Friday, January 30, 2004

Meanwhile, Back on the Track

The new racing season is getting closer, and things seem to building to a fever pitch, so this is a quick post of everything I let slide over the past few days.

First, Renault launched the R24. Last year, Renault made a reasonable claim to be one of the top teams in F1, claiming all year that they had a really fast car with a mediocre engine. At the end of the year they scrapped the engine and its designer and have gone back to a more traditional design. The car body is different again, however. The aero designers seem to have done a lot of work on the back end. The vanes and winglets all over the sidepod look sort of swoopy and sensual, the fin on the back of engine cover is vaguly reminiscent of the Jaguar D-Type (OK, very vaguely) and they've changed the rear wing significantly, again. This is another car that I am looking forward to seeing race.

Sticking with open wheel racing, the bankruptcy judge rejected the IRL bid to buy some or all of CART's assets and cleared the way for the series to try and survive under the leadership of the OWRS, with its first race scheduled for Long Beach in March. At least OWRS is committed to CART as a racing series -- it has no other interests. Back in the '90s when Tony George spun off the IRL with the Indy 500 as its only draw, he opined strongly that oval races were the only ones worth having. Since then he has installed a semi-road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but his motives in trying to buy CART were always a little suspect.

Finally, Speedweeks at Daytona is underway, with the Rolex 24 Hour sports car race set to start tomorrow. Scott Pruett has taken the pole for Chip Ganassi, and it looks like Speed Channel will have about 15 hours of race coverage before some football game or other that's happening this weekend too.