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BCN acknowledges sale of team to Monteiro  BCN Competicion announce the agreement with Tiago Monteiro regarding his acquisition of all the Team racing assets, including the GP2 Entry Rights.

BCN Competicion would like to thank the GP2 Series Organization, all GP2 Teams and Drivers who had been involved with the Team as well as all the personnel who worked with us in this and other Categories. Thanks for sharing with us this important experience within the Motor racing World during the past 7 years.

BCN Competicion will shortly announce their plans for the next future. BCN Comp PR
Hornish given 'vote of confidence'  Former Penske Racing open-wheel driver Sam Hornish Jr. has the team's full support in his second full season of Sprint Cup racing next year. Hornish, a three-time IndyCar Series champion and winner of the 2006 Indy 500, struggled this season in the #77 Dodge Charger in his rookie Cup year, finishing 35th in DRIVERS, 38th in OWNERS points and failing to qualify for the final race at Homestead. It was rumored he might even return to IndyCar. But Penske Racing spokesman Bud Denker said Hornish, who will have Mobil 1 and AAA sponsorship on his Dodge in 2009, would play a pivotal part in the Cup campaign with fellow Penske drivers #2-Kurt Busch and #12-David Stremme, who replaces Ryan Newman. "We're absolutely committed to Sam," Denker said. "We're behind him and are blessed to have sponsorship from Mobil and AAA. We are very committed to Sam and expect him to do well." Detroit Free Press
Schumacher promotes responsible drinking  Bacardi Limited, as part of its responsible drinking "Champions Drink Responsibly" campaign, is providing the drive of a lifetime: the opportunity to be in the passenger seat next to Michael Schumacher, the world's most successful Formula One race driver - and the world's most famous designated driver.

Schumacher, who is the firm's Social Responsibility Ambassador, will drive 28 adults from select markets around the world on a race track circuit to raise awareness about the critical message of responsible drinking.

The seven-time World Champion and each of his passengers will drive full-throttle rides around the exclusive Ascari Race circuit in southern Spain to demonstrate his expert handling of a high performance car to highlight how champions stay in control in various environments. More ...

Lowe: KERS to mix up order in 2009  McLaren’s engineering boss Paddy Lowe expects the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) will shake up the pecking order from circuit-to-circuit in 2009.

Lowe believes KERS will provide a greater advantage at some circuits over others, and as a result, the order at the front could change from race-to-race depending on which team has developed the best system and whether it suits the track.

“Certainly, the variation from circuit to circuit will be different,” he told McLaren’s official website.

“Also KERS will have more authority at some tracks than at others – so the pecking order from circuit to circuit may change a little bit.”

"There will definitely be constant development of the KERS device through the year,” said Lowe.

“One thing to bear in mind is that the ultimate idealized performance benefit of KERS is capped – because it’s limited in power and energy.

“So assuming you’ve delivered to that cap, you’re looking more into the domains of doing it for less weight or doing it more efficiently or more reliably.”

Button: Honda on track  Jenson Button is confident the 2009 regulations could see Honda once again return to the podium - and perhaps even the top step.

Next year's Championship will see a whole host of new rules introduced into Formula One, including new aerodynamic regulations, slick tires and KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System).

And the Brit reckons these rules could play into Honda's hands, perhaps even yielding the team's first win since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

"The last two years have been very difficult for all of us, but I think we have a very strong team and we have a real passion for racing, so things will come good for us," he said.

"I've already seen what is happening with the car for next year, and it looks very positive.

"It feels more like 2006, when I got three podiums and I won my first race. So it's all very positive, and I'm hoping to get some more wins next year."

Tiago Monteiro's team signs Buurman  Ocean Racing Technology has just guaranteed the team's first ever driver. Young flying Dutchman Yelmer Buurman will take one of the seats next week in Dubai, at the team’s premiere.

The 21 year old has already given a taste of what he is able to do in several racing categories. Last week, Buurman took second place overall in the Superleague Formula driver's championship. Before defending PSV Eindhoven's colors the new Ocean's driver raced for Arden in the GP2 Asia Series and Main Series.

Tiago Monteiro has been following Yelmer Buurman's career:

"I see him as a great driver with very good potential and he really fits this project.  His fast and has already a good experience in single seaters. Also, he is very motivated and has a hardworking profile. It's the kind of personality Ocean Racing Technology needs". More ...

Pacific Coast Motorsports Open House  
Click image to enlarge
On Sunday December 7th from 1 to 4 PM visit Pacific Coast Motorsports, The Only Indy Car Team on the West Coast:• Get up close to the Car• Exclusive Garage Tours• Q&A With Team Mechanics and Personnel! Take a close look at the Campagna T-Rex:• The Latest Innovation in Efficient.

The Only Indy Car Team on the West Coast:
• Get up close to the Car
• Exclusive Garage Tours
• Q&A With Team Mechanics and Personnel!

Take a close look at the Campagna T-Rex:
• The Latest Innovation in Efficient Transport

Some of the hottest Kustoms from the Hot Rod and Cobra Clubs

Get up-close with one of Tom Nelson's 1600 HP "Supercars" on Display

Local USAC Sprint-Car Hero Cory Kruseman's Car on Display

Food and Beverages

From 101: Exit #60 Rice/Santa Clara
South on Rice, Left on Camino Del Sol, Left on N. Elevar Street, Address 521 N Elevar St.

Audi announces its 2009 motorsport program  In future, the AUDI AG motorsport program will be based on three pillars: During the 2009 season, the brand with the four rings will compete once again in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the DTM. Additionally, with the new Audi R8 LMS, Audi Sport offers for the first time a racing sports car specifically developed for customer use.

“We know just how important motorsport is for the success of the brand,” emphasizes Michael Dick, who as Chairman of the Board for Technical Development is responsible for the AUDI AG motorsport program. “Therefore it goes without saying that Audi must also be present on the race track in economically hard times. It is all the more important for us to enter a motorsport category in which the cost-benefit calculation is positive.”

Audi therefore continues to support sport prototypes and the DTM. With the Audi R8 LMS, Audi also offers customer teams a racing car incorporating high-quality technology and the typical Audi traits but which is, however, also easy to operate. More ...

Massa to donate $25K to victims  Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa will make a personal donation of $25,000 to the victims of the flooding and earth sliding, caused by heavy rains, at the Brazilian state Santa Catarina. More than 100 people lost their lives and around 54.000 families were left homeless after the natural tragedy.
Lowe's forced to extend NASCAR merchandise sale  A day-after-Thanksgiving tradition at Lowe's Motor Speedway will run through the weekend this year, due partly to the sour economy's effect on spending by NASCAR fans.

The Concord speedway's Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out Sale usually is the Friday following Thanksgiving. Race fans across the region and from other states come not only to buy discounted merchandise, but also drive their own vehicles on the speedway oval.

But with NASCAR fans spending less on T-shirts, die-cast cars and other items in recent months – the result of high gas prices and the credit crunch – the speedway and race teams closed the season with more merchandise than usual on shelves. That was one factor in expanding the sale, now in its 16th year, to three days.

“It's no secret that we have product we want to move,” said Don Hawk, vice president of business affairs for Speedway Motorsports, the parent company of Lowe's Motor Speedway.

But, Hawk added, the annual sale also was ripe for a marketing boost – the speedway bought radio, print and Internet ads this year. And stretching the event through Sunday gives people who work Friday a chance to find bargains on NASCAR merchandise, with hats and T-shirts starting at $2.

“A lot of them are shopping for Christmas,” he said. “We decided to muscle up what we were doing already.” More at ThatsRacin.com

Earnhardt: NASCAR races too long  "The problem with NASCAR racing is that it's not a race, it's a 3-4 hour enduro and it's all about pit stops, taking care of tires, gambling on tire changes and trying to maintain concentration.  Cut two hours out of the races and I think all the drivers would agree. A race only lasts 30 or 40 laps or 90 minutes to two hours -- as fast as you can go." Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Webber moves from Hobart to Melbourne  (GMM)  Mark Webber on Saturday was transferred from the Tasmanian capital Hobart to a hospital in Melbourne.

The Australian formula one driver broke his leg in a cycling crash a week ago, and immediately underwent surgery.

Accompanied by a doctor and nurse, he was flown by air ambulance to Melbourne on Saturday, to begin rehabilitation in a private hospital in Kew, a suburb about 20 minutes north of Melbourne.

He was photographed wearing a 'ski-boot'-style splint on his lower right leg.

"I'm now looking forward to getting on to the next phase of my recovery over the next few weeks," he is quoted as saying by the local Daily Telegraph newspaper.

When he is given the green light by doctors, Webber will return to Europe, where in Austria he will begin a physiotherapy program being devised by his employers Red Bull.

He aims to be at the wheel of the team's new RB5 single seater in February.

NASCAR sues plane maker over crash that killed 5  NASCAR and one of its companies are suing Cessna for damages, saying the aircraft company's negligence and its faulty plane are responsible for a crash last year that killed five people. The plane that slammed into two houses in Sanford, Florida in July 2007 was "unreasonably dangerous and defective," and Cessna's instructions, warnings, inspections and repairs for the aircraft were inadequate, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in circuit court.

Cessna attorneys could not be reached for comment, and a spokesman for the Kansas-based company said he couldn't discuss pending litigation. The spokesman did say he's not sure if anyone else has sued Cessna over the July 2007 crash. The amount of money sought in the lawsuit is not specified, but NASCAR has already paid at least $1 million to the family of one of the two men killed in the plane, 56-year-old Michael Klemm, a NASCAR pilot. Klemm and 54-year-old Dr. Bruce Kennedy flew together in the Cessna 310R the morning of July 10, 2007. The two men were on a recreational flight from Daytona Beach to Lakeland. Ten minutes after they got into the air, they began experiencing problems in the cockpit of the twin engine aircraft. Klemm and Kennedy were one minute shy of an emergency landing at Sanford Orlando International Airport, but suddenly the plane veered to the right, clipped a tree and crashed into two houses inside The Preserve at Lake Monroe subdivision in Sanford. Both men were killed on impact. Kennedy's widow is Lesa France Kennedy, president of NASCAR sister company International Speedway Corp.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released its final report on the cause of the crash. But NASCAR already believes the accident was caused by an electrical fault in the aircraft wiring installed in the aircraft by the manufacturer in 1977. Since 1983, 461 accidents have involved a Cessna 310 model, according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation accident database. Of those accidents, 137 involved at least one fatality. Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver has said in the past that Cessna 310s have "millions of flights hours and an excellent safety record." Daytona Beach News Journal

Walker: Mosley and FIA let F1 down in 2008  Much-loved former F1 commentator Murray Walker has claimed that FIA President Max Mosley and grand prix stewards badly let the sport down in 2008.

Max Mosley let down the FIA and the FIA let down Formula 1 with some of its stewarding decisions in 2008 - that is the outspoken view of the sport's much-loved veteran commentator Murray Walker.

Mosley found his privacy splashed all across the international media back in March following a salacious front page exposé on his sex life in UK Sunday tabloid the News of the World - and whilst Walker admits the scandal ultimately caused no lasting damage, in the short-term it certainly rocked F1 to its core.

"I was very disappointed with the FIA, for two reasons," the 85-year-old told Crash.net Radio. "One is that I think the organization was badly let down by its president in terms of what he did in the belief that it was private, but which became public to the detriment of his image and must to a mild extent have adversely affected Formula 1. More ...
Nissan reverses decision on Chicago show  Nissan North America bowed to pressure from it dealers who derive a sales benefit from the exposure of new product, and reversed a decision announced Monday. Nissan said it will now participate in February's Chicago auto show.
racing news
NCMA Initiate “Motorsports Employment Task Force”  The motorsports industry is not immune to the current economic downturn. Nearly all race teams in the industry have made some level of cutbacks. It is estimated that upwards of 700 jobs have been lost in recent weeks and its possible the layoffs will continue into 2009.

Initiated by Humpy Wheeler and administered by the North Carolina Motorsports Association, a Motorsports Employment Task Force was developed to address the job loss issues. A meeting was convened last Friday. Attendees of the initial meeting included associates from NASCAR, the NC Legislature, Centralina Workforce Development Board, Career Transition Consultants, NC Biotech Center, NASCAR Technical Institute, Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, NC-Community College Motorsports Consortium, Belmont Abbey College, Compass Career Management, The Wheeler Company and The NCMA.

The group discussed ways to immediately provide support and information to current displaced workers. In addition the Task Force discussed plans for a promotional campaign to other industries that would showcase the skills and benefits to hiring someone from the Motorsports Industry. More ...

Sebring debut for Audi R15  The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring has long seen debuts of the most successful sports cars in endurance racing. The 57th edition - presented by Fresh from Florida on March 21, 2009 - will be no different as Audi will race its new R15 TDI prototype for the first time. Audi AG made the announcement of a new diesel-powered prototype Friday.

The Sebring 12 Hours, America’s most demanding sports car race, also saw the first race for the Audi R8R in 1999 (which led to the highly successful R8 the next season) and the Audi R10 TDI in 2006. The latter was the first diesel-powered sports car to win at Sebring, and it won the first of its three straight 24 Hours of Le Mans victories only months later. Audi has won Le Mans nine times overall.

“It was clear to us that we must develop a new car if we wanted to continue to be successful in Le Mans,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “The Audi R15 TDI is the result. The step from R10 to R15 is significantly larger than it was from the R8 to the R10.” More ...

Alonso won't quit without third title  (GMM) Former double world champion Fernando Alonso is sure he will not retire until he adds a third title to his tally.

"I'm more or less convinced about not leaving F1 without becoming world champion again," the Renault driver told the Spanish radio network Cadena SER.

Alonso, 27, won the drivers' titles with the French team in 2005 and 2006, but last year endured a miserable season with McLaren, and in 2008 struggled for most of the season with an uncompetitive Renault.

And although hopeful for the R29, he refuses to rule out a future with F1's most famous team, Ferrari. More ...
Verstappen backs Bernie's 'medals' idea  (GMM) Jos Verstappen, a former formula one driver from Holland, has added a lone voice of support to the concept of an Olympic Games-style 'medals' scoring system.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is pushing for the scheme to be introduced for next year, with the aim of compelling drivers to prioritise race wins rather than mere points.

"There are a lot of people who have ridiculed this suggestion, and honestly I have to admit at first that I thought the stress of divorce had got to him," Verstappen, 36, wrote in his column in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. More ...
Andretti and Hunter-Reay waiting on sponsorship  Marco Andretti still hasn't signed a contract to remain an Indy-car driver at Andretti Green Racing, but there is no reason for concern, his agent said. Andretti, 21, will sign with his father's team once the sponsorship program for the No. 26 car gets resolved, according to John Caponigro, president of Sports Management Network.

"It's not an issue being (at AGR) or not being there; it's the dough and all," Caponigro said. "Once the sponsorship gets lined up, we'll get it done."

Andretti's three seasons in the IndyCar Series have been spent with a variety of financial backers, led by Blockbuster. Caponigro said the duration of Andretti's next contract will depend on the value of the sponsorship package.

"If it's low enough, I don't want to do a multiyear (contract)," he said. "If it's higher, well, that's a different dynamic."

Andretti could not be reached for comment, but Caponigro said the third-generation racer is not considering a move to another series.

Rahal Letterman Racing is more in limbo than AGR, but it is similarly making plans to return to the IndyCar Series in 2009.

At issue is the primary sponsorship of the No. 17 car, which has been ethanol since the start of the 2006 season.

That backing is in question now that the Indy Racing League has switched to a Brazilian-based company to coordinate its fuel.

Until the sponsor is resolved, the team owned by Bobby Rahal and David Letterman can't secure its driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had a breakout season this year and won at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Indy Star

Berger may return to F1 again 'some day'  
Gerhard Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has refused to rule out returning to the formula one paddock with another official role at some point in the future.

The 49-year-old Austrian has effectively 'retired' from the sport three times; once as a driver at the end of 1997, again in 2003 when he stopped being BMW's joint motor sport director, and now by selling back his 50 per cent share of the Toro Rosso team.

But he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Don't worry, it is quite possible that I will reappear some day."

With the definitive end of the controversial 'customer car' era looming, it is believed Berger decided to cut his ties with the Faenza based squad in order to simplify Red Bull's sale of the team.

He made his formula one debut for the ATS team in 1984.

tv news
Jimmie Johnson to be guest on Rachael Ray show  UPDATE A reminder that this episode of the Rachael Ray show airs today with Jimmie Johnson as a guest.

11/23/08 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson, will be a guest on the Rachael Ray show this Friday, November 28.  The time and network for the Rachael Ray show varies.  Please check your local listings for your time zone.
Tiago Monteiro confirms the acquisition of GP2 team  The acquisition of the BCN team currently competing in the GP2 series by a project driven by former F1 racer Tiago Monteiro, was finalized this week and from now on the team becomes the first 100% Portuguese team to compete at this level of motor racing.

To conclude a project of this scale, the racing driver is joined by a business man who has vast experience in the motor sport industry, Jose Manuel Guedes who, for more than ten years together with Edmar Monteiro, has been responsible for the career management of Tiago Monteiro.

For Tiago, who has already contested many challenges behind the wheel, moving across to the other side of the garage to become a team principal is a new adventure indeed. "This is a step I have always wanted to make in my professional career but I would have never imagined taking it this early. We had the opportunity and we worked on the financial aspect of the project, then we started negotiations. The management of a race team is fascinating because not only do you need to have a good knowledge of what can happen on track but you also need to have some skills in the business. The GP2 Series is the ideal platform because it is very close to Formula 1. Its popularity and competitiveness is on the rise. After careful consideration we think this project could be a springboard that is perfectly adapted to our ambition of promoting Portuguese motorsport beyond its frontiers," Tiago said. More ...

Jerez Day 2: Rossi goes fastest  Overnight rain forced the MotoGP riders testing at Jerez on Thursday to make a late start, with riders waiting until lunchtime before considering the track dry enough to make riding worthwhile.

World champion Valentino Rossi was fastest on his Yamaha followed closely by Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Rossi spent most of his time today on the new 2009-prototype M1, working on developing the setting and also trying out some new parts for the engine, amongst other things. He set his best time of the day on his 52nd of 54 laps, dipping nearly seven tenths of a second under the lap record with a time of 1’39.429.  More ...

track news
Middle East F1 venues form agreement  Teams from the Middle East’s two Formula One motor  racing  circuits  met  today  to  formalize  a  joint  working  agreement.    A  delegation  from  the  Bahrain  International  Circuit  (BIC),  lead  by  its  Chairman  Zayed  R.  Alzayani, was  hosted  at  the  Yas  Marina  Circuit  by  a  delegation  lead  by  the  Chairman  of  Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM), Khaldoon Al Mubarak. 

The agreement reached today will see the two organizations work together to identify and  harness  opportunities  stemming  from  the  presence  of  two  of  the  world’s  leading motor racing circuits being present in the region. 

With the two tracks hosting rounds of the  FIA  Formula  One  World  Championship  in  the  region  in  2009  and  beyond,  both ADMM and BIC foresee opportunities to harness resulting administrative, sporting and business synergies. The 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar includes 17 races with the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 26th and the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix scheduled for November 1st. Speaking during the meeting of the two organizations, Alzayani and Al Mubarak outlined the  opportunities  that  exist  for  the  Kingdom  of  Bahrain  and  the  UAE  as  the  region embarks on a new era for motorsport and its development in the Gulf. Both  BIC  and  ADMM  have  long  term  agreements  -  that  run  to  the  end  of  the  next decade - with the FIA Formula One World Championship. These contracts are seen as a foundation for Grand Prix racing and the development of motorsport in general. 

They build  on  the  awareness  and  heritage  that  the  Bahrain  International  Circuit  has established in the past five years. 

Porsche revenues down, profits up  Porsche announced yesterday their revenues had dropped by 15 per cent.  The German car maker said it expected turnover in the four months to the end of November to come in below £1.6 billion, reports the Financial Times.  It also expected unit sales to fall by 18% in the same period.

Despite the carmaker's predictions, Porsche recorded record profits and revenue for the year to July 31, boosted by the paper gain in the value of its VW shareholding.  Porsche Group profit rose 46% to £7.16 billion which exceeded the company's £6.24 billion revenue from making sports cars.

Meanwhile Porsche has delayed its planned takeover of Volkswagen because of falling sales, according to the BBC website.  And.......Porsche will introduce its first ever diesel-powered car in February.  It has borrowed the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel from the Audi Q7 to add to its Cayenne SUV range. With a six-speed Tiptronic S gearbox as standard, the car achieves 30.4mpg on the combined cycle and 244g/km CO2.

Formula BMW
Formula BMW Notebook  While most of the international racing series are now in their off-season, Formula BMW is far from being over. In the Formula BMW Pacific season finale, held on Macau’s demanding street circuit, a guest racer outclassed the regulars. Now, in the Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City, the young guns are to enter virgin soil once again.

Marinescu triumphs at Macau’s “Guia Circuit”

At the end of a thrilling 2008 season, the Formula BMW Pacific competitors experienced another true highlight: the 16th and final round of the season was held on Macau’s (MO) 6.117-kilometre “Guia Circuit”. As part of the support program of the World Touring Car Championship season finale and the legendary Formula 3 Grand Prix, no less than 21 drivers battled it out for the win in the final race of the season.

In a thrilling battle, guest entrant Mihai Marinescu (RO) took the win from his Motaworld team-mate Michael Christensen (DK), who had won the Formula BMW Europe Rookie Cup and now put the icing on the cake by securing another podium, while Gabriel Chaves (CO) proved to be the best-placed Formula BMW Pacific regular by finishing fourth. Meanwhile, Meritus driver Alexander Sims (GB) had to cope with a dose of bad luck. He qualified third, but in the race he was involved in a collision and dropped to the back of the field. Nonetheless, he demonstrated his extraordinary pace and fighting spirit by setting the fastest race lap and battling his way back up to finish eighth.

The fight for the title had been decided prior to the season finale – with Sims’ team-mate Ross Jamison (HK) winning the championship. At Macau, however, the 18-year-old had to settle for eighth place, and Rookie Cup winner Simon Moss (ZA) was forced into early retirement. More ...

Autosport kart race - the who's who of world class motorsport  The entry list of racing drivers joining forces to raise over £50,000 for the BP Ultimate Celebrity Karting Challenge at Autosport International on Friday 9 January reads like the who’s who of world class motorsport. David Brabham’s charity kart race at the NEC, Birmingham, will see some of the best drivers in the world battle it out and members of the public can take the racing seat alongside them for just £300.

The most successful driver in the history of the prestigious 24 Heures Du Mans, Tom Kristensen is the latest star to pledge his support to the event which will be raising funds for the Richard Burns Foundation, The Christie Cancer Hospital Manchester, and Emmaus Hampshire. The eight-time Le Mans winner for Audi commented: “I am looking forward to the charity kart race and helping to raise money for the Richard Burns Foundation and other charities. It’s going to be great fun battling it out against such a fantastic line up of drivers. I just hope that David [Brabham] makes sure that our kart is set up perfectly, as I hate understeer!” More ...

Johnson helps push sales up  NASCAR fans across the country are celebrating Jimmie Johnson’s third straight Sprint Cup Championship in record fashion, as sales of his championship merchandise on the NASCAR.com Superstore are up 44% over 2007. In addition to the strong fan reaction on NASCAR.com, the Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA), the premier club for motorsports fans and collectors, has also experienced a wave of enthusiasm for everything and anything related to Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team. In fact, RCCA championship product sales are up 137% over last year when Johnson captured his second consecutive Cup crown. Shortly after Johnson crossed the finish line in Miami in his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, Motorsports Authentics, through its Chase Authentics and Action Racing Collectables brands, went to market with a full array of licensed products commemorating Johnson’s record-tying third straight Sprint Cup Championship.

Mark Dyer, president and CEO of Motorsports Authentics, was pleased with the numbers, though not entirely surprised, given the historical significance of Johnson’s victory. “Jimmie has been one of the most popular drivers in the sport with strong merchandise sales, especially given his relatively short tenure in NASCAR,” Dyer said. “I think collectors and fans recognize the amazing feat he’s accomplished and are getting behind him to show their support. They know his memorabilia from this third championship will ultimately be quite valuable in the marketplace and they want to be a part of the excitement.”

All 2008 Championship apparel and die-cast collectables are available at the NASCAR.com Superstore and rccamembers.com. Fans can also visit Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers across the country to learn more about these products. To find a local dealer, visit goracing.com and click on the dealer locator at the bottom of the page. Motorsports Authentics PR

Andretti, Power and Brown join karting race  IndyCar stars Marco Andretti and Will Power, as well as NHRA Top Fuel standout Antron Brown, will compete with FirstKart.com in the Masters division at the 2008 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) All-Stars Karting Classic. Taking place December 11 adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, the trio will join Karter division entries James Davison, Bobby Wilson and Spencer Pigot as they look to score victories in the annual event.

Andretti, Power and Brown continue to add to the stellar driver line-up for the third annual All-Stars Karting Classic. These three drivers will join AJ Allmendinger, Max Papis, Cristiano Da Matta, Oswaldo Negri, Buddy Rice, Scott Speed, Townsend Bell, Jamie McMurray, Nelson Phillipe, Jan Heylen and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the Masters division. A series of further driver announcements are forthcoming for this prestigious event.

Happy Thanksgiving  The staff at AutoRacing1.com would like to wish all its USA customers a Happy Thanksgiving, which is being celebrated today in the USA.  Most people celebrate by gathering at home with family or friends for a holiday feast. Though the holiday's origins can be traced to harvest festivals which have been celebrated in many cultures since ancient times, the American holiday has religious undertones related to the deliverance of the English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.  Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Journalists overlook Hamilton for award
  • No 'grief' from bosses despite injury - Webber
  • Cars not allowed at 2010 Donington GP
  • Young charger impresses at debut Ferrari test
  • Kubica says BMW had different goal in 2008
  • Heidfeld to marry partner Patricia Papen
  • Hartley in running for Red Bull test seat

Journalists overlook Hamilton for award
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton, Britain's first world champion in 12 years and the youngest in history, has been beaten to a respected British sports plaudit.

The 23-year-old McLaren driver is expected to shortly be named the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year as the result of a popular vote.

But it was Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy who this week secured the Sportsman of the Year award voted by the 600-plus members of the Sports Journalists' Association of Great Britain.

The British Olympic cycling team, meanwhile, secured the teams' prize, it was announced at an awards lunch hosted by association president Michael Parkinson in London.

Hamilton will have another opportunity to even the score with Hoy when he takes on the 32-year-old in a 'race' at the Race of Champions at Wembley stadium next month.

It will hardly be a fair fight, however, as while Hamilton will be driving a Mercedes-Benz road car, Hoy will take to the saddle of his bike, on which he generates less than three horse power.

After the demonstration, the pair will immediately depart for Liverpool for the BBC awards.

No 'grief' from bosses despite injury - Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber has dismissed any suggestion he was rebuked by his F1 employer or managers after breaking his right leg in a high-speed cycling collision with a car last weekend.

Following the incident that occurred during his own outdoor adventure race in Tasmania, the 32-year-old Red Bull driver is still recovering from surgery in hospital.

He told the local newspaper The Mercury that he did not receive any "grief" from officials and paymasters back in Europe.

"I've been in touch with many people in my team, including team principal Christian Horner," the Australian said.

"They've been really supportive and have also had major input into the rehabilitation program."

Webber also said Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who oversees his management, was supportive and did not respond angrily to the news.

"Of course he didn't," Webber said.

"Many, many people have sent well wishes including drivers and members of other teams."

Following reports that the injury could mean the end of future editions of the Mark Webber Challenge, he admitted that the event is under review.

"The next step is for us to do our usual review of the event prior to any announcements about the future," said Webber.

"Unless you're close to this event you tend not to realize the scale of it, so we only commit to the next one when we know we're going to deliver an event of international quality, like we did this year." More ...

Luczo Dragon donates $500k to charities  Luczo Dragon Racing generated more than $500,000 for charities during the 2008 IndyCar Series season.

Through its program, Luczo Dragon Racing joins forces with 12 athletes and donates money raised during the racing season to the charities supported by the athletes.

This year's team of champions were boxer Laila Ali (Women's Sports Foundation), swimmer Natalie Coughlin (Sports4Kids), Hall of Fame boxer Sugar Ray Leonard (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), five-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb (Donovan McNabb Foundation), four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Indiana Chapter), World Champion skier Bode Miller (Turtle Ridge Foundation), four-time Super Bowl winner Joe Montana (Four Rings Montana Family Foundation), two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash (Steve Nash Foundation), NHL star Joe Thornton (The B'Leaf Team ALS Patient Care), four-time World Series champion Joe Torre (Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation) and tennis greats Serena Williams (Serena Williams Foundation) and Venus Williams (UNESCO). More ...

NASCAR cheater explains cheating mentality  Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series crew chief Dave Rogers admits he likely was caught up in a "moment of paranoia" when he helped engineer one the series biggest cheating scandals of 2008. After the Michigan race in August, NASCAR tested horsepower of several cars via a chassis dynamometer. But NASCAR inspectors discovered magnetic spacers under the gas pedals of JGR's No. 18 and No. 20 Toyotas designed to project lower, false horsepower readings. Toyota has been ordered to run a smaller tapered spacer on its engines after NASCAR said the manufacturer had a horsepower advantage. Rogers, crew chief of the full-time No. 20 team, and Jason Ratcliff, crew chief for the No. 18 Camry, were indefinitely suspended. Four other JGR crew members were also suspended, and both teams were docked 150 points. Rogers, who was also penalized by JGR, has since been reinstated by the team and was in attendance for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., Saturday. Ratcliff was there, too.  SceneDaily.com
FOX best NASCAR broadcaster  The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series averaged a 4.3 U.S. rating and 6.9 million viewers for its points races across four nets, off 2.3% and 2.8%, respectively from a 4.4 rating and 7.1 million viewers last year. TNT and Fox were the only networks to see gains in viewership from '07. This year's ten races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup on ABC averaged a 3.7 rating and 6.0 viewers, down 2.6% and 1.9%, respectively, from a 3.8 rating and 6.1 million viewers last season.


The NASCAR Nationwide Series on ESPN2 averaged a 1.5 cable rating for 23 telecasts, up 7% from last year. The coverage also saw a double-digit increase in males 25-54. On Speed this season, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series had its highest-rated season ever, earning a 0.8 cable rating for 22 race telecasts. Of the 22 races, 19 saw year-over-year ratings gains, with 15 of them in double digits  Sports Business Daily

Patr¢n inks deal with Porsche GT3 program  The International Motorsports Association is breaking new ground in 2009 with a new title sponsor for its Porsche GT3 Cup-based championship. The Patr¢n Spirits Company has joined with IMSA to form the Patr¢n GT3 Challenge, with news of additional partners to come shortly.

The championship will contest its fifth season in 2009 with a 14-race schedule planned. As in past years, the series will compete at the finest road courses in North America including Road Atlanta, where the championship debuted in 2005.

“This represents a landmark moment for this continually growing series,” said Tim Mayer, Chief Operating Officer of IMSA. “We have made a commitment to our competitors and other partners to constantly grow and improve the quality of this prestigious championship.” More ...

What has Zak Brown done for the IRL lately?  Just Marketing International (JMI), the leading global motorsports only agency, has announced LG Electronics (LG) as its newest Blue Chip corporate client. The alignment follows an unprecedented positioning of LG within the F.I.A. Formula One World Championship (F1).

In a groundbreaking agreement where JMI leveraged its insider knowledge and relationships, LG Electronics will enjoy the following designations within F1:

LG Electronics - A Technology Partner of Formula 1
LG Electronics - Official Consumer Electronics of Formula 1
LG Electronics - Official Data Processor of Formula 1
LG Electronics - Official Mobile Phone of Formula 1
LG Electronics - A Global Partner of Formula 1

In addition to the designations, LG Electronics will enjoy a myriad of benefits including but not limited to exclusive global on-screen branding credits during F1 races.

Let's see, the IRL is paying Just Marketing good money to find it a title sponsor and where does Zak Brown send LG?  To F1 of course.

With that said, LG probably preferred to go with a global series that hits markets around the world, rather than just the USA based IRL's Canada and Mexico market.  LG will be sitting pretty when F1 announces the date of its first race in South Korea.  That deal was already signed.

The IRL will draw few large companies that sell products around the world.  The focus of the IRL is the USA market and USA sponsors.  However those sponsors have far better options in NASCAR and elsewhere, as the IRL is quickly finding out.....i.e. all sponsors have backed away from a title sponsor deal. More ...

NASCAR Truck and Nationwide sponsor TV exposure values  NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Clint Bowyer earned $76.8 million of in-broadcast television exposure value for his sponsors in 2008 to lead all drivers in the Series, while gathering the most for his respective sponsors on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck circuit was Series veteran Ron Hornaday with a combined total of $24.4 million on the season.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which specializes in measuring the impact of sponsorships across all forms of media — 74 brands appearing on locations such as  Bowyer’s car, uniform and support crew’s uniforms appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 28 hours, 16 minutes, 18 seconds (28:16:18) during television coverage of Nationwide Series races in 2008.  Additionally, the sponsors were mentioned by Bowyer, his crew, or the announcers 121 times.  Exposure value is calculated by comparing the on-screen time and mentions to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during each respective race telecast throughout the season.  More ...

Pedrosa tops day 1 of Jerez test  Despite bitter cold and strong winds, and although track temperatures only reached 23 degrees this afternoon, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was more than half a second inside the lap record he established during his runaway victory in last April’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Dani Pedrosa, fastest lap: 1m 39.525s (lap 40 of 41 laps)
“They resurfaced the whole track in August and the new asphalt is very grippy and smooth, so I was able to do some good lap times despite the cold temperatures and the strong winds which we had to deal with. Today we focused mainly on the engine, but the low temperatures meant that we started quite late this morning and stopped quite early this afternoon, so I need another day of testing to give a better evaluation of the latest engine configuration which is quite different from before. We also did some work on electronics, working to improve corner-entry performance and so on, but I think we need some more time on the motorcycle to really understand this latest engine configuration.” More ...

Pagenaud re-signs with de Ferran  
Pagenaud will be back driving the de Ferran Acura in 2009
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud will return to the cockpit of the de Ferran Motorsports Acura in 2009 after being re-signed by the team following his impressive rookie year in the American Le Mans Series.

The 2006 Atlantic champion and former Champ Car driver joined team owner Gil de Ferran for the team's debut season quickly coming to grips with the LMP2 Acura ARX-01b.

Teamed with de Ferran, Pagenaud scored a podium in his first race at Salt Lake City - setting the fastest lap en route. The duo were to follow this with trophy-winning performances at Belle Isle and Laguna Seca. In his first ALMS qualifying, he put the de Ferran Motorsports car on the front row of the grid at Lime Rock and repeated this at the Belle Isle course.

For 2009, de Ferran Motorsports has been chosen to compete in the premier class of the American Le Mans Series for Acura after only one season of competition. The de Ferran/Pagenaud duo will drive the brand new LMP1 Acura ARX-02 much to the delight of the young Frenchman. More ...

tv news
NASCAR Year-End TV Exposure  Jimmie Johnson’s 2008 NASCAR dominance did not end on the racetrack, as the newly crowned three-time Cup Series Champion earned a combined total of $510,161,750 of in-broadcast television exposure, the most of any driver, for his sponsors during race telecasts this past season.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which specializes in measuring the impact of sponsorships across all forms of media — 62 brands appearing on locations such as  Johnson’s car, uniform and support crew’s uniforms appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 59 hours, 28 minutes, 39 seconds (59:28:39) during television coverage of NASCAR’s premier series in 2008.  Additionally, the sponsors were mentioned by Johnson, his crew, or the announcers 316 times.  Exposure value is calculated by comparing the on-screen time and mentions to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during each respective race telecast throughout the season.

Johnson’s top sponsor, Lowe’s, garnered nearly $200 million of exposure value, or 39% of the total in-broadcast exposure associated with Johnson, to lead all team sponsors in 2008. Johnson also clocked in with the highest exposure contribution to a carmaker, as Chevrolet collected nearly eight hours of on-screen time and $67.8 million of exposure value from its association with the three-time champion.  More ...

Nationwide Series banquet highlights  NASCAR fans eager for an off-season fix can watch highlights of the NASCAR Nationwide Series awards banquet from Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 30, at noon ET on ESPN2.

Series champion Clint Bowyer, runner-up Carl Edwards and rookie of the year Landon Cassill are among the drivers honored during the black-tie ceremony. Other drivers in the top 10 of the series standings recognized include Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Mike Bliss, Kyle Busch, David Reutimann, Mike Wallace and Jason Leffler.

NASCAR on ESPN announcers Allen Bestwick and Shannon Spake co-host the one-hour program, which also features a performance by recording artist O.A.R. 

ESPN Classic will air live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards banquet from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on Friday, Dec. 5, at 9 p.m. ET.

Ilmor tipped to win FIA engine tender  (GMM)  Ilmor, the British independent race engineering company, is the frontrunner should F1 become a single engine formula.

F1's governing body, the FIA, recently opened a tender process, and the main bidders are Ilmor, Cosworth, Mecachrome, Zytek and Judd, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport revealed.

It is understood that Ilmor, currently involved with the engine supply in America's IndyCar series, has the best chance of winning the tender.

Headed by Mario Illien, Ilmor built engines for Mercedes-Benz's F1 involvement with McLaren, until the German manufacturer bought that aspect of the business in 2005.

Illien, a Swiss, told Auto Motor und Sport that the ideal engine for an imminent standard formula would be an approximately 3 liter V8 with about a 14,000 rev limit.

"That would give 680 to 700 horse power," he said, adding that one unit would be reliable for up to six full race weekends.

Kovalainen not depressed with no. 2  (GMM)  He will begin the 2009 season with the reigning world champion as his teammate, but Heikki Kovalainen insists he does not feel beaten already.

"Yes, it could be easier, but it doesn't bother me in the least," he answered, when asked how it will feel to line up on the 2009 grid wearing the number '2'.

Finn Kovalainen, 27, has been retained by McLaren for a second season next year alongside Lewis Hamilton.

To the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, he said the situation even gives him an incentive.

"I could say it works the other way -- if I can beat my teammate, I know I must be quick and doing something right," said Kovalainen.

However, he had a difficult 2008 season after switching from Renault, and is disappointed with the outcome.

"Finishing seventh in the drivers' championship table is really not a good enough performance in a car of that quality," he admitted.

"When it comes down to it, my position was the same as I achieved a year earlier in a noticeably less competitive car."

Coulthard too busy to sub for Webber  (GMM)  Red Bull boss Christian Horner has ruled out calling up David Coulthard to substitute for the injured Mark Webber at next month's Jerez test.

He said Coulthard, whose fiancée Karen Minier gave birth to their first son in Belgium last week, "has a lot of other duties at the moment".

Horner is quoted as saying by The Sun that the Milton Keynes-based squad's winter development program will not be overly affected by Australian Webber's broken leg.

"If there is anything positive in Mark's accident, it is the timing," he said, referring to the more than 120 days until the first race of 2009.

Filling in for 32-year-old Webber at the other Jerez test, the last of 2008 late in December, will be test driver Sebastien Buemi, who is likely to race with Toro Rosso next year, and New Zealand teenager Brendon Hartley.

For F3 driver Hartley, who has only just turned 19, it will be his first proper test, following shakedown duties for Red Bull and its sister team Toro Rosso.

"Brendon is one of the shining lights in the (Red Bull) junior team and an opportunity has arisen to allow him to get some time in a formula one car," Horner said.

Jordan berates Ecclestone over Medal system  
Eddie Jordan
Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan believes Bernie Ecclestone's plan to replace the Formula One points system with medals for the top three finishers is plain wrong.

"I think it's a nonsense," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "The focus of everyone in Formula One at the moment must be on the current situation with costs and cost cutting, and nothing else. The rest is just dressing it up.

"The points are necessary. I was one of the team principals in the team principals' meetings who advocated that the points should go down to eighth place, because one point to a team down there is as important as a win is to the likes of McLaren and Ferrari, and we must never forget that.

"I can promise you, having been in that position, two points against no points is a huge difference." More ...

Parravani yearbook available  One of our superb photographers, Gary Parravani, has put together his annual racing yearbook.  You can download it here, but be aware that it is 130 MB in size.
Kahne Set for 'Turkey Night'  
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and Team Mopar team owner/driver Kasey Kahne will return to his roots on Thursday for the 68th annual "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Toyota Speedway/Irwindale.

Kahne will steer a Mopar-powered Seymour Paints entry for his Kasey Kahne Racing squad in the event sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) as part of the Mopar Midget National Championship.

Last autumn, driving the very same machine, Kahne thrilled the Irwindale crowd by charging to second place after a dismal 25th-place qualifying effort. What makes such come-from-behind charges possible is the event’s extra-distance format. Rather than the common Midget feature length of 30 or 35 laps, the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” covers 98 laps in honor of the late promoter and car owner J.C. Agajanian, whose two-time Indy 500-winning entries bore the number 98.

Mad scramble for sponsorship dollars leaves Cup teams in limbo  If you take the time and do the math, the numbers come up a little short. Looking ahead to 2009, Sprint Cup needs more cars, and a lot more sponsors.

The shortest offseason in sports will include plenty of begging and pleading for Cup teams hoping to find the financing to stay in the game.

There's a job you don't want: spending the next two months making calls to companies and trying to convince the suits to spend millions of dollars to sponsor your race car.

While you're at it, ask Santa Claus for a rotary phone and an 8-track player for Christmas and see who laughs the loudest.

You can't get what no one has. Big-money marketing dollars aren't out there when corporations are trying to survive the economic crisis.

NASCAR teams already have issued pink slips to over 200 employees. More layoffs are coming. It's a clear indication that teams don't expect to find the sponsorship dollars they need to continue at the same level.

So where does that leave NASCAR's teams in its top series? In the same position as everyone else: learning to get by with less.

Let's get specific: At the moment, 29 cars are fully sponsored for 2009. At least 11 other cars have limited or no sponsorship. ESPN.com

track news
Motorsports has $4.5B impact on Charlotte area  Motorsports and spinoff businesses account for $4.5 billion in economic impact and an estimated 20,000 jobs in the 16-county region, according to a 2005 study by UNCC professor John Connaughton. How many of those jobs will be lost remains uncertain, but Connaughton still sees long-term gains as the economy rebounds.

"What's happening in racing right now is part of the overall cyclical up-and-down of the economy," he says. "It's not a structural problem. When times are tough, they're going to struggle."

Economic developers and those in racing circles remain bullish on the sport's future -- and Charlotte's role as its de facto headquarters. Sanctioning body NASCAR remains committed to putting 250 to 260 employees in a new 20-story office tower being built next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Paul Brooks, NASCAR's top Charlotte-based executive, points to a weekly TV audience of millions of fans as proof that interest remains strong. Even with attendance declines estimated at 5% to 10% at the track, most NASCAR races attract 100,000 fans or more on a weekly basis, he adds. -- Charlotte Business Journal

BMW set 2009 launch date  
Rules dictate new wings for 2009
Hot on the heels of the official confirmation on Toyota’s launch date, the BMW Sauber team announced that their new car for 2009, the F1.09 will be rolled out for the first time in Valencia on 20th January 2009 at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in Cheste.

The team’s current drivers, Robert  Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, along with members of the team management all present for the event.

Toyota forego TF109 launch  Panasonic Toyota Racing announced today that the new TF109 F1 car and the team's 2009 livery will break cover for the first time on January 15, 2009.

However, to emphasize its commitment to overall cost reduction in Formula 1, the team will not proceed with its traditional pre-season event program.

Panasonic Toyota Racing will begin its 2009 pre-season testing with the TF109 on January 20th, the opening day of a three-day test at the new Algarve Motor Park in Portugal.

How 'medals' would change F1 history  (GMM)  If Bernie Ecclestone's 'gold medals' proposal for scoring in formula one was retrospectively applied, it would change the landscape of the sport's history.

In the 58 world championships since the category's modern inception in 1950, the Olympic Games-style system would have crowned a different champion up to 12 times.

The most recent example is this year, when runner-up Felipe Massa won six races compared with Lewis Hamilton's five.  Under Ecclestone's proposed regime, the Brazilian would now be 2008 world champion.

The big winners of the F1 chief executive's plan, however, would have been Nigel Mansell (1992) and Jim Clark (1963 and 1965).  In both cases, the drivers would each have won two extra titles.

The biggest loser, on the other hand, would be Nelson Piquet, who according to the 'medals' system would not have won any of his three titles in the 80s.

Alain Prost would have won five titles instead of four, and Keke Rosberg - because he only won a single 'gold medal' - would not have been crowned champion in 1982.

Indeed, under Ecclestone's plan, the Finn and father of Williams driver Nico Rosberg would have finished the drivers' championship just sixth.

Hamilton to receive 'Bambi' prize  
Lewis Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton this week will receive a top German media prize for becoming the youngest ever F1 world champion.

On Thursday, the 23-year-old McLaren driver will be named as the recipient of a 'Bambi' trophy at a gala ceremony, organizers the Hubert Burda Media group said.

Also honored with a Bambi, for her comeback following a series of highly-publicized personal problems, will be pop star Britney Spears, who will sing at the ceremony.

The American singer Pink will also perform at the event in the northern German city Offenburg, and other winners include Meg Ryan, Keanu Reeves, fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger and tenor Placido Domingo.

Frosty reunion likely for Ferrari foes  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello are this weekend likely to endure a frosty reunion in Brazil.

The pair, formerly teammates at Ferrari, are among those confirmed to compete in the charity 'International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs' race, organized by Felipe Massa in the southern city of Florianopolis.

Barrichello, whose long formula one career appears over, has been vocally critical of Schumacher recently, including this week's provocative claim that he has "documents to prove" that the seven time world champion was directly involved in the team orders saga of Austria 2002.

Schumacher, 39, reacted to Barrichello's musings about his status at Ferrari by insisting the Brazilian had not been fast enough.

"Nobody can make you slower because of a contract," he said recently.  "If you are fast, you are fast, and then you are the number one."

Ferrari, Renault yet to test KERS  (GMM)  Major formula one teams Ferrari and Renault are yet to track test KERS systems, ahead of the energy-recovery technology's introduction next year.

It was believed that 2008 constructors' champions Ferrari had now begun circuit trials of its system, when the F2008K development car featured a conspicuous addition to the top of its right sidepod at last week's Barcelona test.

But the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the sidepod bump concealed only ballast and a cooling mechanism for a so far absent KERS system.

It is suggested that Ferrari may finally get a KERS system, developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli, up and running at the forthcoming Jerez test.

Renault is also benefitting from the input of Magneti Marelli, a Fiat subsidiary, and will begin KERS testing in January, with the introduction of the 2009 car.

The French team's engineering boss Pat Symonds said Renault never intended to build an interim car to accommodate a KERS system.

Santander wants Alonso at Ferrari  (GMM)  Spanish sponsor Banco Santander will move its backing from McLaren to Ferrari after the 2009 formula one season, the bank's boss Emilio Botin has confirmed.

"Santander will be with Ferrari in 2010, yes," he is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

Botin also made clear his desire to reunite the Santander logo with the car driven by Fernando Alonso, after the former double world champion left McLaren at the end of last year.

"Alonso is the best driver in the world and we would like to work with him, but that's not something that depends only on us," he insisted.

Ferrari's current race drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are both contracted to the Italian team for 2009 and 2010.

Hayden featured in Men´s Fitness magazine  
Nicky Hayden
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden has become a regular in the U.S. press this year, and not just in the racing media. The American has been featured in the likes of mainstream magazines Vogue and Esquire in 2008, and his latest appearance on the newsstands comes in the stateside edition of Men´s Fitness.

In the two-page feature of the December/January issue Hayden speaks about the demands of 800cc riding and his eagerness to regain the premier class title. His trainer, Aldon Baker also reveals the training schedule undertaken by the 27 year-old.

Seven days of cardiovascular work are combined with three strength workouts and the intriguing addition of power yoga, with the intention of giving Hayden strength in the unorthodox position adopted when riding. This is a serious workload when added to his testing and competing schedule, especially considering the marathon sessions undertaken on track by `the hardest working rider in MotoGP´.

`Stick and ball athletes don’t really think of us as athletes, which is a shame,´ says `The Kentucky Kid´. `Fitness makes a big difference on the bike; When you’re tired you start making mistakes, and when you fall off these bikes it don’t exactly tickle!´

Hayden is putting his training into practice this week at the MotoGP Official Test in Jerez. Men´s Fitness magazine is available on newsstands now.

Tagliani Takes Part in Endurance Karting Race  
Tagliani aboard his personal 250cc kart he uses to train during the off-season
Conquest Racing driver Alex Tagliani is keeping busy during the off-season. The driver, who resides in Las Vegas and who enjoys driving karts to train between racing seasons, took part in a 7–hour endurance karting race at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this past weekend. Driving for Team Gatorz, Tagliani and his teammates, former fellow Atlantic graduate and current Grand-Am driver Joey Hand and Kerry Lynch, owner of Gatorz sunglasses, took third in the event that was held in conjunction with the SKUSA SuperNationals.

Right off the bat the team showed their competitiveness, qualifying second. Tagliani was first up behind the wheel in the Le Mans-style start. By the time he ended his stint, the driver, who finished fourth at the IndyCar Series race in Surfers Paradise last month, had gained a 30-second advantage on the field. Hand then increased Team Gatorz’ lead to about 40 seconds before encountering problems with the accelerator. The team lost time having to change karts and returned to the track two laps behind the leaders with about 3 hours left in the race.

Despite the troubles they faced, the duo continued to soldier on. When Hand completed his turn aboard the kart he had made up one and a half laps. Tagliani then took over the driving duties for the final stint of the 500-lap race. The French-Canadian not only made his way back on the lead lap, he also lapped the field to gain a one-lap advantage on everyone. More ...
Detroit Auto Show circling the drain  UPDATE #2 Nissan and Infiniti are the latest automakers to announce they are pulling out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January. Their withdrawals bring to seven the number of car companies that are skipping what has become North America’s premier showcase for the auto industry.

Furthermore, Honda said Monday that it was canceling its plans to have a press conference and product introduction at the show for the production version of the new Insight hybrid sedan. Instead, Kurt Antonius, a Honda spokesman, said that executives would be made available for interviews during the show and that no other activity was planned.

Nissan and Infiniti, which traditionally had prominent displays in a central area of Cobo Center, where the show takes place, will not even have a public display of vehicles, said Tim Gallagher, a Nissan spokesman.

Earlier, Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Suzuki and Land Rover all said they would not attend the 2009 Detroit show. Last year, Porsche removed itself from the Detroit lineup.

Spokesmen for Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Audi, Ford and General Motors all said their plans remained on track for new-model introductions in Detroit. But most said they planned to scale back on the usually festive trappings at the show.

“Like other carmakers, we are carefully reducing costs and maximizing efficiencies,” said Mike Michels, a Toyota spokesman. “You won’t see anything lavish.” NY Times

11/24/08 Nissan Motor Co. became the third Japanese automaker to pull out of the North American International Auto Show when it announced Monday that it would skip the Detroit and Chicago shows early next year to save cash.

Nissan has already unveiled the three new additions to its U.S. lineup -- the Nissan Cube compact, the Nissan 370Z sports car, and the premium Infiniti G37 convertible shown last week at the Los Angeles car show.

In weighing whether to come to Detroit and show the vehicles again, "we felt this was probably right now, not the best way to invest marketing money," said spokesman Alan Buddendeck.

"This is not a comment in any way about the importance of the Detroit or Chicago auto shows," he said.

The company said in a statement that its decision was "based on the fact that we have no major new products to show at the 2009 Detroit and Chicago auto shows as well as the current economic conditions which will impact the shows' marketing effectiveness." More ...

Atlantic Championship Notebook  
With a celebration to commemorate the centennial of the first American Grand Prix race as the backdrop, Atlantic Championship President Vicki O’Connor and Vice President of Operations John Brunner joined series owner Ben Johnston in Savannah, Ga. to get a sneak preview of the two-mile road circuit at Hutchinson Island that will host the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season opener on March 15.

It was the first visit to the facility for O’Connor, while Brunner was making his second appearance in Savannah. Both came away extremely impressed by the responsiveness of the track officials to make the facility race ready for the 2009 Atlantic and GreenPrix USA season openers, as well as the enthusiasm of Savannah residents and local businesses to once again host a world class racing event after more than 10 years.

“They’re making progress, for sure,” Brunner said. “It’s a motivating place to go because the people who live there and the business leaders are so supportive of this event. The track is awesome. It’s so fast. The drivers are going to love it. I think this is going to turn into one of our marquee events. I think everybody is really going to enjoy it.”

A centerpiece of the celebration — which also featured a fireworks display — were Atlantic cars from Walker Racing and Forsythe Racing were on display alongside two Panoz DP01 race cars which will be used in the GreenPrix USA event, and a few 1930s-era race cars. The City of Savannah hosted the first-ever Grand Prix race in America on November 26, 1908. More ...
HMS Holdings suing DEI  HMS Holdings, which operates the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop, is suing Dale Earnhardt Inc. for $1.5 million for the payment of a termination fee stemming from a contract to supply Hendrick engines to Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing, which also is a defendant in the suit filed Friday in North Carolina Superior Court, merged with DEI in July 2007. As part of the merger, DEI and Ginn Racing signed a termination agreement to a contract that was originally signed by Ginn in 2006. The termination agreement required payments to HMS of $1.754 million by July 31, 2007, and $1.5 million by Nov. 15, 2008, according to the suit. The first payment was made on time. The second payment has not been made, according to the suit. The original engine contract and termination agreement are not included in the suit, so it is unclear how much Ginn was paying to use Hendrick engines. HMS is asking for the $1.5 million, 12% interest and an additional $225,000. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said the company is looking forward to a swift resolution of the lawsuit. Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President John Story said the company has no comment. SceneDaily
track news
Guthrie to return to Firestone Indy Lights in 2009  Firestone Indy Lights veteran Sean Guthrie will return in 2009 to drive for the team co-owned by his father, 1997 IndyCar Series rookie of the year Jim Guthrie.

The younger Guthrie, 20, debuted in Firestone Indy Lights after his 18th birthday in 2006 and has made 37 starts over the past three seasons, accumulating 13 top-10 finishes. Last season, he finished 10th in the championship with a career-high eight top-10s in 16 starts.

After competing for three seasons as Guthrie Racing, the team recently changed to Guthrie Meyer Racing with the addition of Butch Meyer as co-owner. More ...

track news
IMS Online Store holiday sale  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Online Store has unveiled a new look that will create an easier, faster shopping experience just in time for the holidays.

To celebrate the launch of the new-look site, store.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, all orders from now until Dec. 25 will receive a 15 percent discount.

The IMS Online Store features a clean, bold layout with easy navigation, with various categories of products from IMS and all three of its annual events - the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Event product categories include apparel for men, women and children, die-cast, caps, collectibles, glassware, multimedia, lapel pins/key chains, executive gifts and more. More ...

Berger out at Toro Rosso  Subject to approval by competition authorities, Red Bull will again take over the 50% share  of  the  Formula  1  Team  Toro  Rosso  that  has  been  owned  by  Berger Motorsport  since  2006.  The  two  friends  Dietrich  Mateschitz  and  Gerhard  Berger have led their joint motorsports project, which emerged from the former Minardi Team, to its greatest success to date. The first win in the team's 25 year history was celebrated at the Italian Grand Prix together with Sebastian Vettel, one of the Red  Bull  Driver  Search  Program's  biggest  talents.  In  the  Formula  1  World Constructors' Championship, the Scuderia Toro Rosso achieved sixth (6) place in this year's season.

Before Red Bull took over Minardi, the team regularly held the role of "bringing up the rear"  on  the  Formula  1  track.  The  team  had  to  be  radically  overhauled  to  fulfill  the expectations of the new owners. As part of this reconstruction, the assignment of 50% of the  shares  to  Berger  Motorsport  was  necessary.  With  this  transfer,  Gerhard  Berger brought  all  his  Formula  1  knowledge  and  connections  into  the  partnership  in  order  to help further develop Toro Rosso.

"I am very happy that I can support Didi - who has committed himself to Formula 1 with so much dedication - with the reorganization of the team and in this process to make use of my knowledge so effectively", said Gerhard Berger. More ...

Liuzzi tops final Speedcar Series test  Formula One Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi clocked the quickest lap at the Speedcar Series test that ended today at the Dubai Autodrome. He was among five other drivers that took the wheel at the final test before the start of Season 2 on 5-6 December, 2008.

Liuzzi did not drive yesterday but managed to clock the fastest lap at this afternoon's session, quicker than Jacques Villeneuve's yesterday. Also present was 21 year old F3 Euro Series Champion Nico Hulkenberg who drove the newly evolved Speedcar for the first time today. Mentored by Willi Weber, Michael Schumacher's manager, the young German fared very well lagging only by three tenths of a second behind Liuzzi. Other drivers at the test included Stefan Johansson, Mathias Lauda, Mike Rudolph and Christopher Zoechling. More ...

Injured Webber turns focus to recovery  (GMM)  In his first interview since breaking his leg last weekend, Mark Webber insists the injury will not stop him taking to the grid for the first race of the 2009 season.

The Australian driver is currently laid up in a Hobart hospital, after colliding with a car during a mountain bike descent for his own outdoor adventure challenge event in Tasmania.

His right leg is badly broken in two places, and he is impatiently waiting to recover from surgery rather than travelling back to Europe for next month's Jerez test as previously planned.

"I'll back in plenty of time for the AGP (Australian grand prix) at the end of March.  It'll be business as usual," he told the Melbourne newspaper Herald Sun.

The 32-year-old Red Bull driver will have to miss some testing, but following Jerez he insists he wasn't scheduled to drive until the 2009-specification R25 is ready to roll out in February.

"I was only testing for two days next month and then, because of the slash to winter testing, Sebastian (Vettel) and I weren't due in the new car until February 10," he said.

"Having a broken leg doesn't stop me visiting the RBR factory and being on top of what's happening with the new car.  Fitness-wise, I'll be fine too, there's something like 83 days before the first test in 2009."

He said he will stay in Australia for a few weeks because doctors have advised him against a long-haul flight so soon after surgery.

"I haven't needed any further surgery or treatment so it's just a matter of waiting to be discharged," said Webber.

"It's a straightforward and clean enough break so I'm not expecting any complications or setbacks."

Webber's medical reports are now being sent to Red Bull's medical experts in Austria, who will oversee his rehabilitation plan.

"Once Red Bull have all the info, they'll be able to decide what is the best course of rehab and with whom," he confirmed.

He said he is "amazed" how big the news of his injury is back in Europe and around the world.

Webber revealed that he has received many messages of support, including emails and texts "from some of the other guys on the F1 grid".

Singapore F1 circuit to change  
Singapore F1 circuit
Singapore looks set to make changes to its street circuit, which broke new ground in 2008 by staging the first-ever floodlit grand prix, according to UK press reports.

Under the plans for 2009, organizers are planning to widen some parts of the track to allow more overtaking opportunities.

"Turns one, two and three - the chicane area - could be modified to open it up a little bit more," event chairman Teo Hock Seng said. "And perhaps Stamford corner could be extended so that there is a little bit more access for overtaking."

Seng added that two further sections - at St Andrews Road and turn 22 - could see greater run-off areas created in order to try and tempt drivers to consider passing attempts.

The Singapore GP was commended both for the revolutionary track lighting system, which made possible racing after dark, and the spectacular way in which it wove through the heart of the city.
Q&A with Aussie Marcos Ambrose  
Marcos Ambrose
QUESTION: It must have been a bit of a whirlwind over the past three years, but it’s obviously nice to spend some time at home here in Tasmania?

Thanks for having me. It’s been a whirlwind this year. I feel like I’m always fighting time and sleep. It’s nice to get away from the NASCAR circuit for a while, come home and spend time with my family and friends. It’s going to be great and I’m really going to use this time to reinvent myself.

I feel like I had my butt handed to me this year in the US, I finally got in some competitive equipment, got into that Cup racing game and realized that if I’m going to contend, I’ve really got to go to another level.

So I’m looking forward to this time off to really refocus my body and my mind for the 2009 season. It’s really going to be my make or break year, 2009, to make it stick. I’ve got in some quality gear for the first time over there. I’ve paid my dues and I have enough experience. I’ve had over 100 starts now so there are no excuses left really, I’ve got to get it done.

I’m looking forward to that challenge. Everything is poised to be something special. All I’ve asked of myself and the people that have worked with me over there is to give me the opportunity to prove or disprove whether I’ve got it and whether I can do it.

The 11 races I’ve done at the Cup level have been an eye opener for me. I’ve realized that to last five hours out there is not an easy thing. The races are long, they’re aggressive. The drivers are as good and competitive as I’ve seen anywhere and the depth of talent is amazing. There are 43 (drivers) that start every week and there are about 42 and a half of them that are really, really good. Sometimes I feel like I’m the point five (0.5) that’s missing (laughs).

So, that’s really where I’m at and I’m looking forward to the break. Looking forward to being home in Tasmania for a while and looking forward even more to getting back and really getting into it. More ...
BBC confirms Coulthard and Jordan for 2009  David Coulthard will turn to television punditry for his first year of Formula One race retirement in 2009.

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

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

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

29 teams get early approval for LeMans  UPDATE Eleven entries and nine teams from the American Le Mans Series received automatic invitations to next year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced the first 29 entries for the June 13-14 endurance classic, the most prestigious race in the world.

American Le Mans Series class champions each earn automatic bids to the following year’s running of Le Mans, as do class winners of the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans. In addition the top two class finishers at Le Mans and in the European-based Le Mans Series championship, as well as the winner of the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge and FIA GT championship, are granted invitations the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

LeMans winner Audi received two automatic entries
Audi Sport North America received the maximum of two invitations after winning overall at Le Mans for the second year in a row and at Petit Le Mans for the third straight season. Dindo Capello and Allan McNish were victorious in both races; they teamed with Tom Kristensen at Le Mans and Emanuele Pirro at Road Atlanta.

Intersport Racing also was awarded an automatic entry due to its second-place finish behind Audi in the P1 championship. Intersport was the class winner at Detroit and last competed at Le Mans in 2006. More ...

Fox, ESPN look to cut race costs  Facing a discouraging ad market, Fox is talking to NASCAR and ESPN about ways the network can save money on its broadcasts of the sport next year. Fox was expected to meet with NASCAR this past week and ESPN in the coming weeks to explore potential cost cuts on the production side. Also, about 20 members of Fox’s sales and marketing team will meet at NASCAR’s New York office to talk about unique approaches that might distinguish the sport from other properties. “It’s really going to be a half-day seminar on how we can think differently, approach the market differently and provide different opportunities for advertisers,” said Paul Brooks, president of the NASCAR Media Group, from the NASCAR hauler during last week’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “What are we missing? What can we do better? We want to make sure we’re looking through all of those opportunities.” On the production side, Brooks said the sanctioning body will work with Fox to find savings as long as the viewers won’t notice a difference. “There are additional things we can look at as far as sharing and managing facilities in an even more efficient way,” Brooks said. Can broadcasters get by with 55 cameras instead of 60? Can they share a production truck over the course of a weekend instead of using multiple trucks? Those are the kinds of cuts the networks will weigh. “It’s something we’re very cognizant of,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN’s vice president of motorsports. “Every business has been affected by the economy and we’re just trying to stay ahead of those things. Our content will still be there, but we’ve got to take a closer look at how we acquire that content. Are there areas where we can be flexible?” The combined TV rights fee for Fox, ESPN and Turner averages $560 million a year through 2014. Additionally, each of the networks has a multimillion-dollar spend with NASCAR Media Group, which manages the TV compound at each venue and provides additional content, such as unique camera angles and audio. Sports Business Journal
No plans to switch more races to cable in 2009  NASCAR already has a dozen of its 36 Cup races on cable (ESPN 7 and TNT 6), with the rest being televised on over-the-air networks (Fox and ABC). That’s a mix that NASCAR likes, so don’t expect to see any more of the sport’s big events moving over to pay TV. While Speed, a News Corp.-owned network in 75 million homes, continuously lobbies for Cup races on its network, that doesn’t appear likely. It does have the Sprint All-Star Race, which is a non-points event. “We think the balance as it is today is good,” Paul Brooks, president of the NASCAR Media Group said. “We worked hard as we put our TV plans in place to ensure the greatest coverage available for the sport. … We have assurances that the balance will be there moving forward.” That doesn’t mean the lobbying will stop. Contractually, ESPN does not have the freedom to move the final 11 Cup races off ABC to ESPN. The first six Cup races of its 17-race schedule are already on ESPN. Sports Business Journal
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Coulthard names son Dayton
  • Barrichello threatened with sack at Austria '02
  • Montoya said no to F1 comeback offers
  • Montezemolo approves of Abu Dhabi F1 track
  • Webber injury puts pressure on Vettel
  • Swiss press excited about Buemi news
  • New rules will not change F1 - de la Rosa

Coulthard names son Dayton
(GMM)  David Coulthard and his fiancée Karen Minier have named their newly-born first son Dayton.

The baby boy, three weeks premature and weighing 2.8 kilograms, was born last Friday.

A few days on, the trio have now returned to their home near Brussels (Belgium).

It is believed the name Dayton was selected not only so the boy could share his father's moniker 'DC', but also in reference to the family's Hayton-Coulthard haulage business.

"I was incredibly lucky to be a grand prix driver for 15 years, something I could only dream of as a wee boy.

"But nothing compares to his birth and winning 13 races seems completely insignificant in comparison," Coulthard, 37, told The Herald.

Dayton Coulthard's middle name is Minier, the surname of his Belgian mother.

Barrichello threatened with sack at Austria '02
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has this week continued his tirade against Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.

The veteran Brazilian, whose record-setting formula one career looks at an end, has followed through with his promise to one day reveal more about his six-year tenure with the famous Italian team.

On the Brazilian TV program Fantastico, he claims he was threatened with the sack while he led the infamous 2002 Austrian grand prix.

While circulating in front of Schumacher, Barrichello said he was told over the radio: "Do you know that Michael is behind you?  It's important for the championship."

He said his conversation with the pits lasted for eight laps, before an ultimatum was presented on the final tour.

"The intensity of the conversation increased with every lap.  And then I was told to think about my contract," said Barrichello.

"For me it was clear -- take your foot off the gas or you will be going home."

Barrichello said he was appalled by the turn of events, and asked Schumacher afterwards if he had anything to do with the decision.

"He said he had nothing to do with it, but I have the documents at home to prove that he was aware of everything that took place," the 36-year-old insisted. More ...

Bobby Hamilton Racing closes doors  Bobby Hamilton Racing-Virginia will cease operations at the end of the week, Lori Shuler Hamilton, chief operating officer for the NASCAR Truck series organization, confirmed Monday.
The team, started by the late Bobby Hamilton, moved from its base in Nashville, Tenn., to Martinsville, Va., after the 2007 season with partners Clay Campbell, Stacy Compton, Mac Bailey, Mark Melling and Joey Arrington joining the ownership group.
Details of what will happen with the trucks and the equipment are still to be determined, Hamilton said.
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