This first item is most important: They have changed the time of the telecast of the IZOD IndyCar Series race from Brazil on Sunday from noon to 11 a.m.
I had made plans for the morning and intended to sit down in front of my TV at 12 sharp and if I hadn’t noticed the time change in the latest update of "George’s TV listings for Race Fans" on the home page of wheels.ca, I would have been x$&^st out of luck and in a very bad mood indeed.
So mark it down: 11 a.m. instead of noon for Indy cars on the streets of Sao Paulo.
Other “live” races this weekend include the NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car race tonight from Richmond, the Sprint Cup race from Richmond tomorrow night and the Moto GP motorcycle race, the Indy cars and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races on Sunday.
This is on F1 writer Joe Saward’s blog:
“Formula 1′s visit to Bahrain was not greatly disrupted by protesters, but there are beginning to be fears that the sport could run into trouble later this summer in Montreal.
“For the last 11 weeks, students in the city have been protesting about the raising of tuition fees and in recent days the action has been getting rather nastier with protesters hurling projectiles at police. A total of 85 people were arrested in the course of Wednesday night.
"The protesters have disrupted the city’s Metro system by throwing smoke bombs in stations, forcing evacuations and major delays. The Metro is vital for the Grand Prix in Montreal as the majority of spectators travel to the Ile de Notre Dame using the system.
"There is still six weeks to go before the Canadian event, but the school year ends shortly and so it remains to be seen whether the students will stick around or will go off on holiday . . . "
I suggest that is a little alarmist.
I was a student in Montreal in the 1960s. Students always raise hell during the school year but then they either head home for the summer or get jobs to make the money necessary to live the life of a student in winter.
In Montreal in the Sixties, the Maoists of the day were always plotting the revolution. The Maoist at McGill with the highest profile used to scare me with his rhetoric. You talk about a call to arms. I would listen to him and think there were Red Guards lurking in the shadows.
Anyway, I left Montreal on April 11, 1969 (two days after the Expos’ very first game, by the way) but had to return in late May for graduation. I booked myself into the Mount Royal Hotel (long gone) for the weekend and guess who was employed as a bellhop? With his hand out?
I really don’t think there’s going to be a problem in Montreal at Grand Prix time. Montreal always mellows out in the summertime.
My friend Sandy Mowat, the CBC producer, writes in reaction to my “I’m confused about Lotus” post of a few days ago:
"Norris, you wrote that ‘Renault used to be Renault, but now it's Lotus.’ To make it more confusing, didn't Renault used to be Benneton which used to be Toleman?
"And what about Mercedes, which used to be Brawn which used to be Honda which used to be BAR which used to be Tyrrell (have I got that straight?) . . .
"I think you could turn this into a running segment: F1 teams' family trees . . . ”
Canadian Robert Wickens is one of 22 race drivers preparing to open the German Touring Car Season (DTM) at Hockenheim this weekend. As a member of the Merecedes-Benz Junior Team, Wickens is getting a huge chance to prove himself as a racing driver with potential.
Paul di Resta went from the DTM to Formula One with Force India and Wickens can follow him if he plays his cards correctly.
Wickens is quoted on the DTM website as saying that, “I want to finish races and deliver good performances. Should I succeed in doing so, I will be happy.”
Wickens will be up against stiff competition. As well as young guys, there is a sprinkling of ex-F1 stars (David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher) and a raft of experienced racers, like Canadian Bruno Spengler, who’s moved from Mercedes to drive this year for BMW.
By the way, in Friday’s opening practice to run in the cars in advance of getting down to business tomorrow with the race on Sunday (quite unofficial, but . . .) Audi drivers took the top six places with Mercedes driver Gary Paffett seventh and - are you ready for this - Wickens eighth.
Wow, what a start for the young Canuck!
Finally, for the first time ever, Karl Thomson’s Compass360 Racing Team out of Toronto will field eight Honda Civic Si's in two series this weekend. Four cars will compete in the ultra-competitive Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event at Miami-Homestead Speedway. Four additional cars will vie for the top prize in the Pirelli World Challenge triple-header at Miller Motorsports Park just outside Salt Lake City, Utah.
"We are ready to win at both tracks," said Team Principal Karl Thomson. "We'll be running a mix of new 2012 Civic Si's and 2011-spec cars. Both series are really competitive and we're expecting tight fights at the front in Florida and Utah . . ."
The team, which notched its first pro start in 2004 in Grand-Am and has been first or second in the championship five years running, started the 2012 season well with two second-place finished in the World Challenge season-opener at St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Grand-Am squad has had similarly strong results.
Wheels will take a closer look at Thomson and the Compass360 team in a feature article in the coming weeks.