Not so fast: new F1 circuits aren't happening yet, says Tilke

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Despite all the ongoing rumors of this country and that preparing bids for F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone, few of them are anywhere near that stage. As track designer Hermann Tilke has pointed out, many of the speculative locations lack circuits that would be ready to host grands prix.

Tilke has to his credit the designs of most of the new F1-spec race tracks around the world, including Malaysia, Bahrain, Istanbul and Shanghai.In addition to those, he's working on Abu Dhabi's. The overwhelming likelihood is that Tilke Engineering would be commissioned to draw up the plans for any new track if prospective organizers are serious about their F1 bids.

In an interview with British publication Autosport, Tilke said that Mexico, India, Russia, South Africa and Greece are a long way from making their Formula One dreams realities. Mexico, he says, is stalled with political problems, India and Russia are merely topics for discussion, plans for a return to South Africa are "dormant" and the Greek bid has "fizzled out." That leaves plenty of room for progress on each front, but then again, there are a lot of countries vying for Tilke's talents...and for Bernie's attention.

[Source: F1i]

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

MazdaSpeed expands grassroots driver program; will pay more contingency money, too

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Instead of dumping a boatload of money in a high-profile racing series, Mazda has chosen to focus on the little guy in sportsman categories. In doing so, Mazda is funding its own program with parts sold to grassroots racers throughout the country.

For example, Mazda makes up about 2 percent of the overall new-vehicle market in the United States, yet its cars account for 50 percent of SCCA club racers.

Mazda also promotes its drivers. Whenever there's an open seat in a professional class, Mazda drivers in the lower classes get the first shot. Last year, the automaker also rewarded Star Mazda champ Adrian Carrio with a $100,000 scholarship in the hope of securing a seat in the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic series. And SCCA Spec Miata champ Andrew Caddell was given a new MX-5 and MazdaSpeed parts to build an MX-5 Cup car for 2007.

Now the company wants to expand its motorsports effort by offering even more competitions so drivers can move up through the ranks.

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

Subaru's Legacy and Outback score high on NHTSA tests

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Like any proud parent, Subaru is pretty proud of its offspring's safety records. And with the NHTSA awarding five star crash ratings across the board to both Legacy and Outback, they've got plenty of reasons to be proud. Both models also received four out of five stars for rollover safety.

This is thefirst time the Legacy's gotten five stars across the board (in 2005, it got five for front passenger and driver, but was not rated for side cras hes), but the Outback has consistently scored tops since at least 2002.

That now makes two safety agencies smiling upon the Legacy, with the IIHS naming it a Top Safety Pick for 2007.

[Source: Safercar.gov]

 

[via] Autoblog

GM memorializes Earnhardt with Web site

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Six years ago today, Dale Earnhardt Jr. died in a 150-mph crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500. To commemorate the date (and the release of "Dale: The Movie"), General Motors has dedicated "The Power of 3" Web site to the memory of Dale Earnhardt.

Visitors to the site can submit their memories of the Intimidator as well as find out when the movie will be coming to their town.

Read the full press release from GM after the jump.

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[via] Autoblog