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December 12, 2018
 

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THE LINE

February 4, 2009

 

arrowup.gifCorvette Racing. The two new drivers joining Corvette Racing for the long distance races (12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Petit Le Mans) in 2009 are Marcel Fassler, 32, of Einsiedeln, Switzerland, and Antonio Garcia, 28, of Barcelona, Spain. Garcia was the driver who gave Corvette Racing fits while leading the Aston Martin team to victory in GT1 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. Fassler drove for Audi in a couple of races and also competed in the FIA GT Championship in Europe last year in a Corvette. The two drivers will replace Ron Fellows and Max Papis on the Corvette Racing team, with Garcia joining Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Pratt&Miller-prepared Corvette C6R, and Fassler teaming with Jan Magnussen/Johnny O'Connell in the No. 3 machine. The Corvette Racing team will compete in the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, at Long Beach in April and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June in the GT1 class before returning to compete in the rest of the 2009 American Le Mans Series season in GT2.

The ALMS. We're glad to see that the ALMS and President/CEO Scott Atherton continue to dine off the speech ("The Future of Racing") Peter gave to assembled racing dignitaries (including Atherton and Tony George, etc.) in Detroit back in January of 2007, on the occasion of the announcement of the Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation. In that speech Peter declared that "racing needs a new idea," that it had "lost its way'" and needed to "return to its traditional role of developing advanced technologies for our production vehicles," in short, making racing "relevant" again. Yesterday, at a joint press conference with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., Atherton declared that most forms of auto racing have lost their way, particularly when addressing environmental issues. "Racing has become better known for back flips and soap opera-like drama," said Atherton. "And while there is nothing wrong with entertainment-based motorsport, the role of the automobile in the equation has been reduced to that of an irrelevant appliance of parity." But Atherton wasn't through, because then he went on to add a little revisionist history to the origins of the ALMS by declaring: "Over the last 10 years, the relevance of auto racing has come full circle, however. Since its launch, the American Le Mans Series has been providing a platform of world class racing for manufacturers to showcase technology that's cutting edge, relevant and has a direct link back to the production line." We would dispute that last statement. When the ALMS was conceived none of those lofty goals were attached to it, not even close, as a matter of fact. It was an American sports car series whose only raison d'etre was the fact that it had a direct link to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It has only been recently, oh, let's say since about February of 2007, that the ALMS has been all about "relevant" racing and has been calling itself the only true form of Green Racing. Either it's group amnesia or a massive case of selective recall on the part of the ALMS, but people in that room remember what was said. We're just sayin'.

(ALMS)
Michelin has entered into an environmentally-conscious partnership with the American Le Mans Series to entitle the Series' Green Challenge award presented to race teams at each race. Beginning with the 2009 season opener in Sebring, two teams - one prototype and one GT - that demonstrate the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact will win the MICHELIN Green X® Challenge award. Michelin, the world's leading tire manufacturer, has been a global leader in environmental issues for well over a decade. Eleven years ago, it created Challenge Bibendum, the world's premier event for clean vehicles. Three years ago, it created the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge at the world's most prestigious sports car race - the 24 Hours of Le Mans - and in 2008 extended that award to all of the races on the European-based Le Mans Series. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show where the American Le Mans Series will join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy in a press conference tomorrow addressing the need of motorsports, private enterprise and government to work closely together in order to promote cleaner, more energy efficient technologies and to then transfer such innovations to consumer vehicles. The inaugural Green Challenge occurred last October 2008 at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans. Corvette Racing, using cellulosic E85 fuel, had the best overall green achievement score and won the Green Challenge award in GT class. Penske Racing won in the prototype class with its Porsche RS Spyder that competed using E10 while using an innovative and fuel-efficient direct-injection system.

arrowup.gifDanica Patrick. Speaking of the Super Bowl, according to TiVO, the "enhanced" version of IndyCar driver Danica Patrick's GoDaddy.com commercial was the most-watched on Sunday. TiVO measured 30,000 households, and Danica's ad had the most video reviews. And some IndyCar drivers grumble about the coverage Danica gets? They should be thankful she's not in NASCAR.

arrowup.gifSebring Fans. The ALMS wants to remind everyone that there are only 41 days left until the first official practice session of 2009 at Sebring International Raceway. And that the last day to buy Sebring Supertickets for the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida - at advance purchase discount rates - is Friday, February 13th. After that date, gate prices will apply to all tickets. Supertickets are available as four-day and Saturday-only tickets. Spectators will be allowed in the circuit starting at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18. That doesn’t mean that fans haven’t gathered before the front gate opens. A fan named Patrick Taylor – of Palm Bay, Fla. – was known as a perennial early-bird each year at Sebring. For the 2003 race, he arrived at the track to set up camp at 5:30 p.m., December 24...77 days before the 12 Hours. That broke the mark of 65 days set in 2002. Coincidentally, Taylor was first in line in 2001. For more information on tickets and track guidelines, visit sebringraceway.com.

 

Publisher's Note: Edward “Teddy” Mayer, whose McLaren team accomplished a double in 1976 – winning the Indianapolis 500 with driver Johnny Rutherford and winning the Formula One world driver’s championship with James Hunt – died Jan. 30. He was 73. The following release is courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - PMD.


Teddy Mayer’s motorsports involvement stretched across multiple continents in multiple series. Born in Scranton, Pa., Mayer joined Bruce McLaren in the formation of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1965 and co-managed the F1 team. After McLaren was fatally injured in a testing accident in 1970 at the Goodwood circuit in England, Mayer assumed sole direction. The team won the F1 constructors' title and driver's championship in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi.

Mayer’s foray in the Indianapolis 500 came in 1971 with cars driven by Peter Revson and Denis Hulme. Revson started from the pole and finished second to Al Unser in the race. In 1976, Rutherford delivered the rain-shortened victory at Indianapolis – the second of his three wins – from the pole in a McLaren/Offy.

In 1984, Mayer and Tyler Alexander formed Mayer Motor Racing, which competed in CART with Tom Sneva and Howdy Holmes the initial drivers. Sneva won the pole for the Indianapolis 500, with Holmes qualifying second. Sneva finished second by one point to Mario Andretti in the 1984 championship.

Mayer returned to F1 the next year in a partnership with Carl Haas and Alexander, but Roger Penske convinced him to return to CART competition and the Indy 500. As vice president of Penske’s racing operation, the team earned Indianapolis 500 victories with Rick Mears (1988 and ‘91), Fittipaldi (1993) and Al Unser Jr. (1994). Danny Sullivan (1988) and Unser (1994) posted series titles.

“Auto racing has lost one of its true pioneers,” Penske said. “Teddy Mayer was a dear friend, and he brought tremendous vision to the management and operation of championship racing teams. He was a driving force behind the McLaren team’s success in Formula One and he, of course, was a key part of our winning teams at Penske Racing throughout the 1990s. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mayer family at this difficult time.”

Mayer remained with the team full time until the mid-90s and remained a consultant through 2007. Mayer is survived by a son, Tim, and daughter, Anne. Tim is chief operating officer of the American Le Mans Series.

 

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