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Archive for November, 2009

Local schoolgirl and racing driver Alice Powell was honoured at the 2009 Women of the Future Awards, held last night (12 November) at a ceremony in London, supported by David Cameron and Cherie Blair.

Alice was runner up in the Young Star Award category, which was won by 19-year-old inventor and businesswoman Ruth Amos, who developed a revolutionary mobility aid whilst studying for her GCSEs.

Other entrants in the Young Star Award included: actress Georgia Groome star of the movie “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging” and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen.

Alice, who lives in Chipping Norton and attends the Cotswold School near Cheltenham, says: “It’s a real honour to get recognition. Few women have made it in motorsport and no one has made a real impact in F1 – that is my ambition. I think the time is right, if a girl is out there doing well then more women would watch Formula 1 – it would definitely make it more exciting.”

Alice continues: “I’d like to be a role model for girls entering motor sport. A successful woman in motor sport would be a true ambassador for the sport and women wanting to enter it and do well. I am breaking new ground and would like to do for motor sport what Ellen MacArthur has done for sailing.”

Founded by writer and entrepreneur Pinky Lilani OBE and Caspian Publishing, and supported by Shell, the Women of the Future Awards were established to identify Britain’s talented young women aged 35 and under, who are set to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Now in their fourth year, previous winners include Melody Hossaini, co-founder of the UK Youth Parliament, soloist ballerina Lauren Cuthbertson and television presenter and writer, Dawn Porter.

At last night’s ceremony, David Cameron delivered a speech on the vital role of women in the UK. Cherie Blair, a long-standing patron of the awards, presented the award for the Business Woman of the Future category.

Awards went to:
Art and Culture Woman of the Future – sponsored by Visa Europe
• Alexia Khadime (24) and Dianne Pilkington (34), currently performing the lead roles in Wicked.

Business Woman of the Future – sponsored by Asda
• Sam Smith (35), FinnCap

Entrepreneurial Woman of the Future
• Holly Tucker (32), the co-founder of internet retailer notonthehighstreet.com which provides a platform for small businesses to take on established brands.
• (Special commendation: Emily Bendell (28), Blue Bella)

Media Woman of the Future
• Julie King (33), Head of External Relations for the Olympic Delivery Authority, the body organising the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Professions Woman of the Future – sponsored by Sodexo
• Annie Graham (31), Ernst & Young
• (Special commendation: Ayesha Hazarika (34), Special Advisor to Parliament)

Science and Technology Woman of the Future – sponsored by Shell
• Dr Sarah Teichmann (34) of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
• (Special commendation: Dr Karen Masters (30) of the Institute of Cosmology & Gravitation, University of Portsmouth)

The Woman of the Future Voluntary Award
• Katy Tuncer (29), Metropolitan Police

The Young Star Award – sponsored by Barclays
• Inventor and businesswoman Ruth Amos (19) of StairSteady who has put university on hold to focus on the company she formed after inventing a product to help people with mobility issues as part of a GCSE project.

Mentor of the Year – sponsored by Booz & Company
• Birgit Neu, HSBC

The Women of the Future Corporate Award – sponsored by KPMG
• Global outsourcing giant Capgemini UK
• (Special commendation: Caroline Carr and Seung Earm, Executive Directors, Goldman Sachs)

A Women of the Future Awards Special Commendation went to Debbie Moore of Pineapple Studios who was the first women to float a company on the London Stock Exchange.

The awards ceremony took place at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on Thursday November 12, 2009.

For information on the awards, visit: http://womenofthefuture.co.uk/

Two young Chinese racing stars of the future will add further international relevance to the final round of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship – The F3 SuperPrix – at Sandown next week.

18-year-old Zhang Shan Qi and 16-year-old Li Zhi Cong will drive a pair of F304 Dallaras entered by R-Tek Motorsport, the Adelaide based team that this year has run cars for Jesse Wakeman and Roger I’Anson.

Both young drivers are part of the PTRS Racing Team, a well known Chinese-based operation that has run cars in Asian Formula Renault, Formula 3 and other series.

Members of the PTRS team will be present at Sandown to work with with the R-Tek crew in assisting their young protégés adapt to the rigours of Formula 3 competition, as both drivers will be making their respective F3 debuts at Sandown.

“I am very excited as it’s going to be my first F3 race,” Zhang Shan Qi said.

“It is also going to be my first time visiting Australia so I’m very much looking forward to it! I am grateful to have this opportunity to take part in this great event in Australia and also the chance to be able to race with the other drivers from different parts of the world.

“I will definitely do my best and try to gain as much experience as I can for my future racing career.”

Both Shan Qi and Cong have recent experience in the Asian Formula Renault championship, giving them an ideal preparation for the step into a more powerful Formula 3 car.

“Both drivers have got wings and slicks experience which will make the transition easier for them at Sandown. From a team perspective we’re really looking forward to having the two guys join the team,” R-Tek team owner and F3 chairman Ian Richards said.

“The Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship has been working hard this year to increase our penetration in the Asian market and the response we have had for Sandown is remarkable. People are seeing Australian Formula 3 as a cost-effective and competitive way to go Formula 3 racing and the Sandown grid will be proof of that.”

The Sandown F3 SuperPrix grid will now feature seven non-Australian drivers, hailing from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Indonesia and China.

The international interest generated in the participation of the young overseas stars has extended to major Chinese broadcaster CCTV 5 showing an interest in covering the event, and the progress of their two countrymen.

The final round of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will also feature an epic showdown between Tim Macrow and Joey Foster for the CAMS Gold Star award and the Australian Drivers’ Championship title.

For Macrow, it will be an opportunity to secure a second Gold Star whilst Foster seeks his first crown and back-to-back titles for Team BRM.

The Sandown F3 SuperPrix will be held over 22-laps of Sandown Raceway in Melbourne on Sunday, November 29th, in a programme that also features a 12-lap sprint and a Formula 1-style Knockout qualifying session on Saturday.

For more information about the Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship please visit www.formula3.com.au

As Alexander Rossi prepares for his upcoming BMW/Sauber F1 test in Jerez, Spain, December 1-3, he joined the GP2 Main series at the final 2009 test at the famed Paul Ricard Circuit, November 10-12. Rossi originally slated to drive only the first day with DAMS and the third day with Piquet GP, was given the opportunity to take up a vacant seat on day two of the test when a driver for Piquet fell ill.

While perfection is something that is difficult to come by, it is necessary at times in GP2 series. This past week over the 3 days of testing, the time charts reflected the highly competitive nature of GP2, as often the top fifteen drivers were separated by merely half a second. The highly regarded premier feeder series into Formula 1, GP2 and Bridgestone have created a tire to have nearly identical characteristics to that of F1. This is by no mistake and is meant to prepare the next generation of F1 drivers for this important step as they learn to maximize the narrow window of the complex tire, often, the most critical element to putting in the penultimate lap in qualifying.

Rossi entered the Paul Ricard test with sights of perfecting his ability to maximize the highly sensitive Bridgestone’s, knowing this is a key element to his first F1 outing. With his F1 test only three weeks away, Rossi’s goal was to be more than ready to deliver the results expected of him.

“At this level of motorsport,” stated Rossi, “there is so much that goes into being able to find the maximum of the tire, as chances are you will only get one lap and one opportunity to string it all together. While many factors play a part in the ultimate lap, aside from race craft, I believe that fully understanding the tire is the most important aspect a driver must know. The Bridgestone this week gave me new meaning to the word ‘push’. I am just looking forward to being able to get into the BMW / Sauber and put all the key pieces together. This just further proves the fact that GP2 is really the best preparation any young driver can have before reaching F1.”

Most of the drivers at Paul Ricard experienced the difficulty of stringing a lap together at times due to traffic on the short test circuit, while optimizing the tire. In the highly competitive GP2 test, Rossi on Day 2 was just 4/10ths off the quickest time which placed him P10 in the morning, while 4/10ths placed him P14 in the afternoon, a very tight field indeed.

Rossi returned to Italy to continue his training regimen and final preparations for the F1 test. This test will be bittersweet as it will mark Alexander’s debut on the Formula 1 scene while being a sad departure of a fantastic manufacture from the sport.

“I know many of the drivers that will be at the Jerez official F1 test”, Rossi added. “This will be my first opportunity to introduce myself to Formula One. In motorsports an opportunity of this magnitude has far reaching potential and one I take very seriously. My goals for the test are to put in a fantastic performance while fully absorbing the whole experience. At the same time, however, I feel it is my duty to represent the BMW Sauber F1 team well at their last official test and I plan on delivering an excellent result, one which they can be proud of.”

Alexander Rossi will test for BMW-Sauber F1 Team, December 1 -3, Jerez, Spain.

British F3 champions Carlin join F3 teams from across the world this week, as the British squad make preparations ahead of the 56th Macau Grand Prix this weekend. Racing with Carlin in the most prestigious and challenging F3 race in the world, will be current British F3 champion Daniel Ricciardo, Max Chilton, Brendon Hartley and Henry Arundel.

The four drivers follow in the footsteps of F1 racers Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Buemi, Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg who have all competed with Carlin in the Chinese enclave in recent years.

After an eventful race in Macau in 2008, Hartley took a podium finish for Carlin, despite having started from 20th position after an incident in the Qualification race. Chilton also benefits from knowledge of the Guia circuit, having raced here last year. This year’s Macau Grand Prix will be a new experience for reigning British F3 champion Ricciardo and also his first taste of a street circuit, while Arundel also make his Macau debut this year.

2008 third place man Brendon Hartley said, “I’m happy to be back in Macau after a podium last year. We had really good pace then, so I’m expecting that to continue this year. There’s always a bit of luck involved in getting a good result in Macau, its easy to get caught up in other people’s accidents, but then you have to create your own luck as well. I started at the back of the grid last year and finished on the podium but I think if you want to have a chance of winning, you need to qualify well here.”

British racer Max Chilton makes his second visit to Macau after a successful debut last year. “Macau is a fantastic circuit; it’s just so tight there isn’t any room for error. It’s great to come back here already knowing what to expect and knowing the circuit. I’m feeling confident after a strong finish to the British F3 season and I feel as though I’ve developed a lot as a driver since I was here last year. I’m aiming to finish my F3 career on a high with a strong result here this weekend.”

Having had his first look at the Guia circuit, British F3 champion Daniel Ricciardo commented, “The circuit looks incredible. It looks really challenging so I think it will be important to build up to it. Everyone says you need as much track time as possible to get the most out of the circuit and have the confidence to push to the limit. It’s tempting to just go all out and see what I can do, but I’ll have to just take it easy and build up to the ultimate pace. I can tell already that I’m going to love the circuit. ”

Also making his first trip to Macau, Henry Arundel added, “The circuit looks really fun but also a big challenge. We’ve seen in the past that anything can happen here, but I think the important thing will be to improve with every session. It looks like it could be the best circuit I’ve ever driven and certainly the most challenging. I can’t wait for the first session to get underway so I can see what it’s really like.”

The first practice session for the F3 drivers will take place at 10.30 local time on Thursday, followed by first qualifying at 14.00. Second practice and second qualifying will take place on Friday, with the qualification race on Saturday culminating in the 56th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday.

DJ Award BanquetSt. Thomas, Ontario’s DJ Kennington driver of the #17 Castrol/Mahindra Tractor Dodge was in Concord, North Carolina this past weekend to attend the NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala that recognized the accomplishments of the participants in each of the NASCAR divisions. The trip south for Kennington was well worth the journey as he collected the trophy for second place in the overall series championship, along with the coveted Mopar Cup as the top finishing Mopar powered driver in the series.

In addition to the Awards Dinner Gala, NASCAR also organized other events for those attending the festivities that included driver briefings, seminars and tours of the some of the most technically advanced race shops in the vicinity. “This was quite a big deal for all of us” said DJ Kennington. “We got to really see first hand how important these series are in the business of NASCAR” he added.

Kennington was awarded the Mopar Cup on Friday morning and was proud to accept the trophy. “These Mopar powered engines are the reason we’ve been able to have such great success in the series” he stated. “The motors generate so much horsepower, they’re incredibly reliable, and you have to have that to win races” he concluded.

The Castrol/Mahindra Tractors Dodge driver also accepted the trophy for finishing second overall on stage at the Concord Convention Centre on Saturday night. “I’m so proud of the whole team for the season we had” said the driver. “We had two wins this year, and finished top-ten in eleven of thirteen races, top-five in nine out of thirteen. Normally that would be good enough to win the championship but we came up a little short, but we’re hungrier than ever for next year” he stated.

Kennington and company are already at work preparing for the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season and the thirteen race schedule was released during the weekend’s events. While many of the venues are familiar to the competitors the one new event on the schedule has the series running on the streets of Exhibition Place as part of the Toronto Indy weekend. “We’ve seen how exciting these stock cars are to watch on road courses in the last few years, they’re a lot of fun to drive too and I’m really looking forward to racing in Toronto again” said Kennington.

You’ll also be able to follow the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on television in 2010 with all thirteen races broadcast on TSN, most in High Definition. Look for a newly redesigned website coming soon to follow the success of DJ Kennington and the #17 Castrol/Mahindra Tractors Dodge.

Photo by Todd Lewis.

Beauchamp Award BanquetRon Beauchamp Jr. and the #60 Mopar Parts Dodge team gathered together with other stars of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the other NASCAR Touring Series in Concord, North Carolina this past Saturday night to be recognized for their accomplishments this past season. The Awards Gala Banquet culminated nearly a week of activities organized for the participants.

Earlier in the week tours of several nearby race shops for the Spring Cup and Nationwide Series teams were organized for those attending along with racing seminars and keynote speakers including Junior Johnson. “It was a great night for the Mopar Parts Team” said Ron Beauchamp Jr. “We all came down together and it was a nice way to thank the team for the many hours of hard work they put in this season. We had some time racing Go Karts and then this at great night here that NASCAR put on really shows how important the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the other Touring Series are for NASCAR” he added.

Beauchamp was presented with the trophy for third place in the overall Championship standings in front of the crowd of well over 500. “I accepted the trophy but this is for the whole team” said Ron Jr. “We had a really strong season with eleven top-ten finishes and eight top-five finishes. We had great reliability and the team prepared a great car for me to drive every week. We had tremendous support again from our sponsors at Mobil 1, Exide and of course Mopar. It all added up to a really positive season.

While Team Mopar enjoyed their success in 2009 the work is already underway for the next season and the 2010 race was also announced this past weekend. While much of the schedule sees competitors returning to the same great venues, there is one notable addition to the thirteen race schedule as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series joins another high profile event as the feature race on Saturday July 17th as the feature race at the Toronto Indy weekend. “It just shows how big this series is becoming” said Beauchamp. “We’re part of the major racing events in Montreal, Edmonton and back running on the streets of Toronto exposing NASCAR racing to more and more fans” he added.

Once again in 2010 you will be able to watch all thirteen events of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on TSN, Canada’s Sports Leader. Team Mopar appreciate the recognition of their accomplishments and wish to thank the race fans and sponsors for their extraordinary support.

Photo by Todd Lewis.

Rio HaryantoThe Sandown F3 Superprix is set to be a melting pot of international racing talent following the conformation today that 16-year-old Indonesian Formula BMW star Rio Haryanto will return to the Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship this November.

Haryanto, from Central Java in Indonesia, raced a National Class Dallara at Queensland Raceway in August this year but will step into outright contention at the Melbourne circuit, set to take to the wheel of an Astuti Motorsport F307 Dallara.

Already crowned the Formula BMW Pacific champion (with one round to spare), Haryanto will join drivers from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as outright contenders for Formula 3s toughest race of the year – an event that will double as a title showdown between Tim Macrow and Joey Foster.

Haryanto will drive the Astuti chassis driven to a race win last year at Oran Park by James Winslow.

The youngster has dominated proceedings in the competitive Formula BMW Asia championship this year and will finish that particular campaign one week before the Sandown event, at the Macau Grand Prix.

“It is fantastic that the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship can attract a champion driver from Asia like Rio,” Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti said.

“It shows the progress the series is making and the reputation it now has internationally. The field at Sandown will be first-class and we can’t wait for what should be a fantastic SuperPrix race.”

Driving a PHR Scuderia F304 Dallara, Haryanto scored a National Class pole position at Queensland Raceway and finished just behind class champion Tom Tweedie in the first race.

“As a team we were impressed with Rio’s performances at Queensland in the National Class car,” Astuti said.

“By the end of the weekend he was just as fast as the class benchmark and not far off the outright cars too. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do in the outright car at Sandown and I would say, based on his pace and successes in Asia so far this year, he will be very competitive.”

Haryanto will be a team-mate to Sydney driver Mat Sofi, his #2 AmPro Tools Dallara also prepared out of the Astuti Motorsport stable, giving the team two cars for the first time this season.

The Sandown F3 SuperPrix will be contested between November 27 – 29, alongside the final round of the 2009 Shannons Nationals.

For more information about the Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship please visit www.formula3.com.au

Photo by F3A / Klynsmith Image

Will Bratt - Paul Ricard GP2 TestingGP2 Series rookie Will Bratt capped off this week’s official test outing at Paul Ricard in France with a superb front-running effort today, Thursday, 12th November – the Briton posting the fifth fastest time in the morning before improving to fourth quickest this afternoon.

Marking the last time category runners will be on track until the second race meeting of the 2009/2010 GP2 Asia series in early February, the Party Poker Racing-supported driver completed just shy of 200 laps over the course of the three-day test and made fantastic progress along the way.

Steering his Renault-powered Dallara to a quickest lap of 1m12.675 seconds this morning, just 0.159 seconds shy of the session’s best, the 21-year-old went on to lap with a fastest time of 1m12.835 seconds in the afternoon to conclude the final session of the year in fourth position.

Each time he was on track today, Will was always in the top cluster of pace-setting drivers. Despite not being able to piece together his fastest sector times in both sessions, which ultimately cost the Banbury racer a potential time-sheet topping best, his efforts were still incredibly impressive.

Will commented: “I’m pretty happy with how the Paul Ricard test has gone for us, it’s just a shame we weren’t able to hook the sectors up today as we should have been faster. Finishing in the top five this morning and fourth this afternoon is great but it could have been better still. Even so, we’ve made very good progress and it’s been a fantastic way to end a phenomenal year.”

The steps made by Will throughout this week, working closely with the PartyPokerRacing.com Scuderia Coloni engineers, have truly put the icing on the cake for 2009 – a memorable year in which the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star matched academic success, a degree in History from Oxford University, with multiple race wins and championship victory in Euroseries 3000.

With today’s test outing the final GP2 run of the year, Will now has a lengthy 12 week break from competitive action until the GP2 Asia Series resumes at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Friday, 5th February, and Saturday, 6th February 2010.

Photo by GP2 Media Service

Image2Lauren Gray Motorsport, the reigning Class E Australian Production Car Champions, has today officially confirmed its participation in the 2010 Armor All Bathurst 12 hour production car endurance race and hopes to make Bathurst history in the process.

The Melbourne-based team has officially entered their Toyota Corolla Sportivo in Class D (Production Sports) and has confirmed that Lauren Gray and dad Michael will make up two thirds of the driving line-up.

Should the Lauren Gray Motorsport Corolla take the start, it will be the first time that a father-daughter team will have started a multiple-driver event in Bathurst’s long history of endurance races.

The Father, son and daughter combination of Ray, Graham and Tania Gulson attempted to qualify a BMW 635csi for the 1993 Bathurst 1000; however Tania was unable to make the qualifying cut leaving Ray and Graham to race the car alone.

The opportunity to pair up in a family team will realise several long-held ambitions for the Gray family.

“Lauren Gray Motorsport is a family team and to be able to race with my dad in the biggest production car race of the year will be fantastic,” Lauren Gray said.

“I know dad has wanted to do an endurance race with me for a long time, and I’ve always been keen to drive with him, so to have this opportunity will be great for both of us. Dad has worked very hard an invested a lot to make this happen and I am sure that we can go to Bathurst next February and have a very good run.

“We have always raced together as a family so to be able to drive together is pretty special.

“It’s a tough, long race but our preparation will be better than first-class, so we will have no doubts about the car and the team. We want to finish and if we can do that we should be well-placed in the class and overall.”

Michael Gray said that, despite the race still being three months away, the team was already well-prepared and that the team’s number one goal was to get to the end.

“You don’t go to a race like the Bathurst 12 hour without the goal of getting to that flag at the finish,” he said.

“We have already got our Bathurst engine built and we have also got some excellent people in the team who will be at the event with us; a group of experienced engineers and mechanics to ensure the car is prepared and runs perfectly all weekend.

“We are currently talking to several drivers to fill the third spot in the car but we don’t want to rush it – we want to find someone who isn’t young and crazy and looking for lap records.

“It’s going to be fantastic to drive with Lauren. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and this is the best opportunity. Not every family gets this opportunity so it’s pretty special for us.”

22-year-old Lauren has spent most of 2009 on the sidelines, but hopes to return to the seat of the Corolla at Sandown in three weeks time for the final round of the Australian Manufacturers Championship.

The event, featuring two one-hour races, will serve as ideal preparation for the 12-hour for both team and driver however the team is currently awaiting new parts for the Corolla that may place them in a race against time to make the start.

Gray has started two previous Bathurst 12 hour races, finishing second in her class last year driving a BMW 130i in Class F last year and driving a Holden Astra Diesel as part of an all-female, Holden-backed team in 2007.

Lauren Gray Motorsport is currently in discussions with several drivers for the third seat in the teams Corolla Sportivo. Interested parties can contact the team via www.laurengray.com

Menasheh IdafarMenasheh Idafar underlined his excellent progress at the wheel of a National Class Formula 3 car with another rewarding test outing at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk today, Thursday, 12th November.

Getting this week’s run off to a great start at the 1.95-mile track yesterday, the 18-year-old T-Sport driver continued his impressive form and performed strongly in wet and dry conditions to end the day with an unofficially-timed best lap of 1m02.2 seconds.

Lapping confidently and competitively in the wet early on, the Formula Renault graduate was equally strong in the dry although he wasn’t able to extract as much time as he would have liked from his new tyres. Even so, he improved by three 10ths of a second on his previous best of the day.

With noticeably higher winds at Snetterton today, coupled with a lot of traffic on circuit, stringing a series of good laps together was difficult but Menasheh did a sterling job during what could well be his final track outing of 2009.

He said: “It was wet to begin today and things went really well. I did have a small ‘off’ at the Bomb Hole when I went too close to the edge of the track but it was ok, the car made light impact with the barrier but there was only minor damage to the end plate of the rear wing. In the dry we were good again, the team has done a great job for me the last two days – I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.