Speedcar for Melbourne and Sepang?

The new Speedcar series, which is going to be running alongside GP2 Asia, looks like being on the timetable for the Australian and Malaysian GPs in 2008.

The NASCAR-based series is being promoted by France's Benoit Lamonerie and Italian Luciano Secchi, but the money is coming from Dubai. Our sources tell us that the funding for the championship is coming from Union Properties, the company which developed the Dubai autodrome and is building three F1-themed entertainment facilities in the years ahead, and that there will be a prize fund of $3m for six events (12 races). Two of these will be in Dubai with one in Qatar, one in Bahrain plus supporting events for the F1 races in Melbourne and Malaysia.

Former F1 star Jean Alesi will be one of the drivers in the identical NASCAR chassis.

"I love the car," Alesi says. "It is completely different to everything I have driven in the past. It has a lot of power, makes a great noise, and is fun because it doesn't have any aerodynamic aids like F1 or DTM. It's mechanically very well balanced, but you cannot take it to the limit easily, that requires a lot of skill. It is much more difficult to drive than a DTM car."

Alesi believes that the cars will mean that there will be a lot of overtaking.

"Definitely!" he says. "The cars have earlier braking points than many others I've driven, which will make it much easier to overtake. It will be very exciting, as the cars allow the driver the make the difference, so fans will see lots of skill. I'm really looking forward to the start of the championship this winter as there will be some spectacular racing."

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