It may not be the first season of unified racing for the IndyCar Series, but teams returning to this year’s events will likely feel that it is. Last year the unification decision was announced in February, just days before pre-season testing commenced. Drivers were ill-prepared for the changes and many suffered for this during the course of the season. This year they can kick off their season truly prepared for it.
Things started out a bit rough-and-tumble for the 2008 IndyCar racing season after some major changes were made a little too close to the first open test. The February Open Test in Homestead, Miami, was missed and a separate Open Test was held in Sebring, Florida. Teams had to spend at least half the season preparing back-up cars just to make it through with some hope of success. Fortunately the drivers were eventually able to catch up, and by the end of the season there were two rookie breakthrough wins by Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal.
Now the 2009 IndyCar series unified racing season is ready to begin as cars get ready to return to the track from February 24-25 for the Open Test. Stating his expectations for the year, Vitor Meira, who has been racing the series for seven years and will be moving to AJ. Foyt Racing for the season, said: “It’s definitely going to be tougher. With the off-season that we have, the new teams have had a lot of time to think, a lot of time to correct their mistakes. Since their learning curve is higher than ours, they’re going to be able to start in better shape than last year.”
Apart from the Open Test announcement, teams will also be racing two new street courses in Long Beach California and Toronto. Drivers seem to be excited about being given the chance to race where people like Mario and Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti have raced and won before. Will Power remarked that “Unification was the best thing that could’ve happened for open-wheel racing in North America”, due to the fact that “it’s created a lot more interest in the sport.” He couldn’t be more right and no doubt the 2009 IndyCar Series will be a massive success.
Mario Andretti – a name spoken with respect in auto racing circles. A master on the Formula One and NASCAR track, Mario Adretti has certainly left a major mark on the history of auto racing. Andretti, an Italian-American, has had a remarkable driving career with 4 IndyCar title wins and numerous F1 victories.
Mario Gabriele Andretti, along with his twin brother Aldo, was born on 28 February 1940 in Italy. In 1948 due to the occupation of his homeland by Yugoslavia, his family promptly departed, finally coming to reside in Nazareth of Pennsylvania, USA. Andretti’s racing career began in 1959 as he raced around a dirt track in a Hudson. His first year of racing saw Mario Andretti coming in 3rd place at the Indianapolis 500. 1964 was the year Andretti began racing in the USAC series. He also took part in a variety of forms of auto racing such as drag racing.
Mario Andretti also had a keen interest in Formula One. His first race was at Watkins Glen in 1968 and his first win for Ferrari was in 1971. Andretti’s focus really shifted to F1 driving in the mid-1970s. He began driving for the Parnelli team. He took the Lotus to its limit, developing a fantastic racing car that took an amazing full lap lead at Mount Fuji track. 1978 was a remarkable season with 6 wins in his brilliantly designed Lotus 79. Unfortunately after his previous grand successes as a Formula 1 driver, Andretti failed to gain victory from 1979 onwards. However his career in F1 reminded all why he was a champion as he competed with Ferrari in 1982. Andretti continued racing IndyCars during the ’80s.
Through his racing days Mario Andretti received much recognition, along with many awards and titles. Amongst these are the 1978 F1 World Champion, Inductee of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000 and Inductee of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1996. He was even named “Driver of the Century” in 2000 by Associated Press and RACER magazine. Andretti was honored by the Italian government in 2006, by being awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.
Today Mario Andretti is a successful business man. He has set up the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley and has business interests in car dealerships, petroleum, the Mario Andretti Racing School as well as the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games center. However, Mario Andretti will always be remembered as one of the greatest race car drivers ever.
This year the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races will be celebrating their 35th anniversary at Laguna Seca. The event, which will be presented by Toyota, will celebrate a number of highlights from past races. It will also see legendary driver Mario Andretti take his seat as the official guest of honor.
The 2008 Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races will take place on August 15 to 17 at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The event will be paying tribute to the first marque to ever be featured at the Historic Races in 1975, the Alfa Romeo. The Alfa Romeo 8C-2900B Mille Miglia will no doubt be sharing the limelight with Mario Andretti – as both are racing legends. The race will also see a number of other marques that have featured in the past 34 Monterey Historic races, including the 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes, which will be enjoying its 100th year of racing. A variety of historic Trans-Am cars will also take to the track during the course of the event. In all the weekend will see a variety of highly competitive and exciting races that are sure to wow fans.
Regarding the presence of Andretti at the event, Steve Earle – the President of General Racing Ltd which founded and organized the event – said: “We are extremely pleased to have Mario Andretti join us at the Rolex Monterey Historic this year. He is a living legend for all of us, and we’ll join together to celebrate the anniversary of his winning the World Championship in 1978.” Many consider Andretti to be the most accomplished driver to ever emerge during the history of motorsports and the legendary driver will be getting behind the wheel of his F1 Championship Winning Lotus 79 for a few demonstration laps during the course of the event. He will also be available to sign autographs and will be participating in some of the scheduled races that have been organized as part of the Rolex Monterey Races. Fans will get the chance to meet other legends during autograph sessions and enjoy plenty of additional entertainment in the form of an enhanced Consumer Expo. If you want to meet Andretti, get in on all the historic racing action and make the most of your weekend, make sure that you get down to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this great event!
The Goodwood Festival of Speed, set to take place 11-13 July 2008 in the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, England, is considered by many to be the world’s largest and most diverse tribute to the history of car culture and motor sport, attracting participants and spectators from around the world. Visitors can expect to see everything from 19th century steam carriages through to current Formula One cars.
Racing motorbikes, classic rally cars and dragsters will feature at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Visitors can look out for a number of motor sport legends, including Emerson Fittipaldi, John Surtees, Stirling Moss and Mario Andretti, who will be mingling with the top drivers of today, such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Petter Solberg and Fernando Alonso.
A highlight of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the Hillclimb Competition, with participation by invitation only. This takes place throughout the three-day festival in the grounds of Goodwood House. The start of the almost two kilometer course is in the south of the park near the gate lodge. Participants race along a beautiful tree-lined avenue before turning to pass in front of historical Goodwood House. The trail then climbs a steep and narrow estate road past dense woodland groves, as competitors head toward Goodwood’s horse racing track situated on top of the South Downs. The Hillclimb Competition starts on Friday with free practice sessions with Saturday being the official practice day. Sunday is the timed competition with about 200 vehicles competing. The cars are grouped according to various categories, including Early Cars, Single Seaters, Sports-Racing Cars, Saloon-Based Cars and Motorcycles. With the oldest cars starting first, competitors can participate either in a timed category, or purely as a demonstration run. Competitors complete two runs on Saturday and again on Sunday with each competitor’s fastest time determining the final competition result. When they are not competing, the cars will be parked in four paddocks near Goodwood House for festival-goers to view.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is also a celebration of the role that the United Kingdom has played in providing a competitive and high-profile environment for world-class manufacturers and riders to honor the British Superbike Championship. One of the largest collections of machinery and riders, past and present stars of the British Superbike Championship, will be showcased at the Festival of Speed.
Rally drivers will put their skills, and their cars, to the test on a 2.5 kilometer loose-surfaced track which has been cut into the wooded area near the Hillclimb finish line. Spectators will have unrestricted access to observe these talented drivers demonstrate some daring rally driving techniques, including sideways driving.
Away from the roar of engines, the Cartier Style et Luxe displays some of the most beautiful and innovative automotive designs to come out of this coveted car design competition. The competition consists of about 50 cars divided into 10 classes, representing motoring history. The judges for the competition are not car experts, but noteworthy personalities from the arts. Judging is done on the basis of the beauty and practicality of the vehicle, taking into account proportion, detail, texture and finish. Judging will take place on Saturday and Sunday with a live jazz band adding to the festive atmosphere.
Certainly, all motor sport enthusiasts would not want to miss the exciting Goodwood Festival of Speed. Tickets will not be available at the gate, so book your tickets now!
The Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races will be celebrating its 35th anniversary later this year when it is held at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The event will be presented by Toyota and will be highlighting some of the more memorable events to take place during the course of the race’s history.
Apart from a weekend of highly competitive races, this noteworthy event will be commemorated by saluting a variety of featured marques from the last 34 races. Included in the list will be the Alfa Romeo 8C-2900B Mille Miglia, which was the first marquee to be featured at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Race in 1975. A genuinely impressive antique car, the automobile will be paired up with legendary driver Mario Andretti, who will be the official guest of honor for the weekend. Many see Andretti as a living legend. He won the World Championships in 1978 and went on to become one of the most accomplished drivers in the history of motor sports. He remains the only driver to ever win the Indianapolis, Daytona 500 and F1 World Championship even today. Andretti will not just serve as a historic presence at the races – he will be getting behind the wheel at a number of events during the course of the weekend. This is something that fans can surely look forward to seeing.
According to Steve Earle, the president of General Racing Ltd, who founded and organized the event, the anniversary celebrations will showcase cars such as the 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes and a variety of historic Trans-Am cars. Other features of the event to look forward to include the presentation of past Monterey Cup winners, the Ferrari Historic Challenge and the Toyota “Race of Legends”. Autograph sessions and an improved consumer expo round up the event and ensure that racing fans are able to make the most of their time spent here.
The 35th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Race will take place on 15 to17 August 2008. Why not get your ticket now to make sure that you don’t miss out? The event is sure to be legendary!