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DATE News (chronologically)
12/25/07
f1

Ralf Schumacher splits with F1 manager


Ralf Schumacher

(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has split with his formula one manager, Hans Mahr.

The former Toyota racer, who tested with Force India recently but is unlikely to feature on the 2008 formula one grid, began working with Mahr, a media expert, in 2006, after Schumacher split with his long-time agent, Willi Weber.

'Formule 1 Race Report' claims that Mahr, who previously worked on Austrian election campaigns, groomed pop stars and directed television shows, will instead focus on his new media company next year and beyond.

It is not known if the six-time grand prix winner will seek a new agent in the future.

Comment
12/25/07
f1

Force India recruits Bollywood actor
(GMM)  Force India has enlisted the help of a famous Bollywood actor to spread the word about formula one's newest team.

Team owner Vijay Mallya, who with the Dutch Mol family recently bought and renamed the former Spyker outfit, said on Tuesday that Shah Rukh Khan would be involved in a multimedia campaign to promote the team in India.

"He said 'I'm a proud Indian and I would love to do it for an Indian F1 team'," Mallya told the news agency PTI.

"He did it for free," he added.

Force India, originally founded as Jordan in 1991 with a base at Silverstone (UK), is the first ever Indian F1 team.

The team is expected to officially launch its 2008 campaign in the Indian capital Delhi.

Mallya also promised to consider countryman Karun Chandhok, currently a GP2 driver who has tested once for Red Bull, for a role in 2009.

"I can assure you that he would be considered at least for the test driver's role," he said on Christmas Day.

Comment
12/25/07
nascar

Vegas oddsmakers sets 2008 NASCAR odds


Johnson and Gordon favored for title fight again in 2008

Which driver is most likely to win the 2008 Sprint Cup championship? It’s no surprise that Micah Roberts of Station Casinos favors Jimmie Johnson the favorite by a narrow margin over Jeff Gordon. Theirs was the story of 2007 in terms of the competition in NASCAR’s premier series. Roberts rates Johnson’s odds as 4-1 and Gordon’s as 9-2.

“The Hendrick teammates were equally consistent using the ‘Car of Tomorrow’ and the ‘Car of Yesterday’ last season,” said Roberts. “No other team was close from start to finish on the season. Because the Hendrick team appeared to have such an edge in the COT last season, and the fact they’ll be using the model for all 36 races this season, the question of the season will be, ‘Who can compete in the COT with Johnson and Gordon?’”

Read more & Comment...

12/25/07
industry news

Toyota aims for global top spot in 2008
Toyota, in a neck-and-neck race that could dethrone General Motors as the world's top automaker this year, said yesterday it plans to sell 9.85 million vehicles globally in 2008.

Toyota also said it plans to produce 9.95 million vehicles worldwide during the same year, up 5 percent from this year - the same percentage jump for the automaker's global sales.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s targets, announced at a hotel in Nagoya near company headquarters, far surpasses the 9.3 million vehicles General Motors has given as its estimate for production this year.

GM has not given a forecast for the number of vehicles it expects to produce or sell in 2008.

GM has been fiercely fighting back and boosting its overseas business to try to retain the top industry spot, which it has held for 76 years.

Read more & Comment...
12/24/07
industry news

Penske Automotive and Rallye Motors split
Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an international automotive retailer, said today that it and Rallye Motors have mutually agreed to terminate the previously announced agreement to acquire Rallye Motors by Penske Automotive Group.

Previously, Penske Automotive Group announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire Rallye Motors representing approximately $700 million in annualized revenue, subject to customary conditions. The expected closing date of this transaction was anticipated to be in the first quarter of 2008.

Penske Automotive Group has completed acquisitions in 2007 that are expected to generate approximately $450 million in gross annualized revenue and will provide guidance as to the level of anticipated 2008 acquisitions in connection with the announcement of its fourth quarter results.

Comment
12/24/07
f1

Dennis chastised by Mosley
FIA boss Max Mosley believes McLaren boss Ron Dennis could have defused the spying row by coming clean earlier.

Mosley has admitted that he finds it highly improbable that Dennis did not know what was going on with the infamous Ferrari technical specifications leaked to his team by a disgruntled employee. 
 
"One can only say it's extremely improbable that Ron didn't know," Mosley told The Guardian. 

"Every time I speak to him he still assures me that he would never tell a lie, that he never has told a lie and that he hasn't lied to us. 
"When you've known somebody for 40 years it's very difficult just to say, 'Well, I don't believe you.' But in the end no hard-nosed lawyer or policeman would believe it for a moment. I'm probably being a bit of a wimp about it."

Comment
12/24/07
motogp

Casey Stoner: The man to beat in 2008


Casey Stoner

The man to beat in 2008, Casey Stoner was without a doubt the rider of the most recent season in MotoGP as he took his first world title in dominant fashion. The 22 year-old this year made the transition from a spectacular -albeit inconsistent- rookie to a mature World Champion unfazed by any challenge.

Having made an impact in both the British and Spanish national championships, Stoner was tipped for success upon making his World Championship debut as a wildcard at Donington Park in 2001. Raised by the same academy system that has seen the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Toni Elias ascend to the heights of MotoGP, Stoner took full advantage of his family’s bold move to Europe to build on a promising national dirt-track career. Beginning a permanent Grand Prix career in the 250cc class under the guidance of Lucio Cecchinello in 2002, it was when he dropped down to 125cc the following season that the motorcycling world began to take notice, with four podiums and a win at the final round showing the Australian’s quality. In 2004 he battled for the 125cc title with KTM, taking their first ever Grand Prix victory and finishing fifth overall.

A return to the LCR team and the 250cc class in 2005 saw him battle his old stablemate Pedrosa for the quarter liter title, winning five races on an Aprilia, before making the move up to MotoGP with the Italian outfit onboard a Honda RC211V.

Read more & Comment...

12/24/07
motogp

Hopkins ties the knot in Las Vegas


John Hopkins marries in Las Vegas

Whilst many riders have been winding down during the testing embargo in place during December, Kawasaki’s John Hopkins was instead preparing for one of the biggest moments of his year. The Anglo-American, who finished fourth in the MotoGP World Championship in 2007, became a married man last weekend in Las Vegas.

Tying the knot with fiancée Ashleigh, Hopkins cut a dapper figure in an all-white ensemble at the Hard Rock Hotel. The ceremony was attended by some of the 24 year-old’s friends from the MotoGP paddock, including Yamaha Tech3 rider Colin Edwards and 125cc competitor Stevie Bonsey.

The happy couple will spend their honeymoon in French Polynesia, following which Hopkins will be back on-track at the opening test of 2008 in Sepang. 

Comment
12/24/07
motogp

De Angelis spends downtime in English study program


De Angelis (L) studying English in Canterbury near London

Taking every part of his new assignment as a MotoGP rider with the utmost seriousness, Gresini Honda rookie Alex de Angelis has been addressing some off-track responsibilities during the test embargo period.

Aware of the importance of clear communication in the quest to set-up the Honda RC212V to his exact requirements, San Marino’s favorite son has been undergoing an intensive English language program in preparation for his first season in the premier class and the increased press demands that said move entails.

“In 250 cc class I could do my job without speaking English; everybody spoke Italian and it was easy for me,” explained the former Aprilia man, who conducted English language press conferences through a translator during his time in the quarter liter class.”

“Now, with the switch to MotoGP, I realized that I couldn’t do without. Since the first test in Valencia I realized that communication in the garage with the HRC Japanese Engineers -as well as with the Bridgestone technicians- is in English, and if I don’t know the language then this could interfere also with my race results.

Read more & Comment...

12/24/07
motogp

MotoGP attendance hits new heights in 2007
It was a record-breaking year in 2007 for MotoGP, and not only in terms of on-track milestones. The total number of spectators filing through the turnstiles to watch the fastest action on two wheels reached a new high this season, even discounting the inevitable increase created by the running of an extra round at Misano.

The exact figure for attendees over the course of the year was 2,322,914, an increase of 183,501 in comparison with 2006’s huge turnout. In fact, of the 18 races on the MotoGP calendar in 2007, there were 11 at which the number of spectators exceeded the previous season’s figure.

Brno in the Czech Republic was the most highly attended Grand Prix of the year, with a new record of 245,039 watching on from the grandstands over the weekend of Casey Stoner’s seventh win in MotoGP.

One reason for the specific 2007 popularity of the ever popular race was the success of 125cc World Champion Gabor Talmacsi, whose title challenge motivated a large influx of fans from nearby Hungary to make the trek to Brno.

With MotoGP continually spreading its appeal across the globe, and the inclusion of a second American round at Indianapolis next September, 2008 has the potential to improve even further on the immense marker laid down in 2007 in terms of spectators.

Comment
12/24/07
Racing news

Maiden test Audi CR-8 in TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai


Audi CR-8

During the third edition of the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai, an extraordinary race car is set to have its maiden test: the Audi CR-8. It is the competition version of Audi's R8 sports coupe, developed and prepared following an initiative by Creventic BV, the organizers of the  TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai and the inaugural 24H SERIES, a championship of 24-hour events that will start in Dubai. "Because of its performance and its handling characteristics, the Audi R8 is a fantastic sports car. That was the reason for us to pick this car as the basis for our latest project", says Creventic's Gerrie Willems.

Audi CR-8

For the development and preparation of the Audi CR-8, as the competition version is being called, Creventic has set up a special department and co-operated with numerous specialists in race car preparation. "With joint forces, we have succeeded in building two cars according to our ideas and visions within the shortest period of time. These cars will complete their first tests during the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai", says Willems. After the event, another four Audi CR-8 cars will be built for "It is our aim to offer the car for sale to interested teams. We already have received many reactions and applications."

Modifications to the first cars have been kept limited in order to acquire the necessary experience first. Nevertheless, slight alterations of the engine management system already allowed for the power output to be increased to approximately 430 hp. Another increase in performance will only be carried out when this can be done without compromising durability. Teams that have already purchased a CR-8 will be offered the possibility to have future modifications implemented in retrofit. The development of lightweight carbon fiber bodywork parts is planned for the near future in order to further lower the vehicle weight and to enhance the performance of the car. Further development steps that have been planned include an additional fuel tank for endurance race events, central wheel mounts and a sequential gearbox. Gerrie Willems: "We want to carry out the development step by step with the possibility to meet all the specific requirements that our customers may have."

The Audi CR-8 will take to the track for the first time during the TOYO TIRES 24H of Dubai. "This is not only a roll-out and a test, but also an excellent opportunity for interested drivers and teams to get to know the car", says Willems. Additional information can be found on the special website www.cr-8.com

Comment
12/23/07
ga

Long joins Ruby Tuesday’s  Rolex lineup


Patrick Long

After piloting the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford Daytona Prototype for two seasons, driver Patrick Long, of Belleair, Fla., returns to the Alex Job Racing stable as its third driver for the upcoming Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan. 26-27.

Long joins co-drivers Bill Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., in search of the team's first Rolex 24 win.

"I'm glad to be back on board for the Rolex 24," Long said. "It is exciting to continue for my third season in a row with AJR and their DP program. And, to have been there from the start, it feels fitting to continue on and go for the win.

"Both Bill and Joey are top line drivers that I've competed against in the past," Long continued. "I competed against Joey all the way back in my karting days and then against Bill when I first got into sports car racing. Both of them have been two of my biggest competitors. Now we'll be driving together, going for the same spot on the podium for this year's 24 hour race. I think we've got an all-pro lineup, which puts us near the top of the list in terms of driver pairings."

With the addition of Long, Job feels this year's Rolex 24 driver lineup is pretty strong.

Read more & Comment...

12/23/07
industry news

Chrysler management expresses hope
While Chrysler's new owner, Cerberus Capital Management has expressed confidence over the future of the business, the automaker's chief executive has claimed it is operationally bankrupt.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Chrysler chairman and chief executive Robert Nardelli, told employees at a meeting this month that while the company was not technically bankrupt, it was being kept afloat by the ten billion dollars that had been entrusted by investors.

Cerberus chief operating officer Mark Neporent has given a vote of confidence to Nardelli and says he fully endorses the strategic direction being taken to take Chrysler into the black.

Cerberus bought the US automaker from Germany's DaimlerChrysler in August for US$7.4 billion. Malaysia Sun

Comment
12/23/07
f1
cc

Bourdais ready for the F1 challenge


Sebastien Bourdais in his new F1 ride

Sébastien Bourdais will begin his first ever Formula One season with the Toro Rosso team in 2008 after spending five fantastic years in the Champ Car series. "It was only happiness and great memories," the French driver told AFP.

"To this day, those were the best years of my life, be it in private or in motorsports," said 28-year-old Bourdais. "I married Clare and we had Emma. I arrived as a semi-professional bachelor. I emerge as a man, a father, and a professional of my sport."

The new Toro Rosso driver goes on to say thet he has a special relationship with 82-year-old actor and Newman/Haas/Lanigan co-owner Paul Newman.  Newman even made a surprise appearance at Bourdais' wedding a year and a half ago.



"That was unexpected and surprising, he took a liking to us [Claire and I]. We have done incredible and unanticipated things with Paul, like spending Thanksgiving with him and going to Daytona. It was a bit surreal, because we don't tend to think that icons like him can be like everyone else," Bourdais went on to say in the interview.

"We keep in touch. We call each other and it has already been planned that he will come to a Grand Prix. We'll keep in contact whatever happens," he added. 

In his first F1 season with Toro Rosso he plans to take it realistically and one step at a time.

"When the doors did not open following my F3000 title in 2002, I was not offended. I knew the rules," Bourdais related. "I took the Champ Car gamble because I wanted to remain in a single-seater. I don't regret it. I enriched my experience and lived fantastic years."

"However, even if you have talent and deserve a seat, this is not a sport where merit is always rewarded. There has to be an opportunity and there aren't fifty of them. I knew that even if I won everything on the way, there was no guarantee," he stated.

"We [he and the team] must grow together and see what happens," Bourdais concluded.

Comment
12/23/07
nascar

Harvick To Star In Shell's Anti-Gunk Campaign Return
The Shell "Stop Gunky Build-Up" campaign returns in January, this time featuring #29-Kevin Harvick. In February, the gasoline retailer will add the "Un-Gunk Your Car" promotion. The focus continues to be the company's commitment to fuel quality. The campaign will continue the current TV spots as well as adding two new spots, says a Shell spokesperson. One features Harvick, and the other spot brings back the "Shell Passionate Experts," the two serious Shell engineers in their white lab coats. The media buy includes network TV and national cable networks. In conjunction with TV, Shell will also introduce a new online campaign, enhanced point-of-purchase materials, radio advertising, outdoor billboards and all-new promotions designed to drive traffic to Shell stations. All marketing components will reinforce last year's successful Passionate Experts program and educate motorists that "All gasolines are not the same." Beginning Feb. 11, the "Un-Gunk Your Car" promotion will aim to drive traffic to stations and inside convenience stores. Through March 30, Shell customers who purchase a minimum of 10 gallons of gasoline will receive one free microfiber cleaning cloth specially formulated to help "un-gunk" the interior of their car (no fuel purchase required in New Jersey). While supplies last, consumers will be encouraged to collect all three limited-edition versions of the cloth--"Shell V-Power Cleans Up Gunk," "Un-Gunk Your Car" and "I Hate Gunk" with Harvick's #29 logo. Each of the 23 million cloths will be accompanied by a 2008 Sprint Cup Series race schedule in support of the Shell relationship with Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick and the 29 Shell-Pennzoil car. MediaPost

Comment
12/23/07
f1

Sponsor to rejoin Alonso at Renault
(GMM)  Spanish sponsor Mutua Madrilena will reunite with Fernando Alonso at Renault in 2008, according to reports on Sunday.

In the footsteps of the 26-year-old double world champion, the Madrid based insurance company recently negotiated an end to its multi-season McLaren contract, but in a statement last week insisted that its decision to leave the team was not linked with Alonso's exit.

Mutua Madrilena had entered formula one with Renault in early 2005, and opted to move with the Spaniard to McLaren at the end of last year.

Reports in Spain now indicate that the company has signed a new contract to be represented on the livery of the 2008-specification Renault R28.

Spain is represented twice on the 2008 F1 calendar; the usual Spanish grand prix in Barcelona, and for the first time in the eastern port city Valencia, where the European grand prix will be held in late August.

Mutua Madrilena's sponsorship value was earlier this year estimated at $5m per season, and in 2007 included branding on the MP4-22's front wing endplates, drivers' sleeves and helmets.

Comment
12/22/07
dakar

Monteiro to tackle Dakar Rally

Tiago Monteiro

Tiago Monteiro has decided to cross the threshold of a new experience in auto racing and add a new string to his bow in participating in the king of rally-raids, the 2008 Lisbon-Dakar.  The SEAT Sport driver in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will hit the starting line in Lisbon on January 5th, and hopes to make the Senegalese beaches on the 20th after having fulfilled several objectives, competitive, personal, and humanitarian. 

Tiago has often thought of adding the mythic rally to his calendar but until this year it was incompatible with his on-track profession.  In 2008 the Dakar will celebrate its 30th anniversary with the Lisbon-native driver. The project began taking form when its organizers expressed interest in Tiago's participation; it solidified thanks to the confluence of three major elements (project, team, sponsors) and thanks to the fact that Tiago's competitive schedule will let him take part in the adventure.

Read more & Comment...
12/22/07
f1

Mosley relieved McLaren drivers lost title
(GMM)  Max Mosley says he is "relieved" that Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso failed to secure the 2007 drivers' title.

The FIA president told the British newspaper The Guardian that the 'Stepneygate' espionage scandal would have left an eternal question mark over the validity of the world championship had it been won by a McLaren driver.

Mosley has consistently argued that Hamilton and Alonso, who drove for Ron Dennis' Mercedes-powered team this year, should have been excluded from the drivers' standings because of the spy affair.

Asked if he was pleased when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen surprisingly emerged with the spoils at the season ending Brazilian grand prix in October, Mosley answered: "Relieved because, if it had been either of the two McLaren drivers, there would always have been a question mark.

"I'm not sure how big a question mark but it would have been there.  And that puts you in an incredibly difficult position.  I think we've been very lucky," he said.

Mosley, however, clarifies suggestions that he "despises" Dennis, despite plainly and repeatedly accusing the McLaren boss of lying about the spy saga.

"I quite like him," the Briton, who is 67, argued.

"But I do despise - I think that's probably the right word - his attitude to formula one, when he says, for example, that he's passionate about formula one.

"That's not true," Mosley charged.  "He's passionate about McLaren finishing first and second in every race, which is his job, but it's not the same thing as being passionate about formula one and it's foolish to pretend that it is."

Comment
12/22/07
Industry news
F1

Spyker reaches refinancing agreement
Spyker Cars N.V., the Dutch manufacturer of exclusive premium sports cars, announces that it has reached an agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Snoras Bank of Vilnius, Lithuania ("Snoras") for the refinancing of its operations. 

The transaction will be accomplished as follows:
On 21 December, 2007:
· Snoras will grant a loan in the amount of EUR 6,340,000 to Spyker with the current securities of Friesland Bank as collateral. Part of this loan (EUR 4,500,000) will be used to redeem Friesland Bank ("FB") completely and the bank guarantee issued on behalf of Strongwind in favor of FB will be returned;
· Spyker will issue 2,318,750 shares A to Snoras for a price of EUR 4.00 each (total amount EUR 9,275,000);
· Hans Hugenholtz will resign as interim CEO and Victor Muller will take up the position of CEO. Further appointments to the Management Board are expected shortly;
· The priority share will be transferred to Snoras.

On 21 January, 2008:
· An extra-ordinary shareholders meeting will be held to increase the share capital of Spyker (amendment of articles of association) and to appoint 3 new members of the Supervisory Board including the proposed chairman of the Board, Mr. Vladimir Antonov. Messrs. Liebregts, Mulder and Arab will resign from the Board;
· The current shareholder loans in the total amount of EUR 14 million will be converted into shares A at a conversion price of EUR 4.00 each (Mubadala 2,5 million shares A, Helvetia 750,000 shares A and Milestone 250,000 shares A);
· Snoras will grant Spyker a 7% convertible loan in the amount of EUR 9,560,000 under the terms of which this loan may be converted (in whole or in part) into 2,390,000 shares at euro 4.00 each at any time during its 3 year term;
· Spyker shall issue an additional 2,325,000 shares A to Snoras for a price of EUR 4.00 each (total amount EUR 9,300,000), which leads to a share interest of 29.8 % of Snoras (after the above issues and conversions of shares) in Spyker. The proceeds of this investment will be used to reinforce working capital, fund the development of the Spyker C8 Long Wheel Base (automatic), and the Peking-to-Paris SSUV thus implementing the recently finalized long-term business plan. The appointment of a Chief Operating Officer with a background and vast experience in the automotive manufacturing industry is imminent and the search for an equally competent CFO, who will drive the future financial strategy, is underway. The Management Board is committed to return Spyker to the path toward profitability.
Vladimir Antonov, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Snoras Bank said: "This transaction is important to Snoras because it will expand our business opportunities and geographical range. We analyzed Spyker's business plan and strongly believe that Spyker can significantly increase its production, improve its financial performance and prove that Spyker is a peer in the high-end car manufacturing industry as an innovative and sustainable player. I am looking forward to a long-term beneficial cooperation between Snoras and Spyker. Finally, I would like to express my regards to Spyker's Board, employees and shareholders." 

Read more & Comment...
12/22/07
ga

Hunter-Reay joins Rolex lineup
After a strong showing last week in the "Riley Daytona Test" that included all Riley Technologies-built Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 machines, the Riley-Matthews team has been busy preparing for Daytona Test Days January 4-6 in the lead up to the 46th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. After the test, the team immediately set to work in their Mooresville, NC shop on 2008 updates to the No. 91 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype, completing stripping the car and installing the new Riley Technologies Generation 2 bodywork to be run for the first time at Daytona.

"The factory guys worked throughout the night getting the bodywork fitted to our car," said Riley-Matthews Team Manager Ken Swan. "It is a testament to the hard work of the guys at the Riley Technologies factory that we were able to get the bodywork switched over so quickly and easily. After getting the car back from the Riley Technologies the race team mechanics took over and demonstrated their commitment by helping us meet the deadline to get the car to the wind tunnel."

Read more & Comment...
12/22/07
cc

Andretti says CART was the best

Mario Andretti

What do you consider your greatest racing accomplishment?

"The Formula One World Championship is no doubt the pinnacle. No question about it. To me, F1 is the ultimate form of motorsport. You can argue it either way, but it is. I've been there, done all of it.

"Did I derive the most satisfaction from winning it? Probably not. I probably derived the most satisfaction out of CART, because of the mix of ovals to road courses. I was never totally fond of ovals, but I loved the mix, loved the challenge of ovals. When CART was at its best, the mix was good, percentage-wise. I loved the idea that if you won the CART championship, you won on a road course and you won on an oval. There were times when there was so much satisfaction to be had from that series."  Mario Andretti in AutoWeek Q and A

Comment
12/22/07
irl

Andretti calls IRL cars "stupid"
When were you last in a race car?

"It was the Minardi F1 two-seater in October in Edmonton. It's really great fun . . . that car is kick-ass. As far as real race cars go, the last time was 2003 in Michael's car. It was at Indianapolis, and I got upside down. It was a fluke, really. What are you going to do? What sent me up into the air, ironically, is that I hit a chunk of the SAFER barrier. It was in the middle of the track.

"Those stupid IRL cars, they have the nose-up thing. It was a perfect scenario for that to happen. According to telemetry, it took 84 g's to "unstick" the car; my exit of turn one was 222 mph. I had no warning. By the time I saw it, I was coming in full boat--my idea was to get a tow for a couple of laps from Kenny Brack to put up a big number on the board. I had no idea he had exploded an engine and hit the wall. You just don't have that information when you're testing. It was just a weird thing.

"It was a blessing the way it landed [wheels down]. If it had landed upside down, I would have had a headache for a long time [laughs]." Mario Andretti in AutoWeek Q and A

Comment
12/22/07
irl

IRL decides to give magazine away for free


With few readers, IRL was forced to give their magazine away for free.  At least they have a magazine dedicated to their series, unlike their rival Champ Car

IRVINE, CALIF. IndyCar Series magazine has brought the excitement of the IndyCar Series to thousands of readers who want the most in-depth knowledge of the drivers such as Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan; the cars that propel them to speeds upward of 230mph; and the exciting action they bring to each race. Now, that same excitement is available online with the latest digital edition of IndyCar Series magazine, the Winter Special, brought to you by Haymarket Worldwide and the Indy Racing League.

The digital edition of IndyCar Series isn’t a magazine online, it’s an online magazine. The difference is a magazine that you read on your computer vs. one that takes full advantage of the all the Web has to offer – with videos, galleries and links that aren’t available in print. Readers get much more of the IndyCar Series racing experience.

The best part is all this is free. Readers can subscribe to the digital edition of IndyCar Series magazine at indycarmag.com

In addition to creating digital editions of each regular issue, Haymarket Worldwide will publish two special digital-only editions this year. One was the Indianapolis 500 Preview and this one, a special winter edition to cover what’s happening in the off-season, plus a special feature on Castroneves’ win on Dancing with the Stars, Danica Patrick’s off-season diary and an in-depth look at new technology. To see the current digital edition or to get a free subscription to all six digital issues, go to indycarmag.com.

Comment
12/22/07
f1

Mosley labels ’07 F1 season brilliant


With Schumacher retired, did Bernie and Max fabricate the entire spygate saga as a brilliant marketing ploy?  Of course not, but it could not have turned out more perfect in the end.  How utterly convenient.

So, Max Mosley, was that a brilliant formula one season or a brilliant season totally ruined by the great grand prix spy scandal and the eyewatering punishment - a £50m fine and expulsion from the manufacturers' championship - inflicted by your FIA world council on Lewis Hamilton's McLaren team?

"I think it was a brilliant season," the curiously boyish 67-year-old president of motor sport's international governing body said this week. "Fascinating and very exciting right down to the last few laps, which is what it should be.” Back in October, however, it was Mosley who wanted Hamilton and his teammate Fernando Alonso to share McLaren's fate by suffering expulsion from the drivers' championship. Unusually he seemed unable to get his own way and the McLaren pair went on to finish second and third behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. "Legally," he said, "I still think it would have been the right thing to do."

Had he been pleased to see Raikkonen pip the two McLaren men to the title? "Relieved because, if it had been either of the two McLaren drivers, there would always have been a question mark. I'm not sure how big a question mark but it would have been there. And that puts you in an incredibly difficult position. I think we've been very lucky."

The removal of Hamilton and Alonso would have damaged the box-office appeal that Mosley's close associate Bernie Ecclestone, the holder of formula one's commercial rights, has so assiduously built up over 25 years. And the vastly increased media coverage almost certainly outweighed the damage to the sport's reputation caused by accusations of sharp practice.

"People are interested in the human aspect," Mosley continued, "and the whole human aspect of the Ferrari-McLaren thing fascinated a lot of people outside formula one. The publicity actually increases interest. So I don't think it does any harm to formula one as long as the sponsors and so on feel the sport is honestly run and honestly governed."

Read more & Comment...

12/22/07
nascar

Carrier to work as Hornish's crew chief
Chris Carrier was named Friday as crew chief for the No. 77 Dodges to be driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the 2008 Sprint Cup season.  Carrier, 47, comes to Penske Racing from Morgan-McClure Motorsports, where he was crew chief for Ward Burton on the No. 4 Chevrolets and also directed the team's Cup and Busch series programs.  "I know there are a lot of good, talented people at Penske Racing and ... I plan to take full advantage of their knowledge and resources while also giving as much as I can back to the team," Carrier said.

Comment
12/21/07
cc

VTA sues San Jose Grand Prix for non-payment
The defunct San Jose Grand Prix has failed to pay a $220,000 bill for bus services, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Although the race received a large and controversial $4 million, two-year public subsidy from San Jose taxpayers, race operators were obligated under a contract with VTA to cover the transportation agency's costs for replacing downtown light rail services during the annual race weekend. The street race course prevented trains from traversing downtown.

While the race paid VTA in 2005 and 2006, it has not paid its $220,000 bill for 2007, which was due by Aug. 31. Race President Dale Jantzen said Friday VTA and all other vendors owed money would be paid by July.

"We're committed to fulfilling all of our obligations to suppliers and vendors as we sell off the assets we have," Jantzen said. Those assets include office equipment and race course materials such as barriers, fencing and grandstands.

The race operator, San Jose Open Wheel Racing LLC, is owned by Silicon Valley philanthropist and executive Don Listwin. The Grand Prix announced in September that it was shutting down, saying the expected construction of new office buildings on Almaden Boulevard would eliminate the race's primary grandstand area. Whether that development actually will proceed remains unknown. Mercury News

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12/21/07
industry news

BMW to cut thousands of jobs
BMW plans its first large-scale job cuts as the world's largest luxury carmaker tries to close the profitability gap with Mercedes-Benz.

The German carmaker is likely to cut 8,000 jobs but would only say on Friday that it was likely to cut thousands, starting next year.

Executives said the majority would fall in Germany, where about 75 per cent of BMW's 107,000-strong workforce is based. The cuts would include several thousand full-time employees as well as temporary workers via early retirement, buy-outs or natural attrition.

The fact that BMW has not resorted to large cuts before highlights the pressure it is under from shareholders to catch up with Mercedes, owned by Daimler.

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12/21/07
industry news

GM recalls 275,936 vehicles
General Motors Corp said on Friday it is recalling 275,936 Cadillacs, Pontiacs and Saturms sold in the United States because of a fluid leak that could lead to loss of control of the vehicle.  The recall involves vehicles 2005-2007 model year Cadillac CTS, CTS-V and STS, STS-V sedans, 2005-2007 model year Cadillac SRX crossovers, and 2006-2007 model year Pontiac Solstice and the 2007 Saturn Sky. GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey said the seal on the rear axle pinion, which provides power to the rear wheels, could leak fluid, causing the wheels to seize and lock.

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12/21/07
Racing News

Andretti - His wines win too


Mario Andretti in 1978

Mario Andretti, now 67, is tan and fit, and only gray hair and facial character lines hint at his age. It's hard to believe that more than a decade has passed since he's been a regular in the cockpit, yet his name remains synonymous with racing's highest levels, among both ardent fans and the general public. Andretti is the greatest race driver of our time, having won in just about every series in which he's competed.

He is nothing if not forward-thinking, a trait that served him well in forming his racing career and armed him for on-track battles. He used foresight again as he began to wrap up that career in 1994. That's when he stumbled on something that would become his new passion: a winery in California's Napa Valley. As he traveled the world racing cars, Andretti renewed a love of wine that began when he was a child in Italy.

"I grew up drinking wine," Andretti said between sips of his own chardonnay in the yard of his winery. "In fact, that was about all we had on the table. Would I have preferred a soda pop? Yes, I would. It was 90/10, water to wine, to flavor it.

"I really started to pay attention to wine when I was in my 30s. I became more curious about wine through my travels. In South Africa in the early '70s, we would always go to good restaurants, and I wanted to order French wine, but some of the people I was with said, 'No, no, order the South African wines.' You try them, and you see they make good wines, too. So in Argentina, I ordered Argentine wines, and so forth. I enjoy the ethnic specialties of food everywhere; you can never go wrong with those. It's the same with the wines."

During his days competing in Formula One in the mid-1970s, Andretti had a lunch in Long Beach that turned him on to California wines. "I was with [team owner] Ken Tyrrell, [driver] Jacky Ickx and journalist Bernard Cahier, and I was ordering French wine, and Ken said, 'Mario, we're in California, why are you ordering French wine?' So I said, 'You do us the honors.' Ken was very much into California wines.

"At the end of that season, I loaded my plane with a couple of friends, and we came to Napa Valley. We made the rounds of the wineries. Every year after that, I came to Napa to buy wines," he said.

During Andretti's last full CART season in 1994, the "Arrivederci, Mario" tour, he cut a deal with a winery to produce a wine commemorating his retirement. It sold out by August, months before he retired, and the seed was planted. More at AutoWeek

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12/21/07
racing news

Three Ganassi drivers ranked
While Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc. is already in the midst of preparations for the 2008 racing season, it has one more reason to be optimistic about success on track in the New Year. Three of its drivers for the 2008 season have been named on AutoSport Magazine’s list of “Top 50 Drivers of 2007” - the only team to claim that honor. Two of the three drivers were also ranked within the top-10 positions in the poll.

Having signed on with the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) NASCAR program this off season, Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti was ranked seventh after a thrilling, year long battle for the title with Target driver Scott Dixon.

Dixon, entering his seventh year with the team, is ranked eight overall on the merit of his runner-up finish to Franchitti at the Indianapolis 500, his domination of road courses, and his second place finish in the Championship standings.

Another newcomer to the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc. arsenal of talented drivers, 2007 Indy Pro Series Champion Alex Lloyd, a new addition to the list, was included on the basis of his incredible season. Lloyd’s record eight wins, including five in a row, along with five pole positions and 399 laps led, not only caught the attention of team but placed him in the 50th spot on AutoSport Magazine’s prestigious list.

While there was no specific formula by which drivers from across different series could be judged, the list was subjective and determined by the staff at AutoSport. Among the elements the British racing magazine took into consideration were: the consistent level of performance attained, the competitiveness of the equipment at the drivers' disposal, and the overall competitiveness of the championship.

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12/21/07
formula bmw

Formula BMW Americas names 2008 Junior Scholarship Winners
Formula BMW Americas is pleased to announce the winners of the four 2008 BMW Junior scholarships. They are; Colombian-born Juan Arenas, 18, of Miami, Florida; Mikael Grenier, 15, of Quebec, Canada; and Alexandre Ruiz, 16, of Sao Paulo, Brazil. These three young men were selected from the 23 participants from Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States who competed in the two scholarship shoot- outs held this year at the Formula BMW Racing Center at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, in Valencia, Spain. 

The fourth 2008 Formula BMW Americas Junior scholarship will be awarded to Ricardo Favoretto.  Favoretto, 19, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, finished as runner-up to 2007 Formula BMW USA Rookie champion Esteban Gutierrez, who will compete in the Formula BMW Europe Championship in 2008. 

Each 2008 Formula BMW Americas Junior will receive $80,000 towards participation in the championship and automatic complimentary enrollment in the Education and Coaching program. 

While the balance of the 14-race Formula BMW Americas schedule is yet to be finalized, the season will again be anchored by races at two Formula 1 Grands Prix. Formula BMW will race for a fifth consecutive year in support of the Canadian Grand Prix, on June 6-8, and Formula BMW drivers will race at the Brazilian Grand Prix for the first time on October 31 to November 2. The remainder of the 14-race schedule will take place at a combination of American Le Mans Series, Champ Car World Series and Rolex Sports Car Series weekends. 

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12/21/07
gp2

Valles returns to GP2
Adrian Valles has joined the Fisichella Motor Sport team for 2008. The Spaniard signed an agreement with the Italian team for the upcoming season to compete in the GP2 Asia and main series.

Valles, in 2007 Spyker F1's test driver, joined FMS at Paul Ricard this winter for a test session with the team to familiarize himself with the engineers and to see what the team is like. Valles said: "I had a good connection with FMS in testing at Paul Ricard and I'm really happy that they wanted me to drive for them. It's been good testing the F1 car for Spyker this year, but it's still important to keep racing and winning races.

"I think it's a great opportunity to return to GP2 and aim for the championship. If I can win it, it would be the best way to consolidate my F1 career."

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12/21/07
irl

Fittipaldi to drive pace car at '08 Indy 500
Emerson Fittipaldi is coming back to drive in the Indianapolis 500.  But the two-time race winner won’t be at the wheel of an Indy car on May 25, and he certainly won’t be swigging orange juice in victory lane as he did in 1993.  No, he’ll just be driving the pace car.  Fittipaldi will become just the third former winner to do the honors since 1984, following Johnny Rutherford (1997) and Parnelli Jones (1998).  Indy Star

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12/21/07
f1

Red Bull to launch RB4 on 16 January
(GMM)  Red Bull Racing on Friday confirmed that its 2008 car, the RB4, will be launched and tested for the first time at Jerez on 16 January.

"The launch will be on an official F1 test day and will be attended by more than one F1 team," the Milton Keynes based team noted in a statement.

Red Bull divulged the information about its launch date in a short time-lapse style YouTube video clip of its UK headquarters, which stated that the outfit "is working day and night to bring you the RB4".

Team boss Christian Horner said earlier this week that improving reliability will be a "key focus" of the 2008 season.

"With the same engine as the factory Renault team they, more than any other team, are our barometer.  2008 is certainly set to be another very close season," he told F1's official website.

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12/21/07
racing news

Agajanian's wife dies
The wife of one of Racing's top promoters and car owners passed away this week in Beverly Hills. Hazel Faye Agajanian who was married to JC Agajanian was 93 she had been suffering from stomach cancer.

Comment
12/21/07
f1

Mario: Marco belong in F1
Racing legend Mario Andretti still sees an F1 future for his grandson Marco, who tested a Honda Racing car last year.

"He needs to be in F1. That's where he needs to be. He has the talent. Evaluating Marco as I have, he has that style," Andretti told Autosport.

"He has his moments of brilliance, because he has that ability. In Jerez [at an F1 test in February 2006] in pissing rain the second day, he looked good. In the rain, in the wet, he was absolutely competitive with the times. For six laps behind Fernando Alonso, he was right there with him. Alonso never pulled away a bit.

"Marco needs to step up and let people know what are his desires. I know that's where he wants to be, and I know he can do it."

[Editor's Note: Never going to happen unless Honda does the Andrettis a special favor for staying loyal to them in the IRL and ALMS.  F1 teams do not rate IRL drivers very highly.  They tested a good number of IRL drivers, but that is as far as it went.  You can't learn much about road racing in a 100% throttle traction control series.  Now that F1 is doing away with traction control, an IRL driver becomes even less relevant.]

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12/21/07
nascar

NASCAR Trucks: Desperately seeking sponsorship
NASCAR's marquee circuit changed its sponsor from a tobacco giant to a telecommunications company in 2004. Its No. 2 stock car league is soon to begin competing under an insurance firm's banner after a quarter-century allegiance to beer money.

With such stark changes as precedent, it begs the question of what the Craftsman Truck Series will become in 2009 when the household-name tool company departs after a 14-year relationship.

Fans and teams likely won't find out for several months, but when they do, the news might not be as surprising as those other title sponsors that recently have come aboard.

Echoing the "tough trucks, tough racing" slogan the series has advertised for three years, there might be another "tough" sponsor forthcoming.

"I'm not sure that we're going to see a huge departure from a company that is more male-focused, but we're not discouraging those companies from looking or taking a hard look," said NASCAR chief marketing officer Steve Phelps. "We might go past what some people might think are obvious places to look." 

Read more & Comment...
12/21/07
ips
irl

Cunningham tests IndyCar Series car


Wade Cunningham

Wade Cunningham is the latest Indy Pro Series driver to get an opportunity to test an IndyCar Series car. The 2005 Indy Pro Series champion joined Andretti Green Racing drivers Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Hideki Mutoh at Sebring International Raceway Dec. 17.

The test was the fifth bonus test day earned by AGR in 2007 for their partnership with AFS Racing in fielding a team in the Indy Pro Series.

"It was cool to drive an IndyCar Series car for the first time," Cunningham said. "It's something that I've looked forward to since I came over here in 2005. I'm very grateful to (AFS Racing owner) Gary (Peterson) and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunity. It was a bit difficult in the morning with the track still at 50 degrees. After 20 laps or so, it felt reasonably comfortable."

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12/21/07
irl

Castroneves graces cover of ESPN the Magazine
Helio Castroneves, dressed in a yellow suit and hat that he performed in on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, shares the cover of ESPN the Magazine's 100 Biggest Sports Stories of the Year issue with Barry Bonds. The magazine is being mailed to 1.8 million subscribers.

In The Magazine's annual look at the greatest sports stories of the year, the editors, producers, writers and on-air talent at ESPN chose the Barry Bonds saga as the No. 1 entry. There were still plenty of feel good stories in 2007: Tom Brady's Patriots, Boise State's trick plays, Lorena Ochoa's eight titles - and who knew Helio Castroneves could cut such a mean rug?

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12/21/07
irl

Chesson, Münter test with Panther Racing

PJ Chesson

Panther Racing wrapped up its last order of 2007 business Dec. 18 at Sebring International Raceway, where the team completed an Indy Pro Series test with prospective drivers P.J. Chesson and Leilani Münter.

While both drivers have displayed considerable talent on oval tracks, neither has extensive road course racing experience.

"It was positive for us to get both P.J. and Leilani on the track," Panther co-owner John Barnes said. "And, for us, it's good to get our Indy Pro Series team some time to work before the end of the year and run around a little bit. I really wanted to get our new Technical Director, Henri Durand, a chance to work with the IPS guys and the car to have some data to work with before we start running in 2008."

Chesson ran for the better part of a day-and-a-half, and despite having just two road course starts in his career, the New Jersey native was able to adapt well to the new discipline. Consider that, last season, road-course ace Hideki Mutoh also tested at Sebring with Panther, and his best time was only three-tenths quicker than Chesson's top time from this week.

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12/21/07
ga

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya latest to join SunTrust lineup
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., recently voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for the fifth year in a row, and Juan Pablo Montoya, winner of the Indianapolis 500, Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix and the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year title, have joined an all-star cast of drivers, team owners and country music artists participating in next month’s third-annual Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust, the unique, interactive fan festival at Nashville’s Sommet Center featuring Grammy-winning and multi-platinum-selling recording artist Alan Jackson and special guest Taylor Swift, with Jason Michael Carroll, and a newly announced performance by The Wrights in concert.

The Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust will once again bring together the stars of country music and NASCAR for autographs, storytelling and question-answer sessions with their favorite performers and drivers at The Backstage Garage Pass festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, followed by the blockbuster Country Concert event headlined by Jackson at 8 p.m.

Earnhardt and Montoya are among four NASCAR celebrities and three country music artists announced today as newly added participants in the Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust extravaganza. Earnhardt is the 2004 Daytona 500 winner and two-time NASCAR Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series champion who will take over the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the Sprint (formerly Nextel) Cup  Series in 2008. Montoya, whose Cup Series rookie season included a race victory at Sonoma, Calif., will embark on his second season behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge in 2008.

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12/21/07
wsr
cca

Wickens leaves Atlantics for Europe
Robert Wickens will leave the Champ Car Atlantic Series behind him as he sets sail to embark overseas on a new stage of his open-wheel racing career. The Red Bull Junior driver will race in 2008 in the World Series by Renault (WSR) with Carlin Motorsport.

"It was a terrific opportunity to drive the final two races of 2007 with Carlin" commented Wickens. "We learned a lot during those sessions and now we can take that forward into 2008. I am looking forward to testing the new car as soon as possible."

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12/21/07
industry news

General Motors Achieves New Milestone in China
Shanghai – General Motors became the first global automaker to sell 1 million vehicles in China in a single year today when GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale handed the keys to a Buick Park Avenue to Mr. Zhang Jianping at Shanghai GM’s corporate showroom in Shanghai.

“Becoming the first global manufacturer to sell 1 million vehicles in China is a demonstration of the strength of our product, our people and our partnerships,” said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. “China is a very important market, and we’re extremely proud of the contribution we have been able to make to the growth and development of its automotive industry. It’s been an extremely beneficial relationship for both sides.”

GM sales in China first surpassed 100,000 units annually back in 2002. Since then, GM sales have enjoyed steady growth, topping 500,000 annual sales in 2005, thanks to its growing lineup of brands and vehicles. The milestone million mark featured GM’s best-known and strongest brand in China, Buick.

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12/21/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honda to launch RA108 in late January
  • Bridgestone confirms official F1 contract
  • Piquet confirms desire to beat Alonso to title
  • Ecclestone, Briatore, secure football coup
  • Ferrari fumes at McLaren spy saga end
  • Stolen F1 champ statue found

Honda to launch RA108 in late January
(GMM)  Honda on Thursday announced that its 2008 car, to be called the RA108, will be launched officially on 29 January.

In a media statement, the Japanese team also revealed that the event will take place at its formula one headquarters in Brackley, Northamptonshire (UK).

"CEO Nick Fry, new Team Principal Ross Brawn and race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will be present to discuss the debut test of the RA108 and the season ahead," Honda said.

Bridgestone confirms official F1 contract
(GMM)  Bridgestone on Thursday confirmed that in 2008 it will commence a three-year tenure as F1's official sole tire supplier.

The Japanese marque was this year the only tire manufacturer on the grid, but only because former competitor Michelin had pulled out of the sport at the end of 2006.

2008 is the first year in which the F1 regulations enforce the situation, after the FIA selected Bridgestone in a tender process in mid-2006.

"This is an exciting step for us as a company," said the company's director of motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa.

Bridgestone entered F1 in 1997, initially in competition with Goodyear, and then Michelin from 2001.

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12/20/07
gp2

Honda's Mike Conway inks GP2 race deal
Trident Racing is pleased to announce the signing of Mike Conway, who will be competing with the team in the 2008 GP2 Series. The British driver enters his second season of GP2 competition with the team owned by Maurizio Salvadori. Conway began his GP2 career last season, proving himself as one of the top rookies in the Series.

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12/20/07
cc

Conquest Racing solidifies future with new sponsor
Conquest Racing has solidified its future in the Champ Car World Series with the signing of new marketing partner Opes Prime Group Ltd, an Australian based financial services provider. As a direct result of this new 2-year agreement, Conquest Racing is committed to entering two cars in the 2008 Champ Car World Series. Drivers and other marketing partner announcements will be announced in early 2008.

Additionally, the new agreement sees Opes Prime principle shareholder Anthony Blumberg acquiring an equity stake in the organization, providing the necessary capital investment to fuel the team’s growth over the next two seasons.

"I'm proud to be associated with Conquest Racing for 2008 and beyond," said Anthony Blumberg of his latest acquisition. "Conquest Racing is a team with whom we made our Champ Car debut at Surfers Paradise this year, giving me a taste of the American open-wheel scene.

“Our aim over the next couple of years is to develop and promote talent from within the junior formulae Australian and Asian Championships, and whilst our involvement with Conquest in no way guarantees a drive for any of those talented, young Opes Prime backed-drivers, it does provide an opportunity, which is what we are all about," he confirmed.

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12/20/07
motogp

Moto GP Commission amend regulations for 2008
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Claude Danis (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on December 12 in Barcelona, unanimously decided to introduce a series of World Championship regulation changes, to come into place from 1st January 2008.

Said changes encompass the entire spectrum of MotoGP competition, with subtle adjustments in such technical details as bodywork height, mudguard angles and fuel tank ventilation and the extension of on-site firefighting and medical availability.

However, to conclude a year in which tire regulations have been one of the focal points of off-track activity, a few amendments to rubber rules have also been made.

MotoGP tire manufacturers, currently numbering two in the form of Bridgestone and Michelin, will now be obliged to list a solitary Grand Prix circuit as their testing track for a maximum of four days. Additionally, the two companies will have an opportunity to put their wares through the paces at Indianapolis and any other significantly resurfaced track in preparation for a race, albeit without a regular MotoGP rider.

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12/20/07
nascar

Earnhardt Inc. Signs Crew Chief Manion to Multi-Year Deal
Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced it has signed crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion to a three-year deal that will continue his long-term tenure at DEI.

“Chemistry is a very important part of any race team and I’m excited that we’ll be able to continue to build on what we have accomplished over the past several years,” said Manion. “We are looking forward to getting back out there on the track in January and hopefully starting to build on what can be a championship season.”

“We are very pleased to sign Kevin to a multi-year agreement,” said John Story, vice president of motorsports operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc. “Kevin is a long time and loyal employee of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and his accomplishments speak for themselves. He is a proven championship caliber crew chief, and is dedicated to our Company.  We look forward to him continuing to build our organization towards the future.”

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12/20/07
f1

CFD, the tool of the future
During the summer, the ING Renault F1 Team announced that it was setting up an Excellence Centre specializing in the study of fluid dynamics (CFD). This slightly hermetic term hides the technology of the future, which will benefit both the new generation of Renault F1 cars, as well as the vehicles bearing the Renault and Nissan Alliance badges.

What is CFD?
Computational fluid dynamics is a technology whose development has exploded in Formula 1 in recent years. Thanks to processors and increasingly sophisticated programs, it enables the engineers to simulate, model and give an accurate picture of the interaction between the car and the airflow it creates when in movement. This tool is mainly used in the design of bodywork and aerodynamic elements. But not exclusively, as it enables other parameters like the dynamics of exhaust gases and the oxygen in the engine’s combustion chambers to be studied.

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12/20/07
f1

Honda launch date set
The Honda Racing F1 Team will launch their 2008 challenger on 29 January in the team's headquarters at Brackley. After a disappointing 2007 season, where the team only finished 8th, the team hopes to return to the front-runners during the upcoming season.  CEO Nick Fry, Team Boss Ross Brawn and drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will attend the launch.

Comment
12/20/07
alms
LMES

2008 ACO technical regulations
All the races organized under the Le Mans label in 2008 (Le Mans 24 Hours, the American Le Mans Series in the USA and the Le Mans Series in Europe) will comply with new specifications drawn up by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which, in fact, are new technical regulations for all entrants. In 2008, there will be no changes in the categories accepted - LM P1 and LM P2 prototypes, LM GT1 and LM GT2 Grand Touring Cars.
 
Stability and opening are the keywords to the 2008 regulations:
- Those governing LM GT1 and LM GT2 remain identical to 2007;
- The performance of the petrol-engined LM P1 cars is brought closer to that of the LM P1 diesels;
- An obvious performance difference is maintained between LM P1 and LM P2
prototypes;
To prevent entrants wasting money attempting to lighten their cars their weight has been increased by 50 kilos.

In a further attempt to reduce costs a series production engine (in contrast to those designed exclusively for racing) can be installed in LM P1 and LM P2 cars.

Opening up the race to bio fuels highlights the ACO’s concern with the protection of the environment, as well as its desire to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

As a result petrol with 10% ethanol and bio diesel (BTL) will be allowed in 2008 in both LM P1 and LM P2.

Innovations in the 2008 ACO regulations
LM P1:
- Minimum weight: 900 kgs
- Air restrictors on petrol-engined cars increased by 3%

LM P2:
- 50 kg increase in weight (raised to 825 kgs)
- Fuel tank capacity reduced to 80 liters (instead of 90 liters)

LM P1 & LM P2:
- Series production engines allowed
- Bio fuels allowed: petrol with 10% ethanol plus biodiesel (BTL)

LM GT1 & LM GT2: no changes in relation to the 2007 regulations

The ACO is considering a reduction in performances in LM P1 and LM P2 for safety reasons, given the fact that the 3m 30s barrier was breached in the 2007 race.
Discussions with the entrants will begin in 2008 to introduce such measures in 2009 or 2010.

The modifications to be made will apply mainly to the bodywork, the wings and the air restrictors, so that the LM P1 cars’ times will not dip under 3m 30s over a lap of the Le Mans circuit.

Comment
12/20/07
f1

Bridgestone confirm official tire supplier status
Bridgestone confirmed on Thursday that they will commence a three-year contract from January 1, 2008 as the official tire supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship. The contract, which covers the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons, was the result of a successful tender process with the FIA back in 2006.

Last season, all 11 teams ran on Bridgestone rubber, after the Japanese tire manufacturer’s rivals, Michelin, withdrew from Formula One racing.

“Becoming the ‘Official Tire Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship’ is a prestigious honor for Bridgestone and we await the start of the 2008 season with great anticipation,” said Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. “Our participation in Formula One is a core element of our company's expansion and development and this is an exciting step for us as a company.

Read more & Comment...
12/20/07
Industry news

New Corvette ZR1 hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds

UPDATE A reader writes, Great article on the new ZR1!  It looks like we are going to once again have an American supercar that competes with and surpasses some of the most amazing sports cars in the world, at a substantially lower price.  It just goes to show you that when American automakers put the effort into it they actually can be competitive with European and Japanese manufacturers.  Now all they have to do is figure out how to translate that sort of effort and success from the Corvette program into their everyday models.  If they could do that, then maybe people would stop equating “American car” with “pile of defective junk,” and the big three would actually be able to make money.  Kevin McFerrin

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

12/20/07  This is one mean machine.

General Motors Corp. on Wednesday took the wraps off the much-anticipated 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 -- the fastest production vehicle ever built by GM.

The new 'Vette will be showcased next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It won't come cheap when it hits the market next year: The price tag is expected to be just under $100,000.

The 620-horsepower limited-edition Corvette is based on the performance Z06 Corvette, but better. Under its carbon fiber hood is GM's new LS9 engine -- eight cylinders of pure supercharged power.

The 6.2-liter small block uses a sixth-generation Eaton supercharger to crank out 585 pound-feet of torque. That torque helps the ZR1 fly from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.

Tom Stephens, GM North America vice president of powertrain, said the ZR1 accelerates more like a motorcycle than a car.

"This was the first time I have driven a car that gives me that sport motorcycle feeling," said Stephens. "You can't help but get out of it with a smile on your face." See our full report

Comment
12/20/07
Racing News

NASCAR drivers fare poorly on Autosport list
Autosport is a British magazine that covers motorsports on a worldwide basis. The people who work for it know far more about what's going on around the wide, wide world of racing than I ever will.

I know that a guy like me who has seen one Formula One race live and probably has seen a total of three minutes of World Rally Championship competition on television in his life has no standing when it comes to ranking the world's best drivers. That's why I don't - and won't - try to do it.

Autosport, however, does. The magazine is out with its list of the world's top-50 drivers for 2007 and it should surprise no one that F1 drivers dominate the rankings.

But 12 of the top 18? Twelve?

F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen is first, followed by Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. World Rally drivers Marcus Gronholm and Sebastien Loeb follow in the top five.

OK, here's where I think these blokes get a little wacky.

Jenson Button, who finished 15th in the F1 standings, is sixth. The rationale, apparently, is that Button had junk (by F1 standards) to drive this year and did a decent job in it.

Dario Franchitti, the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series winner, is seventh (too funny), followed by IndyCar runner-up Scott Dixon (just as funny).

Does it occur to anybody that there's a name that ought to be at least somewhere along here in this part of the list - at the very least?

Jimmie Johnson won 10 races and the Nextel Cup championship. There's no question that he beat better competition in his form of U.S. auto racing than Franchitti did. But even if you give Franchitti points for winning America's most significant single race, doesn't Johnson have to be ahead of Dixon?  More....

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12/20/07
f1

Horner: We weren't interested in Alonso
Red Bull Racing has never approached Fernando Alonso to get the Spaniard at Red Bull F1 for the 2008 season team boss Christian Horner said. During the ongoing silly season Alonso was linked various times with Red Bull, probably by his management team to get Renault to cough up more money for Alonso.

"Speculation regarding Fernando was flattering, in that it demonstrates the significant steps that Red Bull Racing has made in a short time to be considered as a viable team by the double world champion," Horner told F1.com.

"However, since we announced our driver line-up in the summer, we have been committed to David and Mark. They did an excellent job for the team in 2007 and remain one of the strongest driver line-ups in F1."

Comment
12/20/07
Track News

Lime Rock, Skip Barber School Sign Long-term Deal
Lime Rock Park and Skip Barber Racing School, L.L.C., Wednesday announced the signing of a new agreement which extends and expands their relationship through the 2021 season. Under the agreement terms, the Skip Barber Racing School will continue as the exclusive racing and driving school of Lime Rock Park. The School now also becomes the exclusive provider for automotive manufacturer (‘‘OEM’’) events at Lime Rock Park, and by 2010 will be the exclusive provider of karting events. Skip Barber Racing School will have the opportunity to improve the Sunoco Paddock to accommodate a karting track layout and auto-exercise facilities without diminishing that paddock’s existing functions. It is further anticipated that the School will be able to provide Lime Rock with programs for its exclusive new club for motorsports enthusiasts, The  Club at Lime Rock Park. ‘‘2007 has been a historic year for Lime Rock Park,’’ said president and owner John ‘‘Skip’’ Barber. ‘‘We celebrated 50 years of great racing, and  we founded The Club at Lime Rock Park to offer a unique motorsports experience over the next 50 years to a select group of members. With the extended and enhanced Skip Barber Racing School association, I am confident that the future is very bright for Lime Rock Park.’’

Comment
12/20/07
nascar

2007 NASCAR Crash Data
Accidents and spins soared during the 2007 NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup, USA TODAY database research shows. Fueled by a track-record number of cautions in races at Martinsville Speedway (21) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (14), a total of 89 incidents were recorded — the most since NASCAR's 10-race playoff was instituted in 2004 — and a 14.1% increase from last year's 78 crashes and spins. A total of 240 accidents/spins were recorded during the 2007 season, the most since 253 incidents in 2005. #6-David Ragan is listed with the most at 22; then #7-Robby Gordon with 16. #29-Kevin Harvick had the least of the drivers running all 36 races, with 3. More, including database at USA Today

Comment
12/20/07
f1

Q and A with Nelson Piquet Jr


Nelson Piquet Jr.

As he met the Brazilian President in Brazilia, new Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr spoke with the French based squad’s press office about his feelings following the announcement that he would be part of the team’s 2008 driver line up as teammate to double world champion, Fernando Alonso.

Nelsinho, what are your feelings following the announcement you will be an F1 driver with the ING Renault F1 Team in 2008?
It's hard to put into words. People don't see that behind every young driver, there are a lot of years of hard work, dedication and focus to make it to Formula 1. I have dreamed of competing in Formula 1 since I was small, and I have finally made it. It is the start of a new phase, and I can't wait for the season to begin.

How important has your father been in your getting this drive?
It would be unfair to all the people who have supported me throughout my career to say that my success is down to one person. My father has been, and will be, a great reference point for me and his support was crucial to the early stages of my career, all the way to GP2 Series. But to get into Formula 1, you need much more than a famous surname. Renault have given me the chance to race for them, and that is because I have the talent and potential to do so. The team knows how we perform in the tests, what configuration the car is in, and our character. That is what counts in Formula 1.

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12/20/07
f1

Carlos Ghosn and Nelson Piquet Jr meet in Brasilia
Just one week after being announced as a 2008 race driver for the ING Renault F1 Team, Nelson Piquet Jr accompanied Renault President and CEO Carlos Ghosn as they met Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil.

The meeting took place in the nation's capital Brasilia, which is also home to Nelsinho's family. After being introduced to President Lula following a meeting between the Brazilian President and Carlos Ghosn, Nelsinho answered questions from a large group of local media gathered to meet the young driver and the Renault President.

Following a photo call with the Renault Sandero, the five-door saloon which has been developed for growth markets in South America and around the world, and which will be assembled in Renault's Curitiba factory; Nelsinho fielded questions from more than 300 Renault guests and members of the company's sales network in Brazil. The employees had the opportunity to meet the young driver, and discuss his career, his job and his expectations for next season.

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12/20/07
Miscellaneous

UK Drivers who use mobile phones face jail
Motorists caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving could be jailed for two years under tough new guidelines issued today by prosecutors. Drivers who adjust sat-navs, tinker with MP3 music players such as iPods or send text messages at the wheel could also face prison sentences.

Prosecutions will be brought if by using the equipment a motorist is judged to have posed a danger to other drivers, such as causing another car to swerve.

Using a hand-held mobile while driving was outlawed in 2003, but it is estimated that half a million motorists flout the ban each day.

Existing guidelines restricted prosecutors to pursuing only a charge of careless driving, for which the maximum fine is £5,000 along with up to nine points on a motorist's license.

But under the new rules, drivers could be charged with dangerous driving, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

It is believed that by increasing the penalties, drivers will start to take the law seriously.

Comment
12/20/07
industry news

How GM got its style magic back
How did GM get its mojo back?

Two ways, as a character in a Hemingway novel said when asked how he went bankrupt: gradually and then suddenly.

Profound change takes place in increments, whether in an individual or an organization. The improvement can be unnoticeable until it becomes too great to ignore.

With the new Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Enclave -- 2008 Free Press Car and Truck of the Year -- it's clear: General Motors Corp. can once again be counted on to build some of the world's best vehicles.

"The cars and trucks GM has introduced over the last three model years or so stand alongside the best the company did in the 1950s and '60s when GM was the peak of styling and innovation," said Joe Phillippi, an analyst who has advised investors about automakers since 1968 and is principal of AutoTrends Consulting in Short Hills, N.J.

The Enclave and Malibu are the consummation of an agonizingly slow process in which the world's largest automaker completely reworked the way it designs and develops new cars and trucks.

There's never been a shortage of talented engineers and designers at GM, but for decades, the company's processes, politics and management blocked creativity and innovation, throwing one roadblock after another in front of the people who simply wanted to build great vehicles.

The reason the new "vehicles happened is that GM now has a hyperefficient, product-focused vehicle development program," said Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics of Birmingham. GM's vehicle-development system today can stand alongside Toyota and BMW as the best in the industry, Hall said. More at Detroit Free Press

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12/20/07
industry news

GM Statement on EPA Decision to Deny Waiver to CA
GM is dedicated to providing a wide array of vehicle solutions to improve our nation’s energy security and address climate change. The EPA’s decision to deny California’s request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act hopefully will allow us to focus on meeting the tough, new national fuel economy standards set within the Energy Bill recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. By removing the disproportionate burden of complying with a patchwork of state-specific regulations that would divert our resources, automakers can concentrate on developing and implementing the advanced technologies in ways that will meet America’s driving needs across the country.

Read more & Comment...
12/20/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Montezemolo clarifies 2008 car launch date
  • Domenicali reveals 2008 qualifying tweaks
  • Valencia GP hits potential snag
  • Parente to test Renault at Jerez
  • Schumacher to earn 35m until 2014

Montezemolo clarifies 2008 car launch date
(GMM)  Ferrari will launch its 2008 car on 6 January, the Italian marque's president Luca di Montezemolo revealed on Wednesday.

2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen let slip recently that the car will be unveiled for the first time in the early days of the new year, but he did not say where the presentation would take place.

La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes Montezemolo, the Ferrari president, as saying the 2008 car will be launched on January 6 at Fiorano, the team's private test track.

It will reportedly then be tested fully for the first time at Jerez a week later, incidentally at the same time as Red Bull's new RB4.

Montezemolo also revealed that the English photocopy shop employee, who alerted Ferrari about confidential information in McLaren's possession, has been invited to the team's Maranello factory.

"Without him, we would have known nothing," the Italian said.  "That's why we have invited him to Mugello and to the factory."

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12/19/07
ga

Team Sahlen to run Corvette in Grand-Am
The Corvette has a long history in sports car racing, dating back to the 1950's. The ROLEX Grand American series has witnessed several of those wins, including an overall victory at the 2001 ROLEX 24 Hours. For 2008, Team Sahlen hopes to give Corvette fans at the Grand American events something to continue to cheer about by being the only team to campaign the Corvette full time in the ROLEX series. During the entire 13 event ROLEX GT season, Team Sahlen will campaign two ZO6 racers for a 2nd straight season.

Team Sahlen will campaign their HRPWorld.com Corvettes Z06 race cars in the familiar red, black and yellow paint scheme that fans have grown oh so familiar with. Drivers will be the father & son duo of Joe & Wayne Nonnamaker in car #43, plus Joe Sahlen & Will Nonnamaker paired up in the #42 racer.

"Everyone at Team Sahlen is very excited about our second year with the HRPWorld.com Corvettes for 2008. I have loved Corvettes since I was a kid. Knowing that all the Corvette fans at the track will be pulling for us each weekend makes this even more thrilling. The November Test Days went very well. And we have several more things to test at the upcoming January tests." - commented Joe Nonnamaker. 

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12/19/07
track news

Work begins on new media center


Demolition begins on old media center

Another chapter in the storied history of Watkins Glen International came to a close when Craig Rust, President of WGI, began the demolition of the historic road course’s iconic Press Tower during a ceremony this afternoon.  Members of the WGI staff and local media also took turns leaving their final “mark” on the building - with the use of a sledge hammer.  The demolition of the Press Tower is segueing for a new state-of-the-art Media Center, which is expected to be completed in June of 2008.

The Press Tower has been one of the most recognizable landmarks at The Soul of American Road Racing since its construction in 1971.  With the loss of the Glen Club in early 2007, the Press Tower became the second oldest structure at The Glen behind the Main Operations Building.  The 4,000-square foot building was part of a modernization project requested by Formula 1 that included widening the road surface of the entire track, relocating the start-finish line and building new pits and garage. The original structure also housed timing and scoring for The Glen until 2006 when Race Control was added to the top of the FrontStretch Grandstand.  Over the course of its over 35 year history, the Press Tower hosted national and international media and officials from virtually every major racing series including NASCAR, IndyCar, Grand-Am, Formula 1, CART, Trans-Am, Can-Am, IMSA and SCCA. 

The foundation is already being laid on new media center

The new Media Center will not be placed in the same location as the former Press Tower.  Groundbreaking began on Monday, and the crew is in the process of pouring the concrete footers on the foundation of the new building. The building will be located approximately 100-150 feet east of the old press tower, in an area previously used for high-end team recreational vehicles (RV’s), known as the Newel RV lot. Artist renderings of the new building are being finalized and are expected to be released in mid-January.

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12/19/07
nascar

Roush Fenway announces sponsors for McMurray
Roush Fenway Racing announced today the 2008 schedule for Jamie McMurray and the No. 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup team.  The No. 26 team will again be led by crew chief Larry Carter.  In 2008, McMurray will split his seat time between the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion and the No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion.

"I'm really proud to have both Crown Royal and IRWIN Industrials Tools as my primary sponsors again in 2008," said McMurray.  "When you first come to a new team, like I did two years ago when I joined Roush Fenway Racing, it not only takes time to learn the new guys on the team, but also the sponsors.  Over the last two years, I've built some really strong relationships with both the guys at Crown Royal and IRWIN Industrials Tools."

In his Crown Royal Ford Fusion, McMurray captured his third career pole at Infineon Raceway in June.  His best finish in the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion came at Texas Motor Speedway in April where McMurray finished fifth.

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12/19/07
f1

Canadian GP tickets on sale
On Thursday December 20th, 2007 tickets will go on sale for the next edition of the most exciting and prestigious sporting event in the country, the Grand Prix of Canada. It will be presented on June 6th, 7th and 8th 2008, at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. This seventh round of the FIA World Championship is more anticipated than ever, since it will be the only rendezvous with Formula 1 for the North American fans.

The 2007 Formula 1 Championship offered us all a thrill! Alonso, Hamilton and Räikkönen battling it out until the end in an unforgettable showdown. It was also a year marked by the memorable first victory in Hamilton's careerŠ in Montreal.

Coming up in spring 2008Šthe sequel! This edition will feature a pack of unstoppable young wolves ready to fight it out for the championship and achieve the ultimate triumph on the demanding Gilles-Villeneuve circuit, in a year that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Grand Prix's arrival to our metropolis.

We are happy to maintain a tradition dear to the hearts of our racing fans: the annual visit of Formula 1 to Montreal, and the presentation of the always exciting Grand Prix of Canada," declared the Executive Vice-President of the organization, François Dumontier. "The loyal fans at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit know it, nothing equals the experience of the Grand Prix of Canada, at Parc Jean-Drapeau. We gladly become addicted to such an event, to the shivers that overtake the bodies on Friday morning at the sound of the first notes from the symphony of motors, the suspense of Saturday afternoon's qualifying rounds and the excitement of Sunday's spectacular start.

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12/19/07
gp2

Senna to drive for GP2 Champions in 2008


Bruno Senna

Max iSport International has signed Bruno Senna to fight for the twin GP2 titles up for grabs in 2008. The agreement between the promising young Brazilian driver and the reigning GP2 champions was confirmed this Wednesday.

"I see in Bruno one of those single minded personalities that has the determination to reach the top," commented Paul Jackson, general director of iSport.

"I am happy that everything has worked out. iSport provides me with everything I need to fight for victories and for the championship," said Bruno.

As well as competing in the regular European based championship with its double header rounds taking place alongside Formula One events, Bruno will also race in the 2008 GP2 Asia Championship. This brand new series, comprising of five double header events, kicks off in Dubai on January 25th, before heading off to Indonesia, Malaysia, Bahrain and then back to Dubai again for the final on April 11/12th. The rounds in Malaysia and the Bahrain will support the Malaysian and Bahrain Formula One Grands Prix.

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12/19/07
ga

Michael Shank Racing retains technical team for 2008
Michael Shank Racing will not only enjoy the return of the same full-season driver line up for the 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season, but the Columbus-based team will also benefit from retaining the same team of engineers dedicated to the squad’s two-car Daytona Prototype team.

“Between the new Pirelli tire, new Riley package, and a new power partner with Ford Racing, there are a ton of new elements for us to learn so we can get the maximum performance out of each,” said team owner Mike Shank. “So having the same group of engineers, who already have years of experience working with each other and already have long relationships with our drivers, is a great situation. Even though there is so much to come to grips with, we feel like keeping this group of engineers together, along with our driver line up is going to help us hit the ground running this year.”

Dale Wise, who was part of the development team for the Truesports IndyCar and worked with Scott Pruett and Raul Boesel in the PPG IndyCar Championship ranks, has been with Michael Shank Racing since its inception, and continues this year in his role as Technical Director. Wise, who keeps speed a priority even in his off time with a passion for motorcycles and watersports, will be on board the Michael Shank Racing pit box as the race engineer for the No. 6 of John Pew and Ian James on race weekends as well as overseeing the engineering program for the entire team.

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12/19/07
karting

Papis Racing with Fittipaldi campaign with Birel in 2008

Max Papis with one of his drivers

Max Papis Racing with Fittipaldi is pleased to announce that they have entered into a partnership with Birel SpA to run their chassis for the 2008 karting season.

In the past year, the team competed in several local and national races, as well as competing in the world finals Easykart championship in Italy, with drivers Pietro and Enzo Fittipaldi da Cruz. After wining many races in 2007, MPRF is looking forward to even more success in 2008 with the partnership of Birel and North American importer, MRP Motorsport.

MPRF will compete in both the Easykart Championship and in the Rotax Challenge, with the intention of going to both national finals and also competing in several local races in Florida.

As in the past, the driver line-up will be an impressive one; Pietro Fittipaldi da Cruz, 2007 South Florida Easykart Champion and his brother Enzo Fittipaldi da Cruz, grandsons of legendary race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi and nephews of team owner and race car driver Max Papis. Joining the team this year will be emerging stars and brothers, Michael and Nicolas de Quesada, sons of Carlos de Quesada, GT winner of the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Already part of the team last year as driver coach and technical assistant, Fabio Orsolon who is multiple times Brazilian Kart Champion, will be driving for MPRF. He will continue his coaching and technical assistance and will compete in the Skip Barber Series as well.

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12/19/07
nascar

Can new CEO stop Sprint Nextel’s sinking ship?
Money losing Sprint Nextel officials say the hiring of the company's new president and chief executive officer will not affect its sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The company announced Tuesday that Dan Hesse will serve as president and CEO, effective immediately. Hesse previously served as president and CEO of Embarq Corp.  Nextel began sponsoring NASCAR's top series in 2004, and a merger with Sprint will bring about a name change next season: The Sprint Cup Series.

"Dan is returning to Sprint Nextel with a familiarity of the business and our NASCAR sponsorship and will be able to hit the ground running," said Tim Kelly, chief marketing officer for Sprint. "He is passionate about directly interacting with Sprint Nextel's business partners, and we are extremely pleased that he will be leading our company during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsorship."

Hesse spent 23 yeas at AT&T, serving as president of that company's wireless division from 1997-2000. He also worked as CEO of Sprint's Local Telecommunications Division for one year before the spin-off that created Embarq.

[Editor's Note: With Sprint Nextel's proprietary network technology that results in user's phones not working outside the USA (AT&T, T-Mobile and the rest of the world work on the GSM network) it's not hard to predict their eventual demise.  As more and more people travel and do business abroad, their choice to have their 'own' network will result in eventual bankruptcy and liquidation.  Already their sales are way off as consumers wise up to the fallacy of such a device.]

Comment
12/19/07
nascar

Gibbs Racing names Nationwide Series sponsor
Joe Gibbs Racing officials say Z-Line Designs will serve as a primary sponsor for the team's Nationwide Series cars in 11 races in 2008. The company will sponsor the No. 18 Toyota for six races and the No. 20 Toyota for five events.

Comment
12/19/07
ga

Rolex 24 to be broadcast in Times Square
SPEED and FOX Sports will offer 17 hours of team coverage from the 46th running of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona on Jan. 26-27, with the first 90 minutes of the event simulcast on the 1,400-square foot News Astrovision by Panasonic Screen prominently located at One Times Square in New York.  

“The Rolex 24 has re-emerged as the event I fell in love with when I first covered it for television in the early '80's,” said SPEED/FOX Sports host Bob Varsha. “Back then, everyone, and I mean everyone, converged on Daytona in January to shake off the winter blues. Why that magic went away is a long story, but Grand-Am has recaptured it.  

“The Rolex 24 driver lineup is a race fan's dream, and the stock car and open-wheel boys and girls know this isn't a cameo; the Rolex Series regulars are fast and know all the tricks in these cars,” Varsha added.

“Sure, it's a one-off for the visiting stars with no points to worry about, but everyone's goal, series regular or hired gun, is to put a win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona on their resume. The new Pirelli tires are wicked fast, and while winning any 24-hour race is no weekend at the golf course, the Rolex is simply flat-out, all the time. The weather is always a factor, as are the long hours of darkness, and racing luck can send the biggest star home humbled. Just ask Tony Stewart. I can't wait.”  

            Rolex 24 at Daytona broadcast schedule (all time ET and subject to change):  

* Jan. 26, 1-2:30 p.m. – FOX (simulcast in Times Square)
* Jan. 26, 2:30-10 p.m. – SPEED
* Jan. 27, 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. – SPEED

            Varsha will be joined in the booth by former racers David Hobbs and Dorsey Schroeder, who will provide analysis, and Leigh Diffey, who will deliver play-by-play. Brian Till, Calvin Fish, Chris Neville and Andrew Marriott will be reporting from the Daytona pits.

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12/19/07
f1

Ferrari invite deep throat to Italy
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has invited the British photocopy shop employee who helped uncover the McLaren spy scandal to Italy to thank him.

"If it had not been for that photocopy man we would not have known anything about this story," Montezemolo told reporters on Wednesday at the carmaker's end-of-year celebration at their Maranello headquarters.

"That's why we have invited him to the Mugello race track and will invite him to our factory."

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12/19/07
f1

New Red Bull car to debut in January
The Red Bull team will debut its 2008 contender for the first time in Jerez at the end of January team boss Christian Horner confirmed. According to Horner the RB4 is an evolution of the RB3.

"The RB4 is scheduled to run during the third week of January," Horned revealed to F1.com. "The RB4 will be an evolution of the RB3, which showed good pace during the season, especially in the final three races.

"We learnt many lessons during 2007 and obviously reliability is a key topic that the design and development groups are fully focused on. The Barcelona and Jerez tests were mainly focused on introducing the standard electronics system, which is new for 2008 and will eradicate traction control and engine braking."

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12/19/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

12/19/07
  • Briatore fiancée confirms wedding plans
  • Kovalainen never worried about losing job
  • Alonso open to possible Ferrari future
  • Schumacher, Todt, to appear in movie
  • Silverstone erecting new F1 pit wall
  • Raikkonen not top Finnish sportsman New
  • Hamilton to test less this winter New

Briatore fiancée confirms wedding plans
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore's girlfriend has confirmed that she is due to marry the Renault team boss in 2008.

It was reported early this year that Briatore, who previously dated supermodel Naomi Campbell and has a daughter with Heidi Klum, had become engaged to 27-year-old Italian former 'Wonderbra' model Elisabetta Gregoraci.

She has now told the German celebrity magazine Bunte that they will become Mr. and Mrs. Briatore in May 2008.

"We are going now for a winter vacation, and after that we will begin preparations for our wedding," Gregoraci said.

Briatore, who is 57, revealed in August of last year that he had survived a brush with cancer.

"His long illness brought us together closely," Gregoraci explained.  "Day and night, I was there for him."

Read more & Comment...
12/19/07
industry News

Volvo invests in driver safety technology

Click image to watch video

Studies show that lack of attention is the single largest cause of traffic accidents. As part of the Volvo Group’s comprehensive safety efforts, Volvo Technology Transfer is now investing in Seeing Machines, which is a computerized technology developed by an Australian company that detects and warns vehicle drivers in the event of tiredness by tracking and following head and eye movements as well as facial expressions. Volvo Technology Transfer AB is part of the Volvo Group and focuses on developing and supporting new businesses that are relevant to the Volvo Group.

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12/19/07
nascar

Ambrose voted Australian DOY


Marcos Ambrose

Marcos Ambrose has been voted the Australian Driver of the Year by Australian weekly motorsport magazine Auto Action.

The Australian earned the accolade in the magazine’s annual Racer of the Year Awards issue, released in Australia today.

Ambrose won Auto Action’s Australian Driver of the Year Award, open to any Australian-born driver racing domestically or internationally, for his efforts in the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series.

The awards are decided by votes submitted by the fans, making Ambrose’s achievement all the more significant as he has been racing on the other side of the world for the past two years after winning the Australian V8 Supercar Championship in 2003 and 2004.

“It’s great to pick up an award like this one, especially because it is the fans that have cast their votes,” said Ambrose.

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12/19/07
f1

Aerodynamics most efficient and economical way of finding speed
Working in the context of new regulations is always a thrilling experience for an aerodynamicist. However, in a period of stability finding performance is a much more challenging task, but the Renault F1 Team believes that progress is still possible.

The R28 will be the fourth F1 Renault complying with the same aerodynamic regulations. Since the 2004-05 winter the aerodynamicists have been working in the context of a virtually unchanged text, so the rules of the game as well as what works are common knowledge. But progress is still possible. The wind tunnels and the simulation programs that work 24H/24h 7 days a week, are increasingly sophisticated, and they help the engineers to achieve progress.

“When the first texts of the 2005 regulations were made public in July 2004, we took the gamble of allocating a lot of our wind tunnel time to this program to evaluate its impact,” explains Bob Bell, the ING Renault F1 Team’s Chassis Technical Director. “Although the new rules had a considerable impact on aerodynamic performance with a loss of 25%, we were very encouraged by the gains we achieved and we made a big improvement in the car’s overall efficiency. The efforts made to find the most compact package possible gave a lot of freedom to the aerodynamicists, and they managed to claw back part of the performance lost at the beginning.” These periods of change are always a godsend. “For the teams that have done a good job, it’s possible to make that vital difference before all the cars gradually start to look alike,” Bob continues.

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12/19/07
nascar

Gillett Evernham statement on Kahne lawsuit
Responding to the lawsuit filed today against Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ driver Kasey Kahne for an incident that occurred at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, Rick Russell, president of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, issued the following statement: “Gillett Evernham Motorsports is a close family and Kasey Kahne is an integral part of our organization. The alleged action in this case is not consistent with the Kasey Kahne we know. It is unfortunate the issue has progressed to this point. We support our driver, Kasey Kahne, and have complete confidence in the legal process.” Clear!Blue/GEM PR

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12/19/07
nascar

Kasey Kahne being sued UPDATE  NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne faces a Jan. 8 arraignment on a misdemeanor criminal charge of battery and, as of Tuesday, a lawsuit filed by a security guard over a Nov. 16 incident at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kasey Kahne

In his lawsuit, the guard, Archibald Hutchinson, alleges that he sustained “severe physical injuries” when Kahne shoved him to the ground. Hutchinson had tried to keep Kahne from entering the driver/owner motor home lot without credentials.

“This incident has left Mr. Hutchinson injured not only physically, but emotionally as well,” said Russell Dohan, Hutchinson’s attorney. “He currently is under medical care for his injuries and cannot return to work.”

Hutchinson was taken to the track’s infield care center where he was, according to the arrest affidavit filed by Detective Tony Aquino of the Homestead police, treated “for minor bruises and abrasions.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages in excess of $15,000. More at ThatsRacin.com

12/17/07 A Miami law firm announced its plans Monday to file a lawsuit against a NASCAR driver accused of assaulting a 62-year-old security guard at the Homestead-Miami Speedway last month. Russell Dohan, an attorney with Goldberg & Dohan, said the lawsuit against NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne would be filed Monday in Miami. Kahne, 27, is charged with one count of battery against Archibald Hutchison, who was working as a security guard at the speedway for a race Nov. 16 when the incident allegedly occurred. According to a Homestead police report, Kahne was attempting to access a restricted recreational vehicle parking lot on a golf cart after he finished driving his racecar when Hutchison stopped him and asked him for credentials. Kahne stated that he was a driver and didn't need any, then got out of the golf cart and tried to walk through the gate, the report stated. When Hutchison blocked the entrance and asked Kahne for credentials again, Kahne pushed Hutchison to the ground, according to the report. The report said Kahne was stopped and detained by law enforcement officers who witnessed the incident. He was arrested later that day and released on the signed condition that he appears in court. Hutchison, who was advised not to let any unauthorized people through gate 208 without exception, was treated at the speedway's medical facility for minor bruises and abrasions, according to the report. Dohan said Hutchison hasn't been able to return to work because of his injuries. Dohan said his client has suffered emotionally from the incident and is "getting killed" by NASCAR fans on Web site blogs. He also said he planned to have his client speak with the media about the lawsuit at a news conference planned for Tuesday. local10.com

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12/19/07
f1

Alonso: I've no chance in '08


Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso has dismissed his chances of regaining the Formula One world title in 2008.  Alonso, 26, was champion in 2005 and 2006 with Renault before moving to McLaren and finishing third last season.  The Spaniard has rejoined Renault for 2008 but believes it is 'madness' to expect him to win the title in his first year back with the Regie.

"Today that idea is madness," Alonso told sports program El Larguero. "You have to be realistic and this year they (Renault) were a long way behind and it's too big a leap. But everything is possible, they have to make the car better. We opted for Renault because it is the most optimistic choice for 2008 and with possibilities to do good things. However, every team has to make a huge step up in quality for next year because McLaren and Ferrari won all the races this year."

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12/18/07
starmazda

Gonzalez signs with Andersen Racing

Juliana Gonzalez

Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that it has signed Juliana Gonzalez to compete in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.

Gonzalez will be a rookie in the 12-race series, which is carried on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED.

The 16-year-old driver from Mexico City, a native of Columbia, competed in six of 12 U.S. F2000 Championship Series races with Andersen Racing this year.  Her best showing in that series came in Round 4 at Road Atlanta in May, where she started and finished second.  She took the checkered flag just 1.572 seconds behind eventual champion Cole Morgan in that race.

"Our signing of Juliana comes after her very successful Star Mazda test at VIR last month," said team co-owner Dan Andersen, speaking of a two-day test at VIRginia International Raceway Nov. 15-16 where Gonzalez posted the fastest lap of any driver the team has tested there recently. "We have very high hopes for her in the 2008 Star Mazda championship."

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12/18/07
Industry News

GM announces slight price increases
GM today announced a price adjustment on most of its 2008 model year vehicles to partially recover increasing steel and commodity costs. The price increases, averaging about 1.5 percent, are effective with vehicles invoiced to dealers on and after December 19, 2007.

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12/18/07
industry news

2008 auto sales outlook gloomier
The storm clouds over next year's auto sales are getting thicker by the day -- and more than just automakers are preparing for a dampened 2008.

From auto suppliers to car dealers to Michigan's economy, if auto sales fall 500,000 or more units, as many forecast, the impact will be wide and deep, including likely consolidation of automotive suppliers, fewer dealerships and lower state tax revenue.

And the impact will be felt beyond the auto industry. Fewer people will eat out or travel to northern Michigan, and they'll curtail their spending at local retailers to try and weather the downturn. 

Last week, Global Insight Inc. lowered its 2008 U.S. light vehicle sales projection to 15.5 million units -- among the lowest forecasts to date among numerous analysts who see sales sliding. Ford Motor Co. has predicted sales as low as 15.2 million based on market conditions expected for the first six months of the year. Some in the industry say the number will drop further than that.

Three major suppliers told The Detroit News they project U.S. vehicles sales ranging from 14.5 million to 15 million units. Officials at the companies asked not to be named because such information is considered proprietary, but those in the industry are buzzing about how deep production cuts will go.

"The present conditions are very uncertain," said Ford sales analyst George Pipas. "Will there be a recession or not? When does housing rebound? What will gas prices be? Uncertainty in the economic situation is reflected in (the) stock market, and the same can be said for consumers."  More at Detroit News

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12/18/07
industry news

GM offers early retirements and buyouts
General Motors Corp. and the UAW today reached an agreement on the first phase of a package of retirement and buyout offers intended to help the automaker take advantage of cost-savings measures in its new labor contract.

In the first phase of its so-called special attrition program, GM will offer buyout, retirement and early retirement packages to all of its UAW-represented hourly employees in its service, parts and operations divisions across the country, Pittsburgh Metal Stamping, its Massena, N.Y., plant and to union members in jobs banks in Oklahoma City, Okla., Linden, N.J., and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

The automaker said details of a special attrition program for assembly, stamping, powertrain and engineering facilities will follow in early 2008.

About 5,200 workers will be eligible to participate in the first phase, GM spokesman Dan Flores said. Details of the plan will be made public shortly after the holidays, he said.

The buyout and retirement offers are expected to closely resemble those offered to GM and Delphi workers in 2005 and 2006.

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12/18/07
industry news

GM backs new energy bill
GM commends the Congress and President for passage of an energy bill. The new fuel economy standards within the bill set a tough, national target that GM will strive to meet. We will focus our engineering and technical resources to attain these standards and we remain hard at work applying the innovation and developing the advanced technologies that will power tomorrow's cars and trucks. Addressing the nation's energy security challenges, however, will require all of us working together and we hope to see continued progress on infrastructure and market-driven mechanisms that can augment the auto industry's efforts.

Background

  • GM has an established track record of innovation and a commitment to improving the fuel economy in its cars and trucks. Years of engineering and development, and billions of research dollars have produced the GM vehicles that you see on the road today. Currently, GM offers more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg on the highway, more flex fuel vehicles that can run on E85, and groundbreaking technology such as GM's two-mode hybrid system found in our full-size light trucks. Far from standing still, GM has more cars and trucks on the way that will offer the broadest line-up of "green" technology.

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12/18/07
irl

Six IRL drivers ranked in Autosport Top 50 of 2007
Five IndyCar Series drivers, including IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, and Indy Pro Series champion Alex Lloyd are ranked among the top 50 drivers in the world, according to British racing magazine Autosport.

Franchitti and Scott Dixon, who staged a thrilling title fight that culminated in the last turn of the last lap of the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.

Lloyd, who won the Indy Pro Series title with a record-setting season, was ranked 50th. Tony Kanaan (16th), Helio Castroneves (30th) and Sam Hornish Jr. (42nd) were also ranked in the poll, which is determined by the staff of Autosport.

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12/18/07
ips

IPS To Sponsor Loyet Motorsports At Chili Bowl
The Indy Pro Series has teamed with Loyet Motorsports to sponsor the team's entries in the 22nd Annual Dodge Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Jan. 8-12, 2008 in Tulsa, Okla.

The Sunset Hills, Mo.-based team will field five Spike-Esslinger midgets in the annual indoor race.

"We're very excited and proud to be associated with the Indy Pro Series," said team owner Joe Loyet. "The series has grown so much and has become a true destination for drivers looking to advance their racing careers. Everyone worked hard to put this program together and we fully expect to take the Indy Pro Series to victory lane. We can't wait for the green flag to fall and the racing to begin."

Loyet Motorsports, which was founded in 2000 to help progress the career of rising driver Brad Loyet, has fielded entries in the last four Chili Bowls.

"We have five new cars for this event, with brand new Spike chassis' and we've always been very competitive at the Chili Bowl," Loyet said. "I feel like with our driver lineup for this year's event, we'll have five cars contending for the win in the A-Main."

In addition to Brad Loyet, who finished ninth in USAC midget point standings and won the POWRi Midget title in 2007, the team will field entries for:

  • Danny Lasoski, 2001 World of Outlaws and 2006 National Sprint Tour champion and three-time Chili Bowl runner-up.
  • PJ Jones, two-time Indianapolis 500 starter and 1996 Chili Bowl runner-up.
  • Jon Stanbrough, winner of 30 feature events in non-winged sprint car competition in 2007, the 2007 King of Indiana Sprint Series champion and 2007 non-winged sprint car driver of the year.
    The driver for the fifth Loyet Motorsports entry will be announced at a later date.

"Our Chili Bowl sponsorship program has grown this year from one car to five cars this season," said John Lewis, vice president of league development and marketing for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the Indy Pro Series. "Loyet Motorsports' Chili Bowl driver lineup is capable of winning the race, but more importantly, it will help generate exposure for the Indy Pro Series."

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12/18/07
ips

ESPN2 to televise 2008 Indy Pro Series slate
Indy Pro Series races will be telecast on ESPN2 for the seventh consecutive season in 2008, including live coverage of the season finale Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The live telecast highlights the 2008 Indy Pro Series television schedule on ESPN2 that features 12 telecasts, including same-day coverage of the Freedom 100 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 23. In addition to Indianapolis and Chicago, the six remaining races on ovals are packaged into 30-minute shows filled with side-by-side racing and vignettes on the series' top drivers. Races from the four doubleheader weekends on road/street courses are combined into one-hour shows.

"We're excited about the enhancements in the coverage, especially the fact that our championship could be determined on live television," said Indy Pro Series executive director Roger Bailey. "ESPN2 does a great job of showcasing the quality of our racing to a worldwide audience. We're very happy to continue this partnership."

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12/18/07
nascar

Newman testing instead of Hornish
Penske Racing driver Ryan Newman is testing at Memphis Motorsports Park this week instead of Sam Hornish, according to track officials.  Hornish was scheduled to test at the 0.75-mile track Monday and Tuesday, but track officials said Newman was driving the No. 12 Sprint Cup Dodge, with new crew chief Roy McCauley also at the test.

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12/18/07
nascar

ISC loses CFO
International Speedway Corp said Chief Financial Officer Susan Schandel will leave the company, effective Feb 1, 2008, and join NASCAR.  Daniel Houser, chief accounting officer, will replace Schandel as CFO, effective Feb 1, 2008, the racetrack owner said in a regulatory filing.

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12/18/07
nascar

Study: NASCAR races bring $2.3B to Fla.
International Speedway Corporation (Nasdaq: ISCA - News; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB - News; "ISC") today announced the results of a state-wide economic impact study conducted by the ("WEG") of Coral Gables, FL. The study finds an overall statewide economic impact of $2.3 billion annually.
The economic impact study was conducted over a several month period utilizing the IMPLAN model, which analyzes both the direct and indirect benefits of an economic producer. Key components of the overall economic impact are:


    -- $ 1.9 billion:  Year-round operations and major events held at Daytona
      International Speedway
    -- $ 248 million:  Year-round operations and major events held at
      Homestead-Miami Speedway
    -- $ 157 million:  Employment and operations of ISC, NASCAR and Grand
      American Road Racing headquarters in Daytona Beach, FL

"The significant total annual economic impact of $2.3 billion places ISC as a top generator of economic benefits to the State of Florida, with important regional impacts in Central and South Florida," said WEG CEO J. Antonio "Tony" Villamil. "Furthermore, by enhancing the brand name of Florida as the global leader in motorsports, ISC provides significant ancillary benefits to the state. Among them is the increased attraction of visitors and sports oriented individuals to Florida."

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12/18/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

12/18/07
  • Renault blame 'stupidity' for spying
  • No Super Aguri seat for Filippi
  • Race of Champions wants Hamilton boost in 2008
  • Alonso to test Renault on January 14
  • Ferrari never an option for 2008 - Alonso
  • FIA agrees to end McLaren spy probe New
  • French police catch Hamilton speeding, revoke license New
  • Watch out for Piquet, Fittipaldi tells Alonso New

Renault blame 'stupidity' for spying
(GMM)  "Stupidity" and "recklessness" moved suspended F1 engineer Phil Mackereth to take confidential McLaren data with him to Renault, the French team argued at the recent World Motor Sport Council hearing in Monaco.

Late on Monday, the FIA released a 77-page page transcript of the meeting, after which no penalty was imposed on Renault despite the team being found guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code.

In the transcript, Renault technical director Bob Bell is quoted as describing Mackereth as a "very genuine and straightforward individual" who made a mistake.

"He is someone I would trust," Bell told the FIA panel.  "He is someone with a high degree of respect within his peer groups.

"His actions in this situation were stupidity, naïveté and a degree of recklessness -- and little more than that," he added.

Mackereth himself told the World Council that he took the McLaren information as a personal record, but also "to do with professional interest and some insecurity at joining my new job".

However, he said he could not remember why he copied the technical specifications of McLaren's 2007 car, but did recall that he changed the name of the computer file because of its "sensitivity".

"I must have been trying to disguise it," he acknowledged.

Later, asked to explain why he destroyed a document, Mackereth said: "I made a mistake.

"At the time, I was reeling with the expanding problems I felt I was creating," he added.  "I was not able to think very clearly about what I was doing."

The transcript also highlighted the role FIA president Max Mosley played in the hearing, such as when he stopped McLaren lawyer Ian Mill from asking Mackereth if one of the drawings could have been used for the design of Renault's 2008 car.

"If we become engaged in discussion as to whether a schematic drawing can inform about the detailed design of a pump, we are not using the limited time we have very constructively," Mosley told Mill.

Parts of the transcript, meanwhile, were blacked out, including a section where Renault lawyer David Philips refers to the details of a "financial dossier" submitted to the Council, that would have been relevant only if the team was fined.

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12/18/07
motogp

2008 MotoGP entry list
No. Rider Team
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team
3 Alex De Angelis Honda Gresini
4 Andrea Dovizioso Jir Scot Team
5 Colin Edwards Yamaha Tech 3
7 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
13 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team
14 Randy De Puniet Honda Lcr
21 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing Team
24 Toni Elias Team Alice
26 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team
33 Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro Team
46 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team
48 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team
50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Alice
52 James Toseland Yamaha Tech 3
56 Shinya Nakano Honda Gresini
65 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
69 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team
TBA Team Roberts
TBA Team Roberts

250cc entry list

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12/18/07
miscellaneous

New NASCAR simulator coming?
The Larson family of Rapid City [South Dakota] has long been a business family. Kevin and Deb Larson, and their sons Jeff and Tyler Larson, owned and operated the Cellular Center in Rapid City. When the family decided they needed a change, they got out of the retail cell phone business. Kevin asked his sons if they had any ideas for a new business venture. “The boys said NASCAR,” Kevin recalled. They did their homework, crunched some numbers and came up with the idea for Heartland Entertainment, a new NASCAR-themed family arcade on Cambell Street in Rapid City. It’s scheduled to open Dec. 18. It will have pool tables, 70 arcade games, a small food court and a shop where you can buy NASCAR memorabilia and NASCAR merchandise. But the attraction that will likely get the most attention is along the back wall of the shop. Four shiny NASCAR race cars - on a scale that is 80 percent of the real thing - stand side by side. They’re high-tech NASCAR simulators designed to give arcade drivers the sights, sound and sensation of actually being in a car race. From behind the wheel, you have a 135-degree view of the racetrack projected onto three screens. You also have a gear shifter, gas pedal, brake pedal and a small monitor. Each of the four cars is mounted on a hydraulic system, so when another virtual driver bumps your car, it shakes and shudders as if it were really hit. The Larsons are promoting Heartland Entertainment as a family entertainment center. There’s no smoking and no alcohol. Rapid City Journal

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12/18/07
racing news

Less expensive HAN’s available
HANS Performance Products announced their brand new HANS Device - the Sport Series. The design is guaranteed to provide the same level of industry leading safety as existing HANS Devices, but retail at just $695. All models in the $695 Sport Series offer the same proven strength and protection as existing HANS Devices. Breakthroughs in carbon fiber molding technology have allowed HANS Performance Products to pass cost savings directly onto racers. Sport Series models become available in the new-year. The most popular sizes will be available first. Pre - production parts will be at the HANS booth during this week's PRI show. HANS Performance Products PR

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12/18/07
ips

Another Andretti headed to Indy Racing League

Adam Andretti

FuZion Autosport, a newly formed racing team whose principals are motorsports veterans, will debut in the Indy Pro Series in 2008 with Adam Andretti as its driver.

Andretti, the nephew of Mario Andretti and cousin of Michael and Marco Andretti, debuted in the Indy Pro Series in the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, qualifying 13th and finishing 18th.

The team will conduct its first test on Dec. 18 at Sebring International Raceway.

"I am very happy to finally be settled in with an Indy Pro Series team," Andretti said. "FuZion was a no-brainer for me. Even though the team is new, the engineers, mechanics and management have been around the series since its inception, and the ownership group is made up of true red-blooded racers. 

"I recently relocated back to Brownsburg (Ind.) where I was raised and attended high school, so everything feels like the right fit. Most of all, it is an honor to drive for a well-respected group of owners who have the talent needed for the team to succeed. I can't wait to start testing and get on with the season"

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12/18/07
irl
alms

HPD president Clarke sees more smooth shifting


Robert Clarke

While we still could grab him, Honda Performance Development president Robert Clarke fielded some questions regarding the 2007 and 2008 IndyCar Series seasons. American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced that effective Jan. 1, 2008, Clarke will move to a new executive advisory role at HPD, a position he will hold until his retirement from Honda on June 30.

Q: Will multiple fuel settings return for the 2008 season?

A: We would like to return to a multiple fuel-setting option for the teams as it does provide for more strategic choices, but having only a single setting for much of the '07 season did not seem to adversely affect competition. This is an ongoing topic of discussion we're having with IndyCar Series officials and any change made in that direction will only take place if we're all in agreement.

Q: What is the target mileage between rebuilds for 2008?

A: Once again, we're looking at a minimum of 1,400 miles between engine rebuilds.

Q: Is there anything cooking at HPD in regards to the IndyCar Series program for the immediate future (like last year with more torque for road courses, 3.5-liter engine to accommodate ethanol)?

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