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Legge goes even faster on Day 2 at Sebring Legge goes even faster on Day 2 at Sebring
Grand-Am news roundup Grand-Am news roundup1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace joined Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson at Daytona International Speedway Wednesday to test the No. 2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford in a test session that saw five different teams from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve continue preparations for the 44th Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 26-29, 2006.

Wallace was briefed about the No. 2 machine during the morning session, and shortly after the conclusion of the mid-day break, turned his first laps on the 3.56-mile road circuit in a Daytona Prototype.

“Obviously, my (NASCAR) career is over, and I went out with a nice feeling with my competitors, sponsors and fans. But I told them all along I wanted to run the Rolex 24. This has been in my plans for over a year and a half, and since I’ve never even seen one of these cars before, I wanted to come down and work the bugs out to really understand what I’m doing when I come back for the test in January.”

The drivers joining Wallace for the Rolex 24 At Daytona have yet to be determined, but Wallace said an announcement regarding the lineup will come over the next two weeks.

“We’ve got a host of people that want to run with me,” Wallace said. “We want to put two hot-shot road racers in with me. We’ll do four drivers, myself and three others.”

Wallace will return to Daytona International Speedway January 4-7, for the annual Daytona Test Days, where teams make final preparations for the twice-around-the-clock classic.  The official entry list for the test will be announced in a media teleconference on January 4.


Indy Racing League’s Patrick Carpentier, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester, and NASCAR Busch Series driver Paul Menard joined Eddie Cheever and Christian Fittipaldi at Daytona International Speedway to test the brand-new Cheever Racing Daytona Prototypes.

Cheever, who co-drove the No. 39 Lexus Crawford at Homestead-Miami two weeks ago, and will co-drive the machine with Fittipaldi for a full Rolex Series schedule in 2006, and used the test session at Daytona to gather information on his second Lexus Crawford, which has already been committed to the Rolex 24 At Daytona. zzzz

“We’re at a steep learning curve right now,” Cheever said. “We’re shaking down a new car, so everything is a new experience for us.  We’ll hopefully decide the driver lineups for the Rolex 24 over the next couple of weeks.”

“I’m really pleased to be out here,” Lester said.  “It’s been a long time since I’ve been behind the wheel of a sports car, and I’ve never been behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype. I’m really appreciative of Eddie’s call.  I’m excited to turn some laps and hopefully I’ll be here at Daytona in January.”

“I’m very impressed with these cars,” Carpentier said.  “The biggest thing for me will be consistency.  A 24-hour race is a completely different animal, and your whole mindset needs to shift.  I’m hoping that everyone can get me up to speed real fast, and hopefully, I’ll be in the Rolex 24.”


After turning fast laps in the Rolex Series test sessions at Homestead-Miami Speedway two weeks ago, Brumos Racing team owner Bob Snodgrass has good reason to like his team’s chances of competing for the 2006 Daytona Prototype crown, with either the No. 58 or No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcars.

“The Porsche motor continues to be the strongest part of our package,” Snodgrass said.  “We’re absolutely going to be in the hunt next year.”

The two-car effort, which produced nine top-10 finishes in 2005, looks to improve on their positions and contend for wins in 2006, with the help of the evolution design of their Fabcar chassis.  Brumos Racing drivers David Donohue, Darren Law, Hurley Haywood and JC France were joined by Busch North Series driver Ted Christopher at the Daytona test.  Christopher will compete for Brumos in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

“The car has been testing really well,” Snodgrass said. “I’m very positive right now. The car is going to be very, very good.  Brumos has never been in a series that it hasn’t dominated.  We dominated the first year here, and we’re going to be dominant again this year.”


Alex Job, team owner of the No. 23 Shred-It Porsche Crawford, announced Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway his driver lineup for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Porsche factory drivers Lucas Luhr, Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller will pilot the No. 23 machine for the Rolex 24.  The new team will be a collaboration of Alex Job Racing and Emory Motorsports.

"We have assembled a driver lineup that will showcase speed and experience in endurance racing," Job said. "Patrick, Lucas and Mike are factory Porsche drivers and have a combined 22 24-hour races between them, which gives us a driver knowledge base that we hope will be competitive at the end of January. As a team we have run 14 24-hour races and have won the GT class at Le Mans in 2003, 2005 as well as the Daytona 24 win in GT3 in 1999. We have quite a knowledge base from which to draw."

“My focus is on being able to add value to Alex Job's team,” Rod Emory, President of Emory Motorsports, said.  “I’m happy to be able to bring the financial package that is necessary to continue the quest of the championship.  That's where Alex and I feel that this relationship is good as we try to work into the future, is we both have a certain area of expertise and desire to achieve.  Alex is definitely one of the best on the technical side and on the entire team operation side.  My objective is to be able to add value on the marketing and sponsorship side to bring this team forward.”


Michael Valiante, who will share the No. 27 Finlay Motorsports Ford Crawford in 2006 with team owner Rob Finlay, was testing the machine Wednesday at Daytona with Finlay, hopeful of strong Daytona Prototype finishes next year.

Valiante competed in four Rolex Series races in 2005—including a fifth-place run with Memo Gidley in the No. 19 Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley in the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen in September.  The team has switched to Ford power for 2006, and Valiante likes the makeup of the team.

In Valiante’s best personal effort in 2005, he led a race-high 22 laps at California Speedway filling in for Gidley, en route to a seventh-place finish with Michael McDowell.

“All of the drivers on the team get along real well,” Valiante said.  “Michael and Memo have been great in helping teach myself and Rob the ins and outs of the Daytona Prototype.  I ran a couple of races last year, and led some laps, so I’m excited to be here.  It’s always good to have a full-time deal, and it’s even better that it is with these guys.”

Gidley was also in Daytona for the test, getting used to the new engine and chassis of the No. 19 machine.  Gidley will again co-drive with McDowell in 2006, putting together a solid two-car assault for Finlay.

ALMS schedules winter tests at Sebring ALMS schedules winter tests at SebringThe American Le Mans Series Winter Tests will be held January 23-25 at Sebring International Raceway. This will be the first time many of us, including journalists, will get a chance to see many of the new teams and their drivers who will participate in the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

While we expect many teams and drivers to be announced in the coming weeks prior to the Winter Tests, we have had confirmation from several manufacturers and teams, including the Porsche prototype and BMW.

While a more definitive schedule and teams participating will be announced early in January, we wanted to give you as much advance notification as possible in order to make travel and hotel arrangements.

An informal dinner for media and team public relations representatives is planned for the evening of January 22 at Chateau Elan in Sebring should you arrive prior to the official first day of tests.

For Further Information: 706-654-2983

World of Outlaws Helmet Auction Benefits Charity World of Outlaws Helmet Auction Benefits CharityGrandview MO - Recently, a one of a kind auction took place at GoMotorBids.com netting the Abby Lou Foundation over $500 within a two week time frame. The featured item was an authentic racing helmet autographed by more than 30 World of Outlaws sprint car racing stars including, Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Tyler Walker, Jac Haudenschild, Blackjack Brian Brown, Jesse "The Rocket" Hockett, and Billy Alley - winner of back to back 360 Nationals at Knoxville, to name just a few. The helmet was donated by the Abby Lou Foundation and all proceeds from the auction benefited that charity.

Russ Dickey, Marketing Manager of GoMotorBids said, “Our intention is to help charities through the motorsports memorabilia and collectibles arena. Each auction produces a unique item for collectors to bid on and each winner walks away with an impressive collectible. It’s a win-win for everyone who participates.”

Abby Lou Foundation Founder, Paul Joiner, said  "The helmet was a great success. We raised over $500.00 for the foundation and look forward to several more charity auctions during the coming year.  The support of all the great people at GoMotorbids and The World of Outlaws has been a big part of our success."

The Abby Lou Foundation was specifically established to assist families in paying their medical expenses associated with their child’s disability. It is a non profit organization formed by Paul and Nicole Joiner whose daughter Abby Louise was born with Hemiplegia. www.AbbyLou.org

For more information on how to arrange a charity auction, visit www.GoMotorBids.com Or call Marketing Director, Russ Dickey at 816-765-8500

F1 must not make mistakes of the IRL F1 must not make mistakes of the IRL“The World Championship must remain financially viable for independent teams. Against this, two (possibly three) manufacturers want to win by spending unlimited amounts of money. This approach has caused great damage to motor sport, most recently to IRL in America. We don't want it in F1. FIA President Max Mosley  [Editor's Note:  Yeah right Max, F1 where individual team budgets can be as high as $500 million per year.  But Oh, he wants to reduce it to $100 million per year.  Won't happen, and even if it did, $100 million for a 2-car team is just stupid money.]
FIA 2008 F1 Technical Regulation Details FIA 2008 F1 Technical Regulation Details
2008 F1 Technical Regulations (PDF)

Changes highlighted in red to convert existing regs to 2008 version (PDF)

FIA 2008 F1 Technical Regulation Details FIA 2008 F1 Technical Regulation Details
2008 F1 Technical Regulations (PDF)

Changes highlighted in red to convert existing regs to 2008 version (PDF)

FIA 2008 F1 Technical Regulation Highlights FIA 2008 F1 Technical Regulation HighlightsAt the beginning of 2005 the FIA began a consultation on the regulations for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. All the sport’s stakeholders were given the opportunity to participate in the process including more than 90,000 fans from 180 countries worldwide.

The FIA’s objective in drafting the 2008 regulations has been to reduce significantly the cost of competing in Formula One. The rules must discourage financial profligacy and ensure than an independent team with ordinary commercial sponsorship (ie a budget in the order of $100 million - still a vast sum of money in the real world) can compete with a car manufacturer prepared to spend in excess of US$300 million. The FIA believes current manufacturers’ budgets are unsustainable and are putting the whole of Formula One at risk.

Max Mosley, FIA President said,

"The real argument in Formula One is not about sports governance or even about how much money FOM gives the teams. It's all about costs.

“The World Championship must remain financially viable for independent teams. Against this, two (possibly three) manufacturers want to win by spending unlimited amounts of money. This approach has caused great damage to motor sport, most recently to IRL in America. We don't want it in F1.

“One manufacturer is spending a sum greater than half its total annual dividend. This is unsustainable and sooner or later the shareholders will notice." zzzz

Part of the attempt to reduce costs involves rules which allow independent suppliers to provide competitive engines at reasonable cost. The alternative approach - that car manufacturers should supply engines to independent teams - has failed. A written promise to do so was given by a manufacturer in 2003. It was not kept. Nor was a subsequent undertaking to make affordable engines available in return for concessions on traction control.

It must not be forgotten that the new engine rules (introduced by the FIA to cut power) were originally drawn up and proposed by the car manufacturers to reduce costs. Although some of these manufacturers now claim that costs have risen, it has become clear that for a properly managed engine supplier, costs have fallen substantially.

As previously explained the FIA is required to publish the 2008 Technical Regulations before December 31, 2005. These regulations are now available for download from www.fia.com. The following is a summary of the main changes:

- New technologies which give a team an advantage for one season but which are then adopted by all teams for subsequent seasons at significant expense will be banned after the end of the first season (Article 2.5).

Reason: To reduce costs. This allows a team which discovers a new technology to benefit from it, but prevents Formula One as a whole then spending money on the same technology only to leave all the teams in exactly the same (relative) positions as before.

- The rear wing is split in two.

Reason: Research indicates that this will produce a wake in which the car behind will perform much better, thus facilitating overtaking.

- Changes to the bodywork regulations to reduce downforce while maintaining drag levels so as to avoid an increase in cornering speeds over 2006 levels (Article 3).

Reason: Safety

- Changes to the bodywork regulations at the front of the car to make the car behave better in traffic (Article 3).

Reason: To facilitate overtaking.

- Limitations on possible “interesting” areas of aerodynamic research (Article 3).

Reason: To reduce costs.

- The minimum weight is reduced from 605 to 550kg (Article 4).

Reason: To eliminate the cost of purchasing 55kg of very expensive high density ballast for each car and transporting it all over the world. Cars will also be safer without this extra weight.

- Engine to be subject to a rev limit of 19,000 rpm, with a possible increase to 20,000 rpm in consultation with the competing teams (Article 5.1.3).

Reason: To reduce costs and to redirect engine research towards road-relevant technologies.

- A standard electronic control unit for engine and gearbox to be used at all times in Formula One (Article 8.2).

Reason: To reduce costs, eliminate driver aids such as traction control and allow the FIA to check engine use and testing mileage.

- Gear ratios to have a minimum thickness of 12mm (Article 9.3.3).

Reason: To reduce costs by making gearboxes more robust.

- Tire pressures may be adjusted by the driver while the car is moving (Article 12.5).

Reason: Safety, particularly during safety car periods.

- Maximum wheel diameter increased to 640mm front and 710mm rear, with maximum widths of 365mm front and 460mm rear (Article 12.4) with slick tires.

Reason: To increase “mechanical” grip to compensate for reduced aerodynamic downforce to facilitate overtaking.

- Only permitted materials may be used to construct the car (Article 15.1).

Reason: To reduce costs.

- At least 5.75% (m/m) of fuel must be from biological sources (Article 19.4.5).

Reason: To keep ahead of developments in fuel for road cars.

- 2009:
From 2009 each team may make only two changes of bodywork after the start of the season (Article 3.15).

Reason: To reduce costs.

 It is intended to allow systems for energy storage and recovery (hybrid systems) from 2009, provided this can be done without causing budgetary difficulties for any of the competing teams.

In addition to the proposed 2008 Technical Regulations it is intended to make changes to the Formula One Sporting Regulations for 2008. These will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council on March 22, 2006 and will include:
- arrangements for a single tire supplier in 2008;

- three - Event engines;

- four - Event transmissions;

- weight penalties for early replacement of engine or gearbox;

- testing restrictions;

- a limit of two cars per team at an Event;

- the date for the opening and closing of entries for 2008.
It is not intended to renew the Concorde Agreement provisions which prevent teams selling components or complete chassis to other competitors. It is proposed to allow an entirely free market in this area. FIA

Track News
AAA partners with Speedway AAA partners with SpeedwayAAA (American Automobile Association), which sanctioned every Indianapolis 500 from 1911 to 1955, returns to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2006 in a new partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

AAA is the Official Auto Club, the Official Travel Agency and Official Auto Insurance Company of the Indianapolis 500 in an agreement announced Dec. 21.

“We’re pleased that AAA is making a triumphant return to the Indianapolis 500,” said Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "While AAA’s past involvement with the race centered around the teams and drivers, this new affiliation is focused on benefiting the loyal fans who make the month of May at the Indy 500 one of the world’s great events.”

Because of AAA’s sponsorship, AAA members will receive special benefits through the AAA “Show Your Card and Save” program, including discounts on tickets to the Indianapolis 500, IMS-licensed merchandise and admission to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.

“We plan to provide exciting new reasons for racing fans to join AAA and new benefits at IMS for current AAA members,” said Marshall L. Doney, vice president, AAA Automotive.

The partnership also includes AAA signage at the Speedway, print and radio advertising and other promotional rights.

Alex Yontz Racing And Vixen team up Alex Yontz Racing And Vixen team upClemmons, NC  – Alex Yontz Racing, Inc. announced today the formation of a unique partnership between Alex Yontz Racing and the all female rock sensation “Vixen.”  The partnership called “Thunder and Lightning” will create a whole new environment for motorsports and entertainment marketing. The driver, 19-year-old Alex Yontz, competed in a select number of NASCAR Craftsman Truck races in 2005 in preparation for a complete schedule in 2006. The 2006 schedule will depend on sponsorship, but the team feels that this partnership will attract the right kind of attention. “This is the real deal,” says AYR Marketing Director Mike Miller, “It’s not just smoke and mirrors. We have put together a program that is exciting, entertaining and has a huge consumer reach.”

Although new to the Craftsman Truck Series, Alex Yontz has been racing since he was seven and has over 170 wins and 8 championships to his credit. “We are excited about the partnership and it will be exciting for the fans,” says Alex, “ I think you are going to see a lot of race fans listening to Vixen’s music, and a lot of Vixen fans at the track cheering for their truck.”  

The AYR team is led by veteran Crew Chief Ed Berrier.  Ed, who is also an accomplished driver in all of NASCAR’s premier divisions, came to AYR from Kevin Harvick, Inc.  “This team is on the way to becoming a championship caliber team in the truck series,” says Berrier. “With a little more experience, Alex is going to be a tough competitor.”  zzzz

Vixen, who are managed by the Paramour Group, was founded by Guitarist Jan Kuehnemund in the '80s. Their first two recordings, Vixen and Rev it Up produced the hits “Edge of a Broken Heart,” “Not a Minute Too Soon,” “How Much Love,” “Love is a Killer,” and “Cryin.”  These recordings, along with multiple number 1 MTV videos, propelled their first record Vixen to Gold. Jan, who is the original founder of the band, is the only member from the original lineup, but the same Vixen sound is still very prominent in their music today.  “All of us are race fans, and now to be a part of this sport is great” said Jan Kuehnemund. “Rockin’ and racin’ go together. I told Alex I wanted to drive the race truck, and he told me he wouldn’t touch my guitars, if I wouldn’t touch the trucks.  So I guess that’s a no for now.”

The band has just wrapped up a tour in Europe and is currently in the studio working on their new releases, Live and Learn and Live in Sweden, which will both be released in early 2006.

“The new studio recording, Live and Learn has several songs that are hit potential,” said Dean Swett, President of the Paramour Group.  “We look forward to working with Alex Yontz Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as one team.  This platform will bring tremendous benefits to the right sponsor.  We have spent many hours of planning to make sure we execute this program properly, and we have it all in place.  I don’t know of any other program that will generate the amount of exposure and create a fan following from both industries as this will,” says Swett.

The partnership of Vixen and AYR believe it's all about the fans.  The team’s vision is to bring race fans and music fans together to create one fan base, excite and entertain them, and point them to our sponsors.

Super Aguri moves closer to F1 entry Super Aguri moves closer to F1 entrySUPER AGURI F1 Limited is delighted to announce that its late entry application to participate in the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship has been accepted by all 10 of the current F1 teams. SUPER AGURI F1 Limited will now apply to the FIA to complete its Championship entry application.

The Japanese-owned team has been working around the clock to ensure it makes the Bahrain Grand Prix deadline. It will conduct operations from its base at the Leafield Technical Centre in Oxfordshire, UK, in conjunction with the A. Company Inc. head office situated in Tokyo, Japan. The team has been intensively recruiting personnel for every department to enable it to be ready in time to join the F1 fraternity at the first race of the season in March.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal, Super Aguri F1 Limited:
“I am very happy to be able to announce that all 10 F1 teams have approved our late entry to the Formula One World Championship today. I would like to thank all of the teams for approving our late entry and assure them that the SUPER AGURI F1 team will cooperate and do our best to reach your expectations. We appreciate your support and we will not let you down.”

Daniel Audetto, Managing Director, Super Aguri F1 Limited:
“I am very proud to be part of the new SUPER AGURI F1 team. We are looking forward to joining the F1 grid for 2006 in Bahrain and to becoming increasingly competitive as the season progresses. Of course we do not expect to be on the pace straight away; we will use the first GP’s to train the team before our definitive car reaches the track.”
DC splits with girlfriend DC splits with girlfriendF1 ace David Coulthard and long time Brazilian girlfriend Simone Abdelnur, 25, have split.  British tabloid newspapers said on Wednesday that the pair, who started dating four years ago and may have become engaged early in 2004, parted because Scot DC's whirlwind life on the grand prix tour put strain on their relationship.  A spokesman for 34-year-old Coulthard told the Daily Record newspaper: ''It was  a mutual decision and there is no one else involved.''
Andretti to drive Car No. 1 Andretti to drive Car No. 1Michael Andretti (pictured right, photo by Shawn Payne/IRL) will drive the No. 1 car in next year's Indy 500.  The No. 1 is reserved for the previous year's winner, but it stays with the team, not the driver.  When Dan Wheldon decided to leave AGR for Ganassi in 2006, he forfeited his chance to run the No. 1 at Indy so team boss Michael Andretti picked it up.  The car will carry sponsorship from Vonage, the internet phone company that sponsored Marco Andretti the last two years.
Industry News
Toyota to surpass GM as No. 1 Toyota to surpass GM as No. 1Ever since the dawn of the auto industry, Michigan has been home to the world's biggest maker of cars and trucks. Barring a shocking reversal, that streak appears set to end in 2006.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it intends to produce 9.06 million vehicles next year, a level that would surpass the expected output of General Motors Corp. for the first time. GM doesn't make similar predictions, but industry consultant CSM Worldwide forecast that GM would make 8.92 million vehicles next year.

Shares of General Motors fell to an 18-year low.

Shares of GM were down 76 cents, or 3.6 per cent, at $20.29 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock fell more than 5 per cent to $19.63 earlier in the day - its lowest point since 1987, after being adjusted for its spin-off of Delphi Corp in 1999.

Shares have plunged nearly 50 per cent this year.

GM does not provide sales or production forecasts on an annual basis, but some analysts said the current trend points to GM's inevitable tumble to second place for the first time in 70 years.

"Toyota will probably be the largest producer in the world at the end of 2006," said Richard Hilgert, auto analyst at Fitch Ratings, citing GM's slumping sales of large sport utility vehicles in the fuel-conscious market.

Toyota's rise to dominance has been predicted ever since it unseated Ford Motor Co. for the No. 2 spot in 2003. But some analysts thought GM might have a few more years at the top, a position it has maintained for more than 70 years.

For Michigan and its key automotive industry, losing the top spot would mark another milepost on the long trail of the decline of the domestic auto industry.

Gary Witak, an hourly worker at GM's truck plant in Pontiac for 32 years, blamed the consumer for his company's problems.

"I believe part of the problem is the ignorance of the American people," he said. "Our quality is right there along with the others. It's like the kid that doesn't want to listen to the parent but listens to everyone else."

Some experts believe the No. 1 ranking is no big deal.

"Market share is nice; profits are essential," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. "The ultimate goal in this business is not market share. The ultimate goal of a company is profitability. It's an issue of pride, perhaps, but pride can get you into bankruptcy. Profitability never will."

At the very least, said industry analysts, the pending change underscores a long-term challenge for GM and for domestic carmakers in general. Toyota, based in Japan, is expected to make major gains in North America, Europe and other markets, even as GM has been losing market share and closing plants. In part from Detroit Free Press

Reuters extends with Williams Reuters extends with WilliamsWilliamsF1 today confirmed that the global news organization, Reuters, has once again extended its existing association with the team into the long term. Reuters’ partnership with the WilliamsF1 Team commenced in 2000. This announcement marks the contract’s second renewal in the last five years and endorses the partnership’s shared brand values of speed, technical innovation and precision timing.

When the team’s new livery is rolled out on January 27, the Reuters’ identity will be displayed on the car’s engine covers and the team’s clothing. Of the announcement, Sholto Douglas-Home, Global Head Corporate Marketing, commented, “We have enjoyed the fruits of a strong relationship with the WilliamsF1 Team over the last six years, and believe that longevity is important to maximize our return from Formula One.

We plan to feature the WilliamsF1 association extensively in our marketing and hospitality activities, and have great faith in the team’s determination to appear regularly on the podium.” WilliamsF1’s Team Principal, Frank Williams, said, “For the team to extend its relationship with such a prestigious market leader in an increasingly competitive market is a true statement of their commitment to Williams and Formula One and we look forward to our continued alliance.” zzzz

Reuters is the leading provider of news and information to the world’s media, financial institutions, businesses and individuals. Renowned as the most trusted source of global communication, Reuters’ news and television agency serves its media clients from 196 bureaux across the world via its 2,300 journalists, in 26 languages. In 2004, Reuters posted two and a half million news items, reaching 75 million web users every day.

Although best known for its indispensable news services, Reuters’ core business actually stems from the world’s financial institutions. Leading banks employ Reuters’ technology, information and risk management solutions to make complex financial decisions and facilitate financial connectivity across the markets. Over 330,000 finance professionals rely on their products and services to trade effectively and efficiently and at optimum productivity. In essence, Reuters’ technology connects financial communities and enables its customers to search, store and integrate information in an increasingly complex industry. WilliamsF1

Petty in Disney Parade Petty in Disney ParadeNASCAR driver Kyle Petty and Herbie introduce Disney-MGM Studios' Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show attraction when Walt Disney World Resort in Florida invites America to celebrate its 22nd annual Christmas Day Parade telecast from the heart of the Magic Kingdom, with special performances from the Disneyland Resort in California. Ryan Seacrest, will host the festivities from Disneyland Resort while Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, hosts of "Live with Regis and Kelly," co-host in Walt Disney World. The Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade telecast airs on ABC Christmas Day from 10:00am/et to 12:00noon/et. Viewers should check their local listings for any changes in programming times. Williams Company
Kentucky testing Kentucky testingCrew chief Todd Parrott and driver Bobby Labonte ushered in a new era for the storied Petty Enterprises #43 Nextel Cup Series car with a test at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday. Labonte, the 2000 series champion who finished 24th in the 2005 standings with Joe Gibbs Racing, and Parrott, who helped Dale Jarrett win the 1999 series title with Robert Yates Racing, will join new Exec. VP of Operations Robbie Loomis, who guided Jeff Gordon to 23 wins and the 2001 championship with Hendrick Motorsports, in an attempt to rejuvenate a Petty program that hasn't scored a series race win since Loomis last worked there in 1999. Temperatures in the low to mid 20s didn't curb the enthusiasm both crew chief and driver expressed for their new project during their first test together. The new team agreed that the focus of the one-day test was to begin to establish solid team communications. "It's different," Labonte said. "I was kind of jittery at first because it's been 11 years since I've had anything like this go on. It's a little too cold here for me, but, so far, so good. I'm just real excited to work with Todd and all these guys. Hopefully, I understand Todd and when I talk, he can understand the language I'm talking. For us, today is about getting a feel for everybody and everybody getting a feel for Todd. He's the main character here that everyone will have to look up to. When I'm on the racetrack, they've got to know what to do next and he's the guy leading them."

Robert Yates Racing joined the test. Drivers Matt McCall, Steven Leicht, and Justin Diercks split time in a research and development car. Testing is scheduled to continue Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 when Kyle Busch and his #5 Hendrick Motorsports machine share track time with J.J. Yeley and his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing ride. Kentucky Speedway

Mike Wallace plans to run Daytona 500 Mike Wallace plans to run Daytona 500Mike Wallace plans to attempt 2006 Daytona 500, looking for other Daytona rides and a full season seat. "I will be down in Daytona for speedweeks, and I will be with a team attempting to make the field for the 2006 Daytona 500," said Wallace. "I am also looking for opportunities to race in the Craftsman Truck Series race and the Busch Series race there in Daytona." The car and team Wallace will attempt to make the 2006 Daytona 500 field in will be named in the future. Wallace also said he is looking at running the full 2006 Nextel Cup Series season. "We are working on some opportunities to run the full 2006 Nextel Cup season. Hopefully in the near future we will have something to announce." Motorsports Lounge
German DTM
Paffett quits DTM for F1 test role Paffett quits DTM for F1 test roleMcLaren Mercedes confirmed this morning that 2005 DTM Champion Gary Paffett has become a Team McLaren Mercedes test driver. Paffett will form an integral part of the development of the team's 2006 World Championship challenger the MP4-21 in the months to come together with Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa.

Paffett's relationship with the team began in December 1999 when he was awarded the prestigious 'McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award'. As a result of winning the Award, Paffett conducted his first Formula One test with Team McLaren Mercedes in 2000 and since then he has helped the team with both its testing and simulation work on a regular basis. In 2003 Paffett joined Mercedes-Benz in the DTM Championship and went on to claim the title in 2005.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity and the challenges ahead," said Paffett. "This is the culmination of my continuous relationship with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. For my efforts to be officially recognized by one of the most successful Formula One teams and reaching my goal of getting a regular Formula One seat is a fantastic feeling."
"I have really enjoyed my time in the DTM Championship and being able to also continue my relationship with Mercedes-Benz in this manner is the icing on the cake. I'm 100 percent committed to my role as a Team McLaren Mercedes test driver and can't wait to start the 2006 testing program. I want to thank everybody who has helped me achieve this goal - it wouldn't have been possible without their support."

"We are certain that Gary is the right choice as Team McLaren Mercedes test driver and are pleased to welcome him to the team," said Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes. "In order to achieve our objective of winning races and World Championship we have to employ the best drivers available and Gary definitely fits into this category. He has been involved with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz since winning the 'McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award' and we are pleased that the right opportunity came along at the right time. Gary is committed to the work laying ahead of him and everybody at McLaren look forward to his contribution."

"Whilst we are pleased to welcome Gary to the team, we are still in discussion with Alex Wurz regarding his future and will announce our plans in due course," Whitmarsh concluded.

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport said: "Gary deserved his chance and he has seized it. In the last two years in the DTM Championship he proved his talent against tough competition. Since he started taking part in the team's Formula One tests on the 28th November, Gary has completed a total of more than 1,100 kilometres and convinced the team of his capabilities. His promotion to the Formula One team demonstrates that DTM is also a springboard for young talents who can make their way through touring cars to the top category of motor sport." Source McLaren Mercedes

[Editor's Note: Paffett will join Pedro de la Rosa in testing duties for the team while discussions continue with Alexander Wurz about his future at the outfit. It is expected Wurz will move to another team or to another series where he can race, instead of being a McLaren lackey for another year. Franck Montagny made a similar decision at Renault.]

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso coup is McLaren 'disaster' - Lauda
Kimi grabs another prize
No green light for Aguri, yet
Not me, says Briatore
Honda to buy rest of Suzuka track
V8 makes F1 'boring' - Webber
BMW back more F1 test cuts
Monteiro book launched
AGR announces 2006 lineup AGR announces 2006 lineupMarco Andretti, the third-generation driver from one of racing's most-celebrated families, will compete in the 2006 IRL IndyCar® Series season with Andretti Green Racing, team officials announced.

Andretti, who will be a candidate for Bombardier Rookie of the Year, will drive the No. 26 ArcaEx Honda-powered Dallara and joins returning AGR drivers Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. (Andretti Green Racing's driver lineup for the 90th Indianapolis 500, from left: Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti, Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan.  Photographer: Shawn Payne)
"I'm excited about having the opportunity to drive the ArcaEx car for Andretti Green Racing," said Andretti, the 18-year-old son of AGR co-owner Michael Andretti and grandson of racing legend Mario Andretti. "Over the past couple of years, I've had the opportunity to spend time in the paddock with the ArcaEx team, as well as my three teammates, so that is a plus. I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me and a pretty steep learning curve, but I also know that I have one of the best teams in motorsports working with me."

The team also announced team co-owner Michael Andretti will return to racing to compete in the 90th Indianapolis 500 in May. Andretti will carry the No. 1 on his Vonage/Jim Beam Honda-powered Dallara. It will mark the first time since 1994 that a father and son have raced in the Indianapolis 500 (Mario and Michael Andretti).

"I'm really looking forward to returning to Indy in the Jim Beam/Vonage car as one of the drivers on this team, and I'm excited about the chance I'll have to run with Marco," the elder Andretti said. "As a driver, he has developed much quicker than I think anybody expected, and that is what really made this possible. I think I'll have as good a shot as I've ever had to win the Indianapolis 500, and I think I can also be a big help to Marco as he gets ready to make his first '500' start."

The team also announced that Franchitti's No. 27 car will carry sponsorship from longtime partners Klein Tools and Jim Beam. It also will field two cars in the 2006 Menards Infiniti Pro Series with drivers Jaime Camara and rookie Jonathan Klein in an association with Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

"Andretti Green is excited about the opportunity we have in front of us for the 2006 IRL (Menards Infiniti) Pro Series," said Kim Green, president of Andretti Green Racing. "We always welcome the opportunity to help develop young talent, and we're very excited about the prospect of working with both Jonathan and Jaime.

"The rules package and the prize money package that the league has created for the Pro Series provides real incentive for teams like Andretti Green to participate."

At the end of the 2005 season, Indy Racing League officials announced an increase in total prize money to $3 million for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. They also announced that teams that field full-time entries in the series will earn a bonus test for their IndyCar Series program after every three races - up to six extra test days for a two-car effort. IRL

USA TV to be all-digital by 2009 USA TV to be all-digital by 2009UPDATE A reader writes, Your news tidbit infers that the legislation would require the purchase of HDTV sets. The legislation requires digital broadcast, but has nothing at all to do with HDTV. High Definition is a different format, whereas the switch from analog to digital broadcast is a switch in the broadcast medium. The two are mutually exclusive. For example, your current analog TV will work just fine with DirecTV service, as the broadcast is already digital, but the tuner-to-TV transmission is analog. The FCC doesn't care what happens downstream from the set top box, it's broadcast bandwidth they need, hence the switch to digital transmission. The only people affected here are those who use "rabbit ears" for local over-the-air (OTA) programming; their analog TV will not be able to receive the new digital transmission. I'm sure a Google search would net more comprehensive info than this, but that's the main difference. Benjamin Quinby

Dear Benjamin, Yes we were aware of this and should have been clearer. However, with prices dropping significantly by 2008 and HDTV available, why not take advantage of a superior picture to enjoy the race you are watching by investing in a HDTV set? Mark C

12/20/05 The U.S. House yesterday approved legislation that sets February 17, 2009, as the final date for the nation’s conversion to digital-only TV broadcasts. Although still pricey, the cost of HDTV sets is falling rapidly to the point that by 2008 most consumers should be able to afford the switch. We urge caution when buying a HDTV.
  1. Get one with an HDTV tuner built-in. Consult your cable or Satellite company to see what your options are.
  2. Like computer monitors, not all HDTV's are created equal. Some are only 720 pixels in resolution whereas others are 1900+ pixels. Both look better than today's TVs, but why sacrifice. Wait until the price comes down and buy the better one.
  3. Technology, as always, is changing rapidly, so don't be disappointed when future TVs are better than yours.
  4. You will need a new high-definition DVR or TIVO to replay in high-def.
  5. Projection HDTV's are far cheaper than Plasma or LCD HDTVs and offer the same exact picture quality. If you are not mounting the unit on the wall, buy the projection version and get a far bigger screen for the same money. Depth of projection units are not bad and that 61 inch screen sure does look impressive for the same price you will pay for a 37 inch Plasma or LCD.
NASCAR impound rule changes for 2006 NASCAR impound rule changes for 2006NASCAR will impound the Nextel Cup cars at five races in 2006: Both Talladega events, both Richmond events, and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, according to a memo sent to teams last week. NASCAR used the impound rule at 21 of the 36 races in 2005. Neither of the Talladega events was an impound race last year. The rule was consistently criticized throughout the year as vastly different weekend schedules led to confusion and large amounts of downtime. An impound race usually featured two Friday practices and Saturday Bud Pole Qualifying instead of the traditional Friday Bud Pole Qualifying and Saturday practices. NASCAR.com
Camel withdraws sponsorship from MotoGP Camel withdraws sponsorship from MotoGPTobacco brand Camel have withdrawn from MotoGP and accused the series of a lack of "sporting spirit" after failing to find a ride for Max Biaggi.   Italian star Biaggi rode a Camel-backed Honda for Sito Pons' team last season but has been unable to find a competitive ride for 2006.

Camel's Roberto Zanni said: "The sporting spirit which has always been part of motorcycle racing has gone.

"The obstacles we found ourselves up against were inexplicable."

Zanni, president of Japan Tobacco in Europe, added: "We put considerable energy and great determination into the MotoGP project with Max, even when it became quite clear that this could not be done with Honda.

"But in the end it proved impossible."

Swift keeping pace with huge production effort Swift keeping pace with huge production effort
Andretti out of retirement for Indy 500 Andretti out of retirement for Indy 500Andretti Green Racing co-owner Michael Andretti will come out of retirement to drive the Jim Beam/Vonage Honda-powered Dallara in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2006.

Andretti, who retired from a 20-year professional driving career after the 87th Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2003, will be part of a five-car Andretti Green Racing effort at Indianapolis that will include Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta, and Andretti's son, Marco. Jim Beam has been affiliated with Andretti Green since the 2003 season and earned the 2005 IRL IndyCar Series title as a co-major sponsor along with Klein Tools on the team's #26 entry. In 2006, Jim Beam will be a co-major sponsor with Klein Tools on the #27 car driven by Franchitti.

Vonage Marketing, a subsidiary of Vonage Holdings Corp., a leading broadband telephony provider, served as the major sponsor of Marco's Star Mazda and Indy Racing League Pro Series entries in 2005 and will be a season-long sponsor of Andretti Green Racing in addition to the role it will play with Michael's entry in the Indianapolis 500. A 42-time winner in CART competition, Andretti has 14 Indianapolis 500 starts to his credit and scored four top-five finishes, including a runner-up result as part of his 1991 CART championship season.  zzzz

Michael Andretti, Jim Beam/Vonage Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I'm really looking forward to returning to Indy in the Jim Beam/Vonage car as one of the drivers on this team and I'm excited about the chance I'll have to run with Marco. As a driver, he has developed much quicker than I think anybody expected and that is what really made this possible. I think I'll have as good a shot as I've ever had to win the Indianapolis 500 and I think I can also be a big help to Marco as he gets ready to make his first '500' start." 

Keith Neumann, Senior Brand Director, Jim Beam Brands Co.: "Michael Andretti's return to the Indy 500 to compete with his son is especially significant to Jim Beam. From a family known worldwide for its contributions to the bourbon industry, Jim Beam shares a connection with the Andretti family who is renowned for its success in the world of motorsports. We're proud to be a part of history-in-the-making." 

Jeffrey Citron, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vonage: "The Andretti family sets the standard for the best in race car driving, and we are excited to be a part of the winning Andretti Green Racing team. Michael will be behind the wheel of the brand new orange and black Jim Beam/Vonage car as he makes his celebrated return to the track." AGR 

ALMS TV ratings double that of Grand-Am ALMS TV ratings double that of Grand-AmThe American Le Mans Series has announced its 2005 season television viewership figures, yet another affirmation of the Series' growing dominance in sports car racing.

According to Nielsen Media Research data, viewership of American Le Mans Series races in 2005 averaged 827,024 viewers per race, more than double its nearest competitor. In two network telecasts, viewership eclipsed more than 2 million on CBS Sports - May 22 at Mid-Ohio and July 17 at Infineon Raceway. The American Le Mans Series also generated nearly 1.5 million viewers for CBS Sports' broadcast of the Grand Prix of Atlanta in April. The American Le Mans Series' top-rated SPEED telecast occurred October 1 in prime time for Petit Le Mans, which claimed 439,420 viewers.

The Series boasts a comprehensive network and cable television package that combines telecasts on CBS Sports and SPEED Channel, North America's premier racing network. In 2005, CBS televised 30 percent of the American Le Mans Series schedule while SPEED Channel televised the remaining events, including the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, the Series' first prime-time telecast from Portland and the season finale from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that crowned champions in three classes.

"We believe that we have the strongest and most viable television schedule in sports car racing," said American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. "Our television partners CBS Sports and SPEED Channel have demonstrated a genuine commitment to use our compelling competition to help grow our series, and we believe our growing viewership is evidence the American Le Mans Series is one of the fastest growing race circuits in the world."  zzzz

For the 2006 season, CBS Sports will increase its series involvement by televising five consecutive races - half of the American Le Mans Series schedule. CBS Sports' coverage begins with the telecast of the Lone Star Grand Prix on May 13 at Houston's Reliant Park and finishes with the telecast of the Grand Prix of Portland on July 23. Additional CBS telecasts will be the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio on May 21, the New England Grand Prix on July 2 and the inaugural Grand Prix of Utah from the new state-of-the-art Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City on July 16.

"We are very encouraged by the way the American Le Mans Series has been received by CBS viewers," said Rob Correa, senior vice president of programming for CBS Sports. "That has led to a desire to do more of them. Five straight races from May through July, including the new two circuits and vibrant new markets in Houston and Salt Lake City, give us a very positive and promotable schedule."

 Meanwhile, SPEED Channel again will kick off the 2006 campaign on March 18 with the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring - America's granddaddy of sports car racing. SPEED resumes its coverage with the American Le Mans Series' "Race to the Championship" by televising the final four rounds of the Series, beginning August 20 with the Generac 500 at Road America. After the September 3 Grand Prix of Mosport, SPEED caps the championship season by telecasting the series' signature event, Petit Le Mans, on September 30 and the prime time season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 21 where the Series will crown its champions.

"Our relationship with the American Le Mans Series allows us to continue the SPEED philosophy of 'Big Event' programming," said Hunter Nickell, SPEED Channel executive vice president and general manager. "The 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans are world-class endurance races, and SPEED will continue to give them coverage commensurate with their position in motor sports."

In addition, SPEED will also telecast the world's most famous auto race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from La Sarthe on June 17-18.

The American Le Mans Series opens the 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 18. The race will be televised by SPEED Channel. American Le Mans Series Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available for all 2006 events at www.americanlemans.com.


March 18: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring, FL., SPEED Channel
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 1:30-6:30 p.m., 7:30-11:00 p.m.

May 13: Lone Star Grand Prix, Houston, TX, CBS Sports
1:00-3:00 p.m.

May 21: American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, Lexington, Ohio, CBS Sports
1:00-3:00 p.m.

July 2: New England Grand Prix, Lakeville, CT, CBS Sports
4:00-6:00 p.m.

July 16: Grand Prix of Utah, Salt Lake City/Tooele, UT, CBS Sports
2:00-4:00 p.m.

July 23: Grand Prix of Portland, Portland, OR, CBS Sports
3:00-5:00 p.m.

August 20: Generac 500 at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI, SPEED Channel
3:00-6:00 p.m.

September 3: Grand Prix of Mosport, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, SPEED Channel
3:00-6:00 p.m.

September 30: Petit Le Mans, Braselton, GA, SPEED Channel
11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 7:30-10:00 p.m.

October 21: Monterey Sports Car Championships, Salinas, Calif., SPEED Channel
8:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.

IPS Series
AGR announces 2-car IPS effort AGR announces 2-car IPS effortAndretti Green Racing announced today it will field Indy Racing League Pro Series entries in 2006 for drivers Jonathan Klein and Jaime Camara. The cars will be Andretti Green Racing entries, and will be prepared and maintained by Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Klein, the 18-year-old son of Klein Tools chairman and chief executive officer Richard T. Klein Jr., spent the 2005 season in the Star Mazda Championship racing for Andersen Walko Racing. Klein posted two top fives and six top-10 finishes during the season, including a runner-up finish in the season finale at Mazda Raceway. Camara, who hails from Goiana, Goias, Brazil, ran the full Pro Series slate in 2005 behind the wheel of the CELG-Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry. Camara posted two wins, three poles, five top fives and 11 top 10s on the way to a fifth-place finish in the series standings.

2006 will mark Andretti Green's second year of competition in the Pro Series. Working in conjunction with Keith Duesenberg Racing this past season, Andretti Green Racing entered Marco Andretti in six Pro Series events, earning three wins, three poles and five top-five finishes.

By running two full-time entries in the Pro Series, Andretti Green will earn six additional testing days for its IndyCar Series program with Klein and Camara each gaining an opportunity to test the first half of each day. Klein, Camara and the rest of the Pro Series field will open the 2006 season on March 26 at Homestead- Miami Speedway with the Homestead-Miami 100.  zzzz

Jonathan Klein: "I just found out this was going to happen on Friday, so I'm not sure it has really even set in yet. This opportunity is overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. I'm just really excited to get the chance to run with Sam and Andretti Green in the Pro Series. Sam has quite a record in this series, but he has also done so many great things with his foundation. I've already started to think about ways I can help out and try to make an impact to help people who are dealing with paralysis." 

Jaime Camara: "I'm really looking forward to next season because now I know the tracks that the Pro Series runs on and I have a year's experience on ovals. 2006 is going to be much better than this season and I think we have a good shot at winning the championship. If we can be consistent from the beginning until the end of the season, I don't think we'll have any problems." 

Sam Schmidt, Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports: "I am clearly very excited to be working with everybody at Andretti Green, especially Michael, Kim and Kevin. My relationship with Michael has increased a lot over the last 12 months because of his willingness to become involved with my foundation and that means a tremendous amount to me personally. So, when this opportunity came up, I thought it was an honor and a compliment to Sam Schmidt Motorsports that, if AGR were going to run anyone in the Pro Series, that they would utilize our services.

"On the driver side, I think Jonathan and Rick Klein are just superb people. I'm really going to enjoy working with Jonathan because he brings a fresh mind and a 'sponge-type attitude' with him. As far as Jaime goes, we have a year's worth of experience and I know we can build on that. He's already proven to be a winner and I think we can look to improve on what we achieved last year and move up a few spots on the points ladder." 

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing: "Andretti Green is excited about the opportunity we have in front of us for the 2006 IRL Pro Series. We always welcome the opportunity to help develop young talent and we're very excited about the prospect of working with both Jonathan and Jaime. The rules package and the prize money package that the league has created for the Pro Series provides real incentive for teams like Andretti Green to participate. It's also special for us to continue our relationship with Sam. We had a great association with Sam off the racetrack last year, and it's great to be able to strengthen that tie by working together on and off the track in 2006." AGR

Racing News
CARA helps Katrina victims CARA helps Katrina victimsCARA Charities made the upcoming holiday season a little brighter for the ravaged area of Louisiana this past week with a unique donation. Through its internationally renowned Bridgestone/Firestone "Buckle Up Baby" program, CARA delivered over 120 special "child car seats" to community service centers, parishes and needy families who have survived the tragically-affected "Bayou Country."

"We felt it was extremely important to help those folks in Louisiana who were so hard hit from Hurricane Katrina," said Vicki Faivre, president of CARA Charities.  "The Buckle Baby program has been a key to CARA's involvement with the motorsports community by donating child car seats at all the areas near the open-wheel racing events.  Now we are able to assist the people who are in so much need.  It is good to help their holidays with these gifts from CARA." The CARA Charities "Buckle Up Baby" project, established in 1993, has donated over $750,000 to children's hospitals and clinics throughout North America and has been supported by auto racing legends as well as racing industry leaders to promote child safety. In 2000, CARA Charities was awarded the National Highway Traffic Safety

Administration's Buckle Up America Champion Award in recognition of this successful program. The child car seats were delivered December 15 to an Office of Community Services in Louisiana as well as the St. Tammany Parish in Covington, La., and Samaritan Center in Mandeville, La.  Several north shore parishes also received some car seats. Dave Cantrell of Performance Tire in Indianapolis made the trek to Ohio to pick up the seats and then traveled to Louisiana for the delivery. The distribution of the seats will include use in cars of social workers, numerous expectant mothers who are without resources and selected churches who will give the seats to families in their parishes who lost everything in the hurricane.

In addition, CARA Charities donated $2000 to help rebuild the Samaritan Center that was nearly leveled in the hurricane.  With assistance from an army of volunteers (some as far away as Washington and Minnesota), the center office will be reopened at the first of the year. CARA Charities, founded in 1981 by Betty Rutherford and the women of open- wheel racing, has distributed over $3.8 million dollars to numerous racing and community organizations. CARA serves the community through charitable work and promotes the friendship of all those involved in the motor sports family.

Further evidence George is destroying Indy 500 Further evidence George is destroying Indy 500UPDATE A reader adds, Dear AutoRacing1: In light of the points you make concerning the Indy 500 being reduced to the IRL's formula of an Italian chassis and a Japanese engine, how ironic that the CART, now Champ Car series, is the "competition" that Tony George so desperately wants to control or emulate, has managed to work themselves into a position where both their top series and their Atlantics feeder series are using engines and chassis built by USA firms.
Even Honda, despite the rhetoric, is no doubt a bit apprehensive about the relationship from the perspective of public relations and the reduced luster of the Indy 500 that this represents. From a gearhead's racing perspective, it is clear that both the 2006 Champ Car and the potentially faster 2007 Champ Car would smoke what the IRL is running at Indy these days. Kind of sad for the 500. Tom Finlay 

Dear Tom, Some readers have suggested the IRL be renamed to the Foreign Racing League (FRL).  Even AJ Foyt hired a foreigner in the way of Felipe Giaffone.  When he had the chance to put his money where his mouth is, he chose a Brazilian over an all-American Sprint Car driver.  We recall Foyt mouthing off about how CART was being overrun by foreigners.  Old AJ is pretty quiet these days, probably choking on his own words. Mark C.

12/20/05 Like we need any more evidence that Tony George and his cronies have destroyed Indy Car racing, this SPEEDTV.com article points out - Just before Tony George tore a hole in open wheel racing and poisoned Indy's magic formula, he declared: "Indianapolis is missing some American flavor and it rubs me the wrong way that America's premier series has to look overseas."

That's back when CART had four chassis (Lola, Reynard, Penske, Eagle), four engine manufacturers (Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda) and two tire companies (Goodyear and Firestone).

They all came to Indianapolis and spent millions trying to beat each other. Prior to 1996, there was nothing more competitive or intriguing than Gasoline Alley.

Well, 10 years later Tony certainly has restored the American dream to Indy hasn't he? With Brian Barnhart calling the shots, open competition is more or less a closed door (ask Lola) at 16th & Georgetown as he's micro-managed the Indy 500 down to a chassis built in Italy with one Japanese manufacturer.

Tell us one more time why we needed the IRL Mr. George..

Wurz's early Christmas present Wurz's early Christmas presentMcLaren test driver Alex Wurz has enjoyed an early Christmas present -- the birth of his second child, a boy.  The 31-year-old Austrian and his wife, who had expected the baby to arrive on Christmas Eve, have called the new arrival Charlie.  ''So my hope for getting out of cooking the turkey has gone,'' Wurz joked to the team website.  The veteran of 53 grands prix, including a one-off drive for McLaren this year, added: ''I'll have to start thinking of new presents to wish for as I'd only been thinking about the birth of my son.''
'STR' to stay in Italy - boss 'STR' to stay in Italy - bossScuderia Toro Rosso's 2006 car will be called the 'STR 01', according to new team boss Franz Tost.

The Austrian, formerly a BMW employee, gave an interview to f1.com in which he also denied rumors that Red Bull would close the long time Faenza factory and set up shop at the old 'A1 Ring' circuit in Austria.

''You can't find this kind of specialized people in the short term in Austria,'' Tost said.

''Toro Rosso will improve the (Faenza) facilities, because we are committed to having a long term future in Italy.''

Tost also said that, unlike the Gian Carlo Minardi or Paul Stoddart ownership, STR would embark on an 'extensive test program' from now on, and then benefit from the 'advice' of Red Bull Racing's new acquisition, Adrian Newey.

Franz Tost added: ''Needless to say the long term objective is to become a front runner team.''

iSport signs Viso for GP2 iSport signs Viso for GP2iSport International are pleased to announce Ernesto Viso as one of their drivers in the 2006 GP2 series. Ernesto has proved a hard charging and quick driver in 2005, only bad fortune stopping him taking race wins, but a string of podiums at the end of the year showed his potential.

iSport singled Ernesto out as the second year driver most likely to challenge for race wins and the championship, and after a test with the team at Paul Ricard in December, it was obvious that he has the strong focus and commitment required to achieve these goals. The whole team welcomes him aboard and look forward to many successes together in 2006.

Paul Jackson, Team Principal
"I've known Ernesto for a number of years, and have always been impressed with his dedication and will to succeed in motor sport. We've kept in touch, and over the last couple of months have started talking seriously about 2006. I am delighted to say we agreed terms very quickly as it was obvious the ambitions of iSport mirrored Ernesto's personal ambitions perfectly, and will make a strong partnership."

Ernesto Viso - 2006 iSport Driver
"I am very confident in joining iSport; it will be nice to work with a top team throughout 2006. I know Paul, and I know we will get on very well. I will be putting in 100% effort on and off the track, and I know the team will be doing the same!"

Ernesto Viso:
Name: Ernesto José Viso Lossada.
Place of Birth: Caracas, Venezuela.
Date of Birth: 19th March 1985
Nationality: Venezuelan
Height: 166 cms
Weight: 67 kgs
Marital Status: Single
Spoken Languages: Spanish, Italian, English
Hobbies: Karting, Motocross, Kickboxing.
Residence: Barcelona, Spain
E mail: Ernesto@ErnestoViso.com
Website: www.ErnestoViso.com

BMW Sauber sign Pole as test and substitute driver BMW Sauber sign Pole as test and substitute driverMunich/Hinwil,. The squad of drivers is complete. Robert Kubica of Poland is to be the third man in the BMW Sauber F1 Team as the test and substitute driver. He will also be at the wheel of the team's number three car deployed in the Friday free practice sessions.

The 21-year-old from Krakow made his decisive mark when he took the title in the 2005 World Series by Renault formula class. His contract with BMW allows for an extension beyond the 2006 season.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "We have been following Robert's progress and are very impressed by his performance in recent years. He has worked hard to achieve his success without major support. We are convinced that he has the potential and the will to make the leap into Formula One and are delighted to be able to give him the opportunity to do so. As the number three driver he will gain experience while at the same time helping the team develop the car." zzzz

"It's a fantastic opportunity for me," said Kubica. "I'm going to prove that I have earned it. For a young driver like me the three-car rule is a godsend. In the past, test and replacement drivers were only sent out on test tracks, but I will get to know all 19 grand prix circuits and the ins and outs of a GP weekend. I would like to thank everybody who has helped me along the way over the last few years. Without these people I would not now be looking to a Formula One involvement."

Robert Kubica was born in Krakow on 7th December 1984. He took up go-karting at six and by the age of ten he was Polish champion. Three years later he moved to Italy in search of more challenging competition. In 1998 he became the first non- Italian to win the Italian Junior Kart Championship, as well as coming second in the European Kart Championship.

In 2001 and 2002 he competed in Formula Renault, where he ended the second season as overall runner-up in the Italian Championship. 2003 marked his debut in the Formula 3 Euro Series in which he won his maiden race, held at Nuremberg's Norisring. In 2004 he came seventh in the Euro Series and second in the Formula 3 GP in Macau.

In 2005 he represented the Spanish team Epsilon Euskadi in the World Series, which features 3.5-litre V6 engines by Renault. Kubica took four wins in 17 races and, with a total of 154 points, romped away with the title ahead of Adrian Valles (ESP/116) and Markus Winkelhock (GER/114). On 1st December 2005 in Barcelona, he took his first Formula One test for Renault at the wheel of the current R25.


Robert Kubica (pronounced "KOO-beet-sah")
Born: 7th December 1984/Krakow (POL)
Nationality: Polish
Residence: Krakow
Website: www.kubica.pl
Marital status: single
Height: 1.84 m
Weight: 73 kg
Hobbies: bowling, computer games, indoor karting
Favorite food: pasta
Favorite drink: orange juice
Favorite circuit: Macau
First race: Polish Kart Championship in Poznan, 1995
First win: first race

Career highlights.

1995-1997 six-times Polish Kart Champion (Juniors)

1998 1st place Italian Kart Championship (Juniors),
2nd place European Kart Championship (Juniors),
1st place Monaco Kart Trophy

1999 1st place Italian Kart Championship (Juniors),
1st place German Kart Championship (Juniors),
1st place Monaco Kart Trophy,
winner of the Margutti Trophy

2000 4th place European Kart Championship (Formula A),
4th place World Kart Championship (Formula A)

2001 first races in Italian Formula Renault 2000

2002 2nd place Italian Formula Renault 2000, four wins

2003 first races in the Formula 3 Euro Series, one win,
1st place Formula 3 Masters in Sardinia

2004 7th place Formula 3 Euro Series,
2nd place Formula 3 Grand Prix Macau

2005 1st place World Series by Renault, four wins,
2nd place Formula 3 Grand Prix Macau

Racing News
Sheikh takes lead role to drive UAE Motor Sport Sheikh takes lead role to drive UAE Motor SportMotor sport in the UAE has been brought under the overall control of a new-look national organization presided over by H.H.General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defense.

As President of the Automobile & Touring Club for the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed has issued clear directives over the way motor sport events should be organized, with the ATCUAE taking on extra responsibilities.

He has also approved the appointment of a board of directors for the ATCUAE, with 14-times Middle East rally champion Mohammed Ben Sulayem acting as chairman, and Khalfan Hareb, Mohammed Atik Al Qamzi and Saeed Al Tayer serving as board members.

Established in 1965, the ATCUAE is the officially nominated representative in the Emirates of both the FIA, motor sport's world governing body, and its motor cycling counterpart, the FIM. On their behalf it supervises all organized motor sport events in the UAE for cars and bikes. zzzz

'Sheikh Mohammed's decision to step in as President of the ATCUAE is a very significant development for motor sport in the country which will benefit tremendously from his overall guidance,' said Sulayem.

'He felt it was vital that the organization which represents both the FIA and the FIM in the UAE, and which is dedicated to maintaining consistently high standards in the staging of events, should play a growing role in shaping the future of motor sport here.

'Myself and my fellow board members are honored that he has placed his trust in us to oversee the ATCUAE's affairs on a day-to-day basis, and we look forward to working together to achieve our new goals.'

Added Sulayem: 'Sheikh Mohammed is particularly anxious to keep racing off the streets and ensure the youth of the UAE are encouraged to indulge their passion for motor sport in a safe, properly controlled environment.'

'The UAE has earned a huge amount of international recognition through the successful staging and promotion of sports events, from horse racing to tennis, golf, rugby, powerboat racing and so on, and Sheikh Mohammed has been a key figure in this process.

'He believes motor sport here has a very big future, and wanted to ensure that all branches of the sport are overseen by one body with the know-how and resources to provide effective overall direction.'

Sheikh Mohammed is among a distinguished line-up of national motor sport heads that includes King Abdullah in Jordan, King Juan Carlos in Spain, Prince Albert in Monaco and Prince Michael of Kent in Great Britain.

The ATCUAE currently organizes two rounds of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, the Dubai International Rally which concluded the 2005 regional series earlier this month, and the UAE International Rally which launches the 2006 calendar in Al Ain next month.

It also supervises the UAE Desert Challenge, which Sulayem has established as the leading event in both the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship. In its new expanded role the ATCUAE will oversee the complete range of motor sport activities in the UAE, including rallying, karting, drag racing, hill climbs and a variety of motor bike activities such as moto cross.

It will also have overall responsibility for circuit racing, propelled into the limelight by the Middle East's first A1 Grand Prix last weekend.

The Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE has been an affiliated member of the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA), the world governing body of all motor sports, since 1965.

The ATCUAE is the only organization which is authorized by the FIA to supervise motor sport events and issue competitor licenses in the UAE.

It is also the only FIA authorized organization in the UAE to issue International Driving Licenses, as well as Carnet de Passage en Douane (Trip Tickets) and International Certificates which simplify customs formalities for motoring tourists and travelers.

The ATCUAE, which has offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain, has been an affiliated member of Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT) since 1973. The AIT is the leading and most successful international body concerned with motoring, touring road assistance services and outdoor leisure.

Track News
Gulf Air gears up to welcome Grand Prix 2006 Gulf Air gears up to welcome Grand Prix 2006Following the huge success of the last two Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix races, Gulf Air is fully geared up to welcome the 2006 race due to be held on 12 March 2006.

As the official carrier and title sponsor, Gulf Air has lined up a series of publicity and marketing campaigns and other associated activities, attracting international motor sport participants, enthusiasts and spectators alike to the Kingdom of Bahrain to witness the greatest racing event of the year.

"We are delighted and proud to sponsor, third time in a row, one of the most exciting international events," says Gulf Air President and Chief Executive James Hogan.

"Gulf Air, along with the Government of Bahrain and the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), is committed to building on the success of last year's event and will make sure the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2006 becomes an even more spectacular international event.

"We will utilize this important opportunity to show case the salient features of the country to tourists, business visitors and potential investors." zzzz

Bahrain has already made its mark in the international motor racing scene as having the Middle East's best circuit.

The event has firmly established itself as one of the most prestigious, popular, exciting and technically-sophisticated competitions in the international sporting calendar.

The sport transcends all boundaries of age and nationality to capture the imagination and enthusiasm of millions of people and its global popularity finds its rivals in the Olympic Games or the world football championships.

Last year's Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix F1 drew several international race champions, celebrities, dignitaries, VIPs and more than 50,000 spectators from around the world to Bahrain.

The event received overwhelming positive comments and popularity from every corner of the world.

The plaudits from the FIA, the teams - especially the drivers - and visiting fans alike is that Bahrain is now a race that ranks high on the list of the F1 calendar.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Klien eyes grand prix win
Honda 'must' win in '06 - Willis
Sepang slashes F1 prices
Webber - 'I don't need a break'
DC said no to Ferrari offer
Alonso move to 'destabilize' Renault
'She loves Schu'
Alonso's man in the middle
Sauber wins 'lifetime' award
'Kimi can sign '07 deal' - Haug
F1 ramps up V8 revs
FIA's cost cutting 'doomed' - Willis
Racing News
Keith Duckworth dies Keith Duckworth diesUPDATE Keith Duckworth, the 'worth' in the famous 'Cosworth' name, has passed away at the age of 72.

With Mike Costin - 'Cos' - he founded the engine building company in 1958, which is now controlled by the owners of the Champ Car series.

But in 1966, commissioned by Ford, England-based Cosworth's DFV V8 design started on a road that would make the name synonymous with F1.

The basic design won more than 150 grands prix.

[Left] 400th Ford Cosworth DFV F1 Engine, 1986. (Left to Right) Mike Costin, Keith Duckworth, Walter Hayes. [Right] 1974. Colin Chapman (right) and Keith Duckworth (left) with the 200th Ford Cosworth DFT engine
Photos courtesy Ford

Williams and Scuderia Toro Rosso will be Cosworth powered in 2006.

''(Keith) was a true innovator and a legend in his lifetime,'' said Cosworth's commercial director Bernard Ferguson.

Meanwhile, on 20 December, Austrian Karl Wendlinger - who drove 41 grands prix and nearly died in a 1994 crash in Monte Carlo - is celebrating his 37th birthday.

Cosworth Heritage
“We thought it must be possible to make an interesting living messing about with racing cars and engines. That was the total objective behind the formation of Cosworth.”
Keith Duckworth, co-founder of Cosworth.

For anyone even slightly interested in motoring and motorsport, the name Cosworth cannot fail to conjure up images of performance and success.

Since it was formed in 1958 by Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, Cosworth has become the most successful engine manufacturer in the history of Formula One, with a string of driver and manufacturer titles to its credit. In addition, it has also achieved enormous success in a variety of formulae, including IndyCars, Champ Cars, rallying, sportscars and motorcycling.

Cosworth began life in a small workshop in London in 1958. However, things quickly grew and a move to larger premises was soon required. The company moved to north London, where it began working on the development of the Ford 105E engine. Cosworth actually achieved its first victory when Jim Clark took a win in the Formula Junior category in his Lotus 18 at Goodwood in 1960. zzzz

By the mid 1960s, the company had moved to Northampton and much bigger things were around the corner. In 1966, Duckworth signed a contract with Ford to develop a new three-liter Formula One engine, and the legendary DFV was born. It got its first taste of victory in 1967, when Jim Clark again provided the maiden victory, on this occasion first time out at the Dutch Grand Prix. The DFV, in subsequent development guises, went on to dominate the sport for 15 years and clinched 155 race wins during that time.

A host of famous names benefited from Costin and Duckworth’s approach – Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt and Nelson Piquet all took championships using the company’s engines during the 1970s.

And it was during this decade that Cosworth engines crossed the Atlantic to take the Indy/CART world by storm. There, the DFX version of the F1 powerplant began to take an incredible 151 race wins in a 14-year reign, culminating in ten driver’s championships and ten Indianapolis 500 victories.

As the 1980s became the 90s, Cosworth continued to provide winning power, with the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 taking the 1987 Touring Car world title and the Cosworth-powered Ford Mondeo winning the World titles for Paul Radisich in 1993 and 1994.

In Formula One, the DFV was replaced by the HB which won 11 races between 1989 and 1993, while Nigel Mansell’s 1993 CART championship and Jacques Villeneuve’s 1995 Indy 500 win were both provided by Cosworth power. In 1994, the Zetec V8 F1 engine was introduced and powered Michael Schumacher’s first world driver’s title. And in rallying, the Ford Escort Cosworth notched up numerous wins during the 1990s and the Duratec-R engine in the Focus WRC gave Ford more success.

Bringing the story up to date, in 2004, Cosworth provided the power to 30% of the Formula One grid, as well as to the entire Champ Car World Series and the Ford BP Rallyesport Focus World Rally cars.

12/19/05 Keith Duckworth (the Worth in Cosworth) passed away in hospital at 10pm on Sunday evening.  The racing world in general and Cosworth in particular will mourn the loss of such a brilliant and charismatic character.  Our thoughts are with Keith's wife Jill and his children Roger and Trisha at this difficult time.  We will publish more details as we get them.
Willis predict real success for Honda in 2006 Willis predict real success for Honda in 2006
Wimmer replaces Wallace Wimmer replaces WallaceI am very excited to have a young, aggressive, knowledgeable driver like Scott Wimmer join our team."  That's what Morgan-McClure Motorsports President Larry McClure said as he announced Wimmer as his new team driver.

Wimmer replaces Mike Wallace who finished 36th in the points standings last year. But thanks to the #77 team disbanding, Wimmer's new team has been bumped up to 35th in the standings. That's important because that 35th spot in points guarantees Wimmer a spot in each of the year's first four races, including Daytona of course.

Track News
Malaysia slashes ticket prices to draw fans Malaysia slashes ticket prices to draw fansTickets for next year's Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix have been reduced to up to 75% with spectators getting to enjoy three days of racing thrills and excitement at only RM50. 

Malaysia will be hosting the second leg of the 19-round World F1 Championships from March 17-19 at the Sepang F1 Circuit. The season-opening race will be held in Bahrain on March 12. 

The race promoter, Sepang International Circuit (SIC), said yesterday that the tickets priced at RM50 are for the open Hillstand area. For the 2005 event, the tickets were priced at RM200. 

Tickets for the covered Hillstand C2, which were priced at RM250 last year, had been reduced by 40% to RM150. 

However, the prices of grandstand tickets remain the same – Main Grandstand (between RM500 and RM1,750), K1 Grandstand (RM700-RM1000) and F Grandstand (RM500-RM800). 

The SIC general manager, Datuk Ahmad Mustafa, said: “Being the eighth edition of the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, we want more Malaysians to be part of this spectacular event and enjoy the event live at the circuit.” 

Except for the open Hillstands, ticket purchases between now and Jan 1 will be get a five per cent discount, which provides savings of up to RM87. 

Tickets are available at the circuit or at the SIC office in KL Sentral.

Christmas Day in Daytona for Conor Daly Christmas Day in Daytona for Conor DalyChristmas Day 2005 will be a little different for 14 year old race driver Conor Daly. The 8th grader, who attends Heritage Christian school, will be on his way from his home in Noblesville, Indiana to Daytona for the first round of the World Karting Association (WKA) Nationals that will run December 27th – 29th.  Conor, whose Dad is former Formula One and Indy Car drive Derek Daly, will compete in five different classes with his Cytomax-Margay chassis.

Conor is coming off an outstanding season where he won 19 races and two championships.

Track News
Long Beach race adds yet another sponsor Long Beach race adds yet another sponsorEZ Lube - quickly becoming one of the country's largest privately-owned fast oil change companies - has joined the growing list of sponsors for the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 7-9, 2006.

Beginning Feb. 1, EZ Lube service stations in Southern California will be offering two free tickets to Grand Prix racing action on Friday, April 7 with every oil change.  Friday's tentative schedule includes practice and qualifying for the Champ Cars, Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Champ Car Atlantics and Drifting, as well as a driver autograph session and the popular Tecate Fiesta Friday concert.

EZ Lube will also have extensive signage around the 1.97-mile Grand Prix street circuit.

"EZ Lube is proud to associate itself with one of Southern California's most anticipated yearly events," said Manish Patel, EZ Lube's Director of Marketing. "The broad appeal of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach coincides with our own diverse customer base.  The special offer will allow us to reward loyal customers who trust EZ Lube for their automotive maintenance needs."  zzzz

"We're excited to have EZ Lube join our family of great sponsors," said Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.  "Southern California race fans know the value of a good automotive maintenance and now, thanks to EZ Lube, they'll be getting double the value with EZ Lube's Grand Prix Free Friday ticket program."

Founded in 1988 by Rick Teasta and Mike Dobson, EZ Lube is expanding at the rate of eight new stores a year, and will soon feature 70 Southern California locations. In addition, the company's award-winning Fleet Services Department features major accounts such as Enterprise and National car rental companies.

For more information, visit www.ezlube.com.

Tickets for the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach can be purchased from the Grand Prix ticket office by calling the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED.  A handy ticket brochure - which includes circuit map, grandstand and parking locations, ticket prices and order form - can be obtained by calling the ticket hotline. Tickets are also available online at longbeachgp.com or ticketmaster.com.

Ticket prices for the Grand Prix range from $35 for Friday/Saturday general admission up to $115 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seats in upper levels of the grandstands.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available when ordering through the Grand Prix Ticket Office. Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and a variety of hospitality club packages are also available.

Track News
Milwaukee Mile holds ticket prices for 2006 Milwaukee Mile holds ticket prices for 2006WEST ALLIS, Wis. – On the day Wisconsin State Fair Park announced the new promoter of The Milwaukee Mile motor speedway, incoming President & CEO Andy Randall announced there will be no increase in ticket prices at the historic oval this coming season.

“In an effort to make racing more affordable to all fans, there will be no ticket price increases in 2006,” Randall said.  “In fact, in almost every instance, we have reduced ticket prices so that people can again come out and experience the thrilling environment at The Mile.”

The 2006 Milwaukee Mile season schedule was also announced by Randall, who joined Milwaukee Mile Chairman Craig Stoehr and Wisconsin State Fair Park Board Chairman Martin Greenberg in a special ceremony held today at which the promoter rights were signed over before a crowd of supporters, sponsors, investors and others at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center.  Under the terms of the agreement, Milwaukee Mile Holdings has acquired the promotional rights at The Mile for 18 years.  zzzz

“The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest continuously operating motor speedway in the world, and it is the only track to host races sanctioned by the three major U.S. race sanctioning bodies:  Champ Car, IRL, and NASCAR,” Randall said.  “In addition, our Governor’s Cup weekend will return in August, and this season will be headlined by the ARCA RE/MAX 200.”

Four major event weekends will greet the loyal Milwaukee Mile fans, with the June 2-4 Champ Car World Series weekend kicking-off the century-old tradition of world-class auto racing at America’s Legendary Oval, which dates back to 1903.

Paul Tracy and the high-speed Champ Car contingent will make their only 2006 appearance on an oval track, with a return to a Sunday afternoon event June 4 in the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225.   For the first time at The Mile, the emerging Star Mazda Series joins Champ Car for an all-open wheel weekend.

The wildly popular NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series return to The Mile for night racing once again.  The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 will run Friday night, June 23.  It is expected that NASCAR superstar Carl Edwards and at least three additional NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers will compete in the AT&T 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday night, June 24.

The stars of the Indy 500 – including Wisconsin-born ‘Rookie Driver of the Year’ Danica Patrick – return to The Mile in the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IRL IndyCar Series thriller.  Pole qualifying, IRL Indy Pro Series and USAC National Midget Series events headline Saturday July 22, with the IndyCar Series race and a 100-mile USAC Silver Crown Series race set for Sunday July 23.

Stock car fans are going to enjoy The Mile’s storied Governor’s Cup weekend, according to Randall.  The Sunday afternoon August 27 headliner will be a 200-mile ARCA RE/MAX Series race.  The debut of the ASA Late Model Challenge Series in a 150-lap contest is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, August 26, with the Wisconsin Challenge Series and grass roots Governor’s Cup division races completing nearly 500 miles of stock car racing August 25-27.

Race fans can choose from money-saving Milwaukee Mile ticket packages encompassing all four weekends in a full season ticket package, just the two open wheel weekends, or can select both NASCAR and ARCA/Governor’s Cup stock car weekends in a package.

Renewal forms will be mailed in January to existing ticket holders.  For individual ticket pricing and complete details, call (414) 453-8277 or visit the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.  


June 2, 3, 4
Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225
Champ Car World Series
Star Mazda Series

June 23
Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

June 24
AT&T 250
NASCAR Busch Series

July 21, 22, 23
ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225
IRL IndyCar Series
Indy Pro Series
USAC Silver Crown Series
USAC National Midget Series

August 25, 26, 27
ASA Late Model Challenge Series
Wisconsin Challenge Series
Governor’s Cup divisions

(414) 453-8277

Track News
Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC to assume operations the Legendary Oval Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC to assume operations the Legendary Oval
McLaren statement on Alonso McLaren statement on AlonsoThe 2005 Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be joining forces for the 2007 Formula One season. Today's announcement comes only five days after Vodafone and McLaren Mercedes confirmed Vodafone's title sponsorship effective from January 2007 and forms an important part of the team's long term strategic partnership.

"Its great that our strong belief in the strength and competitiveness of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes package has been further endorsed by the World Champion," said Ron Dennis, Team Principal and Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group. "We always make it clear that we want to be the best and the only way of achieving this objective is by attracting the best people, the best drivers and the best sponsors. To be able to announce Vodafone as only McLaren's third title partner in more than 30 years and Fernando's employment within only a few days is fantastic news for the team, our Partners, Formula One and the fans."

"We are in discussions with our current drivers' Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya regarding the 2007 season," continues Ron Dennis. "Both Juan Pablo and Kimi are extremely talented, professional and competitive Formula One drivers and they have and will continue to concentrate on our joint challenge for the Championships."

"Fernando and McLaren Mercedes wanted to make the announcement as soon as possible in a controlled and professional manner to allow McLaren Mercedes, Fernando, Kimi and Juan Pablo to focus on the preparations for the 2006 season," states Ron Dennis. "Our aim for next year remains absolutely clear to everybody within the team – we want to win races and be in a position where we might have two Formula One World Champions driving for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2007."

"We are pleased to welcome Fernando to the team and look forward to working both with him and our new title sponsor in 2007," said Norbert Haug, Vice- President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "To have a World Champion joining the team is a great endorsement and will create a tremendous amount of excitement. However for now our focus must remain on the 2006 season where we want to go one better than we did in 2005."

"To become part of a team with such a desire to succeed and passion for performance is a dream come true for any Formula One driver," said 2005 Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso. "I'm very excited about 2007 and the fantastic opportunity to drive for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. It will be a new beginning for me and a tremendous challenge and from what I have heard about this exciting new Partnership there is something to look forward to. Obviously I will be sad to leave Renault but sometimes possibilities come along which are just too good to miss. I'm pleased that we are able to make this announcement already now as it will allow my current team and I to focus 100 per cent on defending the World Championships next year."  

Jarrett team picks up crew members Jarrett team picks up crew membersYates Racing picked up two new pit crew members for Dale Jarrett's #88 team: Cory Quick, previously a tire changer for Jimmie Johnson, and jackman Tim Boatwright, who joins the squad after the dismantling of the #77 Penske Cup team. Former Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew member Shannon Myers, a former Dolphins draft pick, will move to the #90 RYR Busch program. Sporting News
DEI gearing up for 2006 DEI gearing up for 2006It's full steam ahead for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the improved #8 brew crew. The team's fabrication shop is refurbishing the stable and has two intermediate cars, a new Bristol car and two speedway rides ready to roll. The engine department tested earlier this month at Nashville and tested restrictor-plate engines with ARCA journeyman Mark Gibson last week at Daytona. #15-Paul Menard will test at Daytona the next week to prepare for his first of seven Cup races. Dan Stillman will be his crew chief. Sporting News
Remi Lanteigne joins AWR Remi Lanteigne joins AWRAndersen Walko Racing is pleased to announce that engineer Remi Lanteigne is one of several new appointments to the Fairfield, N.J.-based team, widely regarded as one of the best formula car teams in North America.  Lanteigne, of Becancour, Quebec, will be the engineer for Gerardo Bonilla's car in the 2006 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. 

He joins two returning engineers on the team: Glenn Phillips, who will be the engineer for Brad Jaeger's car in 2006, and Rossella Manfrinato, who will be the engineer for the team's third Star Mazda entry.  The team is still testing hopeful drivers for that seat.

PKV statement on driver evaluation PKV statement on driver evaluationPKV Racing, which is auditioning drivers for anywhere from zero to two spots on the team, concluded three days of testing and driver evaluations December 12-14 at Sebring Raceway in Sebring, Florida.

The team, which is currently in discussions with Cristiano da Matta, who piloted the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine during the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, about returning in 2006 and is still evaluating the possible resignation from his Champ Car seat of team co-owner and driver Jimmy Vasser, who was behind the wheel of the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry, tested three drivers over the three days at Sebring.

Ryan Briscoe, Ryan Dalziel and Giorgio Pantano each ran two full days for PKV Racing and all three where exceptionally competitive placing in the top-three on each of their test days.  

“It was a very successful test for all three drivers,” said PKV Racing General Manager Jim McGee.  “We ran a different program with each driver and are extremely satisfied with the results,” he said.  “The PKV Racing engineering staff did a very good job setting up the cars…they were very fast and the crew did a great job preparing the cars and working with the drivers,” McGee concluded.

Briscoe, who ran 14 events for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005 before suffering a season ending injury at Chicagoland Speedway, tested Monday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 14 running a total of 214 laps (355 miles).  The 24-year-old Australian, who recently tested a Formula One car, was making his debut in a Champ Car.  Dalziel, a 23-year-old Scotsman, who was the runner up in the 2004 Atlantic Championship Series and served as a consultant to PKV Racing in 2005 while also contesting one Champ Car event for Dale Coyne Racing placing ninth in Toronto, was on track on Monday and Tuesday, December 13 turned 230 laps (381 miles).  Pantano, who placed second to two-time Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais in F2000 in 2002, competed in Formula One for Jordan Ford in 2004 and ran six GP2 races plus two events for Target Chip Ganassi in 2005 with an outstanding showing at Watkins Glen International starting second and finishing fourth, ran the PKV Racing car on Monday and Wednesday for a total of 191 laps (317 miles).  The 26-year-old, who hails from Italy, was also making his Champ Car debut. 

PKV Racing co-owner Dan Pettit, who was on hand for all three days of testing said, “We were very pleased with the performance of all three drivers.  This was not a shootout for a job, but an evaluation of three very talented young drivers.  PKV Racing has not made a determination of how many, if any, seats are available for 2006.  This test and others, as well as our on-going discussions with Cristiano (da Matta) and Jimmy’s status, will all be taken into consideration as we evaluate what is best for the team in the future.”  zzzz

Vasser, who has been the subject of retirement rumors for several months, reiterated his position that he, in consultation with fellow PKV Racing co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Pettit, has not reached a decision on his status for next year, but “whatever we decide will be in the best interests of PKV Racing and that I will be a part of the team next year either as a owner/driver or an owner.”

The 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season was the best in PKV Racing history.  The team established a number of team records in its third year of operation.  Among them: Vasser earned the team’s highest season ending finish, placing sixth; da Matta scored the team’s first victory winning in Portland (round #4), while Vasser earned the team’s first pole in round #3 at Milwaukee.  The two drivers also combined to set team records for best combined qualifying, first and fourth at Milwaukee and best combined finish, first and sixth at Portland.  They both qualified in the top-five twice (Milwaukee and Las Vegas, Vasser – third, da Matta – fourth) and in the top-10 in a team record 11 races (in 13 attempts), including a team record six consecutive races.  Da Matta and Vasser finished in the top-10 in the same race three times (eighth/10th at Long Beach; first/sixth, Portland and sixth/seventh, Montreal) and at least one of them placed in the top-six in nine of the 13 events including five consecutive races (the streak ended in Edmonton), which is also a team record. 

Founded in January 2004, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing (PK Racing was established in 2003 with a different ownership group) will contest its third season of competition during the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season.  PKV Racing is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven, who also co-owns the Champ Car World Series, and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser.  The team is managed by Jim McGee who joined the team as General Manager in January of 2005.  McGee is the most successful Manager/Chief Mechanic in USAC/CART/Champ Car history having amassed 90 victories and nine national championships.

Next up for PKV Racing is another test at Sebring Raceway on December 20 – 21 with Katherine Legge and Vasser.  Legge, who earned three victories in her first Atlantic season, winning at Long Beach, Edmonton and San Jose, placed third overall in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship as a rookie.  She is the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America with her victory in Long Beach and is coming off tests in a Minardi Formula One car and an A1 Grand Prix car for Team Great Britain, both in November.  Legge also got some Champ Car seat time with Rocketsports Racing on December 12.

2006 USGP tickets on sale to public 2006 USGP tickets on sale to publicTickets are on sale to the general public Monday, Dec. 19 for the 2006 United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

All fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time.

The United States Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday, July 2. On-track activity starts Friday, June 30 and continues Saturday, July 1. This will be the seventh consecutive year that the only F1 race in America will take place on the 13-turn, 2.605-mile road course at IMS.

The race will feature the first American on a Formula One starting grid since 1993 when Scott Speed races for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Speed, from Manteca, Calif., will be the first American to race in his home Grand Prix since Eddie Cheever Jr. finished third in the 1989 U.S. Grand Prix at Phoenix.

A1 Grand Prix
A1GP cancels Brazil race A1GP cancels Brazil raceUPDATE "It is now definitely off and it is unlikely an alterative round will be found to replace it," an A1 Grand Prix told autosport.com. "We would now rather focus on making the final five rounds a success."

On a recent radio interview Shaik Maktoum admitted the series is now going to focus on the financial aspects.....i.e. recall our rumor that the series is  losing a lot of money.  Flying all over the world with almost zero income from ticket sales is sure to bankrupt this operation before long.

11/25/05 The Brazilian round of the A1 Grand Prix series has been cancelled, according to an exclusive report in this week's Autosport.

The race, due to take place at Curitiba on February 12, has been canned because the track has not been granted the necessary license it needs to host A1 Grand Prix cars. The only other viable venue in the country, Interlagos, has turned down the option of hosting the race.

Cosworth shooting for 775 HP and 850 HP Cosworth shooting for 775 HP and 850 HP“We’ve been talking to Scot Elkins for the best part of a year about what Champ Car envisions for ‘07,” Cosworth's Bruce Wood (pictured right) commented. “We’ve worked through some more radical or ambitious thoughts. We talked about twin turbos, for example. On a purely technical basis, that is probably the right solution for any formula car. With a single, big turbo you end up with a very torsionally unstiff bellhousing. You’ve got a big open box section with a red hot turbo inside. Twin turbos would do away with that.

“There’s also a weight issue. Twin turbos are much easier to package. If you were starting from scratch with an entirely new car, an entirely new engine, and an entirely new formula, I think you would go for twin turbos. But starting from where you are, it’s not necessarily the way to go.”

The XFE has been so successful Wood observes, that it’s worth relying on one of life’s golden rules.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he remarked. “You’ve got a great starting point and I think it would be folly to throw all that away.”

Cosworth’s discussions with Champ Car about ‘07 soon settled on a few, key areas.

“In the early days of our conversations with Scot and Champ Car we talked about ideas like that, but reasonably quickly we moved away from those ideas,” Wood said. “Where we’re really at now is looking at the big things that are remaining in the spec.

“At the moment we’re at 750 horsepower, and 800 with push-to-pass. What we would like to do is make sure we can use those same specs at the high altitude races. So we are looking at a different compressor wheel for ‘07 that we can package differently. zzzz

“The Lola chassis is such that the air filter and the ducting is pretty ugly, but we couldn’t get any more speed out of the turbo even if it was neatly done. But that’s because the car was never designed to have an air filter. With the Panoz it will be an all-new design, so we’ll make sure the inlet is a lot nicer. So we’ll have a different compressor wheel and probably a different compressor so we can run the high altitude races at full spec.”

An increase in power is likely in 2007, but even a small change requires a lot of complementary work.

“Champ Car are talking about increasing the base power to 775 horsepower and 850 on push-to-pass,” Wood said. “We’ve had a good look at what that will take to do, and it’s actually a reasonable amount of work. In the old days we used to have a pre-compressor injection system. It was called a ring of fire. The fuel went through the turbo. We moved those injectors up to the plenum for the XFE so that we could eliminate the maintenance of those injectors. With the decreased boost we have and the lower revs, we would definitely need more fuel in the plenum as a cooling effect to get back up to 850 horsepower.

“People say, you were at 900 and more horsepower in the old days. How can it be a problem to get 850? They forget we were at 900 horsepower at 16,500 rpm and now we’re limited to 12,000 rpm which is very much the durability limit. Any power we can achieve with the boost limit puts so much more gas loading on the engine. It’s not just a question of winding the knob up.

“If we do go for 850 we’ll certainly have to re-piston all the engines and possibly return to pre-compressor injection, but more likely putting extra injectors before the plenum and, as I say, there will be a different compressor wheel. We’ll have to increase the cooling a little bit and we’ll have to increase the fuel pump volume. It used to turn at speeds relative to 16,500 rpm and now it’s turning relative to 12,000, so it simply doesn’t deliver enough fuel for 850 horsepower. So there’s a reasonable amount of engineering work to get to 850 hp.” More at ChampCar.ws

Statement from Alonso on his exit from Renault Statement from Alonso on his exit from RenaultStatement from Fernando Alonso following his decision to change teams at the end of 2006.

"As everybody will now be aware, I have taken the decision to leave Renault after the 2006 season. I achieved my lifetime ambition with Renault this year, and for my career, I felt that it was time for a new challenge. That will be to try and win with another team."

"At this point in time, though, I am concentrating on 2006. Renault brought me into Formula 1, brought me my first title, and I will be working to repeat that success next year. The signs so far are very positive on every level. I am confident the chassis will be quick, and the engine team are doing a fantastic job on the new V8. I am looking forward to a very successful 2006 season," Fernando Alonso added. Renault

Official Renault statement on Alonso exit Official Renault statement on Alonso exitStatement from Renault F1 Team President Patrick Faure concerning Fernando Alonso's departure at the end of the 2006 season.

"The Renault F1 Team and Fernando Alonso have enjoyed historic successes together since he joined the team in 2002. I was disappointed to learn of Fernando's decision but, by the end of 2006, he will have spent five seasons with Renault. Fresh challenges are essential for any sportsman, and he has taken the decision to pursue a new direction in his career. That is part of Formula 1, and part of life."

"Our priority at the moment is 2006. We aim to maintain our level of performance in next year with an aggressive technical program and competitive approach. The teams at Viry and Enstone proved this year that they can do the job, and every member of the team is working 100% to produce a package that will allow both Fernando and Giancarlo Fisichella to defend the team's position as world champions. Our aim will be to win again in 2006," President Patrick Faure added.

Alonso will join McLaren in 2007 Alonso will join McLaren in 2007McLaren and Fernando Alonso dropped a bomb on the F1 world on Monday by announcing that they will team up in 2007.

The surprising news is the clearest indication yet that Woking incumbent Kimi Raikkonen is off to Ferrari, and a major blow to Renault who must now fill the highly talented 24-year-old Spaniard's seat.

''We always make it clear that we want to be the best,'' said McLaren boss Ron Dennis, ''and the only way of achieving this objective is by attracting the best people.''

Alonso's team switch comes mere days after McLaren poached Vodafone from Ferrari to be the '07 title sponsor.

Woking based McLaren, however, seemingly tried to quell speculation that Alonso's early appointment is a definite sign of Finn Raikkonen's subsequent exit.

Ron Dennis continued: ''We are in discussions with our current drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya regarding the 2007 season.''

Alonso, who will try to defend his 2005 title in a rival Renault car next year, explained that he is making the McLaren move for a 'new challenge'.  For Renault, such as team president Patrick Faure, it is bad news indeed.

''Fresh challenges are essential for any sportsman,'' the 'disappointed' Frenchman acknowledged in a statement.

''That is part of formula one, and part of life.''

Trulli not worried about Ralf Trulli not worried about RalfJarno Trulli has brushed aside the challenge posed by his teammate, Ralf Schumacher.

The Italian says he was quicker than 30-year-old Ralf in 90 per cent of the grands prix last year -- all but Japan and China, where he struggled with the 'b' car.

Worryingly, the new TF106 racer is a development of the 2005 'b' car, and Trulli is already reporting a repeat of his trouble with the front suspension.

But, nearly everywhere this year, ''Ralf was never ahead of me,'' JT told Autosprint, referring to Canada, Silverstone and Hungary, where he encountered race troubles.

31-year-old Trulli aimed fire at Schumacher's Suzuka pole, revealing that the German topped the field because he had a 'glass-worth of fuel' on board.

In the same breath, Jarno denied that his own qualifying triumph at Indianapolis was also achieved with a light car, even if Sunday's six-car farce means it will never be proved.

Trulli said: ''I've never thought about Ralf.

''I aimed at third place in the championship and, one trouble after the next, I saw 30 points disappear in the second half of the season.''

In the same interview with the Italian magazine, Trulli poured scorn on the constant rule-changing in formula one, saying he was 'disgusted' with the latest wave of reform.

He said: ''If I had to follow the championship on television, I would definitely not have the same enthusiasm ... (as I do) while racing in it.''

The Tortoise and the Hare The Tortoise and the HareMcLaren boss Ron Dennis has likened the 2005 season to one of Aesop's most notable fables -- the Tortoise and the Hare.

Although his silver team missed out on either world championship, Ron's MP4-20 car - winner of ten grands prix compared to Renault's eight - was widely regarded as the quickest of the '05 season.

Indeed, Dennis - chairman of the Mercedes-powered camp - calls the year a 'very good' one.

''But I would like to call it the Tortoise and the Hare,'' he told the Daily Telegraph 'paper.

''We did have the fastest car and we didn't win.''

In Aesop's fable, the Hare ridiculed the Tortoise before they embarked on a race.  Because the speedy Hare took a mid-race nap, though, the moral of the fable is that 'slow and steady wins the race'.

However, RD stops short of describing Flavio Briatore's blue and yellow R25 package as slow.

''Credit where it is due,'' Ron admitted, ''the package Renault brought to the opening races was extremely reliable and competitive enough to win.''

DR aims fire at JV’s rivals DR aims fire at JV’s rivalsJacques Villeneuve was not the only driver left bruised after former BAR boss David Richards' latest interview.

The Briton (pictured right), who led Benetton for a time in 1998 and more recently sat at the Honda-powered helm, also aimed fire at some of 2005's other underperformers when talking to F1 Racing magazine.

''When all is said and done,'' Richards said in reference to Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, ''he just couldn't hack it with Fernando (Alonso).''

'DR' also expressed disappointment with Juan Pablo Montoya, paired at McLaren alongside title runner-up Kimi Raikkonen in 2005.

David said: ''In general, his was a rather erratic and slightly shabby performance.''

Richards disagrees that Nick Heidfeld's low profile is just about personality.  ''Put it this way,'' he explained.  ''He's not someone I ever seriously thought about hiring when I was at BAR.

''He's never going to set the world alight.''

Even Jenson Button did not escape Richards' indignation.  The former team chief reckons 2005 made him 'less certain' that his old charge is title material.

Panther Racing on the auction block Panther Racing on the auction blockComing in January 2006!
Key Liquidators
5101 Decatur Blvd Indianapolis, IN 46241
Brief Description:
One of Indy's most prestigious and respected IRL teams!

Race Cars, Transporters, Machine & Fab Shop, Office Furnishings More.... (Looks like they are selling everything)

Collector Item
Limited Time Offer Limited Time OfferAutoRacing1.com is offering for a limited time only, this 1:32 scale diecast metal Simple Green CART Safety Truck from 2003.  No longer sold, these trucks are in their original boxes and in mint condition.  Supply is limited.  $50 each plus shipping. 

To order email the following information to sales@autoracing1.com and we will respond with total cost and how to pay:

Shipping Address
Type of Shipping (Regular Ground or 2-Day)
Quantity of trucks
Type of Credit Card

Newey held Honda talks Newey held Honda talksHe wound up at Red Bull, but McLaren renegade Adrian Newey was also courted by Honda.

That is the revelation of the Brackley based team's Nick Fry, who said Newey - McLaren's long time and highly rated technical director - had talks with his Honda counterpart Geoff Willis.

The January edition of 'F1 Racing' magazine purports that Honda's approaches to Newey had the backing of Honda Japan.

''Geoff did have a few discussions with Adrian,'' team principal Fry said, ''but ... we concluded that there was no role for an individual like Adrian at Honda.

''Everyone at Honda understood that.''

F1 engines fall silent F1 engines fall silentJerez heard the year's last formula one engines on Saturday, as Honda and Renault tested wet tires in Spain.

Jenson Button (Honda) and Franck Montagny (Renault) ran on an artificially watered track for Michelin, at the scene of where the first major 2006 test will kick off again on January 10.

A day earlier, France's Montagny - who has not found a race or test seat for 2006 - led a field of seven, including Michael Schumacher, alternating between two Ferraris, and world champion Fernando Alonso in third.

Williams and Honda also wrapped up their '05 running.

''Now, for me, it is time to turn a new page,'' said Montagny. ''I want to be racing again.

''I hope this isn't my last time in an F1 car, but I don't have anything scheduled at the moment.''

Minardi founder out of F1 Minardi founder out of F1Gian Carlo Minardi, the founder of the Minardi F1 team has left Scuderia Toro Rosso. In a statement Faenza-based Minardi released to the Italian media, he said this was the end of the line for him in Formula One.

"After 26 years of hard work done with tenacity, passion and professionalism, there is now a lack of common ground with the new owners to carry on working," Minardi said.

"I want to wish best luck to the boys at the team who, I'm sure, will keep honoring the name of Faenza around the world, with their technical and professional capabilities.

"I also want to thank the sponsors, the technical partners, the drivers, the engineers and the mechanics who have been close to me during this long adventure. Together we created a small bit of history in Italian and worldwide motor racing which, I'm sure, won't be forgotten soon.

"To all of them I simply want to say 'thank you'."

Track News
Pace Joins Road America Board of Directors Pace Joins Road America Board of DirectorsElkhart Lake, Wis., 2005-Road America Board of Director's Chairman, Jonathan Laun, is pleased to announce the addition of Director Ronald Pace. Pace has served as President-Plumbing Americas at Kohler Company since 1999 after joining the company in 1995. An avid sports car enthusiast, Pace is a Road America shareholder and a member of the Sports Car Club of America.  He has been a member of the Porsche Club of America for 20 years and is currently president of the Milwaukee region.

With over thirty years of career growth at Fortune 100 companies, Pace possesses a diversified background in both industrial and consumer markets with assignments in general management, operations, marketing and finance. He holds an MBA in Finance/Marketing and a BA in Economics/Chemistry, both from the University of Connecticut.  Since 2003 he has served as a board member for Appleton Paper.

Ron Dennis: F1 breakaway still not settled Ron Dennis: F1 breakaway still not settledMcLaren-Mercedes boss, Ron Dennis has predicted that the future of F1 will probably not be settled for at least three to six months. Dennis told Reuters that while everyone is moving towards each other, CVC - the new owners to the rights of the sport, are not in a position to begin talks as yet.

The Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association, which McLaren is aligned, wants the sport to be more open and they want to get a greater share of the sports revenue, as such the GPMA has been threatening to set-up their own single-seater series to rival F1.

"I believe those driving forces and values [which the GPMA is fighting for] will exist, whatever organization is effectively operating grand prix racing post 2008," Dennis stated.

"Who that is, and what that is, is probably not going to come into focus for three to six months. In any negotiation one of the ingredients is time and at the moment we have to the end of 2007 to get it into focus and get it sorted.

"Everybody is moving towards each other, [FIA president] Max [Mosley] has moved considerably in our - the GPMA - direction and we've tried to move in the FIA's direction.

"And of course we are now dealing with another entity, CVC, and it is difficult to engage formally with CVC at the moment because CVC at the moment does not own Formula One. Until it has clearance from Brussels, until it has resolved the issue with the equity held by Lehman, it's not in a position to sit and talk to us."

Montoya: Schumacher is nothing special Montoya: Schumacher is nothing specialJuan Pablo Montoya has had a dig at former World Champion Michael Schumacher, insisting that people are putting the German on a pedestal that he does not deserve.

The Ferrari man has claimed seven Drivers' titles in F1, but the controversial Colombian believes that most of his results are down to the fact that he simply had the best car of the grid.

"People were putting Michael so high, his perfection of driving and training and all that bulls**t," he said.

"But I don't think it was Michael struggling last season, it was just back to reality. It puts it into perspective. If you have a good car, you're going to win. If you don't, you won't - it's that straightforward in this sport."

Montoya continued: "Michael's human like everybody else. I'm not going to say he's not good - I think he's a great driver.  The Ferrari team did a great job over the past few years but people forget it takes a team to win. Everybody thought it was just Michael."

Dalziel hopes boosted in testing Dalziel hopes boosted in testingRyan Dalziel took a significant step towards clinching a full-time race seat in next year's US-based Champ Car series when he topped the timesheets during winter testing at Florida's Sebring International Raceway.  The 23-year-old Scot, expected to replace former champ Jimmy Vasser in the PKV Racing team, lapped the 1.65-mile track in 51.5 seconds to edge out former Jordan F1 driver Giorgio Pantano.

"I was quick immediately when we took the car off the truck," Dalziel explained yesterday.  "The way I understand it is that if Jimmy retires I'm the No.1 choice to replace him next season. This test has been hugely important for me and to top the timesheets certainly will not have done my chances any harm." The Scotsman

The importance of electronics in F1 The importance of electronics in F1At a time when the FIA are pushing forward with a single Electronic Control Unit standard for the entire F1 field in 2008, it is interesting to understand how much of a part electronics play in the running of modern F1 machinery. Renault's Vincent Gaillardot explains how you can’t even start an F1 engine without the hardware and programs developed at Viry... Electronics are an area of serious interest for the modern engineer. Control systems, telemetry, data acquisition, performance and also reliability: electronics are everywhere in Formula 1. To cope with the challenge, the Renault F1 Team has structured itself appropriately on both sides of the Channel.

The electronics department at Viry includes around 30 people: their work gives birth to the engine’s 'brain', the control box and programs without which the car couldn’t even be started. “Our activities are divided into two main parts,” explains Vincent Gaillardot, who runs this sector. “On one side, we work on the hardware – that’s to say the ECU on the car. On the other, we develop software programs that allow us to use these tools.”

The electronics department at Viry represents roughly 10 percent of the factory’s operations. The group is divided into production and maintenance groups, a performance group, software, integration and approval, and then advanced studies. zzzz
In terms of hardware, close collaboration with Magneti-Marelli, an historic partner of Renault in motorsport, gave birth to the Step 11 system that was used for the first time in 2005. It enables the team to manage engine and chassis parameters from a single unit, where previously two boxes were needed. The main priority was to enable the chassis and engine to communicate in total harmony. “Our aim is to achieve total integration,” explains Gaillardot. “Enstone has a parallel organization to ours. We share the Step 11 unit, and each side develops the functions it requires.”

Step 11 brings unquestionable physical advantages: one box instead of two mean weight gains in wiring looms and fewer sensors. It also translates to faster dialogue between engine and chassis functions. Processing power is four times greater than the previous system, data storage capacity is ten times greater, and the bandwidth used to collect the information is three times’ greater.

“A typical PC uses a single processor!” explains Gaillardot. “In F1, this kind of unit includes more than 15!” Overall, the total capacity of the unit is estimated at roughly 2000 MIPS (Million instructions per second). But the hardware isn’t limited to this single box. Viry also works on voltage regulators, telemetry broadcast units, engine speed sensors, the wiring loom, ignition coils and the injectors.

On the software side, development is continuous. “We work on developing the engine control systems, which in turn bring performance. We manage the fuel injection, sparking, all the parameters with which the engine can be controlled,” continues Gaillardot. “The software is developed according to a very precise specification, and development is on-going. For example, we had a new software spec at every race in 2005.”

These changes focus on two areas: improving the reliability of the systems, and integrating new functions in order to improve performance. They are developed jointly with Enstone to optimize the engine and chassis systems according to the new possibilities of the Step 11 hardware. What’s more, the areas where electronics have an impact are always growing: “We are now able to do things that we never thought we would be able to ten years ago,” reveals Gaillardot.

Finally, the V8 project has not radically changed the electronics department; indeed, the team will continue working in the same way. “The technology of the engine control systems does not change with the new architecture,” concludes Gaillardot. “We are working with a new product, and our work now focuses on optimizing how the V8 runs. But the technology we are using is the same. As are the objectives: we want to retain our titles!” Source Renault

Ferrari postpone 2006 car launch Ferrari postpone 2006 car launchFerrari has decided to postpone the launch of its new car, the 'F2006'.  The Maranello based team was planning a January 16 unveiling of the V8-powered racer at the factory, but faced the prospect of sharing the date with BMW Sauber, to launch in Spain.

Reportedly, Scuderia Ferrari will now unveil the next scarlet contender on Monday 23 January -- exactly a week later.

Honda will then present its car two days later, followed by Williams on the twenty seventh.  Toyota, though, will beat them all to it by officially presenting the TF106 on 14 January.

Renault will launch on 31 January, and Red Bull in Bahrain just ahead of the season opener.  McLaren is heading for a January launch, and MF1 in February.

Red Bull-owned Scuderia Toro Rosso's new car intentions, meanwhile, remain basically unclear.

Button and Montagny in Simulated wet weather at Jerez Button and Montagny in Simulated wet weather at JerezYesterday marked the final day of testing at Jerez in 2005 as Jenson Button and Franck Montagny conducted a Michelin wet weather run at the Spanish circuit.

On the artificially soaked circuit, Button conducted 95 laps with a best of 1:31.253s with Montagny concluding his two-year spell as Renault's test driver less than a tenth adrift.

Testing at Jerez resumes January 10th to the 13th and again on the 17th to the 20th with most of the team expected to be in action.

1 . J. Button - Honda V8 - 1:31.253 (+ 0.000 ) - 95 laps
2 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 V10 - 1:31.288 (+ 0.035 )

Formula BMW
7 BMW teams test in Bahrain 7 BMW teams test in BahrainSeven Formula BMW teams began testing yesterday at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir after a successful Formula BMW World Final.

The teams decided to extend their stay and test their cars at the Middle East's only Grand Prix Circuit following a first and third place finish in the BMW final.

The teams - M-Holzer Rennsport GmbH, ASL Team Muecke-motorsport, Meritus, Filsell Motorsport, Motaworld Racing, Promatecme / Soper Sport and Team Autotecnica - which represent all four championships - the UK, Asian, German and the US - will continue testing today.

"The Formula BMW World Final event was a huge success for all involved and I know how much those who participated valued the event in terms of enjoyment and the experience they gained," said BIC general manager Martin Whitaker.

"Based on the event's success, seven teams decided to stay and test their cars here at the 'Home of Motorsports in the Middle East'. We have a phenomenal facility here in Bahrain and I look forward to the circuit attracting many more teams from various championships to use the facility here to benefit their team's growth," he said.

The inaugural Formula BMW World Final brought together contestants representing 15 different countries all competing with one sole objective in mind, the chance to test for the new BMW Sauber F1 team and a generous winners purse of $60,000.

Racing News
Awards banquet cancelled Awards banquet cancelledThe devastation from Hurricane Katrina was so widespread that the whole world reached out to support the survivors.  The service team of BMW of Austin made a very unusual gift to the hurricane victims recently.  As a service department that performed extremely well for the year, BMW of Austin had earned the honor of being provided an awards banquet at a local country club.  The associates of the service team were so moved by the devastation of the Katrina disaster that they elected to take the funds for their awards banquet and send them to the relief efforts of the New Orleans disaster.  This gesture would in itself be an uncommon act of kindness and a wonderful example of giving back but this is not where the story ends.
Roger Penske, Chairman and CEO of United Auto Group, parent company to BMW of Austin and the intended host of the awards banquet, was so moved by the gesture that he gave an equal amount out of his personal checkbook to this cause.
Williams conclude 2005 program Williams conclude 2005 programWilliams Cosworth conducted a three day test this week at Jerez with Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Narain Karthikeyan all testing the development FW27C chassis that has been adapted to Cosworth V8 power, Bridgestone tires and a new gearbox.

The final day of running saw Rosberg set the fourth fastest time as he completed 78 laps while former Jordan racer Karthikeyan ran 40 laps of the 4.428KM circuit.

As the team head home for the Christmas break, they can reflect on the fact that they were the second fastest V8 runners this week at the Spanish test circuit.

Sam Michael, Williams Technical Director
“Over the last three weeks, the team has been hard at work in Spain, completing some really useful testing to identify any major issues with the new engine, gearbox and electronics that we will use next year. Mark, Nico and Narain drove at this week’s test in Jerez and all contributed to furthering our understanding of how the car is working on Bridgestone tires and with a V8 engine. Now we’ve finished our 2005 testing program, it's time for a short break before we return to Jerez in the New Year. We are really looking forward to starting 2006 with our partners, Cosworth and Bridgestone.” zzzz
Mark Webber
“As with any testing at this time of year, it goes without saying that there are many new components on the car and it would be fair to say we're still getting to grips with some of them. In terms of solutions, the guys are doing a very good job at the moment. Personally, I don't feel I need a break so I wish we could continue with the program, hence I'm looking forward to January, and especially February, when we’ll have the new car.”

Simon Corbyn, Cosworth Head of F1 Race Engineering
“The initial tests with WilliamsF1 have been a big challenge for Cosworth and the new CA2006 V8 engine. Both engine performance and reliability have been encouraging, although we still have plenty to keep us occupied prior to the season opener in Bahrain. The next priority for both Cosworth and Williams is to enjoy a well deserved Christmas break.”

Kaz Hamamura, Bridgestone Test Operations Manager
“This week draws to a conclusion the WilliamsF1 Team’s two week test with Bridgestone in Jerez. Although they have had limited running, the team have nevertheless worked well through their tire tests. Furthermore, despite some interruptions, we have been very impressed with their efficiency and professionalism. The Williams FW27C is an interim car which is showing considerable potential and we were pleased with the consistency of the lap times over long runs.” Source Williams Cosworth

Panis back after Kidney Stone treatment Panis back after Kidney Stone treatmentF1 veteran, Olivier Panis was back testing this week at Jerez, after treatment for a kidney stone. The Frenchman, who was forced to pull out of testing last week at the Spanish venue and who was subsequently replaced by Ryan Briscoe, said that it was great to be back behind the wheel of an F1 car.

"It's nice to be back in business driving again and the team is working well," he reflected following his one and a half days on track on Wednesday and Thursday.

"I just did a couple of runs in dry conditions on Wednesday and then a full day Thursday. The new car is looking good and the V8 engine has improved a lot compared to the last time I tested it. The package is very drivable and I think we are in good shape.

"There is always a lot of work to do when you change tire supplier and we will continue working hard with Bridgestone in the new year. I also had a chance to try the Bridgestone wet tires when it rained lightly on Wednesday and they were unbelievable, really quick. You felt almost like you were on dry tires!

"I am really positive about the car and I did a lot of laps with some very reasonable times."

Final 2006 MotoGP calendar Final 2006 MotoGP calendarThe 2006 MotoGP World Championship calendar:

March, 26th - Spain, Jerez de la Frontera
April, 8th** - Qatar, Doha/Losail
April, 30th - Turkey, Istanbul
May, 14th - China, Shanghai
May, 21st - France, Le Mans
June, 4th - Italy, Mugello
June, 18th - Catalunya, Catalunya
June, 24th** - Netherlands, Assen
July, 2nd - Great Britain, Donington Park
July, 16th - Germany, Sachsenring
July, 23rd* - United States, Laguna Seca
August, 20th - Czech Republic, Brno
September, 10th - Malaysia, Sepang
September, 17th - Australia, Phillip Island
September, 24th - Japan, Motegi
October, 15nd - Portugal, Estoril
October, 29th - Valencia, Ricardo Tormo

* Only MotoGP class
** Saturday

Track News
Fontana Garage Sale Fontana Garage SaleMore than 500 overnight recreational vehicle spots will be part of the inventory available today at California Speedway's Garage Sale. "We're responding to our fans and their needs," speedway president Gillian Zucker said on the eve of the sale, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"According to some of our fans, the waiting list for an RV spot is five years."

Since the 1997 opening of the Fontana track, infield RV spots have sold out, and the waiting list has grown. According to Zucker, there is very little turnover among RV season-ticket holders, thus creating a need.

"We have a renewal rate of pretty close to 100 percent," said Zucker. "So, we're taking a page out of the operations at our sister track in Phoenix, where they had a similar program in place for five years." zzzz

The additional spaces are located on a 20-acre site on Napa Street, about a half-mile west of the track. The off-site property was acquired by International Speedway Corp. -which owns the race facility - in 2002 for additional parking.

The property, once destined to be a youth soccer park during non-race weekends, was used to park as many as 600 cars. However, before the NASCAR Nextel Cup Auto Club 500 in late February, it will be prepared for RV use.

"It will be fully equipped," said Zucker of the area where most spaces will be 20x45 feet. "There will be a dedicated tram service, showers and a concessionaire. Additionally, our guests will be able to pre-order supplies from our infield Stater Brothers store and have them delivered. The RV experience is part of the NASCAR experience. Our goal was to add parking amenities that compare with other tracks."

The track renewed its enforcement of banning RVs from the parking lots during last September's Sony HD 500. Although the rule had been in place since the opening, a certain amount of RVs had made it inside.

"It was creating a problem with parking," Zucker said, adding that some RVs were taking up as many as three car spaces. "It was impacting our parking services."

Each space in the camping section will be required to purchase "Fan Pack" season-ticket packages, which includes two upper grandstand tickets for Saturday's Busch race and Sunday's Nextel Cup. The weekend package is $410.

Regular infield sites range from $350 to $650, with each occupant required to purchase a $50 three-day wristband. There are as many as 13 rows of RVs for NASCAR weekends.

"If this is good, it'll grow," Zucker said, adding there are no predetermined expectations on how many sites may be sold the first day. "With RV patrons, it's word of mouth. But I think this shows that we're listening to what our fans want. It sends a message that we're trying to do what we can as a track."

Today's speedway garage sale will include merchandise featuring the old logo.

Jasper ends NASCAR sponsorship Jasper ends NASCAR sponsorshipJasper Engines & Transmissions will no longer sponsor a car in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series but will continue supplying drivers Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch with engines, transmissions and differentials.  Travis Kvapil drove the No. 77 Dodge for Penske-Jasper Racing last season, when Kodak became the primary sponsor. After Kodak dropped its sponsorship earlier this month, Jasper decided to follow suit.

"We won't have our name front and center on the car, but we now have the opportunity we've worked years for," Jasper advertising manager Mike Pfau said. "We view it as a way to get to do what we do best, and that is build drive-train components. Our decision was played by Kodak's," Pfau said. "Their decision made it easy for us. Our goal since we first got into (racing) was to become a drive-train supplier."

New NASCAR Truck team announced New NASCAR Truck team announcedRick and Cathy Woodard, along with Eddie Sharp, today announced the formation of a new partnership, Woodard & Sharp Racing, with plans to compete full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next season. The partners have purchased a 25,000-square-foot shop in Denver, N.C., from which the team will field Dodge Ram trucks for Rookie of the Year candidate Boston Reid in all 25 truck series events in 2006.

Patrick Donahue, a 14-year NASCAR veteran, will fill the role of crew chief. The Woodard’s and Sharp met last year when both were involved in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Series. Rick and Cathy Woodard were co-owners of the No. 13 Boca Bay Racing entry in 2005. Sharp, a 20-year racing veteran, heads up Dodge’s ARCA driver development program. zzzz 

“Cathy and I have always wanted to be involved in NASCAR,” Woodard said. “When we got to know Eddie Sharp, we knew we had found the right guy to partner with. The most important thing in racing is to work with people who know what they’re doing and who you can trust. Eddie’s built a reputation as being both of those things. He’s well-respected and by working with him, we hope to let people know we’re making a long-term commitment to building a competitive race team. We plan to be in this sport for a long time.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Sharp, who will also serve as the team’s general manager. “The Woodard’s and I are taking our time and doing this the right way. We’re building a solid team of quality people, and people will see we’re in this for the long haul. We’ve got very realistic goals this first year. Our plan is to go to the track every week and earn the respect of our peers.” While Woodard & Sharp Racing is a new entity, the team is further demonstrating its commitment by surrounding itself with NASCAR veterans. In addition to the experience Sharp brings, the organization has entered into a technological partnership with Ray Evernham and Evernham Motorsports, who will serve as the team’s engine supplier. 

Montagny: 'I want to go racing again' Montagny: 'I want to go racing again'Franck Montagny completes his testing role with the Renault F1 Team today. Speaking ahead of his final wet weather Michelin test, the French test driver talks of his two year stint as official test driver at Renault and what the future may hold.

Franck, how did this last test go in Jerez?
"I think we did a very good job. I have done nearly 250 laps in three days, and we have done some very good work on the tires and chassis set-up for 2006. I think we managed to get a good baseline for the team to work from, and I managed to do some fun things as well, working on set-ups with new tires. That’s always fun for a driver, so I was able to enjoy this final test."

How did you feel at the end of the day on Friday?
"I was really determined to get 100 percent enjoyment from those last laps in the car. I hope this is not my last time in an F1 car, but I don’t have anything scheduled at the moment so I really wanted to make the most of it. I was looking at things from a different perspective, and it was nice to finish the day with fastest lap as well. It felt like I had expressed myself as I wanted to." zzzz
How do you feel to be leaving the team?
"I have had two great years with Renault, and I have made some very good relationships – especially with the test team. We work well together, and they played a big role in the success this season, especially making the package reliable before the start of the season: that was what helped the team build a points lead, and laid the foundations for the championship."

"We had a very strong test at Jerez in September too, when we ran the new E spec V10 engine, I set fastest time and we really prepared the final race in China that won the championship. I am proud to have played a part in the adventure this year."

So what does the future hold?
"For me, it is time to turn a new page. I want to go racing again, and although that did not happen as I would have wished with Renault, you do not always get what you want in life. But I want to be positive. I think I have shown my worth this year with some strong performances, and now it is time to take another step forward." Source Renault

German DTM
Track news
Brands Hatch confirms DTM for 2006 Brands Hatch confirms DTM for 2006Brands Hatch has added yet another major international event to its 2006 motorsport calendar by confirming that the German DTM series will visit the Kent circuit on July 2 next year. It will be the first opportunity since 2003 for British fans to enjoy the dramatic action of the world's fastest touring car series and the start of a three year agreement for Brands Hatch.

With Audi having just confirmed its participation for the next three years, a titanic battle with Mercedes is guaranteed with these incredible machines that feature the most sophisticated technology to be seen in touring car racing anywhere in the world. Phenomenal performance is backed up with a stunning driver line up; former F1 stars Mika Hakkinen and Jean Alesi are just two of the drivers that Gary Paffett beat to the 2005 title while seven times Audi Le Mans 24 Hour winner Tom Kristensen also participates. zzzz

Motorsport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer commented: "I am thrilled that we have been able to conclude an agreement to host the British round of the DTM at Brands Hatch next July. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the cars and the show when I visited an event recently. And then when I saw the sensational spectacle of the DTM Mercedes at Snetterton for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, I knew that we really must have these awesome cars at Brands Hatch!

"With so much of my own motorsport career involving German teams and product, I am very proud that MSV has been successful in evolving Brands Hatch to be so attractive to DTM. I have very fond memories of Zakspeed in F1, and Porsche and Mercedes in Group C, whilst we are about to start our ninth year running Formula Palmer Audi.

"Of course such quality of machinery attracts some of the best drivers in the world, and to have Mika Hakkinen racing at Brands along with Gary Paffett and the numerous other stars will be a great privilege. DTM at Brands Hatch will be a superb, must see, event for motorsport fans and there is no doubt it will be one the biggest events of our year".

Gary Paffett is sure to pull big support from his the home fans, drawn by the spectacular racing the 450 bhp V8 engined machines produce. British hopes will also be following another Mercedes-backed driver - Jamie Green. Like Paffett, Green is a past winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and enjoyed a successful debut year in 2005, impressing many with his speed.

2006 is going to be magnificent year for touring car racing at Brands Hatch and British champions. Whilst Paffett will defend his DTM crown, the World Touring Car Championship event in May will see reigning champion Andy Priaulx fighting to win while at the two rounds of the British Touring Car Championship Matt Neal will be out to repeat his title clincher at Brands Hatch last October.

Tickets for this world-class event will be on sale soon and will be available by calling 0870 950 9000 or logging on to www.brandshatch.co.uk

Florida approves NASCAR tag bill Florida approves NASCAR tag billUPDATE Gov. Jeb Bush today signed a bill creating a specialty license plate to help fund Daytona Beach's bid for a NASCAR Hall of Fame. The measure was one of 10 passed last week in the Florida Legislature's special session. Besides contributing $25 toward the project for each tag sold, supporters said the plates would demonstrate Florida's commitment to landing the hall. Orlando Sentinel 12/09/05 The Florida state Senate voted 39-0 to approve a bill that would “create a NASCAR license tag to help finance” a NASCAR HOF in Daytona Beach, a day after the state House approved the measure by a 116-3 vote.  Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that he would sign the bill. Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL
Kenny Wallace to run some Cup races in 2006 Kenny Wallace to run some Cup races in 2006Kenny Wallace says that he will run several Nextel Cup races in 2006. “I am going to run for sure the first five races of year in the #78 Furniture Row Racing Cup car.  Team owner Joe Garone has asked me to run as many Cup races as I can this year. Furniture Row Racing had decided to quit running in the NASCAR Busch Series, and they will put all their effort into a Cup team. It is their decision to do this.” Kenny Wallace website
Paul Tracy to race in Busch Series in 2006 Paul Tracy to race in Busch Series in 2006Paul Tracy will make the jump to the NASCAR Busch Series in selected races in 2006. Tracy, who was in Daytona testing an ARCA car for Andy Hillenburg, told MRN Radio's "NASCAR Today" that he will run a second Busch car for Biagi Brothers [#4 team with Mark Green driving] racing next year. "I will be doing the 24 hours again and trying to get some experience in stock cars and make the transition into stock cars in the future. Andy Hillenburg, who I am driving for here, has been really helpful with trying to help me out make the transition. We've got a deal 99% done to run 4 or 5 Busch Series racing for Fred Biagi. We've got a sponsor package put together to run a second car. Really my timetable is to be up and running by 2007... maybe run 10 or 11 races and a Cup race or 2 next year." MRN Radio's "NASCAR Today" can be heard on 505 radio stations and XM Satellite Radio. MRN's NASCAR Today
F1’s ’Concorde’ made public F1’s ’Concorde’ made publicA copy of the highly confidential Concorde Agreement has been made public.

US news agency 'RaceFax Online' is offering F1's 100-page commercial agreement - albeit the expired 1997 version - to paid subscribers at racefax.com.

The agency said 'recent events' - no doubt the rancid political environment surrounding the renewal of a 2008-2012 Concorde - had inspired the decision to make the document public.

''We have been in possession of the Concorde for many years,'' said the agency.



3.1 The Commercial Rights Holder shall divide the Prize Fund into three (3) parts and pay the share due to the Competitor in accordance with the provisions of this Clause 3, as follows: zzzz

(a) twenty per cent (20%) according to final qualifying results;
(b) forty-five per cent (45%) according to race results;
(c) thirty-five per cent (35%) by way of fixed compensation.

Subject to Clause 6, the payments referred to in Clause 3.1 shall be distributed according to the following scale:

(a) Final Qualifying results (20%)

1st: 2.00%    6th: 1.30%   11th: 0.85%   16th: 0.60%
2nd: 1.75%    7th: 1.20%   12th: 0.80%   17th: 0.55%
3rd: 1.60%    8th: 1.10%   13th: 0.75%   18th: 0.50%
4th: 1.50%    9th: 1.00%   14th: 0.70%   19th: 0.45%
5th: 1.40%   10th: 0.90%   15th: 0.65%   20th: 0.40%

(b) Race Results (45%)

        ------  Distance ------
        1/4      1/2      3/4      Finish
 1st:   1.020%   1.020%   1.020%   5.440%
 2nd:   0.780%   0.780%   0.780%   4.160%
 3rd:   0.630%   0.630%   0.630%   3.360%
 4th:   0.510%   0.510%   0.510%   2.720%
 5th:   0.390%   0.390%   0.390%   2.080%
 6th:   0.300%   0.300%   0.300%   1.600%
 7th:   0.240%   0.240%   0.240%   1.280%
 8th:   0.216%   0.216%   0.216%   1.152%
 9th:   0.192%   0.192%   0.192%   1.024%
10th:   0.168%   0.168%   0.168%   0.896%
11th:   0.150%   0.150%   0.150%   0.800%
12th:   0.138%   0.138%   0.138%   0.736%
13th:   0.126%   0.126%   0.126%   0.672%
14th:   0.114%   0.114%   0.114%   0.608%
15th:   0.102%   0.102%   0.102%   0.544%
16th:   0.090%   0.090%   0.090%   0.480%
17th:   0.078%   0.078%   0.078%   0.416%
18th:   0.066%   0.066%   0.066%   0.352%
19th:   0.054%   0.054%   0.054%   0.288%
20th:   0.036%   0.036%   0.036%   0.192%

(Distances to be rounded up to a whole number of laps)

(c) Fixed Compensation (35%):

shall be divided into two equal parts of 17.5% each:

(i) one such part shall be distributed to the competitors in proportion to the number of FIA F1 Championship points scored by each competitor in the previous two half seasons; and

(ii) the other such part shall be distributed equally among the top ten competitors in the FIA F1 Championship for the previous two half seasons and if the top ten competitors represent less than twenty cars to the next highest competitor and so on until compensation has been distributed to twenty cars provided that no competitor shall be entitled to such distribution in respect of a number of cars other than that which it entered for the whole of the previous FIA F1 championship and in any event shall not be so entitled in respect of more than two cars.

Formula BMW
India’s Armaan Ebrahim brilliant in the Formula BMW World Finals India’s Armaan Ebrahim brilliant in the Formula BMW World FinalsArmaan who was plagued by continuous problems with his race car right from qualifying, braved all problems and drove like a champ to come from behind and finish 6th in the 22 lap Pre Final race.

Armaan had a master cylinder brake failure and a broken clutch plate in the 15 lap heats. Despite these problems he finished 6th,10th and 5th in the 3 heats. The points accumulated in the 3 heats determined the grid position for the Pre Finals and the Pre Final race result would determine the grid position for the 25 lap final race.

Based on the points in the heats, Armaan had to start in 12th place out of 40 cars for the Pre Finals. The Indian star got off to a good start and by lap 7 had overtaken 6 cars to move up to 6th place, a position he would hold till the end of the race. All was not well from lap 10 as his car started to slow in pace and he had to fight hard to hold on to his position. On checking the car after the race it was found that the engine had lost compression. In the limited time available before the final 25 lap race, the team had to change the engine. Armaan was to start the finals from 6th place. zzzz

But as luck would have it, the team could not change the engine in time before the pit lane closed and when the team finally got the car ready the race had already started. This warranted Armaan to start from the pit lane last which was in 36th place. Not to be deterred, Armaan stormed off behind the pack making 16 places in 3 laps moving up to 20th place. But the gremlins did not let go and Armaan had to retire by lap 5 after the engine started to misfire again. This was due to a loose connection in the electrical wiring as the team had no time to check the wiring connections after fitting the engine.

A sure shot podium amongst 40 of the worlds best Formula BMW drivers was on the cards for the Indian driving ace, but as luck would have it, Armaan had to retire from the race. However the Indian star truly made a name for himself in the World Finals with one and all appreciating his driving skills despite the setbacks he kept having with his car.

The SPEED sponsored driver showcased his talent and skills in the best manner possible.

Commented Armaan : This is racing. Sometimes things go well and sometimes they do not. One has to take things in their stride and move forward. What is important is that I was able to prove to myself and to the rest of the world that I have the pace and am as good or better than the best in the world.

I am also very thankful to Bharat Petroleum with the SPEED brand for sponsoring me for the World Finals. It was good that I carried the SPEED brand as the speed of my car and my race pace was in the true spirit of the SPEED brand. I hope to have a long and continuous relationship with them in the future.

I am always thankful to Mr. Atul Gupta, Chairman A1 India for contracting me with A1 Team India.

I am also thankful to my team for working really hard in trying to fix the problems and though they could not get the car ready in time for the race which cost me a podium finish, what is important is that they worked hard and really well.

Driving on the limit is never easy - Alonso Driving on the limit is never easy - AlonsoFernando Alonso got his first taste of simulated 2006 engine power on Friday and despite the loss of power compared to the out-going V10 unit, Alonso believes that Formula One still gives the drivers plenty of challenges.

Alonso talks of collecting his World Championship crown at Monaco, his first simulated V8 run and of the 2006 season.

So Fernando, how are you feeling after all the prize-givings since the end of the season?
"Very good. Really, there was only one prize that mattered among them and that was last Friday in Monaco, to get the real championship trophy. While I have been at home in England, I have been believing and understanding more every day that I am champion. But today, it was a nice feeling to be back in the car.

Last year, you didn’t run until after Christmas, but this year you were back in the car a bit earlier. How was it?
"Well, I think I would have preferred to continue on holiday but the team said I had to come and test! We wanted to do one day to understand the impact of the engine changes, so that I am ready for the new car in January. And to tell the truth, this morning I was quite excited coming back to the car and doing the first laps. They were good emotions today."
And how did the car feel?
"It is down on power, and that is the first thing you feel. But it is the same for everybody, and so we have to get used to it and work with this. We are not as fast on the straights, and you feel the lack of power when you accelerate. The downforce is similar though, so in the corners it is very similar to 2005. With our V8 simulation, the times look good, and I know that the engineers are working hard, so I am optimistic for the new car."

What is your opinion of the impact of the V8 engines on Formula 1?
"I have read some comments of drivers saying that it was too easy to drive, or that we have too much grip for the power levels. But I don’t agree. When you are driving on the limit, it is always the same, always difficult. It doesn’t matter whether you are in an F3 car or an F1 car, with a V10 engine or a V8. The important thing is to be driving on the limit, and when you are there, it is never simple."  zzzz

Renault has not yet run its new engine on track. Are you worried about that?
"Like anything, we will have to wait and see, but I am confident. We did the same thing with the R25: we waited until after Christmas to run, and immediately it was good. They are working hard on the dyno to make the engine ready, so I am confident we can do the same this year. I think the chassis will be good to drive, and with a reliable engine as well, I believe we can be competitive again."

Finally, how are you feeling as you go into 2006 – as world champion. Is that more pressure for you?
"No, it is less pressure. Even if I finish 20th now for the next five years, I have been world champion, so I am not stressed at all. Before, I always put pressure on myself because I was somebody young, with talent, who maybe could become champion, and I wanted to succeed. Now, I have nothing left to prove on that level. Of course, though, I want to do it again. I love to compete against other people, and that is what I am waiting to do next year." Source Renault

Honda happy with V8 reliability Honda happy with V8 reliabilityThe Honda Racing F1 Team completed its 2005 testing program at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain on Friday. Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson and Adam Carroll shared the testing responsibilities this week in the team's two Concept cars with the main focus of testing continuing to be the development of the chassis and engine, alongside aero and tire evaluations.

The team has now completed over 7000 KMS in the three weeks of winter testing, with almost 6000 KMS of running on the new V8 Honda engine. Reliability has been good throughout the program and the development of the new engine and hybrid car is encouraging.
Davidson and Carroll began the test on Wednesday in the two Concept cars 078-07 and 078-08 respectively. Both drivers ran through aerodynamic evaluations alongside chassis and engine set-up work. Davidson completed 93 laps and Carroll completed 85 laps in what was his first drive in a V8 engined F1 car.

Thursday began in damp conditions following an early rain shower. It was not quite wet enough to run on intermediate tires, which, combined with the cold conditions, meant that no real testing was completed until mid-morning. When they were able to go out, Anthony concentrated on a series of tire and compound evaluations with Carroll working on a chassis set-up program and a short aero evaluation. Davidson completed an impressive 115 laps with Carroll's final lap tally being 92 laps. zzzz

Button joined the test on Friday taking over from Adam in chassis 078-08. His early runs were spent finding a good balance in the car before he began looking at various chassis set-up options. A couple of minor issues and a gearbox change interrupted his running although Button did complete 86 laps in total. Davidson concentrated on a tire evaluation on longer runs in the morning session, followed by a chassis set-up program. He completed a total of 81 laps.

Button remains at Jerez today to complete a Michelin wet tire program.
Jenson Button
"We couldn't complete all the laps we wanted today because we had a few issues which interrupted our program. We did run through some chassis set-up comparisons which provided useful data but it was just one of those days. Overall the last three weeks of testing have been very positive; it's certainly the best winter we have had so far. Reliability has been good, as has the testing program itself, and I am positive we can take this forward into the New Year."

Anthony Davidson
"It was another good test for the team this week and the car and engine were once again reliable. We completed a series of tire evaluations alongside further set-up work for the chassis, finding some improvements over the long runs. We also did a lot of laps which is helpful for getting used to the V8 engine. Overall it was a productive test and a very positive way to end the year."

Adam Carroll
"It was good to be with the team in Jerez this week and I had a very enjoyable two days in the car. We covered most of the planned testing program and I adapted to the car and the new engine well. The power of the V8 engine is still amazing and it was felt good to drive. We had no problems over the two days so generally all went well and I am pleased to have contributed to the development of the car."

Mark Ellis, Chief Test Engineer
"We have completed another successful test this week to round off our 2005 test program. The work with the new V8 engine and tire developments for 2006 has been extremely encouraging. We have had some small issues today, running components to high mileages, but in general the performance and reliability of the new engine and gearbox packages has been outstanding. We finish off with one final day in the wet tomorrow before a well earned break."

Shuhei Nakamoto, HRD Engineering Director
"We have had a revised engine package at the test this week which has proved successful. This specification has done the equivalent of two race weekend distances with no issues which is good news." Source Honda

Bridgestone wrap up 2005 tests Bridgestone wrap up 2005 testsBridgestone Motorsport concluded its final winter test of 2005 today after a busy two weeks testing with all four of its teams for 2006: Scuderia Ferrari, MF1 Racing, Panasonic Toyota Racing and WilliamsF1.

Bridgestone Motorsport Test Operations Manager Kaz Hamamura is pleased with the progress made so far. "The recent tests have been very constructive. After using the Barcelona test to establish a baseline with our two new teams, we have been able to run all four teams on similar tire programs in Jerez. This has subsequently provided us with good, consistent data and given us a clearer picture of our future development direction.”

“Our rear tire development, for example, has been particularly interesting. After testing our new rear constructions in Bahrain with Ferrari we have now also been able to see how well those specifications have worked with the other teams. We are always looking for better grip and consistency and in all we have tested more than ten compounds and constructions. The tests have also highlighted new areas for future investigation.” zzzz

All four teams also conducted a wet tire test at Jerez on Sunday 11 December. The aim of the test was to concentrate on the development of Bridgestone’s standard wet tire with the teams evaluating both new compounds and new constructions.
Having amassed a substantial amount of data in the recent tests, Bridgestone’s engineers in Japan will now conduct further analysis at the Technical Centre in Kodaira, Tokyo over the Christmas period before producing the next set of development dry and wet tire specifications for on-track testing in January.

Bridgestone’s winter test program resumes after the Christmas holidays on January 10, 2006 at Jerez. Ferrari and Toyota will test for three and four days respectively. They will be joined on January 11 by the Williams team who will run for three days. MF1 Racing is expected to test at Silverstone between January 11-13. Toyota will return to Jerez the following week between January 17-19 and Williams between January 18-20. Ferrari and Toyota are then expected to test at Barcelona between January 24-27. Bridgestone

Gordon Tackling The World’s Most Grueling Race Gordon Tackling The World’s Most Grueling RaceOn New Year’s Eve, while most of NASCAR’s elite prepare to celebrate the arrival of 2006 in comfort, and for the two weeks following rest, take a cruise, hunt or play golf, one NASCAR driver will take on a racing challenge perhaps as physically and mentally challenging as the entire 36-race NASCAR season rolled together.

The Dakar Rally, easily the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, will start on Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and head approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco.  From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal.

Robby Gordon, perhaps the world’s most versatile driver, will spend his New Year’s Eve behind the wheel of a race car for the first of 16 days of competition in the Dakar with hopes of being the first to pull into Dakar, Senegal on Jan. 15.

Gordon, a six-time SCORE Off-Road Champion and a two-time winner of the famed Baja 1000 in addition to countless other off-road races in North America, will drive a specially prepared Hummer H3 on Toyo Tires with sponsorship from Jim Beam in his quest to become the first American to win the famed Dakar Rally in its 28-year history.  Last year, driving for the German Volkswagen team, Gordon became the first American to ever win a stage in the race, eventually winning two of the 16 stages en route to an 12th-place overall finish. zzzz

While on the surface Dakar is just a race like any other, looking just below its façade immediately reveals that it is also a logistical challenge unrivaled in all of sport, and is also a mental test akin to military boot camp.

Imagine the famed Tour de France bicycle race, itself a grueling event, being contested not only on pavement but also through hundreds of miles of Saharan Desert with sand dunes soft enough to swallow a car; on seemingly endless razor sharp rocks and stones that often render even the most rugged off-road tires useless; and through river and water crossings better suited for small boats than race cars. 

Then consider these hostile African challenges must be navigated for as much as 543 miles (874 km) each day with only the assistance of a guide book which was distributed only hours before the start of the day’s stage.  This is done with the full knowledge that assistance can be hours away for a driver and car if a need arises.

Welcome to the Dakar.

A race that was founded with the goal of making grown men cry, not to mention quit, the Dakar quickly became recognized as the toughest of all off-road racing events in the world, a perfect challenge for Robby Gordon.

“The Dakar is something that I always paid attention to and wanted to try, and fortunately last year I was given my first opportunity,” said the 36-year-old driver from Orange, Calif. who will celebrate his 37th birthday driving his H3 in stage 3 on Jan. 2.  “Growing up in Southern California, obviously my whole life in off-road racing revolved around the Baja 1000.  I still go back to Baja every year and love that race as much as any other, but Dakar takes on a completely different challenge and to me it’s so much more than just driver and car.

“The logistics involved are mind numbing.  This year we’ve entered and built a car out of my own race team in the States, and the thought of building cars and support vehicles here to race in Europe and Africa is itself intimidating.  But then when you add to it that these support trucks and 16 crew members have to follow the race car down the same race course to work on the car after every stage is beyond intimidating.  I like to tell people it’s like running 16 Daytona 500s or Indy 500s in a row, but you don’t have a garage to work from.  You can’t go to an auto parts store and buy what you need to fix or replace a broken part, if you don’t have it with you, you’re in trouble.  You have to think of every possible item that can break on a car, and bring four of them with you.”

Gordon’s participation in the 2005 Dakar brought the race much needed recognition in the United States and Canada, and exposure to North American race fans will grow again in 2006 with OLN’s daily coverage of the race and the network’s four recap shows that will air after the completion of the race.

However, as its popularity grows in the United States, its mass appeal in Europe and Africa is already beyond compare.  In 2005, more than 560 hours of original programming were allocated to the race in 178 countries.  In 2006, more than 600 hours of programming is expected in more than 180 countries.  The sanctioning body of the race, the ASO – which also promotes and organizes the famed Tour de France bicycle race – produces a daily 26-minute television show that is distributed via satellite.

“I didn’t really know what to expect last year when we went over for our first Dakar,” Gordon said, “but it didn’t take long to get a feeling for how big it is.  When we went to the starting line on the beach in Barcelona on the first day (site of the race’s first stage), I was completely blown away by how many people were there.  There must have been 300,000.  It reminded me of the Indianapolis 500.”

This year, 508 cars, trucks and motorcycles, representing 40 countries, will leave the starting line in Lisbon with their eyes fixed on a finish line 16 days and 6,500 miles away.  While many will consider just finishing a victory, Gordon’s goals are clearly stated:  “I will be disappointed with anything other than a win.  Our people have given so much of themselves over the last few months to get us ready to compete, and our sole focus is to become the first American’s to win Dakar.  We finished the race last year, this year we’re going there to win.”

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Australian V8s, Oran Park: Round 8
Macau Motorcycle Race
Penske Porsche name drivers for 2006 ALMS
MG Mercedes DTM Road Race
7:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m. ET, SPEED
Mid-Ohio  (9/25/05)
1:00-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED: F Production
2:00-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED: Grand Touring 3
2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (Replay) Discovery HD Theater
Annual Historics Race
Chichester, England  (9/17/05 - 9/18/05)
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET, SPEED: Part 1
4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET, SPEED: Part 2
Dubai, UAE
Round 6  (12/11/05)
11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. ET, OLN

For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.

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