The Super Special Scotiabank and Coca-Cola Street Stage

July 6, 2009 by  
Filed under News

To add to the fantastic quality and spectacle that is guaranteed by all the drivers who have confirmed their participation in the Corona Rally Mexico, Rally of Nations edition, the Organizing Committee has introduced speed stages that will surely be a great attraction for the audience, and which include the Super Special Scotiabank Stage in the competition’s itinerary, to take place at León’s race circuit, the Autódromo, as it has done during previous editions of WRC. In addition, a road race stage, the Coca-Cola Street Stage, is to take place for the first time in the city of León.

Once again, León’s race circuit will be the setting for a display of rallying at its highest level, where this coming July 10th, 11th and 12th, the venue will host speed stages involving head-to-head races, in which two cars will start out at the same time, competing to their maximum capacities against each other and against the clock, given that this stage is an integral part of the rally.

Under the name “Super Special Scotiabank Stage”, this phase of the rally will be played out over a 2.21 km route. On Friday 10 and Saturday 11, this route will run twice, starting at 3:00 p.m. on both days. On Sunday, July 12th, there will be only one run, starting at 10:00 a.m., so the Organizing Committee suggests the audience should arrive early because of the various side events that will be taking place.

Entrance to the race circuit costs 80 pesos in the general area, 150 pesos in the stands overlooking the straight, and 300 pesos in the marquee area. Tickets can be bought on the day at the ticket offices or beforehand via the web site, at www.rallydelasnaciones.com, where you can buy and print an e-ticket, which will be good for access, without any need to change it for a pre-printed ticket.

As for the Coca-Cola Street Stage, this will, without a doubt, be quite a novelty, since it is the first time that the Organizing Committee has tried such a thing. The stage consists of a 1.87-km route along the street that divides the Explora Park and Poliforum facilities and the Nou Camp Soccer Stadium.

In this stage, cars will set off one by one, in a race against the clock to be held on Friday, July 10th and Saturday 11th only. On Friday, things will start at around 10:30 a.m., and on Saturday, under the name “Powerade Street Stage”, at approximately 10:50 a.m. It is important to mention that this event will be free of charge.

Safety measures will be very strict and there will be public areas available, though with limited capacity, as well as special areas to accommodate authorized photographers, cameramen and journalists.

Didier Auriol and Brice Tirabassi Sign Up for France

July 3, 2009 by  
Filed under News

The Corona Rally Mexico continues to register world-class drivers. Now, Didier Auriol and Brice Tirabassi have joined forces to form Team France. Each with an impressive record of championships to his name, the two have confirmed their presence in Mexico and expressed their desire to compete in this Rally of Nations, an event they praise for its innovative format.

Didier Auriol is one of the key French names in the rallying world, having been World Champion in 1994 and achieving six victories in one season in 1992, a record that remained unbroken until 2005, when his fellow countryman, Sebastien Loeb, achieved ten.

Having competed for 16 years in the ultimate world rally circuit, Auriol has 20 victories to his name, placing him in seventh place on the list of winning drivers in the World Rally Championship, just behind other major names such as Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm, Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen and Juha Kankkunen.

Auriol Claimed: “The concept of competing for a nation is a great idea, it gives an extra motivation because you represent your country just like an athlet at the olympic games. On top of that it’s a kind of “flash-back” in the motorsport history when the cars had their country’s color:red for italy, blue for france and so on. About the rally itself I am really looking for it because both Sebastien Loeb and my co-driver Denis told me about the fantastic mountain stages, the very compact route and the beauty of the area, specially Guanajuato. Even if I am not competing so much anymore I have still a strong motivation to win and to bring together with my team mate Brice Tirabassi the best possible result for the french squad.” He finished.

His co-team member in Team France, Brice Tirabassi, is not far behind him, which guarantees a first-rate team. Champion in France in 2002 and World Junior Champion in 2003, Tirabassi has won rallies in his category in Monte Carlo, France and Cyprus.

The 32-year old driver has made it clear that, despite his being this his first rally in Mexico, he has no intention of becoming an also-ran, and expressed how much he is looking forward to enjoying the event and Guanajuato, based on the excellent comments he has heard about both.

Auriol and Tirabassi have praised the format of the event, assuring a worldwide success, where they hope to bring victory to their country.

Final Race of 2009 Jetta TDI Cup Announced

February 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

Up until now only nine of the ten events for the 2009 season of the Jetta TDI Cup had been announced. Now Volkswagen of America, Inc. has finally announced the last host in the series of races – Miller Motorsports Park. The track, which is located in Salt Lake City, is set to host Round Three of the event from May 15-17.

The 2009 Jetta TDI Cup is SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned and fans already know that they can expect top racing from this fantastic auto racing event. Clark Campbell, the Motorsport Manager for Volkswagen of America, Inc., said: “I’m very pleased with the addition of Miller Motorsports Park to our schedule, as it is an excellent circuit to host one of our events. In addition, this race helps us broaden the geographic reach of our series in hopes of spreading the word about the many benefits of clean diesel performance and technology.”

This is only the second season of the still new and young Jetta TDI Cup and it is scheduled to begin at Virginia International Raceway on April 24. The racing action is always exciting since it sees 30 young, undiscovered and unproved drivers take to the track to compete in a series of ten different events on as many as eight different road courses around the country. There is no way of telling what will happen or who will come out on top. The prize money is good, with the series champion taking $100 000 home with him, while each and every driver also gets to earn a Pro Racing license from the SCCA by the end of the season. Drivers are aged between sixteen and twenty-six and the resulting explosion of talent and skill is nail-biting to watch. Competitors in the race are also aware that it is a great opportunity to kick-start their racing careers and they take it very seriously.

Kyle Novak, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup SCCA Program Manager, noted that the 2009 Jetta TDI Cup season would see these young drivers competing on some of the most challenging and illustrious road courses in North America. He said that these circuits would be a “test of driving ability” and that the result of this would be that “drivers will be equipped with the skills necessary to launch their careers in racing.” He added that the events provide “great exposure because they’ll often be racing alongside some of the best road course drivers and teams from Grand-Am and ALMS.” The 2009 Jetta TDI Cup is certainly not one to be missed so start making your arrangements now!

Belgian Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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Belgium held its first national race in 1925. It took place at the race circuit in the Spa region, which was an area rich in racing history. The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps was constructed in 1921, used primarily for motorcycle racing until 1924, but also hosting Grand Prix racing. In 1923, a very successful 24 Hours of Le Mans was raced in France, which led to the Spa 24 Hours race to be hosted at the Spa track.

The Belgian Grand Prix is a favorite amongst both the fans and the drivers. The Spa-Francorchamps is also famous for it extremely unpredictable weather conditions. For example, it had rained for 20 Belgian Grand Prix’s consecutively. Drivers are constantly confronted with conflicting weather on different parts of the track. One side will be sunny and clear, while the other is slippery, miserable and rainy. To many F1 drivers, the Belgian Grand Prix is the most dreaded circuit on the Formula One racing calendar, due to its challenging conditions.

Antonio Ascari, took first place at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1925, and his son, Alberto, would go on to win in the years 1952 and again in 1953. Antonio Ascari was tragically killed in the French Grand Prix, after winning the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix. While leading the Belgian Grand Prix in 1939, Richard “Dick” Seaman, a British driver, lost his life. Alan Stacey was killed when a bird flew into his face, and Chris Bristow also lost his life in the same race, in 1960.

After deciding Spa was too dangerous in 1972 Belgian officials made the decision to alternate the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix between the Nivelles and Zolder circuits. Unable to sustain the Belgian Grand Prix at the Nivelles circuit, the race track eventually faded out, and Zolder was used in the following years. However, the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix returned to Spa-Francorchamps in 1985, where it has remained. Michael Schumacher made his debut at Spa-Francorchamps in the year of 1991 and returned in 1992 to win his first race in Formula One. He also surpassed the all-time record of Alain Prost, by securing his 52nd Grand Prix win at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Spa-Francorchamps Circuit is completed in 44 laps, with a total race length of 306.94 kilometers. The FIA announced in 2006, that Belgium would not be part of their race schedule for that year, as major work to repair the track, had been started. The Belgian Grand Prix returned to the schedule in 2007 with Kimi Räikkönen taking first place. The year 2008 saw a controversial win by Filipe Massa, after Lewis Hamilton received a drive-through penalty which negated his first place position. Kimi Räikkönen took first place again in 2009.

Istanbul Park

February 9, 2009 by  
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Istanbul Park blends in seamlessly among 10 thousand of years of antiquity. Respectful of the country’s past, yet bold enough to represent the future of Formula One. The circuit was constructed during 2005 and is unique in that the cars run in an anti-clockwise direction around the circuit, making the Turkish Grand Prix only the third race on the F1 Grand Prix calendar to do so (with the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos being the other two). This spectacular 5.378 kilometer track was designed by famed German architect Herman Tilke, the same man who created the memorable tracks at Sepang, Bahrain and Shanghai.

The track at Istanbul Park has an average width of 15 meters, ranging from 14 to 21.5 meters, and covering over 2.215 million square meters total. There are a total of 14 corners including six right and eight left turns, the sharpest with a radius of merely 15 meters. The circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 meters in length. The total race distance of the Turkish Grand Prix is 309.356 kilometers spread out over 58 laps.

Turn 8 in particular has achieved legendary status in a short amount of time. The corner is a fast, sweeping corner with four apexes, similar to a multi-apex sections of the old Nürburgring. Spectators and drivers alike raved about Turn 8, comparing it to legendary corners such as Eau Rouge and 130R. The circuit itself has already been compared to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Another notable corner is Turn 1, a sharp downhill left-hander immediately after the front straight. This corner has been nicknamed by some as the “Turkish Corkscrew” in comparison to infamous “Corkscrew” at Laguna Seca. Both the 2006 F1 and MotoGP races at the circuit featured mutliple incidents at this corner.

Logistically speaking, Istanbul Park currently has a total capacity for 155,000 spectators, which are accommodated in 10 grandstands and 5 unnumbered and grassed general admission areas. Istanbul Park is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, approximately 90 kilometers from the centre of the city.

The Main Grandstand at Istanbul Park is located on the Pits Straight directly opposite the start/finish line and pit-boxes. It presents you with an excellent view of the Pits Straight, including the build-up to and the start of the race, the checkered flag at the finish of the race, as well as a view of the racing teams and their pit activities. The western side of the grandstand is situated opposite the podium, offering spectators great views of the podium celebrations after the race. The start line is located towards the middle of the grandstand. The F1 Village is also located behind this grandstand, which is easily accessible from this grandstand. Three bigscreen TV’s are located along this great grandstand, enabling spectators to follow the entire race and not lose track of the procedures.

Overall the five general admission areas provide for excellent viewing and offer good value for money admission. Istanbul Park is a naturally hilly circuit featuring a variety of steep mounds, which makes the viewing in the general admission areas good. But as always there are no seats and you must be there early to get a good spot, which you stand to lose should you have to visit a toilet or leave to buy food.

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