AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Kia Motors America’s motorsports program hit a new high last year grabbing the Team and Driver titles in the 2011 Street Tuner (ST) class in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Now they’re looking forward to 2012 with new driver pairings for both the number-10 and number-12 Infinity Audio Forte Koups.
The first race of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Championship season will be on January 27, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway and Kia will have Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson to lead the way. Lally returns to the Kia Racing program fresh off his 2011 Sonoco Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year performance, reuniting with ST Driver Champion Jönsson. Both drivers were last seen capturing Kia’s first-ever Grand-Am podium at Daytona in January 2011 before Lally went off to NASCAR.
Both drivers are extremely excited and looking forward to the start of the new season and defending the Driver and Team championships for Kia Racing.
Subaru has announced that Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude will return as factory team drivers for their entry in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The first round of the series will take place at Daytona International Speedway on January 27th, 2012.
Subaru will be fielding a race-prepped 2012 four-door WRX STI, developed specifically to compete with all the other 400-hp vehicles in the class. Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) has been working on a technical progression for the number-35 STI during the off-season and appears to be optimistic heading into round one of the championship.
SRRT Principal Joe Aquilante noted, “We’ve enjoyed a very productive off-season, and our team is looking forward to getting back to the business of racing our Subaru WRX STI. Our drivers have been focusing on honing their physical fitness while our technical staff has been diligently progressing our car development plan. To say that we’re excited for Daytona is an understatement.”
Round one of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge starts January 27th at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.
Patrick Dempsey may be giving up his role on TV’s Grey Anatomy in order to pursue his other passion – racing.
Known and loved as Dr. Derek Shepherd (aka Dr. McDreamy) on the top-rated series, Dempsey said that this year would be his last season on the show. Now we know why – he says he’d rather race then commit to another season.
Recently, Dempsey was testing his car at the Daytona International Speedway for an upcoming race, where he took time out to tell reporters that: “The biggest point for me in negotiations is getting time off to come race, so if I don’t miss races, I’ll probably stay on Grey’s Anatomy.”
Dempsey is planning ahead, and even though the show is a Thursday night staple, it seems that his heart is in racing right now. But if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, there’s no need to panic just yet. The actor still enjoys starring in the show, as it keeps it close to his family. Here’s hoping he can work out a deal that keeps him in the show and on the race track.
If you want to see Dempsey in action – on the race track, that is – you can catch him as he gets behind the wheel for the Grand-AM Series’ Rolex 24 (he placed third in this race last year). The race airs on SPEED network January 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET and January 29 at 9 a.m. ET.
Derived from the highly successful GT3 class Le Mans sports racer that has won some 110 races and 15 championship titles across the pond, Audi‘s new R8 Grand Am has successfully completed its testing program and is now virtually ready to compete in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series for 2012, with the first cars slated to be made available to customers in January.
Given the different regulations between LMS and the Grand Am series, in order to compete in the latter, the R8 racer underwent some significant modifications, notably revised aerodynamic aids, including a smaller front splitter, slimmer rear wing and the adoption of a flat front undertray section. The reduced downforce also required changes to the suspension settings with re-valved shocks and softer springs, along with a slight increase ride height. In addition, as per Grand Am regulations, the European car’s traction control and ABS systems must also be deactivated.
Audi wrapped up testing of the R8 Grand Am car this past week at Daytona International Speedway in prepration for the Rolex 24 hours series opener at the circuit on January 28/29th.
So far, one official team has been confirmed as an R8 Grand Am customer for 2012, APR Motorsport based in Opelika, Alabama, which will run cars at Daytona and other races with its own team of drivers. Audi has a goal of providing cars to a maximum of four teams next year and says that with the APR deal confirmed, negotiations with three others are currently in the final stages.