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BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team Retains Winning Drivers
BMW of North America announced today that it has signed Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Tommy Milner and Dirk Müller to drive for the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in the 2010 American Le Mans Series. This will be the second season of competition for the Hilliard, Ohio-based team.

The experienced quartet piloted two GT-class BMW M3s to third in ALMS Manufacturer points in 2009 in a first-year season that delivered one victory, five podium finishes, two 1-2 M3 qualifying efforts, and three fastest race laps. Auberlen and Hand drove to the team’s first win at Road America on August 16th and finished the season 14th in Driver points. Milner and Müller finished fourth in Driver Points and brought home the team’s second 2009 victory on October 31st at the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series race in Okayama, Japan.

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Earnhardt Jr. again NASCAR's biggest star
It's a sad commentary for any sport when it's star is a wanker
Junior Nation has spoken once again.  For the seventh consecutive year, fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. have voted their driver the NASCAR® NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver.  In winning the 2009 award, he joins Bill Elliott and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win the award at least seven times. 

Earnhardt Jr. received the NASCAR® NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award today at the National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers Media Luncheon in Las Vegas.  The only drivers to win the trophy more times than "Little E" are Elliott with 16 and Petty with nine. Only Elliott has more consecutive wins with 10.

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Kevin Harvick and Crew Chief Part Ways
Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) announced today that Rick Ren, crew chief of the No. 33 truck driven by four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, has left the organization to pursue management opportunities within the sport.

“Ron (Hornaday) and Rick (Ren) have been a powerful combination over the last few years in the Truck Series,” said KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick.  “With success comes opportunity and we wish him well in the next step of his career. 

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racing news

Impressive lineup of panelist for Motor Sport Business
In less than one week, a gathering of international motorsports business leaders and decision makers that may be unprecedented in its scope will convene at the Motor Sport Business Forum North America (MSBF-NA) on December 8 – 9 at the Hilton Orlando.  Only a limited number of delegate registrations remain available so make your plans now to attend the historic first edition of the MSBF-NA at www.msbforum.com.

Recent additions to the blue-chip panel of presenters include two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, Bridgestone Americas Motorsport Executive Director Al Speyer, Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Chairman Rick Patterson and Canadian Tire Corporation Strategic Marketing Manager Susan Lute. This latest foursome joins an impressive list of confirmed participants that also includes but is far from limited to the following:

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Hildebrand Concludes Impressive Formula One Rookie Test
J.R. Hildebrand
J.R. Hildebrand today concluded his three-day program with the Force India Formula One Team at the Circuit de Jerez in southern Spain. The 21-year-old from Sausalito, Calif., recorded a best lap of 1:19.873 to rank a solid 10th among the 16 F1 rookies who participated in today’s sessions.

Once again, Hildebrand shared the team’s lone Force India-Mercedes VJM02 with Scotland’s Paul di Resta. Hildebrand was entrusted with the morning session, during which he recorded 41 laps and encountered a few technical glitches, while di Resta took over for the final afternoon. Di Resta posted the day’s second-fastest time, 1:18.736, during his 53-lap stint which included a brief excursion into the gravel and another stoppage due to an electronic malfunction.

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Sauber granted 2010 F1 grid spot
Peter Sauber is likely sleeping a bit more soundly tonight, as Sauber has been granted the final slot on the Formula 1 grid by the FIA has announced, on the heels of the collapse of the Qadbak investment group that has been the subject of many negative rumors in recent weeks.

With Toyota's pullout from F1 thereby voiding its entry, the FIA confirmed on Thursday that Sauber would be able to assume Toyota's former position in the limited championship team roster.

"This is excellent news for the workforce in Hinwil," said Sauber. "After many weeks of uncertainty, we have finally secured our place on the grid for 2010. Now we can enter into concrete negotiations with drivers and sponsors."

A statement issued by the FIA said: "The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful."

"Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.

"The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport."


Versus parent Comcast announces NBC takeover UPDATE AR1's Scott Morris talked with Terry Angstadt today about the Comcast deal. In short, Angstadt says that everyone is excited about the announcement and that he has been enjoying all the buzz about it. "Officially, it's too soon to tell, so that is where we stand."

He went on to say "If I am offering my own opinion, I would certainly say yes, there is a lot of potential here for us with Versus and Comcast to grow."

Scott asked him about the cross-pollination that is part of the Versus philosophy and strategy for promoting IRL coverage, to which he replied "Any comment on that at this point would be speculation. That said however, cross-pollination across their properties has been part of our relationship, and with more opportunity, that would be a natural direction for this to go."

The only obstacle might be their TV deal with ABC, which includes the Indy 500.  NBC is a direct competitor with ABC and we wonder how well ABC will receive this news.

12/03/09 Just as we discussed in detail in this article and rumor, Versus parent company Comcast has bigger plans that will position the Versus network as a competitor to ESPN. All of the news outlets are buzzing about the very same thing, that Versus is Comcast’s sports network six-shooter that is now loaded and ready to fire. The following article appeared on CNN only moments ago:

General Electric and Comcast announced a joint venture worth a combined $37.25 billion on Thursday that will give the cable company eventual control of NBC Universal.

In the complex deal, NBC Universal will borrow $9.1 billion from third-party lenders to distribute to parent company General Electric. GE will use that money to buy Vivendi SA's 20% stake in NBCU for $5.8 billion, clearing a major hurdle in the company's path to sell control of the entertainment giant to Comcast.

Comcast will pay GE $6.5 billion in cash for the conglomerate's media unit and will contribute programming and other businesses valued at $7.25 billion, including E!, the Style Network and several cable sports stations. The sale values NBC Universal at $30 billion.

Comcast will take a controlling 51% stake in the joint venture, and GE will control 49%.

The deal was approved by the companies' boards, and is subject to regulatory approval. If the deal isn't completed by next September, GE will pay Vivendi $2 billion to buy 38% of the French media company's stake in NBCU, and GE will buy the remaining 62% once the deal with Comcast goes through.

In 3-1/2 years after the deal is closed, GE will be able to sell half its 49% stake in the venture, and it can unload the remainder in seven years. Comcast also has some rights to purchase GE's stake at "specified times." Any deals would be done at a 20% premium to the public market value.

In tandem with its deal with GE, Comcast announced that it would increase its annual dividend by 40% to 37.8 cents per share from 27 cents. The cable provider also said it would buy back $3.6 billion worth of its own stock in the next three years.

Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said the increased dividend and stock repurchase plan reflected "confidence" in the company's financial health after dealing for NBC Universal.

GE and NBC: A rocky marriage
Jeff Immelt, GE's chief executive, said the deal makes sense for the conglomerate because NBC Universal will become more valuable after Comcast combines its cable networks with NBC's. He said the joint venture will generate $8 billion in cash at closing for GE, which it will invest in its core industrial business.

GE (GE, Fortune 500) bought NBC in 1985 for $6.3 billion to act as a hedge against its industrial businesses. NBC performed very well in the 1990s, with hits such as "Seinfeld," "Cheers," "ER," "Law & Order" and "Friends."

In a 2004 deal with Vivendi, GE also gained control of Universal Studios and cable networks like USA and the SciFi Channel, now SyFy. The company redubbed its new media network NBC Universal.

But the unit has been struggling recently, dragged down by its broadcast network and movie studio. NBC Universal reported an 11% drop in revenue and a 27% profit decline the first nine months of the year.

NBC has been in the ratings toilet for several years, trailing CBS, ABC and Fox in primetime ratings, and Universal Studios had just one summer box office hit this year: "Inglourious Basterds." Attendance at the company's theme parks has been slipping.

But things aren't all bad at NBC Universal. Its cable networks are exceedingly strong, with USA gaining the top ratings of any cable network in the past quarter.

0:00 /4:52NBC tries to move past ratings
SyFy, CNBC and Bravo have also gained viewers, and MSNBC took over second place in the primetime cable news battle. NBC's investment in digital media site hulu.com also seems to be playing off, with strong viewership and advertising growth.

Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500), the biggest U.S. cable company with nearly 24 million subscribers, has been looking to expand its content services for many years.

"This deal is a perfect fit for Comcast," said Roberts in a statement. "In particular, NBCU's fast-growing, highly profitable cable networks are a great complement to our industry-leading distribution business."

The company failed in an unsolicited bid to buy Walt Disney Co. (DIS, Fortune 500) for $54 billion in 2004, a deal that would have created the world's biggest media company. CNN.com


Brawn GP: Jerez Testing Day Two
The third and final day of the Young Driver test in Jerez got underway this morning with overnight rain resulting in a damp track for the early laps. Mike Conway and Marcus Ericsson were again in action for the team with Mike completing 77 laps in the morning and Marcus taking over the car for the afternoon and completing 49 laps as the pair concluded the test program by working through a series of set-up evaluations.

Mike Conway
"I've really enjoyed the last few days in Jerez and it was great to be asked back by the team to take part in the testing program. The team had a great season and the chance to drive the World Championship winning car and experience its performance for myself has been amazing. We achieved some good work and it has been a nice way to end the season. Thanks to the team for giving me this opportunity."

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Venom Energy Signs Multi-Year Sponsorship with Andretti Autosport
Venom Energy drink announced today it has signed a multi-year sponsorship with Andretti Autosport to continue as primary sponsor of the #26 car driven by Marco Andretti. Venom Energy will activate the partnership with in-store merchandising, consumer sweepstakes and retail appearances.

Venom Energy is an energy drink in the Dr Pepper Snapple Group portfolio and delivers hardcore energy in unique and delicious flavors not typically associated with energy drinks.  Available in fruit punch, mango, regular and low calorie.  For additional information, visit www.venomenergy.com.

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Toyota vacancy opens door to Sauber UPDATE Sauber has been granted the final slot on the Formula 1 grid, the FIA has announced.

With Toyota having relinquished its entry, the FIA confirmed on Thursday that Sauber's application to join the championship had been successful – meaning the team will be racing in F1 next year.

"The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful," said a statement issued by the FIA.

"Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.

"The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport."

12/03/09 (GMM)  Sauber is on the verge of securing a confirmed place on the 2010 formula one grid.

A spokesman for the Swiss outfit earlier said the team is confident of the thirteenth and final entry, despite reports that the withdrawing Toyota is set to hand over its team to the little-known Stefan GP.

But reports on Thursday suggested Cologne based Toyota has actually handed back its 2010 entry to the governing FIA, who said recently that Sauber would be able to race if a vacancy in next year's world championship arises.

A Toyota spokesman confirmed to the German news agency DPA that the team will not participate in 2010, even with possible new ownership.


Daniel Ricciardo smashes F1 track record UPDATE
Pos Name Nationality Team Time Behind Laps
1 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull Renault 1:17.418 +0.000 77
2 Paul Di Resta GB Force India Mercedes 1:18.736 +1.318s 53
3 Gary Paffett GB McLaren Mercedes 1:18.746 +1.328s 50
4 Mike Conway GB Mercedes GP 1:19.096 +1.678s 77
5 Nico Hulkenberg D William Toyota 1:19.226 +1.808s 106
6 Bertrand Baguette B Sauber BMW 1:19.356 +1.938s 70
7 Oliver Turvey GB McLaren Mercedes 1:19.358 +1.940s 32
8 Marcus Ericsson S Mercedes GP 1:19.382 +1.964s 49
9 Lucas Di Grassi BR Renault 1:19.602 +2.184s 123
10 JR Hildebrand USA Force India Mercedes 1:19.873 +2.455s 41
11 Pablo Sanchez MEX Ferrari 1:21.068 +3.650s 39
12 Daniel Zampieri I Ferrari 1:21.279 +3.861s 42
13 Marco Zipoli I Ferrari 1:21.725 +4.307s 41
14 Brendon Hartley NZ Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:22.493 +5.075s 50
15 Mirko Bortolotti I Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:23.271 +5.853s 34
16 Ho-Pin Tung CHN Renault 1:32.477 +15.059s 4

Daniel Ricciardo
Australian Red Bull driver and British F3 champion Daniel Ricciardo smashed the track record during the morning session of last day of F1 testing at Jerez in Spain today.

More later.......


TAG Heuer extends McLaren deal
The McLaren team has announced it has extended its 25-year partnership with Swiss timepiece brand TAG Heuer.  The relationship, which began in 1986, is one of the longest sporting sponsorship deals in history.

"To announce the extension of a partnership that has already prospered for 25 years not only says a lot about the very close relationship that exists between TAG Heuer and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but it also speaks volumes about the appeal, strength and sustainability offered to all partners by Formula 1," said team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

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Joel Miller Shows Well in Indy Lights Test
Joel Miller received the opportunity to test one of Andersen Racing's Indy Lights cars on Tuesday of this week at Palm Beach International Raceway.  It has been well over a year since Miller was in the car since the test at Sebring last October.

The test only consisted of two 45 minute sessions so Miller had to relearn the car quickly in order to maximize his time.  Others testing were Gustavo Yacaman and Richard Kent. 

Millers first session was cut short, due to mechanical issue's, but that did not stop Joel from being right on pace by lap 8.  Working with current Andersen Racing engineer Walt Preston, Joel continued learning the car.

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No Renault announcements imminent
(GMM)  An agreement to sell Renault's formula one team to Prodrive is unlikely to be confirmed imminently.

In the wake of reports (see related rumor) that the French carmaker is considering selling its Enstone (UK) chassis-making facility and F1 entry to David Richards' company, it was whispered that an announcement might be forthcoming almost immediately.

But while it is true that high level meetings are taking place on Thursday in Paris, final decisions about Renault's commitment to the sport cannot be made for several days.

Indeed, it is believed the next meeting of the full Renault SA board is scheduled for December 14, which is realistically the earliest date on which formal announcements can be made.


Hill says British GP deal close
(GMM)  Damon Hill on Thursday sounded confident that Silverstone will host next July's British grand prix.

In the wake of Donington's demise, negotiations between Silverstone and Bernie Ecclestone have been slow, as the deadline of next Wednesday's meeting of the F1 Commission looms.

A report by BBC Sport said it was rumored earlier this week that a deal had finally been reached, but Hill - president of the track-owning BRDC - says that is not the case.

"It would be almost inconceivable for there not to be a British grand prix next year," said the 1996 world champion, "but until it is signed, there is always the possibility that will be the case."

The report said a broad agreement between Silverstone and F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who is currently on holiday, has been reached.

"We're down to the finer points, but they are crucial points," Hill confirmed.


SCCA Pro VW TDI Cup announces 2010 schedule
With the second successful season of the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup in the rearview mirror, series officials have begun making preparations for the 2010 season. Today, Volkswagen announced the 10-race schedule for next year, which includes six of the circuits from the 2009 schedule and the series’ first visit to Mexico.

The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup schedule includes:

Rounds 1 & 2    April 23-25                        VIRginia International Raceway (Alton, VA)*

Round 3            May 8-9                            New Jersey Motorsports Park (Millville, NJ)

Round 4            June 5-6                            Miller Motorsports Park (Tooele, UT)

Round 5            June 18-20                          Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Lexington, OH)

Round 6            July 30-August 1                Autobahn Country Club (Joliet, IL)

Rounds 7 & 8    August 20-22                      Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI)*

Rounds 9 & 10  September/October TBD    Mexico TBD*

* - Indicates double-race weekends

“In building the 2010 schedule, we have been able to achieve a great mix of historic tracks and newer facilities in excellent geographic markets in North America,” said Clark Campbell, motorsport manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “During the first two seasons of our series, we have clearly demonstrated the benefits of Volkswagen’s clean diesel TDI technology, and we’re looking forward to an exciting 2010 season.”

Volkswagen is currently accepting driver applications for the 2010 season at www.vwmotorsportusa.com. Potential driver candidates must be between the ages of 16 and 26 as of January 1, 2010 and hold a passport from the U.S., Canada or Mexico. In addition, drivers entering the series for the first time must not have competed in any professional racing series regardless of location. Applicants must submit their application along with a season entry fee of $45,000 by December 11, 2009 in order to be considered as a candidate. The entry fee will be fully refunded to those not chosen as a 2010 series driver.

From the driver applications, up to 125 candidates will be selected to attend the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup final driver selection event that will be held February 7-9 in Las Vegas. This final event will determine the final 25-driver lineup for the 2010 season. The final driver selection event includes three days of professional driving instruction, autocross competition, track time in a Jetta TDI Cup car, physical fitness training, a sponsorship development workshop, marketing and media training, and Volkswagen brand familiarization.

About Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup:

The SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup was launched in 2008 as way to introduce clean diesel technology to the U.S. market and develop the best of motorsport’s up-and-coming talent. During the season, young, up and coming drivers (between ages 16-26) compete on road courses around North America in identical factory-prepared clean diesel Jetta TDI’s. Each driver competing in the series earns a Pro Racing license from SCCA at the conclusion of the season. In addition to more than $50,000 in prize money at stake during the season, the series champion receives Volkswagen factory career advancement support with a value up to $100,000.

The Jetta TDI Cup car is powered by a 2.0-liter, 170 hp, four-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine mated to a six-speed, double-clutch, automatic DSG transmission. The car is only slightly modified from stock with Pirelli racing tires, race suspension and brake components, drivers racing safety seat, FIA roll cage and an on-board fire extinguisher system. Series sponsors include: Pirelli, Bosch, ViON, Castrol, Oakley, Red Bull, HYPERFUELS, Aggreko, defNder, Lamin-X, Meguiar’s, Sherwin-Williams, Chicagoland VW, Safety-Kleen, Ringer Gloves, Jim Russell Racing School and Trellis Earth. (press release)


Nurburgring wants better deal for new F1 contract
(GMM) Politicians of the local Rhineland-Palatinate state have indicated they want to sign a new contract to keep formula one at the Nurburgring beyond the expiry of the 2011 contract.

But the economics minister Hendrik Herring said the race is not to be retained "at any price".

The German news agency SID reports that the Nurburgring is hoping Bernie Ecclestone will agree to more favorable terms, as the F1 chief executive demonstrated earlier this year when he secured the future of Germany's other grand prix at Hockenheim.

"I hope and expect that more favorable conditions are granted for us," said prime minister Kurt Beck.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • VW chief plays down F1 foray reports
  • Kubica appears at Jerez test
  • New boss at Germany's Nurburgring
  • Sauber 'confident' of thirteenth 2010 entry
  • French federation blames politics for GP demise
  • Alguersuari likely to keep Toro Rosso seat
  • Barrichello, Massa, honored in Brazil

VW chief plays down F1 foray reports
(GMM)  Another Volkswagen official has played down reports the world's biggest carmaker is set to enter formula one in 2012.

The Wolfsburg based marque's motor racing representative Hans-Joachim Stuck said recently the possible introduction of a 'world engine' would signal an affordable and reliable route onto the grid.

"Building an engine and providing it to a team is the best way," he had said.

But Ulrich Hackenburghas, who is VW's research and development chief, denied to Autocar that a formula one foray has been decided.

At the LA motor show, he instead suggested that moves are afoot for more involvement in racing's junior classes.

"There's been no concrete decision (on F1) but we are developing a global 2.0-litre engine for different racing categories," said Hackenburghas.

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J.C. France denied license
The grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, charged with drunken driving and possession of crack cocaine two months ago, was denied in his attempt to get his driver's license back, court records show. Jamison Colfax "J.C." France, 43, Daytona Beach, petitioned the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to have his driving privileges restored. The state agency denied France's request. France has asked a circuit judge to review his case and reverse the decision of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, France's attorney, Michael Politis, said Tuesday. Circuit Judge Richard S. Graham reviewed the petition and has asked France for further proof why he should overrule the state agency's decision, his judicial assistant said. France and his roommate, Russell Richmond, 40, were arrested and charged with DUI and possession of crack cocaine in October. Daytona Beach police said they stopped France after he and Richmond were seen racing each other over the Seabreeze Bridge. Court documents show France has a plea hearing scheduled Jan. 14. France is a race car driver on the Grand-Am circuit, which was founded by his father, Jim France. J.C. France immediately was suspended from racing Grand-Am after the arrest. Daytona Beach News Journal


McMurray to test for EGR
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will have a dress rehearsal with Jamie McMurray and the #1 Bass Pro Shops team next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at New Smyrna Speedway. EGR principal Steve Hmiel says it will give the team an opportunity to get acquainted. FoxSports


Mayfield makes mockery of Brian France UPDATE NASCAR Chairman Brian France has submitted a copy of his Florida driver's license, two Florida vehicle registrations, a copy of his voting record in Florida and a copy of his 2008 federal tax return in an effort to prove to the U.S. District Court that his primary state citizenship is in Florida. The documents were submitted Tuesday in response to a court filing on behalf of suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield that claims that France misrepresented his primary residence to have the suspended driver's lawsuit moved to federal court and delay an injunction hearing. The documents are heavily edited to just show that France lived in Daytona Beach. The location of France's primary residence became an issue in the lawsuit filed by Mayfield, who was suspended by NASCAR for a May 1 drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines. Mayfield contends that the positive finding resulted from his taking a prescription drug to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and an over-the-counter allergy medicine. He also questions the procedures NASCAR used in determining the results.(Jayski in part from SceneDaily)

11/26/09 A court filing Wednesday night on behalf of Jeremy Mayfield claims that NASCAR Chairman Brian France misrepresented his primary residence to have the suspended driver’s lawsuit moved to federal court.

The latest filing in the legal tug-of-war also contends that NASCAR erroneously theorizes it could suspend any driver it wants even without a drug test.

Mayfield's filing in U.S. District Court came in response to NASCAR’s request to halt discovery – the investigative phase where depositions are conducted and documents are collected – until the court rules on NASCAR’s motion for a judge to rule based on previous pleadings.

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Gurney, Fogarty team with Johnson and Jimmy Vasser at Daytona for third year
A switch to Chevrolet power for the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season, and the third-year return of the all-American champion driver lineup of Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 30–31, were announced today by GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team owner Bob Stallings.

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing will change to Chevrolet engines after the team won 12 races and two Grand-Am Rolex Series Championships with Pontiac power the last three seasons. The 5-liter engine now in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance “Red Dragon” Daytona Prototype is Chevy’s race-prepared version of GM’s iconic small-block V8 that is an American legend in its own right.

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Force wins Ford Fiesta Top Agent honor
For the last six months, 100 Ford Fiesta Agents have been taking to the streets with the Fiesta Movement, promoting Ford’s soon to be unveiled 2011 Ford Fiesta. On December 1st at the world famous Palladium on Sunset Boulevard everyone who joined the movement got a sneak peak of the 2011 Ford Fiesta and one “Agent” was recognized as the Internet’s Top Agent.

That lofty honor went to Courtney Force, of Yorba Linda, Calif. Force received thousands of comments throughout the summer-long program on her MySpace site, her YouTube Channel and on her Twitter account as she drove and then talked about the Fiesta. For the 21 year-old Cal State Fullerton student who is working towards a degree in Communication with an eye on a career as a professional driver winning the award was a thrill.

“This is a great honor. There were so many awesome agents and their videos really made me try harder with every new mission. I have to thank Ford and the Fiesta marketing team for giving me this chance. As I am studying for my degree at Cal State, the Fiesta Movement gave me the chance to take things from the classroom right to the real world and see results,” said Force.

“I also want to thank the thousands of people that voted for me to be the top agent as well as all the thousands and thousands of fans that posted comments to my videos or Tweets over the summer. This is just awesome. I loved driving my Fiesta and got so many great comments from just people on the street.”

For the past two seasons Force has competed in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series behind the wheel of her Sanyo Supercharged HD A Fuel Dragster. In July Force won her first NHRA national event in Seattle. (press release)


Brawn GP: Jerez Testing Day Two
The second day of the Young Driver test in Jerez got underway this morning with Mike Conway continuing his driving duties in the Brawn-Mercedes BGP 001 car. Mike worked through a number of set-up changes with the car before a short rain shower briefly interrupted the track action. He continued his programmed after lunch for a further three runs to complete 83 laps in total today.

Marcus Ericsson took over the BGP 001 to conclude the team's program for the remainder of the afternoon session. Marcus completed 37 laps as he continued his familiarization program with the car.

RESULTS (All timings are unofficial)

Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Gary Paffett McLaren Mercedes 1:18.718 80
2. Nico Hulkenberg Williams Toyota 1:19.184 94
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 1:19.243 92
4. Paul Di Resta Force India Mercedes 1:19.411 58
5. Esteban Gutierrez BMW Sauber 1:20.190 68
6. Mike Conway Brawn Mercedes 1:20.222 83
7. Marcus Ericsson Brawn Mercedes 1:20.440 37
8. JR Hildebrand Force India Mercedes 1:20.517 49
9. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:20.586 113
10. Lucas Di Grassi Renault 1:20.898 54
11. Ho-Pin Tung Renault 1:21.492 67
12. Mirko Bortolotti Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:21.761 79

(press release)


Jerez Testing: Day two Force India
Paul di Resta and JR Hildebrand continued their progress in the Force India Formula One Team's young driver test at Jerez circuit, southern Spain. Paul was in the car first this morning and after completing installation runs and some initial set up work, went on to run some 2010 development items and conduct some fuel system evaluation. The 23-year-old posted the second quickest time of the morning, 1:19.411, and 58 laps.

JR took over for the afternoon session and conducted a similar programmed of basic set up and evaluation of the VJM02 with a simulated 2010 fuel tank load. With colder conditions and light rain in the early part of the afternoon the 21-year-old American Indy Lights champion completed 49 laps with a best of 1:20.517.

JR will continue tomorrow morning, with Paul taking over in the afternoon.

Paul di Resta:
Yesterday the program was to get comfortable in the car and to see how everything worked. I was able to get to a reasonable level quite quickly after one run so I felt prepared and had progressed enough for the team to be able to use me to test some development items, which will of course help them in 2010. We had quite a structured program this morning of running back to back set-up for 2009 and 2010 and both long and short runs, but it went pretty well. I'm up to speed now and I understand what I can do to improve my own performance. Equally each run we are doing something different so I need to keep learning and giving feedback so the team can get the information they need too. I hope they feel they can use me now.

A full Q&A with Paul is available on http://media.forceindiaf1.com.

JR Hildebrand:
When we first started running we were testing different brake settings, which really didn't work very well for me. The first couple of runs were really spent working on that and then getting to grips with the track again, particularly as the grip had improved. Coming into this test I was concerned I wouldn't be able to maximize the high speed cornering of the car, but I was able to get the most out of the two high speed sections of the track so I was really happy with this progress. On the run I got the best time we were running on a particularly conservative engine setting so I was pretty satisfied, even if the lap time didn't really show on the timesheets. In terms of my comfort and confidence however both were way up today and I am actually really happy with how today went.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer:
We completed more than 100 laps between Paul and JR today to build on yesterday's positive start. We concentrated on looking more at the effects of 2010 regulation changes during today's test and that has produced some interesting results for us. A good effort from the team and the drivers today in executing the program and we look forward to continuing the test tomorrow. (press release)


Paffet tops 2nd day of young-gun F1 shootout
Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1. Gary Paffett (GB) McLaren 1m18.718s + 0.000 80
2. Nico Hulkenberg (D) Williams 1m19.184s + 0.466s 94
3. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1m19.243s + 0.526s 93
4. Paul Di Resta (GB) Force India 1m19.411s + 0.693s 58
5. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber 1m20.190s + 1.472s 68
6. Mike Conway (GB) Brawn 1m20.222s + 1.504s 83
7. Marcus Ericsson (S) Brawn 1m20.440s + 1.722s 37
8. J. R. Hildebrand (USA) Force India 1m20.517s + 1.799s 50
9. Jules Bianchi (F) Ferrari 1m20.585s + 1.868s 113
10. Luca Di Grassi ((BR) Renault 1m20.898s + 2.180s 55
11. Ho-Pin Tung (CHN) Renault 1m21.492s + 2.774s 67
12. Mirko Bortolotti (I) Toro Rosso 1m21.761s + 3.043s 69


Mercedes seat would be 'dream' - Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld says driving in F1 with Mercedes GP in 2010 would be a "dream" but denies that a deal is already done.

It is rumored the 32-year-old veteran is at the front of the queue to form a German 'superteam' alongside confirmed 2010 Mercedes driver and countryman Nico Rosberg.

Heidfeld was quoted in Wednesday's Sport Bild weekly as saying the seat would be "every driver's dream" but insisted that no contracts have been signed.

"I am in promising talks with several teams and confident of driving for a competitive racing team next season," he told the German news agency DPA.

Heidfeld, who made his debut with Prost as a 22-year-old in 2000 and has raced with BMW's works team for the past four seasons, is yet to win a grand prix.


NHRA going to AbuDhabi
The foundation has been laid for a premier NHRA-sanctioned drag strip within the confines of Yas Marina Circuit, a diverse Motorsports venue located on Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

George Case, General Manager of Drag Racing for the luxe Yas Marina Circuit, expects the contract with NHRA to be officially finalized prior to the PRI show in Orlando the second week of December, where they plan to formally announce the partnership.

"This is going to happen," Case said. "We have verbally finalized it, but just like an NHRA member track, there is a fee, and they are working to determine that. It is in process."

Case confirmed his group's purchase of two Top Fuel dragsters from Don Schumacher by Yas Marina Circuit, and stated that the plan is to put together parts and pieces for two complete teams. Don Schumacher Racing Team Manager Lee Beard will oversee the production of the two cars in Brownsburg, Ind., but upon completion the cars and all of the necessary accoutrements will be housed in the UAE and run in exhibitions several times a year.

Drivers and crews have yet to be determined but will likely be current or recent NHRA competitors, and Case believes that NHRA Northeast Division Director Bob Lang will act as the go-between for the sanctioning body and the facility.

The goal of the operation is two-fold: to provide entertainment for the residents of the country and to assist in further establishing Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a destination hotspot.

"This isn't like Al-Anabi," Case said. "Yas Marina Circuit isn't looking to sponsor racers or run every race. Depending on how everything works out, we would like to run at [the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in] Indy in 2010, or maybe even in England at Santa Pod Raceway, but national events will not typically be part of the program. It will be just like a member track, with all the NHRA rules, safety, and inspections."

The world-class facility also includes a Formula 1 track and recently hosted the first Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Also on site is a go-kart track, and a drag racing school is in the works.

"The opulence of the facility is amazing," Case said. "It's even better than zMax Dragway in Concord. Everything is magnificent."

The first drag racing event at Yas Marina Circuit is scheduled for March 5-6, 2010. For more information on the lavish facility, visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com.


Video: GM car of future - Drive by Hy-Wire


Q&A with Andy Soucek
Spaniard Andy Soucek speaks to reporters after going fastest in Jerez Tuesday in an F1 car.

2009 FIA Formula Two Champion Andy Soucek enjoyed a dream test for the Williams F1 team in Jerez yesterday (1 December), topping the timesheets by over two tenths of a second from nearest rival Paul Di Resta.

Speaking after the test, which he received for winning the F2 Championship, Soucek admitted to the assembled media that he hoped his impressive display would bolster his chances of securing a Formula One seat in 2010.

Q. How much will your performance help your cause for an F1 race seat next year?

Andy Soucek: We don't have a plan B right now. We're really focusing on being in Formula 1 next year. That's our only aim. I have to say I'm really positive because I have a lot of help in Spain and from different sponsors, my manager and Jaime are doing a great job in discussions with different F1 teams. I'm pretty sure we can be on the grid next year. Obviously the new teams all require budget and I've got sponsors who want to support me. This is all down to winning F2 this year, so I have to thank Jonathan Palmer and everyone else there who has put me in this position. As I have proved today I think it's a good step before F1.

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Honda Indy Toronto will get world-wide coverage
The Honda Indy Toronto will join the Indianapolis 500 as one of five IndyCar Series races to receive world-wide television coverage in 2010, it was announced Tuesday.

ABC Sports laid out its schedule of race events for next season that will start with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and end with the Toronto race.

The remaining 12 races — including the Edmonton Rexall Indy in July — will be carried by the U.S.-based Versus network.

“We are very excited about the return of Versus and ABC for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season,” Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League, said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Having two television partners during the 2009 season assisted the growth [Growth?  TV ratings plunged to record lows] of our sport and its accessibility to fans, and we have confidence that the 2010 season will reap even bigger gains with ABC’s and Versus’ enrichment of their already outstanding programming.”


Hildebrand Impresses in First Formula One Test Day
J. R. Hildebrand
J.R. Hildebrand enjoyed a fruitful and impressive first-ever taste of a Formula One car today during the rookie-only test session at the Circuit de Jerez in southern Spain.

The 2005 Team USA Scholarship winner and reigning Firestone Indy Lights Champion completed a total of 49 laps in the Mercedes-Benz-powered Force India VJM02 during the morning session before relinquishing the car to Scotland’s Paul di Resta for the afternoon period.

Hildebrand topped the timing charts several times during the morning, and had set the third fastest time when he climbed out of the car shortly after midday. His best lap of 1:20.537 remained good enough for fifth fastest out of the nine drivers who posted laps during the morning. All of the teams who contested this year’s FIA Formula 1 World Championship were present, with the exception of Toyota which has since withdrawn from F1 competition.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Lotus aims for driver announcement next week
  • Around the net: F1 on Wednesday Dec. 2nd
  • Carroll reveals 2010 talks with new F1 team
  • Speedy Soucek wants F1 seat in 2010
  • Virgin/Manor deal, Tai as team boss, to be revealed
  • Canada GP boss vows to help Villeneuve return
  • Plug pulled on French GP project
  • Hulkenberg admits Ferrari talks in 2009
  • Toyota quiet on Stefan GP takeover reports

Lotus aims for driver announcement next week
(GMM)  An announcement about the driver lineup for the new F1 team Lotus is nearing.

The team's chief executive Riad Asmat told Malaysia's Star newspaper that the target is for an announcement next week.

"We will name two drivers and a reserve.  Negotiations are still going on," he said.

Asmat also stated that the 2010 car will be tested in February at the Sepang circuit.

It is expected that Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy will be the reserve driver, and among the reported candidates for the race seats are Jarno Trulli, Kamui Kobayashi, Takuma Sato and Jacques Villeneuve.

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Volt to launch first in California
Chevrolet announced today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show that the Volt electric vehicle with extended-range capability will be available late next year in California – the nation’s largest new-car market – with other lead markets to be named later.

Chevrolet is also partnering with three California utilities and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as part of an extended, real-world demonstration and research program to introduce customers to electric vehicles, advance vehicle electrification and establish vehicle charging programs to pave the way for consumers. General Motors is leading the program with a grant of more than $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Yet another GM CEO resigns in Obama controlled company
At its monthly meeting in Detroit today, the General Motors Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Fritz Henderson as Director, President and CEO of the company.

Fritz has done a remarkable job in leading the company through an unprecedented period of challenge and change.  While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agree that changes needed to be made.  To this end, I have taken over the role of Chairman and CEO while an international search for a new president and CEO begins immediately.  With these new duties, I will begin working in the Renaissance Center headquarters on a daily basis.  The leadership team – many who are with me today – are united and committed to the task at hand.

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14 year old driver tops USAC Ford Focus series
Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle development driver Keegan Walmer ended his inaugural USAC California Pavement Ford Focus Car Series season on Thursday night (November 26), posting the fastest qualifying time in the 69th running of the famed Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

The USAC California Pavement Ford Focus Car Series, as is customary, concluded its 2009 race calendar with a large gathering of Ford Focus Midgets taking part in the Thanksgiving night Turkey Night Grand Prix. Right from the get go, it became apparent that Walmer in his No. 9 Reser’s Fine Foods/Ron Sutton Winner’s Circle USAC Ford Focus Midget was a driver worth keeping an eye. When single-car qualifying got underway on the 1/3-mile paved oval in southern California, the talented 14 year-old from Portland, Ore., promptly became the driver every was chasing. Thanks to a fast lap of 14.524, the multiple micro/mini and quarter midget champion ended qualifying at the top of the charts.

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Andretti team picks up Anderson
Andretti Autosport announced today it has hired motorsports industry veteran Tom Anderson, and defined the operational and senior management structure for the new company.

Anderson, who will serve as Andretti Autosport's senior vice president of racing operations, comes to the team with 40 years of experience in the industry, most recently as the co-owner and managing director of Fernandez Racing from 2001 to 2009. Anderson was also the managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing from 1990 to 2000 and helped lead the team to four-consecutive CART championships between 1996 and 1999. The team also claimed a win in the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

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NASCAR TV Ratings down again for 2009
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has lost an average of 1.4 million TV viewers per race since 2006.

Year Avg Rating Average Viewers % Change % Change from 2006



- -



Down 4.9% Down 4.9% from '06



Down 2.3% Down 12.3% from '06



Down 7.0% Down 18.4% from '06


Rossi fastest American on Day 1 of Young-Gun F1 shootout
Alexander Rossi and the BMW Sauber F1 Team both enjoyed a smooth test day in Jerez with ideal track conditions. In the morning the 18-year-old from Nevada City, California (USA), focused on familiarizing himself with the track and the car. After each stint the driver and engineers exchanged information and talked about their respective impressions. In the afternoon the team made several changes to the car's set-up - both aero and mechanical - in order to give Alexander the opportunity to evaluate the changes and get a better feeling for the car. The team was very happy with Alexander's feedback and how he coped physically with driving an Formula One car. Also the team decided not to send him out with an extra low fuel load. 

Alexander Rossi said: "I very much enjoyed this day. It is impressive what the car does, how predictable and precise its reactions are, and how high the overall grip level is. But I have to admit I am also a little bit disappointed because being a racing driver you always want to be the fastest! I think in the afternoon we didn't manage to find the perfect balance. Physically I have to say it was as demanding as I expected it would be. The power steering is a great help compared to GP2, but the g forces obviously are higher." 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, it will be 18 year old Mexican Esteban Gutierrez who will be enjoying his first taste of driving the BMW Formula One car.


Penske Racing changes crew chiefs
Penske Racing has announced that both Jay Guy and Paul Wolfe have joined the organization as crew chiefs working with driver Brad Keselowski for the 2010 NASCAR season.

Roy McCauley, who has served as a Cup Series crew chief for the past four years with the team, will remain with Penske Racing and assume a leadership role within the organization.

Guy will lead the No. 12 Penske Dodge Cup Series team, while Wolfe will serve as crew chief for the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge squad that will compete full-time in the Nationwide Series with Keselowski behind the wheel.

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Soucek tops F1 test times from Jerez Tuesday
Several teams are at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit for what has been designated a ‘young driver test’, a measure introduced as a result of the ban on in-season F1 testing.

Tuesday Results
1 - Andy Soucek (E) - (Williams-Toyota) - 1'19"158 - 87 laps
2 - Paul Di Resta (GB) - (Force India-Mercedes) - 1'19"369 - 46
3 - Gary Paffett (GB) - (McLaren-Mercedes) - 1'19"426 - 54
4 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) - (Red Bull-Renault) - 1'19"534 - 112
5 - Jules Bianchi (F) - (Ferrari) - 1'19"626 - 91
6 - Mike Conway (GB) - (Mercedes GP) - 1'19"920 - 58
7 - Alexander Rossi (USA) - (BMW) - 1'20"227 - 82
8 - Marcus Ericsson (S) - (Mercedes GP) - 1'20"333 - 50
9 - Bertrand Baguette (B) - (Renault) - 1'20"511 - 105
10 - JR Hildebrand (USA) - (Force India-Mercedes) - 1'20"537 - 49
11 - Oliver Turvey (GB) - (McLaren-Mercedes) - 1'20"856 - 27
12 - Brendon Hartley (NZ) - (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) - 1'21"325 - 69


Horner insists Renault not 2010 engine supplier yet
(GMM)  Christian Horner on Tuesday insisted a decision about Red Bull Racing's engine supplier for the 2010 season has not yet been taken.

On the FIA's entry list for next year, Renault was listed as the Austrian energy drink-owned team's continuing supplier, apparently ending speculation about a possible switch to Mercedes or Cosworth.

But a report of the German news agency DPA quoted Horner, Red Bull's team boss, as saying "nothing is confirmed yet", despite the publication on Monday of the FIA document.

The Briton suggested that Renault, set to announce its future approach to formula one before the new year, is only the likely supplier, whose name was put forward for the moment due to FIA requirements.


Conway astonished at McLaren test call
Mike Conway has revealed that he was 'astonished' to receive a call-up from Mercedes Grand Prix to test for the team during the special F1 young driver outing at Jerez this week – and reflected that he may now have to re-assess where his future priorities lie.

The British star will join reigning Japanese F3 Champion Marcus Ericsson in trying out for the 2009 F1 World Champions in southern Spain – and he confessed that he thought F1 had passed him by. Conway has been busy establishing a name for himself across the Pond in the IndyCar Series this year, after F1 teams failed to come knocking despite British F3 title glory in 2006 and moderate success in the feeder GP2 Series in 2007 and 2008.

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2010 IndyCar TV schedule
The IZOD IndyCar Series announced its 2010 broadcast schedule today, featuring five races with long-term broadcast partner ABC and 12 races on cable television partner VERSUS.

The schedule is highlighted by ABC's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 in addition to VERSUS' extensive coverage of the final seven races of the 2010 season.

"We are very excited about the return of VERSUS and ABC for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series. "Having two television partners during the 2009 season assisted the growth of our sport and its accessibility to fans, and we have confidence that the 2010 season will reap even bigger gains with ABC and VERSUS' enrichment of their already outstanding programming."

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CTS wins top Car and Driver Award
Cadillac CTS
Cadillac’s CTS product line, the centerpiece of the brand’s revised lineup, has been selected by Car and Driver magazine for its annual “10Best” list for the third consecutive year.

“10Best winners are those vehicles that crack the greatness code, offering that elusive combination of driving enjoyment, mission fulfillment, and value,” said Eddie Alterman, Car and Driver editor-in-chief. “That the CTS has made the list for a third consecutive year is a tribute to the Cadillac’s fundamental integrity and staying power”

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Alonso is settling in at Ferrari
Fernando Alonso has been instantly accepted by his new Ferrari colleagues, it appears – with one quipping that ‘in two days he has seen more of the Maranello factory than others in two years’, believed to be a thinly-veiled reference to his predecessor Kimi Raikkonen – but he acknowledges that he still has to ‘earn their trust’.

Alonso was speaking following his second trip to the legendary Italian marque’s Modena headquarters since agreeing terms to join the squad from 2010 onwards, during which he met with the workforce and enthusiastically drove a brace of Ferrari road cars – the 458 Italy and 599 – around the Fiorano test track.

“I have to earn the trust and gain the confidence of the team and begin a good relationship with the engineers and mechanics,” the 28-year-old is quoted as having said by Spanish sports newspaper Marca. “That is what I am trying to do in these months, in order to arrive at the first race with a good understanding with the team so that we all feel comfortable together.”

Alonso added that he has not taken with him to the Scuderia any of the engineers he worked with during his seven-year F1 stint at Renault, admitting that whilst ‘I get along very well with many of them and they are very good...I assume that the ones with Ferrari are the best in the world’.

It seems the Oviedo native certainly made a strong first impression on his new team, speaking in fluent Italian and causing one engineer to make the aforementioned quip, alluding to the fact that 2007 F1 World Champion Raikkonen scarcely bothered to visit Maranello at all during his time spent at Ferrari.

What’s more, new team-mate Felipe Massa opined that he and Alonso can combine to be a force to be reckoned with in 2010 indeed, and dismissed notions that he will be cast into a supporting role by the arrival of the double F1 World Champion – the driver who many hold to be the best in the world.

“Alonso is a great driver – everyone knows that – and I think we will have a good relationship off the track,” underlined Massa. “I think we can form the strongest partnership in the championship. I think his arrival will change nothing in my career or within Ferrari; we are two great drivers, and his recruitment is good for the team.” Yahoo!EurosportUK


Young driver test kicks off at Jerez
(GMM)  On a clear and crisp morning at Jerez, F1's 'young driver' formula one test kicked off.

With only rookies with less than three official F1 events under their belts eligible to drive, nine out of the ten teams that contested the 2009 world championship fielded single cars on the opening morning of the three-day session.

Toyota, having pulled out of formula one, are not present, but fellow withdrawing manufacturer BMW turned up at Jerez to honor its promise to Alexander Rossi and Esteban Gutierrez.

F2 driver Andy Soucek, wearing a specially liveried helmet in the blue and white colors of the team, was on the pace for Williams throughout Tuesday morning.

"I had forgotten just how fast these cars are," the 24-year-old Spaniard enthused.

Ferrari, whose mechanics gathered in pitlane with a 'Piccolo Felipe' (little Felipe) sign to welcome Felipe Massa's newborn son into the world, are running Jules Bianchi on Tuesday, while Belgian Bertrand Baguette rolled out of the Renault garage in the R29.

Antipodeans Daniel Ricciardo and Brendon Hartley had a difficult start to the day, both spinning in the same incident and needing to have their Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull and Toro Rosso cars returned to the pits on the backs of flat-bed trucks.

Force India's Tuesday runner is the American JR Hildebrand, McLaren's 28-year-old Gary Paffett is in action, and IndyCar driver Mike Conway is driving the championship-winning Brawn.


Renault F1 shuffles technical staff
In the wake of the departure of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds after the 'Crashgate'-scandal, the Renault F1 Team has undertaken a reshuffle of its technical department. Bob Bell, who was promoted to team principal, will be replaced as Technical Director by James Allison. Steve Nielsen promoted from Team Manager to the position of Sporting Director and will take on the responsibilities of Pat Symonds.


New promoter for Canadian GP
As the Canadian Grand Prix returns to the Formula 1 calendar for next year, its comeback will be managed by Octane Racing Group, which becomes the new promoter of the Montreal event.

Having been a regular fixture on the F1 schedule since 1978 before disappearing in 2009, a Grand Prix at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve has now been confirmed to take place up to and including the 2014 championship season. After sealing a deal with Formula One Administration and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, promoter Octane is confident that the race will be a success once again.

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Patrick re-signs with Andretti Autosport UPDATE Danica's website showed, briefly, a picture of what else is anticipated for 2010: Patrick in a NASCAR-logoed uniform with the Chevy bowtie prominent. So when will Danica Patrick announce a NASCAR deal for 2010 with Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.?  We predict the NASCAR banquet in Las Vegas.

Danica Patrick and her GoDaddy colors
With the backdrop of New York's Times Square, Danica Patrick unveiled the car she will race in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"We've got the new IndyCar Go Daddy car for Andretti Autosport here," Patrick said. "Go Daddy has been part of our car for the last three years, but now we've got them as the primary sponsor. With these bright colors, you can't miss me."

Andretti Autosport announced Nov. 30 that Go Daddy, the world's largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, had signed a multi-year primary sponsorship agreement with the team and Patrick had signed a new multi-year deal to be the driver of the team's #7 Go Daddy IZOD IndyCar Series entry.

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Sauber eyes investors, new bosses for F1 team
Peter Sauber
(GMM)  Peter Sauber will begin looking for investors and new management when his Hinwil based team is given the green light to contest the 2010 world championship.

In 2006, the now 66-year-old Swiss was content with his 20 per cent share and backseat role as a sponsor consultant after selling the team to BMW.

But with BMW pulling out of formula one and the Qadbak takeover failing, Peter Sauber is reluctantly back in the sport's spotlight, financing the 2010 season with a roster of sponsors.

He told the German language Schweizer Fernsehen that it is a "fact" that his medium term goal is to find new investors and chiefs, because he has no plans to sit "for the next three or four years on the pit wall".

Sauber, currently the sole team owner and principal, said he felt obliged to step in and rescue the F1 outfit he founded in 1993. 

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Paffett wants new McLaren test contract
Gary Paffett
(GMM)  Gary Paffett has indicated he wants to remain with McLaren in 2010 as a test driver.

The 28-year-old DTM driver has occasionally tested with the Woking based team for several years, but does not completely rule out the possibility of a race seat elsewhere in 2010.

"I am looking at my options, but to be honest another year in the DTM championship seems to be the most likely," the Briton told Kent News.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Sauber and Toyota missing from 2010 entry list
  • FIA confirms Manor to be called Virgin Racing
  • Alguersuari entry list snub 'surprising' - management
  • Around the 'net: F1 on Tuesday Dec. 1st

Sauber and Toyota missing from 2010 entry list
(GMM)  Both Sauber and Toyota are missing from the FIA's newly published provisional entry list for the 2010 season.

The list features 12 teams, with a final and thirteenth likely to be added ahead of talks preceding the World Motor Sport Council on December 11.

There has been speculation that, in order to avoid a $150m fine, Toyota has been in talks with a Serbian outfit called Stefan GP about handing over its commitment to the Concorde Agreement.

Sauber, presently on standby should a vacancy arise, will be re-acquired by its founder Peter Sauber only if the FIA grants it an official entry.

The Swiss newspaper Blick said Sauber, 66, was meeting with Bernie Ecclestone on Monday.

The FIA said Toyota "remains formally bound by the Concorde Agreement to put forward a team for participation, though it has indicated that it will not be in a position to do so.

"An announcement will be made regarding this entry in due course."

Sauber told F1's official website: "Regarding the slot on the grid I am very confident that we will be given a final confirmation very shortly."

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HVM Racing Invites Fans to Join the Ride
Open-wheel racing fans can now get an inside view of life with the HVM IndyCar Series team through an exciting new social media video program.  In partnership with Soho – Social Media Consultancy and Zideo Media of the Netherlands, HVM Racing today launched the pilot episode of “Join the Ride,” which was recorded at the Miami 2009 season finale and introduces the series for 2010.

The program is a series of user-generated content shot by a video crew that will follow the team during the coming Indy Racing League season. Each episode will feature HVM and its drivers in action from the point of view of a fan given inside access to the team, drivers and garages.  All episodes will be globally available for viewing on the Web sites of both HVM (http://www.hvmracing.com/) and the Zideo Media platform (http://www.zideo.nl/ and http://www.zideo.co.uk/), while short teasers of the content will be distributed to generate awareness via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other relevant sites and blogs on the subject of open-wheel racing, the Indy Racing League and HVM Racing in particular.

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GM forced to reopen talks for Saab
General Motors has had "close dialogue and close contact" with several parties interested in buying Saab, according to a company spokesman. GM's proposed sale of Saab to Koenigsegg collapsed last week and Beijing Automotive (BAIC) and Wyoming-based merchant bank Merbanco are believed to be among the parties interested.

"We can confirm that we have heard from different investors," a GM spokesman told Automotive News, without revealing any of the interested parties. "We have had a close dialogue and close contact with several who have expressed interest in buying Saab Automobile.

"It is not so surprising, given that there were 27 parties who were interested when Saab was first up for sale and 10 who came and looked the company over in April and May."


Tickets for St. Petersburg event on sale Dec. 4, no ALMS
Tickets for the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, featuring five racing series headlined by the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights go on sale Dec. 4.

The three-day racing event, scheduled for March 26-28 on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, features five unique racing. In addition to the featured classes, the SPEED World Challenge, including both GT and Touring classes also returns while the Star Mazda Championship and the U.S. F2000 National Championship will debut on the 1.8-mile temporary circuit that includes a combination of adjacent downtown streets circling Pioneer Park, the Bayfront Center and extending onto runways at Albert Whitted Airport that overlook the Bay and picturesque St. Petersburg Harbor and Marina.

"The 2010 schedule at the Honda Grand Prix is packed with exciting racing," said Tim Ramsberger, vice president and general manager of the event. "We have kept our ticket prices at the same level for the past four years and we are looking forward to staging another great event in St. Petersburg this March."

Tickets for the event range in price from $25 for adult general admissions tickets to $110 for an adult three-day reserved seat pass. Three-day general admission passes are $45 and a general admission ticket for Sunday's featured races is $40. Reserved seat for Sunday range from $60 for seats in the lower rows to $80 for seats in the upper rows and three-day reserved seat passes start at $85. Reduced rate tickets are available for juniors, ages 12 and under, in certain ticket categories.

Race fans purchasing a three-day reserved seat ticket, purchased by December 31, 2009, will also receive an IZOD IndyCar paddock pass, valued at $55. To purchase tickets, visit www.gpstpete.com.


Franchitti, Hildebrand named to All-America Team
2009 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and 2009 Firestone Indy Lights champion J.R. Hildebrand were among the seven drivers honored with first-team honors on the 2009 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's All-America team.

Franchitti, who won five races and the IndyCar Series championship in his return to the series after a year in NASCAR, earned his second first-team honor by earning the most votes in the open-wheel category. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves earned the second-team honors in the voting of more than 300 members of the media.

Hildebrand, who won four races en route to the Firestone Indy Lights title, was the top vote-getter in the at-large category. It's the second time Hildebrand has been named to the All-America First team. He also was a selection in 2006 after winning the F2000 Championship.

Franchitti and Hildebrand, along with the rest of the first team - NASCAR Sprint Cup star Mark Martin, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., NHRA Top Fuel Champ Tony Schumacher, Rolex Sports Car Series co-champs Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney and World of Outlaws titlist Donnie Schatz - will be honored at the 40th AARWBA banquet Jan. 16 in Brownsburg, Ind.

The winner of the Jerry Titus Award, which is awarded to the top vote-getter over the seven categories, also will be announced at the banquet.


McLaren to be more aggressive with 2010 design
Formula One world champion Jenson Button will start next season with a more aggressively designed McLaren than the one Lewis Hamilton struggled with for much of this year.  "It's still too early to be able to say with any confidence how competitive we'll be," engineering director Paddy Lowe said in a Q&A provided by the Mercedes-powered team on Monday.

"All we can say with any certainty is that we've approached this (20010) car more aggressively than we perhaps have in the past."

Mercedes have taken over Brawn GP, who won both titles this year. Button has since moved from Brawn to McLaren, where he will partner 2008 world champion Hamilton.

"We've used the knowledge we gained from heavily developing (the) MP4-24 (car during the 2009 season) to stand us in good stead with the 25," Lowe added.

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FIA publishes first 2010 F1 entry list, Manor named Virgin

*  This team has indicated its intention to change its team name to Mercedes Grand Prix prior to the start of the 2010 season.


New Yorkers don't even notice NASCAR
This article appeared in the New York Daily News, and perhaps gives a clue as to why ratings and attendance are down. To have sustainable sport over the long term, you need to span all cultures and penetrate the big metropolitan markets. Charlotte and Richmond and Talladega are certainly not Chicago, New York or L.A. Both New York and L.A. seem to be oblivious or lukewarm to NASCAR's brand of charm. One metro region just kicked them out, and the other can't seem sell out their race in a good year. This might be something for NASCAR to really look at if they want to halt the drop in attendance and ratings.

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SCCA Spec Racer Class Turns 25
2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the most successful spec race car produced in North America.  The SCCA Enterprises Spec Racer Ford!  The Spec Racer Ford started life as the Spec Racer Renault in 1985 and shows no signs of decline as it turns 25.  To date over 865 Spec Racers have been sold by SCCA Enterprises and the car continues to the most successful class in SCCA National club racing.

SCCA Enterprises will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Spec Racer Ford with an all-Enterprises event on April 10-11, 2010 at world renowned Road Atlanta in Winder, Georgia, home of the first SCCA National Championship races for Spec Racer in 1985.

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After a three-race “introduction” into the American Le Mans Series GT2 class in 2009, Team Falken Tire is getting serious for 2010. The California-based squad, the endurance racing arm for the Japanese tire manufacturer, has a 2010-spec Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in its possession, lead driver Bryan Sellers has confirmed.

Sellers and Dominic Cicero raced at Long Beach, Petit Le Mans and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a 2008-spec Porsche that served its purpose – mainly giving the manufacturer a solid base on which to start its endurance racing platform that will eventually lead to customer tires.

Bryan Sellers: "If we’re going to try and finish third or try to finish fifth, then our tire development is never going to be where it should be."

“Everybody knew what we were going up against. Falken came in knowing it wasn’t going to compete with a 2009 car, and we used that as a stepping stone for 2010,” Sellers said on this past week’s Midweek Motorsport program. “They are probably as serious as anything I’ve seen – any other tire manufacturer. They’ve come in with the mindset of ‘We want to beat Michelin one day.’ It doesn’t have to be tomorrow or the next day because they’re not naïve.

“You have teams in here who have been winners of multiple races, not just in ALMS but Le Mans, FIA GT and the list goes on and on,” he added. “I’d like to think that we can be nipping on the heels of podium finishes in 2010 and that’s ultimately where we want to be. That being said, if we’re going to every race and not trying to win, then we’re there for the wrong reasons. If we’re going to try and finish third or try to finish fifth, then our tire development is never going to be where it should be.”

One other interesting tidbit, Sellers is confident that Falken will make its way to the Le Mans 24 Hours in the near future. “I believe deep down that they do want to be there and they will be there,” he said. - Team Falken PR

tv news

Other NASCAR ratings rise on SPEEDTV
With the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series scoring its highest season average Nielsen Household Rating in series history in 2009, several other programs from the NASCAR on SPEED lineup also enjoyed year-to-year ratings increases, including three in double digits.

According to Nielsen Media Research, NCWTS Setup, the popular Truck Series pre-race show with Krista Voda was up 12 percent, NASCAR Performance with crew chiefs Larry McReynolds, Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker also was up 12 percent, and NASCAR Smarts delivered a 12-percent ratings increase over the show it replaced in the SPEED lineup, Tradin’ Paint. 

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Jerez F1 test features all young drivers
Germany's Nico Hulkenberg will stand out in Formula One testing in southern Spain this week as the only driver present with a confirmed place on next year's starting grid.
The 22-year-old Williams driver is taking part from Tuesday in a three-day young driver test at Jerez with nine of this year's 10 teams attending, including BMW who said farewell at this month's season-ender in Abu Dhabi.

Toyota will be absent after also pulling out while the four new teams for 2010 have yet to complete their cars.

The test is the only one allowed before the New Year, with the emphasis on giving promising youngsters experience now that testing is banned during the season as part of agreed cost-cutting measures.

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Andretti team re-signs Danica, adds GoDaddy.com
Andretti Autosport announced today it has signed domain registrar Go Daddy, the world's largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, to a multi-year primary sponsorship agreement and has also secured driver Danica Patrick for multiple years as the driver of the team's #7 IZOD IndyCar Series entry.

The announcement came Monday morning as the #7 Go Daddy machine was unveiled by Patrick and team owner Michael Andretti live on ABC's "Good Morning America" in New York City.

Go Daddy is a leading provider of services that enable individuals and businesses to establish, maintain and evolve an online presence. Go Daddy provides a variety of domain name registrar plans and Web site design and Web hosting packages, as well as a broad array of on-demand services.

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British F3

Oli Webb to race in British F3 with Fortec
One of Britain's brightest single-seater prospects, 18-year-old Oli Webb, has signed with the race-winning Fortec Motorsports team to contest the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

Manchester-based Webb steps up to F3 after two seasons in Formula Renault UK, where he has established himself with Fortec as one of the quickest and most consistent in the field. Oli won two races in 2009 and collected a further eight podium finishes on his way to championship third.

He's already pleasing the team with his F3 testing performances: "We have been impressed with how easily young Oliver has adapted to the car," says Fortec's senior race engineer Mick Kouros. "He has been in the top three at all the tests he's attended, and was quickest at a couple of those, particularly the wet-weather ones. We are sure that Oli is going to be among the very fastest in F3 next season."

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Soucek gears up for 'dream' Williams Formula One test
Andy Soucek
24-year-old Spaniard Andy Soucek has described his forthcoming test in Jerez tomorrow (1 December) for the Williams F1 team as a 'dream come true', and insists he is feeling confident and relaxed ahead of the experience.

Soucek received the test as part of his prize for winning the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship, which he clinched in magnificent style after taking five wins over the season. He will drive for Williams for the first day of the three day test, after which Nico Hülkenberg - confirmed to drive for the team in 2010 - will take over testing duties.

Soucek visited the Williams factory in Grove last week for his official seat fitting, and admitted he had been delighted to meet the team for the first time. "For me it is like a dream come true, having an F1 team focus on you for an entire day," he explained. "Williams really do set the highest standards, and every detail is examined and catered for - I even had three people analyzing how my seat position could improve!

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Theissen not staying in F1 with Sauber
  • VW considers F1 engine supply in 2012
  • Canada's F1 return confirmed
  • Schumacher admits 2010 return possible
  • Trulli says 2010 plans to be decided soon
  • Piquet says Campos seeking Spaniard
  • Wolff suggests Williams involvement to deepen
  • Brawn should have 'fought' to keep drivers - Barrichello
  • McLaren insists late arrival no problem for Button
  • Santander not ruling out de la Rosa backing
  • Alonso turned down Massa's kart race invitation

Theissen not staying in F1 with Sauber
(GMM)  Mario Theissen is leaving formula one because he will remain BMW's motor sport director in 2010 and beyond.

The 57-year-old German, who entered the sport with BMW in 2000 and became Sauber's team boss in 2006, had hinted he might stay with the Hinwil based squad in the wake of BMW's F1 withdrawal.

But he told Switzerland's Blick daily: "I will also be responsible for the motor sport activities of BMW in the future."

It is reported that BMW will on Saturday announce its motor sport program for 2010, amid rumors a Le Mans foray is possible.

Theissen said in other German reports: "Peter Sauber now takes control and will lead the (F1) team.

"For me it is an end and a new era (for Sauber) begins."

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Conway, Ericsson to test for Brawn at Jerez UPDATE (GMM)  Mike Conway believes he has an outside chance of becoming Nico Rosberg's teammate at Mercedes GP in 2010.

The 26-year-old British IndyCar driver, who did some running with Brawn's predecessor Honda, has been called up alongside Marcus Ericsson to drive the BGP001 at this week's young driver test at Jerez.

Mercedes GP has signed Rosberg for next season but is yet to name the German's teammate.

"I've been working on my IndyCar plans to stay in the series for next season, but this has certainly thrown a spanner in the works," Conway told Kent News.

"It would be amazing to get the second seat, but there is a long way to go," he added.

11/26/09 (GMM)  Mike Conway and Marcus Ericsson will test with the Brawn/Mercedes team at next week's three-day young driver session at Jerez.

The news was not announced by the Brackley based team but instead published on an itinerary issued by the Spanish circuit.

26-year-old Briton Conway is an IndyCar driver who has tested in the past with Brawn's predecessor Honda.

Swede Ericsson, 19, is the new champion of Japanese F3, who recently made his GP2 debut in the Asian series.

He began his single seater career in 2007 by winning the Formula BMW UK championship.

The Jerez itinerary did not shed any light on McLaren's testing plans, but it is expected that Gary Paffett will be driving.

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