Aston Martin and Gulf Oil – Sports Car Digest loves to see the return of the Gulf Oil colors, which look incredible on Aston Martin’s DBR9 racer. If we had a top-5 list of racing car color combinations, Gulf Oil’s traditional colors would be on it.
Aston Martin Racing will return to Le Mans in 2008 to defend its GT1 title in the distinctive blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil.
Two Aston Martin DBR9s will look to emulate Gulf’s first victory at the 24 hour race 40 years on.
Alain Dujean, Gulf Oil vice president international, said: “This is arguably the most important year ever for Gulf in motorsport. The famous Gulf racing colours first tasted victory at Le Mans in 1968, so 2008 already had great significance for us, but for Gulf to have joined up with Aston Martin Racing for this year is fantastic – the coming together of two great automotive names, for what I hope will be a long and fruitful partnership.”
David Richards, chairman of Aston Martin, said: “Endurance racing is engrained in the heritage of both Gulf and Aston Martin and we have also both been intrinsically linked through Le Mans for many decades. It was perhaps destined that, in the year we defend our GT1 title and Gulf celebrates the 40th anniversary of its win, we would finally race together at La Sarthe.”
The two Aston Martin DBR9s for 2008 will be entered as numbers 007 and 009.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Fighting NASCAR – After 12 years of conflict and much, much ado, Champ Car and IRL have finally merged. We realize this is probably not earth-shattering news considering the two series have been in merger talks for years. This time around, however, the two series got it done.
While IRL CEO Tony George or Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkoven did not mention NASCAR in their press conference, it seems obvious to SCD that this merger is the only way to win back motorsport fans (and drivers) that have increasingly left open-wheel racing for NASCAR. SCD has to wonder if Dario, Sam Hornish, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and the other open-wheel drivers that jumped to NASCAR will be on the first train to the consolidated IRL series when their respective contracts are up for renewal. They all claim that the jump to NASCAR was for the competition and so on, but it is hard to look past the lure of money and a secure ride.
For what it’s worth, Dario Franchitti supports the merger, “I think it’s great. There’s a part of me that thinks I wish it had happened five years ago. For my friends in the IRL, my friends in the Champ Car series, I think it’s fantastic because they’ll all get to race together in one series. From that point, I’m really happy and as a race fan I’m happy. It’s been a long time coming.”
The French Are Coming – Peugeot recently announced that they are coming to America, specifically next month’s Sebring 12-hour race.
On the heels of an impressive showing last month at the American Le Mans Series Winter Test, Peugeot announced Friday that it will compete for the first time in North America by entering the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 12-15.
Pedro Lamy, Nic Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin will pilot the diesel-powered Peugeot 908 in the 12 Hours. It was Sarrazin who posted the fastest time in the three-day test at Sebring last month, a blistering 1:42.801 (129.571 mph) that was more than two full seconds better than last year’s record-setting qualifying mark turned in by Audi’s Marco Werner.
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[Source: American Le Mans]