Super Aguri F1 Team

February 9, 2009 by  
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Super Aguri F1 withdrew from F1 racing in 2008.

Super Aguri F1 is a new team that recently joined the ranks of other Formula One teams in 2006 and is known as the Super Aguri Hondas, and is seen as an unofficial Honda ‘B’-team. The team was formed by Aguri Suzuki, a former F1 driver and is based in Tokyo, Japan although it operates from the former Arrows factory in Leafield, UK. The team came about due to public pressure on Honda, Japan; to help one of its former drivers, Takuma Sato, continue to compete in F1.

Aguri Suzuki, as mentioned before, started Formula One racing in 1989 participating regularly in F1 races. Before this Suzuki had competed in quite a few championship races held in Japan. A year later he made third place at the Japanese Grand Prix and became one of the first Japanese drivers to take to the F1 podium. When Aguri Suzuki finished up with F1 racing he moved back to Japan where he founded the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri project, managing the driver development and racing team programs.

Later in 2003 he formed the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing with Adrian Fernandez, an IRL IndyCar driver, and then participated in the series. Three years later he took part in the Japanese top formula, All Japan Championship Formula Nippon, in the Japanese top touring category SUPER GT series, well continuing as ARTA Project producer. Up until now there has been no other person who has been able to manage not only a Formula One team but also many other racing teams in a lot of of the world’s top categories all at the same time.

The FIA announced early in 2006 that the teams had accepted the late entry of Super Aguri to the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championships. This also came with the announcement that Yuji Ide and Takuma Sato had been signed up as drivers for the teams first season with Franck Montagny as third driver. After four races it was decided that Montagny would take Ides place as driver in the European Grand Prix and other races. The 2007 plans for the teams second season have not been finalized yet. Super Aguri has announced that Anthony Davidson, a former Honda and test driver, will be driving with Takuma Sato for the team in 2007.

Petty Enterprises

February 9, 2009 by  
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Petty Enterprises merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2009 to form Richard Petty Motorsports.

Petty Enterprises is one of NASCAR’s many racing teams and is owned by Richard Petty as well as his son Kyle Petty. Petty Enterprises is based in Randleman, North Carolina. Richard and Kyle supervise the operations of their two NEXTEL Cup Dodge Chargers: the number 45 Marathon Petroleum Company Dodge, which Kyle Petty drives himself and the number 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, driven by Bobby Labonte. It was 1969 when the team was officially named Petty Enterprises. Throughout NASCAR’s history, Petty Enterprises has always been know and famous for its success, but in recent years they have been struggling.

The team has been operating as far back as 1949 when Richard Petty’s father, Lee Petty, first formed Lee Petty Engineering as a NASCAR Grand National Division team with the number 42. Not only was the company formed that year but also the team won their first win at Heidelberg Raceway, finishing second in points that season. 1950 and 1951 saw Petty’s team win one race each season with a victorious three wins in 1952. With this success the team expanded by incorporating another vehicle, the Plymouth, which Jimmie Lewallen drove. The following years saw a major increase in races won by Petty Enterprises. By 1979 the team had won 10 championships in NASCAR premier series.

From 1980 to 1984 Richard Petty drove hard and won several races, but from there on till his retirement he did not win another race. This bad fortune did not stop there, it continued after Richard’s retirement with Petty Enterprises only winning another three races. In 2006 Petty Enterprises hired Bobby Labonte, after he won the NEXTEL Cup, to drive the #43 car and hired Robbie Loomis, who had served as a crew chief for Jeff Gordon, to be executive vice president.

The Petty Family created the number 43 car, hence its name Petty Blue. The blue color is distinct and was created apparently by mistake because of not having enough paint to cover the whole car. It was rumored that the famous paint scheme came about when Richard Petty would not allow sponsors to sponsor his car unless they agreed to keep part of the car blue and the rest they could paint STP Red.

Racing Legend Phil Hill Dies

September 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Racing legend Phil Hill recently passed away at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula at 81 years of age due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. The celebrated octogenarian was the first and only US born racing driver to ever win the Formula One international auto-racing championships.

Philip Toll Hill was a memorable racing legend who was born on April 20, 1927, in Miami. He was raised in Santa Monica and started to develop his passion for cars from an early age. At just 12 years of age, he started to drive a Model T Ford that his aunt bought him on the private roads in Santa Monica Canyon. Cars were clearly a life-long obsession for him – one that stood him in good stead in future years. Hill started out his automobile career as a mechanic, but by the mid-1950s he found himself behind the steering wheel in Santa Ana. From there he went on to race in Pebble Beach, Mexico and even Europe. After his long but brilliant journey to the top, he eventually managed to join the Ferrari team and tackle a Ferrari Formula One car. The year was 1958 and it marked the start of the most spectacular leg of an already spectacular career – one which culminated with his earning the Formula One world title for himself.

During his years as a Formula One driver, Hill witnessed many tragic events. Perhaps the most memorable of these was the 1961 Grand Prix in Italy at Monza when German Wolfgang von Trips was killed in a tragic three-car collision that also took the lives of eleven spectators. It must have been a tragic race for Hill since Von Trips was his Ferrari teammate. Nevertheless, Phil Hill managed to enjoy a very successful career without ever suffering a serious injury. He not only won the F1 Championship in 1961, but became a three-time winner of both Le Mans and Sebring. After he retired from competitive racing, he never left his passion and focused on his love of classic cars, pianos and other antique musical instruments. His life as a driver was commemorated in 1991 when he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Hill is survived by his wife, children, step child and grandchildren. He lived a very full life of passion and excitement and will no doubt be remembered fondly by loved ones and fans around the world.

Donny Schatz Receives Second Dakota Award

June 30, 2008 by  
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Donny Schatz has been racing since he was only a kid. His dream of becoming an auto racing champion started when he was just fifteen years old and he has never looked back. During the past ten years of his life he has been racing almost 100 nights a year on two different continents – a clear indication of just how dedicated he is.

So it comes as little surprise then that Donny Schatz was chosen to receive the prestigious Dakota Award for 2008. The award, which is handed out by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, gives due recognition to any person from North Dakota who is excelling in other states. Schatz has long been proving himself in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series and it seems he is driven to succeed. Schatz remarked that receiving the award was a “great honor” and said he was happy that he could represent his home state on a national level. He added: “Like a lot of things that happened as a result of our efforts last year, this award is truly a family award…We worked together as a family to build a race team that could compete with the best in the world and ultimately came away with consecutive World of Outlaws championships.”

The last time that Schatz received the Dakota Award was in 1998. He was chosen for the honor after a successful WoO Sprint Series Rookie of the Year campaign. It’s been ten challenging years since then and a lot has changed. He is certainly no longer a rookie and these days he’s winning back-to-back championships. Just last year he made history when he became the first driver to win the Knoxville Nationals, Williams Grove National Open, Kings Royal, Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals all in the same year. That was the second time in a row that he took the checkered flag at the Outlaw championship, the Knoxville Nationals and the Silver Cup. Schatz was invited to drive for Tony Stewart in the WoO Sprint Series this year and he has been hard at work wracking up points in his new car already, with 10 victories in place after driving 27 races so far this year. Clearly this 30-year-old still has a long and successful driving career ahead of him and we may yet see another Dakota Award go to Donny Schatz in the future.

SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge

April 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

The Sports Car Club of America, or SCCA, decided to open a new racing class in 1972, known as the Showroom Stock. It was a class that was reserved for stock street automobiles and its popularity grew at such pace that by 1980 a twenty-four hour racing event was being held. By 1985, the series had expanded to six races and by 1996 the world challenge was divided into a touring class and sports class. In 2002, the title sponsor became Speedvision, which was bought by Fox, and the name became the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge.

The SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge is raced in two divisions, namely the Speed World Challenge Speed GT and the Speed World Challenge Speed Touring Car. The aim of the Speed World Challenge is to provide a production based racing event to manufacturers and teams, in which they are able to display the power and quality of their products. Drivers and manufacturers are allocated championship points according to the finishing position of each class. In the Drivers Championship, a winning driver will be selection on their points in each class, whereas there is only one award for the Manufacturers Championship.

At present, Pierre Kleinubing leads the Speed Touring Car Driver Championships with 122 points, Kuno Wittmer is in second with 108 points, Peter Cunningham has 98 points, Charles Espenlaub has 85 points and Jeff Altenburg has 80 points. In the Speed GT, Randy Pobst has the lead with 220 points, Brandon Davis has 208 points, Andy Pilgrim is in third position so far with 198, Michael Galati with 182 and Jason Daskalos with 145.

In the Speed GT and the Speed Touring Car divisions, a Rookie of the Year award is given to a driver who has not had more than three starts and they have to be confirmed as Rookies by SCCA Pro Racing. Entrant drivers in the season are able to be awarded the Jim Cook Memorial Trophy, which is given to drivers who show sportsmanship, character and contribute positively to the sport. Crew Chiefs stand in line to be presented with the Zimmermann Cup, for dedication, passion and leadership shown during the racing season.

This year, the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge started in Sebring on 12 to 14 March, moved to ACS Long Beach from the 18th to the 20th of April and continued at VIR Danvill from the 25th of April to the 27th. Miller Tooele takes place on 16 to 18 May, Lime Rock from 24 to 26 May, The Glen from 5 to 8 June, Mid Ohio from 17 to 20 July, Road America from 8 to 10 August, Mosport from 21 to 24 August, Detroit from 29 to 31 August, New Jersey from 26 to 28 September and Road Atlanta fromm the 1st to the 4th of October 2008.

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