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DATE News (chronologically)
Larry Curry to Conquest  According to AR1.com sources, Phil Howard a veteran manager in Indy Car Racing has been let go by Conquest Racing and our sources tell us that that Conquest hired recently fired from Dreyer & Reinbold Larry Curry in his place.
Suzuki pulls out of MotoGP?  The decision is not yet official, but according to e-magazine GPWeek.com "In response to a deadline set by Dorna, the axe finally fell on the on-again/off-again Suzuki MotoGP team last Friday, with the factory decision to pull out of the premier-class."

GPWeek adds that an email to team members from Paul Denning states that Suzuki hopes to return to MotoGP in 2014.

Alvaro Bautista, Suzuki's only full time rider this year, has already signed for Gresini Honda, but ex-Pramac Ducati rider Randy de Puniet posted impressive lap times while testing the 800cc GSV-R at Valencia. The Frenchman made clear he'd like to race the bike next year.

Suzuki last won the premier-class title with Kenny Roberts in 2000, but has taken just one race win - with Chris Vermeulen at a wet Le Mans in 2007 - during the four-stroke era. The team's most recent podium appearance was at Brno in 2008.

Should Suzuki withdraw it would reduce manufacturer participation in MotoGP to Honda, Ducati and Yamaha, although a new class of privateer 'Claiming Rule Teams' (CRTs) are being introduced to boost grid numbers for the start of the new 1000cc era in 2012.

The departure of Suzuki is also likely to send John Hopkins to World Superbike, alongside Leon Camier at Denning's Crescent Suzuki team. crash.net

Blown exhaust caused Vettel puncture  (GMM)  According to a media report, a reason for Red Bull's dominance in 2011 could also explain Sebastian Vettel's mysterious retirement from the Abu Dhabi grand prix on Sunday.

Italy's Autosprint reports that the damage to the back to back world champion's rear Pirelli tire on the second corner of the race could be related to Red Bull's blown exhaust solution for its RB7 car.

"The tire was not cut (on the curb) or damaged by debris," read the report.  "So what happened?"

After the race, Vettel went to the scene of the puncture to conduct his own analysis. More ...

What’s Chevy Doing in Grand-Am in 2012?  UPDATE See this Hot News item for today's announcement by Chevy.

11/14/11 On Tuesday, November 15, Chevy is holding a press conference about... well, we’re not sure yet! It involves Grand-Am for 2012.  Stay tuned.....
Baltimore GP in jeopardy  UPDATE #5 This NY Times article is more bad publicity for IndyCar.  IndyCar, meanwhile, has been pressing for a reorganization of Baltimore Racing Development in the interest of continuing the grand prix.

“When things don’t go as everyone would like, it tarnishes the IndyCar brand,” Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League’s commercial division said. “We take that very seriously.”

11/08/11 Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office declined to say on Tuesday whether it would search for new promoters of the Baltimore Grand Prix if current organizers don’t meet a deadline to pay its debts.

If Baltimore Racing Development can’t pay off more than $1.5 million in debt owed to the city by Dec. 31, city officials said Monday they would terminate a five-year deal with the group to operate the open-wheel street race.

“We are not going to get into hypotheticals,” Ryan O’Doherty, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said in an email when asked if the city would look for someone new to run the race. O’Doherty said the mayor’s office had no additional comment beyond its statement issued Monday.

In the statement, Deputy Mayor Kaliope Parthemos said Baltimore Racing Development has not honored the terms of its contract with the city and “must immediately restructure and recapitalize or sell itself to investors in order to make the event profitable in the future.” More ...

Sebring and Petit to lose WEC status - "Too many backmarkers in way"  UPDATE
ALMS boss Scott Atherton is said to be 'spitting mad' at the ACO for shunning the Petit LeMans to be part of the WEC
Not only will the American Le Mans Series' Petit Le Mans not be part of the new FIA World Endurance Championship next year, but the eight-race WEC calendar announced over the weekend features a race in Bahrain on Oct. 20, 2012--the same date as the ALMS' season-ending 1,000-mile endurance race at Road Atlanta.

Petit Le Mans was for the past two years part of the WEC's forerunner, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, and its exclusion from the schedule has irritated ALMS president Scott Atherton and Krohn Racing's team manager.

"From the beginning of discussions on the concept of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup through its evolution into the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the American Le Mans Series has worked to assist the [Automobile Club de l'Ouest] in advancing our sport on a worldwide basis," Atherton said in a statement issued Monday to Autoweek. "While we have agreed with the ACO that Sebring would be the opening round of this new championship, we were still in discussions with them regarding the 2012 Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. More ...

Novo Nordisk re-signs with Kimball and Ganassi  
Charlie Kimball at Long Beach in 2011
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
Rumor has it that Chip Ganassi Racing has secured the support necessary to keep its four IZOD IndyCar Series teams in 2012 having signed Novo Nordisk to full primary sponsorship of the team's No. 83 car to again be driven by American Charlie Kimball.  The deal is said to be multi-year. 

Unfortunately, Novo Nordisk is not yet committed to activate their sponsorship with TV advertising, which would be frowned upon in NASCAR.  TV activation is what IndyCar needs sponsors, all sponsors to do.  We hear they are committed to continuing to activate at the track with their Drive to Switch program.

Hornish return to Cup?  Sam Hornish could be back in a Sprint Cup car by 2013, team owner Roger Penske said Sunday.

"That would be the goal,'' Penske said of the three-time IndyCar Series champion, who won his first NASCAR event on Saturday when he took the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. "That kid is a heck of a driver."

Penske admitted he made a mistake by rushing Hornish from the IndyCar into the Cup series fulltime in 2008 with little experience in NASCAR's lower series. Hornish drove only 11 Nationwide races before his first Cup season and drove only nine during his three seasons of Cup. More ...

Instead of replacing it's driver, #88 team still searching for a miracle  [Editor's Note: Every year there is one excuse or another why Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not winning.  He has changed teams, Hendrick has given him every winning crew chief they could find, but still he can't get the job done.  No one in NASCAR wants to come out and say their biggest star is really just a backmarker despite having the very best equipment.]

Now comes word that #88 crew chief Steve Letarte says teams expect to reevaluate rosters after every season. "I'd be really surprised if we had the same guys that we started this season with," Letarte said Saturday. More ...

Chevy, Road America and IndyCar  UPDATE #6 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with the announcement Friday of Road America's full schedule, which does not include IndyCar.

11/07/11 With several races still up in the air to complete the 2012 IndyCar schedule, rumor has it that IndyCar is again talking to Road America, the superb, four-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, about the possibility of running a doubleheader with the American Le Mans Series in August - ALMS on Saturday, IndyCar on Sunday.

09/22/11 The chance of IndyCar coming to Road America next year remains, but it's "a long shot at this point," track president and general manager George Bruggenthies said.

It's not for a lack of interest or for lack of a title sponsor but because of the difficulty finding a date that would work.

"Mr. Bernard is working on some foreign events, maybe two Brazil races, and he doesn’t know the dates of those," Bruggenthies said Wednesday, referring to IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "That’s part of his business plan because those races pay for a lot of the rest of the schedule and help us. So it was more the date than the money. Absolutely.

"We wanted to put them on the Sunday following American Le Mans, which I think we were the first promoter to have that double-header. That’s why we expanded the paddock (for 2007), where we literally had American Le Mans Saturday and then (Champ Car) on Sunday. And I think our fans would like that. That was kind of my plan, but August was really kind of busy for Randy. That’s really the way it went." More ...

Ecclestone considers Concorde offer for Ferrari  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone could be planning to pull $100 million out of the coffers to give the negotiations over F1's next Concorde Agreement a kick-start.

In 2005, amid the teams' threats that they would give up on the income offered by formula one and set up their own series, Ecclestone pulled off a masterstroke by paying Ferrari $100 million to sign up.

Ferrari was selected by the F1 chief executive due to its arguably indispensible value to the sport, and indeed the breakaway threat duly folded.

Now, seven years into the future, talks about the period beyond 2012 are getting set to move into high gear. More ...

Busch could be out at NASCAR. IndyCar anyone?  UPDATE #5
Kyle Busch is too talented to be racing in NASCAR and props up the failing Truck and Nationwide series by racing and winning in them, helping both series to survive. 
AR1.com's sources were correct.  Kyle Busch will compete in the final two Sprint Cup races but without primary sponsor M&Ms as the sponsor of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Sources said Busch will be sponsored by Interstate Batteries in Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway and next weekend's finale at Miami-Homestead Speedway. The decision ended several days of speculation that Busch would be parked for the final two races or possibly lose his job with Mars Incorporated, M&M's parent company, displeased with his behavior and threatening to pull out. Officials at Mars Inc. did not immediately respond to emails inquiring about the company's relationship with Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing past this season. ESPN

Statement from M&Ms: Mars, Incorporated announced that they will be removing Kyle Busch from driving the M&M'S car for the remaining two races of the 2011 NASCAR season as a result of the incident during last Friday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The car will not run with the M&M'S paint scheme until 2012, at which time Kyle Busch will be the driver with the expectation that no future incident take place. More ...

IndyCar could be in Qingdao, China by 2012  UPDATE #8
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement by IndyCar.

09/06/11 As we stated in this original rumor back in 2009 (see below), the plan is for the authorities to build the world’s biggest motorsport oval, with a crowd capacity of 400,000+, which will be about 15 percent larger than Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The aim, no doubt, is to emulate the success of the Indianapolis 500, for a Chinese audience. As the work will take a few years to complete the Qingdao authorities are planning to have IndyCars racing on the streets in order to build up a fan base before the big new speedway is completed.

08/29/11 "The agreement has been negotiated, but we never announce anything as complete until it is officially complete, signed, deposit secured," president of IndyCar's commercial division Terry Angstadt said. "And we're very hopeful that will happen by next Friday. That's our schedule. I'd put it at a 90/10.

"It's a big process - we're dealing with a pretty big institution over there. But we're very hopeful, we think it's the right market, we've had a lot of excitement from our team owners when we asked where we should go, so we're hopeful." More ...
New IndyCar a dud?  UPDATE Will Phillips, IndyCar's VP of Technology tells SPEED.com, “The car isn’t going as fast as we wanted or expected and we’re trying to identify why."

In Speedway trim, the 2012 Dallara suffers from a few different issues that the series is working to resolve before the mid-December delivery date.

The immediate concern is the disappointing performance of the Dallara at the Speedway last week, where Dario Franchitti and Kanaan tested for two days.

And, while the top speeds were only between 208-216 mph for either the Honda or Chevy-powered drivers, it was more a product of the car’s handling than a question of power.

“The focus of concern is with weight distribution,” said Will Phillips, vice president of technology for the IZOD IndyCar Series and the midwife of the first new car in a decade for this series.

“The car is too good on entry and suffers understeer on [corner] exit and it’s the same complaint from Dario and Tony that Dan [Wheldon] gave us after the first test.

“So the car isn’t going as fast as we wanted or expected and we’re trying to identify why the theoretical world doesn’t match real world at the race track. At very high speeds, we have disparity in the data.” More ...

Hold-up on 2012 IndyCar schedule  UPDATE #3 Turns out that IndyCar announced the China race to be held August 19th next year.  See Hot News page for announcement.  The schedule below has been updated.

11/09/11 Here is what we think will be announced for the 2012 schedule.  We have a gut feeling the China race is now dead so IndyCar is looking for a replacement race.
  1. March 25 - St. Petersburg, FL - street/airfield course
  2. April 1 - Birmingham, AL - road course
  3. April 15 - Long Beach, CA - street course
  4. April 29 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - street course
  5. May 27 - Indianapolis, IN - oval track
  6. June 3 - Detroit, MI - road course
  7. June 9 - Ft. Worth, TX - oval track (Sat night TWIN race 1)
  8. June 9 - Ft. Worth, TX - oval track (Sat night TWIN race 2) 
  9. June 23 - Newton, IA - oval track (Sat night race)
  10. July 8 - Toronto, Canada - street course
  11. July 22 - Edmonton, Canada - street course
  12. August 5 - Lexington, OH - road course
  13. August 19 - Qingdao, China - street course 
  14. August 26 - Sonoma, CA - road course
  15. September 2 - Baltimore, MD - street course
  16. September 15 - Fontana, CA - oval track (Sat Night Race)
  17. October 13-14 - Las Vegas, NV - oval track (could become night Street Race)
    Others Possible Rent-A-Track deals
    Phoenix - Oval track
    Milwaukee - Oval track
    Kentucky - Oval track
    Porto Alegre, Brazil - street course (IndyCar wanted too much money)
    Bold = Confirmed Date
11/09/11 Indy Star's Curt Cavin reports that IndyCar has reached out to Phoenix Raceway boss Bryan Sperber about the possibility of holding a race at that 1-mile oval, a certain recipe for disaster - another oval race where you will be able to shoot a cannon in the grandstands and not hit anyone.  If true then IndyCar is getting desperate in their bid to artificially fill the 2012 schedule with oval races that have proven time and time again to be failures for IndyCars.  One would think that lesson was hit home when IndyCar tried to give away 80,000 to 100,000 free tickets to the Las Vegas race and hardly anyone showed up.  It was embarrassing to say the least, and that was before Dan Wheldon was tragically killed.  Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Albert Einstein

Does that mean IndyCar should give up oval races?  No.  It means you cannot hold an IndyCar race in a market already oversold with NASCAR races and expect to come out looking like anything but a loser.  If IndyCar wants to rent tracks, it should rent places like Road America where it is not oversold with NASCAR and you don't have huge grandstands full of fans dressed as empty seats.

11/08/11 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Randy Bernard said the 2012 IndyCar schedule would be announced on Friday in Las Vegas.  The only thing announced that weekend with regard to the 2012 schedule was that it was in a state of flux.  Then he said it would be announced within 2 weeks.  That never happened either.  Will there be a 2012 IndyCar season?  Dan Berkowitz

Dear Dan, We suspect the schedule is still not done and hence the holdup.  Speculation is that there are issues with Texas (Gossage wants to pay less now that Texas is not the race right after Indy), or China (maybe it won't happen and Randy has to find a replacement), or Road America (outside chance of a doubleheader with ALMS in August), or the 2nd Brazil race (it apparently could still happen), or Las Vegas (given the financial bloodbath - minuscule crowd - on the oval, the street race must be considered.  It's safer too.), or Baltimore (it could go away because the race lost money because of startup costs.  Either race organizers pay the city and other vendors what they owe or you can kiss this race goodbye) or all of the above.  Then, they have to coordinate the race dates with TV timeslots, and most of them are already taken for 2012.  Mark C.

track news
NYSE to kick Dover Motorsports out  With its NASCAR business in a tailspin due to dwindling ticket demand, Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced that it has been notified by the New York Stock Exchange that it must regain compliance with the NYSE's continued listing standards for total market capitalization and shareholders' equity. The Company is currently considered below criteria for the continued listing standards because, as of November 1, 2011, its 30 trading-day average market capitalization was $42.3 million, which was less than the $50 million required, and its stockholders’ equity as of September 30, 2011 was $40.9 million, also less than the $50 million required.

Under NYSE rules, the Company has until December 19, 2011 to submit a plan to the NYSE to demonstrate its ability to achieve compliance with the continued listing standards within 18 months. The Company intends to submit such a plan. During this time the Company’s common stock will continue to be listed on the NYSE, subject to the Company’s compliance with other NYSE continued listing requirements.

Rosberg to earn EUR 50m with new contract  (GMM)  Nico Rosberg's new Mercedes deal is for the next four years and will earn him almost EUR 50 million by 2015, the major German daily Bild reported on Thursday.

Earlier, Mercedes announced that the 26-year-old - who was already scheduled to stay at the Brackley based team next season - has extended his stay for 2013 and beyond with an unspecified new multi-year deal.

Bild said Rosberg, with his new contract reportedly running through 2015, "will earn around EUR 12 million" per season.

Former Constellation exec may be Baltimore Grand Prix's top CEO pick  Baltimore Racing Development LLC is considering a former executive of Constellation Energy Group Inc. to become its new CEO, according to a top official from the IndyCar Series.

Terry Angstadt, president of IndyCar’s commercial division, said the organizer of the Baltimore Grand Prix is in talks with Felix J. Dawson to replace Jay Davidson as its chief executive. Davidson stepped down as Baltimore Racing Development’s CEO after the inaugural event ran in September.

Pete Collier, Baltimore Racing Development's COO, wouldn't deny that organizers were in discussions with Dawson.

"We’re in the interview process, looking for the best candidate," Collier said. More ...

Schumacher extends Mercedes deal for 2013  (GMM) Michael Schumacher has extended his Mercedes deal for another season, the German weekly Sport Bild reports.

The 42-year-old's existing contract was set to run only until the end of next season, but Sport Bild said the seven time world champion is now staying at least until the end of 2013.

"There is no reason why Michael should not continue," said team boss Ross Brawn.  "He's very valuable to the team and has not lost his edge."

Schumacher hinted that he is not yet ready to return to retirement. More ...

Murdoch's F1 takeover bid 'still alive'  UPDATE #7 (GMM)  Rupert Murdoch's interest in bidding to buy formula one might not be dead, according to the financial news agency Bloomberg.

Amid the News of the World and phone hacking scandal in the UK, News Corp's interest in F1 together with the Ferrari-linked Exor company was believed to have receded.

But Bloomberg cites a "person familiar with the situation" as reporting that the bid to buy the sport's commercial rights from CVC was "very much alive" just weeks ago.

And the source said Murdoch's son James, and Exor's John Elkann, are still "actively courting" the F1 team bosses "and working on a 5 to 10-year business plan" for the sport.

News Corp and Exor refused to comment, as did CVC.

But their apparent renewed interest in F1 could be linked to the beleaguered chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who on Wednesday will appear in Munich as a witness in Gerhard Gribkowsky's corruption trial. More ...

Davison (and Yacaman) to test for Andretti team  UPDATE #2
Gustavo Yacaman
Correction: Andretti Autosport announced today that driver Gustavo Yacaman will test the No. 28 (not the No. 27) 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series car on Nov. 10 at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla.

Yacaman, a 20-year-old from Cali, Colombia, recently finished the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights season in fourth place with one win and nine top-10 finishes. In 2010, Yacaman recorded four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in the Firestone Indy Lights. During his rookie year in the series in 2009, he secured two top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes in 14 races, despite missing one race due to a back injury.

Yacaman began karting at a young age in his homeland, winning numerous Colombian and Bogota city karting championships in various classes. In 2005 at the age of 14, he won the Stars of Karting title in the Junior ICA division. The following year, he was named Rookie of the Year in Spanish Formula BMW after finishing fourth in points. Yacaman then moved on to compete in the Spanish Formula Three Championship for several years, recording two wins and several podium finishes. More ...

Toyota shut out of championships, eyeing exit strategy from NASCAR?  
The grandstands were less than half full for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Texas
This is the first time since 2005 that Toyota has been totally shut out in driver and manufacturer championships in NASCAR's top 3 series.  Toyota does not appear to be putting in the investment needed to win consistently anymore, and much like they did in F1, will soon walk away from NASCAR. 

With its reputation being damaged week in and week out by losing to Ford and Chevy teams, Toyota could already be planning their exit, taking with them the most talented driver in NASCAR, Kyle Busch, to IndyCar where they used to compete and win.  They still sponsor the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The grandstands were so empty for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race they must be asking themselves what are we doing here?

Rosberg eyeing Ferrari switch? Denied  UPDATE #2
Nico Rosberg Ferrari bound?
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has rubbished suggestions he is close to switching to Ferrari.

It is believed the German remains under contract to Mercedes through next season, but speculation has linked him with Felipe Massa's Ferrari seat alongside Fernando Alonso.

One report even said Rosberg, 26, recently visited the famous team's Maranello headquarters. “This is all nonsense," he is quoted by the DAPD news agency. "I was not at Maranello.” Rosberg said his goal is to stay with Mercedes for the long term. “My dream is to win with the Silver Arrows," he said. More ...
Road America to add NASCAR Truck race  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  The all-but-done deal to bring the Camping World Truck Series to Road America next season is done, but not in that way. Done, as in over. Not going to happen.

“You don’t know how close we were,” George Bruggenthies, president of the Elkhart Lake track, said Thursday evening. “We had very senior management was working on this event for us. There’s only so much time in the day; I guess that’s what it came down to.”

NASCAR and the track had hoped to package the truck race with the Nationwide Series and Grand Am on the weekend of June 23-24.

The hang-up? TV. More ...

Danica still open to Indy 500 go  Danica Patrick said at Texas Motor Speedway Friday that the Dan Wheldon tragedy will not affect her decision about possibly competing in the Indy 500 next year, if the opportunity is right.

"I'd love to," she said. "It's the greatest race in the world and I still have memories I want to create there."

[Editor's Note: Won't happen.  NASCAR frowns upon having it's stars help out the popularity of a competing series.]

Tracy trying to lineup a Honda team  
Tracy has a few $million and is looking for a Honda team
With continued sponsorship from Honda Canada awaiting Tracy, his first choice amongst teams would naturally fall within the Honda camp. Looking at the Honda-related landscape for 2012, Tracy’s options appear to be limited, but he’s reportedly spoken with a number of owners, regardless of engine affiliation.

“Honda’s chosen four teams so far, and other than that, they haven’t made final announcements on anyone else; Chevy has their teams and who knows what’s up with Lotus. My preference is a Honda team because I have sponsorship with Honda of Canada, so that’s my top priority, but until everyone knows exactly what engine they’ll have, it makes it hard to let negotiations get too far down the road.” More ...

Chevy may add more IndyCar teams  UPDATE #3 This announcement confirmed Rahal will run Honda power in 2012 and Ed Carpenter/Tony George will announce more details of their program next year, and we have more info that the team will definitely have Chevy powerplants. Click 'More' to see latest engine tally.

11/03/11 One source tells AR1.com, "I see Ed Carpenters team aligning with Chevy. The Hulman-George family has had a long relationship with Chevrolet since Gaston won the Indy 500. This year’s race was paced by Chevy when all of the competitors were powered by Honda and take a look at how many Chevys have paced the race over the past 50 years. I would be surprise if his team did not have Chevy power."  We also switched Dragon Racing over to Chevy because Roger Penske would want his son's team to also run Chevy.  That may leave Dale Coyne with Lotus engines.

Bobby Rahal has a Honda dealership, so it's assumed he will get Honda IndyCar engines
11/03/11 Updated the table below based on this rumor.  Some reports have the 2-car Rahal team running Honda power because Rahal has a Honda dealership and his son Graham will also have Honda engines with Ganassi. 

We assume the Ed Carpenter team will get Lotus engines and we are dropping KV Racing down to two cars because we think Honda will put Takuma Sato with another team, perhaps Foyt or Schmidt.  If Rahal does get Honda power than Coyne will get Chevy or Lotus engines, we are assuming Chevy, which puts them at 12 cars with Honda. More ...
Rahal to move team to Indy  Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing could be making a new home in Indianapolis, team co-owner Bobby Rahal said Wednesday.

The team long based in Hilliard, Ohio, is considering an Indianapolis base because of the financial incentives offered by Indiana entities. Rahal said he will field a two-car team with the engine partner -- likely Honda -- and drivers to be named later.

Rahal vowed to have "two competitive drivers." He is proud that his team, which won the Indianapolis 500 in 2004 with Buddy Rice, took drivers such as Rice, Michel Jourdain Jr., Danica Patrick and Bertrand Baguette when other teams would not.

Rahal's organization, which operates a BMW sports car team, has not competed full time in IndyCar since 2008. It nearly won its second 500 this year with Baguette, who pitted for fuel as the leader with three laps left, and fielded rookie Pippa Mann in three late-season oval races. Indy Star

Calendar uncertainty good for Turkey  (GMM)  This week's events have raised the possibility Turkey could return to the F1 calendar next year.

The race has been dropped from the 2012 calendar because the Istanbul organizers and Bernie Ecclestone could not agree to a revised sanctioning fee.

But we reported in September that, given renewed uncertainty about Bahrain's return to the calendar next year, Turkey "is on standby" for 2012. More ...

Muscle Milk team to expand in 2012  "We learned a lot this past year and it's only served to make us stronger as a group," says Muscle Milk Team boss Greg Pickett. "We're looking forward to building on these past experiences as we enter 2012 with one goal in mind, that of winning the championship."

Pickett is currently hard at work finalizing plans for the upcoming season, but an announcement in regards to part of its 2012 program can be expected next week with more news in the weeks to come.

One task that Pickett has already taken care of was that of naming a new team manager. Muscle Milk Pickett Racing's Chief Engineer Brandon Fry was appointed Team Manager last week and will be taking on both roles. Fry has been with the team since 2010 and has played a huge part in the team's success.

Additionally, looking toward 2012, the Muscle Milk team has expanded its full-time employee base and is promising a bigger presence both on and off of the track.

Rahal and Carpenter teams add to 2012 IndyCar car count  The car count for the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR series got a nice boost Wednesday when SPEED learned that Bobby Rahal is returning fulltime with two cars and Ed Carpenter is starting his own team.

“We’ve ordered two cars and we’re going forward with the plan of competing fulltime with the possibility of a third car at Indianapolis,” said Rahal, who partners with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan.

“I can’t gut my BMW team (that runs a factory GT program for the German manufacturer in the ALMS) so right now I’m looking for people and I’m talking with several drivers. We’re pretty close on several sponsors and Dave and Mike are pumped up and so am I.”

Bertrand Baguette damn near stole this year’s Indy 500 for Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan (“we came within two laps,” said Rahal) before making a late stop for fuel.

“We’ve had good runs with Graham (Rahal) and Oriol (Servia) as well and I still feel like we’re capable of fielding competitive cars,” said the three-time CART champion. More ...

Merc working on super-light E-Class  Mercedes engineers are reportedly in the process of developing a very light E-Class that's due out in 2015.  A report has come out indicating that Mercedes-Benz is currently working on a super-light version of its E-Class. This featherweight will be made almost entirely out of carbon fiber, which is much stronger than steel but crucially, lighter as well.

It’s believed that it will weigh in at 2,866lb, 771lb lighter than the standard E-Class. Its design will be influenced by the current CLS and the engineers will be free to use things like Gullwing doors and to exclude the B-pillars thanks to the extra rigidity offered by the carbon fiber. More ...
Renault edges towards signing Grosjean for 2012  
GP2 champ Romain Grosjean may step up to F1 in 2012
(GMM)  Renault is edging towards signing Romain Grosjean to complete its 2012 driver lineup alongside Vitaly Petrov, according to reports.

The Enstone based team has already announced that Swiss-born Frenchman Grosjean, the Genii-managed new GP2 champion, will drive in Friday morning practice in both Abu Dhabi and Brazil later this month.

"I don't feel too much pressure going into this," said the 25-year-old, looking to get back into F1 next year after his abortive part-season debut in 2009.

Clearly, however, the pressure is on, given that alongside Bruno Senna, Grosjean is a frontrunner for the full-time 2012 seat if Robert Kubica is unable to return from injury. More ...

Briscoe out at Penske?  No!  UPDATE #2 Speculation regarding Ryan Briscoe's future at Team Penske appears to have been answered as SPEED.com reports the 30-year-old Australian will return to Team Penske for his fifth season with the Tim Cindric-led team.

After a somewhat disappointing 2010 season, Briscoe's deal to return to Team Penske for 2011 was done late last year, and after going winless for the first time since joining Penske's IndyCar operation in 2008, questions regarding his continued presence in the three-car outfit grew more frequent until his option was picked up Tuesday.

Ryan Briscoe
Ryan Briscoe is confident, though not certain, he will return to Team Penske in 2012. He said during last weekend's Las Vegas event that even though he hasn't signed for a fifth season, concerns circulated in recent months are overblown.

"Rumors have exploded more than they need to," he said.

Roger Penske wouldn't commit to being close to finalizing Briscoe's deal -- or Castroneves', for that matter -- but said he wants to keep the three-driver lineup intact as the team moves to Chevrolet. Indy Star

09/16/11 Ryan Briscoe's agent, Max Angelelli, said the Australian's return to Team Penske in 2012 is questionable given a lack of sponsorship. But Angelelli said he is willing to wait a bit longer to see if the team can assemble a program for Briscoe.

"Roger (Penske) and Tim Cindric have been really good to us, especially this year," Angelelli said. "Roger wrote the check for Ryan (this season). I have to wait to give them a chance to see."

Angelelli said he and partner Wayne Taylor, who own one of the better Grand Am sports car teams, strongly considered fielding an IndyCar program next year but decided it wasn't financially feasible.  Indy Star

Who will run which IndyCar engine in 2012  UPDATE #5 KV Racing made it official today, announcing their alliance with Chevrolet to power its Indy Cars in 2012.  The number of cars they will run was not announced.

11/01/11 Bryan Herta, whose team conducted the 2012 chassis tests on behalf of INDYCAR and Honda, has been linked with a Honda engine supply for 2012 (we had his team in the table below with Lotus, so it is updated) and to drivers ranging from Alex Tagliani to Sebastien Bourdais.

The accuracy of those rumors, according to Herta, will be known when all the contracts are signed and completed, but not a moment before.

"We’re close to making an announcement," he said. "We’ve followed our plan all along and we’ll keep following it. We don’t want to be the ones to put out press releases on what we might do or think we’ll do and then have it change. We’re working quietly behind the scenes preparing for next year and will announce our plans as soon as they’re solidified," he told Speedtv.com

10/28/11 KV Racing's Tony Kanaan will test a Chevy Powered 2012 IndyCar next Wednesday and Thursday at Indy with Dario Franchitti testing the Honda the same day.  If Kanaan is in a Chevy then that confirms in the table below that KV Racing will run with Chevy power in 2012.  We await the announcement. More ...
Mark Martin to drive No. 00 for Michael Waltrip Racing  Mark Martin is expected to drive a part-time 2012 Sprint Cup schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the No. 00 Toyota currently driven by David Reutimann, multiple sources close to the situation confirmed Tuesday.

ESPN sources said team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, likely will drive all or a portion of the four restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

MWR's lineup for 2012 will be Martin, recently signed Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, and Martin Truex Jr.

ESPN sources said an announcement could come Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where MWR has a 10:30 a.m. local time news conference scheduled.  MWR officials declined to comment.

track news
Silverstone to be sold?  
Alonso exits Silverstone pit lane
A group of foreign investors is "poised to take control" of Silverstone, site of the F1 British Grand Prix according to the London Times. The Qatar-backed Alpha Group is "said to be in the final stages of a deal to buy the rights" to the track for 150 years. The deal "will have to be put before the 850 members of the British Racing Drivers' Club," but F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone already has given it his "full approval." Ecclestone said, "It's what Silverstone needs. They need to let the professionals run it"
Why Knaus told Johnson to wreck No. 48  The inspection process at the race track only controls the position of the body relative to itself.  The position of the body relative to the chassis is only measured at the NASCAR R&D Center.

The rear bumper of speedway cars get beat down from bump drafting, but so does the rear sub-frame. If the rear sub-frame and bumper do not deflect the same amount, then NASCAR will know that something is wrong.

This is why Chad Knaus instructed Jimmie Johnson to wreck the back of his car at Talladega according to AR1.com sources.

Roush to three teams in 2012?  UPDATE
Jack Roush
This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  Roush Fenway Racing expects to shrink from four full-time Sprint Cup cars to three in 2012. "The most likely scenario is three,'' RFR president Steve Newmark said before Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway. "We're still plugging away at the fourth, but we all recognize the realities that when you're this late in the season it makes it more difficult to secure that. Only the #99 car of Carl Edwards and #16 of Greg Biffle is fully sponsored for next season. The #17 of 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth has no sponsorship for 2012, and Newmark said "nothing is eminent'' but added RFR is prepared to run that car unsponsored if necessary. Newmark said the #6 car driven by David Ragan could run limited races but was non-committal on whether Ragan, Nationwide Series points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or Trevor Bayne -- or a combination of two or three -- would get those races. He said the plan is for Bayne, the defending Daytona 500 champion, to run a limited Cup schedule in the #21 for the Wood Brothers. Newmark said RFR hopes to field two Nationwide Series cars, with at least one of them fully sponsored. No decision has been made on who would fill those seats, although Stenhouse has been promised a ride for RFR next season. ESPN

10/07/11 This week Jack Roush addressed the topic of Roush Fenway Racing dropping from a four-car to a three-car team in a SiriusXM Satellite Radio interview. "We're looking for a sponsor for #6-David (Ragan), but right now I can't tell you who that's gonna be," Roush told host Claire B. Lang. "I'll say that I'm not real close on it. So David has not been encouraged to not talk to other teams going forward for things that they might have or an interest because right now I don't see how I'm gonna run the fourth car unless things turn dramatically." Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are RFR's other Cup drivers. Roush said he expected to remain active in the Nationwide Series but more likely with two cars than three. He has self-funded in large part the programs of Trevor Bayne (who won the Daytona 500) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (who is on pace to win the Nationwide title), and even Edwards hasn't had full backing. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Viper to get larger engine  With the trend to make engines smaller, you'd think the next Viper would have a smaller motor, but according to rumors,  you'd be wrong.

In the current economic situation, with ever-increasing fuel prices and constant pressure from environmentalists, most carmakers are downsizing the engines that are used in their products, adding turbos and other clever pieces of technology to improve performance, while keeping the green movement happy.

Not Dodge though, at least not with the Viper. The last Viper had an 8.4-litre V10 engine, so you would expect them to use a smaller one for the new car, or at least a more economical version of the same sized engine. Well you’d be wrong - it seems the firm is sticking to the "There ain't no replacement for displacement" motto so many Americans have, because a new report has indicated that the next Viper will use the largest engine ever used in a Chrysler/Dodge product.

It’s believed to be a massive 8.7-litre V10 and although power figures aren’t confirmed yet, it’s a safe bet to assume it will have at least 600HP and 560 ft-lb of torque, big big numbers.

Regardless of what the final power figures are, it will be a lot - of that you can be sure - and it’s expected to go on sale in late 2012.
F1 to consider 'third car' issue for 2013  UPDATE #2 FIA boss Bernie Ecclestone had also reportedly shot down the proposal.

Martin Whitmarsh
10/30/11 (GMM) Martin Whitmarsh on Sunday confirmed reports McLaren is still opposed to the idea of 'customer cars' in formula one.

The possible redefinition of a 'constructor' will be debated next week at the F1 Commission in Geneva.

It is believed Bernie Ecclestone is now supportive of Ferrari's renewed push to be allowed to sell an entire chassis to a small team. The F1 chief executive's support could be a move to further split the unity of the teams’ association, with McLaren and Red Bull reportedly opposed to the third car idea.

McLaren's Whitmarsh is also the head of the team alliance FOTA, whose unity is already being tested by alleged breaches of the cost-limiting resource restriction agreement. More ...
Big shakeup coming at Joe Gibbs Racing  According to AutoRacing1.com sources, there is set to be whole sale shuffle of crew chiefs and engineers at Joe Gibbs Racing for 2012 after their poor results the past two seasons.  We hear the odd man out will be Mike Ford, but one has to also ask can driver Joey Logano get the job done?  Tony Stewart won championships in that car with Greg Zipadelli as Crew Chief of the Home Depot car.  What has Logano done with it?  Can't blame the Crew Chief as he is a proven winner.
NASCAR to squash IndyCar on NBC Sports?  [Editor's Note: If you look at history, no matter what TV broadcaster IndyCar chooses, eventually NASCAR comes in with their war chest of sponsor money, floods the channel with NASCAR shows, and smothers IndyCar so it remains inconsequential.  These are the kind of moves monopolies make to kill off their competition.]

While NBC Sports just announced new Stamford, Connecticut facility will not be up and running for over a year, the Stamford commitment from the "new look" NBC Sports Group could be huge for NASCAR. SPEED has recently confirmed with its new TV programming orders that no new NASCAR TV series are on the horizon. That certainly did not sit well with the Charlotte-based NASCAR Media Group (NMG).

The TV production arm of the sport has been searching for new strategic partners. There is little doubt that the NBC Sports Network is going to need a big block of original programming to compliment the live sports coverage at night and on the weekends. The current NASCAR TV partners have been of little help in this regard. More ...

Wacky rumors that Danica Patrick is quitting  After seeing Dan Wheldon die at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 16, Danica Patrick has told close friends that SHE'S QUITTING RACING FOR GOOD!

According to the National Enquirer, a pal told the magazine that after seeing Wheldon's car go up in flames, Patrick was reduce to tears, as she vowed to friends that, "I will never race again".

Patrick was right behind Wheldon's car before the major crash, which took his life. It's being said that Danica is STILL EMOTIONAL from the experience, and that she's considering ending her career in racing.

The friend also told the magazine that Patrick believes that if she keeps driving, that she'll end up just like Dan Wheldon. National Enquirer

[Editor's Note: Never believe what the National Enquirer writes, but once in a awhile they get it right.  There have no other reports on Patrick's pending retirement. On her official web site, Patrick is scheduled to compete in the final three Nationwide series events of the season. The next race is scheduled Nov. 5 in Texas.]

Wilson has 6 IndyCar teams after him?  UPDATE
Justin Wilson
Hearing that Justin Wilson is in pole position to land the GoDaddy car ride at Andretti Autosport that Dan Wheldon was slated to drive before his violent death in Las Vegas.  Others in the running include Ryan Briscoe, IndyCar Rookie of the Year James Hinchcliffe and 500 runner-up JR Hildebrand, Andretti's former Firestone Indy Lights champion.  Out of the group, Wilson is thought to be the strongest because he has proven to be a winner even when he did not drive for the top teams.  Imagine what he could do in an Andretti car, with he and Hunter-Reay doing the setups for the road and street circuits and all three drivers working together on the ovals.

10/27/11 If all of the rumors are true, Justin Wilson will drive for A.J. Foyt, Bobby Rahal, Dreyer & Reinbold, Michael Andretti, Michael Shank and a new Lotus team--built specifically for the 33-year-old Briton--next year. More ...
Indian GP to be processional?  Michael Schumacher suspects that the dusty track surface at the Buddh International Circuit could make overtaking difficult in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix.

Formula 1 cars ran on the track for the first time today, with a total of three hours of practice. Even though this went a long way to cleaning up the track surface on the racing line, it remains very dusty off it.

This means that even though the track configuration should be conducive to overtaking, the lack of grip off-line could make it more of a challenge. More ...

Mercedes working on front wing F-duct idea  (GMM)  Mercedes has closed ranks following reports it is set to debut an F-duct style front wing innovation in 2012.

The team reportedly tested a prototype in a grand prix practice session this month, with Bild newspaper claiming it adds 8kph to the car's top speed.

"I don't want to comment on every idea," said team boss Ross Brawn.  "But we do need to take risks with the new car in order to move forwards." More ...

F1 could move from Sochi to Moscow in future  (GMM)  The future of the Russian grand prix could be in Moscow.

The huge country is already scheduled to join the 2014 calendar, with the federal government allocating almost $200 million for a new circuit in the coastal city Sochi.

But an official has hinted that, if the Sochi event is ultimately not successful, the formula one race could be moved 1300 kilometers to Moscow.

Three years ago, work began on a $215 million formula one-style circuit in Volokolamsk, 80 kilometers west of the Russian capital. More ...

Korea to be dropped for 2nd USGP  Rumor has it that a race has to be dropped from the F1 schedule to make room for the Grand Prix of America in Weehawken, NJ.  And that race may very well be Korea.  Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on the future of the Korean Grand Prix, after ruling out talks to renegotiate its contract.

The promoter of the Yeongam event, Won-Hwa Park, told AUTOSPORT earlier this month that he wanted to seek a cut in the race hosting fee because of the huge losses the event is facing.

Ecclestone has said that such an outcome is unlikely, however, after conceding that he has 'no idea' if the event would remain a part of the calendar. More ...

F1 to race in NJ overlooking Manhattan  UPDATE #6 Today's article has been updated with more photos.

10/25/11 See feature article on our home page about the announcement.

NYC skyline from Weehawken NJ
10/25/11 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  West NY Mayor Felix Roque said: "It's incredible. This is going to be an economic boom for this whole region." The race will take place on a four-lane motorway that runs alongside the Hudson River in Weehawken and West New York, New Jersey.

"It will provide a very challenging course," West New York attorney Joe DeMarco said.  "They compare it to Spa in Belgium but it will have the feel of Monaco." (See AR1.com photos of NJ circuit)

10/22/11 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  News that formula one is coming to New York is back in the headlines. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on Saturday that the sport will announce next week that a street race in Weehawken and West New York, against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, will take place in June 2013 to run back-to-back with the Canadian GP. More ...
New York race a threat to Texas grand prix?  UPDATE
With dirt moved but nothing really built in Austin could that race be in jeopardy?
Contrary to a report about construction ramping up at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack in southeastern Travis County, permits to build on foundations at the track have not been granted, a county official said today.

County officials in July issued permits for crews to lay foundations for a main grandstand, pit buildings, and media and medical buildings. Work has certainly picked up in recent weeks at the track, which is expected to host Formula One races beginning next year and MotoGP and Australian V8 Supercars starting in 2013.

Anna Bowlin, division director of Development Services for Travis County, today said the county has been working with circuit organizers to issue the next round of permits, and she was confident they will be issued soon.

The fire marshal’s office will also have to sign off on any buildings at the site. The American-Statesman has an open-records request pending with that office. More ...
India to get a 2nd F1 race?  UPDATE
Mumbai traffic
(GMM)  Plans for a second formula one circuit in India are racing ahead. Last year, it emerged that - entirely separate to the Delhi project that this weekend will host India's inaugural grand prix - Mumbai's state Maharashtra government is also considering building a track.

It was announced on Monday that a consortium involving the designers of London's 2012 Olympic stadium and the new layout at Silverstone have won the contract.

"The venue will be designed and constructed to meet the highest level of grand prix standards," said Capita Symonds, Populous and Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System in a statement.

They have been appointed to prepare "the master plan and business case for a new multipurpose race circuit". More ...

Two DRS zones for first India GP  (GMM)  For only the second time in 2011, there will be two separate DRS zones in use this weekend. The debut of two independent DRS detection and activation points was at the Monza race in September.

Now, Pastor Maldonado's race engineer Xevi Pujolar has revealed that there will be two separate DRS zones in India, even though the news is "not official yet".

The detection zone for the first zone will be at the exit of turn 15, with chasing drivers then able to pass down the pit straight.

The second zone's detection point will be on entry to turn 3, with activation between turns 3 and 4, according to the Spanish website caranddriverthef1.com.

Chandhok will not race Lotus in India  UPDATE
With the new circuit sure to be dusty, Chandhok will be the Friday street cleaner in India
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Team Lotus will contest the Indian grand prix with its regular driver lineup, the team said on Tuesday.

Reserve driver and Indian native Karun Chandhok had been hoping to move into the race cockpit this weekend but had flagged issues relating to Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen's 2011 contracts.

It is also believed the Tony Fernandes-led team does not want to jeopardize its lucrative tenth place in the constructors' standings.

Chandhok said, “I am very excited about driving at the new Buddh International Circuit in FP1 in front of my home crowd and while I am obviously disappointed that I won’t have the chance to race on Sunday, I accept the team’s decision to opt for the experience and talent they have at their disposal with Jarno and Heikki. This is a team that is still young, still growing, and I know that they have to do their best to secure their future in the sport – sometimes the hard decisions have to be made, and in this case it must have been a very difficult choice, but I understand that this isn’t about me. It’s about the team and everything the 254 people on track and back at the factory are doing to build for the future. For me, I believe that I have grown as a driver in and out of the car this year with my role in the Friday practice sessions and I’m looking forward to playing my part in helping the team have another strong weekend on track.” More ...

Team Lotus to be 'Caterham Team AirAsia' in 2012  UPDATE #3
After all the court battles the Lotus name will now go to the Renault team after all
The rebranding of the current Team Lotus and Renault teams as Caterham and Lotus respectively looks set to go ahead this winter, with leading rivals indicating that they have no opposition to the move.

Changes of entrant name have to be approved by a majority of the Formula 1 Commission, but Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren bosses Christian Horner, Ross Brawn and Martin Whitmarsh have already vowed not to stand in the two squads' way.

The name change requests are a legacy of the dispute over the rights to use the Lotus name in F1.

The erstwhile works Renault team, owned these days by the Genii organization, are set to become Lotus as part of their partnership with the Lotus car company, while the present Lotus F1 team will relinquish their claim on the title and become Caterham following their owners' purchase of the British sportscar marque. More ...

Ford wants Ford drivers to draft with Ford only to hide HP advantage  Tony Stewart [Chevy] likely will have a new drafting partner Sunday with this two-car tandem. Stewart has worked with #34-David Gilliland [Ford] in the past but didn't get to practice with him Friday. Stewart said: "I've kind of heard the Ford guys are kind of being told they have to stay with Ford guys.'' Stewart drafted with #47-Bobby Labonte [Toyota] in the first practice and with #51-Landon Cassill [Chevy] in the second practice session. Virginian Pilot
Will Power being pressured to quit IndyCar  
Will Power's father has asked his son to quit dangerous IndyCar oval racing
According to this Gordon Kirby article in Motorsport Magazine, Paul Tracy says, “My parents and my wife don’t want me in those cars anymore and I understand their concerns,” said Tracy this week. “It would be one thing if you were making big money but I do it for nothing now. Is it worth the risk? When I started racing I did it because I love racing and I still do, but I need to go race something else that’s not dangerous.”

The Canadian pointed to former World Champion Jody Scheckter, who wants his son Tomas to get out of IndyCars following the Las Vegas tragedy, while title runner-up Will Power’s father has asked his son to do the same. “Power was really lucky,” said Tracy. “Did you see how high his car was off the ground?” More ...

Wild rumors swirl as Hamilton's mood dives  UPDATE #2 Looks like we were right that Hamilton has had girlfriend problems that have affected his on-track performance and his mood.  Lewis Hamilton has split with his long-term girlfriend, according to British tabloid reports.

The news could explain the 2008 world champion's uncharacteristically bad mood last weekend in Korea, where he vowed to begin to "redeem" himself after the worst period in terms of form and incidents in his career.

The Daily Mail says 26-year-old Hamilton's split after four years with American pop singer Nicole Scherzinger, 33, is because of their "conflicting work schedules".

Separate spokesmen for Hamilton and Scherzinger did not comment.

But the news was also reported by the Daily Mirror and the Sun, with a source saying the pair have "agreed there's no point as they never see each other". More ...

Hulkenberg inks 2012 return with Force India  
Nico Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg signed a contract this week to race with the Force India team in 2012, according to reports.

The 24-year-old made a promising grand prix debut in 2010, culminating in pole position in Brazil, but he was replaced by Williams with the well-backed Pastor Maldonado ostensibly for financial reasons.

Germany's motorsport-total.com reports that the German, who has been Force India's reserve and Friday practice driver in 2011, will make his return to racing in 2012, replacing his experienced countryman Adrian Sutil. More ...

Audi crying like babies, may quit  After having rules that gave a performance advantage to the diesel powered LeMans cars of Audi and Peugeot, now that the ACO has made the rules fair again for gasoline powered cars Audi are crying like babies. And as they have done in the past, if they are not guaranteed a win they might quit.

The revised regulations, released last week, calls for a significant reduction in power and fuel capacity for diesel-powered cars.

Both Audi’s R18 TDI and the Peugeot 908, which have combined to win each round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup this year, will see a 7 percent smaller air restrictor, a 200 millibar reduction in turbo boost pressure and a 5 liter fuel capacity cut for next year.

According to Audi Sport technical director Dr. Martin Muhlmeier, the measures, aimed at bringing gasoline-powered prototypes back in contention for overall victories, take away too much of their advantage. More ...
Paul Tracy to also call it quits, no more being an IndyCar Sacrificial Lamb  
Paul Tracy
[Editor's Note: To be clear, in the following article Paul Tracy did not say he was a Sacrificial Lamb because of IndyCar's desire to mimic NASCAR's 'pack' racing.  AR1.com has called IRL/IndyCar drivers Sacrificial Lambs for years and if you read our article on the home page you will understand why.  The poor drivers are subjected to unnecessary risk because someone in IndyCar thinks 'pack' racing is exciting. The death and bodily injury on oval tracks is unconscionable - we present the cold hard facts on drivers who have sacrificed their bodies and sometimes their life to satisfy a few thousand fans that turned out for these gladiator matches over the years.]

The tragic death of Dan Wheldon at the IZOD IndyCar Series championship race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday has Canada’s Paul Tracy re-thinking his plans for a farewell tour next season.

Tracy, in an interview with QMI on Saturday in Las Vegas, said he was very close to a deal that would see him wave goodbye to big league open wheel racing with a final season of racing in 2012.

In fact Tracy had discussions with three IndyCar teams and several big time sponsors — including Honda Canada — before the race on Sunday at LVMS.

But after being involved in the horrific crash that took the life of the 33-year-old Wheldon, Tracy is seriously considering retiring right now. More ...

Hamilton, Schmidt considering retirement after seeing Wheldon's crash  UPDATE #1
Sam Schmidt (L) was left wheelchair bound as a result of IndyCar's oval tracks.  Now his driver is dead too and that may be the straw that broke the camel's back for Sam.
IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt is considering quitting motorsport following the death of his driver Dan Wheldon on the Las Vegas IndyCar finale. Wheldon died from head injuries sustained in the 15-car pile-up last Sunday, and Schmidt, whose eponymous outfit co-fielded the British driver's car with Bryan Herta Autosport at Las Vegas, said that he is now having serious doubts about continuing in the sport.

"I'd by lying if I said I wasn't, but you've got to think about it," Schmidt, who was paralyzed in an IndyCar crash at Walt Disney World Speedway in 2000, said. "It's one thing to take the risk yourself and my situation, it's something I was doing since I was five years old and I'm still here to watch my kids grow up. It's an amazing parallel between Dan's age and my age when I got hurt and the ages of his kids. I'm still in a state of shock, but I just don't know if I can be this tightly associated with something like that in the future."

Schmidt said that the recent death of his Indy Lights team manager, Chris Griffiths, coupled with Wheldon's accident, had put a massive amount of strain on himself and his team. More ...

Mercedes invents front wing F-duct for 2012  (GMM)  Mercedes has reinvented an F-duct style innovation and intends to debut it in 2012, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports.

The magazine on Tuesday published diagrams of the innovation, which was apparently tested for the first time during free practice at Suzuka recently.

The new F-duct is confined to the front wing, not the rear wing as per the systems that were banned at the end of last season.

Air enters through the oval-shaped vent at the very tip of the 2012 Mercedes nose, is redirected via and inside the front wing supports and exits at the rear of the wing. More ...

IndyCar drivers may pull out of Gold Coast V8s  V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane says he'll fully support any drivers who pull out of this weekend's Gold Coast 600 following the tragic death of Englishman Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon - who was scheduled to contest the Gold Coast V8 Supercars round as co-driver with Holden star James Courtney - died after being caught up in a horror multi-car crash in the IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas on Monday morning (AEDT).

An emotional Cochrane said he would be "shocked" if Australian Will Power competed in the Gold Coast after he injured his back in the fiery crash, which involved 15 of the 34 cars in the race.

Wheldon and Power were part of a six-strong IndyCar drivers contingent set to contest the Gold Coast 600 as co-drivers to V8 stars. More ...

Overheard in Las Vegas - Sunday  It was good to see that Sunday morning's Las Vegas Review Journal had IndyCar front and center on Page 1.  Not sports page 1, the main section page 1.  The weather is hot and sunny today with a high forecast to be 92 degrees, so it will be interesting to see how many fans brave the heat, but regardless, you cannot hide the crowd on oval tracks so it is probably going to look bad, which is too bad.........We talked from someone connected with Honda and apparently the President of Honda wants IndyCar back at Motegi, but they want them back on the oval after they fix the earthquake damage in a couple of years.

According to my sources Dale Coyne will hopes to run James Jakes and Sebastien Bourdais full-time in 2012 and we hear he is hoping to land Honda engines and should have an engine deal by the end of the month.  This morning we saw a KV Racing Dallara painted Lotus green in the Dale Coyne garage.  It turns out Coyne rented a spare car from KV Racing because of the damage to Jakes car when the right rear suspension failed on Friday sending the car hard into the outside wall.  No time to repaint the car so they will run KV Racing colors today. More ...

Martin to have a ride in 2012  Mark Martin said before Saturday night's race at Charlotte that he's feeling better about running a partial Cup schedule next year. Martin was asked in a hospitality appearance before the race if he'll be racing. "I said, 'Yes for sure,' " Martin said.

"I don't have a team yet. I have nothing. They asked me if I was going to be driving and they're all worried I'm not going to be driving. I am going to be driving. I will be in the Cup series for a limited schedule. I won't be in the Cup series fulltime. There's nothing new. I don't have a deal. But I will have. A month ago, I could have told you I don't know if I'll have (one). I'm feeling sure that I will because things are starting to move. There wasn't anything moving before. I see some movement. I feel confident this is going to work out well."

Tony Stewart has expressed interest in having Martin run the races Danica Patrick does not in her limited Cup schedule next year. There could be other options in the garage with younger drivers. Much of it is dependent on sponsorship for those teams. Virginian-Pilot
FOTA group could 'stop' after Ecclestone says it's useless  UPDATE
Stefano Domenicali
Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali has warned that the future of the Formula One Teams' Association will be cast into doubt if agreement cannot be reached on the Resource Restriction Agreement at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"So what we have discussed is to go to Abu Dhabi to make sure that a solution, a final solution, has to be taken. On top of that, what we said is really if this [mistrust] will come out of FOTA activity then what is FOTA all about? We know the reason why FOTA started, and now we need to understand if FOTA is still needed. What are the objectives of the future of FOTA, if there is a future for FOTA?

"We need to do that in a very constructive way, a very open way. That is the discussion that I believe in the next weeks is important to take over. On the RRA with Abu Dhabi either there is a solution or we will see." More ...

Hamilton to start IndyCar team  Davey Hamilton told the Indy Star newspaper that he's trying to organize a new IndyCar team, although he said he wouldn't be the driver.
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