000 students and is the top engineering school in Brazil. The agreement states that one of the best students in mechanical engineering will spend a full racing season with Gelles Racing as part of his internship prior to graduation. 2004 elected student was Lucas Souza and the name of the selected candidate will be revealed shortly.

“We are very pleased to welcome again a top student from UTP, says team owner Bob Gelles. Our chief engineer, Rodolfo Perdomo, is an associate teacher at this famous school of engineering, and having one of the best students from this school is very exciting. Lolo has worked in Europe and America with many racing teams, including successful years as a team owner, including Formula One: no wonder a student is proud to be working with such a fine tutor. Brazil has consistently given motorsport gifted drivers, we like to think its engineers are equally talented.”

“We are honored to have an association with Gelles Racing, one of the premier racing teams in America, declares Dr. Carlos Eduardo Rangel Santos, President of UTP University. It provides an excellent opportunity for our students to fully integrate their class room experience and translate them into real racing world engineer experiences".

Lucas Souza: 2004 coop student
The 2004 internship award, Lucas Souza, is finishing his term and will return to Brazil to complete his fourth year at UTP. “What I have learned at Gelles this year is incredible, says the young man. You really discover your trade with people like this. Preparing race cars is one thing, but mastering the complexity of race setup is a real art. My UTP program required that I wrote reports every week; and they would show how much I learned this year. Thanks to Bob Gelles, my friend and mentor Lolo, Trygve and all the Gelles crew for the great support they have been. The 2005 candidate coming in is a lucky guy.” “We will dearly miss Lucas as he became a member of the Gelles Racing family in 2004, follows Bob Gelles, and we wish him the best is his future endeavors. Lucas graduates at UTP next year and I know he will have a bright, successful future.”

More testing in Sebring
Gelles Racing will be on the famed 12-hour course track in Sebring this weekend to test more drivers for the upcoming Formula BMW USA 2005 season. BMW USA scholarship contenders Jordan Dick will be returning, along with Darin Marcus, Stars of Karting champion Keith Spicer and Canadian Adrien Herberts. All four of these talented young drivers are BMW USA scholarship contenders, final selections will be announced shortly. Onlookers from the Eastern States will also join in meeting with the Gelles crew and arrange future testing sessions. For more information, you may contact Bob Gelles at (703) 926-2474 bob@gellesracing.com or visit the Gelles web site at: www.gellesracing.com

Massa tops day 3 at Barcelona Massa tops day 3 at BarcelonaSauber driver Felipe Massa set the best lap time of today's F1 tests at Barcelona. Toyota's Jarno Trulli was second fastest, ahead of new teammate Ralf Schumacher, who led most of the morning session aboard his Toyota TF104B. Mark Webber was fourth in his Williams BMW.   The Red Bull of F3000 star Vitantonio Liuzzi was fifth best as the team contemplates possible switch to Bridgestone tires. 
1. F. Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'14"661 - 71 laps
2. J. Trulli - Toyota - 1'14"881 - 96 laps
3. R. Schumacher - Toyota - 1'14"994 - 95 laps
4. M. Webber - Williams BMW - 1'15"244 - 80 laps
5. V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'15"351 - 89 laps
6. G. Fisichella - Renault - 1'15"404 - 86 laps
7. A. Pizzonia - Williams BMW - 1'15"546 - 49 laps
8. J.P. Montoya - McLaren Mercedes - 1'15"828 - 55 laps
9. A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes - 1'15"871 - 106 laps
10. L. Badoer - Ferrari - 1'16"095 - 46 laps
11. C. Klien - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'16"256 - 98 laps
12. M. Gené - Ferrari - 1'16"859 - 106 laps
13. E. Bernoldi - BAR Honda - 1'16"864 - 114 laps
14. J. Button - BAR Honda - 1'16"916 - 44 laps
15. F. Montagny - Renault - 1'17"497 - 31 laps
German DTM
Audi strengthens DTM involvement Audi strengthens DTM involvementAfter the successful DTM comeback was crowned by winning the Drivers’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships, AUDI AG strengthens their works involvement in Europe’s most popular touring car series. The new Audi A4, the entry of eight instead of six cars and a newly formed driver squad should allow the title defense during the 2005 season.
As before, the two well-proven partner teams of Abt Sportsline and Joest Racing will assume responsibility for the race logistic. With defending champion Mattias Ekström (Sweden), Tom Kristensen (Denmark), Martin Tomczyk and Christian Abt (both Germany), four former Audi DTM drivers again number among the 2005 driver squad. New to the Audi DTM team are former Formula 1 driver Allan McNish (Scotland), Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello (Italy) and the two Germans Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler.
Based on the new Audi A4, a new DTM car, in which the knowledge gleaned from the debut year in 2004 pour, is being developed at Audi Sport. With its prominent single-frame radiator grille and the new bodywork shape, the Audi A4 DTM 2005 will distinguish itself optically from the championship car. In total four new A4 DTM cars, driven by Mattias Ekström, Tom Kristensen, Martin Tomczyk and Allan McNish, will race. Christian Abt, Rinaldo Capello, Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler compete with the successful cars from the 2004 season.
In parallel to the works DTM entry, Audi Sport develops a new prototype-sportscar as successor to the Audi R8 for 2006. The R8 starts its sixth and final season in 2005. Audi supports the corresponding involvement of the Importer Teams with its works drivers. In 2005 they are Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany). For the Le Mans 24 Hours, additional drivers from the DTM squad will be made available.
In addition to a new engine configuration, the Audi A4 STCC also receives the new A4 single-frame radiator grille for the 2005 season. The two-liter touring cars will continue to compete in the Swedish Touring Car Championship. An expansion of activities in Scandinavia is at the planning stage.
"The successful defense of the DTM title with the new A4 takes priority for us,” explains Audi Motorsport Head Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "That’s why we are pushing ahead on the technical side and have formed a potent international driver team. At the same time however, we want to put the Audi R8 out to pasture after a successful last season.” Audi
Webber targets podium at home Webber targets podium at homeMelbourne’s tenth anniversary of Formula One will see Australian Mark Webber race at home with BMW Williams – and the celebrations will begin with a 'People’s Day' of free General Admission on the Thursday of the Australian Grand Prix. At the Albert Park track where he made his memorable debut in 2002, 28-year-old Webber hopes now to be a serious contender for victory at the Grand Prix. “We will be disappointed if we are not on the podium at the first race, and if the top step is there to be taken then we will fight very hard to be on it,” Webber said. “We have to race Michael. It’s not a big deal. It’s exciting. We’re up for it!” Webber's best result came in his debut race in 2002 with Minardi, as he took the checkered flag in fifth position. Three-years on and Webber is looking for at least two-places better.
Minardi Two-Seaters in action Minardi Two-Seaters in actionAfter two days of concentrated testing the focus of the Minardi team at the Autodromo Santamonica switched to its F1x2 two-seater program on Wednesday.  In the course of the morning and afternoon sessions, drivers Christijan Albers, Patrick Friesacher, Zsolt Baumgartner and Nicolas Kiesa took 45 passengers for high speed, high adrenalin tours of the challenging, 4.060km Misano circuit.   The majority of the passengers on this occasion were nominated Minardi technical partner, Bridgestone, plus commercial partners, Superfund and The Global Group.

At the conclusion of the day's activities, the hard working two- seaters had covered a combined total of 550 KMS, and will now be checked over and re-prepared for there final Misano session, Friday.  Continuing the teams policy of giving talented young drivers a chance to demonstrate there abilities in a Formula One car, Dutch DTM star and former European Minardi F3000 driver, Christijan Albers, is scheduled to test a Minardi Cosworth PS04B this morning, at Misano, with promising Venezuelan, Pastor Maldonado, taking over in the afternoon.  "It's been a great pleasure to be here and to drive the Minardi two-seater once again," said 2004 racer Zsolt Baumgartner. "I hope the passengers enjoyed it - I had one or two requests 'two push', so I could only oblige. The Misano circuit is very interesting and good fun to drive in an F1x2 car. Also, because these events are a lot more relaxed than a race weekend or a test, you can really enjoy them."
For Nicolas Kiesa, the 2003 race driver with Minardi, this was his sixth time driving the F1x2 Minardi's but his first time at Misano.  "I liked the circuit," said Kiesa. "There are quit a few corners were you can really accelerate on the exit, and combined with very good grip and traction from the chassis, it gives the passengers an accurate sense of what F1 performance is all about."  The team will spend today preparing the F1x2's for Friday running. Minardi

Industry News
2005 Goodwood dates set 2005 Goodwood dates setThe 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed will take place on July 8-10 and the theme for next year's event is 'Racing Colors - National Pride and Culture', celebrating the essence of what makes the cars and motorcycles of different countries so typical of their makers' cultures, passions and skills. It's about what makes a Ferrari so typically Italian, and a Mercedes unquestionably German; it's about what characterizes an American car or even an American driver, in contrast to his or her Japanese counterparts; it's about what makes French designs so blatantly 'Franco', and British creations quintessentially 'Anglo'. It's all about the world of national racing colors and national racing spirit.
Michael Schumacher's secret revealed Michael Schumacher's secret revealedSome people think that Michael Schumacher is the greatest driver that ever lived.  Think again.  The secret is his car.  This is what Marc Gene had to say about the Ferrari after stepping out of the Williams and into the Ferrari as a test driver - "Now I understand what it takes to be a world champion," said Gene. "In my opinion Ferrari won because it has the best driver in the best car. But from whatever aspect you look at it the car is clearly so much superior to others. But I would like to help them get even better! It is very easy to drive and it is so fast and the performance is just so surprisingly superb."
Formula 3000
Superfund Series lands frist big F3000 team Superfund Series lands frist big F3000 teamMa-Con Engineering, the Formula 3000 team Ma-Con has announced that it is not going to be joining the new GP2 series but rather plans to compete in the rival Formula Superfund championship. This is the first significant team to move from Formula 3000 to Formula Superfund rather than GP2. Formula Superfund has also attracted a new entrant in BraDrive, a team which will be run for Brazilian drivers by former Coloni engineer Peter Wyss. The team is rumored to be talking to Tuka Rocha and Gustavo Sondermann. Grandprix.com
Racetrack bidding resumes in Oregon and Wash. Racetrack bidding resumes in Oregon and Wash.UPDATE A proposal for a NASCAR racetrack in Marysville may have crashed and burned, but other Washington communities say their doors are open to speedway developers.  Officials in Thurston County and the city of Yelm said yesterday they're willing to discuss proposals submitted earlier to International Speedway Corp. Those plans were shelved while the Florida-based company entered into exclusive negotiations with Snohomish County and Marysville.  Plans for the Marysville site crumbled this week, with local officials concerned about rising cost estimates for the racetrack and the daunting $200 million price tag that taxpayers were being asked to shoulder.  "The one thing that the county and city said is that we're not going to be enamored of this thing. We had to put that aside and say this is a business deal," said Mary Swenson, the city of Marysville's chief administrative officer.  Given ISC's history of developing speedway sites in other states, it's not uncommon for the first cities courted by the company to say thanks, but no thanks. More at Seattlepi.com 11/25/04 NASCAR boosters in Oregon and Washington again are chasing a 75,000-seat racetrack after the collapse of International Speedway Corp.'s plans to build on a site north of Seattle.  "It's full bore ahead -- we're going to get right back after it," said Jim Randolph, who heads a committee that is trying to lure the track to Scappoose.  "It's back to the idea that this is the perfect location," said Terry Smoke, a member of a group that wants to see the track near an old aluminum smelter in Troutdale.

Several groups in Oregon and Washington were trying to attract ISC's proposed Northwest track until the company chose a site in Snohomish County in September.  But a few weeks of study showed that costs to buy and prepare that land would be much steeper than expected, "to the point that the project wouldn't be feasible financially," said John Graham, ISC's vice president of business affairs.

The track in Marysville was expected to cost about $250 million, not including $85 million in road improvements. ISC expected to contribute only about $50 million of that cost, with public financing for the rest. On Monday, Marysville and Snohomish County officials announced they were withdrawing from negotiations, saying it was too risky for taxpayers.  ISC said it often looks into sites that don't work out, and that it remains enthusiastically committed to building a Northwest track.  "Now that it appears that Snohomish County is off the table, we're going to resume exploration of all the sites we consider attractive, and that includes both Washington and Oregon," Graham said. "I'm not getting into specifics, because we want to resume exploration of all of the sites we previously identified as attractive, and we are open to new sites." Oregonian

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Familiarly fast - test
Troubled re-debut
Michelin kick-start Sauber
'Oh no' - troubled start
Montoya's 'settling in'
'Why Bahrain?'
Ferrari 'no' to Scot
BAR block Ant 'shootout'
F1 Commission 'cancelled'
'This is Williams' - MW
Frank 'did me a favor'
Ralf S. lauds Toyota engine
Albers to also test Minardi

Justin Wilson and F1
BAR's 'secret' shootout
Jag deal a 'hard slog'
'BAR to blame' - Williams

No Red Bull deal - Michelin
Klien a team 'cert'
Terzi 'won't return'
Massa begins Sauber testing Massa begins Sauber testingTeam Sauber Petronas started its first three-day test with Michelin tires at the Circuit de Catalunya today. Felipe Massa covered 71 laps in chassis C23-02 to set a best time of 1:14.939s. Felipe Massa will continue tomorrow before Jacques Villeneuve will have his first test for the team on Friday.
Jacky Eeckelaert, Chief Race Engineer
“Today we ran our first test day with Michelin tires and naturally concentrated on adapting the car’s balance to the new tires. We defined a new suspension set-up and adjusted the C23 accordingly. Already at Hinwil we ran simulations on the basis of Michelin tire data and developed a good foundation for our work today. Overall we were able to deliver good test results and are happy with today’s outcome. Tomorrow we will evaluate new brakes and run aerodynamic tests in preparation to 2005. Our target this week is to collect valuable Michelin tire and downforce data for the next season.” Sauber Petronas
Day 1 for Renault at Barcelona Day 1 for Renault at BarcelonaThe Mild Seven Renault F1 Team commenced its 2004-5 winter track program today at Barcelona. Giancarlo Fisichella and Franck Montagny were behind the wheel, with the former beginning his first test with the team in preparation for the 2005 season, while Montagny conducted tire, brake and systems development. Fisichella’s running was delayed by electrical problems during the morning, but he subsequently began his acclimatization to the car and team.

After the opening day’s running, the Italian commented: “Overall, I am pleased with how things went today. Although I didn’t get out on the circuit until midday, we did over thirty laps and I was able to begin learning about the car, the engine and the tires. Everything was new for me, but I was impressed with what I found: the tire performance is good, and the engine was strong at low revs. The car is not yet balanced how I want it for my driving style, but we are going in the right direction and it is getting more comfortable. It was a good start to the week.”

Test Team Chief Engineer Christian Silk echoed the Italian’s positive comments: “It is good to be back testing again, and we have a heavy program to complete this winter. Giancarlo’s first day with the team was delayed by electrical problems, but his acclimatization to the car went smoothly after that and we began making progress with the set-up. As for Franck, the major part of his program this week will be devoted to tire testing but in addition to this, he complete brake development during the morning session before working on set-ups in the afternoon.” Renault F1 Team

Montoya’s first day in a McLaren Montoya’s first day in a McLarenJuan Pablo Montoya made his debut for the West McLaren Mercedes Formula One team as preparations for the 2005 season commenced at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside Barcelona in Spain earlier today. The Colombian emerged overall fastest from the testing session with a time of 1m14.203 and completed 52 laps at the wheel of a MP4-19B which the team used in the 2004 World Championship.

Juan Pablo will complete his first test for the team on Friday 26th November and is joined in Spain by Third Driver Alexander Wurz (24th - 25th November) and Test Driver Pedro de la Rosa (26th - 27th November). The following weeks will see Juan Pablo continue testing at the Jerez track also in Spain where he will work alongside new team mate Kimi Raikkonen for the first time.

"The main aim of this first test for Juan Pablo is to allow him to familiarize himself with the team and how we operate," commented Test Team Manager Indy Lall. "He seems to have settled in well and is getting to know everybody in the test team. We will continue to go through our planned program for the remainder of this test."
"I'm very pleased that Juan Pablo seems to be fitting in well with the team and we are all looking forward to working with him," said Ron Dennis, Team Principal West McLaren Mercedes and Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group. "Juan Pablo doesn't become an official West McLaren Mercedes driver until 1st January 2005 as he still has commercial obligations for BMW Williams and their sponsors, so we are very grateful that Frank (Williams) has allowed Juan Pablo to commence his testing program now. Reports from Spain tell me that everything is going well and that the team and Juan Pablo are working well together. There is a lot of work ahead of us to ensure that we are in the best possible shape to challenge for the 2005 Formula One World Championships."

"We are all welcoming Juan Pablo to the team after only a month's break following the last race in Brazil," said Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "We are preparing ourselves for next year. Juan Pablo's first day of testing for the team went well, but as usual during the winter testing lap times do not mean a lot."

"It's been an exciting day today and the first time I actually went out of the garage in a West McLaren Mercedes Formula One car was special," said Juan Pablo Montoya. "I know a lot of the guys in the team already and am really looking forward to working with everybody. At the moment I'm still struggling with remembering everybody's names but that is only natural. There is a lot of work to do for all of us before Christmas and I can't wait." McLaren Mercedes

Webber makes Williams debut Webber makes Williams debutFollowing a few installation laps at Barcelona on Tuesday, BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver, Mark Webber, made his official debut today. On Tuesday, Mark drove a handful of laps in the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26, merely to familiarize himself with the car and to prepare for today, when the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's preparations for the 2005 season officially got underway. Conditions for the Australian's debut were ideal, with blue skies, a light breeze, and temperatures reaching 17°C. On his first day as a BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver, Mark concentrated on getting used to the FW26, however, he also carried out some set-up work. He completed 59 laps, posting a best time of 1:15.387 minutes. Antonio Pizzonia was also on duty, however due to technical problems, the Brazilian completed just six laps of the 'Circuit de Catalunya'. With the problems resolved, Antonio, who set a best time of 1:16.805 minutes, hopes to have extensive running in the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26 tomorrow (Thursday).
Sam Michael, Technical Director
“Mark had his first run in a Williams today and was complimentary about the car. His attitude was immediately apparent and he got down to some serious work on the car, working with his new engineers straight away. In my estimation, he has already shown himself to be looking competitive with some strong times today. Antonio’s day was less productive as he was running in the interim car with a number of developments, but we experienced some introductory teething problems with the new gearbox which we have scheduled to resolve by the time we reach Jerez next week." BMW WilliamsF1 Team
Ferrari presses on at Barcelona Ferrari presses on at BarcelonaThird day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, the team working only in Barcelona. Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were running again at the Catalunya circuit. The two Scuderia test drivers had a program of tire and electronics testing. Badoer completed a total of 106 laps, with a best time of 1’15”660; Gene did 68 laps, the quickest in 1’15”607. Badoer and Gene will continue their work in Barcelona tomorrow while Andrea Bertolini will return to the cockpit of the F2004, this time at Fiorano. Ferrari
Gaughan disputes reports Gaughan disputes reportsBrendan Gaughan told Sirius Speedway/Sirius Satellite Radio Tuesday that, contrary to published reports, he has not been told whether he will return to the No. 77 Kodak Dodge next season. "They haven't told me anything," said Gaughan. "But then again, I haven't asked. I'm working on some things for myself next year, including a minimum 18-race Truck Series program at Orleans Racing. I have also had quite a few team owners approach me about possibilities for next year; people who obviously don't think the driver was the problem (with the No. 77) this season. I'm not too worried about it. If they decide to ask me back, we'll deal with it then." Gaughan said he enjoyed his relationship with co-owner Doug Bawel and sponsor Kodak this season, calling them, "super people to work with." However, he added that he was disappointed with the team's poor performance, saying, "I'm in racing because I love it. It's not about the money for me. I'm a competitor, and I want to run up front and contend for wins. If I'm not doing that, I'm not happy." The Las Vegas native said he would not necessarily return to the #77 next season, even if asked. "I would have to give it some thought," he said. "I think the world of Doug (Bawel) and Kodak, and Roger Penske is a very difficult man to say no to. But another year like we just went through? I don't know. I guess I'll just wait and see if an offer is made, then see what's in my heart at that time." MRN Radio
Montoya fastest on first day in McLaren Montoya fastest on first day in McLarenJuan Montoya let everyone know that he means business in his new McLaren ride this year as he set fast time on his very first day in the car. Montoya's 1m 14.1 second lap was 0.5 second up on former Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher now in a Toyota. Felipe Massa in a Sauber, Christian Klien in the Red Bull car and Mark Webber in a Williams rounded out the top 5 ahead of the Ferraris of Gene and Badoer.
Wednesday testing times from Barcelona
1. J.P. Montoya - McLaren Mercedes - 1'14"202 - 59 laps
2. R. Schumacher - Toyota - 1'14"618 - 67 laps
3. F. Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'14"943 - 72 laps
4. C. Klien - Red Bull - 1'15"148 - 100 laps
5. M. Webber - Williams BMW - 1'15"369 - 51 laps
6. M. Gené - Ferrari - 1'15"613 - 70 laps
7. L. Badoer - Ferrari - 1'15"649 - 102 laps
8. J. Trulli - Toyota - 1'15"745 - 50 laps
9. V. Liuzzi - Red Bull - 1'15"933 - 60 laps
10. G. Fisichella - Renault - 1'16"108 - 29 laps
11. A. Pizzonia - Williams BMW - 1'16"242 - 16 laps
12. A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes - 1'16"361 - 83 laps
13. J. Button - BAR Honda - 1'16"846 - 61 laps
14. F. Montagny - Renault - 1'17"228 - 69 laps
15. E. Bernoldi - BAR Honda - 1'19"977 - 33 laps
As a comparison, Michael Schumacher's pole position lap time for the 2004 Spanish Grand Prix was 1'15"022. The track record is still held by Takuma Sato (1'13"797) since February 3, 2004
Industry News
Chinese cars to be sold in North America by 2007 Chinese cars to be sold in North America by 2007UPDATE According to this BBC article, it looks like MG Rover is the latest in a long list of car manufacturers who are going into joint venture with Chinese car manufacturers.  The concern raised in this article is whether the Chinese, who have a controlling interest will move all production to China and close the UK plant. 11/24/04 The Chinese automobile industry is booming and, according to the latest predictions from VDA, the German automobile industry union, this year Chinese production will outstrip that of Germany, to become the world's third biggest manufacturer of automobiles after the United States and Japan. According to the estimates the US will build 12.09m units this year, Japan will produce 10.29m and China will be third with 5.73m, displacing Germany which has traditionally been the world's third biggest car-builder. Although many of the Chinese cars are being built by joint ventures with Japanese and western manufacturers, there are signs that China is going to start building more of its own machinery, now that it has a solid understanding of how it is done. The Chinese government-controlled car-maker Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp (SAIC) is China's second largest automaker and has joint ventures with both General Motors and Volkswagen. SAIC chief executive Hu Mao Yuan says he is "interested" in producing cars that will carry only the SAIC brand name and the company says that by 2010 it wants to become one of the world's top six car manufacturers. There has already been trouble because of the Chery QQ model which GM claims was a straight copy of its Chevrolet Spark four-door hatchback, which is produced by a company which is in partnership with SAIC. The International Metalworkers Federation recently issued a report suggesting that China will be exporting vehicles to Europe and North America by 2007. Grandprix.com
Football still beats NASCAR Football still beats NASCARSunday's Carolina Panthers broadcast edged NASCAR's Ford 400 in the local Charlotte, NC ratings. The Panthers got a 15.3 rating, meaning 15.3 percent of the households in the Charlotte area were tuned to the game on Fox (WCCB, Ch. 18). The race got a 12.4 rating on NBC (WCNC, Ch. 36), more than twice the overall national rating, which was a 5.5. The national rating was up 45 percent over the same race in 2003 and up 22 percent from the 2002 numbers, according to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research. Charlotte Observer
First photos Interim 2005 BAR Honda First photos Interim 2005 BAR HondaFirst photos of the interim 2005 BAR Honda F1 car.  Photos courtesy of Honda


GP2 qualifying back on GP2 qualifying back onRadical plans to do away with GP2 grand prix qualifying support in the series have been ditched. One of the proposals put to potential entrants was for grid positions for the first of two races each weekend to be determined by the result of the second race at the previous meeting. That has now been rejected in favor of two 30 minute sessions – one untimed and one timed – on the Friday of each meeting. A GP2 spokesman said: “Right from the beginning we presented two formats and canvassed the teams’ views. They have said what they wanted and we will be happy to go along with what they say.” Arden boss Christian Horner said: “Common sense has prevailed. I am delighted that qualifying will now be part of GP2. It is a fundamental part of racing and it is what the F1 teams want from the series.” David Price Racing boss David Price said: “The no-qualifying idea wasn’t a good one. We all got an e-mail asking what we thought and, to my knowledge, everyone rejected it. It’s the sensible decision.” Next year’s inaugural series looks certain to be made up of 11 European events. Ten will support grands prix and one, most likely the season finale, will a stand-alone event at which GP2 will be the main attraction. The GP2 spokesman said: “The idea is to have the final race away from F1 and have something special.” The series organizers have reserved the right to expand the schedule to up to 18 meetings by the end of 2007, the end of GP2’s initial three-year run. That has caused alarm among some team bosses who fear an escalation in costs. GP2 has stressed that any decision to increase the number of races would be taken in conjunction with the teams. Racing Engineering boss Alfonso d’Orleans Bourbon said: “We have to be careful. If the number of races went up to 15 without the organizers making a contribution to our travel budgets, teams could go bankrupt.” Autosport Magazine
IRL dismisses Penske team wing idea IRL dismisses Penske team wing ideaThe IRL has dismissed Team Penske president Tim Cindric's idea for the use of common rear wing components to eradicate the specter of the possible use of ‘flexi-wings’ in its IndyCar Series. As revealed by Autosport (September 30), teams have been under suspicion of bending the rules by using wings with top elements that flew downwards at high speeds. Although Cindric did not believe that flexi-wings had been used in races this year, he suggested to the IRL that it should standardize the wing elements to ensure a level playing field, rather than rely on teams using parts supplied by official suppliers Dallara and G Force as demanded by the rulebook.

Cindric told Autosport: “Certainly at some of the tracks that are drag-limited, it [the rear wing] is the most influential part of the car, so it should be scrutineered as such. From mid-season onward, it’s been our opinion that instead of having two chassis manufacturers build the same thing, there should be one wing built by an independent manufacturer distributed by the IRL, with a random allocation – a bit like the [turbo] pop-off valve used in CART days. Obviously there are some costs attached, but certainly if the goal is for everybody to be exactly the same on the rear wing, then we should do everything to be exactly the same in this area.”

An IRL spokesman said: “We are very open to input from our teams, suppliers or manufacturers. We did indeed research his [Cindric’s] opinion and there were considerable obstacles to overcome, particularly in the area of logistics. Brian Barnhart [the IRL’s vice-president of racing operations] decided that the negatives currently outweigh the positives as it relates to this situation.”

Cheever Racing boss Eddie Cheever has called on the IRL to be even more vigilant in enforcing its rear wing rules. He said: “I commend the IRL for the scrutineering, but they need to take the same approach they take on safety. It is their responsibility to continuously improve it.” The IRL confirmed that it is “looking at tightening-up the tolerances on the rear wing” for 2005 but has not yet finalized what changes it will make to the scrutineering process. Its current preferred system is a ‘wing-pull’ test. Autosport Magazine

Andretti Green to keep 4-car team Andretti Green to keep 4-car teamAndretti Green Racing will continue to run a four-car ‘superteam’ in next year’s IRL IndyCar Series, with its British star Dario Franchitti set to re-sign for the 2004 title-winning squad.   Franchitti is poised to put pen to paper to rejoin champion Tony Kanaan, who signed a three-year extension earlier this year, while Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta are in the middle of two-year contracts. Andretti Green co-owner Kim Green said: “We’re definitely staying with four cars – it has been a major contributing factor to our success. I hope continuity will make things run even more smoothly.”

Fellow Honda-powered teams Rahal Letterman Racing and Fernandez Racing are tipped to expand to three-car entries, with Rahal likely to add Danica Patrick to its line-up of Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira. Chip Ganassi Racing is also expected to add an extra car.   “Andretti Green Racing has certainly opened people’s eyes,” said RLR’s Scott Roembke. “They’ve been able to run four cars and still help everybody [be competitive].”

One team that looks set to buck the trend is Team Penske, which is set to stick with its two-car squad for Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.   Penske president Tim Cindric said: “I can see positives and negatives in both approaches, and with the lack of testing and development, it is much easier to put multiple cars out there in the same configuration. But is that why Andretti Green won the championship? No.   “For 2005, we’ll stay focused with the two guys we have. Given the right circumstances, we’ll be right there, challenging. ” Autosport Magazine 

Formula 3000
Patrick Friesacher tops Minardi test Patrick Friesacher tops Minardi testPatrick Friesacher set the fastest time on the opening day of Minardi’s five-day test at Misano on Monday. The Austrian lapped in 1m 11.150s, outpacing World Series by Nissan star Tiago Monteiro and Israeli driver Chanock Nissany. Also due to test this week are Australian youngsters Will Davison and Will Power. Autosport
The future of the British GP The future of the British GPThe negotiations over the British Grand Prix have gone quiet in recent days but that does not mean that the problems have all been solved. The teams may have agreed to race at Silverstone but a deal has yet to be struck between Bernie Ecclestone and the British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns the track. The team agreement meant that everyone involved in the event is going to be making a loss but it was felt that it was best to safeguard the traditional races in France and Britain rather than abandon them because they are unable to pay the kind of fees being demanded from tracks which have government backing. According to our sources, however, the numbers still do not add up with the $30m needed by the teams not being met by the money available from the British & French Grands Prix and there are still questions about the date of the two events. It remains to be seen where the additional money will come from with everyone keen that it is someone else who pays. The patience of the teams is however running out as they have accepted a compromise situation and want the others involved to compromise as well.

The question will come to head again on December 9 when the teams meet for a Formula 1 Commission in Monaco. This will be an important event not only in establishing which races occur but also whether or not there will be restrictions on testing and control tires. Grandprix.com
Mateschitz targets US car maker for F1 team Mateschitz targets US car maker for F1 teamRed Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has admitted that he still harbors ambitions to transform his newly-acquired Formula 1 team into an ‘All-American Racing’ operation – and he wants to partner his team with a major US motor manufacturer to realize his vision. Speaking for the first time since his eleventh hour purchase of Jaguar Racing from Ford, Mateschitz said: “The plan for an all-American racing team is pending. It would still be a fascinating project. “F1 is lacking the American market. But the project simply does not work without an American car manufacturer at your side. Otherwise it would not be credible and authentic.” The irony of his comments will not be lost on Ford, whose US-based board pulled the plug both on Jaguar Racing and sister company Cosworth Racing. The appeal of working with Ford had been one of Mateschitz’s original motivations for buying into the team. “The bottom line is that we will go grand prix racing against our initial intention of doing so in cooperation with an auto manufacturer,” he added. Mateschitz denied he had any intention of taking the team out of the UK. During a 50-minute address to factory staff last Thursday, at which drivers Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi were present, he said: “I know the best racing cars are built in England. Forget about Ferrari! There is no intention to move the team abroad or change anything with the license.” Autosport Magazine
Kahne named top NASCAR rookie Kahne named top NASCAR rookieKasey Kahne, who narrowly missed out on his first victory five times this season, was selected NASCAR's Nextel Cup rookie of the year on Tuesday. Kyle Busch, younger brother of Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch, was the top rookie in the Busch Series. David Reutimann earned top honors in the Truck Series. Kahne, 24, is the youngest rookie winner in NASCAR's top series since Jeff Gordon won it as a 22-year-old in 1993. Kahne finished the 2004 season with 13 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 36 starts, and was the highest scoring rookie in 19 events. He beat Brendan Gaughan by 120 points for top rookie honors.
Industry News
New Ferrari Superamerica New Ferrari SuperamericaThe Pininfarina-designed Ferrari Superamerica combines Ferrari 12-cylinder berlinetta performance with a highly original, innovative take on the convertible concept. The Superamerica is the first production car to adopt an innovative rotating roof movement in combination with electrochromic technology developed exclusively for glass surfaces of these dimensions, with Saint Gobain.

The Fioravanti-patented rotating roof concept allows the Superamerica driver to electrically drop the top in 10 seconds flat, making it the world’s fastest convertible berlinetta (320 Km/h top speed).

Derived from the 575M Maranello, the Superamerica is available with either an F1-style or manual gearbox. Its big 12-cylinder engine has been boosted to deliver 540 hp too. The new car can also be fitted with the GTC Handling package which offers Ferrari’s very latest high-tech features including carbon ceramic brakes.

The Superamerica’s unusual electric roof has been dubbed Revocromico to highlight the unique combination of its rearward rotation movement and electrochromic technology. It has a carbon-fiber structure and the boot capacity remains unchanged whether the roof is open or closed too. The glass rear window also acts as a highly effective wind deflector when the roof is open.

The use of electrochromic glass means that the driver can completely control the level of light entering the cockpit. There are five tint levels available and the glass can go from dark to light in under a minute, at the touch of a button.

The Ferrari Superamerica is a limited edition model and will be premiered at Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows next January.


Length: 4,550 mm
Width: 1,935 mm
Height: 1,277 mm
Wheelbase: 2,500 mm
Front track: 1,632 mm
Rear track: 1,586 mm

Cylinders: V12
Bore x stroke: 89 mm x 77 mm
Unit displacement: 479 cc
Total displacement: 5,748 cc
Compression ratio: 11:1
Maximum power: 397 kW (540 hp) at 7,250 rpm
Maximum torque: 588.6 Nm (433,8 lbft) at 5,250 rpm

Maximum speed: 320 km/h Ferrari

Williams BMW launch set Williams BMW launch setBMW Williams will present its new driver line-up as well as its new livery at the Bahrain International Circuit January 6 and 7 rather than the teams traditional Silverstone-based launch.

“This is the first time ever a Formula One team has come to the Middle East to launch its driver line-up and livery and we are delighted that they have chosen Bahrain for such a prestigious event," stated Martin Whitaker, General Manager of the Bahrain International Circuit.

"Bahrain is now universally recognized as the home of motorsport in the Middle East and having the BMW WilliamsF1 Team with us for this event endorses the reputation that the circuit is building not just in Formula One but across the broad spectrum of motorsport and underlines the caliber of activities that we are now undertaking. We are very much looking forward to hosting the BMW WilliamsF1 Team launch in early January.”

The BMW WilliamsF1 launch adds to the circuit’s increasing portfolio of motorsport events including the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, the FIA GT Championship, the FIA European Drag Racing Championship and the Bahrain F3 SuperPrix.
“We were very impressed with the circuit in Bahrain last year,” said Williams. “The facilities are really first-class and provide the necessary confidence that all of the demands of staging an international event overseas will be met and surpassed. The Bahrain International Circuit provides not only the infrastructure, but also the know-how to do this and it is the primary rationale for launching the 2005 team line-up and livery here.”

The Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to feature heavily on the FW27, while Antonio Pizzonia is favorite to race alongside Mark Webber next season.

4-Day ALMS test slated 4-Day ALMS test slatedAt the same time that Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers are reporting to Florida for Spring Training, American Le Mans Series racing teams will have their own version of Florida training when IMSA and Sebring International Raceway host a four-day open testing session Jan. 31-Feb. 3.

The testing session will help teams prepare for the 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, America's oldest and most prestigious sports car race, that will open the 2005 American Le Mans Series season Mar. 16-19.

"This test has been organized in our continuing efforts to make participation in the ALMS more affordable," said Tim Mayer, Chief Operating Officer of IMSA, the sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series. "The testing fees are discounted highly from Sebring's normal winter testing rates and provide teams the perfect opportunity to test and prepare for the upcoming season."

IMSA recently announced tire and testing rules also designed to reduce costs, Mayer said.

"We've had many inquiries from teams and expect a turnout from across all four classes of competition," Mayer said. "This is even an opportunity for European teams to accomplish significant testing at one of the most storied tracks in sports car racing.

"We considered coming up with a catchy name for this test, but in the end pragmatism won out," he said. "This is all about providing a practical and cost-effective testing option for our teams."

"We look forward to having the teams from the ALMS at Sebring," said Tres Stephenson, President and General Manager of Sebring International Raceway. "The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring continues to grow each year and having this series-wide testing session six weeks before race time is a sign of that growth. The test will be beneficial to everyone involved."

The 3.7-mile circuit will be open for testing from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. all four days, with a scheduled one-hour lunch break daily at 12 noon. Teams will be admitted into the paddock area for setup on Jan. 30. ALMS

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 and Adelaide
Black BAR to debut
Gene off to scarlet start
Aussie duo run in Minardi
Ecclestone must wait
Briscoe to test Jordan
'I chose Frank' - Webber
Jordan for sale
'Like a dream' - Gene
Honda to block 'shootout'
DC at Stade Louis
F1 'must change'

'Tight' at the top - Sam M.
Juan was 'very good' - Ralf 
'We don't need to test'
FW27 to debut in Oz
BAR to do 'more testing'

'Watch your back'
'Massive' aero loss - Minardi
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