Allan McNish, Olivier Beretta and Sascha Maassen all hope to secure their American Le Mans Series driver championships at Adelaide on New Year's Eve. The first two should be a formality, to maintain a status quo over their co-drivers, but...
Allan McNish, Olivier Beretta and Sascha Maassen all hope to secure their American Le Mans Series driver championships at Adelaide on New Year's Eve. The first two should be a formality, to maintain a status quo over their co-drivers, but Maassen needs to beat Dirk Muller, his Dick Barbour Racing Porsche team-mate and principal rival, to win the LM-GT class title.
Adelaide's "Race of a Thousand Years" is a real show-case event, the last motor race of the 20th century, and promoted like no event has ever been before. It marks the final appearance of Allan McNish in an Audi R8 (the Scotsman has ruled out a Le Mans bid in '01, as it would detract from his "100 per cent commitment" to Toyota), and the final appearance of Johnny O'Connell and Hiroki Katoh in the second Panoz LMP Roadster.
David Brabham has made a surprise switch to Panoz Motorsport's third LMP Roadster (#12) which he will share with Jason Bright and @!Greg Murphy, leaving Jan Magnussen to share the '01 model 4-litre Panoz with Klaus Graf. Brabham has no chance of winning the American Le Mans Series driver championship, but could move up to seventh in the league if he gets a podium result and Magnussen fails to finish the 6-hour event in the new car.
Adelaide will also see the farewell of the unfortunate Cadillac Northstar LMPs, as Jean-Paul Driot's DAMS team makes its final attempt to get one of the Riley & Scott designed cars onto the podium. The Cadillac (maybe a singular entry at Le Mans!) is being redesigned in England by Nigel Stroud. It will be run by DAMS at Le Mans, and will again be sponsored by Motorola. "There is always the chance that extra races will be added to the Cadillac programme" says a source.
* Olivier Beretta and Allan McNish have been voted into a notional "All America Auto Racing Team" by the American Auto Writers and Broadcasters Association. They share the billing with 10 other top drivers including Gil de Ferran, Bobby Labonte, Buddy Lazier and Trans-Am champion Brian Simo.
* Belgian race driver and former motorcycle champion Didier de Radigues last week won an open sea jet ski race off the coast of Senegal. He was one of the few amateur entries in the third annual Bakel-Saint Louis-Dakar Corona Extra jet ski raid which features a variety of river and offshore competitions.