** MANY FORMER SEBRING WINNERS COMMITTED -- Sebring International Raceway has received early commitments from 19 former winning cars to be part of the festivities for the 50th annual Mobil1 12 Hours at Sebring, presented by Dodge, on March 16.
Raceway management is trying to have as many winning cars of the prestigious race on hand as possible for the 50th anniversary celebration. In addition, many of the winning drivers of the race will be in attendance.
Among the latest winning cars to be confirmed for attendance are the famous OSCA MT4 which Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd drove to a stunning upset victory in 1954; the Maserati 450S which Juan Manuel Fangio co-drove to the 1957 race win; and the Porsche 962 which A.J. Foyt shared with Bob Wollek in winning the 1985 race.
The Sebring race will kick off the 2002 season for the American Le Mans Series. Event ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com.
** NEW MUGEN ENGINE SEES FIRST ACTION -- The new Mugen V8, normally-aspirated sports car racing engine saw its first on-track testing this week at Japan's SUGO circuit.
Former American Le Mans Series driver Hiroki Katoh was at the wheel of a Dome S101M Prototype race car equipped with the Mugen powerplant in the test, which covered 66 laps. Katoh drove for Panoz Motor Sports in the 2000 season of the ALMS.
"I know V8 vibration, but I could not feel unusual vibration," said Katoh, who said that the engine had plenty of torque. "The engine is a baby and today was its first run on a circuit. I was driving easy, but it was very powerful and reliable."
Mugen project leader Satoshi Katsumata was also pleased with the first test, which was conducted in sunny but cold conditions. "The first test was very, very successful," he said. "The MF408S was running in the test bench just two months ago. I am very happy."
Mugen, which has a long history of building racing engines for motorcycles, Formula 3000 and Formula One, is building its first sports car racing engines for customer use in 2002. The company is negotiating with several racing teams about using its engines.
** KRISTENSEN BOOK HITS SHELVES IN DENMARK -- A new book about the life and career of American Le Mans Series driver Tom Kristensen is now available in his home country of Denmark. If there is enough demand, the book may later become available in other countries as well.
"Tom Kristensen - The Life and Times of a Le Mans Winner" contains 200 pages of text and 48 pages of pictures detailing Kristensen's rise from go kart racing to his place now as one of the drivers for the top team in sports car racing, Audi Sport North America. One of the photos is a rare one from 1992, when he drove in Japan sharing a Toyota Group C car with future Formula One stars Eddie Irvine and Jacques Villenueve.
** LEWIS COMPETES IN ARCA RACE -- American Le Mans Series driver Shane Lewis made his professional stock car racing debut this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he competed in an ARCA-sanctioned event.
Lewis drove a Ford Taurus and charged from 31st starting position to 13th in the running order before the engine in the car failed.
Lewis has been a regular on the ALMS since the formation of the series in 1999.