In brief, August 2009



This year’s Wales Rally GB will go ahead after the Motor Sport Association agreed to underwrite the cost of running the event, following the Welsh Assembly Government’s decision to terminate its sponsorship contract. The rally will run on October 22-25.

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel have confirmed that they will compete in this year’s Race of Champions to defend the Nations Cup title they have won the past two years. This year’s event will take place at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium in December.

The Highcroft American Le Mans Series team has hinted that it could swap to the IRL IndyCar Series. Team boss Duncan Dayton said he is “keeping an eye on every option” in his bid to turn Highcroft into one of North America’s top race teams. 

The Le Mans 24 Hours could have just one GT class in 2010. Race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest is seeking assurances about the new GT1 World Championship before allowing in the low-cost cars.

Indy and USAC driver Larry Rice, interviewed in our May issue, has died aged 63. Rice twice started the Indy 500 in 1978 and ’79, tying for Rookie honours with Rick Mears in ’78. He began racing in USAC in 1968, winning the Midget title and twice taking the Silver Crown. Famous for his bizarre headgear in the paddock, Rice had a reputation for avoiding accidents. A respected racing broadcaster, he was also president of the Indy 500 Oldtimers Club.

Bob Christie, who raced in eight consecutive Indy 500s from 1956-63, has died aged 85. His long career in AAA and USAC racing ran from the early ’50s to the late ’60s. Despite his nickname ‘Caveman’, Christie was known for being a mild-mannered man and a great supporter of Indy.

Author, engineer and hillclimber Allan Staniforth has died aged 85. Best known for his Terrapin racer designs, his books High Speed, Low Cost and Competition Car Suspension influenced a generation of chassis designers, while his ‘string computer’ was a triumph of lateral thinking. Allan had driven his latest car at Harewood hillclimb only a month before his death.