F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race

Work to improve facilities at Interlagos gets underway


The planned upgrade to the facilities at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, better known as Interlagos and as the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix, has begun.

The circuit is a favorite in the Formula 1 community, but was at risk of falling off the calendar due to its outdated and run-down facilities.

Bernie Ecclestone had flirted with the idea of a street race in Rio de Janeiro to coincide with the 2016 Olympic Games. “I’ve been unhappy with Sao Paulo for some time, because the facilities need a big facelift,” the sport’s supremo said back in 2013. “We could be in Rio for the Olympic year.”

However, a new contract was confirmed later that year to keep the race at Interlagos until 2020 on the condition that investment was found and a new pit complex was built.

Despite originally planning to move the start-finish straight down to between turns three and four, circuit officials confirmed that this had been scrapped in favor of a new complex on the existing home run.

“There was a previous idea of moving the pit complex to the other side of the circuit, but it was dropped after a more detailed study,” a circuit spokesperson confirmed. “It was felt that some of the defining characteristics of the classical layout would be lost.”

The $80m upgrade work has begun, and will continue until one month before the race, which is set to take place on November 9th. The new facilities will then be completed in time for the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski