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Webber - Mercedes would have had me Webber - Mercedes would have had meMark Webber says he could have been behind the wheel of a McLaren if Mercedes had any real say in which drivers the team signed. Webber has driven for Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and now Red Bull. He raced in sports cars with Mercedes. Racing with Mercedes was fantastic, it made me more professional," Webber told Italian racing magazine Autosprint. "Why this relationship didn't develop in F1? Simple: Ron Dennis is the boss at McLaren."

"These days Mercedes probably has more say in the management of the F1 program, but it wasn't this way until recently," he added. "Mercedes had a lot of respect for my work and believed in my potential."

Schumi to visit India in 2007 Schumi to visit India in 2007Schumacher fans can look forward to seeing the seven-time world champion in their midst next year.  According to Western India Automobile Association, Schumacher would be paying a visit to India to deliver a talk on road safety some time next year

"Schumacher, who has devoted himself to road safety post-retirement, accepted my invitation in Shanghai two months ago and said he would visit the city in mid-2007," Nitin Dossa, executive chairman of the Western India Automobile Association said.

Schumacher will come to Mumbai during the United Nations Road Safety Week which is held in May or June each year.  "We can get an exact date of his arrival once the dates for this (UN) week are announced," Dossa said.

Track News
Road Atlanta track improvements underway Road Atlanta track improvements underwayRoad Atlanta is currently undergoing extensive upgrades in time for the 2007 season. The 2.54-mile, 12-turn facility located in Braselton, Georgia is receiving a fresh repavement and other capital improvements.

In addition to the repaving, walls on both sides of the lower part of the Esses will be moved back to provide competitors more runoff room. It will also give fans better viewing from the “Spectator Hill” from turns 4 to 5.

Also, all of the concrete patches have been removed and replaced with fresh asphalt, which will give better adhesion around the track.

Originally built in 1970, Road Atlanta came under the ownership of Dr. Don Panoz in 1996. The circuit was last repaved in 1992.

Flying Lizard take delivery of new Porsche 997s Flying Lizard take delivery of new Porsche 997sFlying Lizard Motorsports took delivery of its two brand-new Porsche 997 RSRs on Thursday.  The Sonoma, California-based squad is the first American Le Mans Series competitor to get the latest-generation German GT2 contender.  Tafel Racing and Rahal Letterman Racing are expected to receive their chassis shortly.
All three teams are expected to have their cars present at the third annual ALMS Winter Test at Sebring on January 22-24. 

"Until we get to Sebring for the tests it will be hard to tell," said Flying Lizard's Darren Law. "Everything on paper looks better. It is really hard to say until we get the cars and take them apart.

"It is totally different bodywise and changes with suspension," he added. "Sebring will be the first chance to have with the new car. It ran well in Europe and the testing and development have gone well. I cannot see why it will not be better than the 996s."

Industry News
DCX to sell Chinese cars in USA DCX to sell Chinese cars in USAIn a bold move likely to set a historic precedent, DaimlerChrysler AG on Friday became the first major automaker to confirm plans to sell Chinese-built cars in the United States after striking a deal with China's Chery Automobile Co.

Under the preliminary agreement, Chery is expected to produce small Dodge cars for DCX's Chrysler Group that will go on sale in North America in 2008.

"They have the capability and, with our engineering and design help, we feel we can form quite a partnership," Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda told The Detroit News in an interview Friday.

"These guys have great expertise," LaSorda said of Chery. "They're already exporting around the world."  More at Detroit News

Draco Team announces their first driver Draco Team announces their first driverAdriano Morini, World Series by Renault team owner, has decided on his new driver for 2007 after many test session: Le Castellet (Fr), Vallelunga (It) and Valencia (SP), and after the evaluation of different aspects: both the technical and the strategic ones.

On the 29th of December, at 12:00 noon Press Conference in Valencia, Team owner Adriano Morini and the team manager Nadia Morini will present Alvaro Barba to the Spanish press.

Adriano Morini Team Owner: “We analyzed 12 drivers. At the end I chose Alvaro for his technical performances. It’s the first time we have a Spanish driver and I hope he will became the new Fernando Alonso, the World Champion in F1.
"After the last test in Valencia I have no more doubts about Barba. I continue analyzing the other 11 drivers to choose my second one, but I think the decision will be made official soon.”

Senna top fastest F1 driver Senna top fastest F1 driverAyrton Senna has been named the fastest Formula one driver of all-time by the publication F1 Racing. (Right, Senna leads McLaren teammate Gerhard Berger in 1990 at Monza)

The late Brazilian champion finished ahead of recently retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher in a survey of experts which included FIA president Max Mosley, Ferrari boss Jean Todt, former champion Keke Rosberg and former owner Eddie Jordan.

The panel was asked to compare the driving statistics of each driver in relation to their teammates.

Among the current crop of drivers, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was judged to be the eighth fastest overall, outpacing his teammate 67 percent of the time. Kimi Raikkonen placed 13th on the list, Jarno Trulli ranked 42nd just ahead of Mark Webber while Jenson Button was 49th out of 50 drivers listed.

Other drivers of note on the list include Juan Manuel Fangio, who finished 6th, ahead of two-time champion Mika Hakkinen. Canadian Gilles Villeneuve was ranked 11th; Alain Prost finished 14th while Niki Lauda was 18th.

Track News
Indy's Tom Carnegie breaks shoulder Indy's Tom Carnegie breaks shoulderTom Carnegie broke his shoulder recently. Carnegie, who is known as the voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, retired in May after calling 61 Indy 500 races. Friends say the 87-year-old Motorsports Hall of Fame of America member is on the mend but frustrated because he hasn't been able to drive and get out much since his accident. Indy Star
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

2006 Barrett-Jackson Auction Marathon
1:00pm-1:00am  SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Schlesser forced to single entry in Dakar Schlesser forced to single entry in DakarJean-Louis Schlesser has been forced to only compete with one of his buggies in the Lisbon Dakar 2007.  Stalwarts of the cross-country rally, three Schlesser buggies were entered in 2006.  However, this year, a deal with a possible sponsor fell through only a few days before the deadline, forcing the French team to concentrate on a solo entry for the team owner/driver and co-pilot Arnaud Debron. Above all I am disappointed for Josep-Maria Servia, who will not be present this year,” Schlesser said. “For the rest, it does not change many things in the organization of the team. I am leaving with the same number of mechanics and the same equipment.”
British venue appeals F1 test ban British venue appeals F1 test ban(GMM)  Elvington Airfield has appealed against a recent court decision that would limit F1 action at the test venue to just ten days per year.

British villagers surrounding the facility near York last month won a ruling to restrict the running of noisy cars for so-called 'straight line' tests.

Elvington staged sixteen days of aerodynamic testing in 2006 for British based F1 teams, who use the airfield's long runways.

At the original court hearing, McLaren's test team supposedly threatened to quit Britain if it was banned from using Elvington.

The venue's owner, Elvington Park Ltd, has now appealed against the judge's decision to York Crown Court, according to York's local newspaper The Press.

The appeal could be heard within weeks but a date has not been set.

Provisional '07 DTM schedule Provisional '07 DTM scheduleThe provisional schedule of the 2007 DTM schedule features 11 events in Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain and France. While the series utilizes well-known tracks for their German rounds, some rounds abroad have changed.

2007 DTM Provisional Schedule:

April 22 Hockenheim
May 6 Oschersleben
May 20 Eurospeedway Lausitz
June 10 Brands Hatch
June 24 Norisring
July 15 Mugello
July 29 Zandvoort
September 2 Nurburgring
September 23 Barcelona
October 14 Magny-Cours
October 28 Hockenheim

Volunteers lining up for racing’s return to Detroit Volunteers lining up for racing’s return to DetroitRoad racing is coming back to Detroit in 2007 and apparently so is the community support for the inaugural Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. For Round 10 of the American Le Mans Series, event organizers have received more than 400 online pledges to volunteer for the September race.

Event organizers rekindled an old tradition recently with a volunteer party in Detroit, the same kind that took place in advance of the Detroit Grand Prix a decade ago. With the American Le Mans Series partnering with the IRL for a three-day race weekend, community interest has been running rampant. Series drivers and teams will compete on Saturday, September 1 on the 2-mile circuit at Belle Isle.

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will have 100 volunteers at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. The Series also will have representation on hand as well. Later this year event volunteers will join with the Friends of Belle Isle for the annual Belle Isle Spring Clean-up.

The event's website (www.detroitgp.com) is expected to be up and running shortly after the new year. It will include event and volunteer information as will americanlemans.com.

Sirius NASCAR Radio debuts January 1st Sirius NASCAR Radio debuts January 1stSIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, the new 24/7 year-round radio channel dedicated to NASCAR, will launch January 1, featuring specialized programming that will be heard exclusively on SIRIUS. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will provide the most comprehensive, in-depth radio coverage of NASCAR, with live coverage of NASCAR races and a lineup of exclusive talk shows hosted by two-time Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart, Charlotte Observer beat reporter and columnist David Poole, broadcasters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and John Kernan, and other current and former drivers. On New Year's Day, SIRIUS becomes the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, making SIRIUS the exclusive satellite radio home of every Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series race, carrying the live broadcasts of Motor Racing Network (MRN), Performance Racing Network (PRN) and the IMS Radio Network's broadcast from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition to the live race broadcast, SIRIUS will take fans into the cars and pits by devoting up to 10 additional channels that will carry driver-to-crew communications during Nextel Cup Series races. SIRIUS will combine the race broadcast with the driver-to-crew chatter on these channels, allowing fans to hear the overall race call and the in-car audio of a driver on a single channel throughout the race. SIRIUS PR
F1 steering wheel explained F1 steering wheel explainedThe driver has the ability to fine tune many elements of the race car from within the machine using the steering wheel. The wheel can be used to alter traction control settings, change gears, apply rev limiter, adjust fuel air mix, change brake pressure and call the radio. Data such as rpm, lap times, speed and gear is displayed on an LCD screen. The wheel alone can cost about $40,000, and with carbon fiber construction, weighs in at 1.3 kilograms.

  1. Drink pump
  2. Dashboard menu: Increment
  3. Prepare/arm the launch control system. Also oil pump button when running
  4. Neutral gear request
  5. Tire selection (dry, inter, wet)
  6. Radio
  7. Alarm acknowledge
  8. Active diff control
  9. Active diff control
  10. Active diff control
  11. Traction control
  12. Traction control
  13. Cut engine to turn it off
  14. Fuel mixtures. To save fuel or give more power.
  15. Pit lane speed limiter
  16. Active launch control system
  17. Dashboard menu: decrement
  18. Display brake balance on dashboard
NASCAR sponsorship worth $0 NASCAR sponsorship worth $0It’s no secret that NASCAR drivers skew Republican, which is fine with the Federal Election Commission, just so long as they don’t display their preferences where anyone can see them.

In a decision announced Tuesday, the FEC sent an “admonishment letter” to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine, a former pit boss for the late Dale Earnhardt, has been an unsuccessful, underfunded and undersponsored driver. He has never finished higher than 26th.

So back in 2004, in a move perhaps designed to draw some attention to his car, he placed a “Bush-Cheney ’04” decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine “may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure.”

Former commissioner Bradley Smith dissented in one of the case’s early votes and wrote about the result this week in his blog. In reference to the FEC’s $250 expenditure limit, “evidence is strong that the market value of Shelmerdine’s rear quarter panel was approximately $0, give or take $249.”

Model Niki Taylor Marries NASCAR Driver Model Niki Taylor Marries NASCAR DriverModel Niki Taylor and NASCAR driver Burney Lamar have tied the knot. The couple married Wednesday before 60 guests at the Grande Colonial Hotel in the La Jolla area of San Diego, Taylor's manager, Lou Taylor, told Us Weekly magazine in a story posted on its Web site Thursday night.

Taylor, 31, and Lamar, 26, met at a charity event in January 2006, according to her Web site.

''I looked at Burney and said to myself, 'This is the guy I'm going to marry,''' Taylor told the magazine.

It was the first marriage for Lamar and the second for Taylor, who has 11-year-old twin boys from her previous marriage to former football player Matt Martinez. AP Story

Why Schu's manager wears a $130,000 watch Why Schu's manager wears a $130,000 watch(GMM)  Because Michael Schumacher failed to win an eighth and final world championship in 2006, the German's manager now wears a $130,000 watch.

The tabloid Bild-Zeitung reports that Willi Weber, the retired Ferrari driver's long time manager, commissioned work on a luxury Tourbillon watch to mark Schumacher's title defeat of Fernando Alonso.

The only spanner in the works is that Schumacher, 37, didn't win.

"So now I have a nice watch," Weber laughed.

Big brother snubbed Ralf's party Big brother snubbed Ralf's party(GMM)  A famous couple failed to attend the birthday party of Ralf Schumacher's wife Cora.

According to the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung, seven time world champion Michael Schumacher - Ralf's brother - and his wife Corinna did not show up at the nightclub in Salzburg.

60 guests were in attendance at the party that went until nearly 6am, Bild also reported.

A friend of Ralf and Cora - who turned 30 on Wednesday - said: "I have never seen them looking so happy."

Cora Schumacher, a prominent socialite in Germany, commented: "I feel younger than ever.  I am so lucky -- I have a marvellous man and a marvellous child.  What more could I wish for?"

Win didn't change me - Button Win didn't change me - Button(GMM)  Jenson Button says winning his first grand prix in Hungary this year did not change him as a driver.

After more than 100 grand prix starts and intense pressure from the British press, the 27-year-old Honda racer finally broke through in the damp Budapest race.

But Button disagrees with his father, John, who thinks the Englishman became a "more aggressive and better" driver in 2006; an opinion backed by his run of points-scoring finishes in the latter half of the season.

Jenson told ITV: "We have different views on that one.

"I think winning my first grand prix, it changes you in the way that you've won your first grand prix, but it doesn't change your mentality or your way of thinking when you go into your next race at all."

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

The World's Fastest Motorcycle GREAT SHOW!! Bonneville
3:00am-4:00am (R) -Part 1
4:00am-5:00am (R) -Part 2 SPEED
1:00pm-1:30pm * Check local listings for your time zone ABC
Movie: The Great Race (1965)
11:30pm-3:00am SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
tv news
NCTS Banquet Special on SPEED NCTS Banquet Special on SPEEDUPDATE Reminder:  The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Banquet special will air Friday, December 29, at 9:00 pm-10:30 pm ET on SPEED.

12/27/06 SPEED will air a 90-minute special highlighting the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series banquet on Friday at 9 p.m. ET. SPEED, which began broadcasting NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races live and exclusively in 2003, will continue as the home to the series for at least the next eight seasons. SPEED, now in nearly 70 million U.S. households, has added more than 10 million homes since adding the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in ’03.
Bobcat's owner blocks Sabates from donating stock in team Bobcat's owner blocks Sabates from donating stock in teamThe minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats wants to donate his share of the basketball team to a charity, but is being blocked by team managing partner Bob Johnson. Felix Sabates wants to give his Bobcats stock, which he values at about $1.34 million, to the foundation that supports Carolinas HealthCare System. The Cuban-born Sabates, also a prominent NASCAR team owner, is a member of the system's board. "I was surprised Bob wouldn't approve this, considering it's a donation," Sabates told the newspaper in an interview Friday. Sabates received a letter from Johnson's attorney, Van Sinclair, on Nov. 29 denying his request to transfer the shares, saying the NBA does not allow not-for-profit or charitable entities to own an interest in its franchises. A subsequent letter from Sabates to the health care system quoted Johnson as saying the NBA had nothing to do with the decision, which was made because Johnson "does not wish to have any charitable organization in partnership with the Charlotte Bobcats."

"I am really surprised at his decision. I thought this would be a great opportunity for the Bobcats to become a real part of this community," Sabates wrote. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Friday that nothing in the NBA's constitution specifically bars a not-for-profit or charitable organization from owning stock in a team. But, he noted, the league's Board of Governors must approve any ownership change. Sabates' share of the Bobcats is less than 1 percent of the original $300 million franchise fee. Associated Press

Gordon's Racing School gets first COT Gordon's Racing School gets first COTThe first new Chevrolet Impala SS Car Of Tomorrow, built in-house over the past 30 days and authentic to current NASCAR specifications, will join the fleet of Jeff Gordon Racing School cars. The car of tomorrow features JGRS's new graphic design palate which was designed by NASCAR Artist Sam Bass. A #24 DuPont Impala SS COT-design built by JGRS will be part of DuPont's display in Daytona USA at Daytona International Speedway throughout the 2007 season. The car will separate into three sections to show fans first the details of wheels, hubs and brakes, then the engine/transmission area and finally the car's inner skeleton as the body raises from the chassis. The additions of race-ready Cars of Tomorrow to the JGRS fleet is part of a successful growth phase for the Jeff Gordon Racing School and Mario Andretti Racing School, which will combine for more than 350 dates in 2007 while adding authentic Nextel Cup team cars direct from on-track competition in 2005 and 2006 as well as new Toyota Camry's as they become available. JGRS PR
Monster Energy joins forces with Robby Gordon Monster Energy joins forces with Robby GordonMonster Energy and Robby Gordon Off-Road have entered into an agreement that will team Monster Energy with Gordon’s world-wide off-road racing efforts including the famed Dakar Rally and the team’s SCORE International Trophy Truck program. The Dakar Rally, arguably the world’s most demanding and grueling motorsports event, will start Jan. 6 in Lisbon, Portugal and end Jan. 21 in Dakar, Senegal. The Versus channel will provide more than 29 hours of Dakar Rally coverage throughout the month of January. In addition to off-road racing, when Gordon begins his third season as a Nextel Cup Series owner/driver in the Feb. 18 Daytona 500, his highly visible racing helmet will feature a unique green and black paint scheme with Monster Energy branding. The #7 Nextel Cup Series pit crew also will wear Monster Energy branded helmets, and Monster Energy will be prominently featured as an associate sponsor on the NASCAR team’s equipment and vehicles including its track-side merchandise trailer. More info at www.monsterenergy.com
track news
Top-10 highlights at MIS in 2006 Top-10 highlights at MIS in 2006As 2006 comes to a close, Michigan International Speedway has compiled a “Top 10 Moments of 2006” list. Many race moments and community achievements are listed in what was truly an exciting year of racing for the 2-mile oval.
  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. bumped Carl Edwards out of the way during the final laps of the NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250 on August 19. Earnhardt went on to win the race, causing Edwards to later purposely run into Jr’s car and confronting the popular driver in Gatorade Victory Lane.
  2. Matt Kenseth held off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon on the final lap to win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400 on August 20. Kenseth became the 16th different driver to win multiple Cup races at MIS. He also won a Cup race at MIS in June of 2002.
  3. Local Michigan native Johnny Benson won his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 60 starts by taking the checkered flag for the Con-way Freight 200 on June 17. Benson, from Grand Rapids, held off Mark Martin on the final green-white checkered restart giving MIS its sixth different winner in seven career truck events since 1999.  zzzz
  4. Polesitter Helio Castroneves climbed his first MIS fence after recording his first career victory at the 2-mile oval in the Firestone Indy 400 on July 30. Castroneves passed the dominate Vitor Meira late in the race and held on, making him the speedway’s 13th different race winner in as many events.
  5. Kasey Kahne won his first career race at MIS in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper on June 18. Kahne won the race off of pit road against Carl Edwards and was awarded the victory after the red-flag came out on lap 129 for rain. Kahne’s car was being cheered on by Adam Sandler, the race’s grand marshal, whose movie “Click” was sponsoring Kahne’s car in the race.
  6. Danica Patrick can’t seem to get a break at MIS. The rising star of the IRL IndyCar Series has had two of the worst finishes of her career at the 2-mile oval, including a 17th place finish in the 2006 event. Last July, she suffered a mechanical failure with two laps remaining, which caused a foot-stomping tirade down pit road.
  7. MIS is known for its competitive races, however, in last June’s ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200, NEXTEL Cup regular David Stremme had other ideas. Stremme, piloting the #61 Hantz Group Dodge managed to lap the entire field and led a race-record 99 of 100 laps en route to his first career victory at MIS. Billy Wease, who finished second, was the only other driver to lead a lap in the race.
  8. After going a lap down midway through the race, Brent Sherman managed to pull off a victory in the August ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 at MIS. After race-leader Burney Lamar suffered a mechanical problem with two laps remaining, new race leader T.J. Bell suffered an accident with Frank Kimmel, thus handing the lead over to Sherman, who got back on the lead lap 20 laps before.
  9. Reed Sorenson became just the second NEXTEL Cup rookie in the past 10 years to record top-10 finishes in both Cup races at MIS in the same season. He finished fifth in June and eighth in August. Kasey Kahne also accomplished the feat in 2004 (2nd in June, 5th in August).
  10. MIS hosted it Spirit of America 500 blood drive on September 11, collecting a record 789 units of blood in one 12-hour period for the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross. The blood drive has grown every year since 2002 making it one of the nation’s largest single-day blood drives on 9/11.  

Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning on Saturday, January 13, 2007. For additional information, call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 1-800-354-1010 or visit www.MISpeedway.com.

Terrific new addition at Jensen Terrific new addition at JensenJensen MotorSport is pleased to announce that Sebastien Jubelin is joining the team in the new year.

Sebastien (28) adds another terrific resume to our already strong staff of engineers and mechanics.

In 2006, Sebastien has been the Chief Mechanic on numerous successful race programs, including the 2nd place championship finish of Kevin Lacroix in the 2006 Star Mazda championship. In 2005, Sebastien was the lead mechanic for Graham Rahal's Star Mazda program, and also won the 2005 SCCA Atlantic national championship with Rahal as his driver. In 2004, Sebastien won the "Mechanic of the Year" award in the Zetec Formula 2000 championship.
Sebastien hails from Brossard Quebec, which is a suburb of Montreal. Ironically, Sebastien attended the same high school as Chief Engineer Adam Marchitto.

Team owner Eric Jensen states, "There is such a wealth of terrific racing talent in Montreal, and it's a real privilege that these guys are all joining our Jensen MotorSport team. We opened a new 5,000 square foot race shop in downtown Montreal, specifically so these talented guys would have all the tools they need, and to be able to live where they want in Montreal." For more details, please contact us via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com

TV News
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Live with Regis and Kelly Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Live with Regis and KellyDale Earnhardt, Jr. will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Friday, December 29.  The show airs at 9:00 am-10:00 am in most time zones. The network varies. Please check your local listings for network and time.
World of Outlaws season review World of Outlaws season review
Upcoming Champ Car test dates Upcoming Champ Car test datesSince they are published incorrectly elsewhere, here are the dates of the three upcoming open Champ Car test dates prior to the start of the 2007 season.  These will be the only tests teams can do before Las Vegas.  They are also allowed some in-season testing, that is mileage based now.

Sebring - (Jan 23 - 25)
Houston - (Feb 12-13)
Laguna Seca - (Mar 9-10) (Will also serve as a "media" event similar to "Spring Training" in the past.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Honda to revamp axed Suzuka circuit
Liuzzi uncertain about 2007 seat
Mass doubts Ralf's ability to win title
BMW 'on schedule' with 2007 car
Alonso is F1's fastest driver - enquiry
Tung on hunt for Spyker test cash
World Cup beat Schu finale in Germany
Briton changes name to Alonso - newspaper
Scott Atherton’s thoughts on ALMS Scott Atherton’s thoughts on ALMSIt doesn't seem like it but the start of the 2007 American Le Mans Series is right around the corner with the third annual Winter Test at Sebring on January 22-24. For Series President and CEO Scott Atherton, the off-season hasn't left much time to review some of the remarkable accomplishments from 2006: record attendance at events, all-time marks in television and Internet viewership and unmatched manufacturer involvement.

Here are Atherton's thoughts as he looks back and looks ahead to a 2007 season that features 12 events, the introduction of the Acura factory program and stops in three key new markets:

The 'Off-season'

"It has been several years since there has been what could honestly be considered a legitimate off-season! I cannot remember a time when we have been busier at this time of the year. Not only does it involve the traditional trade shows such as SEMA and PRI as well as various banquets that are typically part of the schedule, we are also deeply involved in a series of extremely important event promoter, manufacturer and corporate partner/sponsor meetings."

SEMA and the Buzz of the American Le Mans Series

"It was fun and quite encouraging to walk the halls of SEMA in Las Vegas recently. Virtually everyone we encountered had the same feedback or comments: 'Wow! You guys really have it going on!' The combination of new events and markets such as Long Beach, St. Petersburg and Belle Isle in Detroit with the Penske organization, and new teams like Andretti Green Racing, Lowe's Fernandez Racing, Rahal Letterman and Tafel Racing -- not to mention those top level manufacturers and teams returning who have been a part of the Series since its inception -- are setting the American Le Mans Series up for an incredibly competitive and interesting 2007 season. zzzz

"There was also lots of business to get done. Several weeks after SEMA, the same Andretti-Green XM Satellite Radio racecar was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the Series had quite a presence with our cars and manufacturers. Now, the granddaddy of them all is coming up with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that begins in early January. Again, the American Le Mans Series will be very well represented by the manufacturers who make the decision to put their American Le Mans Series cars on display front and center. It is a great point of pride for us as not many other racecars are incorporated into such high level displays."

Detroit and the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

"Recognized the world over as 'The Motor City' and often referenced as the 'Automotive Capital of the World,' Detroit's North American International Auto Show is recognized among the top three on a global scale in terms of significance and relevance. When you look at all the manufacturers who are involved in the American Le Mans Series, they all will have their president, CEO and board members in attendance. The fact that big-time auto racing is coming back to Detroit with the American Le Mans Series and the IRL is the talk of the town. The fact that racing is back in Detroit is a big story by itself, however when you insert a business leader the caliber of Roger Penske into the equation -- especially with what he achieved with the Super Bowl last year -- it all makes Detroit as a city the big winner. And I would put the American Le Mans Series a close second! To have a foothold and beachhead in Detroit -- The Motor City -- is thrilling to our Series and sport. It could not be a better fit."

Are There Additional 2007 Entry Prospects?

"There is a reason this is called the 'Silly Season' and I believe it is more true this year than ever before. The short answer to the question above is 'yes.'

"There are quite a few teams that have expressed genuine interest along with the capability and the means to compete with us. As is always the case, it is never our news to announce, but I can assure you that there are potential entrants and entries in virtually every class of the American Le Mans Series competition that have interest and appear to be putting all the necessary pieces together to come and compete with us -- and not just on a one-off basis but for season-long campaigns. The good news is several of these examples involve top level independent teams. With the recent manufacturer-based news we have had, it is very gratifying to see renewed interest from the pro-privateer sector of our sport."

The Series' Growing List of Non-Endemic Sponsors

"The common thread that runs through all the examples (JEANRICHARD Swiss Watches, Hyatt Hotels, Lowe's, DHL and many others) is that they are considered benchmarks in their fields and premium brands. As most people who follow our sport know, that is how we feel and view the American Le Mans Series. We are the premium brand of motorsport and it is well documented.

"When you look at the demographics and the profiles of those who follow our sport, it is easy to see why our premium manufacturers are racing. But I do not think it is limited to that. It is all of the attributes that the Series represents. Clearly, the Series is producing a return on their investment or else they would not be coming back."

Sebring Winter Test Goals

"Our official open test in January offers a great opportunity to jump-start the 2007 season in many different ways. We have instructed our teams that this will be as much a media event as well as a mechanical shakedown for the teams. The goal is to have as many cars as possible in proper livery and drivers and crews in proper suits with the proper embroidery and patches. All of these things will enable the domestic and international media to get a positive first glimpse of our Series for 2007 and start their reporting for the year. This event will also give our teams the opportunity to accomplish their photographic work and really set the stage for the upcoming season.

"While many of our new teams and new manufacturers that have announced their participation, this literally will be their 'coming out party.' The buzz and excitement of this test is going to be comparable to going racing for the first time. We are encouraged by the commitments we have for participation to date. We think it will be the best American Le Mans Series Winter Test since we first established this important activity three years go and a significant media and team-related statement for our Series."

Racing News
Goody’s to back Sound and Speed Event Goody’s to back Sound and Speed EventGoody’s Headache Powders, the official pain reliever of race fans, announced today that three of country music’s top stars – Jo Dee Messina, Josh Turner and Rodney Atkins, will headline the Goody's Country Concert at the Sprint Sound & Speed festival presented by SunTrust, January 13, 2007 in Nashville.

This star studded event brings NASCAR and Country Music fans together to support the Music Hall of Fame charities and the Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with serious illnesses. The festival’s main event takes place at the Gaylord Entertainment Center at 8 p.m.

“We are delighted to be back in the heart of Goody’s Country and to once again bring the best of country music to all of the NASCAR and Country Music fans at this year’s Goody’s Country Concert,” said Darren Singer, Goody’s Vice President of Marketing. “This event is another example of Goody’s history of giving back to both racing and country music fans who call Goody’s their favorite pain reliever. It is also another way for us to continue to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp.”  zzzz

When Victory Junction Gang camp for seriously ill children opened, Goody’s became the first corporate sponsor to donate $1 million which went to build the camp’s hospital – the Goody’s Body Shop. Goody’s has continued its relationship with the camp through donations and special events such as having five campers serve as grand marshals at last year’s Goody’s 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

“We can’t thank Goody’s enough for all that they have done for Victory Junction over the years,” said Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and co-founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “We can always count on Goody’s to bring great entertainment to the fans and this year’s headliner concert featuring Joe Dee Messina, Josh Turner and Rodney Atkins is going make for an outstanding evening.”

Goody’s has been connected to motorsports for 30 years, making it one of racing’s longest and most recognizable sponsors. Along with a huge celebration in April 2007 in Martinsville at the Goody’s Cool Orange 500, major events celebrating Goody’s 30 years in the sport are planned for fans throughout the year.

“Sound & Speed is a celebration of what fans in Goody’s Country love most—racing and country music,” added Singer. “The festival is a spectacular kick off to a huge year for Goody’s in racing. We’re looking forward to seeing racing and country music fans alike come out and see this great line-up.”

Goody’s entered motorsports in 1977 and has sponsored races at Daytona International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway where it will return as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup sponsor this April at the Goody’s Cool Orange 500. The brand also has continued to sponsor the popular “Goody’s Headache of the Race” given to the NASCAR Cup and Busch driver that suffers the hardest luck in each week’s race. Goody’s continues to reach fans at several races each season with its popular “Goody’s Fast Relief Zone”. Racing icon Richard Petty and two-time NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart both serve as spokespeople for Goody’s.

Tickets are $20 for the Sound & Speed festival and $35 for the Goody's Country Concert and are available through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) or on the Sound & Speed website (www.soundandspeed2007.com). Children under 2 are free while children 3 - 10 are $10 for the festival and $16 for the concert. Tickets to the Honky Tonk Pit Stop are $15. Each ticket purchased for either the festival or concert will include a one-year subscription to Country Weekly Magazine.

Rosberg disappointed with rookie year Rosberg disappointed with rookie yearF1 rookie Nico Rosberg, despite the year getting off to a fabulous start at the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix where he recorded the fastest lap of the race, crossing the line in seventh place, struggled the rest of his debut year with Williams, ultimately finishing the season in 17th place (out of 22) with just four points to his credit.

"Sometimes experience in difficult circumstances is the best way to learn," he told the Express newspaper.

"Obviously everything depends on the car. This season we wanted to be the third-placed team and we ended up eighth, so it would be silly to make predictions before I even drive the new car."

In 2007 Nico will be teammate to Alexander Wurz at the Grove based squad.

Air Force Re-Ups with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Air Force Re-Ups with Wood Brothers/JTG RacingThe United States Air Force has announced that they will be returning as both a primary and associate sponsor of the No. 21 Wood Brothers/JTG NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team.  2007 will mark the seventh consecutive year in which they have backed the famous No. 21 car.

Driver Ken Schrader will kick-off the 2007 Season by driving the No. 21 Air Force Ford Fusion in the Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 10th.  Air Force will further their relationship with the Wood Brothers/JTG Organization by activating their primary sponsorship in seven additional events during the remainder of the season.  These dates include Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the July Daytona event, Pocono Raceway, the Bristol Night race in August, Richmond International Raceway in the final race before the Chase for the Championship and Dover International Speedway on September 23rd. 

Third-generation driver Jon Wood will be behind the wheel for all of the primary sponsorship races in the No. 21 Air Force Ford Fusion.

“Having a chance to represent the United States Air Force next year is an honor for me,” stated the 24-year old Stuart, Virginia native.  “To me, it means getting a chance to represent the men and women who put their lives on the line around the world every day so that we can enjoy the freedoms we do,” he added. 

According to United States Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Mike Rowland, who oversees their NASCAR-related programs, the Air Force’s association with the Wood Brothers/JTG Race team has brought extended benefits to their recruitment efforts over the years.  “We target four million graduating high school seniors each year by seeking the same target audience that follows the high-octane sport of NASCAR,” he stated.  “This program has been exciting and successful for us and we’re looking forward to a great relationship with Jon Wood and the 21 team next year.”

Industry News
Audi puts spotlight on R8 engine Audi puts spotlight on R8 engineAudi is taking automotive lighting to the next level with its new R8 sports car. The German automaker is lighting up the engine -- a component that rarely gets showcased in most vehicles.

The two-seater R8 will be available with an optional interior light package that includes LED cabin illumination and LED lights in the engine compartment. It's a natural step, considering the R8 features a clear glass "bonnet" or hood in the rear, designed to show off the car's 420-horsepower 4.2-liter V8.

The idea comes from auto customizers, and now that it's being done on a production vehicle, expect the trend to filter down to more everyday vehicles.

The R8 also features unusual headlights that were inspired by the Sydney Opera House, one of the most distinctive and recognizable buildings in the world. More at Detroit News

The merging of art and autos will be one of the minor themes of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Liuzzi not worried about Bourdais Liuzzi not worried about BourdaisEven though Toro Rosso Vitantonio Liuzzi (right) had to hop in the sister team's Red Bull car before he could beat Champ Car's Sebastien Bourdais test time at Jerez recently, he says he is not worried.

"Bourdais probably thought he would get here and humble everyone," Liuzzi told Italian racing magazine Autosprint.

"By contrast, even if by a small amount, in the two days of our challenge I was faster. And the gap would have been wider without a traction control problem on the new tires."

"The test was carried out in a fair way, with no favoritism. My contract specifies driving in F1, but with Red Bull you never know.

"I think I did well this season, but my future is not up to me."

I might not win in 2007 says Hamilton I might not win in 2007 says Hamilton(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he might not win a grand prix for McLaren in 2007.

The 21-year-old GP2 champion will drive potentially one of the best cars of the season during his rookie year, but he is quoted by the Spanish media as saying he expects succeeding in formula one to be "difficult".

"Like all the drivers," Briton Hamilton reportedly told El Mundo Deportivo, "my objective is to win.  I would be lying if I said I wanted to finish tenth, but I am also realistic and I know that my teammate is going to be Fernando (Alonso).

"Perhaps the opportunity to win arrives in 2007 but maybe it will be in 2008."

Hamilton admits that he will learn a lot during the 18 races of his maiden grand prix season.

He said: "Of course I want to win but I do consider it an immediately necessity.  The team knows that I am young and that I will need some time.  My priority (for 2007) is to continue to grow as a driver.

"I think I can do a good job.  I believe that I have qualities that are similar to Alonso but I am going to have to work really hard, also on my fitness because although I feel comfortable in the car, my neck muscles still need work."

Kubica one of Poland’s most ’hunted’ Kubica one of Poland’s most ’hunted’(GMM)  Robert Kubica may only have contested six grands prix, but he is already one of Poland's most famous faces.

The Swiss newspaper 'Blick' quoted the BMW-Sauber racer, who according to speculation recently signed a four-year contract with the German squad, as lamenting his new image as a F1 star of the future.

"No longer can I walk down the street or buy something in a supermarket," the 22-year-old said.

"I have become the hunted!"

'Blick' says the extent of the Pole's popularity became evident when Paparazzi rented a house opposite his parents' house in Krakow.

Kubica added that he therefore has to "creep in and out" of his own home.

Ferrari confirm driver equality for early '07 Ferrari confirm driver equality for early '07(GMM)  Sporting director Stefano Domenicali has confirmed suspicions that Ferrari will impose a conditional policy of driver equality in the 2007 season.

Unlike in the past with Michael Schumacher, the beginning of next year will give rise to an unique Ferrari situation where the higher paid driver is not the incumbent at the team.

Two-time winner in 2006 Felipe Massa, however, has received support from within the Maranello based team after insisting that he will not be new teammate Kimi Raikkonen's 'number two'.

Domenicali is quoted as saying by Focus Online: "Both drivers will receive the same material and the same support from us, at least at the beginning of the season."

Domenicali, meanwhile, reportedly promised that Finn Raikkonen in red overalls will be seen "smiling more often" than he did during five years with a stoic image at McLaren.

Racing News
Quotes of the Week Quotes of the WeekUPDATE
CURT CAVIN, Sports Reporter for the Indy Star Newspaper
(On why Champ Car teams do not run the Indy 500)  Part of it has been the schedule as Champ Car has had races that conflict with either qualifying or the race. But the other thing is the difficulty of adapting to the IRL’s system. As you know, while these series are similar, they’re not the same, and if you’re a race team unaccustomed to the IRL’s equipment it’s very difficult to jump in and master it. Unfortunately, if you don’t give a good account of yourself, it hurts your total program and the perception of people on the outside. Look what happened to Rahal’s team the first time he tried to do Indy as a Champ Car team. In addition to being a distraction from the Champ Car season (look at how it affected Bruno when he got hurt in the crash with A.J. IV), doing Indy requires extra money. And the sad truth is, there are fewer people today that consider Indy a big deal. Many of those teams didn’t grow up running in the 500, so it’s not critical to their existence.

STEVE JOHNSON, President and CEO, Champ Car World Series
“We look at today as the actual start of the 2007 season,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “This has been an exciting process, watching the new Champ Car take shape. From the first design sketches to wind tunnel testing and now to see the cars going to our teams, it has been a very rewarding experience for all of us and I couldn’t be happier about the way our team as well as the team from Elan Motorsports Technologies have performed throughout the process." (Commenting on the first deliveries of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Cars to teams the week before Christmas)

DAVID BOWES, CEO, Elan Motorsports Technologies
“In all my years of experience in motorsport, I have never known a situation where a manufacturer was able to deliver as many as ten “all-new” race cars of this complexity before Christmas,” said EMT CEO David Bowes. “It is a tremendous feat and everyone at Elan should be proud of what they have accomplished. In just over one year we have designed, developed and built a prototype car, undertaken over two thousand miles of successful testing, and then built ten production cars. The plan is to continue on and build thirty-five cars before the start of 2007 season.” zzzz

LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLA, President, Ferrari; Chairman, Fiat
"It must be said that in 2005 Raikkonen would have won the championship with a more reliable car. He broke down five times, and he was always in the lead. So now he must understand this is the time to win the title. Massa goes extremely quickly and maybe he will be faster systematically. I hope they will both go quickly. We are ready to get back to winning ways. This way Jean Todt would be able to retire serenely and so would I. Schumacher arrived at the right time and now arrives Raikkonen, also at the right time. It happens to everyone to get drunk at times," he said. "(Eddie) Irvine was a bit like that too. It also happened to a guy from Kerpen, no matter how difficult it is to believe it. I'm not worried at all about Kimi. He is motivated and he has the right approach with Ferrari." (Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says Kimi Raikkonen must win the world championship for the Italian team next season.)

"We will always listen to drivers, but the decisions must be ours. And if we have to lose a race or two or a few licenses to make a point, we will. It will be better for the sport in the long run." Mosley hit out at some drivers' response to his initial warning about interfering, presumably including David Coulthard's insistence that the GPDA would not be "intimidated" by the FIA. Mosley said, "Not the most intelligent of responses, you may think, to a gentle warning. We obviously cannot have two bodies telling circuits what is required." (Max Mosley has repeated his threat to strip F1 drivers of their Super Licenses over an argument about safety. Angered about the GPDA's complaints concerning the Monza circuit earlier this year, the FIA president wrote the driver union a letter warning its directors to leave the issue of safety to experts.)

ALAIN DASSAS, President Renault F1 team
"Flavio is an excellent manager who creates an atmosphere and a team spirit like I have never known before. But as for replacing Ecclestone ... I don't think he is the kind of person who would want that position. I can't see it happening." Dassas also described Ecclestone as an "intelligent" and "sagacious" man but stopped short of predicting for how much longer he will run the sport. He also responded to suggestions that Bernie, together with FIA president Max Mosley, rule Formula One as if it were a dictatorship. Dassas said, "I tell you an anecdote -- a journalist once asked Bernie if he thought he and Max are a 'kind of Mafia'. Bernie amusingly responded: 'Wrong. We are not 'a kind of Mafia', we are the Mafia'." (The president of Renault's F1 team has played down undying speculation that Flavio Briatore is first in line to succeed Bernie Ecclestone as the sport's next 'supremo'. )

NASCAR 2007 testing dates NASCAR 2007 testing datesNASCAR has set its 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing schedule that includes seven different venues that will provide the teams an opportunity to prepare for the various track layouts and surfaces that they will face over the course of the season. NASCAR determined the test schedule with the input and cooperation of each of the teams’ crew chiefs.

The testing sessions begin at Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, beginning Monday, Jan. 8 running through Wednesday, Jan. 10 for approximately half the teams. Thursday, Jan. 11 is the rain date, if necessary. Test sessions will resume Monday, Jan. 15 through Wednesday, Jan. 17, with Thursday, Jan. 18 as the rain date for the remaining teams. Test sessions at Daytona are scheduled for 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., weather permitting, with an hour lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.

The remaining six tracks that will host test sessions are:

* Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Jan. 29-30 (rain date is Jan. 31)
* Bristol Motor Speedway – Feb. 28-March 1 (rain date is March 2)
* Richmond International Raceway – April 3-4 (rain date is April 5)
* Lowe’s Motor Speedway – May 7-8 (rain date is May 9)
* Dover International Speedway – May 14-15 (rain date is May 16)
* Talladega Superspeedway – Sept. 10-11 (rain date is Sept. 12)

NASCAR instituted a new track testing policy in 2006 that pre-sets a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests are to be conducted. The scheduled tests are the only opportunities teams will have to test at NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks. The policy was implemented to serve as an aid to maintain better overall competitive balance for the teams and contain costs. “NASCAR received input and recommendations from each of the crew chiefs that was valuable to our decision making process,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition. “The seven tracks that were selected provide the teams with a wide variety of layouts, surfaces, and track characteristics that should provide them with an opportunity to have success in 2007.” NASCAR PR 

Industry News
Lutz blasts Washington Lutz blasts WashingtonA proposal to increase the U.S. fuel economy standards would force Detroit-based automakers market to "hand over" the market for trucks and sport utility vehicles to Japanese manufacturers, a senior General Motors Corp. executive said.

Bob Lutz, GM's vice-chairman and the head of the company's global product development team, said the proposed changes to the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards would represent an unfair burden on the traditional Big Three automakers.

"For one thing, it puts us, the domestic manufacturers, at odds with the desires of most of our customers, namely larger vehicles," Lutz said in a year-end posting on a Web site maintained by GM.

He added: "That effectively hands the truck and SUV market over to the imports, particularly the Japanese, who have earned years of accumulated credits from their fleets of formerly very small cars."  More at Reuters

Massa denies Ferrari tire advantage Massa denies Ferrari tire advantage(GMM) Felipe Massa has again played down suggestions that Ferrari will enjoy a head start in 2007 due to key rivals' switch to a new tire supplier.

Although the Italian squad has been Bridgestone's preferred F1 partner for years, 25-year-old Massa insists that the new tire is so different to last year that any advantage will be muted.

Michelin's exit from the sport means that among those switching to Bridgestone are top teams McLaren, Honda, BMW-Sauber and back to back champion team Renault.

Brazil's Massa told Autosprint: "The truth is that these tires are completely new for everyone.

"Every single team is basically starting from the same point."

Honda's Jenson Button, however, thinks McLaren and Renault will struggle to adapt to their new supplier in '07.

"(Their cars) have a lot of understeer. We're more of a neutral car, and that's the way the Bridgestone is," the Briton told 'Speed TV'.

Because of the understeer issue, Button also said he thought Kimi Raikkonen would adapt to Ferrari "quicker" than Fernando Alonso at McLaren.

Ralf 'working on' second child Ralf 'working on' second child(GMM)  Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher may soon have a second child, according to his wife.

Cora Schumacher, who turned 30 on Wednesday, told the Cologne newspaper Express that the pair are "working on" providing a sister for their five-year-old son David.

Toyota will introduce Ralf's new 2007 car, the TF107, in Cologne on January 12, three days after the Japanese team return to the test track.

Schumacher said at Christmas: "We don't have any concrete plans for New Year's Eve yet.  But first it's Cora's birthday, which we will definitely celebrate with a few of our friends."

Alonso not 'sportsman of year' Alonso not 'sportsman of year'(GMM)  F1's world champion has been beaten to a 'European sportsman of the year' plaudit.

Tennis' Roger Federer is more deserving of the title than back to back drivers' world championship winner Fernando Alonso, according to the Polish press agency Polska Agencja Prasowa.

'PAP' determined the recipient of the award through an enquiry of 16 fellow European press agencies.

Alonso netted 75 votes to world number one Federer's 145.

track news
Work Completed for Fuel Change at Richmond Work Completed for Fuel Change at RichmondWith NASCAR switching to unleaded fuel for the 2007 season, workers drained and cleaned the fuel tanks in the Richmond International Raceway infield last week. After the Daytona 500, all teams will switch to an unleaded fuel with a 98 octane rating. Several Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races in 2006 successfully used the unleaded fuel. The leaded fuel used in past seasons had a 112 octane rating. In addition, the IndyCar Series will switch to 100% fuel-grade ethanol for the 2007 season. Last year, the series used fuel enriched with 10% ethanol. Ethanol, which is made from renewable agricultural products such as corn, is environmentally friendly while maintaining superior performance. RIR PR
TV News
USA TV reminders for Wednesday USA TV reminders for Wednesday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Australian V8 Supercars Adelaide
3:00am-4:00am (R)
4:00am-5:00am (R) SPEED
FIA GT Championship Dubai
12:00pm-1:00pm (11/18/06) SPEED
GP Masters Qatar
1:00pm-2:00pm (4/29/06) SPEED
AIGP Malaysia
4:00pm-6:00pm (11/26/06) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
John Andersen and Cape Brothers Join Andersen Racing John Andersen and Cape Brothers Join Andersen RacingA co-owner and two very well-known engineers have been added to the staff of Andersen Racing, the Fairfield, N.J.-based team that will compete in the Indy Pro Series, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the Hankook Tires Formula Ford 2000 series in 2007.

Team owner Dan Andersen announced today that his brother, respected Formula Ford 2000 official John Andersen, has become his co-owner of the racing team. John Andersen has also been Dan Andersen's partner in their very successful New Jersey-based construction businesses since 1974.

In addition, the pair announced that another set of brothers, Dominic and Nicholas Cape of Cape Motorsports, will be engineers for Andersen Racing's entry into the Indy Pro Series in 2007.  The Indy Pro Series is the official development series of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series.

"We have reached an agreement with the Capes where Dominic will serve as the chief engineer for our Indy Pro Series program, and Nicolas will be the lead mechanic," Dan Andersen said.  "My brother John will be the team manager of that whole program."

Andersen Racing hopes to field two cars in the Indy Pro Series in 2007.  "When we finalize our plans for the second car, Nicolas will move over to that car to be its chief engineer," John Andersen said.

"I've known the Capes for over 15 years," Dan Andersen added.  "They fielded cars in the Formula Ford 2000 series when I was the administrator of it, and I've also raced against them as a team owner.  They have had a great deal of success in the sport, including running J.R. Hildebrand this year when he dominated the Cooper Tires F2000 series. John has also worked with them closely for the last five years, since he was the director of race operations for that series.  He's observed their methods and style, and we both think they'll be great assets to Andersen Racing. We're impressed with their long list of racing accomplishments and their work ethic.  They've always been a winning team, and we're very pleased to be able to add them to our roster for 2007."

NASCAR crashes and burns in Washington State NASCAR crashes and burns in Washington StateHot on the heels of a complete rejection for a NASCAR track in NY City comes word NASCAR is getting the same welcome in Washington State.

Not a single state legislator from the Kitsap Peninsula supports proposals for using state dollars to help finance a NASCAR racetrack in their area. “Given the pulse of the Legislature, it’s a dead duck,” predicted Rep. Bill Eickmeyer, a Democrat from Belfair.

The News Tribune last week contacted all nine of the state legislators who represent the peninsula. Nearly all were either in outright opposition to the idea or highly skeptical. zzzz

State Sen. Derek Kilmer was by far the most positive, and he was only a maybe. “The devil is going to be in the details,” said Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat. “I think the project has some potential. But only if you do it right.” Lack of enthusiasm from local legislators isn’t discouraging International Speedway Corp., the company looking for help building an 83,500-seat racetrack near Bremerton. Company vice president Grant Lynch said he’s been working with his team of lobbyists, and that he met with 55 legislators over the summer.

“I felt a lot of momentum for our package,” Lynch said. The 2007 legislative session begins Jan. 8. Lynch said the company is lining up legislators to sponsor a bill for the racetrack. He said he wasn’t ready to release names but that he expected an impressive list of supporters. Lynch said the company’s “new and improved” proposal to the Legislature should come in the first few weeks of the 105-day session.

“It will be very similar to the one we structured last time, maybe a little better for the state. A little better split,” Lynch said. The company’s last proposal was for taxpayers to pay for half of the $345 million facility. That state share would be paid through bonds. The racetrack group asserted that the cost of the bonds would be more than covered by the sales taxes that would be paid by out-of-state race fans coming to visit. The idea went nowhere during the last legislative session. No one stepped forward to sponsor a bill. But the track got a boost in May when two South Sound congressmen – Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, and Norm Dicks, D-Belfair – spoke in favor of it. Lynch said track supporters have been working the grass roots. He said he’s hoping support from people and businesses will convince Kitsap-area state legislators that it’s a good idea.  More at Tacoma News Tribune

industry news
DCX probe spans globe Internal probe reveals bribes DCX probe spans globe Internal probe reveals bribesDaimlerChrysler AG has hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to serve as an outside monitor as it nears the end of a two-year internal investigation that has uncovered multiple instances of bribery by company employees, according to people familiar with the situation.  The massive internal investigation found employees at the automaker's Mercedes division bribed officials in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, the people said.

The bribery allegations, brought to light in 2004 by company whistle-blowers, also are the focus of a civil investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and a criminal probe by the Justice Department.

Company officials would not comment on the findings of the internal probe.

"The company is very determined to operate our business with the highest ethical standards. We take these matters very seriously," DaimlerChrysler spokesman Han Tjan said. "We're still conducting our investigation."

At its height, the internal investigation led by prominent Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Bennett involved 85 lawyers and nearly as many accountants reviewing millions of documents and conducting hundreds of interviews. The company's legal, accounting and consulting bills connected to the probe have topped tens of millions of dollars, a person familiar with the matter said. More at Detroit News

industry news
Toyota posts 25th straight gain Toyota posts 25th straight gainToyota Motor Corp. reported its 25th straight month of growth in worldwide production as it closed in on General Motors’ position as the world’s biggest vehicle maker.

However, Toyota’s main Japanese rival, Nissan Motor Co., said it produced fewer cars in November than a year earlier.

Toyota Motor said its global production totaled 736,003 vehicles in November, up 12.3% from the same month last year. Overseas production climbed 10.5% to 350,300, while domestic output rose 14.1% to 385,703.

Rising oil prices have prompted drivers to favor fuel-efficient cars, including the Prius hybrid, Corolla compact and the midsize Camry, the best-selling model in the U.S. market for eight of the last nine years.

Barrichello says Honda still has work to do Barrichello says Honda still has work to do"I think that this team has a huge amount of potential, but still has some work to do if we are to become consistent winners," former Ferrari driver Reubens Barrichello told Autosport. "It's very hard for someone new to come in and change the ideas of everyone, especially when the team has been running for a number of years now with their own ideas how everything should work. I think I have good experience of what Ferrari had, and the areas that we need to develop here at Honda."
Aguri team signs Yamamoto as 2nd test driver Aguri team signs Yamamoto as 2nd test driverAguri Suzuki and the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM are pleased to confirm their continued relationship with Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto who will take on the position of second test driver in 2007.

Sakon made an encouraging F1 debut during the four months he drove for the team in the latter half of the 2006 season. In his new role Sakon will be supporting SAF1 Team race drivers Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson in addition to newly appointed test and reserve driver Giedo van der Garde.

Sakon Yamamoto
“It is great news that I am able to stay in Formula One with SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM in 2007 and would like to thank everyone who has supported me, especially Aguri-san. I will try to do my best in my new role and give the team good support from my time in the car next year.”

Aguri Suzuki
“I am very happy that Sakon will remain a member of the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM family next season. We will help him to secure a race seat in another category for 2007 and I am confident that his experience gained from Formula One racing this year will help him achieve this goal.” zzzz


Date of Birth: 9 July 1982
Place of birth: Toyohashi, Japan
Citizenship: Japanese
Marital Status: Single
Height: 1.72m
Weight: 63kg
Official website: www.sakon-yamamoto.com


2006 Formula One: SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM – Second Race Driver (from Round 12, German Grand Prix)
Formula One: SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM – Third Driver (from Round 8, British Grand Prix)
SUPER GT inter-challenge 500 class All the Japanese Championship Formula

2005 All the Japanese Championship Formula - 2nd in round 8  
 SUPER GT inter-challenge 500 class - winner of round 4

2004 All the Japanese F3 Championship - winner of round 20

2003 F3 European Series 

2002 German F3 Series 

2001 All Japanese F3 Championship - 4th in Championship
Marlboro Master's British F3

2000 Suzuka Formula Racing School (SRS-F)
All Japanese Kart Championship - FSA class, 3rd in Championship
European Kart Championship - Belgium and France

1999 All Japanese Kart Championship FA class - Series Champion
World cup in SUZUKA FA class participation - 10th position

1998 All Japanese kart competition championship FA class

1997 Local kart competition championship Chubu Tokai area, FA-2 class participation - Series Champion

1996 Suzuka kart championship FR class
Junior World Cup participation (Belgium)

1995 Suzuka Kart championship RSO class

1994 Suzuka car tracing school (SRS-K) entrance school

A1GP dupes Financial Times A1GP dupes Financial TimesThis Financial Times article about A1 Grand Prix is one of the most one-sided pieces we have seen in quite sometime. Reading the article makes A1GP sound like it will be a huge success, when in fact it is hemorrhaging so much red ink that it is teetering on financial collapse. The article is full of half-truths and lies probably fed to the author who did not know any better.  The departures of Sheik Hasher al Maktoum was not by coincidence as he saw the writing on the wall.

What this sounds like is the first of many propaganda pieces the A1GP will have written prior to floating an IPO to raise money from unsuspecting investors so the series can burn through investor's money instead of their own.

We found one quote a bit humorous.  "It looks like it's turning out to be easier to raise $35 million to $40 million from global sponsors than $2 million to $3 million on individual cars," says series principal Tony Teixeira......OK Tony we'll be waiting for that blockbuster announcement.  We do agree that global sponsors are the correct target, we just do not think any will bite on the A1GP.

Davidson expects close fight Davidson expects close fightSuper Aguri rookie Anthony Davidson expects a close battle with his teammate Takuma Sato in his first season as a Formula 1 race driver.

The 27-year-old Briton has three grand prix starts to his name (two with Minardi in 2002 and one with Honda in 2005), but has spent nearly all his F1 career as a Honda test driver.

“I hope to beat Sato sometimes, certainly – but I think it’s going to be close,” Davidson said in an interview with F1 Racing Magazine.

“In 2001 when they were teammates in British F3 I sometimes beat him, he sometimes beat me.  But my focus at the beginning just has to be to get as close to him as possible.  In qualifying I’ll have more of a chance because I’m more used to that than the racing side of things.  You simply can’t beat that kind of race experience straight off,” he said.

“In lots of terms I’m really experienced, probably more so than some guys that raced their rookie season in 2006.  But in other terms, their knowledge already way surpasses what I know.  Just in a single year you learn so, so much in terms of racing.  I don’t really know how it’s going to go, and that’s the exciting bit,” he said.

“If you look at [Nico] Rosberg this year, his best race was his first. I like to look at the details a lot, and I’m quite self-analytical, so, by rights, my last race should be my best.  I’ll be disappointed if it isn’t.  But hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll have done a good enough job to be kept on for a long time in the F1 world.”

Holiday wishes from BMW Holiday wishes from BMWAn eventful and successful 2006 is coming to a close and the BMW Sauber F1 Team would like to take this opportunity to thank all its partners, sponsors and fans for the ongoing support they have given and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season.

This was the team’s debut season under BMW ownership and it concluded with a very impressive fifth place finish in the Constructors' Championship after a total of three drivers, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Jacques Villeneuve, accumulated a total of 36 World Championship points between them, including two podium positions, Hungary and Italy, which were the season highlights.

Robert, who was the official test and reserve driver at the beginning of the season, replaced Villeneuve from Hungary and instantly produced some strong performances, confirmed his extraordinary talent over the remainder of the year. Following his promotion to full time racer, 19-year-old Sebastian Vettel took over as third driver from the Turkish GP and surprised the experts with several best lap times in the Friday practice sessions.

Nick, Robert and Sebastian will continue to compete for the Hinwil based squad in 2007 and they will be supported by Timo Glock, who will make his debut as the team's fourth driver. Their new car, the F1.07 will be unveiled in three weeks time when they gather at the Valencia circuit, but until they return, the entire team would like to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a good start to the New Year.

Harder tires make F1 cars harder to drive Harder tires make F1 cars harder to driveWhen Bridgestone became the exclusive tire supplier in F1 starting next year they said that they would introduce a harder tire that was some 2 seconds or more per lap slower. They have also proposed to the FIA a red-sidewalled softer option tire that teams would have to use both during practice and during the race at least one. A similar system is used by Bridgestone in Champ Car.

However, it is the harder tires that are causing teams to scratch their heads and forcing drivers to change their driving style.

"We'll get used to them with time, but at the moment the front wheels tend to always lock under strong braking," Giancarlo Fisichella told Italian magazine Autosprint.

"Maybe it would make sense to also make changes on the brakes, on their ventilation and their operating pressures, because if the tires' performance and grip have changed so radically, maybe it will be necessary to adapt the braking system."

In fact the tires are so much different than this year that even Ferrari and Toyota, who were already Bridgestone customers, will have no advantage. In retrospect it was good that Bridgestone introduced a radically different tire so that former Michelin teams could not cry favoritism toward the Bridgestone runners of previous years.

NASCAR’s Technical Director honored NASCAR’s Technical Director honoredSteve Peterson, NASCAR’s Technical Director who has been heavily involved in helping introduce a wide range of safety initiatives within the sport, was recently the recipient of the 2006 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Motorsports Achievement Award. Peterson received the award at the annual SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference and Exhibition Dec. 5 in Dearborn, Mich. SAE presents this award to the individual that has shown outstanding leadership or contribution to motorsports over an extended period of time. Peterson has served as NASCAR’s Technical Director since 1995 and during that span he has been instrumental in the development and implementation of such safety features as the SAFER Barrier and Head and Neck Restraints, along with improved Seat Belts, Cockpit Surrounds/Seats and Fire Safety. His most recent work has been with the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR’s new race car that focuses on safety, improved performance and cost efficiency. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Peterson has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive engineering industry. He worked as a crew chief for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Mark Martin in 1982 and also has experience as a race team engineer and design engineer. He currently resides in Concord, N.C., where he works at the NASCAR Research and Development Center. NASCAR PR
Patrick and Earnhardt Jr. highly overrated Patrick and Earnhardt Jr. highly overratedIt's a sad state of affairs for American motorsports when the general public thinks your most popular drivers (Danica Patrick - IRL and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - NASCAR) are two of the most overrated athletes in the world (see poll).  American 100% throttle racing doesn't develop great race car drivers, that's for sure.
FIA moves to make F1 cars faster with 2009 regs FIA moves to make F1 cars faster with 2009 regsThe 2009 Technical Regulations that the FIA recently published contains some interesting changes that, except for being much lighter and not a spec car, push F1 closer to Champ Car than ever before but it is clear that all the changes will enhance the performance of F1 cars over what they are today as the FIA wants to ensure that an F1 car is always superior to any other open wheel car on a road course.

Summary of changes

  1. Supercharging is prohibited, but turbocharging is not mentioned, hinting that it may now be allowed. Whereas a supercharger is driven directly off the engine, a turbo is driven by exhaust gases and the FIA is trying to encourage manufacturers to recover energy and make the cars 'greener.' Turbos are becoming increasingly popular on road cars.

    A lot of discussion is centered around the new Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) and how much energy the system can store at any given time.

    The total amount of recoverable energy stored on the car must not exceed 300kJ. Any which may be recovered at a rate greater than 2kW must not exceed 20kJ. The maximum power, in or out, of any KERS must not exceed 60kW. Energy released from the KERS may not exceed 400kJ in any one lap.
  2. Maximum car width increased to 2000 mm, Minimum 1980 mm (including wheels). Champ Car was much wider than an F1 car at 1972 mm, but now it will be narrower. This will increase the cornering speed of F1 cars.
  3. Front wheels go from 355 mm to 365 mm (more rubber on road). Champ Car is narrow at 254 mm
  4. Rear wheels go from 380 mm to 460 mm (more rubber on road). Champ Car is narrow at 355.6 mm
  5. Bodywork increased between the wheels but more importantly from 1,000 mm to 2,000 mm behind the rear wheels opening the door for more ground effects a la Champ Car.
  6. Minimum weight increased slightly from 600 to 605 kg (with driver). A Champ Car is a heavy behemoth at 710 kg (1565 lbs) but that is without driver. Add in the driver and a Champ Car is around 790 kg, 30% more than an F1 car, which is quite significant for such a light car and is the primary reason a Champ Car will always be significantly slower than an F1 car.  This is in case Champ Car ever races on the same circuit as F1 does again.  Because of weight, an F1 car will always smoke a Champ Car and the Europeans will be able to pound their chest and laugh.
  7. The cockpits will be fitted with red, blue and yellow lights to give drivers information concerning track signals or conditions. The IRL already has this, the new Panoz Champ Car does not, which we feel is an oversight, but Tony Cotman tells us it could be added in the future. It costs money of course.
  8. After 2008 the Concorde Agreement will no longer be used to establish rules changes, the World Council will do that by June 30th of a given year for the following year....except for safety reasons which can be implemented at any time.

    Should a competitor introduce a new design or system or feel that any aspect of these regulations is unclear, clarification may be sought from the FIA Formula One Technical Department. If clarification relates to any new design or system, correspondence
    must include:
    - a full description of the design or system ;
    - drawings or schematics where appropriate ;
    - the Competitor's opinion concerning the immediate implications
    on other parts of the car of any proposed new design ;
    - the Competitor's opinion concerning any possible long term consequences or new developments which may come from using any such new designs or systems ;
    - the precise way or ways in which the Competitor feels the new design or system will enhance the performance of the car.
Dakar organizers drop two stages Dakar organizers drop two stagesThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against the organization of the 10th and 11th stages of the 29th edition of the Dakar. The rally organizers, who resolved to follow the recommendations of the Ministry, have thus decided to cancel the two Nema-Timbuktu and Timbuktu-Nema stages, programmed for the 16th and 17th of January 2007. In spite of the extensive surveillance and the guarantees provided by the Mali authorities, this precautionary measure is vital in safeguarding the security of the competitors.

Initially planned in Timbuktu, the appointment with Mali where the welcome of the spectators confirms the interest of the nation's leaders for the Dakar, will be pushed two days later.

The sporting teams of the rally having considered an alternative solution, a loop stage Nema-Nema, including a timed sector of 376 kilometres, will be organized on the 16th of January. The following day, the competitors will enjoy half a rest day, and will then take to the road for a liaison stage of approximately 280 km towards Ayoun-el-Atrous (Mauritania), where the start of the stage will be given on the 18th January, towards Kayes (Mali).
06/01/07 Lisbonne Portimão 115 km 117 km 232 km 464 km
07/01/07 Portimo Malaga 15 km 67 km 463 km 545 km
08/01/07 Nador Er Rachidia 205 km 252 km 191 km 648 km
09/01/07 Er Rachidia Ouarzazate 96 km 405 km 178 km 679 km
10/01/07 Ouarzazate Tan Tan 164 km 325 km 279 km 768 km
11/01/07 Tan Tan Zourat 414 km 394 km 9 km 817 km
12/01/07 Zourat Atar 4 km 542 km 34 km 580 km
13/01/07 Rest Day
14/01/07 Atar Tichit 35 km 589 km 2 km 626 km
15/01/07 Tichit Nema - 494 km 3 km 497 km
16/01/07 Nema Nema 10 km 366 km 24 km 400 km
17/01/07 Nema Ayoun 280 km - - 280 km
18/01/07 Ayoun Kayes 110 km 257 km 117 km 484 km
19/01/07 Kayes Tambacounda 180 km 260 km 18 km 458 km
20/01/07 Tambacounda Dakar 124 km 225 km 227 km 576 km
21/01/07 Grand prix du Lac Rose 36 km 16 km 41 km 93 km
TOTAL 1 792 km 5 030 km 1 886 km 8 708 km
Budapest replaces Estoril Budapest replaces EstorilFor the first time ever, the World Series by Renault will venture into Eastern Europe in 2007. The Hungaroring will host the fourth meeting of the 2007 season on July 14-15 (TBC). This meeting replaces the one which was initially due to be held in Estoril on June 2-3. The other change concerns the French round, which will be held at the Nevers Magny-Cours circuit in 2007. The drivers will therefore have the chance to drive on two more F1 circuits!

World Series by Renault revised calendar 2007:

April 14-15 Monza
May 5-6 Nurburgring
May 26-27 Monaco
June 23-24 Istanbul
July 14-15 Budapest
August 18-19 Spa-Francorchamps
September 8-9 Donington Park
September 22-23 Magny Cours
October 27-28 Barcelona

Season Greetings from Jan Heylen Season Greetings from Jan Heylen.

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

NASCAR Beyond the Wheel Marathon
1:00pm 12/24/06-12:00am 12/25/06 (R) SPEED
Goodwood Revival Meeting -Vintage Grand Prix cars and Formula Juniors 1:00pm-2:00pm (R) -Part 1
2:00pm-3:00pm (R) -Part 2 Discover HD
Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era
11:00pm-12:00am -#4 ESPN2

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Mechanical woes cut first Patrick test short Mechanical woes cut first Patrick test shortUPDATE #2 Danica did crash.....The "mechanical failure" was one of her tires falling off.   This is why she crashed.   We suppose the cover-up is just because of a bit of embarrassment that a member of the superteam forgot to tighten the wheel nut!

12/21/06 Hearing there was a cover-up in what was released about Danica's first day on the track with AGR. People are saying she crashed, but the press release is vague and says her day was cut short by a mechanical failure. Does that mean the Honda engine blew up (can't let that news get out) or that after she hit the wall the suspension broke and the test was over. This too would look bad for her 'image' and we can't let that news get out now can we? Since the press release was clearly worded to cover something up, it leaves many questions and few answers.

12/21/06 HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Team Motorola driver Danica Patrick wrapped up her first day of testing Wednesday with Andretti Green Racing, six days after the original test day was scrubbed by rain.  Patrick and her crew used the day to put the #7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone through its paces before a mechanical failure cut the session short near the end of the afternoon session.

"Overall, I think we had a pretty good day. We tried a bunch of different setups, and just really used the day to get comfortable with each other and help them understand what I like to feel in the car. It was too bad we had the problem at the end of the day, but that's the way things go sometimes."

"We're not really sure what happened with the car at the end of the day. We know we had a mechanical failure, but we're not exactly sure what it was yet.  "Danica did a good job in the car all day. It was really a 'get-to-know-you'-type day and I think she is going to fit in great with everyone at our place. At AGR, you need to be quick in the race car, but also have a quick wit and I think she's going to do just fine with both of those."

Season Greetings from Nelson Philippe Season Greetings from Nelson Philippe.

TV News
Father and Son car builder team featured on MWR: A New Era Father and Son car builder team featured on MWR: A New EraThe fourth episode of Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era, part of ESPN2 Garage, will be televised Sunday, Dec. 24, at 11 p.m. ET, on ESPN2. It will feature a father and son car builder team from Michael Waltrip Racing, as they install the first Toyota Racing Development engines into the brand new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Toyotas. Once the car and engine are assembled, Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann take the new engine and chassis combination to the race track for its first crucial test drive. Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode, documentary series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
Renault gearing up for R27’s maiden run Renault gearing up for R27’s maiden runNow that testing is over for the season and that Christmas is almost here, the Renault F1 Team wishes all their fans the very best for 2007! Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr covered 7,000 kilometres in the three test sessions that took place in December in Barcelona and Jerez, Spain.  The objective of these sessions was twofold: discovering the Bridgestone envelops and validating the new gear box. After successful tests and some interesting recovery data, the test team now takes a well-deserved and short break before getting back to business at the beginning of January for the first run of the R27…  Meanwhile, people in Enstone and Viry keep on working hard in order to get everything ready in time. Renault
Track News
LVMS work continues LVMS work continuesThe massive reconstruction of Las Vegas Motor Speedway is continuing full speed ahead. In the last week, workers have erected the steel truss and attached canopy that will make up the center stage of the track’s centerpiece, the Neon Garage. Located in the center of the LVMS infield, the Neon Garage features four buildings in the shape of a diamond, where Nextel Cup teams will prepare their cars to race. Each building is two stories, which will allow race fans to watch the teams work from ground level or from an elevated position. The center of the Neon Garage will be open to race fans and feature a sports bar with big screen television, concession stands and continuous entertainment acts, including Blue Man Group, Sirens of the TI and several tribute artists including Elvis, Madonna and Elton John impersonators. Work is scheduled for completion in time for the March 9-11, 2007 NASCAR Weekend.
Industry News
Goodyear, Striking Workers Reach Tentative Deal Goodyear, Striking Workers Reach Tentative DealGoodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the union representing about 12,600 union workers in the United States said they reached a tentative deal Friday on a new contract that would bring an end to an 11-week strike over health care benefits and Goodyear's plan to close a tire factory in Texas.  The third-largest tiremaker and the United Steelworkers union reached the deal after both sides resumed talks in Pittsburgh early this week. The strike began Oct. 5.

The union says the deal would require Goodyear to drop plans to close the plant in Tyler, Texas, immediately in return for an offer of a retirement buyout. The plant employs 1,100 workers. The previous three-year labor agreement expired July 22.

"This agreement validates the solidarity of our members and their families, who wouldn't allow the company to walk away from obligations earned through a lifetime of hard work and loyalty," Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard said. More at AP Story 

NASCAR Toyota engine spy photos NASCAR Toyota engine spy photosUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, As a professional engineer well versed in modern engine technology, I have a few questions about those photos.  What are those cover things on the cylinder banks?  Oh, rocker arm covers for overhead valves?   What's that?  Where are the overhead cam shafts, generally dual per cylinder bank?  Oh... the cam shaft is inside the block?  Sorry, haven't seen anything like that in a high performance engine on the street in about 20 years or in racing in about 30.  Secondly, what is that strange thing on top of the block?  You say that it's a what, a "carburetor"?  Now, I get it!  I saw one of those once in the ancient history museum, how quaint. Glenn R. Tanner PE

Indeed Glenn, In order for Dodge to have a NASCAR engine they had to modify a school bus engine.  Likewise, Toyota had to purpose build a special engine just for NASCAR.  We don't think Toyota is in the school bus or farm tractor business. Mark C.

10/19/06 Below are some good photos of the Toyota NASCAR engine taken by South Florida Motorsports Report for use by AutoRacing1.com.  Toyota prefers its competitors not see too much with regard to their engine.  By the way, this "stock car" engine is not stock at all.  Toyota does not build an antiquated push rod engine for its passenger cars.



Industry News
Chrysler recalls 62,369 new vehicles Chrysler recalls 62,369 new vehiclesThe Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG is recalling more than 62,000 new vehicles because of a problem in their brake system computers. Chrysler said Friday the recall applies to 62,369 model year 2007 Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler 300, Jeep Commander, Jeep Compass, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Nitro, Dodge Magnum, Dodge Charger and Dodge Caliber vehicles. About 7,400 of the affected cars are in Canada.

Their brake system electronic control units need to be reprogrammed.

"In a small number of vehicles, instrument panel warning lamps may illuminate and be followed by loss of electronic brake distribution, anti-lock brake system, traction control and speedometer functions," the automaker said.  "This could result in a loss of vehicle control under certain operating conditions."  No accidents or injuries have been reported.

Industry News
Car sales in China to top 8M Car sales in China to top 8MAuto sales in China’s booming market are expected to reach 7 million units this year and grow by 15% in 2007 to top 8 million, a government news agency said today, citing an industry group.

Chinese drivers bought 6.45 million vehicles in the first 11 months of this year, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing Jiang Lei, deputy chairman of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales last year totaled 5.7 million vehicles, up 13% from 2005, according to the association.

China is the world’s third-largest auto market after the United States and Japan.

National Guard to sponsor Mears National Guard to sponsor MearsHendrick Motorsports says the Army National Guard will join longtime backer GMAC to sponsor the team's No. 25 Chevrolet for Casey Mears in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series.

"This is a fantastic day for our organization," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "We take an enormous amount of pride in welcoming the men and women of the National Guard and continuing our time-honored relationship with GMAC. These are two incredible groups that share our vision for the No. 25 team and its bright future."

"The National Guard is looking forward to joining the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports team," said Col. Mike Jones, chief of the Army National Guard's Strength Maintenance Division. "NASCAR continues to be a vital component of our recruiting and retention programs, and we believe this new relationship will further enhance our involvement in the sport."

The National Guard had been a sponsor for Roush Racing and driver Greg Biffle. GMAC has been a Hendrick sponsor since 1993.

New Indy Pro team in driver search New Indy Pro team in driver searchASA’s ProAutoSports Division is teaming with Colorado Indy Racing LLC to run a 2007 SPEEDWAY DRIVER SEARCH Program at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler Arizona. This program will run February 1-20th, 2007.

Larry Pond, Managing Director of ASA-ProAutoSports states “this will be an excellent program for drivers seeking a chance to compete in the IRL Pro Infinity Series. If you think you have what it takes to drive an Indy Car, this is your chance.”

Mike Lee, Director of Colorado Indy Racing LLC states “our program is simple. Each selected participant will be scheduled for several test sessions on a chosen day between February 1st through February 20th, 2007 at Firebird. All participants will drive one of our equally prepared IRL Indy Cars.” zzzz

He continues “entrants will be judged on several different categories by experienced drivers, team owners and other motorsports personalities. Upon conclusion of the testing, the judges will select 8 semifinalists.”

Larry Pond continues “the 8 semifinalists will race in the ASA-ProAutosports Pro-500 series for Indy Cars. There will be 6 races, three on ovals and three on road courses. These races will be held between March 1 and May 10th, 2007.”

He continues “the driver with the most points will be selected as the Team Colorado Indy Racing’s driver in the Pro Infinity Series. And added to that, the entire competition will be filmed for a reality TV show to be aired on national television.”

Mike Lee says “this opportunity is open to a limited number of selected entrants. The one time entry fee to participate is $3,995. This may be your chance, don’t hesitate, contact us now!”

Mike Lee
Larry Pond

T2M Motorsport Steps Up to LMP2 T2M Motorsport Steps Up to LMP2T2M Motorsport will be racing in the LMP2 class in 2007 – with a Dome S101.5 chassis.  The German/Japanese outfit signed an agreement with Dome to enter a prototype in the Le Mans Series and also submit an entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  T2M will be the first team to run the new Japanese LMP2 chassis.

"The craze of Japan around endurance racing remains so strong and the presence of Dome in this sport for several years is one of the symbols,” said Ieotshi Kaneko, CEO of T2M Motorsport. “As a Japanese team, I looked closely at the opportunity to enter a Japanese car in sports cars for some time. Not that I am not satisfied by the situation with Porsche, who always perfectly supported my team and with whom I have excellent relations, but simply because I wanted to settle a new challenge in endurance racing. In 2007, if our candidature is retained, it will be the 10th time when I shall return to Le Mans but it would be the first time without Porsche and the first one also with a prototype. It is thus a particularly exciting challenge!” zzzz

The Dome chassis will be the S 101 Hybrid example which Racing for Holland used in 2006, adapted to 2007 LMP2 technical rules.  Drivers as well as engine and tire partners will be announced in a later date.  With Kaneko’s team running the S 101.5 and Jan Lammers continuing to campaign a LMP1, Dome will be represented in both prototype categories in 2007.   

The team expects to receive delivery of the car by March to start intense testing in the south of France in April.

"We will probably not be ready for the tests of Le Castellet [Paul Ricard] because the team will have to assemble the car first, giving us not a of time to do so,” Kaneko added. “Our objective is nevertheless to be able to carry out a large testing program before Monza or Valencia.”

The Start of a New Era for Pacific Coast Motorsports The Start of a New Era for Pacific Coast MotorsportsOxnard, CA - Despite December storms and holiday travelers, Pacific Coast Motorsports transport drivers Greg Fulp and Scott Bowen delivered the team’s most anticipated Christmas present of all, the Panoz DP 01.  The drivers left Indianapolis on Wednesday with one goal in mind, to get the car to the PCM elves in time for a long day’s work prior to a short Christmas holiday.

Mission accomplished, the PCM crew arrived at the race shop with an extra spring in their step at 7:00 this morning, as today would be the start of something new, PCM is now, officially a Champ Car team!

The crew unpacked and parked the car in its sparkly new work-bay, as they examine every feature, from the paddle-shifting and gearbox to the suspension and body-work, it is the fourth car in four years for PCM and the crew is ecstatic!  For more photos, please click here.

Kimball to join Victory Engineering for World Series Kimball to join Victory Engineering for World SeriesAmerican Charlie Kimball will complete the Victory Engineering Team’s driver line-up for the 2007 World Series by Renault season. Kimball, 21, will join his old F3 Euroseries rival, Giedo Van de Garde on the grid for next year. Kimball joins Victory after a challenging year in the F3  Euroseries, which saw the American take a great victory at Zandvoort ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Kimball backed this up with two second places at Barcelona and Le Mans to finish 11th in the championship in an extremely competitive season.

Kimball began racing in 1997 in various regional kart clubs. In 2002 he moved into Formula Ford and in 2004 competed in the UK Formula Ford championship, where he impressed with two race wins and three pole positions. In the same year, he also won the New Zealand Formula Ford championship.

2005 was a landmark year for the young American, which saw him finish runner-up in the 2005 British F3 championship with Carlin Motorsport, taking five wins, six pole positions and setting two track records in his first season in F3.

Commenting on his new team Kimball said, “I’m thrilled to be signing with Victory Engineering. The team proved to be one of the front-runners last season, and I know this will continue next year. It’s an exciting challenge, entering my first season in World Series and I know that both the team and I will be capable of winning races from the start.”

Team manager, David Lowe said, “We are delighted that Charlie will be joining the team for next season. Charlie has a  great record in other championships and impressed us at the recent World Series tests with his determination and talent. I think we will have a very strong driver line-up with Charlie and Giedo next year, and as old rivals in the F3 Euroseries, I’m sure there will be healthy competition between the two which will push the team forward.”

GAINSCO Auto Insurance Continues Partnership with Bob Stallings Racing GAINSCO Auto Insurance Continues Partnership with Bob Stallings RacingDALLAS, TX — GAINSCO Auto Insurance, a leader in the nonstandard personal auto insurance market, will continue as the primary sponsor of the No. 99 Bob Stallings Racing Daytona Prototype for the 2007 Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series.

GAINSCO began its affiliation with auto racing in 2005 to increase marketing efforts among insurance professionals in key sales regions. Recognizing championship motorsports as a unique way to reach customers and business partners, GAINSCO initiated its “Are You Driven?” campaign to enhance brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies.

The 2006 season was successful both on- and off-track for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing. The all-American driver lineup of Alex Gurney (son of American racing legend Dan Gurney) and two-time Toyota Atlantic Champion Jon Fogarty led 158 laps and earned one pole position and three podium finishes. The team finished sixth in the overall championship standings. zzzz

Simultaneous with the on-track success, GAINSCO used its off-track race program to expand business relations with insurance agents. The company entertained more than 1,500 key business partners at six races and sponsored its first event, the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Phoenix, where the company hosted a tent party for nearly 500 agency owners and employees.

“The racing sponsorship is a core component of our brand identity,” said Andy Jordan, Vice President of Corporate Marketing for GAINSCO. “The car provides a symbol of excellence and performance that reflects our company’s commitment to those same ideals, and the races allow us to bring our agent partners into close contact with our brand. The increasing success of the team mirrors GAINSCO’s growth and success since we began the sponsorship.”

To expand awareness of both the company and race series, GAINSCO has added a show car program for 2007. The show car, a retired 2006 No. 99 race car, will appear at dozens of insurance conventions, races, community festivals, and agent events throughout the year. GAINSCO expects the car to generate enthusiasm among race fans, policyholders, and agents alike, providing an up-close view of the technology and strategy that go into high-speed road racing.

“We’re excited about the 2007 GAINSCO show car program because we believe we can generate excitement among agents and customers while extending the GAINSCO brand,” said Jordan. “The program will greatly expand the footprint of our message, as well as allow us to pursue cooperative marketing opportunities with agents that would not have been possible before.”

GAINSCO also hosts the online portal for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing. Launched in May, www.GAINSCOracing.com is home to “Club 99,” the official fan club for the No. 99 team. Membership is free, and allows fans to access special content and contests, including behind-the-scenes videos, giveaways, downloads, fan polls, fan photos, and more.

As GAINSCO enters its third season of partnership in Grand American Road Racing, expectations for continued success remain high. The No. 99 team is expected to contend for race victories and pole positions as they battle for the 2007 Rolex Championship, beginning with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, January 27-28, 2007.

Steve Johnson to speak Steve Johnson to speakToronto – Thom Dickinson, President of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame (CMHF), announced that Steve Johnson, President of the Champ Car World Series, will be the honored Guest Speaker at the annual induction Gala. Mr. Johnson, who will share some of his experiences and valuable knowledge in managing professional racing programs, will also help welcome 11 impressive Canadians at the CMHF’s black tie ceremony on February 10, 2007. Nine awards will be given when new members are inducted and recognized for their outstanding achievements as Competitors, Builders, Significant Contributors and Team Members in Canadian motorsport. The honorable members for 2006 are:

Inductee Category Discipline
Bob Atchison Builder Drag Racing
Alec Bennett Competitor Motorcycle Racing
John Bird and Bruce Simpson Competitors Rally Racing
John Duff Competitor Oval and Road Racing
Lorne Leibel Competitor Boat Racing
Dan Marisi and Jacques Dallaire Builders All
Ted Powell Competitor/Builder Road Racing
Lloyd Shaw Competitor/Builder Oval Track Racing
Robert Theoret Competitor Boat Racing zzzz

The Gala ceremony and dinner, including a Silent Auction, will be held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto located at 123 Queen Street. Individual tickets are $220 each, and a table of 10 can be purchased for $2,200. Tickets purchased prior to December 31, 2006 are $195 each and a table of 10 is $1,950. Tickets may be purchased by calling 905-876-2454, or by visiting the CMHF website at www.cmhf.ca.

The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame makes up one of the largest motorsport collections in Canada, housing more than 20 racing cars, boats and motorcycles. It also holds an extensive archival collection, some of which will be on display at the annual induction dinner.

The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame was established in 1993 to honor and recognize the achievements of those who have made significant contributions to Canada’s rich and colorful motorsport history. Since its inception, more than 125 people have been inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame including Greg Moore, Scott Goodyear and the legendary Gilles Villeneuve. In 1999, the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame combined with the Canadian Automotive Collection and operates as a charitable organization that is funded by in-house events, individual donations and corporate sponsorships.

Fernandez gives back on talk show Fernandez gives back on talk showPopular racecar driver Adrian Fernandez, who will pilot the No. 15 Lowe's Acura Lola in the American Le Mans Series next year, appeared on Univision's "El Show de Cristina" recently to help make "So?ando Contigo" (Dreaming with You), a heart-warming quarterly special that makes impossible dreams come true, even more special. The entire 60-minute program was dedicated to making the dreams of five very special families come true this Christmas. Fernandez, who represented racing sponsor Lowe's, presented a total of $25,000 in gift cards to two worthy families. 

The first family Fernandez surprised gave birth to conjoined twins and has overcome many struggles including a successful separation of their twin daughters. Fernandez and Lowe's provided $15,000 to improve the family's living space and also presented brand new Fridigiare Elements appliances.

Fernandez then dug out another $10,000 in Lowe's gift cards to reward a tight-knit family from Nicaragua known for giving back to their church and homeless shelters. The gift cards will go toward the purchase of all new appliances and other home improvement needs.

"The holiday season is a time for sharing joy and laughter among friends and family, and the look on each person's face today is a testament to how joyous an occasion this truly was," said Fernandez. "We hope these gifts will make a real difference for a lot of good people. I'm just proud to have been a part of it and I'm thankful to Lowe's for supporting such a meaningful cause."

Q and A with Sebastien Bourdais Q and A with Sebastien BourdaisAfter testing for Renault back in 2002, Sebastien Bourdais had almost given up waiting for another opportunity to drive a Formula One car. Then in November, Toro Rosso asked Bourdais to test in Jerez and after a four-year absence, the three-time Champ Car champion found himself back in a Formula One cockpit. Although the Frenchman is adamant he will defend his Champ Car title in America next season, he freely admits nothing quite compares to Formula One racing.  More at Formula1.com
ISC in stock buy-back plan ISC in stock buy-back planThe board of leading US motorsport promoter the International Speedway Corporation has rubber stamped a share repurchase program. The board of the company which owns or operates 11 of the US’ major venues – among them the Daytona International Speedway in Florida - has authorized the stock buyback scheme under which the company can purchase up to $50m of its outstanding Class A common shares.

ISC chief executive officer James C. France said: “Our decision to repurchase shares is testament to our confidence in ISC's strong financial position and the significant visibility of our future operating results.

“Combined with the continued successful execution of strategic initiatives designed to capitalize on both internal and external growth opportunities, we believe our capital allocation strategy reflects a balanced approach that will enhance shareholder value and further position the company for long-term success."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Regazzoni buried in Switzerland
Williams not 'B' team - Toyota
Don't write off Massa says Montezemolo
Alonso 'fast' in maiden test - engineer
Dumped Monteiro vows to comment 'soon'
Renault confirm departure of light blue
Sutil to earn $330,000 - report
Bourdais rules out STR seat in 2007
Bridgestone play down 'red rule' likelihood
Spyker to also miss January tests
tv news
TV reminder for Saturday TV reminder for SaturdayPerhaps the best racing movie of all time: Grand Prix (1966) 7:30pm-12:00am ET on SPEED
racing news
KONI celebrates 150th year KONI celebrates 150th yearKONI, the world leader in shock absorber technology, celebrates its 150th Anniversary in 2007 with a number of important associations and product announcements:

For the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship season, Team McLaren Mercedes has confirmed that it will run with dampers provided by KONI. The announcement marks the start of a long-term relationship that sees KONI become Official Supplier of Automotive Dampers to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

In North America, KONI Shocks and Eibach Springs have pooled their engineering talents, combining KONI’s new Frequency Selection Damping technology with Eibach’s Pro-Kit springs, providing consumers with a single, complete solution to improving ride, handling and driver control.

And finally, KONI North America will increase its role in motorsports in 2007 as the title sponsor of the former Grand-Am Cup Series, now called the KONI Challenge.

Both racing ventures will serve as test beds for new product, as well as showcases for the international company.

Koni becomes official supplier of McLaren Koni becomes official supplier of McLarenESSEN, GERMANY – For the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship season, Team McLaren Mercedes will run with dampers provided by KONI. The announcement marks the start of a long-term relationship that will have KONI become Official Supplier of Automotive Dampers to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

“We are delighted that KONI is joining our world class group of Official Suppliers by working with us to integrate what we believe is the next generation in damping technology to our race car,” said Jonathan Neale, Managing Director, McLaren Racing. “We have been running with KONI dampers since the San Marino Grand Prix in the 2006 season, and there has been a focus in our test program on collaborative development between ourselves and KONI with regards to FSD dampers. We are looking forward to continuing this relationship into the 2007 Championship.” zzzz

“I’m very pleased about our Official Supplier position with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2007,” said Henk Kromhout, Marketing and Sales Director, KONI Worldwide. “KONI has been an official supplier to Formula One racing since 1958, and its important to our racing and R&D efforts to align with Team McLaren Mercedes.

“Team McLaren Mercedes’ engagement in the joint development of our breakthrough suspension technology, Frequency Selective Damping (FSD), has been inspiring and our engineering teams have made such impressive progress during the last six months, that we expect FSD to be a major differentiator,” Kromhout continued. “At the start of the 2007 season, KONI will have been in business for 150 years and our entire company is looking forward to challenging for victory with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in this season of our anniversary.”

Rolex 24 looking at huge field Rolex 24 looking at huge field
F1 legends pay last tribute to Clay Regazzoni F1 legends pay last tribute to Clay RegazzoniFormer Formula One racing driver Clay Regazzoni, who died in a car accident in northern Italy last week, was laid to rest in Switzerland following a funeral service attended by motor racing legends.

Former world champions Jackie Stewart, who branded Regazzoni as being crazy when he ran him off the track while battling for second place in the 1972 German Grand Prix, Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda, as well as ex Sauber-BMW team owner Peter Sauber, joined about 1,000 mourners at the main basilica in the southern Swiss city of Lugano.

Sixty-seven-year-old Regazzoni, whose F1 career ended after a crash that left him paralyzed below the waist, died in an accident involving two other vehicles on the Milan-Bologna motorway last Friday. zzzz

Regazzoni, a native of Lugano, competed in 132 Grand Prix between 1970 and 1980, winning five races and five pole positions, and finished second to Fittipaldi in the world championship in 1974.

Councilors in the Swiss city are planning to name a street or a square after Regazzoni, who was known as the tough guy of the circuit and despite being exonerated by an inquiry over the death of English driver Chris Lambert in a Formula Two race in The Netherlands in 1962 but has never been forgiven by Lambert's father. AFP

track news
Mazda Raceway's latest Board of Directors Mazda Raceway's latest Board of DirectorsMONTEREY, Calif. - The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), the not-for-profit organization that operates the five major racing events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, today announced the results of recent elections of the officers and board of directors for the 2007 50th Anniversary season.

SCRAMP officers for 2007 include Ken Lofink of Monterey as president, Bruce Robertson of Monterey as vice president, Dean Fewtrell of Salinas as Treasurer, Bill Robertson of Salinas as secretary, and Don Ask of Carmel Valley as past president.

SCRAMP President Lofink, beginning his second year in this his third term as president, has lived on the Monterey Peninsula since the track opened in 1957 and has been involved with SCRAMP for over 35 years. He has served on numerous committees and held various officer positions with the organization.  He owned Kajel Designs furniture and lighting business before moving into real estate 20 years ago.  He is presently associated with Central Coast Properties. Lofink has been involved with many community organizations over the years including the 20-30 Club and Monterey Host Lions Club.  He started and ran the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon on the Monterey Peninsula for several years, has been involved with the Crosby/AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for over 25 years and presently sits on the Board of the Monterey County Hospitality Association. zzzz

The SCRAMP Board of Directors for 2007, the track’s 50th Anniversary, consists of the officers listed above and the following individuals: James Alit, Carl Anderson, Jim Coldwell, George Covell, Greg Curry, Kathy Hayworth, Bruce Herrmann, Terry Kendall, Tom Kincheloe, Harlan Lee, Ed Magner, James McCord, Mark Mendoza, Allen Mulholland, Ginger Mutoza, Carlos Noriega, Jeff Olinger, John O’Neal, Bill Reichmuth and Dr. Richard Weiss.

The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) has operated Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since its opening in 1957. SCRAMP is a not-for-profit organization chartered to benefit local charitable and non-profit groups, and to promote Monterey County economic vitality.  Race events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca have resulted in more than $12 million being distributed to Monterey Peninsula and Central California groups for youth programs and community service projects and have generated more than $1 billion in revenue for area businesses.  Today SCRAMP is one of the most important economic and charitable organizations in Monterey County.

May 18-20 U.S. Sports Car Invitational featuring the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
July 20-22 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix featuring the MotoGP World Championship
Aug. 18-20 34th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presented by Toyota
Sept. 15-16 AMA Superbike Championship
Oct. 19-21 Monterey Sports Car Championships featuring the American Le Mans Series

Industry News
Crash Test Dummies Feature Latest in Microelectronics Crash Test Dummies Feature Latest in MicroelectronicsMILFORD, Mich. - Crash test dummies still haven't learned how to talk, but they can now remember what happens to them on their oh-so-frequent bad days.

The five newest anthropomorphic test devices - crash test dummies - purchased by General Motors Corp. come with internal data recorders capable of collecting 10,000 samples of crash data per second for each of the 24 data channels.

"We have progressed from data recorders the size of phone booths 10 years ago to the size of a shoe box that we put on the vehicle," said Jack Jensen, engineering group manager in charge of the ATD laboratory at GM's Milford Proving Ground.

"Now, that same capability has been reduced to the size of a cell phone and is contained on the dummy itself."

The dummies, which cost about $125,000 each, were manufactured by First Technology Safety Systems in Plymouth, Mich. GM's purchase of the so-called i-Dummies is the largest order to date. The "i" refers to integrated electronics. zzzz

The dummies were prepared initially for use in GM's new rollover crash testing facility. Injury readings are taken from the new dummy's head, upper and lower neck, chest and pelvis to help researchers and engineers understand what causes injuries in a rollover crash.

"These dummies aren't encumbered by 50 pounds of wires and can move around more freely, the way a person would in a crash," Jensen said. "This shaves off some of the time needed to prepare a dummy. It makes for cleaner installation of the dummy and reduces bulk and weight in the vehicle being tested."

With fewer pieces and parts and an easily removable data recorder located near the top of the spine, the i-Dummy allows GM researchers to move the data pack from dummy to dummy for faster turnaround times in preparing for crash tests.

GM has a long history of innovation in crash-test dummies, including the development of the Hybrid III dummy in 1975. The Hybrid III is used throughout the automotive industry today and is the basis of the i-Dummy. GM

track news
Milwaukee Mile and Briggs and Stratton Team Up Milwaukee Mile and Briggs and Stratton Team UpTwo Milwaukee institutions, The Milwaukee Mile and Briggs & Stratton, have once again teamed up as corporate partners for the upcoming 2007 racing season at the historic speedway.

The Milwaukee Mile held it’s first auto race in 1903 – over a century ago – making it the world’s oldest active motor speedway. Briggs & Stratton Racing makes more racing engines than any other company in the world, with its corporate headquarters located in Milwaukee since the company was formed over 90 years ago.

“This partnership will further strengthen our Briggs & Stratton brand right here in Milwaukee and to a national audience with the visibility this opportunity provides,” commented David Klaus, Briggs & Stratton Racing Manager.

Briggs & Stratton is the world's largest producer of air cooled gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Briggs & Stratton designs, manufactures, markets and services these products for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide. zzzz

In addition, Briggs & Stratton Racing manufactures a complete line of racing engines for Karts, Quarter Midgets, Junior Dragsters, Bandolero cars and more. Every engine is hand-built by a dedicated team right here in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

“We believe this is a natural fit with the goals of Briggs & Stratton Racing, and we are proud to continue our association with one of the most trusted and visible brands in America,” stated Aaron Hart, Milwaukee Mile Vice President - Sales.

This is a renewal of a marketing partnership. The highly-visible Briggs & Stratton billboard along the backstretch of America’s Legendary Oval garnered over $330,000 in exposure during the various nationally televised auto racing events (source: Joyce Julius & Assoc., Inc Sponsors Report, 2006). This coming season, Briggs & Stratton will be among the growing number of partners who will benefit from all of The Milwaukee Mile major race events being televised live to a national audience.

Milwaukee Mile race tickets, public address announcements and other enhancements are also involved. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

To find out more about the exciting products produced and powered by Briggs & Stratton Racing, visit briggsracing.com.

For tickets and information regarding the 2007 season at The Milwaukee Mile, visit MilwaukeeMile.com.

Happy Holidays from Forsythe Championship Racing Happy Holidays from Forsythe Championship Racing
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the shop
The Team Forsythe crew was working nonstop.
Ford-Cosworths were hung on engine stands with care
In hopes checkered flags soon would be there.

The Bridgestones were nestled all snug in their racks
Ready for an all-out '07 attack.
Mechanics with their tools, engineers by their screens
Had just settled in to tweak their machines.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprung from my desk to see what was the matter.
When what with my eyes should I see from afar
But a sleek Panoz DP01 Champ Car! zzzz

With curves and wings and angles so slick
I knew in a moment it would be very quick.
Then, in a twinkling, I heard out in the back
A sliding bay door open up with a crack.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out the doors came the Forsythe crew with a bound.
They were all dressed in overalls, pressed with a crease
But not even tarnished in oil or grease.

They went to the car and caressed it with care;
Could a Vanderbilt Cup be hiding in there?
The crew -- how they grinned!  Their smiles oh so merry;
The new car is magic - thanks Kevin, Paul and Jerry!

They spoke not a word but went straight to their work,
Rolled the car up the ramp - then one turned with a jerk,
And laying a finger on top of a switch,
The door started down with nary a hitch.

He sprang through the door but then turned as he went,
And looked back at me, his eyes with a glint.
I heard him exclaim, as he went out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Best wishes from Forsythe Championship Racing to all Champ Car fans, our fellow competitors, all series sponsors, suppliers, partners, officials and members of the media for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Forsythe concludes 2006 testing Forsythe concludes 2006 testingUPDATE Below are some photos of Indy Pro Series champion Jay Howard testing the Forsythe Lola Ford Champ Car.   Simon Pagenaud turned the fastest lap of the three drivers, though Howard was quickest through the fast corners.  Pagenaud has the $2M in his back pocket courtesy of his Atlantic championship, so he may have a leg up on landing the ride but we do know that a lot of drivers are clamoring for the open Forsythe seat.

12/14/06 Angleton, Texas – Forsythe Championship Racing concluded its 2006 testing program yesterday after spending two days at the MSR Houston Road Course with Simon Pagenaud, Adam Carroll and Jay Howard behind the wheel of their machines. The Team now returns to its Indianapolis based headquarters where it will eagerly await delivery of its brand new Panoz DP01 and prepare for its attack on the 2007 Champ Car World Series Championship.

Pagenaud, Carroll and Howard had to hold off their excitement an extra day as the test was postponed due to heavy storms in the Texas area. Once they finally got out on the track all three drivers completed a full day of testing logging over 150 trouble-free miles each. For Pagenaud and Howard this test marked the first time they got behind the wheel of one of these turbocharged 750 horsepower Champ Cars. Carroll already had some Champ Car experience as he tested with the RuSPORT Team and was selected to be a reserve driver for Justin Wilson at the 2006 Champ Car Finale in Mexico City.

Simon Pagenaud
“It was a very successful test, I’m very happy with how it went! I really enjoyed working with the Forsythe Team, the mechanics the engineers, everybody was just great. By the end of the test I was very happy with the car, we just got faster throughout the day and whatever I needed they were able to give me. There’s definitely a huge difference between the Atlantic cars and the Champ Cars; the breaking in these cars is just unbelievable, it’s amazing how late you get on the brakes and how deep you can go into the corners. There is also huge downforce and the car is heavier so you have to be more aggressive on the turns, but you also have to be very smooth on the throttle, it’s just a great car to drive.” zzzz

Adam Carroll
“We couldn’t go out on track the first day because of the weather, so once we finally got out the next day the track was very green at it took a while to come in. After a few laps the track started getting better and we were able to work on the setup, at the end of the day the car felt great and we managed to put some very fast laps in, it was a very enjoyable day. The MSR Houston Road Course is quite technical; it has some very high speed corners where you can really feel the downforce of the Champ Cars and some slower sections where mechanical grip is more important. The Forsythe Team is a great bunch of guys, very easy going, and they do everything properly, you can see why they are a championship winning team.”

Jay Howard
“The test was fantastic! I have to thank the Forsythe Team for giving me the opportunity to run their car, it was great working with them, they know what they are talking about for sure. Driving the Champ Car is not as physically demanding as I expected, I was expecting it to be a lot harder in my arms. Because of the downforce you can feel a big difference between the slow and the fast corners, the steering just gets a lot heavier on the fast stuff and that’s something that I’ve never really experienced before with the cars I’ve driven. I also didn’t expect the brakes to be as powerful, it is unbelievable how quickly you can stop the car. The MSR Houston Road Course is quite busy, there’s a lot to it. It is very technical and there’s a few bumps that make it quite interesting, I would definitely advice people to test there.”

Phil LePan, Team Manager
“Overall it was a very good test. All three guys were very impressive; they got up to speed very quickly and were able to help us continue with our test program and everything we’ve been working on for the last month. We were also able to make some changes on the cars throughout the day that would suit each driver’s driving style and help them go faster. Now we’ll head back to our shop and get ready to start working on the new car which will be in our hands next week.”

Papis to drive for Krohn Racing in '07 Papis to drive for Krohn Racing in '07The Krohn Racing team announced its driver line-up today for its two-car effort in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Team owner/driver Tracy Krohn will again pair with Nic Jönsson in the #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley for the entire Daytona Prototype season. Joining them for the 45th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona will be fan favorite Boris Said.

Teaming in the #76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley will be young sensation Colin Braun, paired with 2004 Grand-Am Driver Champion Max Papis. Joining them for the Rolex 24 at Daytona is former Formula One driver JJ Lehto.

Team owner Tracy Krohn, of Houston, Texas, started the Krohn Racing Daytona Prototype team in 2006, after racing a couple of years in the Grand-Am Series. “We’re ready to get the new season underway and get back to Daytona with a great line-up of drivers. A Top Five finish last year with the new team was great, but we’re coming back to win this year,” said Krohn. zzzz

“We’re pleased with the drivers we’ve compiled for the year and Daytona,” said Krohn Racing Team Manager Jeff Hazell. “We’re very glad to welcome Colin and Nic back to the team, as well as adding Max as a full-time driver for the season. Boris helped us attain a victory at Watkins Glen in 2006 and we’re glad he’s joining us for the 24 Hours. Adding JJ and his endurance experience for the Rolex race is another asset for Krohn Racing.”

Krohn Racing’s Jörg Bergmeister captured the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Driver Championship in 2006. Additionally, Krohn Racing was second in the DP Team Championship, quite an accomplishment for a new team.  Krohn released Jörg from his 2007 Krohn Racing drive to permit him to fulfill his wish to represent a German manufacturer.

Braun collected two victories, five podiums and finished in the Top 10 in all 11 Grand-Am appearances in 2006. The young American driver missed being co-champion with Bergmeister due to be prohibited from driving in three races because of his age of 17 years old. The versatile Italian, Max Papis, was the 2004 Grand-Am DP champion and served as an additional Krohn racing driver twice last season. The former Formula One and CART driver also has two Indy 500 appearances and has won both the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring (class victory), along with a podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Jönsson, a Swede, and Krohn first paired in 2004 and have been teammates since. They had 12 Top 20 finishes last season, including a fifth-place finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Nic was a Touring Car and F3 champion before going sports car racing in 2001. Krohn, who only started racing five years ago at age 48, got his start in the Panoz Racing series.

American Boris Said is a name with which most everyone in racing is familiar. He’s raced sports cars, as well as NASCAR Cup, Busch and Truck and has a huge fan following. He joined the Krohn Racing team three times in 2006, including the 6 Hours at the Glen victory.

JJ Lehto, of Finland, competed in Formula One for five seasons and got his start in karts and rally driving before switching to single-seaters. He’s a three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, as well as taking victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

The 45th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona is scheduled for January 25-28, 2007 at Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Test Days run from January 4-6, 2007. For more information, please see www.grand-am.com.

Ralf wins Golden Arse award Ralf wins Golden Arse awardPlanet-F1's annual Golden Arse award goes to a man who is allegedly paid $22.5m a year. An incredible amount for someone who must rank behind Schumi, Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Button, Barrichello, Webber, Trulli and Coulthard in sheer talent. Neither does he keep his indiscretions solely to the racetrack, in the past he has had to hurriedly divest himself of investments in a company making sex aids.

In Bahrain he was busy asking his mechanics to make adjustments for Session 2 of Qualifying when they had to point out to him that he wasn't actually taking part in Session 2.

At the European GP he managed to take out both Red Bull cars with one solid nudge.

At the Canadian GP he continued to drive around and around when he was seven or eight seconds off the pace. Stopping would have been so much safer. His mobile chicane of a car was far more dangerous in the blind sections of the track, especially later in the race when taking avoiding action meant going off line.

Jacques Villeneuve came upon him at speed, went centimeters off line and his car 'hydroplaned' on the marbles and hit the barriers.

In Germany accidents in qualifying, the race and almost in the pitlane marked this out as yet another stand-out performance.

If you hadn't already guessed, the 2006 Golden Arse goes to Ralf Schumacher. Overpaid is not the word.

Three Acura teams complete 2006 testing Three Acura teams complete 2006 testingThe three new Acura-powered American Le Mans Series LMP2 sports car teams (Andretti Green Racing, Lowe's Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing) completed a successful three-day testing session Wednesday at the legendary Sebring International Raceway, site of the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring sports car classic set for March 17, 2007.

It marked the first appearance for an Acura-powered Series sports car on the famed 3.7-mile, 17-turn road circuit as the three racing operations prepared for their competition debut in this year's 12 Hours of Sebring.

Andretti Green Racing sported the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura Courage LC75 with drivers Bryan Herta and Marino Franchitti at the controls during Monday and Tuesday's tests, while Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz drove the No. 15 Lowe's Acura Lola B07/40 for the Lowe's Fernandez team. Former Sebring winner David Brabham piloted the new No. 9 Highcroft Acura Courage LC75 during the three days of on-track action. zzzz

The new Acura American Le Mans Series engine (a 3.4-liter, normally-aspirated V-8) is the first racing powerplant designed and developed by Honda Performance Development (HPD) of Santa Clarita, Calif., American Honda's wholly-owned racing subsidiary.

The Acura teams worked on initial teething issues on the road course in the opening day as they ran in both day and night conditions. The Acura engineering staff, led by Joe Capelli, was pleased with the team's first round of laps on the prestigious Florida track.

"We were pleased with the first testing runs of the new Acura American Le Mans Series cars at Sebring," said Capelli, the senior engineer for HPD's sports car program. "We were becoming accustomed to the track as it was our first time here. Sebring is a unique and historic track and we were able to learn about the cars, engines and track surface. We look forward to our next Sebring test in January."

Acura-powered race cars have been victorious in the past at Sebring with the CompTech Racing team taking the 1993 12 Hours of Sebring in the Camel Lights division with lead driver Parker Johnstone.

The three Acura-powered organizations will return to Sebring International Raceway on Jan. 22-24 for the third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test session that will include competitors from all four sports car classes.

track news
Guard arrested for stealing Earnhardt's suit Guard arrested for stealing Earnhardt's suitA former Texas Motor Speedway security guard surrendered to police in connection with the theft of a racing suit worn by the late NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Sr.

After Fort Worth police obtained an arrest warrant for him, James John Karl, 44, of North Richland Hills, went with his lawyer Monday to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, where he posted a US$1,500 bond and was released, police Lt. Dean Sullivan said Wednesday.

Police filed with Denton County prosecutors a charge of theft of $500 to $1,500, Sullivan said. The Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. More at AP Article

track news
Nevada company buys Nashville track Nevada company buys Nashville trackLJ&J Enterprises of Tennessee Inc., the company that operates the Music City Motorplex, has signed a contract to be acquired by a Nevada motorsports company.  American Racing Capital Inc. is acquiring the racetrack through its subsidiary Motorsports & Entertainment of Tennessee. Under the agreement, Joseph Mattioli, president of LJ&J will serve as president of Motorsports & Entertainment. In addition to racing, LJ&J will continue to hold other events, such as concerts, and will continue to have the rights to food, beverage and merchandise concessions at the track. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The short-oval track was built 48 years ago and has been upgraded several times. It has the distinction of sending more drivers to NASCAR than any other track in the nation.

American Racing Capital's (Pink Sheets: ANRC) strategy is to buy interests in racing facilities, manage facilities and to be involved in the design and development of tracks for other owners. nashville.bizjournals.com

Q and A with Giedo Van der Garde Q and A with Giedo Van der GardeThe Super Aguri Formula One team recently confirmed Giedo Van der Garde as their third man for the upcoming 2007 championship season, however this is not the only commitment that the Dutch racer will have next year as he has also signed on to race for Victory Engineering as one of their team drivers in the 2007 World Series Formula Renault 3.5 Championship.

Speaking to the series’ official website, Giedo spoke about the upcoming season and what he is hoping to achieve and how he will juggle the two roles….

How did you get the deal with Victory Engineering?
My test in Valencia was really successful. The team and I worked perfectly together. Victory has proved to be a top team and I’m confident that this year we will achieve some good results.

What do you expect to learn from World Series?
As a professional driver I expect a lot because the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 car has a very nice package, especially the balance between the power and the chassis. You can do a lot of mileage with the car, and it has shown itself to be a real proving ground for drivers who want to succeed in Formula One. In this sense, I spoke to Vettel (Sebastian), who attended some World Series races last year and who will be one of the strongest title contenders in 2007, and he told me that both categories go quite well together. zzzz

How do you feel becoming the third driver for a Formula One team?
I feel really happy with this challenge and I want to thank everyone who supported me in achieving this goal. Formula One is the dream for every professional racer. I have a lot of SMS and phone calls congratulating me about my new job! It has been a very busy weekend for me!

Obviously it is going to be a busy year for you…How are you going to combine these two challenges?
My priority is Formula One and as a third driver I will have 1h30 of track time on the Friday of each Grand Prix. World Series is a good match with an F1 testing role because it keeps you in action all the time, and you race at some really good tracks.

When will you make your first ever outing in a Formula One car?
It will be in Valencia, on 30 January.

Carter leaves MWR heads to Roush Carter leaves MWR heads to RoushLarry Carter has left Michael Waltrip Racing to join Roush Racing, MWR general manager Ty Norris said Wednesday. Carter had been a part of building of MWR from the beginning and was slated to serve as crew chief for rookie #00-David Reutimann in 2007. He told Norris of his decision to leave shortly after Matt Borland was named crew chief for #44-Dale Jarrett earlier this month. Norris refused to call Carter's departure a setback. "We only need people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a period of time for the betterment of our company," he said Wednesday. "You're either in the mode to do it or you do not want to. There were a couple of people who were not willing to do it." Norris said Carter was given an out in his contract. Carter will be McMurray's fourth crew chief at Roush Racing in less than a year. McMurray began last season with crew chief Jimmy Fennig, then inherited Bob Osborne from Carl Edwards' team in April. Osborne returned to Edwards for the final two races and Wally Brown, who has since left Roush Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished out the year with McMurray. ESPN.com
Delphi to announce NASCAR plans Delphi to announce NASCAR plansDelphi Corp. will host a media open house on Monday, Jan. 8 from 3 - 5 p.m. at its exhibit at the Las Vegas Convention Center (#Exhibit 5206). Jeff Owens, president of Delphi Electronics & Safety and Francisco (Frank) A. Ordonez, president, Delphi Products & Service Solutions, will host the reception. Also hosting is: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. Kyle will be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans. Along with Kellogg's, Delphi was a major associate sponsor of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy driven by Busch during the past NASCAR season. Delphi will announce its 2007 sponsorship at the open house. During the event, a host of Delphi subject matter experts will be available for interviews and to demonstrate the new technologies. Yahoo Biz
Glock second BMW F1 test driver, GP2 as well Glock second BMW F1 test driver, GP2 as wellMunich/Hinwil - German Timo Glock (24) has been signed on as test driver number two for the BMW Sauber F1 Team during the 2007 season. He will be supporting team drivers Nick Heidfeld (Germany) and Robert Kubica (Poland) as well as Sebastian Vettel (Germany), who was already confirmed as a test and reserve driver for the team in October.

"We've known Timo for a long time already," explains BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "After all, he started out on his formula motor racing career in Formula BMW six years or so ago and won two titles. He's since enjoyed success and gathered experience in various different formulas, including Formula 3, Formula One and the Champ Car series in the US. In 2006 he performed extremely impressively in the exciting GP2 series. He will assist us with our testing work. There are no plans to involve Timo on the Fridays before the races." zzzz

Glock comments: "I got to know the team during my two test sessions in Barcelona and Jerez and I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the BMW Sauber F1.07 in 2007. Driving a Formula One racing car is quite simply the greatest challenge you can have as a racing driver. Formula One has always been my goal."

Alongside this, Glock will be contesting his second season in the GP2 series with the iSport team. He finished fourth in the closely-fought series in 2006, where drivers go head-to-head in 600 bhp 4-litre V8 machines. He notched up two race wins during the season and was on course for third place in the championship when an accident at Monza stopped him in his tracks. He was forced to watch Sunday's race from the sidelines after injuring his hand in the first race of the season's final weekend.

Glock was born on 18th March 1982 in Lindenfels in the Odenwald region of the state of Hesse and now lives in another Odenwald town, Brensbach-Wersau.

Career overview:

1998-1999 Karting
2000 BMW ADAC Formula Junior Cup: 1st place
2001 Formula BMW ADAC Championship: 1st place
2002 German Formula 3 Championship: 3rd place
2003 Formula 3 Euro Series: 5th place
2004 Formula One World Championship: 19th place, debut in Montreal, four starts as race and test driver for Jordan Ford
2005 Champ Car World Series: 8th place, Rookie of the Year
2006 GP2 series: 4th place

Spyker signs Sutil Spyker signs SutilSpyker F1 Team is delighted to announce that Adrian Sutil will partner Christijan Albers in the 2007 FIA F1 World Championship after signing a long term contract today.

Sutil, 23 from Munich, Germany, drove three Grand Prix Friday’s for Spyker in 2006 while concentrating on winning the tough and prestigious Japanese F3 Championship for the Tom’s Toyota team. In 2005 Adrian was runner-up to Champion and ASM team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the European F3 series.

Destined to follow his Uruguayan-born father into a musical career, Adrian trained and practiced as a concert pianist until he was 14: "when I discovered karting. From that moment on the sound of racing engines was the only music I wanted to hear. I really enjoyed being in the F1 Paddock this year", continued Adrian, "and to be honest I thought I would be a test driver in 2007. Colin Kolles and Michiel Mol have been fantastically patient and supportive while this package became reality. I look forward to repaying their faith in me but right now I’m just going to enjoy the best Christmas present ever." zzzz

Colin Kolles, Spyker F1 Team Principal: "This is a great signing for team but also a proud one for me personally. Adrian made his F3 debut with Team Kolles in 2004 and quite obviously had huge potential when he scored his first pole position in his third race. He has driven for two great teams since then and matured very quickly. Everyone at Spyker was hugely impressed when he drove for us in 2006 which is why we have worked long and hard to get him in the race team."

Michiel Mol, Spyker Director of F1 Spyker Cars BV: "Being able to sign Adrian on a long term contract is yet another strong signal of Spyker’s vision and commitment to rebuild the team around young and talented people. Adrian will grow with the team and will be a major asset as we target success in years to come."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Renault wanted Kimi says Kovalainen
Heidfeld wants to race longer than Schu
Kimi to make Ferrari debut in late January
Hamilton tipped for 'breakthrough' award
Mosley repeats threat to strip F1 licenses
Van der Garde to drive GP Fridays in 2007
Industry News
DaimlerChrysler to build Mexico truck plant DaimlerChrysler to build Mexico truck plantFreightliner LLC, a truck-making unit of DaimlerChrysler AG, said on Wednesday it plans to build a $300 million plant in northern Mexico.

Freightliner expects to break ground on the planned 1 million square foot (92,900.000 sq meter) site in the second quarter of 2007, with production expected to start in 2009. The facility, in Saltillo, Coahuila, will be able to build up to 30,000 commercial trucks per year and will employ 1,600 people, the company said in a statement.

The Portland, Oregon-based truckmaker said it is building the plant in anticipation of a rise in demand in 2009, when a new round of U.S. emissions regulations aimed at trucks will take effect. Reuters

Montezemolo puts pressure on Raikkonen Montezemolo puts pressure on RaikkonenFerrari president Luca di Montezemolo says Kimi Raikkonen must win the world championship for the Italian team next season.

"It must be said that in 2005 Raikkonen would have won the championship with a more reliable car," he told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He broke down five times, and he was always in the lead. So now he must understand this is the time to win the title.

"(Felipe) Massa goes extremely quickly and maybe he will be faster systematically. I hope they will both go quickly."

"We are ready to get back to winning ways. This way Jean Todt would be able to retire serenely and so would I. zzzz

"Schumacher arrived at the right time and now arrives Raikkonen, also at the right time."

"It happens to everyone to get drunk at times," he said. "(Eddie) Irvine was a bit like that too. It also happened to a guy from Kerpen, no matter how difficult it is to believe it.

"I'm not worried at all about Kimi. He is motivated and he has the right approach with Ferrari."

Allstate wins NASCAR award Allstate wins NASCAR awardAllstate was chosen today as the winner of the annual NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for the company that best distinguished itself in 2006, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports.

Staff writer Michael Smith says the insurance company, which is the title sponsor of the Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a sponsor with Evernham Motorsports and the official insurance company of NASCAR, beat out 59 other sponsors for the honor.

Previous winners were Office Depot (2005), Nextel (2004), Anheuser-Busch (2003), Fox/FX/NBC/TNT (2002), UPS (2001), K-Mart (2000), The Home Depot (1999) and Coca-Cola (1998).

Ganassi adds 2-car Indy Pro effort Ganassi adds 2-car Indy Pro effortUPDATE Here is the full transcript of the Ganassi announcement today.

12/20/06 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.–Chip Ganassi Racing announced today the expansion of its Indy Racing League program with the creation of a two-car Indy Pro Series effort set to contest the 2007 season. Young drivers Chris Festa and Pablo Perez will join the Indianapolis-based team’s stable of drivers which includes 2003 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon as well as 2005 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon.

“I am excited about this,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “Despite the fact that we are involved in a number of racing leagues, I am a big proponent of open wheel racing in the U.S. I feel it is a great form of racing and anything that we can do as an organization to help cultivate young talent in the cars and also in the garage is a benefit to us as a team and the open wheel racing industry.”

While Target Chip Ganassi Racing will enter its sixth season of IndyCar Series competition in 2007, this will be the team’s first time fielding a team in the Indy Racing League’s development series. Team Managing Director Mike Hull sees the launch of the team’s newest program not just as an extension of the Target Team’s IndyCar program, but a challenge in its own right. zzzz

“The Indy Pro Series allows us all to see the driver talent and future stars of open wheel racing,” said Hull. “It also enhances the talent this team has. This team has supported the development of young drivers for a long time and we’re always looking for those that are starting to show promise. We believe that Chris Festa and Pablo Perez are those drivers for us. The Indy Pro Series program is just another way to do that.”

“We’re doing this in support of the future of open wheel racing and the Indy Racing League,” added Hull. “This program will be managed in house, as it should be done. The Indy Pro Series isn’t just an extension of our IndyCar Series program, it’s a good place to race and see upcoming talent.”

Also collaborating with the team’s new Indy Pro Series program and bringing driver Pablo Perez into the mix will be John Della Penna. The former open wheel driver and team owner will be on hand to help facilitate the development of fellow Argentinean Perez as he takes his place behind the wheel of the no.10 CGR Indy Pro Series spec car as a rookie.

“I am very much looking forward to working with the Ganassi organization to make this program a success,” said Della Penna who will act as manager, driver coach and spotter to his young protégé. “I’m pleased to be charged with helping Pablo understand American racing and work with the team in developing his driver abilities. Chip and Mike are all about winning, so I know we are in good hands and we will have the best resources available.”

“I am very happy to join Chip Ganassi Racing as they are a great team, very competitive and proven consistent winners,” said the 24-year-old Perez. “I am also very excited about racing in the United States for the first time. Most drivers in Argentina always think about racing in Europe in Formula 1, but in my case, I always wanted to race in the Indianapolis 500. This is the first big step towards that ultimate goal. Racing in the U.S. will be a learning process and very different from anything I am used to, especially the ovals but I think it will be a lot of fun.”

Georgia native Chris Festa will take the helm of the no. 9 CGR Indy Pro Series spec car. This will be Festa’s third season of IPS competition after six top-five finishes for Sam Schmidt’s team in 2005 as a rookie, and two more top-five finishes in 2006 with Cheever Racing.

“This is a great opportunity for me as a driver to join a team of this caliber,” said the 21-year-old Festa. “Chip Ganassi has a great record of success in motor sports and the team always does everything first class. There will be a lot of testing opportunities for a young driver like myself. I can’t wait to get out there and compete for race wins and the championship. I think I can be an asset and help my teammate and team to develop the program faster.”

The 16-race schedule will feature seven races on ovals, two street circuits, and seven road course races. The Indy Pro Series will also expand to four doubleheader weekends including races on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in support of the United States Grand Prix in June.

Teams will compete for $3 million in prize money in cars that generate 420 horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph. The races are telecast to more than 88 million homes in the United States on ESPN2. Broadcast of the races will also be available through live webcasts on www.indycar.com.

The CGR team will take to the track with drivers Festa and Perez for the 2007 Indy Pro Series season opener on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ambrose to race in Cup in 2007 Ambrose to race in Cup in 2007Australian motor racing ace Marcos Ambrose will compete at the highest level of US motorsport next year when he competes in up to 10 NASCAR Nextel Cup events under the Team Australia and Aussie Vineyards banner.

Program creator and Australian businessman Craig Gore has finalized a deal with Wood Brothers-JTG Racing which will see Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards branding on the back quarter panel of Ambrose’s #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion for all 35 rounds of next year’s NASCAR Busch Series.

Part of the agreement will also see a full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in a minimum of two, and up to 10, NASCAR Nextel Cup events.

Ambrose will campaign the full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in Nextel Cup road course events at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California on June 24 and at Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York State on August 12. zzzz

The announcement was made in Australia today during Ambrose’s first trip home since January to visit family and friends.

An extension of the two-race Nextel Cup program will be evaluated by Gore and Wood Brothers-JTG Racing and will be influenced by results and further involvement from Australian companies looking to increase their US and global branding.

Marketing plans have already been put in place which will see Aussie Vineyards wine packaged with bags of Kingsford Charcoal in outlets across the US.

As a bonus for Australian fans, all of Ambrose’s NASCAR Busch and his Nextel Cup drives are set be shown in Australia next season.

“The confirmation of at least two NASCAR Nextel Cup races for me in 2007 is fantastic news,” said Ambrose.

“It is great that Craig (Gore) and his Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards program will not only be continuing with me as secondary sponsors on the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford next season, but that we will be flying the Team Australia colors in a minimum of two Nextel Cup events.

“Our learning curve continues to be a steep one in the US and I am certainly looking forward to working with the team at Wood Brothers-JTG Racing and Craig Gore as we take the next step forward in my NASCAR career.

“There is no doubt that NASCAR has become the pinnacle of world motorsport and I am enjoying the journey.”

Ambrose joined the NASCAR ranks this season after a successful V8 Supercar career in Australia where he won two championships for Ford.

He had not driven an oval race before his NASCAR Craftsman Truck debut at Martinsville in April, but he finished the season with two third-place finishes (Kansas and Nashville) and a pole (Kentucky) in his Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry.

Team Australia concept creator and Aussie Vineyards Managing Director Craig Gore said that the continued NASCAR relationships made sense because the sport is linked to one of the largest growing consumer wine markets in the world.

“The NASCAR program certainly worked for us this year and we look forward to cementing ourselves in the US market place with our continued association with Marcos and his #59 Kingsford Charcoal entry,” said Gore.

“Even more exciting for us is Marcos making his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut in a car that will have full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards naming rights sponsorship.

“The Team Australia program has experienced some proud moments in its short two-year history, but when Marcos rolls out in the Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in NASCAR’s Major League I think that will be our greatest achievement to date.

“NASCAR is the greatest sporting spectacle on earth and we hope to be a part of it with Marcos and Wood Brothers-JTG Racing for many years to come.”

Wood Brothers/JTG Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said that the Team Australia concept had created an enormous amount of interest, in and out of NASCAR circles in the US.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Craig Gore and the Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards program as ground continues to be made in the US market,” said Geschickter.

“Craig (Gore) and his team have really shown what can be achieved in this sport over the last 12 months and I am sure Team Australia, Aussie Vineyards and their partners will enjoy increased success as the Busch and Nextel Cup programs roll out in 2007.

“It was great that we could hook up to similar products like wine and barbeque charcoal both on and off the track and we hope we can provide many similar opportunities as more Australian companies join the Team Australia program.

“I think there are a lot of people looking forward to seeing Marcos make his NASCAR Nextel Cup road course debut. We all pretty well know what he achieved on similar tracks in V8 Supercar back in Australia.”

Ambrose’s current list of sponsors for the 2007 season include Kingsford® Charcoal, Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards, Hidden Valley® Salad Dressing, KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce, Bush’s Best Baked Beans and Glad Food Storage Bags.

Hamilton updates us on cancer battle Hamilton updates us on cancer battleMt. Juliet, TN – After many questions and rumored negative publicity NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton addresses all the supporters on his current cancer battle.  In August after extensive treatment from chemotherapy and radiation Hamilton and his doctors were optimistic about findings in his post-treatment CT Scan.  However, microscopic cancer cells still remained in the right side of his neck.  Since that time, Hamilton is continuing his chemotherapy treatment and has gone through several procedures to keep the cancer at bay.  

“There are two things that I’ve truly learned from an unfortunate battle like this.  One thing is that some people really go out of their way to sincerely support my battle.  The flip side to that unfortunately is people really use the circumstances to say or write the story based on complete speculation and don’t think about the repercussions it causes.  Cancer is an ongoing battle, and once you are diagnosed you always live with the thought of the disease in your body.  It is the worst thing you could ever imagine. zzzz

“For those people who have truly supported me, my family, Fastenal, Dodge, NASCAR, all of Bobby Hamilton Racing and the genuine people who truly support my diagnosis and battle, thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to believe in me and my organization.  This battle is a private matter for me and I have done my best to share it at my own expense.  So I don’t think it is my place to even acknowledge the rest of the negative people who have played on my unfortunate circumstances.

“I have great people surrounding me at BHR who really stepped up to the plate to ensure that my company is on the right track for 2007 and beyond.  We ended the 2006 season on a high note and made a great announcement adding my friend Ken Schrader to our No. 18 Fastenal Dodge.  We feel that his knowledge will help lead our rookie Chase Miller in the No. 4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge in the right direction.  We made some personnel changes and are really excited about 2007.  I’m still here, despite what people say, and I’m still calling the shots around BHR.  Our sponsors have been very understanding and their support is tremendous.  We will continue to be a championship caliber team.” 

As for his continued fight with cancer, Hamilton is certainly no stranger to tough battles, both on and off the racetrack. He knows cancer is not a foe that goes away easily, but is pushing himself daily to beat the disease.

“We are going to continue to search for the best available treatment for my form of cancer,” Hamilton said. “I have flown to several places for other opinions.  We know there are some of the brightest minds in the world working on a cure for cancer. I didn’t want to be labeled as a victim when I announced it and I sure won’t lie down and be a victim now.”

racing news
Daytona to host Porsche reunion Daytona to host Porsche reunionATLANTA, GA - Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and Daytona International Speedway today announced Porsche Rennsport Reunion III will take place at the famed Florida racetrack the weekend of November 2-4, 2007. Sponsored by PCNA and organized by Brian Redman's Intercontinental Events, Inc., Porsche Rennsport Reunion III is open to the public and brings together an unprecedented gathering of significant Porsche vintage and current racecars and those who have driven them to victory in the world's most famous sports car races.

It features a three-day program of on-track competition plus a concours d'elegance, which is open to the event's participants by invitation. In addition, special activities are planned honoring the series of awesome Porsche 917 racecars and commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the racing debut of the all-conquering Porsche 956/962 prototype racers.

Held at three-year intervals, the third edition of Porsche Rennsport Reunion returns to Daytona International Speedway following that track's highly successful staging of Porsche Rennsport Reunion II in 2004. On that occasion, more than 600 Porsche racecars and dozens of legendary Porsche race drivers participated in a truly memorable weekend dedicated to Porsche's motorsport heritage. zzzz

"Given the tremendous response to our last event there," said Peter Schwarzenbauer, president and chief executive officer of Porsche Cars North America, "Daytona International Speedway is the logical choice as the site for Porsche Rennsport Reunion III. It is filled with Porsche racing history and is one of the few tracks in America capable of conducting an event of this magnitude." Porsche Rennsport Reunion III will honor two of Porsche's most historic racing models - the Porsche 917 and Porsche 956/962.

In coupe form, the 12-cylinder 917/K was the first Porsche to score an overall win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, scoring back-to-back victories in the 1970 and 1971 editions of the French racing classic. Fitted with twin-turbochargers producing more than 1000 horsepower, the mighty open-cockpit 917/10 and 917/30 rocketed to Sports Car Club of America Can-Am championships in 1972 and 1973. These achievements by the 917 moved Porsche to the forefront of the sports car racing world. Since making its Le Mans debut in 1982 with a stunning one-two-three overall finish, the Porsche 956 and its 962 stable mate have established themselves as the most successful models in the history of international sports car racing.

Among their record number of overall victories spanning 14 seasons are seven in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, six in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and four in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Additional details of the Porsche Rennsport Reunion will be published on Porsche's press web site (www.press.porsche.com) and Daytona International Speedway's web site (http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/), as they become available. Ticket information is available by contacting Daytona International Speedway at 1-800-PITSHOP.

Krohn Racing Announces 2007 Plans Krohn Racing Announces 2007 PlansThe Krohn Racing team announced its driver line-up today for its two-car effort in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Team owner/driver Tracy Krohn will again pair with Nic Jönsson in the #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley for the entire Daytona Prototype season. Joining them for the 45th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona will be fan favorite Boris Said.
Teaming in the #76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley will be young sensation Colin Braun, paired with 2004 Grand-Am Driver Champion Max Papis. Joining them for the Rolex 24 At Daytona is former Formula One driver JJ Lehto.
Team owner Tracy Krohn, of Houston, Texas, started the Krohn Racing Daytona Prototype team in 2006, after racing a couple of years in the Grand-Am Series. “We’re ready to get the new season underway and get back to Daytona with a great line-up of drivers. A Top Five finish last year with the new team was great, but we’re coming back to win this year,” said Krohn. zzzz
“We’re pleased with the drivers we’ve compiled for the year and Daytona,” said Krohn Racing Team Manager Jeff Hazell. “We’re very glad to welcome Colin and Nic back to the team, as well as adding Max as a full-time driver for the season. Boris helped us attain a victory at Watkins Glen in 2006 and we’re glad he’s joining us for the 24 Hours. Adding JJ and his endurance experience for the Rolex race is another asset for Krohn Racing.”
Krohn Racing’s Jörg Bergmeister captured the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Driver Championship in 2006. Additionally, Krohn Racing was second in the DP Team Championship, quite an accomplishment for a new team.  Krohn released Jörg from his 2007 Krohn Racing drive to permit him to fulfill his wish to represent a German manufacturer.
Braun collected two victories, five podiums and finished in the Top 10 in all 11 Grand-Am appearances in 2006. The young American driver missed being co-champion with Bergmeister due to be prohibited from driving in three races because of his age of 17 years old. The versatile Italian, Max Papis, was the 2004 Grand-Am DP champion and served as an additional Krohn racing driver twice last season. The former Formula One and CART driver also has two Indy 500 appearances and has won both the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring (class victory), along with a podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Jönsson, a Swede, and Krohn first paired in 2004 and have been teammates since. They had 12 Top 20 finishes last season, including a fifth-place finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Nic was a Touring Car and F3 champion before going sports car racing in 2001. Krohn, who only started racing five years ago at age 48, got his start in the Panoz Racing series.
American Boris Said is a name with which most everyone in racing is familiar. He’s raced sports cars, as well as NASCAR Cup, Busch and Truck and has a huge fan following. He joined the Krohn Racing team three times in 2006, including the 6 Hours at the Glen victory.
JJ Lehto, of Finland, competed in Formula One for five seasons and got his start in karts and rally driving before switching to single-seaters. He’s a three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, as well as taking victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
The 45th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona is scheduled for January 25-28, 2007 at Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Test Days run from January 4-6, 2007. For more information, please see www.grand-am.com.
Thursday declared Bourdais Day Thursday declared Bourdais DayAt its Dec. 21 meeting at 3 p.m., St. Petersburg City Council will pay tribute to its local “Hometown Hero,” three-time defending Champ Car World Series champion Sébastien Bourdais. He will be honored by City Council with a proclamation declaring Thursday “Sébastien Bourdais Day,” a key to the city and special gifts.

Bourdais chose to become a St. Petersburg resident after competing in the 2003 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, his first racing season with the Champ Car season. That year, he earned the Rookie-of-the-Year title. Bourdais has won the Bridgestone Passion for Excellence Award in three of his four racing seasons, and won the Champ Car title for the third consecutive year last season (2004, 2005, 2006), leading the series with seven race victories. 
Testing continues for the IRL Testing continues for the IRLIt’s the final day of autumn, but IndyCar Series on-track testing continues. Danica Patrick turned the first laps in the Andretti Green Racing-prepared No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone on Dec. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway during a Firestone tire test.

Patrick, the 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year, moved to Andretti Green Racing in the off-season after two years in the IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Racing. She was joined on the 1.5-mile oval – host of the 2007 season opener in prime time March 24 – by Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, Vision Racing’s Tomas Scheckter and Andretti Green Racing Indy Pro Series driver Jonathan Klein. Zzzz

On the West Coast at the same time, Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon were participating in a Honda engine test at the California Speedway.

Beginning with the Open Test Jan. 31 at Daytona International Speedway, the Honda engines in every IndyCar Series car will be powered by 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol. Displacement was upped from 3.0 liters to 3.5 liters to provide longer engine life between rebuilds and additional mid-range torque for the diverse 17-race IndyCar Series schedule – from street/road courses to short ovals to superspeedways.
Synergy Racing's new IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge program Synergy Racing's new IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge programALTON, Va. – The Tatum family knows quite a bit about winning racing championships. Earlier this year, driver Nathan Swartzbaugh won the 2006 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge championship with Jerry (J.T.) Tatum as his crew chief. His son, Shawn Tatum, was nipping at dad's heels as crew chief of Mark Weber's Porsche, which finish third in the point standings. Now, the Tatum family turns its focus to 2007, as it hopes to bring its success in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge to Synergy Racing's new Utah-based program.
Synergy Racing announced in October it will open a racing facility at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah that will serve as the base of operations for the team's new IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge program. The Tatum family, who has worked with Synergy Racing for seven years and helped the team earn eight championships, will be an integral part of the team's new Utah-based program. J.T. and Shawn will serve as crew chiefs, while wife and mother Patsy continues her duties with the team coordinating drivers' needs at the track. zzzz
"The Tatum family is dedicated to success on the racetrack," said Cole Scrogham, Synergy Racing co-owner. "They've been a wonderful asset to our team over the past seven years, and I'm confident our IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge program will be a tremendous success with them at them helm."
"We are all looking forward to the 2007 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge season with Synergy Racing and the opening of the new facility at Miller Motorsports Park," said J.T. Tatum. "We hope to continue Synergy's championship-winning history in this new program."
Synergy Racing's new facility at Miller Motorsports Park is schedule to open in March 2007.
Provisional MotoGP entry list Provisional MotoGP entry listThe provisional entry lists for next year's MotoGP series have been released by the FIM, showing few surprises but beating Ilmor's public confirmation that Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt would ride its X3s.

1. NICKY HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team Honda
4. ALEX BARROS BRA Pramac d'Antin Ducati
5. COLIN EDWARDS USA Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha
6. MAKOTO TAMADA JPN Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha
10. KENNY ROBERTS Jr USA Team Roberts KR211V
17. RANDY DE PUNIET FRA Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki
19. OLIIVIER JACQUE FRA Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki
21. JOHN HOPKINS USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki
24. TONI ELIAS SPA Honda Gresini Honda
26. DANI PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda
27. CASEY STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati
33. MARCO MELANDRI ITA Honda Gresini Honda
46. VALENTINO ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamaha
50. SYLVAIN GUINTOLI FRA Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha
56. SHINYA NAKANO JPN Konica Minolta Honda Honda
65. LORIS CAPIROSSI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati
66. ALEX HOFMANN GER Pramac d'Antin Ducati
71. CHRIS VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki

Spyker partners with McGregor Spyker partners with McGregorSpyker F1 Team is very proud to announce a new sponsorship agreement for 3 years with McGregor Fashion Group. The agreement consists of a sponsoring agreement as well as a licensing agreement. McGregor will launch a fashion line to be named "Spyker F1 by McGregor" which will be available in retail Spring 2007. This is another important step in order to make the Spyker F1 brand stronger and more attractive. The company is one of the strongest growing European fashion houses.

The McGregor brand couples Scottish influences with specific characteristics of American leisurewear: "The best of both worlds". Scottish immigrants established the brand in New York in 1921.

Initially McGregor was a Sportswear (leisurewear) brand only. After a Dutch consortium acquired the brand, considerable effort was made to extend the brand. Beside the famous Sportswear collection, a Business Wear collection was launched. Since 2000 there is also a womenswear, junior and baby collection. The logo of McGregor will be on the rear wing endplates of the race cars and on the race overalls and team shirts from the start of the 2007 F1 season. zzzz

Michiel Mol, Director of F1 Spyker BV: "It is our aim to have strong and promising brands on our racing cars, brands that fit our strategy to become one of the most attractive F1 teams. McGregor is a famous brand with dominant distribution world-wide. We are happy that McGregor will use the Spyker F1 Team to increase their brand awareness and global presence. Outside this the "Spyker F1 by McGregor" line will support the Spyker F1 brand and bring it closer to the fans."

Jan-Paul ten Hoopen, Commercial Director McGregor: McGregor and Spyker share a unique heritage and "pure passion" for craftsmanship, design and exclusivity. We already had a close relation with the Spyker Squadron that is very successful. When Spyker Cars became the owner of an F1 Team we immediately decided that this would be a unique opportunity for us to make the McGregor brand even stronger. At the moment we are finalizing the new "Spyker F1 by McGregor" collection which will be launched Spring 2007. We are really happy with this co-operation and proud that our brand is associated with this unique project. We are looking forward to the launch of the new orange F1 car and we like to wish Spyker F1 Team lots of success with their mission.

Petersen/White Lightning switches to Ferrari for 2007 Petersen/White Lightning switches to Ferrari for 2007Petersen/White Lightning Racing announced that it will campaign a Ferrari F430 GT in the American Le Mans Series for 2007.  The two-time GT2 class Series champions have switched from Porsche to Ferrari machinery in pursuit of a third consecutive championship.

The Las Vegas, Nevada-based team will benefit from the highest level of factory support from the Italian manufacturer.  The F430 GT will be painted up in the team’s traditional neon yellow, red and white livery.  Michelin tires will be equipped on the car which the team expects to take delivery by mid-February.   

“We are very excited about the new chapter that is beginning at Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing for the 2007 season and beyond,” Team Owner Michael Petersen said. “To race a Ferrari has been a dream of mine ever since my father brought home his first Ferrari when I was very small. We’ve had great success with Porsche in the past and have made many good friends there and we wish them all the best. But, as things change, as they so often do, we were presented with an opportunity of a new partnership with Ferrari that we could not pass up.” zzzz

 “This is one of the most exciting days in the history of our team,” Team Manager Dale White said. “Ferrari is synonymous with motorsports throughout the world. To represent the legendary automaker in the American Le Mans Series is a great privilege. Mike and I see this as an opportunity to go from a longtime relationship to a long-term partnership. This move aligns us much more closely with a manufacturer.” longtime Porsche competitor, Petersen/White Lightning Racing captured 17 class wins, over 20 podiums and two wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Porsche 911.  It will now be a change to the Italian F430, but the goal remains the same: to win.  

“After winning the [GT2] Driver and IMSA Cup titles last year and all three championships in ‘05, we were presented a lot of interesting options,” White said. “We were approached by several manufacturers about entering their cars in GT2, in classes outside of GT2 and even outside the Series. But, we want to race in the most competitive series and in the most competitive class. That’s GT2. To win, you need to have a strong team and a close working partnership with a manufacturer. Ferrari has a strong appreciation of our program, what we have accomplished and what we hope to accomplish. Obviously, we share those same feelings about Ferrari. We are looking forward to working closely with Ferrari as a partner, not as a customer.”

“We were informed mid-way through last season that our drivers would be moved to other teams next year,” White added. “That left us in a difficult spot but with an easy choice once Ferrari laid out their ideas of a working relationship. They outlined what Mike and I have been looking for and the decision was made. It’s what is right for the team.”

“To be able to represent Ferrari in the American Le Mans Series is quite an honor for us,” Petersen added. “We are looking forward to an awesome partnership as it should be one hell of a ride.”

Full details regarding the teams driver lineup and sponsors will be released in the coming weeks.

Champ Car Teams Take First Delivery of New Panoz DP01 Champ Car Teams Take First Delivery of New Panoz DP01INDIANAPOLIS – Christmas literally came early for the 10 teams that expect to contest for the Champ Car World Series title next season as Santa Claus personally introduced each team to the Future of Racing this morning at Champ Car’s Indianapolis headquarters.

Champ Car teams from Michigan to California descended upon Indianapolis to take delivery of the new Panoz DP01 Champ Cars, which will serve as the exclusive car to the series in 2007. The newly-constructed cars arrived Monday in Indianapolis from the Elan Motorsports facility in Braselton, Georgia, and each team was greeted with a carbon-fiber machine distinguishable from the others only by a car number and a team logo affixed to the nose.

“We look at today as the actual start of the 2007 season,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “This has been an exciting process, watching the new Champ Car take shape. From the first design sketches to wind tunnel testing and now to see the cars going to our teams, it has been a very rewarding experience for all of us and I couldn’t be happier about the way our team as well as the team from Elan Motorsports Technologies have performed throughout the process. ” zzzz

Wednesday’s delivery completed a year-long process that carried the new Champ Car from design to construction and included a rigorous testing schedule that saw former driver Roberto Moreno put 2,500 miles on a single car during three weeks at Sebring International Raceway. After that the car went on the road, running exhibition laps in Australia and Mexico City before becoming the first Champ Car ever to turn laps in China, completing successful show laps at Zhuhai in advance of 2007’s inaugural Champ Car event.

“In all my years of experience in motorsport, I have never known a situation where a manufacturer was able to deliver as many as ten “all-new” race cars of this complexity before Christmas,” said EMT CEO David Bowes. “It is a tremendous feat and everyone at Elan should be proud of what they have accomplished. In just over one year we have designed, developed and built a prototype car, undertaken over two thousand miles of successful testing, and then built ten production cars. The plan is to continue on and build thirty-five cars before the start of 2007 season.”

“This has been a very rewarding process for all of us and to see the entire plan come to fruition today is something we can all be proud of,” said Champ Car Director of Technology Scot Elkins. “The thing that I am most proud of is the fact that the schedule we laid out almost a year ago has gone as close to plan as any project could go. It is a testament to the hard work of everyone concerned, not only at Champ Car and Elan, but also with all of our suppliers and partners.”

EMT and Champ Car will continue production of the new DP01 chassis, constructing batches of five cars at a time until the 2007 goal of 35 is reached. Meanwhile, Daryl Fox of the newly-christened Minardi Team USA summed up the feelings of the teams as he and some of his teammates were the first to roll their new cars out of the Champ Car warehouse and on to the trailer.

“Gotta go man,” Fox grinned. “Got work to do.” Champ Car

Wayne Taylor picks 13-year old Wayne Taylor picks 13-year oldWayne Taylor and SunTrust Racing have selected talented 13-year old Spencer Pigot to join the SunTrust Youth Racing Program as he moves into the JICA karting category for 2007. Spencer is a Florida resident and a multiple National and State Champion, winning a total of 31 races in his short career.

The FirstKart.com Team driver is set to compete in the 2007 Florida Winter Tour and Snap-On Stars of Karting East and West Championships. zzzz

“Wayne approached me after my Stars of Karting win at Newcastle this year” stated Spencer during a visit to the PRI Show in Orlando. “I was very surprised and excited when he offered to sponsor me and invited me to join the SunTrust Youth Racing Program. To be associated with Wayne Taylor and SunTrust Bank at this point in my racing career is a great honor. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Wayne and SunTrust for their offer of support, it means a lot to me and I hope to bring them and First Kart some great results in my first year of JICA competition.”

“I would personally like to thank Wayne for his interest in Spencer” added Spencer’s father, Barry. “It’s wonderful that Wayne Taylor and SunTrust recognize the importance of helping young drivers come up through the ranks of motor racing. With their support of karting, IRL, Grand Am and NASCAR SunTrust is truly the “Official Bank of Motorsports.” We will be proud to carry their colors next season.”

Chevrolet to power Tony Stewart Racing in ’07 and beyond Chevrolet to power Tony Stewart Racing in ’07 and beyondChevrolet will power and sponsor Tony Stewart Racing's entries in the United States Auto Club (USAC) and the World of Outlaws Sprint Series for three years beginning in 2007 it was announced Monday, December 11, 2006 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. Two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart (center) is flanked by drivers Levi Jones (far left), Tracy Hines (left center), Paul McMahan (far right) and General Motors Racing Director Mark Kent after the announcement. General Motors/Ron McQueeney
Industry News
Sneak Peek: All-New Cadillac CTS Coming Soon Sneak Peek: All-New Cadillac CTS Coming SoonDETROIT, Mich. - Ed Welburn, GM Vice President, Global Design (left) and Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman, Global Product Development, provide a sneak peek of the all-new 2008 Cadillac CTS, which will be fully revealed at Detroit's North American International Auto Show in January. The performance luxury sedan is scheduled to begin production in late-summer of 2007, with worldwide sales to follow in the fall.

Cadillac's first-generation CTS built a strong record of success on many levels since its inception in 2002. Cadillac sold more than 60,000 copies in the U.S. in 2005, compared to roughly 38,000 in 2002, an increase of more than 50% over that period. There are roughly 275,000 CTS owners worldwide, and industry researchers say they are among the most satisfied in the automotive market. AutoPacific rated CTS as the top Entry Luxury Car in its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards in 2006.

F1 launch dates F1 launch datesFour teams have confirmed when they officially will unveil the cars they will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other Grand Prix events in 2007.

The launch dates and locations: Toyota, Jan. 12, Köln, Germany; McLaren-Mercedes, Jan. 15, Valencia, Spain; BMW Sauber, Jan. 16, Valencia, Spain; Renault, Jan. 24, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

NASCAR and ESPN team up for sponsor search NASCAR and ESPN team up for sponsor searchNASCAR has recruited broadcast partner ESPN to help it secure a new sponsor for its Busch Series after Anheuser-Busch confirmed it would end its title deal at the end of the 2007 season.

The asking price for the new deal is set to cost around $30m a year according to some analysts – three times that of the current deal.

Anheuser-Busch this week said it would be renewing its agreement at the end of the current agreement.

Now NASCAR chiefs have called on ESPN to help find a new partner.

NASCAR’s director of business communication Andrew Giangola said: “No one could come up with another example of league and broadcast partner selling a sponsorship.

“We will join forces to find the right series sponsor to support our efforts and elevate the series.

“The Busch Series will have more of a presence on ESPN, so we're going to be looking for a national brand that's going to promote the series.

“The Busch Series is an extremely strong motorsports property. It's a significant opportunity for a company to gain $100 million in brand exposure. It's a unique situation, because the company is literally branded to the sport.”

PGA follows NASCAR lead with playoffs PGA follows NASCAR lead with playoffs[Editor's Note: This trend isn't lost on AutoRacing1.com who for years has said that the way to put Champ Car and the IRL back together is to have two divisions under a single ownership umbrella with a playoff system to determine an overall champion. This would invigorate fans on both sides and still allow each side some autonomy. Both would have to run to the exact same set of rules and specifications.]

Given its persistent problems with slow play, one would think that golf would be the last sport to have something important in common with auto racing. But 2007 is going to see a big change in the PGA Tour, one inspired by NASCAR.

The big finish to the NASCAR season is the pursuit of the Nextel Cup. A few years ago the powers that be created the Nextel series of events as a way to maintain the popularity of auto racing with spectators and especially TV audiences well into autumn when football is dominating U.S. sports action. The plan has worked fairly well.

The PGA Tour has been facing the same problem. Once the last putt falls in the PGA Championship in August, interest in professional golf wanes. There is a spike in September when the Ryder Cup in even-numbered years and the Presidents Cup in odd-numbered years take place. After that, though, it had been all downhill even though the PGA Tour season didn’t end until the Tour Championship in early November. A sure sign of how that event – consisting of only the top 30 moneymakers of the year – has diminished in significance is that both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson didn’t bother to show up. zzzz

The purses of the early to mid-autumn tournaments didn’t reflect the decline in audience interest. The first-place check was still in the $800,000 and above range. That meant sponsors and the TV networks still had to ante up similar money to what they were paying for June and July tourneys even though millions of eyeballs had switched from golf to football. This couldn’t continue, especially with a new TV contract, set to take effect in 2007, being negotiated.

So Tim Finchem and his crew at the PGA Tour took a look at what NASCAR was doing and decided to imitate the racing folks. It has partnered with FedEx to create the FedEx Cup, and the new PGA Tour schedule has been arranged accordingly.

There are to be 39 events in the 2007 “regular season,” culminating with the Tour Championship September 13-16, a good six weeks earlier than its previous position. The top players such as Woods, Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, and Vijay Singh have to be happy with this because on September 17 they can go home and stay there to count all their cash, or focus on special events, corporate outings, and even the “after season” tournaments during autumn to rake in even more cash.

Like the Nextel Cup, the FedEx Cup has a big payoff – a $10 million prize at conclusion of the Tour Championship. The way it works is, during the course of the “regular” season that concludes in September, players will accumulate points based on how they finish in tournaments and especially the four majors. The player with the most points is presented with the big bucks. Inevitably, there will be some confusion because up to 2007 ultimate success for the year – and usually Player of the Year honors – went to the guy who earned the most money. However, in ’07 it will be possible for two different players to have collected the most money and the most points.

Because the regular season has been shortened and because even Woods and Mickelson won’t want to pass on a $10 million check, there is less room for the top players to take weeks off, meaning we are more likely to see them competing against each other week after week. The PGA Tour did something else smart: During the last few weeks of the schedule, tournaments will be held in three major metropolitan areas – New York (Barclays Classic), Boston (Deutsche Bank Championship), and the Championship Series in Chicago.

As a result, Finchem was able to pull a $3 billion rabbit out of his hat – the amount the networks will pay the PGA Tour during the new TV contract that begins next month. One downside for viewers, however, is that the money proved too steep for ABC and ESPN and thus they won’t be covering PGA Tour golf. Vastly increasing its coverage is The Golf Channel, but not all cable TV systems carry it. Hamptons.com

Bourdais beats F1 drivers Bourdais beats F1 driversUPDATE Sebastien Bourdais, the three times Champ Car champion drove for Toro Rosso for three days last week, and posted lap times that were faster than 2006 race driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, and still quicker than Scott Speed. Only when Liuzzi stepped over to the superior Red Bull sister car did he go fractionally faster.

Those performances left team owner Gerhard Berger to tell autosport.com that, "Yes, he is definitely in the frame for 2008, but not for 2007, as he has a contract in Champ Car. I would like him to honor that, absolutely."

12/15/06 In F1 you are always compared to your teammate, and although Sebastien Bourdais had not driven an F1 car in four years, the three-time Champ Car driver proved to turn the fastest lap in the Toro Rosso car after three days, beating the time of both regular drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed. Yes, Liuzzi did turn a faster lap on the third day but that was in the faster Red Bull Ferrari team sister car, not the lowly Toro Rosso car. In equal cars Bourdais had the measure on both Speed and Liuzzi proving that within three days Champ Car drivers can be as fast or faster than the team's regular F1 drivers.
Edwards surprised by turn of events Edwards surprised by turn of eventsTo say that new Forsythe Atlantic driver, 15-year old American John Edwards (standing on right next to teammate Robert Wickens), has had baptism by fire in his racing career may be an understatement. He explains how twice Red Bull has moved him up into the next higher rung of the racing ladder unrepentantly.

"The past couple years have had a lot of unexpected turns. I was supposed to be karting in Europe, and then one driver got released so I moved up to replace him at a very young age. I was the youngest driver in the series by a couple of years. It was a pretty steep learning curve. I started off at the back, worked my way forward. By the end, I won a race in the North European Championship. I was honestly expecting to be in another year of Formula Renault just because of my age, where I had been so far.

"I was really ecstatic to hear that I was going to be with Forsythe because obviously driving the same car for two years, you're not going to learn much about the car in the third year. To hop into a car that has so much downforce, with a team that teaches you everything you need to know, it's great because, again, it's another really a steep learning curve. In only four days I've learned really just so much. The Forsythe program has really helped us both."

Likewise his teammate, Canadian Robert Wickens, was surprised to learn that Red Bull was moving him up to the Atlantic series with the Forsythe team.

"Obviously, being a Canadian, getting the opportunity to be a part of Forsythe, really it's an honor. In Denver when I was fortunate enough to sign the contract with Forsythe and Red Bull, I was speechless just being at the same table with Gerry Forsythe. Everything has just pretty much a dream come true. I find myself pinching myself making sure I'm not sleeping."

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