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Honda Racing welcomes more BTCC sponsors

Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and their BTCC Honda Civic

While Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are busy refining their 2011 Honda Civics in testing ahead of the BTCC season opener at Brands Hatch this weekend, Honda Racing is pleased to announce the appointment of several new sponsors together with a technical support arrangement with Bosch Engineering GmbH Motorsport.

Joining the team for the first time is CTEK, the leading global brand in the care and maintenance of vehicle batteries, and Dread, Honda Racing’s new official clothing supplier and leading provider of corporate, promotional and team clothing.

Honda Racing Team is also working with Bosch Engineering GmbH Motorsport for the 2011 season. Bosch is a leading global automotive supplier of technology and services.

Marshall Motor Group, Honda UK’s largest dealer group, is no stranger to the Honda Racing Team and the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. After a successful 2010 with the team, Marshall Motor Group is back for a second season in a row.

Sarah Mayo, Partnerships Manager, Honda (UK) commented “It’s great to see some new faces on-board for the 2011 season and we’re also delighted to see Marshall Motor Group sign up for their second year with us.

“Combine these sponsors with Pioneer and Yuasa and the Honda Racing team has some exceptionally strong support behind it. We’ve already had very promising results in our pre-season testing with Matt Neal setting the fastest time at Snetterton last week – 2011 is promising to be a thrilling season. We can’t wait for it to begin.

Nissan and PlayStation team up for third GT Academy

Nissan 370z in Grand Turisimo game

Nissan Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe are joining forces to run a third instalment of the popular GT Academy in 2011. The competition unites the worlds of virtual and real racing, offering one lucky winner the chance to realise a dream of becoming a certified real life racing driver.

The virtual stage of GT Academy will be played out on Sony’s Gran Turismo 5 game for the PlayStation 3 console. The stakes are high with places at the GT Academy Race Camp to play for and a fully-supported drive in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour International race as the ultimate prize.

This year’s European competition will run across 10 countries with the online gaming phase starting on 4 March and continuing until 17 April. Leader boards for each participating territory will highlight the fastest 20 racers who will proceed to a live territory final. Only two from each final will make it to the intensive six-day driver training ‘Race Camp’ to be run at Silverstone. The winner of Race Camp will continue to be trained in Nissan race cars and compete in a series of national-level races in order to qualify for an international race licence and an entry into the Dubai race.

GT Academy in 2010 enjoyed enormous success with 1.2 million gamers taking part. Residents from 10 European countries, combined into six territory groups, are eligible to take part in GT Academy 2011. They include: 1. Germany and Austria; 2. France and Switzerland; 3. UK and Ireland; 4. Spain and Portugal; 5. Italy; and 6. the Netherlands.

More details of the time trial phase of the European GT Academy will be released shortly, but players can register their interest and be the first to receive news by signing up to the GT Academy Facebook page – www.facebook.com/GTAcademy.

New German date for British Formula 3

New British F3 logo

The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series is to make a summer visit to the Nürburgring, rather than the early autumn appearance at the German Grand Prix circuit which was originally planned.

Announcing the switch to a 1-3 July visit, championship promoter SRO Motorsport Group said that the calendar alteration had been forced upon it by circumstances beyond its control. “We had a confirmed September date at the Nürburgring,” said SRO general manager Lisa Crampton, “but regrettably we were told in late January that organisers had changed and we’d been removed from the event.

I’m very pleased to have been able to secure an alternative date at this sought-after venue, which will certainly be a highlight of our season.”

The calendar alteration has had a knock-on effect in that the new Nürburgring date clashes with the Goodwood Festival of Speed, at which the championship leader was to have given demonstration runs. “It is a great shame that we will not be able now to showcase the championship at Goodwood and we hope that both teams and drivers can understand it was not a decision made easily,” added Crampton, “but we are in discussions to secure an alternative prize for the mid-season championship leader.

The revised British Formula 3 International Series calendar now looks like this:

  • 08 Mar  Silverstone, UK  Media & Test Day
  • 14-16 Apr  Monza, Italy  Blancpain Endurance Series
  • 23 & 25 Apr  Oulton Park, UK  British GT & UK support package
  • 14/15 May  Snetterton 300, UK  British GT & UK support package
  • 18/19 Jun  Brands Hatch GP, UK  British GT & UK support package
  • 01-03 Jul  Nürburgring, Germany
  • 15-17 Jul  Paul Ricard, France  FIA GT1 World Championship
  • 28-30 Jul  Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium  Spa 24 Hours
  • 03/04 Sep  Rockingham, UK  British GT & UK support package
  • 24/25 Sep  Donington Park GP, UK  British GT & UK support package
  • 07-09 Oct  Silverstone Arena, UK  British GT, Blancpain Endurance & supports

Changes to the RaceCarBuzz calendar will be made later today.

Aston Martin Racing appoints new Managing Director

Aston Martin LMP1 car

Aston Martin Racing has announced that John Gaw has been appointed new Managing Director. John will oversee sales and customer service activities and will spearhead the development of new Aston Martin racing cars, and global products and services.

John brings a wealth of experience within major blue chip organisations including Pepsi and Camelot. John is also an experienced GT racer, who won the 2010 Britcar 24 Hour and manages his own GT racing team.

Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards, said:

I am delighted to welcome John into Aston Martin Racing at such an exciting time. His appointment is a further statement of our intent to ensure that our customers receive the highest level of support to assist them in achieving their sporting objectives. With John now working alongside George, I am confident that we have a team that will continue the successful development and expansion of Aston Martin Racing to the benefit of all our customers.”

Source: Aston Martin Racing

Lord Drayson accepts presidency of the MIA

Lord Paul Drayson

The Right Honourable Lord Drayson of Kensington has accepted the invitation from members to become the new Honorary President of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA).

Lord Astor of Hever stepped down from the role upon his appointment as a Defence Minister in the new UK Government, following 14 years of leadership and diplomacy on behalf of the motorsport industry.

Paul Drayson brings a unique range of business, motorsport and Parliamentary experience to the MIA. An engineering graduate of Aston University, his first degree was sponsored by BL Cars and developed his passion for motorsport that had been sparked by growing up near the Brands Hatch race circuit, Kent. He completed a PhD in robotics before founding PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc in 1993, which became one of the world’s leading vaccine companies under his guidance. He sold his shares in 2003, and became a working peer in the UK Parliament a year later.

Before last year’s General Election, he had held positions as Minister of Science and Innovation in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform in the Ministry of Defence.

His results in business and politics have been matched by his success in pioneering green technology on the racetrack. He achieved a UK first by winning the 2007 Snetterton round of the British GT Championship racing a unique bio-fuelled Aston Martin DBRS9. Since 2009, driving for his own team – Drayson Racing (www.draysonracing.com) – he has contested the ALMS, LMS and Asian Le Mans series, and driven at Le Mans, Sebring and in the Petit Le Mans endurance races. Last year he won outright at Road America, and Drayson Racing came third overall in the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Championship, campaigning a unique Flex-Fuel Lola-Judd V10 LMP1 coupe.

Lord Drayson commented:

I am a long standing fan of the MIA and its achievements, and firmly believe it has an ever-increasing role to play in optimising the world-class resources and talent that lie within the motorsport industry. I believe my career and experience in business and Government, coupled with my lifelong passion for motor-racing, will be of aid to the MIA’s work and the prosperity of its members. There is no better way to launch my Presidency than by getting stuck in with the MIA team at this week’s Autosport International Show and meeting as many fellow members as I can.”

Lose that winter flab and get a racing driver figure with Porsche

Porsche centre at Silverstone circuit

It’s winter and that means most of us have munched our way through the occasional mince pie or ten, but fear not if your body has adopted a high downforce setting because those clever people at Porsche are on hand to help us, well racing drivers mostly, ‘get F1 fit for the 2011 season’.

That’s right, Porsche have announced their ‘Get Race Fit’ Programme which offers a half-day coaching session at their Human Performance Centre at Silverstone. The session takes the principles of motorsport fitness and combines them with expert advice from professionals including F1 superstar Mark Webber and MotoGP rider Bradley Smith. Limited to just 40 places and costing £195 per person, the session aims to create a programme preparing motorsport participants at every level, for the forthcoming season.

Each ‘Get Race Fit’ session teaches techniques for motorsport specific strength and conditioning training, tests vision and reaction abilities using something called a Batak, Saccadic fixator and Wave scan technology, and also includes a full body composition analysis. There will be a competitive element to some of the activities and the top performers will win a hot lap with Mark Webber on the Porsche Experience Centre tracks.

So there you go, there’s absolutely no excuse for not being in top physical and mental condition for the office karting session.

For more info check out: www.porsche.co.uk/experience

Tom Walkinshaw 1946 – 2010

Tom Walkinshaw sadly passed away yesterday after battling cancer.

Walkinshaw, regarded by many as a legend in motorsport, competed in numerous areas of the sport both as a driver and team owner. Walkinshaw ran the Ligier, Benetton and Arrows Formula One teams. He fielded cars in the British Touring Car Championship and Australian V8 Supercars series. But he is perhaps best known amongst fans for his work with Jaguar, winning Le Mans with the iconic Group C cars.

Here’s one of my favourite youtube clips of Tom on the limit in his Tom Walkinshaw Racing Jag XJS at Mt Panorama in Austraila.

Rebellion Racing boss Hugh Hayden dies

Rebellion Racing LMP1 car

Hugh Hayden, the boss of Rebellion Racing, has passed away after suffering from a suspected heart attack at the age of 66. Hayden was taken ill during a team karting event on Saturday in Portugal.

Hugh Hayden founded Sebah Automotive in 1995, competing with Caterham sportscars in the British Superlight championship before moving into international endurance racing with Porsches. Sebah Racing won two Le Mans Series Team championships in the LM GT2 category in ’04 and ’05. In 2008 Hugh joined forces with Alexandre Pesci to form Speedy Racing Team Sebah and compete in LMP2. In 2010 Speedy Racing Team Sebah was renamed Rebellion Racing, and ran two very distinct Lola-Rebellion LMP1 cars in the Le Mans Series and for the 24 hours of Le Mans, quickly becoming fan favourites.

Rebellion Racing owner, Alexandre Pesci, and Director of Sebah Automotive Bart Hayden, Hugh’s son, have decided that the team’s activities will continue in memory of Hugh. Stating on their website:

“Hugh’s inspirational leadership will be carried forward by Bart as the team moves on into 2011.”