Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
The way I feel at the moment, why stop? I do it because I enjoy it. And yesterday is gone. I don't care what happened yesterday. What else would I do? People retire to die. I don't get any individual pleasure because we don't win races or titles in this job. I'm like most business people. You look back at the end of the year and you see what you've achieved by working out how much money the company has made. That's it.
Chrysler?s full-line extreme makeover has produced dramatic results for 2011, and the company literally did a number on its four-year-old Sebring sedan and convertible: the cars weren?t only thoroughly refreshed, but also rechristened ?200.? That shouldn?t fool [...]
- 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible – Official Photos and Info
- 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible Spy Photos ? Future Cars
- 2011 Chrysler 200 – First Drive Review
Saturday, January 29, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The reigning NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar Series champions highlight a star-studded field for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Grand-Am Series' season-opener at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.
But it's one of sports car's more traditional names, Porsche, that both five-time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson and two-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti will be chasing when the green flag drops at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday.
German Jorg Bergmeister will start the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche from the pole Saturday in the twice-around-the clock event that has again attracted a Who's Who list of auto racing greats.
Three Indy 500 winners, defending Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray (above left) and a potent mix of current and former NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One drivers are giving it a go against the best sports car drivers in the world on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.
Johnson and McMurray are trying to join Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt as the only drivers to win a Daytona 500 and Rolex 24 crown. Johnson will co-drive with former series champs Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet and will start 10th in the marquee Daytona Prototype class. They were fastest in Friday's final practice.
McMurray is part of an two-car wonder lineup for three-time Rolex winner Chip Ganassi Racing. He'll co-drive the No. 02 BMW with three IndyCar Series champs, Scott Dixon, Franchitti and open-wheel-to-NASCAR convert Juan Pablo Montoya (above, center, chatting with Memo Rojas). They will start fifth among the 18 prototypes .
The other Ganassi car features defending Grand-Am Series champs Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas along with Ganassi's newest IndyCar driver Graham Rahal and sports car veteran Joey Hand. It will roll off third.
Jean Todt arives for Wednesday's hearing
?Whether you are for or against team orders, if the FIA could not back up its own rules and nail a competitor in a blatant case such as this the rule really does need reviewing. Perhaps Ferrari?s thinly-veiled threat to take the matter to the civil courts if they were punished too harshly scared the governing body, who as much as admitted the flimsiness of its rule."Paul Weaver, reporting for the Guardian in Monza, was in favour of the ruling which keeps alive Ferrari?s slim chances in an enthralling championship.
?The World Motor Sport Council was right not to ruin a compelling Formula One season by taking away the 25 points Alonso collected in Germany. That would have put him out of the five-man title race. But the council was widely expected to increase the fine and possibly deduct points from the team, as opposed to the individual. In the end, it could be argued that common sense prevailed. But the decision will dismay those who were upset by the way Ferrari handled the situation as much as anything else.?The Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy expressed outrage at the FIA tearing up its own rule book by allowing Ferrari to escape unpunished.
"Although the race stewards fined them �65,000 for giving team orders in July, the FIA World Motor Sport Council, to whom the matter was referred, decided not to impose any further punishment. It leaves the sport's rulers open to derision. It was, after all, their rule they undermined. In a statement, the WMSC said the regulation banning team orders 'should be reviewed'."
Will Christian Horner regret not utilising team orders in Brazil?
?The extra seven points Alonso collected when Ferrari ordered Felipe Massa to move over for him in Germany earlier in the season are now looking even more crucial. ?And the �65,000 fine they picked up for ruthlessly breaking the rules will seem loose change if Alonso clinches the title in his first year with the Maranello team. ?Red Bull could have switched the result yesterday given their crushing dominance and still celebrated their first constructors' championship just five years after coming into the sport. ?That would also have given Webber an extra seven points, leaving him just one behind Alonso.?The Guardian?s Paul Weaver says that if Fernando Alonso does take the drivers? title in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari owes a debt of gratitude to Red Bull for their decision not to employ team orders in Brazil.
?If Alonso does take the title next week it would not be inappropriate were he and Ferrari to send a few gallons of champagne to Red Bull's headquarters in Milton Keynes. ?While Red Bull should be heartily applauded for the championship they did win today their apparent acceptance that Ferrari might carry off the more glamorous prize continues to baffle Formula One and its globetrotting supporters. ?Their refusal to make life easy for Webber, who has led for much of the season and is still seven points ahead of Vettel, means that whatever happens in the desert next week Alonso, the only driver who was capable of taking the championship in the race today, only has to secure second place to guarantee his third world title.?The Independent?s David Tremayne is also of the opinion that Red Bull may regret not using team orders in Brazil.
?Had Red Bull elected to adopt team orders and let Webber win ? something that the governing body allows when championships are at stake ? Webber would have left Brazil with 245 points ? just one point off the lead. For some that was confirmation of his suggestion that Vettel is the team's favoured driver ? which generated an angry call from team owner Dietrich Mateschitz in Austria and was much denied by team principal, Christian Horner. ?And it sets up a situation where, if the result is repeated next weekend, as is likely, Vettel and Webber will tie on 256, five behind Alonso.?The Mirror?s Byron Young has put Lewis Hamilton?s fading title chances down to an inferior McLaren machine and he admits the 2008 World Champion now needs a miracle.
?Sebastian Vettel's victory sends the world title fight to a four-way showdown for the first time in the sport's history. ?Hamilton goes there as part of that story with a 24-point deficit to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, but with just 25 on offer in the final round in six days' time it would take more than a miracle. ?Driving an outclassed McLaren he slugged it out against superior machinery and stiff odds to finish fourth.?
I would like to build a salt flats belly tank car,with a flathead engine,and would like to find a source for the body.I would like to have the upper and lower body sections in two pcs. I have never tried to resin cast anything,and that looks like that might be the way to go.I think there was a company by the name California Model Works,that did one ,but I haven`t had any luck finding a kit.Thanks in advance for any help. Jim
NASCAR Names Kristi King Director of Communications, Competition; Steve Pegram Director of Stakeholder Communications
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible to Pace 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500; Chevy Offering 50 Replicas for Sale
- Chevrolet to Offer 2010 Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car Replicas
- 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible – Feature
- 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible – Auto Shows
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Mercedes pit crew prepare for Michael Schumacher in Singapore
These are not select millionaires but up to 16 ordinary, yet gifted, guys; team mechanics who have worked their way up the system and often migrate from team to team, are paid real-world wages of between �30,000 and �50,000 a year, are drilled to perfection ? and whose split-second synchronisation brings their teams huge rewards.
After his worst run of results in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton came to Suzuka looking for a strong start to a weekend that could make or break his challenge for the world championship.
If you think that sounds a touch melodramatic, then bear in mind the words of one McLaren leading official who told me on Thursday evening: "If he fails to score here, it's game over."
Having failed to finish three of his last four races and watched Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso overtake him in the standings, the last thing the 2008 champion needed was an early accident in practice.
But halfway through the first session, on his first proper run of the day, that's exactly what happened.
He locked up his front right wheel heading into the second right-hander at Degner,thought he could catch the car but ended up bumping along the tyre wall and ripping off his front left wheel as well as damaging the McLaren's new rear wing.
Hamilton emerged unscathed but his distress was evident as he leaned back in the shadows under the bridge below the 130R corner. After looking steadfastly ahead, his helmet then slumped forward as if he was consumed by disappointment and disbelief.
He managed to avoid the television cameras and photographers awaiting his return in the paddock by taking a back entrance but you could see he had a face like thunder when he eventually appeared and marched into the back of the garage.
The big concern was that the chassis would need replacing, which would have ruled him out of the entire second session.
As it was, the repairs were so extensive - new gearbox, floor, and front and rear wings - and took so long that Hamilton was able to complete just four timed laps on the track in the dry.
That was crucial for race set-up because heavy rain is expected throughout Saturday, which would throw a whole set of variables into final practice and qualifying.
Hamilton is aware that could level the playing field and, depending on how severe the conditions are, the lost time could be rendered irrelevant, at least in terms of grid position.
But his reluctant, smiling admission after practice that he was "probably pushing too hard" en route to his crash will be seized on by his critics as another example of his excessive aggression behind the wheel costing him his title chances.
Indeed, that opinion was already being voiced in the paddock. "I see Hamilton and McLaren are throwing it away again under pressure," said a rival technical director.
With only four races remaining, now is the wrong time for Hamilton to start making mistakes like Alonso, Webber and Sebastian Vettel have done earlier in the season.
Unlike in Melbourne, Valencia and Spa - when Hamilton found trouble but came through it - he's currently being punished for the sort of bold moves that make you look a hero when they work, and a novice when they don't.
Had he backed off and played the percentage game, say his critics, he would still be leading the championship. Understandably, Hamilton doesn't accept that view, and will continue driving as only he knows how.
"The fact is I'm not going to drive around in the position I was in and hope to finish the race. That's never been in me," he said in a BBC interview to be broadcast during the BBC One qualifying show.
"I want to fight for a win and I hope people respect that. Sometimes it is too aggressive and that's why it catches you out."
"Every now and then, you try to pull it back a bit and hope it works. Fingers crossed this weekend will be an improvement to say the least."
So far, not so good.
At a demanding track where he has raced just once - in 2009 - he has hardly scratched the surface of the programme that he and his engineers hoped to complete.
But his performance last year, finishing third, was one of his finest drives and is reason for optimism within the team.
"He likes it here, loves the track and will be competitive," said one engineer. "You can't take away what makes him the champion that he is."
Hamilton also received support from a rival team principal involved in the title battle.
"You must try to get your drivers as calm as possible, but it in the end it doesn't matter what you say to them because as soon as they get on the track, it all goes out of their heads," he said.
Another criticism levelled at Hamilton is that he's missing a management figure in a role previously filled by his father.
One team manager told me that Hamilton would benefit from having an independent sounding board outside the team environment, somebody on hand with advice on when to push and when to take it calmly.
McLaren's team principal Martin Whitmarsh would dispute that.
He made a point of sitting down with Hamilton after Monza and Singapore to discuss both incidents. And he did the same again after Friday's crash.
It's a point picked up by one last year's title contenders, Rubens Barrichello.
"The mental preparation is so important, more important at this stage than the driving," Barrichello said.
"He's clearly got the team support in a good way. But I'm not sure he has the car."
And there's the rub for Hamilton.
He acknowledges that the team are working flat out to improve the car. Another new rear wing is arriving overnight in time for qualifying, with engineers happy that the upgrade added performance.
So if he's to achieve a second world title, he needs something special from within himself to make up for a lack of performance.
"We've been over-delivering for a long period of time during the year," he said.
"We've not been at the front where we've been absolutely faster than everybody else. We've just done generally better jobs than other teams."
"Clearly now it's down to pace as well as no mistakes, and hoping that we're edging ourselves closer to the others."
Suzuka has decided some classic title contests. Hamilton has to believe - and demonstrate - that he's not about to be counted out this weekend.
Nico Hulkenberg admits he is focused on trying to find a team for next year's Formula One season.
The German was driving for Williams last season and secured his maiden pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race in the championship, before learning he had lost his seat over the final weekend at Abu Dhabi.
His drive at Williams has been taken by GP2 title winner Pastor Maldonado and ...
The provisional line-up for the 2011 World Superbike class, as issued by the FIM:
When Ayrton Senna died at 34, he left a gaping hole in a sport that's cherished by tens of millions around the world. Seventeen years later, the documentary about his life entitled Senna has finally been shown to crowds at the Sundance Film Festival after a long gestation period, and the early reviews are glowing.
Screenwriter and Executive Producer Manish Pandey shared with the Sundance audience that he already showed the film to Ron Dennis, current chairman of McLaren Automotive and former boss of the successful McLaren Formula One racing team. Dennis is a tough man, known for being emotionless and extremely efficient with his time. However, after watching Senna, Dennis reportedly cried for 10 minutes and then spent the next two hour discussing the most un-tamed racing driver the world has ever known.
Follow the jump to watch a trailer for the film. With any luck, this documentary's showing at Sundance has already bagged it a distributor for wider release in the U.S.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011
LUCAS OIL PRODUCTS ACQUIRES NAMING RIGHTS TO HISTORIC NHRA-OWNED MOTORSPORTS FACILITY IN INDIANAPOLIS
Renault will be named Lotus Renault for the 2011 Formula One season after the car company sold its remaining 25% stake.
Renault sold 75% of its shareholding to private investment group Genii Capital ahead of the 2010 campaign. However, it has now relinquished its remaining share to Genii which will be taken up by Malaysian company Proton, which owns Lotus Cars.
As a result there will now be two teams in ...
With the rain easing off since this morning, the afternoon saw most of the WSBK riders venture out on the second day of testing at Portimao. The two main exceptions were the factory Aprilia riders of Max Biaggi and Leon Camier, who, luckily as it turned out, had been booked to spend the day at a Piaggio event, before flying back to Portimao in the afternoon.
The afternoon saw Johnny Rea top the timesheets, after skipping the morning session, the Castrol Honda rider finishing ahead of Sterilgarda Yamaha's Marco Melandri, the Italian making significant progress at the Portuguese circuit. Carlos Checa was once again near the top of the timesheets, ending the day in 3rd, ahead of the Liberty Ducatis of Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz.
Testing concludes on Friday.