DECEMBER 4, 2008
The loss of Honda from Formula 1, which is due to be confirmed in a few hours, will be a big blow to the sport, but the downturn in the world economy is merciless and is hurting racing across the board. In the last 48 hours Audi has confirmed that it will not be competing in either the Le Mans Series in Europe or the American Le Mans Series with the only scheduled outings with the new R15 TDi prototype being the Sebring 12 Hours and the Le Mans 24 Hours. the company is expected to run a new R8-based GT3 car in European events but this will be for privateer teams.
In the United States it is expected that Petty Enterprises will shortly confirm that it will be merging its NASCAR Sprint Cup team into the Gillett Evernham Motorsport organisation, in order to create a fourth entry for the Dodge outfit. Petty Enterprises has been involved in NASCAR since 1949 and is the only remaining team that was entered in the original Daytona 500.
It remains to be seen whether the great Richard Petty will have any shareholding in the new organisation, but the signs are that he will not as he sold much of the team to Boston Ventures in the summer in order to keep the team alive. It is anticipated that Petty driver Bobby Labonte will now line up alongside Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson with GEM.