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 News Archives: October 2000

News on International F3000, Euro F3000/Italian F3000 and Formula Nippon.

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October 31st 2000 - International F3000:

Alex Müller to make F3000 return? Former F3000 driver Alex Müller could make a return to the category next year, having clinched second place behind Giorgio Pantano in the German F3 championship at Hockenheim at the weekend. Team Ghinzani driver Müller told TV channel DSF he is looking at possibilities in F3000, Euro F3000 and Formula Nippon for 2001. He also looks set to test a Champ Car, if our translation is correct. Müller had a disappointing single season of F3000 with Oreca in 1998 as part of the BMW Junior team, scoring just two points. Meanwhile fellow German Pierre Kaffer, third in the German F3 championship with HMS, stated that he is hoping to do some F3000 testing this week.

 

October 31st 2000 - International F3000:

Pantano wants to win F3000 title - "90% sure" to join Astromega Giorgio Pantano, crowned the German F3 champion at Hockenheim on Saturday, revealed he is expecting to race for Astromega in F3000 next year. The Italian will test for the team at Barcelona this week before switching to the McLaren junior team for next week's Estoril testing. He told Autosport online: "I go to Barcelona to test Astromega's F3000 car, because that's where I think I'm going to be next year. But I will also test for the McLaren Junior Team at Estoril. I'm 90 per cent sure of where I'm going to be, but we will only decide after those tests. I want to win the F3000 championship next year." Pantano clinched the German F3 title in his first full season of car racing outside of karts. He wants to get an F1 test deal for next year and plans to race in F1 in 2002.

 

October 31st 2000 - International F3000:

Buddy Rice, Toyota Atlantic 2000

Rice to test for Sears this week Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice will test for a David Sears F3000 team (presumably Super Nova) this week, revealed Chip Ganassi after the announcement of his CART driver line-up for 2001. Autoracing1.com spoke to Sears who confirmed the news. Rice has long been the subject of speculation that he might drive for one of Sears' teams in 2001, to prepare him for CART or F1. With Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian signing for Ganassi in CART, Rice looks set to be farmed out by Ganassi before a possible return to the Champ Car team in 2002. If Rice does join the F3000 grid next year, he will be the first driver from the USA to compete since Elton Julian raced for Nordic in 1996.

 

October 31st 2000 - International F3000:

Williams looking at F3000 for new test driver Williams are set to hire a new test driver before the December tests begin, and are considering options including F3000 drivers. The team are in need of a replacement to Bruno Junqueira who is moving to CART next year. A Williams spokesperson said: "We don't have so much as a short list as a long one. There are a number of drivers under consideration, both experienced Grand Prix racers and young drivers from British Formula 3 and Formula 3000. We have a five week break before we resume testing, so we are in no rush to make a decision". AlphaF1 claims F3000 rookie sensation Fernando Alonso is in the running, along with British F3 champion Antonio Pizzonia. Marc Gene and Johnny Herbert have also been linked to a testing role, although Herbert is committed to his plans to move into CART.

 

October 31st 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi heading for CART with Walker Racing Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi announced at a party held by PIAA Nakajima Racing in Tokyo last Friday that he will be competing in CART next year in a Toyota-powered car. Rumours suggest it will be with Walker Racing. According to Robin Miller's Speednet article, Derrick Walker has admitted that a deal with Toyota and Pioneer to run Takagi is under negotiation. The Tokyo party was held to celebrate Nakajima Racing's domination of this year's Drivers' and Teams' titles in Formula Nippon. Takagi said: "I was reluctant to have to race in Japan after two years in F1 but it was a path I had to take and I concentrated on winning the [Formula Nippon] championship from the beginning of the season. It was mission accomplished for me. I will race in CART next year and I believe it is the closest approach for me towards Formula One again, please watch my driving in the US next year as the champion driver from the competitive Formula Nippon series." Takagi is now widely tipped to return to F1 in 2002 with Toyota. (Source: Autoracing1.com)

 

October 31st 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Krumm linked to CART seat Formula Nippon veteran Michael Krumm could race in CART next season. Autoracing1.com claims the German, currently second in Formula Nippon behind champion Tora Takagi, is talking to Andreas Leberle of Arciero/PRG, which looks likely to expand to a two-car effort in 2001. Team 5Zigen driver Krumm can only be beaten to the Formula Nippon runner-up spot if Satoshi Motoyama or Tsugio Matsuda win the final round at Suzuka on November 5th.

 

October 31st 2000 - International F3000:

CART-bound Minassian "bored with F3000" Nicolas Minassian and Bruno Junqueira are both looking forward to the new challenge awaiting them in Champ Cars next year. Speaking in a Question & Answer session with Autosport online, F3000 runner-up Minassian said: "I think that we will be very busy! But that's part of the progression. I think I was starting to be bored now with F3000. You race, sprint all the time, now there are strategies, pit-stops, lots of things. And that's interesting." Champion Junqueira added: "Pit-stops, race strategy.... In F3000 - even in Formula 1 - it is flat out from start to finish, drive as fast as you can. But here in CART it's not like that. You have to think about it. That's what I like, to learn something different. And the racing is great. Those are the big things, and I'm very excited about that." On being team-mates for the first time next season, Minassian commented: "We were very much in competition last year, but we have a lot of respect for each other, and that's a good point. I don't know him very well, but what I do know about him is that he's a good man, and I'm sure we're going to get on OK. But still he is someone I'm going to fight against as well - he cannot be my best friend as well as that!"

 

October 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Minassian, Ganassi, Junqueira - 27/10/00

GANASSI SIGN JUNQUEIRA AND MINASSIAN The champion and runner-up of this year's International F3000 series will both drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in Champ Cars next season. Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian were announced as the team's 2001 drivers in a press conference at Fontana yesterday. Junqueira won this year's F3000 championship with Petrobras Junior, while Minassian was a close second with Super Nova. "I am very proud and very lucky today," Junqueira said. "Target Chip Ganassi Racing has proven that it is one of the world's best teams and expects a lot from its drivers. I expect a lot out of myself, and I know that with the talent at Team Target, we can expect many good things in the future." Minassian said: "I've been working for a long time to achieve my goals in auto racing, so today I'm happy to say that one of my dreams has come true. Team Target is known all over the world for being a championship organization, filled with many great talents who work together to win races and titles. I'm confident that more of my dreams will come true soon." Team owner Chip Ganassi has seen his team take the CART title four times since 1996, and is confident two rookies will perform: "Bruno and Nicolas displayed a lot of talent and experience during our tests and they both have impressive racing resumes. One thing that jumped out at us was how similar their attitudes and racing styles were to [Jimmy] Vasser and [Juan] Montoya. We believe these guys will quickly become stars in this series." Autosport online claims Buddy Rice, who tested for Ganassi alongside Junqueira, Minassian and Casey Mears, is set to drive for one of David Sears' teams, Petrobras Junior or Super Nova, backing up rumours suggesting the same in the United States. (Photo reproduced from Autoracing1.com)

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Estoril (not Jerez!) update/correction The German driver testing for Super Nova at Estoril this week was indeed Stefan Mücke and not Thomas Mutsche, confirms Nicolas Korzan. Mücke also tested at Jerez last week. Readers will have noticed a stupid mistake in the headline to the previous story (now corrected) - yes, testing was at Estoril this week, not Jerez. Sorry, not enough sleep...

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

More Estoril testing news Antonio Pizzonia was pleased with the impression he made in his debut F3000 test with Petrobras Junior at Estoril on Tuesday, finishing second overall behind Darren Manning. He told Autosport online: "It was very good - I'm very pleased. I really liked the team and the car was very different, but it was more than that. A lot of people say these cars are bad, but I quite enjoyed it." The Amazonian outpaced experienced driver Mario Haberfeld by more than 0.5secs, but didn't drive on Wednesday. Manning once again topped times on both days after dominating last week's Jerez tests, setting a time of 1:29.30 yesterday. His Arden team denied he was running on development Avon tyres. He said: "It would be nice to do more miles, but with the excellent weather and track conditions it is proving to be very valuable testing for next season. It's always good to be fastest of course." At these unofficial tests, teams have been using up the remaining mileage on their control Zytek engines. In next week's first FIA-sanctioned test of the winter, teams will not be limited by mileage and official timing will take place. Revised times are here.

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Cochet and Varano set for Super Nova test French F3 champion Jonathan Cochet will test for Super Nova in the official FIA session at Barcelona next week. He will be joined by Italian F3000 driver Gabriele Varano, who has already tested for sister team Petrobras Junior.

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Pizzonia to test at Barcelona Antonio Pizzonia, who has impressed the Petrobras Junior team in testing at Estoril this week, will run again in the official FIA two-day test at Barcelona on Wednesday and Thursday next week. Mario Haberfeld will also join the team again, according to Autosport online.

 

October 26th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Euro F3000 official test dates confirmed The collective tests for Euro F3000 (formerly Italian F3000) will take place at Valencia in Spain on 9th and 10th of November, it has been confirmed.

 

October 26th 2000 - F3000:

Bologna Motorshow F3000 sprint The Bologna Motorshow F3000 sprint races, which operate on an elimination basis with head-to-head battles, will take place on 11th December. Visit the official website here: www.motorshow.it

 

October 26th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Italian F3000 round 8 race report A full race report covering Ricardo Sperafico's title win is now available here.

 

October 26th 2000 - Italian F3000/Euro F3000:

ITALIAN F3000 RENAMED "EURO F3000" The F3000 Italia series is to be renamed the "Euro F3000 Championship" next year according to Autosport. Like this year, eight rounds will be held, but only four of them will be held in Italy. Donington Park will again host a race, and will be joined by Valencia in Spain and Oschersleben in Germany. Oschersleben hosted the opening round of the 1998 International F3000 championship. The eighth Euro F3000 venue has yet to be decided, but Autosport claims it could be in eastern Europe.

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Manning fastest at Estoril; Sperafico tests for Petrobras Jr Darren Manning, who topped all three test days at Jerez last week, was also fastest at Estoril yesterday as unofficial testing continued. The Arden pilot edged out Italian F3000 champion Ricardo Sperafico who made his testing debut for Petrobras Junior. Euro Formula Palmer Audi runner-up Justin Keen was sixth fastest for Kid Jensen Racing. The top 6 times (source: BBC Ceefax): 1. Darren Manning (GB) Arden Team Russia, 1:29.18; 2. Ricardo Sperafico (BR) Petrobras Junior, 1:29.60; 3. Mario Haberfeld (BR) Petrobras Junior, 1:29.65, 4. Viktor Maslov (RUS) Arden Team Russia, 1:30.50; 5. Stefan Mücke (D) Super Nova, 1:30.61; 6. Justin Keen (GB) Kid Jensen Racing, 1:30.66. More times and details to follow when available...

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Friesacher to test for Red Bull Junior German F3 front-runner Patrick Friesacher will test with Red Bull Junior at Estoril next week, according to Autosport. The Austrian was previously set to race for the team in the cancelled Autumn Cup F3000 mini-series. Friesacher drives for the Red Bull-sponsored Opel Team BSR squad in German F3. Team-mate Andre Lotterer tested for Red Bull Junior earlier in the year.

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Coca-Cola expands F3000 involvement The Central European division of soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has extended its sponsorship deal with Nordic Racing for next season. The company will have its livery on both of the team's Lolas next season, which will be driven by Tomas Enge and Justin Wilson, as revealed on Tuesday. Previously only Wilson's car carried the distinctive logo. Team boss Derek Mower spoke of the deal announced in Prague on Monday: "I am absolutely delighted," he told Autosport online. "We have an excellent sponsor and two good drivers with the potential to do the job properly and it is very exciting." He told Autosport: "We've been negotiating a deal for a long time and I'm extremely excited and pleased. We have a very strong driver line-up and I'm sure they will feed off each other. They are not only similar in style, but also in personality and composure." Coca-Cola has decided to settle on F3000 sponsorship for the near future, rather than move into F1 as rumoured. Coke's Mark Hope said: "We are looking forward to building our relationship with Nordic. They have two top drivers and we are expecting big things." Justin Wilson was happy with the deal, saying at the Euro FPA website: "I'm very pleased with the news. Coca Cola are an excellent sponsor, and they are fully committed to the programme. I'm really looking forward to next season, as we have learnt a lot this year, and we can now build on that to challenge strongly for the championship." Jonathan Palmer, the boss of the FPA series Wilson won in 1998, said: "Justin is an outstanding all round driver, who will really benefit from a second year at Nordic Racing. With backing from Coca-Cola and the teams increased technical support, he can really build on his achievements this year, and he will be a strong contender for the 2001 Formula 3000 title."

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Maslov "guaranteed seat" at Arden Arden Team Russia F3000 backmarker Viktor Maslov is guaranteed a seat with the team next year thanks to the Russian sponsorship he brings, according to an Autosport online article. Arden has two entries for next year's International series after finishing as top team in Italian F3000 next year. The article states that it is unclear whether the team will take up both entries it is entitled to. Team boss Christian Horner told Autosport: "It is something to be debated. We won't do anything to compromise the team we have at the moment." If Arden does operate a second team, it will have to be a separate operation with a different name, like David Sears created with the Den Bla Avis team in 1997. The closing date for entries is November 15th. Warren Hughes, the F3000 Italia runner-up, is to test with Arden's International F3000 operation at Estoril next month, and is considered to have a "slim chance" of a drive in 2001.

 

October 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Bernoldi's Sauber hopes fade Sauber test driver Enrique Bernoldi's slim hopes of racing for the team appear to be over with the news that Kimi Raikkonen is likely to partner Nick Heidfeld next year. Autosport reveals that the Formula Renault 2000 champion is expected to sign a contract this week, leaving Red Bull Junior F3000 driver Bernoldi in the cold. Raikkonen was previously tipped to be signed in a testing capacity, but Red Bull were said to prefer Bernoldi. Now it is unclear whether Bernoldi will be retained as test driver, with two young drivers themselves likely to require plenty of testing to reach their full potential.

 

October 26th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi's future uncertain - CART most likely option The management of Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi are scrambling to find him a ride in CART, according to Autoracing1.com. Apparently they were trying to find him an F1 drive for next year without success. Former Tyrrell and Arrows star Tora 'Tiger' Takagi was previously linked as a possible test driver for either of the Honda-powered F1 teams, Jordan or BAR.

 

October 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Pizzonia fastest in debut test at Estoril British F3 champion Antonio Pizzonia was the quickest in unofficial testing today (Tuesday) at Estoril, Portugal, on his debut F3000 outing with Petrobras Junior. He went head-to-head at the team with former Fortec driver Mario Haberfeld who was second quickest. Former F3000/Formula Nippon/F1/CART driver Norberto Fontana made his expected F3000 return, finishing fourth. Darren Manning drove for Arden but did not record any official times. The top 6 times from the test (source: BBC Ceefax): 1. Antonio Pizzonia (BR) Petrobras Junior, 1:29.718; 2. Mario Haberfeld (BR) Petrobras Junior, 1:30.205; 3. Stefan Mücke (D), 1:30.586, 4. Norberto Fontana (RA), 1:31.109; 5. Joel Camathias (CH), 1:31.636; 6. Derek Hill (USA), 1:31.726. More times and details to follow when available...

 

October 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Nordic sign Enge and Wilson for 2001 The Coca-Cola Nordic Racing team have signed Tomas Enge and Justin Wilson for 2001. Enge competed for McLaren this year, taking his debut win at Hockenheim, while Wilson took two podiums with Nordic on his way to fifth in the championship. On Sunday Enge's manager Mr Charouz announced on Czech TV channel PRIMA TV that the former Auto Sport Racing and WRT pilot had signed for the Norfolk-based team. Nordic are the first team to confirm their line-up for next season. (Source: Jan Baranovie / BBC Ceefax)

 

October 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Fortec impressed by Bruni Gianmaria Bruni impressed Fortec Motorsport in his first International F3000 test at Jerez last week. The 19-year old Italian set the second quickest time overall with the squad he raced for in British F3 this season. Race engineer Paul Crosby said on BBC Ceefax: "'Gimmi' is probably one of the best young drivers that I have seen for a long time. He has all the ability."

 

October 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Webber working on Benetton deal F3000 rookie of the year Mark Webber is still working on a deal to sign as Benetton's test driver for next season, reveals Hot Open Wheelers. The Australian's manager Ann Neale said: "Nothing signed on the Benetton front but negotiations are still progressing. Both parties know what they want from the relationship but it's just getting it right on paper! Always a time consuming factor!"

 

October 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Ganassi to make announcement on Friday Chip Ganassi Racing will announce their driver line-up for next season's CART series at Fontana on Friday morning, according to Autoracing1.com. F3000 champion Bruno Junqueira is expected to be signed while the second driver is likely to be Nicolas Minassian, although Buddy Rice is still in the running.

 

October 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Junqueira/Minassian article... You may like to know there is an interesting article "Junqueira vs. Minassian: The Unfinished Battle" by G. Venkat Ganeshan, looking back at their title battle this season.

 

October 24th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi Patrick rumour "false" The recent rumours stating that Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi could race for Patrick Racing in CART next year (as part of the deal for the team to get Toyota engines) are false according to Autoracing1.com.

 

October 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

champion Ricardo Sperafico, pictured in round 2

WIN CLINCHES TITLE FOR SPERAFICO Ricardo Sperafico (ADM Motorsport) won the final Italian F3000 round at Misano today to clinch the drivers' championship. Closest title rival Warren Hughes (Arden Team Russia) finished second, just 3.229 seconds behind the Brazilian. The outside bet for the title, Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) was classified a distant 15th. Although Sperafico took the title, Arden had reason to celebrate as they took the Team's title with Hughes' second and Darren Manning's third place. They have earned the automatic entry into next year's FIA F3000 championship, although they already qualify as a result of their performance in that series this year (see below). Rodrigo Sperafico (Draco Junior Team) took fourth, just a few tenths behind Manning in a close top four covered by just 5.7 seconds. Durango Benetton Junior took the remaining points with Soheil Ayari in fifth and Michele Spoldi sixth. Full race results and standings can be found here. A full report will be available later in the week.

 

October 22nd 2000 - International F3000 / Italian F3000:

Arden win another automatic entry for 2001 Arden Team Russia today earned the 13th place on next year's International F3000 grid by winning the F3000 Italia Teams championship, although they already qualify to compete as a result of finishing in the top 12 teams in this year's International series. The FIA Sporting Regulations dictate that the final three teams of the 15 allowed to enter should be initially selected from the winner of national F3000 championships (the only one being F3000 Italia) and new teams. Arden are now in the position to sell their automatic entry to another team for a healthy profit, as Oreca, Draco and Martello did last year.

 

October 21st 2000 - Italian F3000:

Sperafico on pole for crucial race; Ayari stars as Hughes remains in the hunt Title favourite Ricardo Sperafico (ADM Motorsport) took pole for tomorrow's final round of the Italian F3000 series at Misano today. He will be joined on the front row by series newcomer Soheil Ayari (Durango Benetton Junior). Brother Rodrigo Sperafico (Draco Junior Team) will start third while title rival Warren Hughes (Arden Team Russia) qualified fourth, one place ahead of Arden team-mate and Enna winner Darren Manning. The other title contender Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) is down in 15th place. Hughes must finish first or second tomorrow to have any chance to win the title. Series returnee Tomas Scheckter could only manage 19th in qualifying and will struggle to assist his ADM team-mate Sperafico in the title battle. Euro FPA driver Marco Cioci (First GP/Traini Corse) was 20th ahead of another newcomer, M.Comelli, the single Da Vinci entry. Full qualifying times are here.

 

October 21st 2000 - Italian F3000:

Scheckter returns to F3000 Italia McLaren F3000 driver Tomas Scheckter made a last-minute return to F3000 Italia in qualifying today for tomorrow's final round at Misano. The 2001 Jaguar test driver was drafted in by ADM Motorsport as a replacement for Salvatore Tavano, in order to assist in Ricardo Sperafico's title battle and the in the fight for the team championship which would give the team an International F3000 entry in 2001. Scheckter only qualified 19th, however. The South African finished second on his previous Italian F3000 outing with Da Vinci at Monza.

 

October 21st 2000 - International F3000:

Minassian v. Rice for second Ganassi seat According to this article at azcentral.com Chip Ganassi will choose between F3000 runner-up Nicolas Minassian and Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice for the second seat at his Champ Car team next year. Bruno Junqueira looks to have already been signed. A "well-placed source" within the CART community said: "It's a toss-up between Buddy and Nicolas. When those three drivers tested for them [Chip Ganassi Racing], they all did very good. But Buddy really surprised them because the Atlantic cars are so much different than the Formula 3000 cars. [Rice] was very smooth. What really amazed them was Buddy's feedback. He really hit the nail on the head to make the car even quicker." The source continued: "I don't think they want to lose [Rice], he's that good." The source backed up rumours that Rice would move to International F3000 for a year if he is beaten to the seat by Minassian. Alternatively the American could become a Ganassi test driver.

 

October 21st 2000 - International F3000:

top to bottom: Herbert, Grouillard, Foitek

Herbert reflects on '88 Brands Hatch pile-up Johnny Herbert, who will start his final F1 race at Sepang tomorrow, was interviewed by David Cunliffe for Atlas F1 at the US GP and spoke of the F3000 accident at Brands Hatch in 1988 (left) which almost ended his career. Herbert, driving for Eddie Jordan Racing, collided with Gregor Foitek and was left with severe leg injuries. He said: "I can remember everything. Everything from the restart, going up to Druids, and banging wheels with Foitek even before we got to the incident itself. I remember he followed me and started to pull out. I was in the middle of the track and he must have been on the grass, because there wasn't enough room on my left. There was a tiny little tap, then the car was turning and aiming straight for where the bridge was. I ploughed straight into the bridge and my head was rolling around a lot. I was spinning around and then hit something else. Then I was spinning around again and, finally, I stopped. When I opened my eyes, I could see there was a big hole in the front of the car. My first impression was I'd lost my legs from the knee down, because all I could see from the way I was sitting were my knees but nothing else below that. Of course, they were there hanging down below. I remember saying: 'knock me out, knock me out, knock me out!' because I didn't really want to know at that stage. But I do remember everything - I was conscious through the whole thing." Visit the Johnny Herbert website for stills and video footage of the horrific accident.

 

October 21st 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi linked to Patrick Racing A rumour at this forum on 7thGear has linked Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi to a seat at Champ Car team Patrick Racing next season. At the moment the rumour is considered "pure speculation".

 

October 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Hill happy with Jerez testing progress America's Derek Hill completed 108 laps of testing with Kid Jensen Racing at Jerez this week. The Italian F3000 driver set a best time of 1:34.770. He will resume testing along with many other teams and drivers at Estoril in Portugal next week. Quoted on his website Hill said: "The test has been very good, we were right on the pace and managed to complete our full program. The Lola 50/99 [B99/50] is very similar to my 96/00 that I have raced in Italy [for Da Vinci] this season, but much better in several areas. I have enjoyed being back in a real open wheel racer and can't wait to carry on in Estoril next week." Engineering Director Simon Barker commented: "Derek has done a solid job over the last two days - he made no mistakes and improved his lap times run after run. It has been a pleasure working with him and we look forward to continuing our test program next Tuesday in Estoril."

 

October 19th 2000 - Italian F3000:

F3000 Italia showdown at Misano This weekend the circuit of Misano hosts the ninth and final round of the Italian F3000 championship, following a long break since the last round at Enna. The race will not only decide the drivers' champion, but also the teams' champion which will qualify to join the grid of next year's International series. Currently leading the drivers' championship is Ricardo Sperafico (ADM Competition), set to test the Petrobras Junior International F3000 Lola next month. The Brazilian, three times a winner this season, has 36 points. His main title rival Warren Hughes (Arden Team Russia) has 31 points, having won two races. For a second time the team have brought in their International F3000 runner Darren Manning to help in the fight for both championships. The former All-Japan F3 champion showed he is capable of playing a significant role by winning on his debut last time out. The other title contender is Italy's Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) on 28 points, who has proved consistent all year with a win in the opening round. In the fight for the teams' crown, Arden Team Russia lead with 41 points from ADM on 36, with no other teams in contention. Arden look a good bet to clinch the title with two proven race-winners competing for them, but a win or a second from Ricardo Sperafico could clinch it for ADM if Arden suffer from bad luck. Sperafico's team-mate Salvatore Tavano (unless he has been replaced for the race) is unlikely to come into play, although he very nearly scored a point at Enna. The title would be more valuable to ADM than Arden: the latter team automatically qualifies for entry into the 2001 International F3000 championship as it finished as one of the top 12 International F3000 teams this year. Two drivers will be making their series debuts at Enna: International F3000 veteran Soheil Ayari replaces Andrej Pavicevic at Durango Benetton Junior, while Euro Formula Palmer Audi driver Marco Cioci will race for First GP.

 

October 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Darren Manning testing at Jerez this week

Manning quickest in unofficial Jerez testing An important three-day unofficial test at Jerez was completed today (Thursday), with Arden's Darren Manning setting the pace on all three days. A large number of drivers were making their International F3000 debuts at the tests, with many teams competing. Super Nova tried out German F3 front-runner Stefan Mücke and Formula Nippon driver Yuji Tachikawa. Petrobras Junior tested SudAm F3 title rivals Vitor Meira and Joao de Oliveira alongside Italian F3000 driver Gabriele Varano. Testing with Fortec was their British F3 driver Gianmaria Bruni and regular driver Andreas Scheld, the pair also having tested at Pembrey last week. Coloni tried out their 1999 driver Polo Villaamil, Andrea Piccini and Italian F3000/German F3 driver and former Italian F3 champion Peter Sundberg. Nordic evaluated SudAm F3 driver Mariano Altuna. Kid Jensen Racing completed the list of teams with Italian F3000 driver Derek Hill and Formula Nissan driver Joel Camathias. Darren Manning, who will race one of the Arden team's Lola T96/50s again at Misano this weekend in the Italian F3000 series, was pleased with the testing. He told Autosport online: "It was great to get some sensible testing done in good weather. We worked through a great deal of set-up work and learnt a lot about the car. It was pleasing to set the fastest times." Manning is expected to stay with the team in 2001, but has not yet signed a contract. The team's other regular driver Viktor Maslov also drove at the tests. For the full testing times click here. (Sources: http://www.circuitodejerez.com/ & Autosport online. Photo © A.Rivero from Jerez website).

 

October 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Enge could move to Nordic McLaren F3000 driver Tomas Enge tested at Jerez "with a view to drive with the Norfolk-based squad for 2001" stated Autosport online today. See story above for full testing details.

 

October 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Keen to test with Astromega European Formula Palmer Audi runner-up Justin Keen will test with Astromega next month, reveals BBC Ceefax. He is also due to test for Arden at Estoril this month.

 

October 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Fortec test trio at Pembrey Fortec Motorsport tested three drivers last week at Pembrey in Wales according to Autosport: Brazil's Joao de Oliveira (who will also test for Petrobras Junior), their British F3 driver and former Formula Renault Eurocup champion Gianmaria Bruni, along with regular driver Andreas Scheld.

 

October 18th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Cioci to make F3000 race debut Marco Cioci is to make his F3000 Italia race debut in the final round at Misano this weekend, reveals Prorace. The Italian, 12th in the senior class of Euro Formula Palmer Audi this season, will race for First GP, presumably in the seat vacated by Angelo Lancelotti. He tested for the team at Magione last month.

 

October 18th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Pavicevic to make way for Ayari The Durango Benetton Junior driver that will be replaced by Soheil Ayari in this weekend's final F3000 Italia round is Australia's Andrej Pavicevic, reveals autosportnews. Ayari's Italian series debut at Misano will mean five different drivers have raced for Durango this year.

 

October 18th 2000 - International F3000:

Derek Hill, Da Vinci - F3000 Italia

Hill starts testing with KJR and plans to race in 2001 F3000 Italia driver [with Da Vinci, left] Derek Hill was due to start a two-day test with Kid Jensen Racing at Jerez yesterday (Tuesday). The American plans to drive in International F3000 next year and will participate in a total of eight test days in October and November. He will rejoin Kid Jensen Racing for a second test at Estoril on October 24th. Hill said on his website: "We have put together a program of tests, with several of the leading teams in the FIA 3000 Championship. This will give them a chance to have a look at what I can do and also for me to see how they work and try to identify the best position for the 2001 Championship. Formula 3000 is so competitive and all the teams are very good. So we have to find the best one that will be as competitive as possible in 2001. We are starting the tests with Kid Jensen Racing at Jerez, they are a race winning team and we will do three of the eight days with them. I am really looking forward to actually testing a car that I will race next year, just over five months before the start of the season. In recent years my programs have always started late and we have been playing catch up all year. I will have done more miles of testing before the first race in Brazil in 2001, than I have done all season in Italy." Hill explained how the deal came about: "I met the team last year and was impressed with the set-up and their performance in 1999 when they won at Silverstone with Nicolas Minassian. We stayed in contact and now that I have decided to compete in the 2001 International Formula 3000 Championship, it is a good opportunity to see how they work at the track. I acquired a lot of experience in 2000 when I raced in the Italian Formula 3000 Championship and I am looking forward to driving a Lola T50/99." KJR boss David Jensen commented: "I am delighted that Derek chose the Kid Jensen Racing team to launch his preparation for the 2001 Championship. It is great to welcome another North American on board and we all look forward to a successful programme in Spain and Portugal that may lead to him driving with us in 2001. Formula 3000 is extremely competitive and it is crucial for drivers to get as much mileage as possible before the start of the season. I am sure Derek will have a successful 2001 season." Kid Jensen Racing do not yet know if they will be given a chance to enter the 2001 championship (see October 12th news).

 

October 18th 2000 - International F3000:

Where next for Alonso as Telefonica quit F1? Telefonica have parted with Minardi and decided to quit F1, leaving the possible F1 graduation of F3000 sensation Fernando Alonso looking increasingly unlikely. The future of Telefonica-backed Marc Gene is also unclear. In a statement Telefonica said: "Telefonica have decided not to renew their sponsorship agreements with Formula One as from next season after considering that the various options available do not meet the aims of the company." Alonso, a 2000 Minardi test driver, was initially expected to race for the team next season, but with PSN buying a controlling share in the team, it looked as though Telefonica would switch their sponsorship to Prost. Marc Gene would have moved to the team and Alonso was rumoured as a test driver. More recent rumours linked Alonso to an F1 seat at Sauber next year, with Telefonica paying for the drive.

 

October 18th 2000 - International F3000:

Ganassi to "field F3000 entry" for Rice According to Autoracing1.com recently, Forrest Bond's RaceFax publication, apparently privy to inside information, has reported that Chip Ganassi will field an F3000 effort for Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice. The one-year deal between Ganassi and, as Robin Miller reports, Super Nova, would prepare Rice for CART or possibly F1. The decision on who gets the Ganassi CART ride should be announced at the Fontana finale.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Stephane Sarrazin, Monaco

Dennis casts doubt over McLaren F3000 team McLaren could quit F3000 ahead of the 2001 season according to team boss Ron Dennis. The departure of David Brown to Jordan earlier led to doubts over the team's future, but now comments by Dennis reveal that a number of factors could lead to the team pulling out. Dennis told Autosport: "No firm decision has been taken, but it is probably 60/40 against at the moment. The difficulty we face is that the costs are rising, especially with an intercontinental race [Brazil hosts the opening round of 2001] now in the calendar. But more than that, qualifying is sudden-death and, because of the closeness of car/engine performance, grid position is critical to the outcome of the race. That makes it extremely difficult to read the drivers. The main reason we are considering not doing it, though, is that we have so much work - moving factories, commissioning new wind tunnels, so many things - that there's a question of taking it off our plate. What would trigger [us to stay] would be the right young drivers. But we don't see the talent which might justify the investment. That doesn't mean that if we choose to stop, we wouldn't go back eventually."

 

October 12th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Ayari returns to Durango for Italian F3000 final round F3000 regular Soheil Ayari will return to Durango for the final F3000 Italia round on October 22nd. The Frenchman raced for the team in 1998 in International F3000 and joined the Italian squad's SRWC operation late this year. Ayari tested the Durango Benetton Junior Lola T96/50 at the Pannoniaring in Hungary last week and told Autosport: "Thanks to the two test days, we can hope to fight at the front." The team have scored just two points this year, courtesy of Giovanni Montanari.

 

October 12th 2000 - Italian F3000 / International F3000:

van der Ende could race in Italian finale Formula Palmer Audi front-runner Jacky van der Ende may race in the final round of the F3000 Italia series at Misano on October 22nd. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Dutchman also revealed he has been offered tests with International F3000 teams. van der Ende made his F3000 debut this year in the non-championship Assen F3000 Italia race with Draco Junior Team. He finished an impressive third and was best-placed rookie. He said: "..there were a few team owners there [at Assen] who were already competing in European 3000, and they come up to me, they offered me a free test in Barcelona and Jerez, and probably I'm going to do another round in the Italian championship because it went so well, and I think a lot of things have come from it and hopefully we can continue." The full transcript of the interview is here.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Hill to test with Kid Jensen Racing Derek Hill, son of 1961 F1 champion Phil, is expected to strike a deal with Kid Jensen Racing to test in Jerez later this month according to Autosport online. The test is reportedly to prepare Hill for next year, so a graduation to International F3000 looks likely. The American, a former Barber Dodge champion and Formula Palmer Audi racer, has been competing in Italian F3000 this year with Da Vinci.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Piedade the latest on Petrobras Junior's testing list SudAm F3 racer and tester Aldo Piedade is the latest driver to be added to the list of drivers Petrobras Junior will try out at Estoril, reveals Autosport. The Brazilian will join Mario Haberfeld, Vitor Meira, Joao de Oliveira and Ricardo Sperafico at the Portuguese circuit. Gabriele Varano is expected to test and Antonio Pizzonia and Enrique Bernoldi may also drive.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Astromega to test Pantano, Bert, Murchison and Mikola Team Astromega are to test at least four drivers at Barcelona next month, according to Autosport. German F3 series leader Giorgio Pantano will be joined by F3000/Italian F3000 regulars Sascha Bert and Ananda Mikola, while Christian Murchison will have his third F3000 test. The Formula Holden runner-up has already tested for Red Bull Junior and Gauloises Formula.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Fortec to test Bentwood and de Oliveira Fortec Motorsport are set to test their British F3 driver Michael Bentwood and SudAm F3 title challenger Joao de Oliveira in the next few weeks, according to Motoring News. de Oliveira will also test for Petrobras Junior.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Manning likely to stay with Arden; Keen to test with team Former All Japan F3 champion Darren Manning has been tipped to stay at Arden Team Russia for next year, claim Autosport. The team's line-up will be announced by the end of the month. Arden are to test Euro Formula Palmer Audi runner-up Justin Keen at Estoril this month.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Kid Jensen Racing "carrying on" in 2001 Kid Jensen Racing's Vincent Franceschini told Motoring News he is "cautiously optimistic" that the team will continue in 2001, despite finishing in the bottom three in the Teams championship. The top 12 in the championship automatically qualified for 2001 entry, but KJR finished joint 13th. Last week the FIA World Council clarified the selection process for 2001 and threw a lifeline to KJR, Witmeur KTR and WRT. If insufficient entries are forthcoming from the top F3000 Italia team and from new teams, the bottom three from this year will be invited to enter. Franceschini said: "We are cautiously optimistic. It has been hard for us formulating plans, because drivers are afraid we won't be able to do the series. But we are carrying on. We want to race in F3000 and are planning plenty of testing because we want to make sure we are properly prepared." David 'Kid' Jensen told Autosport: "..the decision for next year is not cut and dried. Unless we can find drivers who can get on to the podium, we will not compete." The team will take part in the official tests at Barcelona and Estoril next month.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Rice could be "farmed out" by Ganassi According to Robin Miller's column, Buddy Rice could be "farmed out to F3000 next year by Chip Ganassi." Toyota Atlantic champion Rice is one of the four drivers to test for Chip Ganassi Racing recently. Seventh Gear speculates that Rice could be contracted to Ganassi while racing in F3000 and could return to the CART team in 2002. Rice has been linked to both David Sears teams, Super Nova and Petrobras Junior.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Bell and Mears asked about potential US F3000 series In CART's weekly press conference (transcribed by Seventh Gear) Indy Lights front-runners Townsend Bell and Casey Mears were asked about the future of the series. The question was raised about CART possibly replacing the formula at the end of 2001 with F3000 specifications and a name change to Formula 3000, the target being to prepare drivers better for Champ Cars and to give them more recognition. Bell, currently second in the Indy Lights standings, responded by saying: "I don't think changing the name of the series makes the drivers any better or worse, but I recognize that that's an issue. It certainly bothers me at times when you read stuff about how F3000 or British F3 is sort of the end all, be all of driver development, when that is just absolutely not the case. And there's a rather long list of guys that have come out of some of those European championships as champions or as front-runners that have gone on to do poorly in CART. And so, you know, Juan Montoya has certainly upped the status of F3000, I think, a lot. Kenny Bräck came from there. Like I said, people tend to want to forget a lot of the guys that have not done well that did excel in those series. And I think as far as Indy Lights goes, if you look at some of the guys in CART right now that came up through our series, it speaks pretty well for the level of competition that Lights produces. Tracy, Herta, Hernandez, all of these guys are front-running champ car drivers, and they are sought after. Somehow, that seems to get lost in the mix every now and then. But I think that everybody should really survey all of the results and statistics before you can pass such a quick judgment." Mears, third in the Indy Lights standings, was similarly sceptical: "Obviously Indy Lights is Indy Lights. It's been Indy Lights for quite a few years now. It has got a name actually established in its own right that it is producing, you know, great champ car racers. And if you look at half of the field right now, most of the guys that are in champ cars have come out of Indy Lights and done very well. You know, I know what you're saying; that people do know 3000. It's a little bit different because Formula 1 guys don't consider Lights like we consider 3000, where champ car drivers will look at a 3000 guy or a Lights guy and they both come over and have done equally as good. You know, I think it's more of a reputation. It's more overrated in Europe; that the Lights doesn't carry much weight, but I think here in the States, it carries quite a bit."

 

October 12th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Karthikeyan looking for Formula Nippon drive British F3 front-runner Narain Karthikeyan is hoping to find a Formula Nippon drive in 2001, claims Autosport. The Indian was fourth in this year's British F3 championship with Stewart Racing as team-mate to Tomas Scheckter. He is now being managed by David Robertson, who has furthered the careers of Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen.

 

October 12th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi linked to Minardi Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi has been linked to a possible Formula 1 return in 2001 with Minardi. This article reports that ITV have claimed Takagi could bring PIAA sponsorship to the Italian team. The move could co-incide with a deal for Minardi to use Mugen-Honda engines, rather than the Supertec units it is currently expected to use.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter to race at blue-riband F3 races This year's McLaren F3000 driver and Jaguar test driver Tomas Scheckter will race at Macau and Korea, despite the decision of his regular British F3 team Stewart Racing not to contest the events. Instead Scheckter has signed to race for German F3 outfit Swiss Racing Team.

 

October 12th 2000 - International F3000:

Watt denied touring car win Former F3000 star Jason Watt, fresh from his SRWC races, was denied another win in the Danish Touring Car finale at Jyllands-Ringen. Watt's car retired from the lead with electrical problems on the penultimate lap of the second race. He was sixth in the first race. Michael Carlsen clinched the series title from John Nielsen.

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Buddy Rice, Toyota Atlantics 2000

Rice heading for F3000? Super Nova boss David Sears has said that American drivers such as Buddy Rice should compete in F3000 to develop their careers. Other rumours in America have linked Toyota Atlantic champion Rice to a move to Europe. Speaking to Gordon Kirby in this article, Sears said: "I think it would be quite interesting for me to help some of these guys in America like Buddy Rice, who proved that they are up to a pretty proficient level but just need to take it a little stage further. Rather than going into CART in a less-than-competitive situation, they might be better off to come over to Europe and spend a year or two in Formula 3000. I think it would be quite a good thing to look at. The point is we can breed them to a pretty good standard over here. It's not just about the fact that they're Europeans, it's the fact that the level of competition and what they have to go through here is pretty intense. People come here from all over the world to prove themselves." Sears added: "The Champ Car owners would all rather have American drivers if they can find ones that are quick enough. That's absolutely paramount in their minds. They would love that. But the only way that's ever going to happen is if they bother to send them over to people like me and say, 'You're the university, the finishing school.' Put them in university here for two or three years and send them back and they'll be able to blow all these other guys off. I honestly believe that at some point this is going to happen, that they will actually get this wake-up call that maybe they could create a new wave of American drivers. People like Roger Penske and Bobby Rahal and Barry Green have raced in Europe, and they should recognize that." Rumours in America have supported Sears' suggestion that Rice could move to F3000. Back in July he told Autoracing1.com that he was talking to people in Europe. He has also been linked to a drive at Petrobras Junior, co-managed by Sears, in rumours, but denied this in CART's weekly press conference last week. Asked: "I read somewhere about the possibilities of you running in the F3000 league. How true are those?", Rice replied: "Really I guess it was...you are referring back to the Petrobras F3 [thousand] ride?". Interviewer: "Yes." Rice: "I haven't talked with them, no."

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Longer qualifying, shorter races and wheel tethers introduced for 2001 At the FIA World Council meeting in Seville last Wednesday revisions were made to the F3000 sporting and technical regulations. Instead of two 30-minute qualifying sessions, two 45-minute sessions will take place from 16:15 to 17:00 and from 17:30 to 18:15 on the day before a race. The maximum total race length has been reduced from 200km to 150km. In addition, the selection process for the 2001 season has been clarified: "Teams finishing in the top twelve places in the 2000 Team Championship will automatically be entered for the 2001 Championship. The three remaining places in the 2001 Championship will be allocated to winners of national F3000 championships or new Teams. If insufficient entries are received following this process, the last three Teams in the 2000 Team Championship will be invited to enter (in Championship order)." The technical regulations have been changed to bring F3000 in line with F1 by introducing wheel tethers. In order to prevent wheels becoming separated from the car in the event of an accident, the wheels will be connected to the main structure of the car by means of one cable per wheel. 2mm thick anti-intrusion panels will be added to the sides of existing monocoques to further improve safety. The changes will be introduced as of 1st January 2001. At the World Council meeting it was also announced that Formula 3 cars will have a roll-hoop test with the same loads applying to 2001-spec F3000 cars introduced from 2002.

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

New hope for bottom three teams The FIA World Council meeting in Seville last Wednesday clarified the procedure for team selection for the 2001 F3000 season (see story above), giving new hope to the teams which finished outside the top 12 in the Teams championship this year. Kid Jensen Racing, Witmeur KTR and World Racing Team (WRT) occupied the bottom three positions in this year's championship, with 3, 3 and 0 points respectively. If insufficient entries are received after offering the final three entries to the F3000 Italia championship-winning team and to new teams, the last three teams in the 2000 team championship will be invited to enter (in championship order). Both Kid Jensen Racing and Witmeur KTR will be the likely beneficiaries if the selection process comes to this, although Witmeur KTR may have first option as the team scored its points in round 3, whereas KJR didn't score until round 8. This latter point was not clarified in the sporting regulations.

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Junqueira and Minassian set to sign for Ganassi The latest reports suggest Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, 1st and 2nd respectively in this year's F3000 championship, are to race for Chip Ganassi Racing in Champ Cars next season. Minassian was fastest at the recent Firebird Raceway shootout which also saw Buddy Rice and Casey Mears testing. In this article Gordon Kirby spoke to David Sears, team co-manager and manager of Junqueira and Minassian's teams, Petrobras Junior and Super Nova. Sears said: "I think they both had excellent tests at Firebird with Ganassi. Both of them have proved beyond any shadow of doubt that they can become top-line Champ Car drivers. They were split by tenths [of a second] all the way through to the last day and then Minassian ended up quickest because Bruno's car had a mechanical problem. I think the whole Ganassi crew were completely amazed by their performances. They didn't do anything wrong and they were analytical. Let's put it this way, they were hopefully a tribute to our finishing school in Europe. I think realistically, both of them can get the job done and I anticipate a bright future for both of them." On their performances in F3000 this season Sears added: "They've both driven exceptionally well this year. Bruno has been to university and has a degree in mechanical engineering, so he's very, very technical, and I think that's obviously helped him. Nicolas had a couple of up-and-down results, then won three on the trot, like Bruno had done as well. They've definitely been the guys to beat all year. Between them they won 70 percent of the races. Nicolas is probably more outgoing. He's a charming Frenchman, but he's a street fighter from Marseilles. He's very much in the early Jean Alesi mold and I think he'll endear himself to a lot of people. I think Minassian will just be generally amusing to everyone. Bruno is quiet. I think he needs to develop more of an outgoing way. You guys in the American media are very good at getting guys out of their shells. Look at Montoya. When he first arrived he wouldn't say a bloody word, and then he got quite cocky and quite enjoyed it. I think that side of things is done particularly well in America. The ones that are a little shy and reserved just come out of themselves. Sears is confident both drivers will be in CART next year: "These two are top-notch products of the European system. I'm sure they'll both be good next year. We've just got to get some contracts sorted out, but I think they'll both be looking good." Reports at Autosport online and Autoracing1.com suggest it is increasingly likely that Junqueira and Minassian will sign for Ganassi.

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Webber further linked to Super Nova F3000 "rookie of the year" Mark Webber is likely to be run by Super Nova next year according to David Sears in this article, backing up previous reports that he is likely to sign for the team. Super Nova boss Sears told Gordon Kirby: "He's just done an F1 test for Benetton and within three days he was lapping half a second faster than [regular driver Giancarlo] Fisichella. That shows F3000 is a good grounding for these guys." Webber had also been linked in Australia to possible F1 drives in Japan and Malaysia, presumably with Benetton, according to Hot Open Wheelers. However, Alexander Wurz is competing with the team in this weekend's Japanese GP. Webber looks increasingly likely to be signed as Benetton's test driver for 2001.

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

'97 champion signs as Jordan tester 1997 F3000 champion Ricardo Zonta has signed as Jordan's 2001 tester after being replaced at BAR by Olivier Panis. The announcement was made at the Japanese Grand Prix. Zonta's manager Geraldo Rodriguez said: "There are no available places as a driver in any of the top teams so Ricardo decided to go to Jordan as a test driver." Zonta raced in F3000 for Draco in 1996 before his championship-winning 1997 season with Super Nova.

 

October 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Bad luck for Watt at Magny-Cours 1999 F3000 runner-up Jason Watt had his second SRWC race at Magny Cours last weekend, but was out of luck. First, it looked as though he would have to miss the race as there was a problem with the gear-shift on the special hand controls for his Den Bla Avis Panoz. He missed qualifying but started from the back of the SR1 grid. Watt then spun at the first corner, telling Autosport online: "The cars were going slower than I expected, and when I lifted off, the rear came round and I spun." Waiting to rejoin, Watt was hit by the SR2 pole-sitting Lucchini of Salvatore Ronchi. "He came right through and took the nose off" said the Dane. Watt lost around 10 laps in the pits for repairs. He was happy with his performance once he rejoined: "I then drove at my own pace, and ended up lapping around half a second slower than John Nielsen [driver of the other Panoz]. I am so happy that I was able to show that I can be competitive in dry conditions as well as in the wet, and to prove that the Nürburgring was no fluke." The car was classified 8th in the SR1 class. Watt is competing in the final round of the Danish Touring Car series this weekend: "After two wins and a second, I hope to finish the season on a high!" he said. "And I'm quite sure I'll be racing next season." The SRWC round was won by former F3000 drivers Christian Pescatori and David Terrien, who clinched a third successive Teams Championship for JMB Giesse.

 

October 5th 2000 - International F3000:

INTERLAGOS AND MONZA ADDED TO 2001 CALENDAR The opening round of next year's FIA F3000 International championship will be held in support of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on 31st March. The series will also return to Monza in Italy for the first time since 1990 at the final round on 15th September. The calendar, rubber-stamped by the FIA World Council on Wednesday (4th) in Seville, has been expanded to 12 events to incorporate the new races. The Brazilian race is a first for F3000, which despite its "International" name has not previously ventured outside of Europe. The British Grand Prix meeting has been moved back to its July slot, so the chances of the monsoon conditions seen in the Silverstone F3000 race will be reduced. Once again all rounds will support Grands Prix and take place on the Saturday. The traditional month break in June when F1 teams travel alone to the Canadian Grand Prix has again been left free on the calendar. The 2001 calendar can be viewed here.

 

October 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Rice could fall back on F3000 Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice could compete in F3000 next season if he fails to secure a Champ Car drive, claim Autosport. The American impressed in testing with Target Chip Ganassi Racing at Firebird recently. He was the only driver to be allowed to work on car set-up and was said to have impressed with his feedback.

 

October 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Raikkonen could combine F3000 season with F1 testing Formula Renault 2000 champion Kimi Raikkonen could be Sauber test driver while at the same time competing in F3000 next year, according to Autosport. The Finn outpaced current Sauber tester Enrique Bernoldi at Mugello last week. However, Sauber sponsor Red Bull are said to prefer that Bernoldi should be retained as test driver.

 

October 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Saelens hopes to stay at Super Nova Belgian David Saelens revealed in Autosport that he hopes to stay with Super Nova next year after racing for the squad for almost two seasons. He has had talks with the team but no deal has yet been done. In his favour is the requirement of team sponsors for a French or German speaking driver in one car. Saelens also wants to do some F1 testing and feels the experience from Junqueira's Williams test drive helped the Brazilian in his F3000 title win this year. Mark Webber is expected to sign for Super Nova (see News: September 28th). Former F1 driver and CART refugee Norberto Fontana is also expected to have a test for the team and reportedly hopes to drive for Super Nova next year.

 

October 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter will not do full racing season in 2001 Tomas Scheckter, signed as Jaguar's test driver next week, is to cut down on his racing programme next year in order to focus on his testing role. According to Autosport online, McLaren F3000 driver Scheckter had planned to continue in the formula next year but will now only race occasionally to keep himself sharp. He told Autosport magazine: "My testing will take absolute priority. I want to do a lot of good running with the team, although I might do the odd Formula Nissan race, sportscar event or F3000 outing. I'm definitely not going to compromise my job with Jaguar though." He plans to follow Luciano Burti, the man he is replacing, into a race drive in 2002.

 

October 5th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Teams face fight for place in 2001 Italian F3000 series Grids for F3000 Italia are to be limited to 12 teams next season, according to recent reports at Prorace, translation courtesy of Fred Breton. The first collective test session after the season ends on October 22nd will take place at Valencia, Spain, on the 8th-9th November. The 12 teams selected to participate in 2001 will attend, along with 3 others selected at the discretion of series promoters. The way the 12 teams are to be selected is unclear at present.

 

October 4th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Manning to race again at Misano Arden Team Russia has confirmed Darren Manning will race for its F3000 Italia team in the final round at Misano, according to Motoring News. He will once again partner Warren Hughes in place of Viktor Maslov at the team, in order to assist in Hughes' driver's title battle and in the battle for the team championship which Arden currently lead. Manning won first time out in the previous Enna-Pergusa round.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Petrobras Junior to test Haberfeld, Ri.Sperafico and Varano More details of the drivers Petrobras Junior is to test at Estoril later this month have been revealed by Motoring News. Mario Haberfeld, the former McLaren pilot and year 2000 Fortec driver, will be joined by F3000 Italia championship leader Ricardo Sperafico. Also expected to be given a run is F3000 Italia driver Gabriele Varano. They will be joined by SudAm F3 front-runners Vitor Meira and Joao de Oliveira. British F3 champion Antonio Pizzonia is currently negotiating with the team for a test at Estoril. Team manager Paul Jackson said: "We would certainly like to take a look at him. We are talking, but nothing has been settled yet." Enrique Bernoldi may also test with the team. Jackson previously claimed Pizzonia and Bernoldi would be a "formidable combination".

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Hughes and Ro.Sperafico to try out International F3000 with Arden Warren Hughes, F3000 Italia title contender with Arden Team Russia, is to be given a test drive with the team's FIA International F3000 operation at a private test at Estoril later this month. He is also likely to take part in the official FIA test session at the circuit in November, according to Motoring News. Rodrigo Sperafico, currently competing in F3000 Italia with the Draco Junior Team, will also test for Arden at Estoril this month.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Coloni test Piccini and Camathias The Italian Coloni team has started to evaluate drivers for next year at Magione according to Motoring News. The team ran Andrea Piccini, the Italian having competed with Kid Jensen Racing the past two seasons, and Formula Nissan driver Joel Camathias. Swiss driver Camathias competes in Formula Nissan for Scuderia Famá, the team which plans an F3000 Italia graduation next year. Piccini is set to test with Coloni in November's official F3000 tests at Barcelona and Estoril.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Altuna to test for Nordic Argentinian Mariano Altuna is to test with Nordic Racing at Estoril later this month, according to Motoring News. The 18-year old currently competes for GF Motorsport in SudAm F3.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Bruni expected to test for Fortec Italian Gianmaria Bruni is expected to test a Fortec Lola at Jerez this month according to Motoring News. 1999 Formula Renault Eurocup champion Bruni races for Fortec in British F3.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

DAMS deny sale rumours; Kolby to continue in 2001 Veteran French team DAMS has denied rumours that it is for sale following three poor seasons. Team boss Jean-Paul Driot told Motoring News: "We have a contract to run Kristian Kolby again next year, and I will soon be evaluating other drivers."

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Murchison tests with Gauloises Formula Formula Holden runner-up Christian Murchison had his second test in an F3000 car when he drove for Gauloises Formula at Le Mans last week. Team boss Dominique Delestre told Motoring News: "He covered 120 miles and did a very good job". The Australian also tested for Red Bull Junior in Hungary in August.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

McLaren looking for drivers; Pantano in frame for drive? McLaren are currently looking for drivers for its F3000 team, according to Motoring News. The team has spoken to the top three in this year's British F3 championship, Antonio Pizzonia, its regular driver Tomas Scheckter and Takuma Sato, and has also spoken to German F3 championship leader Giorgio Pantano.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Delestre hopes Gauloises Formula will continue Gauloises Formula boss Dominique Delestre hopes his team will continue to operate next season following the withdrawal of Gauloises from F1 sponsorship. He told Motoring News: "Nothing is settled yet, but talks are continuing and I hope things will carry on as before."

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Zytek's new 4.0 litre ALMS engine

Zytek ALMS engine could be adapted for F3000 A new Zytek 4.0 litre engine (left) was revealed near Road Atlanta at the Petit Le Mans last weekend, alongside a 43% scale model of the new Panoz LMP Roadster S which will be powered by the engine next year. According to this article the engine is to be made available regardless of chassis. Zytek President Bill Gibson said the engine has to be designed with more than one car in mind, and mentioned F3000: "A 3.0 litre version for F3000 would be very easy...I can see by all your faces you are wondering what I might say next, but I am going to leave that alone." There is speculation that the engine, designed by a team headed by ex-Honda F1 project man Hiro Kanada, could be used in the IRL or in the next Indy Lights formula. The overhead cam alloy 4.0 litre V8 unit is the first engine project Zytek have completed from a "clean sheet of paper". Specifications can be seen here. 3.0 litre Zytek KV F3000 engines, based on Judd 3.0 litre V10 units, have been standard in F3000 since the inception of the modern control formula in 1996.

 

October 4th 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso to become Prost tester? F3000 rookie and race winner Fernando Alonso could test for Prost next year if Telefonica become the French team's main sponsor. He would combine the role with a second season of F3000. The telecommunications giant has been Minardi's title sponsor for the past two years, but now the Italian team is 70% owed by PSN, reducing takeover options by Telefonica. Telefonica is expected to to move to Prost following their loss of Gauloises sponsorship. According to Motoring News, the main restriction to any deal being done is the fact that Telefonica will get less space on Prost's cars for the money it pays. If the deal does go ahead, however, Marc Gene and Fernando Alonso, both Telefonica backed drivers, will move to Prost. Alonso would become test driver and continue to race in F3000. The 19-year old Spaniard had been expected to race for Minardi next year before the deal with PSN was made. Gene would meanwhile team up with Jean Alesi at Prost.

 

October 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Family files lawsuit over Gonzalo's death Autoracing1.com reports that the family of Gonzalo Rodriguez have filed a negligence lawsuit against CART and Laguna Seca over the accident that killed the Uruguayan F3000 star. No further details of the lawsuit were released and CART refused to comment. Rodriguez was killed in practice last year for the Laguna Seca Champ Car round, only the second race he had contested. The Astromega F3000 pilot, driving for Penske, went straight on at the tight left-right Corkscrew corner. He ploughed head-on into a wall protected by just one layer of tyres, vaulted over it and came to rest upside-down.

 

October 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Bernoldi in action for Sauber Sauber test driver Enrique Bernoldi had his longest test for the team at Mugello last week. The Swiss outfit completed a three day test with Bernoldi and Formula Renault 2000 champion Kimi Raikkonen working on set-up for this weekend's Japanese GP. On the final day, Thursday, Raikkonen completed 36 laps before handing over to Bernoldi. Raikkonen was 2nd with 1m26.43s while Bernoldi was third with 1m26.48s. Bernoldi said: "I only did a handful of laps before lunch but my best time was set when the track was a lot hotter than it had been early in the day, so that was a good improvement. This afternoon we continued that work. This week is the first time that I've done three consecutive days of F1 testing, rather than just half a day here and there, and I've really enjoyed it. I've had no problems physically, thanks to my F3000 experience, and we have had a very productive test." Bernoldi, who competed with Red Bull Junior in F3000 this season, could sign with Petrobras Junior for 2001 (see story of September 28th below). (Source: Alpha F1)

 

October 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Minassian was fastest for Ganassi at Firebird F3000 runner-up Nicolas Minassian was the fastest of the four drivers testing for Chip Ganassi Racing recently, according to Autoracing1.com. Bruno Junqueira is widely expected to be given one of the four-time CART champion team's seats, while Buddy Rice was said to have impressed with his feedback about the Lola-Toyota. If Junqueira and Rice are signed, Minassian and Casey Mears will have to find another team for their CART graduation. According to Jon Beekhuis on RPM2Night recently, team manager Mike Hull reported that all four drivers at the Firebird Raceway test set times within 0.1s of each other. Temperatures at the three test days were 108, 106 and 98F respectively. Mears ran on the final day, Friday 22nd September.

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