Brit V8 Class Launched For 2011

The STR Cup, inspired by the legendary Australian V8 Supercars is a new exciting series which will see Vauxhall VXR8s (Holden) competing head-to-head alongwith other VXR's in this one make series.

Organiser, Shawn Taylor, aims to keep budgets low by restricting modifications in the three classes. Drivers can start out at a production-based level in the VXR Corsa, VXR Astra or a 450 bhp V8 all running on Dunlop slick tyres. The Corsa and Astra classes will be open to teams to enter, whilst the Brit V8 Class will be solely arrive and drive packages run by Shawn Taylor Racing, however there are only a limited number of spaces available. Drivers will also be able to take part in STR's innovative driver development programme alongside Cosworth / PI Systems and KW Automotive to make a closer fought series.

The current Brit V8 Class will provide a financially viable route for V8 enthusiasts who want to experience the fun, excitement, horsepower, sound and challenges of a low grip, rear wheel drive fast muscle car. Taylor says "we've had lots of input from Aussie V8 teams over the last year to retain the exciting features which the V8's have a reputation for".

There will be six race weekends consisting of 12 rounds forming part of the Dunlop Great and British Festival.

The Series aims to increase spectators at the circuits by getting them more involved and up close and personal to the race cars and drivers, whilst also allowing them to experience the thrills and sounds of the cars slidding out of corners and close action-packed racing.

Plans are also underway for an additional 650 bhp V8 Supercar Class in 2012.

For further information email [email protected] or call 01603 626 668

Mortara(l)wants toswapF3forDTM

Formula 3 star has had a run in an older-spec car in Czech tin-tops to prepare him for Audi young-driver evaluation

Formula 3 Euro Series champion Edoardo Mortara had his first taste of a DTM car last month in the International Czech Touring Car Championship as part of his bid to land a drive with Audi for 2011.

As part of his prize for winning the Euro Series, the Volkswagen-affiliated driver will be part of Audi's young driver evaluation test this winter. And he was offered the chance to drive an older-spec Audi in the six-hour race at Brno because several of the yet-to-be-named drivers he will be up against at the test will already have experience of DTM machinery.

"It was a great opportunity because I'm really looking to enter the DTM next year," Mortara told

AUTOSPORT. "It's a big option for me, so to drive the car was good. I know Audi tries to find the top young drivers, so I will try to impress these people. It's a big opportunity for me to be a professional driver, and you don't get chances like that every year."

Mortara, who will defend his crown at the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix later this month, added that he was surprised by the level of performance in the DTM car.

"I was thinking that a DTM car is just a big touring car, so a bit like a road car," he added. "But it's very particular, more like a formula car. It's weird, because what they have achieved with these cars is really impressive. It has so much grip, the brakes work really well, and you can feel the downforce.

"A six-hour race was not ideal, because in an endurance race it is not about showing the pace you are capable of. But it was good to avoid making mistakes and get some confidence with the car so that I can be on the same level as the guys who have driven DTM cars before."

AF Corse eyes LMP2

THE CRACK AF Corse GT squad is on course to expand into the prototype ranks next season.

The Italian team, which claimed a hat-trick of FIA GT drivers' crowns in 2006-08, has "quite definite" plans to graduate to LMP2 in 2011, according to team boss Amato Ferrari. He said that the team had "an opportunity to do LMP2 in the Le Mans Series with a client".

Ferrari said he was reviewing a number of chassis/engine combinations for the potential move, including the Lola-Judd/BMW package. He explained that he would be heading to the UK this month to talk to chassis and engine producers before making a final decision.

Speculation that the team could use a Ferrari V8 engine, either from the existing 430 or next year's 458, was dismissed by the AF boss.

AF will continue to represent Ferrari in the LMS with its new 458 GT Endurance contender. Formula 1 test driver Giancarlo Fisichella is likely to remain part of the team.

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Volvo:success with Dahlgren

Scandinavian campaign could lead to WTCC return for ex-British champion

European Touring Car Cup champion James Thompson is high on Volvo's wanted list for next year's Scandinavian tin-top series.

The Polestar Engineering-run team, which ran Robert Dahlgren to this year's Scandinavian crown and won the 2009 Swedish title with Tommy Rustad, has targeted two-time British champion Thompson as it seeks a more international driver line-up.

Team principal Christian Dahl told AUTOSPORT: "We have spoken to a couple of drivers about the Scandinavian Touring Car Cup in 2011 and James is one of them. He is clearly very good and someone we would love to have in our team."

Dahl, whose squad will run a one-car works World Touring Car effort next year for Dahlgren in addition to its STCC commitments, said Thompson could form part of an expanded line-up on the world stage in future.

"It is our intention, if the WTCC programme is successful, to run three cars in the WTCC in 2012, and I don't think we would be allowed [by Volvo] to run just Scandinavian drivers," he added. It would be good to have a British guy with a big experience in touring cars."

Thompson has raced sporadically in Scandinavia for the past three years and only missed out on the 2009 Danish Touring Car title when he skipped the last two rounds due to prior commitments in the Australian V8 Supercar series.

The 36-year-old, who has raced in both the ETC and in Denmark for the Hartmann Honda squad this year, is excited by Volvo's plans.

Thompson said: "I've always said I want to be involved with a manufacturer programme that has legs. And Volvo certainly looks that way.

"Christian and I had some good talks and we get on well as people, so we'll see how things progress. It certainly interests me."

RPM fights on

TROUBLED NASCAR team Richard Petty Motorsports is set to complete the remaining races of the 2010 season.

The four-car squad's future is in serious doubt following financial woes triggered by team owner George Gillett's recent sale of Liverpool Football Club for a much smaller amount than he was hoping for.

The team's vice-president of competition Robbie Loomis confirmed last weekend that it will keep racing to the end of the 2010 season thanks to help from Ford and rival team owners such as chassis supplier Jack Roush.

Minority owner Richard Petty continues to work on saving the team in the long-term, and he described plans to downscale to a two-car team in 2011 as "still in limbo".

"We thought it was done last week," Petty said. "And last week we thought it was done the week before. I don't know what we've got to do to make it work."

Busch gets in finger trouble

NASCAR COULD take action against Kyle Busch after the Sprint Cup star made a rude gesture to an official at Texas Speedway last Sunday.

The 25-year-old was livid when he was penalised for speeding in the pits as he tried to rejoin the track in front of the pace car. Busch was brought into the pits to be held for a lap, and was caught on camera making the gesture to the official, who was stood in front of his car.

Busch's team boss JD Gibbs acknowledged that his driver needs to calm down, but he also hopes that the matter is finished with.

"When things don't go well in the car, there's a frustration there," said Gibbs. "He's matured in a lot of areas, and that's something he's going to have to continue to work on. I think he knows that. I'd be surprised if there's any more penalties coming."

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