No. 967
October 10, 2018

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Horizon #462

September 10, 2008

Corvette Racing. BREAKING NEWS (1:30pm, 9/9/08): Big changes are in store for one of the most successful GT racing teams of all time. Corvette Racing will compete in the 2009 ALMS season in the GT1 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Long Beach, and of course the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in June (its tenth appearance at the world's most prestigious endurance race). BUT, the big news is that when the team returns to the U.S. after Le Mans, it will compete in select ALMS races in the GT2 class with all-new cars constructed by Pratt & Miller Engineering in preparation for a full-season program under new international GT class regulations in 2010. "Corvette Racing will be well positioned for the future of production-based sports car racing worldwide with the plans we are announcing today," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing Road Racing Group manager. "The international regulations are converging around a single, global GT class, and we intend to continue Corvette's motorsports heritage by racing against manufacturers and marques that Corvette competes with in the marketplace. The GT1 class has been a platform for GM Racing and our partners to develop the most technically sophisticated race cars in our history. We intend to apply the tremendous success we have had in the GT1 category to make the next-generation Corvette C6.R a strong contender in the new GT class." The new GT Corvette C6.R race car will be based on the production Corvette's chassis and body design. A 6.0-liter version of the LS7.R small-block V-8 will power the Corvette GT2 entry in the transitional 2009 season. A new naturally aspirated 5.5-liter version of the production GM small-block V-8 will be developed to meet the new GT regulations that will take effect in 2010. The chassis and powertrain specifications of the new Corvette GT entry will be submitted to the ACO and FIA for homologation approval. "Competing in GT2 will be a true test of our team's determination, talent and technology," said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. "The level of competition in the category is already fierce, and that promises to become more intense with more manufacturers and top-tier teams. We've explored alternative paths, and we believe that competing in GT is the right road for Corvette Racing to take in the future. We will continue our commitment to cellulosic E85R ethanol racing fuel in the current GT1 Corvette C6.R and the next-generation Corvette C6.R that will compete in the new GT class " Fehan said. "Corvette Racing's green racing initiative is proof of our commitment to using alternative fuels at the highest levels of motorsports." Manufacturers currently represented in the ALMS GT2 class or confirmed for future participation include Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, Dodge and Panoz. Other manufacturers produce high-performance cars that could compete in the new GT category. Corvette Racing is America's premier production sports car team, with 72 wins in 100 races. The most successful team in ALMS history, Corvette Racing has won seven consecutive ALMS GT1 manufacturers and team championships and six straight drivers championships. Corvette Racing has five GT1 victories since 2001 in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Corvette Racing’s next event is Petit Le Mans, the 10th round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series, at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 4. SPEED will televise the race live starting at 11 a.m. EDT.

Copyright © 2008, John Thawley ~ Creative Communications Group All rights reserved.

Scott Dixon, Ganassi Racing. Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone) raced from the 28th starting position (due to a penalty during qualifying) to first, winning a photo finish in the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway last Sunday, but Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing D/H/F) won his second IndyCar Series championship. When the leaders pitted on Lap 185 with 15 laps to go, series points leader Scott Dixon won the race off pit lane and led the next 14 laps as Castroneves pulled alongside for the final two laps. After the two took the checkered flag side-by-side, it took a review of photographs by IndyCar Series officials to determine that Castroneves had edged Dixon by .0033 of a second, the second-closest finish in IndyCar Series history. (The IndyCar Series Timing & Scoring photo system takes a picture every ten-thousandth of a second.) It was Castroneves second victory of the season and the second time he’s finished runner-up in the championship in his career. Dixon maintained a 17-point lead in the championship to become the second driver to win multiple championships in the IndyCar Series. Dixon also won in 2003. “(This) championship means a lot more,” said Dixon. "I think this year is much tougher. I've said in the recent weeks that we didn't really know what we had won then. It was a rookie season for me in the (IndyCar Series) and for the team at that point as well. The year on a whole has been amazing, an unforgettable year. I think any year where you win the 500 is going to be like that. But when you top it off with a championship, I still can't believe it. Getting married, winning a 500, winning a championship in one year, not too many people can probably say they've done that.”

(Shawn Payne/IRL)
Scott Dixon celebrates with his wife and parents after winning the 2008 IndyCar Series championship, his second. Dixon moves from fifth to second on the IRL career win list with 16 (Sam Hornish Jr. has 19). Dixon also tied Dan Wheldon’s record of 6 wins in a season set in 2005. Dixon set a new record of wins from pole in a season (4), and he also moved to second on the career pole list with 14 (Helio Castroneves has 26). Dixon also set a new record with 899 laps led in a season, moving him from eighth to fifth on the career laps led list with 2,181 (Hornish Jr. has 3,428).

(Shawn Payne/IRL)
Raphael Matos (No. 27 AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing Automatic Fire Sprinklers, left) won the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights championship with a third-place finish in the 100. Matos led 66 of 67 laps after starting from the pole. His teammate Arie Luyendyk Jr. (No. 26 AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing Targus/Automatic Fire Sprinklers, right) surged past him on a Lap 66 restart to earn his first career victory. Luyendyk had eight career second-place finishes, including this season at Watkins Glen and Infineon. Ana Beatriz (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports) finished second, .0817 of a second behind Luyendyk, to finish third in the championship. Matos finished the season with three victories, five poles and eight top-five finishes. Richard Antinucci, who entered the race only three points behind Matos, finished 21st after with another car knocked him out of the race on Lap 26.

NASCAR. Publisher's Note: Without a sponsor and with the auto manufacturers starting to bail (Dodge announced their pullout Saturday, and the others will soon follow), you can stick a fork in NASCAR's Truck Series, because it's done. But that's not all. GM and Ford both have told NASCAR that they can't and won't support three NASCAR series under their current dire financial circumstances, so expect other notable cost reduction moves as these manufacturers aggressively end contracts as they come due. This is only the beginning, folks. - PMD

NASCAR. Publisher's Note: It was announced last week that NASCAR has agreed to buy the Grand-Am Series from the France family. This is news? As if anyone made the distinction between the two in real life. Oh wait, there's more: “It means that NASCAR shares my opinion that this (Grand-Am) is the next big thing and is now prepared to move forward and help make it happen,” Grand-Am president Roger Edmondson was quoted as saying. Huh? The "next big thing?" Right. We always knew delusional thinking was a cottage industry in Daytona Beach, but this is ridiculous. - PMD

Mazda, Playboy. After three straight years of growth Mazda North American Operations and SCCA Pro Racing have finalized an agreement to continue sanctioning services of the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup series through 2011. SCCA Pro Racing’s relationship with Mazda’s spec series based around the Miata began in 2002, when SCCA Pro Racing sanctioned seven stand-alone Miata Cup events. The affiliation continued as the Miata Cup developed into a full-fledged championship series from 2003 to 2005 and was reinvented once again in 2006 as the MX-5 Cup with the new MX-5 Miata and a single-championship format. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder has successfully bridged the gap from SCCA Club Racing to SCCA Pro Racing by selecting talented Club racers to promote to MX-5 Cup and awarding the MX-5 Cup Champion with an SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car ride.  Additionally, Mazda’s recent partnership with Playboy Enterprises has produced exciting new promotional and broadcast opportunities. “In just three years, MX-5 Cup has established itself as one of the best talent showcases in all of sports car racing – the success of Jim Daniels and Jason Saini in the SPEED World Challenge and Andrew Caddell in the Miller Mustang series being solid proof,” Mazda North American Operations Alternative Marketing Manager Jim Jordan said.  “Our first MX-5 Cup race of 2008 saw a series-record grid size of 31 cars, and given the excellent partnership with Playboy and our one-hour per race TV broadcasts, we have a great future for the series.  We’re pleased that we are able to extend our relationship with SCCA Pro Racing for another three years.” Three rounds remain in the 2008 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup: Sept. 19 – 20, at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, Sept. 26-28, at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J., and the 2008 season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Oct. 17-19.

(Photo©SCCA/Mark Weber)

The MX-5 Cup field charges into Turn Five at Road America last month.