March 2009

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Alan Henry writes in his excellent Niki Lauda interview this month how the Austrian’s two British Grand Prix wins at Brands Hatch in 1982 and ’84 were received with rapture by the crowds....
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Donington Park’s bullish chief executive continues to fly in the face of widespread scepticism over his ambitious plans to host the 2010 British GP, as work to upgrade the circuit, its facilities and...
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Red Bull protégé Sébastien Buemi will race for Scuderia Toro Rosso this year, although there is still no news about the identity of his team-mate. The Swiss was reserve driver for sister team Red...
Ron Dennis inadvertently overshadowed the launch of the new McLaren by revealing that he will be stepping down as team principal as of March 1. In charge since 1981, Dennis will hand the reins of the...
Force India has had to do some major redesign work on its VJM02 to accommodate its new Mercedes engine and McLaren gearbox. The car is due to appear in early March and won’t get many testing miles...
Romain Grosjean will serve as Renault’s reserve driver this year, taking over the role from fellow Renault Development Driver Lucas di Grassi. The Swiss, who has a French mother and therefore races...
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Reflections – Why F1’s ‘regime’ feels threatened by FOTA – Ron chooses his moment for team handover – The night The Beatles stayed at Indianapolis "How come,” goes the old joke, “that there’s only...
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Aston Martin will mark the 50th anniversary of its Le Mans 24 Hours victory with a two-car bid for outright honours in this year’s French endurance classic, running a pair of prototypes liveried in...
Nissan’s long absence from the international sports car arena appears set to end, 10 years on from its last attack on the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Japanese manufacturer has begun testing a racing...
IndyCar driver Will Power has been signed by Penske as cover for Hélio Castroneves, who is facing tax evasion charges in the US. Power, who drove for KV Racing Technology in 2008, will test with the...
Former World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz missed out on adding the Dakar Rally to his impressive CV when he crashed out of the new-look event in South America with three days to go. Sainz, a two-time...
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Government minister Lord Paul Drayson has set up his own race team for 2009. Drayson Racing will mount an attack on the Le Mans Series in Europe and, providing the team gains an entry, the Le Mans 24...
Henry Surtees is one of four sons of former Grand Prix drivers to have signed up to compete in the new FIA Formula 2 Championship. Surtees, son of 1964 Formula 1 World Champion John, graduates to the...
Reynard, arguably the world’s top racing car constructor for the best part of two decades, has been relaunched for 2009 seven years after it went out of business. Company founder Adrian Reynard said...
Silverstone will host Britain’s round of the MotoGP World Championship from 2010, taking over from Donington Park which has been MotoGP’s UK home for 22 years. Silverstone’s five-year deal completes...
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In a bid to reduce the cost of single-seater racing, Italian company Dallara has launched its ‘Formulino’ range. The series of three cars conforms to current FIA F3 safety regulations and includes...
Jackie Epstein Sports car veteran, team boss and circuit manager Jackie Epstein died on January 7. He was 74. The son of sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein and his sometime muse, Isabel Nichols, young Jackie...
WTCC BMW has confirmed its 2009 driver line-up, with Sergio Hernández replacing Felix Porteiro alongside Alex Zanardi in Team-Italy-Spain. Andy Priaulx stays at Team GB, as do Jörg Müller and Augusto...
The days before Christmas brought little seasonal joy for the World Rally Championship when two works teams – Suzuki and Subaru – announced their withdrawal. It followed an FIA decision that, as from...
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At 73 Jim Hall is still as sharp as a tack. Hall is one of America’s greatest racing men. He was an accomplished driver until he badly broke his legs in a Can-Am accident in 1968, and was also the...
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The American Le Mans Series kicks off with the Sebring 12 Hours in mid-March when Audi will race its new R15 in its only US appearance of 2009. Acura’s new turbo V8 P1 car will debut at Sebring, with...
How many teams will turn out at Daytona this year? As America contemplates a long recession and sponsors pull back, many teams, and fans too, are struggling to find the budget to go racing. This...
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I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that, with Jaguar under new ownership, once more the rumour mill is gearing up for another one of its sessions predicting the imminent arrival of the car hitherto...
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Talking of Elises, I’ve been driving one with body panels and seats made from hemp, and upholstery provided by sheep grazing near Lotus’s Norfolk factory. The Lotus Eco Elise has water-based paint,...
I am grateful to Renault for introducing me to a breed of car I had long thought extinct: the genuinely bonkers hot hatch. In fact this might be the maddest of them all. Based on a Megane that’s no...
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An end to F1 excesses Sir, Notwithstanding the passion that followers of Formula 1 inherently share, could there be anything more superfluous than self-indulging in the banal pastime of Grand Prix...
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Niki Lauda is nothing if not a fighter. As he reaches 60, he talks to Motor Sport about some of his biggest battles in racing and in business It comes to us all, I suppose, but the notion of Niki...
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The 1982 US (West) Grand Prix – Lauda’s first win after his ‘retirement’ The red light shone, then the green, and away they went, the young de Cesaris making a beautiful getaway to lead into the...
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In 1972 March was struggling with its ambitious 721X, and Formula 1 rookie Niki Lauda was no fan. Enter the 721G – based on an F2 monocoque and built in just nine days X stood for experimental, G for...
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2009’s F1 cars may not be the prettiest, but any car that wins is beautiful… Savouring the promise of closer racing and more overtaking, Motor Sport went to Red Bull for a glimpse into the future On...
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All eyes were on the Algarve when the teams finally revealed their 2009 cars. But lap times were the last thing on observers’ minds New Formula 1 cars are a bit like London buses – you don’t see one...
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In a time of economic hardship, Porsche’s new €100m Stuttgart museum is a defiant display of classic road and race cars as well as rare exotica Anytime you find yourself feeling sorry for Porsche in...
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Versatile racer David Hobbs, the 50th anniversary of the US GP, and the day Indy came to Daytona will all be celebrated at this year’s Amelia Island Concours We’ve all heard of Pebble Beach, the...
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Indycars haven’t run on Daytona’s fearsome banking since their sole ill-fated race there in 1959 Indycars at Daytona. That suggestion today would bring a volley of laughter from drivers, mechanics,...
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Did this Oldsmobile Autocrat, dubbed ‘Yellow Peril’ by its first owner, really finish a 1911 Labor Day race in flames? We’ll never know for sure… The Yellow Peril’s saga is as much the provenance of...
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Bruce McLaren was adamant that no one should know about his new GP team, as Ray Rowe tells Rob Widdows Ray Rowe joined Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd at its lock-up garage in Chessington in April...
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The PM, Brucie, The Beatles… They all wanted to know this Belfast boy after his Mini win in Monte Carlo. But that was just one of his many successes In the UK at least, the frenzy surrounding Lewis...
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No, we don’t mean Michael. Or Ralf… We’re talking about Top Fuel star Tony, ‘The Sarge’ who dominates US drag racingBy Nigel Grimshaw It’s a heartfelt and inspiring statement delivered with an...
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He was a mentor to Britain’s greatest racer of the 1930s, but Giulio Ramponi also knew and worked with Ascari, Nuvolari and Caracciola. In 1982 he related some of his special memories Giulio Ramponi...
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British sports car maker Radical went to Le Mans for the first time in 2006, but only after it had proved to the world the success of its motorcycle-engined sports-racers Over the past 10 years...
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Radicals are very driveable and a blast on the track – once you get them going, that is… When you’ve never driven on a particular circuit in anger before, it helps to have a passenger ride first,...
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Despite the current doom and gloom, the racing community put on a great show at Autosport International. And we were there too As we headed up the M40 bound for Birmingham in freezing January we...
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An overhaul of the race content and a new company to promote and organise the event are the major changes announced for the 2009 Silverstone Classic. Gone from the provisional 2009 schedule is the...
Roger Etcell, boss of 2008 Silverstone Classic promoters Motion Works UK, has hit back at comments made by Ken Prichard Jones regarding the financial outcome of the meeting. Although rights holder...
Following date clashes with the DTM, the 2009 Jim Clark Revival Meeting will be held at the Lausitz Speedway rather than Hockenheim. The date for the event has changed to May 15-17, with Lurani...
Alongside a major presence in the Silverstone Classic, the Masters Racing Series will organise racing festivals at Donington Park (May 9/10) and Brands Hatch (May 24/25). In a trimmed schedule that...
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The Bentley Drivers’ Club will run a two-day race meeting for the first time over the weekend of August 8/9 to mark an unbroken run of six decades of annual meetings at Silverstone. Having run an...
Cars built between 1949 and 1965 will contest the 2009 Le Mans Legends race, run on the Saturday morning (June 13) ahead of the 24-hour classic. The Legends race will feature an entry starting with...
An initiative by the 1000cc FORMULA 3 Historic Racing Association to bring representative fields of 1-litre F3 cars back into racing is gathering momentum, with 28 cars now registered as intending to...
A new historic road rally for pre-war cars will be held from March 27-29, when Philip Young’s Endurance Rally Association runs the London to Edinburgh Trial. The event, also known as the ‘Flying...
Forty-five years after they were part of BMC’s winning team on the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, two famous works Mini Coopers were reunited for the Historic Rally Car Register’s Open Day at Gaydon. Paddy...
One of the most famous venues in French racing heritage, the banked circuit at Montlhéry, will be back in competitive use for the first time in five years when the 2009 Tour Auto takes in a four-mile...
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Coys has developed its own unique salesroom as an alternative to selling under the hammer at auction Chris Routledge, the managing director of Coys, leans closer. “With some of the sales recently,...
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It’s not often that a car auction, let alone a car, makes it into the daily papers. But the 1937 Bugatti Type 57S that Bonhams is selling at Rétromobile on February 7 has been given so many column...
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The MSA’s Night of Champions award ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London, was as big a success as always. Sadly World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who won the Hawthorn Trophy,...
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David Brabham summoned his most charitable racing friends to take part in the 2009 BP Ultimate Celebrity Kart Challenge at Autosport International. The cold January weather didn’t deter the group of...
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Stars of Group C then and now, the 956 and its descendant 962 inspired a generation. Its legacy? Six Le Mans wins over 12 years is just the start It was due as much to happenstance and sleight of...
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This former BTCC ace got a career leg-up after being asked to drive a 962 at Le Mans in 1990, but it’s not his favourite Porsche memory… “At the beginning of that year, I did a few World Sports Car...
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The Maserati 300S Walter Bäumer Two huge monographs on rare cars in one month! Along with Simon Moore’s Alfa 2.9 work (see over) comes this comprehensive history of the sports-racing Maserati which...
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How Jack Sears and the big Ford Galaxie changed the shape of British tin-top racing back in 1963 Touring car racing, especially since the 1980s, has left me absolutely stone cold. I have never...
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The Le Mans Test Weekend became a big deal from the 1960s. One I recall vividly was the 1971 edition, largely because of the speed of the extraordinary long-tailed Porsche 917Ls there. The previous...
While the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours became accepted highlights of the road racing summer season, over many decades the depths of winter were absolutely dominated by the Monte Carlo Rally...
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Perhaps the greatest difference between major-league motor racing then and now has been in the rewards offered and costs incurred. I’m reminded of this by the yellowing print lying before me,...
Onboard cameras are taken as standard wear today, but without considerable engineering input, or true intrepidity on behalf of a movie cameraman himself, it was quite unusual in days of yore. Shell...
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We call WB our Founder Editor, but he was not the first to run Motor Sport. Here he recalls some of his predecessors With Motor Sport always thinking both forward and backwards, it seems very...
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Reading the recent Freddie Dixon book recalled an occasion when we motoring writers received an invitation from Harry Ferguson to attend at his Gloucestershire estate at 9am, with gumboots, to see a...
At Brooklands I knew A F Ashby, who had tuned his side-valve 1½-litre Riley into a race winner, able to lap at over 80mph in 1927. In 1937 he acquired a 1935 2.9-litre Tipo B Alfa Romeo monoposto, a...

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