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ALMS winter test dates announced ALMS winter test dates announcedUPDATE No mistake - the Monday January 22nd is an ALMS test day, the 23rd and 24th track days will be shared with Champ Car during the times ALMS is not on track.  We need to check with Champ Car and find out which drivers intend to drive in the 24 Hours of Daytona (which is the weekend of the original Champ Car Test Days) to understand how this came about.

12/14/06 The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has released the track schedule for the third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test from January 22-24 at Sebring International Raceway.

Series teams will have the opportunity to run from 8 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 22. The following day, Series entrants will be on track from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. On the final day of testing, Series teams will test from 8 to 9:30 a.m., 12:15 to 1:45 p.m. and 3:45 to 5:15 p.m.

Single-day passes for the Winter Test are $10. No camping or paddock access will be permitted. The 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is scheduled for Saturday, March 17 to kick off the 2007 American Le Mans Series season.

[Editor's Note: This is the same three days Champ Car is holding its first open test of the new DP01 for all teams.  Either someone has made a terrible scheduling conflict error or each are using half the track concurrently.]

Peugeot on track for Sebring test Peugeot on track for Sebring testPeugeot  will have the first of their 2007 Le Mans cars completed before the end of the year.  Italian magazine Autosprint quoted  motorsport boss Michel Barge as saying: "We are working full time and everything is more or less in line with our timetable.

"In the second week of December the building of the first car will begin, and it will be finished by the end of the year.

"The engine, by contrast, is already on the dyno and it has successfully passed the 24-hour test.

"We will carry out some tests at Sebring, probably both before and after the race," he said.

"We need to get experience and we consider that track very suitable to our needs."

Brembo Introduces NASCAR Pedal Box at PRI Brembo Introduces NASCAR Pedal Box at PRIHistorically, Brembo has had a strong presence in sport car racing dating back to the 1975 season when Ferrari chose Brembo brakes for its Formula 1 cars. Since then, some of the biggest names in racing—Aston Martin, Corvette, Maserati, Porsche, among others—have included Brembo brakes in the specifications for their race- and championship-winning race cars.

Diversity is also a Brembo strong-suit. Numerous open-wheel racing teams in Champ Car and IRL choose Brembo. As do many teams involved in stock car racing.

Both the current NASCAR Nextel Cup- and Busch Series-winning Chevrolets of Jimmy Johnson and Kevin Harvick feature Brembo brakes at all four corners. As does Frank Kimmel’s ARCA RE/MAX Series-winning Ford. zzzz

But brake systems consist of more than calipers, rotors and pads and for the 2007 racing season Brembo is introducing a NASCAR pedal box.

The Brembo pedal box is a light- weight, high-stiffness top mounting design that is interchangeable with most common NASCAR pedal boxes. It includes brake and clutch pedals and features FEM (Finite Element Method) analyzed aluminum alloy modular frames machined from billet, a fabricated steel brake pedal and an aluminum clutch pedal machined from billet.

The Brembo pedal box accepts a full size range of master cylinder diameters up to 1 in., and the balance bar has a “click” step remote adjuster with a range of plus/minus ten percent. The geometry of the system results in no wasted pedal motion. Not only are the pedals an ergonomic design featuring adjustable pad pedals but also the brake pedal ratio can be adjusted to three fixed positions: 4.3:1, 5.1:1 and 6.0:1. Pivots for both the balance bar and the clutch and brake pedals employ straight roller bearings to reduce friction and free play, and the master cylinder pivot has an articulated joint pin with self-lubricated bearings.

Additionally, firewall sealing is visa fireproof rubber boots on all cylinders. An aluminum throttle pedal machined from billet with an adjustable “return hook” and end stop is available separately. So now when you think “Brembo,” don’t stop at rotors, calipers and pads.

karting news
Monteiro gets karting invite Monteiro gets karting inviteFerrari driver Felipe Massa and organizers of the “Desafio Internacional das Estrelas” have extended an invitation to SpykerF1 driver, Tiago Monteiro to join them this coming weekend to take part in a challenge that will see him racing against forty champions from various championships worldwide.

Naturally the Portuguese racer, who took part in a similar race last month, is more than willing to join them in all the action at the Kartódromo dos Ingleses, in Florianópolis (Santa Catarina), Brazil. zzzz

“After my experience last month in Portugal driving the safety car in the  Portuguese Casinos do Algarve Rallye, I could not resist another similar challenge during the off season, and have accepted Felipe Massa’s invitation to join the international and Brazil stars who are going to compete in the second edition of the “Desafio Internacional das Estrelas,” Tiago said. “I love racing whether it’s in an F1 car or not and I’m really looking forward to fighting it out on track with a field of 40 champions from all different kinds of racing disciplines whether Formula Indy, GP2 Series, Formula Nippon, Stock Car or  GT.”

Apart from Felipe, Tiago will also be racing with other fellow F1 drivers, such as Rubens Barrichello and Vitantonio Liuzzi, together with other great racers including Jean Alesi, Ricardo Zonta, Antonio Pizzonia, Enrique Bernoldi, Robert Doornbos, Ricardo Maurizio, Nelsinho Piquet  and Augusto Farfus Jr.

“I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of a racing car,” Tiago added enthusiastically. “It’s going to be a really exciting weekend ahead, driving to the limit and I’m determined to finish as high as possible in the classification.”

Heydenreich Escapes Serious Injury in Fiery Crash Heydenreich Escapes Serious Injury in Fiery CrashLAKELAND, Fla. - Johnny Heydenreich hopes to be discharged from Lakeland Regional Medical Center Friday. The popular driver from Bloomsburg, Pa. and Indianapolis, Ind. was admitted there Wednesday night following a fiery crash in the Premier Racing Association (PRA) Big Car 100-lap season finale at USA International Speedway in Lakeland.

On Thursday afternoon Heydenreich's car owner, Sharon Bank, said that Heydenreich was being held at the hospital primarily as a precaution after inhaling a small amount of methanol fumes in the accident.  She said he suffered no broken bones and only minor burns, primarily to his left ankle.

The accident occurred with 40 laps down while Heydenreich was running eighth in the race, which had 28 starters. While he was holding off three other cars, Heydenreich's  Coolfitwear.com Beast Brannan No. 90 was hit from behind by one of his rivals in turn one, sending it barreling into the track's outer wall.  The impact of the crash was very hard, rupturing the car's fuel cell, and the fuel ignited. zzzz

Heydenreich exited the car under his own power but on fire. He fell to the ground and rolled to try to extinguish the flames, but spilled fuel ignited around him and traveled down the track, where it erupted into another tall fireball.  The race was red-flagged while emergency crews put the fire out and transferred Heydenreich to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. The event was restarted and eventually won by Bobby Santos III.

"The Impact safety equipment did an outstanding job; he looks fine," Bank said.  "He only has one minor burn on his ankle, which is amazing for what he went through.  They had just come down the frontstretch, so they were probably doing close to 160 miles per hour.

"John is so smart that he wears a full balaclava and had everything tucked in so there were no open areas exposed," Bank added. "The doctors were astounded by the job the Impact racing suit, the R-3 head and neck restraint device, and the ISP seat did too.

"He's in incredibly good spirits; he's sore and he has a minor burn, but he looks fine," Bank emphasized. "He's telling jokes and making all the nurses laugh. All in all we're very lucky."

"I tried to hold my breath," Heydenreich said of the accident.  "I have a couple burns on my hands too.  They're going to give me another chest X-ray tomorrow just to be sure everything is OK.  Right now breathing for me is how you feel when you breath air that is really cold, but they say that should get better pretty quickly. The doctors and the staff here are excellent.  It's like a five-star hotel. They're on top of things, and the doctors work as a team so they don't miss anything. Hopefully I'll be discharged tomorrow."

More information on Heydenreich and the team can be found on the Internet at johnnyheydenreich.com.

Industry News
Merrill Lynch raises opinion of Ford stock Merrill Lynch raises opinion of Ford stockMerrill Lynch Thursday morning raised its opinion of Ford Motor Co. shares to the equivalent of hold from sell.

Analyst John Murphy cited the success of the company's recent borrowing, which was increased from $18 billion to $25 billion. The loans give "the company (more than $48 billion) of liquidity and much needed breathing room," he wrote in a research note to clients.

With the financing taken care of, "we believe that the next move by Ford's new President and CEO Alan Mulally may be a new operating plan, which could be unveiled at the Detroit Auto show the second week of January," he wrote.

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Impressed with Simpson Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Impressed with SimpsonIndianapolis – The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team completed a second two-day test at MSR Houston yesterday. Stephen Simpson was behind the wheel of the Conquest Lola for both days and for his first time in a Champ Car, the South African did an excellent job of relaying good information and keeping the car under control all while putting in competitive lap times.

Simpson, an A1GP driver and former Champ Car Atlantic competitor was impressed with the speed of the Champ Car but what surprised him the most was its amount of downforce. After his two days of testing, he described driving a Champ Car as fantastic and was happy with his performance.

“It was a very successful and instructive test for me and went better than I’d anticipated. I was able to acclimatize myself with a Champ Car including getting used to the brakes and downforce which were substantially in excess of anything I’d previously experienced and I ended up being able to run some fast laps that I was pretty satisfied with bearing in mind my experience,” said Simpson. “I also really enjoyed working with my engineer Dave Faustino and with the Conquest Team as a whole and their professionalism and passion completed a thoroughly positive experience. It was a very useful test for me and I hope to be back in a Champ Car again next month.” zzzz

Eric Bachelart, the co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team was on hand at the test and was more than pleased with what he saw.

“Stephen did an excellent job during his two-day test. His lap times were very competitive, he gave us good feedback and he was well under control the whole time. We definitely saw lots of potential in him. The engineering staff and the whole team gelled well with him, he was easy to work with and very professional. I hope we’ll be able to work together again."

Au revoir Olivier Panis, adeus Ricardo Zonta Au revoir Olivier Panis, adeus Ricardo ZontaPanasonic Toyota Racing would like to express its thanks to Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta for their efforts during the year and throughout their time with the team.

Both drivers come to the end of their contracts this year and will leave the team to pursue new challenges. The team wishes them the very best of luck for their future careers.

Zonta, 30, joined the team in 2003 and has spent four years testing for Toyota, three of them in the role of third driver. It was in that position he made his race debut with the team in 2004, driving for three races as substitute for Cristiano da Matta. He came agonizingly close to scoring Toyota's first Formula 1 podium in Belgium before bad luck denied him his moment.

As a farewell gesture, the team presented him with a cake, a car part and a Toyota flag signed by the whole team. zzzz

Panis spent four years with the team, two as a race driver before retiring from Formula 1 competition to concentrate on testing duties for 2005 and 2006. In that time he worked hard to help Toyota move up the grid in Formula 1 and his experience has proved invaluable to a young team.

But Panis announced his retirement from Formula 1 in September and the last test of the season at Jerez today marked the end of an era for the Frenchman, Toyota and the sport.

The Frenchman has deservedly been the centre of attention since flying into Spain on Wednesday and he attended a dinner organized by Toyota in his honor in Jerez last night where he reminisced with the international media about his 12 years in Formula 1, a long and successful career at the top which has now come to an end.

To celebrate Panis' contribution to Formula 1, Toyota Motor Europe handed over a piece of the Jerez circuit's asphalt as a permanent reminder of his many testing laps at the track. Close friend and Toyota colleague Jarno Trulli was also there to lend his support and he delivered a surprise gift, one of his racing helmets.

The test team said 'adieu' to Panis by signing a rear wing end plate, which was presented to the 40-year-old at lunchtime. He already received an entire Formula 1 car as a present from Panasonic Toyota Racing at the 2005 French Grand Prix - now has a personalized spare part.

Surrounded by team members, Panis posed for photographs and that proved to be his last act of the day in the Panasonic Toyota Racing garage when he stopped driving early as he was feeling unwell with a cold. Toyota

track news
Stolen Dale Earnhardt Sr. Firesuit recovered Stolen Dale Earnhardt Sr. Firesuit recoveredFort Worth Police have recovered the vintage racing suit, once worn by Dale Earnhardt Sr., which was stolen last month from Texas Motor Speedway president, Eddie Gossage.

Police investigators surmised the theft was committed internally, which was confirmed when the attorney of a part-time TMS employee contacted Fort Worth Police Major Crime unit detectives. The attorney asked to discuss the theft and the return of the racing suit.

On Wednesday, investigators met with the attorney and the suit, a helmet and a pair of racing shoes were recovered. Police are preparing a case to be presented to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office to file appropriate charges associated with this theft. 

The recovered racing suit will be [was] returned to Mr. Gossage this morning at 10:30 AM at Fort Worth Police Headquarters.

We appreciate the public and media’s assistance in the investigation of this case.  You all have played in important role in this partnership and returning this property to its rightful owner.

Conquest Atlantic Team signs American Matt Lee Conquest Atlantic Team signs American Matt LeeIndianapolis, Indiana – The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Atlantic Team is well aware that it will be hard to top last season’s nine consecutive podium finishes. But to help them continue their on-track success, the team announced today that it had signed their first driver for the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Season, American Matt Lee, the 2006 Formula BMW USA Championship runner-up.

Lee, who just barely turned 17, demonstrated his on track talent back in October at the Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California when he tested with the Conquest Atlantic Team for the first time. Eric Bachelart, the team’s co-owner, was impressed with the young American’s skill and is glad to have him on board for the 2007 season.

“When we tested Matt at Buttonwillow, it was clear that he was ready to make the switch to Atlantics from the BMW Series. He quickly was up to speed and was comfortable in the car nearly right from the start.  Like all rookies in Atlantics, he will still have a lot to learn but he has a natural talent that can only serve him well and help him in his development as a race car driver. I think Matt is one of the drivers that represent the future of American open-wheel racing and that he has a bright future ahead of him.”

The teenager from Syosset, New York finished second in the Formula BMW USA Championship this season scoring two wins, seven podiums and five pole positions in 14 races with Team Autotecnica. He also competed last month, for a second year in a row, in the Formula BMW World Final. For his first year of racing cars in 2005, Lee signed on with Twin Tooth / BRM Motorsports to run in the Formula BMW USA Series. In 2004, Lee competed in the World Karting Association and Stars of Karting. He was crowned the National Champion in the Junior HPV class in 2003 and participated in numerous karting events since he was eight.

“I’m really excited about competing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship next season, it’s a great series and as we saw last season the level of competition is very high,” expressed Lee. “I’m especially happy to be part of this series with a winning team like the Mi-Jack Conquest Atlantic Team and I’m looking forward to my first race with them next April.”

Preparation for the 2007 season begins next week when the Conquest Atlantic Team will be at MSR Houston, Thursday and Friday, with their new driver to take part in two days of testing.

Skip Barber
Mazda, Skip Barber Announce Long Term Deal Mazda, Skip Barber Announce Long Term DealORLANDO, Fla. - Mazda North American Operations and Skip Barber Racing School LLC announced today a new, long-term partnership agreement that promises to reshape the world of competitive motorsports. The agreement will deliver a broad range of programs designed to further define and strengthen the U.S. motorsports ‘‘ladder’’ through which drivers learn and gain experience on their way to the top ranks of amateur and professional racing.

 Mazda will supply vehicles to Skip Barber for exclusive use in the ‘‘Skip Barber Driving School Powered by Mazda.’’ The school annually graduates more than 7,000 students and will feature the MAZDA3, MX-5 and RX-8 cars in a variety of purpose- built exercises at Skip Barber’s premier base locations, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, Sebring International Raceway and Daytona International Speedway in Florida, Road America in Wisconsin, and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. In addition, Mazda engines will soon provide power to the 120 racecars used in the ‘‘Skip Barber Racing School Powered by Mazda’’ and the ‘‘Skip Barber Race Series Powered by Mazda.’’ Skip Barber’s Racing School annually graduates more than 5,000 students and is offered at more than 20 prominent racetracks across the nation. Graduates include drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Michael and Marco Andretti, Juan Pablo Montoya and many other marquee names in professional racing. Many Racing School graduates go on to race in the Skip Barber Race Series, long considered one of the key rungs on the motorsports development ladder. More than 1,000 competitors participate each year in one or more of its four regional championships, a masters national championship, and/or the prestigious entry level semi-pro series, the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by RACER.

‘‘We are committed to developing the next generation of racers with a ladder system that provides drivers with Mazda and Mazda-powered open and closed- wheel cars throughout their careers,’’ said Robert Davis, senior vice president, product development and quality, and the man responsible for Mazda’s North American Motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. ‘‘Skip Barber is the perfect partner to help us realize this vision.’’

Alonso's race engineer moves to Williams Alonso's race engineer moves to WilliamsFernando Alonso's former race engineer Rod Nelson has quit the Renault team to join to Williams.
De la Rosa fastest at Jerez De la Rosa fastest at JerezOn the third day of testing at the Circuit of Jerez this week, McLaren's Spanish test and reserve driver, Pedro de la Rosa, topped the time sheets. Sebastien Bourdais was again slowest but this time his time was equal to that of his Toro Rosso teammate, not bad for only his 2nd day in the car. Yesterday he was 7/10ths of a second slower than his teammate.  It's pretty much a given that the Toro Rosso cars, both of them will be slowest.

1 P. de la Rosa McLaren 01:19.109 75
2 J. Trulli Toyota 01:19.480 92
3 J. Rossiter Honda 01:19.549 117
4 L. Hamilton McLaren 01:19.589 78
5 C. Klien Honda 01:19.705 112
6 F. Massa Ferrari 01:19.730 80
7 L. Badoer Ferrari 01:19.780 76
8 H. Kovalainen Renault 01:19.824 110
9 N. Heidfeld BMW 01:19.933 121
10 G. Fisichella Renault 01:20.073 68
11 R. Kubica BMW 01:20.194 100
12 K. Hirate Toyota 01:20.423 58
13 K. Nakajima Williams 01:20.440 95
14 T. Sato Super Aguri 01:20.726 114
15 M. Ammermuller Red Bull 01:20.737 61
16 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:21.514 61
17 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:21.539 78

DEI Hires Siegel DEI Hires SiegelDale Earnhardt, Inc., announced the appointment of Max Siegel as President of Global Operations. In what will be an unprecedented move for the motor sports industry, the Zomba Label Group/Sony/BMG executive will oversee marketing, promotion, sales, sponsorship and distribution for all Dale Earnhardt, Inc. properties including the company's top-rated motorsports teams, airlines, licensing and auto dealership, as well as the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Siegel brings over 15 years of deal brokering and project management experience to the company established by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt in 1980. DEI PR
CASCAR Champ heading to Busch Series CASCAR Champ heading to Busch SeriesCanadian J.R. Fitzpatrick, the 2006 CASCAR Super Series champion, will jump to the NASCAR Busch Series for at least three races in 2007; his longtime crew chief told Sun Media yesterday.

The 18-year old became the youngest driver in history to win Canada's top stock car racing series crown on the final race for CASCAR -- the series will become the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in 2007 -- Sept. 18 at Kawartha Speedway.

But the Fitzpatrick Motorsports team has its sights set on the Busch series for J.R., particularly the inaugural race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve July 22.

"John Fitzpatrick (J.R.'s dad) and I were down in North Carolina a few weeks ago and we made a deal for a Busch car," Don Thomson Jr., a five-time CASCAR champion and Fitzpatrick Motorsports crew chief, said yesterday.

"I have a pretty good idea -- although I can't announce it officially -- that we'll be in Montreal and we are also looking at Watkins Glen."

Alonso's final interview before leaving Renault Alonso's final interview before leaving Renault
Renault: 30 Years in F1 - The V10 years Renault: 30 Years in F1 - The V10 yearsFrom 1994 to 1997, Renault clinched 7 titles with Williams and Benetton…

1994: With sadness. Before the start of this 1994 season, Renault, with two double championships (1992 and 1993), was a logical favorite. The RS6 engine was slightly different from the RS5. First of all, it was longer (+ 3mm). Also, his weight had decreased: 134kg instead of 137kg in 1993. Finally, a lot of parts had been re-designed (distribution, combustion chamber). During the year, two developments (B and C) were adopted. They feature modified camshafts amongst other things. On the track, the death of Ayrton Senna came as a shock for everybody. The Brazilian was driving a Williams and the situation was immensely difficult for the whole team. But racing had to continue, and Williams-Renault eventually scored 7 wins out of 16 races. Michael Schumacher (Benetton-Ford) clinched the drivers’ title in Adelaide after a collision with Damon Hill. Nigel Mansell, who was driving a Williams for the last two races of that year, managed to win the race, offering the Constructors’ title to his team.

1995: Schumacher… and Renault. For the first time since Renault came back to F1 as an engine manufacturer, it supplied another top team: Benetton. In 1992, 93, and 94, Renault had supplied Ligier. The French team had then scored 5 wins, 18 top 6 finishes and 42 points in 48 races. In 1995, the maximum capacity of the engines was then 3.0 liters (3.5 liters previously). Renault made some modifications in order to adapt to the new regulation. The RS7 was still a 67° V10, but its width had decreased by 10 mm. It was also 7 mm higher. The overall weight was then 132 kg. For the first time, a ‘fly by wire’ throttle was adopted. On the track, Renault drivers were Damon Hill and David Coulthard for Williams, and Michael Schumacher + Johnny Herbert for Benetton. These drivers ended at the first four positions in the championship. Schumacher won 9 races (11 podiums), while Hill win only 4 times (9 podium). The German driver was, once again world champion. David Coulthard scored a win, and Johnny Herbert two : the Renault engines scored 16 wins out of 17 races. Also, Renault managed to get a fantastic 1-2-3-4 finish in Magny-Cours. zzzz

1996: Damon Hill, at last. In 1996, the RS8 was lighter (-2 kg) and his dimensions were identical to the RS7. The cylinder head was new and, during the year, this engine adopted new camshafts and a modified oil system. Once again, both Renault teams were championship contenders: Williams (Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve) fought against Benetton (Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger). Hill won the first three races, and Villeneuve scored his first win at the Nürburgring. Benetton couldn’t keep up with them and quickly, the fight for the championship was between Hill and Villeneuve. Both drivers shared 12 wins out of 16 races (8 for Hill, 4 for Villeneuve). In Japan, during the last event, Hill finished first and clinched the title. Once again, Williams-Renault became world champions.

1997: Villeneuve, in the name of the father. For its last season as an official engine supplier, Renault made a lot of drastic changes to its successful V10. First of all, its angle was then 71°. It had been 67° since 1989. The length of the RS9 was identical to the RS8’s. It was also 2 mm wider, but this was not the most important change: the global height of the engine decreased by 28 mm. It allowed the centre of gravity to be 14 mm lower. Even better: the weight of the RS9 was 121 kg. It was 19 kg lighter than the 1989 engine! Renault was, once again, supplying Williams (Jacques Villeneuve, Heinz-Harald Frentzen) and Benetton (Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger). Once again, Williams was the only Renault team fighting for the championship, with Jacques Villeneuve this time. His main rival was Michael Schumacher (Ferrari). Finally, Villeneuve clinched the championship at the last event, when Schumacher tried to collide into his Williams but had to retire. Renault and Williams both got crowns. After 5 drivers’ titles and 6 constructors’ titles, Renault’s involvement in F1 as an engine supplier came to an end.

2007 GP2 Schedule 2007 GP2 ScheduleFollowing the deadline for entries and last week’s meeting of the FIA World Council, the GP2 series is proud to unveil our 2007 calendar and is happy to report that the 13 teams who formed our grid in 2006 have been confirmed for the 2007 season. Race numbering is allocated by championship position from the official final standings of 2006, as per the GP2 series sporting regulations.

There will be few major changes to the 2007 line-up. As previously announced, our vice-champions Piquet Sports have formed an alliance with F1 legends Minardi to become “Minardi Piquet Sports”, and we welcome British F3 greats Carlin Motorsport to the series as they form an alliance with DPR to become “Carlin DPR.” Finally, Campos Racing will become known as “Campos Grand Prix” next year.

Our 13 teams will embark on a global challenge in 2007 as the GP2 series starts its season in Bahrain, scene of our thrilling title showdown in 2005. This event will be our first of ten weekends as the official Formula One support series. From there we return to Europe and follow the F1 circus until it departs across the Atlantic in June, at which point we will have our traditional and all-important mid-season test. The racing picks up again in France and we will stay with Formula One until our penultimate race in Belgium as Spa-Francorchamps makes a welcome return to the calendar. The 2007 championship will be concluded with our one stand-alone event of the season in Valencia at the end of September, the scene of our highly successful opening round in 2006. zzzz 

# Team Name and License 
1, 2 ART Grand Prix    FRA
3, 4 Minardi Piquet Sports BRA
5, 6 iSport International    GBR
7, 8 Arden International NED
9, 10 Petrol Ofisi FMS International ITA
11, 12 Trident Racing    ITA
14, 15 Racing Engineering    ESP
16, 17 Super Nova International GBR
18, 19 BCN Competicion    ESP
20, 21 Carlin DPR    GBR
22, 23 Dams FRA
24, 25 Campos Grand Prix ESP
26, 27 Durango    ITA

 2007 Tests and Races 
Feb 21-22 Paul Ricard, France Test
Mar 08-09 Barcelona, Spain Test
Mar 15-16 Paul Ricard, France Test
Apr 13-15 Sakhir, Bahrain Race
May 11-13 Barcelona, Spain Race
May 24-26 Monte Carlo, Monaco Race
Jun 19-20 Paul Ricard, France Test
Jun 29 - Jul 1 Magny-Cours, France Race
Jul 6-8 Silverstone, Britain Race
Jul 20-22 Nurburgring, Germany Race
Aug 3-5 Budapest, Hungary Race
Aug 24-26 Istanbul, Turkey Race
Sep 7-9 Monza, Italy Race
Sep 14-16 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium Race
Sep 28-30 Valencia, Spain Race

Sirius to put NASCAR fans in driver's seat Sirius to put NASCAR fans in driver's seatNEW YORK – SIRIUS Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI), the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR starting in 2007, announced today that it will debut The Driver’s Seat, an exclusive daily talk show hosted by veteran broadcaster John Kernan and a roster of current and former NASCAR drivers, on January 1. 

The Driver’s Seat will air every weekday (11:00am-3:00pm ET) only on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128, the new 24/7 year-round radio channel dedicated to NASCAR that launches January 1.

The Driver’s Seat will feature Kernan and a different driver taking calls from listeners, interviewing special guests and discussing the latest news from the world of NASCAR. zzzz

Featured co-hosts will include legendary Hall of Famer Buddy Baker; 1995 NASCAR Busch Series champion Johnny Benson; two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie; two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday; former Busch and Cup Series Rookie of the Year Ricky Craven; former Cup and Busch Series driver Phil Parsons, who is now the color commentator for Speed Channel’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race broadcasts; and John Andretti, one of the sport’s most versatile drivers who has made his mark racing USAC Midgets, Indy cars, NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and NASCAR stock cars.  The Driver’s Seat, produced in conjunction with Performance Racing Network (PRN), will air exclusively on SIRIUS.

“We’re very pleased to be working closely with PRN, whose quality productions are well known to NASCAR fans, to assemble this superb lineup of hosts that includes some of the most accomplished drivers in NASCAR,” said Steve Cohen, SIRIUS’ Vice President of Sports Programming.  “Together, we will produce the kind of comprehensive programming listeners can’t get anywhere else and give SIRIUS listeners from coast to coast access to the people who know the sport best – the drivers.”

“Taking listeners inside NASCAR racing has always been Performance Racing Network’s primary objective and The Driver’s Seat gives us the opportunity to make them feel like they are in the garage area,” said Doug Rice, President and General Manager of PRN.  “Teaming a veteran broadcaster like John Kernan with a strong and very opinionated lineup of drivers is going to result in informative and entertaining radio.  Producing The Driver’s Seat exclusively for SIRIUS is a huge opportunity for our network and it is exciting to be part of a team that brings a new element of entertainment to our sport with SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.”

“John Kernan and I have worked together on several occasions and I look forward to teaming up with him again on SIRIUS,” said Buddy Baker.  “John brings a lot of experience, and I started racing in 1959, so I have worked with more than three generations of drivers.  We know the racing, the drivers and the inside stories you don’t always hear about.  We’re going to give the fans the kind of entertaining and informative show they expect.  If it comes out of my mouth it’s the truth, and I’m not a ‘yes’ man for anybody.  That’s what you’ll be hearing on our show.”

Kernan has covered NASCAR racing since 1983, when he was a reporter for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, VA.  In 1990 he began working for ESPN as a pit reporter and went on to host ESPN’s RPM 2Night, the nation’s first nightly motorsports news show.  From 1998-2003 he hosted RPM Now on ESPN Radio.  He is the co-host of PRN’s Sunday Drive and has won numerous awards from the National Motorsports Press Association, the Associated Press and UPI.

“I really am very thankful to SIRIUS for this wonderful opportunity,” said Kernan. “I know the show will be a huge success because of all the great drivers that are lined up with me.  Their insight and experience will make my job easy and this show an entertaining one for SIRIUS listeners for a long time to come.”

Launching January 1 on SIRIUS’ channel 128, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will provide the most comprehensive, in-depth radio coverage of NASCAR with 24-hour coverage of the sport all year long.  SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will be home to every live NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race plus exclusive original programming providing listeners up-to-the-minute news, expert analysis and exclusive interviews with NASCAR insiders.  Other shows on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will include Tony Stewart Live, hosted by two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Tony Stewart and veteran pit road reporter Matt Yocum (airs Tuesdays, 8-10pm ET), and The Morning Drive, hosted by broadcaster Marty Snider and Charlotte Observer beat reporter and columnist David Poole (airs weekdays, 7-11am ET).

In addition to the live race broadcast, SIRIUS will take fans into the cars and pits by devoting up to 10 additional channels that will carry driver-to-crew communications during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.  SIRIUS will combine the race broadcast with the driver-to-crew chatter on these channels, allowing fans to follow the overall race call and the in-car audio of a driver on a single channel throughout the race. 

All NASCAR content is provided to SIRIUS customers at no additional cost over SIRIUS’ monthly subscription fee.  For more information visit www.sirius.com.

BMW Sauber F1 Team - new Supercomputer BMW Sauber F1 Team - new SupercomputerHinwil - The BMW Sauber F1 Team has a new super brain. Albert2, presented on Thursday to international media representatives in Hinwil, is Europe's fastest machine used in industry according to the current Top-500 list. Albert2 is based on Intel processors and employed by the team for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). On average, it is about three times faster than its predecessor.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Aerodynamics has a crucial influence on the performance of modern Formula 1 cars, with experimental work in the wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics complementing each other. The launch of Albert2 means a decisive reinforcement of our CFD capacity. Unlike other teams, we are not planning to build a second wind tunnel but will continue to bank on the consistently expanding potential in this area. For the new season, we have set the goal of further reducing the gap to the top. Our new Supercomputer based on Intel technology is an important tool supporting us in this effort."

"The powerful Dual-Core Xeon processors perfectly match the high demand on computing power of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The cluster based on these processors is one of the fastest in the world running computational fluid dynamic applications," said Christian Morales, Vice President & General Manager of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa. "With the move to Multi-Core we are able to meet the future demand on computing power of the BMW Sauber F1 Team for computational fluid dynamics." zzzz

Albert2 is based on Intel technology. It has 256 nodes with two Intel Xeon 5160 processors each, and each of these has two cores. This results in a total of 1024 cores. The capacity of the main memory is 2,048 Gbyte, the maximum computing power is 12,288 GFlops.

To illustrate the point for non-computer-experts, this means that Albert2 is capable of performing 12,288,000,000,000 floating-point arithmetic operations per second. To equal this computing power, all the inhabitants of the city of Munich (1.3 million) would have to multiply two eight-digit numbers every three and a half seconds for an entire year.

According to the criteria defined for acceptance in the Top-500 list of Supercomputers, this data makes Albert2 5.5 times faster than its predecessor, Albert. In the field, though - as with any computer - the software used plays a crucial part when it comes to speed. But even when running the complex programs for CFD calculations the increase is immense: when using the Fluent application, the average performance improvement amounts to a factor of three.

The architecture of the Supercomputer was developed by the Swiss company DALCO. A key objective was the achievement of high levels of efficiency as well as very good scalability, meaning that operations can be split among many processors without any significant loss of performance.

The software for the CFD calculations is supplied by the German subsidiary of the American company Fluent, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANSYS, Inc. since May 2006. Their specialists have been working together with the CFD engineers in Hinwil for several years, optimizing the software step by step.

The Intel processors operate inside High Density Racks from American Power Conversion (APC). These combine power supply, cooling and environmental monitoring in an optimized rack construction. The Supercomputer consists of a total of ten racks, each having a width of one meter, a depth of 1.20 meters and a height of 2.30 meters. This results in a total length of nine meters and a total weight of 21 tons.

Albert2's enormous technological potential is used for analyses in the area of aerodynamics. By means of CFD aerodynamics components for Formula 1 cars are calculated on the computer, using numerical grid models that often consist of more than 100 million cells. CFD plays an important part in the development of front, rear and auxiliary wings as well as engine and brake cooling as another key area.

For the CFD specialists, the computing power provided by Albert2 means that they can perform their calculations either at higher speed or greater accuracy. Willem Toet, Head of Aerodynamics for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, says: "Thanks to Albert2 we can calculate more variants and more complex models which, in the end, results in an advantage on the stop watch. Of particular benefit is the system's good scalability which gives us a very high level of flexibility."

Computational fluid dynamics does not compete with the work in the wind tunnel but complements it. During the development of the front wing, for example, numerous variants are calculated using CFD before the most promising of them are tested on the 60-percent model in the wind tunnel.

"A major advantage of CFD is the ability to simulate the air flow, which enables us to understand why one part is better than another. Consequently, there is a cross-fertilization between simulation and experimental aerodynamics," Toet added. BMW Sauber

Cosworth begins to lose top engineers Cosworth begins to lose top engineersWith Cosworth no longer in F1 there is nothing to challenge some of its best engineers.  Once considered the top race car engine manufacturer in the business, Cosworth's new business model is to supply engines where it can make money and these days that usually means a spec series like Champ Car.  So it comes as no surprise that 15-year veteran Mike Janes, the man who has been running Cosworth's race engineering team this year, has left the Northamptonshire company and will become the team manager of the new Ilmor MotoGP team.
Brumos Racing announces driver lineup Brumos Racing announces driver lineupBrumos Racing has announced its driver lineup for the 2007 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Roberto Moreno and Joao Barbosa will join Hurley Haywood and JC France in the team’s No. 59 Porsche-powered Riley while Buddy Rice and Scott Sharp will be sharing the No. 58 Red Bull-backed machine with Darren Law and David Donohue. We have put these teams together because we are coming to Daytona to win," said team owner Bob Snodgrass. "Hurley Haywood and J.C. France in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley will be joined by Roberto Moreno and Joao Barbosa. David Donohue and Darren Law in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Red Bull Porsche Riley will be joined by Buddy Rice and Scott Sharp."

With switching to Riley’s, the Jacksonville, Florida-based team will be seriously gunning for a win in the twice-around-the-clock classic in January.

"We are excited to have such eminent racers with such notable records join the Brumos Racing Team," Snodgrass added.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Bourdais eyes F1 switch for 2008
Richards says Prodrive F1 still on track
Dennis would 'embrace' Mercedes buyout
Faces at Jerez
Wurz rules out wins for Williams in 2007
Bridgestone rejects claims of unfair play
Ralf predicts 'more passing' in 2007
Brawn exit could hurt Ferrari - Lauda
Fisi warns Alonso to expect a 'rival' in '07
Massa misses 'Inter-American' honor
Paris to host Race of Champions on Saturday
Ferrari to debut 2007 car on 16 January
ALMS will have strong representation at LeMans ALMS will have strong representation at LeMansTen entries from the American Le Mans Series are among the first 24 invitees to the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most prestigious auto race. The twice-around-the-clock event is scheduled for June 16-17 at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

American Le Mans Series teams have enjoyed remarkable success at Le Mans with at least two class victories each year since the Series' formation in 1999. Series teams also have posted six overall race wins and 19 class championships, numbers that could grow again once the 2007 race is in the history books.

Teams granted an automatic invitation include:

- Audi Sport North America (two entries in LMP1)
- Penske Motorsports (two entries in LMP2)
- Corvette Racing (two entries in GT1)
- Aston Martin Racing (two entries in GT1)
- Risi Competizione (two entries in GT2)

Class champions from the American Le Mans Series are granted automatic entries to Le Mans, as are class winners at Petit Le Mans. First- and second-place finishers from the previous year's running of the 24 Hours are given invites as well. zzzz

Corvette Racing finished third in class at Petit Le Mans but was granted a second Le Mans invitation because Aston Martin's two DBR9s did not compete at Petit Le Mans in ACO spec. Petersen/White Lightning, which won for the second straight year at Petit Le Mans, was denied an early invite because all Porsches entered ran a larger restrictor that was allowed by IMSA but larger than permitted by the ACO.

In 2006 the trio of Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and Marco Werner drove a diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI, two of which competed in the Series' second-half, to a historic overall victory.

Corvette Racing also won in GT1 for the fifth time in six seasons as Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen once again beat back an incredible challenge from Aston Martin Racing. In addition, Panoz stood atop the GT2 podium with a victory by Team LNT and its Panoz Esperante GTLM.

The automatically selected entrants have until January 8, 2007 to confirm their participation.

Racing News
Prosecution rests in Mickey Thompson murder trial Prosecution rests in Mickey Thompson murder trial
Vision Racing enters Carpenter Vision Racing enters CarpenterTony George's Vision Racing has entered a Daytona prototype for Tony's stepson Ed Carpenter for the Rolex 24 Hour race.  A 2nd and 3rd driver are yet unnamed.
“Golden helmet” for Audi driver Dindo Capello “Golden helmet” for Audi driver Dindo CapelloAudi factory driver Dindo Capello has received the "Golden Helmet” from the Italian motorsport specialist magazine "Autosprint” for a second time after success in 2003, acknowledging the 2006 American Le Mans Series title won by the Italian with the revolutionary Audi R10 TDI. "In Italy, the ‘Casco d’oro’ is the ‘Oscar of motorsport’, that’s why this award means a lot to me,” explained the two-time Le Mans winner who was handed the trophy in Bologna last Saturday.
Capello’s team-mate Allan McNish received two awards last week. The readers of the Audi specialist magazine "Audi Driver” in Britain voted the Scotsman "Audi Personality of the Year 2006”. Meanwhile for a fourth time in his career, the Audi driver received the BRDC/ACO Trophy for the best-placed British driver at the Le Mans 24 Hours from the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC).
Dindo Capello and Allan McNish clinched the title in the American Le Mans Series with the Audi R10 TDI. They finished third with the diesel sportscar in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Automatic entries for 24 Hours of LeMans Automatic entries for 24 Hours of LeMansThe winners of the different Le Mans Series have now been designated (the last: the European Le Mans Series, this weekend in the A.C.F Salons in Paris); the list of automatic entries for the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours can now be completed in the light of the 2006 results.

The automatic entries consist of 24 cars enhancing the performances of the 16 entrants during the season that has just ended.

The automatically selected entrants have until 8th January (included) to confirm their participation. In case of withdrawal the places left vacant will not be reattributed.

The AS A.C.O “24 Heures du Mans” has set the date of 24th January (included) 2007 for the reception of entry forms. These will then be passed on to the Selection Committee for examination. zzzz

The criteria for the attribution of places in the different series are as follows:
- 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours: The first two entrants in each category,
- Petit Le Mans: The winning entrant in each category,
- Le Mans Series: The first two entrants in each category,
- American Le Mans Series: The winning entrant in each category.

As an entrant cannot have more than two automatic entries, the invitation is then awarded to the following entrant in the classification of the event or series in question.

An examination of the results highlights two special cases:

During the “Petit Le Mans” the two Aston Martin DBR9s that came first and second received a special waiver because of their non-conformity with the ACO technical regulations, so the selection was attributed to the following entrant, Corvette Racing (1), already credited with an automatic entry thanks to its victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Nonetheless Aston Martin Racing has obtained an automatic entry due to its second place in the final LM GT1 results in the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

As the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR victorious in the LM GT2 Category in the “Petit Le Mans” raced in the event under a technical waiver, the automatic selection has been attributed to Risi Competizione (2) winner of the LM GT2 category in the 2006 American Le Mans Series final results.

ESPN announces NASCAR lineup ESPN announces NASCAR lineupChampionship-winning crew chief Tim Brewer and award-winning journalists Marty Smith, Angelique Chengelis, Terry Blount and David Newton have joined the experienced team of hosts, analysts and reporters for NASCAR’s return to the ESPN’s multimedia platforms in 2007.

Aligning their expertise with that of previously announced hosts, analysts and pit reporters -- Brent Musburger, Rusty Wallace, Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Dale Jarrett, Brad Daugherty, Shannon Spake and ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentators  Andrés Agulla and Alex Pombo -- Brewer, Smith, Chengelis, Blount and Newton add more than 75 years of combined experience to the already-accomplished team.

Brewer, a two-time NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning crew chief for Cale Yarborough in 1978 and Darrell Waltrip in 1981, will join Daugherty and Spake as an analyst on NASCAR Now, the network’s first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR. Additionally, he also will work from the pit studio on NASCAR Countdown, which will immediately precede all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. zzzz

“Tim Brewer’s wealth of knowledge and experience is a tremendous addition to our NASCAR studio programs,” said ESPN coordinating producer Jill Frederickson. “He has more than 35 successful years of history with the sport and we welcome the contributions he will make.”

Smith, a former writer for NASCAR.com, and Chengelis, longtime motorsports writer for the Detroit News, join ESPN as NASCAR Insiders, reporting on the latest news and information behind-the-scenes and breaking stories on teams, drivers, owners and crew chiefs. Two of the industry’s most respected journalists, both will serve several of ESPN’s multi-media platforms, reporting for NASCAR Now, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS and SportsCenter, as well as provide weekly content on ESPN.com.

Nationally acclaimed motorsports writers Blount and Newton recently began serving the leading online sports destination, ESPN.com, as part of the one-two punch on the NASCAR beat, providing expanded coverage of NASCAR and other racing events. Their columns are among the many features that NASCAR enthusiasts will find on the Web site, in addition to the weekly Monday Rundown, Wallace’s weekly Rusty Nails It column and regularly updated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Power Rankings. ESPN.com will continue to collaborate with the popular Jayski’s Silly Season Site that features news, rumors and commentary on the happenings in NASCAR.

“NASCAR continues to have one of the most passionate and dedicated fan bases, and in adding David and Terry to ESPN.com's award-winning editorial staff, we'll be able to deliver extensive news and information to meet the interests of those fans,” said Patrick Stiegman, vice president and executive editor, ESPN.com.  "They join the signature voices of Rusty Wallace, Jayski.com and others who provide depth and variety to the coverage we deliver daily."

ESPN’s return to NASCAR kicks off with up-to-date news and information each weekday evening on NASCAR Now, debuting Feb. 5, 2007, at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway takes place Feb. 17, 2007, on ESPN2.

Photos and Images of the entire ESPN and ABC NASCAR team are available on online at www.espnmotorsportsmedia.com.

ESPN and ABC will have comprehensive, multi-platform coverage featuring telecasts of the final 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races including the 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup” championship on ABC. Additionally, ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Busch Series all season.

ESPN aired 262 NASCAR Cup Races over a 20-year period starting in 1981. The network's award-winning, live flag-to-flag coverage on ESPN was honored with 17 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors. It is widely credited for helping to popularize the sport nationwide. NASCAR races have appeared on ABC for decades, beginning with broadcasts on the award-winning Wide World of Sports program in the 1960s.

Jeff Gordon to be father Jeff Gordon to be fatherOn Wednesday, Jeff Gordon announced that wife Ingrid Vandebosch is pregnant. “We’re obviously very excited,” Gordon said in a statement that appeared on www.jeffgordon.com.  “Christmas came early for us this year. “This is a very special gift for us – one that we’re both looking forward to. The due date is early July, and Ingrid and I can’t wait to be parents. “We’ve known for a little while, but we couldn’t wait any longer to share the good news with our friends and fans.”
NASCAR suspends another drug user NASCAR suspends another drug userNASCAR officials have indefinitely suspended Craftsman Truck Series crew member Derek Lusk for violation of the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy.  Lusk, a crew member for the No. 25 Woodard Racing Dodge, was tested for banned substances on Nov. 10, the day of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR said the test results were positive, violating the sport's substance abuse policy.
Several Champions testing with Gelles Several Champions testing with GellesFront Royal, Virginia, December 13th, 2006. – Gelles Racing is very active these last weeks after the BMW World Finals in Spain. Both their Champ Car Atlantic and BMW USA crews conducted testing with fine drivers. Racing seats are filling in again as Gelles will come up with a good mix of global talent from America and other countries. For one, German Champion Maximilian Götz did exceptionally well last week and chances to see the young superstar start the season with Gelles looks very promising.

˝Both Champ Car Atlantic and BMW USA series have clearly established they were the ladder series leading to the next generation Champ Car World Series, argued team owner Bob Gelles.” In only a few years, the BMW USA series has become the entry-level series of choice for young drivers from North and South America. The 14-race schedule was just released today. zzzz

Last year, the new Champ Car Atlantic was an overnight success and we, as team owners, have received numerous demands for testing from drivers who are setting their sights upon racing in the United States and Canada.

Maximilian Götz and John Zartarian
Last week, Gelles tested German Champion Maximilian Götz and Californian John Zartarian on the newly paved Savannah track. Götz has an impressive curriculum in Europe in Formula BMW (vice-champion to Nico Rosberg and champion ahead of Sebastian Vettel) and F3 Euroseries. ˝Maxi blitzed the track record and never put a wheel wrong. He loved the team, said Gelles, and will be back soon to continue developing and gelling with the team. He is one of the quickest I’ve seen in years.˝

˝The Gelles crew was very well organized, added the 20-year old German, and made me feel extremely comfortable from the onset. The car was amazingly balanced and I thoroughly enjoyed working with my engineers, we worked well together and made continual progress which gave me great confidence in the car and team. Now I know Gelles can win races and I look forward to winning with them next season.”

“I was also impressed with John (Zartarian), explained Gelles. John was our best BMW USA driver this season and he seemed to pick up the Swift 0,16a Mazda real quick. He logged 225 miles the second day, liked the balance and the feel of the car and worked systematically with his crew. John will be back at MSR Houston for more. ˝

Goring, Ouellette, Costa, Major and …Laursen
BMW boys will get their time this week in Savannah with some of the best prospects taking to the track. Skip Barber 2006 National Champion, Jonathan Goring has set his sights with the Gelles BMW FB02 race car. Pierre-Luc Ouellette is the next driver out of a long list coming from Quebec: he was awarded a special Scholarship after a sensational 2006 karting season. Ian Costa is one of the 2007 Formula BMW USA Scholar and he’s gunning for a Gelles FB02 seat next season. Returning Philip Major is eager to show what he can do with a good car after ups and downs in the last two years.

˝This is an amazing line-up for testing BMW machines, confirmed the team principal. Anyone can predict who will be going to be fastest and I know they are all very competitive drivers. One other young man I long to see is Dane Jesper Wulff Laursen in a Champ Car Atlantic machine. Jesper is champion in the very challenging Scandinavian Formula Renault series and we will see if the times set by Maxi Gôtz will stand in Savannah. One thing is clear for our team, we’re going to win races and contend for titles in 2007.˝

Testing calendar
There will be more sessions added to this calendar for the drivers who want to get their hands on either of these beautiful BMW or Swift racing machines. We still have some openings for those who want to inquire about the upcoming sessions or others that we are about to release.’’

December 14 & 15 Savannah, Georgia
December 21 & 22 MSR Houston, Texas
January 2 & 3 Sebring, Florida
January 6 & 7 Savannah, Georgia
January 13 & 14 MSR Houston, Texas

Jerez: Kovalainen fastest, Bourdais slowest on Day 1 Jerez: Kovalainen fastest, Bourdais slowest on Day 1Heikki Kovalainen topped the times during the first day of the final test of the year at Jerez in Spain today.  Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais ended the day at the bottom of the timesheets after completing 80 laps for Scuderia Toro Rosso. The Frenchman was seven tenths of a second slower than teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:19.467 112
 2. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:19.901 78
 3. Klien Honda (B) 1:20.005 122
 4. Rossiter Honda (B) 1:20.016 97
 5. Fisichella Renault (B) 1:20.104 100
 6. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:20.125 110
 7. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:20.160 74
 8. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:20.209 83
 9. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:20.244 93
10. Montagny Toyota (B) 1:20.493 54
11. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:20.541 88
12. Vettel BMW-Sauber (B) 1:20.575 94
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.859 95
14. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:20.977 121
15. Ammermuller Red Bull-Ferrari (B) 1:21.371 91
16. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (B) 1:21.843 65
17. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Cosworth (B) 1:22.521 80

Team USA scrambles to replace Johnson Team USA scrambles to replace JohnsonUPDATE #2 F1 driver Scott Speed has been announced as the replacement driver for Jimmie Johnson on the USA team for this weekend.  "It was a surprise to be invited, to say the least," said Speed, who made his Formula One debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso earlier this year. "Of course I'm really excited, and I can't wait to race against all these guys."

12/13/06 Former British Touring Car Champion James Thompson will replace Jenson Button for Team Autosport England for this weekend's Race of Champions in Paris after Button's karting accident.

12/12/06 Sam Hornish Jr. declined an invitation to replace Jimmie Johnson on Team USA's entry in the Race of Champions Nations Cup in Paris.
Hornish, the Indy Racing League champion, was contacted by Team USA officials after Johnson broke his wrist in a fall from a golf cart during a celebrity tournament last weekend. The NASCAR star can't drive for at least four weeks.

But Hornish declined the invitation because of short notice, Susan Bradshaw Crowther told The Associated Press. The race is Saturday and the team leaves for Paris on Wednesday.

"Sam would someday love to do the Race of Champions," Crowther said. "But they called two days before he would have had to leave and Sam had other commitments already lined up. The short notice just made it impossible for Sam to accept."

Team USA is still looking for a driver to partner with X-Games champion Travis Pastrana for the race at the Stade de France.  More from AP Article

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE #2 Additional photos of Bourdais in his Toro Rosso test ride:

12/13/06 Some photos of Bourdais in the Toro Rosso.

Bourdais begins test at Jerez
Doornbos' manager denies Toro Rosso talks
Toyota get early start at Jerez test
Brawn's pitwall successor named
Red Bull plan 'new image' for 2007
Klien denies eyeing Barrichello's seat
Lauda unsure about flawed top three
Honda boss plays down Andretti test
Schu swaps Norway retreat for France
Renault tipped to retain 'Laureus' title
Podlesni shows Great Promise Podlesni shows Great PromiseThousand Oaks, Calif. – 2006 Pacific F2000 Champion and Team USA Scholarship winner Robert Podlesni displayed great promise during a recent Champ Car Atlantic test with the PR1 Motorsports team. 

Robert Podlesni, 19, earned an initial test as part of his award for winning the Pacific F2000 Championship.  Podlesni ran two days at Buttonwillow Raceway Park with PR1 Motorsports in the Swift 016a. chassis.  A variety of other Atlantic teams were testing at the same time, allowing the youngster to compare himself against those drivers in the same position, including several with far more experience. 

“I love it!” Podlesni exclaimed.  “The car is different than I anticipated, but it’s just one of the cars you want to drive all day.  I learned so much about the car and really enjoyed working with the team’s engineer, John Hayes.”

With five Atlantic teams present, Podlesni ran some of the fastest times of the entire test.  This stellar performance, allied to his impressive technical feedback, encouraged the Fresno-based PR1 Motorsports team to invite Podlesni back for a further two days of testing at Thunderhill Raceway Park the following week. zzzz

“I’m elated at the fact that the team wanted me to test at Thunderhill,” said Podlesni.  “I’m very excited about the opportunity to further develop my driving skills, while continuing to feel the changes the team is making on the car.”

At Thunderhill, the Atlantic hopeful worked on his consistency, feedback and feel of the new machine.  Podlesni continued his momentum through the two-day test. 

“I’ve learned so much in the past two weeks,” he continued.  “The past few days have truly shown me what a fantastic series the Atlantic Championship is, and I hope to be able to compete here next season.”

“Alpinestars has been very supportive of my racing career.  I hope to solidify additional sponsorship to make sure I will be on the grid for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, the first round of the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, next spring.”

Fry strokes Button's ego Fry strokes Button's egoHonda F1 team boss Nick Fry believes his driver Jenson Button is from the same level as Formula 1 champions Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's new driver Kimi Raikkonen "I believe that Jenson is up there with both Alonso and Raikkonen as the top three," Fry told Reuters. "There's others that will do well from time to time but in terms of consistently high performance he's in the top three without a shadow of a doubt.

"Lewis Hamilton will do extremely well, I have absolutely no doubt about that, but it will probably take a little bit of time," said Fry. "He may do well in the first race but I think we've seen with other younger drivers that it takes a bit of experience to do well in every race. And in order to compete for the championship, you've got to do well in every race."

Buckshot Jones back racing in 2007 Buckshot Jones back racing in 2007DMT Motorsports announced that former NASCAR Cup and Busch driver, Roy "Buckshot" Jones of Gwinnett County, Georgia, will be driving the #01 Southern Division Chevy for Bowen Family Homes in the 2007 Hooters Pro Cup. Buckshot last drove the number #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge for Petty Enterprises in the Nextel Cup Series. Flammer Relations PR
Staying at Penske South wasn't an option Staying at Penske South wasn't an optionCrew chief Matt Borland and driver #44-Dale Jarrett discovered they had something in common after Tuesday's initial get-to-know-you meeting at Michael Waltrip Racing. Both left the four-hour session feeling they had something to prove after a 2006 season in which the struggles of their former teams led to their partnership. Borland didn't sound at all like somebody ready to give up on his job as crew chief for #12-Ryan Newman to join a new organization. He stopped short of saying he was the scapegoat for what was Newman's worst season since he ran his first full Nextel Cup schedule in 2002. "I didn't really decide I needed a change," said Borland, who was named Jarrett's crew chief Friday. "Let's just say it was a mutual ... umm ... it was the best thing for all parties concerned." Borland was replaced for the final two races by Mike Nelson, who has since been named Newman's crew chief for '07. At the time Penske officials said Borland asked for a leave of absence to spend more time with his family. Newman said he hoped Borland would stay on in another capacity such as director of team competition. "It wasn't necessarily an option," he said. ESPN.com
Burton signs with Morgan-McClure Burton signs with Morgan-McClureWard Burton has signed to drive the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports Chevy in 2007 to be sponsored by State Water Heaters. MMM Site
Poole and Snider to Host Sirius’ new NASCAR Show Poole and Snider to Host Sirius’ new NASCAR ShowNASCAR reporter/columnist David Poole, and veteran broadcaster Marty Snider, will be the hosts of a new daily talk show on Sirius NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive."

Starting January 1st, "The Morning Drive" will air every weekday morning from 7am-11am ET on Sirius Satellite Radio's NASCAR Radio (ch 128). Snider and Poole discuss NASCAR's latest news and rumors, interview prominent guests, and take calls from listeners.

David Poole has covered NASCAR for The Charlotte Observer for 10 seasons and is a regular contributor to ThatsRacin.com. Poole is the author of several books on NASCAR, including Race with Destiny: The Race That Changed NASCAR Forever and Tim Richmond: The Fast Life and Remarkable Times of NASCAR's Top Gun.

Snider has covered NASCAR for several media outlets including TNT, NBC, and Motor Racing Network; as well as being CNNSi's NASCAR reporter and a reporter/producer for ESPN's NASCAR Today. Snider is a regular contributor to NASCAR.com and NBCSports.com as a NASCAR Insider.

Texas race gets bigger Texas race gets biggerEverything is bigger in Texas, including the IndyCar Series' stop at Texas Motor Speedway. Speedway and IndyCar Series officials announced 50 kilometers have been added to the Bombardier Learjet 500k beginning in 2007 and the race will now be known as the Bombardier Learjet 550k.

The June 9 race, originally scheduled as a 200-lap event, will be lengthened by 28 laps around the 1.5-mile tri-oval and adds more side-by-side racing that IndyCar Series events are known for at Texas Motor Speedway.  "We always want to give our fans more, and now they are getting 10 percent more with no additional increase in ticket prices," Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said. "I just hope the fans have the energy and can stand more of that action." zzzz

The Bombardier Learjet 550k is slated to begin at begin at 10 p.m. ET and will be telecast on ESPN2. It is one of five prime-time races on the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule.

"Fans dig nighttime races because the cars appear even faster, the temperatures are cooler and strange things seem to happen when the stars come out as darkness falls," Gossage said. "This start time will ensure that the entire event will be run under the lights. It should be magic."

Panther Racing names driver for IPS Panther Racing names driver for IPSSuper Aguri Panther Racing announced today that it has signed 2003 Formula Dream Champion Hideki Mutoh to drive its Indy Pro Series entry for the 2007 season. Mutoh, a 24-year-old from Tokyo, is a veteran of the Formula Ford, Formula Dream, Asian Formula 2000 and the Japanese Formula 3 series. In 2006, Mutoh competed in both Formula Nippon and the Super GT Championship, where he started from the pole and won his final race at Fuji Speedway.

"In addition to Kosuke Matsuura, we're excited to have Hideki Mutoh, who has lot of experience in some of Japan's top racing categories, to our team," Panther Racing CEO and co-owner John Barnes said. "His addition will allow us to return to the Indy Pro Series and strengthen our partnership with Super Aguri. We hope that Hideki adjusts to his new environment quickly, and we look forward to him showing us 100 percent in the races. We've already hired some great people for our IPS program so he's going to be in great hands here at Panther." zzzz

The announcement marks Panther Racing's return to the Indy Pro Series. The team won a dominant championship in 2003 with Mark Taylor, who won seven of the 11 races in which he competed. Mutoh will drive the No. 55 entry, with sponsorship details to be released in the near future.

"I am very excited to race in the Indy Pro Series this year with Super Aguri Panther Racing," Mutoh said. "This year, I was racing in Formula Nippon and Super GT, which are the top categories of Japanese racing. I am very happy to get this great opportunity but at the same time I am very nervous to reach my expectations. Everything will be a new experience for me but I am ready to learn as much as possible, and I will do my best next season."

RCR engine noise irks neighbors RCR engine noise irks neighborsUntil a few months ago, racing the engines at the Richard Childress Racing [#'s 07,29,31,33 in Nextel Cup] garage in Welcome, NC was never a problem, according to residents. Then, the team cleared 10 acres of forest between its buildings and nearby neighborhoods for its expansion. Those trees served as a muffler for the noise. Now that they're gone, people say the noise is unbearable. Some neighbors said the noise rattles their windows. Monday night, the Davidson County Commissioners granted RCR a zoning request that green lights the expansion. While the neighbors were disappointed with the decision, RCR spokesman Bill Patterson said the racing team will plant cypress trees along the back property line to create a buffer. Patterson also said the team has spent $500,000 on reducing noise and will do more. Neighbors said they'd like to see a sound reduction wall. wxii12.com
Champ Car announces rules changes Champ Car announces rules changesINDIANAPOLIS – The 2007 racing season will be a landmark one for the Champ Car World Series with the genesis of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car, a number of new race venues including an historic event in China, and the introduction of new teams and drivers to the nation’s top open-wheel racing series.

The changes will not affect the basic tenets of Champ Car racing, which include providing fair and equal competition for all teams as well as putting on a consistent and exciting event for the fans both at the track and those watching from home. In producing the 2007 Champ Car Rule Book, Champ Car Race Operations made a number of rule changes to ensure that those basic principles would be followed, while also setting the stage for some new and exciting advances for the series.

“This is a very important year for Champ Car, and these rule changes will provide a competitive atmosphere that will allow our world-class teams and drivers to put on a great show for our fans around the world,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “We are always looking for new ways to bring excitement to the series and these rule changes are another positive step toward that goal.” zzzz

The series will introduce standing starts for the Champ Car World Series at venues where the starting procedure can be accommodated in a safe manner. For a standing start, the field will line up in their grid positions where the drivers will see a 15-second board once all cars are in position. A series of red lights will illuminate one-by-one until all the lights are lit, and the race will start once the red lights go out. The standing start is expected to be used in the season-opening Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa.

“This should provide a very exciting start to our races,” said Champ Car Vice-President of Operations Tony Cotman. “Unlike Formula 1 where they have traction or launch control, the success of the standing starts in Champ Car will be up to the skill of the individual drivers. We will do the standing starts wherever the configuration of the track allows us to do so in a safe manner.”

In an effort to promote more on-track action in practice and qualifying sessions, the rules on tire usage during a weekend has been changed. Previously a team could only use four sets of tires during any qualifying session. Now the teams have unlimited use of their weekend allotment during a session, although the rules concerning the mandatory use of one set of alternate Bridgestone Potenzas during a race in still in effect.

The use of spare cars by the teams has been changed as well. Teams now have the sole discretion to use their backup cars, but can only use one car in any practice or qualifying session. In addition, going to a spare car after the primary car has been qualified will result in the forfeiture of the qualifying time for that entry, meaning that a change after warm-up on race day will result in that entry starting from the rear of the field.

In 2007, all Champ Car races will be timed races. The event will begin and will run to a set time limit. As the elapsed time of the race approaches, a signal indicating one lap to go will be displayed to the field, with the race ending upon the next time the leader crosses the start/finish line. The white flag will not be shown from the starter’s stand and will be used more in line with international FIA guidelines around the course.

“As Champ Car grows into more of an international series and with the majority of our driver lineup coming from international road-course backgrounds, we want to update our flagging procedures in kind,” Cotman said. “Not only will it be easier for our drivers to understand, but it will keep us from having to re-educate our course marshals when we conduct international events.”

Kentucky Speedway not likely to receive Cup date Kentucky Speedway not likely to receive Cup dateA handful of NASCAR teams -- Evernham Motorsports chief among them -- will be at Kentucky Speedway this week and next testing for the upcoming season.

Kentucky Speedway is a popular destination by Nextel Cup teams for testing despite the fact it has no Nextel Cup date. The 1.5-mile tri-oval with 14-degree banking plays favorably to other tracks currently on the docket, buts its NASCAR status as a Busch and Craftsman Truck venue-only seems secure for the foreseeable future.

Same for Nashville Superspeedway, Gateway International Raceway or any other current track hoping to get its fill of Cup. It's not going to happen.

Still considered "a good 'ol boy network," NASCAR operates in very much the same manner.

The tracks that make up the Nextel Cup schedule are owned primarily by two powerful entities:

• International Speedway Corp,. a public company controlled by NASCAR's France family, owns 12 tracks and hosts 19 races. California, Daytona, Martinsville, Michigan, Phoenix, Richmond and Talladega are twice-a-year venues.

• Speedway Motorsports Inc., under the thumb of NASCAR giant Bruton Smith, owns six tracks and hosts 10 races a season. Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte and Texas each have two dates.

Of the seven remaining dates on the 36-race schedule, three independently owned tracks -- Dover, Pocono and New Hampshire -- each host two Cup events. zzzz 

In all, 14 tracks on the Nextel Cup schedule have a return engagement. While many might be seen as vulnerable, California has drawn the ire of critics and purists alike the most often.

California's second date replaced a holiday staple of NASCAR, the Labor Day Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The Fontana track's existing date was moved to the second week of the season, formerly occupied by Rockingham.

In the two years California has hosted two events per season, it has struggled to sell out. But the track's proximity to Los Angeles and Hollywood, and NASCAR's continuing reach for diversity -- California Speedway has several Hispanic programs in place -- makes it idealistic.

Kentucky Speedway has several factors going against it despite regular sellouts. In some regards it can be compared to North Carolina Speedway and Darlington, each of which lost races after the 2004 season to Texas and Phoenix.

Rockingham and Darlington, which has been able to hold on to its other race and through expansion seems safe from contraction, are considered small-market. Too small for today's world-wide NASCAR.

Kentucky Speedway is located in Sparta, Ky. Indeed small, but it has three bigger markets from which to pull. And unlike Rockingham, none of those near-by cities have any type of current NASCAR racing.

Kentucky Speedway is a short 35 miles south of Cincinnati, 45 miles west of Lexington, Ky., and 65 miles north of Louisville, Ky. It is estimated that about 7 million people are within 130 miles of the track.

But there in lies another problem. Kentucky Speedway has a grandstand capacity of 66,089. Darlington has plans to expand to 67,000. California has 92,000-plus, filled or not.

NASCAR just isn't ready to hand over a Nextel Cup date these days to a track with a small seating capacity.

Besides, NASCAR has Nextel Cup races in the Midwest. Where it wants races is in the biggest market of them all -- New York City -- and the untapped Northwest region.

And then there's the issue of one-race tracks looking for a second date, most notable of which is Las Vegas. If California was to lose its second date, nearby glitzy Las Vegas would be a logical destination.

Kentucky Speedway is a good little track. And that is its biggest problem. It doesn't have the history of a Martinsville, or the big-city appeal of a Los Angeles, New York or even Seattle.

Which means Kentucky Speedway is destined to remain Busch league. NASCAR.com

Philips Shavers ups Williams F1 sponsorship Philips Shavers ups Williams F1 sponsorshipPhilips Shavers today signed an agreement to increase their 2007 sponsorship commitment with the WilliamsF1 Team, to include on-car branding.

Following a successful trial year in 2006, Philips Shavers has seen a global turnover increase of 15%1 for its shaving line of business since the sponsorship became active and in 2007 will increase its team sponsorship by over 50% and become an on-car sponsor.

Bringing innovation to the category

Andrea Ragnetti CEO Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care and Chief Marketing Officer Royal Philips Electronics commented, “Our primary objective in 2006 was to bring innovation to the category, we did this via two strong electric shaver launches, the Smart-TouchXL and SpeedXL and by investing in the WilliamsF1 Team sponsorship. We want consumers to know that Philips leads the way in terms of technical and product innovation for this category”. In 2006, the Williams F1 team sponsorship platform underpinned all our activities for the shaving business and has created great results”, concluded Andrea Ragnetti. zzzz

Producing a shaving range to support the sponsorship

Producing a WilliamsF1 Team shaver range to support the sponsorship was a key element of the sponsorship activation program. Nico Engelsman, Business Manager Shaving and Senior Vice President Philips DAP said, “It was a calculated risk to develop a formula one specific shaver, but our consumer research tells us our target consumers are focused on product design as much as other considerables such as brand name and price when choosing an electric shaver”. Philips Shavers designed a joint range with the WilliamsF1 engineering and design team and the 7200 shaver has been presented to all key retail partners globally and initial distribution commitment has been consistently positive with sales up by 30% versus initial forecasts.

Business rationale for increased sponsorship

The WilliamsF1 Team and Philips Shavers partnership is a strategic alliance that brings together two companies with similar values and culture. WilliamsF1 is one of the world’s leading Formula One teams and has secured 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles, whilst Philips Shavers holds the number one position in the electrical shaving market. Today, Formula One is the world’s single most popular annual televised sporting event with an average of 162 million TV viewers across the globe per Grand Prix. Philips’ continuing partnership with the WilliamsF1 Team, has been and will be extremely important for global exposure and marketing of the Philips Shavers brand.

Looking towards 2007

In addition to Official Sponsor branding, Philips will be given increased advertising rights including Official Sponsor Designation, use of logo and team imagery, and endorsement rights via both team drivers, Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz. WilliamsF1’s Team Principal Frank Williams said, “We’re delighted that our partnership has been sufficiently successful to grow, extend and increase the program. Both Philips Shavers and the WilliamsF1 Team share a philosophy of advances in innovation, design and technology”.

Montagny starts final Toyota test Montagny starts final Toyota testPanasonic Toyota Racing entered the home stretch for 2006 with the start of its final test of the year at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez in Spain today. The team had the track to itself for the start of a three-day test. Franck Montagny returned to the car and was joined by Toyota Young Driver Program member Kohei Hirate to continue the team's evaluation of the 2007 Bridgestone tires. Montagny and Hirate also worked on suspension set-ups as they continue to draw the maximum performance from the new rubber. As well as tire and set-up work, some software evaluation took place and the drivers also practiced several launches with the target of perfecting starts for 2007.

Franck Montagny said, "Today's running was quite good. I worked well with the car and I am pretty happy with the work we did. We were expecting a few problems today because we were the only ones driving on the track. We thought we would have some graining of the tires but that was not the case. The car worked well and I am pleased because it has improved quite a lot since I drove last Wednesday. We did a couple of long runs today and they seemed to go well, the car is quite steady and now we are looking forward to tomorrow."

tv news
SPEED extends with FIM World Superbike SPEED extends with FIM World SuperbikeSPEED has renewed its contract with FGSPORT®, the organizers and rights holder of the FIM SBK Superbike World Championship®, signing a deal that keeps the high-powered series on the network through 2009. FIM World Superbike was the network’s charter racing series when SPEED went on the air as Speedvision in 1996.

“It’s great to renew our long-standing relationship with the WSBK,” said Rick Miner, SPEED Sr. VP of Production and Network Operation. “We’re looking forward to another great season of racing.”

FGSPORT® CEO Paolo Flammini said: “We are extremely proud to extend our relationship with SPEED. We are sure that the World Superbike Championship will continue to provide unparalleled excitement to the American fans thanks to SPEED’s high-quality broadcasting.”

In 2006, the SBK Superbike World Championship® reached more than two billion contacts worldwide via 95 television networks beamed into 173 countries with more than 3,000 broadcast hours in total for an equivalent media value of $773 million. On SPEED, all SBKTM events have been shown in full, with a total coverage of 40 hours during the 2006 season.

Marino Franchitti Added to Andretti Green Lineup Marino Franchitti Added to Andretti Green LineupAndretti Green Racing announced today that it has signed Scotsman Marino Franchitti to the driver lineup for its XM Satellite Radio-sponsored Acura Courage LC75 LMP2 entry in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

Franchitti, 28 and the younger brother of Andretti Green driver Dario Franchitti, has spent the past six years driving in various sports car-related series. In 2006 he competed in the ALMS where he placed second in the GT2 class at Petit Le Mans; the Grand Am Rolex Series where he piloted a Riley Pontiac Mk IX; and while competing in other international racing series he earned a podium finish at the Spa 24 Hour race as well as a race win at Adria while driving for Scuderia Ecosse. 

Among his highlights in 2005 was an appearance as a works' driver for Panoz at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2004 he captured pole position in the LMP2 category at the ALMS 12 Hours of Sebring and in 2001, his first season of professional racing, he earned eight victories en route to the British GTO Championship. 

A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Franchitti will join fellow XM Satellite Radio driver Bryan Herta in AGR's Acura Courage LMP2 entry. The new ALMS entry features the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by Honda's racing subsidiary Honda Performance Development (HPD) of Santa Clarita, Calif.

Some F1 plans put on hold Some F1 plans put on holdNew rules in Formula One designed to make it easier to overtake will now not be brought into the sport until 2009.   The FIA had put forward proposals to change the designs of the cars which would have made it easier for one to follow another and increased the excitement for the spectators.  The FIA proposed a double-rear-wing system, or CDG, which would increase the cars' drag but a separate study commissioned by the teams came up with different proposals where the front and rear wings would be redesigned.

"It was not clear any of the ideas would work to improve overtaking, so it was agreed to put it off for a year and look into it properly," a source told the BBC.

The situation has been described as 'a complete mess' and further research by both the FIA and the teams is inevitable before a final solution is reached.

Grand Prix of Toronto to Feature CTCC Grand Prix of Toronto to Feature CTCCToronto, Ontario - Furthering its commitment to provide event-goers with even more on-track excitement, the Grand Prix Association of Toronto today announced it will feature the Canadian Touring Car Championship at this year’s Grand Prix of Toronto, July 6, 7 and 8, 2007.

“The Grand Prix of Toronto is a well-recognized part of the city’s sports and cultural scene,” says Charlie Johnstone, president and CEO, Grand Prix Association of Toronto. “The week-long festival of speed is truly a celebration of Canadian pride. With its all-Canadian driver line up, the Canadian Touring Car Championship is a natural fit. The Champ Car World Series and the Champ Car Atlantic Series feature some incredible Canadian racing talent with Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and James Hinchcliffe. We are excited to further showcase Canadian talent by adding the Canadian Touring Car Championship to our on-track line-up.” zzzz

The Canadian Touring Car Championship launched in 2003, and the 2007 season promises to be the best yet. In addition to the Grand Prix of Toronto, the Championship will travel to four different tracks including Mosport International Raceway, Shannonville Motorsport Park and Calabogie Motorsports Park. The Championship provides Canadian race fans with exciting head-to-head competition in three unique classes between some of Canada’s best drivers in today’s hottest sports cars. Touring Class is the entry level category where race cars have engines up to 2.0 liters and up to 200 horsepower. The Super Touring Class includes race cars with engines up to 2.8 liters and up to 300 horsepower. The GT Class is the fastest category where race cars will reach speeds of up to 230 km/h. The excitement lies in the fact that all three categories race at the same time for supremacy in their field.

There are three factory-backed teams including Honda, Mini and Saab, and fans will recognize some of their favorite models from other manufacturers such as Acura, GM, Lexus, Ford, Porsche, Dodge, BMW, Mazda, VW and Nissan. The Championship is sanctioned by Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs Ontario Region Inc. (CASC-OR).

"The Grand Prix of Toronto provides a world-class stage for us to showcase our series,” says John Bondar, president, Canadian Touring Car Championship. “Now in it's fifth year, the Canadian Touring Car Championship provides the opportunity for the fans of the Grand Prix of Toronto to experience our style of racing and meet our home-grown drivers, while giving a tremendous boost to auto racing in this country. As the Championship continues to grow, our participation in the Grand Prix of Toronto demonstrates our commitment to providing excellent value to our promoters, competitors and partners alike."

Benson voted most popular Benson voted most popularJohnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra, knew he would accept his trophy for finishing second in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship standings Sunday evening during the Series awards ceremony at  the Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, Fla.  What Benson did not know was that he would also accept the trophy for the Series’ Most Popular Driver.  After being selected by both the fans and media, Benson captured the coveted award for the first time in his NCTS career.

Benson has been a steady competitor in the Craftsman Truck Series garage for three years.  The NASCAR veteran always has a positive attitude, and his willingness to promote NASCAR and the Truck Series is infectious.  The Grand Rapids, Mich., native has always been a fan favorite and understands that his life-long dream of racing in NASCAR has come true in part due to the support of NASCAR’s devoted fans.

“I am honored to accept this award,” Benson commented.  “This is pretty cool.  Since this award is voted on by the fans and media, it’s a special honor to win.  The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is a great place with great drivers who pour their hearts and souls into putting on a great show for the fans every week.  I am honored to be recognized as a fan favorite and am looking forward to getting back into my Tundra in 2007.”

Benson and the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Tundra team will hit the track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February as they begin their quest to win the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship.

New Honda livery to ’surprise’ - boss New Honda livery to ’surprise’ - boss(GMM)  Honda will "surprise" the racing world with the livery for its 2007 Formula One car, according to Nick Fry.

The Japanese squad's team principal suggested to F1's official website that the unique marketing plan will help fill the void left by departing cigarette sponsor Lucky Strike.

Honda will start the new season without a title sponsor.

"You will not see a car covered in Honda logos, it will be something very different," he said.

The new livery is unlikely to be revealed until shortly before the Australian grand prix in March, Fry added.

"You could say that we will have two launches -- one of the car and one of our new marketing concept," he revealed.

Honda's 'interim' car is presently testing in a striking black livery.

McLaren picks up MP3 sponsor McLaren picks up MP3 sponsorThe McLaren team today announced that it has signed a long-term partnership with Chinese company Aigo. Aigo is the leading MP3 and MP4 player brand from Beijing, China. The company Aigo is the first official Chinese sponsor at McLaren. "I am proud to welcome Aigo as a Partner," said Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group. "Aigo is our first Chinese partner and their association illustrates their confidence that Formula 1 and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes can make a significant contribution to their global expansion. This is an exciting step and we look forward to a successful future together."

"Aigo is very excited about joining Vodafone McLaren Mercedes a team with such a strong global presence," said Jessie Chang, Chief Executive, Aigo Digital Music Net Co.,Ltd . "We are looking forward to using the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes marketing platform to spearhead Aigo's global strategy to make Aigo's MP3 and MP4 players the number one choice of consumers world-wide." The Aigo logo will appear on the cars and race suits at McLaren in 2007.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Injured Button to miss last test of 2006
Bourdais joins race for vacant STR seats
Fisi vows to push for 2007 title
New Red Bull to roll in January
Time is right to leave Ferrari team - Todt
Todt tells Kimi to get drunk 'discretely'
First race to hint at new champ - Wurz
Schu accepts 200kg Ferrari trophy
Hakk tips Alonso to win third title in 2007
2006 test debut for Alonso ruled out
Trouble brewing at Klein Tools Trouble brewing at Klein ToolsRichard T. Klein Jr. had no idea his career at his family's 150-year-old toolmaking company was hanging in the balance when he walked into a Lincolnshire pancake house in August.

The 50-year-old chairman of Klein Tools Inc. — the eighth Klein to lead the firm founded in Chicago in 1857 by a German immigrant blacksmith — was summoned for what he thought would be a routine meeting on Aug. 4 with company attorneys at the Walker Bros. restaurant. He was floored by what happened next.

The lawyers, both longtime advisers and board members, filed in, followed by other directors, including Mr. Klein's brother, Thomas, and cousin Mathias, president of Klein Tools. The lawyers, Mr. Klein says, told him he should resign the post he'd held since 1991. They cited his management style, he says, and said the workplace was stressful. They also said the board would seek an outside CEO for the company, which employs almost 1,000 people.

"I can't describe the shock," says Mr. Klein, who spent 36 years at the family business best known for its sturdy pliers. "If you can imagine someone you trusted your entire work life and all of a sudden hearing words like that, it's just unimaginable." More at ChicagoBusiness.com

VISA signs on as title sponsor for Vegas GP VISA signs on as title sponsor for Vegas GPUPDATE #2 Some photos from today's street demo in downtown Las Vegas:

(l-r back row) Brad Yonover, Vegas Grand Prix owner, Richard Ramirez, President and CEO of First Data Independent Sales Fresno by Cardservice International, and Dale Jensen, Vegas Grand Prix Owner. Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel (foreground)

Photos courtesy PCM/LAT

12/11/06 Here is a full transcript of today's announcement for the Vegas Grand Prix. The discussion did briefly sway away from the Vegas race and Champ Car President Steve Johnson was asked about Paul Stoddart and car count for 2007. He said, "I'm going to meet with Mr. Stoddart later this week. Car counts are looking healthy. We're looking at somewhere between 20 and 24 cars. There's a lot of deals being finalized right now. I meet with Mr. Stoddart in Indianapolis later this week."

12/11/06 LAS VEGAS – Officials from Vegas Grand Prix and First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International, a processor for Visa credit cards, announced Monday that the event planned for April 6-8 in downtown Las Vegas will now be called Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa as part of a multi-year, multi-city partnership between the two entities.

Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa owners Bradley Yonover and Dale Jensen said the partnership agreement with First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International, a company that processes credit card transactions for Visa nationwide, is for a minimum of three years and includes other partnership opportunities with subsidiaries of their company, DDB Ventures.

“We are beyond pleased with First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International and their partner Visa becoming such an integral member of the team for the Vegas Grand Prix,” said Yonover, co-owner of Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa. “Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa will be three days of speed and entertainment, unlike anything the city has seen before. The addition of Visa and First Data is a huge boost to an already strong event.”

“The Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa is about innovation and First Data will be providing ticketing technology that is a first in this type of sporting event,” said Jensen, who is a partner with Yonover in DDB Ventures, the company that owns the event. “We’ll now be wireless on all on-site transactions, from tickets to t-shirt purchases, the weekend of the event.” zzzz

“At First Data, we are about speed, efficiency and advancing technology. The Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa exemplifies these qualities,” said Richard Ramirez, president and chief executive officer of First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International. “By partnering with the grand prix, we get the opportunity to showcase how our technology can accommodate our customers’ transactions at work and at play in the most unlikely of environments.”

First Data will showcase their credit card processing capabilities using wireless transaction technology that will be at the forefront of all consumer transactions in the next five years, Ramirez said. The V-610 Verifone processor, an exclusive technology from Verifone, will enable customer service agents to operate and process all credit card transactions wirelessly during the Vegas Grand Prix.

Tickets for Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa are on sale beginning today. After higher than anticipated demand for pre-sale tickets, additional seating has been added to the venue and is now available for purchase.

“The demand for tickets during our pre-sale has been fantastic,” said Jim Freudenberg, president and chief executive officer of the Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa. “Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa is continuing to evolve and it’s going to be one incredible weekend of entertainment and technology.”

Ticket prices range from $12 for a one-day general admission ticket to $1,350 for the VIP Hospitality Club three-day ticket with numerous price points in between. If you wait to purchase at the gate, ticket prices begin at $14. Complete ticket purchase options including ticketing and handling fees can be found at www.vegasgrandprix.com or by calling 877.795.RACE (7223). Customers outside of the United States or Canada can purchase tickets by calling 610.854.1799 (country code 1) or by visiting the event’s Web site.

To purchase tickets, for event and volunteer information, visit www.vegasgrandprix.com.

About Vegas Grand Prix
The internationally televised Vegas Grand Prix will cap an action-packed, three-day festival of speed and entertainment held April 6-8, 2007 on and around Fremont Street. The weekend will incorporate major rock concerts, a championship boxing match, celebrity poker tournament, Easter Sunrise Services and an impressive Easter egg hunt culminating in the 2007 series opener for the Champ Car World Series.

The race will be held on a 2.44-mile temporary street circuit through the heart of “Glitter Gulch” in downtown Las Vegas. Champ Cars generate nearly 750 horsepower and can reach speeds up to 180 miles per hour on a street course. It is expected to be one of the largest events in the history of downtown Las Vegas.

Todt’s son now Bourdais’ manager Todt’s son now Bourdais’ manager3-Time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has signed on with Nicolas Todt to manage his career. Todt is the son of Ferrari President Jean Todt and it was Todt who arranged the Toro Rosso test this week. Bourdais has confirmed that he will race in Champ Car in 2007, but after that he is open to an F1 move if the right opportunity arises.
Industry News
Audi to invest $15.7 billion Audi to invest $15.7 billionAudi AG, the luxury automaker owned by Volkswagen AG, said today it plans to invest $15.7 billion through 2011 and expand its line of models to 40 from the current 22.  “Investments in new models and product innovation is the life force of any enterprise,” said Rupert Stadler, the company’s incoming chief executive. “Only with attractive products can we ensure our success as a business.”
SPEED To Air 14 ARCA RE/MAX Series Events in 2007 SPEED To Air 14 ARCA RE/MAX Series Events in 2007SPEED, the worldwide leader in motorsports television coverage, has announced coverage of 14 ARCA RE/MAX Series races in 2007, each scheduled for live or same-day delayed broadcast to a national television audience.

"SPEED Channel and ARCA have a strong relationship dating back to 1997," said Rick Miner, SPEED Sr. VP of Production & Network Operations/Executive Producer. "The ARCA RE/MAX Series provides great racing with wonderful storylines, already scoring some of the best motorsports ratings on the network. With 14 races in 2007, most of which are live, we believe the fans will support this series like never before. We expect this to be a classic 'win-win' for ARCA and SPEED."

2007 broadcast coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series will begin on Saturday afternoon, February 10 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with live, flag to flag coverage of the 44th annual Daytona ARCA 200 season opener. zzzz 

In addition to Daytona, events scheduled for coverage in ’07 include both at Toledo Speedway on May 20 and October 14 and both at Pocono Raceway on June 9 and August 4. Kansas Speedway on April 27, Iowa Speedway on June 2, Michigan Int’l Speedway on June 15, Kentucky Speedway on July 13, Nashville Superspeedway on August 11, the Milwaukee Mile on August 26, Gateway Int’l Raceway on August 31, Chicagoland Speedway on September 8 and Talladega Superspeedway on October 5 will complete the coverage.

“The 2007 broadcast schedule will provide fans of the ARCA RE/MAX Series a great opportunity to view the series from a variety of first-class venues,” said Mark Gundrum, ARCA VP of Marketing & Communications. “From the short-tracks of Toledo Speedway, to state of the art facilities like Kentucky, Nashville and Chicagoland, right up to the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega, fans will get a unique look at the diversity in this series. Having 14 events scheduled for live or same-day delayed broadcast is quite a statement, especially in the current television environment.”

SPEED, currently available in 75 million households in North America, will once again serve as the exclusive broadcast partner for the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2007. Dating back to 1997, SPEED has aired a total of 134 ARCA RE/MAX Series events.

Dish Network Sponsoring Roush Dish Network Sponsoring RoushRoush Racing announced today that Dish Network has signed on as a primary sponsor in the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup Series, with additional status as an associate sponsor on all Roush entries. Dish Network will have a team representative in all 35 Busch Races in 2007, alternating between four Roush Busch teams. Greg Biffle will drive the #16 DISH Network Ford in five Nextel Cup races in 2007, the first of which will be at Pocono in June. When Dish Network is not featured as a primary sponsor, they will appear on each NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series entry as an associate sponsor. Mark Martin will kick off the season for Dish Network in the February Daytona Busch race. Martin will be behind the wheel of the Dish Network Ford twice in 2007, the second of which will be the spring Texas race. The remaining "Dish All-Stars" will split time behind the wheel throughout the season. American Digital Networks
Jimmie Johnson breaks wrist, to miss ROC Jimmie Johnson breaks wrist, to miss ROCUPDATE The Citrus County Chronicle reported that Johnson was laying on the roof of the cart when he fell.  Like we said below, we heard he was horsing around when he fell.

12/10/06 Jimmie Johnson, who won his first Nextel Cup championship this season and just celebrated at the sport's annual awards banquet in New York City, broke his left wrist during a celebrity charity golf tournament in Florida, team officials confirmed Sunday. The injury was on Johnson's left side - the non-shifting one - and he is expected to be cleared to drive by doctors in about four weeks, before the start of preseason testing at Daytona Beach, Fla., officials said.  

Johnson will not be able to compete in the Race of Champions Nations Cup at the Stade de France in Paris next weekend. Johnson, who teamed with Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards to win the Nations Cup in 2002, said he will still travel to Paris as a consultant for Team USA.

He was scheduled to team with X-Games champion Travis Pastrana in Paris. A replacement for Johnson was not immediately announced.

Contrary to reports, we hear Johnson broke his wrist much like Paul Tracy got hurt, by fooling around on a golf cart trying to jump something.

Mi-Jack Conquest team to test South African Mi-Jack Conquest team to test South AfricanIndianapolis, Indiana – After completing a two day test at the end of November at the MSR Houston circuit, the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team will be returning to the MSR track tomorrow and Wednesday for more post-season testing. In the Conquest Champ Car Team’s Lola will be South African A1GP race car driver Stephen Simpson.

“Stephen’s a good young driver who demonstrated his talent in the A1GP series this past season and we wanted to give him the opportunity to drive a Champ Car and to show his skills in one of these cars,” said Eric Bachelart co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team. The test will bring back some memories for Bachelart as he drove for Simpson’s agent Robert Synge back when he had the Madgwick Racing Team.

This test will also mark Simpson’s first time in a Champ Car. In the past couple of years he has raced in A1GP, Atlantics and Formula Renault. zzzz

“I’m excited about driving a Champ Car. I think it’s such a great Series and with the new car coming in next year, it should make it even more interesting,” said Simpson. “My main goal right now is to drive in the Champ Car Series in ’07 and I am very thankful to the Conquest Team for giving me my first chance aboard their Lola at the MSR track.”

After participating in three Champ Car Atlantic races in 2006 with Gelles Racing, where he placed as high as fifth in Monterrey, Mexico, Stephen Simpson pulled out early of the Series to concentrate all of his energy on the upcoming A1GP season where he was named joint number one driver with Adrian Zaugg for Team South Africa. In the inaugural A1GP season, Simpson drove in nine races, capturing the pole position in Monterrey, Mexico and finishing third in Dubai. He was also named “Most Improved Driver” by the A1 Team bosses.

The South African participated in the British Formula Renault Championship in 2005 with Team JLR where he scored three podium finishes. In 2004, he was the Vice Champion in the British Formula Renault Winter Series and from 2000 to 2003, Simpson competed in different series such as the Formula Renault Eurocup, the British Formula Ford as well as the South Africa Formula Ford where he was crowned National Champion.

There might also be an extra incentive for Simpson to drive in the Champ Car World Series in 2007. Negotiations are underway for all Champ Car races to be televised in South Africa. It would be the first time that the Series would be broadcast live in the African continent.

Brandon Whitt To Run For ROY Brandon Whitt To Run For ROYCJM Racing is supplying a car for Brandon Whitt to compete in the 2007 NEXTEL Cup Series. Whitt has been selected to drive the #72 Chevrolet with tentative sponsorship from Dutch Quality Stone. The former Craftsman Truck Series driver made his Cup debut with the #72 in November at Phoenix. He failed to make the field in the series finale at Homestead. Whitt finished in the top 20 in the 2004 and 2005 Craftsman Truck Series point standings. He will be running for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year honors as well.
NASCAR teams testing at Kentucky NASCAR teams testing at KentuckySeveral NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch series teams are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway this month, according to the track's online schedule.  From the Nextel Cup Series, driver Ward Burton is scheduled to test for Morgan-McClure Motorsports on Tuesday, Jamie McMurray is scheduled to test for Roush Racing on Wednesday, and Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs will test for Evernham Motorsports on Friday. Kasey Kahne is scheduled to test for Evernham on Dec. 18, and Dave Blaney is scheduled to test for Bill Davis Racing on Dec. 20.  From the Busch Series, Justin Diercks will test for ML Motorsports this Wednesday.  Fans can watch testing from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge, but the track cautions that the schedule is subject to change.
Champ Car signs PC-based racing sim deal Champ Car signs PC-based racing sim dealIndianapolis, IN, - The Champ Car World Series has signed a 3-year license agreement with Costa Mesa, California based Virtual-E Corporation to develop a premium CCWS PC-based racing simulation system that will be available for fans to try and buy during major races starting with in April 2007.

This system will employ the VirtualGT Professional Racing Simulator, which uses intense sound and vibration to reproduce the feeling of driving a real Champ Car, coupled with custom racing simulation software created by iDT Simulations, LLC. iDT has been recognized over the past six years as the premier Champ Car racing software development team. Now, as a division of Virtual-E Corp., iDT will focus its international team on creating the most authentic Champ Car racing experience by optimizing the software for use with VirtualGT's precision controls, high resolution graphics, and amazing sound system.

Anyone with a modern PC can become a Champ Car driver right in their living room!

This software will be available to try and purchase starting with the Long Beach Grand Prix in April 2007. Fans can also pick up a free demo CD at the VirtualGT Racing Center in the Expo Hall or download it from CCWS and sponsors' websites.

Later in the 2007 season, Virtual-E and iDT will offer an add-on pack for the full 2007 Season with all team cars and all tracks, as well as a special lower priced version of VirtualGT so any fan can take home the incredible simulation system that they experience at the events. Virtual-E Corp. PR

Bourdais finally gets F1 test Bourdais finally gets F1 testSebastien Bourdais will drive a Scuderia Toro Rosso car during the team's scheduled three day test at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain, which runs from 13 to 15 December.

The 27 year old Frenchman has won the Champ Car series for the past three years. His test with Scuderia Toro Rosso has been endorsed by the Newman/Haas team with whom Bourdais wants to defend his Champ Car title in 2007.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Button misses British award
McLaren confirm contract to supply ECUs

'07 is 'last chance' for Fisi - Bell
Japanese duo has F1 future - Aguri Suzuki
'07 tires to challenge F1 teams
GPDA threatens test boycott
Toso's cancer struggle inspired Briatore
Schu denies F1 comeback, again
Villeneuve inks conditional NASCAR deal
v8 Supercars
Rick Kelly retains V8 title Rick Kelly retains V8 titleRick Kelly is now officially the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship Series Drivers' Champion, after a Confederation of Australian Motor Sport review into the incident between he and Craig Lowndes on lap two of the final race at yesterday's Caterpillar Grand Finale ruled in favor of the Toll HSV Dealer Team driver.

"I am certainly glad it is all over and the decision has been made. We have worked hard all year for this and the team deserved this championship," said a pleased Kelly.

Q and A with Renault’s Alain Dassas Q and A with Renault’s Alain Dassas
Q: Mr. Dassas, what assessment would you make of the team's sporting record in 2006?

Alain Dassas, Renault F1 president: "The Renault F1 Team has become double world champions for the second consecutive year: it would have been hard for them to do better!

"I think it is important to say that results like these owe nothing to chance. They have been planned and constructed to meet a pre-defined strategy. We have hit our targets."

Q: This championship saw many ups and downs for Renault. What are your stand-out memories?

Dassas: "Firstly, I was struck by the team's incredible start to the season. We were clearly better prepared than our competitors, and there are many good memories from that period.

"For example, the win in Barcelona and the welcome from the crowd were wonderful to see, just like the stands full of blue and yellow in Magny-Cours.

"Then our rivals began catching us, piece by piece, and the situation became more tense. Among the bad memories, I will remember the qualifying incident in Monaco, Fernando's penalties from the stewards in Budapest and Monza, and the mass damper affair." zzzz

Q: How did the latter incident affect the team?

Dassas: "The Federation's decision, which we accepted and adhered to, had several impacts. Firstly, a significant performance loss. Secondly, it disrupted our development program. And, finally, it cost the team a significant amount of money, because we had to re-optimize the car by designing, approving and producing new parts.

"That could have had an effect on our motivation, but the team's effective response inspired great respect. Be it at Enstone or Viry, they worked night and day to solve the problems we encountered through the season. And when I say night and day, that isn't just a figure of speech..."

Q: You conquered Ferrari, a legendary name in motorsport. Is beating this team more important than beating any other?

Dassas: "I think it has a greater impact with the general public. It really hits home, which is positive for us. But we also beat many other manufacturers: Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Toyota. That sends a clear message. If we can do better than them on the track, we can do better on the road as well"

Q: You have mentioned the general public. Have you been surprised by their reaction to the double championship?

Dassas: "Yes. The response seems to me more positive than in 2005 and it has come from a wide range of people. There was such suspense towards the end that it drew in many new spectators.

"Everybody got excited by the battle between Alonso and Schumacher, and Renault and Ferrari. During the final stages of the year, the audience figures were sometimes 40% higher than a year ago. I also think Renault has built genuine sporting credibility over these years.

"That's why the number of blue and yellow caps and flags has been constantly growing at circuits around the world. This year, according to my information, distributors have sold more models of Renaults than Ferraris..."

Q: Unlike other teams in the paddock, there is almost a familial atmosphere at Renault...

Dassas: "It is familial and close-knit, and that struck me immediately. There is a real connection between the team members. I saw it best during the difficult times: people didn't look to blame an individual, rather all wanted to solve the problem. The drivers and the factories at Viry and Enstone all work as one team. They know they rely on each other to succeed."

Q: There are also very close links between the team and its partners...

Dassas: "The relationships with partners such as Elf and Michelin are exemplary. We have shared joy and disappointment as one, while Mild Seven also made a significant financial contribution to our success. And now, we are turning a new page. Next year, we will welcome ING and use Bridgestone tires. That will be the start of a new adventure."

Q: In budgetary terms, did the titles come at a high price in 2006?

Dassas: "Our budget in 2006 was equivalent to that we had last year. Logically, therefore, it remained the fifth-largest on the grid! When he took the decision to continue in Formula One, Mr. Ghosn spoke of three criteria: first-rate performances, effective use of the positive impact on the brand image and reduced costs.

"That will be the case in 2007, as the new engine regulations will allow all competitors to make savings. It will be our job to minimize the consequences of these changes, most especially on a human level."

Q: What's more, Renault will supply engines to Red Bull Racing in 2007...

Dassas: "Yes. That will allow us to maintain a higher level of engine activity, to increase our earnings and to improve the show as another team will be racing with a competitive, high technology engine."

Q: How will Renault capitalize on the world championships, in the short and medium term?

Dassas: "Firstly, we were ready for them this year, whereas in 2005 we were a little slow getting started. A worldwide communications and advertising campaign was launched the day after the titles were won.

"Our message is simple, and consists of the links between F1 and our production vehicles: in essence, that our on-track performances reflect what we can do on the road. Both worlds share the values of reliability, quality and performance.

"Secondly, our repeated success improves Renault's image, and brings it a sportier, more technology-driven character, and helps improve brand awareness around the globe.

"And finally, it unites and motivates the personnel of Renault Group. The whole Groups supports the F1 team, and is delighted with these titles."

Q: Will we also see sportier products?

Dassas: "Naturally. Currently, we are selling sports versions of two current models: Clio and Megane. Among the 26 models that will be launched in the next three years, we will have one or two sporty products; we are also debating a more focused sporting product, but that will not come immediately. Overall, we want to improve our entire range, in terms of product profile and quality."

Q: Finally, you are losing an exceptional champion this winter...

Dassas: "That's true. Fernando Alonso is a worthy champion who fully deserves his titles. He has been a member of the Renault family for five years, and we are proud of that. I am sure we will remain close in the future... but we also want to defend our titles!

"Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella will bring us a blend of youth and experience. 2007 will be a year of change for Renault and our rivals. It is up to us to get the maximum from it."

Highlights of first Honda test online Highlights of first Honda test onlineA nearly seven-minute video highlighting the first test of the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola LMP2 entry is now available on the ALMS Podcast Page.

The clip offers thoughts from Honda Performance Development's Robert Clarke and team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez on their involvement with the American Le Mans Series, the work that went into the development and testing of the Acura LMP2 engine and finally the excitement and joy of the first on-track session in August. A written recap also is available online.

Also on the Podcast Page is a clip of some of the best outtakes from the 2006 season. ALMS

Sheikh Maktoum ditches remaining A1GP shares Sheikh Maktoum ditches remaining A1GP sharesAs first announced on 29 September, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum has completed the sale of his entire shareholding in A1GP to the RAB Special Situations (Master) Fund managed by RAB Capital plc having seen his vision of a nation versus nation motor racing series brought to life.
The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, consolidates RAB Capital’s position as the largest institutional shareholder in A1GP.
Stepping down as Chairman and Director of A1GP, Sheikh Maktoum said, ‘With RAB Capital's financial expertise and ability to appoint additional management, I am confident that A1GP will attain a new level of excellence. I wish A1GP, RAB and the series every success in the future.’
Commenting on the acquisition, Philip Richards, Chief Executive Officer of RAB Capital said, ‘We believe that A1GP will fulfill its promise as the exciting world cup of motorsport where driver skill is all important, as national teams compete for the world championship without the distortion of a different manufacturer for each team. The popularity of the series continues to grow throughout the World and importantly, Asia, where this exciting sport matches the aspirations of billions of citizens across half the planet.’
PCM Wraps Up Lola Testing, Heads to Vegas PCM Wraps Up Lola Testing, Heads to VegasOxnard, California – Pacific Coast Motorsports completed two-days of testing at Fontana Friday. It was the third Champ Car test for drivers Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel, using the Rocketsports Lola.

As preparations continue for their debut in the 2007 Champ Car World Series, Pacific Coast Motorsports spent the last month working with the Rocketsports team, logging over 1500 miles of testing at the Houston Motorsports Ranch and California Speedway.

PCM used the Fontana test which took place on Thursday and Friday to simulate a race weekend, “We used the race weekend simulation to give ourselves smaller parameters to work within, for example to getting used to a new track before qualifying,” said team manager, Michael Harvey.

“We did some long runs on Thursday and also a simulated a qualifying session.  Friday, the focus was more race-day orientated, we did a warm-up and then Alex and Ryan completed the 80-lap race distance, which included pitstops. We accomplished what we set out for, which included tire strategies, fuel conservation and driver orientation and we are very happy with the outcome.”  zzzz

Harvey continued, “This concludes our testing program with Rocketsports and we would like to thank Phil Howard and all of the Rocketsports guys for accommodating us.  This was a huge help for our engineers and drivers, we accumulated about 1500 miles per driver and we feel ready to move for with the new Panoz with the rest of the Champ Car teams.”  PCM will take delivery of their shiny new 2007 Champ Car’s in the coming weeks.

The LA Auto Show:  Figge and Dalziel spent Saturday at the LA Auto show, signing autographs for fans at the Long Beach Grand Prix booth. The drivers generated extra interest by the auto show attendees as they were filmed enjoying private tours of the show’s featured vehicles, including the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the Bugatti.

Vegas Debut: Las Vegas will get its first taste of the Vegas Grand Prix Monday, when Champ Car drivers Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel participate in the announcement of the Vegas Grand Prix’s title sponsor.  Figge and Dalziel will light up the streets Monday morning, driving the #28 and #29 Lolas on a portion of the actual Vegas Grand Prix circuit at the Casino Center on 4th Street and Ogden.  In addition, Figge and Dalziel will be signing autographs from 1:00 – 2:00 pm on Freemont Street and 3rd street in front of the 3rd street stage.

A1GP point standings after Indonesia race A1GP point standings after Indonesia raceUPDATE Updated below due to the disqualification of the Dutch team.

1 Germany 48
2 Great Britain 36
3 Mexico 34
4 France 32
5 New Zealand 31
6 Malaysia 30
7 Italy 26
8 Canada 22
9 Switzerland 20
10 USA 20
11 Czech Republic 20
12 Australia 18
13 Netherlands 17
14 South Africa 13
15 China 8
16 Brazil 5
17 Singapore 3
18 Indonesia 1
19 Ireland 1
Dutch team disqualified Dutch team disqualifiedA1 Team Netherlands has been excluded from the results of the Gudang Garam A1GP Sentul, Indonesia Feature race. Following an A1GP Stewards' enquiry, it was ruled that the team did not respect the pit stop procedure and made its mandatory pit stop outside the pit stop window, which was between laps eight and 20. The team was found to be in breach of article 219 of the A1GP Sporting Regulations.
tv news
Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era debuts on ESPN2 Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era debuts on ESPN2UPDATE Reminder: The premiere episode of this show will be aired Sunday night, December 10.

12/04/06 NASCAR fans will get inside access to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team Michael Waltrip Racing in the all new television series Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era, part of ESPN2 Garage, debuting this Sunday, Dec. 10, at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode, documentary television series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

In the premiere episode, Waltrip breaks ground at his new fabrication shop and announces to his staff that ESPN2 will document all of the exciting developments for the new race team. He also visits Toyota Racing Development to see the new Toyota Camry stock car and Toyota executives explain why the company is partnering with the team and entering NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing. zzzz

“This show was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to build a race team and give the fans an inside look into everything that goes into it,” said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner. “From hiring the crew, to applying information about rules and competition, and seeing how it all comes together - that’s what this story is about.”

An accomplished NASCAR driver with four career NASCAR Nextel Cup wins, including two Daytona 500 wins, one NASCAR All-Star Challenge victory and 11 NASCAR Busch Series wins, Waltrip takes on the daunting task of creating a new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team with new manufacturer, Toyota, with just months before their NEXTEL Cup Camry debuts in the Daytona 500. In June 2006, Michael Waltrip Racing opened its new race shop in Mooresville, N.C., and the rookie race team has been hard at work building and perfecting the first 200-mph Toyota Camry. 

“The creation of Michael Waltrip Racing is a tremendous undertaking and we’ve got a lot of people invested in seeing us grow and succeed,” added Waltrip. “The 2007 season is when we open the curtains on the world and everyone will get the chance to see what we’ve been doing this last year. Not only are we working hard, but we’re working smart. Starting Dec. 10, fans can follow the story just like I’ve been living it the last year.”

Waltrip is challenged to find sponsors, hire his entire crew and two drivers, and build a fleet of race cars – giving viewers the true-life drama of creating a new championship race team.

"This is a series that will give NASCAR fans real insight into the complex process of assembling a racing team,” said ESPN senior director of programming and acquisitions Julie Sobieski. “It will be educational and informative but with a personality like Michael Waltrip involved, it will also be very entertaining."

Air Times:
Airdate                       Time
12/10/06                     10 p.m. ET
12/10/06                     11 p.m. ET
12/17/06                     11 p.m. ET
12/24/06                     11 p.m. ET
01/07/07                     10 p.m. ET
01/07/07                     11 p.m. ET
01/21/07                     11 p.m. ET
01/28/07                     11 p.m. ET
02/11/07                     11 p.m. ET
02/18/07                     11 p.m. ET
July – tbd                    final episode

ESPN2 will become the motorsports destination for fans with more than 500 hours of motorsports programming in 2007.

New Yorkers drive NASCAR out of town New Yorkers drive NASCAR out of townUPDATE #3 Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly 77 WABC-AM radio show that ISC pulled out of the NY City project because it couldn't recruit a single local political figure to advocate for the track. Bloomberg sympathized and said he came up against the same obstacle.  "Everybody on Staten Island -- I kept looking for support, I spoke at length to the Staten Island Advance over a period of a year, and to all the elected officials," he said. "Everybody was against it."

12/05/06 This is a related article that talks about NY Politicians being too much for NASCAR to overcome.

12/05/06 ISC's decision to call off the plan was immediately trumpeted as a "monumental victory for the people of Staten Island," by New York City Council Minority Leader James S. Oddo.  "For months, many a Staten Islander thought this project was a `done deal,' " Oddo said. "In the end, the interests of Staten Islanders as expressed in an earnest and unwavering fashion ... prevailed.  After all was said and done, NASCAR was simply an inappropriate fit for S.I."

12/04/06 On the heels of NASCAR's big awards banquet in Manhattan Friday night, ("ISC") today announced its decision to discontinue pursuit of a speedway development on Staten Island. The Company will explore alternative strategies for the 676-acre parcel of land it currently owns in the borough. ISC had been evaluating the feasibility of developing a motorsports entertainment facility on Staten Island since late 2004. This study focused on a number of key project components such as:

- Evaluating the potential for securing the necessary land-use change and permitting approvals;

- Analyzing the potential requirements and related costs that would be imposed on the project as conditions of any approvals received;

- Further analyzing the potential economic model for the speedway development, including construction and other costs; and,

- Determining the level of available public incentives for the development.

The decision to discontinue speedway development efforts has been driven by a variety of factors, including: zzzz

- The inability to secure the critical local political support that is necessary to secure the required land-use change approvals for a speedway development;

- Even if ISC had secured the necessary political support, it became apparent that the Company would have been faced with unacceptable approval requirements, including operational restrictions that would have made the facility difficult to operate and a significant challenge to market;

- The increased risk that these unacceptable approval requirements could result in higher construction spending and annual operating costs, which would have a significant negative impact on the financial model for the speedway development.

"While we are disappointed that we could not complete the speedway development on Staten Island, our enthusiasm for the metropolitan New York market is in no way dampened and we continue to view the region as a prime location for a major motorsports facility," said ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. "We clearly believe that if we had been able to proceed through the full public process, the significant benefits this project represents would have generated a more positive reaction. However, based on the results of our feasibility study, specifically the lack of political support and unacceptable land-use approval requirements, we have determined it is in the best long-term interest of ISC to discontinue the Staten Island speedway development and pursue other strategic alternatives for the property."

The Company will immediately begin to research and develop market demand studies to assist in the evaluation of various alternative strategies, including potentially selling the property in whole or in parts, or developing the property with a third party for some other use. ISC believes the value of the property will be in excess of $100 million once it is filled and ready for sale.

"Despite the political challenges we experienced," continued Kennedy, "we appreciate the support from a variety of groups on Staten Island including the business, civic and residential communities to bring a speedway to the area. Due to the considerable interest and support for NASCAR racing in the region, we remain committed to the pursuit of a motorsports entertainment facility development in the nation's number one media market. We believe a facility in this area represents a significant long-term opportunity for our company, and is one component of several broader strategic growth opportunities ahead for ISC. We look forward to our continued success in achieving these opportunities and sharing our progress in the future." prnewswire.com

Yates Signs Rudd For No. 28 Car Yates Signs Rudd For No. 28 CarAfter nearly a year off from NASCAR Nextel Cup racing, Ricky Rudd and Robert Yates have agreed to join forces once again. Rudd, 50, replaces Dale Jarrett, his former teammate at Robert Yates Racing for three seasons starting in 2000. Jarrett has since joined Michael Waltrip Racing. Butch Hylton will continue in his role as the Yates team's crew chief.
NASCAR Mexico Corona Series to Debut in 2007 NASCAR Mexico Corona Series to Debut in 2007NASCAR announced today its newest international racing series. Under a licensing agreement with NASCAR, the Desafio Corona Series – the No. 1 stock car racing series in Mexico – will become the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series in 2007. The re-launch of this series expands NASCAR’s presence in Mexico and supports NASCAR’s commitment to Mexico and the international motorsports community.

“By further incorporating the series under the NASCAR brand and competition structure, we hope to create a natural bridge for teams and drivers to grow and participate in the NASCAR system,” said Robbie Weiss, NASCAR Managing Director, International.

The series was originally founded in 2004, in conjunction with the OCESA and NASCAR partnership to form NASCAR Mexico. NASCAR Mexico is a local base of operations, which oversees sponsorship, licensing and marketing for the NASCAR and NASCAR Mexico brands in Mexico.  OCESA, a subsidiary of CIE, the leading live entertainment company in Latin America, also stages the NASCAR Busch Series event in Mexico City. zzzz

In 2006, the Desafio Corona Series consisted of a 14-race schedule at oval tracks and road courses throughout Mexico, including seven of its largest cities: Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla, Zacatecas, Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi and Queretaro. Under the OCESA/NASCAR partnership, the Series has witnessed significant growth in its first few seasons and the Series is Mexico’s premier national motorsports property with more than 100,000 spectators attending events annually. The Series competitors race stock cars similar to those used in Late Model classes at short tracks in the U.S., with fiberglass composite bodies and spec engines.

“This is great news for everybody who is involved in motorsports in Mexico,” commented Edgar Matute, director of national racing for OCESA. “The branding of our series, now the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series, is not only the result of years of hard work, but also the reward to our teams and sponsors for their support and the beginning of a new era of prosperity in our sport. Under NASCAR’s guidance, we will be able to grow our series with their experience to ensure a bright future, opening new business opportunities for our motorsports family.”

Several drivers have successfully made the transition from this series into NASCAR racing in the U.S., including the 2005 Desafio Corona Series champion, Jorge Goeters, who claimed the Busch Pole award for the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City and made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen International in 2005.

Another series driver, Ruben Pardo, competed in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series in 2006. He won the season finale at Lime Rock Park and the 2006 Busch East Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. Pardo, who drives for a team co-owned by NASCAR Busch Series owner Armando Fitz and Mexican racing champion Carlos Contreras, was invited to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, where he finished 21st in the field of 30 all-star drivers. Rogelio Lopez, the 2006 Desafio Corona Series champion, has also competed in the Busch East Series.

The 2007 NASCAR Mexico Corona Series is scheduled to debut at the renowned Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City the weekend of March 2, along with the NASCAR Busch Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series. All NASCAR Mexico Corona Series events are broadcast live in Mexico, on Televisa, and throughout Latin America on SPEED Latin America.  

Former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Chad Little, who has worked as NASCAR’s director of racing development, Mexico since 2005, will continue to provide competition support for the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series.

“It’s great to see so many talented drivers gaining new opportunities to compete in NASCAR,” said Little. “The NASCAR Mexico Corona Series will be a great venue for the best drivers in Mexico to compete and showcase their talents. It’s an exciting time to be a part of NASCAR Mexico and build this new series.” NASCAR PR

V8 Supercars
Ford dismayed at Phillip Island controversy Ford dismayed at Phillip Island controversyFord have pronounced themselves unhappy with the sportsmanship shown over the Grand Finale weekend of the V8 Supercar Championship at Phillip Island, claiming they and Craig Lowndes had their title taken away from them unfairly.

Referring to the accident between title protagonists Lowndes and Rick Kelly who were neck and neck going into the final race of the season, Ford Racing manager Ray Price insists that they are disappointed to have lost the championship in such contentious circumstances.

Indeed, despite stewards deeming Kelly's drive-through penalty for tipping Lowndes out the title reckoning as sufficient, Triple Eight and Ford are already challenging that decision meaning Kelly is only champion provisionally for the moment.

"It's a disappointing way to finish what has been one of the best years on the track for Ford," said Price. "We can't be disappointed that we lost the championship. But we can feel disappointed that it was taken away." zzzz

However, beyond the high-profile clash, Price also flagged up the penalties involving Mark Skaife in the first race of the weekend and Garth Tander in the second, both for unsportsmanlike driving in trying to hold off Lowndes, seemingly to allow Holden counterpart Kelly to catch his rival up.

Although both drivers merely insisted they were holding on to position, both received drive-through penalties as a consequence of being told prior to the weekend not to interfere with the championship battle.

"In terms of fair play over the three races this weekend I'm not convinced that we saw that. The fact that we had bad sportsmanship flags for Garth Tander and Mark Skaife for blocking, as well as a black flag for Tander for the same offence is a clear indication of this.

"Ford could not be any prouder of the efforts of Craig Lowndes and the entire Triple Eight Race Engineering operation. They have competed hard and fair throughout the entire season. The fact is that Lowndes won four rounds and Triple Eight won five all up this year, including victory at Bathurst.

"Despite what we have seen this weekend, Ford will continue to encourage hard but fair racing."

V8 Supercars
Kelly 2006 V8 Supercar Champion - for now Kelly 2006 V8 Supercar Champion - for nowRick Kelly is the 2006 V8 Supercar Champion, for now. The 23-year-old proved youth can triumph over experience in the most dramatic day in the history of the V8 Supercar Championship Series. But he will have to wait a stewards hearing tomorrow. (Right, Holden's lion Rick Kelly heads Craig Lowndes)

Kelly kept a cool head while the most unimaginable dramas happened in and around him. He and Triple Eight Racing’s Craig Lowndes were dead-level on Championship points heading into the final race of the year after 13 rounds, 33 races and thousands of points.

On the third lap Kelly gave Lowndes a touch from behind, ending in his arch rival and his elder brother Todd, who was leading, spinning in tandem. The subsequent melee ended in Lowndes being hit by Will Davison and causing damage to the front right of the car.

Kelly speared ahead and led the race – until given a drive-through penalty for the offence. Meanwhile, the damage meant Lowndes was having serious trouble and was constantly forced into the pits to change tires. zzzz

The end result was Kelly finished the third race 18th and Lowndes 29th. This gave Kelly the Championship by 37 points. But the matter didn’t end there with Triple Eight Racing firing in a protest to the stewards.

The Investigating and Prosecuting Officer Peter Wollerman viewed further footage of the incident and arrived at a final decision. Triple Eight Racing disagreed with that decision and decided to take the matter to a stewards hearing.

That hearing will take place at midday tomorrow at a venue to be determined.

“The penalty was based on a determination by the stewards that there was a breach of the rules in terms of careless driving by Rick Kelly. After some further consideration the matter was further considered by the IPO of the race,” Chief steward Steve Chopping said.

“He considered a great deal of data, in car footage and other things concerning the in-car activities of car 15 and car 888 and whilst the IPO investigated those things Triple Eight lodged a protest against the penalty imposed in the race.

“Now that the IPO has determined that the matter doesn’t warrant being referred to the stewards for further penalty the stewards will now refer to the hearing of the Triple Eight protest.”

Kelly (HSV Toll Holden), who became the second youngest to win the Championship, said he would have rather won without the incident and fully expected an investigation.

“It’s not the ideal way to win the Championship,” Kelly said. “With the amount riding on it I fully expect that any small incident that has an effect on the Championship that they would look into it.”

Ford Motorsport Manager Ray Price agreed that the incident deserved further investigation.

“We felt we were hard done by,” Mr. Price said. “We believe that there is probably a difference between a racing incident that may cost a race win or a meeting win is different to one that costs a Championship.”

The clash overshadowed an otherwise climatic finish to the Caterpillar Grand Finale with Lowndes and Kelly starting the final race equal on points and side-by-side on the second row of the grid.

Lowndes got the better of the start as Todd Kelly jumped to the lead with Rick Kelly forcing his way past Winterbottom to third place.

Kelly challenged Lowndes in to corner three, tapped him which caused the spin and the Ford driver was then hit by the following cars.

“Craig was very defensive in those first few laps and I got a fantastic run out of turn two. I was up past his bumper and there was definite contact,” said young Kelly.

Kelly said despite the drive through he just pushed on and did not know the overall position of the race until he came into victory lane.

“Eric (Pender – race engineer) knows how to keep me focused and he does not tell me where I am in the race. On the in lap I couldn’t here anything on Turns 1 and 2 and then I was getting instructions on what to do,” he said.

“I had to ask him when I got out where I had finished.”

Kelly said the Championship stands alongside his two Bathurst wins in a spectacular and short career.

“Both were amazing accomplishments on their own. Bathurst took me more by surprise because it happened so early in my career,” said Kelly.

“The Championship is harder to accomplish. It needs a whole season of effort to achieve.”

Kelly said he analyzed 2005 Champion Russell Ingall’s approach where consistency is rewarded under the current points situation.

He did not win any rounds this year, while Lowndes won five times. Kelly is looking forward to the new format next year.

“I think it is fantastic that they have changed the points for next year and it will need a very different approach.”

His brother Todd Kelly took out the round win ahead of Winterbottom (Ford Performance Racing) who took out the final race win today to cement third place in the Championship. Todd Kelly’s team-mate Mark Skaife was third in the round.

“The little bugger’s got me with two Bathurst wins and now a championship,” Todd Kelly said. “I am going to have to square things up.”

Jonny Reid wins Indonesia sprint race Jonny Reid wins Indonesia sprint raceSentul - New Zealand has secured its first-ever A1GP World Cup of Motorsport victory with a dominant lights-to-flag drive from Jonny Reid (right) in the Sprint race at the Sentul circuit, Indonesia. A1 Team Mexico's Salvador Duran put Reid under pressure in the closing laps of the race to finish a fighting second ahead of Great Britain's Robbie Kerr.

Reid led the field away from the grid and steadily extended his advantage over the 15-lap Sprint race until Duran's push over the last two laps closed the gap to just under a second. Reid was delighted to score New Zealand's first win in 31 A1GP races, "This is a very emotional feeling for me. The whole team has been working really, really hard and the result is fantastic as we came back from 16th in practice to the pole and now the win. I stayed focused and I'm totally over the moon with what's happened. Now we've got to re-focus and get the job done this afternoon." zzzz

Duran put in a flying start to jump from fourth to second into the first corner, tucked right under the rear wing of Reid. "I got a good exit but then there was a bit of confusion. I opened up my line, thought I saw red, but then it was green. I was thinking about where I should brake and went straight on to push." Duran kept in touch with Reid over the race and pushed hard to close in the final five laps, but Reid held his nerve to score his first A1GP victory. Duran's second position was the Mexican's fourth podium of the year. "I thought we could match Jonny's pace and we were competitive and, in my view, the team did an awesome job. I'm happy with this result and now looking forward to the next one."

Great Britain's Kerr got good traction away from the start but was unable to block Duran. Kerr then fell back into fourth as the USA's Phil Giebler took advantage of the melee to force his way into third. Undeterred, on the second lap Kerr slipstreamed past Giebler in Turn Two to regain his position. "Coming up to the lights at the start, Jonny just went and Salvador got the jump on me," said Kerr, "I was disappointed as Phil also got by but then put my head down to try and catch up with these guys but unfortunately we were not quite quick enough to do that. I think we could catch them in the Feature race though as we're starting on the right side of the grid to have a clean start. I've most probably had more podiums than anyone else, but it's that win I really want."

The biggest loser at the start however was Germany's Nico Hülkenberg, who dropped from third to fifth, under heavy attack from Australia's Ryan Briscoe in sixth. Briscoe saw his chance when Hülkenberg tried to regain fourth from Giebler and squeezed past. The Australian looked set to hold onto fifth until an attempted move on American Giebler allowed Hülkenberg an opportunity to force his way through.

Home team Indonesia enjoyed a race long battle with Malaysia and Netherlands for 12th position. On lap nine, Malaysia took the Dutch car for 12th, leaving the door open for Indonesian Ananda Mikola to gain position. Mikola seized the opening and forced his way into 13th, much to the delight of the packed grandstands.

Mikola put Malaysian Alex Yoong under heavy pressure and feinted to get past the following lap, but the Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen was determined to get back his lost position. The Dutchman capitalized on the Malaysian-Indonesian battle in front and, seeing a small gap, pushed through to relegate Mikola back to 14th.

Two of the three drivers starting their first-ever A1GP race finished, with South African Alan van der Merwe securing a credible ninth after a race long battle with the winner of last year's Sentul race, Canadian Sean McIntosh. The Czech Republic's newcomer Jarek Janis finished 16th following a hard fight with Brazil's Tuka Rocha, however China's rookie Ho-Pin Tung spun on lap 11 coming out of the fast Turn Two.

Jonny Reid will now start the 50-lap Feature race on pole position, with Mexico second and Great Britain third.

Sprint race results
A1 Team Driver Time Gap first
1 New Zealand Jonny Reid 19.41.054
2 Mexico Salvador Duran 19.41.792 +0.738
3 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 19.44.517 +3.463
4 USA Phil Giebler 19.50.134 +9.080
5 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 19.51.054 +10.000
6 Australia Ryan Briscoe 19.51.691 +10.637
7 France Nicolas Lapierre 19.53.057 +12.003
8 Canada Sean McIntosh 19.55.420 +14.366
9 South Africa Alan van der Merwe 19.57.043 +15.989
10 Switzerland Neel Jani 19.58.687 +17.633
11 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 19.59.955 +18.901
12 Malaysia Alex Yoong 20.04.724 +23.670
13 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 20.05.202 +24.148
14 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 20.07.032 +25.978
15 Brazil Tuka Rocha 20.17.114 +36.060
16 Czech Republic Jaroslav Janis 20.17.835 +36.781
17 Ireland Richard Lyons 20.18.249 +37.195
18 India Armaan Ebrahim 20.25.638 +44.582
19 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 20.26.051 +44.997
20 Pakistan Nur Ali 21.02.745 +1.21.691
21 China Ho-Pin Tung 11 laps 4 laps
Fastest lap: A1 Team GBR 1.18.110 (Lap 4).

Racing News
Papis loses father to cancer Papis loses father to cancerWe are deeply sad to announce that today, December 9, 2006 Max’s dad, Cesare, lost his battle to cancer. He was 65 years old. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer exactly one year ago and at the time the doctors gave him only 3 months to live. Not only was Cesare here for a full year, but to our joy, he met our little Marco, something we thought would have been impossible. We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. We would also like to ask everyone to put our thoughts together to contribute in whatever way we can to fight this terrible disease that affects over 40% of the population. LIVESTRONG. Max, Tatiana, Marco, and the whole Papis Family
racing news
Champions crowned at FIA gala Champions crowned at FIA galaThe FIA officially crowned its 2006 World Champions at a gala ceremony in Monaco. The ceremony culminated in the presentation of an FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sport to Michael Schumacher, the recently retired seven-time Formula One world champion.

Michael Schumacher said:

“I have received a huge amount of joy and pleasure from motor sport. To all of you and all of the people everywhere I really want to express my thanks. I have had such a love for this sport, it doesn’t need motivation. You do it as good as you can and luckily I have a lot of great people around me who have allowed me to achieve what we have achieved together.”

The medal, which was the final presentation on stage in the Salle des Etoiles at the Monaco Sporting Club, is awarded to an individual that, either through exceptional success, or outstanding effort, has made a substantial contribution to motor racing. It was presented to Schumacher by FIA President Max Mosley and Formula One Management President Bernie Ecclestone.

Max Mosley said:

“It’s a career that has never been equaled in the past and probably never will be in the future. In addition to his extraordinary achievements on the track I have to say Michael has helped us enormously with all sorts of work on road safety all over the world.” zzzz

Bernie Ecclestone said:

“All sports need a superstar and Michael is a superstar. Michael’s achievements speak for themselves so I don’t really need to say anything more about them. But what they don’t say is what a lovely guy Michael is and he is supported by a really lovely family. He’s a lucky guy and I wish him all the best in the future.”

The Gala event, attended by the major figures in world motor sport, also saw the presentation of the second consecutive FIA Formula One World Championship drivers’ trophy to 25-year-old Fernando Alonso.
Alonso said:

“This is my last official event with Renault and after a fantastic relationship now is the perfect point to finish, being World Champion again in both constructors’ and drivers’ championships. I feel very happy with my career with Renault and now I start a new challenge.”
Alonso was joined on stage by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who received the trophy for winning the constructors’ championship.
Briatore said:

“This is the best. I am pleased for Renault, I’m pleased for the team and especially for the sport because it was good to see a very intense fight with Ferrari. It was a great season.”
Trophies were also presented to the winners of the World Rally Championship (WRC), World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and all the other FIA championships from karting to truck racing (see full prize list below).

As with Alonso, both the WRC and WTCC winning drivers were collecting their trophies for a second consecutive year.

WRC champion Sebastian Loeb said:

“To win the title is always a very nice moment for me, my co-driver and all the team. There was a lot of pressure before I won the championship but now it will stay a very good memory and hopefully I will win a few more in the future.”

WTCC champion Andy Priaulx said:

“Its lovely to be back. To win two in a row is very special but in fact it is three in a row with the European Touring Car title as well. I’m enjoying this very much. It does get harder because everybody is after you and I think this year is a vintage year with so many drivers up for the title going into the last race.”

List of Champions

FIA Academy Gold Medal
Michael Schumacher (GER)

FIA Formula One World Championship
1st: Fernando Alonso (SP)
2nd: Michael Schumacher (GER)
3rd: Felipe Massa (Brazil)
Manufacturer: Renault

Formula One Promotional Trophies
Broadcaster: FOM TV
Promoter: Brazilian Grand Prix

FIA World Rally Championship
1st: Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MON)
2nd: Marcus Grönholm (FIN) / Timo Rautiainen (FIN)
3rd: Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)
Manufacturer: Ford

FIA Junior World Rally Championship (for Drivers)
Driver: Patrick Sandell (SWE)

FIA Production Cars World Rally Championship (for Drivers)
Driver: Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QTR)

FIA World Touring Car Championship
1st: Andy Priaulx (GB)
2nd: Jörg Müller (GER)
3rd: Augusto Farfus (BRA)
Manufacturer: BMW

FIA GT Championship
GT1 Drivers: Michael Bartels (GER) / Andrea Bertolini (ITA)
GT1 Team: Vitaphone Racing Team
GT1 Manufacturer: Aston Martin
GT2: Drivers: Jaime Melo (BRA)
GT2 Team: AF Corse
GT2 Manufacturer: Ferrari
GT3 Drivers: Sean Edwards (GB)
GT3 Team: Tech 9 Motorsport

FIA Alternative Energies Cup
Cup: Giuliana Mazzoni (ITA)
Manufacturer: Tanesini (ITA)
Category I: Ashiya University Research (JAP)
Category IIIA: Giuliano Mazzoni (ITA)
Category V + Calss 1: Luca Borella (ITA)
Category IV: Thomas Betti (ITA)
Category VI: Claudio Naldi (ITA)

FIA European Championship for Autocross Drivers
D1 Driver: Helmut Wild (GER)
D3 Driver: Petr Batros (CZE)
D3A Driver: Petr Turek (CZE)
Nation: Czech Republic

FIA European Drag Racing Championship
Top Fuel Driver: Hakan Nilsson (SWE)
Top Methonal Driver: Dave Wilson (GB)
Pro Stock Driver: Jimmy Alund (SWE)
Top Methanol Funny Car Driver: Ulf Leanders (SWE)
Pro Modified Driver: Urban Johansson (SWE)

FIA African Rally Championship
Patrick Emontspool (BEL) / Alain Robert (FRA)

FIA Middle East Rally Championship
Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QTR) / Chris Patterson (GB)

FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
Cody Crocker (GB) / Ben Atkinson (GB)

FIA European Rally Championship
Giandomenico Basso (ITA) / Mitia Dotta (ITA)

FIA Karting World Championship for Drivers
1st: Davide Fore (ITA)
2nd: Michael Christensen (DK)
3rd: Sauro Cesetti (ITA)
Team: Tony Kart Racing Team (ITA)

Bridgestone wins FIA award Bridgestone wins FIA awardThe FIA Academy has awarded its annual World Prize for Road Safety, the Environment and Mobility to global tire company Bridgestone for its outstanding contribution to the promotion of road safety.

The award is given for exceptional merit or endeavor by individuals or organizations involved in motoring and mobility. The FIA Academy, which is made up of eight senior members of the FIA and its national automobile clubs, gave the award to Bridgestone primarily for the promotion of its worldwide Think Before You Drive campaign.

The trophy, a crystal globe surrounded by a silver-plated flower, was presented to Bridgestone’s Shoshi Arakawa in a VIP pre-awards ceremony at the FIA Gala in the Monaco Sporting Club. zzzz

Shoshi Arakawa, CEO and President, Bridgestone Corporation, said:

“I'm extremely pleased and proud to accept this prestigious award on behalf of Bridgestone. Since 2005, we have teamed up with the FIA Foundation to actively promote road safety through the Think Before You Drive campaign, which has been conducted in almost 80 countries successfully. We are continuously pursuing our road safety initiatives for the future, emphasizing Bridgestone's commitment to safety and contributing to the global goal of reducing the number of road deaths and casualties.”

Max Mosley, FIA President, said:

"Bridgestone's commitment to the development and promotion of road safety makes them a worthy recipient of the FIA World Prize. We look forward to continuing our campaign partnership as the FIA and the FIA Foundation seek to progress improvements in road safety around the world."

The Think Before You Drive campaign message, promoted in conjunction with the FIA Foundation, has reached every region of the world and is backed by FIA member clubs from more than 60 countries.

The campaign, which was launched in 2005, identifies the main causes of serious or fatal crashes and urges motorists to implement simple safety measures before they drive. These are actions which take just a few seconds but which can also save lives, such as checking tires, fastening seat belts, using child restraints and adjusting head rests. These safety messages have been promoted by major motor sport personalities including seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher as well as fellow drivers Rubens Barrichello and Mark Webber.

In addition to promoting this campaign, Bridgestone has been a major advocate for road safety in general. It is a member of the Global Road Safety Partnership and Shigeo Watanabe, board member and former CEO and President, has been an active participant in the Commission on Global Road Safety.

Last year’s World Prize was awarded to Pietro Lunardi, Italy’s Minister for Infrastructures and Transport, for his exceptional work in Road Safety in Italy.

Brazilian GP wins FIA award Brazilian GP wins FIA awardThe Race Promoters’ Trophy is awarded to the promoter who has proved most helpful, in the most difficult conditions. This went to the promoters of the Brazilian Grand Prix, who expertly handled an event which recorded a number of milestones in the sport. It will long be remembered as a race of champions, with stunning drives from championship winner Fernando Alonso, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher and race-winner Felipe Massa, who became the first Brazilian to take the checkered flag in over ten years. FIA
Industry News
Goodyear looking to replace striking workers Goodyear looking to replace striking workersThe United Steelworkers union, in response to help wanted ads for plant workers placed in several North Carolina newspapers by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., says the company will have trouble hiring former Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA) tire builders to staff its Danville, Va., plant.

The union says the only experienced tire builders in the region formerly worked at CTNA's Charlotte facility, which closed earlier this year. More than 1,000 union workers were laid off when tire production there ceased.

"Goodyear is wasting its time and money thinking it can sweet talk members from this local into scabbing," says Mark Cieslikowski, president of USW Local 850, which represents the workers. "Our members held strong when (CTNA workers) were on strike (in Charlotte) for a full year in 1998. [Yeah, and look where they are now - out of a job and in poverty.] 

"Out of 1,400 members, only 11 crossed the picket line. Goodyear should be using that money and effort to negotiate a fair contract with its regular workforce."

Industry News
Another top Ford exec bails out Another top Ford exec bails outFord Motor Co.'s head of international operations, Mark Schulz, announced his retirement Thursday, adding his name to a growing list of executives who have left the struggling automaker in recent months.  Schulz, a 30-year Ford veteran and a close confidant of Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., is in charge of all of Ford's foreign brands and overseas operations.  His decision to step down early next year comes at a fragile time for Ford. New CEO Alan Mulally is trying to reverse deep losses by cutting costs and consolidating Ford's global operations. Detroit News
Karting News
AJ Foyt IV to replace Marco Andretti AJ Foyt IV to replace Marco AndrettiThe news of Marco Andretti’s Honda Formula 1 test in Jerez, Spain next week has made his scheduled appearance at the All-Stars Karting Classic event at the PRI Show impossible. However, Bryan Herta, founder of the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IRL, didn’t have to look long to find a young, talented replacement with a rich racing heritage. Anthony Foyt IV, who spent time in 2006 racing in both the IndyCar and NASCAR Busch Series, will replace Andretti on the SSC East - CRG squad.

Foyt, the 2002 Indy Pro Series champion and a veteran of three full IndyCar seasons, was excited at the invitation extended by Herta, “I think this is going to be a lot of fun, and I want to thank Bryan and SSC East for inviting me to come and race. I came up in karting and can’t wait to get in the seat on Thursday night.” Foyt IV was a teammate to both Marco Andretti and Herta on the Andretti-Green squad at the IndyCar season finale this season at Chicagoland Speedway, where he substituted for the injured Dario Franchitti. He also ran the first portion of this season’s NASCAR Busch Series the Akins Motorsports team. Foyt IV, 22, is the grandson of the legendary A.J. Foyt and has a karting background on both dirt and pavement that includes titles in both the IKF and K.A.R.T organizations. zzzz 

Stars of Karting series graduate Andretti is obviously excited about his first shot in an F-1 car next week, but was disappointed about the schedule conflict it created with the All-Stars Karting Classic, “I am very excited, but I hated having to tell Bryan that I wasn’t going to be able to race at the PRI Show. I still want to thank SSC East and Bryan for the invite. I know it will be a great time.”

The lineup for the Masters Division of the All-Stars Karting Classic now includes Bryan Herta (IndyCar/ALMS), Anthony Foyt IV (IndyCar/NASCAR Busch), Buddy Rice (IndyCar), Wayne Taylor (Grand-Am), Doug Herbert (NHRA), Ron Capps (NHRA), Larry Dixon (NHRA), Alex Tagliani (ChampCar), and Memo Gidley (Grand-Am).

The race will feature the SSC East - CRG, First Kart North America, Trackmagic, Tony Kart USA, Sodi Racing USA, Grand Products-Top Kart, and BTK - Arrow teams from the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IRL and utilize karts with the popular 125cc electric start spec engines that have proliferated the marketplace in recent years. Series title Snap-on Tools has also stepped up to support the television broadcast of the event on the Versus Network, which will take place with two separate one-hour segments in January of 2007. DWT and Alpinestars have also thrown in there support to the event.

Racing action will start at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, December 14 on a temporary track constructed adjacent to the Convention Center. Show attendees will be able to progress straight from the PRI Trade Show’s Happy Hour directly out to the racing action. Admission will be free to anyone with a PRI Trade Show badge.

Racing News
Quotes of the Week Quotes of the Week
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, 7-times F1 World Champion
"That was something I would do differently today," Schumacher said.  "I am not someone who can analyze something immediately after it happens or admit things. In certain situations I need time to think about it and realize what a mess I made."  (Michael Schumacher says the biggest regret of his fifteen-year Formula One career is a controversial maneuver in 1997.  He was excluded from that season's championship standings after clashing with Jacques Villeneuve as the pair fought for the drivers' title at Jerez.  The clash was universally condemned by the racing world, and opened a rift between Schumacher and Villeneuve that is unlikely to ever heal.  Villeneuve said in 2006, the year of Schumacher's retirement: "Michael simply isn't a great champion because he's played too many dirty tricks.")
RON DENNIS, Chairman and CEO McLaren Group, Team Principal McLaren F1 team
"It would have been helpful if Kimi had listened to those who tried to advise him," said Dennis, "but I suspect that there is not a single person in the world to which he listens."  (Ahead of Kimi Raikkonen's switch to replace Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, Ron Dennis accused Raikkonen of spurning advice during his five year stay at Woking.  The pair's relationship is understood to have fallen under strain following Raikkonen's well-documented exploits in the tabloid headlines.)

GIL DE FERRAN, Honda Racing F1 team, Sporting Director
"We are delighted to have Marco [Andretti] join us in Jerez next week for his first run in a Formula One car. Marco has had an outstanding first season in the IndyCar Series, making a big impact at such a young age. As part of the extended Honda Racing family, it will be a great pleasure for us to give him the chance of his first experience of Formula One." (The Honda F1 team has invited Marco to drive its 2006 RA106 race car on the final day of its scheduled test, in recognition of his achievements in the Honda-powered IndyCar Series this year.) zzzz 

MURRAY WALKER, legendary F1 commentator
"We are desperately hungry for success," Walker said.  "It is more than ten years since we had somebody like Damon Hill or Nigel Mansell to cheer on - and we need another one.  I think Ron Dennis has done exactly the right thing," said Walker.  "Lewis [Hamilton] has won a championship in every category he's contested, so there is absolutely no reason why he shouldn't to extremely well in F1, particularly given the advantages of being a McLaren works driver."  (Murray Walker predicts that Lewis Hamilton will become the next British star in Formula One.)
JOHN BRUNNER, Forsythe Championship Racing, Champ Car Atlantic Team Manager
"We had a chance to test Robert Wickens and John Edwards in Moroso (Florida) last month and again last week at Thunderhill (California) and they were both quite impressive. Their talent is unmistakable, and when these young men are out of the car it's pretty amazing how mature and focused they are. They're young, but both have a lot of racing experience and when they put their helmets on it's like they become grizzled old veterans instead of teenagers! We’re looking forward to the first series open tests in January when we can really see how we stack up against what looks like another incredibly strong Atlantic field for 2007."  (15 year-old American sensation John Edwards and 17 year-old Canadian prodigy Robert Wickens, both products of the Red Bull Junior Team program, have joined the Forsythe squad with primary sponsorship from Red Bull. Edwards, Wickens and the Forsythe Atlantic squad have set their sights squarely on the $2 million dollar prize to be awarded to the 2007 Atlantic Champion.)

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

My Classic Car -Vintage Indy Cars
(Part of Show) Encinitas, CA
10:00am-10:30am (R) SPEED
The World's Fastest Motorcycle, Part 2 Bonneville
3:00pm-4:00pm SPEED
Baja 1000 Baja
4:00pm-5:00pm NBC
World Supercross GP Vancouver
6:00pm-7:00pm (12/9/06) SPEED
The SPEED Report
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era
10:00pm-11:00pm -#1
11:00pm-12:00am -#2 ESPN2

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Nextel Cup series loses over 40 million viewers Nextel Cup series loses over 40 million viewersFor the 2006 season, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series lost a cumulative 24.1 million TV households in the USA alone, or about 40 million TV viewers, from 2005 to 2006.  The loss was not only for the NBC races, but throughout the entire year, including FOX.  It will be interesting to see whether NASCAR can reverse this trend in 2007, or whether the series' fall from grace will continue.
FIA, GPMA, agree F1 rules through 2012 FIA, GPMA, agree F1 rules through 2012(GMM) The FIA's world motor sport council met in Monaco on Friday and announced that the governing body and the carmakers' alliance 'GPMA' agreed to regulations for "the next five years and beyond".

In 2008, a statement revealed, some bodywork pieces may be banned and wind tunnel use restricted. 2009 is to see a 50 per cent reduction in downforce and possibly a four-race gearbox rule. Changes for 2010 through to 2012 were also outlined in detail.

Elsewhere in Monte Carlo, at the Monaco Sporting Club for the black-tie FIA awards gala, Fernando Alonso and Renault received their trophies for winning the 2006 drivers' and constructors' championships.

A suite of FIA statements also confirmed that Paul Ricard received the 'Centre of Excellence' trophy, Bridgestone the 'World Prize for Road Safety', and Sir Stirling Moss a 'Gold Medal for Motor Sport'.

Formula One Management won an award for its television coverage of the Chinese grand prix, and Brazilian organizers won the 'Race Promoters' Trophy'.

F1's retiring Michael Schumacher also accepted an FIA Gold Medal from Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone.

"It's a career that has never been equaled in the past and probably never will be in the future," said Mosley, the president of the FIA.

Busch series loses 8 million viewers Busch series loses 8 million viewersFor the season, the NASCAR Busch Series lost a cumulative 5.1 million TV households or about 8 million TV viewers, from 2005 to 2006 - based on TV ratings where data was available for both years.
Chinese accept Ho-Pin Tung Chinese accept Ho-Pin TungWe think Ho-Pin Tung did a remarkable job (without any previous time in an A1GP car) by out-qualifying many of the 'more experienced' A1GP drivers, in Indonesia Saturday. To think Ho-Pin could have done really well in Champ Car but they (Champ Car) lose out on a talented Chinese driver (especially with the Zhuhai race in mind) as they never even bothered to test him before the December 15th testing deadline. The fact he's representing his country in A1GP now, indicates he is now being accepted and respected as a 'genuine' Chinese person (which he already was in the first place!) by the A1GP Chinese team seatholder(s). Something a year ago was unthinkable .....Maybe something for the people behind Champ Car to think about?
Penalty for Team Canada Penalty for Team CanadaA1 Team Canada has had its time from the fourth Qualifying segment disallowed after A1GP Stewards found that driver, Sean McIntosh, had blocked Brazil’s Tuka Rocha in the final session.
The decision gives Canada an aggregate Qualifying time of 2:34.608, however does not affect the team’s grid position. Canada will start tomorrow’s Gurang Gadam A1GP Sentul, Indonesia Sprint race in ninth position.
FIA awards gold medal to Moss FIA awards gold medal to MossBritish driving great Sir Stirling Moss has been awarded the FIA gold medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsport.  The FIA, motorsport's governing body, handed Moss the award in Monaco.

"This is the first FIA award I've ever won - it means a lot to me and I am very proud to receive it," said Moss.

"There are few drivers in the history of motor sport who have been as deserving of this award as Sir Stirling," said FIA president Max Mosley.

"It is not just his remarkable success across all categories of racing that stands him apart but also his continuing contribution to the promotion of motor sport."

A1 Team Mexico fastest in practice 3 A1 Team Mexico fastest in practice 3The heat and humidity of Indonesia seems to suite A1 Team Mexico, as in the final practice session before qualifying for the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport race at the Sentul track it was Salvador Duran who set the quickest time. His 1min 17.586secs lap, at an average of 184kph, was half a second quicker than that set by the reigning A1GP Champions, A1 Team France, on Friday.

A1 Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr was again second quickest with just eight hundredths of a second separating him and the Mexican driver. Again the top drivers' times were close, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the time set by A1 Team USA, with third placed Phil Giebler being nearly a second quicker than he was on Friday.

The session was the last opportunity the drivers had to set up their cars for qualifying, with several pushing them to the limit, missing their braking points and heading into the gravel traps. Among those to make such excursions were A1 Team Malaysia and A1 Team New Zealand. The times set in the four qualifying segments this afternoon are the ones that count and no doubt local hero, A1 Team Indonesia driver, Ananda Mikola, will be hoping to set a time in the region of a high one minute sixteen seconds that he has predicted could be pole. zzzz

Qualifying for tomorrow's Sprint race is due to start at 14.15 local time this afternoon.

Official Practice Session 3

A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 Mexico Salvador Duran 1.17.586 21
2 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.17.667 12
3 USA Phil Giebler 1.17.762 22
4 France Nicolas Lapierre 1.18.208 21
5 Brazil Tuka Rocha 1.18.367 23
6 Australia Ryan Briscoe 1.18.392 24
7 New Zealand Jonny Reid 1.18.397 17
8 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.18.663 20
9 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 1.18.830 21
10 Switzerland Neel Jani 1.18.857 27
11 South Africa Alan van der Merwe 1.18.922 18
12 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.18.977 25
13 Czech Republic Jaroslav Janis 1.19.084 22
14 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 1.19.143 22
15 Ireland Richard Lyons 1.19.380 18
16 China Ho-Pin Tung 1.19.396 17
17 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.19.706 23
18 Malaysia Alex Yoong 1.19.764 24
19 India Armaan Ebrahim 1.20.455 28
20 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 1.21.051 26
21 Pakistan Nur Ali 1.21.996 29

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