automobile racing


automobile racing
Sport practiced in a variety of forms on roads, tracks, or closed circuits.

It includes Grand Prix racing, speedway racing (including the Indianapolis 500), stock-car racing, sports-car racing, drag racing, midget-car racing, and karting, as well as hill climbs and rally driving. The International Motor Sports Hall of Fame is located in Talladega, Ala., U.S. There is no central governing body for automobile racing in the U.S. as there is in most other countries.

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▪ 2009

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      In 2008 the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula 1 (F1) world drivers' championship was won by the U.K.'s Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) by a single point. Many found it to be a fitting result, considering the way the 2007 season ended when Hamilton blew a 12-point lead with only two races to go and lost out on the title by one point in his rookie season. Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil won six races during the 2008 season compared with five for Hamilton, but on November 2 Hamilton passed Toyota's Timo Glock of Germany on the final turn of the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix to secure a fifth-place finish in the race and thus deny Massa the overall title by a single point, 98–97. The 2007 champion, Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) of Finland, finished in third place with 75 points. Ferrari won the constructors' championship with 172 points, beating out McLaren-Mercedes (151) and BMW Sauber (135).

      Hamilton started 2008 with a victory at the Australian Grand Prix on March 16, but he did not win again until taking the Monaco Grand Prix in rainy conditions on May 25. That victory started a stretch of three wins in five races for Hamilton, including consecutive victories in July at the British Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix. On September 7 Hamilton took the checkered flag in the Belgian Grand Prix, but the stewards added a 25-second penalty to his time for cutting through the final chicane, and the victory was awarded to Massa. After a 12th-place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 12, Hamilton's lead in the standings was cut from seven points to five with two races remaining, but he won the Chinese Grand Prix the following week before securing the overall title with his fifth-place result in Brazil. The 23-year-old Hamilton was F1's youngest-ever season champion, the first black driver to top the F1 rankings, and the first British champion since Damon Hill in 1996.

      During the 2007 season Hamilton, Fernando Alonso of Spain, and Räikkönen all had a chance to win the title heading into the last race of the season, which made it the tightest battle for the championship in 21 years. In 2008, however, seven drivers and five teams captured races, while four drivers led the championship, six took pole positions, and 15 led races. Two-time world champion Alonso, back with Renault after a turbulent season as Hamilton's teammate at McLaren, earned the most points over the last six races. He won in Japan and in Singapore, F1's first-ever night race. Three drivers won for the first time: Germany's Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) took the Italian Grand Prix at age 21 to become F1's youngest-ever winner, Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) of Poland won the Canadian Grand Prix, and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen of Finland captured the Hungarian Grand Prix. Scotland's David Coulthard (Red Bull–Renault), 37, announced his retirement after earning 13 wins in 15 years.

      The focus on the sport again shifted to news off the racetrack as FIA Pres. Max Mosley became entangled in a scandal after a British tabloid newspaper exposed his involvement in what was described as a Nazi-themed orgy with prostitutes. A video showed Mosley engaging in sex acts while speaking German, and although he admitted to hiring the women, he said there were no Nazi overtones. Mosley, who had been FIA president since 1994, refused to resign after the News of the World report surfaced, and in June he won a vote of confidence to remain in his position through October 2009. In July he won an invasion of privacy lawsuit against the tabloid.

      Hamilton was the target of racist abuse leading up to the final race of the season in Brazil. Racist messages about Hamilton were written on a Spanish Web site, he was insulted by two Brazilian comedians, and he was handed a black cat—a symbol of bad luck in Brazil—at a sponsor's function. This occurred despite the efforts of the FIA, which launched an antiracism campaign after Spanish fans, who blamed Hamilton for Alonso's troubles at McLaren, taunted the British driver during testing in Spain in February.

      F1 was a victim of the global economic downturn in late 2008, as Honda Motor Co. announced in December that it was pulling out of the sport, which reduced the starting grid to 18 cars. The Honda team finished in ninth place, or next to last, in the constructors' standings after Japanese team Super Aguri, which was backed by Honda, pulled out in April after four races. Japan's largest automaker, Toyota, said that it would scale back costs on F1 racing after finishing fifth in the season standings. The Honda withdrawal meant that 2008 could be the last season for Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello, who had competed in a record 271 Grand Prix races. The FIA in December announced a series of changes for the 2009 season, hoping that the measures would help teams cut costs and reduce F1's combined $1.6 billion annual spending.

Paul DiGiacomo

Rallies and Other Races.
       Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) of France dominated the 2008 world rally championship (WRC) season en route to a record fifth consecutive drivers' title. After winning his fifth Monte Carlo Rally in January, Loeb (with co-driver Daniel Elena of Monaco) took the checkered flag in 10 more of the 15 WRC races. He secured the title on November 2 with a third-place finish behind Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) of Finland in the penultimate Rally of Japan. In the season-ending Wales Rally GB on December 7, Loeb scored a narrow come-from-behind victory, despite a 10-second penalty for a jump start on stage 18 (the penalty was removed on appeal). He finished the season with 122 points, well ahead of Hirvonen (103 points), who won three times. Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford), age 22, became the youngest driver to have won a WRC race (Sweden), but he ended the season ranked fourth behind Spaniard Dani Sordo (Citroën), whose second place in Spain was his best finish. Citroën, with 191 points, overtook Ford (173 points) to take the manufacturers' title, with Subaru (98 points) again in third place.

      Denmark's Tom Kristensen claimed a record eighth personal victory in the 24-Hour Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance on June 15. He and co-drivers Allan McNish of Scotland and Rinaldo Capello of Italy covered 381 laps in their Audi R10 for Audi's eighth win in nine years. The second-place Peugeot team—Jacques Villeneuve of Canada, Marc Gene of Spain, and Nicolas Minassian of France—also completed 381 laps but crossed the finish line 4 min 31.094 sec behind the winners.

      Professional sports car racing in the U.S. remained split, with the Grand-Am series centred on the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 11-race American LeMans countering with the 12 Hours of Sebring. The 24 Hours of Daytona, the most important of the 12-event series, was won by a Chip Ganassi Lexus-Riley Prototype driven by American Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas of Mexico, with turns by Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia and Dario Franchitti of Scotland. The Lexus finished two laps ahead of Americans John Fogarty and Alex Gurney, in a GAINSCO-Stallings Pontiac-Riley, averaging 103.057 mph. A Penske team Pontiac-Riley driven by Brazil's Castroneves and Australian Ryan Briscoe, both of the Indy Racing League (IRL), and Kurt Busch of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was third, four laps back.

      In the 56th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, a P2 Class Team Penske Porsche RS Spyder driven by Timo Bernhard of Germany and Romain Dumas of France, with fellow Frenchman Emmanuel Collard, broke the eight-year dominance of the diesel-powered Audi sport prototypes, covering 351 laps. In second place, 1 min 2.084 sec behind, was another P2 Porsche driven by Americans Butch Leitzinger and Andy Lally, with Marino Franchitti of Scotland. The eventual season titlists, Germans Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr, drove an Audi Sport of North America prototype.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2008

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      The battle to become the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula 1 (F1) world drivers' champion took several unexpected turns in 2007 as veteran driver Kimi Räikkönen ( Ferrari) of Finland faced off against British F1 rookie Lewis Hamilton ( McLaren), who had thoroughly dominated the sport's GP2 category in 2006. Räikkönen began in March by winning the season-opening Australian Grand Prix but then failed to win again until July and fell 17 points behind Hamilton. With only the last three races to go, the Finn then scored a third-place finish and two straight wins to grab the championship by a single point from McLaren teammates Hamilton and two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Spain. In the end Räikkönen was a worthy world champion with six victories to his credit, compared with four each for Hamilton and Alonso. Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil, who opened the year as a credible title contender, earned respect for his three victories and received a contract extension until 2010.

      McLaren's decision to sign the young British rookie to partner Alonso, newly acquired from Renault, might have been considered a huge risk by some observers. (F1 teams rarely break development continuity by changing both drivers at the same time.) With Juan Pablo Montoya's contract having been terminated midway through 2006, however, and Räikkönen having contracted himself to Ferrari more than a year earlier, McLaren committed itself to what chief Ron Dennis considered a no-risk strategy. As a 10-year-old kart racer, Hamilton had walked up to Dennis and boldly asked if one day he might drive a McLaren F1 car. Dennis was impressed and took Hamilton under the team's wing as a member of its driver-development program. In 2007 the young Briton's record already reflected success in both Euro F3 and GP2 racing, while hundreds of hours spent on McLaren's in-house F1 simulator ensured that the naturally talented Hamilton was also the best-prepared freshman driver of all time. Meanwhile, McLaren had to field Alonso's growing disenchantment with the team, which he believed had promised him priority treatment over his young teammate. By the end of the year, Alonso had terminated his contract with McLaren and returned to his former team, Renault.

      Undoubtedly, McLaren would have liked the season to be remembered for the genius of Hamilton, who nearly became the sport's first rookie world champion, rather than for a convoluted saga over stolen Ferrari technical data. During the summer Ferrari reported that McLaren's chief designer was in possession of confidential information from Ferrari. A subsequent investigation was undertaken by the FIA and the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC). At a meeting in September, the WMSC confirmed the allegations, although it acknowledged that there was no evidence that the information obtained had been “used by McLaren to the detriment of the Championship.” McLaren was stripped of its constructors' championship points and hit with a staggering $100 million fine. Only the immunity that FIA Pres. Max Mosley granted the McLaren drivers—Alonso, Hamilton, and reserve Pedro de la Rosa—in return for their testimony prevented them from being thrown out of the drivers' title race after they were found guilty of being in possession of technical data illegally acquired from their rivals. Mosley later told BBC radio that he was part of a minority on the WMSC who would have supported the loss of points for Alonso and Hamilton “on the grounds there is a suspicion that they had an advantage that they should not have had.”

      Mosley's view was set against the backdrop of Dennis's dilemma when it came to deciding whether McLaren should appeal the penalties handed down by the council. The McLaren chairman claimed that his team had been the focal point of a gross injustice, since there was no evidence to prove that any of Ferrari's intellectual property had been incorporated into the McLaren car design. Initially, McLaren offered a detailed timeline relating to the troubling episode, which was accepted—not without reservations—by its loyal supporters. In December, however, the team admitted that the confidential Ferrari data had been more widely disseminated than previously thought. McLaren's admission and formal apology brought an end to the scandal and left the team eligible to race in 2008.

      With McLaren and Ferrari dividing the 2007 victories between them, there was little in the way of consolation to be found in the ranks of the also-rans. BMW Sauber was generally the best of the rest, and former world champion Renault was eclipsed for the time being, having failed to win a race for the first time since 2002. Toyota and Honda continued to languish on the outer fringes of competitiveness, but Williams looked crisper and sharper than before, while the new Red Bull–Renault began to demonstrate genuine promise as the season drew to a close.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      In 2007 major American professional auto racing survived a year filled with close finishes, sorrow, and scandal. Dario Franchitti of Scotland, driving for Andretti Green Racing, won the 91st Indianapolis 500, which ended after 166 laps under a caution flag because of rain. Scott Dixon of New Zealand finished second, and Brazil's Helio Castroneves (the pole winner at 225.817 mph) was third. All three drove Dallara-Hondas. The 17-venue Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series, raced mostly on American ovals, saw Franchitti and Dixon each win four races, but the Scotsman had the most overall points, 637–624, and took the drivers' title. Franchitti earned $1,645,233 of the $10,668,815 Indy purse and an IRL record $4,017,583 for the season. All IRL races used 100% fuel-grade ethanol, unique in the sport.

      After the IRL season, Franchitti switched to Ganassi Dodge stock cars and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Nextel Cup, the richest American series. Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, a former Formula One (F1) world champion, also joined NASCAR. Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet dominated the Nextel season, which devolved into a battle between two Hendrick drivers. In the end, Jimmie Johnson repeated as champion by winning four of the final five Chase for the Championship events, beating teammate and four-time titlist Jeff Gordon by 77 points. The Nextel Cup (to be renamed the Sprint Cup in 2008) in mid-season introduced its Car of Tomorrow formula, said to make competition closer.

      NASCAR lost its former president of 28 years, Bill France, Jr., 74, to cancer in 2007. Meanwhile, the organization repelled assaults on its rules, fining and suspending crew chiefs and docking driver and owner points all season. The most serious enforcement occurred before the 49th Daytona 500: four crew chiefs were fined and suspended for aerodynamic changes, and then two of Toyota team owner-driver Michael Waltrip's employees were suspended indefinitely when his Toyota's engine was found to contain an allegedly speed-boosting additive. In the race itself, Kevin Harvick, driving a Richard Childress Chevrolet, nipped Mark Martin, in a Bobby Ginn Chevrolet, by 0.02 sec to win. Jeff Burton, in another Childress Chevrolet, finished third. Harvick earned $1,510,469 for a little more than three hours of competition, while Martin took home $1,120,416. The average speed was 149.335 mph.

      While Chevrolets won 26 of the 36 Nextel races, there was more competition in NASCAR's other series. Carl Edwards, driving a Scott Ford, won the Busch Series (to be renamed the Nationwide Series in 2008). Although Toyota dominated the Craftsman Truck Series, winning 13 of the 25 events, Ron Hornaday, Jr., driving a Kevin Harvick Chevy Silverado, gained the individual title over Mike Skinner of Bill Davis Toyota because Skinner and third-place teammate Johnny Benson split the Bill Davis manufacturers' points.

      Montoya, named Rookie of the Year for NASCAR, won what was perhaps the most significant Busch Series event of the year, a road race on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. The race, held before 72,000 spectators, was televised in Spanish to about 92 million homes in the U.S. as NASCAR sought to cultivate a new Hispanic audience.

      The Champ Car World Series, which used Bridgestone-shod Ford Cosworth cars, shunned oval tracks for road or temporary street layouts. Despite meetings in 2006 with Indy officials on a long-rumoured merger of single-seater series, this remained unlikely. Frenchman Sébastien Bourdais, driving for Newman/Haas/Lanigan, won his fourth consecutive Champ Car title as the series visited three continents and six nations in a 14-event schedule. Bourdais, who won six races over a multinational field, announced that he was switching to F1 competition.

Robert J. Fendell

Rallies and Other Races.
 In 2007 Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) of France overcame strong competition from rival Marcus Grönholm (Ford) of Finland to capture his fourth consecutive world rally championship (WRC) drivers' title. Loeb began with a solid victory in January in the Monte Carlo Rally. As in 2006, the 16-race season quickly grew into a two-man contest. After 14 races two-time WRC champion Grönholm, racing in his final season, had taken the checkered flag in five events (Sweden, Italy, Greece, Finland, and New Zealand), with Loeb winning another six (Mexico, Portugal, Argentina, Germany, Spain, and France). Grönholm narrowly led Loeb in the standings going into the penultimate rally, in Ireland, but a crash on the first day left him on the sidelines as Loeb won the race and pulled ahead in the standings. Finland's Mikko Hirvonen (Ford), the winner in Norway and Japan, captured the season-ending Wales Rally GB, with Grönholm second. Loeb's third-place finish, however, was enough to maintain his lead over Grönholm in the standings, by a mere four points. Hirvonen was third overall. Ford again took the WRC manufacturers' title, followed by Citroën and Subaru.

      For the second consecutive year, the Audi R10 team of Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro, and Marco Werner prevailed in the 24-Hour Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance. Another Audi R10 team, made up of Rinaldo Capello, Allan McNish, and Tom Kristensen, led for more than 16 hours until their car lost a wheel and crashed out of the race.

      In the Rolex 24 at Daytona (Fla.) Speedway, a Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates-owned Lexus-Riley co-driven by Montoya, Scott Pruett, and Salvador Duran edged the Pontiac-Riley of Patrick Carpentier, Darren Manning, Ryan Dalziel, and Milka Duno by 1 min 15.482 sec after 2,378 mi (668 laps). Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor, Jan Magnussen, and NASCAR hero Jeff Gordon were third in another Pontiac-Riley. Duno was the highest-finishing woman in major endurance-racing history. In the 15-event Rolex Series, the team of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (Pontiac-Riley) won 408–406 over Pruett (Lexus-Riley).

      The 55th running of the Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring, jewel of the 12-event American Le Mans Series (ALMS), saw a turbo diesel-powered Audi R10 repeat as champion, leading all but 21 of the 364 laps. Biela, Pirro, and Werner drove the winning LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) at an average speed of 112.039 mph. A Corvette C6.R finished seventh overall to lead the GT1 (Grand Touring 1) class. Audi Sport North America-sponsored diesels also won the ALMS series team crown for LMP1s.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2006

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
 In 2005 Renault and Spanish driver Fernando Alonso won the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula 1 (F1) world championship for constructors and drivers, respectively. This confirmed the prediction made in 2003 by Renault team chief Flavio Briatore, who suggested that his squad would probably be ready to mount a world championship challenge in 2005. Briatore could see that his team was maturing in tandem with Alonso's emergence as one of the best new drivers of his era, and in 2005 the partnership blossomed with perfect timing. At the end of the season, the longest in the 56-year history of the FIA's F1 title contest, the 24-year-old Alonso had captured 7 of 19 races to become Grand Prix racing's youngest world champion.

      Alonso and his Renault team faced a season-long battle for the crown with Kimi Räikkönen ( McLaren-Mercedes), who also won seven races. Alonso's season started steadily and built up consistently. Räikkönen's year was more unpredictable, as his McLaren team failed to capitalize on its apparent performance edge early in the season and then fumbled a second chance to press home a counterattack for the title in the middle of the year. By finishing third in the Brazilian Grand Prix, Alonso scored enough points to clinch the title with two races left in the season. Even more significantly, he emerged as the most likely challenger to seven-time champion driver Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) of Germany. Alonso performed with a consistent and inarguable genius, with the sole exception of a slip in the Canadian Grand Prix, where he broke his Renault R25's suspension against a retaining wall. The disciplined fashion in which the young Spaniard paced himself in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Italy, and kept Schumacher's obviously faster Ferrari bottled up behind his Renault demonstrated every facet of Alonso's skill; he was quick, unflappable, precise, and consistent. He also kept the pressure on Räikkönen in the European Grand Prix at Nürburgring, Ger., allowing his rival no respite as the Finnish driver struggled with a flat-spotted tire that finally became completely unbalanced and broke the McLaren-Mercedes car's front suspension.

      The intense rivalry between Renault and McLaren-Mercedes ensured an epic season of changing fortunes during which Ferrari, the top manufacturer for the previous five years, was reduced to the role of also-ran. Ferrari and its tire supplier, Bridgestone, had a disastrous season. Ferrari secured a single victory from the still-motivated Schumacher in the ill-starred U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Only six Bridgestone-equipped cars started after the teams that used Michelin tires were obliged to withdraw prior to the start when Michelin could not guarantee that the tires the company had provided for the race were safe. In the event, Michelin picked up the estimated $20 million cost of reimbursing the disappointed spectators and bought a large number of tickets for the 2006 U.S. race. The biggest disappointments of the 2005 F1 season were the Williams-BMW and BAR-Honda teams.

      The arrival in November 2004 of Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz and his takeover of the Jaguar squad, which he renamed for his Red Bull beverage, signaled that commercial value could still be leveraged from this global sport. Barely nine months later Mateschitz purchased the Minardi racing team as a training ground for fledgling F1 talent. Russian-born Canadian businessman Alex Shnaider of Midland Group took a similarly upbeat if lower-key attitude to his takeover of the Jordan racing squad. BMW, having determined that the chemistry was not right in its partnership with Williams, purchased the Swiss-based Sauber team as a vehicle for the company's fully branded long-term ambitions. Williams later signed a deal with British engine supplier Cosworth. With Honda taking total ownership of the BAR squad, only DaimlerChrysler was left without 100% ownership of an F1 team for the 2006 season, although the German-based automaker's 40% stake in McLaren yielded an impressive tally of 10 race wins in 2005.

      BMW's decision to abandon Williams for Sauber had another side effect. British driver Jenson Button, who had previously announced that he would switch from BAR-Honda to Williams, declared in August that he did not want to drive for Williams now that the team's cars had lost their BMW engines. The FIA's Contract Recognition Board had already ruled in 2004 that Button's BAR contract took priority. Eventually Button and Williams reached an agreement, and the driver had to pay Williams for the privilege of remaining with BAR-Honda in 2006.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      Tony Stewart collected the 2005 National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Nextel Cup (formerly the Winston Cup) and the prize money of more than $6 million that went with it. During the season Stewart, driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Joe Gibbs Racing, triumphed in 5 races, but none of them in the 10-event Chase for the Championship that was supposed to determine the champion stock-car driver. Stewart, however, earned points for finishing in the top 10 in 25 events, including 7 races in the Chase, and his total of 6,533 points put him 35 points ahead of Ford Taurus drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, both part of the Jack Roush racing team. Stewart's fifth victory was the Brickyard 400 on August 7 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That triumph fulfilled a childhood dream for the Indiana native, who had raced in five Indianapolis 500s and six Brickyard 400s at the Speedway but had never finished better than fifth prior to his 2005 victory ( Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., two of NASCAR's most popular drivers, did not qualify for the Chase). Jimmie Johnson, who in May won $470,000 at NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina, led the point standings periodically, but he crashed in the season-finale Ford 400 at Homestead, Fla. Chevrolet won the manufacturer's championship over Ford and Dodge, but all three awaited the entry of tough competitor Toyota into the billion-dollar competition of carmakers after NASCAR mandated new specifications for the automotive package over which each carmaker would hang its stock-appearing body beginning in the 2007 season.

      NASCAR began the 2005 season with its richest event, the $17,590,647 Daytona 500-miler. Gordon, driving a Hendricks Team Monte Carlo, averaged 135.173 mph in the race and edged Kurt Busch in a Roush Ford Taurus by 1.58 sec to win and claim $1,497,154 of the purse. Prerace favourite Earnhardt, Scott Riggs, and Johnson, all in Monte Carlos, finished third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

      NASCAR used its subsidiary Busch Series to seek new Hispanic fans north and south of the Mexican border. About 95,000 spectators crowded into Mexico City's Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez to see Martin Truex, Jr. (Chevrolet), beat Nextel Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards in the Telcel Motorola 200. Truex went on to defend his Busch season crown.

      Toyota entries, led by former Winston Cup driver Tod Bodine, posed a serious challenge in Craftsman Truck racing. Bodine finished third to new champion Ted Musgrave (Dodge) and Dennis Setzer (Chevrolet).

      In American open-wheel competition, the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the Champ Car World Series drew farther apart in the type of races offered, the star drivers, and the specifications of the cars. Champ Car favoured street courses all over the world, while the IRL schedule included mostly oval tracks in the United States. Frenchman Sébastien Bourdais easily defended his Champ Car crown over Oriol Servia of Spain. Bourdais, driving for Newman-Haas Racing, won 6 of the 13 races in the 2005 series, which included events in Canada, Australia, and Mexico.

 The 89th Indianapolis 500, the jewel of the IRL season, fell to British driver Dan Wheldon, who also won the IRL season championship. Wheldon, driving an Andretti Green Dallara-Honda, won $1,537,805 in the Indy 500, which had an average speed of 157.603 mph and 27 lead changes among seven drivers. Wheldon scored four victories in the first five IRL races and then preserved his lead over teammate Tony Kanaan of Brazil for the season crown. The most-talked-about driver in the series, however, was Danica Patrick, a photogenic 23-year-old American who finished fourth in the Indy 500 in her Rahal-Letterman Panoz-Honda. Patrick, who was named the race's Rookie of the Year, led three times for 19 laps—something no woman had ever done before. She went on to earn $1,037,655 for the season. Both Toyota and Chevrolet announced that they would no longer provide engines for IRL, yet each won a race, courtesy of American Sam Hornish and South African Tomas Schekter, respectively.

Robert J. Fendell

Rallies and Other Races.
       Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) of France dominated the world rally championship (WRC) in 2005. He overwhelmed all challengers, winning a record 10 of the 16 WRC races, including 6 in a row and his third straight season-opening Monte Carlo Rally. Loeb secured the driver's title (and the constructors' championship for Citroën) after finishing second to Marcus Grönholm of Finland in the Rally of Japan with three races left, two of which he won. Loeb would have wrapped up the title in Wales one race earlier had it not been for a crash in which co-driver Michael Park of England was killed. Loeb, who was in the lead on the last leg in Wales but backed off after the accident to allow Petter Solberg (Subaru) of Norway to win the race, did not gain enough points to clinch his second consecutive title. Although Park's driver, Markko Martin (Peuguot) of Finland, was not injured in the crash, he did not race again in 2005. England's only world rally champion, Richard Burns (Burns, Richard ), died in November on the fourth anniversary of his WRC title. (See Obituaries.)

      On June 19 Tom Kristensen of Denmark, sharing an Audi R8 with co-drivers J.J. Lehto and Marco Werner, captured the 24-hour Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance. It was a record seventh win for Kristensen in nine attempts.

      The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, sanctioned under the Grand American Sports Car series, saw the amateur trio of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli, and Emmanuel Collard cover 4,067.8 km (2,527.6 mi) in their Pontiac-Riley and easily defeat a field of 28 other prototypes co-driven by such professional superstars as Sébastien Bourdais and Tony Stewart, respectively the Champ Car and Nextel Cup titlists. The margin of victory was 11 laps on the 5.73-km (3.56-mi) Daytona Speedway road course. A Pontiac-Crawford co-driven by NASCAR's Johnson finished second.

      Two Audi R8s in their last year of eligibility contested the 12 Hours of Sebring race, the opening event in the American Le Mans Series. Lehto, Werner, and Kristensen edged Alan McNish, Emanuele Pirro, and Frank Biela by 6.365 sec for the victory. Aston-Martin topped Corvette for the GT1 manufacturers honours.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2005

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula 1 (F1) world drivers' championship delivered more of the same in 2004 as German Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) dominated to win an unprecedented seventh title. He posted a F1-record 13 victories, while his Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello won two events. The other three races featured brilliant performances, with Italy's Jarno Trulli (Renault) winning at Monaco, Finland's Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren) capturing the Belgian Grand Prix, and Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) edging out Räikkönen in Brazil.

      Ironically, the team that made the strongest impression in 2004 was BAR, which took a superb second place to Ferrari in the constructors' championship stakes and carried British driver Jenson Button to third place in the drivers' points table. Button and BAR were a revelation. The team's emergence as a consistently competitive contender said much for the technological developments made by engine supplier Honda, which announced in November that it was purchasing a minority stake in BAR. As for Jenson, he drove superbly race after race, highlighting his season with brilliant second-place finishes to Schumacher in the San Marino and German Grand Prix. In the middle of the season, however, Button announced that he was switching to Williams in 2005; his management team cited irregularities over the way in which BAR exercised its option for the following year. Previously in such cases, discreet financial arrangements were made to ensure the transfer of the driver to the team of his choice, and most F1 insiders believed that would happen on this occasion. BAR's team principal, David Richards, however, was implacable in his determination that his team's contract with Button would prevail. He referred the matter to the FIA's Contract Recognition Board, which ruled that Button's BAR contract took priority, and Button agreed that he would, in fact, be staying with BAR. Williams, hit by the costs involved in reaching an unsuccessful conclusion on the issue, was left casting around for another driver to pair with Australian Mark Webber in 2005.

      Meanwhile, there were other issues impinging on the health of the F1 business, namely those of how to meet costs and who, in the longer term, would control the commercial-rights income, which was variously estimated at between $50 million and $800 million annually. Power broker Bernie Ecclestone's grip on those income streams suddenly appeared under greater threat than ever before when three creditor banks, which owned 75% of Ecclestone's SLEC company, took him to court in a dispute involving appointments to the board of Formula One Holdings, a subsidiary of SLEC that operated the Grand Prix circuit. In December, London's High Court ruled in favour of the banks.

      Although Ecclestone remained stoic and unimpressed by the bid to undermine his control of the business, it was clear by the end of 2004 that either costs needed to be brought under control or the share of the commercial-rights income accruing to the teams needed to be radically increased. The vulnerability of F1 as a business model was also thrown into painfully sharp focus when Ford sold its Jaguar F1 team to Red Bull in November, seemingly unable to make a compelling business case for remaining in the Grand Prix game. Ford's decision seemed strangely perverse, given that it was a founding member of the GPWC Holdings BV—a company that sought a more equitable distribution of the sport's commercial-rights revenue—which collectively professed huge confidence in the long-term potential of F1. Indeed, GPWC finally tired of trying to cut a long-term deal with Ecclestone over the future income division within F1. Having agreed to a “memorandum of understanding” with SLEC in December 2003, GPWC withdrew from it in April 2004 after having concluded that Ecclestone was dragging his feet to an unacceptable degree. By the end of the year, GPWC was busy formulating its own administrative structure in plans to take over F1 after the current Concorde agreement expired at the end of 2007. It remained to be seen how long the dispute would run before a compromise solution was reached.

      As far as the F1 calendar was concerned, the world's appetite for Grand Prix racing appeared insatiable. Two races were added to accommodate the spectacular new government-backed fixtures in Bahrain and Shanghai, which were based on multimillion-dollar tracks designed by Hermann Tilke, and more races were expected to be added, with Turkey joining the F1 club in 2005 and both Mexico and South Africa waiting in line for their possible chance the following year. The excitement generated by these new races and the forthcoming ban on tobacco sponsorship in F1 conspired to place many traditional European events under huge pressure. Ecclestone's continued ambivalence toward the British Racing Drivers' Club, the owners of Silverstone racecourse, placed the future of the British Grand Prix on the line as protracted negotiations ground on for much of the year to secure the venue for the event.

      Wherever F1 racing took place in the future, it would almost certainly be with significantly slower cars than were seen in 2004. With 2.4-litre V8 engines and a standard control tire—probably from a single contracted supplier—due to be initiated in 2006, the four seconds or so that were trimmed from lap times during 2004 could be reversed. The FIA's president, Max Mosley, was particularly keen on such safety-driven moves, even though many of the teams questioned the efficacy of the steps the FIA had supported to reach that conclusion.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      Top-level professional auto racing in the U.S. survived a turbulent year of change in 2004, and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), the dominant sanctioning organization, incurred the most upheaval. Under its new president, Brian France, NASCAR inaugurated a new sponsor, Nextel Communications, and a new TV-friendly method of crowning its champion, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship. Under the Chase format the top 10 drivers and those within 400 points of the leader after the 26th race of the season qualified for a 10-race point play-off, and those who fell short competed only for the considerable prize money. Kurt Busch, driving a Jack Roush Ford Taurus, edged Jimmy Johnson, in a Hendrick Chevrolet Monte Carlo, for the bonus $5.2 million in prize money. The point race lasted until extra laps of the final race, held at Homestead, Fla., in November. Busch's teammate Greg Biffle won the race and thus blocked Johnson and third-place Jeff Gordon from higher points. Busch won the title with 6,506 points, followed by Johnson (6,498) and Gordon (6,490). Chevrolet captured the manufacturer's crown with 266 points to Ford's 224, and Kasey Kahne (Dodge) was named Rookie of the Year.

      In addition to modifying its rules, NASCAR continued to tinker with its schedule, moving races out of its southeast birthplace. Rockingham, N.C., was dropped from the calendar, and the final running (in Darlington, S.C.) of the Southern 500, NASCAR's oldest race, was held in November, after the race had been moved from its traditional Labor Day date in favour of the California 500 at Fontana. Three stock-car classics—the Daytona 500, the Talladega (Ala.) 500, and the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, Ind., which were run on 4-km (2.5-mi) tracks—remained outside the Chase. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., keyed a 1–2–4–5–6 finish for Chevrolet in the season-opening Daytona 500, besting Tony Stewart (Chevrolet) and Scott Wimmer (Dodge) in the $16,003,785 race, the richest in the country. Gordon won Talladega and the Brickyard 400. The season's traditionally longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., was a repeat victory for Johnson.

      NASCAR's subsidiary series continued to feed talent into the Nextel Cup, hastening the departure of such veteran stars as Rusty Wallace, Kyle Petty, and Sterling Marlin. Chevrolet's Martin Truex, Jr., beat Kyle Busch (Chevrolet), Kurt's younger brother, in the Busch Series. Bobby Hamilton (Dodge) won the Craftsman Truck Series.

      The Indianapolis 500 remained the nexus of American single-seater competition. Buddy Rice won the race, which was delayed two hours and then shortened by rain. Rice, in a Rahal-Letterman Racing Team G-Force Honda, led 91 of the 180 laps run and collected $1,700,000 of the $10,250,580 purse. He was followed by six other Hondas, including second-place Tony Kanaan. Kanaan, driving for Andretti-Green, went on to capture the Indy Racing League (IRL) season crown. Honda-powered cars won 14 of 16 races in the IRL series.

      Single-seater sanctioning in the U.S., however, remained split yet another year. The Champ Car World Series, successor to the bankrupt Champion Auto Racing Teams, staged a successful nine-race inaugural schedule by including events outside the U.S. Fittingly, Frenchman Sebastian Bourdais clinched the crown in the Mexico City finale, besting Newman-Haas teammate Bruno Junqueira of Brazil. A.J. Allmendinger of the U.S. was named Rookie of the Year.

Robert J. Fendell

Rallies and Other Races.
       Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) of France won his first world rally championship (WRC) in 2004. Loeb, who had finished second to his Norwegian rival Petter Solberg (Subaru) by only one point (72–71) in 2003, totaled six victories in the 16-event 2004 season, including his second straight Monte Carlo Rally. He finished second in the Rally of Cyprus but was advanced to first after the initial winner, Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) of Finland, was disqualified one week after the race when his car was ruled illegal in the postrace technical check. Loeb finished with 118 points, well ahead of Solberg (82 points), who won five races, and Markko Märtin (Ford) of Estonia (79 points), who won three. Loeb's dominance also helped Citroën secure its second consecutive manufacturer's title. Citroën's other driver, two-time WRC champion Carlos Sainz of Spain, captured his record-breaking 26th career victory in Argentina. At season's end the 42-year-old Sainz announced his retirement after 15 years.

      The U.S.'s two road racing endurance classics, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, continued to sport rival sanctioning organizations. The Daytona, approved by the Grand American Road Racing Association, was marred by cold weather and rain that caused a three-hour stoppage. After racing resumed, NASCAR's Stewart built a three-lap lead, but mechanical problems forced him out of the race with only 20 minutes to go, which left the overall victory to the Bell Doran Pontiac driven by American Terry Borcheller, Andy Pilgrim of the U.K., Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi, and Forest Barber of the U.S. The Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS placed second, only 6.9 seconds ahead of the Flying Lizard GT3 Porsche.

      In the 12 Hours of Sebring, an American Le Mans Series race, a record crowd watched Audi R8s continue to dominate as they finished 1–2–3. The winning Audi was driven by Allan McNish of Scotland and Germans Pierre Kaffer and Frank Biela. The second-place Audi, led by J.J. Lehto of Finland, battled through the rest of the nine-race series to win the season. In an effort to regain prestige, the Sports Car Club of America, the nation's largest organization of nonprofessional racers, added the SPEED World Challenge series. American Tommy Archer won the GT class, and his countryman Bill Auberlen claimed the touring car championship.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2004

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      By the time the checkered flag fell to mark the end of the 2003 season-ending Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) of Germany had finally clinched a record sixth Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) world drivers' championship. He had 70 career wins to his credit, and Ferrari, the blue-riband powerhouse of Formula 1 (F1) domination for the previous four seasons, had secured its fifth straight constructors' title, an unparalleled achievement.

      Ferrari's new F2003-GA car was better than its predecessor, but Schumacher did not win until the San Marino Grand Prix, the fourth round of the title chase, and even then his success was posted with the old F2002. Two weeks later he gave the new car a triumphant debut at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, but he freely admitted that he would not have been able to beat Fernando Alonso's Renault R23 if he had had to rely on the old car.

      The season began on an uncertain note. FIA Pres. Max Mosley had initiated a raft of rule changes that included one-lap Indy-style qualifying but with a key difference. Beginning in 2003 the second qualifying session on Saturday afternoons would be regarded, in effect, as the first few laps of the race. Cars would be confined to a parc fermé area after that session, and no fuel could be added before they took their places on the starting grid the following afternoon. The changes did not please everybody. McLaren and Williams had arbitration pending over the manner in which the FIA implemented its revised regulations, which the two teams believed was a clear breach of the governing body's own rules. Mosley claimed that the changes, which included awarding championship points down to eighth place, would still result in the best driver's winning the title, although the task would take a little longer.

      Ferrari had an overwhelmingly impressive run. Schumacher never suffered a mechanical failure and retired just once during the course of the season, when he spun off during heavy rain in Brazil. His teammate Rubens Barrichello of Brazil outqualified the world champion in 5 of the season's 16 races, most notably at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and at Suzuka, where he scored superb wins. In addition, Barrichello clearly had the upper hand during qualifying at the German, Hungarian, and U.S. races, and he could well have added Austria to his tally of victories had it not been for a delay at one refueling stop.

      Barrichello's formidable form made up just one element of the wide-ranging challenge facing Schumacher in 2003. Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren/Mercedes) of Finland and Spain's Fernando Alonso (Renault) both posted their maiden Grand Prix victories during the course of the season, underscoring their eligibility as future title challengers. Williams/BMW drivers Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia and Ralf Schumacher (Michael's younger brother) each won two races, but neither Williams/BMW nor McLaren/Mercedes had its admittedly competitive machinery consistently honed to the levels required for matching Ferrari.

      Away from the tracks, concerns about the sport's finances continued to dominate the F1 landscape, in particular the carmakers' challenge to the status quo with their proposed GPWC racing series, due to start after the expiration of the current Concorde agreement at the end of 2007. The manufacturers, including Fiat (owner of Ferrari), DaimlerChrysler (owner of Mercedes), Renault, BMW, and Ford (owner of Jaguar), founded GPWC Holding BV as a device primarily designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of the sport's commercial rights revenue. The ongoing debate centred around whether F1 racing was best served by power broker Bernie Ecclestone's autocratic management style or whether the sport instead would benefit from a broader-based consensus that would give more scope for the motor industry's voice to be heard. In mid-December Ecclestone and the carmakers agreed to a “memorandum of understanding” that ended the threat of an alternate GPWC racing series. The agreement also brought the two sides closer to reaching a long-term deal that would ensure a fairer spread of the sport's commercial-rights income. This might boost individual team income by about $20 million per season in the future and would represent a lifeline to small teams such as Jordan and Minardi. Elsewhere, the F1 business showed signs of future expansion, with Bahrain and Shanghai both scheduled to hold debut races in 2004. This inevitably put pressure on European events, as the Belgian Grand Prix was canceled and the Austrian was dropped from the calendar at the end of the season. The British Grand Prix was subject to more than its fair share of critical scrutiny from Mosley and Ecclestone, and the rights and wrongs of whether this event should benefit from direct government funding—at a time when just about every other fixture on the world championship calendar enjoyed such luxuries—remained a matter of anxious controversy.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      Although he won only one race of the 36-event series, Matt Kenseth, driving a Roush DeWalt Ford Taurus, became the 2003 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Winston Cup champion. After having won at Las Vegas, Nev., Kenseth assumed the points lead in early March by finishing fourth in Atlanta, Ga. Then he took advantage of a race-scoring system that rewarded consistency as he finished 11 times in the top 5 and 25 times in the top 10. Runner-up Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet) was 90 points behind, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., in a DEI Chevrolet was third. Ryan Newman, the leading Dodge driver, won eight races. Kenseth clinched the crown with a fourth-place finish at North Carolina Speedway in the season's penultimate event. His title was worth $4,250,000.

      During the year NASCAR ended a 32-year relationship with its title sponsor, tobacco company R.J. Reynolds (the maker of Winston cigarettes). Nextel Communications signed a 10-year sponsorship deal worth approximately $700 million, the largest in the history of any sport. Beginning in 2004 the Winston Cup series would be renamed the Nextel Cup. NASCAR also ended a gasoline sponsorship with Unocal 76, its supplier for 55 years. In 2003 NASCAR, a multibillion-dollar business, controlled 12 of the 23 largest tracks in the nation through its International Speedway Corp.

      NASCAR's richest race, the season-opening $14,030,129 Daytona 500, was shortened by rain to 272.5 mi (109 laps). Chevrolet's Michael Waltrip, who earned approximately $1,411,000 for his DEI team, beat Kurt Busch (Ford) and Johnson in that order. Waltrip also won the September restrictor-plate race at Talladega, Ala., while his teammate Earnhardt won at Talladega in April. (The Daytona and Talladega 4-km [2.5-mi] tracks mandated restrictors on the carburetors to limit speed.) Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet) beat Kenseth in the Brickyard 400, and Johnson edged Kenseth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., in another classic race shortened by rain.

      Brian Vickers in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet won the NASCAR Busch Series championship by 14 points over David Green in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. At age 20, Vickers became the youngest driver to win one of NASCAR's top three titles. The Craftsman Truck Series was equally tight, won by nine points by Travis Kvapil over Dennis Setzer. Both drove Chevrolets.

      The Indianapolis 500 continued to be dominated by business magnate Roger Penske. Brazilians Gil de Ferran and defending champion Helio Castroneves ran one-two, respectively, as Team Penske won the Indy 500 for the 13th time. De Ferran in a G-force Toyota edged Castroneves in a Dallara Toyota by 0.299 sec, with Tony Kanaan's Andretti-Green Dallara Honda third. Seven of the first nine finishers were powered by Toyota. The first American engine, Buddy Rice's Dallara Chevrolet, finished 11th. De Ferran won $1,353,265 of the $10,151,830 purse. Castroneves, at 231.725 mph, was the fastest qualifier.

      The Indy Racing League (IRL) season crown went to New Zealander Scott Dixon in a G-force Toyota. The 14-race IRL series, a single-seater oval-track series in which average speeds often were well over 200 mph, proved a battle between Honda and Toyota because Chevrolet engines, used by many of the best American drivers, were uncompetitive until Chevy engaged Cosworth, a builder associated with rival Ford, to redo its engines. In September, with his car powered by the Cosworth-sourced Chevy Gen IV, series defending champion Sam Hornish, Jr., set a new closed-course world record for an entire race when he won the Toyota 400 at California Speedway at an average speed of 207.151 mph.

      The migration of drivers, teams, and manufacturers to the IRL did not prevent the rival Champion Auto Racing Teams (CART) from completing a full season. While CART's financial status was being worked out off the track, president Chris Pook assembled an international schedule and enough teams to make the series viable, even though CART paid $47 million to keep them racing and bought TV time. CART turned itself into a spec series, mandating Ford Cosworth engines, Bridgestone tires, and strict limitations on vehicle configuration. Canadian Paul Tracy in a Lola clinched the title in Australia.

Robert J. Fendell

Rallies and Other Races.
      There were six different winners in the 14-event 2003 world rally championship (WRC), but in the end Petter Solberg (Subaru) of Norway won his first WRC title by only one point (72–71) over his French rival Sébastien Loeb (Citroën). Solberg, whose first victory on the circuit was the 2002 Rally of Great Britain, had already captured three rallies (Cyprus, Australia, and Corsica) in the 2003 season, but he arrived at the season-ending Rally of Great Britain, held in Wales on November 7–9, trailing one point behind Loeb (the winner in Monte Carlo, Germany, and Italy) and his Citroën teammate Carlos Sainz of Spain. Solberg outraced Loeb in Wales to win by 43.6 sec amid accusations that the Citroën team had instructed Loeb to back off so that Citroën could secure the constructors' championship, which it did 160–145 over Peugeot. Defending champion driver Marcus Grönholm fell to sixth place in the final standings. Former champion Richard Burns of Great Britain missed the final rally after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour; he was ruled out of the 2004 season pending treatment.

      Team Bentley captured the first two places at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race in June, anchored by driver Tom Kristensen of Denmark in his fifth Le Mans victory. Bentley had won the event five times between 1924 and 1930 before retiring from racing and had returned to competition only in 2001.

      Road racing in the U.S. remained fragmented. In the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association on Daytona International Speedway's 5.73-km (3.56-mi) road circuit, a Porsche GT3 RS won by nine laps over a Ferrari 360 GT, with another GT-class Porsche RS third. Americans Kevin Buckler and Michael Schrom teamed with Germans Timo Bernhard and Jörg Bergmeister for the victorious drive. Finishing fourth was the leading prototype-class car, a Ford Multimatic. The race attracted drivers from Germany, Russia, Belgium, Italy, Canada, England, and the U.S. as the Grand American association began to attempt to simplify road racing by splitting it into two classes, Daytona Prototype and GT.

      The rival American LeMans Series was dominated by Audi, which won eight of the nine races, including the Mobil I 12 Hours of Sebring. Frank Biela of Germany, Marco Werner of Germany, and Philipp Peter of Austria won that classic race over another Audi, with two Bentley prototypes finishing third and fourth. Biela and Werner were also the American LeMans season driving champions.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2003

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      Michael Schumacher of Germany and the Ferrari team rewrote the Formula 1 (F1) record book with such alarming intensity during the 2002 F1 Grand Prix season that by the end of the year the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the sport's governing body, had to force through a package of rule changes in a bid to spice up the racing going into 2003.

      The metronomic consistency of Schumacher and his Ferrari F2002 made it look as though the famous Italian cars were running in an event that was totally separate from the remainder of the field, and if Schumacher was not winning, then Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello was usually taking the top spot on the winner's rostrum. Of 17 races, Schumacher won 11—a new record for wins in a single season—while Barrichello won 4. That left the remaining two race wins to be shared by the opposition—Ralf Schumacher (Michael's younger brother) triumphed for Williams/BMW in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Kuala Lumpur's Sepang circuit in March, and Scottish driver David Coulthard (McLaren/Mercedes) won the Monaco Grand Prix on the streets of Monte Carlo in May.

      With his victory in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in July, the elder Schumacher locked up his fifth driver's title with five races to go. This finally brought him level with Juan Manuel Fangio's record of five world championships and marked yet another significant milestone in the career of a German champion whose relentless precision was matched only by his unyielding determination. Beating the Argentine legend's record, however, was only one of Schumacher's achievements in a remarkable year in which his opposition appeared to have psychologically capitulated to his anticipated domination prior to the first race. He also helped Ferrari amass a record points total of 221 in the constructors' championship stakes—a tally that equaled the combined total of all the other teams on the circuit.

      Most seasonal reviews of Grand Prix racing traditionally measure the achievements of the leading drivers against those of their closest rivals. In 2002, however, Schumacher stood above such comparisons. Other competitors might have had the basic driving talent to equal him, but few, if any, could match his application to behind-the-scenes development or the manner in which he gathered up and motivated the entire Ferrari team.

      Barrichello, to his credit, drove superbly in what was cast as a supporting role from the start, and it was unfortunate that a season of such singular domination was spoiled by the controversy surrounding the Ferrari team's performance in the Austrian Grand Prix in May. In that race Barrichello appeared to have the measure of Schumacher and led from the start, but the Brazilian was told by the Ferrari team to relinquish the lead to his senior colleague. He did so just short of the finish line. The furor that enveloped the sport after what many people regarded as a “fixed” result led the FIA to introduce a rule that would ban team orders from influencing the outcome of a race, beginning with the 2003 season. Ferrari vowed it would keep its team orders system, however.

      The two acknowledged rising stars in the Grand Prix firmament both had patchy seasons. Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, the winner of the 2000 Indianapolis 500, had made the switch to F1 a year later as a member of the Williams/BMW team, but he did not manage to string things together as expected. Montoya smoked his way to seven pole positions but never managed to parlay any of them into race wins. In the McLaren camp Coulthard's young teammate Kimi Raikkonen of Finland made terrific progress in only his second year of F1 racing. If it had not been for a brief skid on a patch of oil at Magny-Cours, Raikkonen would have finished the French Grand Prix ahead of Schumacher. As it was, the 22-year-old Finn's second-place finish in that race, combined with his second position on the front row of the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix in September, confirmed his status as a genuine future superstar.

      It was not the merits of the drivers, however, but the shortage of sponsorship income that was holding everyone's attention by the end of the season. The year had started with the Prost team, which went into receivership in November 2001, going bankrupt only about a month before the start of the 2002 season. By the end of November 2002, the Arrows team was struggling to keep its head above water, while both Jordan and Minardi were finding it extremely difficult to raise what they considered to be adequate budgets for 2003. Jordan, together with British American Racing and Jaguar, had shed jobs during the year in a bid to keep costs under control. Yet as the season ended, there were signs that more economies were likely to be needed as television viewers across the globe reached for the off switch.

      Arrow was dropped from the 2003 championship by the FIA authorities in early December. A week earlier the Jaguar F1 team had dismissed veteran Niki Lauder as team principal.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      A constricting U.S. economy and escalating prize money helped shape an exciting but unsettling 2002 season in the many phases of American auto racing. While the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) remained the country's dominant sanctioning body, the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway's Indianapolis 500, the oldest and richest auto race in the world, was one of the year's most controversial races. The 2001 winner, Helio Castroneves of Brazil, driving a Roger Penske Dallara-Chevrolet, was finally certified in July as the repeat winner of the May classic, withstanding a protest from second-place Paul Tracy in a Team Green Dallara. Tracy believed that he had passed Castroneves before the yellow caution was displayed in the 198th lap following a crash. The race ended under yellow. Castroneves earned $1,606,215 to Tracy's $489,315. Brazilian Felipe Giaffone in a G-Force was third, and fourth-place Alex Barron shared rookie honours with Thomas Sheckter in a Dallara-Infiniti. Fifth place went to Eddie Cheever, Jr., also in a Dallara-Infiniti. Infiniti, which powered 7 of the 33 entries in the race, announced that it was retiring from the Indy Racing League (IRL), just as Toyota and Honda were switching major sponsorship to the IRL from Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) competition.

      The depth of driving talent in the Indy 500, an IRL event, signaled that the IRL had achieved primacy in American single-seater racing. CART, in fact, had added more international and street events after losing established stars, while the IRL raced only on American ovals, many of them capable of accommodating more than 200,000 spectators. Despite the switch, IRL TV ratings and team support money declined. Sam Hornish, Jr., in a Dallara-Chevrolet won his second straight season IRL championship ahead of former CART drivers Castroneves and his Penske teammate Gil de Ferran of Brazil. Eight of the 15 IRL contests had margins of victory of less than a second.

      The Speedway's major race, NASCAR's Brickyard 400 in August, was won by Bill Elliott in a Dodge. Elliott earned $449,056, besting a trio of Fords led by Rusty Wallace. Matt Kenseth finished third, and Ryan Newman ran fourth. Elliott had won the Pennsylvania 500 the previous week at Pocono. Thirty of the 43 entries in the Brickyard finished on the lead lap. The race was also notable because it was the first NASCAR event run on a track equipped with Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) “soft wall” barriers at the corners, which were designed to mitigate crashes. NASCAR declared that the technology improved driver safety but that research was needed on a track-by-track basis. In early October SAFER barriers were installed at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The organization also mandated other safety-related changes, including the use of head-and-neck restraint systems.

      NASCAR operated three major national series and sanctioned points races for local tracks. NASCAR's Daytona 500, the marquee race of a 36-event Winston Cup season, offered $12.31 million in prize money. Winner Ward Burton (Dodge Intrepid), who took home $1,383,017, came from the 19th starting position and led for only the last five laps, just three of them under a green flag. He bested three Fords—driven by Elliott Sadler, Geoffrey Bodine, and Kurt Busch—and the Chevy of defending champion Michael Waltrip. After an earlier crash had taken out 18 cars, the survivors were halted for 20 minutes approximately 12.5 mi from the finish when race leaders Sterling Marlin (Dodge) and Jeff Gordon (Chevy) collided.

      Marlin's season ended with an injured neck in September after he had led the standings for much of the season. In the end the NASCAR champion was Tony Stewart, Pontiac's star. After finishing last at Daytona, Stewart scored consistent high finishes, including victories at Atlanta, Richmond, and Watkin's Glen. He beat Ford's Mark Martin in the final standings by 38 points. Stewart won $9,163,761. The top 34 Winston Cup drivers won over $2 million each. Mike Bliss won the Craftsman Truck series. In the Busch Grand National Series, Greg Biffle won easily over Jason Keller.

      In contrast, the CART series title was won early. Cristiano da Matta of Brazil in a Lola-Toyota dominated the series with seven victories and seven pole starts in 19 events. He clinched the title at the Miami, Fla., street race in October, with three events left. In second place, 73 points back, was fellow Brazilian Bruno Junquera. In November da Matta left CART and signed a two-year deal with Toyota's Formula One team. CART signed a two-year pact to make Ford-Cosworth its official engine.

Robert J. Fendell

Rallies and Other Races.
      Two organizations continued to compete for American sports racing supremacy. The American LeMans Series (ALMS) classic Sebring 12-hour race, held in part on the old Florida airport course at Sebring International Raceway, was won by Britain's Johnny Herbert in an Audi R8. Another Audi R8 driver, Tom Kristensen of Denmark, won the ALMS season's driver crown. Cadillac announced that it was retiring its Northstar racing prototype after it finished third and fourth behind two Audi R8s at the ALMS finale, the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta.

      In the sparsely attended Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association, Didier Theys, Mauro Baldi, Max Papis, and Freddy Lienhard circled the Daytona road course a record 716 times in a Kevin Doran V-10–powered Dallara, six laps ahead of a Riley and Scott Mk IIIc driven by Scott Sharp, Robby Gordon, Jim Matthews, and Guy Smith. The Grand American series, in an attempt to change from a venue of rich privateers to cars more commercially attractive, announced rules meant to chop racing costs radically.

      Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot) of Finland won five races in the 14-event world rally circuit and secured his second world championship in three years with 77 points. Despite having been stripped of his victory in the Rally of Argentina in May on a rules violation, Grönholm wrapped up the title with a win in New Zealand in October and then took the Rally Australia a month later. Petter Solberg (Subaru) of Norway won the final race of the season, the Rally of Great Britain. It was Solberg's first victory on the circuit, but it gave him enough points to finish second in the final standings with 37 points, just ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ford) of Spain. In his first year driving for Subaru, four-time world champion Tommi Mäkinen of Finland was awarded his fourth consecutive Monte Carlo Rally (and a record 24th career victory) after the initial winner, Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) of France, was disqualified.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2002

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      Grand Prix racing sustained its globally televised momentum throughout the 2001 season, although there was precious little evidence that this high-profile international sport could remain insulated from the turbulent events in the wider world over the next few years.

      Sponsors and investors who bankrolled the high-technology sport in the belief that its global reach equated to something close to a commercial bargain in terms of TV viewership were nevertheless understandably nervous about committing sums that could approach an annual $70 million for title sponsorship of one of the top teams.

      Second-guessing the future was a fruitless task, of course. As for the immediate past, in Formula One (F1) terms, 2001 was another season of decisive domination for the remarkable Michael Schumacher at the wheel of his scarlet Italian Ferrari. (See Biographies (Schumacher, Michael ).) The 32-year-old German racked up another nine Grand Prix wins out of 17 races, memorably breaking Alain Prost's all-time career record of 51 wins.

      By the end of the season, Schumacher had 53 race wins to his credit, in addition to a record number of Grand Prix Championship points scored. The only remaining barrier to be cleared was matching—and exceeding—the five world championships won by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina between 1951 and 1957. Few would doubt that Schumacher was on course to break that record.

      The failure of the McLaren-Mercedes team to fulfill its traditional role as Ferrari's most formidable opponent was only in part mitigated by the emergence of the Williams-BMW team as a frontline force. Put simply, one was bound to wonder what everyone else had been doing while allowing Schumacher to waltz away to his fourth title largely unchallenged.

      Scottish driver David Coulthard drove his best season ever but was let down by uncharacteristic unreliability on the part of his machinery. His McLaren teammate Mika Hakkinen had a patchy year and then decided to take a sabbatical in 2002. Both men won two races apiece, although it certainly should have been more.

      By contrast, the Williams-BMW squad was on the rise. Ralf Schumacher won three races and his dynamic new teammate Juan Pablo Montoya just one. Montoya, nevertheless, was probably the most exciting new talent to emerge on the F1 scene since Michael Schumacher himself in 1991.

      A telling index of the generally unremarkable performances delivered by most of the teams could be gauged from the fact that the Sauber-Petronas squad finished fourth in the Constructors' Championship behind Ferrari, McLaren, and Williams. Sauber, a staid and normally somewhat average team, had benefitted from a decent chassis and two motivated young drivers in Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld.

      By the end of the season, the chill winds of financial reality seemed to be blowing through the ranks of the F1 teams. Prost Grand Prix finished the season on the commercial ropes, battling against the spectre of huge debts for its very survival. Toyota might have been looming large on the horizon for 2002, but even the top team principals conceded there could be bumpy times ahead.

      The 2001 season was also marked by the reintroduction of electronic control systems, most notably traction control. Ferrari had raised its rivals' suspicions by insisting that the reintroduction of such systems be deferred until the fifth race of the season in Spain.

      When it came to it, nothing changed in terms of F1's status quo, and it was clear that Ferrari had no problems adapting to the new rules. Its rivals' hoped-for advantage under this new technical initiative simply did not materialize.

      Grand Prix racing's popularity was challenged in Europe by the advent of two U.S.-style oval track races held at the Lausitzring in Germany and at Rockingham in Great Britain. Both were purpose-built brand-new facilities specifically catering to Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) single-seaters, and both races were hugely well received. Sadly, a terrible accident in the German race ended the career of popular former Williams F1 driver Alex Zanardi, who had to have both legs amputated as a result of a high-speed collision with another competitor.

      Although the standard of CART racing was of a very high quality, the American domestic series finished the year under a cloud of commercial and economic uncertainty. The economic consequences of the September 11 terrorist attacks formed only part of the downside. The split five years earlier between CART and the Indy Racing League (IRL), headed by Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway president Tony George, inevitably diluted both categories, but with Penske—American racing's blue-ribbon team and the U.S. equivalent of Ferrari—poised to desert CART to join the IRL full-time in 2002, CART faced a bleak future.

      The one man who won, of course, was George. Not only would his Indianapolis 500 continue to thrive in the future, but the track also now played host to the U.S. Grand Prix, which was held in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks. The race was won superbly by Hakkinen in the McLaren-Mercedes, but not before Montoya challenged at the front of the field.

      Montoya had been the winner of the 2000 Indianapolis 500, so the crowds knew him and could identify with him. That in itself gave F1 a long-overdue boost in the U.S. Signs were that the American fans had reignited their interest in F1 for the first time since the late 1980s. It certainly seemed a promising development for the sport as a whole.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      Tragedy and off-track turmoil notwithstanding, U.S. auto racing's major organizations posted another stirring—if less profitable—season. The death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (see Obituaries (Earnhardt, Dale, Sr. )), a quarter of a mile from the finish of the Daytona 500—which was won by Chevrolet stablemate Michael Waltrip, with Earnhardt's son, Dale, Jr., second and Ford's Rusty Wallace third—began a season that changed the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) forever. It dragged the most uniquely American sanctioning body into major actions to increase driver safety. (See Sidebar (Increasing Safety in Auto Racing: A Winning Formula? ).) Waltrip won $1,331,185 of the $9,291,741 Daytona 500 purse as 14 drivers shared 49 lead changes; the victory margin was a scant 0.124 sec.

      The tragedy overshadowed the return after a 16-year absence of Dodge, which finished three cars in the Daytona top 10. Chevrolet's Jeff Gordon, the eventual Winston Cup season champion, went out 88 km (55 mi) from the finish. Gordon became a four-time season champ; he collected victories in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway, the second richest NASCAR event, and five other races. Gordon won nearly $11 million for the season.

      Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) pilots again invaded Indy Racing League (IRL) domain and won the 85th Indianapolis 500. They swept the first six places. Brazilian Helio Castroneves, driving a Marlboro Team Penske Dallara Oldsmobile, beat teammate Gil de Ferran by 1.74 sec, followed by Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Bruno Junqueira, and NASCAR regular Tony Stewart. The first IRL finisher, a lap back, was Eliseo Salazar. IRL's Greg Ray led at the halfway point but completed only 192 of the 200 laps, and pole sitter Scott Sharp spun on the first lap. Castroneves took home $1,270,475 of the $9,610,325 purse. For Penske this was the 11th Indy 500 victory in 28 attempts; to become eligible to compete, he and the other two CART car owners, Chip Ganassi and Barry Green, had had to acquire IRL-conforming vehicles.

      De Ferran in a Marlboro Team Penske Reynard Honda defended his CART season championship after a 21-event battle with ex-IRL champion Kenny Brack in a Team Rahal Lola Ford-Cosworth. Andretti, the lone American in the top 10, finished third in a Reynard Honda for Team Motorola.

      Brack won four of CART's oval-track races, significant because major CART sponsor Marlboro announced that it would shift to the rival IRL, which competed only on ovals. CART was facing the ultimate loss of all three of its engine suppliers, angered over a late-season switch from a turbocharged to a normally aspirated formula for 2003. Honda and Ford said they could not produce such an engine so quickly. Toyota already had announced a shift to the IRL. During the season CART canceled two scheduled races, one in Brazil because of local politics and the other—which allegedly cost it a settlement in excess of $3.5 million—at the Texas Motor Speedway.

      While the lure of the Indy 500 to sponsors and carmakers alike strengthened the IRL, the 13-race series for normally aspirated single-seaters continued to develop exciting new drivers. One of them, 22-year-old Sam Hornish, Jr., of Ohio, won the season championship for Panther Racing in a Pennzoil Dallara Oldsmobile. His closest competitor was Buddy Lazier; Sharp was third.

      NASCAR's Busch Series, usually the Saturday feature at Winston Cup weekends, crowned Chevrolet's Kevin Harvick as champion. The Craftsman Truck title was won by Jack Sprague of Chevrolet over Ted Musgrave and Joe Ruttman, both in Dodges.

Robert J. Fendell

Rallies and Other Races.
      In the world rally championship circuit, Finnish driver Tommi Mäkinen (Mitsubishi) won his third straight Rally of Monte Carlo in January 2001. Mäkinen had begun the final day of competition just 3.5 seconds ahead of Scotsman Colin McRae. McRae, however, was forced to pull out during the 12th stage when his Ford developed an electronic throttle problem, and Mäkinen cruised to a comfortable victory by more than a minute over McRae's Ford teammates, Carlos Sainz of Spain and François Delecour of France. Mäkinen became the first driver to win the rally three years in a row since German Walter Rohrl accomplished the feat in 1984.

      Audi again dominated the Le Mans 24-Hour Grand Prix d'Endurance in France, finishing 1–2; Team Bentley took third place. In late November Richard Burns of Britain, winner of the Rally New Zealand earlier in the year, became World Rally champion after placing third in the Rally of Great Britain in his Subaru Impreza.

      The schism in professional road racing in the U.S. continued with two distinct series. The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, a Grand American Road Racing Association event, was plagued by unpleasant weather and the inability of the allegedly fastest SportsRacing Prototypes (SRPs) to survive that length of time. Instead, the winner came from the Grand Touring Super class, a Chevrolet Corvette driven by Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel, Franck Freon, and Johnny O'Connell. Second was a Porsche-supported GT3R. The first SRP was 11th overall, a Mazda rotary-engined Kudzu entered by Jim Downing.

      The rival American Le Mans Series watched Audi factory R8s dominate, beginning with the 12 Hours at Sebring and ending with the 1,611-km (1,001-mi) Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Audi's Emanuele Pirro won the driver crown. Contesting the Audis were factory efforts from Cadillac and Panoz, as well as Dodge Viper and BMW in smaller engine classes.

Robert J. Fendell; Editor

▪ 2001

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      Michael Schumacher made Grand Prix racing history in 2000 by becoming the first man in 21 years to win the drivers' world championship at the wheel of one of Italy's scarlet Ferraris. For the 31-year-old German ace, this was his third and hardest-won title crown, the culmination of five years of dogged and persistent struggle since he joined the most famous team in the Formula One (F1) business in 1996. On his way to the championship, Schumacher won 9 of the season's 17 races, more than double the total of his key rival, Mika Hakkinen—champion in 1998 and 1999—who managed just four wins for the McLaren-Mercedes team. The remaining races also fell to those two leading teams, with British driver David Coulthard winning three for McLaren and Brazil's Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher's new teammate from the start of the 2000 season, scoring his maiden F1 success with a victory in the German Grand Prix.

      Ferrari's convincing return to the F1 front line—and its second consecutive constructor's championship—was a vindication for the entire team, headed by French sporting director Jean Todt, who first joined the team in 1993 and who shaped, planned, and cajoled the whole operation, progressively reinventing Ferrari as an F1 force over a grueling seven-year period. While Ferrari's top engineers Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne built a formidable technical armoury, however, it was unlikely they could have done it without Schumacher, who showed himself uniquely capable of turning situations to his advantage.

      Ultimately the McLaren team was thwarted in its efforts to carry Hakkinen to his third straight drivers' championship. Despite this, Hakkinen emerged stronger than ever before as the one man Schumacher clearly respected and knew would definitely give as good as he got. Coulthard did well enough, but somehow he never quite emerged as the potential title threat anticipated in the middle of the year.

      Among the also-rans, there was much gloom and precious little promise. The most impressive member of the supporting cast was the BMW Williams team, which showed both a promising new Munich, Ger.-built V10 engine and a dramatic young British talent in the form of Jenson Button. In his first F1 season, Button demonstrated huge talent and assurance for a 20-year-old novice. British American Racing also emerged as a credible F1 operation; a new partnership with Honda helped 1997 champion driver Jacques Villeneuve and the Brackley, Eng.-based team to go up a gear. In doing so they successfully buried dire memories of their awful 1999 season with Supertec power.

      There were three key disappointments on the F1 scene, each failing to make a mark for very different reasons. The Jordan team, which should have been challenging Williams, had a level of mechanical unreliability that was desperate. Jaguar struggled to make sense of the F1 business with a deficient car, initially unreliable engines, and a management structure caught trying to learn the intricacies of the Grand Prix game while at the same time fighting fires on every business front. Prost was engaged in political battles with its unsympathetic engine partner, Peugeot, which was intent on quitting at the end of the year.

      In many ways the biggest single development in 2000 was the return of F1 racing to the U.S. for the first time in nine years. This time, however, the race did not take place between concrete barriers lining the streets of Phoenix, Ariz. (the last American venue to hold an F1 race), but rather occurred on a spectacularly adapted road circuit incorporating a banked corner of the famous Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway. The inaugural race was a huge success, thanks in part to F1 power broker Bernie Ecclestone's deal with Speedway president Tony George, which was expected to ensure F1's continued presence in Indiana on an open-ended basis. It was uncertain how long it would take to educate American spectators, accustomed to all-action sports with plenty of scoring, to appreciate the strategic “chessboard” philosophy behind contemporary F1 pit-stop racing. Ironically, there was concern that F1's reappearance in the U.S. might leave the Championship Auto Racing Teams single-seater series, which offered consistently great racing and a diversity of venues ranging from street circuit to superspeedway to regular road track, at something of a commercial disadvantage.

Alan Henry

U.S. Auto Racing.
      In 2000 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex, site of three major races sanctioned by disparate series, could lay claim to being the epicentre of U.S. automobile racing. With the inaugural race on its purpose-built Formula One (F1) road course, the venue hosted the U.S. Grand Prix, the Indy Racing League (IRL) Indianapolis 500, and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Brickyard 400.

      The Indy 500, held on May 28, was won by Juan Montoya of Colombia for the Target/Chip Ganassi team, which competed mainly in the rival Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) single-seater series. Montoya edged the IRL's Buddy Lazier by 7.184 sec at an average speed of 167.607 mph. Montoya and third-place finisher Eliseo Salazar of Chile drove Oldsmobile-powered G-Force chassis, while Lazier drove an Olds-powered Dallara. The top qualifying speed of 223.471 mph was set by defending IRL points champion Greg Ray. Montoya, who planned to defect to F1 racing in 2001, led for 167 of the race's 200 laps. Competitors claimed that Montoya's pit stops were as much as four seconds faster than their own.

      In August Bobby Labonte, in a Joe Gibbs Pontiac, won the Brickyard 400, part of the 34-race NASCAR Winston Cup series. Labonte, averaging 155.912 mph, bested Ford's Rusty Wallace by 4.23 sec. Bill Elliott, also in a Ford, finished third. The U.S. Grand Prix in September was the final jewel in Indy Speedway owner Tony George's crown. Michael Schumacher of Germany, driving a Ferrari, won on the new 2.606-mi course, which incorporated part of the famed banked 2.5-mi Indy oval. Each of the three races drew more than 200,000 spectators.

      CART, which left a gap in its schedule so its members could attempt the Indianapolis 500, offered $13,632,500 in purse money over its 20-race FedEx series, which traveled to four countries outside the U.S. As in 1999, the championship came down to the Marlboro 500 final in California. In a weather-hampered contest, Gil de Ferran, driving a Honda-powered Reynard, won the series points championship by finishing third behind his main challenger, fellow Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi, in a Ford Lola.

      Lazier won the IRL's Northern Light season championship for Indy single seaters by finishing fourth in the season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. That was all he needed to do to vanquish Canada's Scott Goodyear, who won in an Oldsmobile-powered Dallara. Infiniti's Eddie Cheever, Jr., was third on the season and second in the race, which was the fastest in series history (175.276-mph average over 500 mi).

      In the Winston Cup series, 1999 champion Dale Jarrett won the February classic, the Daytona (Fla.) 500, starting from the pole position in a Robert Yates Ford Taurus. The car, which had virtually been rebuilt overnight after a crash in practice the day before, led four other Fords over the finish line as the race ended under caution. Jeff Burton was second and Elliott third. Jarrett, who won $1,277,975 plus an additional $1,000,000 bonus for the Daytona victory—a NASCAR record payout—averaged 155.669 mph. He earned more than $5,226,000 but finished fourth in the 2000 point standings. Labonte won the season championship and more than $4,000,000, including $831,225 for winning the Brickyard 400. Labonte led a Pontiac resurgence that edged Chevrolet for second place behind Ford for the manufacturer's title. Seven-time Winston Cup points champion Dale Earnhardt finished second on the season. The top 38 Winston Cup drivers earned at least $1,000,000 on the season.

      The NASCAR circuit suffered a double blow early in the year. Lee Petty—three-time champion driver and founder of a four-generation dynasty of stock-car drivers that included his son Richard, grandson Kyle, and great-grandson Adam Petty—died in April at age 86. (See Obituaries (Petty, Lee ).) Less than six weeks later, 19-year-old Adam Petty, who had made his professional racing debut in 1998, was killed in a crash during a practice run in New Hampshire.

Rallies and Other Races.
      In the world rally championship circuit, Tommi Mäkinen (Mitsubishi) of Finland won his second consecutive Rally of Monte Carlo in January 2000, but he failed to win another race all season and was unable to capture his fifth straight overall world rally title. In Australia in November, after Mäkinen had crossed the finish first, it was discovered that his car's turbocharger did not comply with regulations of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. The noncompliance was ruled a mistake, but Mäkinen was disqualified in favour of another Finn, Marcus Grönholm (Peugeot). It was Grönholm's fourth win of the season. British driver Richard Burns (Subaru), who was second overall to Mäkinen in 1999, also had four wins in 2000. His victory in the season-ending Rally of Great Britain, however, was not enough to hold off Grönholm, who won his first overall title by only five points, 65–60. Peugeot (111 points) won the manufacturer's title over Ford (91) and Subaru (88).

      In June Audi dominated the Le Mans 24-Hour Grand Prix d'Endurance in France, finishing 1–2–3. The winning Audi R8, driven by Frank Biela of Germany, Tom Kristensen of Denmark, and Emmanuele Pirro of Italy, completed 368 laps, or 5,007.988 km (3,111.82 mi). The second-place Audi team of Scotland's Allan McNish and his French co-drivers, Stephane Ortelli and Laurent Aiello, finished one lap back. McNish, Ortelli, and Aiello had won the 1998 race for Porsche.

      The two American road racing classics were sanctioned by rival groups. The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, put on by the Grand American Road Racing Association, recorded the closest finish in the race's 38-year history as production-based Grand Touring vehicles dominated. A Team Oreca Dodge Viper GTSR driven by Olivier Beretta and Dominique Dupuy of France and Karl Wendlinger of Austria bested a Chevrolet Corvette by 30.879 sec. After a 50-year hiatus, Cadillac reentered racing, finishing cars in 13th and 14th place.

      In the 48th annual Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.), the jewel of the 12-race American Le Mans endurance series, the Audi R8 team finished 1–2 overall—39.11 sec apart—with the winner averaging 110.692 mph. A lap behind was a BMW V12.

Robert J. Fendell; Melinda C. Shepherd

▪ 2000

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      After a closely fought series of 16 races starting in Melbourne, Australia, in March 1999 and finishing in Japan at the end of October, Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen became only the seventh driver in the 50-year history of the official Formula One (F1) world championship to retain his title for a second straight season. The McLaren-Mercedes team for which Hakkinen drove, however, lost out by four points to the rival Ferrari team in the contest for the Constructors' Championship crown, and the famous Italian carmaker was thereby presented with its first world title since 1983.

      Ferrari's championship was achieved largely as a result of the consistency of British driver Eddie Irvine in his role as teammate Michael Schumacher's understudy after the talented German driver was abruptly removed from the championship equation when he crashed on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix in July and broke his right leg. Schumacher missed six more races after his injury but returned, better than ever, before the end of the season. Irvine opened the year with a lucky win at Melbourne, went on to add another three victories to his personal tally by the end of the year, and finished a close second behind Hakkinen for the season.

      A mix of mechanical malfunctions, driver errors, and questionable strategies saw McLaren drop the Constructors' title into Ferrari's waiting arms, while bulletproof mechanical reliability on the part of the Ferrari team enabled Irvine to consolidate his own personal challenge for the driver's championship during Schumacher's absence. Irvine also was the beneficiary of a decision by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Court of Appeal to reinstate him and Schumacher to their 1–2 victory in the first Malaysian Grand Prix held on the impressive new Sepang circuit at Kuala Lumpur. The original exclusion, which Ferrari had appealed, was incurred for an infringement related to part of the bodywork on the Ferrari F399s, possibly the most controversial single decision of the year. The reinstatement hung on an interpretation within the technical regulations on which Ferrari and the FIA remained in a small minority. It was an episode that fueled the well-established antipathy between McLaren and Ferrari, as well as casting a worrying shadow over how certain technical regulations might be interpreted in the future. In the end, Irvine was a gallant loser in the championship by just two points as Hakkinen reversed a distinctly uncertain spell of results to clinch the title with a brilliant end-of-season win in Japan.

      The Jordan team came of age with a magnificent run to third place in the Constructors' Championship, followed by the Stewart-Ford squad, which beat Williams to fourth place. It was also a season that saw Damon Hill, the 1996 British world champion, slip almost unnoticed off the Grand Prix stage after his motivation finally ran out at the age of 39; and two-time Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) Indy car champion Alex Zanardi failed to come to terms with a Formula One return for Williams, a bewildering development that caused reservations about the quality of the U.S. CART series as a training ground for future Grand Prix stars.

      More significantly, however, 1999 was a year in which Grand Prix racing moved from the sports section to the financial pages of the daily newspapers as its commercial success continued to soar on the back of a seemingly insatiable growth in global television coverage. As Formula One commercial-rights holder Bernie Ecclestone spent much of the season streamlining his Formula One Holdings empire in preparation for an eventual sale of 50% of its value to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, so did the racing team owners and shareholders benefit from similar boosts to their wealth. Jordan had already sold a stake to Warburg Pincus, while Arrows followed their example by striking a deal with merchant bankers Morgan Grenfell. Jackie and Paul Stewart trumped them both by selling their team to the Ford Motor Co. for a figure speculated at $60 million to $90 million.

      Meanwhile, the TAG McLaren group negotiated a sale of 40% of its equity to DaimlerChrysler, owners of its Formula One engine supplier, Mercedes-Benz. BMW, while stopping short of taking a stake in Williams, slipped into the British team's commercial driving seat with a deal that would see the team entered as BMW Williams when the famous Munich, Ger., company formally commenced its five-year partnership with the team at the start of the 2000 season.

      Even before the start of the year, British American Tobacco had already bought a share in the all-new British American Racing team, which began the year with lavish equipment and high hopes. Yet if ever there was a demonstration of the truism that success in Grand Prix racing cannot be hurried, it was the glittering new team headed by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, which failed to score a single point during its first year on the circuit.

Alan Henry

Rallies and Other Races.
      Tommi Mäkinen (Mitsubishi) of Finland once again dominated the world rally championship circuit in 1999, with 4 victories in the 14 events, including his first win in the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally. Mäkinen, with 62 points, captured an unprecedented fourth consecutive overall world rally title over British driver Richard Burns (Subaru) with 55 points and third-place Didier Auriol (Toyota) of France (52 points). Juha Kankkunen (Subaru) of Finland won twice and thus passed Carlos Sainz of Spain as the most successful rally driver ever, with a career total of 23. Toyota edged past Subaru 109–105 for the rally manufacturer's championship. BMW captured its first Le Mans 24-Hour Grand Prix d'Endurance in June as Yannick Dalmas, Pierluigi Martini, and Joachim Winkelhock completed 365 laps, one more than second-place Toyota.

U.S. Auto Racing.
      In 1999 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was both the symbolic and the real-time fulcrum of American motor racing as what had become a major financial as well as sporting and entertainment competition reached new heights. In the Indianapolis 500, the oldest and most prestigious race in the U.S., Kenny Brack, an expatriate Swede driving an Oldsmobile-powered Dallara for car owner A.J. Foyt, inherited the victory when Robby Gordon in a similar car ran out of fuel and faded to fourth place in the penultimate lap. Brack averaged 153.176 mph and finished 6.5 seconds ahead of Jeff Ward. Third was another Foyt driver, Billy Boat, and fifth was Robby McGehee. Brack, age 33, earned $1,465,000 of the record $9,047,000 purse. Swirling around the classic race were rumours of rapprochement between the sanctioning Indy Racing League (IRL) and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Despite a narrowing of differences, however, the rapprochement, under pressure of corporate sponsors, did not occur. Greg Ray, driving for retail tycoon John Menard, won three times to become the Pep Boys IRL season champion. The series added races at the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) super speedways. One of these, at Lowe's—formerly Charlotte, N.C.—was canceled after crash debris killed three spectators.

      CART's FedEx championship, contested internationally with more Latin American than North American driving stars, experienced the closest season points finish in its history. Rookie Juan Montoya of Colombia won the title on the basis of most victories (seven) after Dario Franchitti of Scotland, with three wins, tied him at 212 points in the season finale Marlboro 500. That finale, won by Adrián Fernández of Mexico, was the scene of the death of Canadian Greg Moore, who had won five races as CART wended its way through Brazil, Australia, Canada, and Japan, as well as the U.S.

      In August at Indianapolis, NASCAR's eventual Winston Cup season champion, Dale Jarrett, collected $712,240 of a $6,147,061 purse for the Brickyard 400 stock-car classic. At an average speed of 148.228 mph, his Robert Yates Ford Taurus led 116 of 160 laps. Bobby Labonte, in a Pontiac, finished second (as he did in the season standings), and Jeff Gordon, whose Chevrolet Monte Carlo had won the pole at 179.612 mph, was third. Gordon won the Daytona 500, NASCAR's richest race ($1,172,246 of a $6,110,228 purse, plus a million-dollar bonus), but did not match the season-long steadiness of the 43-year-old Jarrett, who finished in the top five in 24 of 34 races. The rookie of the year, Tony Stewart, a former IRL champion, drove his Pontiac to finish fourth in the season standings.

      Off the track, Gordon, fifth on the season, lost the services of fabled crew chief Ray Evernham, who quit to reestablish a Winston Cup presence for DaimlerChrysler's Dodge division. Mike Helton, a longtime NASCAR employee, succeeded Bill France, Jr., as operating head, and NASCAR, negotiating for all member tracks for the first time, signed the second most lucrative network television contract in sports history ($2.4 billion), exceeded only by that of the National Football League.

      The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was held under the aegis of the short-lived United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC), controlled by the speedway and the Sports Car Club of America. Rob Dyson's Riley & Scott Mk III Ford averaged 104.8 mph in the rain to win over 78 starters, 30 of them Porsches. After the USRRC, which had attempted to revive the Can-Am racing class, canceled the final two races in its series, a successor organization, the Grand American Road Racing Association, announced an eight-race schedule for 2000.

      The 12 Hours at Sebring, the other U.S. traditional GT classic, inaugurated the rival American Le Mans series, controlled by Don Panoz, a race-car manufacturer and track owner. A BMW V12 LMR driven by Denmark's Tom Kristensen, pole winner J.J. Lehto of Finland, and Jörg Müller of Germany won by 9.207 seconds over James Weaver in the Dyson Racing Ford, the closest finish in Sebring history. The Pikes Peak (Colo.) International Hill Climb, the second oldest continually run American motor sporting event, was held for the 77th time after settlement of a lawsuit alleging violation of the Clean Water Act. New Zealander Rod Millen, in a Toyota Tacoma, won the Unlimited Class, traveling the 20-km (12.42-mi) gravel road in 10 min 11.15 sec.

Robert J. Fendell

▪ 1999

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      The 1998 season of Formula One Grand Prix competition featured a series of hotly contested races as widely dispersed as Australia, Brazil, Argentina, San Marino, Spain, Monaco (with the sole remaining true road course), Canada, France, the U.K., Austria, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, and Japan. The season boasted a variety of circuits, the most advanced high-tech cars, and an intense rivalry for the annual Drivers' World Championship and the Constructors' Championship between defending champion Michael Schumacher of Germany in a Ferrari and Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen for McLaren-Mercedes. With millions of television viewers, worldwide interest was maintained at a high level.

      In each race, which was of approximately two hours duration and somewhat less than 322 km (200 mi), every aspect of each racing car's performance was monitored by means of telemetry in the pits. Thus, modern Grand Prix racing, though ultimately the task of a driver, was closely related to the engineers and technicians who were in continual contact with him via his headphones. With many millions of dollars invested by sponsors, competition was acute.

      Another rivalry on the track in 1998 was the tire war between the American supplier Goodyear and the newly competing Japanese tire maker Bridgestone. Tires used during a race were of great importance, as drivers and crews faced a choice of three types of tire depending on whether the track surface was really wet, only partially slippery, or dry. Race results sometimes depended on the timing of pit stops for refuelling and tire changing, which could occupy anything from about six seconds to nine seconds or more. Goodyear decided not to make racing tires for Formula One in 1999, to the great regret of many teams.

      Race regulations were revised before the 1998 season, requiring less wing area (thus reducing downforce on the wheels) and a narrower tire section, but these changes made very little difference to the speeds, which could exceed 322 km/h (200 mph) on long straight sections. Interest was increased by the entry of three-time world champion Jackie Stewart's team of Stewart-Fords, powered with the Zetc-R V10 engine and driven by Stewart's son Paul and Rubens Barrichello. Former world champion Alain Prost of France was running a new team of Peugeot-powered Prosts, but neither team made a significant showing.

      Damon Hill, the 1996 British world champion, drove a Jordan Mugen-Honda after his defection from the Arrows team, but, although he occasionally showed some of his former skills and a few good results, he failed to repeat the success of his rides for Williams-Renault. At the beginning of the season the McLaren-Mercedes cars with British-built Ilmor power units were dominant, but Ferrari staged a steady comeback, and so the question arose as to whether Schumacher in a Ferrari would take the title for the third time or would the Drivers' Championship go to his Finnish rival. Hakkinen drove his McLaren-Mercedes magnificently at Barcelona and on the difficult streets of Monaco. He was victorious at Melbourne, Australia, where his teammate, David Coulthard of Scotland, waved him to pass after a controversial agreement that whichever man got to the first corner first should lead. In the rain at Silverstone in England, Hakkinen held a fearful spin at some 258 km/h (160 mph), but it was Schumacher and Ferrari that took the finishing flag.

      In the Luxembourg Grand Prix, over the testing Nürburgring track in Germany, Hakkinen outdrove Schumacher, and he won at Hockenheim, Ger., in spite of worries that not enough fuel was left in his car. It was apparent, however, that Schumacher was the best driver in Formula One, with thoughtful pre-race planning, extremely quick driving, and the ability to snap past slower cars. Under Jean Todt, Ferrari's racing manager, the Italian cars improved with each race in spite of such unfortunate incidents as a broken suspension at Monaco, a collision with Coulthard's McLaren at a corner in the Belgian Grand Prix, an engine breakdown at Melbourne, and racing on an unsuitable type of Goodyear tire at Nürburgring. Consequently, before the decisive final race at Japan's Suzuka circuit Hakkinen and Schumacher had an equal number of championship points.

      After one false start, Schumacher stalled his engine on the starting line, and the race had to be stopped again. When it was restarted, Schumacher, from the required back of the grid, drove the race of his career, coming up through the field unbelievably quickly and cleanly, although Hill was difficult to overtake after the slower cars had been picked off. After the pit stops it might have been a race to the end, but debris on the road burst one of the Ferrari's back tires, which ended the race for Schumacher. Hakkinen, who achieved his eighth win of the season, was a delighted world champion. Schumacher, with six victories, finished second in the Drivers' Championship, and Coulthard, who won in San Marino, was third.

WILLIAM C. BODDY

Rallies and Other Races.
      Hakkinen was not the only Finnish auto racing champion in 1998, as Tommi Mäkinen (Mitsubishi) captured a record third consecutive world rally title. Two-time overall champion Carlos Sainz of Spain, who had returned to Toyota after five years of driving with other teams, started the season in January with his third Monte-Carlo rally victory and came within 300 m (984 ft) of defeating Mäkinen for the overall title. In the final event of the season, the Rally of Britain, with Mäkinen already out of the race and Sainz ensconced in fourth place, the Spanish driver needed only to finish to overtake his rival for the championship. Just 300 m short of the finish line, however, the engine of Sainz's Toyota caught fire, putting him out of the race. Toyota also came close to its first victory in the grueling Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, but gearbox problems forced the Toyota GT1 into the pits and allowed Porsche to win for the third straight time. The Porsche drivers—Alan McNish, Laurent Aiello, and Stephane Ortelli—covered some 4,789 km (2,974 mi) at an average 199.6 km/h (124 mph).

U.S. Auto Racing.
      Jeff Gordon and his Dupont Refinishes Chevrolet Monte Carlo team (headed by crew chief Ray Evernham) dominated the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) in 1998, the 50th year of competition for the U.S.'s largest and most diverse form of auto competition. Gordon, age 27, became the youngest driver to win three NASCAR Winston Cup championships and tied Richard Petty's record of 13 victories in one season (1975). He also amassed more than $6 million in race winnings, as he easily surpassed the Fords of Dale Jarrett ($3.3 million), Mark Martin ($3 million), and Rusty Wallace (approximately $2 million), who followed him in the final standings. Later he spurned feelers to switch to Formula One racing or any form of single-seat automobile competition. His multicoloured car was particularly potent in Winston Cup's classic races. After seven-time season titlist Dale Earnhardt (Chevrolet) won $1,059,105 in the Daytona 500, at an average speed of 172.712 mph, Gordon won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C., and the longest event, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C. Some 25 drivers earned $1 million or more from the 33-race Winston Cup series. Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., son of the Daytona victor, won the Busch Series season crown, and Ron Hornaday captured the Craftsman Truck title.

      In open-wheel, single-seater racing, owner-driver Eddie Cheever, Jr., won the world's oldest race, the 82nd Indianapolis 500, and $1.4 million by 3.191 seconds over Buddy Lazier in a similar Dallara-chassied Aurora. It was the former Grand Prix driver's ninth try at Indy. Former Formula 2000 driver Steve Knapp in a G-Force-chassied Aurora was third, with Davey Hamilton (G-Force Aurora) and Cheever's teammate Robby Unser completing the top five. Average speed was 145.155 mph, well below pole-position winner Billy Boat's 223.503 mph. The race, which was part of an 11-event Pep Boys Indy Racing League (IRL) season, paid a total purse of $8.7 million. The increasing depth of driver talent showed in IRL's final standings, as Kenny Brack, a 32-year-old Swede driving for the A.J. Foyt team, finished first for the season, besting Hamilton and Tony Stewart. The three-year-old IRL displayed increasing strength against its rival Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) with successful events on NASCAR super speedways.

      The Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team Reynard-Honda dominated the 19-event CART FedEx U.S. Auto Racing series for the third season in a row: Alex Zanardi won the championship by 285-169 over teammate Jimmy Vasser. Dario Franchitti (also in a Reynard-Honda) was third, with Adrian Fernandez (Reynard-Ford) fourth and Greg Moore (Reynard-Mercedes) fifth. The series was contested in Canada, Australia, and Brazil, as well as the U.S. Its season championship, however, was decided long before its richest race, the California Marlboro 500. By winning the million-dollar first prize there, Vasser out-earned his Formula One-bound champion teammate, Zanardi, $1,589,250 to $1,219,250. Franchitti was the only other CART star to accumulate a million dollars in prizewinnings. In one of the closest races of the season, Vasser finished 0.360 sec ahead of Moore at an average speed of 153.785 mph in the California 500. Zanardi was third, Fernandez fourth, and Mauricio Gugelmin (Reynard-Mercedes) fifth. The fastest qualifier was Scott Pruett (Ford) at 233.748 mph.

      The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, sanctioned in 1998 by a new combination of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the U.S. Road Racing Club, remained the premier event of its kind in the U.S. Ferrari won its first Daytona overall victory in 31 years. The drivers of the Momo 333SP were owner Gianpiero Moretti plus Arie Luyendyk, Mauro Baldi, and Didier Theys. The margin of victory was eight laps of the 3.56-mi course over the GT-1 class winner, a Porsche 911 driven by Danny Sullivan, Allan McNish, Jorg Mueller, Dirk Mueller, and Uwe Alzen. Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsports Corvette became champion of the SCCA's oldest pro series, the Trans-American.

ROBERT J. FENDELL

▪ 1998

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      Formula One racing sustained its worldwide interest in 1997 and continued to represent a substantial financial income for the U.K., where many of the components of the highly technical cars were made. The Williams-Renault team remained in the ascendant, strengthened by the excellence of the French Renault engines.

      British driver Damon Hill, the defending world champion, moved to the Arrows team but failed to maintain his 1996 form. The fight for the 1997 World Drivers' Championship went to the very last race in Spain, with two-time champion Michael Schumacher of Germany one point ahead of French-Canadian Jacques Villeneuve. Villeneuve won the title, however, after his German rival drove into him during a controversial maneuver.

      The season opened at Melbourne, where the Australian Grand Prix was won by Scottish driver David Coulthard in a McLaren-Mercedes with a British-built Ilmor engine. Schumacher took second and Mika Hakkinen of Finland third place for Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes, respectively. The Brazilian Grand Prix was then won by Villeneuve over Austrian Gerhard Berger's Benetton-Renault. In Argentina the victor was again Villeneuve, with Briton Eddie Irvine's Ferrari second. At Imola, Italy, Heinz-Harald Frentzen of Germany won the San Marino Grand Prix for Williams.

      The Monaco Grand Prix, run over the only true road circuit, produced all its usual glitz and glamour, with rain creating an extra hazard. Schumacher displayed his skills, winning on Ferrari's 50th birthday. To three-time drivers' champion Jackie Stewart's gratification, his Stewart-Ford, in its first season of Grand Prix racing, was second, driven by Rubens Barrichello. The field then moved to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, where Villeneuve won. Another new model, one of Alain Prost's Prost-Mugen-Hondas, driven by Olivier Panis of France, was second. After the long haul to Canada for the race at Montreal, Schumacher finished first for Ferrari, with Jean Alesi second in a Benetton-Renault.

      The French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours proved that Ferrari was back on form. Schumacher finished first, with Frentzen's Williams-Renault sandwiched between the winner and the other Ferrari, driven by Irvine. The British Grand Prix was won by Villeneuve, pursued by the two Benetton-Renaults of Alesi and Alexander Wurz. This was followed by the German Grand Prix over the Hockenheim circuit, where Berger put on an impressive performance, keeping Schumacher at bay. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hill drove a splendid race until hydraulic problems put him behind Villeneuve on the last lap.

      The very fast Spa-Francorchamps circuit then played host to the Belgian Grand Prix. In "impossible" conditions of heavy rain, the race started as a procession behind the pace car. When the field was released, Schumacher showed his superiority in adverse conditions and came home the winner. Italy held its Grand Prix at Monza, but national hopes were dashed when Ferrari could do no better than sixth. The winner was Coulthard for McLaren, with Alesi second.

      The Austrian Grand Prix was taken by Villeneuve for Williams, but Coulthard's McLaren outpaced the other Williams car to take second place. By then the World Drivers' Championship was a matter of keen interest because Villeneuve was only one point behind Schumacher. The Luxembourg race over the shortened Nürburgring showed immense drama when Schumacher's brother Ralf took the world champion leader off at the first corner. This left Villeneuve to lead the impressive first four Renault-engined cars home; he was followed by Alesi, Frentzen, and Berger. Excitement was therefore intense at Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. The Ferrari drivers drove a calculated race, with Irvine assisting Schumacher to victory and leaving the German only one point behind Villeneuve.

      Thus, the Drivers' Championship was not decided until the final race, which was moved to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, when work on the Estoril track in Portugal could not be completed in time. It was a storybook bit of drama as a slowing Schumacher drove into Villeneuve's Williams just as it came up inside him at a corner. The Canadian's car was not badly damaged, and he continued, nursing it home behind the two McLaren-Mercedes of Hakkinen and Coulthard, to take third place and the season title. Schumacher failed to continue and was in some disgrace. Although the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the world governing body of the sport, declined to punish him, Schumacher, as a result of the collision, was later disallowed his championship points.

WILLIAM C. BODDY

Rallies and Other Races.
      The historic Monte Carlo Rally returned to the World Rally Championship (WRC) series in January after a one-year downgrade in status. It was won by Subaru's Piero Liatti of Italy in his first-ever WRC victory. At the British RAC rally in November, Colin McRae of Great Britain challenged defending champion Tommi MŠkinen of Finland for the WRC drivers championship. MŠkinen, however, finished sixth in the race and held on to the title by one point. For the second consecutive year, a Joest Porsche won the grueling Le Mans 24-hour endurance event in June. The winning drivers, Michele Alboreto, Stefan Johansson, and Tom Kristensen, combined to cover more than 4,910 km (3,050 mi) at an average speed of 204.2 km/h (126.9 mph).

U.S. Auto Racing.
      American auto racing enjoyed a year of unprecedented prosperity and popularity in 1997, manifested in the inauguration of multimillion-dollar race tracks in California, Illinois, and Texas and the success of the Indy Racing League (IRL), the single-seater series born of the clash of wills between Indianapolis Motor Speedway management and Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Several race series sponsored by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) also continued to grow.

      Not only was the Indianapolis 500-mi classic, the world's oldest motor race, held without the CART driving stars, but the IRL also proved its passenger car engine-based race-car formula was viable. The organization began building a new roster of star drivers that attracted crowds at such places as the Pikes Peak (Colorado) International Raceway and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

      The first Indianapolis 500 raced under new rules designed specifically for oval closed courses was won by Dutch-born Arie Luyendyk in an Oldsmobile Aurora-powered G-Force chassis at an average speed of 145.827 mph. He also was the only repeat victor in the 10-race IRL series, winning the inaugural Texas 500. At Indy, which was delayed by rain for two days, Luyendyk bested Treadway Racing teammate Scott Goodyear of Canada by 0.570 sec in a controversial finish when a green flag dropped suddenly while the track's caution lights remained on.

      At the new California Speedway's Marlboro 500, the finale of the 17-race CART PPG World Series, Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin set an American pole record of 240.942 mph in a qualifying lap, but Britisher Mark Blundell won the race for Mercedes. The series championship, the runner-up spot, and third place all went to Reynard Honda as Alex Zanardi of Italy finished first, French-born Gil de Ferran was second, and defending champion Jimmy Vasser was third. Mercedes won the engine manufacturers crown. The series visited Australia, Brazil, and Canada, and CART announced a race in Japan for 1998.

      NASCAR continued to be the dominant sanctioning body in the U.S. Its 32-event Winston Cup series enjoyed its closest finish in history. Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet Monte Carlo) reclaimed his driver crown by 14 points over Dale Jarrett (Ford Thunderbird), with another Thunderbird, Mark Martin, 15 points behind Jarrett. Gordon posted 22 top-five finishes and won 10 races. .) (Gordon, Jeff )

      At Daytona Gordon led an unprecedented 1-2-3 sweep for Rick Hendrick Motorsports, with Terry LaBonte finishing second and Ricky Craven third. Six laps from the end, the trio set out after Ford's Bill Elliot, with Gordon elbowing past on a daring dive almost on the infield grass. Ironically, Jarrett, who was to win seven times himself, was involved in the crash that gained the lead for the Hendrick trio.

      Chevrolet was also the makers' titlist in NASCAR's other major series. Jack Sprague won the Craftsman Truck series, and in the Busch Grand National, Randy Lajoie defended his championship successfully.

      American sports-car racing produced another season of flux. Andy Evans, a Seattle, Wash.-area multimillionaire racer, bought the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), changed its name to Professional SportsCar Racing (SportsCar), and was in the winning Ferrari 333 SP (with Stefan Johannsen, Fermin Velez, and Yannick Dalmas) at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March. The final race under the generation-old IMSA name was the 24 Hours of Daytona in January. There, two American-engined cars with Riley & Scott (R&S) chassis sandwiched Evans's 333 SP in a contest that was unusually exciting for an endurance race. The winning R&S Ford was owner Rob Dyson's backup car and had seven drivers, including eventual SportsCar national champion Butch Leitzinger. Third was an Oldsmobile-powered R&S with Eduardo Dibos of Peru, Jim Pace, and Barry Waddell. The victor was still in doubt into the final half hour of the race.

      At the end of the season, Bill France, Jr., owner of the Daytona Speedway and president of NASCAR, awarded the contract to run the 24 Hours of Daytona race to Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). He also announced a new jointly owned series, U.S. Road Racing Championship. Meanwhile, SCCA's venerable Trans-Am series again crowned Tom Kendall and Ford champions.

ROBERT J. FENDELL

▪ 1997

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      Formula One automobile racing gained added interest in 1996 because 1995 world champion Michael Schumacher of Germany transferred from the Benetton-Renault team to Ferrari, whose cars became effective only when the season of 16 races was nearly over. Damon Hill, a British driver who was following the great career of his father, Graham, was the most obvious challenger to Schumacher. Jacques Villeneuve, a French-Canadian on the Williams team, proved another factor in the final outcome, however, almost winning the first round at Melbourne, Australia, before giving way to Hill because of engine problems.

      It became clear from the outset that the World Drivers' Championship was likely to be a bitter battle between Hill and Schumacher, and indeed it was not settled until the final race in Japan. Hill drove a marvelous race to win the second round, the Brazilian Grand Prix at São Paulo, in almost impossible conditions of torrential rain and near-impossible visibility; Villeneuve slid off the track under the difficult racing conditions. The scene then moved to Argentina, where at Buenos Aires Hill won an exciting race from Villeneuve by 12 seconds, proving again the superiority of the Renault-engined Williams cars, which were as far ahead of the opposition as they had been in 1995.

      The next race was the Grand Prix of Europe at Nürburgring, Ger., where the promise of the newcomer Villeneuve was demonstrated over a difficult course. He gained his first Formula One victory and proved well able to hold off Schumacher's Ferrari. At the San Marino Grand Prix, Hill won his fourth race.

      The Monaco Grand Prix, the only true road race, with all its traditional hazards, was a disaster for Hill, whose Williams-Renault was in the lead when the engine blew up. Villeneuve also failed to finish, and the winner was Olivier Panis of France in a Ligier-Mugen-Honda, the first Grand Prix victory for that car since 1981. By this time the Ferraris were beginning to improve, and Schumacher gave a perfect exhibition of car control at great speeds in the rain in the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, for his first victory of the season.

      The racing went next to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Villeneuve's supporters were out in force to see the local boy win, but he was unable to match the experience of Hill, who triumphed once again. In the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, the Williams-Renaults again proved to be superior as Hill led from start to finish, followed by Villeneuve. At Silverstone, where a vast crowd of hopeful Britishers willed Hill to win, he made one of his hopeless starts and later retired with brake problems. Villeneuve took Hill's place and thereby ensured victory at least for a British-based car in this British Grand Prix. In the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, it was looking as if Ferrari might finally triumph, but then the engine of Austrian driver Gerhard Berger failed near the end of the race, and Hill was able to score another win. In the Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest, Hill made up for a muffed start and almost overtook his teammate, but Villeneuve was the winner by a small margin.

      Next was the tricky Spa circuit in Belgium, where both the Williams-Renaults had unexpected problems, which allowed Schumacher to win for Ferrari. In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Schumacher delighted the furiously supportive Ferrari crowd with a victory. Hill eliminated himself by colliding with tire markers erected at the turns to indicate the high curbs, which the drivers themselves had approved of in practice. Schumacher also hit this obstacle, but less hard, and his Ferrari continued on to victory.

      At the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril, it was Villeneuve's day. He outpaced Hill, in spite of the latter's fine start, and made the overtaking maneuver of the year when he passed Schumacher's Ferrari around the outside at a corner.

      This left everything to drive for at Suzuka in Japan, where the championship would be clinched. Before a delirious British contingent, Hill won by a narrow margin from Schumacher's Ferrari. Prior to Hill's magnificent year for Williams, however, had come the announcement that Frank Williams had dispensed with Hill's place on the Williams team for 1997. (WILLIAM C. BODDY)

U.S. Auto Racing.
      The Indianapolis 500-mi classic, now a part of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George's Indy Racing League (IRL) schedule, faced its first competition ever. Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), an organization of the car owners, defected and staged its own 500-mi race on the same day at the Michigan International Speedway. This intensified a battle for supremacy between the two organizations, which developed quickly into a struggle for racing venues and corporate backers. Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Ford, and Toyota built engines for CART, and Oldsmobile and Nissan did the same for the new IRL race cars that were to debut in 1997.

      At the Indianapolis 500, Buddy Lazier of Hemelgarn Racing, driving a Reynard-Ford with a special seat to allay pain from a crash nine weeks earlier that broke his back in 16 places, won $1,370,000 of a record $8.1 million purse, finishing less than one second ahead of Davy Jones in a Lola-Mercedes. Lazier's average speed was 147.956 mph. Richie Hearn (Reynard-Ford) was third. The inaugural IRL season also included races at Phoenix, Ariz.; Orlando, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev., and Loudon, N.H.

      After a 12-car crash just before the start sent most of the field into backup cars, only two drivers finished all 250 laps in the competing CART race. Jimmy Vasser in a Reynard-Honda bested Mauricio Gugelmin (Reynard-Ford) by 10.995 sec., averaging 156.403 mph. Vasser, driving for Chip Ganassi, won the CART season championship, which included competitions in Brazil, Australia, and Canada.

      The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) enjoyed a banner year. The Winston Cup, its premier series, went down to the finale of a 31-race season before Terry Labonte dethroned his Rick Hendricks Chevrolet teammate Jeff Gordon 4,657 points to 4,620. Dale Jarrett in a Ford Thunderbird finished third, 52 points behind Gordon. Labonte, who had been champion in 1984, won only twice to Gordon's 10 times, but he was more consistent.

      Jarrett included the Daytona 500, the Charlotte Coca Cola 600, and the Indianapolis Brickyard 400—NASCAR's three richest events—among his four victories. At Daytona he edged seven-time Winston champion Dale Earnhardt by 0.12 seconds. At Indianapolis he defeated Ernie Ervan, and at Charlotte he beat Earnhardt by 11.982 seconds. Randy LaJoie won the NASCAR Busch series crown over David Green, and in the Craftsman Truck Series Ron Hornaday, Jr., won over Jack Sprague. All drove Chevrolet-powered vehicles.

      The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) staged a nine-race series in its World Sports Car category. Cars with Oldsmobile and Ford engines challenged Ferrari 333 SPs in the competition, which included the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Driving a Doyle racing car with an Oldsmobile engine, Wayne Taylor won both the Daytona and the Sebring events and also gained the drivers' championship. Oldsmobile later announced that it was curtailing its IMSA program to concentrate on IRL engine development. In the Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am series, Tom Kendall edged Dorsey Schroeder. Both were driving Ford Mustangs. (ROBERT J. FENDELL)

▪ 1996

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      Michael Schumacher began the 1995 International Formula One racing season as the world champion driver, the first German to hold the title, but the Williams-Renaults, to be raced by Damon Hill and newcomer David Coulthard of Scotland, were regarded as better cars than Schumacher's Benetton-Renaults. As the season unfolded, Schumacher proved himself the finest exponent of this exacting and dangerous sport, and four races before the end of the season, he had again clinched the world championship and had ousted Williams from the constructors' title.

      The season opened in São Paulo, Brazil, where Schumacher finished first and Coulthard was second. At the Argentine Grand Prix in Buenos Aires, Hill retrieved his reputation, winning the 305-km (190-mi) race for Williams.

      The third round took place in San Marino. Schumacher led until crashing on the wet course. Coulthard pressed Hill, but the latter gained the victory. In the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, the Benettons placed first and second, with Schumacher ahead of Britain's Johnny Herbert.

      The inimitable "round-the-streets" race at Monaco was the fifth round of the championship series. Schumacher won after one refueling stop, with Hill second. The Schumacher-Hill battle seemed likely to be continued at Montreal, but in the Canadian Grand Prix there, a faulty gearbox dropped the former to fifth place and Hill fell behind the Ferraris, slowed by hydraulic maladies. Jean Alesi of France in a Ferrari won his first Grand Prix.

      At Magny-Cours in the French Grand Prix, Schumacher and Hill again dueled for the lead, with the latter making a good start, but the two fuel stops that each one made decided the race, Schumacher winning by 31.3 seconds. In the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a collision between Schumacher and Hill 15 laps from the finish allowed Herbert to win in the other Benetton. Alesi placed second.

      In the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Hill made a blazing start, only to go off at the first corner on lap two; a worn driveshaft was blamed. Even though Schumacher made two stops to Coulthard's one, he established such an advantage that he was able to come in for his second stop without losing the lead.

      Hill returned to the winner's circle at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Coulthard coming in second. In the Belgian Grand Prix, Schumacher started far back but had made up eight places by the third lap. Then, when rain caused Hill to change to "wet" tires, Schumacher stayed on "dry" ones, and owing to his wonderful display of skill, his strategy paid off with a victory in the race.

      In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Hill shunted Schumacher out of the race as they were overtaking Japanese driver Taki Inoue. Herbert was the winner.

      In Portugal Coulthard drove a sound race to win from Schumacher. The European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring was frustrating for Hill, who crashed in pursuit of Coulthard, his hopes for the world championship expiring at that moment. Schumacher again made a great overtaking pass three laps from the finish to win.

      The competition then moved to Japan. The Pacific Grand Prix at Aida became a race of clever tactics by Benetton, resulting in a victory for Schumacher. In the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Schumacher equaled Nigel Mansell's nine wins in one season when he finished first.

      In the season finale, the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide, Hill drove a well-calculated race to win for Williams. Schumacher was rammed by Alesi's Ferrari, both cars retiring. (WILLIAM C. BODDY)

U.S. Racing.
      Two Canadians, Jacques Villeneuve (see BIOGRAPHIES (Villeneuve, Jacques )) and Scott Goodyear, figured in another astonishing finish at the 1995 Indianapolis 500. Goodyear, in a Reynard-Honda, was in the lead when he passed the Chevrolet Corvette pace car illegally just after the 190th lap of the 200-lap race; officials stopped scoring his laps on the 196th, and Goodyear finished 14th. Ironically, Villeneuve earlier in the race had been penalized two laps for the same infraction but had battled back into contention. Driving a Reynard-Ford, he averaged 247.221 km/h (153.616 mph) to beat Christian Fittipaldi of Brazil by 2.481 sec and win $1,312,019 of the $8,063,550 purse. The race was unusual because neither defending champion Al Unser, Jr., nor 1993 winner Emerson Fittipaldi (Christian's uncle) qualified for the final.

      Villeneuve also won the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) IndyCar PPG World Series season championship over Unser, with Bobby Rahal third and Michael Andretti fourth. Unser could not overcome Villeneuve's early lead and also was disqualified after apparently winning at Portland, Ore.

      The other Indianapolis classic, the Brickyard 400 of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), contested in U.S. stock cars, paid a $4,447,015 purse. Defending Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, in his black Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo, won over four Ford Thunderbirds led by Rusty Wallace. The average speed was 249.780 km/h (155.206 mph), and the margin of victory was only 0.37 sec. Despite this and four other NASCAR victories, Earnhardt lost his Winston Cup crown to Jeff Gordon, who clinched it in the last race by 34 points, 4,614-4,580. And, for the 11th time in a row, Earnhardt failed to win NASCAR's most prestigious race, the Daytona 500, finishing second to defending champion Sterling Marlin by 0.67 sec.

      Gordon won 7 of the 31 races in the Winston Cup series, becoming the first NASCAR driver to earn $4 million ($4,347,343) in a single season.

      NASCAR during the year began a new SuperTruck series for race trucks on small tracks. Chevrolet dominated this competition easily, just as it had in winning the Winston Cup national manufacturers' crown. The trucks basically had Winston Cup engines in full-size pickup bodies. Mike Skinner was crowned champion.

      In the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am, the oldest continuous racing series in the U.S., Tom Kendall, driving a Roush Mustang, won the title by 24 points, 305-281, despite a late charge by Ron Fellows of Canada. In the International Race of Champions, Unser edged NASCAR's Mark Martin for the title, contested in identically prepared Dodge Avengers.

      (ROBERT J. FENDELL)

▪ 1995

Introduction

Grand Prix Racing.
      International Formula One motor racing suffered tragedy in 1994. Ayrton Senna of Brazil, one of the sport's leading drivers, was killed in an accident when he slammed into a concrete wall while leading in the San Marino Grand Prix. (See OBITUARIES (Senna, Ayrton ).) Only 24 hours earlier Roland Ratzenberger of Austria had died in a crash on the same course during a qualifying round.

      Several new rules were made for the 1994 season. Refueling at the pits was permitted at the discretion of the entrants, but many protested because this appeared to involve a fire risk. This actually happened in the German Grand Prix, but fortunately the driver was not badly burned. The new regulations also required wooden skid plates to be attached to the undersides of the cars in order to slow them down. After the deaths at San Marino, a mechanism was introduced at the entries and exits to pit lanes to force cars to slow down. The season thus began with the rules disliked and often not fully understood. The first event, over the Interlagos circuit in Brazil, was won by Michael Schumacher of Germany in a Benetton with a Cosworth-Ford Zetec engine, a lap ahead of Damon Hill's Williams-Renault. Accidents accounted for seven of the 14 retirements.

      The competition then moved to Aida, Japan, for the Pacific Grand Prix, which Schumacher also won for Benetton. Gerhard Berger of Austria finished second in a Ferrari. The next race was on the Imola circuit at San Marino. It was there that Senna and Ratzenberger were killed. The race was won after the restart by Schumacher; Nicola Larini of Italy was second in a Ferrari.

      The next race took place over the difficult and unique road circuit around Monaco. There Schumacher in the Benetton was again successful. Second place went to Martin Brundle of the U.K., for McLaren. At Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, Schumacher suffered his first defeat when his Benetton became stuck in fifth gear, but even so he finished second to Hill's Williams-Renault. In Canada Schumacher scored an easy victory over Hill at Montreal.

      In searing heat the French Grand Prix was contested at the Magny-Cours circuit. Untroubled, Schumacher defeated Hill by 12.642 sec. Silverstone served as host to the British Grand Prix, where Hill was a popular winner, 18.778 sec ahead of Schumacher. But because Schumacher had passed pole-sitter Hill on a warm-up lap and then failed for five laps to obey a black flag, he was excluded from the results and was banned from competing in the Italian and Portuguese Grand Prix. In the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Berger retrieved Ferrari fortunes, winning from the Ligier-Renault of French driver Olivier Panis. The Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest was another Schumacher/Hill dual, with the German finishing 20.012 sec ahead of Hill.

      Schumacher continued his top-class driving at Spa in the Belgian Grand Prix, beating Hill by 13.6 sec only to be disqualified because his Benetton had an "illegal" skidblock, giving it an aerodynamic advantage. Thus, Hill moved to first place. In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Hill won, and Berger finished second. The Williams-Renaults of Hill and newcomer David Coulthard of Scotland finished first and second at Estoril in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

      Schumacher returned to racing at the European Grand Prix at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, only one point ahead of Hill in the drivers' competition. The German won the race, and Hill finished second. Schumacher then led Hill by five points, but Hill narrowed the gap to one point with a close win over Schumacher in the Japanese Grand Prix. In the final event, the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide, Schumacher hit a wall while leading Hill by a small margin; in attempting to pass, Hill collided with Schumacher, and both drivers had to retire. Schumacher thus won the drivers' championship. Nigel Mansell of the U.K., who had spent most of the year on the IndyCar circuit, won the race, and Berger was second.

      The winter Monte Carlo Rally was won by a Ford Escort Cosworth, ahead of a Toyota and a Subaru, but a Toyota Celica took the Swedish Rally from a Mazda GTR and an Escort Cosworth RS. Toyotas won Portugal's TAP Rally, the Kenyan Safari Rally, and the Tour of Corsica. Didier Auriol of France won the drivers' championship, and Toyota took the manufacturers' championship. Paul Radisich won the touring car world championship with a Ford Mondeo after very close racing all season, with Alfa Romeo second. The Le Mans 24-hour race in France was a victory for Porsche, with a Toyota second. (WILLIAM C. BODDY)

U.S. Racing.
      The Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994 inaugurated a new era in U.S. automobile racing by putting its stamp of approval on stock cars. The traditional Indiana 500 on Memorial Day was now joined by National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's (NASCAR's) Brickyard 400. The inaugural 400, held the first week of August, was won by an Indiana native, Jeff Gordon. Driving a Chevrolet Lumina, Gordon averaged 212.483 km/h (131.977 mph), beating Brett Bodine, Bill Elliott, and Rusty Wallace, all in Fords, in that order. He won $613,000 of the $3,213,849 purse, largest on the Winston Cup circuit.

      The Indianapolis 500, the oldest and still the richest race in the world, witnessed the continued dominance of the Roger Penske team as that three-car entry drove cars more powerful than the rest of the field. Realizing that the rules gave stock-based engines an advantage for Indy only, Penske utilized Ilmor-modified Mercedes-Benz power plants. Penske's Al Unser, Jr., also the season CART champion, won the pole and the race, earning $1,373,815 of a purse of almost $8 million. His average speed was 259.004 km/h (160.872 mph). Teammate Emerson Fittipaldi had the fastest lap at 355.295 km/h (220.680 mph) but crashed late trying to lap Unser. Jacques Villeneuve in a Reynard-Ford, the only other car to complete the full 200 laps, finished second. The Penske trio switched to Ilmor-Chevrolet power for the remainder of the season and won 12 of 16, finishing first, second, and third five times.

      Dale Earnhardt made NASCAR history by tying now-retired Richard Petty with his seventh points championship for a season. Earnhardt's winnings totaled more than $3 million as he placed his Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina into the victory lane four times and finished in the top five 20 times in 31 races. Runner-up Mark Martin in a Ford Thunderbird edged teammate Rusty Wallace for second by winning the final race at Atlanta, Ga. Ford won the manufacturers' crown.

      The Daytona 500 was won by Sterling Marlin in a Chevrolet Lumina, with Ernie Irvan second in a Ford Thunderbird. Marlin averaged 252.659 km/h (156.931 mph) and won $253,575. Veteran Neil Bonnett and Rodney Orr were killed in one-car crashes while practicing for Daytona. NASCAR, meanwhile, announced another major variety of racing—full-sized pickup trucks with V-8 engines.

      The International Motor Sports Association introduced its newest top class, World Sports Cars, which improved race by race in speed and durability and crowned Wayne Taylor (Mazda-Kudzu) its first champion. Scott Pruett, Paul Gentilozzi, Steve Millen, and Butch Leitzinger averaged 168.655 km/h (104.80 mph) to win the Daytona 24-hour race in a Nissan 300 ZX. Millen returned to win the Sebring 12-hour race, teamed with John Morton and Johnny O'Connell. Scott Kalitta won the National Hot Rod Association's Top Fuel season championship. (ROBERT J. FENDELL)

▪ 1994

Introduction

Grand Prix. Racing.
      International Formula One racing continued in 1993 under the prevailing rules, contested by non-turbocharged gasoline-burning single-seat cars of the highest technical ingenuity. However, this was to be the last such season because beginning in 1994 electronic aids for drivers would be forbidden in order to assist the less-wealthy teams and to try to promote closer competition.

      The season opened at Kyalami, South Africa, where Alain Prost of France in a Williams-Renault beat Ayrton Senna of Brazil in a McLaren-Ford. The tour then moved to Interlagos, Brazil, where Prost led until the rains came, whereupon Senna went ahead to score McLaren's 100th victory. Damon Hill, the son of the late British champion Graham Hill, finished second in a Williams-Renault. For the third event of the season, the Donington Park circuit in Britain held its first Grand Prix since 1938. Senna won again in the rain, before an enormous crowd, and Hill finished second. In the Imola Grand Prix at San Marino, Prost proved that his old skills had not deserted him. He finished first in wet conditions, ahead of Michael Schumacher of Germany in a Benetton-Ford.

      In the Spanish race at Barcelona, a great scrap ensued between Hill and his teammate Prost until Hill's engine expired 24 laps from the finish. Prost and Senna then finished first and second. In the traditional street race around the closed public roads of Monaco, Senna won for the fifth straight year, followed closely by Hill.

      In the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, Prost recovered his winning form. Schumacher finished second. Great Britain got its racing treat when the tour went to Silverstone in July. The expected battle between the two bitter rivals, Prost and Senna, ended with the latter running out of fuel one lap from the flag, and Prost won again. Schumacher finished second.

      At the French Grand Prix over the Magny-Cours course, also in July, the two Williams-Renaults dominated, Prost leading Hill home by the narrowest of margins. The German race, run over the Hockenheim course, was won by the seemingly unstoppable Prost after Hill suffered the bitterest of defeats when a tire blew two laps from victory. Second place was taken by Schumacher.

      In Hungary, Hill finally gained his first victory, convincingly beating Riccardo Patrese of Italy in a Benetton-Ford. Hill then won again, taking the Belgian race from Schumacher, and then in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, he won for the third time in a row. Jean Alesi of France in a Ferrari V12 finished second. At Estoril for the Portuguese event, Schumacher won from Prost. By finishing second, Prost clinched the 1993 world drivers' championship.

      In the second-to-last race of the year, the Japanese Grand Prix was contested at the Suzuka circuit. Senna won the race in changing weather conditions that required frequent changes from wet-track to slick tires. Prost finished second.

      Prost would have liked a victory in the Australian Grand Prix, the last event of the tour and also his final race—he had announced his retirement—but it was Senna who triumphed. Prost was second. It had been a satisfactory season, with the technically sophisticated cars demonstrating remarkable powers of acceleration, braking, and road clinging. Williams-Renault easily won the constructors' world championship. British former world champion driver James Hunt died in June at age 45. (See OBITUARIES (Hunt, James Simon Wallis ).)

      Rallies and Other Races. Almost as intense as Formula One racing were the international rallies, which usually consisted of several days of driving. Toyota Celica Turbos took the top two places in the Swedish Rally, and in Portugal two Ford Escort RS Cosworths triumphed. The prestigious East African Trust Bank Safari Rally, toughest of all, was a victory for Toyota, with four Celica Turbos leading the way home. A Ford Escort then triumphed over the Toyotas in the Tour of Corsica, and the Acropolis Rally was won by Ford. Juha Kankkunen of Finland won the world drivers' championship.

      International sports-car racing was somewhat in the doldrums in 1993, and there was a fear that the Le Mans 24-hour race might be canceled. The event, first held in 1923, survived, however, with French Peugeot 905 Evo Ics taking the first three places. The Formula 3000 racing car champion driver was Olivier Panis of France.

WILLIAM C. BODDY

U.S. Racing.
      The stunning success of Nigel Mansell, 1992 Formula One champion, in his first year in U.S. IndyCar competition highlighted a year in which virtuosity and tragedy shared centre stage. The 40-year-old Englishman, driving a Lola-Ford Cosworth for Newman-Haas Racing, edged 1993 Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi for the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) championship. Mansell won 5 of 17 races, including his debut at Surfers Paradise, Australia, and also was third on his rookie try at Indianapolis. His season winnings were $2,526,953—unprecedented for a first-year competitor in any kind of U.S. auto racing. Fittipaldi, a former Formula One champion himself before moving from his native Brazil to the U.S. racing scene, was the leading driver of a Chevrolet-powered car.

      Fittipaldi averaged 253.103 km/h (157.207 mph) for the 500 miles of Indianapolis and earned $1,155,304 for the victory. Four Lola-Cosworths followed him in the standings in a race where 12 different drivers held the lead and a record 10 finished the entire 200 laps. Earning $681,303 for second place was Arie Luyendyk of The Netherlands, whose qualifying speed of 350.587 km/h (223.967 mph) had earned him the pole position.

      Two fatal aviation accidents overshadowed the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Winston Cup season, which featured an exciting duel between two stock-car virtuosos, newly crowned Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace. Alan Kulwicki, defending NASCAR champion, and Davey Allison died in separate mishaps. (See OBITUARIES for Kulwicki (Kulwicki, Alan ) and Allison (Allison, Davey ).) Earnhardt, in a Robert Childress-owned Goodwrench Chevrolet, outsteadied Wallace in a Pontiac, although Wallace won 10 of 30 Winston Cup races to Earnhardt's 6.

      Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 before a record crowd of 153,000, overtaking Earnhardt on the last turn before the finish line. His average speed was 249.505 km/h (154.972 mph). Earnhardt won three other classic Winston Cup races: the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C.; the Pepsi 400 at Daytona Beach, Fla.; and the Diehard 500 at Talladega, Ala. Chevrolet edged Ford and Pontiac for the Winston Cup manufacturers' trophy in the closest contest in years—191, 190, 189.

      The Camel GT prototype series passed into racing history as the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) decreed a new category of less-expensive open-cockpit racers for 1994. For the 1993 season IMSA meanwhile coped with the withdrawal of factory teams from Nissan, Jaguar, and Mazda and the announcement by Toyota that it, too, was in its final year. The Toyota Eagles of Dan Gurney dominated the final Camel GT season, with Juan Fangio II repeating as champion and teammate P.J. Jones finishing second. The Toyotas won both of IMSA's Florida crown-jewel races, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

      Scott Sharp in the American Equipment Racing Chevrolet Camaro won his second-straight Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-Am drivers crown as Chevrolet won its fourth manufacturers' cup in a row. Ford Mustang's Ron Fellows finished second.

ROBERT J. FENDELL

* * *

Introduction
also called  motor racing 
  professional and amateur automobile sport practiced throughout the world in a variety of forms on roads, tracks, or closed circuits. It includes Grand Prix racing, speedway racing, stock-car racing, sports-car racing, drag racing, midget-car racing, and karting, as well as hill climbs and trials (see hill climb; see also rally driving (rally); gymkhana). Local, national, and international governing bodies, the most notable of which is the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), divide racing cars into various classes and subclasses and supervise competitions.

Early history
      Automobile racing began soon after the invention of the gasoline- (petrol-) fueled internal-combustion engine in the 1880s. The first organized automobile competition, a reliability test in 1894 from Paris to Rouen, Fr. (France), a distance of about 80 km (50 mi), was won with an average speed of 16.4 kph (10.2 mph). In 1895 the first true race was held, from Paris to Bordeaux, Fr., and back, a distance of 1,178 km. The winner made an average speed of 24.15 kph. Organized automobile racing began in the United States with an 87-km race from Chicago to Evanston, Ill., and back on Thanksgiving Day in 1895. Both early races were sponsored by newspapers for promotional purposes. In Europe, town-to-town races in France, or from France to other countries, became the norm until 1903 when authorities stopped the Paris-to-Madrid race at Bordeaux because of the large number of accidents. The first closed-circuit road race, the Course de Périgueux, was run in 1898, a distance of 145 km on one lap. Such racing, governed by the Automobile Club de France (founded in 1895), came to prevail in Europe except for England, Wales, and Scotland. By 1900 racers had achieved speeds of more than 80.46 kph. Danger to spectators, racers, and livestock on roads not built for the automobile, let alone racing, ultimately caused road races to decrease in number. A notable exception was the Mille Miglia, which was not stopped until 1957.

      International racing in the modern sense began after James Gordon Bennett, owner of The New York Herald, offered a trophy to be competed for annually by national automobile clubs, racing three cars each that had been built of parts made in the respective countries. The Automobile Club de France organized the first Bennett Trophy races in 1901, 1902, and 1903. The event was later held at the Circuit of Ireland (1903), the Taunus Rundstrecke in Germany (1904), and the Circuit d'Auvergne (1905). The unwillingness of French manufacturers to be limited to three cars led to their boycott of the Bennett Trophy Race in 1906 and the establishment of the first French Grand Prix Race at Le Mans in that year, the cars being raced by manufacturers' teams. The first Targa Florio was run in Sicily the same year and thereafter except during wartime at distances varying from 72 to 1,049 km.

      William K. Vanderbilt, the New York sportsman, established a trophy raced for on Long Island from 1904 through 1909 (except for 1907) at distances ranging from 450 to 482 km. Thereafter the race was run at Savannah, Ga.; Milwaukee; Santa Monica, Calif.; and San Francisco until its discontinuance in 1916. Later Vanderbilt Cup races were run in 1936 and 1937 at Roosevelt Raceway, Long Island, New York.

      In early racing, in both Europe and the United States, competing race cars were usually prototypes of the following year's models. After World War I, racing became too specialized for the use of production cars, though occasionally high-performance touring cars were stripped of their bodies and fitted with special seats, fuel tanks, and tires for racing. Still later stock-car racing in 1939 started with standard models modified for racing.

      The first speedway was built in 1906 at Brooklands, near Weybridge, Surrey, Eng. The track was a 4.45 km circuit, 30 m (100 ft) wide, with two curves banked to a height of 8.5 m. Sprint, relay, endurance, and handicap races were run at Brooklands, as well as long-distance runs (1,600 km) in 1932. Twenty-four hour races were held in 1929–31. Brooklands closed in 1939. The first road racing allowed in England was at Donington Park, Lancashire, in 1932, but the circuit did not survive World War II. Oval, banked speedways on the Continent included Monza (outside Milan, 1922) and Montlhéray (outside Paris, 1924), both of which were attached to road circuits, using only half the track as part of Grand Prix racing. Montlhéray was also the site of many long-distance speed records.

 Possibly the best known speedway is the 4-km Indianapolis (Indianapolis 500) Motor Speedway at Speedway, near Indianapolis, Ind., which opened as an unpaved track in 1909 but was paved with brick for the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, the race continuing thereafter except during wartime. Oval, banked board tracks, first used before World War I, were popular in the United States throughout the 1920s. Both before and after that decade unpaved (dirt) tracks of half-mile and mile lengths were in use.

American, European, and international racing
      After the first Grand Prix race in France in 1906 and the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911, automobile racing was essentially different in Europe and in North America until in the 1950s Grand Prix racing was organized worldwide. Racing in the United States was essentially speedway track racing, the tracks varying from half-mile dirt tracks to the 2 1/2-mi track for the Indianapolis 500. stock-car racing arose in the 1930s on the beach at Daytona Beach, Fla., then moved to tracks, and the major governing body, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), was founded in 1947. Hot-rod (hot rod) racing, particularly drag racing, a rapid-acceleration contest on a quarter-mile strip, originated in the United States in the 1930s in the southern California desert. Hot-rod cars originally were modified stock cars, but they ultimately became, like other racing cars, highly specialized. Hot-rod racing spread rapidly after World War II, and in 1951 the National Hot Rod Association was founded. The sport spread to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden and in 1965 was recognized by the FIA. Racing with midget cars (midget-car racing) began in the United States in the 1940s and with even smaller cars, called karts (karting), in the 1950s. Karts were also later raced in England, throughout the rest of Europe, and in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, with international competition from the 1960s. sports-car racing, both amateur and professional, became popular in the United States in the late 1930s, the earliest cars being European-made. The U.S. governing body, the Sports Car Club of America (founded 1944), and the Canadian Automobile Sports Committee (founded 1951) cooperate closely. Amateur members mainly compete in local rallies and gymkhanas, but general public interest is mainly in the professional races. Off-road racing (offroad racing), held in the western deserts of the United States from the 1960s and in Baja California, Mexico, is notable for the Baja 500 and the Mexican 1000 (mile) races.

      Unlike most European and other countries, the United States has no single automobile racing body. The governing bodies noted above for various kinds of racing are members of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States-FIA, basically an advisory and liaison organization.

      After the first French Grand Prix race of 1906 at Le Mans, a frequent early venue and also the site of the Le Mans 24-hour Grand Prix d'Endurance, run from 1923, the race was run in 1907 and 1908 and then not again until 1912. The first Italian Grand Prix was run in 1908. When racing resumed after World War I, the French and Italian Grand Prix were held in 1921. The Belgian Grand Prix began in 1925, the German in 1926, and that at Monaco in 1929. The national clubs had formed a governing body in 1904, the Association Internationale des Automobiles Clubs Reconnus (renamed the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile in 1946). The cars of each nation were all painted one colour for easy identification: French, blue; Italian, red; German, white; and British, green. Entries were made by manufacturers, usually two or three cars, and drivers were professional. Races were on closed circuits of 5 or 6 km to a lap with total distances of from 250 to 650 km. Through 1934 French and Italian manufacturers won most frequently, but throughout the rest of the 1930s, German manufacturers dominated. Racing resumed in 1947, and from the late 1950s British-made cars were dominant. In 1950 a world championship for drivers was instituted, usually involving point tallying for some fifteen Grand Prix races, including those of Monaco, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Canada, and the United States. A championship for Formula I car manufacturers was begun in 1955.

Rally driving (rally)
      Racing over specified routes, the driver being kept on course by a navigator between checkpoints, began in 1907 with a Peking-to-Paris race of about 12,000 km. The Monte-Carlo Rally from various starting points began in 1911 and continued thereafter except for wartime interruptions. Rallies became very popular after World War II in Europe and elsewhere with European and international championships being instituted by the FIA. Weekend rallies came to be common worldwide, ranging from those held by local auto clubs to those sponsored by larger organizations.

Speed
      In almost all kinds of racing, speed has been the preeminent goal, although concern for safety by governing bodies has prevented a steady climb in speeds. Nevertheless, speed has risen from 120.04 kph in the 1911 Indianapolis 500 to nearly 260 kph in the late 1970s. In Grand Prix racing, where the terrain and number of curves vary, speeds are somewhat lower.

      In the 1920s, land-speed record attempts deserted the tracks and courses for special desert or beach strips, and cars were designed for the record alone. Jet engines later came into use, and in one case a three-wheeled vehicle attempting a new record had to be certified by the Fédération Internationale Motorcycliste, the FIA having refused certification.

Winners of the Daytona 500
       Daytona 500 Daytona 500A list of Daytona 500 winners is provided in the table.

Winners of the Indianapolis 500
       Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis 500A list of Indianapolis 500 winners is provided in the table.

Winners of the Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance
       Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance (also called Le Mans 24-Hour Race) Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance (also called Le Mans 24-Hour Race)A list of Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance winners is provided in the table.

Winners of the Monte-Carlo Rally
       Monte-Carlo Rally Monte-Carlo RallyA list of Monte-Carlo Rally winners is provided in the table.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

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