Pelletier does not make it through lap one at Valencia

Hopes were high for young Maxime Pelletier as he approached the BMW World Final at Valencia but the week-end was a big disappointment. After struggling through the first days, Pelletier's car was getting better and he expected to climb back through the field from his 8th row starting spot on a grid of 35 cars for the finale. Unfortunately, Pelletier's race did not go beyond turn one as we was hit by his follow driver from the American series Alexander Rossi.

Pelletier was quite angry at Rossi after the race : "Rossi repeated a scenario he played often this season in America, which means having a great start and trying to gain 10 positions in the first lap. He hits cars and was even penalized by the stewards. He did the same in Spain and I was the victim".

Pelletier is now looking forward to a break for the holiday season before looking at their opportunities for 2008, either in F3 or FBMW Euro.


New rides for Jean-François and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin

There were some major changes for the Dumoulin clan this past week.

First, Jean-François will have a solid car to defend his Rolex GT win a the Daytona 24h next year as he was hired by Blackforest Motorsports to drive alongside Tom Nastasi and David Empringham at the wheel of a Mustang Cobra GT. Jean-François should also be behind the wheel for the remaining of the season, including the Montreal event and the car should be on display in Trois-Rivières for the Koni Challenge week-end.

With that move, a seat was available in Carlos de Quesada's Porsche and it will be filled by Louis-Philippe. He will try to help them defend their Rolex GT title for the 24h race.


Villeneuve shows some speed at Homestead

It was and up and down day for Jacques Villeneuve at Homestead this Friday. The French Canadian was high on the charts for all practice sessions for the Craftsman Truck Series race and even put his truck in 3rd place on the starting grid. Villeneuve was also running pretty fast during the race before he lost control of his truck, hitting the wall while he was running in 4th place. The truck was badly damaged and he couldn't get back racing so the final results show him in 36th and last place.

This was Villeneuve's last race for the 2007 campaign before jumping to the Sprint Cup Series full time next year.


Carpentier makes the field at Homestead

For the third time in as many attempts in the Nextel Cup Series, Patrick Carpentier was able to place his car within the top 43 in qualifying, ensuring himself a place on the starting grid this Friday at Homestead. The Nextel Cup series is running the old-style Cup cars for the last time in history , and ironically, this race is Carpentier first time behind the wheel of this car. He posted the 28th fastest time (31.017) for an average speed of 174.098 mph.

Once again, making the field was a difficult task as just 7 hundreths of a second slower than Carpentier, AJ Allmendinger posted a lap time of 31.089 and will miss the field for Sunday's race, despite running the 37th fastest time today.


Camirand and Dumoulin at Daytona this week

Winter hasn't begun yet but fear not, the Grand Am Rolex Series is already in preparation for the 2008 campaign. Two days of testing (Nov. 14th and 15th) are organized this week at the Daytona International Speedway road course and both Marc-Antoine Camirand and Jean-François Dumoulin are on site to run the test.

Camirand will drive the Fabcar Porsche #9 for Spirit of Daytona, alongside with Guy Cosmo.

Dumoulin will be testing the GT3 Porsche #22 for Alegra Motorsports / Fiorano Racing, sharing the driving wheel with Carlos de Quesada and Scooter Gable. The team won the GT class in the 24 Hours of Daytona last year with the same driver lineup.

Carpentier pulling double-duty. Villeneuve to race truck only at Homestead

I finally got my hands in this week-end entry list for the 3 NASCAR races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Patrick Carpentier will drive this week's Busch and Nextel Cup races. He will again drive the #10 Dodge entry in the Nextel Cup race and will get behind the wheel of the #19 car the first time in the Busch Series.

Jacques Villeneuve on the other hand will only be driving his Toyota Tundra truck for the Craftsman Truck Series race. Earlier, Villeneuve said he would only be driving Car of Tomorrow Cup races and they will not be on site this week-end as NASCAR will run the old Cup car for the last time.

The Truck race will be on Speed TV Friday, November 16th at 7:30 PM EST
The Busch Series race will run Saturday, November 17th at 4 PM EST (televised on ESPN2)
The Nextel Cup qualifying session to determine the 43 starters out of 49 entries will be held Friday, Nov. 16th at 3:10 PM and live on ESPN2 while the green flag will drop Sunday, Nov. 18th at 3:45 PM, live on ABC

Maxime Pelletier at the BMW World Final

More than two months after the last race of the Formula-BMW USA season, 17 year old Maxime Pelletier is getting on a plane this Friday to the BMW World Final held in Valencia, Spain on the week-end of November 25th.

Interviewed this week about his trip to Europe, Pelletier aknowldeged he was a bit disapointed by his second season in FBMW where he hoped to fight for the title (in the end, he finished 4th in the standings). But, considering he switched teams after the second race of the season, he's still happy with what he accomplished.

Pelletier puts great hopes in this World Final event. As the drivers from all 4 FBMW championships (USA, UK, ADAC and Asia) will be on site, so will lots of recruiting personel from European F3 teams. Pelletier hopes to sign a contract with such a team to get closer to his goal of driving in the Formula 1 championship. To put icing on the cake, the winner of next week confrontation will get the chance to test drive a Formula 1 car.


Tagliani finishes season in 10th place

Alex Tagliani had a disappointing 2007 campaign at Rocketsports Racing in the Champcar World Series and the struggle continued in the last race at Mexico City.

Alex fought with the car all week-end long, earning on his way a 14th position on the starting grid. As if the handling problems on this car weren't enough, Alex's car stalled on the start relegating him to the back of the pack. Helped by a quick pit stop from his team and the stalling of two other cars, Tagliani moved back up to 14th on the restart. Alex climbed up to 11th position at some point but an over steering car forced him to wear his tires out too quickly and he crossed the finish line in 13th position, out of 14 running cars at the end (17 took the green flag).

Grabbing some points throughout the season, Tagliani was shown in 10th place of the Champcar World Series standings, a 3rd top 10 in as many years at Rocketsports Racing. It's the sixth time Alex finishes in the top 10 in Champcar in 8 seasons.

From his quotes after the race, Tagliani is already looking forward to next season but is looking at a contract with other teams : "It is definitely not the way that we wanted to end the season. For our last race together, it is definitively something that makes me sad, but we have been struggling with the #8 Rocketsports car all weekend. We have destroyed every set of tires that we put on the car during the race, because we never got the set up. [...] Overall, the team has been trying very hard all season, and I would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication. Now we just have to look at the future. For me, I am already going to be looking for what I am going to be doing next year and Champ Car is definitely my choice."


Carpentier wins first duel with Villeneuve

For the first time in their short NASCAR careers, Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Carpentier went head to head in a Nextel Cup race. Carpentier came out as the clear winner this Sunday as he was the only one to cross the finish line, despite running 33rd place, 2 laps behind the leaders. Carpentier was pretty satisfied of what he learned. Before the race, Kenny Shrader told him he would have had a pretty good week-end if he completed 310 laps, which he exactly did. Patrick commented he still has a lot to learn, especially how to push the car without burning the tires.

Carpentier explained after the race : "It's so hard. You have to be so smooth that it's almost impossible. You have to go in hard and then get off the throttle. You abuse the car and then as soon as you do that for 10 laps you are done. The car just slides. Every time they put new tire on I was like yeah this is good. Oh I got it. I get the picture. Then 10 laps later I was back to battling the car."

For Jacques Villeneuve, the race was also a learning experience but in a whole other spectrum. Villeneuve was involved in a crash with Kasey Kahne which placed him down in 41st place in the standings. Jacques was still trying to figure out how the crash happened after the race : "We were all the way up there and there was someone on the inside and I didn't know there was someone on the outside and I just noticed them once I was already spun and touched them. I'm not sure what exactly happened and I'm very sorry."

Still, Villeneuve was pretty optimistic of the speed he had before the crash :"It was fun once we got the car running better. Earlier in the race it was a little challenging.[...] We got enough laps there. The car was very tight there and we fixed it with pit stops then it became fine and we were fighting our way back."

Both drivers should run next week-end at Miami-Homestead Speedway, Patrick Carpentier is listed by NASCAR in the Nextel Cup race but I could not find the entry list for the Busch and Trucks race to confirm where Jacques will run.

Villeneuve 19th in NCTS at Phoenix

The first race of a double header week-end at Phoenix for Jacques Villeneuve was a promising one as he qualified in 14th place for the 150 miles event. Involved in a couple of incidents, Villeneuve managed to stay on the lead lap the whole race and crossed the finish line in 19th place out of 36 trucks.


Villeneuve and Carpentier both make the field at Phoenix

Despite the huge number of cars entered in the event, both Patrick and Jacques Villeneuve qualified for Sunday's Nextel Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Patrick Carpentier put his Dodge entry in 24th place with a lap of 27.425 seconds (131.267 mph) while Jacques Villeneuve qualified his Toyota machine in 27th place in 27.478 seconds, maintaining an average speed of 131.014 miles per hour.

Getting in the event was not an easy task for drivers out of the 35 owners points. Michael Waltrip, the fastest driver to miss the field ran a lap in 27.558, barely a tenth of a second slower than Villeneuve. Waltrip would have started in 32nd place out of 43 cars if there were no guaranteed spots.


Champcar Atlantic adds Trois-Rivieres back to it's calendar

When the Champcar Atlantic series unveiled their calendar on November 5th, it held a nice surprise for racing fans in Quebec: their return to the streets of Trois-Rivieres.

The re-intruduction to the calendar was surely helped by the presence of Kevin Lacroix in a front-running team and should be a treat for everyone as the Atlantic series has a great history on the legendary street circuit (although no Atlantic race were held since 2003)

The preliminary calendar states that the race still needs to be approved by the city council.

Komatsu with Carpentier in 2008?

Sirius Speedway reported today that the construction equipment company Komatsu is expected to sponsor Patrick Carpentier's car in 2008.

Komatsu were sponsor on his car (long with Zellers and Guzzo) for the 2007 Busch Series race in Montreal.

There are no news as wether their role would be as primary or associate sponsor


Carpentier and Villeneuve for the first time head to head

Phoenix International Raceway will host this week-end the first head to head confrontation between French Canadians Patrick Carpentier and Jacques Villeneuve on the Nextel Cup circuit. Both drivers appear on the entry list, which counts 49 cars. As both cars are out of the top 35 owners standings, this means they'll have to qualifying their cars within the top 8 cars out of the 14 in contention.

Villeneuve will be driving the #27 Toyota entry for Bill Davis Racing (sponsor to be announced) and Carpentier will drive the #10 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsport painted in Valvoline and Stanley Tools colors.

Qualifications will be held Friday, November 9th at 5:40 pm ET and green flag for the race will fly at about 3:40 pm ET Sunday (Nov. 11)


Spengler linked once again to F1 rumours

Bruno Spengler's name is back in the Formula 1 rumours mill this week as two usually well informed sites (grandprix.com and autoracing1.com) both linked the French Canadian to Fernando Alonso's empty seat at McLaren Mercedes.

Earlier this year, rumours sent him to the new ProDrive F1 team but as David Richard's project dimmed, hopes to see Spengler in an F1 soon followed the same path.

All stars seemed aligned as he been a Mercedes official driver for the past couple of years, finished runner-up twice in the very competitive DTM championship (beating on his way names like Mika Hakkinen, Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen). Spengler's manager, Didier Coton, is also the manager of F1 stars Mika Hakkinen and Olivier Panis.

Spengler also speaks fluent French, English and German and is much appreciated by the European motorsport fans.

Finally, Spengler would also meet Norbert Haug's criteria for Hamilton's teammate as quoted this Saturday : "He will have to be fast... and cheap"

Villeneuve 25th at Texas

After his best finish in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series last week at Atlanta, Jacques Villeneuve had a bit rougher week-end at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). After he qualified his truck in 16th place, Jacques only completed 141 of the 149 laps scheduled, showing in the charts in 25th place out of 36 trucks.

At the time of writing, no press releases could be found describing Villeneuve's day at TMS


Carpentier to test in Memphis Monday

Still in preparation for his first oval race on the NASCAR circuit and his full season ride next year, Patrick Carpentier will test this Monday at Memphis Motorsports Park. If you ever pass close to there, press release mentions some grand stands will be open to the public for free.