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Finch working on driver lineup for #51  Phoenix Racing team owner James Finch is close to settling on his lineup for 2013. Finch said Thursday that Regan Smith will run the Daytona 500 in the #51 Chevy. But with Smith concentrating on his new gig with JR Motorsports, there will be an opportunity for AJ Allmendinger as well. "Regan will go to Daytona for us, but I want to help AJ run some races, too," Finch said. "We're still working on the final schedule, but AJ will probably run Phoenix (International Raceway on March 3) for us." Allmendinger made his comeback with Phoenix Racing in October at Charlotte after completing NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program for violating the sport's substance-abuse policy. His top result with the team was 24th in that race. Fox Sports
Lionel NASCAR Collectables Top 10 diecast of 2012  When it comes to die-cast sales in 2012, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is king per a top 10 list released by Lionel NASCAR Collectables, The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR. Earnhardt's #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy was the best-selling 1:24 scale die-cast of the year. In addition to the top spot, Earnhardt also claimed spots two and four. Danica Patrick's #10 GoDaddy.com Chevy die-cast was also a hit in 2012, ending the year at third place on the list. For the second year in a row, a NASCAR Classics die-cast also made the cut. Released in April, Dale Earnhardt's #3 Goodwrench Chevy Monte Carlo, which he wheeled in 1989, took the eighth spot. The Top 10 Die-Cast Cars of 2012 are: More ...
Ambrose Set to Test With Michael Shank Racing  Michael Shank Racing has long attracted some of the biggest names in the sport, and the first event of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season will continue that tradition as NASCAR pilot Marcos Ambrose will join the defending Rolex 24 At Daytona Champions for the Roar Before the 24 on January 4-6.

Ambrose will be assisting the team in place of 2008 Rolex 24 pole winner and frequent triathlete Ozz Negri, who suffered a leg injury in off-season training. Ambrose will share the testing duties in the No. 60 Ford Riley Daytona Prototype with John Pew, who has been confirmed as Negri’s full-season co-driver.

The Richard Petty Motorsports racer has two NASCAR Sprint Cup victories to his credit, winning the Watkins Glen races in 2011 and 2012. The former V8 Supercars superstar has raced at Daytona International Speedway with a Rolex 24 start in the GT Class in 2005, and he has tested a Daytona Prototype on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. More ...

Rally America Partners With USAC  Rally America, Inc. and USAC will partner in 2013 to present the Rally America National Championship, a seven- event series spanning the country between January and October.

The one-year agreement announced today expands USAC’s diverse calendar of motorsports entities which has included various sanctioning partnerships.

Since its inception in 2004 Rally America has been considered the premiere rally sanctioning body in the United States. More ...

'Bernie Ecclestone era coming to an end' says Ferrari boss  
Bernie's days numbered? Not if he has anything to do with it.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo believes a new era of Formula 1 is approaching, with the Italian expecting a change to the way in which the sport is led in the near future. The 65-year-old wants F1 to be controlled in a democratic manner, rather than by one person as is the situation with Bernie Ecclestone.

"We need to start a new phase: we will see which means of governance Formula 1 will adopt, but we will put forward our ideas very forcefully," di Montezemolo explained. "We will no longer accept this principal of absolute democracy.

"We are approaching a time when we need to think about the future, because all eras must inevitably come to an end, as happened to us when (Jean) Todt, (Ross) Brawn and (Michael) Schumacher left." More ...

Start times announced for Daytona Speedweeks 2013 schedule  The 2012 Daytona 500 played to its own schedule and, after a series of rain delays, was finally run Monday evening.

But on paper, at least, the 2013 Daytona 500 is slotted for a 1 p.m. start on Feb. 24 – the fourth straight year the “Great American Race” has been scheduled for early afternoon on the final Sunday of Speedweeks.

The rest of the schedule, leading up to the 500-mile finale, looks familiar, beginning with the late-January events surrounding the Rolex 24 at Daytona, scheduled for Jan. 26-27, beginning and ending at 3:30 p.m. More ...

Firestone renews with IndyCar through 2018  Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (Bridgestone Americas) and INDYCAR announced today that Bridgestone Americas’ Firestone brand will remain the sole tire supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series through the 2018 race season.

“Firestone performance and safety have been synonymous with IndyCar racing for more than 100 years,” said Al Speyer, executive director, Firestone Racing. “We are excited about the opportunity to continue the ongoing success of this series by extending the Firestone brand’s history in the sport through the 2018 season. We treasure the relationships we have fostered with the league, drivers, owners and various other partners involved with the sport through the years, and look forward to continuing our legacy of high performance for which Firestone tires are known.” More ...

SPEED Live from Daytona Preseason Testing  In just three short weeks, SPEED and SPEED.com will be live from the high banks of Daytona International Speedway when Preseason Thunder kicks off the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season.

SPEED and SPEED.com offer live coverage of the Jan. 10-12 test session in its entirety with SPEED live from all afternoon sessions and SPEED.com streaming all morning sessions. 

Darrell Waltrip, a NASCAR on FOX and SPEED analyst who will cover Daytona testing for SPEED, says he will be watching for parity among the manufacturers with the new Cup Series race car. Waltrip points out that the new car, given its current uncertainties, potentially could tip the scale in favor of one manufacturer over another, at least temporarily. More ...

Q and A with Core Autosport's Jon Bennett  With back-to-back American Le Mans Series championships under its belt, CORE autosport founder Jon Bennett now has his sights set on repeating that performance in 2013.

But the 2011 and 2012 PC class drivers championship runner-up wants to finish the final year of the American Le Mans Series on an even brighter note by claiming his first individual driver's championship.  Bennett finished second in the points in the past two years and will again team up with young star Colin Braun for their 2013 assault.

Bennett and CORE autosport team manager Morgan Brady provides a unique video insight into the Rock Hill, SC-based team.  See video at end of interview. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  
  • F1 to Thailand in 2015
    Thailand set to join 2015 calendar
  • McLaren to launch MP4-28 on January 31
  • Ecclestone should quit over corruption charges - Montezemolo
  • 'Continuity' helped Grosjean keep job - boss
  • Inexperience no problem for Sauber - Hulkenberg
  • Ecclestone says Hamilton chasing Mercedes cash More ...
Luca di Montezemolo: “It’s not a case of replacing Bernie…”  
Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano di Montezemolo
Luca di Montezemolo has defended Ferrari’s actions regarding the Vettel/Vergne Brazilian GP incident – and taken the opportunity to tease Bernie Ecclestone.

After Bernie responded to the yellow flag saga Montezemolo made reference to Ecclestone’s age – and Bernie in turn pointed out that he had once dealt with an 88-year-old Enzo Ferrari. Montezemolo struck back today.

“Every so often, Bernie likes to play the boss and gets involved in matters that don’t concern him – godfathers no longer exist, at least not in Formula 1,” said Montezemolo at a media event. More ...

Ecclestone daughters make 'most spoiled' list  
Tamara and Petra
The holiday season is widely known as the season of giving, but recently, the people over at Business Insider compiled a list of people who are known more for their spending than their giving.

The list, titled "The Most Spoiled Kids in the World," included the offspring of some of the wealthiest people in the world. People like Paris and Nicky Hilton, Suri Cruise (daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) and Emme Anthony (daughter of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony) were all mentioned.

Atop the list though, were the daughters of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, Petra and Tamara.

According to the article, the girls, who have access to Ecclestone's $4.8 billion-dollar trust, have been spending like crazy. Petra, who is 23, even bought an $85 million mansion in L.A. last year.

And apparently, the head F1 honcho isn't happy with his daughters' financial philosophies. More ...

Regional Influences Among Many Qualities Considered By F1 Sponsors  The drivers of F1 teams McLaren and Ferrari "are from the four most-important countries" for sponsor Santander, a fact that is "sheer coincidence," according to Rencken & Haidinger of Motorsport Total. How big is the influence of sponsors in F1? This question is "as current as ever as many teams are financially struggling and depend on drivers," who have money and sponsorship deals for certain regions. An example of such a driver is Pastor Maldonado, who has, in addition to his talent, €30M ($37.8M) from Venezuela's government-owned oil company PDVSA. Fernando Alonso is the highest-paid driver in F1 because Spanish bank Santander "puts a tremendous amount of money in the coffers of Ferrari." More ...
Drivers, Teams Equally Important Factors For F1 Marketers  F1 marketers said both drivers and teams are "important" when considering sponsorships, according to Auto Bild. Santander Sponsorship Manager Pablo de Villota said, "The drivers are very important. They are the heroes of the sport. They are the reason why people buy tickets. However, teams are also important."

Villota added: "Before Fernando Alonso, F1 wasn't a popular sport in Spain. We invested in Fernando, however, we conducted surveys and found out that Ferrari is just as popular as Fernando. Merchandise products only sell if they bear reference to Fernando and Ferrari."

For example, we have discovered that our partnership with Vitaly Petrov had a huge impact on the Russian market. In this light, we would like to have a U.S. or Chinese driver in F1." Auto Bild
Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull Top Forbes' List Of Most Valuable F1 Racing Teams  The 10 most-valuable F1 teams earned a combined $1.7B in 2011, “aided greatly by sponsorships,” according figures compiled by FORBES magazine. Team Ferrari, which occupies the top spot with a value of $1.15B, “spent $165 million more than it won in races” during the ’11 season -- “yet it pulled in an additional $250 million from its eager-to-advertise pals.” McLaren ranked second with a value of $800M, followed by Red Bull ($400M) and Mercedes ($390M)  FORBES


1 Ferrari $1.15B $260M $95M
2 McLaren $800M $215M $92M
3 Red Bull $400M $205M $97M
4 Mercedes $390M $215M $70M
5 Williams $290M $125M $55M
6 Lotus $270M $160M $67M
7 Force India $225M $120M $64M
8 Sauber $155M $90M $57M
9 Toro Rosso $135M $105M $54M
10 Caterham $105M $95M $47M
Audi Targeting Sebring Return in 2013  
Audi Sport is targeting an 11th win at Sebring International Raceway in March with plans to enter its R18 e-tron Quattro hybrid prototype for the 61st running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida.

An electric-powered race car has never graced the grid at Sebring, and it’s appropriate that Audi is the first manufacturer to do so. The German marque pioneered the use of direct fuel injection into its turbocharged engine with its R8 prototype project more than 10 years ago. Audi also became the first manufacturer to win a major auto race using diesel power when its R10 TDI took a maiden victory at Sebring in 2006. More ...

Di Grassi signs full LMP1 deal with Audi  Ex-Formula 1 driver Lucas di Grassi has signed a full-time LMP1 deal with Audi for the 2013 season, having performed well for the team during a sole World Endurance Championship (WEC) outing at his home circuit of Interlagos earlier this year.

The 28-year-old, who finished ahead of then team-mate Timo Glock in his sole F1 season, will join Loic Duval, Marcel Fassler, Marc Gene, Oliver Jarvis, Tom Kristensen, Andre Lotterer, Allan McNish and Benoit Treluyer in Audi's 2013 driver line-up.

Specific driver line-ups and entries are yet to be revealed by Audi, but the squad is due to field two cars in next year's World Endurance Championship. The German marque will again contest the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans with three cars.

TV News
NBC Sports confirms Will Buxton joining 2013 F1 announcing crew  NBC Sports Group announced Wednesday that Will Buxton will serve as reporter for its Formula 1 coverage. Buxton will join his former SPEED colleagues Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), David Hobbs (analyst) and Steve Matchett (analyst), who joined NBC Sports Group in November.

“Our F1 team is now complete,” said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “Will is relentless in the pits and his genuine passion for the sport is evident to viewers. We're very pleased to have him. Combined with Leigh, David and Steve, we are now ready for our first F1 season this March.” More ...

MotoGP implements penalty points system  It has been recognized that there is the need to address the problem of riders who are constantly being warned or penalized for endangering other riders or committing other serious offences like assaulting marshals or other officials. To address this issue a new system of Penalty Points was approved. Race Direction can sanction a rider with a number of Penalty Points between one and ten. This can be instead of or in addition to any other sanction. Points will "tot up" during the season and when certain thresholds are reached the following sanctions will be applied automatically:

- Four Points - Starts next race from rear of grid.

- Seven Points - Starts next race from pit lane.

- Ten Points - Disqualification from the next event.

Once the ten point sanction has been imposed then points reset to Zero. Points are not carried forward to the following season. More ...

Racing News
1966 Dunlop Drivers  UPDATE We had a lot of people reply to this contest.  The correct answers were:

Back Row L to R:  John Surtees, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney, Jo Bonnier
Front Row:  L to R:  Jim Clark, Richie Ginther, Bruce McLaren

Surtees and Gurney are the only two still alive.

The first three to reply with the correct answers were:
1st William Howard
2nd Dan Martin
3rd Mike Jablo

Congratulations to the winners.  Thanks to all who participated.

1966 Dunlop Drivers
The first three people who can correctly identify the Dunlop drivers from 1966 in this photo will get a free three months added to their AR1.com subscription. 

Hint: Only two of them are still alive today and it is perhaps the biggest collection of talent any manufacturer in racing ever had a one time.
Racing News
SPEED Announcer Bob Varsha to Serve as Online Instructor  When the Skip Barber Racing School hosted its 2012 Championship Shootout last week at Road Atlanta, offering the top prize of a funded ride in next year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda worth in excess of $200,000, SPEED television announcer Bob Varsha and PitFit Training’s Jim Leo were among the industry experts on hand to tender advice on how to optimize the candidates’ capabilities.

This week, both Varsha and Leo will continue to give back to the sport that has enriched their livelihoods by contributing to the Road Racing Drivers Club’s ground-breaking www.SAFEisFAST.com initiative. Varsha will serve as the latest Online Instructor, fielding questions especially pertaining to interaction with the media, while Leo will feature in the latest video tutorial, demonstrating how a driver can improve his or her hand-eye coordination in order to gain an advantage on the race track. More ...

Vettel next in line for 'number 1' Ferrari seat - Montezemolo  
Luca di Montezemolo
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo on Thursday admitted reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is next in line for Ferrari's 'number 1' race seat.

"If, tomorrow, Fernando would withdraw for any reason - let's say he moves to Hawaii with his girlfriend - then I would want Vettel," laughed the fabled Maranello based team's president, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

Spaniard Alonso, however, is tied up contractually for years -- and Ferrari is more than happy with him.

"I'm incredibly happy with him," Montezemolo agreed.

"He is more than just a driver." More ...

Video: DC Shoes shows us how they created Gymkhana FIVE  DC Shoes and Ken Block have decided to pull the production curtain back a little to give a rare look at how we created Gymkhana FIVE. Set in picturesque San Francisco, we take you through the day by day filming process and show some of the onset work that went into the most successful Gymkhana video to date.

2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Bloopers  Watch the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series poke fun at themselves and each other.

Porsche Works Driver Marco Holzer Joins Paul Miller Racing for 2013 ALMS Campaign  
Marco Holzer
Paul Miller Racing’s efforts to battle for the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron have been further strengthened with today’s announcement that Porsche works driver Marco Holzer will share the MICHELIN-shod No. 48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Bryce Miller for the full season.

"I've been watching Marco since he and Bryce drove together in the 2009 season, once at Daytona and once at the Spa 24 hours, where they finished second,” said team owner Paul Miller. “He's progressed nicely through the years and did a great job in the No. 44 Flying Lizard Porsche last year in the ALMS.  It will be valuable to have his track knowledge along with Bryce's. I expect he and Bryce will be a strong team, fast and reliable."

Holzer, 24, joins Paul Miller Racing after a 2012 season in which he finished second in the International GT Open championship with five victories and four additional podium results, and also earned a pole position in ALMS competition. More ...

Honda to compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally with just 3 Riders  Honda has announced that it will participate in the motorcycle class in the Dakar Rally to be held in January 2013 in South America, with three riders in its works team “TEAM HRC.” Honda previously announced its participation with five riders in October. However, Felipe Zanol (Brazil) and Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) crashed and were injured while pre-Dakar tests that were carried out in Mojave Desert in the United States in early December. As a result of their injuries, both riders will not be able to attend the 2013 competition. TEAM HRC will compete with three riders, Helder Rodrigues (Portugal), Javier Pizzolito (Argentina) and Johnny Campbell (USA).

“Felipe Zanol and Sam Sunderland have been part of the program since the foundation of TEAM HRC and have participated in all testing and the Morocco Rally. They both gave us valuable advice on how to improve the competition machine. Unfortunately, they will miss the final event but I believe they are still part of the team. As our team ethic is a big part of our strength, we will continue with our goal of winning the Dakar”.
Musical Chairs In The Nationwide Series  On the heels of a major announcement by Kyle Busch Motorsports Tuesday, signing Parker Kligerman to drive their No. 77 entry in the Nationwide Series it turns out there’s a driver he’ll be replacing — the owner himself. Multiple sources tell Frontstretch.com Kyle Busch is prepared to go Nationwide Series racing behind the wheel for 2013, but with Joe Gibbs Racing, leaving his operation a one-car outfit while trying to return to his winning ways in the sport’s second-tier division. 

Busch, with a car number TBD (either 54 or 18) will bring sponsor Monster Energy to the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide outfit. Like full-time entries Brian Vickers (No. 20) and Elliott Sadler (No. 11), Busch will receive support from JGR engines and chassis in-house while pursuing a limited schedule of races (20-24). Sources claim the move was pushed not by the sponsor but by Gibbs, who wanted Busch to race under his roof if pursuing Nationwide Series competition in 2013. More ...
Two-Car Audi Effort For Rolex 24, and probably Sebring  
Audi R8 in Rolex 24
Audi Factory drivers from the WEC and the DTM are playing a role in AUDI AG’s customer sport program. In the 24-hour race at Daytona (Florida) on January 26/27, Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis and Edoardo Mortara will be driving an Audi R8 GRAND-AM of the Alex Job Racing team. The cockpits of two other R8 cars will be occupied by high-caliber racers as well. Marc Basseng, Rene Rast and Frank Stippler will be driving for APR Motorsport, Frank Biela, Christopher Haase and GT1 World Champion Markus Winkelhock for Rum Bum Racing. In addition, each squad will be joined by an American driver. More ...
Huge Television Package For Supercross  The Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will enjoy the largest television package in the sport’s history this coming season.

Nearly 100 hours of Monster Energy Supercross will air domestically across SPEED, CBS and FUEL TV. In addition, more than 150 countries around the globe will broadcast Monster Energy Supercross, including a groundbreaking live programming schedule in Australia, the Middle East, and Africa on ESPN International. More ...

Valencia surprised as Barcelona scraps alternation plans  
Valencia may never return to the F1 calendar
(GMM)  Barcelona's decision to abandon plans to alternate its annual grand prix hosting rights has caught Valencia by surprise.

It was believed Barcelona, the regular host of the annual Spanish grand prix, had agreed with European GP venue Valencia to annually alternate a single spot on the schedule from now on.

Valencia is duly absent from next year's calendar. More ...

Steve Nielsen to leave Caterham in January  Steve Nielsen will leave his post as Sporting Director of Caterham in January, the Leafield-based team confirmed to GPUpdate.net on Wednesday afternoon.

Having joined the outfit at the end of 2011, when it was known as Team Lotus, Nielsen oversaw track operations during his relatively short stay. He has previously worked for the original incarnation of Team Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows, Benetton and Renault. More ...

Bernie says Merry Christmas  
Racing News
Famed racing safety engineer turns eye to football  Dr. Dean Sicking, a highly acclaimed engineer who helped revolutionize safety in auto racing, says the race is on at several universities across the country to design a football helmet that will dramatically reduce brain injuries at every level of the sport.

Sicking says the current design of football helmets can be improved greatly with proper testing, along with state-of-the-art materials and engineering standards.

So who is Dr. Sicking and why should we believe him? Sicking, who works at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, is a nationally recognized engineering professor.

His design and development of the SAFER barrier was a renaissance for auto racing. SAFER stands for Steel And Foam Energy Reduction. The barrier is a collapsible wall used by all major speedways today. More ...

2013 GP3 Series Calendar revealed  GP3 Series organizers have today unveiled the provisional 2013 calendar which will be made of eight rounds in total. Seven rounds have been confirmed for the season which will run alongside the Formula 1 World Championship, with an eighth standalone race weekend mid-June (venue to be announced at a later date). The calendar features an exciting new venue for GP3 with Abu Dhabi hosting the final race of the season.

The Series will kick off its fourth season in Barcelona, Spain on 10-12 May with the brand new GP3/13 car. The eagerly anticipated second-generation machine will make its debut as the Formula 1 season commences its European campaign. The GP3 standalone event (TBA) will follow on 15-16 June before the paddock then travels to Silverstone, Nurburg and Budapest before the annual summer break. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Jules Bianchi
    Bianchi has 'real chance' of Force India seat - manager
  • Alesi retires from motor racing
  • 2013 Pirelli tires could shake up pecking order - Hembery
  • Razia 'surprised' by Marussia's Chilton deal
  • Haug admits Mercedes defeats led to F1 departure
  • Uncertainty over 2013 seat 'unpleasant' - Grosjean
  • Vettel 'not bothered' some think Alonso better
  • Barcelona pulls pin on Valencia alternation plans
  • Hamilton will pressure Mercedes New More ...
A smartphone might not be the safest present for young drivers this Christmas  More than 7 million people are likely to receive a smartphone this Christmas, but new research by Goodyear reveals that the majority of young drivers are likely to put themselves in danger by using their new devices at the wheel.

Novice drivers are naturally more at risk of becoming dangerously distracted, with smartphone use only likely to exacerbate the issue. The Goodyear poll reveals how youngsters continue to phone, text and surf the web even when they are at the wheel: 45% admit to speaking on the phone while driving and 68% have seen their friends phoning while at the wheel. The survey, which probed the behavior of 6400 young drivers, 25 years of age and below, in 16 markets (15 European countries and South Africa), was designed to get inside the brain of the young driver and provides some interesting insights into the online generation on the road. More ...

NASCAR makes personnel changes  In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
  • Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR. More ...
McCall Farms, Peanut Patch to Sponsor Ragan for 4 Races  
David Ragan
South Carolina's McCall Farms will return to the #34 Ford of David Ragan for four races in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaign for the second consecutive season. After first joining Front Row Motorsports in May 2012 at Darlington Raceway, McCall Farms returned to the #34 car for additional races at Bristol, Atlanta and Charlotte. The company's Margaret Holmes Peanut Patch brand will serve as the primary sponsor of the Front Row Motorsports entry at the same four venues in 2013.

The Peanut Patch Ford will make its 2013 debut just miles from McCall Farms' Effingham, S.C., headquarters in the May 11 race in Darlington. Peanut Patch will also adorn the car at Bristol on Aug. 24, Atlanta on Sept. 1 and Charlotte on Oct. 12. Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits
NASCAR driver tests at Mid-Ohio  NASCAR driver Austin Dillon got a taste Monday of the challenges that Nationwide Series competitors will face at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August.

Dillon, part of the Richard Childress Racing team, became the first and maybe the last driver to do a test run before next year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at the 2.4-mile road course in Lexington. NASCAR typically doesn’t allow drivers to make test runs at tracks on the current year’s schedule, said Mid-Ohio spokesman Jesse Ghiorzi, so Dillon just got in under the wire before 2013 begins. More ...

GP2 Series 2013 season calendar unveiled  
Valsecchi in Bahrain last year
The GP2 Series organizers have revealed their 2013 calendar today which will consist of eleven rounds in total, all support events of the official Formula One World Championship. Seven rounds will be held in Europe whilst four overseas events have been added, making it once again an international Series.

The ninth season of the GP2 Series will open in Sepang, Malaysia on March 22-24 before flying off to Bahrain for the second round a month later on April 19-21. As Formula One will make its way back to Europe, so will GP2 starting in Barcelona on May 10-12 and Monte-Carlo two weeks later. The action will then resume in Silverstone on June 28-30. The month of July will host two race weekends, first in Nurburg on the 5th, 6th and 7th, and then in Budapest on the 26th, 27th and 28th. More ...
Kobayashi Gives Up Hope To acquire F1 Cockpit For '13  Former Sauber F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi "has given up hope to get one of the few remaining F1 cockpits," according to BLICK. Kobayashi wrote on his website, "Unfortunately, the time was not long enough, and I couldn't acquire a cockpit for 2013 in a competitive team. It is very sad, and I'm very sorry for my fans and the Japanese companies that have supported me." Kobayashi also told his fans "to stop donating money." The fans of the 26-year-old "have donated almost CHF 9.5M ($10.4M) in the past several weeks to keep him in F1." Blick
F1 Driver Lineup for '13
Starting No. Driver Team
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes
7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
8 Sebastien Grosjean Lotus-Renault
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari
12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari
14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
15 TBD Force India-Mercedes
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari
20 TBD Caterham-Renault
21 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth
track news
AMS Asphalt Lays Foundation For Excitement  
Atlanta Motor Speedway
In less than nine months, NASCAR night racing will make its return to Atlanta Motor Speedway. During this time of year, however, one of the most important parts of race weekend is being ensured – that the racing surface at Atlanta Motor Speedway is in tip-top shape.

Atlanta’s asphalt surface produces some of the most exciting racing in all of NASCAR. Its worn texture grinds up tires quickly and enables drivers to race two and three-wide around the track at more than 190 mph. Drivers are forced to battle not only the track, but their cars as well, making racing at Atlanta a pure test of strength and driving ability. More ...

Kyle Busch Motorsports confirms Parker Kligerman for Nationwide ride  Parker Kligerman, whose NASCAR career looked shaky after team owners Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske released him in the summer, has landed on his feet after all. On Tuesday morning, Kyle Busch Motorsports confirmed that the 22-year-old Connecticut native will drive the team's No. 77 Toyota Camry in the full 33-race Nationwide Series schedule next year.

Kligerman moves to KBM after finishing fifth in the 2012 Camping World Truck Series. In only his second full Truck Series season, he won two poles, had eight top-five finishes, 15 top-10 finishes and won the fall race at Talladega, Ala. Both poles, six of the top-fives, eight of the top-10s and the win came in the final 11 races, after he was released from the No. 29 Dodge for Keselowski/Penske and joined the championship-level Red Horse Racing of owner Tom Deloach.

Milner Reflects on Championship Season  American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n fans have watched Tommy Milner grow up before their eyes. From his debut in 2006 at age 20, driving for the Panoz factory team, to his move to Rahal Letterman Racing and BMW Team RLL followed by his now budding career at Corvette Racing, Milner has gone from "Tom Milner's son" to one of America's brightest sports car talents.

He won the hearts of the Corvette nation with a GTE Pro win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011 and continued to fill the trophy case in 2012 with his first four ALMS race wins and an ALMS championship. What else is Milner hoping to add to his resume? More ...
Epps to Drive for PRL Motorsports in 2013  Michael Epps has signed to drive in the USF2000 Championship for PRL Motorsports for the 2013 season. From Britain, but also with New Zealand citizenship, Epps will join the new team, owned by Patrick Linn with F2000 veteran John Walko serving as the chief engineer on the Mazda-powered entry.

Epps recently finished second in the British Formula Vee Championship in 2011, and raced in the Formula Renault BARC Championship in 2012.

He is the first driver announced for the new PRL squad, which hopes to add further cars before the season starts at Sebring in March. More ...

Some NASCAR rides for 2013 still up in the air  A year ago at this time, dominoes seemed to be tumbling all over the NASCAR world. Kurt Busch's departure from Penske Racing led to AJ Allmendinger's move from Richard Petty Motorsports to Penske, followed by Aric Almirola's move to replace Allmendinger at RPM. It seemed like there was a move or two every day, and the news was endless. This year? Not so much. Aside from a couple lower-series moves there haven't been many post-Homestead driver changes. [But there are some] possible open seats at full-time teams

BK Racing: There's no reason Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil wouldn't return to BK Racing in 2013, but the team hasn't finalized its drivers for the #83 and 93 cars yet.
Tommy Baldwin Racing: It seems likely #36-Dave Blaney will return next season, but it hasn't been announced.
Phil Parsons Racing: Will Michael McDowell return to the #98 car? It hasn't been made official yet if so.
FAS Lane Racing: Ken Schrader will be in the #32 car for select races, and the remaining schedule will be filled by yet-to-be-named drivers.
Joe Falk Motorsports: Stephen Leicht won rookie of the year honors for the #33 car. The team's 2013 lineup has not been announced.
Phoenix Racing: Will Phoenix Racing even come back in 2013? It's not certain team owner James Finch will return, and what driver will be behind the wheel if he does. SBNation
Cargill to Serve as a Primary Sponsor for Trevor Bayne  Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford Mustang will have a familiar look when Trevor Bayne takes the reins of the Championship team in 2013. The organization announced today that Cargill will return as a partial-season primary sponsor for the No. 6 NASCAR Nationwide Series team next year, starting with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Crew chief Mike Kelley will return to lead the team.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Mike and this team and run for the Nationwide Series Championship in 2013,” said Bayne, who in 2010 became the youngest winner of the famed Daytona 500. “And it’s great to have Cargill Beef back on board with the No. 6 next season. I’ve enjoyed learning about their business and meeting a lot of their people through their partnership with Roush Fenway, and I look forward to representing them on the track and hopefully in victory lane. More ...

Rahal team picks up sponsor  Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced today that Norm Reeves Honda Superstore, the number one selling new Honda dealer in the U.S.A., has become an “Official Team Partner” of their IZOD IndyCar Series team that fields Honda-powered Indy cars. 

“Professionalism, determination and teamwork are qualities of the Norm Reeves Honda Superstore team,” said Dave Conant, CEO of The CAR Group. “We find these same qualities in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing organization and we are very proud to partner with and to support such a great team.” More ...

Road To Indy
Brabham to drive for Andretti  Andretti Autosport announced today that they have signed Matthew Brabham, a third-generation racer and native of Boca Raton, Fla., to pilot the No. 27 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires entry for the 2013 season. This will mark Brabham's first year in the series, after winning the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda last season and being named the VP Rookie of the Year.

"I am so excited to be driving for the Andretti Autosport team in the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship," said Brabham. "It was fantastic to drive for the team at the Indy test, and get a feel for how they operate. They are really professional and seem like a great bunch of guys to work with.  The Pro Mazda had more power than the USF2000 car, so it was lots of fun to drive and gave me a good understanding of what to expect next season." More ...

Varsha reduced to grand-Am coverage  It's a sad day in motorsports in the USA when you learn that American's best motorsports announcer, Bob Varsha, has been reduced to doing the grand-Am series that no one follows or watches.  He takes the reins this coming season as host of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race coverage on SPEED, beginning with the network’s live coverage of the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. ET.

“We are fortunate (that is an understatement) to have Bob leading our Grand-Am broadcast team this year,” said Frank Wilson, SPEED VP of Production and executive producer. “His predecessor, Leigh Diffey, is a tremendous talent and did great things for our coverage, and now with Bob, we are in a position to elevate the Rolex Sports Car series even further. I have worked with Bob for 13 years now and he is among the very best at what he does. He truly is one of the elite voices in all of motorsport, not just at SPEED, but anywhere in the world.” More ...

GM idles Chevy Malibu plant  General Motors has idled the primary U.S. assembly plant that makes the Chevrolet Malibu for nearly three weeks amid swollen inventories of the mid-sized sedan.

GM's Fairfax, Kansas, plant was closed last week and will remain idled this week to allow Malibu demand to catch up with inventory levels, union sources said.

GM also canceled shifts Jan. 2-4, when the plant's 3,500 workers were supposed to return from their holiday break. Production now is set to resume Jan. 7, after a combined 20 days of down time, including a seven-day holiday break. More ...

IndyCar, 'I just don't get it'  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I saw on AR1 the picture of legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson standing next to a Chevy Volt.  As the article stated, Chevy is becoming the official kit sponsor of the great English football club in 2014. 

And guys like Roger Penske say their sponsors have no interest in overseas races?  Well, Chevy is certainly a partner of Penske and IndyCar and they seem to have an interest in Man U, a global brand, which boasts an estimated 659 million fans worldwide.  Sorry, I don't get it.  Can some please explain? Mordichai Rosen

Dear Mordichai, IndyCar and many of its team owners can't see the forest through the trees.  IndyCar will always be a mere blemish on F1's posterior because of the myopic views of its leadership.  They have no clue how to run a global business, but they certainly know how to run a domestic one into the ground.  Mark C.

Lexus stops building the LFA  UPDATE
The final LFA comes off the line
On December 14, a white LFA Nürburgring Package left LFA works, the dedicated production facility at the Motomachi Plant, Aichi Prefecture. This marks the end of production for Lexus very first supercar.

As the final vehicle left the production line, LFA chief engineer, Haruhiko Tanahashi said, ‘I’ve lived and breathed supercars for the past decade. Specifically one supercar, LFA. Very few people have the opportunity we had to create a world-class supercar from a blank sheet of paper.’ More ...
Marussia F1 confirms Chilton  
Max Chilton
The Marussia F1 Team is pleased to announce that Max Chilton will make his Formula 1 racing debut with the team in 2013.

The 21 year old Briton is the team’s incumbent Reserve Driver, a role he was appointed to with effect from the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix, following an impressive showing with the Marussia Carlin GP2 team, part of the Marussia F1 Team Young Driver Program. His 2013 race seat will see him embarking on his first season of Formula 1 racing and the fulfillment of a personal career dream spanning eight years of karting and junior formulae experience. He will also be one of four British drivers on the grid next season. More ...

Pagenaud looking forward to Rolex 24  
Simon Pagenaud
Last week’s IZOD IndyCar Series prize-giving ceremony saw Simon Pagenaud pick up his reward for completing the 2012 campaign as Best Rookie of the Year. In the course of the season, the Frenchman finished four times on the podium and twice came very close to winning outright. It was consequently an extremely positive year for Simon who was finally fifth in the overall standings, ahead of several established Indy names. He was also the best-placed European driver, an accomplishment which didn’t escape readers of the British weekly Autosport who, in a vote, ranked Simon as the third-best French driver of the year, behind nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb and two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Benoit Treluyer, but ahead of Romain Grosjean, Yvan Muller and Jean-Eric Vergne.  More ...
Grosjean ready to build on ROC triumph  
Grosjean and Kristensen finished 1-2
Newly-crowned ROC Champion of Champions Romain Grosjean aims to build on his stunning victory at the Race Of Champions when he returns to Formula 1 in 2013.

Grosjean overcame Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in Sunday’s Grand Final after beating multiple F1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in the semi-finals and quarter-finals. More ...

Christmas comes early for Sir Alex Ferguson  
Sir Alex Ferguson
While Sir Alex Ferguson makes himself heard in press conferences, on the pitch and in the dressing room, he'll probably drive past you this Christmas and you won't even notice.

Sir Alex took possession of an extended range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, as part of the club's partnership agreement with the global car manufacturer. The Volt can travel up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) gas and emission free – and virtually silent – before the on-board generator kicks in to add a further 300 miles (500 km) of extended range. More ...

Hunter-Reay impressive in first Race of Champions  
Hunter-Reay in Bangkok
Ryan Hunter-Reay's postcard from the Race of Champions in Bangkok, Thailand: "Learned lots. Had a great time."

The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion participated over the weekend in the 25th event that brings together stars from multiple motorsports disciplines around the globe to compete in individual and team races in identical cars on an asphalt circuit with two parallel tracks and a crossover bridge inside Rajamangala Stadium.

Drivers were split into four groups of four, battling for the right to line up in the knockout stages, in the Race of Champions event. Hunter-Reay won a heat race over Kazuya Ohshima, Japan's qualifier from ROC Asia, but fell short in races against Formula One drivers Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher. More ...

Connecticut teen wins USF2000 scholarship  Peter Portante will have the opportunity of his young racing career after winning the 2012 Skip Barber Championship Shootout at Road Atlanta.

After three days of competition and evaluation, the teenager from Plainfield, Conn., came out on top of the point standings to earn a USF2000 National Championship ride in 2013 (courtesy of MAZDASPEED), $20,000 cash from California Scents, and a Firestone Indy Lights test with Bryan Herta Autosport.

The competition was anything but easy, however, as the top four drivers were separated by 3.3 points following five race events, a fitness test, a media evaluation, and a business proposal review.

Colorado teen Jake Eidson earned second place and $25,000 Skip Barber Race Series Scholarship, while Brazil's Danilo Estrela finished third and received a $20,000 Skip Barber Race Series Scholarship.

Andretti: F1 should be more like IndyCar to win US fans  
Given the massive crowd that attended the F1 race in Austin, it looks like copying anything IndyCar does is not necessary
If Formula One wants racing fans to get really excited about the return of the U.S. Grand Prix this weekend, Mario Andretti has a suggestion: Let him drive.

After having his drive in a 2010 Lotus F1 car cancelled a couple of weeks ago during an event at the Circuit of the Americas, the 1978 world champion is ready to help boost interest in the race — and get what he wants at the same time.

"I would really like to drive that baby — maybe I could do the Friday practice. I should give them a call," he laughed. More ...

IndyCar - What's next?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Excellent article by Stephen Cox.  This is a great idea because in this era of tight money, this will bring people out of the woodwork and make IndyCar very popular with the teams and with people that are not made of money. This is just the injection of popularity that IndyCar needs.

Unfortunately, Mr. Belskus and the other people in Indianapolis will not hear this unless Mr. Cox can get in to talk to them or get them to read this article. Harvey from Arizona.

Dear Harvey, While it would be exciting, the existing team owners have a lot of money invested in the new car.  They are not going to stand for an old Champ Car blowing their doors off.  Mark C.

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Romain Grosjean
    'Problem child' Grosjean keeps Lotus seat
  • FIA 'nervous' about F1's return to Bahrain - report
  • Webber coped better with early-season RB8 - Vettel
  • Lauda re-thinking Mercedes' Christmas holiday plans
  • Kobayashi aims for F1 return in 2014
  • Schumacher flags possibility of 'small belly'
  • Caterham 'close' to completing 2013 lineup
  • Sacked F1 doctor admits fury at FIA
  • Horner - I would have ousted Massa
  • Boullier: We have two exceptional drivers
  • Haug takes blame for Mercedes failure New More ...
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